Best New Books: Week of 2/6/2018

It’s another week of exciting new books! After the success of The Nightingale, anticipation for Kristin Hannah’s latest has been high, and it looks like she doesn’t disappoint. Fans of Jane Harper’s The Dry will be equally excited to learn that she’s back with another great thriller. Elsewhere we have a broad variety of stories, touching on topics and themes ranging from school shootings, time travel, race, and marriage. Nonfiction lovers also have more than a little to be excited about this week, with new arrivals that discuss topics including modern culture, the U.S.’s involvement in Afghanistan, the border wall, rape reporting, and even life itself. There’s a lot to pick from this week, so make sure to set some time aside to enjoy at least one of this week’s selections!



FICTION



The Great Alone by  Kristin Hannah

great aloneAlaska, 1974. Untamed. Unpredictable. A story of a family in crisis struggling to survive at the edge of the world, it is also a story of young and enduring love.

Cora Allbright and her husband Ernt, a recently-returned Vietnam veteran scarred by the war, uproot their thirteen-year-old daughter Leni to start a new life in Alaska. Utterly unprepared for the weather and the isolation, but welcomed by the close-knit community, they fight to build a home in this harsh, beautiful wilderness.

At once an epic story of human survival and love, and an intimate portrait of a family tested beyond endurance, The Great Alone offers a glimpse into a vanishing way of life in America. With her trademark combination of elegant prose and deeply drawn characters, Kristin Hannah has delivered an enormously powerful story that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the remarkable and enduring strength of women. About the highest stakes a family can face and the bonds that can tear a community apart, this is a novel as spectacular and powerful as Alaska itself. It is the finest example of Kristin Hannah’s ability to weave together the deeply personal with the universal.

Description from Goodreads.

“There are many great things about this book…It will thrill her fans with its combination of Greek tragedy, Romeo and Juliet-like coming of age story and domestic potboiler. She recreates in magical detail the lives of Alaska’s homesteaders…and is just as specific and authentic in her depiction of the spiritual wounds of post-Vietnam America. A tour de force.” – Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW

“Hannah turns the written word into wonderful prose…Times are difficult for so many in this novel and Hannah captures their suffering with sensitivity. The author expertly shows how love, death and birth run the full circle of life.” – RT Book Reviews 

Available Formats:

Print Book | AudiobookeBook


Only Child by  Rhiannon Navin

only childReaders of Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty will also like this tenderhearted debut about healing and family, narrated by an unforgettable six-year-old boy who reminds us that sometimes the littlest bodies hold the biggest hearts and the quietest voices speak the loudest.

Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach’s mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter’s parents, holding them responsible for their son’s actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

Description from Goodreads.

“Perfect for fans of Room, this heartbreaking but important novel offers a new perspective on trauma and reminds readers that hope can be found in even the darkest moments.” – Real Simple

“This emotional tale … sinks its hooks into you from the very first sentence and is a captivating exploration of a family’s struggle to knit itself together after an act of violence.” – Marie Claire

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


An American Marriage by  Tayari Jones

american marriageNewlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined.

Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center.

After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

Description from Goodreads.

“There are rarely novels as timely or fitting as An American Marriage. It brings abstract ideas about race and love down to the material level. The story is gripping, and the characters are unforgettable.” – Foreword Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Jones crafts an affecting tale that explores marriage, family, regret, and other feelings made all the more resonant by her well-drawn characters and their intricate conflicts of heart and mind.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book


How to Stop Time by  Matt Haig

how to stop timeA love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

Description from Goodreads.

“I am in concert with Haig’s fans as I read the book, turning pages for the story but also stopping to underline passages. I want to remember the lines. I want to read out loud to someone. Nothing like a love that lasts 400 years.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“An addictive, time-travelling tale which unfolds at a cracking pace” —The Bookseller, BOOK OF THE MONTH

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Glass Forest by  Cynthia Swanson

glass forestIn the autumn of 1960, Angie Glass is living an idyllic life in her Wisconsin hometown. At twenty-one, she’s married to charming, handsome Paul, and has just given birth to a baby boy. But one phone call changes her life forever.

When Paul’s niece, Ruby, reports that her father, Henry, has committed suicide, and that her mother, Silja, is missing, Angie and Paul drop everything and fly to the small upstate town of Stonekill, New York to be by Ruby’s side.

Angie thinks they’re coming to the rescue of Paul’s grief-stricken young niece, but Ruby is a composed and enigmatic seventeen-year-old who resists Angie’s attempts to nurture her. As Angie learns more about the complicated Glass family, staying in Henry and Silja’s eerie and ultra-modern house on the edge of the woods, she begins to question the very fabric of her own marriage.

Through Silja’s flashbacks, Angie’s discovery of astonishing truths, and Ruby’s strategic dissection of her parents’ state of affairs, a story of love, secrets, and ultimate betrayal is revealed.

Description from Goodreads.

“On the heels of a stunning debut, this outstanding psychological thriller is a triumph. Swanson is a name to be considered among the likes of Gillian Flynn, Chris Pavone, and Laura Lippman.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Swanson uses exquisitely rendered characters and an intricately woven plot to explore the cultural and political fallout of WWII, as well as the changing role and limited rights of women in the mid–20th century. This intoxicating slow burn builds to a conclusion rife with shocking reveals.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


The Gone World by  Tom Sweterlitsch

gone worldShannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to solve the murder of a Navy SEAL’s family–and to locate his teenage daughter, who has disappeared. Though she can’t share the information with conventional law enforcement, Moss discovers that the missing SEAL was an astronaut aboard the spaceship U.S.S. Libra–a ship assumed lost to the darkest currents of Deep Time. Moss knows first-hand the mental trauma of time-travel and believes the SEAL’s experience with the future has triggered this violence.

Determined to find the missing girl and driven by a troubling connection from her own past, Moss travels ahead in time to explore possible versions of the future, seeking evidence or insight that will crack the present-day case. To her horror, the future reveals that it’s not only the fate of a family that hinges on her work, for what she witnesses rising over time’s horizon and hurtling toward the present is the Terminus: the terrifying and cataclysmic end of humanity itself.

Luminous and unsettling, The Gone World bristles with world-shattering ideas yet remains at its heart an intensely human story.

Description from Goodreads.

“This darkly poetic and profoundly disturbing glimpse into the potential last days of humankind will surely haunt readers’ dreams long after the book is finished.” – Kirkus Reviews

“By far one of the best books I’ve come across in a long time.” – The Scary Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book



MYSTERY & SUSPENSE



Force of Nature by  Jane Harper

force of natureFive women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?

Description from Goodreads.

“Even more impressive than The Dry…An almost unbearable level of suspense…Nature is a hostile, unpredictable force in both of Harper’s novels, but her brilliance lies in making it into a test of horribly fallible human nature.” – Sunday Times

“While the plot unfolds at an expertly controlled pace and is resolved in a satisfyingly ambiguous fashion, it is the relationships between the women that drive the novel…Thoughtful, moving, troubling.” – Irish Times

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


The Deceivers by  Alex Berenson

deceiversThe Russians don’t just want to influence American elections–they want it all. Former CIA agent John Wells confronts a plot of astonishing audacity as New York Times-bestselling author Alex Berenson goes beyond today’s headlines to tomorrow’s all-too-real threats.

It was supposed to be a terrorist sting. The guns were supposed to be disabled. Then why was there so much blood?

The target was the American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas Mavericks. The FBI had told Ahmed Shakir that his drug bust would go away if he helped them, and they’d supply all the weaponry, carefully removing the firing pins before the main event. It never occurred to Sami to doubt them, until it was too late.

When John Wells is called to Washington, he’s sure it’s to investigate the carnage in Dallas, but it isn’t. The former CIA director, now president, Vinnie Duto has plenty of people working in Texas. He wants Wells to go to Colombia. An old asset there has information to share–and it will lead Wells to the deadliest mission of his life, an extraordinary confluence of sleeper cells, sniper teams, false flag operations, double agents high in the U.S. government–and a Russian plot to take over the government itself. If it succeeds, what happened in Texas will only be a prelude.

Description from Goodreads.

“Combin[es] former reporter Berenson’s always-shrewd grasp of international politics with his equally impressive ability to construct involved stories whose convolutions never interrupt the full-throttle narrative drive….Another wonderful suspense novel that leaves readers shuddering with the realization that this isn’t nearly as unbelievable as it should be.”—Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“An electrifying thriller that’s not to be missed.” – The Real Book Spy

Available Formats:

Print Book


A Death in Live Oak by  James Grippando

death in live oakWhen the body of Jamal Cousin, president of the pre-eminent black fraternity at Florida’s flagship university, is discovered hogtied in the Stygian water swamps of the Suwanee River Valley, the death sets off a firestorm that threatens to rage out of control when a fellow student, Mark Towson, the president of a prominent white fraternity, is accused of the crime.

Contending with rising political tensions, racial unrest, and a sensational media, Townson’s defense attorney, Jack Swyteck, knows that the stakes could not be higher—inside or outside the old Suwanee County Couthouse.  The evidence against his client, which includes a threatening text message referencing “strange fruit” on the river, seems overwhelming. Then Jack gets a break that could turn the case. Jamal’s gruesome murder bears disturbing similarities to another lynching that occurred back in the Jim Crow days of 1944. Are the chilling parallels purely coincidental? With a community in chaos and a young man’s life in jeopardy, Jack will use every resource to find out.

As he navigates each twist and turn of the search, Jack becomes increasingly convinced that his client may himself be the victim of a criminal plan more sinister than the case presented by the state attorney. Risking his own reputation, this principled man who has devoted his life to the law plunges headfirst into the darkest recesses of the South’s past, and its murky present, to uncover answers.

For Jack, it’s about the truth. Traversing time, from the days of strict segregation to the present, he’ll find it—no matter what the cost—and bring much-needed justice to Suwanee County.

Description from Goodreads.

“Tackling racism, white supremacists, and a generations-old lynching, the book is admirably heartfelt and humane.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…those looking for a legal thriller heavy on action will be rewarded.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



HISTORICAL FICTION



As Bright as Heaven by  Susan Meissner

as bright as heavenIn 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world, not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Description from Goodreads.

“Meissner’s prose maintains a balanced tone of sorrow throughout this novel. Fans of Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible and the television show Six Feet Under will enjoy.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A good choice for book groups who read M. L. Stedman’s A Light Between Oceans (2012), another novel set in the post–WWI era in which tragedy blurs moral lines.” – Booklist 

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Atomic City Girls by  Janet Beard

atomic city girlsIn November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

Description from Goodreads.

“Beard has taken a project of momentous impact and injected a human element into it. […] This is approachable, intelligent, and highly satisfying historical fiction.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Fans of historical fiction will devour this complex and human look at the people involved in the creation of the atomic bomb. A fascinating look at an underexplored chapter of American history.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Only Killers and Thieves by  Paul Howarth

only killers and thievesIt is 1885 and the McBride family are trying to survive a crippling drought that is slowly eroding their lives and hopes: their cattle are starved, and the family can no longer purchase the supplies they need on their depleted credit. When the rain finally comes, it’s a miracle. For a moment, the scrubland flourishes and the remote swimming hole fills. Returning home from an afternoon swim, fourteen-year-old Tommy and sixteen-year-old Billy McBride discover a scene of heartbreaking carnage: their dogs dead in the yard, their hardworking father and mother shot to death, and their precocious younger sister unconscious and severely bleeding from a wound to her gut. The boys believe the killer is their former Aboriginal stockman, and, desperate to save Mary, they rush her to John Sullivan, the wealthiest landowner in the region and their father’s former employer, who promises to take care of them.

Eager for retribution, the distraught brothers fall sway to Sullivan, who persuades them to join his posse led by the Queensland Native Police, an infamous arm of British colonial power whose sole purpose is the “dispersal” of indigenous Australians to “protect” settler rights. The group is led by the intimidating inspector Edmund Noone, a dangerous and pragmatic officer whose intellect and ruthlessness both fascinates and unnerves the watchful Tommy. Riding for days across the barren outback, the group is determined to find the perpetrators they insist are guilty, for reasons neither of the brothers truly understands. It is a harsh and horrifying journey that will have a devastating impact on Tommy, tormenting him for the rest of his life—and hold enduring consequences for a young country struggling to come into its own.

Set in a period of Australian and British history as raw and relevant as that of the wild frontier of nineteenth-century America, Only Killers and Thieves is an unforgettable story of family, guilt, empire, race, manhood, and faith that combines the insightfulness of Philipp Meyer’s The Son with the atmospheric beauty of Amanda Coplin’s The Orchardist and the raw storytelling power of Ian McGuire’s The North Water.

Description from Goodreads.

“Howarth’s impressive debut is a Wild West saga transported to 19th-century Queensland, Australian. The story deals unflinchingly with the brutality of Australian rule…but the heart of the story is the complicated relationship between the brothers…While this book has a historical point to make, it also works as a suspenseful mystery and a resonant bildungsroman.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Devastating and impressive debut…Howarth skillfully uses the fraying relationship between the two brothers—Billy embraces vigilantism with vengeful zeal, while Tommy is revolted by both the carnage and its effect on his brother—to illustrate the moral issues at the heart of his story. The narrative is empowered further by his searing descriptions of the outback, a drought-ridden landscape of desiccation and death that provides a backdrop as bleak and merciless as the characters who move against it.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book



ROMANCE



The Masterpiece by  Francine Rivers

masterpieceA successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.

Description from Goodreads.

“This is an amazing, beautifully written tale to be savored and pondered and shared with others.” – Romantic Times

“Fans of Christian romance will delight in this tale of salvation through love.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book



NONFICTION



Feel Free: Essays by  Zadie Smith

feel freeSince she burst spectacularly into view with her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself not just as one of the world’s preeminent fiction writers, but also a brilliant and singular essayist. She contributes regularly to The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books on a range of subjects, and each piece of hers is a literary event in its own right.

Arranged into five sections–In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free–this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network–and Facebook itself–really about? “It’s a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore.” Why do we love libraries? “Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.” What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? “So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we’d just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes–and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat.”

Gathering in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays, such as, “Joy,” and, “Find Your Beach,” Feel Free offers a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith’s own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive–and never any less than perfect company. This is literary journalism at its zenith.

Description from Goodreads.

“Refreshingly insightful on any number of topics, from Martin Buber to Justin Bieber…Reviewing a book by her countryman Geoff Dyer, [Smith] writes that she is most struck by ‘his tone. Its simplicity, its classlessness, its accessibility and yet its erudition—the combination is a trick few British writers ever pull off.’ Without question, Smith is one of them.” – TIME

“Lest you forget that Zadie Smith’s output encompasses several masterful careers, please allow Feel Free, her new collection of essays, to remind you…Incisive and often wry…these pieces are as relevant as can be. They are reminders of how much else there is to ponder in this world, how much else is worth our time, and how lucky we are to have Smith as our guide.” – Vanity Fair

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook


I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by  Maggie O’Farrell

i am i am i amAn extraordinary memoir—told entirely in near-death experiences—from one of Britain’s best-selling novelists, for fans of Wild, When Breath Becomes Air, and The Year of Magical Thinking.

We are never closer to life than when we brush up against the possibility of death.

I Am, I Am, I Am is Maggie O’Farrell’s astonishing memoir of the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life. The childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An encounter with a disturbed man on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter–for whom this book was written–from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life’s myriad dangers.

Seventeen discrete encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and restrained emotion, O’Farrell captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty, and mysteries of life itself.

Description from Goodreads.

“Astounding…awe-inspiring…a tour de force” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Where other writers may be playing with paper, O’Farrell takes up a bow and arrow and aims at the human heart.” – The Times

Available Formats:

Print Book


Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Aghanistan and Pakistan, 2001-2016 by  Steve Coll

directorate sPrior to 9/11, the United States had been carrying out small-scale covert operations in Afghanistan, ostensibly in cooperation, although often in direct opposition, with I.S.I., the Pakistani intelligence agency. While the US was trying to quell extremists, a highly secretive and compartmentalized wing of I.S.I., known as “Directorate S,” was covertly training, arming, and seeking to legitimize the Taliban, in order to enlarge Pakistan’s sphere of influence. After 9/11, when fifty-nine countries, led by the U. S., deployed troops or provided aid to Afghanistan in an effort to flush out the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the U.S. was set on an invisible slow-motion collision course with Pakistan.

Today we know that the war in Afghanistan would falter badly because of military hubris at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the drain on resources and provocation in the Muslim world caused by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and corruption. But more than anything, as Coll makes painfully clear, the war in Afghanistan was doomed because of the failure of the United States to apprehend the motivations and intentions of I.S.I.’s “Directorate S”. This was a swirling and shadowy struggle of historic proportions, which endured over a decade and across both the Bush and Obama administrations, involving multiple secret intelligence agencies, a litany of incongruous strategies and tactics, and dozens of players, including some of the most prominent military and political figures. A sprawling American tragedy, the war was an open clash of arms but also a covert melee of ideas, secrets, and subterranean violence.

Coll excavates this grand battle, which took place away from the gaze of the American public. With unsurpassed expertise, original research, and attention to detail, he brings to life a narrative at once vast and intricate, local and global, propulsive and painstaking. This is the definitive explanation of how America came to be so badly ensnared in an elaborate, factional, and seemingly interminable conflict in South Asia. Nothing less than a forensic examination of the personal and political forces that shape world history, Directorate S is a complete masterpiece of both investigative and narrative journalism.

Description from Goodreads.

“With his evenhanded approach, gift for limning character, and dazzling reporting skills, he has created an essential work of contemporary history.” – Booklist, STARRED

“The most comprehensive work to date on the U.S. war in Afghanistan…Coll’s vital work provides a factual and analytical foundation for all future work on the Afghan War and U.S. policy in Central Asia.” – Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border by  Francisco Cantú

line becomes a riverFor Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there.

Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.

Description from Goodreads.

“Read enough op-eds and takes and Tweets about the border, and you can start to forget that it’s a real place… Cantú has written an insistently humane book, or maybe just a human one… an exploration of how the border feels, and what happens to the people who get caught in its gears.” – Bookforum

“Cantú’s rich prose and deep empathy make this an indispensable look at one of America’s most divisive issues.” Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book


A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America by  T. Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong

false reportOn August 11, 2008, eighteen-year-old Marie truthfully reported that a masked man broke into her apartment near Seattle, Washington, and raped her, but within days police and even those closest to Marie became suspicious of her story. The police swiftly pivoted and began investigating her. Confronted with inconsistencies in her story and the doubts of others, Marie broke down and said her story was a lie. Police charged her with false reporting. One of her best friends created a web page branding her a liar.

More than two years later, Colorado detective Stacy Galbraith was assigned to investigate a case of sexual assault. Describing the crime to her husband that night–the attacker’s calm and practiced demeanor, which led the victim to surmise “he’s done this before”–Galbraith learned that the case bore an eerie resemblance to a rape that had taken place months earlier in a nearby town. She joined forces with the detective on that case, Edna Hendershot, and the two soon realized they were dealing with a serial rapist: a man who photographed his victims, threatening to release the images online, and whose calculated steps to erase all physical evidence suggested he might be a soldier or a cop. Through meticulous police work the detectives would eventually connect the rapist to other attacks in Colorado–and beyond.

Based on investigative files and extensive interviews with the principals, A False Report is a serpentine tale of doubt, lies, and a hunt for justice, unveiling the disturbing reality of how sexual assault is investigated today–and the long history of skepticism toward rape victims.

Description from Goodreads.

“…an important piece of journalism — especially in an era where sexual assault and attacks on women have become increasingly publicized and politicized.” – The Washington Post

“…shines a critical light on an urgent and timely subject.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s