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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 enjoys occasional visits from her grown daughter Rachel, 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!

 


 

 

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Inkling Cover Image
By Kenneth Oppel, Sydney Smith (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781524772819
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - November 6th, 2018

An inkblot escapes from the sketchbook of a graphic novelist and mighty high jinks ensue! But really this is a story of family, and friendship, loss and recovery, and the power of imagination.


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A Spark of Light: A Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780345544988
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Ballantine Books - October 2nd, 2018

Once again, Jodi Picoult takes on a hot-button issue! In A Spark of Light, she shows readers multiple perspectives on the issues of abortion through interwoven stories. Set during a hostage crisis in a clinic in the south, the commonalities between the anti and pro forces are highlighted as much their differences. A teenager looking for birth control as a step toward being responsible is trapped alongside a right-to-life activist who was spying for incriminating materials. A Catholic doctor is wounded by a distraught father. The line between hero and villain is not clear and the reader is asked to bring understanding and compassion...


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Unsheltered: A Novel Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9780062684561
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Harper - October 16th, 2018

The main characters in Kingsolver's new novel could be our neighbors, struggling to make sense of the world: job loss, aging, politics, responsibilities for extended family... The secondary story line, set in the late 1860s, gives the novel context and color. That there is a role in the narrative for nearly everyone on the political spectrum, from Trump supporters to Occupy participants - mirrored by 19th C developers who are petty tyrants to Darwin's supporters - makes this a great book for reading groups!
 


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Bury the Lead: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series #29) Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250113283
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Minotaur Books - September 25th, 2018

Joe Gunther has his team back together for this 29th book! Set in Vermont in a grocery warehouse, at a ski resort, and in a small hospital, Mayor has built a complicated plot. Arson, deadly refrigeration chemical leaks, a tractor trailer crash, a pregnant corpse, and a deadly infectious outbreak might all be connected. But it is the strong relationships between the main cast of characters that propels this series. Witty and quirky as always, the detectives and their families are the real story behind the mysteries they unravel. 


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How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals Cover Image
By Sy Montgomery, Rebecca Green (Illustrator)
$20.00
ISBN: 9780544938328
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - September 25th, 2018

Sy Montgomery celebrates her animal friends and family in thirteen essays that are essentially love letters! Starting with Molly, the Scottish terrier who was her big sister, and Christopher Hogwood, who we met in The Good Good Pig, we learn about the personalities and quirks of a weasel, an octopus, a trio of emus and others. Interspersed with these stories are delightful drawings by Rebecca Green and the book closes with a collection of photos of the author and her four-legged and feathered friends. A good read for all ages!
 


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The Game: Harvard, Yale, and America in 1968 Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781501104787
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Scribner - October 9th, 2018

George Howe Colt takes a moment 50 years ago and, by examining the lives of participating individuals, paints a richly detailed portrait of a particular slice of history. College students, coaches, fans, their extended families, and friends all add color to the picture. He writes about what shapes a person, an institution, and society in general by telling the personal stories of veterans and conscientious objectors, rich and poor, jew and Christian, white and black... For football fans, history buffs, and anyone interested in the quirky history of our culture. Colt is a genius storyteller!


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A Winter's Promise: Book One of the Mirror Visitor Quartet Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781609454838
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Europa Editions - September 25th, 2018

World building is taken to new heights in this first volume of The Mirror Visitor Quartet! After a cataclysm on earth, society is now dispersed among floating islands known as arks. A young woman with the skill to read the history of objects is taken from her home to marry into another ark. Family squabbles and jealousies are manipulated by masters of illusion and mind control - to name just two of the powers - challenge her sanity and very survival. I am eager for volume 2 coming in April! 


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Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062696724
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 4th, 2018

Beautifully told in short, episodic passages - sometimes I could read just one in a sitting - we follow the horrific experience of a young woman eagerly looking forward to her secondary studies who is kidnapped by the Boko Haram. After witnessing the murder of her father and uncles, she and her little brother are taken along with several of her friends to a camp. She is a slave, starved and beaten, until "married" to a Boko Haram fighter. This horrific tale, based on real crimes, portrays strength and resilience in the face of deeply troubling atrocities.


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Squirm Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780385752978
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 25th, 2018

Hiassen combines an environmental message, kid-propelled adventure, and goofy adult behavior for a rollicking middle-grade novel, again!  As in Hoot, Scat, etc., the bad guy is really bad and the good guy comes out on top, though until the last chapter the reader is not sure how that will work. In Squirm, snake-loving Billy Dickens and his sort-of step-sister Summer Chasing- Hawks have to figure out how to help his father stop the poaching of endangered species. Science facts and high stakes escapades, drones and eagles, are all part of this lively story.
 


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Dare You to Lie: A Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780765397676
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Tor Teen - September 4th, 2018

Dare You to Lie is a fast-paced, suspenseful story of one spunky high-school student's mission to get her wrongly-accused father freed from prison while trying to clear her name from a sexting scandal in her own past. The FBI, dirty cops, evil teachers, a gentle grandfather, bullies, victims, friends, and crushes all have a role in this page-turner!
 


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Harbor Me Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399252525
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 28th, 2018

In this powerful novel, Woodson paints stunning portraits of six "special" 5th and 6th graders. Given the opportunity to have an hour every Friday just for themselves, they learn that by sharing who they are, their fears - and their dreams - become manageable. One boy's father has been detained and may be sent back to the Dominican Republic. One girl's mother is dead and her father is in prison. Another boy is bullied every day on the way home from school. A “rich" girl struggles with behavioral issues... The messages about the importance of friendship, of empathy, of understanding and accepting others has never been more urgent than now. 

"It's not that. It's just that I don't want to be sad and mad when I think about it all. I just want to think about the good stuff."
"Then you want forgiveness, for forgetness..."


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Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062834621
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Harper - May 15th, 2018

I was drawn into the author's world of fatherhood through these essays that touch on so many facets of being a parent in today's world. He ruminates on when to support the child and when to challenge. He admits being bored sometimes, and reflects on his relationship with his own father. Serious at times and humorous at others, these short pieces have been previously published, though were new to me and I am a fan. A gem!


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The Underneath Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781937512699
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Two Dollar Radio - May 15th, 2018

Local and global issues are explored in this intimate and intense novel by Melanie Finn. From East Africa to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, love and cruelty abound. Kay, a journalist struggling with the constraints of a marriage and family, searches for meaning and discovers other, ugly realities surrounding her. Perceptive and perplexing portraits of unique and sometimes damaged individuals illuminate universal dilemmas of love and belonging. 

Check out Melanie Finn's interview on VPR!
 


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Tyrant: Shakespeare on Politics Cover Image
$21.95
ISBN: 9780393635751
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 8th, 2018

During the period that Shakespeare wrote most of his plays, criticism of rulers was forbidden for fear of shutting down the theater or worse! So the bard reached back into history to draw portraits of individuals whose hunger for power, insecurities and corruption led to the the rise of tyrants and the terrible consequences that followed. Not once does Greenblatt mention the current resident of the White House though he acknowledges writing this book in reaction to the 2016 elections. Shakespeare's tales continue to be relevant!


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Becca Fair and Foul Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781554989577
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press - May 1st, 2018

Though it was nearly a dozen years ago that we were introduced to this wonderful family in Becca at Sea, only a few years has gone by on the island and 11-year-old Becca is staying with her grandmother, aunt, cousins and other assorted characters. In this moving novel for middle-grade readers, Baker shows us the beauty and occasional brutality in nature, how to see beyond a person's outer mask, the consequences of rash behavior, and the importance of caring family and friends. And Shakespeare's The Tempest is staged!
 


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Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062499660
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Greenwillow Books - May 15th, 2018

Sisters Alix and Jools, along with their parents, spend a summer week at the beach. We have the pleasure of experiencing the sea for the first time through their eyes - and ears and hopes and fears! A refreshingly wonderful interlude in the otherwise tumultuous array of chapter books written for this age group. No parent dies, no one is abused, there are no floods: just caring and sharing, learning and growing with wonder about the world around them.


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Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration Cover Image
By Rose Brock (Editor)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781524741679
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Philomel Books - February 27th, 2018

Amazing, personal stories from 24 Young Adult authors and how they chose hope when faced with challenges: discrimination, fear, injury. and more. An exploration of the power of hope as well as an expose of contemporary culture. Most importantly, a great example of writing that offers "windows and mirrors" to foster understanding and empathy. (I highly recommend the audio version of Hope Nation - available from us through Libro.fm.)
 


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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781328764522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Mariner Books - April 17th, 2018

A collection of essays to savor! Alexander Chee explores issues of identity, family, art, gardens, life as a writer, and so much more. He shares his discoveries about himself and our culture in these thoughtful - and thought-provoking - essays. His perspectives on the creative process are intensely personal and at the same time universal. I found myself backtracking to re-read passages for the combination of simple beauty of the language he used to express the truth he revealed.
 


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The Rabbit Listened Cover Image
By Cori Doerrfeld, Cori Doerrfeld (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735229358
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Dial Books - February 20th, 2018

When we are upset, it is important to be heard! Often our well-meaning friends try to sooth, distract, or even plan revenge. What we need is a Rabbit in our lives: some one who is present, who listens, who understands, rather than trying to fix things for us. An important book in these times of breakage and shouting; an oasis of healing and comfort. The uncluttered illustrations pair perfectly with the simple text creating a clear yet complex tale.


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I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525520221
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Knopf - February 6th, 2018

O'Farrell writes fascinating, personal - and yet somehow universal - stories of her brushes with mortality. She relates being in the wrong place at the wrong time, contracting an unusual illness, and genetically risky combinations with restrained humility and grace. 
 


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Points North: Stories Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250161932
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: St. Martin's Press - January 23rd, 2018

A bittersweet collection of Mosher's last writings about his beloved Kingdom. Set again in the Northern Vermont community he called home and completed just weeks before his death, he gracefully ties up all the  loose ends in the Kinneson family's history.
 


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The Secret of Nightingale Wood Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781338157475
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Chicken House - October 31st, 2017

This novel for middle grade readers handles the effects of war, the reaction to grief, families coming apart - hard topics for all ages - with grace and hope. Many questions surround young Henrietta "Henry" after the family moves following a traumatic event. She turns to fairy tales, the classics, her own imagination, and a mysterious neighbor to make sense of her world.


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The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780374228088
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 7th, 2017

In writing this colorful homage to her father, Anne Fadiman paints a portrait of a specific time, location, and culture. Much of what drove Clifton Fadiman was leaving the poor, Jewish, Brooklyn neighborhood of his childhood. She explores the meaning of family, friends, wine, and the power of words.


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Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062684387
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - October 31st, 2017

Gregory Maguire is a master at re-imagining our best-loved stories. Once I became immersed in this backstory for the Nutcracker legend, I couldn't put it down. A foundling and the odd couple who raise him; issues of class and privilege; childhood and family; and society in the 1800s in Bavaria all add to this intriguing novel.


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The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544876392
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 3rd, 2017

A comedy of families with a serious twist. The rambunctious Vanderbeekers have been told they have to move out at Christmas by the recluse landlord who lives on the top floor of their building. Each of the five siblings has a plan to get him to change his mind, with one disastrous result after another! Yet, they are well-meaning and good intentions are not for nought…
 


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Reservoir 13 Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781936787708
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Catapult - October 3rd, 2017

In an unnamed English village, life is going on as usual when 13-year-old girl on holiday with her parents goes missing. McGregor explores how this tragedy affects - and does not affect - the family and village over the next 13 years. Written in short, intense vignettes that are sketches of the people and their relationships, the seasons and the weather, the wildlife and the landscape that combine to immerse the reader in this time and place. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017. 
 


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Warcross Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399547966
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - September 12th, 2017

Somehow, I never got around to reading Lu's earlier novels, but a few pages in, I was hooked on Warcross! Fast paced, scary, computer games drive the plot, but the characters drive the story. Hidden identities, self-images, and relationships all play a part. Highly recommended.


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Sarabella's Thinking Cap Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525429180
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Dial Books - September 5th, 2017

A delightful celebration of creative thinking! The gentle words paired with softly colorful images are welcoming to the reader, especially a quiet one like Sarabella. Yes, math is important but it is hard to do when there is a bear or a flock of birds taking up all the space in your brain. 
 


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The Losers Club Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399557552
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - August 1st, 2017

I usually avoid books with Losers or Idiots in the descriptive title, but Andrew Clement's school stories are among the best and this new novel for middle grade readers is no exception. The Losers Club is so named by the 6th grade protagonist to discourage anyone from joining so he could read in peace during the after school activity period. But it turns out that he is not the only bookworm in school and the friendships that form are heartwarmingly realistic.
 


It's Not Yet Dark: A Memoir Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781328916716
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - August 1st, 2017

Oh my... What a heart-wrenching reminder to appreciate health and life. When the author is diagnosed with ALS, he boldly and loudly choses love and connection. In this small book, written with an eye-controlled computer, Fitzmaurice talks about his wife and children, his passion for film-making, his experiences in hospitals, and more, with much clarity and kindness. He is an inspiration.


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Goodbye, Vitamin: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781250109163
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (call or email to confirm availability)
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - July 11th, 2017

A family in disarray: Dad has dementia and is rebelling, Mom is not quite handling it, grown daughter has just broken up from a long-term relationship and goes "home" for the holidays and grown son is floundering. Sounds depressing, but in the able hands of Rachel Khong, this novel is touching and funny and hopeful... New, unexpected connections - albeit tenuous - are forged within the family. The short passage format paints a realistic portrait of a challenging time filled with love.
 


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The Baker's Secret: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062369581
Availability: Usually Available in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - May 2nd, 2017

What role must one play in a conflict? Hidden in plain sight, Emmanuelle, the young village baker, is seemingly going along with the occupying army and yet works tirelessly to make sure her community survives. The supporting cast of characters are varied and colorful, making this a welcome addition to the literature about the resistance in 1944 France.
 


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