Best New Books: Week of 1/14/2020

“Patience is only a virtue when there is something worth waiting for.” – Lauren Willig, The Masque of the Black Tulip


Followers by  Megan Angelo ★

followersOrla Cadden dreams of literary success, but she’s stuck writing about movie-star hookups and influencer yoga moves. Orla has no idea how to change her life until her new roommate, Floss―a striving, wannabe A-lister―comes up with a plan for launching them both into the high-profile lives they so desperately crave. But it’s only when Orla and Floss abandon all pretense of ethics that social media responds with the most terrifying feedback of all: overwhelming success.

Thirty-five years later, in a closed California village where government-appointed celebrities live every moment of the day on camera, a woman named Marlow discovers a shattering secret about her past. Despite her massive popularity―twelve million loyal followers―Marlow dreams of fleeing the corporate sponsors who would do anything, even horrible things, to keep her on-screen. When she learns that her whole family history is a lie, Marlow finally summons the courage to run in search of the truth, no matter the risks.

Followers traces the paths of Orla, Floss and Marlow as they wind through time toward each other, and toward a cataclysmic event that sends America into lasting upheaval. At turns wry and tender, bleak and hopeful, this darkly funny story reminds us that even if we obsess over famous people we’ll never meet, what we really crave is genuine human connection.

Description from Goodreads.

“A compelling look at the power of technology and social networks. You won’t be able to put it down.” – Vogue

“Brilliantly presents a (rightfully) terrifying version of the future that isn’t too far off.” – HelloGiggles

“One of the best novels of 2020.” – BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

“In her spectacular debut, Angelo masterfully explores the dark side of social media… the tale builds to a terrifyingly believable climax… Angelo delivers a strong, consistently fascinating debut.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | Hoopla eAudiobook

Little Gods by  Meng Jin ★

little godsOn the night of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, a woman gives birth in a Beijing hospital alone. Thus begins the unraveling of Su Lan, a brilliant physicist who until this moment has successfully erased her past, fighting what she calls the mind’s arrow of time.

When Su Lan dies unexpectedly seventeen years later, it is her daughter Liya who inherits the silences and contradictions of her life. Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother’s ashes to China—to her, an unknown country. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Su Lan before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and ultimately unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement.

A story of migrations literal and emotional, spanning time, space and class, Little Gods is a sharp yet expansive exploration of the aftermath of unfulfilled dreams, an immigrant story in negative that grapples with our tenuous connections to memory, history, and self.

Description from Goodreads.

“Artfully composed and emotionally searing, Jin’s debut about lost girls, bottomless ambition, and the myriad ways family members can hurt and betray one another is gripping from beginning to end. This is a beautiful, intensely moving debut.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Though it initially sounds like a quest narrative, Little Gods proves to be much more as it wrestles with grief, immigration and the durability of memory.” – TIME

“Brilliant… Elegantly written, emotionally compelling, and thought provoking on every page.” – The Millions

“An intelligent, somewhat restrained look at the effects that tectonic political shifts have on ordinary citizens, effects that reverberate across the decades, and for its young American protagonist, even across oceans.” – San Francisco Chronicle

Available Formats:

Print Book

Oligarchy by  Scarlett Thomas ★

oligarchyIt’s already the second week of term when Natasha, the daughter of a Russian oligarch, arrives at a vast English country house for her first day of boarding school. She soon discovers that the headmaster gives special treatment to the skinniest girls, and Natasha finds herself thrown into the school’s unfamiliar, moneyed world of fierce pecking orders, eating disorders, and Instagram angst. When her friend Bianca mysteriously vanishes, the world of the school gets ever darker and stranger.

The halls echo with the story of Princess Augusta, the White Lady whose portraits―featuring a hypnotizing black diamond―hang everywhere. She fell in love with a commoner and drowned herself in the lake, and her ghost is said to haunt the dorms. But the girls don’t really know anything about the woman she was, much less anything about each other.

Hilariously dark, Oligarchy is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie for the digital age. Scarlett Thomas captures the lives of privileged teenage girls seeking to be loved and accepted in all their triviality and magnitude. With the help of her diet-obsessed classmates, Tash must try to stay alive―and sane―while she uncovers what’s really going on.

Description from Goodreads.

“Weird, and clever, and dark.” – Lit Hub

“Thomas does a fantastic job of capturing the mental and verbal style of a contemporary teen without being precious or exasperating… This is a weird, twisty book, and anyone familiar with Thomas’ oeuvre will expect the kind of dark humor that is only possible from a writer of profound compassion. Strong stuff. Another strange delight from one of the United Kingdom’s most interesting authors.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] riotously enjoyable novel… There are few more vivaciously original novelists around today, and surely none of them is having as much fun while making serious points.” – The Spectator

“Thomas (The Seed Collectors) has a perfectly pitched ear for human cruelty and self-delusion―one man has ‘the eyes of a lifeguard who lets people drown’―and all the wild tortures young girls subject themselves to just to feel pretty in the world.” – Entertainment Weekly

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories by  Zora Neale Hurston

hitting a straight lick with a crooked stickIn 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston—the sole black student at the college—was living in New York, “desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world.” During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life and transformed her into one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick is an outstanding collection of stories about love and migration, gender and class, racism and sexism that proudly reflect African American folk culture. Brought together for the first time in one volume, they include eight of Hurston’s “lost” Harlem stories, which were found in forgotten periodicals and archives. These stories challenge conceptions of Hurston as an author of rural fiction and include gems that flash with her biting, satiric humor, as well as more serious tales reflective of the cultural currents of Hurston’s world. All are timeless classics that enrich our understanding and appreciation of this exceptional writer’s voice and her contributions to America’s literary traditions.

Description from Goodreads.

“With biting wit, Hurston gets to the heart of the human condition… her rediscovered stories will electrify book media and draw in readers.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“…arresting… Hurston ingeniously uses the cadence of her characters’ speech to denote regionalism and class… the collection offers an illuminating and delightful study of a canonical writer finding her rhythm.” – Publishers Weekly

“…an invaluable window into African-American experiences during the Harlem Renaissance.” – New York Times

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

Big Lies in a Small Town by  Diane Chamberlain

big lies in a small townNorth Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder.

What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies?

Description from Goodreads.

“Chamberlain’s depictions of creative beauty and perseverance across time and in the face of inevitable obstacles will keep readers turning the pages.” – Publishers Weekly

“An engaging, well-researched, and sometimes thought-provoking art mystery.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Chamberlain’s writing is reminiscent of a quilt made up of pieces from different people, places, and times, stitched together into a single, emotional story.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook

Night Theater by  Vikram Paralkar

night theaterA surgeon flees a scandal in the city and accepts a job at a village clinic. He buys antibiotics out of pocket, squashes roaches, and chafes at the interventions of the corrupt officer who oversees his work.

But his outlook on life changes one night when a teacher, his pregnant wife, and their young son appear. Killed in a violent robbery, they tell the surgeon that they have been offered a second chance at living if the surgeon can mend their wounds before sunrise.

So begins a night of quiet work, “as if the crickets had been bribed,” during which the surgeon realizes his future is tied more closely to that of the dead family than he could have imagined. By dawn, he and his assistant have gained knowledge no mortal should have.

In this inventive novel charged with philosophical gravity and sly humor, Vikram Paralkar takes on the practice of medicine in a time when the right to health care is frequently challenged. Engaging earthly injustice and imaginaries of the afterlife, he asks how we might navigate corrupt institutions to find a moral center. Encompassing social criticism and magically unreal drama, Night Theater is a first novel as satisfying for its existential inquiry as for its enthralling story of a skeptical physician who arrives at a greater understanding of life’s miracles.

Description from Goodreads.

“Paralkar merges folklore and fable, meditative commentary and meticulous detail… Each nameless character is drawn with psychological depth and layered motivations. Paralkar, a physician-scientist, melds medical realism and metaphysical debate, wry humor and somber observations to create a riveting and intriguing tale.” – Booklist

“Otherworldly… [Paralkar’s] prose is sharp and melodious, and within these enchanting passages is a haunting contemplation of life, death, the liminal space in between, and the dogged search for resurrection… A beguiling and unforgettable fable.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Fablelike tale that melds the philosophical with the corporeal… Paralkar’s novel underscores the arbitrary nature of death, the fact that one can neither prepare for it nor, perhaps, cheat one’s way out of it… Grotesque, strange, and hopeful in turns, the novel will leave readers marveling at the mysteries of death―and the wonders of life.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook | Hoopla eAudiobook

How Quickly She Disappears by  Raymond Fleischmann

how quickly she disappearsIt’s 1941 in small-town Alaska and Elisabeth Pfautz is alone. She’s living far from home, struggling through an unhappy marriage, and she spends her days tutoring her precocious young daughter. Elisabeth’s twin sister disappeared without a trace twenty years earlier, and Elisabeth’s life has never recovered. Cryptic visions of her sister haunt her dreams, and Elisabeth’s crushing loneliness grows more intense by the day. But through it all, she clings to one belief: That her sister is still alive, and that they’ll be reunited one day.

And that day may be coming soon. Elisabeth’s world is upended when Alfred Seidel — an enigmatic German bush pilot — arrives in town and murders a local man in cold blood. Sitting in his cell in the wake of his crime, Alfred refuses to speak to anyone except for Elisabeth. He has something to tell her: He knows exactly what happened to her long-missing sister, but he’ll reveal this truth only if Elisabeth fulfills three requests.

Increasingly isolated from her neighbors and imprisoned by the bitter cold and her own obsession, Elisabeth lets herself slip deeper into Alfred’s web. A tenuous friendship forms between them, even as Elisabeth struggles to understand Alfred’s game and what he’s after.

But if it means she’ll get answers, she’s willing to play by his rules. She’s ready to sacrifice whatever it takes to be reunited with her sister, even if it means putting herself — and her family — in mortal danger.

Description from Goodreads.

“A compelling exploration of the power of unresolved grief and unanswered questions.”-  BookPage

“An author to watch on the literary-thriller scene.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Juicy.” – Entertainment Weekly

Available Formats:

Print Book

A Good Man by  Ani Katz

good manThomas Martin was a devoted family man who had all the trappings of an enviable life: a beautiful wife and daughter, a well-appointed home on Long Island’s north shore, a job at a prestigious Manhattan advertising firm. He was also a devoted son and brother, shielding the women in his orbit from the everyday brutalities of the world.

But what happens when Thomas’s fragile ego is rocked? After committing a horrific deed — that he can never undo — Thomas grapples with his sense of self. Sometimes he casts himself as a victim and, at other times, a monster. All he ever did was try to be a good man, but maybe if he tells his version of the story, he might uncover how and why things unravelled so horribly.

Description from Goodreads.

“[An] ingenious slow burn.” – Entertainment Weekly

“Powerful and unsettling… Produces in the reader a sense of foreboding that builds with ever-increasing intensity to the inevitable and brutal climax… [A] masterly first novel.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Highly impressive… A striking modern tale of violence, sexual abuse and vindictiveness.” – The Independent

Available Formats:

Print Book

Imaginary Museums by  Nicolette Polek

imaginary museumsIn this collection of compact fictions, Nicolette Polek transports us to a gently unsettling realm inhabited by disheveled landlords, a fugitive bride, a seamstress who forgets what people look like, and two rival falconers from neighboring towns. They find themselves in bathhouses, sports bars, grocery stores, and forests in search of exits, pink tennis balls, licorice, and independence. Yet all of her beautifully strange characters are possessed by a familiar and human longing for connection: to their homes, families, God, and themselves.

Description from Goodreads.

“In Polek’s deliciously unnerving debut, the mundane is made very strange, as everyday objects or normal people are considered in new and unsettling ways… A surprising and potent catalogue of small, eerie discoveries.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Rather than settling for one or two guiding themes, Polek offers an enjoyable balance of light and dark subject matter, sweet and bitter characters, cuddly and cruel moments… She has immense talent for sudden, quietly affecting turns of phrase, luminous details, and word choices that firmly pin images down… Some [stories] offer sharp social commentary, a bit like Diane Williams but with more warmth and vulnerability… A moving, impressively varied first collection.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


All the Ways We Said Goodbye by  Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White

all the ways we said goodbyeThe heiress…
The Resistance fighter…
The widow…
Three women whose fates are joined by one splendid hotel.

France, 1914. As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family’s ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major’s aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie’s debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max’s friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz— the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences.

France, 1942. Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite “Daisy” Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother’s Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand’s underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country—and the man—she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret… one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history.

France, 1964. For Barbara “Babs” Langford, her husband, Kit, was the love of her life. Yet their marriage was haunted by a mysterious woman known only as La Fleur. On Kit’s death, American lawyer Andrew “Drew” Bowdoin appears at her door. Hired to find a Resistance fighter turned traitor known as “La Fleur,” the investigation has led to Kit Langford. Curious to know more about the enigmatic La Fleur, Babs joins Drew in his search, a journey of discovery that takes them to Paris and the Ritz—and to unexpected places of the heart…

Description from Goodreads.

“Well-researched and cohesively written, this historical novel reflects the strength of these women as they struggle to survive during turbulent times.” – Orange County Register

“…fascinating characters… Together the stories serve as a reminder that our lives are made better by the actions and suffering of those who came before us.” – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | Playaway | eBook | eAudiobook


Love Her or Lose Her by  Tessa Bailey

love her or lose herRosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

Description from Goodreads.

“Bailey loads the story with humor and chemistry while still tackling heavy emotions. Sensual sex scenes and irresistible characters will draw readers in to this sweet romance.” – Publishers Weekly

“Bailey once again hits it out of the park in this companion novel to Fix Her Up… From no sex to phone sex to a striptease to an orgy in the woods, Bailey is an expert in those lusty, sexually powered scenes. Perfect for fans looking for a sexy romp with a side of heart.” – Booklist

“Bailey crafts an emotionally wrenching and compelling story of a marriage and how the spouses’ different love languages cause them to miss each other’s signals… a powerful story of a marriage in trouble.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


The Vanished Birds by  Simon Jimenez ★

vanished birds“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.

Description from Goodreads.

“This extraordinary science fiction epic, which delves deep into the perils of failing to learn from one’s mistakes, is perfect for fans of big ideas and intimate reflections.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“A lyrical and moving narrative of space travel, found families, and lost loves set against an evocative space-opera background.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“This powerful, suspenseful story asks us to consider what we’d sacrifice for progress—or for the ones we love.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Reminiscent of Justin Cronin’s The Passage, yet the journey itself evokes Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One, creating crossover appeal for readers who enjoy a bit of emotional attachment with their time travel… The story takes on a tone and depth that recalls an N.K. Jemisin novel.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book

Zed by  Joanna Kavenna

zedSelf-anointed guru of the Digital Age, Guy Matthias, CEO of Beetle, has become one of the world’s most powerful and influential figures. Untaxed and ungoverned, his trans-Atlantic company essentially operates beyond the control of Governments or the law.

But trouble is never far away, and for Guy a perfect storm is brewing: his wife wants to leave him, fed up with his serial infidelities; malfunctioning Beetle software has led to some unfortunate deaths which are proving hard to cover up; his longed for deal with China is proving troublingly elusive and, among other things, the mystery hacker, Gogol, is on his trail.

With the clock ticking- Guy, his aide Douglas Varley, Britain’s flailing female PM, conflicted national security agent Eloise Jayne, depressed journalist David Strachey, and Gogol, whoever that may be – the question is becoming ever more pressing, how do you live in reality when nobody knows anything, and all knowledge, all certainty, is partly or entirely fake?

Description from Goodreads.

“Kavenna is a diligent scholar of her form, melding a massively complex plot à la Thomas Pynchon and the wicked social satire of Evelyn Waugh with a healthy dose of Gogol’s absurdist dysphoria thrown in for good measure. Complex, funny, prescient, difficult: Kavenna’s novel tackles nothing less than everything as it blurs the lines between real and virtual.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Joanna Kavenna is a brilliantly unpredictable novelist: whatever you think she might do next, she doesn’t. In terms of its stylistic innovations, Zed is a tour de force… a novel that takes our strange, hall-of-mirrors times very seriously indeed. It is a work of delirious genius.” – The Guardian

“[A] tangled, riveting parable of the modern surveillance state… Kavenna delivers this gripping narrative with wit and dark humor, leaving readers both entertained and a little paranoid.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book

A Longer Fall by  Charlaine Harris

a longer fallIn this second thrilling installment of the Gunnie Rose series, Lizbeth Rose is hired onto a new crew for a seemingly easy protection job, transporting a crate into Dixie, just about the last part of the former United States of America she wants to visit. But what seemed like a straight-forward job turns into a massacre as the crate is stolen. Up against a wall in Dixie, where social norms have stepped back into the last century, Lizbeth has to go undercover with an old friend to retrieve the crate as what’s inside can spark a rebellion, if she can get it back in time.

Description from Goodreads.

“…just as gritty as its predecessor. Harris’s prose is blunt and uncomplicated, matching Lizbeth’s general sensibility, and lending the novel a welcome readability.” – BookPage

“…a shoot’em-up, rollicking ride. The indomitable, quick-on-the-draw Lizbeth remains an irresistible heroine, and Harris proves she still has the magic touch.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…a splendid combination of multiple genres, most notably westerns and fantasy/alternative history.” – Fresh Fiction

Available Formats:


A Beginning at the End by  Mike Chen

beginning at the endHow do you start over after the end of the world?

Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.

In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.

Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose.

Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.

Description from Goodreads.

“This postapocalyptic slice-of-life novel… delivers big emotions by keeping the focus small… By foregrounding family, Chen manages to imbue his apocalypse with heart, hope, and humanity. Sci-fi fans will delight in this lovingly rendered tale.” – Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW 

A Beginning at the End is the best kind of dystopian novel: one rooted deeply in the hearts of his characters and emphasizing hope and connection over fear. Chen has a true gift for making the biggest of worlds center around the most complex workings of hearts, and his newest is compelling, realistic, and impossible to put down.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Sometimes it is not the violent battles of post-apocalyptic stories that pull readers in; it is the emotional connection of humanity finding their way. Chen’s prose lights a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Hoopla eAudiobook


The Conference of the Birds by  Ransom Riggs

conference of the birdsWith his dying words, H—Jacob Portman’s final connection to his grandfather Abe’s secret life entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver newly con­tacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V. Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor—Save the future of all peculiardom.

With only a few bewildering clues to follow, Jacob must figure out how to find V, the most enigmatic, and most powerful, of Abe’s former associates. But V is in hiding and she never, ever, wants to be found.

Description from Amazon.

“[It] will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.” – The Young Folks

“…strange, spooky, and impossible to set down.” – Brightly

Available Formats:

Print Book


Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by  Anna Wiener ★

uncanny valleyIn her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener—stuck, broke, and looking for meaning in her work, like any good millennial–left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy. She moved from New York to San Francisco, where she landed at a big-data startup in the heart of the Silicon Valley bubble: a world of surreal extravagance, dubious success, and fresh-faced entrepreneurs hell-bent on domination, glory, and, of course, progress.

Anna arrived amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations and in-office speakeasies, boyish camaraderie and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, one that enriched itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building.

Part coming-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener’s memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, wild fortune, and accelerating political power. With wit, candor, and heart, Anna deftly charts the tech industry’s shift from self-appointed world savior to democracy-endangering liability, alongside a personal narrative of aspiration, ambivalence, and disillusionment.

Unsparing and incisive, Uncanny Valley is a cautionary tale, and a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.

Description from Goodreads.

“Extraordinary… Wiener’s storytelling mode is keen and dry, her sentences spare―perfectly suited to let a steady thrum of dread emerge.” – New York Times

Uncanny Valley is a different sort of Silicon Valley narrative, a literary-minded outsider’s insider account of an insulated world that isn’t as insular or distinctive as it and we assume… Through [Wiener’s] story, we begin to perceive how much tech owes its power, and the problems that come with it, to contented ignorance.” – The Atlantic

“The quality of Weiner’s on-the-ground observations, coupled with acuity she brings to understanding the psychology at work, makes the book illuminating on a page-by-page basis… [Wiener’s] empathy makes the portrait all the more damning… Weiner’s book isn’t a warning so much as a lament over the damage done and the damage still to come.” – Chicago Tribune

“Weiner’s book feels destined to be a key and lasting portrait of a crucial moment in our relationship with tech culture: a perfect blend of humor, shrewd insight, and earnestness.” – Lit Hub

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

Will: A Memoir by  Will Self

willWill Self is one of Britain’s most famous and infamous contemporary writers, a public intellectual known for his sardonic worldview, his logophilia, and his wide-ranging interests, from psychogeography to socialism to hard drugs. His novels have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and been translated into over twenty languages. In Will, his first ever memoir, he turns his attention fully to his own self. A brilliant literary work, Will echoes the best of Self’s fiction, reminding us how the personal is always historical, and reflecting that personal history through a psychedelic prism.

Will spins the reader from Self’s childhood in a North London suburb to his mind-expanding education at Oxford, to a Burroughsian trip to Morocco, an outback vision in Australia, and, finally, a nightmarish turn in rehab. From an attempt to score as a teenager by buying a pastry breakfast for a user-dealer friend in lieu of payment (Self also considers buying a banana to rob a chemist’s to get his fix), to his university years, fueled with literature but also with “heroin, hashish, cocaine, grass and amphetamine”; to his experiments in sex, identity, and his first relationships, Self takes us on a tour of his young life, letting us inside one of the best minds of our generation. Whether discussing pharmacology: “there’s nothing remotely euphoric about methadone: it just makes you feel as if you’re buried up to your waist”; religion: “God is great… Gear is great… Therefore: gear is God…”; or economics: “the best things in life are free–while the worst retail at a tenner a bag,” Self’s mordant humor and vivid writing make this book one of the most powerful depictions of the allure and power of hard drugs ever written. It is also a technicolor portrait of the strangenesses of family, the transcendence of art, and the defiant quest for self-expression in a rule-filled world.

Will is an addiction memoir like none before, powerfully bringing to the page the peerless euphoria of getting high, and simultaneously offering a pitiless examination of the lows that follow, a karmic cycle that leads back to the author’s own lack of… will. Both kunstlerroman and confessional, Will is a tale of excess and degradation, an exploration of the wild experiences that have formed the basis of Self’s incandescent fictions.

Description from Goodreads.

Will looks back to Self’s adolescence and early 20s, when he was strung out on smack, and presents himself as a wheedling, whining bully who treated his friends, family and lovers with that junkie’s inversion of the categorical imperative: seeing others only as a means of achieving his next fix… Recalls the great wave of drug memoirs that came in the 1990s, and particularly Ann Marlow’s superb, genre-bending How to Stop Time: Heroin from A to Z… The book is a joy to read, with the final part in particular recalling David Foster Wallace at his best… There’s more than mere nostalgic pleasure in this gleefully self-lacerating memoir of drug abuse and rehab.” – The Guardian

“One of Britain’s most inspired writers employs his novelist style to a chronicle of his addictions… A third-person, no-holds-barred tale of [Self’s] fascinating life… His readers won’t be surprised by this heady stew of J.G. Ballard, Hunter S. Thompson, and Philip K. Dick… The prose is consistently spectacular… A tale of addiction and consequences by the singular Self earns its shock and awe.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Harrowing―and, occasionally, humorous… Much to his credit, Self shows us everything (emphasis on every), thus defusing any chance of readers romanticizing his buying-and-selling days as an extended hedonistic vacation… Readers of William S. Burroughs and Beat literature, as well as experiential journals from Djuna Barnes, Paul Bowles, and Hunter S. Thompson will find here much to endure and enjoy.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

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