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Staff Picks at CLP-Squirrel Hill

by Katherine Boo
India is in the midst of an economic explosion. Five-star hotels, airports and businesses hide the squatter slums where people are so destitute that they live in tin-roof shacks. The stories of the Mumbai slum will grab you and pull you in immediately.
– Kim
by Austin Grossman
Influenced by the author's experiences as a video game designer, Grossman's second novel follows Russell, an entry-level game designer at Black Arts games. Russell is at Black Arts because he is desperate for a job, but also because he really wants to know what happened to his late friend Simon, one of the founders of the company and the inventor of WAFFLE, Black Art's game engine. What follows is an exploration of Russell and Simon's past and present, an excavation of the secrets contained within WAFFLE, and a meditation on identity, friendship, and the quest for the ultimate game.
– Mark
by Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith's newest book may not be the easiest to read, but if you stick with it, you might be pleased. Smith uses several writing styles (on one page, the words are in the shape of a tree; my favorite section is written as a series of related, very short stories) to explore the lives of four characters. The differing styles may be jarring to some readers, but Smith is deft, as always, at writing about the issues of class and society and excels at showing her characters as not necessarily likeable, but completely recognizable human beings.
– Aisha
by Conor Grennan
Conor Grennan went to Nepal intending to volunteer a few months before continuing an around-the-world adventure. While volunteering at an orphanage outside of Kathmandu he learns that most of the sixteen boys and two girls living there aren't actually orphans but victims of child trafficking. The traffickers promised families living in a remote part of Nepal that for a large fee they would keep the children safe from Maoist rebels but instead sold or abandoned them far from home. The more Conor learns, the more he is moved by the children. He promises to return at the end of the year and what he sets into motion will amaze and inspire anyone.
– Gwen
by Jodi Kahn ; photography by Scott Jones ; illustrations by Mark Watkinson
Grab this book and you'll hear lots of compliments. "Simply Sublime Bags" is a great book for those of us looking for an easy afternoon or weekend craft. You'll find 30 DIY handbags like Tee Time - a no sew shoulder bag made from a t-shirt, Climbing the Wall - a bag made from wallpaper and Nights In Black Satin - an evening clutch made from satin ribbon.
– Kim
By Ben Macintyre
During World War ll, the British carefully duped the German Intelligence into believing that the Allies would invade Italy via Greece instead of the obviously better route, Sicily. This true story introduces a cast of characters of double agents both for the Allies and the Nazis. Everyone has an agenda and is always trying to out-think the enemy. Some of the characters are brilliant but dangerously na´ve while many others are brilliant and dangerous. This is a page-turner for espionage fans.
– Dorothy
By John Boyne
Set during the Holocaust, this is a tale of two boys, one the Auschwitz commandant's son and the other a Jewish boy named Shmuel, who come face to face at the barbed wire fence. Shmuel's father is missing and Bruno offers to help hunt for him; however, he will need a pair of those striped pajamas. Meanwhile, Bruno's mother decides to return to Berlin, and Bruno makes a fateful decision.
– Audrey
by Mark Yam
Compiled by a former senior editor of Blender magazine, Everybody Loves Our Town is an oral history of the grunge music era taken from over 200 interviews with musicians, producers, managers, and journalists. Some of the most popular bands of the genre tell their own stories, including Mudhoney, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, The Melvins, and The U-Men. Brutally honest and surprisingly sentimental at the same time, Everybody Loves Our Town documents the triumphs and tragedies of one of popular music's most unique movements.
– Mark