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Liza's Picks

 

Liza Bernard has had many careers including weaver, cookbook writer, art show director, graphic designer, and bookseller. All of these taught her the different skills needed to do the many things necessary to keep the Norwich Bookstore afloat. She lives in Pomfret with husband Brian and daughter Rachel (when she is home from college), who was known as the "bookstore baby" because she spent a lot of time here when both the bookstore and she were under a year old!

 


 

 

$29.95
ISBN: 9780691154824
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Princeton University Press - July 7th, 2013

Now that the birds are back, this beautiful and useful guide will be getting a workout at my house! The multiple vantage points in the photos make it easier to identify by sight and the graphic representation of the song help with birding by ear.


$27.95
ISBN: 9781594486036
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 3rd, 2014

Lush writing, contemplative plot, devastating consequences... This novel explores the power of the stories we tell ourselves and each other. Brought up by free thinking parents, Ava struggles with how she and her challenged younger brother understand and fit into the world as adults.


$15.00
ISBN: 9780143126539
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - March 25th, 2014

A short, bawdy, Italian novel that is at it's heart a mystery. Family connections, cuckolds, small town politics, and the church are all skewered in this witty and quirky book by the acclaimed author of the Inspector Montalbano series.


$27.95
ISBN: 9780393244663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 31st, 2014

Reads like an adventure novel with quirky characters on a quest. Fascinating like sci-fi because a few select individuals are making millions of dollars in nanoseconds with the help of technology. And terrifying because many parts of our economy are at risk! A must read for anyone who has investments in mutual funds or stock holdings. Lewis is a true raconteur, taking complex concepts that many bankers don't fully understand and presenting them clearly and in a compelling context.


$15.00
ISBN: 9781586422240
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Steerforth Press - February 25th, 2014

An intimate and stunning portrait of small town life in contemporary Ireland is painted from 21 perspectives. Each narrator is connected to the others, yet each has their own filters and flaws. What is real is not necessarily what is true: we see others very differently than they perceive themselves. It is those gaps that complicate the lives of everyone, the good and compassionate, as well as the injured and angry. The influences of cultural, political, and economic history on the individual and the community are deftly woven into these rich personal tapestries.


$22.95
ISBN: 9780385350815
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - January 28th, 2014

Offill uses short vignettes as building blocks to create a portrait of a relationship from first attraction through the birth of a daughter to years into a challenged marriage. Told in a very personal voice, and perhaps stylistically reflective of how we actually live and relate, this gem of a novel's characters and story ring true.


$12.99
ISBN: 9780449809877
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - May 13th, 2014

A delightful exploration of the trials of being 11 years-old with a heroic younger brother and theatrical best friend. The summer is NOT going as Suzy imagined it would, so she tries modeling her days after the reclusive Emily Dickinson. Though she enjoys the writing life, she finds herself missing her friends and family. We cheer Suzy on as she comes to terms with how best to reconcile her picture of what could and should happen with what is going on around her!


$16.99
ISBN: 9780375868955
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - October 8th, 2013

An intimate and stunning portrait of small town life in contemporary Ireland is painted from 21 perspectives. Each narrator is connected to the others, yet each has their own filters and flaws. What is real is not necessarily what is true: we see others very differently than they perceive themselves. It is those gaps that complicate the lives of everyone, the good and compassionate, as well as the injured and angry. The influences of cultural, political, and economic history on the individual and the community are deftly woven into these rich personal tapestries.


$19.99
ISBN: 9780763662585
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 10th, 2013

Phew! This book is a wild ride into a nightmare of a possible future that I could not put down. Ness is a master at creating an alternate reality and examining how that reality continues to shift and evolve. 16-year-old Seth, the story’s protagonist, dies in the first pages, but then wakes up in a different country to a world vastly changed. Many important issues - family, love, trust - are explored in this amazing story.


$16.99
ISBN: 9780547625386
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - September 3rd, 2013

In Murdock’s latest installment, we get to know the younger siblings introduced in Dairy Queen. Sarah is 14 when her grandmother offers to take her to Rome for a week. Through her journal entries, we learn about her grandmother's quirks, complicated family background, and how she comes to terms with "liking" a boy who is a good friend. A great read for the young adult in your family!


By Katherine Rundell, Terry Fan (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781442490581
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 24th, 2013

"You should never ignore a possible." Great advice for all of us from the quirky duo at the heart of this creative, touching, and - at times - wild romp of a story that celebrates the belief in extraordinary things. Navigating around Paris from the rooftops in the company of homeless children to search for her lost mother, Sophie is a strong, loving, and believable character.


$25.99
ISBN: 9780312655471
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Minotaur Books - August 27th, 2013

This is the 9th (and best!) Chief Inspector Gamache novel. As usual, there are convoluted plot lines in which Penny explores deep emotions, both joyful and painful, as well as nefarious plots by unsuspected characters, suspenseful action, and - surprisingly - gentle humor.


By Neil Gaiman, Skottie Young (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062224071
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins Publishers - September 17th, 2013

A preposterous tall tale for all ages about a quick trip to the market for a bottle of milk that involves alien abduction, pirates, dinosaurs, and time-travel. These rolicking adventures are illustrated in a manner that further sparks the imagination…


By Kate DiCamillo, K. G. Campbell (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763660406
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 24th, 2013

A magical story of imagination and belief, of lonely kids and isolated adults, and of a squirrel who uses his superhero powers to bring them together. DiCamillo maintains a perfect balance of realistic settings, dialogue, and activities - the waitress at the donut shop freaking out about a squirrel on her head - with scenes that require a suspension of disbelief - the squirrel typing poems. K.G. Campbell's comic strip style illustrations are the perfect foil to the storyline.


$18.95
ISBN: 9780618240098
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 1st, 2002

The release of the movie is a great excuse to re-read this novel - my absolute favorite of all of Mosher's writing. The protagonist's description of his grandparent's marriage - known as Ab & Austen Kittredge's Forty Years' War - has stayed with me for 20 years!


$16.99
ISBN: 9780375971426
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - May 28th, 2013

The voice of the protagonist, Julian Twerkski - sometimes known as Twerp - is both smart and sassy at the same time. He has been assigned to write a long essay after a suspension from school. We learn about the incident that triggered the punishment only at the very end of the novel, and by then we know so much about how this 12-year-old looks at the world, we understand how it came to happen. Julian is the fastest runner in 6th grade, he has a best friend and other good buddies. He gets out of reading Shakespeare by writing for his teacher, but ultimately chooses to read Shakespeare for a personal project! Girls, friends, bullying, and grades-- the real issues of growing up-- are explored with care and humor.


$26.95
ISBN: 9781594487200
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - May 16th, 2013

Sue Halpern maintains a wonderful balance between the practical and the philosophical in this exploration of life and death as experienced by a middle-aged woman and dog offering therapeutic visits in a rural nursing home. We learn that dealing with an empty nest is part of her impetus for training as a Certified Dog Therapy Team. We are introduced to the residents in the nursing home - some of whom are recovering from an illness or operation and return home, others whose lives end. These stories are structured along the precepts of the seven classic virtues: restraint, prudence, faith, fortitude, hope, love, and charity. Halpern's deft interpretation and application of those virtues drew me in, challenged me and moved me.


$25.00
ISBN: 9780316230810
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Reagan Arthur Books - May 21st, 2013

Noviolet Bulawayo dances with language to tell the story of Darling. We first meet Darling as a 10-year-old trying to make sense of the chaos that Zimbabwe has become. She remembers life before she lived in the shantytown, and she imagines what life might be like if she moves to Detroit to live with her aunt, while at the same time, she lives energetically in the sometimes chilling present. Real and gritting and funny and heart-wrenching...


$23.00
ISBN: 9780802120168
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - April 23rd, 2013

A collection of intimate stories set in France and around the globe. Lily Tuck’s writing is addictive. It is hard to not read just one more story before you turn out the light... The characters are genuine and flawed in the ways we all are, and the setting is an important player in each tale. Mystery, intrigue, friendships, marriages, misunderstandings, and love - they are all here. Each sentence is crafted to wring out the clearest voice or picture possible.


$26.00
ISBN: 9781620401200
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - May 7th, 2013

The voice of 10-year-old Helen, as she narrates the story of an eventful summer in 1945, is by turns endearing and enraging -- which is what makes it so real! Because she is young, unsettled, and isolated at her late grandmother's home, she imagines conversations and events, while sometimes missing the things taking place around her. Flora, a fragile and insecure young school teacher, is a relative acting as guardian while Helen's father is away working at Oak Ridge.


$26.00
ISBN: 9780374263041
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - February 19th, 2013

Being one of those 50 million who is hard-of-hearing, I read this with interest even though Bouton faced - or did not face - her hearing loss very differently than I. She examines why this disability has such a negative stigma in our culture. The mechanics of hearing and devices that have been invented to overcome loss are given a very personal and easily understood explanation. An exploration of why our insurance companies and social services do not treat hearing loss as they do other physical conditions leaves the question on the table. An important book for everyone: there is a good chance that you are unaware that someone you know well is hearing impaired!


$24.95
ISBN: 9780307959928
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 12th, 2013

What a great story teller! I loved learning and loving with the "Supremes." The novel begins with these three strong women in middle-age looking forward to what is next and reflecting back on high school, marriage, and kids. They experience the highs of young love and the tragedy of losing a parent, the stress of infidelity and illness, and learn that through it all, the love and friendship of the community around them is tangible.


$25.95
ISBN: 9780307959881
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - February 26th, 2013

This is such an engaging story, I read it in one day right after the holidays. Set in the same small town as Plainsong and Eventide, the characters are so real, so human! While it is not a "happy" story since it deals with death and regrets, it is a story of lasting love and forgiveness - especially of our own mistakes - that rings true.


$26.95
ISBN: 9780399160707
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Blue Rider Press - March 7th, 2013

Silver imagines the life of the migrant mother captured in the iconic photograph by Dorothea Lange as well as the experiences of the photographer. Though they are renamed, the novel is based on facts. Narrated by a cultural historian looking into his family's story, we experience the depression and dust bowl years through the eyes of these two strong women. photograph by Dorothea Lange as well as the experiences of the photographer. Though they are renamed, the novel is based on facts. Narrated by a cultural historian looking into his family's story, we experience the depression and dust bowl years through the eyes of these two strong women.


$17.99
ISBN: 9780399256929
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Philomel Books - February 12th, 2013

An honest and challenging novel for teens (and adult readers!) set in 1950's New Orleans. The daughter of a brothel prostitute, 17-year-old Josi,  has ambitions and goals and it turns out she also has friends in odd places... A tightly written and rich story of loyalty, family, secrets, and, most of all, hope.


By Kim Thuy, Sheila Fischman (Translator)
$14.00
ISBN: 9781608198986
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - November 27th, 2012

After hearing Thuy interviewed on NPR, I had to read this highly autobiographical novel.  Born to a well-to-do family in Saigon during the Tet offensive, she tells the story of  the dramatic changes in her life when she is ten as her family flees to a camp and later to Quebec.  Persevering and loving, the narrator describes her family - both the older generation and her own son - in short vignettes that make this a gem. (This would be a great book  for reading groups.)


$26.95
ISBN: 9780393071955
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 7th, 2013

An engaging and readable book on one of the more abused sciences!  After reading this book, you will never read a study or a poll or an explanation in the news the same way. What is the difference between being precise and accurate? How does Netflix know what you like? What happened in the financial world in 2008? Open this book, and find out....plus, the author lives in Hanover so you can ask him YOUR questions when you pass him on the street.
 


$25.95
ISBN: 9780307959539
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf - October 30th, 2012

A heartfelt and intimate portrait of Richard Russo's relationship with his troubled mother.  He explores what he could, or could not, have done differently starting from when he was a young boy and his parent's marriage failed. In the late 1960's anxiety, depression, and OCD were not often diagnosed or treated. Instead, people were encouraged to "give themselves a talking to" or were labeled "nuts". Effective coping strategies were not taught to families. So it is no surprise that when Russo’s mother, at an advanced age, became more obsessed and shut in, Russo struggled with how to balance her needs with his own and those of his wife and daughters. Insightful and painful in turns, this is a real life tale from one of our best storytellers.


$18.99
ISBN: 9780670012961
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Children's Books - September 4th, 2012

Becca - the teenage protagonist - is gifted with an ability to hear the thoughts of others and is on the run from her criminal stepfather. Challenges, friendships, a little romance, and just plain life are all part of this fast-paced novel. At the end I was very happy to learn that it is the first of a series with these engaging characters. George's first book for young adults is a fine book for adult readers as well.


$17.99
ISBN: 9781250011343
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Feiwel & Friends - September 18th, 2012

Set in Vermont after a minor social meltdown, this novel is a powerful story of friendship and trust. The importance of place is underscored by Hesse's photographs of the region. I could not put it down!


$23.95
ISBN: 9780393062922
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 17th, 2012

This novel intrigues right from the start with its almost magical setting on a small island populated with quirky and socially-challenged characters. It takes the reader through the spectrum of awareness beginning with the innocence of a young girl named Minou whose mother disappeared one night. She is sure her mother will be back, that she just went on a trip or perhaps caught a boat to China... Reflecting back over her mother's life on the island, we move with the protagonist through her questioning of what others believe, being unsure of herself, and wondering about the meanings behind things that others do and say. Further mulling of her personal stories and memories leads to a young, yet mature, acceptance about the way things really are. Throughout it all, Minou retains much of her innocence and childlike wonder with the world. This novel is one of those gems that stays with you long after the last page...


$16.99
ISBN: 9780061892325
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins Publishers - September 4th, 2012

Small town neighbors and estranged family members form a surprising web of interconnections in this middle grade novel. What is "truth"? What is "real"? Find out in this engaging new novel from one of my favorite authors, Sharon Creech.


$15.99
ISBN: 9780385737432
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - August 7th, 2012

A thought-provoking middle-grade read about the stories we tell ourselves and others to make it through the tough patches in life. The two boys at the center of this story are interesting in their everyday-ness: goofy and caring in turns.


$27.95
ISBN: 9780670023653
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books - July 24th, 2012

Another mystery set in contemporary Ireland, Broken Harbor brings up the issues of boom and bust economies coupled with shady development schemes, and how they affect individuals and families. Questions of loyalty and honesty are explored with surprising results...


$19.99
ISBN: 9781451635751
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Emily Bestler Books - June 26th, 2012

Mother and daughter team up to give us an imaginative tale of what might happen if a girl in the real world should want to get together with a boy who lives in a book! We really have no idea what goes on when the book covers are closed, do we? But can someone move from that world to ours? Pick this book up to find out!


$24.99
ISBN: 9781250007070
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - July 17th, 2012

A quirky novel about the family of an astronaut who works to understand human emotions, and manages to design some of them into his robots. Funny, poignant and, ultimately, a love story.


$25.95
ISBN: 9780385534796
Availability: Special Order
Published: Doubleday - July 17th, 2012

A departure for Chris Bohjalian, this sweeping novel tells the story of a few individuals during the Armenian genocide of the early 1900s. The narrator is a contemporary writer, exploring her family roots back to an aid worker from Boston and an Armenian who fought with the British. Love, hate, secrets, and the vagaries of war all play a role in this intriguing tale.


$16.99
ISBN: 9780399256455
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Putnam Publishing Group - May 10th, 2012

While her mother undergoes intensive cancer treatment, eleven-year-old Ella is sent to live with her Grandmother - her mostly absent father's mother whom she does not remember ever meeting. Funny, sad, suspenseful, and thoughtful this is a novel about resiliency and honesty, family and friendship.


$16.99
ISBN: 9780399256158
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - May 10th, 2012

A 12-year-old girl in foster care learns to open her heart to her family - the Murphys - while staying attached to her mother who is recovering from a brutal beating at the hands of her stepfather. Great portrayal of the joys and hesitations of foster care from both the family and the child in care.