Best of 2011 (Staff Picks) - For Adults

Daughters-in-law

By Joanna Trollope

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After her youngest son, and last one to marry, brings home his wife, Rachel feels her role of family matriarch slipping away and must deal with the loss that comes with it, while maintaining the relationships she holds dear.

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Discovery of Witches

By Deborah E. Harkness

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Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her.

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Doc: A Novel

By Mary Doria Russell

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After the burned body of a mixed-blood boy, Johnnie Sanders, is discovered in 1878 Dodge City, Kansas, part-time policeman Wyatt Earp enlists the help of his professional-gambler friend Doc Holliday.

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Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

By Andrea Wulf

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A fascinating look at the founding fathers from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen, and farmers.

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Friendship Bread: A Novel

By Darien Gee

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Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia Evarts remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life until she receives an anonymous gift of Amish Friendship Bread with instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others.

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Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved In Life, and Lost, 1934-1961

By Paul Hendrickson

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An illuminating reconsideration of a key period in the life of Ernest Hemingway that will change the way he is perceived and understood. Focusing on the years 1934 to 1961--from his pinnacle until his suicide--Paul Hendrickson traces the writer's exultations and despair around the one constant in his life during this time: his beloved boat, Pilar.

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House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer's Journey Home

By Mark Richard

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Award-winning author Mark Richard tells his story of growing up physically challenged in the American South with a mix of racial tension and religious fervor.

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I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

By Steve Earle

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Wracked by guilt and addiction ten years after administering a fatal morphine overdose to Hank Williams, Doc Ebersole performs illegal medical services in the red-light district of San Antonio before meeting a young Mexican immigrant who seems to heal others with her touch.

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If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won't)

By Betty White

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Drawing from a lifetime of lessons learned, seven-time Emmy winner Betty White's wit and wisdom take center stage as she tackles topics like friendship, romantic love, aging, television, fans, love for animals, and the brave new world of celebrity. If You Ask Me mixes her thoughtful observations with humorous stories from a seven- decade career in Hollywood.

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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and An American Family in Hitler's Berlin

By Erik Larson

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The bestselling author of "Devil in the White City" turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler's rise to power. The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. *Selected by multiple CRRL staff.

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