Bobby's Staff Favorites

[Bobby in the early '80s]

I opened Annie Blooms over forty years ago, while still in law school. It remains my favorite place to be; the staff is exhilarating and there are books everywhere! I like complex stories with a twist in the world view. Dark humor also pleases me. In both fiction and nonfiction I like authors who can show me the world from fresh perspective.





Staff Pick Badge
The Golden Tresses of the Dead: A Flavia de Luce Novel By Alan Bradley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345540034
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Bantam - August 27th, 2019

Alan Bradley's tenth installation of the Flavia de Luce series, The Golden Tresses of the Dead is another charming adventure of teen chemical genius Flavia. The setting is a combination of Charles Dickens (absent parents, crumbling country estate with many secrets) and Edward Gorey (strange visitors, odd relatives and dark deeds). This one opens with the discovery of a severed finger in Flavia's sister's wedding cake ... and the mystery is afoot! The novels are sequenced but are enjoyable as individual tales, as well.

Staff Pick Badge
Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country By Pam Houston Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393357660
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 7th, 2020

Deep Creek by Pam Houston is, as two reviewers have declared, "a love letter to the earth" and those who inhabit it. It is an account of the beauty and brutality of living on a ranch in the high Colorado Rockies. The subtitle is a mild comment on the full freshness, warmth and humor it brings.

Staff Pick Badge
Where the Watermelons Grow By Cindy Baldwin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062665874
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Quill Tree Books - January 7th, 2020

Though I usually do not find young adult literature completely satisfying, I make an exception for Portland author Cindy Baldwin's Where the Watermelons Grow. It deals with mental illness and coming of age with so deft a touch, I felt changed by reading it.

Staff Pick Badge
Clock Dance By Anne Tyler Cover Image
Email or call to check availability.
ISBN: 9780525563020
Published: Vintage - April 30th, 2019

Clock Dance is pure Anne Tyler. A woman of a certain age and gentility responds to a call for help from a relatively unknown former girlfriend of her son. She lands in a modest neighborhood in Baltimore and, after having overstepped her bounds, ends up with a whole new family.

Staff Pick Badge
Bearskin: An Edgar Award Winner By James A. McLaughlin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062742803
Availability: Backordered - availability and arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Ecco - April 16th, 2019

Bearskin by James McLaughlin took my breath away. A man fleeing a Mexican drug cartel by working in the wilds of Virginia encounters both brutality and beauty in the isolated hills. This is a thriller written with the clear intensity and detail of Cormac McCarthy and it will totally absorb you.

Staff Pick Badge
Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive History's Most Iconic Extinct Creature By Ben Mezrich Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501135569
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Atria Books - June 12th, 2018

Woolly is a completely absorbing, intriguing, and controversial true story. Mezrich uses his ability to vividly dramatize nonfiction narratives (The Accidental Billionaires, Bringing Down The House) to weave together the stories of two brilliant scientists trying to save the world. A gifted geneticist works with a talented group of young scientists at Harvard's renowned genetics lab to splice the DNA from a frozen woolly mammoth into the DNA of a modern elephant to create a viable embryo. A hemisphere away, a world renowned and passionate conservationist has a scientific plan to save the permafrost from breaking down and releasing tons of methane by repopulating the tundra with giant herbivores. Of course it feels like Jurassic Park, but this is a real and ongoing current endeavor, with many fascinating ethical issues to ponder.

Staff Pick Badge
Truly Madly Guilty By Liane Moriarty Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250069801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Flatiron Books - July 25th, 2017

From the beginning it is clear that something terrible has happened at a neighborhood barbecue on “one ordinary afternoon” in suburban Sydney. The hosts are the flamboyant Vid and Tiffany whose backyard is a gilded homage to classic Greek décor replete with statuary fountains and gazebos. The guests are neighbors Erica & Oliver, tightly wound and childless and their close friends Clementine (a cellist with an audition for a dream job looming), her husband Sam, an intense parent of their two small daughters. Also present is an eccentric lurking neighbor and the bookish adolescent daughter of Vid and Tiffany. Erica and Clementine are life- long friends with sister-like connections and competitions. The story unfolds prism like through chapters reflecting each characters perceptions of the events often layer by layer. Suspense pulls the reader immediately into the story and the gradual intricate development of events and characters keeps one entranced. A completely compelling and thought provoking novel!

Staff Pick Badge
My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel By Elizabeth Strout Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812979527
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - October 11th, 2016

As a water skipper glides across the still surface of a teeming summer pond, so this beautiful novel gracefully moves across the life of Lucy Barton, gradually testing its depths. Lucy is a young woman living in NYC during the 1980s, married with two beloved young daughters, yet in virtual exile from her home in the rural Midwest. She is confined to a solitary hospital room for over two months with an unidentifiable infection. One day she wakes to find her estranged mother sitting at he foot of her bed. There is a sweet bravery in her mother's presence and, in her gently squeezing Lucy's toes and using her childhood name: "Wizzle". The hesitant give-and-take inevitably deepens into the tension beneath the surface. It is at times sad, but never ugly; and always riveting.

Staff Pick Badge
Our Souls at Night (Vintage Contemporaries) By Kent Haruf, Alan Kent Haruf Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101911921
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Vintage - June 28th, 2016

Sadly, Haruf passed away shortly after completing this exquisite final novel. Seventy-something widow Addie Moore walks down the block of her small town to make a proposal to Louis Waters, also in his seventies and windowed: namely, if he would consider coming to her house sometimes to sleep with her. She assures him it is not about sex but about companionship. Ursula Le Guin describes Haruf as "... stunningly original...He talks quietly, intimately, yet with reserve, as one adult to another." Our Souls at Night is a careful meditation, not without drama, upon the meaning of human companionship and the sometimes conflicting family ties. Fortunately Haruf leaves a treasury of work including Plainsong, Benediction, Eventide, Where You Once Belonged, and The Ties That Bind, all fine and thoughtful novels, each of which I can heartily recommend.

Staff Pick Badge
The Girl on the Train: A Novel By Paula Hawkins Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634024
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Riverhead Books - July 12th, 2016

What a wild ride! I would not have thought I would be so caught up in the entangled lives of a group of 30ish Londoners. Most reviews cite comparisons to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for its unpredictability and gripping narrative. However, Ms. Hawkins has upped the ante with a whole cast of unreliable characters and hidden agendas. Told from the point of view of three female narrators within a shifting timeline that brilliantly reveals their interconnectedness, The Girl on the Train is a fascinating and breath-taking psychological thriller that is both smart and magically engrossing.

Staff Pick Badge
The Samurai's Garden: A Novel By Gail Tsukiyama Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312144074
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - April 15th, 1996

I have long been recommending this fine novel to readers of all ages & persuasions. Ms Tsukiyama is half Japanese and half Chinese and brings a unique perspective to this tale of a young Chinese man who is sent to a small village in Japan on the eve of WWII to recover from TB. The only other person in the house is an old gardener whom he calls The Samurai. Through this gardener/mentor he meets a village of lepers and finds a new compassion. There is also a wonderful & poignant love story. -Bobby

Staff Pick Badge
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek By Annie Dillard Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061233326
Availability: Special Order - arrival estimates will be provided when your order is processed
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - September 10th, 2013

This is one of my all time favorite books! I used it to help keep my sanity during law school. This collection of musings on the strange & wonderful workings of nature based on a year spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains is thought provoking and delightful. It is one book I return to time & again to hone my sense of wonder when it begins to wane. -Bobby

Staff Pick Badge
Angle of Repose By Wallace Stegner Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101872765
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (updated daily)
Published: Vintage - November 4th, 2014

The most compelling thing about this fine novel is the central metaphor which is a term borrowed from physics indicating that fine & difficult balance that allows "repose" in relationships as well as in the physical world. The story traces four generations of one family as they attempt to build a life for themselves in the American West. -Bobby