Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • A Dog Named Doug by Karma Wilson and Matt Myers:  Here’s a challenge for a tired parent:  Try to get through the tongue twisters and antics of a very energetic canine in A Dog Named Doug without collapsing from laughter. The first line sets the stage:  “Once there was a dog named Doug. Doug liked to dig, but when Doug dug, oh boy, did Doug DIG!” Readers young and old will delight in Doug’s journey, which brings them from the Old West to Hollywood and from the African savannah to the White House. And what world tour would be complete without a visit to Stonehenge? In fact, Doug digs so deep underground that he ends up on the other side of the world. (Where, naturally, he finds himself upside down.) This book was so enjoyable and fun that kids will want to read it again and again!  dog named doug
  • Geraldine by Elizabeth Lilly:  No one likes  moving, especially Geraldine the giraffe. It doesn’t help when her mother reminds her not to be a drama queen or when her father suggests that moving will be “a Grand Adventure.” Back in Giraffe City, Geraldine was just Geraldine. But as the only giraffe at her new school, she feels like “That Giraffe Girl.” Never shy before, Geraldine now hides behind trees and basketball poles during lunch and recess. But one day, Geraldine discovers someone else in her lunchtime hiding spot:  a girl named Cassie with a long, twisty braid who identifies herself as “that girl who wears glasses and like MATH and always organizes her food.” As Geraldine and Cassie hide and hang out together, they realize that they’re not so unusual. geraldine
  • The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar:  Thrity Umrigar’s eighth novel follows the main character of her bestselling The Space Between Us (2006), the servant Bhima, over the course of a year. The life of Parvati, a minor character entwined with Bhima’s in this sequel. Parvati has the sadder background of the two:  Sold into prostitution as a young girl by her desperately poor father, she spent two decades in a brothel before one of her regulars asks her to marry him. She trades one horrific life for another, as she is regularly abused by him and is left penniless when he dies. Now Parvati exists by selling six cauliflowers a day from her spot at an outdoor market; she sleeps under the stairwell outside her nephew’s apartment and eats leftovers from a nearby restaurant. Bhima has been forced to leave one of her servant jobs and is looking for a way to earn extra money to help send her granddaughter, Maya, to college. She meets Parvati at the market, and they form a working partnership. As the two lonely women grow closer, they gradually begin to share their stories, listening without judgment to the secrets they’ve hidden from others–poverty, illiteracy, sexual abuse, multiple abortions, offspring who died from AIDS. Nothing is left unsaid. secrets between us
  • The Race to Save the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport:  By the early 20th century, thanks to Queen Victoria’s prodigious matchmaking, almost all the ruling families across Europe were related. Among Victoria’s favorite grandchildren was Alexandra Feodorovna, who went on to marry her cousin Nicholas II, the czar of Russia. Alexandra’s new husband looked so similar to George, their mutual cousin and the future king of England, that they could have passed for identical twins. So why, given all the family ties, were “Alicky” and “Nicky” left to die at the hands of revolutionaries? Many of the royal cousins attempted to create a plan for rescue, but the bulk of the blame for their deaths has generally been laid on King George V. But in her new book, The Race to Save the Romanovs, historian Helen Rappaport argues that British anti-royal sentiment in that era was so strong that rescuing the Romanovs could have been disastrous for King George’s family. This is not the sweet, sacrificial Nicholas and Alexandra of other biographies, Rappaport writes–with substantial evidence–that the czar was a weak leader, and the czarina was a decided and sometimes oblivious partisan. They were, however, deeply devoted to one another and to their children. Rappaport concludes that no rescue attempt would have succeeded because the Romanovs would never have abandoned the motherland. race to save the romanovs
  • All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin:  Nina Browning’s days are filled with the typical activities of Nashville’s wealthiest residents:  “Meetings and parties and beauty appointments and workouts and tennis games and lunches, and, yes, even some very worthwhile charity work.” She has lavish homes and designer clothes, and her husband, Kirk, is a tech titan–albeit one with a fondness for bourbon and long business trips. The Brownings have it all, and the best part is that their only child, Finch, has just been accepted to Princeton (sure, a check to the university endowment may have greased the wheels). But their elite world comes crashing down when Finch is accused of texting his buddies a partially nude photo of a passed-out girl at a party, along with a racist comment. Finch is at the mercy of his private school’s disciplinary committee, and his Ivy League future is in jeopardy. Kirk’s reaction is to protect their son at any cost. But Nina finds herself seeking answers as to why Finch would have done what he did. She is drawn to the young girl in the photo and desperate to make things right. Nina’s own past resurfaces as she probes what really happened that night at the party and what it means for her family’s future. all we ever wanted
  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse:  After a sudden climate apocalypse, one of the only places left intact was Dinetah, a former Navajo reservation that has become a land where gods and supernatural heroes walk among humans. Preternaturally deadly monster hunter Maggie Hoskie is one of the byproducts of the supernatural rebirth of Dinetah. When her search for a missing girl and her monstrous captor goes south, Maggie is left with questions. Who created the monster that abducted the girl, and why? Maggie’s investigation leads her to reluctantly team up with Kai Arviso, an overly charismatic young medicine man with powers of his own. The further they dig to find the truth behind the monster, the more Maggie is forced to recognize that confronting her past may be the key to solving the mystery. trail of lightning
  • My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows:  Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows, the team of young adult authors otherwise known as the Lady Janies, penned the 2016 New York Times bestseller My Lady Jane–inspired (more or less) by hapless historical figure Lady Jane Grey, who ruled as queen of England for only nine days. Now, they’ve whipped up another ghostly journey into the past in the latest installment of their Jane-centric series, but their new inspiration is a different famous Jane. This time, the eponymous protagonist is none other than Charlotte Bronte’s indomitable heroine Jane Eyre. With this crew of authors at the helm, don’t expect a simple retelling. In the opening pages of My Plain Jane, we meet not only Jane but also her friend Charlotte Bronte, both of whom are students at the infamous Lowood School. As a young aspiring author, Charlotte is working on her “Very-First-Ever-Attempt-at-a-Novel” and thinks Jane will make the perfect heroine in her story. Jane has the ability to see ghosts, which convinces the very attractive supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood that she would make a fine addition to his Society for the Relocation of Wayward Spirits. But Jane rejects the job offer and instead sets off to fulfill her destiny by securing the governess position at Rochester’s Thornfield Hall. Off she trots with a ghostly Helen Burns at her side, who proves to be a fantastic comic foil for Jane.  my plain jane
  • A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman:  As a collection of Asian myths and legends, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings could be required reading for any classroom. Fifteen acclaimed Asian and Asian-American authors breathe fresh life into 15 popular Asian folktales and myths, elevating this anthology to a higher level. Editors Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman have compiled these diverse narratives to represent the stories and cultures of East and South Asian peoples, who are all too often disregarded in modern media and publishing. Spanning Chinese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hmong, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi and Vietnamese cultures, authors such as Renee Ahdieh, E.C. Myers and Aisha Saeed have reimagined the stories of their ancestors from their own viewpoints, crafting layered tales with nuance and cultural wherewithal. For example, in Ahdieh’s “Nothing into All,” a brother and sister try to lift themselves out of poverty by using the magic of forest goblins to transform common objects into gold, but the dueling good and evil in their natures result in twisted desires and irreversible consequences. The retooled stories included here fall into many categories–fantasy, science fiction, romance–and each gives the reader newfound insight into Asian culture and history.   a thousand beginnings and endings
  • The Lost Vintage by Ann Mah:  Quick quiz:  Which group is larger–Americans who have Nobel Prizes or Americans who have passed the Masters of Wine test? Is that your final answer? At press time, the U.S. sported a mere 47 of the latter, fewer than the number of Americans who have won the Nobel in the last decade. The Masters of Wine roster is the very definition of “elite.” At the beginning of Ann Mah’s second novel, The Lost Vintage, protagonist Kate Elliott has committed to an extended visit with extended family in Meursault, France, and in the hopes of shoring up her knowledge of French wines in advance of her third–and final–sitting for the test. To earn her keep during her excursion, Kate helps her cousin reclaim a cellar storage space that contains several surprises, not the least of which is a World War II-era diary from the great half-aunt named Helene who has been more or less expunged from the family history. As Kate digs deeper, it appears that her relative may have been a collaborator during WWII, which is a bitter pill to swallow, but she’s determine to uncover the truth nonetheless. lost vintage
  • Untamed Cowboy by Maisey Yates:  Maisey Yates gives readers a twist on the friends-to-lovers trope by adding layers of negative family history on both sides, considerably raising the emotional stakes in her latest romance, Untamed Cowboy. Kaylee Capshaw has been in love with Bennett Dodge since she was 13, but to protect her heart, she never pursued him. She’s struggled to cope with unrequited feelings ever since, even as the best friends share a veterinary practice in rural Gold Valley, Oregon. Kaylee has psychological reasons to keep her attraction to Bennett a secret–her parents’ marriage was a disaster and Kaylee was constantly aware she was unwanted and unloved. Her friendship with Bennett is important to her and Yates develops a long, comfortable, affectionate history between them. After his mother’s death when he was a child, followed by too many stepmothers to count, Bennett has followed a strict plan for his life that ensures a quiet, well-organized existence. Powerful emotion isn’t allowed and he’s unaware that he subconsciously, purposefully, never considered Kaylee as a potential girlfriend. When his sensible fiancee breaks off their engagement and immediately fall in love with another man, Bennett is at loose ends. He’s disappointed but thinks he’s coping with the situation as well as could be expected. But then his regimented life is hit by a bombshell when a social worker arrives on his doorstep with the son he didn’t know existed. untamed cowboy
  • The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio:  In her charming debut novel, Mae Respicio brings young readers into the warm and loving Filipino community of Lucinda Bulosan-Nelson, a determined San Francisco middle school student with an unusual dream. Lou wants a circular saw for her 13th birthday, and she wants to build her own house:  “The idea started off as a daydream, a dare to myself:  What if I made something no other girl has?” And Lou has just about all she needs as she inherited a plot of land from her late father. She has a growing set of construction skills; she’s already making sets for Barrio Fiesta, a neighborhood fundraiser for the Filipino American Community Senior Center. And thanks to her woodworking teacher, Mr. Keller, she’s learning about tools, drafting and innovative architectural designs, including tiny houses. But Lou’s ambitious plans, and her budding friendship with classmate Jack, might all come to nothing if her mom gets a job out of state, and if no money can be found to pay the back taxes on Lou’s new land.   house that lou built
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang:  Intrepid fifth-grader Mia Tang gets a crash course in capitalism when she oversees the front desk at the motel that her Chinese-American parents operate. Loosely based on author Kelly Yang’s experiences as a new immigrant to America, this story shimmers with good cheer, working-class realities and Mia’s unshakeable belief that people can make a difference if they pull together. front desk
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Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • Small Country by Gael Faye and Sarah Ardizzone:  The mass killings that took place in Rwanda in the spring of 1994 form the core of Gael Faye’s Small Country, a miraculous story of before and after, of innocence shattered and of surviving the transformation of paradise into hell. Already an international bestseller and the winner of multiple awards, Small Country, ably translated from the French by Sarah Ardizzone, tells the story of 10-year-old Gabriel living in Burundi with his family. Life is easy in the comfortable expatriate suburb, and even after Gaby’s parents separate, he and his band of friends spend their days stealing mangoes and smoking cigarettes. Though rumors of ethnic tensions rumble over from the Rwandan border, nothing threatens their carefree spirits. This changes abruptly when war breaks out. Rumors of horrific violence turn into killings in Gaby’s own town, and even his own street. Gaby’s mother, who had traveled to Rwanda to find her brother and aunt, returns forever changed. The divide between Hutu and Tutsi proves insurmountable, and the lessons learned by Gaby and his friends are brutal. small country
  • The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang:  Debut author Helen Hoang knocks it out of the park with The Kiss Quotient, which follows a romance between an analytical heroine and the gorgeous escort who teaches her all about the benefits of falling in love. Stella Lane is in love with data and numbers. As an econometrician, she’s most comfortable when poring over statistics and finding anomalies or trends. Stella also has Asperger’s a fact of which her mother, between her unceasing requests for grandchildren, constantly reminds her. But romance and a relationship hold very little appeal to Stella, especially after some lackluster experiences. And since Stella never does anything halfway, she’ll only accept the best “tutor” she can find. Enter Michael Phan, an escort whose looks could easily grace any fashion magazine. Though he really needs the money, he’s also charmed by Stella’s checklist of things to tackle. Any romance reader knows where this is going, and things between Stella and Michael start to stray from strictly business. This book is a unicorn. It’s magical and one of a kind. Stella’s Asperger’s isn’t talked about in veiled or coded language. It’s very much part of who she is, and she’s learned to live her life in a way that suits her and makes her (mostly) happy. Though uncomfortable when it comes to the realm of social interactions, Stella is self-assured about her work ethic. She really loves her job and finds comfort in the work she does. Michael is a great foil for Stella’s awkward moments. He’s smooth and effortless in how he handles her nervousness, inexperience and everything in between. Michael fully embodies the romance hero ideal, and he’s set the bar high for all other heroes to come.   kiss quotient
  • Us Against You by Fredrik Backman:  Fredrik Backman’s engrossing fifth book is a sequel to Beartown, his 2017 novel set in a small town on the edge of a Swedish forest. As Us Against You opens, Beartown’s future is threatened:  first by the possible closure of its only factory, and second by the bankruptcy faced by the town’s hockey club. Hockey isn’t merely a game to the town’s inhabitants–their whole lives revolve around the Bears’ wins and losses. Beartown’s anxiety is further fueled by a major shift in the Bears’ team roster. After the rape of the general manager’s daughter, Maya, by a team member, as chronicled in Beartown, the team was torn apart. Some Bears abandoned the team and joined the Bulls from the neighboring town of Hed. Those who stayed in Beartown are some of the best players, but the remaining team lacks the size and experience of the Bulls. Backman’s latest saga focuses on the first hockey season following the schism, brilliantly portraying the way each magnetic character copes with the hatred and violence that has engulfed these two small towns as their teams prepare to do battle. Maya struggled to move on from her traumatic experience, constantly aware that many blame her for the team’s demise. Her best friend, Ana, carelessly reveals that their friend Benji, one of the team’s best players, is gay. Maya’s parents, Peter and Kira, constantly face backlash from a town that blames their report of Maya’s rape for the team’s problems. Vidar, the younger brother of one of the town bullies, is mysteriously released from a detention camp to be the Bears’ goalie. Ramona, a widow who runs the local bar, lovingly supports the pack of “hooligans” who resort to violence in support of their team. The new Bears coach is a woman, an ex-professional player who struggles to gain the acceptance of the town and her players. And lurking in the background is a Wizard of Oz-like figure–a politician trying to manipulate the team and factory to enrich his own pockets. Backman stirs this volatile melange of disparate characters until the inevitable explosion occurs, leaving Beartown sadder but perhaps wiser than before. His depiction of thi small town will resonate especially with readers who struggle with the racism, homophobia and misogyny that exist in their own communities. us against you
  • A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen MirzaA Place for Us concerns itself with the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family living in California. The opening scene is the wedding of eldest daughter Hadia. The bride’s prodigal brother, Amar, has returned after an absence of several years, and the reasons for this absence unfold in ensuing chapters. Hadia and Amar, along with sister Huda, are the children of Layla and Rafiq, and the interior lives of these characters are explored in continually shifting timelines. This story really gains traction when Amar is bullied at school around 9/11. He is also involved in a forbidden romance with Amira Ali, the daughter of a well-respected local family whose eldest son died in a car accident. Overshadowing all these events are the parameters of a deeply traditional Muslim culture–arranged marriages, the differing set of standards and expectations for men and women, the pressure for academic achievement–and the looming sense of being an “other” in American society. Immigrant novels often center on conflict and the juxtaposition between Old World values and modern Western culture. In seeking a better life for their children, Layla and Rafiq must contend with this and the effect it has on their family. A Place for Us resonates at the crossroads of culture, character, storytelling and poignancy.    place for us
  • The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir:  A resourceful, resilient teen heroine is at the heart of Meghan MacLean Weir’s propulsive debut novel. Demure and obedient, 17-year-old Essie has played the perfect preacher’s daughter for years–she’s the youngest of the brood that makes up “Six for Hicks,” a hit reality TV show starring her family. But now Essie is pregnant, and she won’t name the father. As the novel opens, Essie’s image-first mother is debating whether to arrange an abortion or secret adoption, or somehow try to pass off her grandchild as her own. Essie, however, has other plans:  After all, what gets better ratings than a wedding? Essie already has her eye on a groom:  Roarke Richards, an athletic high school senior. The two barely know each other, and Roarke is skeptical–but once he realizes the deal includes enough money to save his parents’ business and pay for his dream college, he’s in. As Roarke and Essie try to sell their sudden wedding as a fairy tale and not a shotgun, the reader (and Roarke) gradually realizes that there’s more to Essie’s story (and her plan) than it first appears. book of essie
  • Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl:  Beatrice Hartley has been unable to find normalcy ever since her boyfriend, Jim, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a quarry outside their elite boarding school. While searching for answers, Beatrice attempts to make amends with four former friends. But a freak accident soon finds the group trapped in the Neverworld, a realm in which the same day repeats endlessly…and will continue to do so until the quintet can agree on one member who will return to the world of the living. The others will die. Imagine living the same day an infinite number of times and being trapped for centuries in the moment between life and death. That’s what happens in the Neverworld, where storms rage, strange birds nest in dead trees and black mold lies just below clean-looking surfaces. While some in the group delight in the mayhem, Beatrice remains the stereotypical good girl. But as the friends put aside their differences (and their debauchery) to investigate Jim’s death in earnest, secrets and deceptions begin to multiply. And the Neverworld begins to break down.     neverworld wake
  • Calypso by David Sedaris:  If you’re ever stuck in an elevator or airport, just pray for David Sedaris to appear. Time passes quickly with this national treasure of a storyteller. Reading Calypso, Sedaris’ latest collection of essays, is like settling into a glorious beach vacation with the author, whose parents, siblings and longtime boyfriend, Hugh, feel like old friends to faithful readers. Family gatherings at Sedaris’ North Carolina beach house are featured frequently in this collection of 21 essays, and at the Sea Section (his chosen moniker for his beach house), games of Sorry! become delightfully vicious and the clan gets gleefully nosy when James Comey is said to be renting 12 doors down. Another favorite topic, not surprisingly, is aging. Sedaris, 61, observes that sometimes life at the beach feels like a Centrum commercial, and soon enough, he and his siblings will join the seniors they see zooming by on golf carts. “How can that be,” he asks, “when only yesterday, on this very same beach, we were children?”   calypso
  • A View of the Empire at Sunset by Caryl Phillips:  You won’t learn anything about her writing–the  novel never mentions the title by which most readers know her, or any of her other works–but the Jean Rhys depicted in Caryl Phillips’ beguiling new novel, A View of the Empire at Sunset, is not unlike the poorly treated and subjugated female characters from some of Rhys’ own books, among them Wide Sargasso Sea and Voyage in the Dark. Phillips, a native of the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and author of 2015’s magnificent The Lost Child, begins his tale in 1930s London. Gwendolen Williams (Rhys’ birth name) is unhappily married to her second husband, literary agent Leslie Tilden Smith. He has recently received a legacy from his late father. With the money, in the hope of repairing their relationship, he suggests a trip to Gwennie’s West Indies homeland, “for he understood how desperately she wished once again to see her birthplace.” Readers of Phillips’ previous novels will recognize similar elements here, including the elegant formality of his prose and the criticisms of racism and colonialism. A View of the Empire at Sunset is a provocative portrait of one of the 20th century’s most enigmatic authors. view of the empire at sunset
  • Ruthless Tide by Al Roker:  Al Roker, co-host and weather anchor of NBC’s “Today,” vividly recreates the tragedy of the Johnstown Flood in Ruthless Tide. In what he calls an “unnatural disaster,” 20 million tons of water hurtled past a failing dam and into a Pennsylvania valley on the afternoon of May 31, 1889, tossing animals and trees, crushing houses and killing 2,209 men, women and children. By supplying plenty of detail, Roker brings the reader so deeply into the moment (it took about 10 seconds for most of Johnstown to be utterly destroyed) that you can almost hear the water’s roar and feel the thundering crashes as rooftops and locomotives banged into buildings ripped from their foundations. ruthless tide
  • From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon:  High school junior Twinkle Mehra’s ultimate dream is to become a great filmmaker. She also wants to leave behind the social stratum she’s dubbed “the groundlings” and carve out a place among the “silk hats,” where her former best friend, Maddie, and Twinkle’s longtime crush, Neil, are counted as members. When Neil’s geeky twin brother, Sahil, offers to help Twinkle shoot a film for the annual arts festival, she jumps at the chance. Sahil’s kindness, love of film and respect for Twinkle’s art soon have her falling hard. But Twinkle’s goals thus far–making films, regaining Maddie’s friendship and winning Neil’s heart–have become so entwined that it’s hard for her to make room for a new goal and new possibilities with Sahil. Twinkle speaks out through her films, but is she seeing the world around her for what it truly is, or has her perspective become warped by long-held assumptions?  from twinkle with love

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • Robin by Dave Itzkoff:  From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. He often came across as a man possessed, holding forth on culture and politics while mixing in personal revelations – all with mercurial, tongue-twisting intensity as he inhabited and shed one character after another with lightning speed. But as Dave Itzkoff shows in this revelatory biography, Williams’s comic brilliance masked a deep well of conflicting emotions and self-doubt, which he drew upon in his comedy and in celebrated films like Dead Poets Society; Good Morning, Vietnam; The Fisher King; Aladdin; and Mrs. Doubtfire, where he showcased his limitless gift for improvisation to bring to life a wide range of characters. And in Good Will Hunting he gave an intense and controlled performance that revealed the true range of his talent.Itzkoff also shows how Williams struggled mightily with addiction and depression – topics he discussed openly while performing and during interviews – and with a debilitating condition at the end of his life that affected him in ways his fans never knew. Drawing on more than a hundred original interviews with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as extensive archival research, Robin is a fresh and original look at a man whose work touched so many lives.robin
  • Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love:  While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes — and even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love’s author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.  julian is a mermaid
  • Fatal Throne by M.T. Anderson, Candace Fleming, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, and Deborah Hopkinson:  The tragic lives of Henry VIII and his six wives are reimagined by seven acclaimed and bestselling authors in this riveting novel, perfect for fans of Wolf Hall and Netflix’s The Crown. He was King Henry VIII, a charismatic and extravagant ruler obsessed with both his power as king and with siring a male heir. They were his queens–six ill-fated women, each bound for divorce, or beheading, or death. Watch spellbound as each of Henry’s wives attempts to survive their unpredictable king and his power-hungry court. See the sword flash as fiery Anne Boleyn is beheaded for adultery. Follow Jane Seymour as she rises from bullied court maiden to beloved queen, only to die after giving birth. Feel Catherine Howard’s terror as old lovers resurface and whisper vicious rumors to Henry’s influential advisors. Experience the heartache of mothers as they lose son after son, heir after heir. Told in stirring first-person accounts, Fatal Throne is at once provocative and heartbreaking, an epic tale that is also an intimate look at the royalty of the most perilous times in English history.  fatal throne
  • White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig:  Caleb Roehrig, author of Last Seen Leaving, delivers another spellbinding YA murder mystery in White Rabbit. Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian–the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to “talk.” Things couldn’t get worse, right? Then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. He and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney. April swears she didn’t kill Fox. Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth, but April has something he needs. Her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to clear his sister’s name . . . or die trying.white rabbit
  • The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty:  Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn’t remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she’s technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test–middle school! Lucy’s grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that’s not a math textbook!). Lucy’s not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy’s life has already been solved. Unless there’s been a miscalculation? A celebration of friendship, Stacy McAnulty’s smart and thoughtful middle-grade debut reminds us all to get out of our comfort zones and embrace what makes us different.miscalculations
  • Our Towns by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows:  A vivid, surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention taking place in America, town by town and generally out of view of the national media. A realistically positive and provocative view of the country between its coasts. For the last five years, James and Deborah Fallows have been traveling across America in a single-engine prop airplane. Visiting dozens of towns, they have met hundreds of civic leaders, workers, immigrants, educators, environmentalists, artists, public servants, librarians, business people, city planners, students, and entrepreneurs to take the pulse and understand the prospects of places that usually draw notice only after a disaster or during a political campaign. The America they saw is acutely conscious of its problems–from economic dislocation to the opioid scourge–but it is also crafting solutions, with a practical-minded determination at dramatic odds with the bitter paralysis of national politics. At times of dysfunction on a national level, reform possibilities have often arisen from the local level. The Fallowses describe America in the middle of one of these creative waves. Their view of the country is as complex and contradictory as America itself, but it also reflects the energy, the generosity and compassion, the dreams, and the determination of many who are in the midst of making things better. Our Towns is the story of their journey–and an account of a country busy remaking itself.  our towns
  • The Soul of America by Jon Meacham:  Our current climate of partisan fury is not new, and in The Soul of America Meacham shows us how what Abraham Lincoln called the “better angels of our nature” have repeatedly won the day. Painting surprising portraits of Lincoln and other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Lyndon B. Johnson, and illuminating the courage of such influential citizen activists as Martin Luther King, Jr., early suffragettes Alice Paul and Carrie Chapman Catt, civil rights pioneers Rosa Parks and John Lewis, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Army-McCarthy hearings lawyer Joseph N. Welch, Meacham brings vividly to life turning points in American history. He writes about the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the birth of the Lost Cause; the backlash against immigrants in the First World War and the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s; the fight for women’s rights; the demagoguery of Huey Long and Father Coughlin and the isolationist work of America First in the years before World War II; the anti-Communist witch-hunts led by Senator Joseph McCarthy; and Lyndon Johnson’s crusade against Jim Crow. Each of these dramatic hours in our national life have been shaped by the contest to lead the country to look forward rather than back, to assert hope over fear–a struggle that continues even now. While the American story has not always–or even often–been heroic, we have been sustained by a belief in progress even in the gloomiest of times. In this inspiring book, Meacham reassures us, “The good news is that we have come through such darkness before”–as, time and again, Lincoln’s better angels have found a way to prevail. soul of america
  • The Perfectionists by Simon Winchester:  The revered New York Times bestselling author traces the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to explore the single component crucial to advancement–precision–in a superb history that is both an homage and a warning for our future.  perfectionists

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner:  It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision. Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner’s work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined. As James Wood said in The New Yorker , her fiction “succeeds because it is so full of vibrantly different stories and histories, all of them particular, all of them brilliantly alive.”  mars room
  • My Ex-Life by Stephen McCauley: David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7. The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him. Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her 17-year-old daughter. That would be Mandy. To quote Barry Manilow, Oh Mandy . While she knows she’s smarter than most of the kids in her school, she can’t figure out why she’s making so many incredibly dumb and increasingly dangerous choices? When David flies east, they find themselves living under the same roof (one David needs to repair). David and Julie pick up exactly where they left off thirty years ago–they’re still best friends who can finish each other’s sentences. But there’s one broken bit between them that no amount of home renovations will fix. In prose filled with hilarious and heartbreakingly accurate one-liners, Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered. (Throw pillows optional.)ex-life
  • Warlight by Michael Ondaatje:  From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient: a mesmerizing new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.  In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself–shadowed and luminous at once–we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings’ mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn’t know and understand in that time, and it is this journey–through facts, recollection, and imagination–that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time. warlight
  • Love and Ruin by Paula McLain:  The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn–a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century. In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It’s the adventure she’s been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly–and uncontrollably–falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest’s relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man’s wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that could force her to break his heart, and hers. Heralded by Ann Patchett as “the new star of historical fiction,” Paula McLain brings Gellhorn’s story richly to life and captures her as a heroine for the ages: a woman who will risk absolutely everything to find her own voice.  love and ruin
  • Tyrant by Stephen Greenblatt:  As an aging, tenacious Elizabeth I clung to power, a talented playwright probed the social causes, the psychological roots, and the twisted consequences of tyranny. In exploring the psyche (and psychoses) of the likes of Richard III, Macbeth, Lear, Coriolanus, and the societies they rule over, Stephen Greenblatt illuminates the ways in which William Shakespeare delved into the lust for absolute power and the catastrophic consequences of its execution. Cherished institutions seem fragile, political classes are in disarray, economic misery fuels populist anger, people knowingly accept being lied to, partisan rancor dominates, spectacular indecency rules–these aspects of a society in crisis fascinated Shakespeare and shaped some of his most memorable plays. With uncanny insight, he shone a spotlight on the infantile psychology and unquenchable narcissistic appetites of demagogues–and the cynicism and opportunism of the various enablers and hangers-on who surround them–and imagined how they might be stopped. As Greenblatt shows, Shakespeare’s work, in this as in so many other ways, remains vitally relevant today.  Tyrant_FINAL.indd
  • How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan:  A brilliant and brave investigation by Michael Pollan, author of five New York Times best sellers, into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs–and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences.
    When Michael Pollan set out to research how LSD and psilocybin (the active ingredient in magic mushrooms) are being used to provide relief to people suffering from difficult-to-treat conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety, he did not intend to write what is undoubtedly his most personal book. But upon discovering how these remarkable substances are improving the lives not only of the mentally ill but also of healthy people coming to grips with the challenges of everyday life, he decided to explore the landscape of the mind in the first person as well as the third. Thus began a singular adventure into the experience of various altered states of consciousness, along with a dive deep into both the latest brain science and the thriving underground community of psychedelic therapists. Pollan sifts the historical record to separate the truth about these mysterious drugs from the myths that have surrounded them since the 1960s, when a handful of psychedelic evangelists catalyzed a powerful backlash against what was then a promising field of research. A unique and elegant blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history, and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is a triumph of participatory journalism. By turns dazzling and edifying, it is the gripping account of a journey to an exciting and unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world. The true subject of Pollan’s “mental travelogue” is not just psychedelic drugs but also the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both struggle and beauty, we can do our best to be fully present and find meaning in our lives.  how to change your mind
  • Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake:  For readers of Girl in Pieces and The Way I Used to Be comes an emotionally gripping story about facing hard truths in the aftermath of sexual assault. Mara and Owen are as close as twins can get, so when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can her brother really be guilty of such a violent act? Torn between her family and her sense of right and wrong, Mara feels lost, and it doesn’t help that things are strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie. As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie come together in the aftermath of this terrible crime, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits into her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.  girl made of stars
  • Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli: In this sequel to the acclaimed Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda–now a major motion picture, Love, Simon–we follow Simon’s BFF Leah as she grapples with changing friendships, first love, and senior year angst. When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat–but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends–not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting–especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.leah on the offbeat
  • I Walk With Vanessa by Kerascoët:  This simple yet powerful picture book–from a New York Times  bestselling husband-and-wife team–tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events,  I Walk with Vanessa  explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and strength in numbers, this timeless and profound feel-good story will resonate with readers young and old. I walk with vanessa

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • The Only Story by Julian Barnes:  From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending , a novel about a young man on the cusp of adulthood and a woman who has long been there, a love story shot through with sheer beauty, profound sadness, and deep truth. Most of us have only one story to tell. I don’t mean that only one thing happens to us in our lives: there are countless events, which we turn into countless stories. But there’s only one that matters, only one finally worth telling. This is mine. One summer in the sixties, in a staid suburb south of London, Paul comes home from university, aged nineteen, and is urged by his mother to join the tennis club. In the mixed-doubles tournament he’s partnered with Susan Macleod, a fine player who’s forty-eight, confident, ironic, and married, with two nearly adult daughters. She is also a warm companion, their bond immediate. And they soon, inevitably, are lovers. Clinging to each other as though their lives depend on it, they then set up house in London to escape his parents and the abusive Mr. Mcleod. Decades later, Paul looks back at how they fell in love, how he freed Susan from a sterile marriage, and how–gradually, relentlessly–everything fell apart, and he found himself struggling to understand the intricacy and depth of the human heart. It’s a piercing account of helpless devotion, and of how memory can confound us and fail us and surprise us (sometimes all at once), of how, as Paul puts it, “first love fixes a life forever.”  only story
  • Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen:  Her name is Sarah. She’s blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish in 1939 Germany. And her act of resistance is about to change the world. After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she’s the Nazis’ worst nightmare.  orphan monster spy
  • Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall:  A lavish new picture book from Caldecott-winner Sophie Blackall that will transport readers to the seaside in timeless, nautical splendor!Watch the days and seasons pass as the wind blows, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift by. Outside, there is water all around. Inside, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family unfolds as the keeper boils water for tea, lights the lamp’s wick, and writes every detail in his logbook. Step back in time and through the door of this iconic lighthouse into a cozy dollhouse-like interior with the extraordinary award-winning artist Sophie Blackall.hello lighthouse
  • Circe by Madeline Miller:  A highly anticipated follow-up to the award-winning The Song of Achilles follows the banished witch daughter of Titans as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.  circe
  • The Overstory by Richard Powers:  An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers–each summoned in different ways by trees–are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.In his twelfth novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of–and paean to–the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours–vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.The Overstory is a book for all readers who despair of humanity’s self-imposed separation from the rest of creation and who hope for the transformative, regenerating possibility of a homecoming. If the trees of this earth could speak, what would they tell us? “Listen. There’s something you need to hear.”  overstory
  • We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt:  “We looked down at the cliff jutting into the sea, a rubber boat full of kids going under the arch, and then you started running and jumping through the grass, dodging the rabbit holes, shouting at the top of your voice, so I started chasing you, trying to catch you, and we were laughing so hard as we ran and ran, kicking up rainbow showers in the leaves.” Rob Coates feels like he’s won the lottery of life. There is Anna, his incredible wife, their London town house and, most precious of all, Jack, their son, who makes every day an extraordinary adventure. But when a devastating illness befalls his family, Rob’s world begins to unravel. Suddenly finding himself alone, Rob seeks solace in photographing the skyscrapers and clifftops he and his son Jack used to visit. And just when it seems that all hope is lost, Rob embarks on the most unforgettable of journeys to find his way back to life, and forgiveness.  we own the sky
  • The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind by Barbara K. Lipska:  As a deadly cancer spread inside her brain, leading neuroscientist Barbara Lipska was plunged into madness–only to miraculously survive with her memories intact. In the tradition of My Stroke of Insight and Brain on Fire, this powerful memoir recounts her ordeal and explains its unforgettable lessons about the brain and mind. In January 2015, Barbara Lipska–a leading expert on the neuroscience of mental illness–was diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to her brain. Within months, her frontal lobe, the seat of cognition, began shutting down. She descended into madness, exhibiting dementia- and schizophrenia-like symptoms that terrified her family and coworkers. But miraculously, just as her doctors figured out what was happening, the immunotherapy they had prescribed began to work. Just eight weeks after her nightmare began, Lipska returned to normal. With one difference: she remembered her brush with madness with exquisite clarity.  neuroscientist who lost her mind
  • Inseparable by Yunte Huang:  A portrait of nineteenth-century conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker describes their rise from savvy side-show celebrities to wealthy Southern gentry and discusses how their experiences reflected America’s historical penchant for objectifying differences. With wry humor, Shakespearean profundity, and trenchant insight, Yunte Huang brings to life the story of America’s most famous nineteenth-century Siamese twins. Nearly a decade after his triumphant Charlie Chan biography, Yunte Huang returns with this long-awaited portrait of Chang and Eng Bunker (1811-1874), twins conjoined at the sternum by a band of cartilage and a fused liver, who were “discovered” in Siam by a British merchant in 1824. Bringing an Asian American perspective to this almost implausible story, Huang depicts the twins, arriving in Boston in 1829, first as museum exhibits but later as financially savvy showmen who gained their freedom and traveled the backroads of rural America to bring “entertainment” to the Jacksonian mobs. Their rise from subhuman, freak-show celebrities to rich southern gentry; their marriage to two white sisters, resulting in twenty-one children; and their owning of slaves, is here not just another sensational biography but a Hawthorne-like excavation of America’s historical penchant for finding feast in the abnormal, for tyrannizing the “other”–a tradition that, as Huang reveals, becomes inseparable from American history itself.inseparable
  • Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich:  A razor-sharp polemic which offers an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe, Natural Causes describes how we over-prepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. One by one, Ehrenreich topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to live a long, healthy life — from the importance of preventive medical screenings to the concepts of wellness and mindfulness, from dietary fads to fitness culture. But Natural Causes goes deeper — into the fundamental unreliability of our bodies and even our “mind-bodies,” to use the fashionable term. Starting with the mysterious and seldom-acknowledged tendency of our own immune cells to promote deadly cancers, Ehrenreich looks into the cellular basis of aging, and shows how little control we actually have over it. We tend to believe we have agency over our bodies, our minds, and even over the manner of our deaths. But the latest science shows that the microscopic subunits of our bodies make their own “decisions,” and not always in our favor. We may buy expensive anti-aging products or cosmetic surgery, get preventive screenings and eat more kale, or throw ourselves into meditation and spirituality. But all these things offer only the illusion of control. How to live well, even joyously, while accepting our mortality — that is the vitally important philosophical challenge of this book. Drawing on varied sources, from personal experience and sociological trends to pop culture and current scientific literature, Natural Causes examines the ways in which we obsess over death, our bodies, and our health. Both funny and caustic, Ehrenreich then tackles the seemingly unsolvable problem of how we might better prepare ourselves for the end — while still reveling in the lives that remain to us.natural causes

Your Library Curated: Best New Books

  • Fast Burn by Lori Foster:  For the woman who’s his perfect match, he’s willing to break the rules… The moment Brand Berry meets beautiful, driven Sahara Silver, the connection between them is electric. It’s also something he can’t pursue. Sahara wants him, sure–to join Body Armor, where his MMA skills, size and cocky attitude make him perfect for her elite crew of bodyguards. For Sahara, the agency always comes first, and Brand needs more. Yet when she’s kidnapped by men searching for her missing brother, he doesn’t hesitate. Somewhere along the way, flirting with Brand for the sake of business turned very personal. Despite his refusal to join Body Armor, it’s Brand who steps up when Sahara needs him most. Now there’s no more time for games, and no point denying the hunger they both feel. They’ll escape together or not at all. But if they survive, can Sahara finally surrender control to claim this blazing passion? fast burn
  • The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman:  Conceived while his father, Bear, cavorted around Rome in the 1950s, Pinch learns quickly that Bear’s genius trumps all. After Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy of his father’s attention–first trying to be a painter himself; then resolving to write his father’s biography; eventually settling, disillusioned, into a job as an Italian teacher in London. But when Bear dies, Pinch hatches a scheme to secure his father’s legacy–and make his own mark on the world. With his signature humanity and humor, Tom Rachman examines a life lived in the shadow of greatness, cementing his place among his generation’s most exciting literary voices. italian teacher
  • Varina by Charles Frazier:  Sooner or later, history asks, which side were you on? In his powerful new novel, Charles Frazier returns to the time and place of Cold Mountain, vividly bringing to life the chaos and devastation of the Civil War. Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues a career in politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history–culpable regardless of her intentions. The Confederacy falling, her marriage in tatters, and the country divided, Varina and her children escape Richmond and travel south on their own, now fugitives with “bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit.” Intimate in its detailed observations of one woman’s tragic life and epic in its scope and power, Varina is a novel of an American war and its aftermath. Ultimately, the book is a portrait of a woman who comes to realize that complicity carries consequences.varina
  • Eunice by Eileen McNamara:  A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist examines the life and times of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, arguing she left behind the Kennedy family’s most profound political legacy. While Joe Kennedy was grooming his sons for the White House and the Senate, his Stanford-educated daughter Eunice was tapping her father’s fortune and her brothers’ political power to engineer one of the great civil rights movements of our time on behalf of millions of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Now, in Eunice, Pulitzer Prize winner Eileen McNamara finally brings Eunice Kennedy Shriver out from her brothers’ shadow to show an officious, cigar-smoking, indefatigable woman of unladylike determination and deep compassion born of rage: at the medical establishment that had no answers for her sister Rosemary; at the revered but dismissive father whose vision for his family did not extend beyond his sons; and at the government that failed to deliver on America’s promise of equality. Granted access to never-before-seen private papers–from the scrapbooks Eunice kept as a schoolgirl in prewar London to her thoughts on motherhood and feminism–McNamara paints a vivid portrait of a woman both ahead of her time and out of step with it: the visionary founder of the Special Olympics, a devout Catholic in a secular age, and a formidable woman whose impact on American society was longer lasting than that of any of the Kennedy men. eunice
  • Rebound by Kwama Alexander:  From the New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander comes Rebound, a dynamic novel in verse and companion to his Newbery Award-winner, The Crossover, illustrated with striking graphic novel panels.  Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to.  A novel in verse with all the impact and rhythm readers have come to expect from Kwame Alexander, Rebound will go back in time to visit the childhood of Chuck “Da Man” Bell during one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family’s past.  rebound
  • You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly:  Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly’s You Go First is an engaging exploration of family, bullying, spelling, art, and the ever-complicated world of middle school friendships. Her perfectly pitched tween voice will resonate with fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale. Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different–Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana. Charlotte wants to be a geologist and keeps a rock collection in her room. Ben is obsessed with Harry Potter, presidential history, and recycling. But the two have more in common than they think. They’re both highly gifted. They’re both experiencing family turmoil. And they both sit alone at lunch. Over the course of a week, Charlotte and Ben–online friends connected only by a Scrabble game–will intersect in unexpected ways, as they struggle to navigate the turmoil of middle school. This engaging story about growing up and finding your place in the world by the Newbery Medal-winning author of Hello, Universe and the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature will appeal to fans of Rebecca Stead and Rita Williams-Garcia.you go first
  • I Was Anastasia by Ariel LawhonRussia, July 17, 1918: Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.  Germany, February 17, 1920: A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia.  Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson. As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a brilliantly crafted dual narrative structure, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory yet: the nature of identity itself. The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted. I was anastasia
  • The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton:  In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution. He spent his first three years on Death Row at Holman State Prison in agonizing silence–full of despair and anger toward all those who had sent an innocent man to his death. But as Hinton realized and accepted his fate, he resolved not only to survive, but find a way to live on Death Row. For the next twenty-seven years he was a beacon–transforming not only his own spirit, but those of his fellow inmates, fifty-four of whom were executed mere feet from his cell. With the help of civil rights attorney and bestselling author of Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson, Hinton won his release in 2015. With a foreword by Stevenson, The Sun Does Shine is an extraordinary testament to the power of hope sustained through the darkest times. Destined to be a classic memoir of wrongful imprisonment and freedom won, Hinton’s memoir tells his dramatic thirty-year journey and shows how you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.sun does shine
  • What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart:  After a series of missteps in the face of his newfound fame, actor Charlie Outlaw flees to a remote island in search of anonymity and a chance to reevaluate his recent breakup with his girlfriend, actress Josie Lamar. But soon after his arrival on the peaceful island, his solitary hike into the jungle takes him into danger he never anticipated. As Charlie struggles with gaining fame, Josie struggles with its loss. The star of a cult TV show in her early twenties, Josie has spent the twenty years since searching for a role to equal that one, and feeling less and less like her character, the heroic Bronwyn Kyle. As she gets ready for a reunion of the cast at a huge fan convention, she thinks all she needs to do is find a part and replace Charlie. But she can’t forget him, and to get him back she’ll need to be a hero in real life.  what you don't know about charlie outlaw
  • Tangerine by Christine Mangan:  The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends–once inseparable roommates–haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy–always fearless and independent–helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.  But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice–she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind. Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book–a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless.tangerine
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan:  A stunning, heartbreaking debut novel about grief, love, and family, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Celeste Ng. Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird. Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life. Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.astonishing color of after
  • Tomorrow by Damian Dibben:  A wise old dog travels through the courts and battlefields of Europe and through the centuries in search of the master who granted him immortality. Tomorrow tells the story of a 217-year-old dog and his search for his lost master. His adventures take him through the London Frost Fair, the strange court of King Charles I, the wars of the Spanish succession, Versailles, the golden age of Amsterdam and to nineteenth-century Venice. As he journeys through Europe, he befriends both animals and humans, falls in love (only once), marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for war and gains insight into both the strength and frailties of the human spirit. With the rich historical vision of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and the captivating canine perspective of A Dog’s Purpose, Tomorrow draws us into a unique century-spanning tale of the unbreakable connection between dog and human.tomorrow

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 journey.land 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 dialogue.baby 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