Katie's Staff Picks
"This is a beautiful book. It imagines the story of Shakespeare's son Hamnet's death from bubonic plague. (Yes, I know, very timely.) But it's more than that too - it's the story of an unconventional and loving marraige, of resilience after tragedy, of the way that fresh grief takes us over. The writing often took my breath away, not only because the words themselves are gorgeous, but because the sentiments felt so true. I don't think I've ever read a book with the same feeling as this one. There's something magical about it, like a real life fairy tale. O'Farrell makes the people of Renaissance England feel real. It was struck by our common humanity and concerns. It's a timeless, heart aching story, and I can't recommend it enough."
"Ghosts of Harvard is a powerful, emotional novel about a college age woman grieving her schizophrenic brother's death and her search for answers and her need for comfort. There are lots of twists and turns making this read though-provoking and intense. And Francesca's writing is just fabulous!"
"I enjoyed every moment of this delightfully offbeat novel about taxidermy, a nasty politician, a possible ghost, and yes, an aardvark. Sound weird? I thought so too, but I read it based off someone else's 'just trust me' recommendation and I'm so glad I did. This book is a very sharp and successful satire (it's so smart!), and I marveled at the connections the author made between the different strands of the story. At first, you don't think they can possibly come together, but in the end they do. Most of all, I was constantly surprised by this book, and if only for that I'd recommend it. I can promise this'll be the most original thing you read this year!"
"At 15-years-old, Vanessa Wye has a 'relationship' with her teacher. Now at 32, another former student has come forward to accuse the same teacher of sexual assault - and she wants Vanessa to come forward too. But Vanessa doesn't feel like a victim. She wanted the relationship - didn't she? Even if she's never been able to truly move on, even if she researches the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder late at night and recognizes all the symptoms. A complex, sympathetic look at a complicated issue. It may be too heavy a subject manner for some readers, but I encourage you to pick up and give it a try. It's an important conversation - and also a great book!"
"Alice Lovett was assaulted in her sleep during high school. Now, as an adult she finally wants to tell her side of the story. But how to do that when she doesn't remember the event itself? Told in prose, screenplays, college essay drafts, and unsent e-mails, this inventive, fascinating read kept me guessing. My idea of 'truth' evolved as Alice revealed it little by little. If you're getting sick of reading the same things or find yourself in a reading rut - or just want a great book - I really recommend this one!"
"Meg is an ultra-involved, Cornell-bound high school senior with an after school job calling people in swing states to help them register to vote. One day she calls Colby, an eighteen-year-old stuck in a dead ebd job in a small town, who doesn't see the point in voting at all. The conversation could have ended there, but they take it to more phone calls, texts, and maybe more. . . I thought this would be a cute, pleasant story about a long distance relationship (and it was!), but it wound up having way more depth than I expected. A heartfelt, engaging romance!"