Erin's Picks

Erin spent her childhood curled up with good books, most especially science fiction, fantasy, biographies, quirky fiction & the classics. In college, she pursued & attained a BFA in Photography & Art History. She still loves to study & discuss these fields. In bookstores, she can be found perusing cookbooks, natural history, psychology, history, women's studies, the children's section...her taste is eclectic to say the least! Curiosity is a virtue in her book.






The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399185045
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avery - September 20th, 2016

A truly beautiful book written by wise friends who came together to discuss the meaning of life experience and how to cultivate joy. If nothing else, look at the pictures. The bromance between these astounding humans (the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu) will immediately lighten your heart. If you are looking for guidance to find joy and peace in troublesome times, this is the book for you. 

Upstream: Selected Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143130086
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - October 29th, 2019

Lovely & lyrical. If her poetry moves you, then read this to know her world more intimately. She speaks of her favorite writers, her writing process, her town, observing spiders, her woods & lakes. My favorite essay of this collection is called "Of Power & Time," which is a must read for anyone who is called to create. 

Impossible Things: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780553564365
Published: Spectra - December 1st, 1993

11 different worlds created by Doomsday Book author, each with a very different mood and voice. "The Last of the Winnebago's" is a world bereft of dogs. Canines were wiped out by an immune deficiency virus. The narrator reminisces about his own beloved pooch & how hard it is to capture the character of a dog in a photograph. "Even the Queen" offers a critique similar to Colette, of how dogma in feminism can be detrimental to individualism. Amusing dialogue between 3 generations in a family we can all relate to, in a futuristic setting. Willis' spin on "A Winter's Tale" is funny, and slightly mysterious. A marvelous collection.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead Cover Image
ISBN: 9781592408412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avery - April 7th, 2015

"The credit belongs to the man whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming." Opening with Roosevelt's famour speech "Citizenship in a Republic," Brene begins to explain the importance of being vulnerable, the importance of trying our best, the importance of not pretending to be perfect, the importance of having the uncomfortable conversations, and the importance of getting back up again when you fail. Being Human 101. 

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When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250024114
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - February 26th, 2013

One of the best books I have ever had the pleasure of reading!

The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812981292
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Random House - March 3rd, 2015

There is so much information coming out about global warming & the destruction we humans are wrecking, it's really disheartening. This book glosses over nothing, and there are a couple of parts that made me so angry and/or incredibly sad but it's a story of people making a difference. This book gave me real hope. Also, I loved learning more about how amazing trees are. For instance there is a Bristlecone Pine that is over 8,000 years old & weighs 6,600 tons!

The Love and Lemons Cookbook: An Apple-to-Zucchini Celebration of Impromptu Cooking Cover Image
ISBN: 9781583335864
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avery - March 29th, 2016

Best cookbook I've ever owned! I've had so many successes from this book. Not too complicated, no random ingredients that you never use again. Works backward (or straightforward). Go to the grocery or farmer's market, grab the best looking produce & come home to find 4 or 5 different recipes based on that amazing looking produce. 

The Scarecrow Cover Image
By Beth Ferry, Eric Fan (Illustrator), Terry Fan (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062475763
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: HarperCollins - September 3rd, 2019

A new heartwarming children's book that is sure to be a classic! Luminous illustrations show a Scarecrow who takes in and cares for a fallen baby crow. The seasons of life correspond to the seasons so beautifully draw, as the crow grows up and leaves the nest and the Scarecrow alone in a cold winter. Then with the arrival of spring the crow returns with a friend and new hope, as the build a nest in the Scarecrow's warm heart. 

Migrations: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250204028
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - August 4th, 2020

Crafting a good story is not an easy task. Some authors have a way with descriptive language, but ramble on in such a way that the reader becomes lost in the words, there is no purpose in sight. Or an author may be so blunt with their words, that there is no meat or grace that allows you to connect with the characters. Charlotte McConaghy's book "Migrations" is one of the most lyrical and wrenching stories I have read in a long time, while still remaining page turning and purposeful. Maybe it's because she is a screenwriter, typically writing to fit within a 2-3 hour film that must be evocative, but she managed to craft something that is as close to a perfect novel as I can imagine.
          The story begins within the narration of Franny Stone who is tagging Arctic Terns in order to track their migration. You soon find out that she is much like a migrating bird herself, who must fly out into the world, as much as they must return home when done. Franny finds a fishing boat that will take her aboard and meets a dynamic cast of characters- I suppose that anyone who enjoys being shipbound for long periods of time is an interesting human! They are as curious about her as she is them and slowly her tale unravels, her life in Ireland and her life in Australia is palpable. She is a gloriously imperfect character who doesn't have nearly enough empathy for herself, surrounded by her ilk. 

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735213616
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 26th, 2020

     Did you know that we are some of the worst breathers in the animal kingdom? We have a whole organ for breathing, the nose, yet so many of us still breath out of our mouths. Turns out this has a lot of negative side effects for us. Some of you may be experiencing them: dehydration, brain fog, snoring, sleep apnea, asthma, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, psoriasis- all of these maladies are impacted, possibly caused, definitely exacerbated by breathing through the mouth. James helped me to retrain myself to breathe through my nose, to take deep breaths, and now I know how important the exhales are.
       Another big takeaway is the importance of chewing, which strengthens our respiratory system, and helps it form the correct way. Apparently a lot of our problems with narrow jaws, crooked teeth, and breathing problems started when we started consuming soft cooked foods, and stopped chewing. Crooked teeth are not a common phenomenon in the animal world. So I'm chewing a lot more gum, and food, these days, as the studies suggest that chewing more, even now as an adult, can greatly benefit us.
       So if you are curious about the benefits of breathing, improving your quality of life, or just looking for a truly fascinating read, I highly recommend "Breath: The New Science Of A Lost Art." Thank you James Nestor.


There's a Mystery There: The Primal Vision of Maurice Sendak Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780385540438
Published: Doubleday - May 16th, 2017

Jonathan dissects and illuminates "Outside Over There", the seminal book in Maurice Sendak's famous trilogy, through personal interviews, biographical information of Maurice, and critiques by art historians. The trilogy also includes, "In the Night Kitchen" & "Where the Wild Things Are"-notably his most famous work. Maurice was in psychoanalysis for most of his adulthood, and extremely interested in Jungian theory, the collective unconscious, universal archetypes, the primal world of the child imagination, and Mozart....all of which you find layered in the paintings that become his illustrations, and his carefully worded prose. "Outside Over There" was one of my favorite picture books as a child, and after reading this work, I have a lot more insight into why this permeated my psyche so deeply. 

The Silmarillion Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544338012
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Mariner Books - October 7th, 2014

Lyrical tales of the conception of "Middle Earth" which is sung into being. Heroes, anti-heroes, villains, demons, inter-race relationships, good men broken by their weaknesses, finding hope in dark places, enduring friendships, cultural clash- a world that can be strangely relatable. Classic Tolkien.

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313652
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 8th, 2020


Did you happen to read "Braiding Sweetgrass" by Robin Wall Kimmerer? It was published by Milkweed Editions, a unique non-profit press who works with debut and experimental writers whose voices they find essential to "ensuring a vibrant, diverse, & empowered future." I've been keeping my eye on this press and they have a lovely little book about to release by Aimee Nezhukumatathil titled "World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks & Other Astonishments." Traditionally Aimee has been known for her poetry, but "World of Wonders" is a lyrical compilation of essays that are full of, and inspire, wonder for the world around us.

        These essays are woven from the journey of Aimee's life, through many states, and many cultures. It's woven from the unique creatures that this world is blessed with: whale sharks, aoxityls, fireflies, peacocks, jellyfish, and the corpse flower among them. Certainly there is wisdom and truths to be gleaned, but there is also a lovely openness for interpretation that isn't usually found outside of poetry or abstract writing. 

           In one chapter Aimee writes of the first time her husband came home and into the yard to find her talking with birds. Yes, tweeting back. I felt both her self consciousness of being truly seen, and the ephemeral feeling of catching a glimpse of yourself through another human's eyes.  Like her husband, through this book I have caught sight of the whimsy and dearness of Aimee's naturalist poet soul & believe it is a gift to have her in our lives. I highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself.

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984822598
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - October 1st, 2019

Inevitably a wild romp through Idle's life. You will laugh out loud ....a lot. Eric had/has many funny friends, aside from the Python Boys, & it was interesting to learn how the creative processes of George Harrison, Robin Williams, & Steve Martin intertwined with Idle's own. How they encouraged each other and supported each other. Get this book and read it.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781250112040
Published: St. Martin's Press - November 14th, 2017

A whimsical yarn of the life of a man who can change the weather. Told from the perspective of the lives he impacts, and full of Americana motifs-such as living with wolves- truly a lovely read to get lost in, without it feeling trite or shallow. Layers of perspective and experience lead us to sink in and explore more of the range of human emotions.

So Much Longing in So Little Space: The Art of Edvard Munch Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143133131
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Penguin Books - March 26th, 2019

For a long time I've avoided the writings of Knausgaard. I was skeptical of someone who could write so much about themselves. It seemed narcissistic. When I heard that he was writing a biography of Munch though, I decided to get over my prejudice. Munch has been one of my favorite artists since I was very young. At first I did indeed find Knausgaard to be full of himself- "who is he," I thought to make a statement about "all painters" or another about "all artists." Then he won me over, you see, because the heart of this book is how Munch moves him and other artists that he meets and discusses Munch's work with. This is a work that in fact works on the reader, Karl is working to express how Edvard's paintings impact him, and then the reader is thus moved by the kinship and relationship between Edvard's work and Karl. So many beautiful layers, which is the core of the history of art, the conversations that art is having with society, the conversations society is having with art, and the conversations between the artists themselves.

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The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062110848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - December 31st, 2013

An intricately woven, fantastical story of what it means to be a human. A Golem (Kabbalistic mythical creature) arrives in the 1899 Jewish borough of New York City. A Jinni (Arabic mythological creature) has a parallel arrival in the Middle Eastern/ Christian Orthodox borough of 1899 New York City. Wecker's tale is full of historical insight into these little pockets & the lives of their residents. There really are only dashes of mysticism & magic; she really explores the concept of the soul and what it means to be human and live in community with humans. I completely lost myself in this beautiful yarn. 

Wee Sister Strange Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780553508796
Published: Schwartz & Wade - September 19th, 2017

An evocative, archetypal tale of a sprite of a girl who lives in the woods, charms animals, climbs trees, and dives into the bog  "inspect(ing) every snail as a mermaid counts pearls." This sweet story ends with Wee Sister Strange curling up on a bed of leaves outside a young girl's window, listening to a mother tell her daughter of "Wee Sister Strange." Lyrical prose, stunning, ethereal illustrations. 

Where the Crawdads Sing Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735219090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - August 14th, 2018

What is this book not? It's a well timed & planned murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It's a classic coming of age tale, a journey into womanhood. It explores the details of survival & lonliness, it describes loss & love. It's a love letter written to marshland, and the birds, crabs, crawdads, oysters, frogs, fish, and everything else that is born and nurtured within the wetlands. I couldn't put it down.

The Silkworm (A Cormoran Strike Novel #2) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316351980
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Mulholland Books - December 22nd, 2015

Could not put this book down!!! A totally fun 'who done it' but you are flying blind. Nothing is obvious. Also, it's very well written. Even though this is part of the 'Comoran Strike Novels,' they don't have to be read in order. Feel free to pick this up and if you enjoy it as much as I did, you'll know there are 3 more you can dive into after. 

Booked: A Traveler's Guide to Literary Locations Around the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316420877
Availability: Backordered at Our Warehouse. ETA Unavailable.
Published: Black Dog & Leventhal - April 23rd, 2019

A must for any bibliophile! Great gift book too!

Malacqua: Four Days of Rain in the City of Naples, Waiting for the Occurrence of an Extraordinary Event Cover Image
By Nicola Pugliese, Shaun Whiteside (Translator)
ISBN: 9781911508069
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: And Other Stories - November 14th, 2017

Very few books are able to truly sweep me away these days but Pugliese took me everywhere he wanted me to go- with lyrical language & incredible insight into the inner dialogue of 'humanity.' I loved this book. It's quirky, visceral, & unexpected- yet it seems so very real, exploring the reactions of different characters dealing with torrential rains that are impacting each in different ways. They are thinking of life, death, moving, political incompetence, sex, love, shaving- in just the right amount of detail. E bel.

The Sun and Her Flowers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781449486792
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - October 3rd, 2017

I wish I could send a copy of this lovely book of poetry to every young woman. This is a book of beauty and strength. Rupi writes candidly about the things women are not supposed to speak of in "polite" society. She speaks of the things all women experience: brutal heartbreak, depression, placing your self worth in someone else's hands, breaking the glass ceiling, the judgement & objectification of female bodies, realizing we have more choices than the women who have come before us & how they fought to give us these choices, menses, breast milk....Rupi is a fierce woman & I love her for speaking these truths. 

Inland: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780812992861
Published: Random House - August 13th, 2019

Tea put me in the shoes of lives I have never imagined, in places I have never visited. This book teaches you about surviving in hard circumstances, about the depth of grit & determination. What would it be like to be an immigrant child, parents gone, exhuming corpses to sell for cadavers? What would it be like to be a woman in the hard, untamned West, waiting for your husband to return with water when your well is dry? What would you do? Tea transported me with beautiful language, and elegant descriptions into these lives. Really wonderful.

Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women Cover Image
By Victoria Law, Laura Whitehorn (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781604865837
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: PM Press - October 5th, 2012

Many of us go through our entire lives unaware of the plights of others. This author, Victoria, was herself incarcerated. This book comes from both her personally informed postion, and her research. What I find truly remarkable about this work, is that despite the heartrending stories that are shared, I find these women so incredibly inspiring & impressive. I think of incarceration as an incredibly powerless place to be, and yet they band together, supporting each other, resisting abuse, finding creative ways to defend and express themselves. A truly remarkable read. 

The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525574828
Availability: Backordered at Our Warehouse. ETA Unavailable.
Published: Tim Duggan Books - July 17th, 2018

An in-depth search into how culture has bred the current political climate that subsists on falsehood. Well-founded and researched, she links our current predicament to those of Nazi Germany's citizens & the Italian's under Mussolini. She shows how the rhetoric is creating an atmosphere inflamed with mistrust that's reactionary and polarized. She shows how the concepts of post-modernism have disseminated into our culture and created a foundation for Trump and the far right to come into power. She also explores how the Russian trolling fits into all of this and how effective it's been in inciting chaos in multiple countries. This is such an important read that helps to better understand the problems so that we might seek solutions.

The Rules of Magic: A Novel (The Practical Magic Series #2) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501137471
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 10th, 2017

An unexpected, and welcomed sequel to "Practical Magic." Another tale weaving magic, healing of generational differences, and the bonds of sisters. Alice's character insight & development is strong, and by the end of all her novels I feel like I have made new friends and have possibly come to understand a bit more of this human experience.

Milkman: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - December 4th, 2018

One of the most interesting voices I've encountered. Burns' describes her characters thru relationship- i.e. "second sister," "maybe boyfriend," "milkman," "real milkman," etc. So no matter what you're reading about- tensions between political & religiously factioned communities in Northern Ireland, French class, the dissection of cars, running, etc.- the subject is woven by the characters connections. It is set within political tensions of Northern Ireland in the '90s, however more than that she captures perfectly how hard it can be to deal with sexual predation, how nuanced a stalker's web can be, and how vulnerable a woman who is young can be, especially w/out the support of transparent community. A very timely, well-written book.  

Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi [A Baking Book] Cover Image
ISBN: 9781607749141
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Ten Speed Press - October 3rd, 2017

An alluring compendium of sweet, savory, and always elegant, desserts. Personally, I love European style sweets, which unlike American goodies, I never find too sweet. This gives plenty of spice to explore!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: The inspiration for the films Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345404473
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - May 28th, 1996

A classic. What defines humanity? What makes you a worthy member of society? Can you tell the real from the contrived? This book brings up many questions and moral imperitives without shoving the writer's views down your throat. You may know the film adaptation: "Bladerunner."

An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062835536
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: William Morrow - November 7th, 2017

Provides answers to some really difficult questions that are pressing us today: How do we move our society forward in the current political climate? How do we handle the divisiveness? What should we do to help refugees and take care of our own people? What is the most important goal for younger generations? Etc. He does not turn away from suffering, or the extent of the problems we face, he insightfully tackles them. A hopeful and beautiful little book. 

Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101884973
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - November 17th, 2015

A fascinating read exploring the connections between the mind and the body. Dr. Chopra likens trying to explain the link between our brain & consciousness to trying to understand a Mozart concerto by taking apart a piano. Unlike a lot of "science" books and new articles I see coming out currently, Chopra really looks at ALL the biases. There are numerous citations and examples showing the varied studies conducted learning about where consciousness comes from, and how it enables the body's healing process. 

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544716940
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - June 13th, 2017

I am not gonna lie, this is not the best-written book I've read. It's technically efficient & I find the scientist quite full of herself. I believe that she is trying to express that she has a life & is a real person, but she comes across as a braggart. Also, she doesn't really give her creation, CRISPR, a decent hard criticism, and acts completely oblivious to the real and possible hazards of GMO food and their release into the environment (apparently she knows nothing of Monarch butterflies, ahem.) She also acts like the potential release of mosquitos genetically modified to sterilize the entire mosquito species wouldn't impact other animal species, other than wiping out Malaria in humans...I want to send her a copy of "The Lion King"- it's the circle of life!!! 

     So why am I recommending this to you? I believe this to be an incredibly important read. Jennifer is one of the scientists who has pioneered a biological technology called CRISPR which enables genetic modification of all life. This book is the most comprehensive explanation of how the technology works, its roots, its purposes, and its possibilities. There are ethical questions arising as to what it means to be human, whether or not we are entering into a new era of eugenics, are we going to be creating laws governing the extent into which we modify our species & other species, what qualifies as "disability", etc. I remember watching Gattaca years ago and thinking on these questions. These issues are no longer just fodder in a movie, no longer eons in the future, this is not science fiction, genetic modification is happening in labs all over the world. We need to be ready. We need to be educated. I also highly recommend Francis Fukuyama's "Our Posthuman Future."