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August 2014 Staff Picks
The Wicked Girls
Alex Marwood

The Wicked GirlsSynopsis: One summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of attacks on young female tourists in a seaside town when her investigation leads her to interview funfair cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it's the first time they've seen each other since that dark day. But with new lives to protect, will they be able to keep their secret hidden?

Call Number: MYS F MAR

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of the Highlcere Castle
Fiona Carnarvon

Lady AlminaSynopsis: Much like her Masterpiece Classic counterpart, Lady Cora Crawley, Lady Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving as the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon's ancestral home. Throwing open the doors of Highclere Castle to tend to the wounded of World War I, Lady Almina distinguished herself as a brave and remarkable woman. This rich tale contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in a great house against the backdrop of the First World War and offers an inspiring and revealing picture of the woman at the center of the history of Highclere Castle.

Elizabeth Says: If you’re like me and can’t wait for the new season of Downton Abbey, this will help fill the void. Written by the current Countess of Carnarvon, this is a well-researched and well-written look into Downton's real life counterpart. The history of Highclere and its inhabitants, while not as melodramatic, are just as fascinating.

Call Number: B CAR

The Night Birds
Thomas Maltman

Night BirdsSynopsis: The intertwining story of three generations of German immigrants to the Midwest—their clashes with slaveholders, the Dakota uprising and its aftermath—is seen through the eyes of young Asa Senger, named for an uncle killed by an Indian friend. It is the unexpected appearance of Asa’s aunt Hazel, institutionalized since shortly after the mass hangings of thirty-eight Dakota warriors in Mankato in 1862, that reveals to him that the past is as close as his own heartbeat.

Magen Says: The Night Birds tells the story of how colossally hard life was for white settlers in the late 1800's as they attempted to tame the wild lands and native people of the American Mid-West. Tempers flare and hatred rises when one family’s daughter becomes passionately involved with one of the “Savages”. With two cultures so vastly different and human nature being what it is, it is easy to see that the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862 was bound to happen. Maltman’s writing brilliantly captures the grizzly horrors of this historic event in vivid detail.

Call Number: F MAL

Desperate Tigress
Jade Lee

Desperate TigressSynopsis: Shi Po has trained in her Taoist beliefs all her life for one purpose: to become an Immortal. But she has failed. And to her utter dismay, she does so in the wake of another, a European of all people, having reached it ahead of her. It becomes clear to her then. There is nothing more for her but death. All she needs is to choose the way. Or so she thinks. Her husband Kui Yu vows to remind her life and love are the true ways to heaven.

Nina Says: Shi Po and Kui Yu’s relationship is a work of art, complex yet simple, delicate yet strong. The story brims with fantastic characters and rich details that don’t bog down the plot’s pace. A perfect marriage of historical fiction and romance with a lush eroticism for readers wanting to step up from 50 Shades of Grey.

Call Number:  ROM F LEE

Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?
Michael J. Sandel

Justice offers readers the same exhilarating journey that captivates Harvard students. This book is a searching, lyrical exploration of the meaning of justice, one that invites readers of all political persuasions to consider familiar controversies in fresh and illuminating ways. Sandel dramatizes the challenge of thinking through these conflicts, and shows how a surer grasp of philosophy can help us make sense of politics, morality, and our own convictions as well. Justice is lively, thought-provoking, and wise—an essential new addition to the small shelf of books that speak convincingly to the hard questions of our civic life.

Randall Says: Like the Harvard course this book is based on, Justice presents a survey of moral reasoning from Aristotle to Rawls. Sandel’s analysis is concise and easy to follow, even if your knowledge of philosophy is – like mine – a bit rusty. The thought experiments that tackle issues such as affirmative action, same-sex marriage, and abortion are particularly interesting. The book is organized into three main theories of justice: welfare, freedom, and virtue. Although I was left unconvinced by Sandel’s particular brand of justice, Justice is an excellent framework for examining the moral dilemmas that we face as individuals and as members of society.

Call Number: 172.2 SAN

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