Staff Picks

Staff Picks for Spring

 
 
 

Twelve kings by Bradley Beaulieu

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings — cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert.

There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Ceda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir.

What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

 
 
 

The Yield by Tara June Winch

Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.

August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company.

 
 
 

The testaments by Margaret Atwood

Sequel to: The Handmaid’s tale.

“More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.

As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.”—Publisher description.

 
 
 

Talking to strangers : what we should know about the people we don’t know by Malcolm Gladwell

In this thoughtful treatise spurred by the 2015 death of African-American academic Sandra Bland in jail after a traffic stop, New Yorker writer Gladwell (The Tipping Point) aims to figure out the strategies people use to assess strangers – to “analyze, critique them, figure out where they came from, figure out how to fix them,” in other words: to understand how to balance trust and safety.

He uses a variety of examples from history and recent headlines to illustrate that people size up the motivations, emotions, and trustworthiness of those they don’t know both wrongly and with misplaced confidence.

Spoiler alert: We can get stuff very wrong!

“Not sure this book takes into account the systemic power/patriarchy/race issues that cause disharmony/violence in the incidents used. It kind of revels in a salute to ‘woke’ style individualism saving all. Absolutely recommend, as it definitely makes you think.”

 
 
 

Fake by Stephanie Wood

He talks about the future with her. She falls in love. She also becomes increasingly beset by anxiety at the lavish three-act plays he offers her in the form of excuses for frequent cancellations and no-shows. She begins to wonder, who is this man?

When she ends the relationship Stephanie switches back on her journalistic nous and uncovers a story of mind-boggling duplicity and manipulation. She also finds she is not alone; that the world is full of smart, sassy women who have suffered the attentions of liars, cheats, narcissists, fantasists and phonies, men with dangerously adept abilities to deceive.

In this brilliantly acute and broad-ranging book, Wood, an award-winning writer and journalist, has written a riveting, important account of contemporary love, and the resilience of those who have witnessed its darkest sides.

 
 
 

Sorry I’m late, I didn’t want to come by Jessica Pan

Extroverts have all the fun. Or so Jessica Pan thought. When she found herself jobless and friendless, sitting in the familiar Jess-shaped crease on her sofa, she couldn’t help but wonder what life might have looked like if she had been a little more open to new experiences and new people, a little less attached to going home instead of going to the pub.

So, she made a vow – to push herself to live the life of an extrovert for a year. She wrote a list – improv, a solo holiday and… talking to strangers on the tube.

She regretted it instantly. Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come follows Jess’s hilarious and painful year of misadventures in extroverting, reporting back from the frontlines for all the introverts out there. But is life actually better or easier for the extroverts? Do they really have all the fun?

 
 
 

Save me the plums by Ruth Reichl

When Condé Nast offered Ruth Reichl the top position at America’s oldest epicurean magazine, she declined.

She was a writer, not a manager, and had no inclination to be anyone’s boss. Yet Reichl had been reading Gourmet since she was eight; it had inspired her career. How could she say no?

This is the story of a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. It is the story of the moment restaurants became an important part of popular culture, a time when the rise of the farm-to-table movement changed, forever, the way we eat.

Readers will meet legendary chefs like David Chang and Eric Ripert, idiosyncratic writers like David Foster Wallace, and a colorful group of editors and art directors who, under Reichl’s leadership, transformed stately Gourmet into a cutting-edge publication.

This was the golden age of print media—the last spendthrift gasp before the Internet turned the magazine world upside down. Complete with recipes, Save Me the Plums is a personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and making a mark, following a passion and holding on to her dreams—even when she ends up in a place she never expected to be.

 
 
 

The pigeon has to go to school! by Mo Willems

Why does the Pigeon have to go to school?

He already knows everything!

And what if he doesn’t like it?

What if the teacher doesn’t like him?

What if he learns TOO MUCH!

Ask not for whom the school bell rings; it rings for the Pigeon!

The pigeon must go to school, but frets about math, learning the alphabet, heavy backpacks, and what the teacher and other birds will think of him.
3-6 years old.

 
 
 

The 117-storey treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Andy and Terry’s treehouse now has 13 new storeys, including a tiny-horse level, a pyjama-party room, an Underpants Museum, a photo-bombing booth, a waiting room, a Door of Doom, a circus, a giant-robot-fighting arena, a traffic school, a water-ski park filled with flesh-eating piranhas and a treehouse visitor centre with a 24-hour information desk, a penguin-powered flying treehouse tour bus and a gift shop.

The 117-Storey Treehouse is the ninth book in Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s wacky treehouse adventure series, with the laugh-out-loud story told through a combination of text and fantastic cartoon-style illustrations.

Andy and Terry have added thirteen new levels of crazy fun to their fantastic ever growing treehouse.

So what are you waiting for? Come on up! For primary school age.

 
 
 

It sounded better in my head by Nina Kenwood

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward.

She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

It Sounded Better in My Head is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Emergency Contact.