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Staff Picks

April 2021

Sara C. recommends:

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

From amazon.com: It was supposed to be easy. Thursday would share her husband, Seth, with his other two wives, Monday and Tuesday—two women she’s never met and knows nothing about. No questions asked, no hurt feelings. And for a while, the arrangement works…until Thursday finds a scrap of paper with a name—Monday’s real name—and an address.

Now Thursday can’t stop herself. She wants to know more about this woman: who she is, what she’s like…what Seth sees in her that Thursday doesn’t have.

She orchestrates a fraudulent friendship with Tuesday to get to the truth, what she really signed up for when she agreed to this marriage. But the more she learns about this other wife—and his mysterious first wife, Tuesday—the more she sees that Seth is not the man she thought he was.

As more disturbing details come to light, it becomes clear that there’s a reason why he didn’t want the women to meet after all. A very good reason.

One that Thursday never saw coming.

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The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher

From amazon.com: Have you ever been wrong about someone? Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch. Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son—the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore. Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace. But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel… She shouldn’t get involved. She really shouldn’t. But this could be her chance to make a few things right. Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.

 

Stacy C. recommends:

Fable by Adrienne Young 

From amazon.com: Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn't who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they're going to stay alive.

 

Betsey M. recommends:

Big Little Lies (2017-2019 television series)

From rottentomatoes.com: Based on Liane Moriarty's best seller, Big Little Lies is a dark comedy set in a town by the seaside in California. The story revolves around three women who are emotionally troubled and are suddenly involved in a murder case investigation. It's a take on how small lies shared amongst the community, including husbands, wives, children, school teachers can backfire and become lethal.

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The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

From goodreads.com: Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

 

Kendra S. recommends:

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

It's taken me awhile to read this book because each chapter is equal parts inspiring and infuriating. I love post-apocalypse media so I grabbed this to understand the reality of life after humans but I'm enthralled by what humanity leaves behind, how we have shaped the world, and present day examples of places on earth humans have abandoned. I wish everyone would read this book because I don't ever want to stop talking about it. 

 

Susan M. recommends:

Between Two Kingdoms by Suleika Jaouad

From goodreads.com: A searing, deeply moving memoir of illness and recovery that traces one young woman’s journey from diagnosis to remission and, ultimately, a road trip of healing and self-discovery.

In the summer after graduating from college, Suleika Jaouad was preparing, as they say in commencement speeches, to enter “the real world”. She had fallen in love and moved to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a war correspondent. The real world she found, however, would take her into a very different kind of conflict zone.

It started with an itch—first on her feet, then up her legs, like a thousand invisible mosquito bites. Next came the exhaustion, and the six-hour naps that only deepened her fatigue. Then a trip to the doctor and, a few weeks shy of her twenty-third birthday, a diagnosis: leukemia, with a 35 percent chance of survival. Just like that, the life she had imagined for herself had gone up in flames. By the time Jaouad flew home to New York, she had lost her job, her apartment, and her independence. She would spend much of the next four years in a hospital bed, fighting for her life and chronicling the saga in a column for The New York Times.

When Jaouad finally walked out of the cancer ward—after three and a half years of chemo, a clinical trial, and a bone marrow transplant—she was, according to the doctors, cured. But as she would soon learn, a cure is not where the work of healing ends; it’s where it begins. She had spent the past 1,500 days in desperate pursuit of one goal—to survive. And now that she’d done so, she realized that she had no idea how to live.

How would she reenter the world and live again? How could she reclaim what had been lost? Jaouad embarked—with her new best friend, Oscar, a scruffy terrier mutt—on a 100-day, 15,000-mile road trip across the country. She set out to meet some of the strangers who had written to her during her years in the hospital: a teenage girl in Florida also recovering from cancer; a teacher in California grieving the death of her son; a death-row inmate in Texas who’d spent his own years confined to a room. What she learned on this trip is that the divide between sick and well is porous, that the vast majority of us will travel back and forth between these realms throughout our lives. Between Two Kingdoms is a profound chronicle of survivorship and a fierce, tender, and inspiring exploration of what it means to begin again.

 

Hannah B. recommends:

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

From goodreads.com: A follow-up to Matt Haig's internationally bestselling memoir, Reasons to Stay Alive, a broader look at how modern life feeds our anxiety, and how to live a better life.  Notes on a Nervous Planet collects his observations, taking a look at how the various social, commercial and technological "advancements" that have created the world we now live in can actually hinder our happiness. Haig examines everything from broader phenomena like inequality, social media, and the news; to things closer to our daily lives, like how we sleep, how we exercise, and even the distinction we draw between our minds and our bodies.