Best of BARD: April 2015

by Tony Mareino,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Dust off the crown, the King is back. Patterson climbs back to the top in this month’s Best of BARD, comfortably roosting on his thrown, looking down at the imitators trying to usurp him. And they are not without merit – you may recognize the names Roberts, Kellerman, Clark as notorious heavy hitters – this month joined by the ultra popular The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It makes for a mammoth Top 5, full of murder, intrigue, gruesome psychopaths and gritty detectives. Strap on the headphones and immerse yourself, and we’ll see you next month.

NYPD Red 3
by James Patterson
DB 80831 / CL 15729
When billionaire businessman Hunter Alden Jr. makes a grisly discovery in his townhouse garage, New Year’s celebrations are cut short for detectives Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald. They are part of NYPD Red–the elite, highly trained task force assigned to protect the rich, the famous, and the connected. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.Sacred Sins by Roberts

Sacred Sins
by Nora Roberts
DB 52025 / CL 4713
A killer loose on the streets of Washington, D.C., has earned the nickname “The Priest,” since he strangles his victims with a clerical scarf and leaves a note forgiving them of their sins.  Psychiatrist Teresa Court offers to help find the killer and almost becomes a victim.  Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.  1987.

by Jonathan Kellerman
DB 80830 / CL 15702
LAPD police lieutenant Milo Sturgis agonizes over victims who go without justice–like Katherine Hennepin, a young woman strangled and stabbed in her home. As he and psychologist Alex Delaware are forced to move on to the next murder case, a bizarre clue stirs up eerie echoes of the unsolved Hennepin murder. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

The Cinderella Murder
by Mary Higgins Clark
DB 80205 / CL 15558
Reality television producer Laurie Moran, last seen in “I’ve Got You under My Skin” (DB 78644), now focuses on the cold case of UCLA student Susan Dempsey, who was murdered on her way to an acting audition. The original suspects are now tech billionaires and Hollywood elite. Some violence. 2014.The Girl on the Train by Hawkins
by Paula Hawkins
DB 80635 / CL 15739
Rachel’s train commute to London passes her former house–now inhabited by her ex-husband and his new family. She also observes a  happy young neighboring couple–but then the wife goes missing. Rachel believes she witnessed a critical clue, but her alcoholic blackouts make her an unreliable witness. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.

Donna Tartt

by Eric Meisberger,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Donna Tartt is an award winning American novelist (who was most recently awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2014) that has garnered the attention of lovers of literature all over the world. Her novels are highly regarded and heavily scrutinized, and the latest, The Goldfinch, has a wide breadth of reviews, from being called a literary masterpiece (by author Stephen King in the New York Times), to being soundly panned (by critic James Wood in The New Yorker).

We here at the LBPH have her three novels, so you can read them and decide for yourself. A literary tour de force, or too long and not worth the hype? You be the judge. Be sure to check out:

The Goldfinch
DB 77453 / CL 15372
At the age of thirteen, Theo Decker survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is raised by wealthy family friends. His one connection to his mother–a painting–draws Theo into New York City’s underground art world as he grows older. UNRATED. Commercial audiobook.    2013.

The Little Friend
DB 55856
1960s Mississippi.  Nine-year-old Robin Dufresnes is found hanging from a tree.  Twelve years later, his tomboyish sister Harriet, an infant at the time of the murder, begins to search for the killer.  With the help of her friend Hely, she concentrates on drug dealer Danny Ratliff.  Strong language and some violence.  Bestseller.  2002.

The Secret History
DB 35868
When Richard Papen is accepted at a small Vermont college, he gladly leaves his boring California identity behind. After he makes up an appropriate past, Richard is allowed to join an elite group of students who take all of their classes from one professor. Richard learns that the clique is hiding some odd secrets–and one deadly one. The members trust Richard, but they’re not so sure of one of their own. Strong language and violence. Bestseller. 1992.

Poem in Your Pocket

by Tony Mareino,
LBPH Reader Advisor

April 30th marks the last day of National Poetry Month, which also means it is “Poem in Your Pocket” day. I like this added celebration to what is already an important month to me, so I thought I would share some of my favorites in the collection, and also let you in on what poem I’m carrying around today.Poet Mary Oliver reading to her dog

New and Selected Poems, Vol. II
by Mary Oliver
DB 72765
Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner presents forty-two unpublished poems and sixty-nine selections from six of her past eight volumes. Her poem “Why I Wake Early,” from the book of the same title, celebrates the start of a new day. Sequel to “New and Selected Poems”. 2005.

Collected Poems
by Jack Gilbert
DB 74644
A half century of the Pittsburgh-born writer’s poetry, dating back to 1962 when he won the Yale Younger Poets Prize for his first anthology, Views of Jeopardy. Among the subjects are his working-class city, the women he has loved, and life’s losses. Includes twenty-one previously uncollected works. 2012.Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Lockwood

Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals
by Patricia Lockwood
DB 79898
Collection of thirty-one poems exploring facets of the human experience through gender and sexuality. “List of Cross-Dressing Soldiers” begins as a paean to women who went to war as men, but turns into a reflection of a sibling’s experience in battle. Some violence and some descriptions of sex. 2014.


Time You Let Me In: Twenty-Five Poets Under Twenty-Five
DB 71494
by Naomi Nye
Diverse poems that explore the coming-of-age period of life–both awkward and graceful, ordinary and astonishing–with hope, humor, and snazzy intelligence, says Nye, who selected the works. For senior high and older readers. 2010.

Finally, if you’ll indulge me, today I’m carrying “Wait” by Galway Kinnell, a poet who passed in October of last year, and whose works inspire fond memories. It is shared below:

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptinessGalway Kinnell at his desk
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

Günter Grass

by Tony Mareino,
LBPH Reader AdvisorAuthor Gunter Grass smoking a pipe

This month we lost Nobel Prize winning author, the great Günter Grass (1927-2015). Grass is perhaps best known for the “Danzig Trilogy”, which began with his iconic work, The Tin Drum. An early champion of the magical realism movement in literature most often attributed to Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende, Grass later in life wrote about his own version of his own impressions of historical events in My Century and also a trilogy of memoirs, beginning with Peeling the Onion. Discover Grass in the titles below:

The Tin Drum
DB 71622
Mental institution inmate and indomitable drummer Oskar Matzerath, who chose to stop growing at age three, writes his memoirs of Danzig, Germany, during the Nazi regime. Nobel Prize-winner’s 1959 novel in a 2009 translation by Breon Mitchell. Violence and descriptions of sex. 2009.

Tin Drum by GrassMy Century
DB 50065
Günter Grass, the 1999 winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, chronicles his own and Germany’s centennium through one hundred short stories, one for each year of the twentieth century. For 1989 Grass recalls a parent-teacher association’s concern about a schoolteacher’s “obsession with the past.” 1999.

Peeling the Onion
DB 65363
Memoir of the German writer and Nobel Prize winner for literature, author of “The Tin Drum”. Recalls his youthful ideals, his loves, work as a laborer, and his artistic career. Discusses his service in a WWII combat unit and describes his experience in an American POW camp. 2006.

Best of BARD: March 2015

by Tony Mareino,
LBPH Reader Advisor

Friends, I’m happy. You BARDers are utilizing the power of BARD well – knowing full well that you are first in line to get the books by the heavy hitters like Cornwell and Woods (an increasingly frequent presence on the Top 5) hot off the press, but also knowing that you can revisit the old classics as well. This month is a great example – two new titles, and then the bottom three some old favorites by familiar names in Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts. Wield the power, readers, and we’ll see you next time in the Top Five.

FlesFlesh and Blood by Cornwellh and Blood
by Patricia Cornwell
DB 80214 / CL 15494
Just after noticing an odd row of shiny 1981 pennies on her garden wall, Dr. Kay Scarpetta is notified that a homicide occurred five minutes away. It appears to be the work of a skilled serial sniper, who leaves only bits of copper behind. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2014.

Insatiable Appetites
by Stuart Woods
DB 80459 / CL 15652
Stone Barrington’s recent venture has achieved a great victory, but is he faced with a new challenge–an underhanded foe. Meanwhile, when Stone finds himself responsible for distributing the estate of a respected friend and mentor, the process reveals secrets that range from merely surprising to outright alarming. Unrated. Commercial audiobook.    2015.

River’s End
by Nora Roberts
DB 47830 / CL 6545
Since age four, Olivia has believed her father killed her mother. Over the years her terror faded–thanks to her mother’s family and the policeman who investigated the death. Now the officer’s son plans to write about the murder, and Olivia’s suppressed memories begin to surface. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 1999.

Genuine Lies
by Nora Roberts
DB 48723The Alibi by Brown
Julia Summers and son Brandon move to California, where she will write actress Eve Benedict’s biography. As Eve reveals secrets from her past, Julia begins receiving threats; she also falls in love with Eve’s stepson, Paul. Suddenly Julia is on trial for Eve’s murder. Some explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. Bestseller. 1991.

The Alibi
by Sandra Brown
DB 48870 / CL 6694
The day a wealthy businessman is murdered, Charleston assistant D.A. Hammond Cross is having sex with a woman he just met.  When she becomes a murder suspect, Cross realizes their meeting may have been planned.  But why isn’t she using him as her alibi?  Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex.  Bestseller.  1999.


One Book, One Community 2015

by Amanda Johnson,
LBPH Reader AdvisorOne Book One Community logo

Five Days at Memorial was selected as this year’s One Book, One Community pick by the Allegheny County Library Association. One Book, One Community is an annual reading program that has the simple goal of getting people together to discuss great books. Discussions are happening across Pittsburgh and Allegheny County​ and will continue throughout the year.

The book Five Days at Memorial is an extension of author and Pulitzer Prize winner Sherri Fink’s 2009 New York Times Magazine article, “The Deadly Choices at Memorial”. Faced with dwindling supplies and no electricity, medical staff and volunteers at the Memorial Hospital Building in New Orleans, work around the clock to evacuate patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After days of trying to attract helicopters and coordinate rescues with limited communication abilities and a mandatory evacuation order placed on the city, medical staff conclude that not everyone is going to be able to make it out alive.

Medical staff adopt a loosely discussed triage model for evacuation with the intention of “trying to do the most good for the greatest amount of people.” The questions raised in this book are, “Who should be saved and why?” and “How do we define the most good?” Also, “Should staff members be held liable for the deaths of patients in Five Days at Memorial by Finkdisaster scenarios?”

Members of the Health Committee for People with Disabilities and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped are organizing a book discussion on May 6, 2015 from 2-4PM at the Downtown Carnegie Library. The Downtown Carnegie Library is located at 612 Smithfield St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. To participate in the book club with members of HCPD contact Amanda at or call 1-800-242-0586.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm Ravaged Hospital
by Sheri Fink
DB 77656

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist reports on the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. Reconstructs the five days it took to rescue the hospital’s staff and patients and examines the life-and-death decisions made and the lawsuits that followed. 2013.​