Best New Books: Week of 3/12/2019

Sure, we have some high-concept suspense, contemporary fiction, and twisty mysteries to share with you, but this week’s best new releases are absolutely dominated by nonfiction books. Whether you want to learn about the emotional responses of animals, the nature of the human immune system, Christopher Columbus’ son’s efforts to amass a library of all known written works, off-the-beaten-path sights in Italy, how to get started birdwatching, the trial of Lizzie Borden, America’s efforts to land a man on the moon, or some exciting new ways to make pies, we have some truly spectacular books for you. 2 nonfiction releases for younger readers even made the list this week! So let’s get to the books! 



FICTION



Me For You by  Lolly Winston

me for youThe last thing Rudy expected was to wake up one Saturday morning, a widow at fifty-four years old. Now, ten months after the untimely death of his beloved wife, he’s still not sure how to move on from the defining tragedy of his life—but his new job is helping. After being downsized from his finance position, Rudy turned to his first love: the piano. Some people might be embarrassed to work as the piano player at Nordstrom, but for Rudy, there’s joy in bringing a little music into the world. And it doesn’t hurt that Sasha, the Hungarian men’s watch clerk who is finally divorcing her no-good husband, finds time to join him at the bench every now and then.

Just when Rudy and Sasha’s relationship begins to deepen, the police come to the store with an update about Rudy’s wife’s untimely death—a coworker has confessed to her murder—but Rudy’s actions are suspicious enough to warrant a second look at him, too. With Sasha’s husband suddenly reappearing, and Rudy’s daughter confronting her own marital problems, suddenly life becomes more complicated than Rudy and Sasha could have imagined.

With her trademark humor and sweetness that will appeal to readers of Jennifer Weiner and Fredrik Backman but is uniquely her own, Lolly Winston delivers a heartfelt and realistic portrait of loss and grief, hope and forgiveness, and two imperfect people coming together to create a perfect love story.

Description from Goodreads.

“The story uses quiet prose and unexpected moments of gentle humor to illustrate the importance of human connection during trying times. … [A] poignant story about loss, unexpected connections, and the circuitous path toward healing.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The author understands how grief connects people and how life’s problems cause some to lose their footing. Winston injects humor into a tough subject and makes a strong case for honoring the departed by making the most out of life, in this nonsentimental and uplifting story about how to navigate through grief.” – Publishers Weekly

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SUSPENSE



If, Then by  Kate Hope Day

if thenIn the quiet haven of Clearing, Oregon, four neighbors find their lives upended when they begin to see themselves in parallel realities. Ginny, a devoted surgeon whose work often takes precedence over her family, has a baffling vision of a beautiful co-worker in Ginny’s own bed and begins to doubt the solidity of her marriage. Ginny’s husband, Mark, a wildlife scientist, sees a vision that suggests impending devastation and grows increasingly paranoid, threatening the safety of his wife and son. Samara, a young woman desperately mourning the recent death of her mother and questioning why her father seems to be coping with such ease, witnesses an apparition of her mother healthy and vibrant and wonders about the secrets her parents may have kept from her. Cass, a brilliant scholar struggling with the demands of new motherhood, catches a glimpse of herself pregnant again, just as she’s on the brink of returning to the project that could define her career.

At first the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly disturbing—and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens Clearing, it becomes obvious that the visions were not what they first seemed and that the town will never be the same.

Startling, deeply imagined, and compulsively readable, Kate Hope Day’s debut novel is about the choices we make that shape our lives and determine our destinies—the moments that alter us so profoundly that it feels as if we’ve entered another reality.

Description from Goodreads.

“Effortlessly meshing the dreamlike and the realistic, Day’s well-crafted mix of literary and speculative fiction is an enthralling meditation on the interconnectedness of all things.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Day’s complex debut explores the mind-bending idea that for every decision made, alternate choices lead to different lives. . . . Multiverse-theory fans will love the speculation offered in this novel.” – Booklist

“A suburban drama built to leap from page to screen.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

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House on Fire by  Bonnie Kistler

house on fireDivorce lawyer Leigh Huyett knows all too well that most second marriages are doomed to fail. But five years in, she and Pete Conley have a perfectly blended family of her children and his. To celebrate their anniversary, they grab some precious moments of alone time and leave Pete’s son Kip, a high school senior, in charge of Leigh’s fourteen-year-old daughter Chrissy at their home.

Driving back on a rainy Friday night, their cell phones start ringing. After a raucous party celebrating his college acceptance to Duke and his upcoming birthday, Kip was arrested for drunk driving after his truck crashed into a tree. And he wasn’t alone—Chrissy was with him.

Twelve hours later, Chrissy is dead and Kip is charged with manslaughter.

Kip has always been a notorious troublemaker, but he’s also a star student with a dazzling future ahead of him. At first, Leigh does her best to rally behind Pete and help Kip through his ordeal. Until he changes his story, and claims that he wasn’t driving after all—Chrissy was, and he swears there is a witness.

Leigh is stunned that he would lie about such a thing, while Pete clutches onto the story as the last, best hope to save his son, throwing his energy and money into finding this elusive witness. As they hurtle toward Kip’s trial date, husband and wife are torn between loyalty to their children and to each other, while the mystery of what really happened that night intensifies.

This richly conceived and tightly plotted psychological exploration of family and tragedy will have you racing toward its shocking and thought-provoking conclusion.

Description from Goodreads.

“Evocative writing and wholly realized characters complement a multifaceted tale that’s both harrowing and profound.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Relatable and thought-provoking…Readers who enjoyed Ian McEwan’s The Children Act and especially Emily Giffin’s All We Ever Wanted should be guided toward this absorbing read, which deftly examines the meaning and strength of family bonds and forgiveness. Kistler is a promising new voice in the legal-mystery world.” – Booklist

“Kistler has a clear mastery of the legal drama but also a deft touch with complicated family dynamics and the tightening noose of a trauma that refuses all efforts at a cut-and-dry solution.” – CrimeReads

Available Formats:

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The Last Act by  Brad Parks

last actStruggling stage actor Tommy Jump knows he has to stop chasing applause and start chasing greenbacks. But then he’s offered the role of a lifetime: $150,000 for a six-month acting gig. With a newly pregnant fiancee depending on him, it’s an opportunity he can’t refuse, even though the offer comes from the strangest employer imaginable: the FBI.

The feds won a small victory when they arrested Mitchell Dupree, a banker who has spent the past four years laundering money for New Colima, one of the deadliest cartels in Mexico and a major supplier of crystal meth in the US. But Dupree has documents that could lead to arrests of high-ranking members of New Colima, including their fearsome leader, El Vio . . . if only he’d tell the FBI where they are.

Using a false name and backstory, Tommy will enter Dupree’s low-security prison as a felon and get close to the banker in the hopes that he’ll reveal the documents’ whereabouts. But when Tommy arrives, he quickly realizes that he’s underestimated the enormity of his task and the terrifying reach of the cartel. Because the FBI isn’t the only one looking for the documents, and if Tommy doesn’t play his role to perfection, it just may be his last act.

Description from Goodreads.

“This novel packs on the suspenseful surprises and plot reversals that made Parks a mainstay on the best-seller lists, but it’s not just gritty and dark. With a lighter approach, Parks focuses on enduring characters and sharp wordplay, perfect for those who like their thrillers witty rather than bloody. Even if they aren’t fans of Broadway musicals, readers will want to seek out this one.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

The setup is so patient and the logistics so matter-of-fact that even the savviest readers will be caught in the story’s expertly laid traps before they know what’s happening.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Award-winning author Brad Parks delivers a confident — and highly entertaining — thriller that spins on believable characters and avoids clichés. It works as a domestic drama that also delves into money laundering, the drug cartel and prison. The Last Act again proves Parks’ mettle in high-concept standalone novels.” – South Florida Sun Sentinel

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



MYSTERY



Wolf Pack by  C.J. Box

wolf packThe good news is that Joe Pickett has his job back, after his last adventure in The Disappeared. The bad news is that he’s come to learn that a drone is killing wildlife–and the drone belongs to a mysterious and wealthy man whose grandson is dating Joe’s own daughter, Lucy. 

When Joe tries to lay down the rules for the drone operator, he is asked by the FBI and the DOJ to stand down, which only makes him more suspicious. Joe discovers that the man is in the witness relocation program, as he is in possession of knowledge about dangerous people. Soon, Joe comes across a pack of four killers working on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel to find the man in the WITSEC program–and Joe realizes his actions might expose the man.

Teaming up with a female game warden (based on a real person, one of the few female game wardens at work in Wyoming today) to confront these assassins, Joe finds himself their prey–along with Lucy and her boyfriend.

Description from Goodreads.

“One of his most tightly wound tales, with more thrills than a snowy road on a steep mountain and more authority than the governor of Wyoming.” – Kirkus Reviews

“As always, Box takes familiar elements of his long running series…and seamlessly combines them into a read that makes your heart race, even though you won’t leave the couch until you’ve turned the last page. Half mystery, half thriller, totally worthwhile…You can just about set your watch by a Joe Pickett novel in March; the number-one-best-selling author’s legion of fans will be counting down the minutes.” – Booklist

“Box is the king of contemporary crime fiction set in the West.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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HISTORICAL FICTION



The Cassandra by  Sharma Shields

cassandraMildred Groves is an unusual young woman. Gifted and cursed with the ability to see the future, Mildred runs away from home to take a secretary position at the Hanford Research Center in the early 1940s. Hanford, a massive construction camp on the banks of the Columbia River in remote South Central Washington, exists to test and manufacture a mysterious product that will aid the war effort. Only the top generals and scientists know that this product is processed plutonium, for use in the first atomic bombs.

Mildred is delighted, at first, to be part of something larger than herself after a lifetime spent as an outsider. But her new life takes a dark turn when she starts to have prophetic dreams about what will become of humankind if the project is successful. As the men she works for come closer to achieving their goals, her visions intensify to a nightmarish pitch, and she eventually risks everything to question those in power, putting her own physical and mental health in jeopardy. Inspired by the classic Greek myth, this 20th century reimagining of Cassandra’s story is based on a real WWII compound that the author researched meticulously. A timely novel about patriarchy and militancy, The Cassandra uses both legend and history to look deep into man’s capacity for destruction, and the resolve and compassion it takes to challenge the powerful.

Description from Goodreads.

“Balancing thorough research and mythic lyricism, [The Cassandra] is a timely warning of what happens when warnings go unheeded.” – The Millions

“[A] galvanizing variation on the ancient Greek tale of a seer doomed always to be right, yet never to be believed. Shields . . . offers satirically comedic scenes and satisfyingly venomous takedowns of the patriarchy, welcome flashes of light in this otherwise harrowing dive into the darkest depths of hubris and apocalyptic destruction. A uniquely audacious approach to the nuclear nightmare.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“It’s difficult to imagine a myth riper for harvest than that of Cassandra, the tragic Greek figure who uttered prophecies no one believed. She was, to begin with, a woman, and that is what Sharma Shields, in her biting second novel, sinks her sharp teeth into the deepest. . . .The dream scenes. . . .provide necessary, sickening contrast to the spit-and-polish patriotism via talking coyotes, deformed fetuses and other grotesqueries. . . .But nothing is more troubling or more brilliant than Mildred’s horrifying reaction to a trauma that implicates all of us so forcefully that it’s easy to believe Shields is the one blessed ― or cursed ― with visions of impending ruin.” – New York Times Book Review

Available Formats:

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NONFICTION



The Trial of Lizzie Borden: A True Story by  Cara Robertson

trial of lizzie bordenThe Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn’t she?

The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.

Description from Goodreads.

“A fast-paced, page-turning read.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“The definitive account to date of one of America’s most notorious and enduring murder mysteries…a superior, page-turning true crime narrative.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Remarkable.” – Bustle

Available Formats:

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The Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books: Christopher Columbus, His Son, and the Quest to Build the World’s Greatest Library by  Edward Wilson-Lee

catalogue of shipwrecked booksIn this innovative work of history, Edward Wilson-Lee tells the extraordinary story of Hernando Colón, a singular visionary of the printing press-age who also happened to be Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son.

At the peak of the Age of Exploration, Hernando traveled with Columbus on his final voyage to the New World, a journey that ended in disaster, bloody mutiny, and shipwreck. After Columbus’s death in 1506, the eighteen-year-old Hernando sought to continue—and surpass—his father’s campaign to explore the boundaries of the known world by building a library that would collect everything ever printed: a vast holding organized by summaries and catalogues, the first ever search engine for the exploding diversity of written matter as the printing press proliferated across Europe. Hernando restlessly and obsessively amassed his collection based on the groundbreaking conviction that a library of universal knowledge should include “all books, in all languages and on all subjects,” even material often dismissed as ephemeral trash: ballads, erotica, newsletters, popular images, romances, fables. The loss of part of his collection to another maritime disaster in 1522—documented in his poignant Catalogue of Shipwrecked Books—set off the final scramble to complete this sublime project, a race against time to realize a vision of near-impossible perfection.

Edward Wilson-Lee’s account of Hernando’s life is a testimony to the beautiful madness of booklovers, a plunge into sixteenth-century Europe’s information revolution, and a reflection of the passion and intrigues that lie beneath our own attempts to bring order to the world today.

Description from Goodreads.

“A wonderful book, not least in the literal sense of an epic unfolding in a nonstop procession of marvels, ordeals and apparitions… The true measure of Wilson-Lee’s accomplishment, delivered in a simile-studded prose that is seldom less than elegant and often quite beautiful, is to make Hernando’s epic, measured in library shelves, not nautical miles, every bit as thrilling as his father’s story.” – Financial Times

“Edward Wilson-Lee’s fascinating and beautifully written account of how Hernando conceived and assembled his library is set within a highly original biography of the compiler. It’s a work of imagination restrained by respect for evidence, of brilliance suitably alloyed by erudition, and of scholarship enlivened by sensitivity and acuity.” – The Literary Review

“Astonishing for both its geographic and intellectual breadth… A potent reminder that a great library originates as a bold adventure.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves by  Frans de Waal

mamas last hugFrans de Waal has spent four decades at the forefront of animal research. Following up on the best-selling Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, which investigated animal intelligence, Mama’s Last Hug delivers a fascinating exploration of the rich emotional lives of animals.

Mama’s Last Hug begins with the death of Mama, a chimpanzee matriarch who formed a deep bond with biologist Jan van Hooff. When Mama was dying, van Hooff took the unusual step of visiting her in her night cage for a last hug. Their goodbyes were filmed and went viral. Millions of people were deeply moved by the way Mama embraced the professor, welcoming him with a big smile while reassuring him by patting his neck, in a gesture often considered typically human but that is in fact common to all primates. This story and others like it form the core of de Waal’s argument, showing that humans are not the only species with the capacity for love, hate, fear, shame, guilt, joy, disgust, and empathy.

De Waal discusses facial expressions, the emotions behind human politics, the illusion of free will, animal sentience, and, of course, Mama’s life and death. The message is one of continuity between us and other species, such as the radical proposal that emotions are like organs: we don’t have a single organ that other animals don’t have, and the same is true for our emotions. Mama’s Last Hug opens our hearts and minds to the many ways in which humans and other animals are connected, transforming how we view the living world around us.

Description from Goodreads.

“Game-changing….For too long, emotion has been cognitive researchers’ third rail….But nothing could be more essential to understanding how people and animals behave. By examining emotions in both, this book puts these most vivid of mental experiences in evolutionary context, revealing how their richness, power and utility stretch across species and back into deep time….The book succeeds most brilliantly in the stories de Waal relates.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Through colorful stories and riveting prose, de Waal firmly puts to rest the stubborn notion that humans alone in the animal kingdom experience a broad array of emotions….De Waal contributes immensely to an ethical sea change for animals.” – NPR

“De Waal’s conversational writing is at times moving, often funny and almost always eye-opening….It’s hard to walk away from Mama’s Last Hug without a deeper understanding of our fellow animals and our own emotions.” – Science News

Available Formats:

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Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11 by  James Donovan

shoot for the moonOn July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon, a moment forever ingrained in history. Perhaps the world’s greatest technological achievement-and a triumph of American spirit and ingenuity-the Apollo 11 mission, and the entire Apollo program, was a mammoth undertaking involving more than 410,000 men and women dedicated to putting a man on the Moon and winning the Space Race against the Soviets.

Seen through the eyes of the those who lived it, Shoot for the Moon reveals the dangers, the challenges, and the sheer determination that defined not only Apollo 11, but also the Mercury and Gemini missions that made it possible. Both sweeping and intimate, and based on exhaustive research and dozens of fresh interviews, bestselling author James Donovan’s Shoot for the Moon is the definitive and thrilling account of one of humankind’s most extraordinary feats of exploration.

Description from Goodreads.

“Donovan combines his masterful research skills and narrative gifts in recounting the full story of the most famous Apollo trip…Donovan’s history is a powerfully written and irresistible celebration of the Apollo missions.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Exceptionally researched, this exciting, sometimes harrowing book highlights the work not only of the pioneering astronauts but also of thousands of technicians and engineers. This is a perfect volume to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing and all that led up to it.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A vigorous exploration of the Space Age, a frontier oddly befitting Wild West historian Donovan. … A welcome addition to the literature of space exploration.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

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An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives by  Matt Richtel

elegant defenseA terminal cancer patient rises from the grave. A medical marvel defies HIV. Two women with autoimmunity discover their own bodies have turned against them. Matt Richtel’s An Elegant Defense uniquely entwines these intimate stories with science’s centuries-long quest to unlock the mysteries of sickness and health, and illuminates the immune system as never before.

The immune system is our body’s essential defense network, a guardian vigilantly fighting illness, healing wounds, maintaining order and balance, and keeping us alive. Its legion of microscopic foot soldiers—from T cells to “natural killers”—patrols our body, linked by a nearly instantaneous communications grid. It has been honed by evolution over millennia to face an almost infinite array of threats.

For all its astonishing complexity, however, the immune system can be easily compromised by fatigue, stress, toxins, advanced age, and poor nutrition—hallmarks of modern life—and even by excessive hygiene. Paradoxically, it is a fragile wonder weapon that can turn on our own bodies with startling results, leading today to epidemic levels of autoimmune disorders.

Richtel effortlessly guides readers on a scientific detective tale winding from the Black Plague to twentieth-century breakthroughs in vaccination and antibiotics, to the cutting-edge laboratories that are revolutionizing immunology—perhaps the most extraordinary and consequential medical story of our time. The foundation that Richtel builds makes accessible revelations about cancer immunotherapy, the microbiome, and autoimmune treatments that are changing millions of lives. An Elegant Defense also captures in vivid detail how these powerful therapies, along with our behavior and environment, interact with the immune system, often for the good but always on a razor’s edge that can throw this remarkable system out of balance.

Drawing on his groundbreaking reporting for the New York Times and based on extensive new interviews with dozens of world-renowned scientists, Matt Richtel has produced a landmark book, equally an investigation into the deepest riddles of survival and a profoundly human tale that is movingly brought to life through the eyes of his four main characters, each of whom illuminates an essential facet of our “elegant defense.”

Description from Amazon.

“Vividly told. … Explicates for the lay reader the intricate biology of our immune system. … Richtel succeeds in this formidable task.” – New York Review of Books

“An expert examination of the immune system. … Richtel illuminates a complex subject so well that even physicians will learn.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“A hard-to-put-down account of the body’s first line of defense.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

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The New Pie: Modern Techniques for the Classic American Dessert by  Chris Taylor & Paul Arguin

new pieCreate 75 beautiful and unique pies using traditional techniques and modern tools from a couple who has baked their way to the top. 

Get ready for a new, fresh take on baking the ultimate feel-good dessert: pie! In The New Pie, Chris Taylor and Paul Arguin–winners of more than 500 awards for baking (including the 2017 Best of Show Award at the National Pie Championships)–re-examine the wholesome world of pie. Through traditional time-honored techniques, modern cooking methods (like sous vide), innovative flavors (birthday cake; Tahitian pineapple; and mocha “mystery”), and a love for kitchen gadgets (like immersion circulators and silicone texture mats), these legendary competition circuit pie experts reinvent the traditional pastime of pie-making. With step-by-step instructions and playful photography, you’ll learn to make groundbreaking creations, including a magnificent Blueberry-Maple Pie with wood-grain lattice, the King Fluffernutter Pie, and a striped chocolate Pie of the Tiger. Whether you are a pie voyeur, new baker, or baking enthusiast you will find inspiration at every turn and pies to satisfy every craving.

Description from Goodreads.

“A thorough breakdown of everyone’s favorite dessert by some very legitimate pie experts who know exactly what to do to make pie feel fresh and fun again.” – Delish.com

“Take everything you think you know about baking a pie. . .and throw it out the window. This book offers a slew of new techniques and the results are scrumptious.” – Woman’s Day

“There are so many unique and delightful recipes that I guarantee that even the most experienced pie baker will be impressed.” – Eat Your Books

Available Formats:

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See You in the Piazza: New Places to Discover in Italy by  Frances Mayes

see you in the piazzaBestselling and beloved author Frances Mayes discovers the hidden pleasures of Italy in a sumptuous travel narrative that crisscrosses each region, with inventive new recipes celebrating Italian cuisine.

The Roman Forum, the Leaning Tower, the Piazza San Marco: these are the sights synonymous with Italy. But such landmarks only scratch the surface of this magical country’s offerings. In See You in the Piazza, Frances Mayes introduces us to the Italy only the locals know, as she and her husband, Ed, eat and drink their way through all twenty regions–from Friuli to Calabria. Along the way, she seeks out the cultural and historic gems not found in traditional guidebooks.

Frances conjures the enchantment of the backstreets, the hubbub of the markets, the dreamlike wonder of that space between lunch and dinner when a city cracks open to those who would wander or when a mind is drawn into the pages of a delicious book–and discloses to us the secrets that only someone who is on intimate terms with a place could find.

Description from Goodreads.

“A sparkling and irresistible view of Italy… Mayes has a wonderful eye for detail as she lyrically describes her surroundings… Readers will want to take their time, savoring this poetic travelogue like a smooth wine.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Here, we are off the beaten track, soaking in the distinctive sunlight, traditional cuisines, architecture, and geographical features of each area…providing delightful trattoria recipes, poetry and anecdotes. Readers will definitely eat well by staying by her whimsical and conversational side.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Mayes has arranged her memoir geographically from north to south, rather than chronologically, to allow readers to peruse the sections randomly, perhaps using the book as a companion guide to their own trip. Her descriptions are painterly and alluring, and she includes recipes for memorable dishes—grilled prawns with fennel and olives, sea bream poached in special seasoned broth, lemon ricotta tart, gnocchi with wild hare, and crispy octopus—that are likely to whet the prospective traveler’s appetite. A charming homage to upscale travel through Italy.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook


How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding by  Ted Floyd

how to know the birdsBecome a better birder with brief portraits of 200 top North American birds. This friendly, relatable book is a celebration of the art, science, and delights of bird-watching.

How to Know the Birds introduces a new, holistic approach to bird-watching, by noting how behaviors, settings, and seasonal cycles connect with shape, song, color, gender, age distinctions, and other features traditionally used to identify species. With short essays on 200 observable species, expert author Ted Floyd guides us through a year of becoming a better birder, each species representing another useful lesson: from explaining scientific nomenclature to noting how plumage changes with age, from chronicling migration patterns to noting hatchling habits. Dozens of endearing pencil sketches accompany Floyd’s charming prose, making this book a unique blend of narrative and field guide. A pleasure for birders of all ages, this witty book promises solid lessons for the beginner and smiles of recognition for the seasoned nature lover.

Description from Goodreads.

“Like the Petersonian original, this new How to Know the Birds is illustrated with simple and appealing drawings, this time from the pencil of N. John Schmitt. The cover is a tour de force of book design, with words and image overlapped and intertwined—a perfect evocation of what is inside, a wonderful text combining science, art, and joy in a way sure to inspire any birder.” – Tucson Audubon

“…Floyd shows that the attraction to and general interest in the field has remained the same: to learn as much as possible about and appreciate the natural world. This book helps greatly with that endeavor.” – Publishers Weekly

“Birds—clearly the heroes in this engaging volume—have so much to teach us about ourselves and our world. You’ll find your curiosity and delight growing with each page.” – David Yarnold, President and CEO of the National Audubon Society

Available Formats:

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YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION



SHOUT by  Laurie Halse Anderson

shoutBestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. SHOUT speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.

Description from Goodreads.

“With Speak, Anderson opened the door for more novels exploring the deeply felt and deeply personal aftermath of sexual violence. SHOUT serves as both a testament to the life-altering, lifesaving impact of these types of stories — and as an urgent and brutal reminder of their ongoing necessity.” – The New York Times Book Review

“A captivating, powerful read about clawing your way out of trauma, reclaiming your body, and undoing lifetimes of lessons in order to use your voice as the weapon it is. Fervent and deafening.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“In searing free verse, Anderson unloads decades of trauma on these pages . . . Longtime Anderson fans will appreciate this deeply personal look into how the author chan­neled her pain into the writing of Speak, and readers new to her work will be swept up in her singular style, which melds bold honesty with fluttering moments of lyrical beauty.” – Bookpage, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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CHILDREN’S NONFICTION



Butterflies in Room 6: See How They Grow by  Caroline Arnold

butterflies in room 6Kindergartners raise butterflies from egg to adult in this close-up look at the insect life cycle.

Follow a classroom of real kindergartners as they participate in a popular activity: raising butterflies. Astonishing photographs show the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly, from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult. Engaging text captures the children’s wonder and explains the science behind metamorphosis.

Description from Goodreads.

“A solid look at the butterfly life cycle that will have students asking their own teachers to host caterpillars in their classrooms.” – Kirkus Reviews

“It’s enlightening to observe the butterflies’ stages of life in the clear, color photos, but it’s also a pleasure to see the children’s reactions: curiosity, caution, rapt attention, surprise, excitement, and joy. … An amiable, eye-opening introduction to metamorphosis.” – Booklist

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