2013 Selection: Sutton by J.R. Moehringer
Pulitzer Prize-winner Moehringer’s fictionalized account portrays one of the most notorious, romantic and enigmatic criminals of the first half of the 20th Century. A modern Robin Hood, the “Babe Ruth of Bank Robbers,” “The Actor” William Francis “Willie” Sutton during his 40-year career was a mystery, a folk hero, a lover of books, a reader of Dante…and a felon. He robbed banks “because that’s where the money is,” escaped from three maximum-security prisons and got by on his wits and Irish good looks. Why ?
2017 Selection: Dead Wake by Erik Larson
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is a 2015 New York Times non-fiction bestseller written by author Erik Larson. The book looks at the sinking of Lusitania during World War I and the events surrounding the sinking.
2014 Selection: The Manor: Three Centuries at a Slave Plantation on Long Island by Mac Griswold
“Long Islanders curious about the history of the land we now occupy will be moved by Griswold’s layered account, which continues to the present day.” – Newsday
“The book is strong in its vivid and compassionate description of the horrors of the slave trade… history buffs will love The Manor, and it tells a story that needs to be told.” – Washington Post
“A deeply researched painstakingly detailed story of a forgotten chapter of our nation’s history. Highly recommended.” – Kirkus
In 1984, landscape historian Mac Griswold came across Sylvester Manor, the 1650s former plantation on Shelter Island that has been home to 11 generations of the Sylvester family. After years of painstaking research, she tells the story of one of the earliest plantations in the North, dependent for nearly two centuries upon the labor of African-American slaves, Native Americans, and indentured servants. The book ranges from 16th century Europe to 21st century Shelter Island, where the property, still owned by descendants of the original family, continues to operate as a nonprofit educational foundation and organic farm.
2015 Selection: The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the 20th century. With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic and masterful storytelling to unite her characters in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of self-discovery in tumultuous times.
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2016 Selection: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Leaving Time is the story of a teen searching for her missing mother. Jenna was just a baby the night her mother disappeared from the Elephant Sanctuary where they lived. Now, ten years later, Jenna enlists the help of a disgraced psychic and disillusioned ex-cop in the hope of uncovering new evidence which may lead to her mother’s whereabouts. The mystery at the heart of the novel makes for a compelling read. However, it is the background research into elephant behavior which is the real strength of the novel.
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Spaceman by Mike Massimino
Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, is the spellbinding true story of the Long Island boy who became one of our best-known living space travelers. Despite daunting challenges and numerous setbacks, Mike never gave up his dream of becoming an astronaut. His book brings the reader into a rare, wonderful world where nerdy science meets thrilling adventure, and pulls back a curtain on just what it really means to have “the right stuff.”
“Every generation of astronauts needs a storyteller -- a person with wit, humor, and passion who has lived our collective dreams of space exploration and returned to tell us all about it. Mike Massimino is that person. He's that astronaut. And this is his story.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson
· Mike Massimino was born in Oceanside and grew up in Franklin Square. In Spaceman, he lovingly recalls his Long Island childhood, school, family, and neighborhood.
· Mike is a true local hero and his inspirational life story will appeal to readers of all ages.