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Annual Staff Picks


Recommended Books

Annual listings of recommended books compiled by Staff.

    • Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner F BRODESSER-AKNER, T.; also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on Libby
      Toby Fleishman is getting divorced and it’s not going well—and that’s before his wife leaves the kids with him and disappears. Funny, insightful, and much more than the ho-hum domestic novel you might expect—this book generated a lot of press over the summer and fall, and now a TV series is in the works. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Those People by Louise Candlish F CANDLISH, L.
      Author Louise Candlish is popular in her native England for her brand of "suburban noir" and this is her second novel to be published in the US. Candlish deftly weaves together the perspectives of the residents of Lowland Way, a quiet neighborhood, after a new family moves in a tragic death occurs. Sara, Information & Reader Services

      Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh F CAVANAGH, S.
      Intricately plotted court room drama. The murderer is on the jury and it’s up to attorney and ex-con Eddie Flynn to figure everything out. David, Membership Services

      Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang SF CHIANG, T.; also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on Libby
      Ted Chiang is not a very prolific author, which is too bad because he is an excellent one. His readable stories extrapolate from science in ways that keep me thinking long after finishing the book. In Chiang’s hands, time travel, artificial intelligence, and alternate universes all expand our range of possibilities and our understanding of our own humanity. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Recursion by Blake Crouch F CROUCH, B.

      What if you could rewrite your life?

      Neuroscientist Dr. Helena Smith’s mother has Alzheimer’s. Driven to help her, she makes it her life goal to find a cure. Much to her amazement, she creates a device to help people with their memories but what she truly ended up creating was something much more – the ability to rewrite their lives. People all around the world start having “false memory syndrome” and when New York Detective Barry Sutton starts investigating the cause of it, his life and Helena’s life are changed forever. If this creation gets into the wrong hands, it can have extremely disastrous consequences! It’s up to Barry and Helena to make sure that does not happen!

      This fantastic read and is geared toward Sci-Fi buffs and anyone who loves a good thriller. An exceptional Sci-Fi thriller that ranks as one of my favorites! Gus, Information & Reader Services

      Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev BROWSING ROMANCE

      I cannot tell you, dear reader, how many times I have consumed Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in its original print form, never mind how often I have watched the various movie or mini-series adaptations. In terms of written retellings of this classic text, however, I am incredibly picky; I will not, for example, dedicate time to a rewrite of Pride and Prejudice if I am not enjoying it after ten pages.

      This to say - I have read Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors three times since it was published in May 2019 and have already pre-ordered a personal copy of Sonali Dev’s next title (Recipe for Persuasion, May 2020). This was fun from start to finish and was such a new, interesting take on the original novel that I am just so pleased to have discovered it! Sarah Marie, Information & Reader Services

      We Are Here Forever by Michelle Gish GRAPHIC NOVEL GISH, M.
      Sometime in the future, all the humans are gone (or are skeletons) and the world has been populated by small squarish critters with bulbs for tails. They don’t know where they came from or how many things work, but their progress in problem solving and civilization building is hilarious and adorable. This book features new stories from Gish’s We Are Here Forever webcomic, where you can go to devour more. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg F GOLDBERG, M.; also available in large print and as an ebook on Libby
      Does an artist and a mother have to be a mother first and an artist second, or can she be wholly both? Fictional 1950s street photographer Lillian Preston is arrested for obscenity after exhibiting a provocative photo of herself and her daughter. Here the story of their lives is told by Lillian’s daughter, and there was just so much to think about. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      The River by Peter Heller F HELLER, P.

      Two college friends embark on a several weeks long journey canoeing down the Maskwa River in northern Canada. What starts off as a relaxing trip turns into a race for survival as a wildfire rips through the distant forest, heading their way. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman?

      Peter Heller once again awes me with his beautiful nature writing, thrilling adventure, and wonderful characters. He is not an author to miss! Michelle, Information & Reader Services

      Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes F HOLMES, L.
      This debut novel by podcaster Linda Holmes tells the story of Evvie Drake, a young widow -- everyone in her small Maine town thinks she's still grieving her doctor husband a year later, when in fact she's dealing with the guilt over the fact that she was planning to leave him on the day he died. When a friend suggests renting her garage apartment to a former major league pitcher dealing with his own issues, they start a tenuous friendship that may turn into something more. Sara, Information & Reader Services

      Rabbits for Food by Binnie Kirshenbaum F KIRSHENBAUM, B.; also available as an ebook on Libby and as an eaudiobook on Hoopla
      Books about depression can be a tough sell, but this one is a pleasure to read without shying away from its subject. Bunny, a writer, is acerbic and unable to tolerate boring snobs politely. But she also has trouble getting out of bed, practicing basic hygiene, or avoiding self-harm. Once institutionalized, she makes very funny reports on her life there but also begins writing, all the while gradually approaching some very difficult decisions about her treatment and her chances for any kind of recovery. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger F KRUEGER, W.
      Beautifully written tale of four young people’s escape and travels from a restrictive orphanage. They travel down the river, like Huck Finn, with many adventures along the way. David, Membership Services

      Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren F LAUREN, C./ BROWSING ROMANCE
      When Olive's twin sister and her entire wedding party get food poisoning at the wedding reception, Olive and best-man Ethan (the only two who didn't eat the tainted seafood) end up going on the all-expenses paid honeymoon to Maui. The two have a mutual dislike for each other, but when pretending to be honeymooners, sparks begin to fly! Sara, Information & Reader Services

      The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy F LEVY, D.; also available as an ebook on Libby
      I love this kind of book: the ones where it takes me a long time to figure out exactly what is going on with the structure, but in the meantime, I’m just entertained by the writing. In 1988, academic Saul Adler is hit by a car while having his picture taken in the crosswalk on Abbey Road. He recovers enough to make his planned trip to East Berlin, where we gradually get to know him and he (maybe) gets to know himself better. Saul isn’t always likeable, but the book is. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken F MCCRACKEN, E.; also available as an ebook on Libby
      In 19th century New England, Bertha is found unconscious in a cemetery. No one in town knows who she is or where she comes from, and Bertha isn’t saying. She doesn’t get much more conventional, as she proceeds to begin an interracial marriage with her doctor and open the town’s first bowling alley. This is a cracked and loveable family saga for those who don’t like them sugary. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston F MCQUISTON, C./ BROWSING ROMANCE

      No matter what angle you approach this title, it is an empirically delightful read. The book is about 300 pages and chock full of romance genre tropes (enemies-to-friends-to-lovers, stuck in a small space together, make a scene at a party, social media as a plot tool – it is all there); I never wanted this book to end, but the ending is so, so good all the same.

      McQuiston hit every emotional beat possible and I loved them all. I’ve already re-read this book twice and cannot recommend it strongly enough. Sarah Marie, Information & Reader Services

      Gideon the Ninth by Tamsin Muir SF MUIR, T.
      This is one for those who like dark fantasy with a sprinkle of science fiction, smart-ass protagonists and more than a bit of the ultra-violence. The premise is fairly straightforward: an indentured soldier in service to a necromantic cult is given the opportunity to earn her freedom by acting as a bodyguard for the teen leader of said cult (who spent her formative years torturing her) as she takes on a very deadly exam in an effort to gain the favor (and power) of their dark god. Muir does an excellent job of immediately grabbing your attention with the fantastical world-building while balancing excellent characterization that keeps you engaged until the very last page. Will, Membership Services

      Soon by Lois Murphy F MURPHY, L.
      In rural Australia, a hamlet is haunted by an unexplained mist that appears after dark and rips apart anyone who’s not inside with all the doors and windows locked. Many residents have fled, but those who have nowhere else to go abide the nightly horror. While the premise may sound silly at first, the slowly building atmospheric dread is terrifying, and the dead-on descriptions of resourceless residents ignored by their government bring to mind real-life places “haunted” by environmental dangers. After I finished this book, I wanted to hide in bed for as long as I could. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      The Flatshare, by Beth O'Leary F O'LEARY, B.
      I loved this book. It's a fun read about two strangers who share a flat and their relationship that develops. It's a good story, with two great characters. There are some funny moments, but serious ones, too. A perfect vacation book, or book to read while curled up on the sofa this winter! Beth, Marketing

      Daisy Jones & the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid F REID, T.
      One of my favorite books of the year. It's the story of a fictional rock band told by each of the members as they look back and recall their years in the band. It's a fun look at the world of rock musicians, but the characters' stories make it more than just that. It definitely reminded me of a certain band (no spoilers)! Beth, Marketing

      Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell F RUSSELL, K.; also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on Libby
      Karen Russell started strong with her first short story collection a dozen years ago and keeps getting better. She has become one of my favorite authors. In the stories in Orange World, a boy falls in love with an ancient corpse pulled from a bog, a tornado farmer tries to scratch out a living in a dying industry, a woman breastfeeds a devil to protect her baby, another woman becomes psychically linked to a tree, and more! What’s not to love? Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Cinderella Liberator by Rebecca Solnit F SOLNIT, R.
      A retelling of the classic fairytale in which nobody gets married, nobody becomes a princess, and the prince needs liberation too. What else needs to be said? Also features illustrations by Arthur Rackham (1867–1939). Chad, Administration

      The lager queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal F STRADAL, J.
      Sisters, generations, women, friendship, family; wealth in all senses; IPAs, beer-making, beer industry are woven together to make this enjoyable read, and satisfy curiosity about those pretty amber colored liquids whether you are a beer lover or beer-illiterate like me. Not sure it made me a beer lover afterwards. I certainly love the book. Bin, Tech Services

      Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk and translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones F TOKARCZUK, O.; also available as an ebook and eaudiobook on Libby
      A murder mystery outside the usual. Our narrator is an old woman—much less usual in fiction than in real life—who relies on astrology and has given everyone in her life nicknames that she believes suit them better than their real ones. She’s a retired engineer who teaches at the local school and helps a friend with his William Blake translations. When a neighbor is found dead, Tokarczuk doesn’t let the mystery wrest control of the story from the narrator. Maybe you don’t need my recommendation on this one: Tokarczuk won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature (awarded in 2019). Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Maggy Garrisson by Lewis Trondheim and Stéphane Oiry and translated by Emma Wilson GRAPHIC NOVEL TRONDHEIM, L.
      Londoner Maggy Garrisson, looking for any job that will pay anything, finds a secretarial gig with private investigator Anthony Wight. When she arrives, Wight’s passed out drunk at his desk and doesn’t accomplish much else before getting beaten up by mysterious enemies and landing in the hospital. But Maggy’s resourceful and pretty hardboiled herself, and she quickly sets herself up as a freelance investigator, while the plot that began with Wight’s beating slowly tightens around her. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Rusty Brown by Chris Ware GRAPHIC NOVEL WARE, C.
      Chris Ware has been writing the Rusty Brown comic strip since 2001, and this book is the first collected volume, telling stories mostly centered around students and teachers at the local small-town school. Ware has a characteristic style that I can only describe as a tenderness that lets his characters’ sadness shine through, and this book is only more evidence of why he’s considered a standard setter in the graphic medium. This is a big book with unfortunately small lettering, but I still couldn’t stop reading it. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Rusty Brown by Chris Ware GRAPHIC NOVEL WARE, C.
      Several achingly-beautiful stories by Chris Ware. Chad, Administration

      The Border by Don Winslow. F WINSLOW, D.
      The concluding novel of Winslow’s trilogy about Mexican drug cartels. It would be helpful to read the previous two books, Power of the Dog, and The Cartel to get the full benefit, but it does stand up as a standalone novel. David, Membership Services

    • Biased by Eberhardt, Jennifer L. (Jennifer Lynn), author. 303.385 Eb16
      A good conversation starter. You may not agree with everything she says, but it makes you think. Susan, Media Services

      Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham 363.1799 H635
      This book is truly an amazing account of what occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in April 1986. Higginbotham not only did extensive research, but the book presents the happenings – both leading up to, during, and after – in an incredibly accessible manner. Craig Mazin, director of the HBO mini-series Chernobyl, was even quoted wishing that he had Higginbotham’s work as a reference before the show was produced. If you are at all interested in a good historical non-fiction, I encourage you to read this book. Sarah Marie, Information & Reader Services

      Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. (364.1523 K261)
      Blurb: Keefe's engrossing history of The Troubles in Northern Ireland begins with a murder. Mother of ten Jean McConville is abducted from her home, never to be seen again. What follows is an account of the paramilitary groups that tore Northern Ireland apart, interspersed with the McConville children's effort to uncover their mother's fate. Hannah, Youth Services

      Norco 80 by Peter Houlahan. 364.1552 H838
      True story about a bank robbery in southern California gone wrong. Although it’s nonfiction it reads like a novel. David, Membership Services

      Secondhand: travels in the great global garage sale by Adam Minter
      (381.19 M667)
      Have you ever wondered what happens to the stuff you donate to Goodwill and other charitable organizations? In this absorbing and sobering look at what we discard, Adam Minter tracks our donations all over the world and interviews some of the people who reuse and/or recycle them. In the process, he makes a strong case for owning less--but better quality--stuff. Karen, Information & Reader Services

      Randall Munroe, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems. 500 M968h
      Munroe has a knack for explaining scientific phenomenon using absurd but correct examples and engaging cartoons. You'll laugh as you learn! Laurie, Information & Reader Services

      How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe 500 M968h
      Munroe, an engineer who has worked at NASA and author of the popular webcomic xkcd, shows you how to work out the physics to solve all kinds of problems and make them fun! So, the next time you need to heat your house, you can try lava, and the next time you need to fill your swimming pool, you can try making a channel from Lake Michigan. Or you can just enjoy reading about it, which is safer. If I were Randall Munroe, I’d provide a chart here showing just how much safer, because that’s the kind of delightful guy he is. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Volume control: hearing in a deafening world by David Owen (617.8 Ow97)
      The author, a New Yorker staff writer who suffers from hearing difficulties himself, gives an entertaining and readable survey of how our ears work (or don't), how we (knowingly or unknowingly) endanger our hearing, and how to preserve the hearing we still have. Karen, Information & Reader Services

      The way home: tales from a life without technology by Mark Boyle (640 B792w)
      The story of a year-long (winter solstice to winter solstice) experiment in living without technology in modern Ireland. Boyle wrote this book in pencil in a tiny cabin he built himself, having given up his phone, his laptop, and electricity. As he watches modern life encroach on his smallholding, he chronicles and mourns an Irish way of life that is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Karen, Information & Reader Services

      Cribsheet by Emily Oster 649.122 Os85
      The bestselling author of Expecting Better moves her focus from pregnancy to early parenting in her new title. Oster, an economist, breaks down the research data on various topics of interest to new parents including feeding, sleeping, and other parenting decisions. Sara, Information & Reader Services

      Generation Friends by Saul Austerlitz 791.4572 F911a
      I have... a lot of feelings about the TV show FRIENDS. I watched the show episode-by-episode during its original syndication and, later, on DVD as my sister and I patiently waited for each season to go on sale. Now that FRIENDS is so easily accessible through Netflix (and on HBO Max beginning in 2020), I have re-watched the series a truly awful amount of times, to the extent where I can note differences from the original, televised run to the DVDs to what has been put out for streaming. All that to say – I know a bit about FRIENDS. Of all the content – podcasts, other books, college lectures, studio tours, cast interviews, etc. - present dissecting or explaining FRIENDS, I really enjoyed Austerlitz’s essays and insights shared through Generation Friends. If you read this title and have a lot of feelings about FRIENDS, please come share them with me! Sarah Marie, Information & Reader Services

      Tough Luck by R. D. Rosen 796.332 L941r
      True story about the father of famed Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman. An unknown story about the gangster father of one of the all-time great football players. Also, Sid was a Highland Park resident as was the author. David, Membership Services

      Horizon by Barry Lopez 910.4 L864
      In this book covering many areas of the globe, Barry Lopez looks back on his long career writing on nature and ecology (his Arctic Dreams is one of my favorite books). Like the novel The Overstory by Richard Powers, Lopez describes humanity within our ecology, and in this book, I particularly enjoyed his insights on the “elders” model of leadership, humility, listening, and the attempt to understand or at least recognize different ways of knowing. “The human effort to listen to each other is, for me, one of the most remarkable of all human capacities, though...hardly a word is ever said about the human capacity to listen to another person. I bring this up because if the creation and maintenance of effective social networks, a particularly striking human attribute, is necessary to protect individuals against threats to this species’ health, then the ability to listen carefully to one another becomes critical.” Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Hitler's Last Hostages by Mary M Lane 940.5314 L266
      The book was so informative of how art was such a driving force behind Hitler's plans for the "Aryan race" and his dream for the Fuhrer museum in Linz Austria. The book explains in detail what he considered "degenerative art" and how he went about destroying the lives and careers of these artists. It also delves into the lives of the Jews who owned valuable art and how their masterpieces were looted by the Nazi's when they were sent off to concentration camps. You learn how much of Europe's looted art was hidden by the Nazi's and their collaborators especially Gurlitt and his son. The book unveils how in 2010 Cornelius Gurlitt was caught with over 1200 famous works of art and how some of the heirs of the deceased relatives who rightfully owned these have recovered some of their looted pieces through legal struggles with restitution. Laura, Media Services

      Michael Dobbs, The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught In Between. 940.5318 D632
      In 1940, getting a piece of paper with the correct stamp on it was literally the difference between life and death for many Jews. The Jewish community of Kippenheim, Germany left an extensive record of their efforts to get away from the Nazis. Dobbs uses their letters, diaries, and interviews with survivors to tell a gripping story. Laurie, Information & Reader Services

      DOBBS, MICHAEL. The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in between 940.5318 D632

      Local history on a global stage.

      "The Unwanted" interweaves the stories of Jewish families in Kippenheim, a small village in Baden, Germany, and the Shoah.  The book's narrative details families' emigrations and expulsions; escapes and demises. The juxtaposed description and analysis of American response(s) in Washington D.C. and its consulates reveal further the evolution of events. Examinations of relief and assistance efforts provide additional insights to the human response as the Shoah unfolded. The narrative recounts rich descriptions of French camps and Marseille as a port of exit and quagmire of bureaucracy. The work also provokes thought on contemporary refugee crises.

      Dobb's research in global, institutional, national, local, and family archives and interviews with survivors reveals the minute details of the families' responses and efforts to survive. This sublime research is crafted into a gripping narrative.

      Detailed family trees at the end of the book surmise the families and individuals' lives and fates. The stories grip the reader intimately. Nancy, Archivist

      How to Hide an Empire: a history of the greater United States by Immerwahr, Daniel 973 Im33
      A provocative and absorbing history of the United States — “not as it appears in its fantasies, but as it actually is.” Wry, readable and often astonishing. Chad, Administration

      Rick Atkinson, The British Are Coming: The War for American, Lexington to Princeton 1775 - 1777. 973.3 At87 v. 1
      Atkinson brings the early Revolutionary War to life with his ability to research and recreate what happened through the stories of major and minor participants. It's really a fascinating book, please don't be put off by the length. Laurie, Information & Reader Services

      How to Be a Family by Dan Kois B K797
      A journalist and his wife decide to take their pre-teen daughters to live in four different locations around the world to learn "how to be a family". Dividing their year between New Zealand, Holland, Costa Rica, and finally Kansas, the Smith-Kois family gets to know locals and learn about the ways that life is the same and different for families around the world. A mix of research and wry humor about family life. Sara, Information & Reader Services

      The salt path by Raynor Winn (B W775)
      What do you do when you lose your home (a farm in Wales) and livelihood and--within days--learn that your husband has a degenerative terminal illness? This 50-something British couple decided to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path. Out of shape, nearly broke, and accompanied only by what they could carry on their backs, they start walking. The book was shortlisted for several book awards; judges called it "a brilliant story . . . about the human capacity to endure." Karen, Information & Reader Services

    • Abbott by Saladin Ahmed and illustrated by Sami Kivela (GRAPHIC AHMED, S.) 
      In gritty 1970s Detroit, Elena Abbott is a hardboiled investigative journalist not afraid to chafe the power structure. She likes her routine and doesn’t have many close friends, but she’s won the respect of a close circle—even if her newspaper’s owners are just trying to shut her up. When Abbott’s beat has her following a trail of animal and human mutilations, she has bigger problems: the signs point to a supernatural evil that took her beloved first husband. A fun graphic novel, and Elena Abbott is easy to root for. Catherine, Information & Reader Services 

      Transcription by Kate Atkinson (F ATKINSON, K.) 
      One more perspective into MI5's intelligence work during World War II. Fans of spy stories would not want to miss it. Bin, Technical Services 

      The Only Story by Julian Barnes (F BARNES, J.) 
      An introspective novel about the gradual loss of a person to alcoholism.  Loved ones watch in helplessness as isolation and irrationality eventually consume the person. It's also a mediation on the nature of love as played out between a young man and a woman many years his senior. Cynthia, Youth Services 

      The Lost for Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland (F BUTLAND, S.) 
      I was captivated with the prickly heroine. It reminded me of similar books, such as How to Find Love in a Bookshop, The House at the End of Hope Street, The Bookshop on the Corner, and others. I like the rotating chapters covering the present, three years before, and the past when Loveday was a child. Lisa, Membership Services

      Beneath the Mountain by Luca D'Andrea (MYS D'ANDREA, L.) 
      An American TV documentary maker, his wife, and their young daughter move to the wife’s German-speaking hometown in the Italian Alps. The beauty of the Dolomite mountains attracts tourists, but the terrain is dangerous to both inexperienced hikers and experienced locals. Soon our protagonist finds a new documentary subject: the Dolomite Mountain Rescue crew. However, after a harrowing accident, he finds himself digging into the area's history. He finds not just danger, but evidence of an insidious evil--other accidents, disappearances, and even murders. A small-town suspense story in a dramatic landscape. Catherine, Information & Reader Services 

      French Exit by Patrick deWitt (F DEWITT, P.) 
      Patrick deWitt does zany really, excellently well. THE FRENCH EXIT is irreverent and quirky but holds enough moments of properly drawn out introspection and character development to balance the novel. If you are looking for a purely serious book, this is not it; if you are looking for a meaningful read with plenty of hijinks along the way, put this title on your list. For those who would like a similar but more serious title, I would recommend Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests. Sarah Marie, Information & Reader Services 

      Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal (GRAPHIC NOVEL DHALIWAL, A.) 
      This graphic novel takes place in a future in which birth defects cause the male population to die off and women have become the only humans left. An older woman has to explain what men were to her granddaughter. Her granddaughter becomes obsessed with one of the last relics of the old world: a DVD of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.  This novel is charming and hilarious. Larissa, Membership Services 

      Sabrina by Nick Drnaso (GRAPHIC NOVEL DRNASO, N.) 
      This graphic novel follows the murder of Sabrina and the lives that were affected by her disappearance. When her death spawns conspiracy theories, the truth isn't good enough. This novel has a simple art style that doesn't take away from this complicated story. Larissa, Membership Services 

      Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (F EMEZI, A.)  
      Looking for something a little wild? Here is a story for you: A god/gods is incarnated in a baby human girl. The girl grows up, leaves Nigeria to attend college in the U.S., suffers from mental illness, and is abused. The god, for their part, rails against being unable to return from this body. Are the gods metaphorical? Maybe, but they carry most of the story, and this is a book that invites multiple interpretations. Catherine, Information & Reader Services 

      Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett (F HUGHES-HALLETT, L.)  
      This book got rave reviews from critics but little attention otherwise. But out of all the books I read this year, this is the one I loved reading the most. Centered on the same grand English estate in the 17th and 20th centuries, the characters are linked more by the "peculiar ground" of the estate's garden than by a single overarching plot. This book was simply a pleasure to read. Catherine, Information & Reader Services 

      The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (F MAKKAI, R.) 
      Perhaps my favorite book of the year!  Rebecca Makkai's novel has received much praise.  The book tells the stories of the AIDS crisis in Chicago in the 1980s, and a mother searching for her daughter in Paris in the present time. The stories captured my attention, one of the passages was so stunning and beautiful that it's become one of my favorites, and because part of the book takes place in Chicago, it was fun to read about the neighborhoods and stomping grounds of the characters. 

      Through the characters of The Great Believers, we are an eyewitness to the early days of the AIDS crisis in Chicago, such a sorrowful time and unknown future. Beth, Marketing 

      The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (F MORRIS, H.) 
      It tells the story of a Jewish man in Auschwitz who accepts the job of tattooing the incoming prisoners to help himself survive the camp.  While it is a story of the brutality and inhumanity inflicted on the Jews as well as Gypsies sent to the camp, it is also a story of how this man found love among the horror.  Although it was difficult to read about the suffering experienced by the prisoners at Auschwitz, it was interesting to learn how this man dealt with the small privileges that accompanied his job and the guilt he lived with by accepting this position in order to survive. Laura, Film & Music 

      Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik  (SF NOVIK, N.) 
      This is a thoroughly enjoyable adaptation of the Rumplestiltskin tale with a dash of fantasy, science fiction, anti-Semitism and feminism. Laurie, Information & Reader Services 

      Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce (F PEARCE, A.) 
      This book tells the story of a young woman, Emmy, making her way in wartime London in the 1940s.  Although there are some serious plot turns, the book was written in such a charming style that it's a fun read.  I loved the plot and the main character and was sorry to see the book come to an end! Beth, Marketing 

      The Overstory by Richard Powers (F POWERS, R.)  
      Based on current research into how trees communicate and migrate, this future-looking novel treats humans and trees as equal parts of the ecosystem. Shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, it will change the way you think about trees and about the interconnectedness of humanity. Like Peculiar Ground, this is a great choice for readers who love long books. Catherine, Information & Reader Services 

      Fox 8 by George Saunders (F SAUNDERS, G.) 
      This book - short story, really - is one of those titles originally published in 2013 as an eBook. I picked it up again now that it is in print, and, reader, it is still so good. George Saunders has such an enchantingly heartbreaking way with words in this story, and little Fox 8 quickly became one of my most favorite of characters. This book delves into the heart of imagination as well as the power of words, and I hope you find it as beautiful as I did. A good watch-alike for this is the animated remake of Richard Adams’ Watership Down by the combined efforts of BBC and Netflix. Sarah Marie, Information & Reader Services

    • Creative Struggle by Gavin Aung Than (GRAPHIC NOVEL 153.35 T367) 
      I enjoyed the fresh approach to inspire readers in their passionate quest to create, without letting those nasty doubts that plague us all, stop them. I love the artwork and the way each story is presented. The observations after each one was helpful, and interesting. The pep talks were also uplifting, especially one by the author/cartoonist. Lisa, Membership Services 

      12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson (170.44 P485) 
      This book might aptly have been sub-titled "an antidote to victimhood" as it cajoles readers into the higher ground of healing, personal responsibility and whatever competency can be managed. More story-like than prescriptive, the book engagingly relates Peterson's experience as a clinical psychologist with connections the author makes to history, literature, religion, Marvel comics, dogs, cats, lobsters - etcetera. "Orient yourself properly" to reality we are told, that we may live in a grateful, meaningful, even heroic fashion. "Aim continually at Heaven, while you work diligently on Earth." For those who would rather read (Peterson's University of Toronto lectures are immensely popular on YouTube), 12 Rules for Life is a wise and encouraging tome. Amy, Membership Services 

      How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine Price (302.231 P945) 
      Ms. Price points out that she doesn’t mean you should give up your phone completely, just try to cut down on the amount of time spend on it. She points out all of the good, and bad factors, associated with any digital device that we can’t break away from, and lays out an excellent plan to readjust our relationship with them. Lisa, Membership Services 

      There Are No Grown-ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story by Pamela Druckerman (305.244 D794) 
      I really enjoyed her book on French parenting (Bringing up Bébé) and this one did not disappoint either.   I found it humorous and engaging.  Pam, Youth Services 

      What Would Virginia Woolf Do?: And Other Questions I Ask Myself as I Attempt to Age Without Apology by Nina Lorez Collins (305.2442 C712) 
      Some readers might take offense with the title, but I found it to be a wonderful source of useful information, and an entertaining experience as well. Lisa, Membership Services 

      Heartland by Sarah Smarsh (305.569 Sm63) 
      Sarah Smarsh grew up in "Fly Over Country," to poor working-class folks who struggle in various ways, but she consistently addresses an unborn child she never allowed herself to have. (Thus, breaking the teenage pregnancy cycle in her family...) she eventually rises above the economic status of her ancestors, only to study and tell stories of these oft-neglected poor, white American working-class people... Sara, Membership Services 

      Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett (305.896 B472) 
      Michael Bennett is a Super Bowl Champion, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, a fearless activist, a feminist, a grassroots philanthropist, an organizer, and a change maker. He's also one of the most scathingly humorous athletes on the planet, and he wants to make you uncomfortable. Chad, Information & Reader Services 

      Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston (306.362 L673h) 
      In 1927, folklorist and novelist Zora Neale Hurston interviewed Oluale Kossola/Cudjo Lewis, one of the last known survivors of the transatlantic slave trade. Kossola’s story is told here in his own words, and it is amazing. In about 1860, he was a teenager training to be a soldier and preparing for marriage when his Isha Yoruba village was raided by female Dahomey fighters who slaughtered his family and most of the villagers. Kossola was among those captured and sold to U.S. smugglers profiting from the already-illegal importation of enslaved people. After emancipation, he and others from Africa bought land from the plantation owner who had been enslaving them and founded their own community: Africatown. Zora Neale Hurston died in 1960, but it took until this year for this narrative to be published in full. It’s short but brings little-known history alive. Catherine, Information & Reader Services 

      Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer by Barbara Ehrenreich (306.9 Eh33) 
      An insightful book, that ruminates on the obsessive habits of humanity, in its quest to take control of the natural progression of aging, and other physical events we try to curtail through medicine, exercise, etc., in the never-ending desire to stay fit and live longer. She offers plenty of facts and theories to mull over. Lisa, Membership Services 

      Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (338.768 T343c) 
      I was excited for the blood testing innovations promised by Theranos and followed developments about the company and its founder in the news.  This book shed light on the inner workings of a Silicon Valley startup that seemed to be a bright, shiny star. - Pam, Youth Services 

      Beastie Boys Book by Mike D. (781.649 B368d) 
      Hefty is a perfect word for this book. More Chicago style pizza than NY. Buy, steal, beg for, or borrow this book. Chad, Information & Reader Services 

      I'll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller (791.4572 F911m) 
      I cannot tell you how many times I have re-watched the 90s sitcom FRIENDS, but having a novelized collection of essays about all of the blessings and pitfalls (Ross Gellar) of the show is amazing. This book put a new perspective on things the show did or did not do that I had not confronted before and sparked so many conversations with my own friends, either about the show itself, other 90s TV, or social commentary in television overall. A similar read for this would be Kayleen Schaefer’s Text Me When You Get Home. Sarah Marie, Information & Reader Services 

      Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion by Michelle Dean (810.992 D282) 
      The only person I was familiar with already in this book, was Dorothy Parker, so I was looking forward to learning something about the other memorable women Dean talks about. There was just enough about each woman to be interesting, but not overwhelming. She provided a good jumping off point to read lengthier books about them, as well as their own works to be discovered or revisited. Lisa, Membership Services 

      Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God: Poems by Tony Hoagland (811 H678p) 
      Not a lot of people read contemporary poetry, but this is a poetry collection that most people can find relatable. The poems are short and the imagery and subtle humor make them top-notch. For example, the second poem, “A Walk around the Property,” begins, “There are too many people in this book I’m reading. / I can’t keep track of them all. / How can I care who marries who, or what they wear? / Nevertheless, each time one disappears, I feel a brief, sharp grief, / knowing they will not return.” For poetry lovers and poetry curious alike. Catherine, Information & Reader Services 

      Calypso by David Sedaris (814 Se44c) 
      I have read all of David Sedaris' works and this one is my favorite. The levity that defines a Sedaris work is a little more grounded and tempered with age in this work; that said, there is a running story thread about feeding a benign tumor to a turtle, so the frivolity is not wholly gone. The book was more somber than Sedaris' other works, but so, so good. Read-alikes for Sedaris would, in my mind, include Augusten Burroughs. Sarah Marie, Information & Reader Services 

      In Praise of Difficult Women: Life Lessons from 29 Heroines Who Dared to Break the Rules by Karen Karbo (920.72 K18) 
      I loved Karbo’s previous books, and this one is an excellent addition. I enjoyed reading about so many exceptional women, such as J. K. Rowling, Elizabeth Taylor, Josephine Baker, Jane Goodall, Margaret Cho, and many others. I like how she divided the bibliography, covering each person separately, with a clearly designated list of other works about them. Lisa, Membership Services 

      The Little Book of Feminist Saints by Julia Pierpont (920.72 P621) 
      What an uplifting, energizing, glorious book. I loved it, and I loved the moniker of “Matron Saint”. Starting with Artemisia Gentileschi, and on to the other 98 remarkable women in between, I was educated and delighted, and the portrait of each one is perfect (Thapp really brings out the vitality of each of them.) Lisa, Membership Services 

      The Last Palace: Europe's Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House by Norman Eisen (943.712 Ei36)
      If walls could talk, the current Prague residence of the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic would tell the story of twentieth century Czechoslovakia and the fate of its Jewish community. Instead Eisen tells the story through the lives Otto Petschek, who designed and built the mansion; Rudolf Toussaint, the German general who occupied it during World War II; Laurence Steinhardt, the first United States ambassador to postwar Czechoslovakia, who kept the palace out of Communist hands, and Shirley Temple Black, who was there during the Prague Spring and again as ambassador when Communism fell. The fifth life, that of Eisen’s mother, a Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia, is a poignant counterpoint to the others. Laurie, Information & Reader Services 

      On Desperate Ground: The Marines at the Reservoir, the Korean War's Greatest Battle by Hampton Sides (951.9042 Si56) 
      Hampton Sides’ ability to write well-researched history that reads like fiction makes him one of my favorite authors. In this book he outdoes himself in portraying the heroism, bravery, hubris, and futility of this Korean War campaign. Laurie, Information & Reader Services 

      The Soul of America: the battle for our better angels by Jon Meacham (973 M479) 
      Historian Meacham gives reason to hope in these divisive times by exploring past times when things seemed as bleak: the Civil War Era, the 1900s, the 1930s, and the 1960s. If you like audio books, this was a good listen as well as a good read. Laurie, Information & Reader Services 

      Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents by Pete Souza (973.932 So72) 
      I've been following the author's Instagram account to get some visual insight on the stark differences between the Obama and Trump presidencies.  We say so much with images every day and this book helps show how and why they really matter sometimes.   -Pam, Youth Services 

      Passing for Human: A Graphic Memoir by Liana Finck (GRAPHIC NOVEL B F493) 
      Liana Finck is a New Yorker cartoonist with a very interesting visual and written take on living, and she created a beautifully illustrated story that I think would be widely enjoyable. Sara, Membership Services 

      Born to be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey by Mark Dery (B G666d) 
      An enlightening discussion about the semi-mysterious person known as Edward (Ted) Gorey, who created a disturbing montage of enticing images, and unsettling books, that have captured the attention of numerous admirers. The explanatory excavation of various works, such as ‘The Unstrung Harp’, ‘The Doubtful Guest’, ‘The Gashlycrum Tinies’, and all the others, including the truly horrendous ‘Loathsome Couple’, as well as the background events of his life, helped me grasp a better understanding of the world he inhabited. Lisa, Membership Services 

      The Arab of the Future 3: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1985-1987 by Riad Sattouf (GRAPHIC NOVEL B Sa253)
      I am beyond in love with Riad's story. I devoured all 3 installments and can't wait for #4 to be translated into English. I love all three equally but this last one has certainly made me laugh out loud the most, while also creating that sinking feeling inside my gut. Can't wait for more. Would recommend this to everyone and anyone. Chad, Information & Reader Services

    • The Power by Naomi Alderman (F ALDERMAN, N.)
      Winner of the coveted Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, this novel imagines a world much like our own except for one major difference, teenage girls have awakened an immense physical power within themselves. The repercussions are stunning. The reader follows several characters as the world is re-shaped to reflect this new reality. A very provocative (and funny!) commentary on gender politics. Rachel, Information & Reader Services

      The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet (F BINET, L.)
      An intellectually intriguing work resembling a classic foreign film, containing the subtle strains of absurdity, vivid snippets of passion, and numerous examples of the grotesque, violent, and philosophical. The political upheavals of the past keep emerging in the various regions visited by an impressive roster of the academic elite, and after I finished the last satisfying pages, I turned to my reference sources to find out more about them. Lisa, Membership Services

      The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase (F CHASE, E.)
      This satisfying gothic story, concerns the mysterious disappearance of Audrey, which hovers over the summer of 1959, when the Wilde sisters become tangled in the growing up process, and the present day, where Jessie feels overshadowed by her husband's first wife. It's a deliciously unsettling book. Lisa, Membership Services

      The Graybar Hotel: Stories by Curtis Dawkins (F DAWKINS, C.)
      A series of vignettes detailing life in prison. Curtis Dawkins reveals the idiosyncrasies, tedium and desperation of long-term incarceration. The stories are funny and sad and filled with unforgettable detail. I loved it! Robin, Membership Services

      Clownfish Blues by Tim Dorsey (MYS DORSEY, T.)
      Madness and mayhem in the Sunshine State! Serge Storms can find ways to explore Florida that will make you see it in a different light. In Clownfish Blues, he locates all the places where scenes from the TV show Route 66 were shot in his own version of Easy Rider. With his sidekick Coleman, Serge uses ingenuity to mete out vigilante justice in ways that make you cheer for the underdog. Hilarious! Wild! Robin, Membership Services

      I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi (F FABIASCHI, A.)
      Each chapter contains the viewpoints of Madeline (wife and mother, now deceased), Brady (her husband), and Eve (their teenage daughter). As Eve and Brady try to figure out why Madeline would commit suicide, they uncover the imperfections of their relationship with her and each other. As they awkwardly try to salvage the pieces left behind, they learn how to adjust to life without her. Lisa, Membership Services

      My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. Book One by Emil Ferris (GRAPHIC NOVEL FERRIS, E.)
      1960's Uptown is a rough neighborhood, and Karen Reyes is a kid with problems. Her block and her building are populated with junkies, prostituted women, gangsters, musicians, ventriloquists, and artists like Karen and her big brother Diego (known as Deeze). Obsessed with monster stories, Karen desperately hopes to get "the bite," which will transform her into a monster capable of protecting Deeze and their mother. But when her upstairs neighbor, a Holocaust survivor, dies in a suspicious suicide, Karen becomes a detective. The artwork in this graphic novel tells the story in a crosshatched style on a background of notepaper, and yes, monsters are everywhere in the pages. We'll have to wait for the next book in the series to see how the story continues, but you won't want to miss this first volume. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Cruel Is the Night by Karo Hämäläinen (F HAMALAINEN, K.)
      Four Finnish friends and lovers meet in a luxurious London apartment for a reunion dinner. By the end of the night, three of the four will be dead. The fun of this novel, which alternates from the perspectives of all four characters, lies in slowly untangling the relationships and backstories between all the characters. There are infidelities, murder plots, crimes and cover ups, and it all comes to a head in one darkly entertaining evening. Additionally, Hämäläinen waits until the end to reveal who is actually dead, lending the book a sense of propulsive dread. Michelle, Technical Services

      Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (F HOGAN, R.)
      Anthony Peardew is a writer who collects the lost objects he comes across and stores them safely until they can, hopefully, be reunited with their owners one day. Laura, who was discarded by her husband, finds solace and purpose working for Anthony. The interaction between them, and the other characters they encounter, create a story that embraces the tender possibilities of being human. Lisa, Membership Services

      Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (F HONEYMAN, G.)
      Eleanor is a damaged character, who doesn't fit well in life. The occasional glimpses of her frightening past alternate with her observations on various subjects that are surprisingly funny. As she navigated through the dead ends and hopeful beginnings of her existence, I became more acclimated to her unique personality, and learned something about my own imperfections as well. Lisa, Membership Services

      Random Road: Introducing Geneva Chase by Thomas Kies (MYS KIES, T.)
      A veteran crime reporter, stuck working for her small-town paper after a series of alcoholism-related firings from higher profile jobs, investigates the deaths of six people who were found naked and hacked to death in a mansion on Connecticut's Gold Coast. What makes this novel work so well is Kies's refusal to rely on formula and cliché. The main character is appealingly flawed (her struggles with alcohol and the negative choices that result from it are completely believable), both the murder victims and the murderers are three-dimensional people, and the end may result in tears, which is not too common in a mystery novel. Very much recommended. Michelle, Technical Services

      A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carré (F LE CARRE, J.)
      The 86-year-old Le Carré is still producing masterpieces. Legacy finds retired spy Peter Guillam confronting a lawsuit that forces him to revisit the tragic outcome of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (Le Carré’s 1963 bestseller). The complex plot introduces new details to the earlier story in Le Carré’s signature style – dark, brutal, and morally ambiguous. It’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad. Julia, Information & Reader Services

      Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (F MAKUMBI, J.)
      The story of Uganda as seen through the generations of the Kintu family. The novel begins in 1750, with the patriarch Kintu Kidda, who accidentally unleashes a brutal curse upon his bloodline. It then jumps forward in time to his descendants in the twentieth century, who must deal with modern issues such as abandonment, sexual abuse, AIDS, Christianity, local traditions, poverty, and their own past. The characters are fully fleshed out and fabulous and the writing just keeps the reader turning pages. This book was riveting. Michelle, Technical Services

      All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (F MASTAI, E.)
      Tom Barren comes from an alternative world that's somewhat similar to ours. It's the world that might have developed if the technological dreams of the 1950's had panned out. Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, he ends up in the world we know. As he realizes the pros and cons of each world, he discovers the complicated side effects if our actions, no matter the "good" or "bad" reasons behind them. Lisa, Membership Services

      A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee (MYS MUKHERJEE, A.)
      Captain Sam Wyndham is a war veteran at a loose end. He leaves Scotland Yard, and moves to Calcutta (1919), where the influence of the British Raj is starting the dwindle. As he familiarizes himself with the climate and culture (vividly described), he tries to get his bearings regarding the recent murder of a government official, which turns out to be one of several mysteries he must solve. Lisa, Membership Services

      A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates (F OATES, J.)
      Martyrs is a graceful and excruciating story of two families who do not live very far apart, but exist in different realities. Luther Dunphy is a zealous evangelical who envisions himself as acting out God's will when he assassinates an abortion provider in his small Ohio town, while Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic but self-regarding doctor who is killed, leaves behind a wife and children scarred and embittered by grief. Robin, Membership Services

      Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta (F PERROTTA, T.)
      Eve is a divorcée who has just become an empty-nester after her son, Brendan, leaves for college. After receiving a racy (but flattering) anonymous text one night, she secretly begins watching pornography. While this new pursuit opens her mind to romantic possibilities, it also upends the quiet suburban life she previously led. At the same time, Brendan is facing the harsh realities of dating and sex in college, leading him to question his own chauvinistic ideas of women. This was a thought-provoking book on how different generations view sexuality. Perrotta, as always, is a master at pulling away the curtain of suburbia and exposing the dark underbelly. Rachel, Information & Reader Services

      Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips (F PHILLIPS, G.)
      Joan and her 4-year-old son have just finished a wonderful afternoon at the zoo. As they head towards the entrance at closing time, Joan hears gunshots, sees bodies, and instinctively grabs her son and runs back into the zoo. For the next few hours, the reader is on the edge of their seat as Joan uses all her knowledge of the zoo and its exhibits to conceal herself and her son from the gunman. How far will she go to protect them? Not your run-of-the-mill thriller. Rachel, Information & Reader Services

      Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (F RUSKOVICH, E.)
      In Idaho, the author uses the tragic murder of a child to explore the psychological complexities of ordinary lives. Ann and Wade, who marry in the aftermath of his daughter's murder, have a close relationship that is nonetheless filled with challenges. The author is an astute observer who understands the depth of subtle communication between spouses. Cynthia, Youth Services

      Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (F SAUNDERS, G.)
      Amid a chorus of ghosts, a grief-stricken Lincoln visits his recently deceased son Willie in a Georgetown Cemetery. Saunders’ strange and often strangely amusing tale of grief and the ‘not-quite’ afterlife will haunt you. Julia, Information & Reader Services

      “Trap. Horrible trap. At one’s birth it is sprung. Some last day must arrive...All pleasures should be tainted by that knowledge. But hopeful dear us, we forget...” Chad, New Media

      See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (F SCHMIDT, S.)
      What happened on August 4, 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts? Narrated by Lizzie, her sister Emma, the Borden’s maid Bridget, and Benjamin, a mysterious stranger hired by Uncle John, this fictional account describes what may have happened on that hot day. Jacki, Information & Reader Services

      Sourdough by Robin Sloan (F SLOAN, R.)
      Sloan, who wrote Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, once again weaves together high tech and low tech in this fun story about the tech and foodie culture in San Francisco. Laurie, Information & Readers Service

      The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (SF STEPHENSON, N.)
      It wasn't until several weeks after I'd read this entertaining, and mammoth book, that I was able to appreciate it (like a time delayed reaction, resembling one of the many issues that characters deal with as they try to make time travel work so they can bring magic back. Trust me, the authors make both of those ideas seem possible). There are some amusing examples of the administrative aspects of working in a government agency that's funding such a scheme, and what the main characters go through trying to justify that investment. They encounter friends, foes and several unforgettable historical individuals. Lisa, Membership Services

      Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (F STROUT, E.)
      A lovely collection of short stories from Elizabeth Strout, exploring the rewards of human connection and the pain of disconnection, in infidelity, name-calling, and other hurts. In the last story, "Gift," a man's wife hears that in childhood he hunted through dumpsters for food and reacts, "Weren't you ashamed?" He thinks: Well, then, you've never been hungry. Strout's characters are exposed and emotional but never maudlin, as though her hunger is for knowing them. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan (F SULLIVAN, J.)
      I loved J. Courtney Sullivan's Saints for All Occasions! It's a great family saga, and perfect to dive into when looking for your next book. It's one of the books I've recommended most often this year to family and friends. Beth, Marketing

      The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (F THOMAS, A.)
      Starr Carter moves between two worlds, the poor neighborhood where she lives, and the fancy suburban prep school that she attends. Everything changes the night her childhood friend, Khalil is gunned down by a police officer while driving her home from a party. The shooting becomes national news with everyone wanting to know what really happened that night, and the only one who knows is Starr. A wonderfully written and heartbreaking debut that will stay with you even after you finish the last page. Highly Recommended. Michelle, Information & Reader Services

      Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (F WARD, J.)
      Thirteen-year-old Jojo wants to learn what it takes to be a man and to take care of his three-year-old sister Kayla. They are cared for by their grandparents, pop and mam, while their black mama, Leonie, a drug addict, flits in and out of their lives and their white father, Michael, is in and out of prison. With Michael's recent prison sentence coming to an end, Leonie loads the children and a friend in her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. A beautifully written and heartbreaking family drama about race, love and ghosts. Highly Recommended. Michelle, Information & Reader Services

    • The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant: The Complete Annotated Edition by Ulysses S. Grant and John F. Marszalek (Editor) (973.82 G763a)
      The best book on Grant is still the one he wrote himself. Often described as taciturn, Grant was an excellent storyteller among his friends and acquaintances. The original edition of his memoirs was sold door-to-door by former Union soldiers in the 1880s and has never been out of print. This annotated edition provides essential perspective and context for the story of a remarkable man and his role in history. Julia, Information & Reader Services

      Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris (155.92 H315)
      This brilliant book explores the benefits of occasionally breaking away from the ever-growing atmosphere of always being connected to each other (whether it's YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), or relying so completely on the selected choices offered by various agencies. Lisa, Membership Services

      Autumn of the Black Snake: The Creation of the U.S. Army and the Invasion That Opened the West by William Hogeland (973.4 H715)
      Interesting portraits of Miami and Shawnee war leaders, Little Turtle and Blue Jacket. Chad, New Media


      Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym (B K99)
      The author recounts her life as a violin prodigy and the psychological undoing she suffered as an adult when her prized violin was stolen under her nose in a busy cafe. She writes movingly about her connection to her teachers and works of music. She also makes clear that artistic achievement does not come without a cost. Cynthia, Youth Services

      The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy (B L6681)
      This memoir, based on the author's New Yorker article "Thanksgiving in Mongolia", details the author's horror of delivering her 5-month-old live fetus alone in a Mongolian hotel room. The memoir also recounts her work life, bisexuality, and lesbian marriage and divorce. Levy is a compelling writer who does not seem at all concerned with her likeability (which makes her very likeable!). Cynthia, Youth Services

      Quicksand: What It Means to Be a Human Being by Henning Mankell (B M278)
      In January 2014, Henning Mankell was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. This book was his response. Published after his death in October 2015, this book contains a series of reflections (some autobiographical, some not) on what it means to live and to die. Ruminating on everything from pivotal moments in his childhood to what human beings will leave behind after they're gone to the paralyzing terror of death, Mankell's essays are extraordinarily moving and brave. They manage to be both comforting and unsettling and are well worth a read. Michelle, Technical Services

      The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore (363.179 M822)
      Don't be fooled by the modest size of this book. It's a riveting revelation, full of fleshed out individuals with distinctive characteristics and stories. It's full of adversity and hope. The Radium Girls have left a significant legacy behind them, which will continue to benefit the world ad infinitum. Lisa, Membership Services

      Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast (GRAPHIC NOVEL 917.471 C489)
      What began as a guide for her daughter leaving for college in Manhattan cartoonist Roz Chast has expanded it into a quirky, funny homage to New York City. David, Membership Services We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates (973.932 C652) Coates follows up his ground-breaking Between the World and Me with this thought-provoking collection of essays. He has become a leading voice on the African American experience. Essential reading. Julia, Information & Reader Services

      It's All Absolutely Fine: Life Is Complicated So I’ve Drawn It Instead by Ruby Elliot (GRAPHIC NOVEL 362.2 EL46)
      Elliot shares insights into her life and the terrible and strange and hilarious things life can do to a person struggling with mental illness. Combining short introspective essays with simple drawings of not-so-simple issues, she captures the humor and melancholy of everyday life. From mood disorders, anxiety, and issues with body image through to existential conversations, her thoughts are inspirational, empowering, and entertaining. Robin, Membership Services

      The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies by Jason Fagone (B F9113f)
      Elizabeth Friedman, along with her husband, defined modern codebreaking. From the First World War through the 1950s, she cracked codes of rum runners, criminals, and wartime enemies as encryption methods got increasingly complex. Fagone gives her a well-deserved and fascinating turn in the spotlight. Laurie, Information & Reader Services

      The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (B K694f)
      The story of a man who lived in the woods of Maine totally off the grid for 27 years. Regarded as both a hero and a thief by neighbors whose homes he raided for supplies, he managed to escape detection. Some felt he was a myth, but he survived without human contact the entire time. David, Membership Services

      The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen (947.086 G392)
      This chilling account chronicles Russia's brief flirtation with democracy as well as its descent into a fearsome autocracy. Gessen expertly details the forces behind Putin's rise to power. She also includes testimonies from four young people who grew up in post-Soviet Russia and personally witnessed the dreams of democracy crumble. You don't have to be a historian or political scientist to appreciate this detailed, fascinating monograph. Hannah, Youth Services

      Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (970.3 Os81g)
      An examination of a little-known period in American history. Osage Indians made wealthy by the discovery of oil on their land are exploited and systematically murdered by greedy outsiders. Eventually investigated by men who became the modern FBI, but not until numerous murders had been committed. David, Membership Services

      At the beginning of the 20th century, Principal Chief James Bigheart of the Osage Nation deftly negotiated with the United States government for the mineral rights to the poor-quality land allotted to the Osage. Within twenty years, leasing out the oil-mining rights had made the Osage the richest nation per capita in the world. But despite the advantages money usually brings, they were dying at a much higher rate than their white neighbors. David Grann investigates the conspirators who swindled and murdered the Osage, perhaps over decades, in this new work of American history. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      The Decibel Diaries: A Journey Through Rock in 50 Concerts by Carter Alan (781.66078 AL31)
      I read this book in chunks at a time, like a vicarious spectator at a huge music festival, comprised of artists like Neil Young, B.B. King, Yes, Ramones, Eric Clapton, Talking Heads, Tom Petty, Black Crowes, Nirvana, Bush and many other well-regarded musicians. His observations about the performances were enlightening gems of experience. Lisa, Membership Services

      Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations by John P. Avlon (973.41 AV95)
      Timeless advice from the Father of our country warns us about the dangers of political party dissension and despotism. For people who believe in small “d” democracy and the responsibilities of citizenship. Julia, Information & Reader Services Well researched and readable book that, by focusing on his farewell address, gives significant insight into the man who was our first president, how his words influenced the presidents who came after him, and how it resonates with what is going on today. Chad, New Media

      Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime by Ben Blum (364.1552 B658)
      Alex Blum’s dream was to become an U.S. Army Ranger and he did. The day before he was to leave for Iraq, he and three other men robbed a bank. Was it a training exercise as Alex claimed? Or was he under the influence of his commanding officer who planned the heist as the author claims? Jacki, Information & Reader Services

      Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam by Mark Bowden (959.704342 B784)
      Bowden tells the story of this pivotal battle from the points of view of participants from all sides - North Vietnamese, Viet Cong, South Vietnamese, United States soldiers, journalists, and noncombatants. His descriptions of the building-to-building combat are riveting and exhausting. His descriptions of the out of touch Army command will make you want to scream. Laurie, Information & Reader Services

      Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat (641.5 N897)
      This "uncookbook" is less about how to cook specific recipes and more about how the four elements named in the title—salt, fat, acid, heat—function in the creation of good food. Unlike some chefs whose advice focuses on a single "right" outcome, Nosrat provides a broad and practical approach to understanding and improving what you're doing in the kitchen, including some simple experiments and ideas for fixing mistakes. The second half of the book does provide a supply of recipes to practice working with salt, fat, acid, and heat, which you'll be well ready to try after reading about so much deliciousness. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Pandora's Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong by Paul A. Offit (500 Of32)
      The author presents several instances throughout history, when the foundations for certain "scientific breakthroughs" (morphine, eugenics, butter substitutes, megavitamins, chemical warfare) eventually crumbled under the scrutiny of those dealing with the dangerous side effects. He offers some helpful guidelines when evaluating the validity of the latest "scientific" claims (which we could use more than ever these days). Lisa, Membership Services

      A Grace Paley Reader: Stories, Essays, and Poetry by Grace Paley (818 P158g)
      This compact selection of Grace Paley’s short stories, essays, and poems is great both for long-time fans and for readers new to her. Doris Lessing--like Paley, a great writer of women--wrote that the sixties are "seen, sometimes wrongly, as the starting point for all kinds of behavior that in fact began in the fifties—or before." Grace Paley informs us that also in the forties (or before) there was sex, married women seeking abortions, and single women raising children. Her stories feature ordinary people doing ordinary things, with wryness and humor. Her essays and poems mostly address writing and activism, as done by ordinary women and mothers, of which she was an extraordinary example. With an introduction by George Saunders. Catherine, Information & Reader Services

      Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation by Brad Ricca (363.25 H924r)
      Grace Humiston is a very smart woman of means. She proves that “women’s intuition” is really just a thorough examination of the facts, a deep knowledge of the law, asking the right questions, and persistence. New York in the early 1900s was the place to be if you were a forward-thinking career woman dedicated to improving the lives of immigrants. Fascinating! Robin, Membership Services

      Will It Skillet?: 53 Irresistible and Unexpected Recipes to Make in a Cast-Iron Skillet by Daniel Shumski (641.77 Sh56)
      Of course, it will! The cinnamon roll was amazing! A cookbook for people who enjoy approaching a meal with enthusiasm for how it is made as well as how it tastes. Fun recipes. Robin, Membership Services

      On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder (321.9 Sn67)
      Snyder has written extensively about the history of dictatorship in Europe and the Soviet Union in the twentieth century. In this slim book, sized to fit in your pocket for easy reference, he distills down his insights into how fascism and dictatorship get a foothold and grow, how to be aware of what is happening, and how to resist. Laurie, Information & Reader Services

    • Backman, Fredrik. Britt-Marie Was Here
      Britt-Marie was no longer happy, so she left her 40-year marriage to start her life anew. But it was not easy, for Britt-Marie was used to her neat and orderly life, and the crumbling town of Borg, and the children of the soccer team she will be coaching are neither neat nor orderly. With every passing day her bond with the children and the town grows deeper, but will she finally find the place she belongs? Funny and heartwarming, this is a great read for anyone looking for a feel-good book - Michelle, Information & Reader Services

      Bennett, Brit. The Mothers
      This debut novel has received lots of buzz! Nadia is a motherless teen, about to depart for college who enters into a relationship with Luke, the pastor's son, and befriends Aubrey, also motherless.  The story pulled me in and I was rooting for Nadia and her dad to find happiness. – Beth, Marketing Specialist

      Bjørk, Samuel. I'm Traveling Alone
      A six-year-old girl is found in the Norwegian countryside, hanging lifeless from a tree and dressed in strange doll's clothes. Around her neck is a sign that says "I'm traveling alone." A special homicide unit in Oslo re-opens with veteran police investigator Holger Munch at the helm. He is joined by the brilliant but haunted investigator Mia Krüger, who has been living on an isolated island, overcome by memories of her past. When Mia views a photograph of the crime scene and spots the number "1" carved into the dead girl's fingernail, she knows this is only the beginning. This may seem like a standard serial killer novel, but what sets this book apart is its strong characters and the fact that it manages to be truly terrifying without resorting to graphic violence and genre clichés. - Michelle, Technical Services

      Chevalier, Tracy. At the Edge of the Orchard
      This historical novel, by the author of "The Girl with the Pearl Earring" takes the reader across 19th century America, traveling New England to the "Black Swamps" of Ohio and visits by Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman); to the Pacific Coast's Sequoia Groves where William Lobb collects botanical specimens.  Family dysfunction, alcoholism, violence, and ingenuity intersperse with well-researched descriptions and insights on apple farming and Californian flora and fauna.  The writing is excellent.  The story line seems to lend itself to sequels. – Nancy, Information & Reader Services

      Donoghue, Emma. The Wonder
      When an English nurse is called to investigate a supposed "miracle" in a small Irish village, she discovers a girl who appears to be surviving without food. However, as time goes on, the dark truth of the situation reveals itself to be anything but holy. Another compelling blend of history and psychological fiction that Donoghue is known for. This novel is sure to stick with you long after you finish reading it.  - Rachel, Information & Reader Services.

      Haigh, Jennifer. Heat and Light
      Jennifer Haigh's novel takes us back to Bakerton, PA, the setting of her 2005 family saga Baker Towers. It is some decades later, and Bakerton is a coal mining town in its last throes. That is, until we learn it sits atop an enormous deposit of natural gas. Let the fracking begin. Heat and Light, with its eclectic cast of characters, pits small town against big (greedy) business, and everyone has a stake in the game. -Barbara, Information & Reader Services

      Hashimi, Nadia. A House Without Windows
      In A House Without Windows an Afghanistan woman, from a small village, is put in jail while she awaits trial for murdering her husband. This novel illuminates the plight of women living in societies where customs, laws, and organizations are so different then our western values. – Cindy, Membership Services

      Hawley, Noah. Before the Fall
      After a small plane crashes into the ocean carrying a group of influential people, including a media mogul, a wall street titan and their families, everyone is desperate to find out why. What or who is responsible? The only two survivors, a down and out painter and a 4-year-old boy form a delicate bond based on their shared experience and together deal with the aftermath. 'Before the Fall' tells the stories of those who perished before reaching the dramatic conclusion of what really happened. Highly recommended. - Michelle, Information & Reader Services

      Holt, Anne. No Echo
      When a popular celebrity chef is found murdered on the steps of the Oslo police headquarters, police investigator Billy T. and long-absent Hanne Wilhelmsen team up for an investigation that reveals that few people really knew the victim or his mysterious activities. The third of four Hanne Wilhelmsen novels released in 2016, No Echo stands out for its well-drawn characters. From the victim, who was so loathed that he was murdered twice to Hanne herself, who is still reeling from a devastating personal loss, No Echo is one of those books that lingers long after you've finished turning the pages. – Michelle, Technical Services

      Johnson, Julia Claiborne. Be Frank With Me
      Alice, an assistant for a New York publisher, is sent to Los Angeles to watch over an author working on her long-awaited second novel.  She becomes part of the family, trying to help at the same time she's trying to figure out the author and her quirky 9 year old son.  Funny and thought provoking, this is an entertaining read – Laurie, Information & Reader Services

      Semple, Maria. Today Will Be Different
      Eleanor wakes up determined to have a good day, but then life happens. After she picks up her "sick" son from school, they embark on a strange sort of odyssey around Seattle, unearthing dark secrets from Eleanor's past and revealing uncomfortable truths about her marriage. Although tackling some pretty serious themes, this novel is laugh out loud funny and a true gem for anyone who enjoys humor, good writing and women's fiction. - Rachel, Information & Reader Services

      Svensson, Anton. The Father
      A novel inspired by the true story of three brothers, all under the age of 24, who held Sweden to ransom, committing ten bank robberies over a period of just two years. None had committed a crime before. Written under a pseudonym by the fourth brother, Stefan Thunberg, who did not participate in the robberies, and journalist Anders Roslund, this book is a riveting story of brotherhood, loyalty, and what happens when the relationship between a parent and child goes very wrong. The authors are currently writing a sequel. – Michelle, Technical Services

      Towles, Amor. A Gentleman in Moscow
      The story opens in June 1922 as 32 year old Russian aristocrat, Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced by a Bolshevik tribunal to life imprisonment in the luxurious Metropol Hotel in Moscow. Accepting his incarceration with grace and bemused nonchalance, Rostov finds his life filled with surprising adventure and purpose. Amor Towles’ writing, like his main character, is elegant, sophisticated, witty and charming. –Julia, Director of Adult Services

      Vaughan, Brian K. Paper Girls
      A graphic novel set the day after Halloween in 1988. Four 12 year old girls start the day out on their regular paper route but the day quickly turns into a surreal adventure running from monsters and trying to figure out why everyone in their town is disappearing. Anyone who liked watching Stranger Things should love this. – Shannon, Film & Music

      Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad
      The metaphorical Underground Railroad is real in Whitehead’s tour de force adventure tale; a story of one woman’s desperate struggle to escape the horrors of slavery and a powerful meditation on the continuing journey to real freedom. A ground-breaking and essential read. –Julia, Director of Adult Services

      Willis, Connie. Crosstalk
      In a near-future America, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners is all the rage. The main character of the novel, Briddey Flannigan, undergoes this procedure with her boyfriend, Trent, and to say it doesn't work out as she planned is an understatement. Alternately funny and terrifying, Crosstalk portrays the dangers of constant connection and communication without being preachy, obvious, or boring. I couldn't put it down. – Michelle, Technical Services

    • Bascomb, Neal. Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler's Atomic Bomb
      Bascomb is a master of making history read like a thriller.  In his sixth book he tells the amazing story of a group of Norwegian resistance fighters who repeatedly sabotaged the heavy water plant that was the only supply for Hitler's atomic bomb program.  – Laurie, Information & Reader Services

      Benincasa, Sara. Real Artists Have Day Jobs (And Other Awesome Things They Don't Teach You in School)
      A sassy, savvy and entertaining book of 52 essays, that make the sun brighter and the clouds less gray. – Lisa, Membership Services

      Bergner, Daniel. Sing for Your Life: a Story of Race, Music, and Family
      This is the inspiring story of 30-year-old African American opera singer Ryan Speedo Green, who as a child spent time in a juvenile detention center, often under solitary confinement.  Through determination and hope he was able to overcome his rage and violent temper and eventually find a place where he could flourish.  Green is now singing at the Metropolitan and the Vienna State Operas, two of the greatest operatic theaters in the world. – Sylvana, Film & Music


      Boilen, Bob. Your Song Changed My Life: From Jimmy Page to St. Vincent, Smokey Robinson to Hozier, Thirty-Five Beloved Artists on Their Journey and the Music That Inspired It
      A collection of interviews that celebrate and explore the passionate influence of music on an extra-ordinary group of performers. – Lisa, Membership Services

      Burnett, Dean. Idiot Brain: What Your Head is Really Up To
      Stand-up comedian and neuroscientist, Dean Burnett writes an amusing and enlightening book on the weird and peculiar processes of the brain. Why do you enter a room and forget what you were going to do? Why do you remember faces but not names? Burnett admits that the brain is “undeniably impressive, but it’s far from perfect, and these imperfections influence everything humans, say, do and experience.” An entertaining and thoughtful explanation of our why our brains cause us to do such whacky things.  –Julia, Information & Reader Services

      Carr, Nicholas. Utopia is Creepy: And Other Provocations
      This collects several insightful posts from the author's blog "Rough Type", that point out the blind spots of the digital age. – Lisa, Membership Services

      Dove, Rita. Collected Poems: 1974-2004
      This is an excellent collection of outstanding work by one of our exceptional poet laureates. It's the kind of book I'll buy, just so I can dip into it, and enjoy the poems without rushing. I love the ones in "Museum", "Thomas and Beulah", "Mother Love", you get the idea. – Lisa, Membership Services

      Edwards, Gavin. The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-Life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party
      The profound and the humorous come together in this engaging book about a unique individual (and he loves poetry too. Be still my heart). – Lisa, Membership Services


      Gaiman, Neil. The View from the Cheap Seats
      I confess, I love this author, and I love this book. I've ordered a copy, because it's perfect for  dipping into. It contains all of my favorite subjects, such as books and bookworms, libraries and librarians, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, Doctor Who, James Thurber, science fiction, fantasy, and many other topics. – Lisa, Membership Services


      Gleick, James. Time Travel: A History
      “The universe is like a river. It flows. (Or it doesn’t, if you’re Plato.)” Gleick's quirky sense of humor is super entertaining and his bonus suggested reading list is priceless!  A marvelous mind bender! –Chad, New Media
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      An exploration of the conundrum known as "time". Citing examples from H.G.Wells, Proust, Einstein, Feynman, Asimov, and many other commentators on a subject that inspires theories, assumptions, and several nifty books and films as well. -Lisa, Membership Services

      Hamilton, Mary. Trials of the Earth
      A long lost manuscript written in 1933 by Mary Mann Hamilton finally sees print in Trials of the Earth, an autobiography that recounts the life of one of the first women to settle in the Mississippi Delta during the last quarter of the 19th Century.  Life was incredibly harsh at that time and place. Many of Mary's children died in infancy. Strangers often became quick friends, or allies, in order to share knowledge, pool resources and survive. Through her many difficult and harrowing adventures, Mary keeps her humor intact. Over the years, we witness how she comes to deeply love a man with a mysterious past whom she only very reluctantly married as a deathbed promise. This book informs and inspires while helping the reader feel gratitude for all we have and the possibilities our own lives hold. -Amy, Membership Services

      Harrison, Jim. Dead Man's Float
      He shares his gritty outlook, while creating unforgettable connections between it and the essence of beauty contained within them. I loved "Reverse Prayer", "Seventy-Four", "Spirit", "Books", "Life", and basically, everything else. – Lisa, Membership Services

      Hochschild, Adam. Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939.
      The author employs individual narratives of Americans who (clandestinely) joined the fight against Francisco Franco to defend the young Spanish Republic.  Impeccable research, historiography and analysis weave personal narratives and ideology with unfolding events. – Nancy, Information & Reader Services

      Homolka, Michael. Antiquity
      The past and present become fluid in these poems. The atrocities, as in the "Goshen" and "Emanation" ones, could be from earlier decades, or just yesterday. My favorite, non-violent ones are "Listen Up Medusa", "Riposte to Ode", and "Phenomenon". – Lisa, Membership Services

      Hurley, Kameron. The Geek Feminist Revolution
      A powerful writer, who doesn't mince words when discussing feminism, ethics, bullying, censorship, gender/lifestyle bashing, and the barriers writers come up against in their quest to follow their aspirations. – Lisa, Membership Services

      Kalanithi, Paul. When Breath Becomes Air
      Well written and emotional. I thought it was awesome. – Gus, Information & Reader Services
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      A heartbreaking and powerful memoir written by a young neurosurgeon after he is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Yes, it is a story about dying, but also an exploration of how to live with purpose and die gracefully on your own terms. - Rachel, Information & Reader Services

      Kelly, Kevin. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future
      “The internet is the world’s largest copy machine.” Kelly is a relentless optimist when it comes to technology but is also intelligent enough to avoid utopian trappings. He throws a ton of "what ifs" at you and one or two of them just might leave you thunderstruck, in the best possible way of course! –Chad, New Media

      Knisley, Lucy. Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride
      Lucy Knisley provides funny and heartwarming stories from her personal life, while also showing interesting facts about the wedding industry. If you enjoyed her other graphic memoir about food, Relish, you will be happy to find recipes as well as instructions for DIY projects. It's also full of wedding planning tips and fascinating wedding myths and traditions from different cultures. – Karina, Youth Services

      Phillips, Patrick. Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America
      A very difficult, but important book about Forsyth County, Georgia where from 1912 to the 1990s it was America's only "whites-only" county. In 1912 a group of black men was accused of raping and killing a white woman. After a one day trial the men were hung, starting a series of arsons and threats by "night riders" that lead to all 1,098 black people to leave the county, never to return until late in the twentieth century. Well researched and heartbreaking, this is a must-read book for anyone who wants to know more about the deep roots of racial violence in America. - Michelle, Information & Reader Services

      Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
      It is the first time a book uses the ability to actually text the author while reading the book hence the title "Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal".  It’s clever, humorous and touching.  It is a sequel to her first autobiography, "Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. Volume one" but very different.  It's quick and enjoyable reading. Our library owns most of Amy's books.  She is a Chicago author and the author of many children's books as well as several for adults. - Laura, Film & Music

      Smith, Lee. Dimestore: A Writer's Life
      I didn't think I'd find anything in common with fiction author Lee Smith's memoir of growing up in Appalachia.  This book explores universal themes of place, love and loss, and will appeal to everyone. – Laurie, Information & Reader Services

      Thompson, Heather Ann. Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
      Excellent research and writing - for those of us that lived through that time this is such a revealing account of the way NY handled it.   – Mary, Information & Reader Services

      Vanderbilt, Tom. You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice
      This is the book I keep talking to people about. The author discusses what it means to "like" something, (food, music, books, etc.). He covers the agencies that collect that data, and the results they get from it (it turns out that what we don't choose, says just as much about us, as our preferences do). – Lisa, Membership Services

    • Atkinson, Kate. A God in Ruins.
      A companion novel to 2013's Life After Life, A God in Ruins follows the life of Teddy Todd as he navigates the personal and global events of the 20th century. Beautifully written and stylistically profound, this novel will stay with you long after you have finished. The extraordinary life of one ordinary man.

      Bolton, Sharon.  Little Black Lies.
      In the early "90s, children started going missing in a small community in the Falkland Islands. This directly affects three specific Islanders- Catrin, a woman who lost her sons in a terrible accident, Callum, a troubled veteran of the Falkland War, and Rachel, Catrin's former best friend. I loved this book for being more interested in examining how loss and violence and grief change people and relationships than in being a simple whodunnit about missing children.

      Brandt, Harry and Price, Richard. The Whites.
      Follow the life of Billy Graves who is the night shift commander of a New York police department. Witness as they endure the stresses of the job and the daily grind of their everyday life. I enjoyed this book because of the character development. This book is authentic; it felt like I was watching the TV show "The Wire" but in a book. Gritty and thought provoking.

      Cantor, Jillian. The Hours Count.
      A fascinating fictional account of Ethyl and Julius Rosenberg told from the point of view of a neighbor who gets involved with more that she can handle as she wonders whether her own husband is a spy. It's a window into the cold war and life in post-World War II New York City.

      Flournoy, Angela. The Turner House.
      The thirteen Turner children all grew up in the house on Yarrow Street on Detroit's East Side. Now, as their ailing Mother is forced to leave home and move in with her eldest son, the family discovers the house is worth next to nothing. The Turner children must come together in order to decide the fate of their childhood home while also confronting the ghosts of their pasts.

      Freeman, Anna. The Fair Fight.
      Two unlikely women in Regency England cross paths and change each others destinies. Ruth, a tough prize-fighter raised in a Bristol brothel, and Charlotte, manor-born and suffocated by class expectations, meet after Ruth suffers a disastrous defeat in the ring. Fast-paced and overflowing with historical detail, The Fair Fight is a spirited story of courage and power.

      Gornick, Lisa. Louisa Meets Bear.
      A quietly powerful collection of linked short stories surrounding two ill-fated lovers, Louisa and Bear. With each new story, the reader must decipher the relationship the character has to Louisa and Bear; where they crossed paths during their lifetimes. These interwoven tales of love and family are engrossing and deeply human.

      Har'even, Gayil. Lies, First Person.
      A middle-aged Israeli woman in a comfortable marriage with well-adjusted children finds her life spinning out of control when her estranged uncle, author of the novel "Hitler, First Person," and molester of her sister, announces he's coming for a visit. This novel was brilliant, from the writing style (especially the unreliable, circular narration), all the way to how it gets the reader (me, in this case) to think about how we really talk about, deal with, and confront evil.

      Miller, Frank. Batman: The Dark Knight Saga.
      The thrilling conclusion to the Dark Knight saga is now here. Batman returns to face his greatest challenge... the dawn of a master race. Written by Frank Miller, author of The Dark Knight Returns, arguably one of the greatest graphic novels ever.

      Morton, Kate. The Lake House.
      A young boy disappears during a lavish party at his family's estate in Cornwall. The case remains i=unsolved for 60 years until a young detective stumbles upon the abandoned estate and seeks to unlock its many secrets including what happened on the night the child went missing. History, family, mystery, and a split yet deftly interlocking time frame make Kate Morton's latest novel a wonderful page turner.

      Moshfegh, Ottessa. Eileen.
      The title character leads a dreary, narrow existence both at home with her abusive, alcoholic father and at her office job as a boys' juvenile detention center. Eileen is hopeful that the weight of her innate strangeness and isolation will finally be alleviated by a beautiful, young psychologist who joins the staff at work. But the looming sense of dread and unease that is present from the novel's beginning is frighteningly justified at the novel's end.

      Russell, Mary Doria. Epitaph: a novel of the O.K. Corral.
      We all think we know the story of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. In this historical novel, Mary Doria Russell makes life and death in Tombstone, Arizona, come alive with historical details about the U.S. Marshalls, justice in the old west, and how Earp's wife, Josephine, made sure that the Wyatt Earp legend would live on.

      Snyder, Scott. Wytches: Volume 1.
      Scott Snyder's new series is soon to be a horror comic classic. Throughout the years, many people died or were persecuted because of witchcraft. None of these people were witches, but the true witches that so exist are even scarier and more frightening then you could possibly imagine. These witches are mysterious, rare, secretive, but quite deadly.

      Tremayne, S. K. The Ice Twins.
      Is it Kirstie or Lydia? After one of their identical twin daughters dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to a tiny Scottish island hoping to rebuild their lives. As their surviving daughter grows increasingly disturbed, new revelations come to light as to what happened on that fateful day. The suspenseful and creepy atmosphere heighten the isolation and fear within the characters and haunt the reader until the very end.

      Tyler, Anne. A Spool of Blue Thread. 
      Anchored by their Baltimore home, four generations of the Whitshank family are revealed through the emotion complexities that all families have. Humorous, dazzling and impeccably written, this novel was short listed for the Man Booker Prize.

      Ware, Ruth. In a Dark, Dark Wood.
      For a first novel, Ware writes an excellent thriller with much suspense, a bit of humor in the right places and a number of characters with flaws. Many old friends are reacquainted, at Clare's hen party. For Nora, it has been 10 years since she has seen her once best friend. What secrets will be revealed? Should Nora trust her gut or is it just Nora's guarded personality? Forget about making dinner, this book is a thrilling story which will keep you guessing until the end.

    • Bell, Gertrude and Howell, Georgina. A Woman in Arabia: the writings of the Queen of the Desert.
      Writings of the brilliant and multifaceted Gertrude Bell, an English woman who devoted her life to traveling and understanding the Arab world. Her exceptional grasp of the difficult Arabic language made her a valuable agent for the British dealing with early 20th century Arabs. Sometimes referred to as "the female Lawrence of Arabia".

      Cavolo, Ricardo. 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die.
      I have an uneven relationship with graphic novels, but this one is not only visually stimulating, it's fun and informative too (and I picked up several new artists to try out as well).

      Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me.
      In this heartfelt memoir/letter to his teenage son, Coates reflects on racial identity, its impact on his life and on his son's future. A stirring message for all people that black lives matter.

      Cornwell, Bernard. Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies, and Three Battles.
      Cornwell, normally a historical fiction writer, authors a compelling work of nonfiction in Waterloo. The book takes the reader through the grueling four days of the Battle of Waterloo from the perspective of Napoleon and Wellington. It is fascinating to learn these two leaders, known as the best military minds of their time, took small missteps on each of their parts that could have led to a different outcome. A great book for history buffs.

      Day, Felicia. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost).
      A delightful, smart, and funny book about the one of a kind Ms. Day, who had a quirky upbringing, which probably helped her navigate an even more unusual career.

      Edin, Kathryn J. $2.00 a Day: living on almost nothing in America.
      An examination about extreme poverty in America; why has poverty increased over the past 20 years, how do these families survive on little or no income, and how can the country address the issue of income inequality.

      Goldberg, Daniel and Larsson, Linus. The State of Play: creators and critics on video game culture.
      As a non-gamer, I was enthralled by the 14 essays in this book that explored and discussed issues of gaming entertainment, such as race, gender, violence, death, sex, and fantasy. It raised points that I'll be thinking about for quite awhile.

      Goodman, Simon. The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family's Art Treasures Stolen by the Nazis.
      When Simon Goodman's father passed away, he left behind boxes of files revealing he was not the quintessential British gentleman they thought he was. Born Bernard Guttman, primary heir of a prominent German banking family, Bernard had been trying to recover the family's extensive art collection plundered during World War II. Simon and his brother take up the search and learn their heartbreaking family history in the process.

      Green, Kristen. Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle.
      After the Brown v the Board of Education decision, Prince Edward County, VA., closed its public schools and opened private, all-white schools. The author examines the effect of the closure on the community and her family's role in the decision.

      Larson, Eric. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.
      Larson does it again! The suspenseful dual narrative of Dead Wake captures the looming disaster as experienced by those who lived it, the sad reckoning of lives lost, and the inevitable "if only" we could reach across time to send a warning.

      Lyndsey, Anna. Girl in the Dark: A Memoir.
      Imagine being allergic to light. That is Anna's reality. Once an ambitious young woman, she is now confined to live most of her days in a completely blacked-out room. Fascinatingly, she continues on with her life, fighting against the unbearable loneliness and instead finding the beauty in her new existence. A resonating and brave story.

      Marsh, Henry. Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death, and Brain Surgery.
      Marsh, one of Britain's foremost neurosurgeons, shares stories from the surgery in this riveting memoir, an examination of the exhilaration of successful operations and the despair of failure. Candid and compassionate.

      McCullough, David. The Wright Brothers.
      McCullough is a master storyteller at his best in relating the amazing story of two "ordinary" men whose genius, courage, innovation, and perseverance achieved human flight.

      Rauchway, Eric. The Money Makers: How Roosevelt and Keynes Ended the Depression, Defeated Fascism, and Secured a Prosperous Peace.
      Who was John Maynard Keynes and why does it still matter? An innovative economist and a bold president introduced a monetary policy with far-reaching effects that continues to influence the global economy. Worth more that the paper it's printed on.

      Turkle, Sherry. Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of a Talk in a Digital Age.
      Wonderful book. Amazing as it touches on so many aspects of our lives that are interlinked with technology. If you keep your smart phone on the table during dinner... read this.

      Wulf, Andrea. The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World.
      An attractive and engaging biography of Alexander von Humboldt, a somewhat forgotten 19th century giant in the field of natural sciences. A native of Germany, he spent time as a young man on scientific expeditions in Latin America, where began his vision of the natural world as holistic and interdependent, a foundation of the modern concept of environmentalism.

    • Beah, Ishmael. Radiance of Tomorrow
      Best known for his memoir A Long Way Gone, Beah here fictionalizes some of the same territory in a novel of Sierra Leone recovering in the wake of civil war. Appealing characters and an engaging writing style which lyrically recalls the oral traditions of the villagers rebuilding their town and trying to heal their wounds in the process, Radiance of Tomorrow is both a beautiful and an important read.


      Faber, Michel. The Book of Strange New Things
      A missionary leaves Earth and his wife behind to spread Christianity to a race of beings eager for stories of redemption and the Afterlife. On a planet with rain that falls in spirals, the preacher befriends the aliens and becomes more estranged from his wife and all things Earth as he learns of the increasing number of disasters that occur back home and cause his wife to doubt her faith in God. Eventually he must choose between two very different worlds. 


      Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven
      Twenty years after a super flu devastated civilization as we know it, a band of musicians and actors travel along the great lakes, attempting to keep the culture they love alive while also dealing with the dangerous realities of the new American landscape. A linked narrative tells the story of a group of passengers stranded in a small airport when the epidemic breaks-out, who must learn how to survive in isolation and navigate the new social politics of their situation. The two stories weave themselves together, exploring the importance of retaining humanity and culture in a strange new world. 


      Oyeyemi, Helen. Boy, Snow, Bird
      Oyeyemi’s novel ingeniously builds upon the framework of the Snow White fairy tale to tell a story of love, fear, identity, and prejudice set in 1950s Massachusetts. Alternately narrated by Boy, her daughter Bird, and her stepdaughter Snow, the fully-realized characters build a complex and unforgettable story. 


      Paull, Laline. The Bees
      Set in the fascinating world of a regimented bee hive, Flora 717 is born into the lowest rung on the social ladder, as a sanitation worker. However, her uncharacteristic curiosity, courage and dangerous ability to breed set her on a course into the inner sanctum of the Hive, where she uncovers disturbing truths about the beloved Queen bee and the supposedly sacred laws that she and her fellow bees accept without question. This is a suspenseful, thrilling and brilliantly imagined dystopian tale.   

      Quindlen, Anna. Still Life with Bread Crumbs
      In this elegant tale about what it means to grow older, Rebecca Winter, an aging “one hit wonder” photographer, flees to a small town to recoup her finances and reconnect with herself. While there, she meets Jim Bates, a roofer, and starts taking photos of the eerie shrines she finds in the woods behind her cottage. Neither are what they seem. This multi-leveled story is moving, deceptively deep and a pure pleasure to read. 


      Rojstaczer, Stuart. The Mathematician’s Shiva
      When a famous mathematician dies, her eccentric colleagues and rivals descend on Madison, Wisconsin for her funeral.  Her son wants to grieve in peace but the mathematicians insist on sitting shiva with him.  Rojstaczer beautifully portrays a woman who triumphed through many seminal events of the twentieth century, dealt with sexism and academic chicanery, and the effect she had on her loved ones and her field. 

      Smiley, Jane. Some Luck
      The first of a planned trilogy that follows the Langdons, an Iowa farm family for 100 years. Through the 1920s, the depression and drought, World War II and mechanization, the pace of change for this family is ever accelerating as the next generation moves into the future. The bad news is that you have to wait for the next installment to find out the rest of the story. 


      Waters, Sarah. The Paying Guests
      In post WWI London, Frances, a young “spinster”, and her widowed mother are forced to take on lodgers in order to avoid poverty. After a modern young couple, Lillian and Leonard Barber, move in upstairs, Frances’s life is disrupted in ways that she never thought possible. Waters presents both a moving love story and a tense crime drama in this engrossing historical novel.  


      Weir, Andy. The Martian
      An astronaut is left behind on Mars during a mission gone wrong. Now Mark Watney must figure out how to survive with limited supplies and no communication with NASA or his team. This book is equal parts hilarious and thrilling as Mark uses his humor, inventive skill and imagination to get through each day on the lonely red planet. 


      Williams, Niall. History of the Rain
      From her attic room in the family's County Clare home, disabled Ruth Swain uses her father's books to decode the secrets of his troubled life, hoping to record his story before she dies. A fierce protagonist, mystical setting and a family's sad history make this an exquisite and moving book. Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.  

    • Boyd, Danah. It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens
      The author explores misconceptions behind teens and how they use social media.  Her findings are revealing and a must read for parents, teachers, those who work with teens and/or anyone fascinated by the effect that new technologies have on our society and culture.  

      Chast, Roz. Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant
      In her inimitable way, Roz Chast, cartoonist for the New Yorker, chronicles her family life as an only child and her experience dealing with the declining health and death of her parents.  

      Gawande, Atul. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
      Gawande explores how, as a result of modern technologies, the medical establishment has been focused on preserving life instead of ways to better approach death.   Using engaging stories and research, he offers musings on how Americans can do better in coping with decline and death. 

      Jacobsen, Annie. Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America
      As World War II morphed into the Cold War, “inconvenient” Nazi backgrounds were overlooked to allow hundreds of scientists, and too many self-promoting bureaucrats, to immigrate to the United States.  At times Jacobsen can barely contain her indignation at the injustice that allowed ghastly misdeeds to be ignored – or rewarded. 

      Lepore, Jill. The Secret History of Wonder Woman
      Behind the superhero Wonder Woman is the fascinating story of her creators, and the history of feminism. 

      Mullin, Jill. Drawing Autism
      A beautiful and encouraging book displaying the artwork of various individuals who have autism. 

      Pitts, Michael. Digging for Richard III: The Search for the Lost King
      The compelling account of the historic archeological dig led by a team from England’s Leicester University to uncover the remains of the infamous Richard III. The newly discovered information drawn from forensics gives us new perspective on the life of the legendary monarch. A gripping science adventure! 

      Pressman, Steven. 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission Into the Heart of Nazi Germany
      The little known story of an ordinary American couple who went to Germany just before the war to save Jewish children. Despite the dangers of isolationism and anti-Semitism, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus studied the law and used loopholes in the visa system to save over four dozen children. Their heroism is documented in this fascinating tale.  

      Ross, John F. Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed
      In a rather hagiographic biography, Ross tells the inspiring and thrilling story of Eddie Rickenbacker's death-defying exploits in the earliest days of auto racing, as America's greatest World War I flying ace, and in subsequent brushes with death.  An amazing tale of daredevilry, willpower and survival. 

      Sides, Hampton. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette 
      A riveting account of the attempt of the USS Jeannette to get to the North Pole in the late 1800’s.  Sides brings the era to life – the maps and technologies available, as well as the people obsessed with exploration. 

      Wall, Carol. Mister Owita's Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart
      Carol Wall, a teacher in Roanoke, Viriginia, hires Giles Owita, a Kenyan émigré of abundant good will and surprising knowledge, to help her renovate her yard.  This memoir is upbeat and surprising, even when relating difficult life and health issues. 

    • Fagan, Jenni. Panopticon.
      Like everyone else in the Panopticon, 15-year-old Anais Hendricks has been in and out of foster care practically since birth. "[B]orn in a nuthouse to nobody that was ever seen again," she had her only successful foster placement with a prostitute later stabbed to death (Anais found the body).

      Hill, Joe. NOS4A2
      Victoria McQueen has a knack for finding things. Riding her bicycle through an old covered bridge, she always emerges where she needs to be.

      Hosseini, Khaled. And the Mountains Echoed
      A novel about how people love, how they take care of each other,and how choices made today can resonate through future generations. 

      Jason. Lost Cat
      Both a playful take on the classic detective story, and a story about how difficult it is to find a sister spirit, someone you feel a real connection to-- and what do you do if you lose that person?

      Kent, Hannah. Burial Rites
      Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

      Messud, Claire. The Woman Upstairs
      Relegated to the status of schoolteacher after abandoning her dreams of becoming an artist, Nora advocates on behalf of a Lebanese student and is drawn into the child's family until his mother's ambition leads to betrayal.

      Meyer, Philipp. The Son
      A novel set amid Oslo's hierarchy of corruption, from which one very unusual young man is about to propel himself into a mission of brutal revenge.

      Ozeki, Ruth. A Tale for the Time Being
      In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there's only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates' bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao first plans to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun who's lived more than a century.

      Penny, Louise. How the Light Gets In
      In Three Pines, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache investigates the disappearance of a woman who was once one of the most famous people in the world and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

      Rindell, Suzanne. The Other Typist
      It is 1923. Rose Baker is a typist for the New York City Police Department. 

      Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor and Park
      Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

      Saunders, George. Tenth of December
      A collection of stories that includes "Home," a wryly whimsical account of a soldier's return from war; "Victory Lap," a tale about an inventive abduction attempt; and the title story, in which a suicidal cancer patient saves the life of a young misfit.

      Semple, Maria. Where’d You Go, Bernadette
      Bernadette is a frightfully intelligent wife and mother whose intense allergy to Seattle specifically, and to people in general, has driven her to hire a virtual assistant in India to execute even her most basic tasks.

      Wecker, Helene. The Golem and the Jinni
      Chava, a golem brought to life by a disgraced rabbi,and Ahmad, a jinni made of fire, form an unlikely friendship on the streets of New York until a fateful choice changes everything.

    • Rushkoff, Douglas. Present Shock.

      Zuckerman, Ethan. Rewire.

      Fink, Sheri. Five Days at Memorial.

      Lapsley, Philip. Exploding the Phone: The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell.

      Switek, Brian.  My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs.

      Federman, Mark Russ. Russ and Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House that Herring Built.

      Brown, Daniel.  The Boys in the Boat.

      Twain, Mark. Autobiography of Mark Twain.

      Muller, Melissa.  Anne Frank: The Biography.

      Guelzo, Allen.  Gettysburg: The Last Invasion.

      Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.

      Lepore, Jill. Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin.

    • The Diviners. Bray, Libba
      When aspiring flapper Evie, gets into trouble in her small Ohio town, she is sent to live with her uncle who runs the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult in New York. But Evie has a gift: she is able to see your secrets just from holding an object belonging to you. Soon, she’s called upon to defeat a frightening supernatural enemy. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this fast-paced period genre-bender.

      This Is How You Lose Her. Diaz, Junot
      Stories of love, betrayal, and the other constants of adult romantic relationships feature heavily in Pulitzer winner Diaz’s second story collection. Yunior, the loud-mouthed authorial stand-in protagonist Diaz continues to return to, is the narrator for most of these stories, and the landscape will be familiar to anyone well-versed in Diaz’s earlier work.

      Astray. Donoghue, Emma
      In a departure from her thriller, Room,Donoghue here returns to historical storytelling. Drawing inspiration from historical newspaper articles and stories, she creates a collection of short narratives that are remarkably engrossing. Using lushly detailed backdrops, she explores the themes of loss, struggle, love, grace and determination through richly drawn characters who are adrift in time and place, detached from their roots; gone astray.

      Half-Blood Blues. Edugyan, Esi
      This Booker Prize shortlisted novel evokes Berlin and Paris during World War II through the eyes of a rag-tag bunch of jazz musicians struggling to stay alive in a Berlin that has turned against jazz and turned against Jews, but also against half-breeds and black people of all nationalities. Cutting between 1940 and 1992, Half-Blood Blues is a story of race, friendship, secrets, and betrayal that showcases a side of World War II not often written about—that is, the story of the other, non-Jewish ethnic groups persecuted by the Reich.

      Gone Girl. Flynn, Gillian
      When Amy Dunne goes missing on her 5th wedding anniversary, her husband Nick is plunged into a nightmare of controversy and media attention that threatens to rip open his life and expose dark secrets about his life, his marriage, and his possible involvement in Amy’s disappearance—or death. Flynn’s break-out hit is a fast-paced, compelling thriller.

      The Fault in Our Stars. Green, John
      Hazel has resigned herself to being sick for a long time and then dying; That's just what happens when you have terminal cancer. But when she meets Augustus, a survivor in remission, at her usually uneventful cancer support group, both their lives change radically. This bittersweet novel from Green is a masterpiece. Hazel and Augustus are two characters so unique and wise beyond their years that you will not forget this story for a long while.

      Arcadia. Groff, Lauren
      In the 1970s, a group of idealistic hippies come together with a vision of utopia, following their charismatic leader, Handy, on a cross-country trek which ends in western New York state at a decaying mansion known as Arcadia House. Bit (the littlest bit of a hippie) is the first child born to the new Arcadians and he grows up in the commune among the optimistic, romantic, and ultimately all-too-human adult founders. Bit is a thoughtful, sensitive, and entirely sympathetic narrator and it is a pleasure to grow up alongside him, watching as his perceptions and understandings change with time.

      Angelmaker. Harkaway, Nick
      All his life, Joe Spork has been caught between the legacy of his grandfather Daniel, a brilliant and honest clockmaker, and his father Mathew, a vivacious and larger-than-life criminal mastermind who ruled London's underground. When an old friend of Joe’s brings him a client with a mysterious piece of antique clockwork needing repair, Joe’s quiet life is disrupted and now he must embrace parts of himself he’d thought long in his past if he’s going to not only survive, but save the world in the bargain. Impossible to categorize, the only thing one can call this novel for sure is great fun.

      Libriomancer. Hines, Jim
      Isaac Vainio is a libriomancer, a special kind of magician who can make objects in books manifest in reality. He’s working as a librarian in small-town Michigan and doing database duty on the side for his other employers, Die Zwelf Portenaere—the Porters, an order of libriomancers. However, the Porters are under attack, and their immortal founder, Johannes Gutenberg, is missing. Isaac and his friends are the Porters’ only hope. Fast-paced, intelligent, and funny; booklovers of all stripes will be trying to master libriomancy themselves after a visit to Hines’ world.

      Defending Jacob. Landay, William
      When a teenage boy is murdered, DA Andy Barber believes a local pedophile is guilty. But when Barber’s own teenage son, Jacob, is accused of the crime and arrested, Barber becomes more determined than ever to prove his son’s innocence. A taut and haunting legal thriller in the tradition of Grisham and Turow.

      Sacre Bleu. Moore, Christopher
      Aspiring artist Lucien Lessard finds that his painting takes fire when Juliette, his mysterious lover, brings him a special tube of ultramarine blue paint from a strange paint dealer known only as the Colorman. Lucien joins forces with his friend “the little gentleman,” the painter Toulouse-Lautrec, to discover the secret of the Colorman and the secret of the sacred blue before they end up dead like so many other painters who have used the Colorman’s paint. Humorous as Moore’s books always are, Sacre Bleu, like Lamb and Fool, also contains rich historical detail that is clearly the product of meticulous research and a deep passion for the material.

      The Rook. O'Malley, Daniel
      "The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter that Myfanwy Thomas finds after opening her eyes in the middle of a public park surrounded by dead bodies and with no memory of who she is. Now she has two choices: To begin a brand-new life under an assumed identity; or to take up the life and persona of Myfanwy Thomas and figure out who betrayed her and caused the amnesia. She chooses the latter, and soon discovers that she is a Rook, a high-ranking executive in a secret agency keeping Britain safe from supernatural threats. But whoever caused Myfanwy’s amnesia won’t stop there. The safety and security of all of Britain is under threat and only the new Myfanwy can stop it. Thrilling and inventive.

      The Yellow Birds. Powers, Kevin
      This deeply affecting novel, written by an Iraq war veteran (and recent M.F.A. graduate in poetry), is the heart-wrenching story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive, and one of the soldiers returning home only to find that the war continues on in his head. A 2012 National Book Awards finalist, this novel is an important read.

      Calling Invisible Women. Ray, Jeanne
      Clover, a fifty-something women, has felt invisible for years. So when she wakes up one morning to discover herself truly invisible, her worst fears have been realized. But soon she discovers that her busy pediatrician husband and teen children don’t even notice her condition. She finds a support group with other women who have vanished as she has, and begins to exploit her condition, even thwarting a bank robbery. But will her husband ever notice? A gently witty satire; many women will empathize with Clover’s plight.

      Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. Sloan, Robin
      Clay Jannon, an out of work web/graphic designer, takes a job as the night clerk at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. He soon discovers that, in addition to the shelves of relatively normal stock up front, there are also shelves full of strange encrypted books in the back and a small group of peculiar people who come in at all hours requesting books from the back shelves. Clay builds a 3D computer-generated model of the store and begins to find strange patterns in the borrowing habits of these odd customers and finds himself caught up in a mystery dating back to the earliest days of printing. Unique, whimsical, and clever, combining new technology with old in a story sure to appeal to geeks of all stripes.

      The Light Between Oceans. Stedman, M. L.
      Tom Sherbourne, a lighthouse keeper on the western shores of Australia, and his wife Isabel enjoy their isolated life on Janus Rock. But Isabel becomes depressed when she is unable to have children. So when a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a healthy baby girl, the couple make a decision that will haunt their lives, and that of a grieving young mother, forever. A truly beautiful novel; not to be missed.

      Beautiful Ruins. Walter, Jess
      Set in Italy in the ’60s and present-day Hollywood, this is a wonderful old-fashioned love story with a contemporary satirical edge. Intertwining through relationships and time are an American starlet who comes to a remote Italian village to die, a movie producer who made his comeback with a reality TV show, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, an army veteran turned alcoholic writer, and a dissatisfied movie assistant. Deep but not depressing, this novel is literary but also a page turner. And it has a happy ending!

    • Instant: The Story of Polaroid. Bonanos, Christopher
      Before there were Steve Jobs and Apple, there were Edwin Land and Polaroid. Land was a charismatic, inventive leader, holding over 500 patents. He took a garage start-up and turned it into a multi-national company which had a wide-ranging effect on American culture and business. A fascinating story of a fascinating man.

      Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Boo, Katherine
      Pulitzer-winning journalist Boo here depicts the lives of the inhabitants of Annawadi, a poverty-stricken slum across the street from Mumbai’s Sahar International Airport and surrounding luxury hotels. The product of three years of in-depth reporting, this is an eye-opening look at the ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots in contemporary India.

      Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows. Cahan, Richard and Michael Williams.
      Shortly after her death in 2009, an archive of thousands of Vivian Maier’s photographs and negatives was discovered. This previously unknown photographer took the world by storm with her compelling, beautiful, black and white street photography. This is the first comprehensive collection of her images in print, and serves as a portrait of the photographer and also of the woman.

      Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. Cain, Susan
      Though they often fade into the background, introverts can be creative, dynamic people and in fact are responsible for many important contributions to culture and society, including but not limited to the personal computer. Cain’s carefully researched portrait of the type demonstrates how outspoken contemporary culture dismisses the introverted to its own detriment.

      Last Lion: The Rise and Fall of Ted Kennedy. Canellos, Peter S. (ed)
      This respectful but balanced biography of Ted Kennedy portrays his maturation from troubled, slightly wild youth to a respected, serious politician once described by John McCain as “the last lion of the Senate.” With discussions of both Kennedy’s personal trials and also his political battles, this is the very readable biography of a flawed but remarkable man.

      Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis. Egan, Timothy
      Though not well-known today, photographer Edward Curtis (1868-1952) is best remembered for his controversial efforts to document the culture of every Native American tribe in North American before their ways of life vanished. This life’s work culminated in a 20-volume set, The North American Indian. Though he is often accused of overly romanticizing his subjects, it is nevertheless true that Curtis spent 30 years fighting to preserve Native American culture in an effort which left him divorced and destitute. Egan’s portrait of this polarizing figure is compelling.

      Distrust that Particular Flavor. Gibson, William
      Gibson’s first collection of non-fiction draws from the last several decades of his writing career and features all the usual Gibsonian subjects—the rise of the Internet; the technology and culture of Japan; Gibson’s own past in small-town Virginia and early discovery of science fiction; and all the ways that human culture has already been irrevocably altered by technologies as commonplace as radio and as pervasive as cyberspace. A sly wit and a lively intelligence shine through the writing, and every article, regardless of whether its predictions have been borne out by reality, is fascinating.

      End This Depression Now! Krugman, Paul R.
      Nobel-winning economist Krugman’s at times humorous, educational look at the current Great Recession in America, tracing out not just how the country got to this point, but also a clear path out of the depression and back to a strong, vibrant economy. Never dry, this should appeal to anyone with an interest in economics and politics.

      Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. Lawson, Jenny
      Jenny Lawson, best known for her side-splittingly funny blog at thebloggess.com, delivers more of the same here, in her (mostly true) memoir. Jenny grew up poor in rural Texas, the daughter of a taxidermist father whose idea of a good joke was making puppets out of roadkill. An outsider who later struggled with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and more recently rheumatoid arthritis, she recounts the trials and tribulations of her life in a no-holds-barred, double-barreled, profanity-laden manner. T hose who share Jenny’s twisted sense of humor and irreverent outlook on life will find themselves laughing out loud and garnering strange looks from those around them.

      Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies. MacIntyre, Ben
      The success of the D-Day landing at Normandy was achieved due to a complicated web of spies, many of whom were double agents who were given carefully crafted misinformation to mislead the Germans. MacIntyre here spins out the stories of the five main double agents, all quirky and fascinating figures in their own right, and how their activities intersected with wartime events. An absorbing story that reads like an espionage thriller novel but has the advantage of being completely true.

      Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care. Makary, Marty
      Surgeon Makary provides a searing indictment of the culture of secrecy in contemporary American hospitals, arguing that greater transparency related to hospitals’ success and failure rates would lead to greater accountability and thus, reduction of dangerous hospital error. Thought-provoking and eye-opening.

      Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. Meacham, Jon
      Pulitzer-prize winning biographer Meacham here lauds the political acumen of Thomas Jefferson. While conversant with criticisms of Jefferson’s character, including his stance on slavery, Meacham presents an overwhelmingly positive view of the third American president, focusing on those aspects of Jefferson’s leadership that balanced cooperation and compromise with an often ruthless drive to advance his own authority and steer the fledgling nation in the direction of his own ideals.

      Book was There: Reading in Electronic Times. Piper, Andrew
      A lover of both books and computers, Piper here both reflects upon the history of reading and bookishness and also ruminates upon the future of reading in the digital age. Showing that rumors about the death of the book have been greatly exaggerated and that reading itself is integral in our lives in ways we may not fully understand, Piper has penned not an elegy for a lost pleasure but a celebration of an evolving one.

      The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t. Silver, Nate
      Statistician Silver built a innovative system for predicting baseball results and has now predicted two presidential elections to within a hair’s breadth of the actual results. Here he discusses the science of probability, dissecting how to pull a meaningful “signal” out of all the “noise” of raw data and just what causes so many predictions to fail. He speaks to other statisticians and prediction-makers, utilizing a series of case studies involving everything from hurricane tracking to counterterrorism to poker. Thought-provoking and interesting even for the mathematics-shy.

      Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution. Stott, Rebecca
      After the publication of his seminal The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin was chastised by his fellows for not discussing the many thinkers and scientists who had entertained similar evolutionary ideas and hypotheses before him. Stott here remedies that lack, providing brief but information-rich biographies of some of the great thinkers who preceded Darwin’s theory of natural selection, from Aristotle to Charles Darwin’s own grandfather Erasmus Darwin. Fascinating, well-researched, and never dry, Darwin’s Ghosts is a treasure-trove for both those already interested in the topic and those coming to this history for the first time.

    • The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine. Bronsky, Alina
      In this black comedy, Rosa Achmetowna is the strong-willed and acid-tongued matriarch of a transplanted Tartar family. When her selfless daughter Sulfia gives birth to a daughter named Aminat, Rosa embarks on a long and inventive campaign to steal her granddaughter’s affections away from Sulfia. Outrageous and wildly entertaining.

      A Discovery of Witches. Harkness, Deborah
      Diana Bishop is a witch who has rejected her magical heritage and is studying the history of alchemy in Oxford. She discovers a strange manuscript that has been lost for centuries and finds herself the focus of every supernatural being in England. Only her new relationship with vampire Matthew Clairmont may save her. But such cross-species affairs are strictly forbidden—and the penalty is death. Readers are sure to be hooked by both the centuries-old mystery of the lost manuscript and the forbidden love affair between the protagonists.

      Madame Tussaud. Moran, Michelle
      Marie Tussaud, née Grosholtz, lived a long and colorful life. A talented wax sculptress, she gained entrée into the glittering world of Versailles when hired by King Louis XVI’s sister as a tutor. Meanwhile, her uncle’s home served as a meeting-place for revolutionaries plotting the monarchy’s downfall. Moran’s novel depicts this oft-fictionalized time and place with depth and elegance.

      The Tiger's Wife. Obreht, Tea
      Natalia Stefanovi, a young doctor in a contemporary Balkan country, is preparing for a goodwill mission across the border when she receives the news that her beloved grandfather has died. Natalia is distracted from her work by memories of her grandfather, always coming back to two stories her grandfather often told her when she was a child: the story of Gavran Gaile, the deathless man who collected the souls of the dying; and the deaf-mute woman known as the tiger’s wife. The seeming fairy tales of the deathless man and the tiger’s wife hold surprising kernels of truth and reality. Vibrant, lyrical, and compelling.

      The Buddha in the Attic. Otsuka, Julie
      Narrated in the first-person-plural voice, a collective “we,” Otsuka’s slim novel tells the haunting stories of Japanese mail-order brides who came to America in the early 1900s seeking a better life but often found only prejudice, endless labor, and abusive husbands.

      The Map of Time. Palma, Felix J.
      In this elaborate time-travel genre-bender, Andrew Harrington becomes obsessed with turning back time to save his beloved from becoming Jack the Ripper’s final victim. H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” has captured the Victorian imagination, and the author himself may know more about real time travel than suspected. Intricately plotted with multiple twisty storylines, Palma’s thriller is engaging and great fun.

      The Tragedy of Arthur. Phillips, Arthur
      This complex meta-fictional romp is a faux-memoir framed as the introduction to a long-lost Shakespeare play entitled “The Tragedy of Arthur.” Ostensibly written by Arthur, the son of the play’s discoverer—who happens to be a noted forger serving time in prison for his crimes. As the authentication process wears on, Arthur becomes convinced the play is his father’s greatest scam.

      The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes. Sakey, Marcus
      A man awakens naked on a deserted beach with no idea who he is or how he got there. Stumbling to a nearby car, he finds clothing in his size, a recently fired gun, money, and a car registration in the name of Daniel Hayes. Soon enough, he discovers that he is Daniel Hayes; that his wife, a famous actress, has been killed; and that he is the chief suspect. But he still remembers nothing. Gripping and riveting.

      Please Look After Mom. Shin, Kyong-Suk
      After Korean wife and mother Park So-nyo's disappearance in a crowded Seoul train station, her life is reconstructed by her eldest son, eldest daughter, and husband as they reflect upon her dedication and sacrifice. A moving and poignant portrait of a woman and a family.

      The Madonnas of Echo Park. Skyhorse, Brando
      Skyhorse’s affecting novel-in-stories offers unsentimental, clear-eyed tribute to the working class LA neighborhood of Echo Park and the Mexican Americans who live, work, and die there. Lurking at the center of all of the stories is a tragedy: a young girl, shot and killed in a drive-by on the streets of Echo Park. Her death is the stone in the pond, and the stories presented here are the ripples. Haunting and vibrant, The Madonnas of Echo Park is recommended those with a taste for thoughtful, character-driven stories.

      The Informationist. Stevens, Taylor
      Vanessa Monroe, or Michael as she is known by her clients, left her missionary parents at the age of fourteen and lived by her wits among gun runners in Africa, developing the skills to make a comfortable, if sometimes dangerous living for herself. When she takes on the unusual but lucrative assignment of tracing an oil executive’s daughter who disappeared in Africa four years earlier, she must work frantically to find the missing girl while keeping herself safe from enemies old and new. Highly recommended for suspense fiction fans looking for something a little different.

      We the Animals. Torres, Justin
      This novel-in-stories delves deeply into the lives of a family balanced on the edge. The seven year-old narrator and his two older brothers enjoy a freedom uncommon to children their age, roaming the streets day and night while their mother works the graveyard shift and their father disappears for days at a time. What the boys fail to see is that their freedom is really neglect, their mother’s deep love for her children is also desperation, and their parent’s relationship is volatile and dangerous. This slim novel packs an emotional punch that will stay with you long after you have finished it.

      Rules of Civility. Towles, Amor
      It’s New York City circa 1938 and friends Eve and Katey meet the mysterious and wealthy Tinker Grey, changing their lives completely. Catapulted into the social jungle of the elite upper-class, the two compete for Tinker’s affections. When a horrible car crash leaves Eve disabled and Tinker becomes Eve's caretaker, Katey is left to fend for herself in her new and unfamiliar social circle. While she climbs the New York social ladder, she is unable to forget Tinker and Eve. This is a smart novel with plenty of drama.

      Deathless. Valente, Catherynne
      Young Marya Morevna is surprised when Koschei the Deathless, the mythical Tsar of Life, shows up at her door to take her as his bride but soon finds herself at home as his wife. But Marya inadvertently ignites war between Koschei and his brother the Tsar of Death and spends years leading Koschei’s troops. When finally she returns home, she finds that the city of her birth is in the grip of famine and terror—the Siege of Leningrad. And when Koschei comes for her again, the power balance between the two shifts as Marya asserts her own control over her immortal husband. Author Valente seamlessly blends 20th century Russian history with Russian folklore in this unique novel.

      Among Others. Walton, Jo
      Fifteen-year-old Morwenna and her twin sister fought a magical battle of wills against their evil mother, preventing her from threatening the order of the world. The girls won, but Morwenna, or Mori, is permanently crippled and her sister was killed. Mori seeks shelter with her father, who sends her off to a British boarding school where she is a social outcast due to her disability, her Welsh accent, and her love of sci-fi and fantasy novels. She finds a haven in books and a few like-minded friends, but knows another conflict with her mother is brewing and that this time she’s on her own. This novel is a love letter to genre fiction and to every sci-fi and fantasy fan who’s ever felt like a refugee from reality.

      Before I Go to Sleep. Watson, S.J.
      Chrissie awakens in a strange bed, with a strange man sleeping beside her. A look in the bathroom mirror reveals a woman some 20 years older than she last remembers. Having only a few fragmented, disconnected memories, Chrissie soon discovers that she has a rare form of amnesia resulting from head trauma suffered years earlier and that she has been keeping a detailed journal of events for the past few weeks. It is this journal that we read, following along as Chrissie makes unsettling discoveries about her past and present.

      Out of the Mountains. Willis, Meredith Sue
      All of the stories in this slender collection are set in the same part of West Virginia, high in the Appalachian mountains. Willis’s decidedly modern, contemporary voice lacks the over-sentimentality so common to stories set in this region, being instead focused on the very real problems faced by convincingly textured and flawed characters. Many of the stories feature the same characters at different points in their lives, showing how things have changed—or not—and interweaving the lives of these diverse, three-dimensional people in intricate ways that reward careful reading.

      The Family Fang. Wilson, Kevin
      Siblings Annie and Buster Fang have been a part of their performance artist parents’ works since early childhood. As art world darlings, the elder Fangs (Caleb and Camille) instigated and recorded public chaos in the name of art. Now they have disappeared, apparently the victims of a serial killer. But Annie, now an actress, and Buster, now a failed novelist, don’t buy it. They’re convinced it’s just another performance of the Family Fang. A mix of black humor and tragedy, this is the madcap chronicle of a most dysfunctional family.

    • Blue Nights. Didion, Joan
      Didion, known for her touching memoir The Year of Magical Thinking, meditates on tragedy again in this meditation on the life and untimely death of her adopted daughter, Quintana. Didion’s thoughts on parenting and aging become an examination of her own mortality. (814 D556b)

      Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. Foer, Joshua
      Journalist Foer examines the nature of human memory and the history of memorization as he prepares to compete in the U.S. Memory Championship alongside other “mental athletes” who are dedicated to preserving the ancient skill of memorization in a culture which has greatly externalized knowledge accumulation through the development of first printing, then computerization. (153.14 F654)

      The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Greenblat, Stephen
      Shakespeare scholar Greenblat traces the roots of the Renaissance to one nearly-forgotten classical Latin text, De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) by Lucretius. Considered a dangerous book for its strangely progressive ideas about atomic structure; natural selection; and a philosophy free of religion and superstition the book only exists today because 15th century bibliophile Poggio Bracciolini found the last extant copy and had it reproduced. Greenblat’s theory credits this chance event with sparking the Renaissance—causing a “swerve” toward our modern world. (940.21 G798)

      Steve Jobs. Isaacson, Walter
      When Steve Jobs died in 2011, the ensuing outpouring of emotion from those touched by his inventions pretty much assured this biography would be in demand. Luckily, Isaacson is up to the task. His insightful biography gives Jobs’ adoring public the inside scoop on this temperamental, complex, and at times very unlikeable genius who changed the face of technology and American culture. (338.761004 J62i)

      Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks. Jennings, Ken
      Record-making Jeopardy! winner Jennings is a self-professed “maphead;” that is, he loves and collects maps and atlases of all kinds. And he is not alone. Cartophiles are a colorful and diverse community with wide-ranging interests and associated hobbies, including world travel and geocaching. Along with introducing his fellow mapheads, Jennings takes the reader through the history of cartography and the larger role of the map in human civilization. (912 J54)

      Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, Interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. 1964. Onassis, Jacqueline Kennedy
      In these interviews, conducted shortly after the Kennedy assassination in 1964 and presented here in both transcript and on audio CD, Jacqueline Kennedy speaks candidly about the details of her life with John F. Kennedy, revealing the often ugly truth behind the glitter and glamour of “Camelot.” This intimate perspective is an invaluable and fascinating part of the historic record. (973.922 On58)

      In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin. Larson, Erik
      Larson examines Berlin circa 1933-1934 from the unlikely perspective of two Americans—William Dodd, an academic historian and liberal serving as Roosevelt’s ambassador to Germany; and Dodd’s free-spirited daughter Martha, who initially found Nazism’s zeal invigorating. As the family moved through the glamorous social strata of the Nazi ruling elite, however, they soon began to see the ugly brutality beneath the glitter and passion. Vivid and nuanced, offering an important perspective on the period. (943.086 D639L)

      The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. McCullough, David
      Pulitzer winner McCullough chronicles the experiences of a dozen young Americans who traveled to Paris in the 19th century, demonstrating the many ways in which Parisian education and culture proved transformative to an entire generation of American minds. McCullough’s popular history of this time and place is a rich fabric woven together from the diaries and memoirs of his subjects. (944.361 M133)

      Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. Massie, Robert
      She started life as minor German princess Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst but ended up becoming Empress Catherine, called the Great, sole ruler and benevolent despot of Russia. Massie ably depicts the life of this fascinating and powerful woman from her comparatively unremarkable beginnings through dethroning her husband Peter and becoming an able and powerful Russian ruler who imported European culture and philosophy and attempted to reform her country according to Enlightenment ideals. (947.06 C361m)

      Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President. Millard, Candice
      Often forgotten today, 20th US President James A. Garfield held office for only 200 days—the second shortest term of any president. Elected as a dark-horse candidate, Garfield was a teacher, Union army general, and congressman and would likely have been an effective and influential President. The bullet of a crazed assassin put an end to that, however. Not killing the President outright, the bullet became lodged in Garfield’s body and he lingered for months before inadequate or inept medical care led to infection and death. Millard ably and unpacks the politics and medical science of the era, while also providing a vivid portrait of not only President Garfield but his assassin as well. (973.84 M645)

      MetaMaus. Spiegelman, Art
      Spiegelman’s groundbreaking 1986 book-length comic Maus was wildly influential, establishing the critical respectability and literary merit of what we now call “graphic novels.” It remains the only graphic narrative to have won a Pulitzer Prize, in fact. For the 25th anniversary of Maus’s publishing, Spiegelman has compiled this fascinating companion volume containing concept art, family photos and history, and background on the whys and hows of putting together an unsentimental but moving Holocaust tale starring mice. In addition, an accompanying DVD provides exhaustive multi-media material. (741.5 Sp75m)

      Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and the Education of a President. Suskind, Ron
      Pulitzer-winning journalist Suskind spent hundreds of hours interviewing US administration members, including POTUS, to put together this assessment of President Obama’s handling of the financial crisis. Ultimately, Suskind believes Obama was out of his depth and did not know to whom he should turn for advice, instead finding himself pulled between advisors calling for sweeping reform and advisors who wished to maintain the status quo. (330.973 Su96)

      Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature. Switek, Brian
      Switek ably presents what might be called “the evolution of evolution” in this popular-science work. Each chapter traces a path from scientists’ early understanding of a particular species and its place in nature through to current views, explaining the importance of transitional fossils while not losing sight of areas in which science’s understanding is still limited. Written for the layperson, the book nevertheless does not “dumb down” its topic, instead laying out the facts clearly and allowing careful readers to make their own connections. Fascinating portraits of early naturalists and evolutionary theorists fill out this able survey of the history of evolutionary science. (599.938 Sw97)

      Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: 40 Years of Funny Stuff. Trillin, Calvin
      Humor writer Calvin Trillin here collects the best “funny stuff” from his forty-year career and arranges it roughly into categories like finance, criminal justice, the literary life, and New York City life. In this definitive collection, Trillin is insightful, cutting, wise, and always hilarious. (818 T829q)

      Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II. Zuckoff, Mitchell
      In 1945, an American transport plane carrying 24 servicemen and women on a sight-seeing tour of a remote valley in New Guinea crashed into the jungle, leaving only three survivors. As they waited for rescue, they faced possible death from untreated injuries or at the hands of possibly-hostile local tribespeople who had never seen a white person before. It is these cultural interactions and misunderstandings which will hold a reader’s interest, though the entire situation is drama defined. That the story is true makes it only the more gripping. (940.544973 Z94)

    • The Big Bang Symphony: A Novel of Antarctica. Bledsoe, Lucy Jane
      This is the story of three women working in Antarctica whose lives quickly become entangled. Alice is working as a cook, Mikala is an artist, and Alice is embarking on graduate work. This is a compelling tale of their challenging and emotional time in the epic setting of the bleak Antarctic.

      My Name is Memory. Brashares, Ann
      Daniel has lived many lives over many centuries and unlike most other people, he recalls all of his lives and is haunted by his one love, Sophia. Sophia has also had many lives but doesn’t recall them so Daniel must try to find her in each incarnation and convince her that she is truly his soul mate. It’s a wonderfully entertaining romantic story with an intriguing premise.

      Remarkable Creatures. Chevalier, Tracy
      Elizabeth Philpot and her sisters are unmarriageable but well-educated and take up the unlikely hobby of fossil hunting. When a local woman they have sought to educate makes an extraordinary find, the women find they are excluded from recognition by the scientific community. Based on a true story, Remarkable Creatures shines a light on the lives of strong, intelligent women. We find it both fascinating and satisfying. 

      The Passage. Cronin, Justin
      In the near future, a secret government experiment goes awry when the subjects escaped, taking their super-human and vampire-like powers with them. A hundred years later, an enclave of humans hides out, awaiting their extinction when a child enters the fortress, bringing with her some powers that just may save them all. Think Stephen King and Michael Crichton when considering this unputdownable post apocalyptic tale

      Room. Donoghue, Emma
      A finalist for the Man Booker Award, Donoghue gives us the perspective of a five year old boy who, with his mother, is held captive. Since the boy was born there and knows no other life, he doesn’t understand that their tiny prison is unusual. When his mother comes up with an idea for escape, she must balance the question of their safety with the knowledge that her son must experience the larger world.

      Eye of the Red Tsar. Eastland, Sam
      Once a close aide to Tsar Nicholas II, Pekkala is held prisoner in the decade after the assassination of the Romanov family. Now Pekkala is offered his freedom if he can find the Romanovs’ killers, find the royal child reputed to have escaped, and help Stalin change history. This is a riveting historical thriller, and even better, it’s a debut novel.

      Fall of Giants. Follett, Ken
      Best known for his thrillers, Follett entranced us with a story with containing significant historical detail in Pillars of the Earth and its sequel. Now he brings us an entirely new historical saga dealing with five families as they struggle through events of the early 20th century. This hefty novel is the first in a trilogy, and the critics loved it!

      Juliet. Fortier, Anne
      Julie’s beloved adoptive mother, Aunt Rose, died without leaving Julie a penny. Instead, Julie’s twin inherited Rose’s estate while Julie received only a key to a safe deposit box in Siena, Italy that had belonged to Julie’s mother. What Julie finds in Italy involves a quest to solve a historical puzzle, as well as an unexpected romance. Fortier marvelously weaves together the contemporary and historical stories.

      Freedom. Franzen, Jonathan
      This is the book of the year. The critics all raved about it. Touted as the great American novel, Franzen’s latest is the story of a once-perfect family that is now coming unglued. Patty and Walter were envied. They did all the right things, made the right choices, fed their child granola, and did their part to save the earth, so what went wrong? Franzen twists this family in a darkly humorous fashion as he explores the meaning of freedom and the choices we make.

      The Lady Matador’s Hotel. Garcia, Cristina
      Six people’s lives intersect in surprising and sometimes explosive ways over the course of a week in the Hotel Miraflor, located in the capitol city of an unnamed Central American country. The internal and external battles of these characters take place against the turbulent political backdrop of the country. Vibrant, rich, and detailed, the characters are well-developed and the atmosphere is sultry and immersive.

      The Cookbook Collector. Goodman, Allegra
      A collector of rare books in the Silicon Valley finds herself at odds with her tech-savvy highly motivated and successful sister. Goodman’s latest is part character study and part exploration of the choices we make and the resultant trade-offs. It’s got humor, romance, a multi-layered plot, and deals with larger issues. It’s a notable and appealing story.

      Ape House. Gruen, Sara
      Sara Gruen wowed us with Water for Elephants, a wildly entertaining story. She’s done it again with her latest, the story of a woman in charge of an ape research center and her relationship with the apes. Human-animal communication is a fascinating subject, and Gruen’s bonobos are all-too-human and are better people than many humans who populate the novel. With thriller elements, this one is a page turner.

      Horns. Hill, Joe
      Son of author Stephen King, Joe Hill doesn’t trade on his father’s success and he truly doesn’t need to. In his latest, a murder suspect who was never convicted wakes up one morning after cursing God to discover that a pair of horns has sprouted on his forehead. Everyone meets is subsequently compelled to confess all of their darkest thoughts and desires to him. Using his new abilities, he tries to track down the real murderer and take his own special revenge. Hill has a hit with this exploration of good and evil.

      Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War. Marlantes, Karl
      This is the story of a marine lieutenant and his fellow soldiers who are dropped into a mountainous area of Vietnam. They quickly find that not only are they fighting the enemy, but also nature in the form of terrain, weather, insects, and tigers. This is a gritty look at young men coming of age under terrifying circumstances and is a memorable novel of war.

      The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet. Mitchell, David
      Mitchell presents a vividly detailed historical romance that takes place in 18th century Japan. Jacob, a clerk, has come to Japan to earn his fortune so he can return to Europe to win the hand of his beloved. When he falls instead for a Japanese woman, everything changes. This novel rotates perspective between several characters, giving us a fuller view of this fascinating historical era.

      The Invisible Bridge. Orringer, Julie
      There were many excellent debut novels out this year, and this one is notable for its unique view of the Holocaust. Orringer shows us how Hungary treated its Jewish citizens In a gripping story of Hungarian brothers who go their separate ways just as war approaches. Many area book groups have covered his title over the past year and it is that type of book that you’ll want to read and discuss. It’s unforgettable.

      The Scent of Rain and Lightning. Pickard, Nancy
      Here’s a change of pace. Call it a modern western, if you will; it’s the story of a young woman whose father was murdered years earlier at the same time her mother disappeared. Living at her grandparent’s cattle ranch, she is shocked to discover the convicted killer has been released pending a new trial and is on his way back to the small town in which both families reside. Pickard tells an entrancing story of secrets that haunt a small town

      Portobello. Rendell, Ruth
      Can we just say we all love Ruth Rendell and leave it at that? Rendell’s artful crime fiction is not to be missed by readers of mystery or suspense. This latest story takes place in London and reveals a host of unusual characters brought together by bizarre situations that result in unintended consequences for them all. This is an excellent example of Rendell’s brand of psychological suspense.

      Private Life. Smiley, Jane
      Pulitzer winning Smiley has shown us time and again the range of her talent. In Private Life, it takes us on the journey of an old maid who marries at age 27. Her husband is a successful and admired naval officer and scientist who has his enemies who also harbors a dark side. The historical elements of the novel, post-Civil War to World War II, provide a balance to this study of a woman’s life as the wife of a difficult man in challenging times.

      Once a Spy. Thomson, Keith
      A former spy and now an Alzheimer’s patient, Drummond, has wandered away from home. When his gambler son tries to return him, they discover the house has been blown up. Drummond remembers enough to know how to hotwire a car and begin a very long chase in which they must dodge spies from various countries while trying to figure out who is after them and why. This debut delivers.

    • At Home: A Short History Of Private Life. Bryson, Bill
      This is serendipity at its best. Bryson takes us on a tour of his old house and along the way gives us historical and sociological lessons as they come to him from his observations of the rooms and the items they contain. It’s not as much a story as a collection of thoughts as only Bryson can think them.

      Let’s Take the Long Way Home. Caldwell, Gail
      Gail writes of her friendship with Caroline Knapp. Both single writers, they came to know each other through their love of their dogs and they quickly became best friends. Gail captures the meaning of their friendship as well as her grief as her friend struggles with and dies from lung cancer. Caldwell’s writing evokes strong emotions as she explores the beauty of their friendship.

      I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections. Ephron, Nora
      In essays, Ephron shares her outlook on contemporary life and her experiences with career, with men, and with being of a certain age. She’s funny, forthright, and her stories strike a chord with all women.

      The Good Soldiers. Finkel, David
      Washington Post staff writer Finkel captures the daily life of soldiers in Iraq as he follows an American infantry battalion for one year. His detail in capturing not only the daily routines of combat soldiers but also the multitude of dangers they face is what makes this book especially memorable.

      War. Junger, Sebastian
      In another journalist goes to war tale, Junger follows a platoon through 15 months in the most dangerous outpost in Afghanistan. What makes this one stand out is the excellent companion documentary and Junger’s engaging style. This author of The Perfect Storm, shows us again just how compelling nonfiction can be.

      The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine. Lewis, Michael
      Here’s an examination of the financial crisis in clear language. Lewis takes the time to explain what happened in enough detail that it’s very understandable, yet not so much that it becomes a textbook. This author of The Blind Side has another winner on his hands with this latest. 

      Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard. Murray, Liz
      With drug-addicted parents, Liz had to fend for herself by age 15, often riding the subway all night in an effort to stay warm. This inspiring story takes us from Liz’s early unsettling days through her decision to make a better life for herself and culminates in her graduation from Harvard. Readers who enjoyed The Glass Castle will appreciate this similarly inspiring tale.

      Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Roach, Mary
      Roach has a way of taking unusual scientific subject matter and turning it into a humorous exploration of topics we may never have considered. In her latest, Roach takes us on a journey to Mars, exploring the ways that the human body is impacted by such a voyage. You’ll find some amusement along with some truly indelicate descriptions. Roach makes science fun.

      Making Toast. Rosenblatt, Roger
      The Rosenblatts were empty nesters living in their dream home when their accomplished physician daughter died leaving young children behind. The Rosenblatts never hesitated in offering their assistance to their grieving son-in-law including moving into his home and helping care for his children. This book is about love and loss and grief and hope. It’s a wonderfully written and touching story.

      Cleopatra: A Life. Schiff, Stacy
      This critically acclaimed biography captures the life and times of the last queen of Egypt. Although her life was short by modern standards, there’s plenty to cover and Schiff looks to classical sources to discover the truth.

      Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption. Simon, Scott
      NPR host Scott Simon and his wife thought their life was complete, until they adopted two tiny infants from China and realized what they had been missing. Simon addresses the challenges and joys of adoption with humor and candor.

      The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Skloot, Rebecca
      Henrietta Lacks was a poor farmer who died more than sixty years ago. She lives on, though, through her cells which have been grown and used for scientific research ever since. Her family didn’t know of the use of her cells until decades after her death and were never informed that they, themselves were used in testing. Although fortunes were made off of Henrietta’s cells, her uncompensated family continues to struggle. Skloot presents a gripping story of bioethics.

      Just Kids. Smith, Patti
      Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe were truly just kids in the New York art scene of the late 1960’s. Amidst the craziness surrounding them, they formed a deep bond. More than just a portrait of a relationship, Smith takes us back in time and gives us the insider’s tour.

      The Autobiography of Mark Twain Vol. 1. Twain, Mark.
      Don’t let the heft of this volume or the fact that it’s just part 1 scare you off. This is more than one brilliant man’s story, it’s also the story of how this autobiography came to be. The autobiography itself is a few hundred pages. The rest of the 700 plus pages consists of a long introduction and appendices that tell a lot more about the editors of this volume than about Twain. Any fan of Twain will be fascinated with his final thoughts 100 years after the fact.

      The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Wilkerson, Isabel
      Wilkerson researched this topic for many years before putting her pen to paper. It’s the story of post-World War I migration of six million African Americans from the deep south to other large northern or western cities where they didn’t have to live in fear. Wilkerson follows the trend as well as several individuals who made this journey into the uncertain and it’s a look at a part of our history long overdue.

    • Archer, Jeffrey. Paths of Glory
      A fictionalized account of the life of teacher George Mallory follows his brilliant education, service in World War I, and his fatal attempt to summit Mount Everest in 1924.

      Baker, Tiffany. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
      Truly Plaice was born with acromegaly, a pituitary gland disorder causing her to grow without stopping. Compared to her delicate sister Serena Jane, the heavy-bodied Truly is a monster…a little giant. Isolated from her peers, Truly must learn to make peace with her own body and with those who have alternately loved and shunned her from childhood.

      Bazell, Josh. Beat the Reaper
      The carefully orchestrated life of Manhattan emergency room doctor and witness-protection program participant Peter Brown unravels in the course of a day that begins with a mugging and a new patient who knows him from his previous existence.

      De Robertis, Carolina. The Invisible Mountain
      The story of three generation of women of the Firielli family as they search for love and identity during the tumultuous political events of twentieth-century Uruguay.

      Dolan, Harry. Bad Things Happen
      The man who calls himself David Loogan is leading a quiet, anonymous life in the college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He's hoping to escape a violent past he would rather forget. But his solitude is broken when he finds himself drawn into a friendship with Tom Kristoll, publisher of the mystery magazine Gray Streets--and into an affair with Laura, Tom's sleek blond wife. When Tom offers him a job as an editor, Loogan sees no harm in accepting. What he doesn't realize is that the stories in Gray Streets tend to follow a simple formula: Plans go wrong. Bad things happen. People die.

      Ferry, Peter. Travel Writing
      After witnessing a fatal car accident one night on his way home from work, teacher and part-time writer Pete Ferry is deeply haunted by the events as his strange obsession for the beautiful victim begins to take over his mind, heart, and soul.

      Finder, Joseph. Vanished
      Lauren Heller and her husband Roger, a brilliant executive at a major corporation, are attacked in a Georgetown parking lot after an evening out. Knocked unconscious by the assailants, Lauren lies in a coma in the hospital while her husband has vanished without a trace. With nowhere else to turn, Lauren's teenage son Gabe reaches out to his uncle, Nick Heller, a high-powered investigator with a corporate intelligence firm in Washington, D.C.

      Goolrick, Robert. A Reliable Wife
      Ralph Truitt, a wealthy businessman with a troubled past who lives in a remote nineteenth-century Wisconsin town, has advertised for a reliable wife. His ad is answered by Catherine Land, a woman who makes every effort to hide her own dark secrets and her true motivations for answering the ad.

      Grisham, John. The Associate
      Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle McAvoy becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.

      Henriquez, Cristina. The World in Half
      Miraflores has never known her father, and until now, she's never thought that he wanted to know her. She's long been aware that her mother had an affair with him while she was stationed with her then husband in Panama, and she's always assumed that her pregnant mother came back to the United States alone with his consent. But when Miraflores returns to the Chicago suburb where she grew up, to care for her mother at a time of illness, she discovers that her mother and father had a greater love than she ever thought possible, and that her father had wanted her more than she could have ever imagined.

      Horn, Dara. All Other Nights
      Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army, struggles with difficult moral questions when he is ordered to murder his own uncle, who has been plotting an assassination attempt against President Lincoln.

      Huston, Charlie. The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death
      Working on a crime-scene clean-up crew, disaffected slacker Web Goodhue is hired by the daughter of a Malibu suicide victim who enlists his help in getting her brother out of trouble, making him the target of some gun-toting L.A. cowboys who are out for blood.

      Kadrey, Richard. Sandman Slim
      Working as a sideshow gladiator and demonic assassin in Hell after being snatched by demons at the age of nineteen, hard-boiled magician James Stark escapes and returns to Los Angeles, where he plots to destroy the circle of other magicians who stole his life.

      Levin, Daniel. The Last Ember
      Jonathan Marcus, a young American lawyer and a former doctoral student in classics, has become a sought-after commodity among antiquities dealers, but when he is summoned to Rome to examine a client's fragment of an ancient stone map, he stumbles across a startling secret: a hidden message carved inside the stone itself. The discovery propels him on a perilous journey from the labyrinth beneath the Coliseum to the biblical-era tunnels of Jerusalem in search of a hidden 2,000-year-old artifact sought by empires throughout the ages.

      Mieville, China. The City and The City
      Twin southern European cities Beszel and Ul Qoma coexist in the same physical location, separated by their citizens' determination to see only one city at a time. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad roams through the intertwined but separate cultures as he investigates the murder of foreigner Mahalia Geary, who believed that a third city, Orciny, hides in the blind spots between Beszel and Ul Qoma. As Mahalia's friends disappear and revolution brews, Tyador is forced to consider the idea that someone in unseen Orciny is manipulating the other cities.

      Moore, Lorrie. A Gate at the Stairs
      In the Midwest just after the September 11 attacks, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin comes of age amid such challenges as racism, the War on Terror, and cruelty in the name of love, as she leaves her family's farm to attend college and takes a part-time job as a nanny.

      Ogawa, Yoko. The Housekeeper and the Professor
      A relationship blossoms between a brilliant math professor suffering from short-term memory problems following a traumatic head injury and the young housekeeper, the mother of a ten-year-old son, hired to care for him.

      Phillips, Jayne Anne. Lark and Termite
      Set against the backdrop of the Korean War in the 1950s, a novel about family, the repercussions of war, and the bonds that sustain personal relationships focuses on a single family--Lark, her brother Termite, their mother Lola, and Termite's soldier father, Robert Leavitt.

      Valente, Catherynne. Palimpsest
      Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single night. To this fantastic kingdom come Oleg, a New York locksmith; a beekeper, November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a Japanese woman named Sei, each of whom has lost something important in their lives.

      Wilson, Robert Charles. Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America
      Julian Comstock, the disgraced nephew of the tyrannical American president, grows up in a small town in what was formerly northern Canada. Adam Hazzard, Julian's working-class friend, and Sam Godwin, a bluff old retainer and secret Jew, struggle to keep Julian alive despite his uncle's hatred and Julian's proclivity for annoying the repressive Dominion Church. When Julian is drafted to fight the invading Dutch in Labrador, exaggerated tales of his heroism, written by would-be novelist Adam, catapult the young aristocrat to unwanted fame.

    • Bartlett, Allison Hoover. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession B G474b
      In telling the true story of book thief John Charles Gilkey and the man who was driven to capture him, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett explores the larger history of book passion, collection, and theft through the ages.

      Beavan, Colin. No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process 333.72 B386
      Describes the author's one-year experiment with minimizing his impact on the Earth, an effort for which he eschewed technology, processed foods, and other negative-impact products while evaluating the plausibility and actual value of sustainable living.

      Brinkley, Douglas. Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America 973.911 R781b
      "The movement for the conversation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method." So wrote Theodore Roosevelt, known as the "naturalist President" for his efforts in protecting wildlife and wilderness, merging preservation and patriotism into a quintessential American ideal. The Wilderness Warrior, Douglas Brinkley's massively readable new biography, intrepidly explores the wilderness of influences, personal relationships, and frontier adventures that shaped Roosevelt's proto-green views.

      Egan, Timothy. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America 973.911 Eg28
      When Theodore Roosevelt vacated the Oval Office, he left a vast legacy of public lands under the stewardship of the newly created Forest Service. Immediately, political enemies of the nascent conservation movement chipped away at the foundations of the untested agency, lobbying for a return of the land to private interests and development. Then, in 1910, several small wildfires in the Pacific Northwest merge into one massive, swift, and unstoppable blaze, and the Forest Service is pressed into a futile effort to douse the flames. Over 100 firefighters died heroically, galvanizing public opinion in favor of the forests--with unexpected ramifications exposed in today's proliferation of destructive fires.

      Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun B Z48e
      Through the story of one man’s experience after Hurricane Katrina, Eggers draws an indelible picture of Bush-era crisis management. Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a successful Syrian-born painting contractor, decides to stay in New Orleans and protect his property while his family flees. After the levees break, he uses a small canoe to rescue people, before being arrested by an armed squad and swept powerlessly into a vortex of bureaucratic brutality. When a guard accuses him of being a member of Al Qaeda, he sees that race and culture may explain his predicament. Eggers, compiling his account from interviews, sensibly resists rhetorical grandstanding, letting injustices speak for themselves.

      Grann, David. The Lost City of Z 918.11 G759
      Interweaves the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who vanished during a 1925 expedition into the Amazon, with the author's own quest to uncover the mysteries surrounding Fawcett's final journey and the secrets of what lies deep in the Amazon jungle.

      Holmes, Richard. The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science 500 H752
      The winner of the Somerset Maugham Award presents the earliest ideas of the explorers of “dynamic science,” including William Herschel and his sister, Caroline, who changed the public’s ideas about stars, and Humphry Davy, who invented the miners’ lamp.

      Horner, Jack. How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to be Forever 567.9 H816h
      A pioneering paleontologist and T. rex expert evaluates the potential for artificially growing a real dinosaur without ancient DNA, discussing the principles of the new science of evolutionary development; the relationships between dinosaurs and birds; and how it may be possible to stimulate latent Tyrannosaurus rex genes in a chicken to create a “chickenosaurus.”

      Jacobs, A. J. The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment 814 J17
      The author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically gives us a look at all crazy experiments he does in order to write amusing articles for Esquire. In one episode, Jacobs decides to outsource his life by hiring two firms out of India. In another, Jacobs decides he will be absolutely honest for an entire month, but not just by speaking the truth, but also by telling people his thoughts no matter how offensive.

      Kamkwamba, William. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope B K156
      A true story of tenacity and imagination describes how an African teenager built a windmill from scraps to create electricity for his home and his village, improving life for himself and his neighbors.

      Kidder, Tracy. Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness. B N736k
      Presents the story of Burundi civil war survivor Deo, who endures homelessness before pursuing an education at Columbia and eventually returning to his native land to help people in both countries.

      Krakauer, Jon. Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman B T577k
      Traces the controversial story of NFL player and soldier Pat Tillman, describing the military's efforts to hide the truth about his death by friendly fire, in an account that draws on Tillman's journals and letters as well as interviews with family members and fellow soldiers.

      Scotti, R.A. Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa 759.5 L58sc
      Part love story, part mystery, Vanished Smile reopens the case of the most audacious and perplexing art theft ever committed--the theft of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" from the Paris Louvre on August 21, 1911.

      Small, David. Stitches: A Memoir Graphic Novel B Sm63s
      The author recounts in graphic novel format his troubled childhood with a radiologist father who subjected him to repeated x-rays and a withholding and tormented mother, an environment he fled at the age of sixteen in the hopes of becoming an artist.

      Stanton, Doug. Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan. 958.1047 St79
      Describes the secret mission of a small band of U.S. soldiers who battled against Taliban forces on horseback and captured the Afghan city of Maz’ar-i Shar’if, a critical location for further campaigns.

      Teachout, Terry. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong 781.57 Ar73t
      Draws on previously unavailable sources, including hundreds of private recordings made throughout the second half of the jazz master's life, to assess his artistic achievements and personal life.

      Wolffe, Richard. Renegade: The Making of a President 973.932 W858
      Presents an insider's view of Barack Obama's run for the presidency, describing his many personal and professional triumphs and obstacles he encountered on the campaign trail and his eventual election as the nation's forty-fourth president.

      Wood, Gordon S. Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 973.4 W875
      One of America's most esteemed historians, Gordon S. Wood, offers a brilliant account of the early American Republic, ranging from 1789 and the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812. As Wood reveals, the period was marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life--in politics, society, economy, and culture.

      Wrangham, Richard W. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human 394.12 W941
      Harvard biological anthropologist Wrangham dates the breakthrough in human evolution to a moment 1.8 million years ago, when, he conjectures, our forebears tamed fire and began cooking. Starting with Homo erectus, these innovations drove anatomical and physiological changes that make us adapted to eating cooked food the way cows are adapted to eating grass. Wrangham's accessible treatise ranges across nutritional science, paleontology and studies of ape behavior and hunter-gatherer societies; the result is a profound analysis of cooking's role in daily life and evolution.

    • Barry, Brunonia. The Lace Reader
      Enthralling debut novel featuring a woman descended from a long line of fortune tellers who must use her gift to discover the cause of death of her aunt, an apparent drowning victim. Fascinating characters enrich Barry’s unusual plot.

      Barry, Sebastian. The Secret Scripture
      In Roseanne’s 100th year, she revisits her life by writing her autobiography. When the facility in which Roseanne lives is scheduled to close, she is evaluated by a doctor to determine her future living situation and he soon uncovers a totally different story than the one Roseanne recalls. Beautifully written with themes of love and tragedy.

      Bear, Elizabeth. All the Windwracked Stars (Science Fiction)
      It is Ragnarok—the Last Day of the Last Battle, the end of the world—and Muire, who thinks of herself as the least of the Valkyries, has survived. However she soon finds that it takes a very long time for her world to die out entirely. Lyrical, complex, and compelling this novel will draw you in with a finely honed combination of ancient themes and far-future tech.

      Benioff, David. City of Thieves
      A writer listens to his grandfather’s story of the siege of Leningrad where his grandfather, too young at the time for the army, along with a soldier were sent off on the improbable mission of gathering a dozen eggs for a wedding cake. Coming of age tale in which two young men are faced with an impossible task in a city devastated by war.

      Davidson, Andrew. The Gargoyle
      An unpleasant character is driving home late one night when a sudden hallucination causes him to lose control of his vehicle. He plunges off the road and is horribly burned over most of his body. What follows is a slow recovery during which he meets a mysterious woman who insists they know each other from a past life. Not for the faint-hearted, however well-crafted characters and beautifully sculpted imagery combine to sweep you away.

      Enger, Leif. So Brave, Young, and Handsome
      An elderly train robber is traveling to Mexico to find his ex-wife when he meets up with a man about to give up on his writing career. The train robber convinces the writer to accompany him on his travels and voyage of self-discovery. Fans of westerns or those who just love a good story won’t want to miss Enger’s latest.

      Erickson, Carolly. The Tsarina’s Daughter
      This entertaining historical novel has it all: suspense, romance, glamour, and appealing characters. The Tsarina’s daughter is the story of the last few years of the Romanov family’s reign and their subsequent exile told from the perspective of second daughter Tatiana.

      Jordan, Hillary. Mudbound
      In 1946, a Memphis school teacher becomes a farmer’s wife when her husband buys land on the delta. She struggles with primitive conditions and a racist father-in-law who comes to live on the farm. When two young men return from WWII to help work the land, their unlikely friendship foments issues of racism in the post-war south.

      Kushner, Rachel. Telex from Cuba
      Ex-pat children growing up in pre-Castro Cuba live in a paradise seeing only glimpses of society outside of their privileged existence. In a parallel story, an exotic dancer in Havana and one of her patrons become involved in the political underground leading up to the revolution. Kushner’s debut novel is rich with history in a brilliant setting.

      Lahiri, Jhumpa. Unaccustomed Earth
      Pulitzer Prize winner Lahiri presents another entrancing short-story collection dealing with themes of immigration and assimilation. Beautiful language and enthralling stories compel you to read on.

      Larsson, Stieg. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Mystery)
      Murder mystery featuring a man hired to find out what happened to a woman missing for 40 years. Family secrets and skeletons come tumbling out of the closets as the investigator takes on an assistant, a much pierced and tattooed computer hacker. Full of surprises, mystery fans will find the pair an intriguing duo.

      Miles, Jonathan. Dear American Airlines
      Bennie is on his way to his daughter’s wedding. Unfortunately, he’s also stranded at O’Hare and busy writing a letter of complaint to the airline. Miles hits our hearts and our funny bones in this debut novel.

      Shaffer, Mary Anne and Annie Barrows. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
      During the German occupation of the Channel Islands, a group of residents make up a book club as an excuse for the late night feast they’re caught enjoying. Years later, a London reporter receives a letter from one of the book club members which begins a long correspondence in which the writer learns about the islands and their eccentric inhabitants and the books they read.

      Wroblewski, David. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
      Edgar, born mute, speaks only in sign language. He grows up in Northern Wisconsin with his family that breeds a type of dog known for loyal companionship. When Edgar’s uncle comes to live with them, and Edgar’s father dies suddenly, Edgar must find a way to survive on his own while trying to prove his uncle had something to do with his father’s death. Vivid setting and characterizations make this debut novel a winner.

    • Carr, David. The Night of the Gun B C311
      A reporter, Carr was inspired to write this memoir when he discovered that he and his friends and family had extremely different recollections of traumatic events triggered by Carr’s drug addiction. Carr takes a reporter’s skeptical look at his own memories of events and fact checks them against medical and legal records, and interviews with those close to him. Fascinating look at what we choose to recall.

      Donovan, Jim. A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Big Horn—The Last Great Battle of the American West 973.82 D687
      Donovan reveals new details about Custer and what led him to the Little Big Horn. Along the way, we also meet Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and learn their backgrounds and motivations. Donovan gives us a clear view of what went wrong for Custer and why.

      Friedman, Thomas. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America 363.7 F911
      Friedman has another hit dealing with the issues of climate destabilization and energy consumption. Friedman’s straightforward language and numerous case studies clearly outline and support his arguments that we need breakthroughs in clean and energy technologies to keep America competitive and prosperous.

      Horwitz, Tony. A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World 970.01 H824
      With his hallmark humor and curiosity, Horwitz takes us on a journey of discovery as he travels in search of the history of early exploration of North America. On the way, he sorts out fact from fiction and reminds us of things we have learned but long forgotten.

      Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto 613 P771
      Pollan argues, convincingly and with well-documented research to back him up, that eating in America has not only become a far too complex affair in which nutritional claims and nutrients have taken the place of simple healthy food, but that Americans—and anyone who eats a Westernized diet—are suffering for it. Fascinating look at what we eat vs. what we should eat.

      Preston, Douglas. Monster of Florence 364.1523 Sp75p
      Thriller novelist Preston moved his family to Florence Italy to pursue a simpler way of life in an old farmhouse. When he discovers that his own olive grove was the scene of a notorious and unsolved double homicide, Preston teamed up with an Italian reporter to try and solve the case. Monster of Florence chronicles their investigation.

      Shubin, Neil. Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion-Year History of the Human Body 611 Sh56
      Provost of The Field Museum and professor of anatomy at the University of Chicago, Shubin traces the evolution of the human body back to early sea creatures. Explained with humor and straightforward language, Shubin takes a fascinating look at our origins

      Taylor, Jill Bolte. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey 362.19681 T243
      Neuroanatomist Taylor suffered a major stroke at age 37. Because of her scientific training, she was able to understand what was happening and was eventually able to help herself recover through her understanding of anatomy. In her memoir, she shares the journey with vivid detail.

      Torres, Alissa. American Widow Graphic Novel B T693
      On September 11, Alissa became a widow when Eddie, trapped on the 85th floor, leaped to his death before the tower fell. In this poignant and affecting graphic novel memoir, Alissa chronicles her first year as one of the 9/11 widows, including the birth of their child two months after his death.

      Vanderbilt, Tom. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What it Says About Us) 629.283 V228
      Vanderbilt explains the hows and whys of traffic including how roads are designed, how we fool ourselves into thinking we’re better drivers than we are, how we misperceive speed and misjudge distance and why traffic jams happen. This is the book that teaches us what we should have learned in drivers’ education.

      Walters, Barbara. Audition: A Memoir B W235
      Celebrity-filled memoir in which Walters chronicles her life and struggles to be successful in a competitive profession. Bound to be full of surprise even for those who think they know much about Walters and her career.

      Winchester, Simon. The Man Who Loved China 509.2 N374w
      Winchester is a master of historical detail who never fails to make connections between cause and effect. This is the story of Joseph Needham, a British scientist who traveled to China to study history and science and who wrote the multi-volume Science and Civilisation in China. This is an extraordinary look at both Needham and China.

      Wright, Robin. Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East 320.956 W953
      Wright, a writer for the Washington Post tackles the subject of the people in the Middle East who are seeking change, whether by small shows of civil disobedience, or by public protest. Wright wants to believe change is coming, but finds that despite the efforts of many, significant change is not right around the corner. Fascinating tour of the Middle East.

      Zakaria, Fareed. The Post-American World 303.4973 Z21
      Newsweek editor Zakaria shows us where we’re headed in the 21st century. This hugely discussable book talks not about America’s decline, but about the rise of other nations and the adjustments the U.S. will have to make to successfully coexist with newly powerful nations

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