Boston Public Library
Staff Selections: May 2009
Booklists for Adults

Books read and enjoyed by librarians in the Reader and Information Services Department, Central Library

Adult Fiction

Banks, Iain. Matter.
When a murder occurs in a giant artificial world, a power struggle ensues among the human and alien inhabitants.

Bennett, Alan. The Uncommon Reader.
In British author Bennett’s humorous novella, Queen Elizabeth’s encounter with a mobile library services van has a transformative effect when she becomes an avid reader and, much to the consternation of her advisors, starts to neglect her duties in favor of this new-found pleasure.

Dunn, Sarah. Secrets to Happiness.
Secrets to Happiness tells the complicated love lives of a group of thirty-something professionals living in New York City. Featuring an honest and genuine main character, Sarah Dunn depicts human emotions in a light-hearted manner. Also recommended is Dunn’s first novel The Big Love.

Iggulden, Conn. Genghis: Lords of the Bow.
The second novel in Iggulden’s proposed trilogy on the life of the Mongol warrior.

Itani, Frances. Remembering the Bones.
A Canadian woman sets out on a trip to London for the birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth, but never makes it to the airport when her car spins out of control and falls over a cliff. Awaiting rescue, she recalls Grey's Anatomy to keep her mind alert and reminisces about her not-so-ordinary life.

Lahiri, Jumpha. Unaccustomed Earth.
These short stories are wonderfully drawn portraits of Bengali and American family life infused with the universal themes of love and longing.

Lehane, Dennis. The Given Day.
Lehane's tour de force set in Boston, circa 1919. Labor disputes, the molasses flood, influenza epidemic, class struggle, racial unrest and threats of anarchy stage the dramatic background to the stories of a policeman, his Irish love, and his African-American contemporary.

Murphy, Richard. Confessions of a Contractor.
Henry Sullivan, a contractor, has developed a habit of getting personally involved with his wealthy female clients. Taking jobs “against his better judgment”, Sullivan finds himself renovating the homes and becoming entangled in the lives of two women who were once best friends. Anyone who enjoys home renovation with a twist of personal drama will enjoy this story.

O’Flynn, Catherine. What Was Lost.
A lonely little girl who wants to be a detective goes missing at a mall. The unusual and various influences of the new mall on the villagers is revealed as the years go by, and the mystery of the girl's disappearance unravels.

Semple, Andrea. The Make-Up Girl.
Feeling the need to impress her family, Faith Wishart has lied about her career and relationship status. As Faith falls deeper into her sea of lies, she begins to realize what she truly loves and values. The Make- Up Girl is a perfect beach book featuring a quirky main character.

Simmons, Dan. Drood.
English authors Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins explore the depths of London's sewers and opium dens in search of the mesmeric figure who hides in the shadows in this painstakingly researched historical thriller. Who is this Drood? And will he drive one or both of them to madness... or murder?

Tolstoy, Leo. The Death of Ivan Ilyich.
Facing the terrible fact of his own impending death, a prominent public official realizes that the way he has lived his life was totally wrong. Ivan Ilyich’s moral awakening is a moving counterpoint to his physical deterioration.

Adult Nonfiction

Applegate, Debby. The Most Famous Man in America: A Biography of Henry Ward Beecher.
This Pulitzer Prize winning biography tells the story of one of the most famous preachers in 19th century America.
BX 7260 .B3A67 2006

Baker, Nicholson. Human Smoke: the Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization.
Through juxtaposition of newspaper articles, diary entries, and other documents of the 1930s and 40’s, the forces that gave rise to the Holocaust and WWII are illuminated.
D 741 .B255 2008

Conant, Jennet. The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington.
The career of the man who wrote “Willy Wonka” and other children’s stories as an agent of influence during WWII.
D 810 .S8D234 2008

Gertz, Bill. The Failure Factory: How Unelected Bureaucrats, Liberal Democrats and the Big-Government Republicans are undermining America’s Security and Leading Us to War.
Those interested in politics will enjoy this book which discusses foreign relations and political parties.
JK 275 .G47 2008

Lang, Lang. Journey of a Thousand Miles: My Story.
This book documents the remarkable story of a family who sacrificed almost everything for the belief in their young son’s talent and helped him to emerge as one of the greatest pianists of our time.
ML 417 .L28A3 2008

Nabokov, Vladimir. Nabokov’s Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings.
A literary collection about butterflies by a multilingual giant and accomplished lepidopterologist.
QL 452 .N33 2000

O’Brien, Stacey. Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl.
When Stacey O’Brien takes a wounded owl into her home she does not yet realize the deep bond that they will share. This is a great read for anyone interested in birds and pets and their relationships with people.
QL 696. S85 O27 2008

Rosten, Leo. The New Joys of Yiddish.
A treasury of Jewish humor and a lexicon of popular English words originated from Yiddish.
PN 6231 .J5 R67 2007

Sinclair, Jill. Fresh Pond: The History of a Cambridge Landscape.
A detailed and richly illustrated study of Fresh Pond Reservation by landscape historian Sinclair.
F 74 .C1554 2009

Wells, H.G. The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind.
History buffs will enjoy this world history book.
D 21 .W4 1961

Wineapple, Brenda. White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
Emily Dickinson’s poetry is infused with her rich and passionate inner life. Through correspondence with Thomas Wentworth Higginson, her editor and friend, we get an exciting glimpse into Emily Dickinson’s personal life.
PS 1541.25 W545 2008

Zakaria, Fareed. The Post American World.
Those interested in world politics will enjoy this book which forecasts international economic relations and discusses globalization.
CB 161 .Z34 2008