Best New Books: Week of 11/5/2019

“Many people live and die without ever confronting themselves in the darkness. Pray that one day, you will spin around at the water’s edge, lean over, and be able to count yourself among the lucky.” – Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties


The Revisioners by  Margaret Wilkerson Sexton ★

revisionersIn 1925, Josephine is the proud owner of a thriving farm. As a child, she channeled otherworldly power to free herself from slavery. Now, her new neighbor, a white woman named Charlotte, seeks her company, and an uneasy friendship grows between them. But Charlotte has also sought solace in the Ku Klux Klan, a relationship that jeopardizes Josephine’s family.

Nearly one hundred years later, Josephine’s descendant, Ava, is a single mother who has just lost her job. She moves in with her white grandmother Martha, a wealthy but lonely woman who pays her grandchild to be her companion. But Martha’s behavior soon becomes erratic, then even threatening, and Ava must escape before her story and Josephine’s converge.

The Revisioners explores the depths of women’s relationships—powerful women and marginalized women, healers and survivors. It is a novel about the bonds between a mother and a child, the dangers that upend those bonds. At its core, The Revisioners ponders generational legacies, the endurance of hope, and the undying promise of freedom.

Description from Goodreads.

“This second novel from Sexton confirms the storytelling gifts she displayed in her lushly readable debut, A Kind of Freedom… wondrous.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“…excellent… This novel is both powerful and full of hope.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“…a powerful, deeply personal second novel … It’s rare for dual narratives to be equally compelling, and Sexton achieves this while illustrating the impact of slavery long after its formal end. Nurturing, motherhood, and pregnancy rise up as important themes. Readers will engage fully in this compelling story of African American women who have power in a culture that attempts to dismantle it.” – Booklist

“…stunning… Part historical novel, part magical realism and part slow-burn thriller, The Revisioners would be right at home with the writing of Jesmyn Ward, Ta-Nehisi Coates (especially his recent foray into fiction, The Water Dancer) and Colson Whitehead. With her astute chronicles of contemporary black womanhood, Wilkerson Sexton has officially cemented her status as a master storyteller.” – PureWow

Available Formats:

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The Starless Sea by  Erin Morgenstern ★

starless seaZachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Description from Goodreads.

“Erin Morgenstern has magic to make… the author returns with a new fantastical fairy-tale for grown-ups… Comparisons to the likes of Tolkien, Carroll, and C.S. Lewis abound. The Starless Sea poses big questions about stories — the ones we read, the ones we live, and the ones we tell ourselves. And at the heart of her work lies the themes that have provoked those comparisons: redemption, sacrifice, fate, time, reincarnation…. We’re willing to bet the embrace of this deeper, darker, more complex follow-up novel might be close to a sure thing. As Morgenstern posits, The Starless Sea is a door to another world — one just waiting for readers to open it.” – Entertainment Weekly

“This love letter to bibliophiles is dreamlike and uncanny, grounded in deeply felt emotion, and absolutely thrilling.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Extravagantly imaginative… Her new book arrives eight years after her high-wire fantasy of a first novel The Night Circus, and it’s just as magical but even more daring… The stuff of a bibliophile’s dreams… There are nods to Tolkien and Sendak, Susanna Clarke and Lev Grossman, Grimm and Gaiman. The intricate world-building is nothing short of fabulous, the prose lush and filigreed.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A magnificent quest, a sense of unfolding adventure and danger, gold-wrought fantasy, and endless provocation on what storytelling really means.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

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On Swift Horses by  Shannon Pufahl

on swift horsesMuriel is newly married and restless, transplanted from her rural Kansas hometown to life in a dusty bungalow in San Diego. The air is rich with the tang of salt and citrus, but the limits of her new life seem to be closing in: She misses her freethinking mother, dead before Muriel’s nineteenth birthday, and her sly, itinerant brother-in-law, Julius, who made the world feel bigger than she had imagined. And so she begins slipping off to the Del Mar racetrack, to bet and eavesdrop, learning the language of horses and risk. Meanwhile, Julius is testing his fate in Las Vegas, working at a local casino where tourists watch atomic tests from the roof, and falling in love with Henry, a young card cheat. When Henry is eventually discovered and run out of town, Julius takes off to search for him in the plazas and dives of Tijuana, trading one city of dangerous illusions for another.

On Swift Horses is a debut of astonishing power: a story of love and luck, of two people trying to find their place in a country that is coming apart even as it promised them everything.

Description from Goodreads.

“Imagine a cross between Revolutionary Road and Battleborn (with a little bit of Brokeback Mountain thrown in) and you might end up with something akin to Pufahl’s debut, a rich and rugged suburban western about dreams deferred and living defiantly.” – O, the Oprah Magazine

“Pufahl paints her characters with remarkable compassion and decency…Her lyrical prose depicts an American West that is both desolate and beautiful and inspires a sense of individuality that can apply to much more of the human experience than we’ve previously been led to believe.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Achingly beautiful… Pufahl’s language glitters from the page… [a] restless, blistering fever dream that feels a lot like life.” – Nylon

Available Formats:

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What Burns: Stories by  Dale Peck

what burnsWritten over the course of twenty-five years, the stories in What Burns examine the extremes of desire against a backdrop of family, class, and mortality.

In “Bliss,” a young man befriends the convicted felon who murdered his mother when he was only a child. In “Not Even Camping Is Like Camping Anymore,” a teenaged boy fends off the advances of a five-year-old his mother babysits. And in “Dues,” a man discovers that everything he owns is borrowed from someone else—including his time on earth.

Walking the tightrope between tenderness and violence that has defined Peck’s work since the publication of his first novel, Martin and John, through his most recent, Night SoilWhat Burns reveals Peck’s mastery of the short form as well as the novel.

Description from Goodreads.

“Stories like these find Peck in fine, counterintuitive form, spinning fiction from the most unlikely and captivating premises.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Peck is a brave, bold writer who disallows a safe, predictable reading experience. The final line of a story often cracks it open in unanticipated ways.” – Booklist

“[Peck’s] first volume of short fiction, explores some of life’s darker corners in eight well-crafted tales written over the past 20 years.” – Shelf Awareness

Available Formats:

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The Family Upstairs by  Lisa Jewell

family upstairsBe careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

Description from Goodreads.

“Un-put-downable… distinct, well-developed characters, shifting points of view, and a disturbing narrative that pulses with life create an enthralling tale full of surprises.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Mesmerizing… Another dark winner from Jewell, who expertly teases out her tricky tale with stunning moments and richly drawn characters.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Jewell’s chilling psychological thriller follows Libby as she uncovers the dark, twisty secrets of her family’s past.”-  Washington Post

Available Formats:

Print Book | Large Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook

The Siberian Dilemma by  Martin Cruz Smith

siberian dilemmaJournalist Tatiana Petrovna is on the move. Arkady Renko, iconic Moscow investigator and Tatiana’s part-time lover, hasn’t seen her since she left on assignment over a month ago. When she doesn’t arrive on her scheduled train, he’s positive something is wrong. No one else thinks Renko should be worried—Tatiana is known to disappear during deep assignments—but he knows her enemies all too well and the criminal lengths they’ll go to keep her quiet.

Renko embarks on a dangerous journey to find Tatiana and bring her back. From the banks of Lake Baikal to rundown Chita, Renko slowly learns that Tatiana has been profiling the rise of political dissident Mikhail Kuznetsov, a golden boy of modern oil wealth and the first to pose a true threat to Putin’s rule in over a decade. Though Kuznetsov seems like the perfect candidate to take on the corruption in Russian politics, his reputation becomes clouded when Boris Benz, his business partner and best friend, turns up dead. In a land of shamans and brutally cold nights, oligarchs wealthy on northern oil, and sea monsters that are said to prowl the deepest lake in the world, Renko needs all his wits about him to get Tatiana out alive.

The Washington Post has said “Martin Cruz Smith is that rare phenomenon: a popular and well-regarded crime novelist who is also a writer of real distinction.” In the latest continuation of his unforgettable series, he brings us to the inside world of shadowy political figures and big wig oil oligarchs providing us with an authentic view of contemporary Russia, infused with his trademark wit.

Description from Goodreads.

“This is Smith at his absolute best: black humor, brown bears, and gray souls.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] must for any crime fiction fan interested in the underside of Putin’s Russia.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Everything just feels Russian, as though the author hikes to his hut from the taiga, warms his frozen fingers at the wood stove, pours himself a vodka, and sits down to type. This is vintage Martin Cruz Smith. Fans of Arkady Renko will be pleased.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book

The Accomplice by  Joseph Kanon

accompliceSeventeen years after the fall of the Third Reich, Max Weill has never forgotten the atrocities he saw as a prisoner at Auschwitz—nor the face of Dr. Otto Schramm, a camp doctor who worked with Mengele on appalling experiments and who sent Max’s family to the gas chambers. As the war came to a close, Schramm was one of the many high-ranking former-Nazi officers who managed to escape Germany for new lives in South America, where leaders like Argentina’s Juan Perón gave them safe harbor and new identities. With his life nearing its end, Max asks his nephew Aaron Wiley—an American CIA desk analyst—to complete the task Max never could: to track down Otto in Argentina, capture him, and bring him back to Germany to stand trial.

Unable to deny Max, Aaron travels to Buenos Aires and discovers a city where Nazis thrive in plain sight, mingling with Argentine high society. He ingratiates himself with Otto’s alluring but wounded daughter, whom he’s convinced is hiding her father. Enlisting the help of a German newspaper reporter, an Israeli agent, and the obliging CIA station chief in Buenos Aires, he hunts for Otto—a complicated monster, unexpectedly human but still capable of murder if cornered. Unable to distinguish allies from enemies, Aaron will ultimately have to discover not only Otto, but the boundaries of his own personal morality, how far he is prepared to go to render justice.

“With his remarkable emotional precision and mastery of tone” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Joseph Kanon crafts another compelling and unputdownable thriller that will keep you breathlessly turning the pages.

Description from Goodreads.

“Gripping and authentic… Kanon’s imagination flourishes [and] the narrative propulsion is clear.  A thoroughly satisfying piece of entertainment that extends a tentacle into some serious moral reflection.” – New York Times Book Review

“Fueled by brilliant scenes of dialogue… Kanon’s latest sophisticated thriller is teeming with suspense.” – Kirkus Reviews

The Accomplice is concerned with ethical quandaries and moral conundrums. Is Aaron serving the rule of law or simply seeking revenge?… Such existential crises are countered by action sequences and plot twists that prove Aaron’s real-world mettle. When the chips are down, Aaron comes through like a veteran field op. ‘Nice work, for a desk man,’ the Mossad agent compliments him at one point. But Aaron’s ultimate payoff proves bittersweet.” – Wall Street Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Cutting Edge: New Stories of Mystery and Crime by Women Writers edited by  Joyce Carol Oates

cutting edgeJoyce Carol Oates, a queenpin of the noir genre, has brought her keen and discerning eye to the curation of an outstanding anthology of brand-new top-shelf short stories (and poems by Margaret Atwood!). While bad men are not always the victims in these tales, they get their due often enough to satisfy readers who are sick and tired of the gendered status quo, or who just want to have a little bit of fun at the expense of a crumbling patriarchal society. This stylistically diverse collection will make you squirm in your seat, stay up at night, laugh out loud, and inevitably wish for more.

Featuring brand-new stories by: Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Atwood (poems), Valerie Martin, Aimee Bender, Edwidge Danticat, Sheila Kohler, S.A. Solomon, S.J. Rozan, Lucy Taylor, Cassandra Khaw, Bernice L. McFadden, Jennifer Morales, Elizabeth McCracken, Livia Llewellyn, Lisa Lim, and Steph Cha.

Description from Goodreads.

“All of the stories in this collection are excellent, and I definitely recommend it for any connoisseur of noir looking to expand their repertoire with women writers.” – BookRiot

“Oates’ stellar anthology of female noir… is an inclusive homage to the female/feminist perspective… Taken as a whole, the collection is a surreal yet satisfying journey into the darker side of the female consciousness, a book that, for all its murk and mayhem, celebrates feminine strength, cunning, and determination.” – Booklist

“The 15 stories and six poems in this slim yet weighty all-original noir anthology–contributors include Margaret Atwood and Edwidge Danticat–are razor-sharp and relentless in their portrayal of life, offering snapshots of dysfunction, everyday toil, and brief joy… Each story sears but does not cauterize, leaving protagonists and readers raw. As Oates points out in her introduction, and the stories hauntingly evoke, noir’s strength has very little to do with man-centric plots and everything to do with female ascendance. Fans of contemporary crime fiction won’t want to miss this one.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

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The Old Success by  Martha Grimes

old successWhen the body of a French woman washes up on a wild inlet off the Cornish coast, Brian Macalvie, divisional commander with the Devon-Cornwall police is called in. Who could have killed this beautiful tourist, the only visible footprints nearby belonging to the two little girls who found her?

While Macalvie stands in the Scilly Islands, inspector Richard Jury-twenty miles away on Land’s End–is at The Old Success pub, sharing a drink with the legendary former CID detective Tom Brownell, a man renowned for solving every case he undertook. Except one.

In the days following the mysterious slaying of the Parisian tourist, two other murders take place: first, a man is shot on a Northhamptonshire estate, then a holy duster turns up murdered at Exeter Cathedral in Devon. Macalvie, Jury and Bronwell set out to discover whether these three killings, though very different in execution, are connected. Written with Grimes’s signature wit, sly plotting, and gloriously offbeat characters, The Old Success is prime fare from “one of the most fascinating mystery writers today” (Houston Chronicle).

Description from Goodreads.

“Entertaining… witty dialogue keeps the action moving to the satisfying conclusion. Series fans and newcomers alike will have fun.” – Publishers Weekly

“In terms of verbiage, slang and speech pattern, [Grimes] channels the British vernacular flawlessly. Some interesting subplots (one with a race horse, one with a race car and one with an updated take on the Baker Street Irregulars) help to tie up some loose ends and keep the reader guessing as they wait for the surprising big reveal.” – BookPage

“Martha Grimes’s novels are a hybrid of mystery forms, all of them hugely entertaining. The Old Success is a perfect example.” – New York Times Book Review

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | Hoopla eBook

Galway Girl by  Ken Bruen

galway girlJack Taylor has never quite been able get his life together, but now he has truly hit rock bottom. Still reeling from a violent family tragedy, Taylor is busy drowning his grief in Jameson and uppers, as usual, when a high-profile officer in the local Garda is murdered. After another Guard is found dead, and then another, Taylor’s old colleagues from the force implore him to take on the case. The plot is one big game, and all of the pieces seem to be moving at the behest of one dangerously mysterious team: a trio of young killers with very different styles, but who are united in their common desire to take down Jack Taylor. Their ring leader is Jericho, a psychotic girl from Galway who is grieving the loss of her lover, and who will force Jack to confront some personal trauma from his past.

As sharp and sardonic as it is starkly bleak and violent, Galway Girl shows master raconteur Ken Bruen at his best: lyrical, brutal, and ceaselessly suspenseful.

Description from Goodreads.

“Bruen reinforces his place as the master of Irish noir.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“For sheer energy and inventiveness you’d be hard pushed to find better. An eclectic mix of murder, mayhem and musings on literature and life… In the world of anarchic narcissistic alcoholics, Jack Taylor is still king.” – NB Magazine

“Bruen’s command of language and metaphor is on full display in his trademark staccato verse, and his sense of place is superb. And to top it all off, the final scene is so artfully and powerfully rendered that I had to go back and read it again. And again. And I likely will again.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook | Hoopla eAudiobook


The Poppy Wife by  Caroline Scott

poppy wife1921. Survivors of the Great War are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis is still missing. Francis is presumed to have been killed in action, but Edie knows he is alive.

Harry, Francis’s brother, was there the day Francis went missing in Ypres. And like Edie, he’s hopeful Francis is living somewhere in France, lost and confused. Hired by grieving families in need of closure, Harry returns to the Western Front to photograph soldiers’ graves. As he travels through France gathering news for British wives and mothers, he searches for evidence his own brother is still alive.

When Edie receives a mysterious photograph that she believes was taken by Francis, she is more certain than ever he isn’t dead. Edie embarks on her own journey in the hope of finding some trace of her husband. Is he truly gone, or could he still be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he come home?

As Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to the truth about Francis and, as they do, are soon faced with the life-changing impact of the answers they discover.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history—those years after the war that were filled with the unknown—The Poppy Wife tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins in battle-scarred France; and the even greater number of men and women hoping to find them again.

Description from Goodreads.

“Scott’s bold novel, inspired by her own family history, is instantly appealing for historical fiction fans. But the timeless story of love, loyalty, and honor will have appeal for readers of all interests.” – Publishers Weekly

“British historian Scott’s first novel is a beautifully evocative reminder of what it means to come back from war and to face the age-old question of whether it is better to have survived or to have died. Highly recommended.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A dazzling intersection of romance and historical fiction.” – Popsugar

Available Formats:

Print Book


The Bromance Book Club by  Lyssa Kay Adams

bromance book clubThe first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

Description from Goodreads.

“Adams weaves in humor, complex emotions, and excerpts from the motivational story itself to create a satisfying courtship. A strong supporting cast, including Gavin’s book clubmates and his tiny, adorable twin daughters, helps flesh out the Legends community.” – Publishers Weekly

“A fun, sexy, and heartfelt love story that’s equal parts romance and bromance.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Readers will look forward to more books in the Bromance Book Club series after this promising start.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by  Talia Hibbert

get a life chloe brownChloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Description from Goodreads.

“A thrilling, life-altering adventure that will keep readers riveted… Hibbert’s rom-com stands out for its high stakes, distinctive heroine, and scorching hot romance. Their off-the-charts chemistry elevates this from cute romance to un-put-downable page-turner.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“[An] incredibly funny, romantic, and uplifting book. Red is as charming, sexy, and vulnerable as can be, but Chloe steals the show with her sarcasm, wit, and eccentric coping mechanisms. Even better, Chloe is surrounded by a family of remarkable, glamorous women, including two sisters who will be featured in later installments… A revelation. Hilarious, heartfelt, and hot. Hibbert is a major talent.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Will readers giggle at the cuteness of the banter and weep at the emotional truths that are thrown down as Chloe realizes it’s not her list that matters, and Red realizes Chloe is helping him get a life, too? Absolutely. Is this book what the word ‘charming’ was invented for? Probably. This interracial romance with a disabled heroine is an #OwnVoices treat that will satisfy readers who love a cinnamon-roll hero and love scenes that scorch the dang pages. “ – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Hoopla eAudiobook


They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears by  Johannes Anyuru

they will drown in their mothers tearsIn the midst of a terrorist attack on a bookstore reading by Göran Loberg, a comic book artist famous for demeaning drawings of the prophet Mohammed, one of the attackers, a young woman, has a sudden premonition that something is wrong, changing the course of history. Two years later, this unnamed woman invites a famous writer to visit her in the criminal psychiatric clinic where she’s living. She then shares with him an incredible story—she is a visitor from an alternate future.

Despite discrepancies that make the writer highly skeptical, he becomes increasingly fascinated by her amazing tale: in her dystopian future, any so-called “anti-Swedish” citizens are forced into a horrific ghetto called The Rabbit Yard. As events begin to spiral and the author becomes more and more implicated in this woman’s tale, he comes to believe the unbelievable: she’s telling the truth.

A remarkably intense, beautifully wrought tale that combines the ingenuity of speculative fiction with the difficulties of today’s harsh political realities, They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears is the groundbreaking, award-winning work from the bestselling Swedish-Ugandan author Johannes Anyuru. With echoes of Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, and anti-immigrant hysteria, this largest and most complex novel from an already celebrated poet, author, and spoken word artist catapults him to the front ranks of world writers.

Description from Goodreads.

“It begins with an assault on a comic book store during an event by a cartoonist who has made jokes at the Prophet’s expense, but where it goes from there is strange, magical, and one of the first books to emerge out of our modern time to touch terrorism the way Vonnegut did war. Anyuru doesn’t shock the mind, but rather force us to ask new questions about what being a spectator truly means.” – Literary Hub

“…They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears is, I assure you, one of the most phenomenal novels you’ll read in this or any year. Its politics are important, but Anyuru’s searing dissection of human beings is far more moving. Do not miss this book.” – Book Riot

“…a rare, powerful multiverse novel that reflects the best and worst of human potential.” – Foreword Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

Jakarta by  Rodrigo Márquez Tizano

jakartaIn a chaotic city, the latest in a line of viruses advances as a man recounts the fated steps that led him to be confined in a room with his lover while catastrophe looms. As he takes inventory of the city’s ills, a strange stone distorts reality, offering brief glimpses of the real and deserted territories of his memory. A sports game that beguiles the city with near-religious significance, the hugely popular gambling systems rigged by the Ministry of Chaos and Chance, an upbringing in schools that disappeared classmates even if the plagues didn’t—everything holds significance and nothing gives answers in the vision realm of his own making.

The turbulent and sweeping world of Jakarta erupts with engrossing new dystopias and magnetic prose to provide a portrait of a fallen society that exudes both rage and resignation.

Description from Goodreads.

“Dense with imagery and boundless imagination… Blending the wildly dystopian with the mundanity of the everyday, this time-jumping narrative is a bolt of originality from a writer to watch.” – Publishers Weekly

“Tizano fashions an original, astonishing, and terrifyingly unhinged dystopia… Thomas Bunstead adds to an impressive resumé with a seamlessly literary and peppery translation from the Spanish.” – The Millions

“Its style is unique to Tizano… An assured but challenging anti-narrative, its offbeat structure evoking a world slipped off its axis.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


In the Dream House: A Memoir by  Carmen Maria Machado ★

in the dream houseA startling, moving, and innovative memoir from the National Book Award Finalist for Fiction.

For years Carmen Maria Machado has struggled to articulate her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship. In this extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir, Machado tackles a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, as she uses a series of narrative tropes—including classic horror themes—to create an entirely unique piece of work which is destined to become an instant classic.

Description from Goodreads.

“Breathtakingly inventive… Machado’s writing, with its heat and precise command of tone, has always had a sentient quality. But what makes In the Dream House a particularly self-aware structure―which is to say, a true haunted house―is the intimation that it is critiquing itself in real time… Here and in her short stories, Machado subjects the contemporary world to the logic of dreaming.” – The New Yorker

“If there are no new stories, only new ways to tell them, Carmen Maria Machado has found a way to do exactly that, ingeniously, in Dream House ― a book that manages to break open nearly everything we think we know about abuse memoirs… The result is a gorgeously kaleidoscopic feat ― not just of literature but of pure, uncut humanity.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Machado has pulled off an amazing feat: a book that comments on its own existence and the silences it endeavors to fill; a work deeply informed by a sense of identity and community; and page after page of flawless, flaying, addictive prose.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

“Machado rejects standard memoir conventions in favor of short discursive chapters… The result is a thoroughly engrossing, sometimes enraging must-read.” – BuzzFeed

Available Formats:

Print Book

Little Weirds by  Jenny Slate ★

little weidsHello and welcome to my book. Inside you will find:

× The smell of honeysuckle
× Heartbreak
× A French-kissing rabbit
× A haunted house
× Death
× A vagina singing sad old songs
× Young geraniums in an ancient castle
× Birth
× A dog who appears in dreams as a spiritual guide
× Divorce
× Electromagnetic energy fields
× Emotional horniness
× The ghost of a sea captain
× And more

I hope you enjoy these little weirds.

Jenny Slate

Description from Goodreads.

“Indescribable, but eminently readable, the actor-comedian’s book consists of a carnival of observations, ideas and events that may or may not make up a memoir. Basically, Little Weirds is performance art in high-caliber prose.” – Washington Post

“At once warm, heartbreaking, and erotic… a strange, witty, sad journey into the depths of their author’s imagination… devastating in their unfiltered honesty, even optimism… showcasing [Slate’s] singular poetic forms of expression.” – Entertainment Weekly

“A singularly hilarious and horny, but also poignant and tender, collection of writing that beautifully captures Slate’s inimitable voice, which is one that, once you’ve heard it, you want to listen to forever.” – Nylon

“Reading Jenny Slate’s Little Weirds is like digesting Shakespearean sonnets: It’s different enough from ordinary English that it takes your brain a few, very-long sentences to adjust to its sweet, flowery prose. But once you’ve recalibrated, the actress/comedian’s book becomes a dreamy dessert for the eyeballs that uses playful language to express deep sentiments about heartbreak, anger, wonder and friendship.” – USA Today

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The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness by  Susannah Cahalan

great pretenderFor centuries, doctors have struggled to define mental illness-how do you diagnose it, how do you treat it, how do you even know what it is? In search of an answer, in the 1970s a Stanford psychologist named David Rosenhan and seven other people — sane, normal, well-adjusted members of society — went undercover into asylums around America to test the legitimacy of psychiatry’s labels. Forced to remain inside until they’d “proven” themselves sane, all eight emerged with alarming diagnoses and even more troubling stories of their treatment. Rosenhan’s watershed study broke open the field of psychiatry, closing down institutions and changing mental health diagnosis forever.

But, as Cahalan’s explosive new research shows, very little in this saga is exactly as it seems. What really happened behind those closed asylum doors, and what does it mean for our understanding of mental illness today?

Description from Goodreads.

“Cahalan researched The Great Pretender over the course of five years, but the pages practically turn themselves. It’s absorbing, sometimes sobering, sometimes seriously funny. Cahalan’s narration makes the reading great fun, with an urgency occasionally akin to a thriller.” – Shelf Awareness

“Gripping [and] vivid… A well-told story fraught with both mystery and real-life aftershocks that set the psychiatric community on its ear… Cahalan follows all the leads like a bloodhound. Her pursuit reads like a well-tempered mystery being picked apart, with tantalizing questions for which many of the answers are just out of reach.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Fascinating… Cahalan sets a new standard for investigative journalism… Her impeccable inquiry into the shadowy reality of Rosenhan’s study makes an urgent case that the psychological and psychiatric fields must recover the public trust that ‘Rosenhan helped shatter.'” – Publishers Weekly

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The Fall of Richard Nixon: A Reporter Remembers Watergate by  Tom Brokaw

fall of richard nixonThe last year of the Nixon presidency was filled with power politics, legal jiu-jitsu and high-stakes showdowns, with head-shaking surprises every day. Tom Brokaw, the NBC News White House correspondent during the final year of Watergate, gives us a close-up, personal account of the players, the strategies, and the highs and lows of the scandal that brought down a president. Brokaw writes, “Even now, almost half a century later, I am astonished by what the country went through, and I wanted to share press stories from the inside looking out—what it was like to be on call 24/7, the twists and turns, the laughs and tensions during this historic time.”

Description from Goodreads.

“[Brokaw] doesn’t overplay the parallels between now and then. He doesn’t need to… an engaging account of a nation in turmoil. It is a breezy, often gossipy and at times surprising memoir that encompasses more than Watergate… The author takes the reader not only inside a beleaguered White House, but also into tony Georgetown salons where the political and cultural glitterati mingled with journalists and ruminated on the scandal du jour… this book should be required reading inside the Beltway, and beyond.” – USA Today

“Humorous anecdotes about traveling with the president and life among Washington’s political elite lighten the mood… This fast-paced account nicely captures the spirit of the times and will appeal to political junkies and scholars.” – Library Journal

“…a swift-flowing narrative of the decline and collapse of the Nixon administration… The book is understated and even-tempered, without the fire of Woodward and Bernstein, Timothy Crouse, Hunter S. Thompson, and other chroniclers of the Nixon era; the calmness is welcome, though, for a narrative that seeks clarity in that time of torment… a useful overview of long-ago events.” – Kirkus Reviews

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A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee by  Danny Fingeroth

marvelous lifeStan Lee co-created SPIDER-MAN! And IRON MAN! And the HULK! And the X-MEN! And more than 500 other iconic characters! His name has appeared on more than a billion comic books, in 75 countries, in 25 languages. His superheroes have starred in multibillion-dollar grossing movies and TV series. This is the story of how Stanley Martin Lieber, a poor kid from Washington Heights became STAN LEE, international legend.

Danny Fingeroth (comics industry veteran, author, and longtime Stan Lee friend and colleague) writes a comprehensive biography of this powerhouse of ideas who changed the world’s understanding of what a hero is and how a story should be told, while exploring Lee’s unique path to becoming the face of comics.

With behind-the-scenes stories and sourced with exclusive, new interviews with Lee himself and other legendary comics and media figures, A Marvelous Life has insights and revelations that only an insider like Fingeroth can offer.

Fingeroth, himself a longtime writer and editor at Marvel Comics and now a lauded pop culture critic and historian, knew and worked closely with Stan Lee for over forty years. Fingeroth is able to put Lee’s life and work in a context that makes events and actions come to life as no other writer could.

Description from Goodreads.

“Lieber’s origin story is as good as any of the characters he would go on to create, and Danny Fingeroth’s new biography, A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story Of Stan Lee, tells it well.” –  The A.V. Club

“Enthusiastic… a fittingly ebullient tribute to a man who never failed to add one more exclamation mark. This is a sure hit for comics fans of all camps.” – Publishers Weekly

“Drawing information from Lee’s own archives, firsthand experience, others who knew the most famous comic book creator who ever lived, and many more sources, Fingeroth strives to be both factual and fair to all parties, concerned throughout this complicated and controversial life history. This gripping and entertaining read offers an account not only of one man but also of Marvel Comics itself, along with the lives impacted along the way.” – Psychology Today

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The Finance Curse: How Global Finance is Making Us All Poorer by  Nicholas Shaxson

finance curseFinancial journalist Nicholas Shaxson first made his reputation studying the “resource curse,” seeing first-hand the disastrous economic and societal effects of the discovery of oil in Angola. He then gained prominence as an expert on tax havens, revealing the dark corners of that world long before the scandals of the Panama and Paradise Papers. Now, in The Finance Curse, revised with chapters exclusive to this American edition, he takes us on a terrifying journey through the world economy, exposing tax havens, monopolists, megabanks, private equity firms, Eurobond traders, lobbyists, and a menagerie of scoundrels quietly financializing our entire society, hurting both business and individuals. Shaxson shows we got here, telling the story of how finance re-engineered the global economic order in the last half-century, with the aim not of creating wealth but extracting it from the underlying economy. Under the twin gospels of “national competitiveness” and “shareholder value,” megabanks and financialized corporations have provoked a race to the bottom between states to provide the most subsidized environment for big business, have encouraged a brain drain into finance, and have fostered instability, inequality, and turned a blind eye to the spoils of organized crime. From Ireland to Iowa, Shaxson shows the insidious effects of financialization on our politics and on communities who were promised paradise but got poverty wages instead.

We need a strong financial system–but when it grows too big it becomes a monster. The Finance Curse is the explosive story of how finance got a stranglehold on society, and reveals how we might release ourselves from its grasp.

Description from Goodreads.

“Fascinating… A bright light goes on while reading The Finance Curse… Puts everything wrong with the political world into neat, tidy perspective. This is a rare book of substantive answers… The unusually excellent Conclusion alone is worth the price of admission.” – San Francisco Review of Books

“A sharp attack on global financiers who are destroying the livelihoods of the nonwealthy… The author offers a host of instructive discussions of a variety of elements to bolster his argument, including corrupt financiers in London and New York City, geographically obscure tax havens, the bizarre realm of wealth managers in South Dakota, a ravaged newspaper in New Jersey, and a shattered farm economy in Iowa… A vivid demonstration of how corruption and greed have become the main organizing principles in the finance industry.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A splendid polemic against modern finance, in general, and the City of London, in particular… Hard-hitting, well written and informative.” – Financial Times

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The Mysterious Affair at Olivetti: IBM, the CIA, and the Cold War Conspiracy to Shut Down Production of the World’s First Desktop Computer by  Meryle Secrest

mysterious affair at olivettiThe human, business, design, engineering, cold war, and tech story of how the Olivetti company came to be, how it survived two world wars and brought a ravaged Italy back to life, how after it mastered the typewriter business with the famous “Olivetti touch,” it entered the new, fierce electronics race; how its first desktop compter, the P101, came to be; how, within eighteen months, it had caught up with, and surpassed, IBM, the American giant that by then had become an arm of the American government, developing advanced weapon systems; Olivetti putting its own mainframe computer on the market with its desktop prototype, selling 40,000 units, including to NASA for its lunar landings. How Olivetti made inroads into the US market by taking control of Underwood of Hartford, CT as an assembly plant for Olivetti’s own typewriters and future miniaturized personal computers; how a week after Olivetti purchased Underwood, the US government filed an antitrust suit to try to stop it; how Adriano Olivetti, the legendary idealist, socialist, visionary, heir to the company founded by his father, built the company into a fantastical dynasty–factories, offices, satellite buildings spread over more than fifty acres–while on a train headed for Switzerland in 1960 for supposed meetings and then to Hartford, never arrived, dying suddenly of a heart attack at fifty-eight… how eighteen months later, his brilliant young engineer, who had assembled Olivetti’s superb team of electronic engineers, was killed, as well, in a suspicious car crash, and how the Olivetti company and the P101 came to its insidious and shocking end.

Description from Goodreads.

“Secrest brings the extraordinary Olivetti clan vividly to life, reports on highly suspicious deaths, and dramatically illuminates their legendary company’s shocking downfall via long-hidden, deeply sordid conspiracies among fascists, Mafiosi, the CIA, IBM, GE, and Fiat to obliterate Olivetti’s crowning achievement and marvel of ingenuity, Programma 101, the first desktop computer. Deftly seeded with clues and lavish in intriguing detail, Secrest’s many-faceted exposé intensifies with dark surprise as it reveals Cold War acts of sinister politics, ruthless espionage, and covert crimes, and traces the long, grasping tentacles of the American military-industrial complex.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“That much of the author’s argument proceeds by inference and suggestion doesn’t diminish its plausibility… A competently written story that limns the complex spy-vs.-spy calculus of a time still fresh in memory.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…fascinating… Whether one buys into this conspiracy theory, Secrest offers a riveting look at an ambitious and inventive family deserving wider attention.” – Publishers Weekly

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Alta California: From San Diego to San Francisco, A Journey on Foot to Rediscover the Golden State by  Nick Neely

alta californiaIn Alta California, Nick Neely chronicles his 650-mile trek on foot from San Diego to San Francisco, following the route of the first overland Spanish expedition into what was soon called Alta California. Led by Gaspar de Portolá in 1769, the expedition sketched a route that would become, in part, the famous El Camino Real. It laid the foundation for the Golden State we know today, a place that remains as mythical and captivating as any in the world.

Neely grew up in California but realized how little he knew about its history. So he set off to learn it bodily, with just a backpack and a tent, trekking through stretches of California both lonely and urban. For twelve weeks, following the journal of expedition missionary Father Juan Crespí, Neely kept pace with the ghosts of the Portolá expedition—nearly 250 years later

Weaving natural and human history, Alta California relives his adventure, tells a story of Native cultures and the Spanish missions that soon devastated them, and explores the evolution of California and its landscape. The result is a collage of historical and contemporary California, of lyricism and pedestrian serendipity, and of the biggest issues facing California today—water, agriculture, oil and gas, immigration, and development—all of it one step at a time.

Description from Goodreads.

“Neely is a skillful writer, wry and watchful… Alta California is also rich in little-known history, much of it pulled from the journal of Franciscan father Juan Crespi, who accompanied Portola… up the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo county coasts, then inland into the Salinas Valley to Monterey Bay. Somewhere along here, the owl moons and woodpeckers do something you might not have thought possible in 2019: they make you fall, or refall, in love with California, ungrudgingly, wildfires and insane housing prices and all… What a journey, you think. What a state.” – San Francisco Chronicle

“Beautifully written… Neely goes on an ambitious plunge into the heart of his home state… It’s a journey worth taking―and savoring.” – Alta

“Neely’s naturalist, erudite work will appeal to readers of Thoreau’s Walden and Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals Can Transform Our LivesAnd Save Theirs by  Richard Louv

our wild callingRichard Louv’s landmark book, Last Child in the Woods, inspired an international movement to connect children and nature. Now Louv redefines the future of human-animal coexistence. Our Wild Calling explores these powerful and mysterious bonds and how they can transform our mental, physical, and spiritual lives, serve as an antidote to the growing epidemic of human loneliness, and help us tap into the empathy required to preserve life on Earth. Louv interviews researchers, theologians, wildlife experts, indigenous healers, psychologists, and others to show how people are communicating with animals in ancient and new ways; how dogs can teach children ethical behavior; how animal-assisted therapy may yet transform the mental health field; and what role the human-animal relationship plays in our spiritual health. He reports on wildlife relocation and on how the growing populations of wild species in urban areas are blurring the lines between domestic and wild animals.
Our Wild Calling makes the case for protecting, promoting, and creating a sustainable and shared habitat for all creatures—not out of fear, but out of love. Transformative and inspiring, this book points us toward what we all long for in the age of technology: real connection.

Description from Goodreads.

“Impassioned and compelling… A thoughtfully researched, poetically inspiring call to action that will resonate with a broad range of readers.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Louv writes of our need for immersion in nature and of how our interactions with animals can help us to save not only ourselves, but also the planet. In lyrical, sometimes mystical prose, he challenges our assumptions about how we relate to other species.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Looking at scientific research from a variety of experts, this is a compelling call to reestablish ties with the animal world. Strongly recommended for anyone feeling overwhelmed or spiritually bereft in today’s society.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

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