Marlene's Picks

All Blood Runs Red by Phil Keith

An incredible story of courage, resilience, determination and a bit of luck. A heroic life that is told well and fascinating to read.

Running with Sherman by Christopher McDougall

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!

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

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!

The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan

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,

The Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

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.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

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.

Pretty Guilty Women by Gina Lamanna

A very entertaining story that is easily digested and fun to read. Why did four different women confess to killing a man and who was the man that was murdered? A good choice when you are looking for that book for the plane ride or weekend away.

My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder

An unexpected friendship has the power to transform the lives of Leah and Jasper, even when the trouble in each of their lives seems insurmountable. A well told story written with honesty and heart.

Diagnosis by Lisa Sanders

I like reading (not experiencing) medical mysteries and this collection of many short, fascinating stories was so interesting to me. All are told well and with curiosity and compassion.

The Pioneers by David McCullough

With skill and insight, David McCullough reveals what it took and what it cost to establish new settlements in the Northwest Territory, beginning with Marietta, Ohio. The story follows Manasseh Cutler and his family over-coming countless hardships, tragedies, and awe inspiring courage to help establish our country westward.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

A very memorable, well-written story that is drawn from a real life scandal about a Tennessee child adoption agency. The characters, the setting, and the injustice, will last in my heart for a long time. A book club favorite that deserves the attention.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

A very creative story that weaves history, science, adventure and the pursuit to understand the complex emotional wounds Washington Black carries with him through slavery and ultimately, freedom.

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

"Olive...not everyone's cup of tea." For fans of Olive Kitteridge, this sequel will be devoured quickly. As dry and unsentimental as ever and completely wonderful.

Figures in a Landscape by Paul Theroux

I have enjoyed reading Paul Theroux travel adventures for many years and he never disappoints. His literary observations, thoughtful reflections and the persistent need to understand people and places all over the world always finds a place in my heart and on my bookshelf.

I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott

Essay after essay, this book delivers humorous insights and authentic observations about life and kids and not being perfect. Quirky and a lot of fun to read.

Beneath the Tamarind Tree by Isha Sesay

The incomprehensibility of abducting 276 girls in Nigeria by the group know as Boko Haram ,shocked not only their families and community, it shocked the whole world. Beneath the Tamarind Tree reveals the many layers this story has and illuminates the persistent need to give a voice to those that many want silenced. Isha Sesay does an excellent, journalistic approach to the story balanced with her interest and connection to the girls and their families. Told with compassion and the determination to challenge any suppression of girls' education, this story should not be forgotten, nor should the girls who have not returned.

Keep Going by Austin Kleon

A perfect follow up to his book, Steal Like An Artist, Kleon does a great job encouraging readers with their creative pursuits. Sometimes it's not the inspiration that is needed, it's hanging in there when things aren't turning out as planned. Inspiring and fun to read, Keep Going will energize your creative spirit and motivate you to keep up the good fight and do the art that makes you happy.

Occasional Magic by The Moth

Occasional Magic may refer to what Life has in store for each of us, however, this book has magic all the way through it. I loved the first Moth Presents and could hardly wait for the second book. I was not disappointed! So many great little stories that reveal the human condition and told in so many different ways. Many stories are ones you will want tell others about and many you will want to read again. Much love!

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

A well-written and well-research true crime story about a southern Reverend that was implicated in five unresolved deaths of his family. A Reverend that liked to collect life insurance. Add to this fascinating account the interest of Harper Lee who would spend years trying to develop the case and its characters into a book. A book that never came to be. Furious Hours hits the mark on many level and I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Bitcoin Billionaires by Ben Mezrich

I always greatly anticipate what new story Ben Mezrich will entertain me with next and Bitcoin Billionaires did not disappoint. He is a master at taking a complex subject and making it fascinating to read and understandable. The Winklevoss twins, famous for battling Mark Zuckerberg over the creation of Facebook, have ventured into the cryptocurrency world and are poised to radically change how we view and exchange money in the future. My bank account my never have Bitcoins in the future and I'm still not sure how it all works, yet the story was fascinating and I highly recommend it.

Breaking and Entering by Jeremy N. Smith

This book delves into the world of cyber security. "Alien" goes from illegal college antics to heading a company that tests other companies to reveal their computer and human vulnerabilities. A fun and illuminating read.

My Father's Words by Patricia MacLachlan

Patricia MacLachlan never underestimates the intelligence of her young readers and My Father's Words is a fine testament to that ability. Sometimes sad, yet always comforting, this story gladden my heart with it's healing power of dogs and a loved one's words of warmth and wisdom.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Wicked fun, well-paced, and walks the perfect line between incredible and plausible. Dark and so, so clever I enjoyed every satisfying moment of this book. What would you do for your sister?

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende

Three characters whose lives and stories of struggle intertwine during a brutal winter storm. Allende is such a strong writer and her prose effortlessly guides you from page to page until you're sorry it has to end.

On Call in the Arctic by Thomas J. Sims

A medical memoir that takes you on an adventurous stay in Nome, Alaska during the early 1970's. Tasked with gaining the trust of the indigenous community, lack of supplies, comforts and often brutal arctic weather Dr. Sims account of doing the best he could in trying circumstances is both fascinating and insightful. A great page-turning account of the challenges and rewards of providing medical care in an out of the ordinary place with often unconventional resources.

Warblers & Woodpeckers by Sneed Collard

A very fun and enjoyable read. This Missoula author and his 13 year old son take inspiration from an entertaining Hollywood film, and begin a journey of their own. Whether you seek out birds or just watch them fly by, this book will inspire you to see if you have a "big year" within you.

Elevation by Stephen King

This is a perfect gem from a master. This is not a horror story , rather just an ordinary human being dealing with something extraordinary. "...invisible forces with visible effects." I'm partial to Stephen King's short stories and this novella has that same, compact feel. Marvelous!

The Dreamer and the Doctor by Jack Nisbet

Local history that informs, enlightens, and entertains. Jack Nisbet always delivers a well-researched story that reaches beyond the facts and helps us understand our past and present . John and Carrie Leiberg were a courageous power couple at the turn of the century that, due to their diligence and tenacity, became leaders in their respective fields.

Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

Virgil Wander is a quiet book with deep impact. Beautifully crafted sentences and lyrical prose that will make you smile with joy. A wonderful sense of community and quirky characters that you will wish you had the opportunity to meet.

Waiting for Eden by Elliot Ackerman

Read this incredible book in one sitting. Powerful and unique storytelling that will rattle you to the bones. A serious topic that will stomp on your heart and make you think. Much love!

Curve of Time by M. Blanchet

Marvelous, little stories about sailing and cruising the coastline of Vancouver during the 1920's...all done on a little boat with 5 children. A charming memoir about living simply, and keeping yourself always open to exploration and what nature has to reveal.

Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Just the title of this book elicits a visceral response, yet author Kristina McMorris deftly weaves an emotional story without over-reaching or melodrama. Sometimes people make a simple decision and unattended consequences follow. Sometimes you have to right a wrong, no matter the repercussions and characters Ellis and Lily try to do just that.

Calypso by David Sedaris

Quintessential David Sedaris: Off the wall, funny, and always insightful. By revealing the quirkiness of his own family and relationships, Sedaris paves a twisted road to perhaps understanding some of our own family idiosyncrasies.

The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

Trying to regain her well-being after her life on social media blows up, Mari embarks on a journey to honor a lost friend. The Other Side of Lost is contemporary, fun, and makes you want to hit the trails. A perfect coming of age story that encourages compassion and understanding and being open to things you weren't necessarily even looking for.

Notes from My Captivity by Kathy Parks

A teenager's Siberian adventure to reveal the truth about a family mystery takes a number of turns in this sometimes dark and often funny young adult novel. Very original and entertaining with emotional lessons learned along the way. I found myself with a compelling need to read how this 17 year old girl's weird experience all comes together and I was not disappointed.

Why Buddhism is True by Robin Wright

I am not a Buddhist, yet Robin Wright's book has shown me that seeking truth and beauty and keeping a calm, clear mind is always a worthwhile endeavor. With a light and engaging touch, Wright explores different aspects of the principles of Buddhism, meditation, and self-discipline. Maybe, just maybe, with a little help from the technique RAIN (Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Nonattachment), I might be able to say no to that chocolate chip cookie....maybe.

Unthinkable by Helen Thompson

Thomson has written a very entertaining book that I just couldn't stop reading. Her fascinating case histories are written with thoughtfulness, humanity, and well-researched science that draws the reader in. Extraordinary brains deserve an extraordinary book, and this is it.

When the English Fall by David Williams

This isn't my usual genre, however, I really enjoyed this new perspective of apocalyptic fiction from the viewpoint of an Amish farmer and his family. You will catch yourself thinking about this book long after you finish it. I like that!

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss

When I was twelve, I would love to have gone on Bicycle's adventure across the country. Nice messages about friendship and unusual family dynamics.

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind by Barbara K. Lispka

Although I don't like to experience medical drama, I do like to read about them and this book does not disappoint. Readers will gain as much emotional knowledge as medical knowledge finishing this book.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

I felt the heat of Morocco and the slow burning undercurrents of the characters in this stunning debut. The reader is kept hostage about the motivations of each main character that makes this a very compelling read.