Staff Picks

Islands: Life Surrounded by Water

Who hasn't dreamed or retreating to a small island where fish leap out of turquoise waters and coconuts fall from the trees? In these novels explore one of the verdant ones off the coast of Indian, Ceylon, or South Carolina.  With one of these books in tow, board a sailboat and explore Paradise on your own.

Keith C.
Anil's Ghost     Anil's Ghost    
Michael Ondaatje
    Ondaatj

This novel set on the former island of Ceylon describes a  homecoming by Anil Tissera, a forensic anthropologist who was educated in  England and the States. Sent back home by a human rights group to investigate a series of murders, she examines skeletons including that of the mysterious "Sailor."  In the process, she learns much about her country's history and the importance  of family.

Atlas of Remote Islands     Atlas of Remote Islands    
Judith Schalansky
    910.914 Sch

If  you love maps and travel, check out this lovely book. The author grew up in  East Germany and because she was denied opportunities to travel, she developed  a love for perusing atlases. This   unique travelogue takes you to remote islands where the author has never been. Beautifully  illustrated, it includes history and stories that bring each exotic place to  life.

Bitter Lemons     Bitter Lemons    
Lawrence Durrell
    956.93 Dur

This memoir describes the author's search to  find a sun-drenched home on an Aegean island. Durrell discovers a very fine one  where he visits villages steeped in history whose inhabitants enjoy simple food  and sweet wines, but his experience is marred by the conflict between the  Greeks and Turks there.  A story about  Paradise, but one that is nearly destroyed by civil war.

Bodily Harm     Bodily Harm    
Margaret Atwood
    At

Rennie, a fashion reporter, recuperating from breast cancer,  visits a Caribbean island and finds herself draw into politics when she falls  in love with Paul, a leader of the revolution.  This novel investigates power--both personal  and political. Despite obstacles, Rennie learns to value herself and her  abilities.  

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society     The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society    
Mary Ann Shaffer
    Shaffer

A  diverse group of stalwart islanders defy curfew and hold book club meetings  after dark on a British island which the Germans occupied during World War II. A  thoughtful novel that examines the question of why some people collaborate with  the enemy while others do not. This book also demonstrates literature's ability  to inspire us and give solace during harsh times.

The Hungry Tide     The Hungry Tide    
Amitav Ghosh
    Gh

The lives of a scientist, a businessman and a local guide  intersect when they find themselves in the rich delta region of India. Piya has  come to study dolphins, Kanai is there to retrieve a package left to him by  someone who died twenty years ago, and Fokir, the local guide, steers them  upriver. He shares his deep knowledge of the river and its animals.  Interspersed with stories of everyday life, this  novel explores the area's history and myths, as well as the lives of dolphins.

The Mermaid Chair     The Mermaid Chair    
Sue Monk Kidd
    Ki

A Benedictine monastery, an intricately carved chair, an old  lady committing random of acts of violence and a love affair all make this an   interesting tale about Egret Island off the coast of South Carolina. Offering  plenty of atmosphere, canoe trips through beautiful swamps, and glimpses of  rich island culture this book, will transport you to a southern island.

The Shipping News     The Shipping News    
E. Annie Proulx
    Proulx

After  a series of family tragedies, a small-town journalist returns to his family's  roots, a watery place on Newfoundland's coast. Despite the fact that he's  violently afraid of water, Quoyle rebuilds a life with his two young daughters.  Darkly comic, this novel depicts a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.  Worth reading just to experience the local  dialect that is so richly explored.