Best New Books: Week of 4/9/2019

The story of Noah’s wife, the origins of LSD, life in a mysterious commune, friends with a dark secret, murder mysteries, performing arts school students, Palestinian history, post-World War I Germany, a breezy rom-com, the American dining industry… these topics and more make up the week’s best new books. As you can tell from the list, it is a very diverse selection this week, so let’s get to it!



FICTION



Naamah by  Sarah Blake

naamahWith the coming of the Great Flood—the mother of all disasters—only one family was spared, drifting on an endless sea, waiting for the waters to subside. We know the story of Noah, moved by divine vision to launch their escape. Now, in a work of astounding invention, acclaimed writer Sarah Blake reclaims the story of his wife, Naamah, the matriarch who kept them alive. Here is the woman torn between faith and fury, lending her strength to her sons and their wives, caring for an unruly menagerie of restless creatures, silently mourning the lover she left behind. Here is the woman escaping into the unreceded waters, where a seductive angel tempts her to join a strange and haunted world. Here is the woman tormented by dreams and questions of her own—questions of service and self-determination, of history and memory, of the kindness or cruelty of fate.

In fresh and modern language, Blake revisits the story of the Ark that rescued life on earth, and rediscovers the agonizing burdens endured by the woman at the heart of the story. Naamah is a parable for our time: a provocative fable of body, spirit, and resilience.

Description from Goodreads.

“A poetic debut of biblical proportions. . . . [In] mesmerizing prose poem-esque sections, the novel explores themes of sexuality, purpose, loss, love, and faith.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Glorious . . . Blake’s prose is bewitching, and this narrative is an essential correction to the Bible’s male-dominated mythology.” – Nylon

“A dreamy and transgressive feminist retelling of the Great Flood from the perspective of Noah’s wife as she wrestles with the mysterious metaphysics of womanhood at the end of the world.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

Available Formats:

Print Book


Outside Looking In by  T.C. Boyle

outside looking inIn this stirring and insightful novel, T.C. Boyle takes us back to the 1960s and to the early days of a drug whose effects have reverberated widely throughout our culture: LSD.

In 1943, LSD is synthesized in Basel. Two decades later, a coterie of grad students at Harvard are gradually drawn into the inner circle of renowned psychologist and psychedelic drug enthusiast Timothy Leary. Fitzhugh Loney, a psychology Ph.D. student and his wife, Joanie, become entranced by the drug’s possibilities such that their “research” becomes less a matter of clinical trials and academic papers and instead turns into a free-wheeling exploration of mind expansion, group dynamics, and communal living. With his trademark humor and pathos, Boyle moves us through the Loneys’ initiation at one of Leary’s parties to his notorious summer seminars in Zihuatanejo until the Loneys’ eventual expulsion from Harvard and their introduction to a communal arrangement of thirty devotees—students, wives, and children—living together in a sixty-four room mansion and devoting themselves to all kinds of experimentation and questioning.

Is LSD a belief system? Does it allow you to see God? Can the Loneys’ marriage—or any marriage, for that matter—survive the chaotic and sometimes orgiastic use of psychedelic drugs? Wry, witty, and wise, Outside Looking In is an ideal subject for this American master, and highlights Boyle’s acrobatic prose, detailed plots, and big ideas. It’s an utterly engaging and occasionally trippy look at the nature of reality, identity, and consciousness, as well as our seemingly infinite capacities for creativity, re-invention, and self-discovery.

Description from Goodreads.

“Keeping his own stylistic flamboyance in check, Boyle evokes a cultural flashpoint with implications that transcend acid flashbacks.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Spellbinding…Boyle’s latest work of countercultural, biographical fiction will lure his devotees and the newly curious alike.” – Booklist

“[A]n evocative depiction of the early days of LSD.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Ash Family by  Molly Dektar

ash familyAt nineteen, Berie encounters a seductive and mysterious man at a bus station near her home in North Carolina. Shut off from the people around her, she finds herself compelled by his promise of a new life. He ferries her into a place of order and chaos: the Ash Family farm. There, she joins an intentional community living off the fertile land of the mountains, bound together by high ideals and through relationships she can’t untangle. Berie—now renamed Harmony—renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear.

Thrilling and profound, The Ash Family explores what we will sacrifice in the search for happiness, and the beautiful and grotesque power of the human spirit as it seeks its ultimate place of belonging.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] lyrical debut…Dektar’s deft construction of the Ash Family’s world and their environmentalist values brings a meaningful new story to the canon of cult narratives. Perfect for fans of Philip Roth’s American Pastoral (1997) and the film Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“In her excellent debut, Dektar probes life in a cult with a masterful hand, excavating the troubled mind of a young woman who joins what she thinks is a modern-day commune…Dektar’s eloquent, often poetic prose draws readers into this disturbing, powerful novel.” – Publishers Weekly

“The novel shines in its thoughtful portrayal of cult members’ (likely) complicated feelings: devotion, love, fear, desperation, and purpose. An affecting, cleareyed debut.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Book of Dreams by  Nina George

book of dreamsHenri Skinner is a hardened ex-war reporter on the run from his past. On his way to see his son, Sam, for the first time in years, Henri steps into the road without looking and collides with oncoming traffic. He is rushed to a nearby hospital where he floats, comatose, between dreams, reliving the fairytales of his childhood and the secrets that made him run away in the first place.

After the accident, Sam–a thirteen-year old synesthete with an IQ of 144 and an appetite for science fiction–waits by his father’s bedside every day. There he meets Eddie Tomlin, a woman forced to confront her love for Henri after all these years, and twelve-year old Madelyn Zeidler, a coma patient like Henri and the sole survivor of a traffic accident that killed her family. As these four very different individuals fight–for hope, for patience, for life–they are bound together inextricably, facing the ravages of loss and first love side by side.

A revelatory, urgently human story that examines what we consider serious and painful alongside light and whimsy, The Book of Dreams is a tender meditation on memory, liminality, and empathy, asking with grace and gravitas what we will truly find meaningful in our lives once we are gone.

Description from Goodreads.

“An effective exploration of connections that transcend physical boundaries…a poignant story about longing, nostalgia, and the pain of missed opportunities.” – Kirkus Reviews

“An empathetic and emotionally stunning novel. Never preachy or maudlin, this deep dive into some of life’s most haunting questions will appeal to fans of Isabel Allende and Mary Simses.” – Booklist

“Captivating… This exploration of unfinished relationships has a haunting, evocative quality, and is a perfect, conversation-starting selection for book groups.” – 
Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook



MYSTERY



Someone Knows by  Lisa Scottoline

someone knowsTwenty years ago, in an upscale suburb of Philadelphia, four teenagers spent a summer as closest friends: drinking, sharing secrets, testing boundaries. When a new boy looked to join them, they decided to pull a prank on him, convincing him to play Russian roulette as an initiation into their group. They secretly planned to leave the gun unloaded—but what happened next would change each of them forever.

Now three of the four reunite for the first time since that horrible summer. The guilt—and the lingering question about who loaded the gun—drove them apart. But after one of the group apparently commits suicide with a gun, their old secrets come roaring back. One of them is going to figure out if the new suicide is what it seems, and if it connects to the events of that long-ago summer. Someone knows exactly what happened—but who? And how far will they go to keep their secrets buried?

Description from Goodreads.

“Scottoline fills the pages with twists and turns and plenty of skeletons in family closets….[fans] will race to the end.” – Booklist

“[A] heartfelt tale that touches on family, marriage, justice, and how emotional wounds drive the choices people make. Scottoline’s fans will be well satisfied.” – Publishers Weekly 

“The veteran creator of the law firm of Rosato and DiNunzio (Feared, 2018, etc.) brings her troubled teens and the equally screwed-up adults they become to melodramatically vivid life, slowly ratcheting up the tempo right up to the [final] twist.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | Playaway | eBook


The Tale Teller by  Anne Hillerman

tale tellerJoe Leaphorn may have retired from the Tribal Police, but he finds himself knee-deep in a perplexing case involving a priceless artifact—a reminder of a dark time in Navajo history. Joe’s been hired to find a missing biil, a traditional dress that had been donated to the Navajo Nation. His investigation takes a sinister turn when the leading suspect dies under mysterious circumstances and Leaphorn himself receives anonymous warnings to beware—witchcraft is afoot.

While the veteran detective is busy working to untangle his strange case, his former colleague Jim Chee and Officer Bernie Manuelito are collecting evidence they hope will lead to a cunning criminal behind a rash of burglaries. Their case takes a complicated turn when Bernie finds a body near a popular running trail. The situation grows more complicated when the death is ruled a homicide, and the Tribal cops are thrust into a turf battle because the murder involves the FBI.

As Leaphorn, Chee, and Bernie draw closer to solving these crimes, their parallel investigations begin to merge . . . and offer an unexpected opportunity that opens a new chapter in Bernie’s life.
 

Description from Goodreads.

“Hillerman’s writing becomes stronger with every new installment in the series, deepening the development of each character. Fans will be intrigued by the intertwining stories that keep them guessing. The picturesque Southwest, as well as the history of the Navajo, come through on each page.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A natural hit with Hillerman’s many fans; [The Tale Teller] is also a good
choice for readers who are interested in fiction touching on today’s social issues.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book


They All Fall Down by  Rachel Howzell Hall

they all fall downIt was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime.

Delighted by a surprise invitation, Miriam Macy sails off to a luxurious private island off the coast of Mexico, with six strangers—an ex-cop, a chef, a financial advisor, a nurse, a lawyer, a young widow.

Surrounded by miles of open water in the gloriously green Sea of Cortez, Miriam is shocked to discover that she and the rest of her companions have been brought to the remote island under false pretenses—and all seven strangers harbor a secret.

Danger lurks in the lush forest and in the halls and bedrooms of the lonely mansion. Sporadic cell-phone coverage and miles of ocean keeps the group trapped in paradise. And strange accidents keep them suspicious of each other, as one by one . . . 

They all fall down.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] cleverly updated version of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None… secrets emerge in tantalizing installments. …Hall slips from funny to darkly frightening with elegant ease.” – Publishers Weekly

“…[Hall] proves that she knows her way around a traditional mystery scenario, with a few thriller twists for good measure.” – CrimeReads

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook



HISTORICAL FICTION



Trust Exercise by  Susan Choi

trust exerciseIn an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

Description from Goodreads.

“Mind-bending. . . . A Gen-X bildungsroman that speaks to young generations, a Russian nesting doll of unreliable narrators, and a slippery #MeToo puzzle-box about the fallibility of memory. . . . [Trust Exercise is] a perfectly stitched together Frankenstein’s monster of narrative introspection and ambiguity. . . . It flexes its own meta-existence―as a novel about the manipulation inherent in any kind of narrative―brilliantly.” – New York Magazine

“Perhaps the best [novel] this year. . . . [Trust Exercise] begins as an enthralling tale of teenage romance and then turns into a meticulously plotted interrogation of the state of the novel itself. . . . Read it once for pleasure, and then again to turn up all the brilliant Easter eggs.” – Vulture

“Compulsively readable and formally brilliant: this is basically a literary unicorn.” – Lit Hub

“Explosive. . . . [Trust Exercise] will linger long after the book ends.” – Observer

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Parisian by  Isabella Hammad

parisianMidhat Kamal is the son of a wealthy textile merchant from Nablus, a town in Ottoman Palestine. A dreamer, a romantic, an aesthete, in 1914 he leaves to study medicine in France, and falls in love. When Midhat returns to Nablus to find it under British rule, and the entire region erupting with nationalist fervor, he must find a way to cope with his conflicting loyalties and the expectations of his community. The story of Midhat’s life develops alongside the idea of a nation, as he and those close to him confront what it means to strive for independence in a world that seems on the verge of falling apart.

Against a landscape of political change that continues to define the Middle East, The Parisian explores questions of power and identity, enduring love, and the uncanny ability of the past to disrupt the present. Lush and immersive, and devastating in its power, The Parisian is an elegant, richly-imagined debut from a dazzling new voice in fiction.

Description from Goodreads.

“Stunning…a lush rendering of Palestinian life a century ago under the British mandate and a sumptuous epic about the enduring nature of love.” – Vogue

“In her exceptional debut, Hammad taps into the satisfying slow-burn style of classic literature with a storyline that captures both the heart and the mind….Richly textured prose drives the novel’s spellbinding themes of the ebb and flow of cultural connections and people who struggle with love, familial responsibilities, and personal identity. This is an immensely rewarding novel that readers will sink into and savor.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A hugely accomplished historical sweep of a book… a novel of immense skill and confidence.” – Guardian

Available Formats:

Print Book


Metropolis by  Philip Kerr

metropolisBerlin, 1928, the dying days of the Weimar Republic shortly before Hitler and the Nazis came to power. It was a period of decadence and excess as Berliners – after the terrible slaughter of WWI and the hardships that followed – are enjoying their own version of Babylon. Bernie is a young detective working in Vice when he gets a summons from Bernard Weiss, Chief of Berlin’s Criminal Police. He invites Bernie to join KIA – Criminal Inspection A – the supervisory body for all homicide investigation in Kripo. Bernie’s first task is to investigate the Silesian Station killings – four prostitutes murdered in as many weeks. All of them have been hit over the head with a hammer and then scalped with a sharp knife.

Bernie hardly has time to acquaint himself with the case files before another prostitute is murdered. Until now, no one has shown much interest in these victims – there are plenty in Berlin who’d like the streets washed clean of such degenerates. But this time the girl’s father runs Berlin’s foremost criminal ring, and he’s prepared to go to extreme lengths to find his daughter’s killer.

Then a second series of murders begins – of crippled wartime veterans who beg in the city’s streets. It seems that someone is determined to clean up Berlin of anyone less than perfect. The voice of Nazism is becoming a roar that threatens to drown out all others. But not Bernie Gunther’s . . .

Description from Goodreads.

“Arresting…. Kerr’s 14th novel in this series proves to be Gunther’s origin story, which makes it feel imperative as well as poignant.” – The New York Times Book Review

“Fascinating, brilliantly researched…Just like Bernie, [Metropolis is] tough, funny, smart and pointed…An excellent introduction for newcomers and a fitting coda for longtime fans…Kerr’s powerful series seems more vital than ever, with anti-Semitism, authoritarianism and white nationalism all on the rise. With a final bow from his flawed if improbably endearing hero, Kerr again reminds us: Never forget.” – Newsday

“Kerr saved some of his best work for last… Metropolis shows once again why Philip Kerr was one of the most talented novelists of his generation, and his final novel is one his fans won’t soon forget.” – The Real Book Spy

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Lost Roses by  Martha Hall Kelly

lost rosesIt is 1914 and the world has been on the brink of war so many times, many New Yorkers treat the subject with only passing interest. Eliza Ferriday is thrilled to be traveling to St. Petersburg with Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two met years ago one summer in Paris and became close confidantes. Now Eliza embarks on the trip of a lifetime, home with Sofya to see the splendors of Russia. But when Austria declares war on Serbia and Russia’s Imperial dynasty begins to fall, Eliza escapes back to America, while Sofya and her family flee to their country estate. In need of domestic help, they hire the local fortuneteller’s daughter, Varinka, unknowingly bringing intense danger into their household. On the other side of the Atlantic, Eliza is doing her part to help the White Russian families find safety as they escape the revolution. But when Sofya’s letters suddenly stop coming she fears the worst for her best friend.

From the turbulent streets of St. Petersburg to the avenues of Paris and the society of fallen Russian emigre’s who live there, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a momentous time in history.

Description from Goodreads.

“Epic . . . [Martha Hall] Kelly’s gift is bringing to life and to light the untold stories of women and families far away from the war front yet deeply affected by the decisions of leaders and the efforts of fighters. Fans of historical fiction . . . and viewers of period dramas will want to clear their calendars when Lost Roses comes out.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Inspired by true events, just like its predecessor, and just as well-researched, Lost Roses is a remarkable story and another testament to female strength. This sweeping epic will thrill and delight fans of Lilac Girls and readers of historical fiction alike.” – PopSugar
 
“The writing is rich and vivid with detail about the period. . . . A nuanced tale that speaks to the strength of women.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook



ROMANCE



When We Left Cuba by  Chanel Cleeton

when we left cubaBeautiful. Daring. Deadly. 

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…

Description from Goodreads.

“A thrilling story about love, loss, and what we will do to go home again. Utterly un-put-down-able.” – PopSugar

“Cleeton will break hearts with this exquisitely wrought tale of a privileged girl exiled from her country and the powerful American politician who changes the course of her life. … This is a beautiful and utterly transporting novel.” – Publishers Weekly

“You won’t be able to put this one down.” – Cosmopolitan

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook


Meet Cute by  Helena Hunting

meet cuteTalk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran – quite literally – into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either…

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can’t help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn’s new celebrity client, there’s even more at stake than Dax’s custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she’ll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] smartly plotted and perfectly executed rom-com with a spot-on sense of snarky wit and a generous helping of smoldering sexual chemistry.” – Booklist

“As charming as its title, but it’s also so much more… Fans of Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date and Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient will love Meet Cute.” – The Washington Independent Review of Books

Meet Cute is a novel where you will laugh and cry — sometimes, on the same page. It is a story of kindness and affection, sassiness and tenderness, where joy and sorrow are intermingled. You don’t want to miss this book.” – Frolic

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook



NONFICTION



A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by  Sonia Purnell

woman of no importanceIn 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: “She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.”

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill’s “Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.” She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and–despite her prosthetic leg–helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.

Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.

Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall–an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman’s fierce persistence helped win the war.

Description from Goodreads.

“Fast-paced, meticulously researched…a gripping account of an extraordinary woman, and a celebration of courage, ingenuity and grit.” – Shelf Awareness

“Purnell’s writing is as precise and engaging as her research, and this book restores overdue attention to one of the world’s great war heroes. It’s a joy to read, and it will swell readers’ hearts with pride.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“A groundbreaking biography that reads like a spy thriller…a suspenseful, heartbreaking and ultimately triumphant tale of heroism and sacrifice.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book


Hotbox: Inside Catering, the Food World’s Riskiest Business by  Matt Lee & Ted Lee

hotboxHotbox reveals the real-life drama behind cavernous event spaces and soaring white tents, where cooking conditions have more in common with a mobile army hospital than a restaurant. Known for their modern take on Southern cooking, the Lee brothers steeped themselves in the catering business for four years, learning the culture from the inside-out. It’s a realm where you find eccentric characters, working in extreme conditions, who must produce magical events and instantly adapt when, for instance, the host’s toast runs a half-hour too long, a hail storm erupts, or a rolling rack of hundreds of ice cream desserts goes wheels-up.

Whether they’re dashing through black-tie fundraisers, celebrity-spotting at a Hamptons cookout, or following a silverware crew at 3:00 a.m. in a warehouse in New Jersey, the Lee brothers guide you on a romp from the inner circle—the elite team of chefs using little more than their wits and Sterno to turn out lamb shanks for eight hundred—to the outer reaches of the industries that facilitate the most dazzling galas. You’ll never attend a party—or entertain on your own—in the same way after reading this book.

Description from Goodreads.

“Readers see behind the scenes of galas to show the conflict between sales teams and kitchen teams, understand the unique challenges of creating restaurant-quality food for a single evening, and meet the major players in the New York event world. The authors’ reverence for caterers’ work ethic comes through on every page. A mixture of history and memoir, the Lees’ investigation offers insights into a segment of the food world that often deliberately keeps itself invisible.” – Booklist

“An incredibly entertaining read that lets us in on the magic behind the scenes, Hotbox does for catering what Kitchen Confidential did for restaurants.” – Amazon Book Review

“The Lee brothers…pull back the curtain on the catering world, an often-dismissed arm of the culinary industry denounced for its ‘rubber chicken and dry salmon,’ in this captivating tell-all.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Life Will Be the Death of Me: . . . and You Too! by  Chelsea Handler

life will be the death of meIn a haze of vape smoke on a rare windy night in L.A. in the fall of 2016, Chelsea Handler daydreams about what life will be like with a woman in the White House. And then Donald Trump happens. In a torpor of despair, she decides that she’s had enough of the privileged bubble she’s lived in–a bubble within a bubble–and that it’s time to make some changes, both in her personal life and in the world at large.

At home, she embarks on a year of self-sufficiency–learning how to work the remote, how to pick up dog shit, where to find the toaster. She meets her match in an earnest, brainy psychiatrist and enters into therapy, prepared to do the heavy lifting required to look within and make sense of a childhood marked by love and loss and to figure out why people are afraid of her. She becomes politically active–finding her voice as an advocate for change, having difficult conversations, and energizing her base. In the process, she develops a healthy fixation on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and, through unflinching self-reflection and psychological excavation, unearths some glittering truths that light up the road ahead.

Thrillingly honest, insightful, and deeply, darkly funny, Chelsea Handler’s memoir keeps readers laughing, even as it inspires us to look within and ask ourselves what really matters in our own lives.

Description from Goodreads.

“Amusingly offbeat and told with the biting sarcasm expected of the TV personality, Handler’s sixth book (after Uganda Be Kidding Me) packs a surprising amount of emotion and introspection. … Fans of the comedian will appreciate her candid and sincere introspection.” – Publishers Weekly

“…her funniest and realest yet. This is the real Chelsea we’ve been waiting to meet for all these years.” – Hello Giggles

Available Formats:

Print Book


Notes From a Young Black Chef: A Memoir by  Kwame Onwuachi & Joshua David Stein

notes from a young black chefBy the time he was twenty-seven, Kwame Onwuachi had competed on Top Chef, cooked at the White House, and opened and closed one of the most talked about restaurants in America. In this inspiring memoir, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age. Growing up in the Bronx and Nigeria (where he was sent by his mother to “learn respect”), food was Onwuachi’s great love. He launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars he made selling candy on the subway, and trained in the kitchens of some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country. But the road to success is riddled with potholes. As a young chef, Onwuachi was forced to grapple with just how unwelcoming the world of fine dining can be for people of color, and his first restaurant, the culmination of years of planning, shuttered just months after opening. A powerful, heartfelt, and shockingly honest memoir of following your dreams–even when they don’t turn out as you expected–Notes from a Young Black Chef is one man’s pursuit of his passions, despite the odds.

Description from Goodreads.

“Onwuachi’s memoir should be required reading, not just for future chefs, but for anyone who wants a glimpse into one man’s tale of what it’s like to be young, black and ambitious in America.” – The Washington Post 

“[An] inspiring memoir. . . . Onwuachi wonderfully chronicles the amazing arc of his life.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“An impassioned debut memoir. . . . Grit and defiance infuse a revealing self-portrait.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s