Marlene's Picks

"An adventure within reach, but still out of bounds. A great collection that reflect the reporter's skill and ease with telling stories "you didn't know you wanted to read."


The scratchboard illustrations, the excellent writing, the twists and turns of the life of David Starr Jordan all combine to make this a wonderful gem of a book. Just like Pluto, fish don't exist anymore! What?


Michael Lewis is so gifted at telling a story about people: people that have an interesting and powerful impact in that story. This is a fascinating account of the time leading up to the pandemic and the players that sounded the alarm.


She weaves her music throughout the book in a remarkable way and her written voice is almost as good as her singing voice. Almost, because her signing voice is one of the best there is. A well told autobiography.


Polar Expedition gone very wrong for a team of explorers that must contend with being stuck in ice, scurvy, ambition, and isolating darkness that manifest in the souls of some. Interesting, well researched story.


Well-written and well-told story that made me admire Sam's strength, wince with sympathy at times, cheer his mother, and realize the journey of self-discovery and self acceptance is a journey for all of us.


Some books are like a nice warm cup of tea on a chilly morning. Anne Tyler writes from a place of comfort and ease and this story made me smile.


Well-research and well-told incredible story about a family with 12 children, six of whom are diagnosed with schizophrenia. A family story interwoven with medical curiosity.


14 year old McKenna has bravery, empathy, and a big heart and an exciting dog sled race to finish even as her eyesight is in jeopardy.


I could read about the exploits of Skunk and Badger all day, everyday. The originality and wordplay is exceptional. I will never forget the importance of rock work, the challenges of a large backpack and friendships that were made to be.


An all female militia face off against ISIS in northern Syria and help win the war and earn the respect of the world. A powerfully told story that captures the leadership ability, the courage, and the determination of a group of women to gain control of their rights and futures.


Beautifully told historical novel set during the Iranian revolution. Very immersive, rich in history, unsettling at times, and unforgettable.


Continued optimism from a man I so much admire. He deals with his adversity with such grace and wisdom and I enjoy every word he writes.


An arranged marriage that begins in an unconventional way (the groom is absent) and continues to upend tradition and expectations. Although it takes place in Ghana, it's truths are universal and and a really enjoyable, well-written debut novel.


For the True Crime reader that is looking for more than the retelling of a crime. Each story is authored by a different writer and the different perspectives and styles made it interesting to read.


Interesting LA story on it's own, however, Susan Orleans also beautifully illustrates the importance books and libraries have on all cultures and societies.


Lots of tips and ideas for the plant lover from fellow plant lovers.


One of the best books I've read recently. Easily consumable and extremely well- written book that explores racism and the bonds between sisters.


Some just out-wit, out-smart, out talk others, out perform, and some "sit quiet and refuse to be agreeable". Many just don't give into self-doubt and second-guessing and proceed through life with verve and conviction. I would have loved to met them all! Each little vignette is filled with wit and insight and such fun to read.


Reminiscent of her first book, Black River, Hulse's followed up book, Eden Mine is again, another richly told story that has a reflective cadence, a very compelling story line, and characters that will reside inside your soul. An excellent read.


This story will fill your heart, raise your spirits, and make you laugh. Who knew that a memoir about the frustrating, yet lovable hi-jinks of Sherman and his friends could become a favorite book for me. It could be for you too!


Some stories affect you on a molecular level and their impact on you changes your chemistry and leaves you looking at the world in a different and more compassionate way. American Dirt hits hard and fast and it's emotional heft is considerable. Loved it!


A well-researched and analytical look at the origins and practices of psychiatry. "On Being Sane in Insane Places" challenges the ethical treatment of patients under care in our health care system and asks many questions that are still pertinent today.


A deeply satisfying historical novel that articulates the need for love, a sense of belonging, and learning to survive life when political upheaval overtakes your country.


How do we assess a stranger's character, honesty, and intent? Well, we get it wrong many times and Malcolm Gladwell fascinating research delves into why.