Heather's Picks

Heather found her way to Phoenix Books after retiring from full-time teaching. Her primary interest is in fiction, but she also ventures into poetry, nature, gardening, biography, history, and mystery. Lately, she has been reading some middle grade fiction to help young people.

Reviewed by: 
Heather
Staff Pick Logo
The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781451654424
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 13th, 2013

Former investigative Time reporter Amanda Ripley explores what a quality education is made of by following three American exchange students from Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, who spent a year in Finland, Poland, and South Korea. The students compare their experience in their home school to that of their host school abroad. Ripley focuses on what works for them and includes an appendix for parents to think about what matters in choosing a school for their children. The book inspires us to consider how we can improve schools for our children.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Staff Pick Logo
Dear Life: Stories Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307743725
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - July 30th, 2013

Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, Canadian writer Alice Munro has spent a lifetime writing short stories. I am always spellbound by her storytelling. She captures characters' lives fully-understanding the journey of life-departures and beginnings, accidents and dangers, outgoings and homecomings. The last four stories are somewhat autobiographical. As with a Chekhov story, everything matters in each story.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Staff Pick Logo
The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780385337007
Availability: Special Order
Published: Dial Press - July 30th, 2013

This narrative nonfiction book explores the mystery surrounding a rare
artisan cheese and its maker Ambrosio  from a rural town on Castilian,
Spain. Paterniti is caught up with a character (Ambrosio) who has the
larger than life characteristics of a Don Quixote. Eventually, Paterniti
realizes that Ambrosio's charismatic qualities and pride as a Casitlian
hid his weaknesses as a businessman.  The book is rich with Spanish
history and culture and a love of place.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Staff Pick Logo
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780544102767
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - August 6th, 2013

What a life Edward Curtis led. He devoted 25 years to photographing and
cataloguing the lives of vanishing American Indian tribes.  While he was
shunned by scholars and ethnologists, Curtis convinced JP Morgan to
finance a 26 volume collection for $250,000. Curtis pumped all of the
money into field work. Both JP Morgan and Edward Curtis would be content
to know that Curtis' collection is next in value to a Gutenberg Bible. 
The biography is a tribute to a remarkable photographer and recorder of
American Indian history.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution Cover Image
$19.72
ISBN: 9780812981704
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - March 19th, 2013

By the time Darwin published the 4th edition of his theory of evolution, he realized the need to acknowledge the predecessors who helped to establish the evidence to assert the theory of natural selection. Fascinting study-enjoyable read. We can see the sacrifice scientists made to advance new ideas.


Reviewed by: 
Heather
Staff Pick Logo
Dear Life: Stories Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307743725
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - July 30th, 2013

I am always sellbound by Munro's story-telling. She captures characters' lives fully--understanding the journey of life--departures and beginnings, accidents and dangers, outgoings and homecomings. The last 4 stories are somewhat autobiographical.


Reviewed by: 
Heather

What would we do if we learned that our parents risked their lives for
freedom? In this work of fiction based on her own family and friends,
Delijani weaves together the stories of young women, mothers and fathers
and idealists entrapped by the Iranian Revolution in the 1980s.  Those
who fled the country long to return to the land of the sweet jacaranda
tree and feel the pull to return and answer to the desire for liberty
that pulses among the next generation.

Children of the Jacaranda Tree Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781476709093
Availability: Special Order
Published: Atria Books - June 18th, 2013

Reviewed by: 
Heather

In this children's book about friendship, a bear is awed by the gifts
left outside his cave day after day.  Giving thanks for the gifts, bear
leaves his own treats for the mysterious gift giver. A story about
friendship.

Bear in Love Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780763645694
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 14th, 2012

Reviewed by: 
Heather
As a work of historical fiction, Shapiro bases her story on the knowledge of how some great forgers-John Myatt, Ely Sakhai and Han van Meegen fooled great museums and famous collectors. She crafts a thriller worth reading. She makes readers ponder the authenticity of a piece of art when experts are loath to reveal that they have been duped.
The Art Forger Cover Image
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781616201326
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Algonquin Books - October 23rd, 2012

Reviewed by: 
Heather
Shawn expresses great empathy for his twin sister, who was probably autistic, in the 1950's before the diagnosis was even known. Shawn felt incomplete because Mary had been sent to an institution when she was six.  Shawn explores family relationships sensitively and compassionately.
Twin: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.40
ISBN: 9780143120223
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - February 28th, 2012

Pages