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Staff Picks

Sarah's Book Store Staff Picks

Bold Spirit:Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt

"In 1896, a Norwegian immigrant and mother of eight children named Helga Estby was behind on taxes and the mortgage when she learned that a mysterious sponsor would pay $10,000 to a woman who walked across America. 
Hoping to win the wager and save her family’s farm, Helga and her teenaged daughter Clara, armed with little more than a compass, red-pepper spray, a revolver, and Clara’s curling iron, set out on foot from Eastern Washington. Their route would pass through 14 states, but they were not allowed to carry more than five dollars each. As they visited Indian reservations, Western boomtowns, remote ranches and local civic leaders, they confronted snowstorms, hunger, thieves and mountain lions with equal aplomb. 
Their treacherous and inspirational journey to New York challenged contemporary notions of femininity and captured the public imagination. But their trip had such devastating consequences that the Estby women's achievement was blanketed in silence until, nearly a century later, Linda Lawrence Hunt encountered their extraordinary story."



 Untamed by Will Harlan

"Carol Ruckdeschel is the wildest woman in America. She wrestles alligators, eats roadkill, rides horses bareback, and lives in a ramshackle cabin that she built by hand in an island wilderness. A combination of Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall, Carol is a self-taught scientist who has become a tireless defender of sea turtles on Cumberland Island, a national park off the coast of Georgia.

Cumberland, the country's largest and most biologically diverse barrier island, is celebrated for its windswept dunes and feral horses. Steel magnate Thomas Carnegie once owned much of the island, and in recent years, Carnegie heirs and the National Park Service have clashed with Carol over the island's future. What happens when a dirt-poor naturalist with only a high school diploma becomes an outspoken advocate on a celebrated but divisive island? Untamed is the story of an American original standing her ground and fighting for what she believes in, no matter the cost."





How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls by David L. Hu

Insects walk on water, snakes slither, and fish swim. Animals move with astounding grace, speed, and versatility: how do they do it, and what can we learn from them? In How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls, David Hu takes readers on an accessible, wondrous journey into the world of animal motion. From basement labs at MIT to the rain forests of Panama, Hu shows how animals have adapted and evolved to traverse their environments, taking advantage of physical laws with results that are startling and ingenious. In turn, the latest discoveries about animal mechanics are inspiring scientists to invent robots and devices that move with similar elegance and efficiency.

Hu follows scientists as they investigate a multitude of animal movements, from the undulations of sandfish and the way that dogs shake off water in fractions of a second to the seemingly crash-resistant characteristics of insect flight. Not limiting his exploration to individual organisms, Hu describes the ways animals enact swarm intelligence, such as when army ants cooperate and link their bodies to create bridges that span ravines. He also looks at what scientists learn from nature’s unexpected feats―such as snakes that fly, mosquitoes that survive rainstorms, and dead fish that swim upstream. As researchers better understand such issues as energy, flexibility, and water repellency in animal movement, they are applying this knowledge to the development of cutting-edge technology.

Integrating biology, engineering, physics, and robotics, How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls demystifies the remarkable mechanics behind animal locomotion.




Deanna's Book Store Staff Picks

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

 After Alice suffers a tragedy at nine years old, she is taken in by her estranged grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers. But Alice also learns that there are secrets within secrets about her past. Under the watchful eye of June and The Flowers, women who run the farm, Alice grows up. But an unexpected betrayal sends her reeling, and she flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. Alice thinks she has found solace, until she falls in love with Dylan, a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man. 



Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.


Nannette's Book Store Staff Picks

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

 On a recent trip, I listened to Oyeyemi's soft spoken voice for her audiobook of Gingerbread. The author manages to connect gingerbread to families across time and place. From a murder weapon to a means of transporting to a fantasy land, gingerbread discovers new purposes with each taste. Mother/daughter duo Harriet and Perdita Lee connect in ways that are both baffling and relatable as they bond over their trips to duahastrana. 








The Affairs of the Falcons by Melissa Rivero

 I can confidently say that The Affairs of the Falcons is one of the most important books I have ever read. It should be required reading for those of us who have never had to endure the struggles and heartache that come from seeking refuge in a foreign country. Main character Ana Falcon strives to provide a safe home for her two children and husband and must endure insurmountable debt, violence against women of color, and undocumentation. Rivero concludes the novel with a bone chilling ending that will shatter your heart into pieces. Don't miss out on this book!








Internment by Samira Ahmed

I finished this book recently at 1 am and cried in bed over this staggeringly heart wrenching novel. Author Samira Ahmed masterfully blends the historical truths of America and the too realistic future through the story of a Muslim girl named Layla, who is forced into a Muslim internment camp with her parents and others who denoted their religion as Muslim on the census. Ahmed presents the realities of what we're dealing with today--border walls, Islamophobia, white supremacy, violence, and a president that fuels these flames of hate--through the voices of those who are hit the hardest. The reader follows Layla through watching guards beat her family and friends to enduring torture herself at the hands of the director of the camp. With ties to the Holocaust and Japanese internment camps during World War II, Ahmed shows how our current contexts are undeniable replications of our dehumanizing past. And as our courageous narrator Layla urges, we must Resist. 








Katlin's Book Store Staff Picks

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Vol 1 by Naoko Takeuchi 

  Comics and manga rarely hold up decades after their release, Sailor Moon is one of the rare exceptions to this rule. Credited as being what created the "magical girl" genre, Sailor Moon is a story about a girl who wakes up one day with a magical destiny and she wants nothing to do with it. I can remember watching episodes of Sailor moon when I was a little girl and then hoarding the volumes of the manga obessively. It's one of the rare books I can read over and over and be just as enchanted as I was the first time I read it. Now the series has been completely remastered and translated so none of the original intention was lost. I picked this as my pick this month because I would love to see a whole new generation fall in love with Usagi and her friends just like I did. 








Juniper: The Happiest Fox by Jessika Coker

 Juniper really is the happiest fox. I fell in love with her on a random jaunt through the internet and I was delighted to find her book in our store. This book is the true story of how Juniper met her humans and her forever home. Now as a general rule, foxes do not make very good pets, but Juniper was unable to be released into the wild, so she lives happily with her humans and her best friend/boyfriend Moose the dog. I love reading about her story and seeing in her life besides what's shown on her instagram. If you need a pick me up and love adorable animals, pick this one up today! 







Abigail's Book Store Staff Picks

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

This soon-to-be-released middle grade novel is a must read for children and adults alike! Centering on the immigration of a twelve-year-old Syrian girl, Jude, Warga weaves a beautiful and touching story of war and peace, hope and loss, fear and joy, and reminds us all the meaning of home. This novel, written in the poetic style, is at once warm and inviting as it is harrowing. Jude with her pregnant mother leaves the Syria she's always known, peaceful and safe but bristling against the threat of violence and terror in the nearby war-torn Aleppo, and moves to America to live with her uncle and his modern American family. At once forced to learn a new language, a new culture, and a new family, Jude struggles to make peace between her old life and her new one. It's a journey of self-discovery that's immediately recognizable to any person, regardless of race, class, gender, nationality, or religion. Pre-order this novel now for your kids, and then read it for yourself! Out May 28, 2019.










Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I haven't read a book this completely awesome and exciting in so long! If you love science-ficiton, Star Wars, or YA novels, you MUST read this stellar book. Designed as a collection of files retrieved from an attack on an illegal mining planet, the novel is built on chat messages, confidential briefings and communications, as well as other graphic forms of story-telling. It follows the story of exes Ezra Mason and Katy Grant as they try to figure out if their loved ones escaped the attack and what prompted a normally beign corporation to unleash its fury on a peaceful settlement. Then, people start falling dangerously ill and plunging into violent psychosis, and the artificial intelligence that runs the main refugee ship starts acting strangely -- something bigger is afoot than corporate competition. Will Ezra and Katy find their way back to each other or survive at all? This novel will keep you guessing and keep you on the edge of your seat. This novel was picked for the next Young Adult Book Club, and I'll be hosting, so pick up a copy today and join me June 3!