Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen:  It’s 1942 in Poland, and the world is coming to pieces. At least that’s how it seems to Chaim and Gittel, twins whose lives feel like a fairy tale torn apart, with evil witches, forbidden forests, and dangerous ovens looming on the horizon. But in all darkness there is light, and the twins find it through Chaim’s poetry and the love they have for each other. Like the bright flame of a Yahrzeit candle, his words become a beacon of memory so that the children and grandchildren of survivors will never forget the atrocities that happened during the Holocaust. Filled with brutality and despair, this is also a story of poetry and strength, in which a brother and sister lose everything but each other. Nearly thirty years after the publication of her award-winning and bestselling The Devil’s Arithmetic and Briar Rose, Yolen once again returns to World War II and captivates her readers with the authenticity and power of her words. mapping the bones
  • People Like Us by Dana Mele:  Kay Donovan has skeletons in her closet, but who doesn’t? The past is the past, and now Kay’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous, pedigreed friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left a memento, a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate each of Kay’s friends, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of the murder investigation. At this school, no one is quite what they seem…even Kay. people like us
  • What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper:  After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her Papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and onto living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future. what the night sings
  • Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough:  Rome, 1605:  After her mother’s death, Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice:  a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint. She chose paint. Artemisia became one of Rome’s most talented painters–and her father took all the credit. Five years later, in the aftermath of a rape, Artemisia faced another terrible choice:  a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost. Through the ensuing trial and torture, she is buoyed by her mother’s stories of strong women of the Bible. blood water paint
  • Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin:  Baby Monkey, private eye, will investigate stolen jewels, missing pizzas, and other mysteries–if he can manage to figure out how to put his pants on. baby monkey private eye
  • Child of a Mad God by R.A. Salvatore:  When Aoelyn loses her parents, she is left to fend for herself among a tribe of vicious barbarians. Bound by rigid traditions, she dreams of escaping to the world beyond her mountain home. The only hope for achieving the kind of freedom she searches for is to learn how to wield the mysterious power used by the tribe’s coven known as the Song of Usgar. Thankfully, Aoelyn may be the strongest witch to have ever lived, but magic comes at a price. Not only have her abilities caught the eye of the brutish warlord that leads the tribe, but the demon of the mountain hunts all who wield the Coven’s power, and Aoelyn’s talent has made her a beacon in the night. child of a mad god
  • Only Child by Rhiannon Navin:  Surviving a horrific school shooting, a six-year-old boy retreats into the world of books and art while making sobering observations about  his mother’s determination to prosecute the shooter’s parents and the wider community’s efforts to make sense of the tragedy. only child
  • Song of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik:  All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh Farrokhzad is told that Persian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel–gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour. During the summer of 1950, Forugh’s passion for poetry takes flight–and tradition seeks to clip her wings. Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules–at enormous cost. But the power of her writing only grows stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.    song of a captive bird
  • The Friend by Sigrid Nunez:  Becoming the guardian of her late best friend’s enormous Great Dane, a grieving woman is evicted from her no-pets apartment and forges a deep bond with the equally distraught animal in ways that initially disturb her friends. friend
  • White Houses by Amy Bloom:  Lorena Hickok meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt’s first presidential campaign. Having grown up worse than poor in South Dakota and reinvented herself as the most prominent woman reporter in America, “Hick,” as she’s known to her friends and admirers, is not quite instantly charmed by the idealistic, patrician Eleanor. But then, as her connection with the future first lady deepens into intimacy, what begins as a powerful passion matures into a lasting love, and a life that Hick never expected to have. She  moves into the White House, where her status as “first friend” is an open secret, as are FDR’s own lovers. After she takes a job in the Roosevelt administration, promoting and protecting both Roosevelts, she comes to know Franklin not only as a great president but as a complicated rival and an irresistible friend, capable of changing lives even after his death. Through it all, even as Hick’s bond with Eleanor is tested by forces both extraordinary and common, and as she grows as a woman and a writer, she never loses sight of the love of her life.   white houses
  • The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller:  Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy–an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shapes clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service–a team of flying medics–Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals. When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women. Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers–and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it. philosopher's flight
  • Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth:  It is 1885, and a crippling drought threatens to ruin the McBride family. Their land is parched, their cattle starving. When the rain finally comes, it is a miracle that renews their hope for survival. But returning home from an afternoon swimming at a remote waterhole filled by the downpour, fourteen-year-old Tommy and sixteen-year-old Billy meet with a shocking tragedy. Thirsting for vengeance against the man they believe has wronged them–their former Aboriginal stockman–the distraught brothers turn to the ruthless and cunning John Sullivan, the wealthiest landowner in the region and their father’s former employer. Sullivan gathers a posse led by the dangerous and fascinating Inspector Edmund Noone and his Queensland Native Police, an infamous arm of British colonial power charged with the “dispersal” of indigenous Australians to “protect” white settler rights. As they ride across the barren outback in pursuit, their harsh and horrifying journey will have a devastating impact on Tommy, tormenting him for the rest of his life–and will hold enduring consequences for a young country struggling to come into its own. only killers and thieves
  • A False Report by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong:  Presents the true story of two detectives who teamed up to discern the truth about a case involving a teen who was charged with falsely reporting a rape, an investigation that revealed the work of a serial rapist in multiple states.false report
  • Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon and Lee White:  A young girl finds a way to tame the winds besieging an old man who lives on a hill above her village.  kate who tamed the wind
  • Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi:  Sixteen-year-old Scott Ferdowsi’s impromptu trip to a famous professor for advice about success turns into a summer of freedom that brings him answers in unexpected places. down and across
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert:  Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. hazel wood
  • Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison:  Thomas Jefferson had three daughters:  Martha and Maria by his wife, Martha Wayles Jefferson, and Harriet by his slave Sally Hemings. In Jefferson’s Daughters, Catherine Kerrison, a scholar of early American and women’s history, recounts the remarkable journey of these three women–and how their struggle to define themselves reflects both the possibilities and the limitations that resulted from the American Revolution. Although the three women shared a father, the similarities end there. Martha and Maria received a fine convent school education while they lived with their father during his diplomatic posting in Paris–a hothouse of intellectual ferment whose celebrated salonnieres are vividly brought to life in Kerrison’s narrative. Once they returned home, however, the sisters found their options limited by the laws and customs of early America. Harriet Hemings followed a different path. She escaped slavery–apparently with the assistance of Jefferson himself. Leaving Monticello behind, she boarded a coach and set off for a decidedly uncertain future. For this groundbreaking triple biography, Kerrison has uncovered never-before-published documents written by the Jefferson sisters when they were in their teens, as well as letters written by members of the Jefferson and Hemings families. She has interviewed Hemings family descendants (and, with their cooperation, initiated DNA testing) and searched for descendants of Harriet Hemings. The eventful lives of Thomas Jefferson’s daughters provide a unique vantage point from which to examine the complicated patrimony of the American Revolution itself. jefferson's daughters
  • The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers:  This is the incredible true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war. Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he discovers the astonishing history of coffee and Yemen’s central place in it. He leaves San Francisco and travels deep into his ancestral homeland to tour terraced farms high in the country’s rugged mountains and meet beleaguered but determined farmers. But when war engulfs the country and Saudi bombs rain down, Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen without sacrificing his dreams or abandoning his people. monk of mokha
  • The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis:  When his poor sharecropper father is killed in an accident and leaves the family in debt, twelve-year-old Little Charlie agrees to accompany fearsome plantation overseer Cap’n Buck north in pursuit of people who have stolen from him; Cap’n Buck tells Little Charlie that his father’s debt will be cleared when the fugitives are captured, which seems like a good deal until Little Charlie comes face-to-face with the people he is chasing.  journey of little charlie
  • The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds:  Some people collect stamps. Some people collect coins. Some people collect art. And Jerome? Jerome collected words… In this extraordinary tale, Jerome discovers the magic of the words all around him–short and sweet words, two-syllable treats, and multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Words that connect, transform, and empower. This is a celebration of finding your own words–and the impact you can have when you share them with the world. word collector
  • Brass by Xhenet Aliu:  A waitress at the Betsy Ross Diner, Elsie hopes her nickel-and-dime tips will add up to a new life. Then she meets Bashkim, who is at once world and naive, a married man who left Albania to chase his dreams–and wound up working as a line cook in Waterbury, Connecticut. Back when the brass mills were still open, this bustling factory town drew one wave of immigrants after another. Now it’s the place they can’t seem to leave. Elsie, herself the granddaughter of Lithuanian immigrants, falls in love quickly, but when she learns that she’s pregnant, Elsie can’t help wondering where Bashkim’s heart really lies, and what he’ll do about the wife he left behind. Seventeen years later, headstrong and independent Luljeta receives a rejection letter from NYU and her first-ever suspension from school on the same day. Instead of striking out on her own in Manhattan, she’s stuck in Connecticut with her mother, Elsie–a fate she refuses to accept. Wondering if the key to her future is unlocking the secrets of the past, Lulu decides to find out what exactly her mother has been hiding about the father she never knew. As she soon discovers, the truth is closer than she ever imagined. brass
  • A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi:  After their home in Syria is bombed, Tareq, his father, and his younger sister seek refuge, first with extended family in Raqqa, a stronghold for the militant group, Daesh, and then abroad. Tareq lives with his big and loving family… until the bombs strike. The city is in ruins, and in the wake of destruction, he’s threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq’s family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing of permanent goodbyes
  • Happiness Is a Choice You Make by John Leland:  In 2015, when the award-winning journalist John Leland set out on behalf of The New York Times to meet members of America’s fastest-growing age group, he anticipated learning of challenges, of loneliness, and of the deterioration of body, mind, and quality of life. But the elders he met took him in an entirely different direction. Despite disparate backgrounds and circumstances, they each lived with a surprising lightness and contentment. The reality Leland encountered upended contemporary notions of aging, revealing the late stages of life as unexpectedly rich and the elderly as incomparably wise.Happiness Is a Choice You Make is an enduring collection of lessons that emphasizes, above all, the extraordinary influence we wield over the quality of our lives. With humility, heart, and wit, Leland has crafted a sophisticated and necessary reflection on how to “live better”–informed by those who have mastered the art.happiness is a choice you make

    The Great Dictionary Caper by Judy Sierra and Eric Comstock:  When the words in the dictionary get bored and leave to attend a convention in Hollywood, it is up to Noah Webster to restore (alphabetical) order. great dictionary caper

  • The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke Harris:  A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems and what we can do to break the cycle. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in this book will represent vitally important hope for change.   deepest well

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi:  They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise. Zelie Adebola remembers when the soil of Oresha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zelie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zelie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Oresha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to control her powers–and her growing feelings for an enemy. children of blood and bone
  • Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala:  On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he’s a top student a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret:  he is queer–an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders–and the one person who seems not to judge him. When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.    speak no evil
  • The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell:  Khaim, The Blue City, is the last remaining city in a crumbled empire that overly relied upon magic until it became toxic. It is run by a tyrant known as The Jolly Mayor and his devious right hand, the last archmage in the world. Together they try to collect all the magic for themselves so they can control the citizens of the city. But when their decadence reaches new heights and begins to destroy the environment, the people stage an uprising to stop them. In four interrelated part, The Tangled Lands is an evocative and epic story of resistance and heroic sacrifice in the twisted remains surrounding the last great city of Khaim. Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell have created a fantasy for our times about a decadent and rotting empire facing environmental collapse from within–and yet hope emerges from unlikely places with women warriors and alchemical solutions. tangled lands
  • Summer Hours at the Robbers Library by Sue Halpern:  People are drawn to libraries for all kinds of reasons. Most come for the books themselves, of course; some come to borrow companionship. For head librarian Kit, the public library in Riverton, New Hampshire, offers what she craves most:  peace. Here, no one expects Kit to talk about the calamitous events that catapulted her out of what she thought was a settled, suburban lie. She can simply submerge herself in her beloved books and try to forget her problems. But that changes when fifteen-year-old, home-schooled Sunny gets arrested for shoplifting a dictionary. The judge throws the book at Sunny–literally–assigning her to do community service at the library for the summer. Bright, curious, and eager to connect with someone other than her off-the-grid hippie parents, Sunny coaxes Kit out of her self-imposed isolation. They’re joined by Rusty, a Wall Street high-flyer suddenly crashed to earth. In this little library that has become the heart of this small town, Kit, Sunny, and Rusty are drawn to each other, and to a cast of other offbeat regulars. As they come to terms with how their lives have unraveled, they also discover how they might knit them together again and finally reclaim their stories. summer hours
  • Promise by Minrose Gwin:  In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that rips through the town of Tupelo, Mississippi at the height of the Great Depression, two women world apart–one black, one white; one a great-grandmother, the other a teenager–struggle to navigate a landscape of disaster and battle both the demons and the history that link and haunt them. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage, and race, this novel reminds us of the transformative power and promise that comes from confronting our most troubled relations with one another. promise
  • The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran:  Liam Devaliant, Lord Lockwood, was born into a charmed life. Charismatic, powerful, and wild, he had the world at his feet–and one woman as his aim. His wedding to Anna was meant to be his greatest triumph. Instead, in a single moment, a wicked conspiracy robbed him of his future and freedom. Four years later, Liam has returned from death with plans for revenge. Standing in his way, though, is his long-absent bride. Once, he adored Anna’s courage. Now it seems like a curse, for Anna refuses to fear or forget  him. If she can’t win back Liam’s love, then she means at least to save his soul…no matter the cost. sins of lord lockwood
  • Chicago by David Mamet:  Mike Hodge–a veteran of the Great War, big shot of the Chicago Tribune, medium fry–probably shouldn’t have fallen in love with Annie Walsh. Then, again, maybe the man who killed Annie Walsh have known better than to trifle with Mike Hodge. In Chicago, David Mamet has created a bracing, kaleidoscopic tale that roars through the Windy City’s underground on its way to a thunderclap of a conclusion. Here is not only his first novel in more than two decades, but the book he has been building to for his whole career. Mixing some of his most brilliant fictional creations with actual figures of the era, suffused with trademark “Mamet Speak,” richness of voice, pace, and brio, and exploring–as no other writer can–questions of honor, deceit, revenge, and devotion, Chicago is that rarest of literary creations:  a book that combines spectacular elegance of craft with a kinetic wallop as fierce as the February wind gusting off Lake Michigan.chicago
  • Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira:  New York, 1879:  After an epic snow storm ravages the city of Albany, Dr. Mary Sutter, a former civil war surgeon, begins a search for two little girls, the daughters of close friends killed by the storm who have vanished without a trace. Mary’s mother and niece Elizabeth, who has been studying violin in Paris, return to Albany upon learning of the girls’ disappearance–but Elizabeth has another reason for wanting to come home, one she is not willing to reveal. Despite resistance from the community, who believe the girls to be dead, the family persists in their efforts to find the two sisters. When what happened to them is revealed, the uproar that ensues tears apart families, reputations, and even the social fabric of the city, exposing dark secrets about some of the most powerful of its citizens, and putting fragile loves and lives at great risk. winter sisters
  • Florette by Anna Walker:  When Mae’s family moves from the country to the city, she is sad to leave behind her beloved backyard garden but before long, she finds a way to start a new garden. florette
  • What Are We Doing Here? by Marilynne Robinson:  A new essay collection assesses today’s political climate and the mysteries of faith, from the influence of intellectual minds on society’s political consciousness to the way that beauty informs and disciplines daily life. what are we doing here
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi:  An extraordinary debut novel, Freshwater explores the surreal experience of having a fractured self. It centers around a young Nigerian woman, Ada, who develops separate selves within her as a result of being born “with one foot on the other side.” Unsettling, heartwrenching, dark, and powerful, Freshwater is a sharp evocation of a rare way of experiencing the world, one that illuminates how we all construct our identities. Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves:  Asughara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves, now protective, now hedonistic, move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction. Narrated from the perspective of the various selves within Ada, and based in the author’s realities, Freshwater explores the metaphysics of identity and mental health, plunging the reader into the mystery of being and self. Freshwater dazzles with ferocious energy and serpentine grace, heralding the arrival of a fierce new literary voice. freshwater
  • Baby Bear’s Book of Tiny Tales by David McPhail:  Baby Bear makes a handful of discoveries in this volume of four short stories. He finds a boot, returning it to its rightful owner; he finds a rare flower, making his mother’s day; he helps a baby bird, handing him safely back to his mother; and he makes a new friend. All of this is told in simple sentences and easy-to-follow bear's book of tiny tales
  • Enlightenment Now:  The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker:  The follow-up to Pinker’s groundbreaking The Better Angels of Our Nature presents the big picture of human progress:  people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Far from being a naive hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature–tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking–which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation. 9780525427575_Enlightenmen_JKF.indd
  • The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson:  Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza is the product of a virgin birth. This can be scientifically explained (it’s called parthenogenesis), but what can’t be explained is how Elena is able to heal Freddie, the girl she’s had a crush on for years, from a gunshot wound in a Starbucks parking lot. Or why the boy who shot Freddie, David Combs, disappeared from the same parking lot minutes later after getting sucked up into the clouds. What also can’t be explained are the talking girl on the front of a tampon box, or the reasons that David Combs shot Freddie in the first place. As more unbelievable things occur, and Elena continues to perform miracles, the only remaining explanation is the least logical of all–that the world is actually coming to an end, and Elena is possibly the only one who can do something about it. apocalypse of elena mendoza
  • Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay:  Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?  While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?  your one and only
  • Daphne by Will Boast:  Born with a rare condition that causes her to suffer degrees of paralysis when experiencing intense emotion, Daphne endures a virtually solitary existence before meeting a shy, charming man who compels her to choose between safe isolation and true intimacy. daphne

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

Check out some of the library’s newest additions!

  • The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen:  In 1944, British bomber pilot Hugo Langley parachuted from his stricken plane into the verdant fields of German-occupied Tuscany. Badly wounded, he found refuge in a ruined monastery and in the arms of Sofia Bartoli. But the love that kindled between them was shaken by an irreversible betrayal. Nearly thirty years later, Hugo’s estranged daughter, Joanna, has returned home to the English countryside to arrange her father’s funeral. Among his personal effects is an unopened letter addressed to Sofia. In it is a startling revelation. Still dealing with the emotional wounds of her own personal trauma, Joanna embarks on a healing journey to Tuscany to understand her father’s history–and maybe come to understand herself as well. Joanna soon discovers that some would prefer the past be left undisturbed, but she has come too far to let go of her father’s secrets now…tuscan child
  • Feel Free by Zadie Smith:  Arranged into five sections–In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free–this new collection poses questions we immediately recognize. What is The Social Network–and Facebook itself–really about? “It’s a cruel portrait of us: 500 million sentient people entrapped in the recent careless thoughts of a Harvard sophomore.” Why do we love libraries? “Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.” What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? “So I might say to her, look: the thing you have to appreciate is that we’d just been through a century of relativism and deconstruction, in which we were informed that most of our fondest-held principles were either uncertain or simple wishful thinking, and in many areas of our lives we had already been asked to accept that nothing is essential and everything changes–and this had taken the fight out of us somewhat.” Gathering in one place for the first time previously unpublished work, as well as already classic essays, such as, “Joy,” and, “Find Your Beach,” Feel Free offers a survey of important recent events in culture and politics, as well as Smith’s own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive–and never any less than perfect company. This is literary journalism at its zenith.  feel free
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu:  A group of young girls descend on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and camp songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home. The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls–Nita, Kayla, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan–through and beyond this fateful trip. We see them through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people. In diamond-sharp prose, Kim Fu gives us a portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves–and the pasts we can’t escape.  lost girls
  • Winterfolk by Janel Kolby:  Rain doesn’t wish on stars anymore.For as long as she can remember, her home has been among the Winterfolk, a group of homeless people living outside Seattle. Being homeless has taught Rain how to be invisible. But when she discovers that the city plans to sweep out the Winterfolk’s camp, her world is shattered. Determined to face the world like she’s never had to before, she convinces her friend King to take her to Seattle. The city is full of strange sights, sounds, people–and memories. When Rain and King are separated, she must fend for herself, and realizes that she’s not invisible after all. And if she’s going to save herself, King, and the Winterfolk, she’ll need to find a star big enough to make all of her wishes come true.winterfolk
  • The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú:  For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River goes behind the headlines, making urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line.   line becomes a river
  • How to Stop Time by Matt Haig:  Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life. So Tom moves back his to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: Never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present. How to Stop Time tells a love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live. It is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.  how to stop time

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan:  Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart. Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes. Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy. Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

anatomy of a scandal

  • The Sky Is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith:  In the burned-out, futuristic city of Empire Island, three young people navigate a crumbling metropolis constantly under threat from a pair of dragons that circle the skies. When violence strikes, reality star Duncan Humphrey Ripple V, the spoiled scion of the metropolis’ last dynasty; Baroness Swan Lenore Dahlberg, his tempestuous, death-obsessed betrothed; and Abby, a feral beauty he discovered tossed out with the trash; are forced to flee everything they’ve ever known. As they wander toward the scalded heart of the city, they face fire, conspiracy, mayhem, unholy drugs, dragon-worshippers, and the monsters lurking inside themselves. In this bombshell of a novel, Chandler Klang Smith has imagined an unimaginable world: scathingly clever and gorgeously strange, The Sky Is Yours is at once faraway and disturbingly familiar, its singular chaos grounded in the universal realities of love, family, and the deeply human desire to survive at all costs.

sky is yours

  • The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani:  She has the keys to their apartment. She knows everything. She has embedded herself so deeply in their lives that it now seems impossible to remove her. When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau. Building tension with every page, The Perfect Nanny is a compulsive, riveting, bravely observed exploration of power, class, race, domesticity, and motherhood–and the American debut of an immensely talented writer.perfect nanny
  • Iron Gold by Pierce Brown:  They call him father, liberator, warlord, Slave King, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the war-torn planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-third of his life. A decade ago Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk all he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself? And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:  A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp, and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined. An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy–or pay with his life. And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the Sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.      iron gold
  • The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin:  It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone’s lips these days is “flickers”–the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. Turn any corner in this burgeoning town and you’ll find made-up actors running around, as a movie camera captures it all. In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have earned her the title “America’s Sweetheart.” The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution. But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender–and their astronomical success could come at a price. As Mary, the world’s highest paid and most beloved actress, struggles to live her life under the spotlight, she also wonders if it is possible to find love, even with the dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks. Frances, too, longs to share her life with someone. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas will play out, personalities will clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered. With cameos from such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, The Girls in the Picture is, at its heart, a story of friendship and forgiveness. Melanie Benjamin perfectly captures the dawn of a glittering new era–its myths and icons, its possibilities and potential, and its seduction and heartbreak.      girls in the picture
  • This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff:  A razor-sharp and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives–a riveting fusion of The Nest, Up in the Air, and Then We Came to the End that captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them. Rosa Guerrero beat the odds as she rose to the top of the corporate world. An attractive woman of a certain age, the longtime chief of human resources at Ellery Consumer Research is still a formidable presence, even if her most vital days are behind her. A leader who wields power with grace and discretion, she has earned the devotion and loyalty of her staff. No one admires Rosa more than her doting lieutenant Leo Smalls, a benefits vice president whose whole world is Ellery. While Rosa is consumed with trying to address the needs of her staff within the ever-constricting limits of the company’s bottom line, her associate director, Rob Hirsch, a middle-aged, happily married father of two, finds himself drawing closer to his “work wife,” Lucy Bender, an enterprising single woman searching for something–a romance, a promotion–to fill the vacuum in her personal life. For Kenny Verville, a senior manager with an MBA, Ellery is a temporary stepping-stone to bigger and better places–that is, if his high-powered wife has her way. Compelling, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, these men and women scheme, fall in and out of love, and nurture dreams big and small. As their individual circumstances shift, one thing remains constant–Rosa, the sun around whom they all orbit. When her world begins to crumble, the implications for everyone are profound, and Leo, Rob, Lucy, and Kenny find themselves changed in ways beyond their reckoning. Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting, and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp, and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love, and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.     this could hurt

Your Library Curated: Best New Books at Your Library

Here are some of the best fresh titles at your library!

  • The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson:  Twenty-five years after Jesus’ Son, a haunting new collection of short stories on mortality and transcendence, from National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Denis Johnson. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson. Written in the luminous prose that made him one of the most beloved and important writers of his generation, this collection finds Johnson in new territory, contemplating the ghosts of the past and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves. Finished shortly before Johnson’s death, this collection is the last word from a writer whose work will live on for many years to come.


  • Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff: With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time. The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous–and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself. In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office. Among the revelations:– What President Trump’s staff really thinks of him
    — What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama
    — Why FBI director James Comey was really fired
    — Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn’t be in the same room
    — Who is really directing the Trump administration’s strategy in the wake of Bannon’s firing
    — What the secret to communicating with Trump is
    — What the Trump administration has in common with the movie The Producers  Never before has a presidency so divided the American people. Brilliantly reported and astoundingly fresh, Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury shows us how and why Donald Trump has become the king of discord and and fury
  • A Distant Heart by Sonali Dev:  Her name means “miracle” in Sanskrit, and to her parents, that’s exactly what Kimaya is. The first baby to survive after several miscarriages, Kimi grows up in a mansion at the top of Mumbai’s Pali Hill, surrounded by love and privilege. But at eleven years old, she develops a rare illness that requires her to be confined to a germ-free ivory tower in her home, with only the Arabian Sea churning outside her window for company. . . . Until one person dares venture into her world. Tasked at fourteen years old with supporting his family, Rahul Savant shows up to wash Kimi’s windows, and an unlikely friendship develops across the plastic curtain of her isolation room. As years pass, Rahul becomes Kimi’s eyes to the outside world–and she becomes his inspiration to better himself by enrolling in the police force. But when a life-saving heart transplant offers the chance of a real future, both must face all that ties them together and keeps them apart. As Kimi anticipates a new life, Rahul struggles with loving someone he may yet lose. And when his investigation into a black market organ ring run by a sociopathic gang lord exposes dangerous secrets that cut too close to home, only Rahul’s deep, abiding connection with Kimi can keep her safe–and reveal the true meaning of courage, loss, and second chances. Infused with the rhythms of life in modern-day India, acclaimed author Sonali Dev’s candid, rewarding novel beautifully evokes all the complexities of the human heart.distant heart
  • No Time to Spare:  Thinking About What Matters by Ursula Le Guin:  From acclaimed author Ursula K. Le Guin, and with an introduction by Karen Joy Fowler, a collection of thoughts–always adroit, often acerbic–on aging, belief, the state of literature, and the state of the nation. Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life, old age, and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice — sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical — shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s blog, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her wonder at it. On the absurdity of denying your age, she says, “If I’m ninety and believe I’m forty-five, I’m headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub.” On cultural perceptions of fantasy: “The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is ‘escapism’ an accusation of? ” On her new cat: “He still won’t sit on a lap.” no time to spare
  • Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin:  A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family. Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel.   fever dream
  • Roomies by Christina Lauren:  Marriages of convenience are so …inconvenient. For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions. Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway–until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago. Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway–in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting–will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?  roomies

Best Books of 2017 at Your Library

Every year, NPR releases their Book Concierge which is an interactive guide to all of the best books of the previous year. Here are all the books from NPR’s list that you can check out at your library!

  • 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster:  Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson’s pleasures and ache from each Ferguson’s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson’s life rushes on. As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.

4321 auster

after the fall

  • Ali:  A Life by Jonathan Eig:  Based on more than 500 interviews, including Muhammad Ali’s closest associates, and enhanced by access to thousands of pages of newly released FBI records, this is a thrilling story of a man who became one of the great figures of the twentieth century.


  • The Alice Network by Kate Quinn:  It’s 1947 and American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a fervent belief that her beloved French cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive somewhere. So when Charlie’s family banished her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. In 1915, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance to serve when she’s recruited to work as a spy for the English. Sent into enemy-occupied France during The Great War, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies,” who manages a vast network of secrets agents, right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a  name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launching them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.

alice network

  • All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg:  Who is Andrea Bern?  When her therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say:  she’s a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it’s what she leaves unsaid–she’s alone, a drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed, captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh–that feels the most true. Everyone around her seems to have an entirely different idea of what it means to be an adult:  her best friend, Indigo, is getting married; her brother–who miraculously seems unscathed by their shared tumultuous childhood–and sister-in-law are having a hoped-for baby; and her friend Matthew continues to wholly devote himself to making dark paintings at the cost of being flat broke. But when Andrea’s niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. Will this drive them together or tear them apart? Told in gut-wrenchingly honest, mordantly comic vignettes, All Grown Up is a breathtaking display of Jami Attenberg’s power as a storyteller, a whip-smart examination of one woman’s life, lived entirely on her own terms.all grown up
  •  American War by Omar El Akkad:  An audacious and powerful debut novel:  a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle–a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself. Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even when she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under who influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.

american war

  • Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan:  A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.

amina's voice

  • An American Sickness:  How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back by Elisabeth Rosenthal:  In these troubled times, perhaps no institution has unraveled more quickly and more completely than American medicine. In only a few decades, the medical system has been overrun by organizations seeking to exploit for profit the trust that vulnerable and sick Americans place in their healthcare. Our politicians have proven themselves either unwilling or incapable of reining in the increasingly outrageous costs faced by patients, and market-based solutions only seem to funnel larger and larger sums of our money into the hands of corporations. Impossibly high insurance premiums and inexplicably large bills have become facts of life; fatalism has set in. Very quickly Americans have been made to accept paying more for less. How did things get so bad so fast? Breaking down this monolithic business into the individual industries–the hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, and drug manufacturers–that together constitute our healthcare system, Rosenthal exposes the recent evolution of American medicine as never before. How did healthcare, the caring endeavor, become healthcare, the highly profitable industry? Hospital systems, which are managed by business executives, behave like predatory lenders, hounding patients and seizing their homes. Research charities are in bed with big pharmaceutical companies, which surreptitiously profit from the donations made by working people. Patients receive bills in code, from entrepreneurial doctors they never even saw. The system is it tatters, but we can fight back. Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal doesn’t just explain the symptoms, she diagnoses and treats the disease itself. In clear and practical terms, she spells out exactly how to decode medical doublespeak, avoid the pitfalls of the pharmaceuticals racket, and get the care you and your family deserve. She takes you inside the doctor-patient relationship and to hospital C-suites, explaining step-by-step the workings of a system badly lacking transparency. This is about what we can do, as individual patients, both to navigate the maze that is American healthcare and also to demand far-reaching reform. An American Sickness is the frontline defense against a healthcare system that no longer has out well-being at heart.

american sickness

  • The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker:  In their first year of college, two young women, one from a Florida swamp, the other from a Kentucky holler, both outsiders at their prestigious East Coast college, meet in “Introduction to Sketch” and become instant best friends. A decade later, Mel and Sharon’s lives remain intertwined, but so much else has changed. Now a semi-famous New York filmmaking duo, they draw upon their own pasts to make intimate animated movies, a process that has left their personal lives–including their friendship–in tatters. When tragedy strikes, Mel and Sharon must return to their home states to confront long-buried secrets and try to restore damaged relationships with their families, lovers, and each other.


  • Anne Boleyn, a King’s Obsession by Alison Weir:  Born into a noble English family, Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family’s Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. This strategic move on the part of her opportunistic father also becomes a chance for the girl to grow and discover herself. There, and later in France, Anne thrives, preferring to absorb the works of progressive writers rather than participate in courtly flirtations. She also begins to understand the inequalities and indignities suffered by her gender. Anne isn’t completely inured to the longings of the heart, but her powerful family has ambitious plans for her future that override any wishes of her own. When the King of England himself, Henry VIII, asks Anne to be his mistress, she spurns his advances–reminding him that he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. Anne’s rejection only intensifies Henry’s pursuit, but in the absence of a male heir–and given an aging Queen Katherine–the opportunity to elevate and protect the Boleyn family, and to exact vengeance on her envious detractors, is too tempting for Anne to resist, even as it proves to be her undoing. While history tells of how Anne Boleyn died, this compelling novel reveals how fully she lived.

anne boleyn

  • The Answers by Catherine Lacey:  In Catherine Lacey’s ambitious second novel, we are introduced to Mary, a young woman living in New York City struggling with a body that has betrayed her. All but paralyzed with pain, Mary seeks relief from a New Age-y treatment called Pneuma Adaptive Kinesthesia, PAKing for short. And, remarkably, it works. But PAKing is expensive and Mary is broke. So she scours Craigslist for fast-cash jobs and finds the “Girlfriend Experiment,” the brainchild of an eccentric and narcissistic actor determined to find the perfect relationship–even if it means paying women to fill different roles. Mary is hired as the “emotional girlfriend”–certainly better than the “anger girlfriend” or the “maternal girlfriend”–and is pulled into an ego-driven and messy attempt at human connection. Told in Lacey’s signature spiraling prose, The Answers is full of singular yet universal insights. It is a gorgeous hybrid of the plot-and-idea-driven novel that will leave you reeling.


  • Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout:  Here are two sisters:  One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for motherly love even as she comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton, the author’s celebrated New York Times bestseller) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout’s place as one of America’s most respected and cherished authors.

anything is possible

  • Autonomous by Annalee Newitz:  When anything can be owned, how can we be free? Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane. Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair:  Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand. And underlying it all is one fundamental question:  Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?


  • Bad Dreams and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley:  In these short stories, it’s the ordinary things that turn out to be most extraordinary:  the history of a length of fabric or a forgotten jacket. Two sisters quarrel over an inheritance and a new baby; a child awake in the night explores the familiar rooms of her home, made strange by the darkness; a housekeeper caring for a helpless old man uncovers secrets from his past. The first steps into a turning point and a new life are made so easily and carelessly:  each of these stories illuminate crucial moments of transition, often imperceptible to the protagonists. A girl accepts a lift in a car with some older boys; a young woman reads the diaries she discovers while housesitting. Small acts have large consequences, some that can reverberate across decades; private fantasies can affect other people, for better and worse. The real things that happen to people, the accidents that befall them, are every bit as mysterious as their longings and their dreams.

bad dreams

  • Basketball and Other Things by Shea Serrano:  Michael Jordan is the acknowledged greatest basketball player of all time, but what season was Michael Jordan the best version of Michael Jordan? Who’s in The Disrespectful Dunk Hall of Fame? What’s allowed and absolutely not allowed in a game of pickup basketball? Basketball and Other Things presents listeners with a set of pivotal and ridiculous questions from basketball history, providing arguments and answers, explained with the wit and wisdom that is unique to Shea Serrano. Serrano breaks down debates that NBA fans didn’t even know they needed, from the authoritative (Which NBA championship was the most important to the league?) to the fantastical (If you could assign different values to different shots throughout basketball history, what would they be and why?). Featuring a foreword by Reggie Miller, this book is a must-have for anyone who has ever stayed up late into the night debating basketball’s greatest moments, what-ifs, stories, and legends, or for those who are discovering the mythology of basketball for the first time.


  • Between Them:  Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford:  How is it that we come to consider our parents as people with rich and intense lives that include but also exclude us? Richard Ford’s parents–Edna, a feisty, pretty Catholic-school girl with a difficult past; and Parker, a sweet-natured, soft-spoken traveling salesman–were rural Arkansans born at the turn of the twentieth century. Married in 1928, they lived “alone together” on the road, traveling throughout the South. Eventually they had one child, born late, in 1944. For Ford, the questions of what his parents dreamed of, how they loved each other and loved him become a striking portrait of American life in the mid-century. Between Them is his vivid image of where his life began where his parents’ lives found their greatest satisfaction. Bringing his celebrated candor, wit, and intelligence to this most intimate and mysterious of landscapes–our parents’ lives–the award-winning storyteller and creator of the iconic Frank Bascombe delivers an unforgettable exploration of memory, intimacy, and love.

between them

  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk:  Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger. Vivid and heart-wrenching, Lauren Wolk’s Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted and tensely paced tale that explores questions of identity, belonging, and the true meaning of family.

beyond the bright sea

  • The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy Tyson:  In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Black students who called themselves “the Emmett Till generation” launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle for civil rights into a mass movement. Till’s lynching became the most notorious hate crime in American history. But what actually happened to Emmett Till–not the icon of injustice, but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, The Blood of Emmett Till unfolds like a movie, drawing on a wealth of new evidence, including a shocking admission of Till’s innocence from the woman in whose name he was killed. Jolting and powerful, the book provides fresh insight into the way race has informed and deformed our democratic institutions and calls us to the cause of justice today.

blood of emmett till

  • Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus:  Wonderfully spare, deceptively simple verses pair with richly evocative paintings to celebrate the iconic imagery of our nation, beginning with the American flag. Each spread, sumptuously illustrated by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson, depicts a stirring tableau, from the view of the Statue of Liberty at Ellis Island to civil rights marchers shoulder to shoulder, to a spacecraft at Cape Canaveral blasting off. This book is an ode to America then and now, from sea to shining sea.

blue sky white stars

  • The Book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman:  When Malcolm finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust, he finds himself embroiled in a tale of intrigue featuring enforcement agents from the Magisterium, a woman with an evil monkey daemon, and a baby named Lyra.

book of dust

  • The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch:  In the near future, world wars have transformed the earth into a battleground. Fleeing the unending violence and the planet’s now-radioactive surface, humans have regrouped to a mysterious platform known as CIEL, hovering over their erstwhile home. The changed world has turned evolution on its head:  the surviving humans have become sexless, hairless, pale-white creatures floating in isolation, inscribing stories upon their skin. Out of the ranks of the endless wars rises Jean de Men, a charismatic and bloodthirsty cult leader who turns CIEL into a quasi-corporate police state. A group of rebels unite to dismantle his iron rule–galvanized by the heroic song of Joan, a child-warrior who possesses a mysterious force that lives within her and communes with the earth. When de Men and his armies turn Joan into a martyr, the consequences are astonishing. And no one–not the rebels, Jean de Men, or even Joan herself–can foresee the way her story and unique gift will forge the destiny of an entire world for generations. A riveting tale of destruction and love found in the direst of places–even at the extreme end of post-human experience–Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan raises questions about what it means to be human, the fluidity of sex and gender, and the role of art as a means for survival.

book of joan

  • The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken:  As one artist incorporates accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things into her art, she transforms her piece in quirky and unexpected ways, taking readers on a journey through her process. Told in minimal, playful text, this story shows readers that even the biggest “mistakes” can be the source of the brightest ideas–and that, at the end of the day, we are all works in progress, too.

book of mistakes

  • The Bright Hour:  A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs:  “We are breathless, but we love the days. They are promises. They are the only way to walk from one night to the other.” Nina Riggs was just thirty-seven years old when initially diagnosed with breast cancer–one small spot. Within a year, the mother of two sons, ages seven and nine, and married sixteen years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. How does one live each day, “unattached to outcome”? How does one approach the moments, big and small, with both love and honesty? Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, even as she wrestles with the legacy of her great-great-great grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nina Rigg’s breathtaking memoir continues the urgent conversation that Paul Kalanithi began in his gorgeous When Breath Becomes Air. She asks, what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time? Brilliantly written, disarmingly funny, and deeply moving, The Bright Hour is about how to love all the days, even the bad ones, and it’s about the way literature, especially Emerson, and Nina’s other muse, Montaigne, can be a balm and a form of prayer. It’s a book about looking death squarely in the face and saying “this is what will be.” Especially poignant in these uncertain times, The Bright Hour urges us to live well and not lose sight of what makes us human:  love, art, music, words.

bright hour

  • The Burning Girl by Claire Messud:  Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship.

burning girl

butchering art

  • Chemistry by Weike Wang:  A novel about a young Chinese woman whose graduate studies in chemistry go off track and lead her to discover the truths about her goals and desires.


  • Chester B. Himes by Lawrence Patrick Jackson:  In this definitive biography of Chester B. Himes (1909-1984), Lawrence P. Jackson uses exclusive interviews and unrestricted access to Himes’s full archives to portray a controversial American writer whose novels unflinchingly confront sex, racism, and black identity. Himes brutally rendered racial politics in the best-selling novel If He Hollers Let Him Go, but he became famous for his Harlem detective series, including Cotton Comes to Harlem. A serious literary tastemaker in his day, Himes had friendships–sometimes uneasy–with such luminaries as Ralph Ellison, Carl Van Vechten, and Richard Wright. Jackson’s scholarship and astute commentary illuminates Himes’s improbable life–his middle-class origins, his eight years in prison, his painful odyssey as a black World War II-era artist, and his escape to Europe for success. More than tens years in the writing, Jackson’s biography restores the legacy of a fascinating maverick caught between his aspirations for commercial success and his disturbing, vivid portraits of the United States.

chester himes

  • The Child by Fiona Barton:  As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question:  Who is the Building Site Baby? As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier:  A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss. But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn–house by house–into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women–and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

the child

  • City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson:  Sixteen-year-old Tina and two friends leave Kenya and slip into the Congo, from where she and her mother fled years before, seeking revenge for her mother’s murder but uncovering starling secrets.

city of saints and thieves

  • The Color of Law:  A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein:  In this groundbreaking history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein, a leading authority on housing policy, explodes the myth that America’s cities came to be racially divided through de facto segregation–that is, through individual prejudices, income differences, or the actions of private institutions like banks and real estate agencies. Rather, The Color of Law incontrovertibly makes clear that it was de jure segregation–the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments–that actually promoted the discriminatory patterns that continue to this day. Through extraordinary revelations and extensive research that Ta-Nehisi Coates has lauded as “brilliant” (The Atlantic), Rothstein comes to chronicle nothing less than an untold story that begins in the 1920s, showing how this process of de jure segregation began with explicit racial zoning, as millions of African Americans moved in a great historical migration from the South to the North. As Jane Jacobs established in her classic The Death and Life of Great American Cities, it was the deeply flawed urban planning of the 1950s that created many of the impoverished neighborhoods we know.   Now, Rothstein expands our understanding of this history, showing how government policies led to the creation of officially segregated public housing and the demolition of previously integrated neighborhoods. While urban areas rapidly deteriorated, the great American suburbanization of the post-World War Ii years was spurred on by federal subsidies for builders on the condition that no homes be sold to African Americans. Finally, Rothstein shows how police and prosecutors brutally upheld these standards by supporting violent resistance to black families in white neighborhoods. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited future discrimination but did nothing to reverse residential patterns that had become deeply embedded. Yet recent outbursts of violence in cities like Baltimore, Ferguson, and Milwaukee show us precisely how the legacy of these earlier eras contributes to persistent racial unrest. “The American landscape will never look the same to readers of this important book,” comments Sherrilyn A. Ifill. Indeed, Rothstein’s invaluable examination demonstrates that only by relearning American urban history can we finally pave the way for the nation to remedy its unconstitutional past.

color of law

  • The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi:  India, 1986:  Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world–one of ice cream, reading, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood. But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend, or stops wondering if she was somehow responsible for Mukta’s abduction. Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to Mukta–and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place. Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Mumbai, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship–a story of love, betrayal, and ultimately, redemption.

color of our sky

cooking gene

  • Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker:  Professional journalist and amateur drinker Bianca Bosker didn’t know much about wine–until she discovered an alternate universe where taste reigns supreme, a world of elite sommeliers who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of flavor. Astounded by their fervor and seemingly superhuman sensory powers, she set out to uncover what drove their obsession, and whether she, too, could become a “cork dork.” With boundless curiosity, humor, and a healthy dose of skepticism, Bosker takes the reader inside underground tasting groups, exclusive New York City restaurants, California mass-market wine factories, and even a neuroscientist’s MRI machine as she attempts to answer the most nagging question of all:  what’s the big deal about wine? What she learns will change the way you drink wine–and, perhaps, the way you live–forever.

cork dork

  • Dadland by Keggie Carew:  A family memoir about the author’s race to document her father’s story as a World War II paratrooper before his mind succumbed to dementia relates how he overcame formidable obstacles and maverick impulses to join an elite special ops unit that was a first collaboration between the American and British Secret Services.


  • Dare Not Linger by Nelson Mandela and Mandla Langa:  “I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.” In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first president of a democratic South Africa. From the outset, he was committed to serving only a single five-year term. During his presidency, he and his government ensured that all of South Africa’s citizens became equal before the law, and he laid the foundation for turning a country riven by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy. Dare Not Linger is the story of Mandela’s presidential years, drawing heavily on the memoir he began to write as he prepared to leave office, but was unable to finish. Now the acclaimed South African writer Mandla Langa has completed the task, using Mandela’s unfinished draft, detailed notes that Mandela made as events were unfolding, and a wealth of unseen archival material. With a prologue by Mandela’s widow, the result is a vivid and often inspirational account of Mandela’s presidency and the creation of a new democracy. It tells the story of a country in transition and the challenges Mandela faced as he strove to make his vision for a liberated South Africa a reality.dare not linger
  • Dark at the Crossing by Elliot Ackerman:  Haris Abadi is a man in search of a cause. An Arab American with a conflicted past, he is now in Turkey, attempting to cross into Syria and join the fight against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. But he is robbed before he can make it, and is taken in by Amir, a charismatic Syrian refugee and former revolutionary, and Amir’s wife, Daphne, a sophisticated beauty haunted by grief. As it becomes clear that Daphne is also desperate to return to Syria, Haris’s choices become ever more wrenching:  Who side is he really on? Is he a true radical or simply an idealist? And will he be able to bring meaning to a life of increasing frustration and helplessness? Told with compassion and a deft hand, Dark at the Crossing is an exploration of loss, of second chances, and of why we choose to believe–a trenchantly observed novel of raw urgency and power.

dark at the crossing

  • Days Without End by Sebastian Barry:  Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas goes on to fight in the Indian Wars–against the Sioux and the Yurok–and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in. Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry’s latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history and is a novel never to be forgotten.

days without end

  • Dear Ijeawele, Or, a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:  A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response. Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

dear ijeawele

  • Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Green:  From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump–the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history. Based on dozens of interviews conducted over six years, Green spins the master narrative of the 2016 campaign from its origins in the far fringes of right-wing politics and reality television to its culmination inside Trump’s penthouse on election night. The shocking elevation of Bannon to head Trump’s flagging presidential campaign on August 17, 2016, hit political Washington like a thunderclap and seemed to signal the meltdown of the Republican Party. Bannon was a bomb-throwing pugilist who’d never run a campaign and was despised by Democrats and Republicans alike. Yet Bannon’s hard-edged ethno-nationalism and his elaborate, years-long plot to destroy Hillary Clinton paved the way for Trump’s unlikely victory. Trump became the avatar of a dark but powerful worldview that dominated the airwaves and spoke to voters whom others couldn’t see. Trump’s campaign was the final phase of a populist insurgency that had been building up in America for years, and Bannon, its inscrutable mastermind, believed it was the culmination of a hard-right global uprising that would change the world. Any study of Trump’s rise to the presidency is unavoidable a study of Bannon. Devil’s Bargain is a tour-de-force telling of the remarkable confluence of circumstances that decided the election, many of them orchestrated by Bannon and his allies, who really did plot a vast, right-wing conspiracy to stop Clinton. To understand Trump’s extraordinary rise and Clinton’s fall, you have to weave Trump’s story together with Bannon’s, or else it doesn’t make sense. devil's bargain
  • Difficult Women by Roxane Gay:  The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister’s marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.

difficult women

  • Do I Make Myself Clear?:  Why Writing Well Matters by Harold Evans:  Harry Evans has edited everything from the urgent files of battlefield reporters to the complex thought processes of Henry Kissinger. He’s even been knighted for his services to journalism. In Do I Make Myself Clear?, he brings his indispensable insight to us all in his definite guide to writing well. The right words are oxygen to our ideas, but the digital era, with all of its TTYL, LMK, and WTF, has been cutting off that oxygen flow. The compulsion to be precise has vanished from our culture, and in writing of every kind we see a trend towards more–more speed and more information but far less clarity. Evans provides practical examples of how editing and rewriting can make for better communication, even in the digital age. Do I Make Myself Clear? is an essential text, and one that will provide every writer an editor at his shoulder.

do I make myself clear

  • The Dry by Jane Harper:  A small town hides big secrets in The Dry. After getting a  note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead. Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.


  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman:  No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. Meet Eleanor Oliphant:  She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. eleanor oliphant
  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid:  In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet–sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors–doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. Exit West is an epic compressed into a slender page-turner–both completely of our time and for all time, Mohsin Hamid’s most ambitious and electrifying novel yet. exit west
  • A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge:  In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare–wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing:  their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear–at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell’s expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes  her very dangerous indeed… face like glass
  • Far From the Tree by Robin Benway:  Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including–Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him. Don’t miss this moving novel that addresses such important topics as adoption, teen pregnancy, and foster care.   far from the tree
  • Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker:  When Felix Yz was three years old, a hyperintelligent fourth-dimensional being became fused inside him after one of his father’s science experiments went terribly wrong. The creature is friendly, but Felix–now thirteen–won’t be able to grow to adulthood while they’re still melded together. So a risky Procedure is planned to separate them…but it may end up killing them both instead. This book is Felix’s secret blog, a chronicle of the days leading up to the Procedure. Some days it’s business as usual–time with his close-knit family, run-ins with a bully at school, anxiety about his crush. But life becomes more out of the ordinary with the arrival of an Estonian chess Grandmaster, the revelation of family secrets, and train-hopping journey. When it all might be over in a few days, what matters most? Told in an unforgettable voice full of heart and humor, Felix Yz is a groundbreaking story about how we are all separate, but all connected too. felix yz
  • The First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez:  There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school–you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Maria inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk:  be yourself. The real Maria loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Maria finally begins to feel at home. She’ll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

first rule of punk

  • Five-Carat Soul by James McBride:  The stories in Five-Carat Soul–none of them ever published before–spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic–all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.

five carat soul

  • The Force by Don Winslow:  Our ends know our beginnings, but the reverse isn’t true… All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. He is “the King of Manhattan North,” a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest, an elite special unit given unrestricted authority to wage war on gangs, drugs and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the job, Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean–including Malone himself. What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty:  he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash in the wake of the biggest heroin bust in the city’s history. Now Malone is caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk the thin line between betraying his brothers and partners, the job, his family, and the woman he loves, trying to survive, body and soul, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all. force
  • Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides:  Jeffrey Eugenides’s bestselling novels  have shown him to be an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, self-discovery, family love, and what it means to be American in our times. The stories in Fresh Complaint explore equally rich and intriguing territory. Ranging from the bitingly reproductive antics of “Baster” to the dreamy, moving account of a young traveler’s search for enlightenment in “Air Mail” (selected by Annie Proulx for Best American Short Stories), this collection presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies. We meet a failed poet who, envious of other people’s wealth during the real-estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; a clavichordist whose dreams of art founder under the obligations of marriage and fatherhood; and, in “Fresh Complaint,” a high school student whose wish to escape the strictures of her immigrant family lead her to a drastic decision that upends the life of a middle-aged British physicist. Narratively compelling, beautifully written, and packed with a density of ideas despite their fluid grace, these stories chart the development and maturation of a major American writer.

fresh complaint

  • From Here to Eternity:  Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty:  Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America. In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes. With boundless curiosity and gallows humor, Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world’s funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light. Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular–and, upon close inspection, peculiar–set of “respectful” rites:  bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process. Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality. from here to eternity
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee:  Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores. Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

gentleman's guide to vice and virtue

  • Ghost of the Innocent Man:  A True Story of Trial and Redemption by Benjamin Rachlin:  During the last three decades, more than two thousand American citizens have been wrongfully convicted. Ghost of the Innocent Man brings us one of the most dramatic of those cases and provides the clearest picture yet of the national scourge of wrongful conviction and of the opportunity for meaningful reform. When the final gavel clapped in a rural southern courtroom in the summer of 1988, Willie J. Grimes, a gentle spirit with no record of violence, was shocked and devastated to be convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to life imprisonment. Here is the story of this everyman and his extraordinary quarter-century-long journey to freedom, told in breathtaking and sympathetic detail, from the botched evidence and suspect testimony that led to this incarceration to the tireless efforts to prove his innocence and the identity of the true perpetrator. These were spearheaded by his relentless champion, Christine Mumma, a cofounder of North Carolina’s Innocence Inquiry Commission. That commission–unprecedented at its inception in 2006–remains a model organization unlike any other in the country, and one now responsible for a growing number of exonerations. With meticulous, prismatic research and pulse-quickening prose, Benjamin Rachlin presents one man’s tragedy and triumph. The jarring and unsettling truth is that the story of Willie J. Grimes, for all its outrage, dignity, and grace, is not a unique travesty. But through the harrowing and suspenseful account of one life, told from the inside, we experience the full horror of wrongful conviction on a national scale. Ghost of the Innocent Man is both rare and essential, a masterwork of empathy. The book offers a profound reckoning not only with the shortcomings of our criminal justice system but also with its possibilities for redemption.

ghost of the innocent man

  • Glass Houses by Louise Penny:  When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead. From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized. But when the figure vanished overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied. Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in Montreal, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment. In Glass Houses, her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.

glass houses

  • Golden Hill by Francis Spufford:  New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746. One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat arrives at a countinghouse door on Golden Hill Street:  this is Mr. Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion shimmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge sum, and he won’t explain why, or where he comes from, or what he is planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him? Rich in language and historical perception, yet compulsively readable, Golden Hill is a story “taut with twists and turns” that “keeps you gripped until its tour-de-force conclusion” (The Times, London). Spufford paints a irresistible picture of a New York provokingly different from its later metropolitan self but already entirely a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love–and find a world of trouble.

golden hill

  • The Golden House by Salman Rushdie:  On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons:  agoraphobic, alcoholic Petya, a brilliant recluse with a tortured mind; Apu, the flamboyant artist, sexually and spiritually omnivorous, famous on twenty blocks; and D, at twenty-two the baby of the family, harboring an explosive secret even from himself. There is no mother, no wife; at least not until Vasilisa, a sleek Russian expat, snags the septuagenarian Nero, becoming the queen to his king–a queen in want of an heir. Our guide to the Goldens’ world is their neighbor, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he ingratiates himself into their household. Seduced by their mystique, he is inevitably implicated in their quarrels, their infidelities, and, indeed, their crimes. Meanwhile, like a bad joke, a certain comic-book villain embarks upon a crass presidential run that turns New York upside-down. Set against the strange and exuberant backdrop of current American culture and politics, The Golden House also marks Salman Rushdie’s triumphant and exciting return to realism. The result is a modern epic of love and terrorism, loss and reinvention–a powerful, timely story told with the daring and panache that make Salman Rushdie a force of light in our dark new age.

golden house

  • Good Booty:  Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music by Ann Powers:  In this sweeping history of popular music in the United States, NPR’s acclaimed music critic examines how popular music shapes fundamental American ideas and beliefs, allowing us to communicate difficult emotions and truths about our most fraught social issues, most notably sex and race. In Good Booty, Ann Powers explores how popular music became America’s primary erotic art form. Powers takes us from nineteenth-century New Orleans through dance-crazed Jazz Age New York to the teen scream years of mid-twentieth century rock-and-roll to the cutting-edge adventures of today’s web-based pop stars. Drawing on her deep knowledge and insights on gender and sexuality, Powers recounts stories of forbidden lovers, wild shimmy-shakers, orgasmic gospel singers, countercultural perverts, soft-rock sensitivos, punk Puritans, and the cyborg known as Britney Spears to illuminate how eroticism–not merely sex, but love, bodily freedom, and liberating joy–became entwined within the rhythms and melodies of American song. This cohesion, she reveals, touches the heart of America’s anxieties and hopes about race, feminism, marriage, youth, and freedom. In a survey that spans more than a century of music, Powers both heralds little known artists such as Florence Mills, a contemporary of Josephine Baker, and gospel queen Dorothy Love Coates, and sheds new light on artists we think we know well, from the Beatles and Jim Morrison to Madonna and Beyonce. In telling the history of how American popular music and sexuality intersect–a magnum opus over two decades in the making–Powers offers new insights into our nation psyche and our soul.

good booty

  • Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong:  Her life at a crossroads, a young woman goes home again in this funny and inescapably moving debut from a wonderfully original new literary voice. Freshly disengaged from her fiance, and feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job, leaves town and arrives at her parents’ home to find that situation more complicated than she’d realized. Her father, a prominent history professor, is losing his memory and is only erratically lucid. Ruth’s mother, meanwhile, is lucidly erratic. But as Ruth’s father’s condition intensifies, the comedy in her situation takes hold, gently transforming all her grief. Told in captivating glimpses and drawn from a deep well of insight, humor, and unexpected tenderness, Goodbye, Vitamin pilots through the loss, love, and absurdity of finding one’s footing in this life.

goodbye vitamin

  • Gorbachev:  His Life and Times by William Taubman:  When Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985, the USSR was one of the world’s two superpowers. By 1989, his liberal policies of perestroika and glasnost had permanently transformed Soviet Communism, and had made enemies of radicals on the right and left. By 1990 he, more than anyone else, had ended the Cold War, and in 1991, after barely escaping from a coup attempt, he unintentionally presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union he had tried to save. In the first comprehensive biography of the final Soviet leader, William Taubman shows how a peasant boy became the Soviet system’s gravedigger, how he clambered to the top of a system designed to keep people like him down, how he found common ground with America’s arch-conservative president Ronald Reagan, and how he permitted the USSR and its East European empire to break apart without using force to preserve them. Throughout, Taubman portrays the many sides of Gorbachev’s unique character that, by Gorbachev’s own admission, make him “difficult to understand.” Was he in fact a truly great leader, or was he brought low in the end by his own shortcomings, as well as by the unyielding forced he faced? Drawing on interviews with Gorbachev himself, transcripts and documents from the Russian archives, and interviews with Kremlin aides and adversaries, as well as foreign leaders, Taubman’s intensely personal portrait extends to Gorbachev’s remarkable marriage to a woman he deeply loved, and to the family that they raised together. Nuanced and poignant, yet unsparing and honest, this sweeping account has all the amplitude of a great Russian novel.


  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:  After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

hate u give

  • The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler:  Camp Chippewa, 1962. Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning. Yet this particular summer  marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan. Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and turns his father’s business into a highly profitable company. And when something unthinkable happens at a camp get-together with Nelson as Scoutmaster and Jonathan’s teenage grandson and daughter-in-law as campers, the aftermath demonstrates the depths–and the limits–of Nelson’s selflessness and bravery. The Hearts of Men is a sweeping, panoramic novel about the slippery definitions of good and evil, family and fidelity, the challenges and rewards of lifelong friendships, the bounds of morality–and redemption.

hearts of men

  • The Heirs by Susan Rieger:  Brilliantly wrought, incisive, and stirring, The Heirs tells the story of an upper-crust Manhattan family coming undone after the death of their patriarch. A riveting portrait rendered with compassion, insight, and wit, The Heirs wrestles with the tangled nature of inheritance and legacy for one unforgettable patrician New York family.


  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly:  In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.

hello universe

  • Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado:  In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband’s entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store’s prom dresses. One woman’s surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella “Especially Heinous,” Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order:  Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes. Earthy and otherwordly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

her body and other parties

  • Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson:  Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life. But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery:  his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered.

her every fear

  • Here We Are:  Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers:  Oliver Jeffers, arguably the most influential creator of picture books today, offers a rare personal look inside his own hopes and wishes for his child–and in doing so gifts children and parents everywhere with a gently sweet and humorous missive about our world and those who call it home. Insightfully sweet, with a gentle humor and poignancy, here is Oliver Jeffers’ user’s guide to life on Earth. He created it specially for his son, yet with a universality that embraces all children and their parents. Be it a complex view of our planet’s terrain (bumpy, sharp, wet), a deep look at our place in space (it’s big), or a guide to all of humanity (don’t be fooled, we are all people), Oliver’s signature wit and humor combine with a value system of kindness and tolerance to create a must-have book for parents.

here we are

  • History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund:  Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong. And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Linda finds herself welcomes into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand. Over the course of a few days, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Linda confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do–and fail to do–for the people they love.

history of wolves

  • House of Names by Colm Toibin:  “I have been acquainted with the smell of death.” So begins Clytemnestra’s tale of her own life in ancient Mycenae, the legendary Greek city from which her husband King Agamemnon left when he set sail with his army for Troy. Clytemnestra rules Mycenae now, along with her new lover Aegisthus, and together they plot the bloody murder of Agamemnon on the day of his return after nine years at war. Judged, despised, cursed by gods she has long since lost faith in, Clytemnestra reveals the tragic saga that led to these bloody actions:  how her husband deceived her eldest daughter Iphigeneia with a promise of marriage to Achilles, only to sacrifice her because that is what he was told would make the winds blow in his favor and take him to Troy; how she seduced and collaborated with the prisoner Aegisthus, who shared her bed in the dark and could kill; how Agamemnon came back with a lover himself; and how Clytemnestra finally achieved her vengeance for his stunning betrayal–his quest for victory, greater than his love for his child. In House of Names, Colm Toibin brings a modern sensibility and language to an ancient classic, and gives this extraordinary character new life, so that we not only believe Clytemnestra’s thirst for revenge, but applaud it. He brilliantly inhabits the mind of one of Greek myth’s most powerful villains to reveal the love, lust, and pain she feels. Told in four parts, this is a fiercely dramatic portrait of a murderess, who will herself be murdered by her own son, Orestes. It is Orestes’ story, too:  his capture by the forces of his mother’s lover Aegisthus, his escape and his exile. And it is the story of the vengeful Electra, who watches over her mother and Aegisthus with cold anger and slow calculation, until, on the return of her brother, she has the fates of both of them in her hands.

house of names

  • Human Acts by Han Kang:  In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed. The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho’s own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice. An award-winning, controversial bestseller, Human Acts is a timeless, pointillist portrait of an historic event with reverberations still being felt today, by turns tracing the harsh reality of oppression and the resounding, extraordinary poetry of humanity.

human acts

  • Hunger:  A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay:  Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties–including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life–and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.


  • I Believe In a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo:  Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster at romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years–where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos–and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

I believe in a thing called love

  • I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 by Lauren Tarshis:  The battlefield was soaked in blood. Screams of injured soldiers rang through the air. Eleven-year-old Nathaniel Knox knelt behind a rock, his gun clutched in his shaking hands. Nate had been heading to New York City to find his father. But now he was trapped in a terrible gunfight between American and British troops. But King George was like a snake with America gripped in his fangs. And he didn’t want to let go. So now it was war–brutal, bloody war. And America was being crushed by the mighty British army. Thousands of American troops were either dead or dying in filthy British prison ships. General George Washington’s army was in tatters. All Nate wanted was to find his father…and to get out of here alive.

I survived the american revolution

  • The Idiot by Elif Batuman:  The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings. At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan’s friends. On the way, she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. Selin’s summer in Europe does not resonate with anything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students, or indeed of any other kinds of people. For Selin, this is a journey further inside herself:  a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love, and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer. Wither superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood. Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom; its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself. The Idiot is a heroic yet self-effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting. Batuman’s fiction is unguarded against both life’s affronts and its beauty–and has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling which they entail.


  • Ill Will by Dan Chaon:  “We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves.” This is one of the little mantras Dustin Tillman likes to share with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie? A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news:  His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to epitomize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning. Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients has been plying him with stories of the drowning deaths of a string of drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses his patient’s suggestions that a serial killer is at work as paranoid thinking, but as the two embark on an amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths that coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries–and putting his own family in harm’s way.

ill will

  • The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz:  Sal used to  know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer know himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

inexplicable logic of my life

  • The Inkblots by Damion Searls:  In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind:  a set of ten carefully designed inkblots. For years he had grappled with the theories of Freud and Jung while also absorbing the aesthetic movements of the day, from Futurism to Dadaism. A visual artist himself, Rorschach had come to believe that who we are is less a matter of what we say, as Freud thought, than what we see. After Rorschach’s early death, his test quickly made its way to America, where it took on a life of its own. Co-opted by the military after Pearl Harbor, it was a fixture at the Nuremberg trials and in the jungles of Vietnam. It became an advertising staple, a cliche; in Hollywood and journalism, and an inspiration to everyone from Andy Warhol to Jay Z. The test was also given to millions of defendants, job applicants, parents in custody battles, and people suffering from mental illness or simply trying to understand themselves better. And it is still used today. In this first-ever biography of Rorschach, Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries and a cache of previously unknown interviews with Rorschach’s family, friends, and colleagues to tell the unlikely story of the test’s creation, its controversial reinvention, and its remarkable endurance–and what it all reveals about the power of perception. Elegant and original, The Inkblots shines a light on the twentieth century’s most visionary synthesis of art and science.


  • Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall:  Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determine little boy you can’t help but root for.

jabari jumps

  • Janesville:  An American Story by Amy Goldstein:  A Washington Post reporter’s intimate account of the fallout from the closing of a General Motors’ assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin–Paul Ryan’s hometown–and a larger story of the hollowing of the American middle class. This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills–but it’s not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next, when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up. Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Goldstein has spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin where the nation’s oldest operating General Motors plant shut down in the midst of the Great Recession, two days before Christmas of 2008. Now, with intelligence, sympathy, and insight into what connects and divides people in an era of economic upheaval, she makes one of America’s biggest political issues human. Her reporting takes the reader deep into the lives of autoworkers, educators, bankers, politicians, and job re-trainers to show why  it’s so hard in the twenty-first century to recreate a healthy, prosperous working class. For this is not just a Janesville story or a Midwestern story. It’s an American story.


  • Killers of the Flower Moon:  The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann:  In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances. In this last remnant of the Wild West–where oilmen like J.P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed–many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.

killers of the flower moon

  • Lady Killers:  Deadly Women Throughout History by Tori Telfer:  When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are ones like Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, Kate Bender? The narrative we’re comfortable with is the one where women are the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally, overwhelmingly male that in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared in a homicide conference, “There are no female serial killers.” Lady Killers, based on the popular online series that appeared on Jezebel and The Hairpin, disputes that claim and offers fourteen gruesome examples as evidence. Though largely forgotten by history, female serial killers such as Nannie Doss, Mary Ann Cotton, and Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova rival their male counterparts in cunning, cruelty, and appetite for destruction. Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different subject, and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media, as well as the stereotypes and sexist cliches that inevitably surround her. The first book to examine female serial killers through a feminist lens with a witty and dryly humorous tone, Lady Killers dismisses easy explanations (she was hormonal, she did it for love, a man made her do it) and tired tropes (she was a femme fatale, a black widow, a witch), delving into the complex reality of female aggression and predation. Featuring 14 illustrations from Dame Darcy, Lady Killers is a bloodcurdling, insightful, and irresistible journey into the heart of darkness.

lady killers

  • Lea by Pascal Mercier:  From the author of the international bestseller Night Train to Lisbon, a riveting novel about a father’s boundless love for his daughter as her obsessive desire to become a concert violinist drives them both to the brink of destruction.


  • The Leavers by Lisa Ko:  One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. Set in New York and China, The Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.


  • The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt:  You’ve played the game. Now read the legend of how it all began…Long ago, in an ancient and distant realm called the Kingdom of Backyard, there lived a warrior named Rock. Meanwhile in the Empire of Mom’s Home Office, a second great warrior sought the glory of battle. And his name was Paper. At the same time, in the Kitchen Realm, in the tiny village of Junk Drawer, lived a third warrior. They called her Scissors. These three were the strongest, smartest, and fastest in all the land. Time and again they beat the most fearsome opponents they could find:  an apricot, a computer printer–even frozen, breaded, dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets! But when the warriors finally meet each other, the most epic round of battles begins…and never ends. That is why, to this day, children around the world honor these worthy adversaries by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors!


  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders:  February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state–called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo–a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul. Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question:  How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

lincoln in the bardo

  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng:  In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned–from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren–an enigmatic artist and single mother–who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants:  All four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood–and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

little fires everywhere

  • The Little French Bistro by Nina George:  Marianne is stuck in a loveless, unhappy marriage. After forty-one years, she has reached her limit, and one evening in Paris she decides to take action. Following a dramatic moment on the banks of the Seine, Marianne leaves her life behind and sets out for the coast of Brittany, also known as “the end of the world.” Here she meets a cast of colorful and unforgettable locals who surprise her with their warm welcome, and the natural ease they all seem to have, taking pleasure in life’s small moments. And, as the parts of herself she had long forgotten return to her in this new world, Marianne learns it’s never too late to begin the search for what life should have been all along. With all the buoyant charm that made The Little Paris Bookshop a beloved bestseller, The Little French Bistro is a tale of second chances and a delightful embrace of the joys of life in France.

little french bistro

  • Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza:  Lucia zips through the playground in her cape just like the boys, but when they tell her ‘girls can’t be superheroes’, suddenly she doesn’t feel so mighty. That’s when her beloved abuela reveals a dazzling secret. Lucia comes from a family of luchadoras, the bold and valiant women of the Mexican lucha libre tradition. But when she’s confronted with a case of injustice, Lucia must decide if she can stay true to the ways of the luchadora and fight for what is right, even if it means breaking the sacred rule of never revealing the identity behind her mask.


  • Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran:  Eighteen years old and fizzing with optimism, Solimar Castro-Valdez embarks on a perilous journey across the Mexican border. Weeks later, she arrives in Berkeley, California, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. Undocumented and unmoored, Soli discovers that her son, Ignacio, can become her touchstone, and motherhood her identity in a world where she’s otherwise invisible. Kavya Reddy has created a beautiful life in Berkeley, but then she can’t get pregnant and that beautiful life seems suddenly empty. When Soli is placed in immigrant detention and Ignacio comes under Kavya’s care, Kavya finally gets to be the singing, story-telling kind of mother she dreamed of being. But she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child. “Nacho” to Soli, and “Iggy” to Kavya, the boy is steeped in love, but his destiny and that of his two mothers teeters between two worlds as Soli fights to get back to him. Lucky Boy is a moving and revelatory ode to the ever-changing borders of love.

lucky boy

madame president

  • Made for Love by Alissa Nutting:  Moving to a senior citizen trailer park with her father, Hazel, the estranged wife of a corporate CEO who demanded she install a brain chip so that they could be constantly connected, tries to carve out a new life while her ex uses sophisticated technology to stalk her.

made for love

  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz:  A brilliant and strikingly original reimagining of the classic whodunit (a la Agatha Christie) with a contemporary mystery wrapped around it.


  • Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan:  Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career with the Ziegfeld Follies, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished. Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a spectacular novel by one of the greatest writers of our time.

manhattan beach

  • Marlena by Julie Buntin:  Everything about fifteen-year-old Cat’s new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter until she meets her neighbor, the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena. Cat is quickly drawn into Marlena’s orbit and as she catalogs a litany of firsts–first drink, first cigarette, first kiss, first pill–Marlena’s habits harden and calcify. Within the year, Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby. Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try again to move on, even as the memory of Marlena calls her back. Told in a haunting dialogue between past and present, Marlena is an unforgettable story of the friendships that shape us beyond reason and the ways it might be possible to pull oneself back from the brink.


  • Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero:  The summer of 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster–another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboen Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids. 1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed for explained away by a guy in a mask…The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

meddling kids

  • Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami:  Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic.

men without women

  • Miles Morales:  Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds:  “Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.” Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man. But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself. As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk. It’s time for Miles to suit up.


  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy:  This book transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety–in search of meaning, and of love. In a graveyard outside the walls of Old Delhi, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby suddenly appears, just after midnight. In a snowy valley, a bereaved father writes a letter to his five-year-old daughter about the people who came to her funeral. In a second-floor apartment, a lone woman chain-smokes as she reads through her old notebooks. At the Jannat Guest House, two people who have known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around each other, as though they have just met. A braided narrative of astonishing force and originality, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once a love story and a provocation–a novel as inventive as it is emotionally engaging. It is told with a whisper, in a shout, through joyous tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, have been broken by the world we live in–and then mended by love. For this reason, they will never surrender. How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything. Humane and sensuous, beautifully told, this extraordinary novel demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.


  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu:  Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with an administration at her high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules. Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the 90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she started is nothing short of a girl revolution.


  • Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta:  Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights us with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve something incredibly naughty. Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life–serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night–Eve can’t curtail her own interest in an erotic website which features the exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence. Meanwhile, miles away at the state college, Eve’s son Brendan–a jock and aspiring frat boy–discovers that his new campus isn’t nearly as welcoming to his hard-partying lifestyle as he had imagined. Only a few weeks into his freshman year, Brendan is floundering in a college environment that challenges his white-dude privilege and shames him for his outmoded, chauvinistic ideas. As the New England autumn turns cold, both mother and son find themselves enmeshed in morally fraught situations that come to a head on one fateful November night. Sharp, witty, and provocative, Mrs. Fletcher is a timeless examination of sexuality, identity, parenthood, and the big clarifying mistakes people can make when they’re no longer sure of who they are or where they belong.

mrs fletcher

  • My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent:  Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous:  Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus:  her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her.

my absolute darling

  • My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King:  Born in 1927 to daringly enterprising black parents in the Deep South, Coretta Scott had always felt called to a special purpose. One of the first black scholarship students recruited to Antioch College, a committed pacifist, and a civil rights activist, she was an avowed feminist and a graduate student determined to pursue her own career when she met Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister insistent that his wife stay home with the children. But in love and devoted to shared Christian beliefs and racial justice goals, she married King, and events promptly thrust her into a maelstrom of history throughout which she was a strategic partner, a standard bearer, a marcher, a negotiator, and a crucial fundraiser in support of world-changing achievements. As a widow and single mother of four, while butting heads with the all-male African American leadership of the the times, she championed gay rights and AIDS awareness, founded the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, lobbied for fifteen years to help pass a bill establishing the US national holiday in honor of her slain husband, and was a powerful international presence. serving as a UN ambassador and playing a key role in Nelson Mandela’s election. Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an independent-minded black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful in the face of terrorism and violent hatred every single day of her life.

my life

  • The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott:  A portrait of the Irish-American experience is presented through the story of an Irish immigrant’s suicide and how it reverberates through innumerable lives in early twentieth-century Catholic Brooklyn.

ninth hour

  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman:  Neil Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon:  Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin, and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman–difficult with his beard and huge appetite–to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir–the most sagacious of gods–is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.


  • On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins:  Two sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family–and the possibility of one day finding love again.

on second thought

  • One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul:  In this book, Scaachi Koul deploys her razor-sharp humor to share all the fears, outrages, and mortifying moments of her life. She learned from an early age what made her miserable, and for Scaachi anything can be cause for despair. Whether it’s a shopping trip gone awry; enduring awkward conversations with her bikini waxer; overcoming her fear of flying while vacationing halfway around the world; dealing with Internet trolls, or navigating the fears and anxieties of her parents. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of color:  where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision, or outright scorn; where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, leaving little room for a woman not solely focused on marriage and children to have a career (and a life) for herself. With a sharp eye and biting wit, incomparable rising star and cultural observer Scaachi Koul offers a hilarious, scathing, and honest look at modern life.

one day

  • Otis Redding by Jonathan Gould:  Otis Redding remains an immortal presence in the canon of American music on the strength of such classic hits as “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay,” “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” “Try a Little Tenderness,” and “Respect,” a song he wrote and recorded before Aretha Franklin made it her own. As the architect of the distinctly southern, gospel-inflected style of rhythm & blues associated with Stax Records in Memphis, Redding made music that has long served as the gold standard of 1960s soul. Yet an aura of myth and mystery has always surrounded his life, which was tragically cut short at the height of his career by a plane crash in December 1967. In Otis Redding:  An Unfinished Life, Jonathan Gould finally does justice to Redding’s incomparable musical artistry, drawing on exhaustive research, the cooperation of the Redding family, and previously unavailable sources of information to present the first comprehensive portrait of the singer’s background, his upbringing, and his professional career. In chronicling the story of Redding’s life and music, Gould also presents a social history of the time and place from which they emerged. His book never lets us forget that the boundaries between black and white in popular music were becoming porous during the years when racial tensions were reaching a height throughout the United States. His indelible portrait of Redding and the mass acceptance of soul music in the 1960s is both a revealing look at a brilliant artist and a provocative exploration of the tangled history of race and music in America that resonates strongly with the present day.


  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee:  Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them. Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life. So begins a sweeping saga of exceptional people in exile from a homeland they never knew and caught in the indifferent arc of history. In Japan, Sunja’s family members endure harsh discrimination, catastrophes, and poverty, yet they also encounter great joy as they pursue their passions and rise to meet the challenges this new home presents. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, they are bound together by deep roots as their family faces enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.


  • The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein:  Fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in a hospital not knowing how she was injured, and soon befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her, and later, when a body is discovered, she experiences the prejudices his family has endured and tries to keep them from being framed for the crime.

pearl thief

  • A Perfect Day by Lane Smith:  Today is a perfect day for Cat, Dog, Chickadee, and Squirrel. Cat is lounging among the daffodils. Dog is sitting in the wading pool, deep in the cool water. Chickadee is eating fresh seed from the birdfeeder. Squirrel is munching on his very own corncob. Today is a perfect day in Bert’s backyard. Until Bear comes along, that is. Bear crushes the daffodils, drinks the pool water, and happily gobbles up the birdseed and corncob. Today was a perfect day for Cat, Dog, Chickadee, and Squirrel. Now, it’s just a perfect day for Bear. Lane Smith uses perfect pacing and vibrant illustrations to emphasize the power of perspective in this hilarious picture book about the goings-on in Bert’s backyard.

perfect day

  • Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson:  Tired of being singled out at her mostly-white private school as someone who needs support, high school junior Jade would rather participate in the school’s amazing Study Abroad program than join Women to Women, a mentorship program for at-risk girls.

piecing me together

  • The Potlikker Papers by John T. Edge:  Like great provincial dishes around the world, potlikker is a salvage food. During the antebellum era, slave owners ate the greens from the pot and set aside the leftover potlikker broth for the enslaved, unaware that the broth, not the greens, was nutrient rich. After slavery, potlikker sustained the working poor, both black and white. In the South of today, potlikker has taken on new meanings as chefs have reclaimed it. Potlikker is a quintessential Southern dish, and The Potlikker Papers is a people’s history of the modern South, told through its food. Beginning with the pivotal role cooks and waiters played in the civil rights movement, noted authority John T. Edge narrates the South’s fitful journey from a hive of racism to a hotbed of American immigration. He shows why working-class Southern food has become a vital driver of contemporary American cuisine. Food access was a battleground issue during the 1950s and 1960s. Ownership of culinary traditions has remained a central contention on the long march toward equality. The Potlikker Papers tracks pivotal moments in Southern history, from the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s to the rise of fast and convenience foods modeled on rural staples. Edge narrates the gentrification that gained traction in the restaurants of the 1980s and the artisanal renaissance that began to reconnect farmers and cooks in the 1990s. He reports as a newer South came into focus in the 2000s and 2010s, enriched by the arrival of immigrants from Mexico to Vietnam and many points in between. Along the way, Edge profiles extraordinary figures in Southern food, including Fannie Lou Hamer, Colonel Sanders, Mahalia Jackson, Edna Lewis, Paul Prudhomme, Craig Claiborne, and Sean Brock. Over the last three generations, wrenching changes have transformed the South. The Potlikker Papers tells the story of that dynamism–and reveals how Southern food has become a shared culinary language for the nation.


  • The Power by Naomi Alderman:  What would happen if women suddenly possessed a fierce new power? In The Power, the world is a recognizable place:  there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets. From award-winning author Naomi Alderman, The Power is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways.


  • Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood:  Father Greg Lockwood is unlike any Catholic priest you have ever met, a man who lounges in boxer shorts, loves action movies, and whose constant jamming on the guitar reverberates “like a whole band dying in a plane crash in 1972.” His daughter is an irreverent poet who long ago left the Church’s country. When an unexpected crisis leads her and her husband to move back into her parents’ rectory, their two worlds collide. In Priestdaddy, Lockwood interweaves emblematic moments from her childhood and adolescence, from an ill-fated family hunting trip and an abortion clinic sit-in where her father was arrested, to her involvement in a cultlike Catholic youth group, with scenes that chronicle the eight-month adventure she and her husband had in her parents’ household after a decade of living on their own. Lockwood details her education of a seminarian who is also living at the rectory, tries to explain Catholicism to her husband, who is mystified by its bloodthirstiness and arcane laws, and encounters a mysterious substance on a hotel bed with her mother. Lockwood pivots from the raunchy to the sublime, from the comic to the deeply serious, exploring issues of belief, belonging, and personhood. Priestdaddy is an entertaining, unforgettable portrait of a deeply odd religious upbringing, and how one balances a hard-won identity with the weight of family and tradition.


  • Priscilla Gorilla by Barbara Bottner:  The day Priscilla gets a book about gorillas, she instantly becomes obsessed. She dances like them, eats like them, and wears her gorilla costume 24-7! There are so many things to love about gorillas, but what Priscilla loves best is how they seem to always get their way. So when Mr. Todd tells all his students to dress up like their favorite animal, Priscilla’s choice is obvious. But dancing around and beating her chest when it’s not her turn sends Priscilla straight to the Thinking Corner. She is of course outraged–nobody tells a gorilla what to do!–and as her attitude spreads, soon the thinking corner is full of her classmates. Is Priscilla really channeling her inner gorilla, or is she just a troublemaker in ape’s clothing?


  • Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito:  A mass shooting has taken place at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb. Maja Norberg is eighteen years old and on trial for her involvement in the massacre where her boyfriend and best friend were killed. When the novel opens, Maja has spent nine excruciating months in jail awaiting trial. Now the time has come for her to enter the courtroom. But how did Maja, the good girl next door who was popular and excelled at school, become the most hated teenager in the country? What did Maja do? Or is it what she didn’t do that brought her here?


  • The Radium Girls:  The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore:  The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive–until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come. Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives…

radium girls

  • Refugee by Alan Gratz:  Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. with the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe… All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end. This action-packed novel tackles topics both timely and timeless:  courage, survival, and the quest for home.


  • The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen:  With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in The Refugees, Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.


  • Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore:  First we live. Then we die. And then…we get another try? Ten thousand tries, to be exact. Ten thousand lives to “get it right.” Answer all the Big Questions. Achieve Wisdom. And Become One with Everything. Milo has had 9,995 chances so far and has just five more lives to earn a place in the cosmic soul. If he doesn’t make the but, oblivion awaits. But all Milo really wants is to fall forever into the arms of Death. Or Suzie, as he calls her. More than just Milo’s lover throughout his countless layovers in the Afterlife, Suzie is literally his reason for living–as he dives into one new existence after another, praying for the day he’ll  never have to leave her side again. But Reincarnation Blues is more than a great love story:  Every journey from cradle to grave offers Milo more pieces of the great cosmic puzzle–if only he can piece them together in time to finally understand what it means to be part of something bigger than infinity. As darkly enchanting as the works of Neil Gaiman and as wisely hilarious as Kurt Vonnegut’s, Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues is the story of everything that makes life profound, beautiful, absurd, and heartbreaking. Because it’s more than Milo and Suzie’s story. It’s your story, too.

reincarnation blues

  • Richard Nixon:  The Life by John A. Farrell:  At the end of WWII, navy lieutenant “Nick” Nixon returned from the Pacific and set his cap at Congress, an idealistic dreamer seeking to build a better world. Yet amid the turns of that now-legendary 1946 campaign, Nixon’s finer attributes gave way to unapologetic ruthlessness. The story of that transformation is the stunning overture to John A. Farrell’s magisterial biography of the president who came to embody postwar American resentment and division. Within four years of his first victory, Nixon was a U.S. senator in six, the vice president of the United States of America. “Few came so far, so fast, and so alone,” Farrell writes. Nixon’s sins as a candidate were legion; and in one unlawful secret plot, as Farrell reveals here, Nixon acted to prolong the Vietnam War for his own political purposes. Finally elected president in 1969, Nixon packed his staff with bright young men who devised forward-thinking reforms addressing health care, welfare, civil rights, and protection of the environment. It was a fine legacy, but Nixon cared little for it. He aspired to make his mark on the world stage instead, and his 1972 opening to China was the first great crack in the Cold War. Nixon had another legacy, too:  an America divided and polarized. He was elected to end the war in Vietnam, but his bombing of Cambodia and Laos enraged the antiwar movement. It was Nixon who launched the McCarthy era, who played white against black with a “southern strategy,” and spurred the Silent Majority to despise and distrust the country’s elites. Ever insecure and increasingly paranoid, he persuaded Americans to gnaw, as he did, on grievances–and to look at one another as enemies. Finally, in August 1974, after two years of the mesmerizing intrigue and scandal of Watergate, Nixon became the only president to resign in disgrace. Richard Nixon is a gripping and unsparing portrayal of our darkest president. Meticulously researched, brilliantly crafted, and offering fresh revelations, it will be hailed as a master work.

richard nixon

  • Righteous by Joe Ide:  Isaiah Quintabe has, against many odds, built a proper life for himself:  a respected detective in his hometown of East Long Beach, a well-kept home, a growing library, and even a rehabilitated horse-sized pit bull (courtesy of his previous client). But something is wrong:  the death of his older brother nearly a decade ago has sent him down a dark path, one that he’s never truly been able to escape. Righteous is the story of Isaiah’s investigation of his brother’s death, a quest that will lead him to his greatest adversary, a man who may be IQ’s own Moriarty. Righteous is also the story of Sarita, Isaiah’s older brother’s girlfriend, for whom Isaiah feels a lasting, troubling love. Sarita’s younger sister, an erratic DJ and gambling addict, has gone missing in Las Vegas, with a frightening bookie, Chinese Triad gangsters, and her own deadbeat boyfriend hot on her tail. On the case once more with Dodson, Isaiah’s fast-talking, don’t-call-me-a-sidekick partner, mayhem is sure to ensue. With gun battles, car chases, and twice as many mental puzzles as before, Righteous is a rollicking, ingenious, and thrilling roller coaster ride. It swerves from the streets of South Central to the hotels of Beverly Hills, from the casinos and massage parlors of Las Vegas to the mountains of the desert Southwest. IQ is back, and he’s badder than ever.


  • The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy:  When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules–about work, about love, and about womanhood. In this “deeply human and deeply moving” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being, in her own words, “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed–and of what is eternal.

rules do not apply

  • The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman:  For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk. From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children:  No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse. The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

rules of magic

  • Salt Houses by Hala Alyan:  On the eve of her daughter Alia’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel, and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967. Salma is forced to leave her home in Nablus; Alia’s brother gets pulled into a politically militarized world he can’t escape; and Alia and her gentle-spirited husband move to Kuwait City, where they reluctantly build a life with their three children. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in 1990, Alia and her family once again lose their home, their land, and their story as they know it, scattering to Beirut, Paris, Boston, and beyond. Soon Alia’s children begin families of their own, once again navigating the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities. Lyrical and heartbreaking, Salt Houses is a remarkable debut novel that challenges and humanizes an age-old conflict we might think we understand–once that asks us to confront that most devastating of all truths:  you can’t go home again. salt houses
  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat:  Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat:  In the tradition of The Joy of Cooking and How to Cook Everything comes Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, an ambitious new approach to cooking by a major new culinary voice. Chef and writer Samin Nosrat has taught everyone from professional chefs to middle school kids to author Michael Pollan to cook using her revolutionary, yet simple, philosophy. Master the use of just four elements–Salt, which enhances flavor; Fat, which delivers flavor and generates texture; Acid, which balances flavor; and Heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food–and anything you cook will be delicious. By explaining the hows and whys of good cooking, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat will teach and inspire a new generation of cooks how to confidently make better decisions in the kitchen and cook delicious meals with any ingredients, anywhere, at any time.

salt fat acid heat

  • Shadowhouse Fall by Jose Daniel Older:  Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a white beast called the Hound of Light–an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The Deck tracks the players and powers of all the magical houses in the city, and when the real Hound begins to stalk Sierra through the streets, the shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived. Sierra and Shadowhouse have been thrust into an ancient struggle with enemies old and new–a struggle they didn’t want, but are determined to win. Revolution is brewing in the real world as well, as the shadowshapers join the fight against systems that oppress and incarcerate their community. To protect her family and friends in every sphere, Sierra must take down the Hound and master the Deck of Worlds…or else she could lose everything that matters most.

shadowhouse fall

  • Shattered:  Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes:  It was never supposed to be this close. And of course she was supposed to win. How Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump is the riveting story of a sure thing gone off the rails. For every Comey revelation or hindsight acknowledgement about the electorate, no explanation of defeat can begin with anything other than the core problem of Hillary’s campaign–the candidate herself. Through deep access to insiders from the top to the bottom of the campaign, political writers Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes have reconstructed the key decisions and unseized opportunities, the well-intentioned misfires and the hidden thorns that turned a winnable contest into a devastating loss. Drawing on the authors’ deep knowledge of Hillary from their previous book, the acclaimed biography HRC, Shattered offers an object lesson in how Hillary herself made victory an uphill battle, how her difficulty articulating a vision irreparably hobbled her impact with voters, and how the campaign failed to internalize the lessons of populist fury from the hard-fought primary against Bernie Sanders. Moving blow-by-blow from the campaign’s difficult birth through the bewildering terror of election night, Shattered tells an unforgettable story with urgent lessons both political and personal, filled with revelations that will change the way readers understand just what happened to America on November 8, 2016.    shattered
  • Shining City by Tom Rosenstiel:  Peter Rena is a “fixer.” He and his partner, Randi Brooks, earn their living making the problems of the powerful disappear. They get their biggest job yet when the White House hires them to vet the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Judge Roland Madison is a legal giant, but he’s a political maverick, with views that might make the already tricky confirmation process even more difficult. Rena and his team go full-bore to cover every inch of the judge’s past, while the competing factions of Washington D.C. mobilize with frightening intensity:  ambitious senators, garrulous journalists, and wily power players on both sides of the aisle. All of that becomes background when a string of seemingly random killings overlaps with Rena’s investigation, with Judge Madison a possible target. Racing against the clock to keep his nominee safe, the President satisfied, and the political wolves at bay, Rena learns just how dangerous Washington’s obsession with power–how to get it and how to keep it–can be. Written with razor-sharp political insight and heart-pounding action, Shining City is a hugely impressive debut that announces a major new talent.

shining city

  • Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward:  In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers. Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

sing unburied sing

  • Slider by Pete Hautman:  David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he’ll have to do better:  he’s going to compete in the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world’s greatest pizza-eating contest, and he has to win it, because he borrowed his mom’s credit card and accidentally spent $2,000 on it. So he really needs that prize money. Like, yesterday. As if training to be a competitive eater weren’t enough, he’s also got to keep an eye on his little brother, Mal (who, if the family believed in labels, would be labeled autistic, but they don’t, so they just label him Mal). And don’t even get started on the new weirdness going on between his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan. Master talent Pete Hautman has cooked up a rich narrative shot through with equal parts humor and tenderness, and the result is a middle-grade novel too delicious to put down. slider
  • Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman:  Deb Perelman, award-winning blogger and New York Times best-selling author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, understands that a happy discovery in the kitchen has the ability to completely change the course of your day. Whether we’re cooking for ourselves, for a date night in, for a Sunday supper with friends, or for family on a busy weeknight, we all want recipes that are unfussy to make with triumphant results. Deb thinks that cooking should be an escape from drudgery. Smitten Kitchen Every Day:  Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites presents more than one hundred impossible-to-resist recipes–almost all of them brand-new, plus a few favorites from her website–that will make you want to stop what you’re doing right now and cook. These are real recipes for real people–people with busy lives who don’t want to sacrifice flavor or quality to eat meals they’re really excited about.

smitten kitchen

  • Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang:  Centered on a community of immigrants who have traded their endangered lives as artists in China and Taiwan for the constant struggle of life at the poverty line in 1990s New York City, Zhang’s exhilerating collection examines the many ways that family and history can weigh us down and also lift us up. From the young woman coming to terms with her grandmother’s role in the Cultural Revolution to the daughter struggling to understand where her family ends and she begins, to the girl discovering the power of her body to inspire and destroy, these seven vibrant stories illuminate the complex and messy inner lives of girls struggling to define themselves. Fueled by Zhang’s singular voice and sly humor, this collection introduces Zhang as a bright and devastating force in literary fiction.

sour heart

  • Sourdough by Robin Sloan:  Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois:  their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. She must keep it alive, they tell her–feed it daily, play it music, and learn to bake with it. Lois is so baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up. When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges:  a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly? Leavened by the same infectious intelligence that made Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore such a sensation, while taking on even more satisfying challenges, Sourdough marks the triumphant return of a unique and beloved young writer.


  • South and West by Joan Didion:  Joan Didion has always kept notebooks:  of overheard dialogue, observations, interviews, drafts of essays and articles–and here is one such draft that traces a road trip she took with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies’ brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters’ Convention. She writes about the stifling heat, the almost viscous pace of life, the sulfurous light, and the preoccupation with race, class, and heritage she finds in the small towns they pass through. And from a different notebook:  the “California Notes” that began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Here, too, is the beginning of her thinking about the West, its landscape, the western women who were heroic for her, and her own lineage, all of which would appear later in her acclaimed 2003 book, Where I Was From.

south and west

  • Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory:  Teddy Telemachus is a charming con man with a gift for sleight of hand and some shady underground associates. In need of cash, he tricks his way into a classified government study about telekinesis and its possible role in intelligence gathering. There he meets Maureen McKinnon, and it’s not just her piercing blue eyes that leave Teddy forever charmed, but her mind–Maureen is a genuine psychic of immense and mysterious power. After a whirlwind courtship, they marry, have three gifted children, and become the Amazing Telemachus Family, performing astounding feats across the country. Irene is a human lie detector. Frankie can move objects with his mind. And Buddy, the youngest, can see the future. Then one night tragedy leaves the family shattered.  Decades later, the Telemachuses are not so amazing. Irene is a single mom whose ear for truth makes it hard to hold down a job, much less hold together a relationship. Frankie’s in serious debt to his dad’s old mob associates. Buddy has completely withdrawn into himself and inexplicably begun digging a hole in the backyard. To make matters worse, the CIA has come knocking, looking to see if there’s any magic left in the Telemachus clan. And there is: Irene’s son Matty has just had his first out-of-body experience. But he hasn’t told anyone, even though his newfound talent might just be what his family needs to save themselves–if it doesn’t tear them apart in the process.  Harnessing the imaginative powers that have made him a master storyteller, Daryl Gregory delivers a stunning, laugh-out-loud new novel about a family of gifted dreamers and the invisible forces that bind us all.


  • Stanton:  Lincoln’s War Secretary by Walter Stahr:  Walter Stahr, award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Seward, tells the story of Abraham Lincoln’s indispensable Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, the man the president entrusted with raising the army that preserved the Union. Of the crucial men close to President Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (1814-1869) was the most powerful and controversial. Stanton raised, armed, and supervised the army of a million men who won the Civil War. He organized the war effort. He directed military movements from his telegraph office, where Lincoln literally hung out with him. He arrested and imprisoned thousands for “war crimes,” such as resisting the draft or calling for an armistice. Stanton was so controversial that some accused him at that time of complicity in Lincoln’s assassination. He was a stubborn genius who was both reviled and revered in his time. Stanton was a Democrat before the war and a prominent trial lawyer. He opposed slavery, but only in private. He served briefly as President Buchanan’s Attorney General and then as Lincoln’s aggressive Secretary of War. On the night of April 14, 1865, Stanton rushed to Lincoln’s deathbed and took over the government since Secretary of State William Seward had been critically wounded the same evening. He informed the nation of the President’s death, summoned General Grant to protect the Capitol, and started collecting the evidence from those who had been with the Lincolns at the theater in order to prepare a murder trial. Now with this worthy complement to the enduring library of biographical accounts of those who helped Lincoln preserve the Union, Stanton honors the indispensable partner of the sixteenth president. Walter Stahr’s essential book is the first major biography of Stanton in fifty years, restoring this underexplored figure to his proper place in American history.


  • Startup by Doree Shafrir:  Mack McAllister has a $600 million dollar idea. His mindfulness app, TakeOff, is already the hottest thing in tech and he’s about to launch a new and improved version that promises to bring investors running and may turn his brainchild into a $1 billion dollar business–in startup parlance, an elusive unicorn. Katya Pasternack is hungry for a scoop that will drive traffic. An ambitious young journalist at a gossipy tech blog, Katya knows that she needs more than another PR friendly puff piece to make her the go-to byline for industry news. Sabrina Choe Blum just wants to stay afloat. The exhausted mother of two and failed creative writer is trying to escape from her credit card debt and an inattentive husband-who also happens to be Katya’s boss-as she rejoins a work force that has gotten younger, hipper, and much more computer literate since she’s been away. Before the ink on Mack’s latest round of funding is dry, an errant text message hints that he may be working a bit too closely for comfort with a young social media manager in his office. When Mack’s bad behavior collides with Katya’s search for a salacious post, Sabrina gets caught in the middle as TakeOff goes viral for all the wrong reasons. As the fallout from Mack’s scandal engulfs the lower Manhattan office building where all three work, it’s up to Katya and Sabrina to write the story the men in their lives would prefer remain untold. An assured, observant debut from the veteran online journalist Doree Shafrir, Startup is a sharp, hugely entertaining story of youth, ambition, love, money and technology’s inability to hack human nature.


  • The State of Affairs:  Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel:  An affair: it can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness, their very identity. And yet, this extremely common human experience is so poorly understood. What are we to make of this time-honored taboo–universally forbidden yet universally practiced? Why do people cheat–even those in happy marriages? Why does an affair hurt so much? When we say infidelity, what exactly do we mean? Do our romantic expectations of marriage set us up for betrayal? Is there such a thing as an affair-proof marriage? Is it possible to love more than one person at once? Can an affair ever help a marriage? Perel weaves real-life case stories with incisive psychological and cultural analysis in this fast-paced and compelling book. For the past ten years, Perel has traveled the globe and worked with hundreds of couples who have grappled with infidelity. Betrayal hurts, she writes, but it can be healed. An affair can even be the doorway to a new marriage–with the same person. With the right approach, couples can grow and learn from these tumultuous experiences, together or apart. Affairs, she argues, have a lot to teach us about modern relationships–what we expect, what we think we want, and what we feel entitled to. They offer a unique window into our personal and cultural attitudes about love, lust, and commitment. Through examining illicit love from multiple angles, Perel invites readers into an honest, enlightened, and entertaining exploration of modern marriage in its many variations. Fiercely intelligent, The State of Affairs provides a daring framework for understanding the intricacies of love and desire. As Perel observes, “Love is messy; infidelity more so. But it is also a window, like no other, into the crevices of the human heart.”state of affairs
  • The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin:  The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women. Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe. For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.stone sky
  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss:  Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders–and the bigger mystery of their own origins.
    Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes. But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein. When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.  strange case
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor:  The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.Welcome to Weep.strange the dreamer
  • Teeth:  The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America by Mary Otto:  “Show me your teeth,” the great naturalist Georges Cuvier is credited with saying, “and I will tell you who you are.” In this shattering new work, veteran health journalist Mary Otto looks inside America’s mouth, revealing unsettling truths about our unequal society. Teeth takes readers on a disturbing journey into America’s silent epidemic of oral disease, exposing the hidden connections between tooth decay and stunted job prospects, low educational achievement, social mobility, and the troubling state of our public health. Otto’s subjects include the pioneering dentist who made Shirley Temple and Judy Garland’s teeth sparkle on the silver screen and helped create the all-American image of “pearly whites”; Deamonte Driver, the young Maryland boy whose tragic death from an abscessed tooth sparked congressional hearings; and a marketing guru who offers advice to dentists on how to push new and expensive treatments and how to keep Medicaid patients at bay. In one of its most disturbing findings, Teeth reveals that toothaches are not an occasional inconvenience, but rather a chronic reality for millions of people, including disproportionate numbers of the elderly and people of color. Many people, Otto reveals, resort to prayer to counteract the uniquely devastating effects of dental pain. Otto also goes back in time to understand the roots of our predicament in the history of dentistry, showing how it became separated from mainstream medicine, despite a century of growing evidence that oral health and general bodily health are closely related. Muckraking and paradigm-shifting, Teeth exposes for the first time the extent and meaning of our oral health crisis. It joins the small shelf of books that change the way we view society and ourselves–and will spark an urgent conversation about why our teeth matter.  teeth
  • Theft by Finding by David Sedaris:  For forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences. Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet. Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It’s a potent reminder that when you’re as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there’s no such thing as a boring day.  theft by finding
  • The Thing About Love by Julie James:  FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting. For both of them, being paired with an old rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work together–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a lot more complicated…thing about love
  • This Is Just My Face:  Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe:  Gabourey Sidibe–“Gabby” to her legion of fans–skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels’s acclaimed movie Precious. In This Is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story in a voice as fresh and challenging as many of the unique characters she’s played onscreen. With full-throttle honesty, Sidibe paints her Bed-Stuy/Harlem family life with a polygamous father and a gifted mother who supports her two children by singing in the subway. Sidibe tells the engrossing, inspiring story of her first job as a phone sex “talker.” And she shares her unconventional (of course!) rise to fame as a movie star, alongside “a superstar cast of rich people who lived in mansions and had their own private islands and amazing careers while I lived in my mom’s apartment.” Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face will resonate with anyone who has ever felt different, and with anyone who has ever felt inspired to make a dream come true. this is just my face
  • Town Is By The Sea by Joanne Schwartz:  A young boy wakes up to the sound of the sea, visits his grandfather’s grave after lunch and comes home to a simple family dinner, but all the while his mind strays to his father digging for coal deep down under the sea. Stunning illustrations by Sydney Smith, the award-winning illustrator of Sidewalk Flowers, show the striking contrast between a sparkling seaside day and the darkness underground where the miners dig. With curriculum connections to communities and the history of mining, this beautifully understated and haunting story brings a piece of history to life. The ever-present ocean and inevitable pattern of life in a maritime mining town will enthrall children and move adult readers.

town is by the sea

  • Triangle by Mac Barnett:  After Triangle plays a trick on Square, Square plans to reciprocate but runs into trouble when he tries to enter the triangular doorway of Triangle’s home.


  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green:  Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska  and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

turtles all the way down

  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti:  Loo is twelve when she moves back to the New England fishing village of her early youth. Her father, Hawley, finds work on the boats, while she undergoes the usual heartaches of a new kid in school. But lurking over Loo are mysteries, both of the mother who passed away, of the grandmother she’s forbidden to speak to. And hurtling towards both father and daughter are the ghosts of Hawley’s past. Before Loo’s birth, he was a professional criminal engaged in increasingly elaborate and dangerous underworld schemes. Life on the road was harsh – Samuel Hawley took “twelve bullets” in his brutal career. The scars have healed, but there is a reckoning still to come.twelve lives of samuel hawley
  • Twin Peaks:  The Final Dossier by Mark Frost:  While The Secret History of Twin Peaks served to expand the mysteries of the town and place the unexplained phenomena that unfolded there into a vastly layered, wide-ranging history, Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier tells us what happened to key characters in the twenty-five years in between the events of the first series and the second, offering details and insights fans will be clamoring for. The novel also adds context and commentary to the strange and cosmic happenings of the new series. For fans around the world begging for more, Mark Frost’s final take laid out in this novel will be required reading. twin peaks
  • Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly:  Harry Bosch is back as a volunteer working cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department and is called out to a local drug store where a young pharmacist has been murdered. Bosch and the town’s 3-person detective squad sift through the clues, which lead into the dangerous, big business world of pill mills and prescription drug abuse. Meanwhile, an old case from Bosch’s LAPD days comes back to haunt him when a long-imprisoned killer claims Harry framed him, and seems to have new evidence to prove it. Bosch left the LAPD on bad terms, so his former colleagues aren’t keen to protect his reputation. He must fend for himself in clearing his name and keeping a clever killer in prison. The two unrelated cases wind around each other like strands of barbed wire. Along the way Bosch discovers that there are two kinds of truth: the kind that sets you free and the kind that leaves you buried in darkness.

two kinds of truth

  • Uncommon Type:  Some Stories by Tom Hanks:  A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories…  Hanks provides a collection of stories that are surprising, intelligent, and heartwarming. The stories are linked by one thing: in each a typewriter plays a part: sometimes minor, sometimes central.

uncommon type

  • The Unwomanly Face of War:  An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Aleksievich:  For more than three decades, Svetlana Alexievich has been the memory and conscience of the twentieth century. When the Swedish Academy awarded her the Nobel Prize, it cited her invention of “a new kind of literary genre,” describing her work as “a history of emotions . . . a history of the soul.” In The Unwomanly Face of War, Alexievich chronicles the experiences of the Soviet women who fought on the front lines, on the home front, and in the occupied territories. These women–more than a million in total–were nurses and doctors, pilots, tank drivers, machine-gunners, and snipers. They battled alongside men, and yet, after the victory, their efforts and sacrifices were forgotten. Alexievich traveled thousands of miles and visited more than a hundred towns to record these women’s stories. Together, this symphony of voices reveals a different aspect of the war–the everyday details of life in combat left out of the official histories. Translated by the renowned Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, The Unwomanly Face of War is a powerful and poignant account of the central conflict of the twentieth century, a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of war.


  • The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston:  Stieg Engstrom, Angriest Viking Ever, has got big problems. The human Viking Clans of earth are in danger of being obliterated–along with the rest of the world–and the only one who may be able to save them is a super pain-in-the-ass Crow. Most people annoy Stieg, but this is the one woman he really can’t stand… Erin Amsel loves being a Crow! Why wouldn’t she when the other Viking Clans are so hilariously arrogant and humorless? She’s not about to let all that come to an end! She just didn’t expect to be shoulder to shoulder in battle with Stieg. Then again, he’s so easy to torment–and also kind of cute. With the future of the world riding on them, Stieg knows he’ll have to put aside his desperate need to kiss the smirk right off Erin’s face. Wait. What? He didn’t mean that–did he? No! They have one goal: To conquer the idiots. Because nothing bugs Stieg more than when idiots win. If only he can keep himself from suddenly acting like one…


  • WHEREAS by Layli Long SoldierWHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations. “I am,” she writes, “a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation–and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.” This strident, plaintive book introduces a major new voice in contemporary literature.


  • Walkaway by Cory Doctorow: Hubert Vernon Rudolph Clayton Irving Wilson Alva Anton Jeff Harley Timothy Curtis Cleveland Cecil Ollie Edmund Eli Wiley Marvin Ellis Espinoza–known to his friends as Hubert, Etc–was too old to be at that Communist party. But after watching the breakdown of modern society, he really has no where left to be–except amongst the dregs of disaffected youth who party all night and heap scorn on the sheep they see on the morning commute. After falling in with Natalie, an ultra-rich heiress trying to escape the clutches of her repressive father, the two decide to give up fully on formal society–and walk away. After all, now that anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life–food, clothing, shelter–from a computer, there seems to be little reason to toil within the system. It’s still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike. Still, when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it’s war – a war that will turn the world upside down. Fascinating, moving, and darkly humorous, Walkaway is a multi-generation SF thriller about the wrenching changes of the next hundred years…and the very human people who will live their consequences.walkaway
  • We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby:  Sometimes you just have to laugh, even when life is a dumpster fire. With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. , “bitches gotta eat” blogger and comedian Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form. Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette–she’s “35-ish, but could easily pass for 60-something”–detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms–hang in there for the Costco loot–she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.  we are never meeting in real life
  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton:  For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet. In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet–the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics. She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future. The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath–both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.  what happened
  • What She Ate:  Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro:  Everyone eats, and food touches on every aspect of our lives–social and cultural, personal and political. Yet most biographers pay little attention to people’s attitudes toward food, as if the great and notable never bothered to think about what was on the plate in front of them. Once we ask how somebody relates to food, we find a whole world of different and provocative ways to understand her. Food stories can be as intimate and revealing as stories of love, work, or coming-of-age. Each of the six women in this entertaining group portrait was famous in her time, and most are still famous in ours; but until now, nobody has told their lives from the point of view of the kitchen and the table.  What She Ate is a lively and unpredictable array of women; what they have in common with one another (and us) is a powerful relationship with food. They include Dorothy Wordsworth, whose food story transforms our picture of the life she shared with her famous poet brother; Rosa Lewis, the Edwardian-era Cockney caterer who cooked her way up the social ladder; Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and rigorous protector of the worst cook in White House history; Eva Braun, Hitler’s mistress, who challenges our warm associations of food, family, and table; Barbara Pym, whose witty books upend a host of stereotypes about postwar British cuisine; and Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of Cosmopolitan , whose commitment to “having it all” meant having almost nothing on the plate except a supersized portion of diet gelatin.  what she ate
  • What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons:  Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi views the world of her mother’s childhood in Johannesburg as both impossibly distant and ever present. She is an outsider wherever she goes, caught between being black and white, American and not. She tries to connect these dislocated pieces of her life, and as her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi searches for an anchor–someone, or something, to love. In arresting and unsettling prose, we watch Thandi’s life unfold, from losing her mother and learning to live without the person who has most profoundly shaped her existence, to her own encounters with romance and unexpected motherhood. Through exquisite and emotional vignettes, Clemmons creates a stunning portrayal of what it means to choose to live, after loss. An elegiac distillation, at once intellectual and visceral, of a young woman’s understanding of absence and identity that spans continents and decades, What We Lose heralds the arrival of a virtuosic new voice in fiction.  what we lose
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon:  Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now , they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him–wherein he’ll have to woo her–he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?  Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.  when dimple met rishi
  • When’s My Birthday? by Julie Fogliano:  In this enthusiastic celebration of all things BIRTHDAY, acclaimed author Julie Fogliano and award-winning illustrator Christian Robinson bring you the perfect birthday book! Join our excited narrator as she lists all the things that will make her birthday the BEST birthday.  whens my birthday
  • White Fur by Jardine Libaire:  Although Elise Perez and Jamey Hyde are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in public housing without a father and didn’t graduate from high school. Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater. The couple moves to Manhattan in search of a new life, wandering through Newport mansions and East Village dives, WASP-establishment yacht clubs, and the grimy blocks below Canal Street, fighting the forces determined to keep them apart. A beautifully written novel that captures the ferocity of young love.  white fur
  • White Tears by Hari Kunzru:  Two twenty-something New Yorkers. Seth is awkward and shy. Carter is the glamorous heir to one of America’s great fortunes. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Seth is desperate to reach for the future. Carter is slipping back into the past. When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it’s a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter’s troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation’s darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation.  white tears
  • The Wide Circumference of Love by Marita Golden:  You just can’t plan for this kind of thing. Diane Tate certainly hasn’t. She never expected to slowly lose her talented husband to the debilitating effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As a respected family court judge, she’s spent her life making tough calls, but when her sixty-eight-year-old husband’s health worsens and Diane is forced to move him into an assisted living facility, it seems her world is spinning out of control. As Gregory’s memory wavers and fades, Diane and her children must reexamine their connection to the man he once was–and learn to love the man he has become. For Diane’ daughter Lauren, it means honoring her father by following in his footsteps as a successful architect. For her son Sean, it means finding a way to repair the strained relationship with his father before it’s too late. Supporting her children in a changing landscape, Diane remains resolute in her goal to keep her family together–until her husband finds love with another resident of the facility. Suddenly faced with an uncertain future, Diane must choose a new path–and discover her own capacity for love.  wide circumference
  • Wild Things:  The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult by Bruce Handy:  In 1690, the dour New England Primer, thought to be the first American children’s book, was published in Boston. Offering children gems of advice such as “Strive to learn” and “Be not a dunce,” it was no fun at all. So how did we get from there to “Let the wild rumpus start”? And now that we’re living in a golden age of children’s literature, what can adults get out of reading Where the Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon, or Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie? In Wild Things, Bruce Handy revisits the classics of American childhood, from fairy tales to The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and explores the backstories of their creators, using context and biography to understand how some of the most insightful, creative, and witty authors and illustrators of their times created their often deeply personal masterpieces. Along the way, Handy learns what The Cat in the Hat says about anarchy and absentee parenting, which themes link The Runaway Bunny and Portnoy’s Complaint, and why Ramona Quimby is as true an American icon as Tom Sawyer or Jay Gatsby. It’s a profound, eye-opening experience to reencounter books that you once treasured after decades apart. A clear-eyed love letter to the greatest children’s books and authors, from Louisa May Alcott and L. Frank Baum to Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Mildred D. Taylor, and E.B. White, Wild Things will bring back fond memories for readers of all ages, along with a few surprises.  wild things
  • Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys: After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future. The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race. Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.winter tide
  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate:  Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”–people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood. You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever. Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, Wishtree is Newbery Medalist and New York Times-bestselling author Katherine Applegate at her very best–writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.
  • The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso:  Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbors. One is black, the other white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed, and are living with questions, disappointments, and secrets that have brought them shame. And each has something that the woman next door deeply desires. Sworn enemies, the two share a hedge and a deliberate hostility, which they maintain with a zeal that belies their age. But, one day, an unexpected event forces Hortensia and Marion together. As the physical barriers between them collapse, their bickering gradually softens into conversation and, gradually, the two discover common ground. But are these sparks of connection enough to ignite a friendship, or is it too late to expect these women to change?woman next door
  • You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie:  Family relationships are never simple. But Sherman Alexie’s bond with his mother Lillian was more complex than most. She plunged her family into chaos with a drinking habit, but shed her addiction when it was on the brink of costing her everything. She survived a violent past, but created an elaborate facade to hide the truth. She selflessly cared for strangers, but was often incapable of showering her children with the affection that they so desperately craved. She wanted a better life for her son, but it was only by leaving her behind that he could hope to achieve it. It’s these contradictions that made Lillian Alexie a beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, complicated, and very human woman. When she passed away, the incongruities that defined his mother shook Sherman and his remembrance of her. Grappling with the haunting ghosts of the past in the wake of loss, he responded the only way he knew how: he wrote. The result is a stunning memoir filled with raw, angry, funny, profane, tender memories of a childhood few can imagine, much less survive. An unflinching and unforgettable remembrance, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me is a powerful, deeply felt account of a complicated relationship.  you don't have to say you love me

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • “Artemis” by Andy Weir:   Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich. Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony. Just rich enough to move out of her coffin-sized apartment and eat something better than flavored algae. Rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time. So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz  can’t say no. Sure, it requires her to graduate from small-time smuggler to full-on criminal mastermind. And it calls for a particular combination of cunning, technical skills, and large explosions–not to mention sheer brazen swagger. But Jazz has  never run into a challenge her intellect can’t handle, and she figures she’s got the “swagger” part down. the trouble is, engineering the perfect crime is just the start of Jazz’s problems. Because her little heist is about to land her in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself. Trapped between competing forces, pursued by a killer and the law alike, even Jazz has to admit she’s in way over her head. She’ll have to hatch a truly spectacular scheme to have a chance at staying alive and saving her city. Jazz is no hero, but she is a very good criminal. That’ll have to do. Propelled by it’s heroine’s wisecracking voice, set in a city that’s at once stunningly imagined and intimately familiar, and brimming over with clever problem-solving and heist-y fun, Artemis is another irresistible brew of science, suspense, and humor from #1 bestselling author Andy Weir. artemis
  • “Future Home of the Living God” by Louise Erdrich:  Louise Erdrich, the New York Times bestselling, National Book Award-winning author of LaRose and The Round House, paints a startling portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event. The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Twenty-six-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant. Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity. There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression:  a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe. A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers:  a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time. future home of the living god
  • “Spineless:  the Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone” by Juli Berwald:  A former ocean scientist goes in pursuit of the slippery story of jellyfish, rediscovering her passion for marine science and the sea’s imperiled ecosystems. Jellyfish have been swimming in our oceans for well over half a billion year, longer than any other animal that lives on the planet. They make a venom so toxic it can kill a human in three minutes. Their sting–microscopic spears that pierce with five million times the acceleration of gravity–is the fastest known motion in the animal kingdom. Made of roughly 95 percent water, some jellies are barely perceptible virtuosos of disguise, while others glow with a luminescence that has revolutionized biotechnology. Yet until recently, jellyfish were largely ignored by science, and they remain among the most poorly understood of ocean dwellers. More than a decade ago, Juli Berwald left a career in ocean science to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas, but jellyfish drew her back to the sea. Recent, massive blooms of billions of jellyfish have clogged power plants, decimated fisheries, and caused millions of dollars of damage. Driven by questions about how overfishing, coastal development, and climate change were contributing to a jellyfish population explosion, Juli embarked on a scientific odyssey. She traveled the globe to meet the biologists who devote their careers to jellies, hitched rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild, raised jellyfish in her dining room, and throughout it all marveled at the complexity of these alluring and ominous biological wonders. Gracefully blending personal memoir with crystal-clear distillations of science, Spineless is the story of how Juli learned to navigate and ultimately embrace her ambition, her curiosity, and her passion for the natural world. She discovers that jellyfish science is more than just a quest for answers. It’s a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share. spineless
  • “Twin Peaks:  the Final Dossier” by Mark Frost:  The crucial sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Secret History of Twin Peaks, this novel bridges the two series, and takes you deeper into the mysteries raised by the new series. The return of Twin Peaks is one of the most anticipated events in the history of television. While The Secret History of Twin Peaks served to expand the mysteries of the town and place the unexplained phenomena that unfolded there into a vastly layered, wide-ranging history, Twins Peaks:  the Final Dossier tells us what happened to key characters in the twenty-five years in between the events of the first series and the second, offering details and insights fans will be clamoring for. The novel also adds context and commentary to the strange and cosmic happenings of the new series. For fans around the world begging for more, Mark Frost’s final take laid out in this novel will be required reading. twin peaks
  • “Promise Me, Dad” by Joe Biden:  In November 2014, thirteen members of the Biden family gathered on Nantucket for Thanksgiving, a tradition they had been celebrating for the past forty years; it was the one constant in what had become a hectic, scrutinized, and overscheduled life. The Thanksgiving holiday was a much-needed respite, a time to connect, a time to reflect on what the year had brought, and what the future might hold. But this year felt different from all those that had come before. Joe and Jill Biden’s eldest son, Beau, had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor fifteen months earlier, and his survival was uncertain. “Promise me, Dad,” Beau had told his father. “Give me your word that no matter what happens, you’re going to be all right.” Joe Biden gave him his word. Promise Me, Dad chronicles the year that followed, which would be the most momentous and challenging in Joe Biden’s extraordinary life and career. Vice President Biden traveled more than a hundred thousand miles that year, across the world, dealing with crises in Ukraine, Central America, and Iraq. When a call came from New York, or Capitol Hill, or Kyiv, or Baghdad–“Joe, I need your help”–he responded. For twelve months, while Beau fought for and then lost his life, the vice president balanced the twin imperatives of living up to his responsibilities to his country and his responsibilities to his family. And never far away was the insistent and urgent question of whether he should seek the presidency in 2016. The year brought real triumph and accomplishment, and wrenching pain. But even in the worst times, Biden was able to lean on the strength of his long, deep bonds with his family, on his faith, and on his deepening friendship with the man in the Oval Office, Barack Obama. Writing with poignancy and immediacy, Joe Biden allows readers to feel the urgency of each moment, to experience the days when he felt unable to move forward as well as the days when he felt like he could not afford to stop. This is a book written not just by the vice president, but by a father, grandfather, friend, and husband. Promise Me, Dad is a story of how family and friendships sustain us and how hope, purpose, and action can guide us through the pain of personal loss into the light of a new future.   promise me dad

Required Reading Around the World

Every country has a book that is required reading for most, if not all, students throughout their academic career. Here is a list of some of the world’s required reading in case you were looking for a way to expand your horizons this winter. Ultimately, the world’s most common required reading choices show the values and what countries deem important for the coming generations to know.

  • Afghanistan:  “The Qur’an” is the primary religious text of Islam and is required reading for every student in Afghanistan starting at a young age.
  • Austria:  “Faust” is a play about a scholar named Faust who makes a pact with Mephistopheles–the devil–because Faust is dissatisfied with life.
  • China:  “The Analects of Confucius” is a compilation of the teachings of the ancient philosopher Confucius; it’s believed to have been written sometime between 475 BC and 221 BC.
  • Colombia:  “100 Years of Solitude” is an internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel that offers a rich and brilliant chronicle celebrating the endless variety of life in the mythical Latin American town of Macondo.
  • Germany:  “The Diary of Anne Frank” is a journal that was kept by a Jewish girl named Anne Frank as she lived with her family in hiding in Amsterdam under Nazi occupation.
  • Ghana; Nigeria:  “Things Fall Apart” is set in Nigeria in the 1900s. This novel follows Okonkwo, an Igbo leader and village wrestling champion, his journey to power and glory, and his eventual fall when he fights back against white colonialists.
  • India:  “An Autobiography: the Story of my Experiments with Truth” covers Gandhi’s life from his childhood to his early 50s.
  • Pakistan:  “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” follows the story of a Pakistani man as he reflects on his time in the United States before and after the events of September 11, 2001.
  • Russia:  “War and Peace” follows the lives and loves of five families, begins in 1805 and continues through Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia.
  • United States:  “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a classic  novel about the American South in the 1930s that illustrates how racism, sexism and injustice have shaped US history (and still cause harm today).

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • “Uncommon Type” by Tom Hanks and Kevin Twomey:  A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game–and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the things he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance, and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tell in this first collection of his short stories. they are surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have!

uncommon type

  • “Heather, the Totality” by Matthew Weiner:  The explosive debut novel–about family, power and privilege–from the creator of the award-winning Mad Men… Mark and Karen Breakstone have constructed the idyllic life of wealth and status they always wanted, made complete by their beautiful and extraordinary daughter Heather. But they are still not quite at the top. When the new owners of the penthouse above them begin construction, an unstable stranger penetrates the security of their comfortable lives and threatens to destroy everything they’ve created.

heather the totality

  • “The Floating World” by C. Morgan Babst:  When a fragile young woman refuses to leave New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches, her parents are forced to go without her, setting off a chain of events that leaves their marriage in shambles and their daughter catatonic.

floating world

  • “Lady Killers” by Tori Telfer:  Inspired by author Tori Telfer’s Jezebel column “Lady Killers,” this thrilling and entertaining compendium investigates female serial killers and their crimes through the ages. When you think of serial killers throughout history, the names that come to mind are ones like Jack the Ripper, John Wayne Gacy, and Ted Bundy. But what about Tillie Klimek, Moulay Hassan, Kate Bender? The narrative we’re comfortable with is the one where women are the victims of violent crime, not the perpetrators. In fact, serial killers are thought to be so universally, overwhelmingly male that in 1998, FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood infamously declared in a homicide conference, “There are no female serial killers.” Each chapter of Lady Killers explores the crimes and history of a different subject, and then proceeds to unpack her legacy and her portrayal in the media, as well as the stereotypes and sexist cliches that inevitably surround her. The first book to examine female serial killers through a feminist lens with a witty and dryly humorous tone, Lady Killers dismisses easy explanations (she was hormonal, she did it for love, a man made her do it) and tired tropes (she was a femme fatale, a black widow, a witch), delving into the complex reality of female aggression and predation. Featuring 14 illustrations from Dame Darcy, Lady Killers is a bloodcurdling, insightful, and irresistible journey into the heart of darkness.lady killers
  • “The Rules of Magic” by Alice Hoffman:  Find your magic. For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. Hundreds of years later, in New York city at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk. From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children:  No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse. The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

rules of magic

  • “Ali” by Jonathan Eig:  The definitive biography of an American icon, from a New York Time best-selling author with unique access to Ali’s inner circle. He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us over and over again). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century’s greatest radicals and most compelling figures. At his funeral in 2016, eulogists said Ali had transcended race and united the country, but they got it wrong. Race was the theme of Ali’s life. He insisted that America come to grips with a black man who wasn’t afraid to speak out or break the rules. He didn’t overcome racism. He called it out. “I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me–black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.” Ali went from being one of the most despised men in the country to one of the most beloved. But until now, he has never been the subject of a complete, unauthorized biography.


Your Library Curated: Best New Books

Check out some of your library’s newest additions!

  • “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan:  Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished. With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time.

manhattan beach

  • “Fresh Complaint” by Jeffrey Eugenides:  Jeffrey Eugenides’s best-selling novels have shown him to be an astute observer of the crises of adolescence, self-discovery, family love, and what it means to be American in our times. The stories in Fresh Complaint explore equally rich and intriguing territory. Ranging from the bitingly reproductive antics of “Baster” to the dreamy, moving account of a young traveler’s search for enlightenment in “Air Mail,” this collection presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies. We meet a failed poet who, envious of other people’s wealth during the real-estate bubble, becomes an embezzler; a clavichordist whose dreams of art founder under the obligations of marriage and fatherhood; and, in “Fresh Complaint,” a high school student whose wish to escape the strictures of her immigrant family lead her to a drastic decision that upends the life of a middle-aged British physicist. Narratively compelling, beautifully written, and packed with a density of ideas despite their fluid grace, these stories chart the development and maturation of a major American writer.

fresh complaint

  • “Provenance” by Ann Leckie:  A power-driven young woman has just once chance to secure the status she craves and regain priceless lost artifacts prized by her people. She must free their thief from a prison planet from which no one has ever returned. Ingray and her charge will return to her home world to find their planet in political turmoil, at the heart of an escalating interstellar conflict. Together, they must make a new plan to salvage Ingray’s future, her family, and her world, before they are lost to her for good.


  • “Why Buddhism is True” by Robert Wright:  From one of America’s greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness. Robert Wright famously explained in The Moral Animal how evolution shaped the human brain. The mind is designed to often delude us, he argued, about ourselves and about the world. And it is designed to make happiness hard to sustain. But if we know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, what do we do? Wright locates the answer in Buddhism, which figured out thousands of  years ago what scientists are only discovering now. Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly–and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people. In Why Buddhism is True, Wright leads readers on a journey through psychology,  philosophy, and a great many silent retreats to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age. At once excitingly ambitious and wittily accessible, this is the first book to combine evolutionary psychology with cutting-edge neuroscience to defend the radical claims at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. With bracing honesty and fierce wisdom, it will persuade you not just that Buddhism is true–which is to say, a way out of our delusion–but that it can ultimately save us from ourselves, as individuals and as a species.why buddhism is true
  • “The Ninth Hour” by Alice McDermott:  On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove–to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife–“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child. We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations. The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence. Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement by one of the premiere writers at work in America today.

ninth hour

  • “The Twelve-Mile Straight” by Eleanor Henderson:  Cotton County, Georgia, 1930:  in a house full of secrets, two babies-one light-skinned, the other dark-are born to Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper’s daughter. Accused of her rape, field hand Genus Jackson is lynched and dragged behind a truck down the Twelve-Mile Straight, the road to the nearby town. In the aftermath, the farm’s inhabitants are forced to contend with their complicity in a series of events that left a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured. Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her mercurial father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. But soon it becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more intricate than any could have ever imagined. As startling revelations mount, a web of lies begins to collapse around the family, destabilizing their precarious world and forcing all to reckon with the painful truth. Acclaimed author Eleanor Henderson has returned with a novel that combines the intimacy of a family drama with the staggering presence of a great Southern saga. Tackling themes of racialized violence, social division, and financial crisis, The Twelve-Mile Straight is a startlingly timely, emotionally resonant, and magnificent tour de force.

twelve-mile straight