Friday, August 8, 6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft. An Evening with Patricia Skilka. Death Stalks Door County pits a troubled former Chicago cop against a clever killer in a smart, hard-edge detective story of greed, revenge and lost love. Six deaths mar the holiday mood as summer vacationers enjoy Wisconsin's beautiful Door County peninsula. Murders, or bizarre accidents? Newly hired park ranger Dave Cubiak, a former Chicago homicide detective, assumes the worst but refuses to get involved. Grief-stricken and guilt-ridden over the loss of his wife and daughter, he's had enough of death. Forced to confront the past, the morose Cubiak moves beyond his own heartache and starts investigating, even as a popular festival draws more people into possible danger. In a desperate search for clues, Cubiak uncovers a tangled web of greed, betrayal, bitter rivalries, and lost love beneath the peninsula's travel-brochure veneer. Befriended by several locals but unsure whom to trust or to suspect of murder, the one-time cop tracks a clever killer. Set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty, Death Stalks Door County introduces a new crime series, "The Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries." Death Stalks Door County marks the fiction debut of award-winning, Chicago writer Patricia Skalka. A lifelong reader and writer, she turned to fiction following a successful career in nonfiction. Her many credits include: Staff Writer for Reader's Digest, magazine editor, freelancer, ghost writer, writing instructor and book reviewer. Patricia has outlined four more books for her crime series, The Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries. "Who would have guessed that so many dark secrets and sinister deeds lurk beneath the surface of Door County's idyllic communities? A very satisfying read, and the arrival of a fresh, talented voice." - Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River.
June Melbey shares My Family and Other Hazards: A Memoir
Tuesday, August 12, 6pm at The Reader's Loft. June Melby will join "A Reader's Loft Book Club" circle for this discussion. You are always welcome to attend any and all Reader's Loft Book Club gatherings, whether or not the chosen book has been read by you! A funny, heartwarming memoir about saying goodbye to your childhood home, in this case a quirky, one-of-a-kind, family-run miniature golf course in the woods of Wisconsin. When June Melby was ten years old, her parents decided on a whim to buy the miniature golf course in the small Wisconsin town where they vacationed every summer. Without any business experience or outside employees, the family sets out to open Tom Thumb Miniature Golf to the public. Naturally, there are bumps along the way. In "My Family and Other Hazards," Melby recreates all the squabbling, confusion, and ultimately triumph, of one family's quest to build something together, and brings to life the joys of one of America's favorite pastimes. In sharp, funny prose, we get the hazards that taunted players at each hole, and the dedication and hard work that went into each one's creation. All the familiar delights of summer are here--snowcones and popcorn and long days spent with people you love. Melby's relationship with the course is love-hate from the beginning, given the summer's freedom it robs her of, but when her parents decide to sell the course years later, her panicked reaction surprises even her. Now an adult living in Hollywood, having flown the Midwest long ago, she flies back to the course to help run it before the sale goes through, wondering if she should try to stop it. As the clock ticks, she reflects on what the course meant to her both as a child and an adult, the simpler era that it represents, and the particular pains of losing your childhood home, even years after you've left it.
The Glass Castle: A Memoir
Tuesday, September 9, 6pm at The Reader's Loft. Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town--and the family--Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home. What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.
Thursday, September 11, 6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft. Monument Road. Stark, beautiful landscapes attract all kinds. Artists and gawkers. Love birds and the lonely. Believers and scientists. Seekers and losers. Many have taken this road past estrangement and loss to healing and hope. Though not all have returned, they can still help him answer whether his life is over after all. Monument Road is set at the beginning of the housing crash on the fringes of a boom and bust town in Western Colorado. Land values are starting to drop and properties bought in a speculative time are fraying around the edges. Leonard's relationship to the family homestead has always been uneasy because of the way it came to him, and after his wife dies, he sees the Reverse Dollar ranch as simply an asset to help him discharge his debtsif only there were buyers. A real estate broker appears too late with an unconventional proposal that could benefit Leonard. He's already worked out his plan to the end. Let the bill collectors finish up the paperwork. He's always lived with a fierce independence that won him more respect than friends. Relationships were always Inetta's department. But out here in this harsh place, something beyond social niceties binds people. Call it history. Call it shared pain. Everybody sometime has driven Monument Road.
James P. Lenfestey presents "Seeking the Cave"
Thursday, October 9, 6:30 pm at The Reader's Loft. When award-winning poet and essayist James P. Lenfestey stumbled upon Han-shan's Cold Mountain poems in 1974, he found more than just literature, he found the medicine his spirit desperately needed. So thirty years later, when he decides to depart from his career in advertising and journalism to travel across the world to find the location of the legendary Cold Mountain cave, he embarks upon an inner journey as well. Exploring the history of Chinese poetry and religion as he goesfrom the enormous chanting hall of ten thousand Buddhas in Bailin Temple to the birthplace of ConfuciusLenfestey's road-trip across China is a pilgrimage through language and landscape. His journey reveals his desire for calm reflection along with his unbridled curiosity and passion for knowledge. In the end he discovers not only the cave he seeks, but also the transformative power of poetry, the best tool we have for expressing the "incomprehensible joy" of our brief and precious lives. Interspersed with poems by the author and Han-shan, Seeking the Cave is a journey suffused with humor and deep honesty that will appeal to lovers of poetry and travel writing alike. James P. Lenfestey is an award-winning academic, advertising executive, and journalist. He has published five books of poetry and a collection of essays. He currently chairs the Literary Witnesses poetry series and lives in Minneapolis.
Manuscript Found in Accra
Tuesday, October 14, 6:00 pm at The Reader's Loft. The great wisdom of life is that we can be masters of the things that try to enslave us. "There is nothing wrong with anxiety. Although we cannot control God's time, it is part of the human condition to want to receive the thing we are waiting for as quickly as possible. Or to drive away whatever is causing fear. Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind. And since we will never be able to master it, we will have to learn to live with it - just as we have learned to live with storms." 1099. Jerusalem awaits the invasion of the crusaders who have surrounded the city's gates. There, inside the ancient city's walls, women and men of every age and faith have gathered to hear the wisdom of a mysterious man known only as the Copt. As the wise man speaks of loyalty, fear, bravery and solitude, of love, sex, beauty and elegance, his words offer truth and guidance, and reveal the human values that have endured throughout time - then as now, his words reveal who we are, what we fear and what we hope for the future.
Tuesday, November 11, 6:00 pm at The Reader's Loft. When Bea Seidl was a young girl growing up in the Fox River Valley in northeastern Wisconsin, she was abruptly chaperoned in a fancy new dress to a new life. Before she could hardly make sense of what was happening, she was the newest resident of St. Joseph's Orphanage in Green Bay, where stern nuns, rigid regimens, and scant tenderness defined her days. She emerged from eight years there hard of heart and spirit but soon embarked on a life journey to rediscover the meaning of family in ways she did not imagine possible. Orphan Doors is Seidl's inspiring, poignant memoir of survival and personal strength that is certain to resonate with anyone who believes in the resiliency of the human heart. Both deeply felt and delightfully humorous, her firsthand account of an abusive home and abandonment charts her beginnings in a dysfunctional family to her own attempts as an adult to forge a family of her own, a desire at times met with tragedy and ultimately with profound joy. In 1942, Seidl was given over to St. Joseph's Orphanage, with no explanation as to why her mother Glenda lost custody of her and her siblings. Most traumatic for the author was the loss of her older sister, who had long served as her protector in their chaotic household. At the punitive hands of Sister Edythe and other sisters at the orphanage, young Beatrice was given little comfort, immersing herself in schoolwork. However, she eventually found a rewarding life for herself in her beautiful and tender husband, Ken. It was not too long before fate intervened and a young, widowed Beatrice had to find a new path to a fulfilling, family life- and even a way back to the Catholic Church as a gratifying vocation. As Seidl rises above dark days and emotional isolation, Orphan Doors offers an uplifting story of hope, happiness, and a good dose of plain silliness. It's a heartfelt testament to love, reconnection, and the healing power of laughter.
The Art Forger
Tuesday, December 9, 6:00 pm at The Reader's Loft. On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there's more to this crime than meets the eye. Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting - one of the Degas masterpieces stolen from the Gardner Museum - in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when the long-missing Degas painting - the one that had been hanging for one hundred years at the Gardner - is delivered to Claire's studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery. Claire's search for the truth about the painting's origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life. B. A. Shapiro's razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats us to three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors. It's a dazzling novel about seeing - and not seeing - the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.
Julie Buckels & James M. Jackson
Saturday, September 13, 1:00 PM at The Reader's Loft.
Julie Buckles was born in the driftless region of Wisconsin to a dairy farmer and a nurse.
She studied history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Buckles has worked as a reporter and freelance writer and teaches journalism as an adjunct professor at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. She is a regular contributor to Lake Superior Magazine and WPR's Wisconsin Life.
Paddling to Winter: A Couple's Wilderness Journey from Lake Superior to Northern Canada is a memoir that tells the story of how Julie and her husband
Charly Ray built a wood and canvas canoe, exchanged marriage vows, and paddled away from their front yard, planning to travel 2,700 miles to the Arctic Ocean and winter over in a tiny cabin. Told in Julie's page-turning style, their story is full of humor and humility, rapids and relationships, love and life. It's an adventure about a couple's wilderness journey from Lake Superior to the Canadian north.
Jame M. Jackson is the author of the Seamus McCree mysteries, Bad Policy (March 2013) and Cabin Fever (coming April 2014), published by Barking Rain Press.
Bad Policy won the Evan Marshall Fiction Makeover Contest. James splits his time between the Upper Peninsula of Michigan woods and Georgia's low country, and has published an acclaimed book on contract bridge, One Trick at a Time: How to Start Winning Bridge (Master Point Press 2012).
When private financial investigator Seamus McCree returns to Cincinnati after a routine business trip, he discovers that his home has become a crime scene for a brutal murder. The victim in his basement is an acquaintance from a previous corporate investigation-and endured bullets to both of his ankles, knees and elbows before the final shot to his forehead put him out of his misery. No one has seen an "IRA six pack" victim since the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. Now the primary "person of interest" in the murder, Seamus must use his talent for logic and hard work to prove his innocence. Soon he uncovers a trail that leads back to his Boston roots-and a poisonous family feud dating from the divorce of Boston's Irish mafia and the Provisional IRA in the 1970s. Driven by the chilling realization that there was more behind the death of his policeman father than he ever knew, Seamus ignores warnings from the police, friends and enemies and continues to dig for the truth. As the body count climbs, all trails seem to lead back to him, and Seamus is forced to go underground to find out who is framing him - and why - before he becomes the next victim.
A Summer Reading Retrospective
Publish date: 2013-09-01. I realize that a fair amount of time has passed since our last newsletter to you, our valued customers. While I may not have been in direct contact lately, I assure you much of that time was spent with my nose in a book. In an effort to reconnect I have compiled a list here of my favorite titles for the summer of 2013. For propriety's sake I have not included titles that found merely adequate.
into the Free, by Julie Cantrell
A beautiful literary coming of age story. " A lyrical, moving, haunting, wise, brutal , warmhearted, and ultimately freeing and inspiring coming of age tale told with poetic honestly", Jennifer Niven, author of Velva Jean Learns to Drive. This is a compelling story about personal struggle and spiritual resilience.
Evidence of Life, by Barbara Taylor Sissel
A tale about what transpires after Lindsey's 'last ordinary day'. Her husband and daughter leave on a weekend camping trip and encounter the unexpected....a horrible flood, an unplanned detour, and a twisted visitor that no one knew was even in the picture...a gripping tale, taut and chilling, about the invisible fractures that can shatter a family and a mother caught in a web of lies that nearly unhinge her.
Dream with Little Angels, by Michael Hiebert
Welcome to a trip to the dark side of small town Alabama. This is an expertly written debut of a small southern town haunted by tragedy. A work of literary suspense of a young boy coming of age as one brave woman, his mother, struggles to put an unsolved mystery to rest. As the town scours the woods and fields for two missing girls, his mother is battling small town bureaucracy; Abe our young protagonist traverses the shifting ground between innocence and a hard-won understanding of an often unjust world.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, by Anton Disclafani
It is 1930, in the midst of the great depression and Thea Atwell has been cast out of her home, exiled to an equestrian boarding school for southern debutantes. This is much less a story about horses than it is about a young girl far removed from her dream-like, roaming existence, struggling not only with her responsibility for events of the past but her growing fascination or rather obsession with the head master of her new school . This novel is part love storyGirls and part heartbreaking family drama about money, love, family, class and home. While the depression marked a economic awakening for the country as a whole, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls marked a sexual awakening for Thea starkly marked against modest southern decorum.
The Edge of the Earth
Christina Schwarz, Atria, Publish date: 2013-04-02, Hardcover, Review date: 04-08-2013. Christina Schwartz, highly recognized author Drowning Ruth, has created, in my humble opinion, another masterpiece. While definitely dark and at times fairly disturbing, Scwartz has crafted a tense story with clearly defined characters. Her ability to capture a sense of place is unsurpassed. Set shortly before the turn of the 20th century, The Edge of the Earth entices the reader to explore the haunting existence of life at a lighthouse off the Northern California coast. Trudy, a well-educated young Milwaukee woman accustomed to the finer things in life is preordained to marry the stable but boring Ernst. Naturally she is undeniably drawn to his ne'er do well, idealistic cousin Oskar and is soon married to him and being whisked off to the wilds of the forbidding island. Upon their arrival at St. Lucia, which is nothing more than an isolated mass of jagged rocks separated from the main land by miles of ocean; Trudy and Oscar find themselves essentially at the mercy of the formidable and secretive Crawley family. Trudy first begins to realize that this island holds many secrets and that these buried histories when finally uncovered, lead certain characters to bizarre and unpredictable behavior.
The Fourth Assassin
Matt Beynon Rees, Soho Crime, Publish date: 2011-02-01, 9781569478851, Paperback. This is the fourth in the series of mysteries that takes place in the Palestinian occupied territories, and features Omar Yussef, an aging teacher in a UN school. The Fourth Assassin, however, takes place in New York City, and deals as much with the Palestinian immigrant experience as it does with internal Palestinian politics. Yussef is in NYC to attend a UN conference, but takes the opportunity to visit his youngest son Ala, who lives with several roommates in a largely Palestinian neighborhood in Brooklyn. When he first arrives at the apartment, he discovers a headless corpse. Ala is subsequently arrested for the murder, prompting Yussef to try to unravel the threads of the story involving illegal drugs, politics, and the difficulties of immigrants from a traditional Arab culture in adapting to a modern Western metropolis. Matt Beynon Rees, having been a journalist in the Middle East for over a decade, has an intimate knowledge of his subject, and no illusions about the major players. This is a highly readable addition to this series which has taught its readers much about what it's like to be an ordinary Palestinian, a perspective that has been in short supply in the West.
Mary Doria Russell, Random House, Publish date: 2011-05-01, 9781400068043, Hardcover. John Henry "Doc" Holliday is an historical figure around whom much mythology has gathered. Mary Doria Russell has applied her considerable research skills to discover the true figure, and she has brought to life a remarkably well-bred and educated character. That he appears complex and sometimes mysterious is a tribute to her skill as a writer. He was a skilled dental surgeon raised among Georgia aristocracy, who contracted tuberculosis at a young age thus compelling him to relocate to the Southwest, among the brawling miners and cattlemen of the mostly lawless western frontier. Russell chooses to omit the famous gunfight at the OK Corral from her narrative, presumably because it is already well documented. She refers to it obliquely several times, but her story essentially ends before it takes place. The author is clearly more interested in portraying the dying man as a gentleman among frontiersmen, and her portrayal of the Earp brothers and other historical figures gives sharp contrast to her portrait of Holliday. I am not especially fond of this period of American history or its icons, but I have admired her writing for a long time, and was not disappointed. Doc is as absorbing and well written as any of her previous novels, and adds considerable depth to the stereotypes that are often applied to these well-known names.
The Obituary Writer
Ann Hood, Norton, Publish date: 2013-03-04, Hardcover, Review date: 06-05-2013. The Obituary Writer is a novel that looks at two women who are both at odds with the voice inside that speaks quietly of greater possibility. Two women, two separate eras; one is an accidental obituary writer living in the California Bay area in 1919, while the second is a young mother living in New England during the Kennedy campaign and election. The obituary writer was my favorite character because of her independence as a woman living in a time when the expectations of women were neatly defined. She, however, chose to follow her heart and search for her lover who went missing after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. As a result of her search, Vivien stumbles upon the arduous task of writing obituaries for the loved ones of the newly grieving who find their way to her door. Her calm spirit and gentle hospitality allows for her guests to let their grief flow out of them, find its way to her writing table, and into the newspaper as a beautiful and noble commemoration, rather than a list of facts. It is through these brief relationships that Vivien is able to understand her own longing and grief for a man she believes is not dead but instead lost somewhere in the world, with no memory of his former life. Claire is a mother and homemaker living in a loveless marriage. She is obsessed with Jackie O. and spends her days chasing her daughter, chatting with the neighborhood wives and attending dinner parties with her cold and assuming husband. Clearly, Claire needs more. When a new couple moves into town and into a house that holds its own dark past, Claire finds the spark that has been missing. Vivien and Claire's lives do finally intersect, but Ann Hood's look at time, place and the human condition is the what drives this story.
Jami Attenberg, Grand Central Publishing, Publish date: 2012-10-31, $24.99, Hardcover, Review date: 01-04-2013.
The Middlesteins are a 21st century Jewish family of adults (with a pair of teen-aged grandchildren) living in and around Chicago.
At the center of the story is the matriarch of the family Edie, who is eating herself to death. Edie was born to a young Jewish couple living on the 4th floor of an elevatorless apartment in Chicago, and grew into a rotund and opinionated child who would not be denied the food shel loved. Food was community, food was conversation, food was comfort and food was love. Edie's father, originally from Kiev, became the perpetual host to a group of men from the synagogue, the University, and to those he'd adopted fresh from Russia. Their discussions rotated around a table filled with "whitefish and herring, bagels, the lox, the various spreads of sometimes indeterminate meat", and focused on a mutual obsession with Golda Meir and a strong devotion to Israel. Meanwhile, Edie's mother kept busy at the kitchen counter smoking cigarettes and slicing vegetables. Edie listened and ate. Moving forward, we meet Edie's husband Richard, a self made pharmacy owner who after 30 years of marriage - has chosen to leave Edie in the depths of her struggle with diabetes, and just prior to another life saving medical procedure. Edie must have a second stent inserted into the vein of her other leg in order to keep the blood flowing properly. As a result of his choice to leave, Richard becomes ostracized by the family (the female members, anyway), and begins to feel the absence of a type of love he has grown to live without. The pharmacy reflects the cobwebs, dusty shelves and meager choices Richard has grown accustomed to, yet he will not close the doors. Edie and Richard have two children Benny and Robin. Benny is a bit ambivalent regarding concern for his mother's health and his father's personal welfare, but his wife Rachelle is not. Rachelle is intent on saving her mother-in-law while in the midst of planning the perfect b'nai mitzvah party for their twins. She also insists on healthy, tasteless meals for them all. After all, Edie is dying from food. Rachelle's final declarition comes in a bannishment of Richard. What kind of man leaves his dying wife of 30 years?
Robin has spent the past 13 years rejecting all things Jewish.
She has grown into a scornful schoolteacher, living in an apartment in the city, and seeking a spirit scented solace in the bar across the street, sitting side-by-side with her upstairs neighbor Daniel. Robin is angry at the past. She is angry at the food that replaced the love she desired from her parents. She is angry that her father has left her and Benny with the daunting task of trying to keep their mother alive, let alone on a path to restored health. And, on top of all of that, she is beginning to have oh, wait a minute feelings for her drinking partner/upstairs neighbor, who is also Jewish and determined (despite his overall meekness) to have her join him to celebrate Seder with his family.
Jami Attenberg has created a branch of a family who came of age in the shadow of its former hunger-struck and impoverished self seeking freedom and comfort in the cradle of America.
She remains sympathetic to the characters she's created, despite the most negative or resentful emotion, feeling or statement that any one of these newly complex characters has to offer. The level of wit and humor is just right, and her attention to the character food plays in the story is what makes the whole thing work. Though there were times when I felt disdain for some of the characters, in the end I found an appreciation for who they -beneath the weight, the facade, the cloud of perfection or anger - were as individual parts of a whole family.
The Emerald Atlas
John Stephens, Alfred A. Knopf, Publish date: 2011-04-01, 9780375868702, Hardcover. Synopsis: Ages: 8 to 13. Review: One night ten years ago Kate, Michael, and Emma were taken away from their parents in order that they be protected from a force of unimaginable evil. After being tossed from orphanage to orphanage, they arrive in Cambridge Falls. Cambridge Falls is a completely downtrodden and very eerie town. The orphanage itself mirrors the rest of the town; it is a huge old mansion with no other children and run by a strange old man. Before meeting this man, they explore the house until they come upon a mysteriously appearing door through which the three enter into a room that seems to have no walls. On the desk they find an old leather bound emerald book that appears to have all blank pages. Right as they are about to leave, Michael accidentally drops a picture into the book's pages and suddenly they are transported into the past of Cambridge Falls. This Cambridge Falls is a place where humans live alongside magical creatures. However, it is also a town in trouble. An evil Countess rules with violence and the children of the town are under attack. Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma realize that the fate of this town depends on them. The Emerald Atlas, the first of three novels, is full to the brim with magic, suspense, and adventure. John Stephens weaves a tale that will make people of every age crave more.
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
Heidi Durrow, Algonquin Books, Publish date: 2010-12-21, 9781616200152, Paperback. Told from multiple perspectives, this jewel of a novel examines what it is like to grow up biracial in America. Rachel, the sole survivor of a violent family tragedy, is sent to live with her grandmother in a predominantly black community in Portland, Oregon. After growing up in Europe, the blue eyed daughter of a Danish citizen and an African American G.I., she had never seen herself as anything other than a loving daughter. This all is challenged as she faces growing up without her parents and being perceived as black for the first time. Spanning over ten years of Rachel's life, in this book the reader can feel her bewilderment and frustration as she deals with boys, school, memories of her family, and stereotypes forced upon her by the outside world. As questions are slowly answered about her past, the reader begins to look up to Rachel for dealing with the problems of her past and the questions of her future with immense wisdom and patience. The thoroughly deserving winner of the Belafonte Prize for fiction, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky will haunt readers for months after they finish absorbing it. Through agonizingly beautiful prose, Durrow's novel is not only a modern coming-of-age tale but also becomes significant social commentary.
Fresh Stories For Lovers of Fiction
Mambo in Chinatown, By Jean Kwok
Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New Yorks Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Though an ABC (America-born Chinese), Charlies entire world has been limited to this small area. Now grown, she lives in the same tiny apartment with her widower father and her eleven-year-old sister, and works-miserably-as a dishwasher. But when she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie gains access to a world she hardly knew existed, and everything she once took to be certain turns upside down. Gradually, at the dance studio, awkward Charlies natural talents begin to emerge. With them, her perspective, expectations, and sense of self are transformed-something she must take great pains to hide from her father and his suspicion of all things Western. As Charlie blossoms, though, her sister becomes chronically ill. As Pa insists on treating his ailing child exclusively with Eastern practices to no avail, Charlie is forced to try to reconcile her two selves and her two worlds-Eastern and Western, old world and new-to rescue her little sister without sacrificing her newfound confidence and identity.
Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever, By Dave Eggers
From Dave Eggers, best-selling author of The Circle, a tightly controlled, emotionally searching novel. Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? is the formally daring, brilliantly executed story of one man struggling to make sense of his country, seeking answers the only way he knows how. In a barracks on an abandoned military base, miles from the nearest road, Thomas watches as the man he has brought wakes up. Kev, a NASA astronaut, doesn't recognize his captor, though Thomas remembers him. Kev cries for help. He pulls at his chain. But the ocean is close by, and nobody can hear him over the waves and wind. Thomas apologizes. He didn't want to have to resort to this. But they really needed to have a conversation, and Kev didn't answer his messages. And now, if Kev can just stop yelling, Thomas has a few questions.
Eyrie, By Tim Winston
In Eyrie, Winton crafts the story of Tom Keely, a man struggling to accomplish good in an utterly fallen world. Once an ambitious, altruistic environmentalist, Keely now finds himself broke, embroiled in scandal, and struggling to piece together some semblance of a life. From the heights of his urban high-rise apartment, he surveys the wreckage of his life and the world hes tumbled out of love with. Just before he descends completely into pills and sorrow, a woman from his past and her preternatural child appear, perched on the edge of disaster, desperate for help. When you're fighting to keep your head above water, how can you save someone else from drowning? As Keely slips into a nightmarish world of con artists, drug dealers, petty violence, and extortion, Winton confronts the cost of benevolence and creates a landscape of uncertainty. Eyrie is a thrilling and vertigo-inducing morality tale, at once brutal and lyrical, from one of our finest storytellers.
All Light We Cannot See, By Anthony Doerr
Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Doerr's gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work.
Remember Me Like This, By Bret Anthony Johnston
A gripping novel with the pace of a thriller but the nuanced characterization and deep empathy of some of the literary canon's most beloved novels, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as one of the most gifted storytellers writing today. With his sophisticated and emotionally taut plot and his shimmering prose, Johnston reveals that only in caring for one another can we save ourselves. Four years have passed since Justin Campbell's disappearance, a tragedy that rocked the small town of Southport, Texas. Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Did he drown in the bay? As the Campbells search for answers, they struggle to hold what's left of their family together. Then, one afternoon, the impossible happens. The police call to report that Justin has been found only miles away, in the neighboring town, and, most important, he appears to be fine. Though the reunion is a miracle, Justin's homecoming exposes the deep rifts that have diminished his family, the wounds they all carry that may never fully heal. Trying to return to normal, his parents do their best to ease Justin back into his old life. But as thick summer heat takes hold, violent storms churn in the Gulf and in the Campbells' hearts. When a reversal of fortune lays bare the family's greatest fears-and offers perhaps the only hope for recovery-each of them must fight to keep the ties that bind them from permanently tearing apart.
The End of Always, By Randi Davenport
"A stunning debut novel, The End of Always tells the story of one young woman's struggle to rise above a vicious family legacy and take charge of her own life." In 1907 Wisconsin, seventeen-year-old Marie Reehs is determined: she will not marry a violent man, as did her mother and grandmother before her. Day after day, Marie toils at the local laundry, watched by an older man who wants to claim her for his own. Night after night, she is haunted by the memory of her mother, who died in a mysterious accident to which her father was the only witness. She longs for an independent life, but her older sister wants nothing more than to maintain the family as it was, with its cruel rules and punishments. Her younger sister is too young to understand. At first, it seems that Marie's passionate love affair with a charismatic young man will lead her to freedom. But she soon realizes that she too may have inherited the Reehs women's dark family curse. Set in the lush woods and small towns of turn-of-the-century Wisconsin, and inspired by real events in the author's family history, The End of Always is a transcendent story of one woman's desperate efforts to escape a brutal heritage. Both enthralling and deeply lyrical, Randi Davenport's novel is also an intensely affecting testament to the power of determination and hope, and a gripping reminder of our nation's long love affair with violence.
The Blessings, By Elise Juska
When John Blessing dies and leaves behind two small children, the loss reverberates across his extended family for years to come. His young widow, Lauren, finds solace in her large clan of in-laws, while his brother's wife Kate pursues motherhood even at the expense of her marriage. John's teenage nephew Stephen finds himself involved in an act of petty theft that takes a surprising turn, and nephew Alex, a gifted student, travels to Spain and considers the world beyond his family's Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. Through departures and arrivals, weddings and reunions, The Blessings reveals the interior worlds of the members of a close-knit Irish-Catholic family and the rituals that unite them.
The Snow Queen, By Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham's luminous novel begins with a vision. It's November 2004. Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, is walking through Central Park when he is inspired to look up at the sky; there he sees a pale, translucent light that seems to regard him in a distinctly godlike way. Barrett doesn't believe in visions-or in God-but he can't deny what he's seen. At the same time, in the not-quite-gentrified Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, Tyler, Barrett's older brother, a struggling musician, is trying-and failing-to write a wedding song for Beth, his wife-to-be, who is seriously ill. Tyler is determined to write a song that will be not merely a sentimental ballad but an enduring expression of love. Barrett, haunted by the light, turns unexpectedly to religion. Tyler grows increasingly convinced that only drugs can release his creative powers. Beth tries to face mortality with as much courage as she can summon. Cunningham follows the Meeks brothers as each travels down a different path in his search for transcendence. In subtle, lucid prose, he demonstrates a profound empathy for his conflicted characters and a singular understanding of what lies at the core of the human soul.
The Garden of Burning Sand, By Corban Addison
Zoe Fleming, an accomplished young human rights attorney, has made a life for herself in Zambia, far from her estranged father--an American business mogul with presidential aspirations--and from the devastating betrayals of her past. When a young girl with Down syndrome is sexually assaulted in a Lusaka slum, Zoe joins Zambian police officer Joseph Kabuta in investigating the rape. Piecing together clues from the victim's past, they discover an unsettling connection between the girl-Kuyeya-and a powerful Zambian family who will stop at nothing to bury the truth. As they are drawn deeper into the complex web of characters behind this appalling crime, Zoe and Joseph forge a bond of trust and friendship that slowly transforms into love. Opposed on all sides, they find themselves caught in a dangerous clash between the forces of justice and power. To successfully prosecute Kuyeya's attacker and build a future with Joseph, Zoe must risk her life and her heart-and confront the dark past she thought she had left behind.
Delicious!, By Ruth Reichl
Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York's most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water--until she is welcomed by the magazine's colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari's, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills. To Billie's surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine's library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu's letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.
Mind of Winter, By Laura Kasischke
The critically acclaimed and bestselling author of The Rising returns with a haunting and shadowy thriller about the love between a mother and daughter. Something had followed them from Russia. On a snowy Christmas morning, Holly Judge awakens, the fragments of a nightmare - something so important that she must write it down - floating on the edge of her consciousness. Something had followed them from Russia. It was thirteen years ago that she and her husband, Eric, went to Siberia to adopt the sweet, dark-haired child they had wanted so desperately. How they laughed at the nurses of Pokrovka Orphanage #2 with their garlic and superstitions, and ignored their insistent warnings. After all, their fairy princess Tatiana - Baby Tatty - was perfect. As the snow falls, enveloping the world in its white silence, Holly senses that something is not right, and has never been right in the years since they brought their daughter home. Now Tatty is a dangerously beautiful, petulant, and often erratic teenager, and Holly feels there is something evil lurking within their house. She and Tatiana are alone. Eric is stuck on the roads, and none of the other guests for Christmas dinner will be able to make it through the snow. With each passing hour, the blizzard rages and Tatiana's mood darkens, her behavior becoming increasingly disturbing...until, in every mother's worst nightmare, Holly finds she no longer recognizes her daughter.
Chestnut Street, By Maeve Binchy
While she was writing columns for The Irish Times and her best-selling novels, Maeve Binchy also had in mind to write a book that revolved around one street with many characters coming and going. Every once in a while, she would write about one these people. She would then put it in a drawer. "For the future," she would say. The future is now. Just around the corner from St. Jarlath's Crescent (which readers will recognize from Minding Frankie) is Chestnut Street, where neighbors come and go. Behind their closed doors we encounter very different people with different life circumstances, occupations, and sensibilities. Written with the humor and understanding that are earmarks of Maeve Binchy's work, it is a pleasure to be part of this world with all of its joys and sorrows, to get to know the good and the bad, and ultimately to have our hearts warmed by her storytelling.
The Other Story, By Tatiana De Rosnay
Vacationing at a luxurious Tuscan island resort, Nicolas Duhamel is hopeful that the ghosts of his past have finally been put to rest... Now a bestselling author, when he was twenty-four years old, he stumbled upon a troubling secret about his family - a secret that was carefully concealed. In shock, Nicholas embarked on a journey to uncover the truth that took him from the Basque coast to St. Petersburg - but the answers wouldnt come easily. In the process of digging into his past, something else happened. Nicolas began writing a novel that was met with phenomenal success, skyrocketing him to literary fame whether he was ready for it or not - and convincing him that he had put his familys history firmly behind him. But now, years later, Nicolas must reexamine everything he thought he knew, as he learns that, however deeply buried, the secrets of the past always find a way out. Layered and beautifully written, Tatiana de Rosnay's THE OTHER STORY is a reflection on identity, the process of being a writer and the repercussions of generations-old decisions as they echo into the present and shape the future.
In Paradise, By Peter Matthiessen
In the winter of 1996, more than a hundred women and men of diverse nationality, background, and belief gather at the site of a former concentration camp for an unprecedented purpose: a weeklong retreat during which they will offer prayer and witness at the crematoria and meditate in all weathers on the selection platform, while eating and sleeping in the quarters of the Nazi officers who, half a century before, sent more than a million Jews to their deaths. Clements Olin, an American academic of Polish descent, has come along, ostensibly to complete research on the death of a survivor, even as he questions what a non-Jew can contribute to the understanding of so monstrous a catastrophe. As the days pass, tensions, both political and personal, surface among the participants, stripping away any easy pretense to healing or closure. Finding himself in the grip of emotions and impulses of bewildering intensity, Olin is forced to abandon his observers role and to embrace a history his family has long suppressed-and with it the yearnings and contradictions of being fully alive. In Paradise is a brave and deeply thought-provoking novel by one of our most stunningly accomplished writers.
Frog Music, By Emma Donoghue
Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice - if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, Frog Music digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue's lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boomtown like no other.
The Midnight Witch, By Paula Brackston
Lady Lilith Montgomery is the daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor. She is one of the most beautiful young women in London and engaged to the city's most eligible bachelor. She is also a witch. When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes on his title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father's role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the covens guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her engagement to her childhood friend and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt. Until the day she meets Bram, a talented artist who is neither a witch nor a member of her class. With him, she must not be secret and silent. Despite her loyalty to the coven and duty to her family, Lilith cannot keep her life as a witch hidden from the man she loves. To tell him will risk everything.
Shotgun Lovesongs, By Nickolas Butler
Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town, Little Wing, and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family's land that's been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them, both then and now, fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of lovesongs and rivalries. Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world. The result is a shared memory only half-recreated, riddled with culture clashes between people who desperately wish to see themselves as the unified tribe they remember, but are confronted with how things have, in fact, changed. There is conflict here between longtime buddies, between husbands and wives, told with writing that is, frankly, gut-wrenching, and even heartbreaking. But there is also hope, healing, and at times, even heroism. It is strong, American stuff, not at all afraid of showing that we can be good, not just fallible and compromising. Nickolas Butler's Shotgun Lovesongs is a remarkable and uncompromising saga that explores the age-old question of whether or not you can ever truly come home again, and the kind of steely faith and love returning requires.
A Burnable Book, By Bruce Holsinger
London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers, including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt's artful mistress, Katherine Swynford, England's young king, Richard II, is in mortal peril. Songs are heard across London, catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the ends of England's kings, and among the book's predictions is Richard's assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a "burnable book," a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low. Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews, and potentially implicates Gower's own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that John Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may hold the key to saving the king, and England itself.
New in Paperback
The Girl You Left Behind, By Jojo Moyes
Jojo Moyes's word-of-mouth bestseller, Me Before You, catapulted her to wide critical acclaim and struck a chord with a wide range of readers everywhere. Now, with The Girl You Left Behind, Moyes returns with another irresistible heartbreaker-a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with her signature ability to capture our hearts. Paris, 1916. Sophie Lefvre must keep her family safe while her adored husband, Edouard, fights at the front. When their town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Sophie is forced to serve them every evening at her hotel. From the moment the new Kommandant sets eyes on Sophies portrait-painted by her artist husband-a dangerous obsession is born, one that will lead Sophie to make a dark and terrible decision. Almost a century later, Sophie's portrait hangs in the home of Liv Halston, a wedding gift from her young husband before his sudden death. After a chance encounter reveals the portraits true worth, a battle begins over its troubled history and Livs world is turned upside all over again.
Em and the Big Hoom, By Jerry Pinto
First published by a small press in India, Jerry Pintos devastatingly original debut novel has already taken the literary world by storm. Suffused with compassion, humor, and hard-won wisdom, Em and the Big Hoom is a modern masterpiece, and its American publication is certain to be one of the major literary events of the season. Meet Imelda and Augustine, or-as our young narrator calls his unusual parents-Em and the Big Hoom. Most of the time, Em smokes endless beedis and sings her way through life. She is the sun around which everyone else orbits. But as enchanting and high-spirited as she can be, when Ems bipolar disorder seizes her she becomes monstrous, sometimes with calamitous consequences for herself and others. This accomplished debut is graceful and urgent, with a one-of-a-kind voice that will stay with readers long after the last page.
The Measures Between Us, By Ethan Hauser
Jack is an intern for the university's flood study. Transcribing interviews with people who live along a threatened and threatening river, he listens to their answers to questions about environmental change and their emotional investment in the waterway. Lately, Jack has questions for Cynthia. They've become close, reuniting years after high school, but now she's distancing herself again, sinking into depression. Her parents have noticed, too, calling on the only professional they know: Henry, a psychology professor who was once a student in her fathers middle school shop class. Henry wants to help, but he is also dealing with a household in jeopardy: there's a stubborn wedge between him and his pregnant wife. By turns sweeping and intimate, The Measures Between Us is about the shifting covenants we make with ourselves and with the ones we love, about the distances we keep and those were bent on erasing.
Sweet Salt Air, By Barbara Delinsky
Charlotte and Nicole were once the best of friends, spending summers together in Nicole's coastal island house off of Maine. But many years, and many secrets, have kept the women apart. A successful travel writer, single Charlotte lives on the road, while Nicole, a food blogger, keeps house in Philadelphia with her surgeon-husband, Julian. When Nicole is commissioned to write a book about island food, she invites her old friend Charlotte back to Quinnipeague, for a final summer, to help. Outgoing and passionate, Charlotte has a gift for talking to people and making friends, and Nicole could use her expertise for interviews with locals. Missing a genuine connection, Charlotte agrees. But what both women don't know is that they are each holding something back that may change their lives forever. For Nicole, what comes to light could destroy her marriage, but it could also save her husband. For Charlotte, the truth could cost her Nicoles friendship, but could also free her to love again. And her chance may lie with a reclusive local man, with a heart to soothe and troubles of his own.
And The Mountains Echoed, By Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe - from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos - the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.
The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, By Anton Disclafani
It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family's citrus farm - a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country. Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea's expulsion from her family, but it isn't long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner - a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression - and the major debut of an important new writer.
The Rosie Project, By Graeme Simsion
The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who's decided it's time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is "quite intelligent for a barmaid"). But Don is intrigued by Rosie's own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie-and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don't find love, it finds you.
The Engagements, By J. Courtney Sullivan
The bestselling author of Maine returns with an exhilarating novel about Frances Gerety, the pioneering real-life ad woman who coined the famous slogan "A Diamond is Forever," and four unique marriages that will test how true - or not - those words might be. Evelyn has been married to her husband for forty years, but their son's messy divorce has put them at rare odds; James, a beleaguered paramedic, has spent most of his marriage haunted by his wife's family's expectations; Delphine has thrown caution to the wind and left a peaceful French life for an exciting but rocky romance in America; and Kate, partnered with Dan for a decade, has seen every kind of wedding and has vowed never, ever, to have one of her own. As the stories connect to each other and to Frances's legacy in surprising ways, The Engagements explores the ins and outs of relationships, then, now, and forever.
Guests on Earth, By Lee Smith
Evalina Toussaint, the orphaned child of an exotic dancer in New Orleans, is just thirteen when she is admitted to Highland Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. The year is 1936, and the mental hospital is under the direction of the celebrated psychiatrist Robert S. Carroll. His innovative program of treatment for mental and nervous disorders and addictions is based on exercise, diet, art, and occupational therapies-and experimental shock therapy. Evalina finds herself in the company of some notable fellow patients, including Zelda Fitzgerald, estranged wife of F. Scott, who takes the young piano prodigy under her wing. Evalina becomes the accompanist for the musical programs at the hospital. This provides privileged insight into the events that transpire over the next twelve years, culminating in a tragic fire-its mystery unsolved to this day-that killed nine women in a locked ward, Zelda among them. At all costs, Evalina listens, observes, remembers-and tells us everything. Guests on Earth is a mesmerizing novel about a time and a place where creativity and passion, theory and medicine, fact and fiction, are luminously intertwined by a writer at the height of her craft.
The Longest Ride, By Nicholas Sparks
In the tradition of his beloved first novel, The Notebook, #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks returns with the remarkable story of two couples whose lives intersect in profound and surprising ways. Ira Levinson is in trouble. Ninety-one years old and stranded and injured after a car crash, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes beside him: his beloved wife, Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by reminiscing about their lifetime together. Ira knows that Ruth can't possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories. A few miles away, at a local bull-riding event, university senior Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes are high: Reward and ruin and even life and death loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans if the secret Luke's keeping doesn't destroy her first. Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common and who are separated by years and experiences. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys.
The Conditions of Love, By Dale M. Kushner
Set in the Midwest in the last years of the fifties and filled with a cast of beguiling, unforgettable characters, this mesmerizing novel traces, in three parts, the ever-changing landscape of love in the life of young Eunice. In the first part, Eunice must reckon with familial love - in this case, from a seductively eccentric mother and an idealized, absent father. The second leg of Eunice's journey to adulthood introduces her to the steadiness of a nurturing love through her relationship with a mysterious stranger named Rose. Finally, in the third act, Eunice is initiated into the world of passionate love. The Conditions of Love will appeal to the same audience that embraced Mona Simpson's acclaimed classic Anywhere But Here and Elizabeth Strout's bestselling Amy and Isabelle.
A Treacherous Paradise, By Henning Mankell
In 1904, Hanna Renstrom boards a ship bound for Australia hoping to escape the cold and poverty that have dominated her life in Sweden. Her harrowing journey lands her in Portuguese East Africa, a world where colonialism and white colonists rule, where she becomes a peculiar outsider: she is on the outskirts of white society, because of her gender and profession as the owner of a bordello, and separated from the African prostitutes with whom she lives due to her skin color. As her life becomes increasingly intertwined with the brothel, Hanna moves inexorably toward the moment when one decision will defy all the expectations society has of her and, most important, those she has of herself. Henning Mankell imbues this deeply moving story with all of the gripping drama, vividly drawn characters, and evocative details of place that fans of his acclaimed Kurt Wallander crime novels have come to love.
Sisterland, By Curtis Sittenfeld
Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, are extremely close - sharing a room, weathering the eccentricities of their parents, and delighting in the music and movies of their 1980s childhood. But in junior high, Kate makes a fateful decision that drives the sisters apart. Years later, Vi is living on the fringes of society while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, is doing everything she can to fit into suburban life. After a chance occurrence in the middle of the night, the sisters find themselves drawn together once again, forced to face the secrets of the past. As the sense of order Kate has worked so hard to create in her adult life begins to falter, it's not clear whether Vi, the one person who knows her best, will save Kate - or be her undoing.
Fallen Beauty, By Erika Robuck
"Without sin, can we know beauty? Can we fully appreciate the summer without the winter? No, I am glad to suffer so I can feel the fullness of our time in the light." Upstate New York, 1928. Laura Kelley and the man she loves sneak away from their judgmental town to attend a performance of the scandalous Ziegfeld Follies. But the dark consequences of their night of daring and delight reach far into the future.... That same evening, Bohemian poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her indulgent husband hold a wild party in their remote mountain estate, hoping to inspire her muse. Millay declares her wish for a new lover who will take her to unparalleled heights of passion and poetry, but for the first time, the man who responds will not bend completely to her will.... Two years later, Laura, an unwed seamstress struggling to support her daughter, and Millay, a woman fighting the passage of time, work together secretly to create costumes for Millays next grand tour. As their complex, often uneasy friendship develops amid growing local condemnation, each woman is forced to confront what it means to be a fallen woman...and to decide for herself what price she is willing to pay to live a full life.
The Cleaner of Chartres, By Salley Vickers
From the author of Miss Garnet's Angel, a story of the redemptive power of love and community in the famous French cathedral town There is something very special about Agnès Morel. A quiet presence in the small French town of Chartres, she can be found cleaning the famed medieval cathedral each morning and doing odd jobs for the townspeople. No one knows where she came from or why. Not Abbé Paul, who discovered her one morning twenty years ago, sleeping on the north porch, and not Alain Fleury, the irreverent young restorer who works alongside her each day and whose attention she catches with her tawny eyes and elusive manner. She has transformed each of their lives in her own subtle way, yet no one suspects the dark secret Agnès is hiding. When an accidental encounter dredges up a series of tragic incidents from Agnès's youth, the nasty meddling of town gossips threatens to upend the woman's simple, peaceful life. Her story reveals a terrible loss, a case of mistaken identity, and a cruel and violent act that haunts her past. Agnès wrestles with her own sense of guilt and enduring heartbreak while the citizens piece together the truth about her life.
Looking for Me, By Beth Hoffman
The latest New York Times bestseller by the beloved author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Beth Hoffman's bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettably quirky characters. Now her flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines again in her compelling second novel, Looking for Me. Teddi Overman found her life's passion in turning other peoples castoffs into beautifully restored antiques. Leaving her hardscrabble Kentucky childhood behind, Teddi opens her own store in Charleston. She builds a life as unexpected and quirky as her many customers, but nothing alleviates the haunting uncertainty she's felt since her brother Josh mysteriously disappeared. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi returns to Kentucky, embarking on a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family-and find herself.
Ladies' Night, By Mary Kay Andrews
Take a splash of betrayal, add a few drops of outrage, give a good shake to proper behavior and take a big sip of a cocktail called...Ladies' Night! Grace Stanton's life as a rising media star and beloved lifestyle blogger takes a surprising turn when she catches her husband cheating and torpedoes his pricey sports car straight into the family swimming pool. Grace suddenly finds herself locked out of her palatial home, checking account, and even the blog she has worked so hard to develop in her signature style. Moving in with her widowed mother, who owns and lives above a rundown beach bar called The Sandbox, is less than ideal. So is attending court-mandated weekly "divorce recovery" therapy sessions with three other women and one man for whom betrayal seems to be the only commonality. When their "divorce coach" starts to act suspiciously, they decide to start having their own Wednesday "Ladies' Night" sessions at The Sandbox, and the unanticipated bonds that develop lead the members of the group to try and find closure in ways they never imagined. Can Grace figure out a new way home and discover how strong she needs to be to get there? Heartache, humor, and a little bit of mystery come together in a story about life's unpredictable twists and turns. Mary Kay Andrews' Ladies' Night will have you raising a glass and cheering these characters on.
The Color Master, By Aimee Bender
In this collection, Bender's unique talents sparkle brilliantly in stories about people searching for connection through love, sex, and family-while navigating the often painful realities of their lives. A traumatic event unfolds when a girl with flowing hair of golden wheat appears in an apple orchard, where a group of people await her. A woman plays out a prostitution fantasy with her husband and finds she cannot go back to her old sex life. An ugly woman marries an ogre and struggles to decide if she should stay with him after he mistakenly eats their children. Two sisters travel deep into Malaysia, where one learns the art of mending tigers who have been ripped to shreds. In these deeply resonant stories-evocative, funny, beautiful, and sad-we see ourselves reflected as if in a funhouse mirror. Aimee Bender has once again proven herself to be among the most imaginative, exciting, and intelligent writers of our time.
The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories, By Connie Willis
From a near future mourning the extinction of dogs to an alternate history in which invading aliens were defeated by none other than Emily Dickinson; from a madcap convention of bumbling quantum physicists in Hollywood to a London whose Underground has become a storehouse of intangible memories both foul and fair-here are the greatest stories of one of the greatest writers working in any genre today. All ten of the stories gathered here are Hugo or Nebula award winners-some even have the distinction of winning both. With a new Introduction by the author and personal afterwords to each story-plus a special look at three of Willis's unique public speeches-this is unquestionably the collection of the season, a book that every Connie Willis fan will treasure, and, to those unfamiliar with her work, the perfect introduction to one of the most accomplished and best-loved writers of our time.
The Light in the Ruins, By Chris Bohjalian
Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate's gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis' bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.
The Panopticon, By Jenni Fagan
Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what's happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais's school uniform is covered in blood. Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counter-culture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.
Secrecy, By Rupert Thomson
I had left my hometown of Siracusa in 1675, the rumors snapping at my heels like a pack of dogs. I was only nineteen, but I knew there would be no turning back. I passed through Catania and on along the coast, Etna looming in the western sky, Etna with its fertile slopes, its luscious fruits and flowers, its promise of destruction. From Messina I sailed westward. It was late July, and the night was stifling. A dull red moon, clouds edged in rust and copper. Though the air was motion-less, the sea heaved and strained, as if struggling to free itself, and there were moments when I thought the boat was going down. That would have been the death of me, and there were those who would have rejoiced to hear the news.
A Hundred Summers, By Beatriz Williams
Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak. That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview. Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily's past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married-an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie's arrival to restore her family's old house puts her once more in the center of the community's social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily's friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction...and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations. Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick's marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.
Woke Up Lonely, By Fiona Maazel
Fiona Maazels Woke Up Lonely follows a cult leader, his ex-wife, and the four people he takes hostage. Its about loneliness in America, North Korea, espionage, a city underneath Cincinnati, cloud seeding, and eavesdropping. Its also a big, sweeping love story.
Dark Eden, By Chris Beckett
On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family take shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest's lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it. The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say-and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return. But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark...and discover the truth about their world. Already remarkably acclaimed in the United Kingdom, Dark Eden is science fiction as literature: part parable, part powerful coming-of-age story, set in a truly original alien world of dark, sinister beauty and rendered in prose that is at once strikingly simple and stunningly inventive.
The Interestings, By Meg Wolitzer
The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge. The kind of creativity that is rewarded at age fifteen is not always enough to propel someone through life at age thirty; not everyone can sustain, in adulthood, what seemed so special in adolescence. Jules Jacobson, an aspiring comic actress, eventually resigns herself to a more practical occupation and lifestyle. Her friend Jonah, a gifted musician, stops playing the guitar and becomes an engineer. But Ethan and Ash, Jules's now-married best friends, become shockingly successful - true to their initial artistic dreams, with the wealth and access that allow those dreams to keep expanding. The friendships endure and even prosper, but also underscore the differences in their fates, in what their talents have become and the shapes their lives have taken. Wide in scope, ambitious, and populated by complex characters who come together and apart in a changing New York City, The Interestings explores the meaning of talent; the nature of envy; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and tilt precipitously over the course of a friendship and a life.
The Ashford Affair, By Lauren Willig
As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything shes been working towards, but now she's not sure its enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie's ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything. What follows is a potent story that spans generations and continents, bringing an Out of Africa feel to a Downton Abbey cast of unforgettable characters. From the inner circles of WWI-era British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and a family unfurl.
Fly Away, By Kristin Hannah
An emotionally complex, heart-wrenching novel about love, motherhood, loss, and new beginnings, Fly Away reminds us that where there is life, there is hope, and where there is love, there is forgiveness. Told with her trademark powerful storytelling and illuminating prose, Kristin Hannah reveals why she is one of the most beloved writers of our day.
The Spy Mistress, By Jennifer Chiaverini
Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lews convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life. Van Lews skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy rings reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverinis riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due.
Clara, By Kurt Palka
Inspired by a true story and based on a wealth of family documents, this elegant and compelling novel chronicles the lives of two families from the 1930s through the coming of the Nazis and World War II, and the long, difficult post-War period to the present. A must-read for fans of Irene Nemirovsky, Hans Fallada, and Bernhard Schlink's The Reader. This vividly realized, masterfully executed novel is a window into a little-explored corner of history. Clara is a story of love between an aristocratic young woman and the cavalry officer - later Panzer officer in the German army - she marries; between friends who help each other through the Nazi takeover of Austria, the war, and what was sometimes worse, the "liberation"; between a mother and her two very different daughters. But it is also the story of a nation's darkest days, and its slow recovery during one of the most convulsive, violent periods of human history. Beautifully written, haunting, and ultimately redemptive, it is a work of great skill and great compassion.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, By Therese Anne Fowler
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the "ungettable" Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn't wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribners, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick's Cathedral and take the rest as it comes. What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel - and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera - where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Flora, By Gail Godwin
Ten-year-old Helen and her summer guardian, Flora, are isolated together in Helen's decaying family house while her father is doing secret war work in Oak Ridge during the final months of World War II. At three, Helen lost her mother, and the beloved grandmother who raised her has just died. A fiercely imaginative child, Helen is desperate to keep her house intact with all its ghosts and stories. Flora, her late mothers twenty-two-year-old first cousin, who cries at the drop of a hat, is ardently determined to do her best for Helen. Their relationship and its fallout, played against a backdrop of a lost America, will haunt Helen for the rest of her life. This darkly beautiful novel about a child and a caretaker in isolation evokes shades of The Turn of the Screw and also harks back to Godwins memorable novel of growing up The Finishing School. With a house on top of a mountain and a child who may be a bomb that will one day go off, Flora tells a story of love, regret, and the things we can't undo.
Equilateral, By Ken Kalfus
It's the late nineteenth century, and British astronomer Sanford Thayer has won international funding for his scheme to excavate an equilateral triangle, three hundred miles to a side, from the remote wastes of Egypt's Western Desert. Nine hundred thousand Arab fellahin have been put to work on the project, even though they can't understand Thayers obsessive purpose. They don't believe him when he says his perfect triangle will be visible to the highly evolved beings who inhabit the planet Mars, signaling the existence of civilization on Earth. Political and religious dissent rumbles through the camps. There's also a triangle of another sort, a romantic one, involving Thayer's secretary, who's committed to the man and his vision, and the mysterious servant girl he covets without sharing a common language. In the wind-blasted, lonely, fever-dream outpost known only as Point A, we plumb the depths of self-delusion and folly that comprise Thayers characteristically human enterprise.
Mary Coin, By Marisa Silver
In 1936, a young mother resting by the side of the road in central California is spontaneously photographed by a woman documenting migrant laborers in search of work. Few personal details are exchanged and neither woman has any way of knowing that they have produced one of the most iconic images of the Great Depression. In present day, Walker Dodge, a professor of cultural history, stumbles upon a family secret embedded in the now-famous picture. In luminous prose, Silver creates an extraordinary tale from a brief event in history and its repercussions throughout the decades that follow-a reminder that a great photograph captures the essence of a moment yet only scratches the surface of a life.
The Golem and the Jinni, By Helene Wecker
Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
Autobiography of Us, By Aria Beth Sloss
Coming of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasadena, California, during the 1960s, Rebecca Madden and her beautiful, reckless friend Alex dream of lives beyond white gloves and cocktail parties, beyond their mothers narrow expectations. As change sweeps the nation, civil rights, Vietnam, women's liberation, the two girls' determination to chart a different course brings them closer, until one sweltering evening the summer before their last year of college, when a single act of betrayal changes everything. Decades later, Rebecca's haunting meditation on the past reveals the truth about that night, the years that followed, and the friendship that shaped her. A confession of hopes long forgotten, Aria Beth Sloss' Autobiography of Us is an achingly beautiful portrait of a decades-long bond and the victories, sacrifices, and defeats of a generation.
Annihilation, By Jeff Vandermeer
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition. Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself. They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers - they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding - but its the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.
Calling Me Home, By Julie Kibler
In Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler, eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It's a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive Isabelle from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow. Curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, she agrees, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives. Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage sons irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.
The Winter Witch, By Paula Brackston
In her small early nineteenth century Welsh town, there is no one quite like Morgana, who has not spoken since she was a young girl. Her silence is a mystery, as well as her magic. Concerned for her safety, her mother is anxious to see her married, and Cai Jenkins, a widower from the far hills, seems the best choice. After her wedding, Morgana is heartbroken at leaving her mother, and wary of this man, whom she does not know, and who will take her away to begin a new life. But she soon falls in love with Cai's farm and the wild mountains that surround it. Cai works to understand the beautiful, half-tamed creature he has chosen for a bride, and slowly, he begins to win Morgana's affections. Its not long, however, before her strangeness begins to be remarked upon in her new village. A dark force is at work there, a person who will stop at nothing to turn the townspeople against Morgana. Forced to defend her home, her man, and herself, Morgana must learn to harness her power, or she will lose everything.
The Imposter Bride, By Nancy Richler
In the wake of World War II, a young, enigmatic woman named Lily arrives in Montreal on her own, expecting to be married to a man she's never met. But, upon seeing her at the train station, Sol Kramer turns her down. Out of pity, his brother Nathan decides to marry her instead, and pity turns into a deep and doomed love. It is immediately clear that Lily is not who she claims to be. Her attempt to live out her life as Lily Kramer shatters when she disappears, leaving a new husband and a baby daughter with only a diary, a large uncut diamond and a need to find the truth. Who is Lily and what happened to the young woman whose identity she stole? Why has she left and where did she go? It's up to the daughter Lily abandoned to find the answers to these questions, as she searches for the mother she may never truly know.
Crime of Privilege, By Walter Walker
A murder on Cape Cod. A rape in Palm Beach. All they have in common is the presence of one of America's most beloved and influential families. But nobody is asking questions. Not the police. Not the prosecutors. And certainly not George Becket, a young lawyer toiling away in the basement of the Cape & Islands district attorney's office. George has always lived at the edge of power. He wasn't born to privilege, but he understands how it works and has benefitted from it in ways he doesn't like to admit. Now, an investigation brings him deep inside the world of the truly wealthy-and shows him what a perilous place it is. Years have passed since a young woman was found brutally slain at an exclusive Cape Cod golf club, and no one has ever been charged. Cornered by the victim's father, George can't explain why certain leads were never explored-leads that point in the direction of a single family-and he agrees to look into it.
The Vanishing, By Wendy Webb
Just as Julia Bishop's life is collapsing around her, a stranger appears on her doorstep with an intriguing job offer - he asks Julia to be a companion for his elderly mother, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist Amaris Sinclair, whom Julia has always admired...and who the whole world thinks is dead. Julia jumps at the chance for a fresh start. But when she arrives at Havenwood, the Sinclairs' magnificent, centuries-old estate in the middle of the wilderness near Lake Superior, she begins to suspect her too-good-to-be-true job offer is exactly that. Mysteries and secrets haunt the halls of Havenwood and the forest beyond. Why did Amaris Sinclair choose to vanish from the public eye more than a decade earlier? What are the whispers Julia hears? And why, exactly, was Julia brought to Havenwood in the first place? For answers, Julia turns to Drew McCullough, the great-grandson of the mysterious Scottish nobleman who built Havenwood. Together, they realize something sinsiter and very close to her own family history is quickening out of the past. With twists and turns, spine-tingling scenes, and a surprise ending, award-winning novelist Wendy Webb has crafted another intricate and addictive tale of gothic suspense that you won't be able to put down.
The First True Lie, By Marina Mander
An utterly compelling, heartbreaking novel that introduces a revelatory young voice to the U.S. market. Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his mother, a taciturn woman who "every now and then tries out a new father." Luca keeps to himself, his cat, Blue, and his words-his favorite toys. One February morning his mom doesn't wake up to bring him to school, so Luca-with a father who's long gone and driven by a deep fear of being an orphan ("part of you is missing and people only see the part that isn't there")-decides to pretend to the world that his mom is still alive. Luca has a worldly comprehension of humanity, and grapples with his gruesome situation as the stench of the rotting body begins to permeate his home. But this remarkable narrative is not insufferably morbid. Luca also pretends that Blue is his personal assistant and that they're on an expedition in outer space together; he goes for observant trips to the store, where he uses the contents of a basket to astutely assess the person who's filled it; he fantasizes about marrying his school crush, Antonella (whose freckles on her nose are described as being a pinch of cinnamon on whipped cream.) Ultimately, we are witness to something much more poignant that needs no translation: the journey of a young boy deciding-in a more devastating manner than most-to identify himself independently, reaching the point at which he can say: "I am no longer an orphan. I am a single human being. It's a matter of words."
Love & Fury, By Richard Hoffman
Love & Fury tells a story that comprises five generations of an American family, examining the continuing impact of history as it shapes the lives of people struggling with the complexities of contemporary life. From the author's grandfather, a "breaker boy" sent down into the anthracite mines of Pennsylvania at the age of ten, to his young grandson, whose father is among the estimated one million young black men incarcerated today, Love & Fury offers an examination of the social, familial, and ethical contours of American life. With honesty and compassion, Hoffman grapples with the values he inherited in his boomer-generation boyhood from a father whose ideas about masculinity, race, class, violence, women, and religion were a product of his time. At the book's core are the author's questions about boyhood, fatherhood, and grandfatherhood, and about what it means to be a good man in our modern society. A masterful memoirist, Hoffman writes not only to tell a gripping story but also to understand, through his family, the America in which we live.
The Secret World of Oil, By Ken Silverstein
"Corrupt dictators with a penchant for boiling their adversaries, shady fixers who know just the right palms to grease, unctuous lobbyists in smoke-filled rooms - the global market for oil is not known for its cleanliness, political or environmental. Silverstein, a former editor at Harper's, collects a number of his previously published profiles of the colorful characters inhabiting this ecosystem. Lightweight and entertaining, these sketches are suitably salacious, but, for the most part, expose relatively little about oil per se. Teodorin Nguema Obiang, son of the ruler of Equatorial Guinea, loves his cars, and 'when he saw gawkers stop to admire' his two-million dollar Bugatti at a nightclub, he sent his chauffeur 'back to Malibu by cab so could drive back his second Bugatti to park next to it,' but his graft is actually confined to selling off his country's rainforest; slightly less ostentatious relatives control the oil. Bretton Sciaroni, a legal hack fired by the Reagan administration for his unseemly defense of unlimited executive authority, went on to work for the junta in El Salvador and Hun Sen in Cambodia, but this has nothing to do with oil. Silverstein's muckraking will appeal to progressive interests, but oil itself does not tie this motley collection together." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the USA Surveillance State, By Glenn Greenwald
In May 2013, Glenn Greenwald set out for Hong Kong to meet an anonymous source who claimed to have astonishing evidence of pervasive government spying and insisted on communicating only through heavily encrypted channels. That source turned out to be the 29-year-old NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and his revelations about the agencys widespread, systemic overreach proved to be some of the most explosive and consequential news in recent history, triggering a fierce debate over national security and information privacy. As the arguments rage on and the government considers various proposals for reform, it is clear that we have yet to see the full impact of Snowdens disclosures. Now for the first time, Greenwald fits all the pieces together, recounting his high-intensity eleven-day trip to Hong Kong, examining the broader implications of the surveillance detailed in his reporting for The Guardian, and revealing fresh information on the NSAs unprecedented abuse of power with never-before-seen documents entrusted to him by Snowden himself.
Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty, By Diane Keaton
From Academy Award winner and bestselling author Diane Keaton comes a candid, hilarious, and deeply affecting look at beauty, aging, and the importance of staying true to yourself-no matter what anyone else thinks. Diane Keaton has spent a lifetime coloring outside the lines of the conventional notion of beauty. In Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty, she shares the wisdom she's accumulated through the years as a mother, daughter, actress, artist, and international style icon. This is a book only Diane Keaton could write-a smart and funny chronicle of the ups and downs of living and working in a world obsessed with beauty. In her one-of-a-kind voice, Keaton offers up a message of empowerment for anyone who's ever dreamed of kicking back against the "should"s and "supposed to"s that undermine our pursuit of beauty in all its forms. From a mortifying encounter with a makeup artist who tells her she needs to get her eyes fixed to an awkward excursion to Victoria's Secret with her teenage daughter, Keaton shares funny and not-so-funny moments from her life in and out of the public eye. For Diane Keaton, being beautiful starts with being true to who you are, and in this book she also offers self-knowing commentary on the bold personal choices she's made through the years: the wide-brimmed hats, outrageous shoes, and all-weather turtlenecks that have made her an inspiration to anyone who cherishes truly individual style-and catnip to paparazzi worldwide. She recounts her experiences with the many men in her life-including Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, and Sam Shepard-shows how our ideals of beauty change as we age, and explains why a life well lived may be the most beautiful thing of all. Wryly observant and as fiercely original as Diane Keaton herself, Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty is a head-turner of a book that holds up a mirror to our beauty obsessions-and encourages us to like what we see.
Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home, By Boyd Varty
Boyd Varty had an unconventional upbringing. He grew up on Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, a place where man and nature strive for balance, where perils exist alongside wonders. Founded more than eighty years ago as a hunting ground, Londolozi was transformed into a nature reserve beginning in 1973 by Varty's father and uncle, visionaries of the restoration movement. But it wasn't just a sanctuary for the animals; it was also a place for ravaged land to flourish again and for the human spirit to be restored. When Nelson Mandela was released after twenty-seven years of imprisonment, he came to the reserve to recover. Cathedral of the Wild is Varty's memoir of his life in this exquisite and vast refuge. At Londolozi, Varty gained the confidence that emerges from living in Africa. "We came out strong and largely unafraid of life," he writes, "with the full knowledge of its dangers." It was there that young Boyd and his equally adventurous sister learned to track animals, raised leopard and lion cubs, followed their larger-than-life uncle on his many adventures filming wildlife, and became one with the land. Varty survived a harrowing black mamba encounter, a debilitating bout with malaria, even a vicious crocodile attack, but his biggest challenge was a personal crisis of purpose. An intense spiritual quest takes him across the globe and back again-to reconnect with nature and "rediscover the track." Cathedral of the Wild is a story of transformation that inspires a great appreciation for the beauty and order of the natural world. With conviction, hope, and humor, Varty makes a passionate claim for the power of the wild to restore the human spirit.
A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred, By George F. Will
In A Nice Little Place on the North Side, leading columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it turns one hundred years old. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley is considered one of its sacred spaces. But what is its true, hyperbole-free history? Winding beautifully like Wrigley's iconic ivy, Will's meditation on "The Friendly Confines" examines both the unforgettable stories that forged the field's legend and the larger-than-life characters - from Wrigley and Ruth to Veeck, Durocher, and Banks - who brought it glory, heartbreak, and scandal. Drawing upon his trademark knowledge and inimitable sense of humor, Will also explores his childhood connections to the team, the Cubs' future, and what keeps long-suffering fans rooting for the home team after so many years of futility. In the end, A Nice Little Place on the North Side is more than just history of a ballpark. It is the story of Chicago, of baseball, and of America itself.
The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, By Matt Taibbi
In The Divide, Matt Taibbi takes readers on a galvanizing journey through both sides of our new system of justice - the fun-house-mirror worlds of the untouchably wealthy and the criminalized poor. He uncovers the startling looting that preceded the financial collapse; a wild conspiracy of billionaire hedge fund managers to destroy a company through dirty tricks; and the story of a whistleblower who gets in the way of the largest banks in America, only to find herself in the crosshairs. On the other side of the Divide, Taibbi takes us to the front lines of the immigrant dragnet; into the newly punitive welfare system which treats its beneficiaries as thieves; and deep inside the stop-and-frisk world, where standing in front of your own home has become an arrestable offense. As he narrates these incredible stories, he draws out and analyzes their common source: a perverse new standard of justice, based on a radical, disturbing new vision of civil rights. Through astonishing - and enraging - accounts of the high-stakes capers of the wealthy and nightmare stories of regular people caught in the Divide's punishing logic, Taibbi lays bare one of the greatest challenges we face in contemporary American life: surviving a system that devours the lives of the poor, turns a blind eye to the destructive crimes of the wealthy, and implicates us all.
There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll, By Lisa Robinson
Lisa Robinson has interviewed the biggest names in music-including Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Patti Smith, U2, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Jay Z and Kanye West. She visited the teenage Michael Jackson many times at his Encino home. She spent hours talking to John Lennon at his Dakota apartment-and in recording studios just weeks before his murder. She introduced David Bowie to Lou Reed at a private dinner in a Manhattan restaurant, helped the Clash and Elvis Costello get their record deals, was with the Rolling Stones on their jet during a frightening storm, and was mid-flight with Led Zeppelin when their tour manager pulled out a gun. A pioneering female journalist in an exclusive boys' club, Lisa Robinson is a preeminent authority on the personalities and influences that have shaped the music world; she has been recognized as rock jounralism's ultimate insider. A keenly observed and lovingly recounted look back on years spent with countless musicians backstage, after hours and on the road, There Goes Gravity documents a lifetime of riveting stories, told together here for the first time.
Following St. Francis: John Paul II's Call For Ecological Action, By Marybeth Lorbiecki
The first book to present the environmental teachings of this beloved pope-the newly canonized St. John Paul-and the hopeful words of Pope Francis, thoughtfully synthesized into a complete spiritual and practical vision for the future. "The ecological crisis is a moral crisis." So said Pope John Paul II, an unexpected and fierce advocate for ecological responsibility throughout his papacy. Rather than seeing environmental concerns as "earthly" or "political," he showed that they are in fact at the heart of the covenant between human beings and their Creator. In dozens of addresses, sermons, and encyclicals, Pope John Paul II made specific recommendations on twelve interconnected ecological issues, including climate change, ocean destruction, water scarcity, poverty, the role of women, and war. He showed that each could become a source of spiritual, social, and economic transformation.
New in Paperback
The Society for Useful Knowledge: How Benjamine Franklin and Friends Brought the Enlightenment to America, By Jonathan Lyons
From celebrated historian of ideas Jonathan Lyons comes The Society for Useful Knowledge, telling the story of Americas coming-of-age through its historic love affair with practical invention, applied science, and self-reliance. Offering fresh insights into such figures as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, and the inimitable, endlessly inventive Franklin, Lyons gives us a vital new perspective on the American founding. He illustrates how the movement for useful knowledge is key to understanding the flow of American society and culture from colonial times to the present day.
The World is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village, By Anna Badkhen
In the middle of the salt-frosted Afghan desert, in a village so remote that Google can't find it, a woman squats on top of a loom, making flowers bloom in the thousand threads she knots by hand. Here, where heroin is cheaper than rice, every day is a fast day. B-52s pass overhead-a sign of America's omnipotence or its vulnerability, the villagers are unsure. They know, though, that the earth is flat-like a carpet. Anna Badkhen first traveled to this country in 2001, as a war correspondent. She has returned many times since, drawn by a land that geography has made a perpetual battleground, and by a people who sustain an exquisite tradition there. Through the four seasons in which a new carpet is woven by the women and children of Oqa, she immortalizes their way of life much as the carpet does-from the petal half-finished where a hungry infant needs care to the interruptions when the women trade sex jokes or go fill in for wedding musicians scared away by the Taliban. As Badkhen follows the carpet out into the world beyond, she leaves the reader with an indelible portrait of fates woven by centuries of art, war, and an ancient trade that ultimately binds the invaded to the invader.
Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence, By Joseph J. Ellis
The summer months of 1776 witnessed the most consequential events in the story of our country's founding. While the thirteen colonies came together and agreed to secede from the British Empire, the British were dispatching the largest armada ever to cross the Atlantic to crush the rebellion in the cradle. The Continental Congress and the Continental Army were forced to make decisions on the run, improvising as history congealed around them. In a brilliant and seamless narrative, Ellis meticulously examines the most influential figures in this propitious moment, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Britain's Admiral Lord Richard and General William Howe. He weaves together the political and military experiences as two sides of a single story, and shows how events on one front influenced outcomes on the other. Revolutionary Summer tells an old story in a new way, with a freshness at once colorful and compelling.
Lets Explore Diabetes with Owls, By David Sedaris
A guy walks into a bar car and... From here the story could take many turns. When the guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved. Sedaris remembers his father's dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy. The common thread? Sedaris masterfully turns each essay into a love story: how it feels to be in a relationship where one loves and is loved over many years, what it means to be part of a family, and how it's possible, through all of life's absurdities, to grow to love oneself.
The Astronaunt Wives Club, By Lily Koppel
As America's Mercury Seven astronauts were launched on death-defying missions, television cameras focused on the brave smiles of their young wives. Overnight, these women were transformed from military spouses into American royalty. They had tea with Jackie Kennedy, appeared on the cover of Life magazine, and quickly grew into fashion icons. Annie Glenn, with her picture-perfect marriage, was the envy of the other wives; platinum-blonde Rene Carpenter was proclaimed JFK's favorite; and licensed pilot Trudy Cooper arrived on base with a secret. Together with the other wives they formed the Astronaut Wives Club, meeting regularly to provide support and friendship. Many became next-door neighbors and helped to raise each other's children by day, while going to glam parties at night as the country raced to land a man on the Moon.
Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, By Jo Robinson
The next stage in the food revolution-a radical way to select fruits and vegetables and reclaim the flavor and nutrients we've lost. Ever since farmers first planted seeds 10,000 years ago, humans have been destroying the nutritional value of their fruits and vegetables. Unwittingly, we've been selecting plants that are high in starch and sugar and low in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants for more than 400 generations. Eating on the Wild Side reveals the solution-choosing modern varieties that approach the nutritional content of wild plants but that also please the modern palate. Jo Robinson explains that many of these newly identified varieties can be found in supermarkets and farmer's market, and introduces simple, scientifically proven methods of preparation that enhance their flavor and nutrition. Based on years of scientific research and filled with food history and practical advice, Eating on the Wild Side will forever change the way we think about food.
Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, By Michael Pollan
In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements-fire, water, air, and earth-to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. Each section of Cooked tracks Pollans effort to master a single classic recipe using one of the four elements. A North Carolina barbecue pit master tutors him in the primal magic of fire; a Chez Panissetrained cook schools him in the art of braising; a celebrated baker teaches him how air transforms grain and water into a fragrant loaf of bread; and finally, several mad-genius "fermentos" (a tribe that includes brewers, cheese makers, and all kinds of picklers) reveal how fungi and bacteria can perform the most amazing alchemies of all. The reader learns alongside Pollan, but the lessons move beyond the practical to become an investigation of how cooking involves us in a web of social and ecological relationships. Cooking, above all, connects us. The effects of not cooking are similarly far reaching. Relying upon corporations to process our food means we consume large quantities of fat, sugar, and salt; disrupt an essential link to the natural world; and weaken our relationships with family and friends. In fact, Cooked argues, taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make the American food system healthier and more sustainable. Reclaiming cooking as an act of enjoyment and self-reliance, learning to perform the magic of these everyday transformations, opens the door to a more nourishing life.
Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, By Nathaniel Philbrick
Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists. Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren's fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control. With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape - geographic and ideological - in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.
This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - plus plenty of valet parking! - in America's Gilded Captial, By Mark Leibovich
Hailed as "vastly entertaining and deeply troubling" (The New York Times Book Review), "as insidery as "Game Change" (The Washington Post), and a "hysterically funny portrait of the capital's vanities and ambitions" (The New Yorker), This Town captured America's attention as "the" political book of 2013. With a new Afterword by author Mark Leibovich, the book that is changing the national conversation about Washington is available in a stunning new edition. Washington, D.C., might be loathed from every corner of the nation, yet these are fun and busy days at this nexus of big politics, big money, big media, and big vanity. There are no Democrats and Republicans anymore in the nation's capital, just millionaires. In This Town, Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, presents a blistering, stunning-and often hysterically funny-examination of our ruling class's incestuous "media industrial complex." Through his eyes, we discover how the funeral for a beloved newsman becomes the social event of the year. How political reporters are fetishized for their ability to get their names into the predawn e-mail sent out by the city's most powerful and puzzled-over journalist. How a disgraced Hill aide can overcome ignominy and maybe emerge with a more potent "brand" than many elected members of Congress. And how an administration bent on "changing Washington" can be sucked into the ways of This Town with the same ease with which Tea Party insurgents can, once elected, settle into it like a warm bath. Outrageous, fascinating, and very necessary, This Town is a must-read, whether you're inside the Beltway-or just trying to get there.
The Liberator, By Alex Kershaw
From July 10, 1943, the date of the Allied landing in Sicily, to May 8, 1945, when victory in Europe was declared - the entire time it took to liberate Europe - no regiment saw more action, and no single platoon, company, or battalion endured worse, than the ones commanded by Felix Sparks, who had entered the war as a greenhorn second lieutenant of the 157th "Eager for Duty" Infantry Regiment of the 45th "Thunderbird" Division. Sparks and his fellow Thunderbirds fought longest and hardest to defeat Hitler, often against his most fanatical troops, when the odds on the battlefield were even and the fortunes of the Allies hung in the balance - and when the difference between defeat and victory was a matter of character, not tactics or armor. Drawing on extensive interviews with Sparks and dozens of his men, as well as over five years of research in Europe and in archives across the US, historian Alex Kershaw masterfully recounts one of the most inspiring and heroic journeys in military history. Over the course of four amphibious invasions, Sparks rose from captain to colonel as he battled from the beaches of Sicily through the mountains of Italy and France, ultimately enduring bitter and desperate winter combat against the diehard SS on the Fatherland's borders. Though he lost all of his company to save the Allied beach-head at Anzio and an entire battalion in the dark forests of the Vosges, Sparks miraculously survived the long bloody march across Europe and was selected to lead a final charge to Bavaria to hunt down Adolf Hitler.
Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods, By Christine Byl
Christine Byl first encountered the national parks the way most of us do: on vacation. But after she graduated from college, broke and ready for a new challenge, she joined a Glacier National Park trail crew as a seasonal "traildog" maintaining mountain trails for the millions of visitors Glacier draws every year. Byl first thought of the job as a paycheck, a summer diversion, a welcome break from "the real world" before going on to graduate school. She came to find out that work in the woods on a trail crew was more demanding, more rewarding-more real-than she ever imagined. During her first season, Byl embraces the backbreaking difficulty of the work, learning how to clear trees, move boulders, and build stairs in the backcountry. Her first mentors are the colorful characters with whom she works-the packers, sawyers, and traildogs from all walks of life-along with the tools in her hands: axe, shovel, chainsaw, rock bar. As she invests herself deeply in new work, the mountains, rivers, animals, and weather become teachers as well. While Byl expected that her tenure at the parks would be temporary, she ends up turning this summer gig into a decades-long job, moving from Montana to Alaska, breaking expectations-including her own-that she would follow a "professional" career path.
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World, By Matthew Goodman
On November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer's World newspaper, left New York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that day - and heading in the opposite direction by train - was a young journalist from The Cosmopolitan magazine, Elizabeth Bisland. Each woman was determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. The dramatic race that ensued would span twenty-eight thousand miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors' lives forever.
The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, By George Packer
American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives. The Unwinding journeys through the lives of several Americans, including Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers, who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who questions the Internets significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. Packer interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the eras leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics that capture the flow of events and their undercurrents. The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation. Packers novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.
American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath, By Carl Rollyson
The life and work of Sylvia Plath has taken on the proportions of legend. Educated at Smith College, she had a conflicted relationship with her mother, Aurelia. She then married the poet Ted Hughes and plunged into the Sturm und Drang of literary celebrity. Her poems were fought over, rejected, accepted, and ultimately embraced by readers everywhere. At age thirty she committed suicide by putting her head in an oven while her children slept on the floor above in rooms she had sealed off from the poisonous gas. Ariel, a collection of poems she wrote at white-hot speed during her final months, became a modern classic. Her novel, The Bell Jar, has become a part of the literary canon, appearing on student reading lists worldwide. On the fiftieth anniversary of her death, Carl Rollyson gives us a new biography of Plath that shows her as a powerful figure who embraced both high and low culture to become the Marilyn Monroe of modern literature, a writer who wanted nothing less than to become central to the mythology of modern consciousness. American Isis is the first biography of Sylvia Plath to use materials newly deposited in the Ted Hughes archive at the British Library, including forty-one letters between Plath and Hughes, to create a fresh and startling look at this American icon.
Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (And Inspire) Marketing, By Douglas Van Praet
For too long marketers have been asking the wrong question. If consumers make decisions unconsciously, why do we persist in asking them directly through traditional marketing research why they do what they do? They simply can't tell us because they don't really know. Before marketers develop strategies, they need to recognize that consumers have strategies too . . . human strategies, not consumer strategies. We need to go beyond asking why, and begin to ask how, behavior change occurs. Here, author Douglas Van Praet takes the most brilliant and revolutionary concepts from cognitive science and applies them to how we market, advertise, and consume in the modern digital age. Van Praet simplifies the most complex object in the known universe, the human brain, into seven codified actionable steps to behavior change. These steps are illustrated using real world examples from advertising, marketing, media, and business to consciously unravel what brilliant marketers and ad practitioners have long done intuitively, deconstructing the real story behind some of the greatest marketing and business successes in recent history, such as Nikes "Just Do It" campaign; "Got Milk?"; Wendys "Wheres the Beef?"; and the infamous Volkswagen "Punch Buggy" launch as well as their beloved "The Force" (Mini Darth Vader) Super Bowl commercial.
Out of Order: Stories From the History of the Supreme Court, By Sandra Day O'Connor
The role of the judicial branch in our system of government differs markedly from that of the executive branch. Each shoulders substantial powers and obligations under the Constitution. Whereas the Executive enforces the law, however, the Supreme Court interprets the law and has no power to command obedience or appropriate funds to enforce its orders. Whereas the President is elected by the people and serves for limited terms, federal judges are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and serve for life. Whereas the Executive reflects the political will of the majority, the judiciary is designed to check assertions of power by the political branches. It thus comes as little surprise that throughout history, the Executive and the Supreme Court have intersected, overlapped, and even clashed.
In The Body Of The World: A Memoir of Cancer and Connection, By Eve Ensler
Playwright, author, and activist Eve Ensler has devoted her life to the female body, how to talk about it, how to protect and value it. Yet she spent much of her life disassociated from her own body, a disconnection brought on by her fathers sexual abuse and her mothers remoteness. "Because I did not, could not inhabit my body or the Earth," she writes, "I could not feel or know their pain." But Ensler is shocked out of her distance. While working in the Congo, she is shattered to encounter the horrific rape and violence inflicted on the women there. Soon after, she is diagnosed with uterine cancer, and through months of harrowing treatment, she is forced to become first and foremost a body, pricked, punctured, cut, scanned. It is then that all distance is erased. As she connects her own illness to the devastation of the earth, her life force to the resilience of humanity, she is finally, fully, and gratefully, joined to the body of the world. Unflinching, generous, and inspiring, Ensler's In the Body of the World calls on us all to embody our connection to and responsibility for the world.
Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land, By James McClintock
Few of us will ever get to Antarctica. The bitter cold and three months a year without sunlight makes the sixth continent virtually uninhabitable for humans. Yet marine biologist James B. McClintock has spent three decades studying the frozen land in order to understand better the world that lies beneath it. In this luminous and closely observed account, one of the world's leading experts on Antarctica introduces the reader to this fascinating world, the extraordinary wildlife that persists despite the harsh conditions and the way each of the pieces fit into the puzzle of the intricate environment: from single-celled organisms to baleen whales, with leopard seals, penguins, 50-foot algae, sea spiders, coral, and multicolored sea stars, in between. Now, as temperatures rise, the fragile ecosystem is under attack. Penguins that have successfully nested on Antarctic islands for several hundred years have been nearly wiped out. King crabs that used to populate the deep seafloor are moving into shallower waters, disturbing the set order of life there. Lost Antarctica is an appeal to understand and appreciate the wondrous place at the bottom of the world that we are on the brink of losing.
Take a second to imagine the quintessential bookstore with rows and rows of titles, cozy reading chairs, and even a few resident cats. This is what you'll find when you walk through the doors of The Reader's Loft, a locally owned and staffed independent bookstore by book lovers just like you.
Located in Bellevue, WI, within the shops of London Alley, our independent bookstore features more than 20,000 new and used titles in a 3,300 square-foot space. The antiquated interior and warm, knowledgeable staff will make you feel right at home.