Staff Favorites of 2013

Our staff chose their favorite books from this past year. Take a look at this eclectic mix of fiction, nonfiction, and children's titles!

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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared Cover Image
ISBN: 9781401324643
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hachette Books - September 11th, 2012

 This novel is wild! In order to escape from a
100-year birthday party planned for him, protagonist Allan climbs out the
window of his old folks home, and thereafter has adventures, misadventures, and
narrow escapes. In his earlier years, he has brushes with fame, lunching with
Truman, annoying Mao, and being sent to Siberia by Stalin. Somehow, he always seems
to come out on top. This book has drawn comparisons to Forrest Gump, but
I think it is much, much better!  ~ Ann, Jane 

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1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War Cover Image
please email ( or call (206.842.5332) for price
ISBN: 9781610392563
Availability: Out of Print
Published: PublicAffairs - May 28th, 2013

Gives a comprehensive, highly readable glimpse at the world
before the Great War changed everything.

~ Tim

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The Age of Miracles Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812982947
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - January 15th, 2013

A look at a dystopian society when the world starts spinning slower and the days and nights have become oppressively long, told from the viewpoint of an innocent teen who accepts the changes in her world much more easily than the adults in her life. - Julie

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And the Mountains Echoed Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594631764
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - May 21st, 2013

This beautifully
told novel by master storyteller Hosseini (The Kite Runner) is woven
together like a cherished blanket handed down from generation to generation,
each chapter like a short story connected to the first. I was mesmerized by
this tale of family, the decisions they make, the bonds that tie them together
and tear them apart. Having settings that range from Kabul to Paris to San
Francisco to the Greek Island of Tinos, this story is one you won’t forget!

~ Kathie

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The Beekeeper's Apprentice Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312427368
Availability: Special Order
Published: Picador USA - October 2nd, 2007

I went back to this one during the endless commutes I had
this summer, and it kept me good company. King’s portrayal of Holmes as a
flawed human is beautiful, and this series remains my favorite Holmes spin-off.
 ~ Jo

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Bliss, Remembered Cover Image
ISBN: 9781590206423
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Overlook Press - July 26th, 2011

This is a great memoir! Anyone who enjoyed The Boys in the Boat will love this
gripping account written by a swimmer about her adventures in love and sport at
the 1936 Berlin Olympics. ~ Vivian

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The Book Thief Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375842207
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 11th, 2007

Told from the perspective of Death, The Book Thief offers an intimate perspective of one girl’s story
in Nazi Germany during World War II, while at the same time seeming very
detached from the whole scene. You will find yourself sympathizing deeply with
the characters in this book. ~ Signe, Kathie

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Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball's Longest Game Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062014498
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - March 27th, 2012

You need not be a baseball fan to appreciate this remarkable
story of the longest professional baseball game ever played.  In 1981, in
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, a Triple A minor league game began on the Saturday
afternoon of a frigid Easter weekend, and the players played on with a 2-2 tie
well into the night and the early hours of Easter morning. The game was finally
halted on a technicality, to be completed later in the season, but not before
we learn about the eventual careers (or not) of every player, the batboy, the
coaches, the stadium, and the town of Pawtucket itself.  There is much
baseball lore and glory, and all the sports insanity you would expect from such
an absurd set of circumstances.  ~ Jane

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The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670025817
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books - June 4th, 2013

all-encompassing account of the UW crew who won gold at Hitler’s 1936 Olympics
will have you postponing the dog’s bath and putting off dinner preparations in
order to read just one more chapter. It describes the individual oarsmen,
all students from working class families who can barely afford each year’s
tuition. It explains the strategies involved in racing. It recounts
rivalries between Washington and Berkley crews and those between the East coast
elite and the upstarts from the West. As the story progresses and a trip
to the Olympics seems possible, there’s the tension of selecting the perfect
crew. And of course there’s Berlin, with Hitler and Goebbels determined to
impress the world with a seemingly utopian Germany. All in all it’s an exciting
and totally satisfying read. ~ Ann, Alison,
Kathie, Rodie, and John

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The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143113102
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - January 2008

For years the
brain has been considered charted territory, static and unchangeable. Not so!
Doidge reveals the astounding ways in which our brains are able to adapt after
a stroke or injury. It is fascinating! ~ Ann 

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Caliban's War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316129060
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Orbit - June 26th, 2012

The second book in an excellent
sci-fi series, this one’s full of intrigue, grand plots, space battles, and
alien infestations. Manages to up the game from the first installment.. ~ Tim

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Claire of the Sea Light Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307271792
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - August 27th, 2013

A seaside village
in Haiti and a girl who loses her mother at birth provide the focus for this
beautifully intricate and lyrical novel by master Haitian-American storyteller
Danticat (The Dew Breaker, The Farming of Bones.) Reading by turns as a
fable of community and an incisive peeling back of social and political
realities having to do with class and the legacy of colonialism, Danticat’s
graceful narrative always comes to rest on abiding patterns of family and the
meaning of home. The human mosaic is haunting, moving, and richly
rewarding. ~ John 

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena Cover Image
ISBN: 9780770436407
Availability: Special Order
Published: Hogarth - May 7th, 2013

 The rewards are many in this masterfully powerful
debut novel that fuses a grand and terrible beauty with an elegant, richly
layered narrative. Having at its core a handful of characters and two main
settings—a village in Chechnya and a city hospital in the same country—the
story juxtaposes the hurt that humans, sects, and governments wreak upon each
other, against the sustaining forces of kinship, friendship, love and survival.
What emerges from the pain and devastation is a convincing affirmation of the
place of the child in our universe. This is the most moving novel I have read
in a long time. ~ John & Rodie

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Cordelia's Honor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780671578282
Availability: Special Order
Published: Baen Books - September 7th, 1999

This book, which is an old favorite,
combines the first two novels in the popular Vorkosigan series. This
year I actually got to read the entire series, and it was just so much fun. It
gave me a new appreciation for this first one, and, of course, I still think
it’s one of the best science fiction novels I’ve read. ~ Jo

Counting by 7s Cover Image
ISBN: 9780803738553
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dial Books - August 29th, 2013


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A Day at the Beach: Recollections Cover Image
By Geoffrey Wolff, Ann Patchett (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780679744498
Availability: Special Order
Published: Vintage - July 27th, 1993

A lovely little memoir. Now
reissued with a new intro by Ann Patchett! ~ Rodie

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The Day the Crayons Quit Cover Image
By Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780399255373
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Philomel Books - June 27th, 2013

This is one of
the most original stories I’ve seen in a long time. Duncan’s crayons have quit
and left him letters about their frustrations of being a crayon of a certain
color and how they are being under– or over-used—it’s hysterical! Your kids
will never see their crayons the same after this very funny book!

Ages 4-8. ~ Kathie

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E.B. White on Dogs Cover Image
By Martha White (Editor)
ISBN: 9780884483410
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tilbury House Publishers - March 25th, 2013

You don’t have to
be a dog lover or a devotee of E. B White to delight in this collection of
essays and correspondence from 1929 to 1984. Rather than being saccharine
when writing about the dogs he obviously loved, or acerbic when expressing his
opinions on the politics of the day, White shared astute, down-to-earth
observations of his world and did so with charming—sometimes disarming—wit. From
stoic yet tender remembrances of pets lost to a priceless tongue-in-cheek
letter to the IRS, this is an engaging scrapbook, not to be missed. ~ Ranae  

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The English Girl Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062073167
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - July 16th, 2013

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The Garden of Evening Mists Cover Image
ISBN: 9781602861800
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Weinstein Books - September 4th, 2012

This mesmerizing,
lush and lyrical novel places you right in the highlands of Malaya. Intriguing
circumstances bring together the two main characters: a Chinese-Malayan who
survives a World War II prison camp but loses her sister there, and a man who
once served as the gardener of Japan’s emperor. Themes of memory,
forgetfulness, and forgiveness, on personal and historical levels, unfold in
settings that reflect the cultivated and wild aspects of the mind: a Japanese
garden, a tea plantation, and the jungle. Eng’s descriptive art and his nuanced
rendering of human and natural landscapes make this a most memorable book. ~ John

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Good Poems Cover Image
By Various, Garrison Keillor (Editor)
ISBN: 9780142003442
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - August 26th, 2003

There’s something for everyone in this anthology of poems arranged
around a variety of topics, in a variety of styles. There is a poem here for
every occasion! ~ Signe

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The Help Cover Image
ISBN: 9780425232200
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley Publishing Group - April 5th, 2011

The movie was good, but this book is great. The main
character speaks with a sincere, honest voice that captures the language and
atmosphere of the Southern United States during the 1960s. The Help delivers a powerful message in such a way that you will
not be able to put it down. ~ Signe

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Hild Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374280871
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - November 12th, 2013

Hild is by far my favorite book this season.
The storytelling is magnificent and Hild is truly a woman for all times.  René

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The House Girl Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062207517
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - November 5th, 2013

This debut novel
is not to be missed! Josephine Bell, a house slave in Virginia in 1852, is a
talented artist whose work had been attributed to her owner, LuAnne Bell. In
the present, Lina Sparrow, a newly minted New York attorney, is tapped to work
on a class action suit to recover trillions of dollars in reparations for
descendants of slaves. After viewing Josephine’s paintings, she sets out to
find a descendant. Told in alternating chapters, the lives of Josephine and
Lina weave increasingly complex tales of art, history, love and mystery.
Exceptionally well-written, this book asks penetrating questions about righting
past injustices and carving paths toward truth. ~ Susan Braun, leader of the Eagle Harbor Reader’s Circle & the
Mystery Book Group

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How the Light Gets in Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312655471
Availability: Special Order
Published: Minotaur Books - August 27th, 2013

Penny’s Armand
Gamache mysteries consistently appear on bestseller lists and garner literary
awards, including five Agatha Awards and four Anthony Awards, to date. And
with good reason: in each successive novel, characters evolve, plots thicken,
and suspense escalates. Her newest is no exception. Be prepared for
rapid page-turning late into the night as Inspector Gamache and the village of
Three Pines face a ruthless and powerful enemy. (Yes, Francoeur stages a
final coup!) If you are not yet a fan of this excellent series, pick up a copy
of the first Inspector Gamache mystery, Still Life, from our Staff
Recommends section and join the throngs of enthusiastic Louise Penny
devotees.  You won’t be sorry!

 ~ Ranae

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400052189
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - March 8th, 2011

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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307408853
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - May 1st, 2012

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Lighthouse Island Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062232502
Availability: Special Order
Published: William Morrow & Company - October 8th, 2013

Hope and humor provide the perfect counterbalance for the
dire conditions wrought in this dystopian tale by the best-selling author of Enemy
In a critically over-populated and agency-ridden city-Earth,
resourceful heroine Nadia Stepan embarks on a dangerous journey from the
overcrowded conditions and oppressive regulations of her native Midwest in
search of a better life in the Pacific Northwest —a better life on an idyllic
island which may or may not even exist.  An atmospheric adventure, this
was my first foray into the works of Paulette Jiles, but definitely not my
last. ~ Ranae

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Me Before You Cover Image
By Jojo Moyes, Various (Read by)
ISBN: 9781611762358
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Audiobooks - July 30th, 2013

This novel is really well-written and has great characters.
This audio version has a great reader. ~ Alison

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The Palace Job Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477848203
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: 47 North - October 8th, 2013

I discovered this Sci Fi/Fantasy earlier in the year, and,
while it’s not super serious, it is a whole lot of fun. It’s a heist caper and
a high fantasy novel all rolled into one, and I keep going back to it because
it’s clever, the setting is fascinating, and it never fails to make me grin. ~ Jo

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Plainsong Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375705854
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books USA - August 22nd, 2000

Why did I wait so
long to read this immensely satisfying National Book Award finalist from 1999?
Amid the drama of a rural Colorado community, with all its cruelties and
kindnesses, Haruf unfolds the intricate connections between main characters: a
pregnant teenaged girl, a high school teacher and his young sons, and two aging
bachelors who ranch outside town. For its old-fashioned storytelling that
possesses elegance and authority, I would recommend this heartwarming, quietly
compelling book to anyone. ~ John

The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062005977
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - December 20th, 2011

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Ready Player One Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307887443
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - June 5th, 2012

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Rivers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451699425
Availability: Special Order
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 10th, 2013

This dystopian novel set on the U.S. Gulf Coast gives a
gritty look at what can happen to a society when its government abandons the
coastal areas because of the intensity of storms from global warming. In a
story filled with great descriptive writing, one man’s effort to live his life
in solitude becomes a story of survival for the helpless people whom he must
protect. ~ Julie

Silence Once Begun Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307908483
Availability: Special Order
Published: Pantheon Books - January 28th, 2014

A Tale for the Time Being Cover Image
ISBN: 9780670026630
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books - March 12th, 2013

On an island off
British Columbia, a washed up parcel is found that contains a Hello Kitty
lunchbox, two diaries, letters, and a watch once owned by a Kamikaze pilot.
Thus is set in motion a tale that is truly in a class by itself, a proverbial
cabinet of wonders. Having two main characters—a teenage Japanese schoolgirl
and a writer in Canada—Ozeki’s work reinvents the novel as a form, its many
brilliant facets illuminating topics that include Zen, bullying, quantum
theory, and suicide. A 104-year-old Buddhist nun, an enigmatic father and a
forbearing husband bolster a marvelous supporting cast. Ozeki, author of the
great novels My Year of Meats and All Over Creation, has hit
another one clean out of the park. ~ ~ John, Kathie, Jane

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The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674062313
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Belknap Press - October 15th, 2011

A massive undertaking, but one of the most nuanced,
accessible, thorough treatments of one of the most important wars in Europe’s
history. ~ Tim

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Transatlantic Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400069590
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - June 4th, 2013

Three iconic
events form the bones of this amazing novel by the author of Let the Great
World Spin
. In 1919 Alcock and Brown, carrying the first airmail letter,
set off from Newfoundland to Ireland in the first attempt of a transatlantic
flight. In 1845 Frederick Douglas travels to Dublin to market his subversive
memoir and seek abolitionist support from the Irish. In 1998 Senator George
Mitchell is tapped to travel to Belfast to broker a peace between Ireland and
the North. Binding these events is a family of women whose strengths,
struggles, and dreams link both continents and generations. McCann's skill at
storytelling is eclipsed only by his gorgeous prose. This is a must read!  ~ Susan
Braun, leader of the Eagle Harbor Reader’s Circle & the Mystery Book Group

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The Tulip Eaters Cover Image
ISBN: 9780778313885
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mira Books - October 29th, 2013

This modern day murder mystery, full of twists and turns of
fate, centers on an intricate plot of revenge going all the way back to the
Holocaust, and includes spies, forbidden romance, kidnapping, and an unknown
family history. ~ Julie

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The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385537629
Availability: Special Order
Published: Doubleday Books - January 28th, 2014

This is a really fun mystery! ~ Vivian

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Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400069224
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - July 16th, 2013

Aslan, author and
religious scholar, spent twenty years researching the life of Jesus of
Nazareth: the myths, the misconceptions, and the established facts. His book
is an articulate and meticulous retracing of the history of Christianity
from Jesus’s baptism by John the Baptist to his crucifixion and resurrection.
Since most of the events recorded in the Bible aren’t a result of eye witness
accounts, and since a majority of the books of the New Testament were written
years after Jesus’s death, Aslan’s task was daunting.  But he has written
a fascinating and easily understandable book with over seventy pages of
corroborating notes. ~ Ann

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