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. 

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. 

Malacqua Cover Image
By Nicola Pugliese, Shaun Whiteside (Translator)
ISBN: 9781911508069
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: And Other Stories - November 7th, 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.

Impossible Things: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553564365
Availability: Backordered
Published: Spectra - December 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.

There's a Mystery There: The Primal Vision of Maurice Sendak Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385540438
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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. 

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.  

The Silmarillion Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544338012
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 7th, 2014

Beautiful, lyrical tales of the conception of "Middle Earth" which is sung into being. Heroes, anti-heroes, villians, demons, inter-race relationships, good men broken by their weaknesses, enduring friendships, cultural clash- this book is a world we can relate to. 

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. 

Wee Sister Strange Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553508796
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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. 

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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. 

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. 

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: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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.

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Cover Image
ISBN: 9781606999592
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Fantagraphics Books - February 14th, 2017

What I am currently curled up on my front porch devouring each evening. A young wolf girl is solving a mysterious death or murder of an older woman in her apartment building. Deciphering the strange worlds of the adults around her, sneaking away to open locked doors...she is determined and learning many secrets along the way. Both the story and the illustrations are entrancing, the minute details are hidden within the eyes of the characters, or the seam of the book make the book feel even more luxurious. This is definitely a book to pour over.

Milk and Honey Cover Image
ISBN: 9781449474256
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - October 6th, 2015

An amazing little book of poetry. Lovely and lyrical. Brings together some complicated emotions with beautiful simplicity. Cheers me on my worst days. Reading her is like communing with a friend. 

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250112040
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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.

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."

The Rules of Magic: A Novel (The Practical Magic Series #1) Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781501137471
Availability: Hard to Find
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.

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. 

Staff Pick Badge
The White Darkness Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385544573
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - October 30th, 2018

An inspiring story of leadership and pushing yourself to overcome immense challenges. We all have mountains that seem insurmountable, things that we are at once terrified of and yet called to do. Grann shows the connections between Shackleton and Worsley's personalities- how the harshness of their voyages taught them to command, to be calm and decisive, to set an upbeat atmosphere on the toughest of days, and how the hardest battles are fought in our minds. The Norwegian polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen wrote of his explorations, "Why? On account of the great geographical discoveries, the important scientific results? Oh no; that will come later, for the few specialists. This is something all can understand. A victory of human mind and human strength over the dominion and powers of nature; a deed that lifts us above the great monotony of daily life; a view over shining plains, with lofty mountains against the cold blue sky, and lands covered by ice-sheets of inconceivable extent...the triumph of the living over the stiffened realm of death."

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780544716940
Availability: Hard to Find
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."