Top Staff Picks – March 2022
A man and his chicken sail 45,000 nautical miles in this powerful story of following your dreams no matter what stands in your way. When Guirec Soudée was 21 years old, he bought a 30-foot sailboat and set out across the Atlantic, despite having only sailed a dinghy before. His only companion? His plucky pet hen, Monique. Guirec never intended to sail the world with a chicken, but after reaching the Caribbean, he and Monique made for Greenland––and emerged from the pack ice 100 days later. Their next goal? San Francisco. Then, Antarctica. But first, could they navigate the treacherous Northwest Passage? One thing was for sure: Monique would help her trusty skipper by laying an egg! -Heart-stopping adventure story: navigating treacherous icebergs with a chicken on the mast is just one of many nail-biting maneuvers from this action-packed book. -Perfect for readers of The Art of Racing in the Rain: Guirec and Monique’s bond is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. -Inspirational: Guirec shows that all you have to do is believe to achieve something big. -Photographs and maps: show the epic voyage and provide breaks in the text. Guirec and Monique’s unbelievable journey won the hearts of people all over the world and caused a social media frenzy when it happened. Now, in their long-awaited first book, readers will uncover their gripping voyage from start to finish.
In her second living memoir, Deborah Levy confronts the essential questions of modern womanhood with humour, pragmatism, and profoundly resonant wisdom. Reflecting on the period when she wrote the Man Booker Prize-shortlisted Hot Milk - when her mother was dying, her daughters were leaving home, her marriage was coming to an end - The Cost of Living is characteristically eloquent on mothers and daughters, social expectations and surreal realities, and the fraught, necessary creative process of the writer. Expanding out from these ideas, it becomes a manifesto for female experience, as the author embraces the exhilarating terror of freedom, seeking to understand what that freedom could mean and how it might feel.
Lucy Foley is the celebrated author, of The Hunting Party and numerous other novels. Her latest book The Guest List was inspired by the wild and rugged beauty of Connemara’s off shores islands. The perfect backdrop for a wedding? Long kept secrets? A murder?
Old friends, new friends, and family come together on Cormorant Island, a remote island with no escape. The wedding of Will, a handsome television star, and Jules, a smart and ambitious magazine publisher has been expertly planned. But will the perfect couple have the perfect wedding? Or will people be all too human? As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, cracks begin to appear, and jealousies and resentments begin to mingle with well wishes. Then the light goes out…
Willis Wu every day he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy-the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. At least that's what he has been told, time and time again. Except by one person, his mother. Who says to him: Be more.
Young Adult Fiction Picks
Catfishing on Catnet had me hooked from the get go. It is a story set only slightly in the future with a protagonist only 16 years old, but I feel it still manages to straddle both the adult and young adult collections – like Ready Player One. There are multiple storylines running but two main characters, a girl who is constantly moving town to town with her mother and an AI who has become a conscious being. I am perhaps ¾ of the way through the story as I write this, and I am delaying because I don’t want this book to end.
It doesn’t so much explore themes of LGBTQA but normalises them; automated cars, drone delivery and robot cafes exist, and school has physically present teachers, live-streamed classes, and classes taught by robots. There is still however fast food, and humans are still humans with all their loves and dilemmas. Much of the dialogue takes place online where our heroine’s main social group exists and the sense of caring between these friends is recognisable.
If you feel like a change of pace or flavour maybe this could be your next read.
Nine months after the death of her father, Marigold is forced to pick up and move from sunny Los Angeles all the way across the country to rural upstate New York. According to her mom, living with her aunt in a big old house in the woods is the fresh start Marigold and her little sister need. But Mary aches for the things she's leaving behind--her best friend, her older sister, her now-long-distance boyfriend, and the senior year that felt like her only chance at making things feel normal again. On top of everything, Mary has a troubling secret: she's starting to forget her dad. The void he's left in her memory is quickly getting filled with bonfires, house parties, and hours in the darkroom with Jesse, a fellow photographer and kindred spirit whom she can't stop thinking about. As the beauty of Mary's new world begins to sink in and her connection with Jesse grows stronger, she feels caught between her old life and her new one. Mary might just be losing her grip on the pieces of her life that she's tried so hard to hold together. When the two finally come crashing together, Mary will have to decide what she really wants and come to terms with the ways that the loss of her dad has changed who she is. Even if she can't hold on to her past forever, maybe she can choose what to keep.
Children’s Fiction Picks
Would you make a deal with a magical tiger? This uplifting story brings Korean folklore to life as a girl goes on a quest to unlock the power of stories and save her grandmother. Some stories refuse to stay bottled up...When Lily and her family move in with her sick grandmother, a magical tiger straight out of her Halmoni's Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history. Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers. Now they want it back. And when one of the tigers approaches Lily with a deal—return what her grandmother stole in exchange for Halmoni's health—Lily is tempted to agree. But deals with tigers are never what they seem! With the help of her sister and her new friend Ricky, Lily must find her voice...and the courage to face a tiger.Tae Keller, the award-winning author of The Science of Breakable Things, shares a sparkling tale about the power of stories and the magic of family. Think Walk Two Moons meets Where the Mountain Meets the Moon! "If stories were written in the stars ... this wondrous tale would be one of the brightest.”
Age rating: 8+
Home for just long enough to eat, Nya makes her second trip to the pond. To the pond and back - to the pond and back - nearly a full day of walking altogether. This is Nya's routine seven months a year... Salva runs until he cannot run anymore. Then he walks. For hours, until the sun is nearly gone from the sky. As he walks, the same thoughts keep going through his head in rhythm with his steps. Where are we going? Where is my family? When will I see them again? This mesmerizing dual narrative by Newbery medallist Linda Sue Park shows us that in a troubled country, determined survivors may find the future they are hoping for.
Age rating: 8+
Children’s Non-fiction Picks
Welcome to the museum. There are more than 160 animal specimens to be discovered in Animalium, the first in a series of virtual museums. Wander the galleries, open 365 days a year, and discover a collection of curated exhibits on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features a different branch of the tree of life, from the simple sponge to the enormous elephant.
Botanicum is a stunningly curated guide to plant life. With artwork from Katie Scott of Animalium fame, Botanicum gives readers the experience of a fascinating exhibition from the pages of a beautiful book. From perennials to bulbs to tropical exotica, Botanicum is a wonderful feast of botanical knowledge complete with superb cross sections of how plants work.