James Picks

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton (Picture Book/Humor)
Princess Pinecone wants a powerful horse for her birthday so that she can become a great warrior. Instead, she receives an adorable pony who always seems just a little out of touch with what’s going on around them. The book his hilarious and heartwarming, designed for children of all ages. Who knew a pony with so many terrible sweaters could be so charming?

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christine (Mystery)
Since it’s Agatha Christie season in the movie theaters again, I went back to one of my favorites. After his retirement from detection, Hercules Poirot finds himself investigating the death of his friend, Roger Ackroyd. Clues and red herrings pile up until it appears there is no clear solution. The last chapters lead up to a stunning conclusion that still shocks readers 90 years after its first publication. In 2013, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was voted the “Best Crime Novel Ever” by the British Crime Writer’s Association.

A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar (Biography)
Nasar’s biography of the 1994 Nobel Prize Winner John Forbes Nash Jr. is a surprisingly sympathetic and gripping portrait of an artist in a field we don’t generally think of as all that artistic: economic theory. Nasar weaves Nash’s life and his work in game theory into a coherent whole, documenting his lifelong troubles with schizophrenia with an intelligent sympathy. It was made into a film with Russell Crowe in 2001, but as in most cases the book is better than the film. Since Nash’s death in 2015, this book serves as the best source for a look at his interesting and influential life.