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Lisa's Picks

Lisa Christie lives in Norwich with her two active boys, Hank and Mateo and her husband Chris. A nonprofit consultant, Lisa is the founder of Everybody Wins! Vermont, a program that brings reading mentors into local schools. She and Lisa Cadow - a former Norwich bookseller - created The Book Jam, a fun blog about books to "alleviate book jams (e.g., what to read tonight, what to take on that trip to Italy, what to get your mom, your best friend, your brother)". The Book Jam also supports the Norwich Bookstore and other independent booksellers through links to indie web sites and periodic live events.



ISBN: 9781941493069
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Published: Fig Tree - June 9th, 2015

A piece of jewelry unites the fates of several characters on a Palestinian kibbutz. A great debut, and a good story to help you explore the Palestinian conflict and what it takes to grow up, change, and make amends.

ISBN: 9780345534187
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - July 28th, 2015

I have been fascinated by Beryl Markham since reading her memoir West with the Night (a book Hemingway also praised in a letter with: "[she] can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers.") In this novel, McLain creates a fictional account of Markham' remarkable life that fills in the holes her memoir left unanswered with more about her childhood, her horse training career, and her early marriage. A great beach read!

ISBN: 9780763669676
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Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - January 6th, 2015

This novel looks at Malcolm X's formative years in Michigan, Boston, and New York City. Co-authored by his daughter and Magoon (author of another kids book I recommend, How it Went Down), this book humanizes a legend and illustrates how choices and your reactions to them shape your life.

ISBN: 9781101911761
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - February 3rd, 2015

A brief treatise of why men and women should be proud to be feminists penned by an amazing writer (Americanah).

ISBN: 9781476789255
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 2nd, 2015

So far, this is my go-to "beach book" for this summer. The title refers to the number of grapes required to make a bottle of wine; the story revolves around a Sonoma, CA, vineyard and the family who has tended it for decades. The novel launches with the narrator -- a successful LA lawyer with a lovely British architect for a fiance -- sitting, inappropriately dressed, in her brothers' bar after discovering there is more to her fiance than she thought. As she resides in the vineyard to think, she learns her fiance is not the only one with secrets. And yes, I was casting it for the inevitable movie as I read.

ISBN: 9781594633317
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 26th, 2015

A fun, bittersweet summer novel set in Mallorca and spanning generations of the Spaniards and English who call it home, even if only for a few weeks each summer. Told backwards, the novel unravels what happened to cause a great love to sour, and shows all the effects of love gone awry. Be warned, the Mediterranean setting and its olive trees, beaches, succulent food, will have you booking tickets before you finish its last pages.

ISBN: 9781250010230
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Square Fish - May 7th, 2013

My sons and I listened to this as we commuted to various sporting events. They LOVED the humor and the history of this Cold War-era tale for young readers. Their highlights: the grown man who rides a tricycle, the main character who is grounded for life and becomes an obituary writer, the differing opinions of the narrators parents as to how to raise him. Bonus: Dead End in Norvelt won the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year’s best contribution to children’s literature and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction!

ISBN: 9780812996340
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - May 12th, 2015

This amazing debut attaches faces and stories to the civil wars dominating today's news. Set in 1991 in Croatia and then in 2001 NYC, this novel explores war and its impact through the eyes of Croatian born Ana. What she experiences and witnesses at ten, will make your heart lurch. The impact of what she remembers at age 21 as a NYC college student will make your breath catch. How she emerges from it all will give you hope.  Infused with gifted storytelling, this novel is a superb read. Bonus -- fans of A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon will be pleases to find traces of Mr. Marra's tale in these pages.

ISBN: 9781250028136
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - January 6th, 2015

Well, I cried at the end of this one. This 2013 COSTA book of the year is touching, heart-breaking, unbelievably moving, bittersweet, and above all compelling. Told in a completely engaging manner in the first person by the main character - Matthew - this novel explores mental illness, what triggers it, how people help and hurt the patient's prognosis, and how the mentally ill function so well for so long, until they don't. As London's Daily Mail says, you're going to love it.

ISBN: 9781627792103
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt & Company - September 30th, 2014

I loved Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy so much that I leapt at the chance to read some of her short stories. The collection is diverse and always interesting -- from a piece about when do you know a marriage has ended to the title story about an assassin, she keeps you guessing about what is really going on with each character. Read them one at a time, or in one fell swoop.

ISBN: 9780143124764
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 24th, 2014

In a little over 200 pages, this author charmed me with his narrative of a son trying to figure out his unusual family, one orbiting the ups and downs of his mother and the manifestations of her bipolar disease. Uniquely and beautifully infused with compassion, grace, lots of humor, insight and love, this gem of a book is a must read for anyone looking for a good story or anyone whose lives are touched by mental illness. (Note: This would make a great Book Club book - well-written, short, and on many levels profound.)

ISBN: 9780805098693
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Published: Henry Holt & Company - October 21st, 2014

A powerful look at \what goes down\" when a 16-year-old black boy in a hoodie is shot by a white man. Was it defense against a gang incident? Was it a man stopping a robbery gone wrong? Was it being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Was it none of these?

ISBN: 9780062309662
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Published: Harper - July 14th, 2014

This debut novel creates suspense from the first pages. Maud is showing signs of dementia, so no one takes her seriously when she repeatedly proclaims her friend Elizabeth is missing. Her attempts to find Elizabeth mingle with her recurring memories of older sister’s disappearance from their London home after WWII. The reader is never quite sure if what has happened is in real time or in Maud's past. This story of an aging woman's attempt to hold on to reality is touching, and the tale of her sister is heartbreaking. A superb debut.

ISBN: 9780316243926
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Published: Back Bay Books - April 1st, 2014

A haunting tale of Iceland. Ms. Kent does a superb job of taking the true stories of Agnes - a woman convicted of murdering two men, of the family who must house her while she awaits her execution, of Toti, the Reverend who must save her soul, and combining them into a fabulous first novel. As winter unfolds, she narrates her version of the events each night as chores are completed. The tale is haunting for all.

ISBN: 9780385741262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - May 13th, 2014

I COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN. And, I cannot say much about the plot as it will ruin the book. But trust me, this story of a privileged family summering on their own island off the coast of Martha's Vineyard is mesmerizing. The plot revolves around decisions leading up to a tragedy, and then how the decisions made afterwards affect the family, particularly Cadence, the 18 year old narrator.

ISBN: 9781619633483
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Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - May 6th, 2014

This book combines small town Vermont, McCarthyism, potential Russian Spies, Union troubles and two intriguing kids. I enjoyed learning more about Vermont and McCarthyism; kids will enjoy Hazel Kaplansky, the narrator and girl extraordinaire. Hazel strongly believes in the pursuit of knowledge and truth no matter what the cost, and she loves a good mystery. So, when Senator McCarthy targets a local union in her small Vermont town, \good American citizen\" Hazel knows it is up to her to uncover the Russian spies. She enlists Samuel the new boy with a mysterious past  to help.

By H. G. Bissinger, Rob Clark, Jr. (Photographer)
ISBN: 9780306809903
Availability: Special Order
Published: Da Capo Press - August 11th, 2000

Yes, technically this is a book about football, but honestly it is about life, relationships and important decisions. It has inspired a television show and a movie, but basically it is just a great piece of nonfiction for those of you in the mood to read a well-written true story. Bonus -- It is the theme of one of the April fundraising dinners for the Norwich Public Library.

By Robert Dawson (Photographer), Ann Patchett (Afterword by), Bill Moyers (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781616892173
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Published: Princeton Architectural Press - April 8th, 2014

This collection of photos and essays by a diverse array of authors celebrates libraries everywhere, and this is a very good thing. My favorite picture? Just look at page 133 for the greatest sculpture ever - made of string and books.

By Mark Pett, Mark Pett (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781442483194
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Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - April 29th, 2014

A superb wordless picture book, with a LOVELY LOVELY story. A great book that has a plot twist; yes, picture books can have plot twists. It also happens to hold a superb lesson about the importance of hard work and giving.

ISBN: 9781599901688
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Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - March 4th, 2014

Be prepared to lose a bit of sleep over this page-turner. Yes, it's another action packed young adult novel. In this one, evil business people have discovered five pellets from space that provide super powers, but need teen hosts. So, they find some potential candidates as part of a summer camp for budding astronauts. And yes, these teens must then save the world. But first, they have to figure out who the good guys actually are, and it may not be them.