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.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Reviewed by: 
Heather
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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525562047
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Penguin Books - June 1st, 2021

The narrator, Little Dog, writes a letter to his Vietnamese refugee mother who cannot read. In the letter he reveals to his mother that he is gay. The novel is about the power of telling one’s own story and seeking ways to heal and rescue one another without forsaking who we are.
Be sure to find his beautiful collection of poetry, Night Sky snd Exit Wounds.


The Other Americans By Laila Lalami

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Heather
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The Other Americans: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436034
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Vintage - March 17th, 2020

Following the hit and run death of Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant who owns The Pantry, his daughter Nora suspects his death was not an accident. Multiple characters-divided by race, religion and class tell their stories and connections among them emerge. so we know each person more intimately. We also learn to forgo assumptions. A fast read.


Parable of the Sower By Octavia E. Butler

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Heather
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Parable of the Sower Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781538732182
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 30th, 2019

An outstanding African-American science fiction writer. The crater on Mars where Perseverance landed has been named for her. 


In a tale of survival (written in 1993) set in California in 2025, Butler shows how 15 year old Lauren Olmina faces the chaos brought upon her community by climate change and economic chaos. She works to create a sense of community among strangers who ward off thieves and criminals. Her fight leads to the birth of a new faith Earthseed and a startling vision of humanity.


The Paris Library By Janet Skeslien Charles

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Heather
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The Paris Library: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982134198
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Atria Books - February 9th, 2021

The emotional power of this story makes it a page turner. Odile's life is altered in 1939 when the Nazis invade Paris and threaten to close the American Library where she works. Odile and the other librarians resist and smuggle books to patrons. At the end of the war she suffers an unspeakable betrayal.


In the 1980s Odile helps a teenager Lily in Montana to overcome loneliness. Their shared love of language draws them together. A dark secret connects them. The themes of jealousy and enduring love taken from Their Eyes Were Watching God influence the message of this story.


Klara and the Sun By Kazuo Ishiguro

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Heather
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Klara and the Sun: A novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593318171
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Knopf - March 2nd, 2021

Another masterpiece by Ishiguro. What resides within the human heart? Ishiguro explores wheat it means to love when he tells the story of Klara, an (AF) artificial friend adopted by a young girl Josie who suffers from a lingering illness. The unusual choice of a narrator (AF) makes us reflect on our modern world and the value of relationships. Ishiguro recognizes our modern world and the enduring need for love.


Jack By Marilynne Robinson

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Heather
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Jack (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374279301
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 29th, 2020

For lovers of Robinson's trilogy Home, Lila and Gilead, this fourth book Jack follows the story of the alcoholic prodigal son of the Presbyterian minister.


Much of the book is dialogue between Jack and the African-American high school English teacher Della where we gain insight into the depths of each character and their seeming star-crossed love for each as they reside in St. Louise where it is against the law for inter-racial relationships. I was amazed at Robinson's ability to peel away layer after layer of each character so that we have a deep understanding of what motivates each character and why they have an abiding love for each other. 
 


An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

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Heather
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An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY #3) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780807057834
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Beacon Press - August 11th, 2015

What if history books included the perspective of the native peoples whose lands, homes, and food supplies were destroyed so that European colonists could claim the land they touched as their own? When the government use the military after the Civil War to eliminate the natives, it was the story of genocide and exploitation. She awakens our consciousness. Evidence based with notes and bibliography.


The Art of Breakfast: B&b Style Recipes to Make at Home by Dana Moos

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Heather
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The Art of Breakfast: B&b Style Recipes to Make at Home Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781608935963
Availability: Click Title to See Location Inventory
Published: Down East Books - August 13th, 2019

If you want to jazz up your breakfast, Moos provides a medley of recipes-a feast for your family and friends. We like to make Poached Eggs on Potato, Onion, and Bacon Hash with Grated Sharp White Cheddar, Truffled Sour Cream, and Fresh Chives (photo) The contents include fruit course, sweet entrees, savory entrees, baked goods, side dishes it garnishes, sauces, syrups or flavored butters, guest gifts and menus.


This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

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Heather
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This Tender Land: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476749297
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Atria Books - September 3rd, 2019

A Huckleberry Finn like odyssey set during the Great Depression, this novel follows the journey of four children, brothers Albert and Odie O'Banian,a Sioux Indian Mose, and orphan Emmeline Frost, who escape the hands of a cruel headmistress at an Indian Training School in North Dakota to paddle the Gilead River to the headway of the Mississippi River and find their way to the O'Banian boys home in St. Louis. Some of the people they encounter on their journey are evil and malicious while others are kind and considerate. Krueger gives us a portrait of the great destitute masses that camp in tents along the river or live in ramshackle huts in St Paul. Rebellious Odie learns to have faith in humanity and find the goodness in his own soul even when he feels he is not worthy of it.


The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

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Heather
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The Night Watchman Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062671189
Availability: Not in stock. At Our Partner Warehouse: Usually Ships in 4-7 Days.
Published: Harper - March 3rd, 2020

Another stellar novel by masterful storyteller Louise Erdrich. All life is fragile. Erdrich shows how family holds it together.  Erdrich’s grandfather (Thomas), the night watchman decides to organize the tribe to fight against Senator Watkins intent to remove the tribe from their land in North Dakota in the 1950s. His niece Patrice wants to find her sister Vera who has fallen into bad hands in the city. When families endure hardship, they care for one another, show resolve, and trust in the spirits of their ancestors watching over them in the Northern Lights. 


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