Eerie, dreamlike, set in a world that is weirdly related to our own, The Gunslinger introduces Roland Deschain of Gilead, of In-World that was, as he pursues his enigmatic antagonist to the mountains that separate the desert from the Western Sea. Roland is a solitary figure, perhaps accursed, who with a strange singlemindedness traverses an exhausted, almost timeless landscape. The people he encounters are left behind, or worse left dead. At a way station, however, he meets Jake, a boy from a particular time (1977) and a particular place (New York City), and soon the two are joined khef, ka, and ka-tet. The mountains lie before them. So does the man in black and, somewhere far beyond the Dark Tower.
Brandon says: It's like "The Lord of the Rings" meets "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly". This is the first installment of The Dark Tower series, and introduces readers to a "world that has moved on" featuring a gunslinger on a quest. It will be difficult not to start the second book of the series after you finish this one.
Brandon's Past Staff Picks
Synopsis: Physicist Jon Grady and his team have discovered a device that can reflect gravity a triumph that will revolutionize the field of physics and change the future. But instead of acclaim, Grady’s lab is locked down by a covert organization known as the Bureau of Technology Control. The bureau’s mission: suppress the truth of sudden technological progress and prevent the social upheaval it would trigger. Because the future is already here. And it’s rewards are only for a select few. When Grady refuses to join the BTC, he’s thrown into a nightmarish high-tech prison housing other doomed rebel intellects. Now, as the only hope to usher humanity out of its artificial dark age, Grady and his fellow prisoners must try to expose the secrets of an unimaginable enemy one that wields a technological advantage half a century in the making.
Crystal Says: This technological thriller takes you to a not-to-distant future where innovation is king unless deemed "too dangerous" for the masses. Particle physicist Jon Grady faces impossible odds as he takes on a shadow organization for his freedom and humanity's right to live in a future where, truly, anything is possible.
Crystal's Past Staff Picks
Synopsis: Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho, where they are bound together by more than love. With her husband's memory fading, Ann attempts to piece together the truth of what happened to Wade's first wife Jenny and to their daughters. In a story told from multiple perspectives--including Ann, Wade, and Jenny, now in prison--we gradually learn of the mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny's lives, of the love and compassion that brought Ann and Wade together, and of the memories that reverberate through the lives of every character.
Donna Says: This leisurely paced novel is recommended to anyone interested in exploring complicated family relationships and issues such as memory loss, forgiveness and physical and emotional isolation.
Donna's Past Staff Picks
Between the World and Me
Synopsis: In a series of essays, written as a letter to his son, Coates confronts the notion of race in America and how it has shaped American history, many times at the cost of black bodies and lives. Thoughtfully exploring personal and historical events, from his time at Howard University to the Civil War, the author poignantly asks and attempts to answer difficult questions that plague modern society. In this short memoir, the "Atlantic" writer explains that the tragic examples of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and those killed in South Carolina are the results of a systematically constructed and maintained assault to black people a structure that includes slavery, mass incarceration, and police brutality as part of its foundation. From his passionate and deliberate breakdown of the concept of race itself to the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, Coates powerfully sums up the terrible history of the subjugation of black people in the United States. A timely work, this title will resonate with all teens those who have experienced racism as well as those who have followed the recent news coverage on violence against people of color.
Elizabeth Says: A beautiful and eye opening memoir.
Elizabeth's Past Staff Picks
Synopsis: Created and written by acclaimed novelist Daisy Goodwin, this ambitious and rich drama presents the early years of the life of one of history’s greatest monarchs. With Jenna Coleman, Rufus Sewell and Tom Hughes leading an ensemble cast of award-winning talent, Victoria draws on real-life events and the Queen’s own exhaustive diaries to paint a vivid portrait of her transformation from an impulsive eighteen-year-old to her early years as wife, mother, and head of a global empire. Stretching from the upper echelons of the royal court to the below-stairs staff, this is a story of passionate affairs, power struggles, and unrequited love, at the center of which stands the new Queen a strong, complex, and willful woman who must, somehow, become an enduring icon.
Megan Says: I have always been captivated by the British Royal Family, so the fact that I have chosen Victoria as a staff pick is no surprise. Victoria is created and written by acclaimed novelist Daisy Goodwin. I fell in love with Lord Melbourne played by Rufus Sewell. I greatly enjoyed watching his relationship with the young Queen Victoria go from fatherly protector to something more. The subtlety of it all was played out exquisitely. I also became quite taken with the downstairs relationship between Francatelli and Miss Skerrett. I look forward to next season to see if they find true love. The marriage of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria has always been acclaimed as one of great desire and undying devotion. The casting for both roles (Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes) is perfect and you truly can feel the actors channeling the deep intimacy the Royals shared.
Megan's Past Staff Picks
Vanessa and Her Sister
Synopsis: London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will grow into legend and come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. The landscape shifts when Vanessa unexpectedly falls in love and her sister feels dangerously abandoned. Eerily possessive, charismatic, manipulative, and brilliant, Virginia has always lived in the shelter of Vanessa’s constant attention and encouragement. Without it, she careens toward self-destruction and madness. As tragedy and betrayal threaten to destroy the family, Vanessa must decide if it is finally time to protect her own happiness above all else.
Nina Says: I never recalled much about Virginia Woolf beyond her having a tragic genius and writing Orlando, the novel on which the time-warping, trippy film starring Tilda Swinton is based. A quarter-way through Parmar’s fictional account of Woolf, Vanessa Bell and the Bloomsbury Group, I wanted to read every bio I could get my hands on. A mesmerizing page-turner.
Nina's Past Staff Picks
The Summer Dragon
Synopsis: Maia and her family raise dragons for the political war machine. As she comes of age, she hopes for a dragon of her own to add to the stable of breeding parents. But the war goes badly, and the needs of the Dragonry dash her hopes. Her peaceful life is shattered when the Summer Dragon one of the rare and mythical High Dragons--makes an appearance in her quiet valley. The Summer Dragon is an omen of change, but no one knows for certain what kind of change he augurs. Political factions vie to control the implied message, each to further their own agendas.
Randall Says: The Summer Dragon is an enchanting debut novel from renowned illustrator Todd Lockwood. Fantasy fans will recognize some familiar tropes: a youthful, headstrong protagonist; fantastic creatures; and dark forces that threaten the world. However, the story clips along at a brisk pace and Lockwood’s skillful imagery breathes new life into these familiar elements. Highly recommended for readers in search of a new fantasy series.
Randall's Past Staff Picks