Sarah's Picks

 

When I was a child, I took a book with me everywhere (just in case.) 

Old habits die hard.

I am an avid book-lover of many genres, particularly Literary Fiction, Poetry, Memoirs, Plays, and Sociology & Psychology. 

After learning to read at age 4, I have never been without a book--or without a dozen or so stashed around the house for emergencies.

Though I have only lived in Decorah for a few years, I've always considered it home. Now that there's an independent bookstore, I believe it might be the greatest small town in the world. 

Swamplandia! Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307276681
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually Arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books - July 26th, 2011

Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family's island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava's mother, the park's indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.


Wit Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780571198771
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Faber & Faber - March 29th, 1999

Margaret Edson's powerfully imagined Pulitzer Prize-winning play examines what makes life worth living through her exploration of one of existence's unifying experiences--mortality--while she also probes the vital importance of human relationships. What we as her audience take away from this remarkable drama is a keener sense that, while death is real and unavoidable, our lives are ours to cherish or throw away--a lesson that can be both uplifting and redemptive. As the playwright herself puts it, "The play is not about doctors or even about cancer. It's about kindness, but it shows arrogance. It's about compassion, but it shows insensitivity."
In "Wit, "Edson delves into timeless questions with no final answers: How should we live our lives knowing that we will die? Is the way we live our lives and interact with others more important than what we achieve materially, professionally, or intellectually? How does language figure into our lives? Can science and art help us conquer death, or our fear of it? What will seem most important to each of us about life as that life comes to an end?
The immediacy of the presentation, and the clarity and elegance of Edson's writing, make this sophisticated, multilayered play accessible to almost any interested reader.
As the play begins, Vivian Bearing, a renowned professor of English who has
spent years studying and teaching the intricate, difficult Holy Sonnets of the
seventeenth-century poet John Donne, is diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. Confident of her ability to stay in control of events, she brings to her illness the same intensely rational and painstakingly methodical approach that has guided her stellar academic career. But as her disease and its excruciatingly painful treatment inexorably progress, she begins to question the single-minded values and standards that have always directed her, finally coming to understand the aspects of life that make it truly worth living.


The Diviners Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780316126113
Availability: Special Order ~ Contact us for Availability
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 18th, 2012

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."
When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.


Never Let Me Go Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400078776
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually Arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage Books USA - March 14th, 2006

From the Booker Prize-winning author of "The Remains of the Day"comes a devastating new novel of innocence, knowledge, and loss. As children Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. 
Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life. And for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special-and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together. Suspenseful, moving, beautifully atmospheric, Never Let Me Go""is another classic by the Ishiguro.


Let the Great World Spin Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812973990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - December 2009

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann's stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.
Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author's most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s.


Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780375758683
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually Arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - January 8th, 2002

Fresh out of college and passionate about photography, Deborah Copaken Kogan moved to Paris in 1988 and began knocking on photo agency doors, begging to be given a photojournalism assignment. Within weeks she was on the back of a truck in Afghanistan, the only woman--and the only journalist--in a convoy of mujahideen, the rebel "freedom fighters" at the time. She had traveled there with a handsome but dangerously unpredictable Frenchman, and the interwoven stories of their relationship and the assignment set the pace for "Shutterbabe's six chapters, each covering a different corner of the globe, each linked to a man in Kogan's life at the time.
From Zimbabwe to Romania, from Russia to Haiti, Kogan takes her readers on a heartbreaking yet surprisingly hilarious journey through a mine-strewn decade, seamlessly blending her personal battles--sexism, battery, life-threatening danger--with the historical ones--wars, revolution, unfathomable suffering--it was her job to record.


The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780547928227
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually Arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 18th, 2012

A great modern classic and the prelude to "THE LORD OF THE RINGS" Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum.
"A glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irresistible . . . All those, young or old, who love a fine adventurous tale, beautifully told, will take "The Hobbit" to their hearts." - "New York Times Book Review"


Horoscopes for the Dead Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812975628
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually Arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - March 20th, 2012

Billy Collins is widely acknowledged as a prominent player at the table of modern American poetry. And in this smart, lyrical, and mischievous collection of poetry, which covers the everlasting themes of love and loss, youth and aging, solitude and union, Collins's verbal gifts are on full display.