Staff Picks, Part VI: Suzanne

By Megan Bell Thursday, May 03, 2018

Suzanne smiles over a copy of Fool by Christopher Moore.

Suzanne works with us over at our sister store, Underground Books! Kind, generous, and attentive, Suzanne brings so much warmth to the bookstore, along with decades of administrative and customer support experience. Suzanne has an impressive collection of her favorite classics finely bound by such binders as Bayntun and Riviere, but she also enjoys a good page-turner! Her favorite pastimes include reading, book collecting, playing golf and tennis and attending music festivals. 





Fool by Christopher Moore

Fool Cover Image

I love Christopher Moore and Fool is one of my favorites.  It is the retelling of King Lear from the viewpoint of Pocket, the court jester.  Of the King’s three daughters, Pocket is closest to Cordelia who has been banished from the Kingdom by her father.  His bawdy and dimwitted apprentice, Drool, has been kidnapped.  Pocket, who is named for his small stature, schemes to return Cordelia and Drool home. This is a hilarious story of debauchery, bloodshed, witches and even a ghost. I would also recommend The Serpent of Venice, which is Moore’s equally entertaining sequel to Fool


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Puffin Chalk) Cover Image

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I’ve always had an overactive imagination, and as a child, I would spend an entire day lost in the magical world of Wonderland. It was just as enjoyable to go back as an adult and read it with an adult perspective. Nonsense at its best.


Wuthering Heights (Penguin Classics) Cover Image

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

The dark, tragic and complicated story of Heathcliff and Catherine has always captivated me.  It’s a story that is filled with love, class conflict, revenge and death.  The Moors is the perfect setting for this gothic tale.  There is no happy ending as Emily Brontë depicts love in all its dark and dysfunctional glory.


The Picture of Dorian Gray (Vintage Classics) Cover Image

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Dorian sells his soul so that his portrait will age instead of him.  He embarks on a hedonistic self-indulgent lifestyle as his portrait becomes hideously unrecognizable. This was assigned reading for me in the 11th grade and now has a permanent home on my favorite bookshelf.


Lightning by Dean Koontz

Lightning Cover Image

Lightning was my introduction to Dean Koontz and remains my favorite.  Stefan Krieger of Nazi Germany participates in a time travel experiment and happens upon the tragic life of Laura Shane.  He falls in love with her and makes it his purpose to continuously intervene in her life to right the wrongs that plague her.  The extra trips that he makes through time catches the attention of the Nazis and Stefan and Laura run for their lives as they discover the paradoxes of time travel and try to thwart Hitler’s evil plan.


World Made by Hand Cover Image

World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler

This is a dystopian novel set in Union Grove, NY.  Terrorists have bombed Los Angeles and Washington DC; a flu pandemic has wiped out much of the population and global warming is at its worst.  Oil is scarce and the survivors are left to try and live off the land and rebuild a society that has lost all modern comforts.  The protagonist, Robert Earle, has lost most of his family to illness and his son has left home to explore the country.   What I liked most about this book is that even with the collapse of civilization, there is a feeling of hope for the future.


This is by far my favorite Stephen King novel.  I saw the movie when I was 12 and could not wait to get my hands on the book.  The Overlook Hotel has a fascinating history of murder, madness and malevolent spirits.  The Torrance family move in for the winter as caretakers and quickly discover that this is not a normal hotel. Their young son Danny has a special gift that the hotel cook dubs the “shining”.  He sees things that others do not and has a not so imaginary friend that speaks to him.  His father, Jack, who is a writer, starts his descent into madness as the isolation and spirits start to take hold of him.  His wife and son soon realize that they are in danger not only from the hotel but from Jack.  Horror is one of my favorite genres and The Shining is at the top of my list.


 My mother gave the first book in this series to my son when he was 6.  It did not seem to be my type of book but he asked me to read it to him.  Since then, I have read the series at least 10 times so there is no way I can exclude it from this list.  I immediately fell in love with Hogwarts.  My favorite of the series is the last book,The Deathly Hallows.  Snape is my favorite character so I love how Harry was finally able to see everything Snape had been hiding from him.  These are stories I will still be reading when I am 70.


The Witching Hour (Lives of the Mayfair Witches) Cover Image

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

This is a story about a family of witches that spans centuries.  The Mayfair witches are well known in New Orleans, which is where they finally settled after originating in Scotland.  One witch is born into the family each generation.  She is recognized by the large emerald necklace she inherits and the malevolent brown eyed man known as Lasher that is always by her side.  A secret society called the Takamasa have been studying the Mayfairs for hundreds of years.  The cursed family is plagued by unexplained phenomena and tragic deaths. This is the first book of three that center around the Mayfair witches.


Saving Fish from Drowning (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Cover Image

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

I am a huge fan of Amy Tan and it is difficult to choose just one of her books.  I found Saving Fish from Drowning to be the most interesting.  Bibi Chen is an art patron in San Francisco who suddenly dies after planning a trip down the Burma Road for herself and eleven others.  Her group decides to take the trip without her and she watches their journey from the perspective of a ghost.  She watches as they make errors such as desecrating a sacred temple to crossing the border at Myanmar where they are captured by tribesmen.  It is different from Tan’s other novels, as it shies away from the mother/daughter theme that she is so well known for.  The novel explores human nature with a touch of humor.