Best New Books: Week of 5/8/2018

Book lovers have a lot to be excited about this week, as they are again blessed with an abundance of choices. We have thrillers, family dramedy, sweeping fiction, meditations of life, essay collections, romance, epic fantasy, historical accounts, and up-to-date science. No matter what your interests are, you should be sure to find at least one great book in the list, so go ahead and check it out, and then get reading!



FICTION



Warlight by  Michael Ondaatje

warlightIn a narrative as mysterious as memory itself – at once both shadowed and luminous – Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire.

It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel.

Description from Goodreads.

“…a wonderfully varied, blazingly literary, and gut-twistingly emotional story that will leave readers grateful for whatever solidity their own families can claim, though newly aware of the fundamental mystery of other lives.” – Amazon Book Review

“[A] haunting, brilliant novel . . . Mesmerizing from the first sentence, rife with poignant insights and satisfying subplots, this novel about secrets and loss may be Ondaatje’s best work yet.” – Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A lyrical mystery . . . Ondaatje’s shrewd character study plays out in a smart, sophisticated drama, one worth the long wait for fans of wartime intrigue.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | PlayawayeBook


That Kind of Mother by  Rumaan Alam

that kind of motherLike many first-time mothers, Rebecca Stone finds herself both deeply in love with her newborn son and deeply overwhelmed. Struggling to juggle the demands of motherhood with her own aspirations and feeling utterly alone in the process, she reaches out to the only person at the hospital who offers her any real help—Priscilla Johnson—and begs her to come home with them as her son’s nanny.

Priscilla’s presence quickly does as much to shake up Rebecca’s perception of the world as it does to stabilize her life. Rebecca is white, and Priscilla is black, and through their relationship, Rebecca finds herself confronting, for the first time, the blind spots of her own privilege. She feels profoundly connected to the woman who essentially taught her what it means to be a mother. When Priscilla dies unexpectedly in childbirth, Rebecca steps forward to adopt the baby. But she is unprepared for what it means to be a white mother with a black son. As she soon learns, navigating motherhood for her is a matter of learning how to raise two children whom she loves with equal ferocity, but whom the world is determined to treat differently.

Written with the warmth and psychological acuity that defined his debut, Rumaan Alam has crafted a remarkable novel about the lives we choose, and the lives that are chosen for us.

Description from Goodreads.

“Alam’s second novel, about two families brought together by the death of a beloved nanny, expertly and intrepidly blends topics of the zeitgeist, including race, privilege, and motherhood, without sacrificing elegant prose and signature wit.” – Vogue

That Kind of Mother is a thought-provoking story about what happens when a beloved nanny dies, leaving her own child motherless. Exploring themes of race, privilege, and family, Alam’s second novel will leave you thinking about it long after finishing.” – Popsugar

“Alam’s sharp narrative asides—lines like “Some percentage of the things she did for the children were actually for her”—carry such weight and truth that we trust his route toward the bigger question of the book: are we ever ready for the pain and joy that life delivers.” – The Millions

“Quietly brilliant…Alam’s unerring yet unobtrusive eye asks uncomfortable questions: Can motherhood ever look beyond race? Can we learn to recognize the terrible blindness of our respective cultural perspectives?…. A stunning accomplishment.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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What Should Be Wild by  Julia Fine

what should be wildCursed. Maisie Cothay has never known the feel of human flesh: born with the power to kill or resurrect at her slightest touch, she has spent her childhood sequestered in her family’s manor at the edge of a mysterious forest. Maisie’s father, an anthropologist who sees her as more experiment than daughter, has warned Maisie not to venture into the wood. Locals talk of men disappearing within, emerging with addled minds and strange stories. What he does not tell Maisie is that for over a millennium her female ancestors have also vanished into the wood, never to emerge—for she is descended from a long line of cursed women.

But one day Maisie’s father disappears, and Maisie must venture beyond the walls of her carefully constructed life to find him. Away from her home and the wood for the very first time, she encounters a strange world filled with wonder and deception. Yet the farther she strays, the more the wood calls her home. For only there can Maisie finally reckon with her power and come to understand the wildest parts of herself.

Description from Goodreads.

“A captivating tale that explores the fears, desires and mysteries of growing up…. Fine begins with elements we all recognize… and delightfully warps them until a new tale emerges. Maisie is a complex heroine worthy of the story’s luxurious prose…. Fine [has a] gift for walking the tightrope between the universal truths of human experience and the hidden magic within those truths.” – BookPage

“Fine’s stellar debut is a mystical combination of curiosity, curses, and compassion…. An inventive and fascinating modern coming-of-age fairy tale.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A first-time novelist of exceptional imagination… Fine offers a provocative fairy tale about womanhood under siege and one young woman’s fierce resistance… with convincing intensity and a charming mix of wit, gruesomeness, magic, and romance in the spellbinding mode of Alice Hoffman.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

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My Ex-Life by  Stephen McCauley

my ex-lifeDavid Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.

The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.

Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter.

That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy. While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices?

When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago―they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix.

In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)

Description from Goodreads.

“McCauley delights with intimately, often hilariously observed characters and a winking wit that lets plenty of honest tenderness shine through. Readers will love spending time in these pages.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Wickedly funny…. For all the idiosyncrasies of McCauley’s creations, it’s likely many readers will see aspects of their own lives reflected in these pages.” – BookPage

“You can recognize great writers in their minor characters…Stephen McCauley belongs to an elite club of authors who create such memorable supporting roles, and in his latest, My Ex-Life, he serves up a narcissistic San Francisco real estate agent, a bitter, tourist-town shopkeeper, and an exotic next-door philanderer, to name just three.” – Chronogram

“Funny, heartfelt, and utterly winning…” – Southern Living

Available Formats:

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Alternative Remedies for Loss by  Joanna Cantor

alternative remedies for lossWhen 22-year-old Olivia learned that her mother had only months to live, she pulled up roots, leaving Vassar and her career plans far behind to be with her mother for her last days. And yet, just four months after her mother’s death, everyone in Olivia’s family already seems ready to move on. Her brothers are settled comfortably in careers and families of their own; her father has already started to date again, inviting a woman named June on a family trip. Still reeling from the loss, Olivia looks for a new start of her own, throwing herself headlong into Manhattan’s fast-moving media world, where she is alternately demeaned by bosses and pursued by men.

But as Olivia tries to piece together an adulthood without her mother to guide her, she makes a shocking discovery: a secret romantic correspondence her mother had with a man who only signed each letter “F.” As she tries to untangle the mystery of F, Olivia will journey halfway across the world, to an ashram in rural India, on a quest that will reconfigure everything Olivia thought she knew about her family and her own place in an increasingly complex world.

A profoundly moving and keenly observed contemplation of the debts we owe to the past and the ways we discover our futures, Alternative Remedies for Loss is the rare sort of book that can break and mend your heart in a single and unforgettable read.

Description from Goodreads.

“Joanna Cantor’s debut deals with parental loss and the many ways in which we search for our true selves, even though we have no idea what we’re looking for or what exactly we might find. In the book, Olivia is just 22 when her mother dies, and this event leads her on a journey of self-discovery (why, yes, there are many bad experiences with men along the way). Along the way, Olivia realizes what things from her earlier life she should hold onto and learn from, and what is okay to surrender to the past.” – NYLON

“A sharp and witty glimpse inside a functionally dysfunctional family, Cantor’s first novel is heartbreakingly honest. Fans of Helen Fielding, Emma Straub, and Maggie Shipstead will appreciate Olivia’s zest for life and capacity for personal growth. With a delightfully imperfect heroine, vibrant settings, and snappy dialogue, this is a whip-smart debut.” – Booklist

“[A] stellar debut . . . Cantor’s novel is not only full of unexpected turns but hits all the right emotional notes.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

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MYSTERY & SUSPENSE



Our Kind of Cruelty by  Araminta Hall

our kind of crueltyThis is a love story. Mike’s love story.

Mike Hayes fought his way out of a brutal childhood and into a quiet, if lonely life, before he met Verity Metcalf. V taught him about love, and in return, Mike has dedicated his life to making her happy. He’s found the perfect home, the perfect job, he’s sculpted himself into the physical ideal V has always wanted. He knows they’ll be blissfully happy together.

It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t been returning his emails or phone calls.
It doesn’t matter that she says she’s marrying Angus.

It’s all just part of the secret game they used to play. If Mike watches V closely, he’ll see the signs. If he keeps track of her every move he’ll know just when to come to her rescue…

A spellbinding, darkly twisted novel about desire and obsession, and the complicated lines between truth and perception, Our Kind of Cruelty introduces Araminta Hall, a chilling new voice in psychological suspense.

Description from Goodreads.

“This is simply one of the nastiest and most disturbing thrillers I’ve read in years. In short: I loved it, right down to the utterly chilling final line.” – Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl

“[A] strange, sexy novel.” – The Washington Post

“The best unreliable narrator book I’ve ever read, and a perfect, terrifying tale of obsession, delusion, and gaslighting.” – CrimeReads

“Here’s a change―a psychological thriller in which a man is the crazy one . . . Which is worse―an emotionally disturbed murderer or a woman with a fierce libido? Hall’s U.S. debut is designed to show just how much trouble society has answering that question.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

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ROMANCE



The Other Lady Vanishes by  Amanda Quick

other lady vanishesAfter escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over.

Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.

In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they’ll be drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.

Neither Adelaide or Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they’ll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be–and uncover the specter of a killer who’s been real all along…

Description from Goodreads.

“Fans of The Girl Who Knew Too Much will find that Quick’s complicated but entertaining follow-up, set in Hollywood’s golden age, hits the spot.” – Publishers Weekly

“Quick knows how to hold readers’ attention — the atmosphere is pitch perfect and they will be holding their breath as they race from page one to the surprising climax. The chemistry between the characters crackles as the tension rises and both the mystery and the romance merge flawlessly.” – RT Book Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



SCI-FI & FANTASY



King of Ashes by  Raymond E. Feist

king of ashesFor centuries, the five greatest kingdoms of North and South Tembria, twin continents on the world of Garn, have coexisted in peace. But the balance of power is destroyed when four of the kingdoms violate an ancient covenant and betray the fifth: Ithrace, the Kingdom of Flames, ruled by Steveren Langene, known as “the Firemane” for his brilliant red hair. As war engulfs the world, Ithrace is destroyed and the Greater Realms of Tembria are thrust into a dangerous struggle for supremacy.

As a Free Lord, Baron Daylon Dumarch owes allegiance to no king. When an abandoned infant is found hidden in Daylon’s pavilion, he realizes that the child must be the missing heir of the slain Steveren. The boy is valuable—and vulnerable. A cunning and patient man, Daylon decides to keep the baby’s existence secret, and sends him to be raised on the Island of Coaltachin, home of the so-called Kingdom of Night, where the powerful and lethal Nocusara, the “Hidden Warriors,” legendary assassins and spies, are trained.

Years later, another orphan of mysterious provenance, a young man named Declan, earns his Masters rank as a weapons smith. Blessed with intelligence and skill, he unlocks the secret to forging King’s Steel, the apex of a weapon maker’s trade known by very few. Yet this precious knowledge is also deadly, and Declan is forced to leave his home to safeguard his life. Landing in Lord Daylon’s provinces, he hopes to start anew.

Soon, the two young men—an unknowing rightful heir to a throne and a brilliantly talented young swordsmith—will discover that their fates, and that of Garn, are entwined. The legendary, long-ago War of Betrayal has never truly ended . . . and they must discover the secret of who truly threatens their world.

Description from Goodreads.

“Feist is back on top of his game in this series. . . .A delightful fantasy novel, full of simple magic, fighting, political intrigue, and religious strife.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Feist succeeds in finding warmth and meaning in the smaller moments . . . [and] shines when he focuses on the human element, which feels more necessary than ever.” – RT Book Reviews

Available Formats:

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NONFICTION



Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by  Zora Neale Hurston

barracoonA major literary event: a never-before-published work from the author of the American classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God which brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade—illegally smuggled from Africa on the last “Black Cargo” ship to arrive in the United States.

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, to interview ninety-five-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.

In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilde, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.

Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon brilliantly illuminates the tragedy of slavery and one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.

Description from Goodreads.

“…a stunning addition to several overlapping canons of American literature. …an unnerving interrogation of modern conceptions of the earliest African Americans.” – The Washington Post

“This previously unpublished manuscript from Hurston (1891–1960) is a remarkable account of the life of Kossola, also known as Cudjo Lewis, the last survivor of the last American slave ship. …an invaluable addition to American social, cultural, and political history.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Order of Time by  Carlo Rovelli

order of timeWhy do we remember the past and not the future? What does it mean for time to “flow”? Do we exist in time or does time exist in us? In lyric, accessible prose, Carlo Rovelli invites us to consider questions about the nature of time that continue to puzzle physicists and philosophers alike.

For most readers this is unfamiliar terrain. We all experience time, but the more scientists learn about it, the more mysterious it remains. We think of it as uniform and universal, moving steadily from past to future, measured by clocks. Rovelli tears down these assumptions one by one, revealing a strange universe where at the most fundamental level time disappears. He explains how the theory of quantum gravity attempts to understand and give meaning to the resulting extreme landscape of this timeless world. Weaving together ideas from philosophy, science and literature, he suggests that our perception of the flow of time depends on our perspective, better understood starting from the structure of our brain and emotions than from the physical universe.

Already a bestseller in Italy, and written with the poetic vitality that made Seven Brief Lessons on Physics so appealing, The Order of Time offers a profoundly intelligent, culturally rich, novel appreciation of the mysteries of time.

Description from Goodreads.

“Not since Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time has there been so genial an integration of physics and philosophy.” – The Guardian

“Rovelli, a physicist and one of the founders of loop quantum gravity theory, uses literary, poetical and historical devices to unravel the properties of time, what it means to exist without time and, at the end, how time began.” – Scientific American

“Physics’ literary superstar makes us rethink time . . . The Order of Time will surely establish Rovelli among the pantheon of great scientist-communicators . . . More of this please” – New Scientist

Available Formats:

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The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life by  Richard Russo

destiny thiefA master of the novel, short story, and memoir, the best-selling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Everybody’s Fool now gives us his very first collection of personal essays, ranging throughout writing and reading and living.

In these nine essays, Richard Russo provides insight into his life as a writer, teacher, friend, and reader. From a commencement speech he gave at Colby College, to the story of how an oddly placed toilet made him reevaluate the purpose of humor in art and life, to a comprehensive analysis of Mark Twain’s value, to his harrowing journey accompanying a dear friend as she pursued gender-reassignment surgery, The Destiny Thief reflects the broad interests and experiences of one of America’s most beloved authors. Warm, funny, wise, and poignant, the essays included here traverse Russo’s writing life, expanding our understanding of who he is and how his singular, incredibly generous mind works. An utter joy to read, they give deep insight into the creative process from the prospective of one of our greatest writers.

Description from Goodreads.

“All-encompassing. . . . Anyone in search of an eye-opening series of essays by a distinguished writer about writing and the writing life need look no further.” – The National Book Review

“Certain to please anyone familiar with his short fiction and novels. . . . The unselfconscious voice threading through these nine explorations of writing, writers, and everyday life is a welcome alternative to the all-too-common introspection and fraught ‘literariness’ found in many recent memoir and essay collections from prominent authors. Readers seeking a deeply insightful record of the creative process and the life guiding it will find resonance here.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


From Cold War to Hot Peace: The Inside Story of Russia and America by  Michael McFaul

from cold war to hot peaceIn 2008, when Michael McFaul was asked to leave his perch at Stanford and join an unlikely presidential campaign, he had no idea that he would find himself at the beating heart of one of today’s most contentious and consequential international relationships. As President Barack Obama’s adviser on Russian affairs, McFaul helped craft the United States’ policy known as “reset” that fostered new and unprecedented collaboration between the two countries. And then, as U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, he had a front-row seat when this fleeting, hopeful moment crumbled with Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency. This riveting inside account combines history and memoir to tell the full story of U.S.-Russia relations from the fall of the Soviet Union to the new rise of the hostile, paranoid Russian president. From the first days of McFaul’s ambassadorship, the Kremlin actively sought to discredit and undermine him, hassling him with tactics that included dispatching protesters to his front gates, slandering him on state media, and tightly surveilling him, his staff, and his family.

From Cold War to Hot Peace is an essential account of the most consequential global confrontation of our time.

Description from Goodreads.

“This is an indispensable book for understanding the threat our country faces from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. McFaul is a candid and insightful guide to the history, personalities, and politics that continue to shape one of America’s most consequential relationships.” – Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State under Barack Obama (2009-2013) 

“Mike McFaul has lived history. In this terrific book, he recounts a pivotal time in U.S.-Russian relations, bringing the perspective of a central participant and one of America’s finest scholars of Russian politics. This book will be valued by students, experts, historians and diplomats for years to come. It is a good read and an invaluable contribution at a crucial time.” – Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State under George W. Bush (2005-2009)

“As both a first-hand observer and a key participant in many of the recent events that have shaped US-Russia relations, Ambassador McFaul has an important story to tell. From Cold War to Hot Peace is a gripping and intensely personal account of one of the most complex and consequential geopolitical developments of our time.” – Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State under Bill Clinton (1997-2001)

“Mike McFaul gives us a broad, thoughtful analysis of a critical shift in world affairs. Read From Cold War to Hot Peace for timely, informative, and intriguing insights on changing US-Russia relations.” – George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan (1982-1989)

Available Formats:

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West Like Lightning: The Brief, Legendary Ride of the Pony Express by  Jim DeFelice

west like lightningOn the eve of the Civil War, three American businessmen launched an audacious plan to create a financial empire by transforming communications across the hostile territory between the nation’s two coasts. In the process, they created one of the most enduring icons of the American West: the Pony Express. Daring young men with colorful names like “Bronco Charlie” and “Sawed-Off Jim” galloped at speed over a vast and unforgiving landscape, etching an irresistible tale that passed into myth almost instantly. Equally an improbable success and a business disaster, the Pony Express came and went in just eighteen months, but not before uniting and captivating a nation on the brink of being torn apart. Jim DeFelice’s brilliantly entertaining West Like Lightning is the first major history of the Pony Express to put its birth, life, and legacy into the full context of the American story.

The Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company—or “Pony Express,” as it came to be known—was part of a plan by William Russell, Alexander Majors, and William Waddell to create the next American Express, a transportation and financial juggernaut that already dominated commerce back east. All that stood in their way were almost two thousand miles of uninhabited desert, ice-capped mountains, oceanic plains roamed by Indian tribes, whitewater-choked rivers, and harsh, unsettled wilderness.

The Pony used a relay system of courageous horseback riders to ferry mail halfway across a continent in just ten days. The challenges the riders faced were enormous, yet the Pony Express succeeded, delivering thousands of letters at record speed. The service instantly became the most direct means of communication between the eastern United States and its far western territories, helping to firmly connect them to the Union.

Populated with a cast of characters including Abraham Lincoln (news of whose electoral victory the Express delivered to California), Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody (who fed the legend of the Express in his Wild West Show), and Mark Twain (who celebrated the riders in Roughing It), West Like Lightning masterfully traces the development of the Pony Express and follows it from its start in St. Joseph, Missouri—the edge of the civilized world—west to Sacramento, the capital of California, then booming from the gold rush. Jim DeFelice, who traveled the Pony’s route in his research, plumbs the legends, myths, and surprising truth of the service, exploring its lasting relevance today as a symbol of American enterprise, audacity, and daring.

Description from Goodreads.

“A pretty wild ride … rendered in fine, thrilling detail.. … Delightful.” – Publishers Weekly

“Fresh and engaging. … A wild ride. … West Like Lightning is sure to stand amongst the great popular histories of the west.” – Tombstone Epitaph

Available Formats:

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Figures in a Landscape: People and Places by  Paul Theroux

figures in a landscapeIn the spirit of his much-loved Sunrise with Seamonsters and Fresh Air Fiend, Paul Theroux’s latest collection of essays leads the reader through a dazzling array of sights, characters, and experiences, as Theroux applies his signature searching curiosity to a life lived as much in reading as on the road. This writerly tour-de-force features a satisfyingly varied selection of topics that showcase Theroux’s sheer versatility as a writer. Travel essays take us to Ecuador, Zimbabwe, and Hawaii, to name a few. Gems of literary criticism reveal fascinating depth in the work of Henry David Thoreau, Graham Greene, Joseph Conrad, and Hunter Thompson. And in a series of breathtakingly personal profiles, we take a helicopter ride with Elizabeth Taylor, go surfing with Oliver Sacks, eavesdrop on the day-to-day life of a Manhattan dominatrix, and explore New York with Robin Williams.

An extended mediation on the craft of writing binds together this wide-ranging collection, along with Theroux’s constant quest for the authentic in a person or in a place.

Description from Goodreads.

“Novelist and travel writer Theroux is at the top of his game with his third collection of essays, a magisterial grouping of intimate remembrances, globe-trotting adventures, and incisive literary critiques…A highly versatile, appealing writer, Theroux casts a wide net with pleasing and entertaining results.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Theroux’s observations are so keen and writerly skills so sharp that he butter-slices narratives with a razor-thin surgeon’s scalpel, masterfully serving up both the world’s dark underbelly and its gloriously uplifting sustenance of love, longing and wonder-lust.” – Forbes

In short, there is something for everyone. […] His talky, big-hearted book will make a heavenly companion at the beach.” – Honolulu Star Advertiser

Available Formats:

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