STAFF PICKS

Fans of a good treasure hunt will love this book. One of the biggest mysteries in North America is what happened on Oak Island in the 17th century to cause so many people for the next 300 years to dedicate their lives to uncovering the truth. This story has it all: pirates, Templars, Francis Bacon, cutting-edge technology, and fraudsters. Will someone find the treasure or is the island cursed? -Justin, Atlanta
Heavy indeed. A spare and gorgeously written memoir that is heavy in the sense of being powerful, rich, sad, intense. Heavy in the sense of being physically and metaphorically burdened, with the trauma of American racism, with the struggles of poverty, with the complex and often conflicting desires individuals have for themselves, their family and their loved ones. And yet also, heavy: that sweet and awestruck slang used when in the presence of a profound and meaningful truth. -Sara, Atlanta
Much has been written about Babe Ruth but this well-researched biography uses interviews with family, friends, and foes to show how he was emblematic of his time as well as ahead of it. Using the framework of a barnstorming tour after the 1927 season with Lou Gehrig, Leavy details how he was the first athlete who was as famous off the field as on, the first to have an agent that branded him as a commodity. This bigger than life personality made movies, endorsed scores of products, spent his money faster than it came in, and charmed women and children alike. He drank a lot, smoked a lot of cigars, and hit a lot of home runs. The poor kid from Baltimore became a world-wide phenomenon and it’s a wild ride. -Sydne, Atlanta
Susan Orlean's book about the unsolved 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire is one of the best of the year. Orlean explores the mystery of how (or who) started the fire, with special emphasis on eccentric actor Harry Peak, chief suspect in the case. But it's also a history of the L.A. Public Library administration and libraries themselves. The author also details some of the many tasks that the workers deal with everyday, with affection and respect for the institution itself. She also burns a book herself, just to see what it's like. The tragic burning of so many books was pretty much overlooked back in 1986 (Chernobyl dominated the headlines), but Orlean brings the day of the Fire vividly back to life. -Len, Chicago ORD
The wait is over! Bestselling author, Mitch Albom, is drawing us back to the life of Annie, who was saved as a child by Eddie, the maintenance man at Ruby Pier. Annie is not sure that her life was worth saving, but Eddie assures her that “The wrongs we do open doors to do right”. -Sandra, Seattle
In Gone So Long, Andre Dubus III weaves a very empathetic story about the crime a man commits and its long-reaching repercussive aftermath. The author's deep level of character development is masterful. By the end, the reader will know all of the lead characters so well, they will feel like a member of the family. Be ready for some tears as you become a part of this disjointed family unit. This powerful story and the echoes of lost love emphasizes that life is fleeting and can be gone in an instant, so hold the ones you love close. -Mary Jo, YVR
While I am not a fan of prequels, this one changed my mind.
Dracul, written by Dacre Stoker, the great-grand-nephew of Bram Stoker, did a fantastic job. The story is a fictional account of Bram Stoker and how he came up with the idea of Dracula.
Young Bram is a sickly child. His Nana Ellen has been taking care of him and his sister Matilda for a long time. Bram and his sister think there is something strange about Nana Ellen. Bram becomes cured of his illness and is left with two pinpricks on his wrist that never go away. Nana Ellen disappears, nowhere to found. Nana Ellen is sighted many years later, never seeming to age. Other people who were said to have died when Bram was a child are also now seen. -Ray, Denver
In Pieces is the memoir of a unique and gigantic star, who also feels like an every woman, struggling with her own scars and hard fought successes, riding the wave of American (and particularly Hollywood) history over the last seventy years. She, and her story, are in some ways exactly what might be expected of the Sally Field we have come to know in her starring roles. She is vulnerable but strong, understated but more effective for that restraint. Yet In Pieces is still surprisingly revealing and moving. How do we reckon with the pain and mistakes of the past when they have made us and our loved ones who we are? How do we balance the infinite demands of home and work to be successful in both? How do we navigate the injustices in our daily lives to move forward without succumbing to bitterness? There’s a quiet breadth of experience and earned wisdom Field shares that makes her all the more captivating, and reminds us that although we all have to fight our own battles, we are not alone. -Sara, Atlanta