Best Books of the Month: December 2014

Here are the noteworthy titles that have been racing up our most popular charts this month.

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How to Be Both by Ali Smith How to Be Both
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In this inventive and ambitious novel, Scottish author Ali Smith combines two interconnected narratives—one the story of a modern-day teenager, the other of an Italian Renaissance fresco painter—to create a consuming consideration of life, art, time, truth, and fiction. Audrey Mash says, "The novel is an exploration of loss; of what it means to be a woman, an adolescent, a human; an essay on beauty and the ways that it touches our lives; and a thing of beauty in itself. What a pleasure to read." In this inventive and ambitious novel, Scottish author Ali Smith combines two interconnected narratives—one the story of a modern-day teenager, the other of an Italian Renaissance fresco painter—to create a consuming consideration of life, art, time, truth, and fiction. Audrey Mash says, "The novel is an exploration of loss; of what it means to be a woman, an adolescent, a human; an essay on beauty and the ways that it touches our lives; and a thing of beauty in itself. What a pleasure to read."
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Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography
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A treasure trove of new details about the life and experiences of Little House on the Prairie creator Laura Ingalls Wilder and her pioneer family is offered in this book, edited by award-winning Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill and based on the author’s letters, manuscripts, and other documents from the time. Morris says, "Perhaps the biggest draw of Pioneer Girl is that it was written as more of a diary of memories, skipping back and forth as her mind saw fit, and it was not changed as the Little House ...more A treasure trove of new details about the life and experiences of Little House on the Prairie creator Laura Ingalls Wilder and her pioneer family is offered in this book, edited by award-winning Wilder biographer Pamela Smith Hill and based on the author’s letters, manuscripts, and other documents from the time. Morris says, "Perhaps the biggest draw of Pioneer Girl is that it was written as more of a diary of memories, skipping back and forth as her mind saw fit, and it was not changed as the Little House on the Prairie books were to add that little zing of which publishers are so fond. This is her story, stark, detailed, and wonderful, as she meant it to be."
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Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes, #2)
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British author Anthony Horowitz revisits the world of Sherlock Holmes in this new mystery, which takes up after Holmes’s fateful struggle with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, at Reichenbach Falls and dives into the question of what happens next.
Maxine
says, "The story retains all the twists and turns, the disguises, and even some of the characters and quotes from the original tales…Once I began Moriarty, I couldn’t put it down and can’t recommend it enough for fans of Holmes and mysteries in general. Well
...more
British author Anthony Horowitz revisits the world of Sherlock Holmes in this new mystery, which takes up after Holmes’s fateful struggle with his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, at Reichenbach Falls and dives into the question of what happens next.
Maxine
says, "The story retains all the twists and turns, the disguises, and even some of the characters and quotes from the original tales…Once I began Moriarty, I couldn’t put it down and can’t recommend it enough for fans of Holmes and mysteries in general. Well played, Mr. Horowitz, well played!"
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Countdown to Zero Day by Kim Zetter Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
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Investigative journalist and cybercrime expert Kim Zetter delivers a detailed, suspenseful examination of how Stuxnet, the world’s first digital weapon, was created, launched, and ultimately exposed after sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program four years ago. Justin says, "Fantastic, in-depth look into the history of Stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame, and how the very definition of war has changed with the launch of this cyber-weapon." Investigative journalist and cybercrime expert Kim Zetter delivers a detailed, suspenseful examination of how Stuxnet, the world’s first digital weapon, was created, launched, and ultimately exposed after sabotaging Iran’s nuclear program four years ago. Justin says, "Fantastic, in-depth look into the history of Stuxnet, Duqu, and Flame, and how the very definition of war has changed with the launch of this cyber-weapon."
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The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant The Boston Girl
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In this historical coming-of-age story from the bestselling author of The Red Tent, 85-year-old Addie Baum relates her life story to her granddaughter: growing up in early-20th-century Boston as the daughter of Jewish immigrants, seeking love, friendship, opportunities, and adventure in the complicated and thrilling world that surrounds her. Sandy says, "I think of this book as honest feminist literature without being too pushy. It made me laugh and cry…and I connected to the character as though she was my ...more In this historical coming-of-age story from the bestselling author of The Red Tent, 85-year-old Addie Baum relates her life story to her granddaughter: growing up in early-20th-century Boston as the daughter of Jewish immigrants, seeking love, friendship, opportunities, and adventure in the complicated and thrilling world that surrounds her. Sandy says, "I think of this book as honest feminist literature without being too pushy. It made me laugh and cry…and I connected to the character as though she was my own grandmother telling me stories about her youth. Awesome book!"
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No Place to Fall by Jaye Robin Brown No Place to Fall
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In this coming-of-age debut, Amber Vaughn is 16 and a gifted singer living in a small town with her dysfunctional family. She dreams of escaping and begins exploring, singing with hikers she meets on the Appalachian trail, auditioning for an arts school, and falling in love with the brother of her best friend. Sara Larson says, "This book made me want to sing. Like, 'The Hills Are Alive,' twirling in a meadow, arms spread wide, belting my lungs out sing. Or go back to choir. Either way. The characters are s ...more In this coming-of-age debut, Amber Vaughn is 16 and a gifted singer living in a small town with her dysfunctional family. She dreams of escaping and begins exploring, singing with hikers she meets on the Appalachian trail, auditioning for an arts school, and falling in love with the brother of her best friend. Sara Larson says, "This book made me want to sing. Like, 'The Hills Are Alive,' twirling in a meadow, arms spread wide, belting my lungs out sing. Or go back to choir. Either way. The characters are so vibrant, the descriptions delicious, the plot grabs on and doesn't let go. A fantastic story about finding yourself and your voice. Loved it."
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