Best New Books: Week of 10/13/2020

“In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth. Each of you is an original. Each of you has a distinctive voice. When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.” – John Grisham


Invisible Girl by  Lisa Jewell ★

Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.

In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

With evocative, vivid, and unputdownable prose and plenty of disturbing twists and turns, Jewell’s latest thriller is another “haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author).

Description from Goodreads.

“Jewell showcases the many ways that sexism can creep in and infect everyday moments… dark, sharp, and thought-provoking.” – Bust

“[A] tangled, riveting, thought-provoking psychological thriller about keeping secrets, uncovering trauma, suffering injustice, and the quest for redemption.” – Criminal Element

“…a thought-provoking, addictive mystery…” – Read by Dusk

“A story of secrets and injustices, and of how we look in the wrong places for the bad people while the real predators walk among us in plain sight… Brilliant.” – Medium

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

A Lover’s Discourse by  Xiaolu Guo

A Chinese woman comes to London to start a new life – away from her dead parents, away from her old world. She knew she would be lonely, but will her new relationship with the Australian-British-German landscape architect bring her closer to this land she has chosen, will their love give her a home?

A Lover’s Discourse is an exploration of romantic love told through fragments of conversations between the two lovers. Playing with language and the cultural differences that her narrator encounters as she settles into life in a Britain still reeling from the Brexit vote, Xiaolu Guo shows us how this couple navigate these differences, and their romance, whether on their unmoored houseboat or in a cramped and stifling flat share in east London…

Suffused with a wonderful sense of humour, this intimate and tender novel asks universal questions: what is the meaning of home when we’ve been uprooted? How can a man and woman be together? And how best to be a woman and a mother?

Description from Goodreads.

“A fiercely intelligent book whose exploration of the philosophy of identity is trenchant and moving.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] fragmentary meditation on the nature of love, on desire and on connection between two humans ….sets off cross-cultural echoes with the lightest of strokes.” – The Guardian

“…poignant… discussion of the narrator’s PhD work is fascinating… elegantly written…” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

Ramifications by  Daniel Saldaña París

A thirty-two-year old man can’t get out of bed or leave his apartment. All he can do is recall his life so far, dissect it, write it, gathering all the memories around what would mark his existence forever: his mother’s departure in the summer of 1994, when he was only ten, so that she could join the Zapatista uprising that was shaking up the whole country. Her mysterious escape from one day to the next only worsens with his clumsy father’s secrecy, silence and awkwardness, a man unable to carry the responsibilities for his son and teenage daughter. This worsens with the boy’s erratic investigations to uncover the reasons for his mother’s decision to leave. All he can do is create an anguish-filled parallel world: he will unsuccessfully seek refuge in his origami obsession, or in his sensory deprivation tank in which he locks himself up to see if he can erase his existence. Finally, with the help of Rata, a young delinquent dating his sister, he will undertake a voyage of discovery to the darkest corners of his Mexico City, where he will meet the face of gratuitous cruelty, as well as the selfless kindness of strangers.

In his second novel, Daniel Saldaña París has created a bone chilling, exact portrait of a hypersensitive childhood that must torture and repeat itself in the mind of the protagonist.

Description from Goodreads.

“[S]trange and elegant… París brilliantly explores memory, masculinity, and familial drama in equal measure. The result is an affecting account of arrested development.” – Publishers Weekly

“In Daniel Saldaña París’s resonant novel Ramifications, an eventful summer has ripple effects that last decades… a rich, smart, and satisfying rendering of abandonment and loss, whose effects reverberate through time.” – Foreword Reviews

“[A] sinister little book suffused with a biting humor and morbid curiosity. This ‘mom-gone-missing’ story reels you in only to ensnare you into the dark corners of a neurotic young man’s mind. I couldn’t help but fall completely headlong into this rousing carousel of toxic machismo and emotional depravity—more please!” – BookPeople

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


Goodnight Beautiful by  Aimee Molloy

Newlyweds Sam Statler and Annie Potter are head over heels, and excited to say good-bye to New York and start a life together in Sam’s sleepy hometown in upstate New York. Or, it turns out, a life where Annie spends most of her time alone while Sam, her therapist husband, works long hours in his downstairs office, tending to the egos of his (mostly female) clientele.

Little does Sam know that through a vent in his ceiling, every word of his sessions can be heard from the room upstairs. The pharmacist’s wife, contemplating a divorce. The well-known painter whose boyfriend doesn’t satisfy her in bed. Who could resist listening? Everything is fine until the French girl in the green mini Cooper shows up, and Sam decides to go to work and not come home, throwing a wrench into Sam and Annie’s happily ever after.

Description from Goodreads.

“A domestic thriller with bite.” – Popsugar

“Thriller fans love ‘twists’ that make them think ‘wow, didn’t see that coming.’… Molloy sends readers on a whiplashing mystery ride that turns that whole convention inside out… What distinguishes Goodnight Beautiful is Molloy’s spectacular feat of misdirection and uncanny success in unfolding revelations that are surprising yet believable from the early pages until the very last.” – New York Journal of Books

“A tense read that expertly employs misdirection and multiple points of view to create some truly surprising twists à la Gone Girl. The first of these twists is shocking enough to make you question everything you just read. At the same time, Goodnight Beautiful subverts gender norms and flips the trope of the unreliable female narrator on its head.” – Buzzfeed

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

A Time for Mercy by  John Grisham

A Time to Kill is one of the most popular novels of our time. It established Jake as a classic American hero—a lawyer who seeks truth and justice at all costs, even when his life and reputation are on the line.

Brigance returned in 2013’s Sycamore Row, in which he once again found himself embroiled in a deeply divisive trial.

Now, in A Time for Mercy, Jake is the court-appointed lawyer for Drew Gamble, a young man accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Brigance sees it another way. Once he learns the details of the case, he realizes he has to do everything he can to save Drew—who is sixteen. Jake’s commitment to the truth puts his career and the safety of his family at risk.

Filled with all the courtroom machinations, small-town intrigues, and plot twists that have become the hallmarks of the master of the legal thriller, A Time for Mercy emphatically confirms John Grisham’s reputation as America’s favorite storyteller.

There is a time to kill, a time for justice, and A Time for Mercy.

Description from Goodreads.

“Grisham’s storytelling gifts are on full display in A Time for Mercy as he keeps the reins tight on a complex courtroom thriller, a heartbreaking drama about two families from the opposite side of the tracks, and a stirring tale of a small, Southern town divided on the question of justice versus loyalty.” – Amazon Book Review

“Impossible to put down… complex and surprising.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Grisham’s stories are always deeply felt and vividly drawn, and A Time for Mercy is no exception, with many striking portraits of the folks swirling around the trial in small town Mississippi, circa 1990. You won’t read a more meticulous, powerful legal thriller this year.” – CrimeReads

Available Formats:

Print Book | Audiobook | eBook | eAudiobook


A Song for the Dark Times by  Ian Rankin

“He’s gone…”
When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.
Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.
He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever.  But is he going as a father or a detective?
As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast – and a small town with big secrets – he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…

Description from Goodreads.

A Song For The Dark Times is a very good novel… very satisfying…” – The Scotsman

“…excellent… the various credible, complex backstories coalesce into a highly satisfying and unified whole. This fresh entry boasts the kind of storytelling that made Rankin famous.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Like Louise Penny, Rankin consistently finds clever ways of involving his retired detective in new investigations. Rankin hits on all cylinders here: he makes the most of the fascinating internment-camp story; he injects new life into the familiar mystery trope of an outside investigator roiling the surface calm of an insular community; and he continues to develop the rich interplay between Rebus and Clarke… As Tartan Noir grows in popularity, Rankin continues to lead the charge. His high-profile presence on social media will be particularly important in the pandemic era.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook


Black Sun by  Rebecca Roanhorse ★

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.

Description from Goodreads.

“Readers are in for intricate world-building, engrossing adventure and stunning backdrops.” – Washington Post

“The pages turn themselves. A beautifully crafted setting with complex character dynamics and layers of political intrigue? Perfection. Mark your calendars, this is the next big thing.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“Roanhorse introduces an epic fantasy with vivid worldbuilding and exciting prose. Readers will be attracted to the story, in which there is no real right vs. wrong. Only inevitable change will draw out the heroes of this imaginative tale.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“A a razor-sharp examination of politics, generational trauma, and the path to redemption… Roanhorse strikes a perfect balance between powerful worldbuilding and rich thematic exploration as the protagonists struggle against their fates. Fantasy fans will be wowed.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

The Midnight Bargain by  C.L. Polk

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss… with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

Description from Goodreads.

“Polk’s foray into a society of magic and politics places the woman in the secondary role, but neither Beatrice nor Ysbeta will stay in place. Fans of romantic fantasy set in a multicultural world will find this a fascinating read.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“An expertly concocted mélange of sweet romance and sharp social commentary.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“World Fantasy Award winner Polk (Witchmark) delivers sharp social commentary in this excellent Regency-flavored fantasy… Polk expertly balances propulsive pacing, a rich multicultural world, and a vivid and subversive cast of characters. Readers will be swept away by this powerful and passionate fantasy.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


A Princess for Christmas by  Jenny Holiday

Leo Ricci’s already handling all he can, between taking care of his little sister Gabby, driving a cab, and being the super of his apartment building in the Bronx. But when Gabby spots a “princess” in a gown outside of the UN trying to hail a cab, she begs her brother to stop and help. Before he knows it, he’s got a real-life damsel in distress in the backseat of his car. 

Princess Marie of Eldovia shouldn’t be hailing a cab, or even be out and about. But after her mother’s death, her father has plunged into a devastating depression and the fate of her small Alpine country has fallen on Marie’s shoulders. She’s taken aback by the gruff but devastatingly handsome driver who shows her more kindness than she’s seen in a long time. 

When Marie asks Leo to be her driver for the rest of her trip, he agrees, thinking he’ll squire a rich miss around for a while and make more money than he has in months. He doesn’t expect to like and start longing for the unpredictable Marie. And when he and Gabby end up in Eldovia for Christmas, he discovers the princess who is all wrong for him is also the woman who is his perfect match.

Description from Goodreads.

“Opposites attract in this thoroughly charming Christmas romance from Holiday. The snappy prose, charming atmosphere, and Hallmark movie–style plot combine to create a delightful romance, underpinned by strong supporting characters. This Christmas treat, with its intoxicating blend of heat and sweet, is a winner.” – Publishers Weekly

“The novel is charming and self-aware and successfully plays with the conventions of the ‘commoner falling in love with royalty’ script. Sizzling chemistry and witty banter elevate a common Christmas romance premise into a royally entertaining fairy tale.” – Kirkus Reviews

“RITA-nominated Holiday deftly mixes a dash of Hallmark-style holiday movie magic with the fairy-tale charm of Roman Holiday and then deftly layers in her own brand of sensuality and wit to create the perfect Christmas romance.” – Booklist

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook


Tiny Nightmares: Very Short Stories of Horror edited by  Lincoln Michel &  Nadxieli Nieto

A collection of horror-inspired flash fiction, featuring over 40 new stories from literary, horror, and emerging writers—edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto, the twisted minds behind Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder.

In this playful, spine-tingling collection, leading literary and horror writers spin unforgettably chilling tales in only a few pages. Tiny Nightmares brings to life broken-hearted vampires, Uber-taking serial killers, mind-reading witches, and monsters of all imaging, as well as stories that tackle the horrors of our modern world from global warming and racism to social media addiction and online radicalization. Writers such as Samantha Hunt, Brian Evenson, Jac Jemc, Stephen Graham Jones, Kevin Brockmeier, and Rion Amilcar Scott expand our understanding of horror fiction with inventive and blood-curdling new tales. We suggest reading with the hall light on and the bedroom door open just a crack.

Description from Goodreads.

“Masterful… In fewer than 1,500 words, each of these vivid, visceral tales engages with horrors with striking immediacy. This carefully crafted and genuinely scary collection is sure to impress.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Outstanding… These flash fiction stories should be read during the day lest they lead to tiny nightmares for the readers… Highly recommended.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Fascinating, compelling, and entertaining horror stories told with 1,500 words or fewer that lack for nothing in the anxiety and dread department. Each tale balances word count and terror with the accuracy of a marksman, creating characters and situations that reel readers in… A better entry into the world of horror as it stands today would be hard to find. The short, but never sweet, tales surprise as they unsettle and terrify.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


She Come By It Natural: Dolly Parton and the Women Who Live Her Songs by  Sarah Smarsh ★

Growing up amid Kansas wheat fields and airplane factories, Sarah Smarsh witnessed firsthand the particular vulnerabilities—and strengths—of women in working poverty. Meanwhile, country songs by female artists played in the background, telling powerful stories about life, men, hard times, and surviving. In her family, she writes, “country music was foremost a language among women. It’s how we talked to each other in a place where feelings aren’t discussed.” And no one provided that language better than Dolly Parton.

Smarsh challenged a typically male vision of the rural working class with her first book, Heartland, starring the bold, hard-luck women who raised her. Now, in She Come By It Natural, originally published in a four-part series for The Journal of Roots MusicNo Depression, Smarsh explores the overlooked contributions to social progress by such women—including those averse to the term “feminism”—as exemplified by Dolly Parton’s life and art.

Far beyond the recently resurrected “Jolene” or quintessential “9 to 5,” Parton’s songs for decades have validated women who go unheard: the poor woman, the pregnant teenager, the struggling mother disparaged as “trailer trash.” Parton’s broader career—from singing on the front porch of her family’s cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains to achieving stardom in Nashville and Hollywood, from “girl singer” managed by powerful men to leader of a self-made business and philanthropy empire—offers a springboard to examining the intersections of gender, class, and culture.

Infused with Smarsh’s trademark insight, intelligence, and humanity, She Come By It Natural is a sympathetic tribute to the icon Dolly Parton and—call it whatever you like—the organic feminism she embodies.

Description from Goodreads.

“Smarsh and Parton are a perfect pairing for the kind of in-depth examination into gender and class and what it means to be a woman and a working class hero that feels particularly important right now.” – Refinery29

“Smarsh seamlessly weaves her family’s experiences with Parton’s biography—triumphs and shortcomings alike—and cultural context. She Come by It Natural is, as a result, a relatable examination of one of country music’s brightest stars and an inspiring tale of what women can learn from one another.” – BookPage

“Affectionate and astute… Smarsh’s luminescent prose and briskly tempered storytelling make for an illuminating take on a one-of-a-kind artist.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“[She Come By It Natural] includes sharp social commentary and well-placed personal anecdotes, [and] is at its heart a love letter both to Parton and to the women who continue to see themselves in her songs.” – Shelf Awareness

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook

Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck by  William Souder

The first full-length biography of the Nobel laureate to appear in a quarter century, Mad at the World illuminates what has made the work of John Steinbeck an enduring part of the literary canon: his capacity for empathy. Pulitzer Prize finalist William Souder explores Steinbeck’s long apprenticeship as a writer struggling through the depths of the Great Depression, and his rise to greatness with masterpieces such as The Red PonyOf Mice and Men, and The Grapes of Wrath. Angered by the plight of the Dust Bowl migrants who were starving even as they toiled to harvest California’s limitless bounty, fascinated by the guileless decency of the downtrodden denizens of Cannery Row, and appalled by the country’s refusal to recognize the humanity common to all of its citizens, Steinbeck took a stand against social injustice—paradoxically given his inherent misanthropy—setting him apart from the writers of the so-called “lost generation.”

A man by turns quick-tempered, compassionate, and ultimately brilliant, Steinbeck could be a difficult person to like. Obsessed with privacy, he was mistrustful of people. Next to writing, his favorite things were drinking and womanizing and getting married, which he did three times. And while he claimed indifference about success, his mid-career books and movie deals made him a lot of money—which passed through his hands as quickly as it came in. And yet Steinbeck also took aim at the corrosiveness of power, the perils of income inequality, and the urgency of ecological collapse, all of which drive public debate to this day.

Steinbeck remains our great social realist novelist, the writer who gave the dispossessed and the disenfranchised a voice in American life and letters. Eloquent, nuanced, and deeply researched, Mad at the World captures the full measure of the man and his work.

Description from Goodreads.

“…effective and eloquent…” – New York Times

“A lively and perceptive portrait of the artist as a complicated guy.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…smart, soulful and panoramic… Souder, in his own humble style, has brought a deeply human Steinbeck forth in all his flawed, melancholy, brilliant complication.” – Washington Post

Available Formats:

Print Book

Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy by  Talia Lavin

Incels. White nationalists. QAnon. Proud Boys. Patriot Front. There are so many extremist groups nowadays it’s hard to keep track. Talia Lavin, however, was no stranger to the modern American white supremacist movement, even before it re-gained prominence in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. Culture Warlords is a field guide to the racist right online, from a narrator who has herself become the frequent target of extremist trolls (including those at Fox News).

Lavin is every skinhead’s worst nightmare: a loud and unapologetic Jewish woman, funny, smart, and profoundly anti-racist, with the journalistic chops to expose the tactics and landscape of online hatemongers. In the book, she turns the lens of anti-Semitism, racism, and white power back on itself in an attempt to understand the online hate movement’s schisms, recruiting tactics, and the threat it represents to the 2020 election and beyond.

She reports on specific strategies utilized by neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, and QAnon to disseminate conspiracy theories, exposing their tactics and fighting fire with fire. A journalist who is proudly antifascist, Talia Lavin is a trailblazing voice of a new generation who is standing up to online hate.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] skillful memoir… [with] highly useful insights… Righteous indignation meets techie magic to shine light on one of America’s most malignant warts.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“…an alarming investigation into online extremism… a bracing and wide-ranging look at the internet as a breeding ground for racism and misogyny. Readers with a strong stomach for hateful ideology will find plenty of harrowing takeaways.” – Publishers Weekly

“This is a heavy read, but an important one.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book Coming Soon | eBook

Xi’an Famous Foods: The Cuisine of Western China, from New York’s Favorite Noodle Shop by  Jason Wang with  Jessica K. Chou

The long-awaited cookbook from an iconic New York restaurant, revealing never-before-published recipes.

Since its humble opening in 2005, Xi’an Famous Foods has expanded from one stall in Flushing to 14 locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. CEO Jason Wang divulges the untold story of how this empire came to be, alongside the never-before-published recipes that helped create this New York City icon. From heavenly ribbons of liang pi doused in a bright vinegar sauce to flatbread filled with caramelized pork to cumin lamb over hand-pulled Biang Biang noodles, this cookbook helps home cooks make the dishes that fans of Xi’an Famous Foods line up for while also exploring the vibrant cuisine and culture of Xi’an.

Transporting readers to the streets of Xi’an and the kitchens of New York’s Chinatown, Xi’an Famous Foods is the cookbook that fans of Xi’an Famous Foods have been waiting for.

Description from Goodreads.

“Oftentimes, in cookbooks, the text is secondary to the recipes. But don’t skip over the words in Xi’an Famous Foods—they serve as a cultural chronicle of both cuisine and the immigrant experience in America.” – Vogue

“Anyone who’s ever eaten at one of Xi’an’s locations will be excited at the prospect of recreating these amazing dishes at home — like their Stewed Pork Burgers, their Spicy Hot-Oil Seared Hand-Ripped Noodles, and more.” – Tools and Toys

“…worth picking up whether or not you have slurped the restaurant’s hand-pulled noodles… a prime example of what a restaurant cookbook can be… each recipe will broaden your knowledge and appreciation of Xi’an cooking.” – Eater

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook by  Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage

Level up your vegetables.

In this groundbreaking cookbook, Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage offer a next-level approach to vegetables that breaks down the fundamentals of cooking into three key elements: process, pairing, and produce. For process, Yotam and Ixta show how easy techniques such as charring and infusing can change the way you think about cooking. Discover how to unlock new depths of flavor by pairing vegetables with sweetness, fat, acidity, or chile heat, and learn to identify the produce that has the innate ability to make dishes shine.

With main courses, sides, desserts, and a whole pantry of “flavor bombs” (homemade condiments), there’s something for any meal, any night of the week, including surefire hits such as Stuffed Eggplant in Curry and Coconut Dal, Spicy Mushroom Lasagne, and Romano Pepper Schnitzels. Chock-full of low-effort, high-impact dishes that pack a punch and standout meals for the relaxed cook, Ottolenghi Flavor is a revolutionary approach to vegetable cooking.

Description from Goodreads.

“Bold, innovative recipes… make this book truly thrilling.” – New York Times

“Through more than 100 vegetarian and vegan recipes, the authors illustrate key cooking reactions, ideal flavor pairings, and complementary ingredients, and urge cooks to experiment once they master the fundamentals.” – Publishers Weekly

“With appetizing photos, humorous illustrations reminiscent of midcentury cookbooks, and useful lists of meal suggestions by categories, plus a separate section for flavor-enhancing oils, sauces, and sprinkles, this modern veggie cookbook is recommended for anyone ready for intense flavor.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book

Pieometry: Modern Tart Art and Pie Design for the Eye and Palate by  Lauren Ko

In a matter of years, Lauren Ko made all hell bake loose, going from novice pie baker to internet star and creator of today’s most surprising and delightful pie and tart designs. Her unique geometric style uses fruit and dough cut and woven into stunning shapes to highlight color and texture. With an elegant symmetry that matches their knockout flavor, her dazzlingly intricate and inventive designs look difficult to produce, but can be achieved with little more than a knife, ruler, and some patience.

In Pieometry, Lauren reveals her secrets, sharing stories about her designs and the inspiration behind them. Warm and funny, she recounts the spectacular piesasters that led to some of her best creations, and breaks down her most beautiful designs, describing how to make naturally-colored dough, intricate weaves, and striking cut-out patterns. Pieometry provides clear, step-by-step instructions, accompanied by helpful photographs, which any patient baker can follow to build these pies from bottom crust to top in their own kitchens. Lauren makes it easy to mix and match doughs, fruits, fillings, and designs, and each recipe includes suggestions for alternative ingredients. Best of all, the beautiful finished pie and tart photos are just as much of a treat to look at as the pies are to eat. But even if you make a mistake here and there, her flavors save the day!

When it comes to flavor, Pieometry offers a balance of sweet and savory pies that are a feast for the senses, including:

Of a Shingle Mind: Honey ricotta tart with an herbed pastry shell and beets

Berried Treasure: Lavender blackberry cream with a shortbread crust and berries

Wave of Wonders: Cardamom coffee cream with a shortbread crust and pear

Once in a Tile: Pumpkin black sesame pie with a black sesame crust

C and Easy: Butternut bacon macaroni and cheese pie with a whole wheat cheddar chive crust

Squiggle Room: Grilled cinnamon pineapple pie with a basic butter crust

Whether you want to impress at the holidays or just spruce up a family meal, Pieometry is your guide to transforming a rustic traditional dessert into a modern masterpiece.

Description from Goodreads.

“Ko earned Instagram fame for her gorgeously crafted pies, and in this pun-heavy guide… she generously shares her tricks.  The instructions… are precise and accompanied by helpful photos. This is a no-brainer for Ko’s many fans who are eager to learn the secrets behind her show-stopping work, or any baker looking to add some confectionery flash to their repertoire.” – Publishers Weekly)

“Ko puts art back in tart… Her ability to mix and match flavors puts her into the same category as molecular chefs/wizards. Home pastry chefs will find much inspiration here, and even if her visual artistry intimidates, Ko’s flavor combinations can still unleash a creative spirit in the kitchen.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“[Ko] has brought her creative and unique recipes and ideas into this debut, which offers stunning photographs, along with tips on how to transform tarts and pies into works of art… A funny, well-written collection of recipes suited for bakers of all levels.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book

Friends & Enemies: A Life in Vogue, Prison, & Park Avenue by  Barbara Amiel

From her early childhood in London during the Blitz to emigrating to North America and her rise to the top rungs of journalism; to her four husbands and other assorted beaus both famous and not; and right up to her marriage to Conrad Black and their prolific legal battles against the powerful and vengeful American justice system, Barbara Amiel’s life has been as dramatic as it is glamorous. She has been called every conceivable name in the book by the media (and authors of unauthorized biographies about her), pilloried for her extravagant lifestyle and sometimes regrettable quotes to the press (“My extravagance knows no bounds,” for instance, to Vogue), not to mention her outspoken conservative political views as stated in her weekly newspaper columns around the world. It’s no surprise she remains to this day a subject of utter fascination after over four decades in the public eye.

But until now, very few people actually know her real story—the break-up of her family when she was a child, her bouts of debilitating depression and other chronic health issues, her thoughts on feminism and #MeToo, her travels with the international jet set and A-list celebrities, and, of course, her unvarnished views on the trial and conviction (since overturned) of Conrad Black and the iron-clad bond they have shared since they were married in 1992. 

Whether you are an admirer or critic of Amiel’s, you will be completely engrossed in her operatic life, one that seems ripped from the pages of a scandalous novel. She also distinguishes herself as a woman well ahead of her time—the first female editor of a national newspaper in Canada, she challenged the sexual mores of society while also angering the feminist establishment. She has certainly had many friends and enemies over the years—Henry and Nancy Kissinger, Elton John, Tom Stoppard, David Frost, Anna Wintour, Oscar de la Renta, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana, Marie Jose Kravis, to name but a few—and she brings these personalties into the spotlight in this larger-than-life memoir that is sure to cause a sensation with readers everywhere.

Description from Goodreads.

“Amiel dishes on affluent society in this scorching memoir, settling scores with those she thinks betrayed her and her husband, former media baron Conrad Black… This arch, over-the-top lambasting will captivate political junkies and society watchers alike.” – Publishers Weekly

“More enemies than friends take center stage in Amiel’s fiery recollections of her eventful life. An observant and unforgiving account of a life that ‘has always been a precarious mix of gutter and ballroom, of intense work and absolutely unhealthy play.’ Packed with enough memorable characters, household moves, dinner parties, and jewelry shopping excursions to fill at least three typical memoirs. A celebrity memoir with an uncompromising kick.” – Kirkus Review

“Memoirs can make for tedious reading: the minutiae of someone else’s life, the juicy tidbits left out, the worthy commentary left in. But then along comes Barbara Amiel, the wife of the former media tycoon Conrad Black, with Friends and Enemies, 608 gloriously indiscreet pages of elegant vitriol. It could equally well be called Sex and Spite in High Society. Mostly, though, she’s taking a very public revenge on the friends who deserted her after the downfall of her husband, and she’s clearly enjoying it. And don’t get her started on what she thinks about grasping lawyers, unscrupulous art dealers and faithless hairdressers.” – Air Mail

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

One Last Song: Conversations on Life, Death, and Music by  Mike Ayers

If you could choose the last song you’d hear before you died, what would it be and why? Your favorite song of all time? Perhaps the one you danced to at your wedding? The song from that time you got super stoned and just let the chords speak to you? It’s a hard question that Mike Ayers has thought about for years.
In One Last Song, Ayers invites 30 musicians to consider what song they would each want to accompany them to those pearly white gates. Weaving together their explanations with evocative illustrations and poignant interludes—what your song to die to says about you, what songs famous people have died to, and more. The book offers insight into the minds of famous artists and provides an entry point for considering how integral music is to our own personal narratives.

Artists Featured: Jim James of My Morning Jacket, André 3000, Killer Mike, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Phoebe Bridgers, Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire, Sam Beam of Iron & Wine, Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES, A.C. Newman of The New Pornographers, Courtney Barrett, Bobb Bruno of Best Coast, Angel Olsen, Regina Spektor, Kevin Morby, Will Oldham, Julia Holter, Margo Price, Sonny Rollins, Ryley Walker, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, Yannis Phillippakis of Foals, Bettye Lavette, M.C. Taylor of The Golden Messenger, Wanda Jackson, Roseanne Cash, Lucinda Williams, and Beth Orton.

Description from Goodreads.

“Endlessly entertaining.” – TIME

“Oddly entertaining.” – Kirkus Reviews

“An intriguing, but rarely considered question from the endless realm of pop music hypotheticals.” – Rolling Stone

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

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