Best of 2011 (Staff Picks) - For Adults

Zombie, Spaceship, Wasteland

By Patton Oswalt

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Best known for his roles in the films "Big Fan" and "Ratatouille," as well as the hit show "The King of Queens," Oswalt has been amusing audiences for decades. Now he offers a fascinating look into his most unusual and lovable mind. Recommended by more than one CRRL staff member.

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When Tito Loved Clara

By Jon Michaud

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Through brains and determination, librarian Clara Lugo has long since slipped the bonds of her confining Dominican neighborhood in the northern reaches of Manhattan. Now she tries to live a settled professional life with her American husband and son in the suburbs of New Jersey--often thwarted by her constellation of relatives who don't understand her gringa ways. Her mostly happy life is disrupted, however, when Tito, a former boyfriend from fifteen years earlier, reappears.

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Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

By Laura Hillenbrand

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On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared--Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor. Selected by more than one CRRL staff member.

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Troubled Bones: A Medieval Noir

By Jeri Westerson

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Disgraced knight Crispin Guest gets himself into some serious trouble in London and as a result is forced to accept an assignment far out of town. The Archbishop of Canterbury has specifically requested Guest to investigate a threat against the bones of saint and martyr Thomas a Beckett, which are on display in the cathedral in Canterbury. The archbishop has received letters threatening the safety of the artifacts, and he wants Guest to protect them and uncover whoever is after them. Part of the Crispin Guest medieval mystery series.

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A Trick of the Light: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

By Louise Penny

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Investigating a murder at a solo artist's Quebec village home, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team encounter deceptive nuances in the art world that distort every clue they find with tales of duality and broken hearts. Selected by more than one CRRL staff member.

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Train Dreams

By Denis Johnson

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Robert Grainer is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century--an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime.

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Townie: A Memoir

By Andre Dubus III

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After their parents divorce in the 1970's, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. To protect himself and those he loved from street violence, Andre learned to use his fists so well that he was even scared of himself. He was on a fast track to getting killed, or killing someone else, or to beatings-for-pay as a boxer. Nearby, his father, an eminent author, taught on a college campus and took the kids out on Sundays. The clash of worlds couldn't have been more stark or more difficult for a son to communicate to a father. Only by becoming a writer himself could Andre begin to bridge the abyss and save himself.

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The Vault: An Inspector Wexford novel

By Ruth Rendell

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When four bodies are discovered in the same underground sewer 12 years after the events of A Sight for Sore Eyes, former Chief Inspector Wexford is pulled out of retirement to follow a complex trail to the original murders only to have his life thrown into turmoil by a devastating personal tragedy.

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State of Wonder

By Ann Patchett

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A researcher at a pharmaceutical company, Marina Singh journeys into the heart of the Amazonian delta to check on a field team that has been silent for two years--a dangerous assignment that forces Marina to confront the ghosts of her past. Selected by multiple CRRL staff members.

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