Best New Books: Week of 2/5/2019

The weather has been all over the place these last several days, and it doesn’t look like things are going to stabilize in the near future either. Luckily for us, whether it’s cold and snowy or sunny and warm, it’s always the perfect weather for a great book! And there are a lot of great new books arriving at the library this week. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get to the books!



FICTION



Where Reasons End by  Yiyun Li

where reasons endThe narrator writes, “I had but one delusion, which I held onto with all my willpower: we once gave Nikolai a life of flesh and blood; and I’m doing it over again, this time by words.

Written in the months after the author lost a child to suicide and composed as a story cycle, this conversation between mother and child unfolds in a timeless world. Deeply intimate, poignant, and moving, these conversations portray the love and complexity in a relationship across generations, even as they capture the pain of sadness, longing, and loss.

In writing this book, Yiyun Li was inspired by a line from Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past: “Ideas come to us as the successors to griefs, and griefs, at the moment when they change into ideas, lose some part of their power to injure the heart; the transformation itself, even, for an instant, releases suddenly a little joy.”

Meeting life’s deepest sorrow with originality, precision and poise, Where Reasons End is suffused with intimacy, inescapable pain, and fierce love.

Description from Goodreads.

“A tender, haunting meditation on loss.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Like Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking or Peter Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams, Li’s novel tries to find a language to reckon with the unspeakable reality of death. The novel succeeds in Li’s approach of skirting the subject in favor of something between the dead’s nostalgia for life and regular small talk. This is a unique, poignant, and tender evocation of life as touched irrevocably by death.” – Publishers Weekly

“The humor in this book is subtle yet potent, always followed by a lifelike echo of absurdity … Were it not another cliché, I might call Nikolai a fully realized character; he’s precociously wise as well as a bitter deliverer of harsh truths both petty and philosophical, often at the same time … Where Reasons End is an interrogation of form — an exploration of what fiction can do and what it can’t — as well as an attempt to understand how both to live through suffering and to write about it.” – The New York Times Book Review

Available Formats:

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Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom by  Sylvia Plath

mary ventura and the ninth kingdomLips the colour of blood, the sun an unprecedented orange, train wheels that sound like ‘guilt, and guilt, and guilt’: these are just some of the things Mary Ventura begins to notice on her journey to the ninth kingdom.

‘But what is the ninth kingdom?’ she asks a kind-seeming lady in her carriage. ‘It is the kingdom of the frozen will,’ comes the reply. ‘There is no going back.’

Sylvia Plath’s strange, dark tale of independence over infanticide, written not long after she herself left home, grapples with mortality in motion.

Description from Goodreads.

“[Plath’s] story is stirring, in sneaky, unexpected ways…Look carefully and there’s a new angle here — on how, and why, we read Plath today.” – New York Times

“[A] short but darkly powerful tale about the struggle to control one’s fate, especially if one is female. … [W]hile she was self-absorbed and fatally sad, she also gave us a cynical voice capable of demonstrating the lines between hope and reality. She transformed that voice in a way that examined womanhood, innocence, identity—and even death—as no other writer of her time did. And it’s all there in a 64-page short story, newly gifted to her followers.” – New York Journal of Books

Available Formats:

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The Last Romantics by  Tara Conklin

last romantics“The greatest works of poetry, what makes each of us a poet, are the stories we tell about ourselves. We create them out of family and blood and friends and love and hate and what we’ve read and watched and witnessed. Longing and regret, illness, broken bones, broken hearts, achievements, money won and lost, palm readings and visions. We tell these stories until we believe them.”

When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love. 

A sweeping yet intimate epic about one American family, The Last Romantics is an unforgettable exploration of the ties that bind us together, the responsibilities we embrace and the duties we resent, and how we can lose—and sometimes rescue—the ones we love. A novel that pierces the heart and lingers in the mind, it is also a beautiful meditation on the power of stories—how they navigate us through difficult times, help us understand the past, and point the way toward our future.

Description from Goodreads.

“Accomplished … throws a few unexpected twists into the well-worn story of evolving relationships among siblings … Conklin’s plot avoids the predictable, and adds a new mystery each time an old one is solved, resulting in a clever novel.” – Publishers Weekly

“Beautifully written … Despite spanning almost a century, The Last Romantics never feels rushed. Conklin places readers in the center of the Skinner family, moving back and forth in time and allowing waves of emotion to slowly uncurl. Perfectly paced, affecting fiction.” – Booklist

“[C]ontains all the essential elements of a compelling Greek tragedy, one that also provides a mercifully cathartic release for its emotionally spent main characters and, ultimately, for the reader. … The skillful three-dimensional rendering of Joe and his sisters welcomes the reader into the inner sanctum of their preoccupations and rivalries. Intensely moving, The Last Romantics is a thoughtful family drama with exceptional characters at its heart.” – Shelf Awareness

Available Formats:

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The Atlas of Reds and Blues by  Devi S. Laskar

atlas of reds and bluesWhen an unnamed narrator moves her family from the city of Atlanta to its wealthy suburbs, she discovers that neither the times nor the people have changed since her childhood in a small southern town. Despite the intervening decades, the woman, known only as The Mother, is met with the same questions: Where are you from? No, where are you really from? The American-born daughter of Bengali immigrant parents, her truthful answer, here, is never enough. She finds herself navigating a climate of lingering racism with three daughters in tow and a husband who spends more time in business class than at home.

The Mother’s simmering anger breaks through one morning, when, during a baseless and prejudice-driven police raid on her house, she finally refuses to be calm, complacent, polite—and is ultimately shot. As she lies bleeding on her driveway, The Mother struggles to make sense of her past and decipher her present—how did she end up here?

Devi S. Laskar has written a brilliant debut novel novel that grapples with the complexities of the second-generation American experience, what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace, a sister, a wife, a mother to daughters in today’s America. Drawing inspiration from the author’s own terrifying experience of a raid on her home, The Atlas of Reds and Blues explores, in exquisite, lyrical prose, an alternate reality that might have been.

Description from Goodreads.

“Laskar has written a searing and powerful novel about the second-generation immigrant experience, making clear the ways in which America terrorizes its own people. It’s a violent look at a violent place, and you’ll feel forever changed for having read it.” – NYLON

“Laskar’s stunning debut skillfully tackles hefty topics such as bullying, racism, and terrorism in a mosaic, life-flashing-before-one’s-eyes narrative . . . A striking depiction of a single life.” – Publishers Weekly 

“It takes place in a morning; it covers a lifetime. Short, vivid chapters, like puzzle pieces, deliver the thoughts of a woman sprawled on the pavement, bleeding . . . Not only does Laskar bring her honed skills as a poet and journalist to her pulse-racing first novel about otherness and prejudice, she also draws on her own experience of a shocking raid on her home. Laskar’s bravura drama of one woman pushed to the brink by racism is at once sharply relevant and tragically timeless.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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I Owe You One by  Sophie Kinsella

i owe you oneFixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?

Description from Goodreads.

“A delightful, irresistible romp.” – Booklist

I Owe You One is another impossibly delightful story by Sophie Kinsella, a must-read for her die-hard fans and new readers alike.” – PopSugar

[A] fun story about family, loyalty, and taking charge of your own life . . . Kinsella creates a charming story full of quirky characters and laugh-out-loud dialogue. . . . [Her] many fans will devour this warm and hilarious read.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | Large Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


American Pop by  Snowden Wright

american popThe story of a family. The story of an empire. The story of a nation.

Moving from Mississippi to Paris to New York and back again, a saga of family, ambition, passion, and tragedy that brings to life one unforgettable Southern dynasty—the Forsters, founders of the world’s first major soft-drink company—against the backdrop of more than a century of American cultural history.

The child of immigrants, Houghton Forster has always wanted more—from his time as a young boy in Mississippi, working twelve-hour days at his father’s drugstore; to the moment he first laid eyes on his future wife, Annabelle Teague, a true Southern belle of aristocratic lineage; to his invention of the delicious fizzy drink that would transform him from tiller boy into the founder of an empire, the Panola Cola Company, and entice a youthful, enterprising nation entering a hopeful new age.

Now the heads of a preeminent American family spoken about in the same breath as the Hearsts and the Rockefellers, Houghton and Annabelle raise their four children with the expectation they’ll one day become world leaders. The burden of greatness falls early on eldest son Montgomery, a handsome and successful politician who has never recovered from the horrors and heartbreak of the Great War. His younger siblings Ramsey and Lance, known as the “infernal twins,” are rivals not only in wit and beauty, but in their utter carelessness with the lives and hearts of others. Their brother Harold, as gentle and caring as the twins can be cruel, is slowed by a mental disability—and later generations seem equally plagued by misfortune, forcing Houghton to seriously consider who should control the company after he’s gone.

An irresistible tour de force of original storytelling, American Pop blends fact and fiction, the mundane and the mythical, and utilizes techniques of historical reportage to capture how, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s words, “families are always rising and falling in America,” and to explore the many ways in which nostalgia can manipulate cultural memory—and the stories we choose to tell about ourselves.

Description from Goodreads.

“A sweeping, supremely entertaining debut novel about a Southern family’s very American rise then fall with the fate of their soda company… Wright tells their story playfully, weaving in various quotes and ‘facts’ about the characters as though they’re news reports. It’s funny and it totally works.” – AARP

American Pop delivers a wondrously mosaic-like, multigenerational chronicle of a family that builds a soda pop empire from a Mississippi Delta drugstore… A singularly original work.” – New York Journal of Books

“In the vein of To Kill A Mockingbird and more recent classics like The Twelve-Mile Straight and Miss JaneAmerican Pop explores the South’s dark side. A probing cultural history, the book is also a literary innovation.” – BookPage

Available Formats:

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Good Riddance by  Elinor Lipman

good riddanceDaphne Maritch doesn’t quite know what to make of the heavily annotated high school yearbook she inherits from her mother, who held this relic dear. Too dear. The late June Winter Maritch was the teacher to whom the class of ’68 had dedicated its yearbook, and in turn she went on to attend every reunion, scribbling notes and observations after each one—not always charitably—and noting who overstepped boundaries of many kinds.

In a fit of decluttering (the yearbook did not, Daphne concluded, “spark joy”), she discards it when she moves to a small New York City apartment. But when it’s found in the recycling bin by a busybody neighbor/documentary filmmaker, the yearbook’s mysteries—not to mention her own family’s—take on a whole new urgency, and Daphne finds herself entangled in a series of events both poignant and absurd. 
 
Good Riddance is a pitch-perfect, whip-smart new novel from an “enchanting, infinitely witty yet serious, exceptionally intelligent, wholly original, and Austen-like stylist” (Washington Post).

Description from Goodreads.

“The question of who gets to tell one’s own story lies at the heart of Lipman’s smart, sassy, and satisfying rom-com . . . Luckily for fans of contemporary women’s fiction, the answer is Lipman as she once again delivers a tightly woven, lightly rendered, but insightfully important novel of the pitfalls to be avoided and embraced on one’s path to self-discovery.” – Booklist

“Elinor Lipman always delights with her romantic comedies, and Good Riddance is Lipman at her best: funny, smart, and utterly charming.” – PopSugar

“Fans of Lipman will cheer for a new novel in her signature style: funny, warm, sharp, smart, and full of love for family, no matter how flawed.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

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MYSTERY



The Lost Man by  Jane Harper

lost manThey are at the stockman’s grave, a landmark so old, no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron. The Bright family’s quiet existence is thrown into grief and anguish. Something had been troubling Cameron. Did he lose hope and walk to his death? Because if he didn’t, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects…

Dark, suspenseful, and deeply atmospheric, The Lost Man is the highly anticipated next book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dry and Force of Nature.

Description from Goodreads.

“The Australian outback has never looked as bleak and dangerous as it does in Jane Harper’s latest… Deceptive twists sneak up on the reader, and with The Lost Man Harper has crafted another slow burn mystery that catches the reader unaware right up to the surprise ending.” – Amazon Book Review

“A nuanced but pulse-pounding thriller set in the heart of the Australian Outback, where two brothers find their sibling dead.” – Entertainment Weekly

“A timely and riveting family drama set in a desolate area of Queensland that will keep you guessing until the final pages.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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Stalker by  Lars Kepler

stalkerThe Swedish National Crime Unit receives a video of a young woman in her home, clearly unaware that she’s being watched. Soon after the tape is received, the woman’s body is found horrifically mutilated. With the arrival of the next, similar video, the police understand that the killer is toying with them, warning of a new victim, knowing there’s nothing they can do.

Detective Margot Silverman is put in charge of the investigation, and soon asks Detective Joona Linna for help. Linna, in turn, recruits Erik Maria Bark, the hypnotist and expert in trauma, with whom Linna’s worked before. Bark is leery of forcing people to give up their secrets. But this time, Bark is the one hiding things. 

Years before, he had put a man away for an eerily similar crime, and now he’s beginning to think that an innocent man may be behind bars–and a serial killer still on the loose…

Description from Goodreads.

“The reveal of the stalker’s identity is a genuine gut-punch. . . . Kepler (the pen name for the husband-and-wife writing team of Alexander and Alexandra Ahndoril) does a masterly job of elevating the serial killer thriller beyond genre clichés and tropes.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Kepler delivers a page-turning hunt for an expertly camouflaged killer that draws shocking connections between the hallowed halls of the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm’s prostitution and drug scene, and Sweden’s rural churches. The author’s dark, complex procedurals are must-reads for readers drawn to Stieg Larsson, Mons Kallentoft, and Michael Connelly.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“The plot unfolds in a fascinating, cleverly interwoven series of narratives and builds up to a dramatic climax … an absolutely riveting read … unlike this reviewer, do not choose to read it alone, in a house with many large, curtainless windows, standing on its own in a large, secluded garden…” – Swedish Book Review

Available Formats:

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The Stranger Inside by  Laura Benedict

stranger insideKimber Hannon’s belief that she has complete control over her life is shattered the night that she comes home from a trip to find her key no longer opens her front door. There is a stranger living in her house. A stranger who claims he has every right to be there, with the paperwork to prove it. When she confronts the man, he lets her get close enough to whisper, “I was there. I saw what you did.”

She doesn’t know how he knows her, but with those words Kimber knows this stranger isn’t after anything as simple as her money or artwork or charming Craftsman bungalow. She has to find out exactly what he wants and get him out of her carefully orchestrated life before he ruins it.

There are plenty of people in her life who might help, but should Kimber trust any of them? Her lawyer, Gabriel, is also her ex-lover; Diana, her best friend, doesn’t know Kimber slept with her husband; her ex-husband has a new, happier life since leaving her; and her co-workers know she’ll do anything to get her next sale. And no one can know the real reason this man is in her house. Without trust, everyone’s a stranger….

Description from Goodreads.

“Kimber’s complicated personality and unusual family life drive the ever-twisting, surprise-filled plot. Angry and jealous as a child and teenager, and now a cold, prickly adult, Kimber is the epitome of the unreliable narrator. Readers will enjoy vicarious chills in her company.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] big, grand, intelligent thriller … that will have readers guessing and gasping as they avidly turn the pages. The phrase ‘the plot thickens’ is an understatement with regards to The Stranger Inside. This is a book that has everything a thriller needs…” – Southern Literary Review

“[A] stellar book that starts off strong and then goes full tilt right to the climatic ending. With lots of twists and turns along the way it brings the reader to the edge up to the final shocking reveal. It’s a page-turner you can’t put down.” – Red Carpet Crash

Available Formats:

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SUSPENSE



The Hiding Place by  C.J. Tudor

hiding placeJoe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang–the betrayal, the suicide, the murder–and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn’t have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe’s sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town–while avoiding the enemies he’s made in the years since–is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn’t the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back.

Description from Goodreads.

“Tudor maintains a tone of creeping dread throughout the book, of something lingering always in the background, coyly hiding its face while whispering promises of very bad things to come. In the last quarter, however, she goes for broke with outright horror, giving readers an effective jolt of adrenaline that will carry them all the way to the terrifying conclusion. Readers won’t know what hit them. Tudor came out swinging with The Chalk Man, but this one puts her firmly on the map. Not to be missed.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Tudor has crafted another fantastic horror-tinged thriller in the vein of John Connolly and Brendan Duffy” – Booklist

“…devastating… dark humor may balance the grim plot, but the epilogue is the stuff of nightmares. Tudor casts a searing light on the long-term damage wrought by grief, guilt, and regret.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

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The Silent Patient by  Alex Michaelides

silent patientAlicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

Description from Goodreads.

“[It] feels like it could be the big psychological thriller debut of 2019. … Dark twists and delightful turns …. you will likely find yourself racing to the end.” – Amazon Book Review

“Superb… This edgy, intricately plotted psychological thriller establishes Michaelides as a major player in the field.” – Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Unputdownable, emotionally chilling, and intense, with a twist that will make even the most seasoned suspense reader break out in a cold sweat.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



HISTORICAL FICTION



Bowlaway by  Elizabeth McCracken

bowlawayFrom the day she is discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the turn of the twentieth century—nothing but a bowling ball, a candlepin, and fifteen pounds of gold on her person—Bertha Truitt is an enigma to everyone in Salford, Massachusetts. She has no past to speak of, or at least none she is willing to reveal, and her mysterious origin scandalizes and intrigues the townspeople, as does her choice to marry and start a family with Leviticus Sprague, the doctor who revived her. But Bertha is plucky, tenacious, and entrepreneurial, and the bowling alley she opens quickly becomes Salford’s most defining landmark—with Bertha its most notable resident.

When Bertha dies in a freak accident, her past resurfaces in the form of a heretofore-unheard-of son, who arrives in Salford claiming he is heir apparent to Truitt Alleys. Soon it becomes clear that, even in her death, Bertha’s defining spirit and the implications of her obfuscations live on, infecting and affecting future generations through inheritance battles, murky paternities, and hidden wills.

In a voice laced with insight and her signature sharp humor, Elizabeth McCracken has written an epic family saga set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America. Bowlaway is both a stunning feat of language and a brilliant unraveling of a family’s myths and secrets, its passions and betrayals, and the ties that bind and the rifts that divide.

Description from Goodreads.

“Elizabeth McCracken is just a delicious writer. This is a book that’s quirky, it’s a book that’s heartfelt…. She’s able to come up with these outlandishly wonderful situations and make it seem not only real, but that you’re going through these experiences with them.” – NPR

“Death and life, frosted with macabre comedy…. [McCracken] lures us in with her witty voice and oddball characters but then kicks the wind out of us. She never misses the infamous 7-10 split, managing to hit Annie Proulx and Anne Tyler with the same ball…. Endlessly surprising.” – Washington Post

“Reading Elizabeth McCracken—the gorgeously-put-together sentences parading the pages like models on a Paris runway; the crazy, original insights; the definitive, wholly fictional pronouncements—is like going on an automotive safari. . . . I could not stop reading.” – Newsday

Available Formats:

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The Age of Light by  Whitney Scharer

age of light“I’d rather take a picture than be one,” says Lee Miller after she arrives in Paris in 1929. Yearning for a different life and haunted by her past, Lee leaves behind a successful modeling career to pursue her dream of being an artist. She catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray, and though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to teach her photography as well. Man Ray is an egotistical, charismatic force, and their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined as the lines between maker and muse begin to blur.

Lee’s story unfolds against the sumptuous backdrop of bohemian Paris, with nights spent at smoky cabarets, opium dens, and wild parties, and days spent working with Man Ray to discover radical new photography techniques. But as Lee begins to find success as an artist in her own right, Man Ray’s jealousy spirals out of control, and soon their mutual betrayals threaten to destroy them both.

Told in interweaving timelines of 1930s Paris and war-torn Europe during WWII, this sensuous, richly detailed debut by Whitney Scharer brings Lee Miller– a brilliant and pioneering artist –out of the shadows of a man’s legacy and into the light.

Description from Goodreads.

“An absolutely gorgeous and feminist novel about art, love, and ownership, The Age of Light is truly a work of art in itself, both deeply moving and thrilling. Want to know what it’s like to be an artist? Read this astonishing novel and then, like Lee Miller, take time to consider the extraordinary cost she paid to be herself.” – Boston Globe

“Scharer’s stellar debut chronicles the tumultuous working and romantic relationships of photographer Man Ray and model-turned-photographer Lee Miller in early 1930s Paris…This brilliant portrayal of the complicated couple features a page-turning story and thrillingly depicts the artistic process.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Scharer’s debut is both engrossing and cinematic, a must for readers who enjoy a fictional peek into the lives of real-life artists.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

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SCI-FI & FANTASY



Black Leopard, Red Wolf by  Marlon James

black leopard red wolfTracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.

As Tracker follows the boy’s scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?

Description from Goodreads.

“Gripping, action-packed… The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe — filled with dizzying, magpie references to old movies and recent TV, ancient myths and classic comic books, and fused into something new and startling by his gifts for language and sheer inventiveness.” – The New York Times

“James’ visions don’t jettison you from reality so much as they trap you in his mad-genius, mercurial mind. . . . Drenched in African myth and folklore, and set in an astonishingly realized pre-colonized sub-Saharan region, Black Leopard crawls with creatures and erects kingdoms unlike any I’ve read. . . .  This is a revolutionary book.” – Entertainment Weekly 

“Stand aside, Beowulf. There’s a new epic hero slashing his way into our hearts, and we may never get all the blood off our hands. . . . James is clear-cutting space for a whole new kingdom. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, the first spectacular volume of a planned trilogy, rises up from the mists of time, glistening like viscera. James has spun an African fantasy as vibrant, complex and haunting as any Western mythology, and nobody who survives reading this book will ever forget it.” – Washington Post 

“A miracle… If Charles R. Saunders’ Imaro series opened the door to new ways of telling epic fantasy, and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy leapt over the threshold, then Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf just ripped the whole damn door off its hinges.” – Tor 

Available Formats:

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The Ruin of Kings by  Jenn Lyons

ruin of kingsThere are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised.

Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .

Description from Goodreads.

“With the scope and sense of fatality of Patrick Rothfuss, and well-choreographed action sense of Brandon Sanderson, Lyons leaps into the big leagues of epic fantasy and sticks the landing.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] jaw-dropping, action-packed story of betrayal, greed, and grand-scale conspiracy . . . Lyons ties it all together seamlessly to create literary magic. Epic fantasy fans looking for a virtually un-put-down-able read should look no further.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“This stunning debut takes epic fantasy to a high level, portraying a world filled with magic, demons, gods, and dragons, in which politics and power plays are the laws of the land.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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NONFICTION



Merchants of Truth: The Business of Facts and the Future of News by  Jill Abramson

merchants of truthMerchants of Truth is the groundbreaking and gripping story of the precarious state of the news business told by one of our most eminent journalists.

Jill Abramson follows four companies: The New York Times, The Washington PostBuzzFeed, and VICE Media over a decade of disruption and radical adjustment. The new digital reality nearly kills two venerable newspapers with an aging readership while creating two media behemoths with a ballooning and fickle audience of millennials. We get to know the defenders of the legacy presses as well as the outsized characters who are creating the new speed-driven media competitors. The players include Jeff Bezos and Marty Baron (The Washington Post), Arthur Sulzberger and Dean Baquet (The New York Times), Jonah Peretti (BuzzFeed), and Shane Smith (VICE) as well as their reporters and anxious readers.

Merchants of Truth raises crucial questions that concern the well-being of our society. We are facing a crisis in trust that threatens the free press. Abramson’s book points us to the future.

Description from Goodreads.

“A highly readable combination of significant topic, deep reporting, endlessly fascinating anecdotes, and vivid writing.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“The internet killed off and resurrected journalism in unpredictable, hopeful, but corrupted ways, according to this scintillating insider’s history…Abramson’s shrewd, stylishly written account includes colorful characters…and savvy portraits of newsroom dynamics. The result is one of the best takes yet on journalism’s changing fortunes.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Although journalism about journalism is abundant, Abramson’s book represents a distinctly ambitious effort to synthesize a period of dramatic upheaval and help us understand how key industry actors—and a supporting cast ranging from President Trump to the man who wrote the code for Google News—have shaped our information diet…On one level, Abramson’s book is a love letter to journalism…But these valentines appear alongside Abramson’s unflinching assessments of executives’ miscalculations.” – Washington Post

Available Formats:

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Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by  Roger McNamee

zuckedIf you had told Roger McNamee even three years ago that he would soon be devoting himself to stopping Facebook from destroying our democracy, he would have howled with laughter. He had mentored many tech leaders in his illustrious career as an investor, but few things had made him prouder, or been better for his fund’s bottom line, than his early service to Mark Zuckerberg. Still a large shareholder in Facebook, he had every good reason to stay on the bright side. Until he simply couldn’t.

Zucked is McNamee’s intimate reckoning with the catastrophic failure of the head of one of the world’s most powerful companies to face up to the damage he is doing. It’s a story that begins with a series of rude awakenings. First there is the author’s dawning realization that the platform is being manipulated by some very bad actors. Then there is the even more unsettling realization that Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are unable or unwilling to share his concerns, polite as they may be to his face.

And then comes the election of Donald Trump, and the emergence of one horrific piece of news after another about the malign ends to which the Facebook platform has been put. To McNamee’s shock, even still Facebook’s leaders duck and dissemble, viewing the matter as a public relations problem. Now thoroughly alienated, McNamee digs into the issue, and fortuitously meets up with some fellow travelers who share his concern, and help him sharpen its focus. Soon he and a dream team of Silicon Valley technologists are charging into the fray, to raise consciousness about the existential threat of Facebook, and the persuasion architecture of the attention economy more broadly — to our public health and to our political order.

Zucked is both an enthralling personal narrative and a masterful explication of the forces that have conspired to place us all on the horns of this dilemma. This is the story of a company and its leadership, but it’s also a larger tale of a business sector unmoored from normal constraints, just at a moment of political and cultural crisis, the worst possible time to be given new tools for summoning the darker angels of our nature and whipping them into a frenzy. Like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window, Roger McNamee happened to be in the right place to witness a crime, and it took him some time to make sense of what he was seeing and what we ought to do about it. The result of that effort is a wise, hard-hitting, and urgently necessary account that crystallizes the issue definitively for the rest of us.

Description from Goodreads.

“A candid and highly entertaining explanation of how and why a man who spent decades picking tech winners and cheering his industry on has been carried to the shore of social activism.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Part memoir, part indictment, Zucked chronicles Facebook’s history to demonstrate that its practices of ‘invasive surveillance, careless sharing of private data, and behavior modification in pursuit of unprecedented scale and influence,’ far from being a series of accidental oversights, were in fact foundational to the company’s astronomical success. This historical approach allows McNamee to draw valuable connections between present-day troubles and the company’s philosophical source code.” – Bookforum 

“A timely reckoning with Facebook’s growth and data-obsessed culture. . . [Zucked] is the first narrative tale of Facebook’s unravelling over the past two years . . . McNamee excels at grounding Facebook in the historical context of the technology industry.” – Financial Times

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter by  Tom Clavin

wild billIn July 1865, “Wild Bill” Hickok shot and killed Davis Tutt in Springfield, MO–the first quick-draw duel on the frontier. Thus began the reputation that made him a marked man to every gunslinger in the Wild West.

James Butler Hickock was known across the frontier as a soldier, Union spy, scout, lawman, gunfighter, gambler, showman, and actor. He crossed paths with General Custer and Buffalo Bill Cody, as well as Ben Thompson and other young toughs gunning for the sheriff with the quickest draw west of the Mississippi.

Wild Bill also fell in love–multiple times–before marrying the true love of his life, Agnes Lake, the impresario of a traveling circus. He would be buried however, next to fabled frontierswoman Calamity Jane.

Even before his death, Wild Bill became a legend, with fiction sometimes supplanting fact in the stories that surfaced. Once, in a bar in Nebraska, he was confronted by four men, three of whom he killed in the ensuing gunfight. A famous Harper’s Magazine article credited Hickok with slaying 10 men that day; by the 1870s, his career-long kill count was up to 100.

The legend of Wild Bill has only grown since his death in 1876, when cowardly Jack McCall famously put a bullet through the back of his head during a card game. Bestselling author Tom Clavin has sifted through years of western lore to bring Hickock fully to life in this rip-roaring, spellbinding true story.

Description from Goodreads.

“A vigorous yarn….Clavin writes fluently and often entertainingly of a man shrouded in legend while being all too human.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Rollicking…an entertaining tale of the man and the legend.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook


The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After by  Julie Yip-Williams

unwinding of the miracleThat Julie Yip-Williams survived infancy was a miracle. Born blind in Vietnam, she narrowly escaped euthanasia at the hands of her grandmother, only to flee with her family the political upheaval of her country in the late 1970s. Loaded into a rickety boat with three hundred other refugees, Julie made it to Hong Kong and, ultimately, America, where a surgeon at UCLA gave her partial sight. She would go on to become a Harvard-educated lawyer, with a husband, a family, and a life she had once assumed would be impossible. Then, at age thirty-seven, with two little girls at home, Julie was diagnosed with terminal metastatic colon cancer, and a different journey began.

The Unwinding of the Miracle is the story of a vigorous life refracted through the prism of imminent death. When she was first diagnosed, Julie Yip-Williams sought clarity and guidance through the experience and, finding none, began to write her way through it–a chronicle that grew beyond her imagining. Motherhood, marriage, the immigrant experience, ambition, love, wanderlust, tennis, fortune-tellers, grief, reincarnation, jealousy, comfort, pain, the marvel of the body in full rebellion–this book is as sprawling and majestic as the life it records. It is inspiring and instructive, delightful and shattering. It is a book of indelible moments, seared deep–an incomparable guide to living vividly by facing hard truths consciously.

With humor, bracing honesty, and the cleansing power of well-deployed anger, Julie Yip-Williams set the stage for her lasting legacy and one final miracle: the story of her life.

Description from Goodreads.

“[When] Yip-Williams was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at the age of thirty-seven in 2013, she decided to write her story, which resulted in this inspiring and remarkable work that chronicles her immigration to the U.S. and her final five years. . . . [Her] wise and moving account of her battle with cancer is an extraordinary call to live wholeheartedly.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Her story is unquestionably painful—and sadly familiar to those suffering from terminal illnesses. Moving among doctors, hospitals, scans, tests, and surgeries as well as increasingly darker news and deepening emotional and psychological stress, on her and her family—these are the events she relates, sometimes with a reporter’s disinterest, other times with a sufferer’s anger, depression, and sorrow. … stark and painful and often inspiring.” – Kirkus Reviews

“She plans her death carefully, just as she planned her life, teaching her children not to be afraid, that death is part of life. In the last chapter she writes, ‘I have lived even as I am dying, and therein lies a certain beauty and wonder.’ Full of love, humor, insight and tragedy, her book resonates with wisdom. As her husband so aptly notes, For the little girl born blind, she saw more clearly than any of us.'” – BookPage

Available Formats:

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