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Susan's Picks

Book Cover Sujata Massey
The Bride's Kimono

Rei Shimura, Japanese-American antiques dealer, finds herself smack in the middle of another mystery. Hired as a fine-art courier, Rei is entrusted to bring several rare and valuable kimonos from a Japanese museum to one in Washington, D. C. Almost immediately, her passport and one kimono is stolen. Soon, her passport shows up, and so does the body of the young Japanese tourist that Rei suspected of stealing it. Full of information about Japanese customs and cultures, this enjoyable book is the sixth in the series.
Recommended by Susan, February 2006


Every Inch of Her by Peter Sheridan
Philomena Nolan is a brash, plus-sized, smoking, tattooed mother of five from Dublin who decides to leave her cruel husband Tommo (and her whole family) and join a convent. After just a few days it is obvious to the nuns that Philo is definitely not nun material, but they take a liking to her after she turns their local senior center upside-down by adding prizes to the bingo games and arranging a game of "Blind Date" that reunites two former enemies on a romantic date at a local hotel. Tommo tries to get back together, but Philo just doesn't know if she can trust him or is she can face returning to her old life.
Philo is the type of character that you'd like to have as a friend: kindhearted, flawed, gutsy, spontaneous and a lot of fun. In turn hilarious and poignant, every page of Every Inch of Her was a pleasure to read.
Recommended by Susan, August 2005

Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Ever wonder how a trend becomes a trend? In this book, Gladwell gives reasons why "social epidemics" start and how they flourish. He gives a few case studies that I thought were interesting - the sudden popularity of Hush Puppies a few years back, the rise of Sesame Street and the decrease in crime in the New York during the 1990s. It turns out that "social epidemics" are spread through three types of people - connectors, mavens and salesmen and that messages spread for several reasons, one of which is the concept of "stickiness." Gladwell's other book, The Tipping Point, was also a bestseller.
Recommended by Susan, July 2005

Haunted Ground by Erin Hart
When an ancient head is unearthed in a bog, a recent mysterious disappearance is brought back into focus. Haunted Ground weaves the subjects of anthropology, pathology and Irish history into a well-researched and interesting mystery.
Recommended by Susan, September 2004

Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Cane River tells the story of four generations of African American women starting with a young slaved named Suzette. Though the book is fictional, the author used carefully researched family documents to create a realistic and revealing portrait of post-slavery society in Louisiana. This was an Oprah book pick in 2001.
Recommended by Susan, September 2004

Random Family: Love, Drugs, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
This true story follows the trials and tribulations of Latino family over the course of several years. Written with vivid detail, this riveting book will leave you wanting to know more.
Recommended by Susan, September 2004