Best New Books: Week of 11/1/22

“The truth is always an insult or a joke, lies are generally tastier. We love them. The nature of lies is to please. Truth has no concern for anyone’s comfort.” – Katherine Dunn, Geek Love

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by  Shauna Robinson

fiction / romance.

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie BanksWhen Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to run her best friend’s struggling bookstore, she expects to sell bestsellers to her small-town clientele. But running a bookstore in a town with a famously bookish history isn’t easy. Bell River’s literary society insists on keeping the bookstore stuck in the past, and Maggie is banned from selling anything written this century. So, when a series of mishaps suddenly tip the bookstore toward ruin, Maggie will have to get creative to keep the shop afloat.

And in Maggie’s world, book rules are made to be broken.

To help save the store, Maggie starts an underground book club, running a series of events celebrating the books readers actually love. But keeping the club quiet, selling forbidden books, and dodging the literary society is nearly impossible. Especially when Maggie unearths a town secret that could upend everything.

Maggie will have to decide what’s more important: the books that formed a small town’s history, or the stories poised to change it all.

“[A] quick, cute, and fun read.” – The Book Review Crew

“This richly-plotted romance from Robinson (Must Love Books) is full of charming characters and will appeal to fans of Jenny Colgan, Abbi Waxman, and Katarina Bivald.” – Library Journal

“I love this story set in a small town, sprinkled with history, some mystery, and paired with strong and quirky characters.” – Fresh Fiction

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen

Barkley: A Biography by  Timothy Bella

nonfiction / biography / sports.

BarkleyHe’s one of the most interesting American athletes in the past fifty years. Passionate, candid, iconoclastic, and gifted both on and off the court, Charles Barkley has made a lasting impact on not only the world of basketball but pop culture at large.

Yet few people know the real Charles. Raised by his mother and grandmother in Leeds, Alabama, he struggled in his early years to fit in until he found a sense of community and purpose in basketball. In the NBA he went toe-to-toe with the biggest legends in the game, from Magic to Michael to Hakeem to Shaq. But in the years since, he has become a bold agitator for social change, unafraid to grapple, often brashly, with even the thorniest of cultural issues facing our nation today.

Informed by over 370 original interviews and painstaking research, Timothy Bella’s Barkley is the most comprehensive biography to date of one of the most talked-about icons in the world of sports.

“The definitive biography.” – Literary Hub

“Thoroughly engaging… This is no ordinary sports bio, just as Barkley is no ordinary athlete.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“A must-read for basketball devotees, but even casual sports fans will be fascinated.” – Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Button Hoopla Listen

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by  Robin Wall Kimmerer; adapted by  Monique Gray; illustrated by  Nicole Neidhardt

nonfiction / young adult / science / nature / spirituality.

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young AdultsDrawing from her experiences as an Indigenous scientist, botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer demonstrated how all living things―from strawberries and witch hazel to water lilies and lichen―provide us with gifts and lessons every day in her best-selling book Braiding Sweetgrass. Adapted for young adults by Monique Gray Smith, this new edition reinforces how wider ecological understanding stems from listening to the earth’s oldest teachers: the plants around us. With informative sidebars, reflection questions, and art from illustrator Nicole Neidhardt, Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults brings Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the lessons of plant life to a new generation.

“Smith smartly streamlines language while staying true to the narrative’s core concepts by adding brief sidebars that explain featured terminology, pose reflection questions, and highlight important passages, inviting collaborative discussion and acting as a call to action. Crisp pen and ink wash illustrations by Navajo artist Neidhardt provide visual interest; by depicting Skywoman’s creation in comics spreads, Neidhardt both complements and elevates Smith’s approachable prose.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Sweetgrass—its planting, tending, picking, braiding, and burning—forms the organizing structure for this work in which scientific discovery and traditional wisdom form a harmonious, interconnected whole… [The] art beautifully enhances teachings and tales from many nations, personal reminiscences, fascinating natural history, and other enriching content. Readers will feel as if they are in conversation with a caring, respected expert guide who offers a hopeful, nourishing vision. Both an urgent, essential call to action and an uplifting love letter.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“It offers a new perspective and renewed hope… Urging a look toward history and tradition to teach us how to answer the questions of the future, Gray Smith adapts Wall Kimmerer’s wisdom for a new, hungry audience.” – Foreword Reviews

Button Hoopla Read

Case Study by  Graeme Macrae Burnet

fiction / historical fiction / suspense / mystery.

Case Study“I have decided to write down everything that happens, because I feel, I suppose, I may be putting myself in danger.”

London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character.

In Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling – and often wickedly humorous – meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today.

“The fictional author and Burnet share the same initials, which should be a clue as to how close the book will come to breaking the fourth wall… The matryoshka-style layering of narratives, each dependent on the other, is engaging and disorienting. Case Study is an immersive novel that stretches its fiction to fact-like proportions.” – Foreword Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“It is a truly riveting novel, entertaining as it makes you question everything about it, and beautifully written. There are no wasted words in this book.” – Miramichi Reader

“What’s real and what’s not is beside the point in this skillful portrait of a disturbed woman and her encounters with an experimental 1960s psychotherapist… Both strands quickly become compelling… I was hooked like a fish.” – The Spectator

Button Hoopla Read

Cinema Speculation by  Quentin Tarantino

nonfiction / film.

Cinema SpeculationThe long-awaited first work of nonfiction from the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: a deliriously entertaining, wickedly intelligent cinema book as unique and creative as anything by Quentin Tarantino.

In addition to being among the most celebrated of contemporary filmmakers, Quentin Tarantino is possibly the most joyously infectious movie lover alive. For years he has touted in interviews his eventual turn to writing books about films. Now, with Cinema Speculation, the time has come, and the results are everything his passionate fans—and all movie lovers—could have hoped for. Organized around key American films from the 1970s, all of which he first saw as a young moviegoer at the time, this book is as intellectually rigorous and insightful as it is rollicking and entertaining. At once film criticism, film theory, a feat of reporting, and wonderful personal history, it is all written in the singular voice recognizable immediately as QT’s and with the rare perspective about cinema possible only from one of the greatest practitioners of the artform ever.

“[A] deep dive into the movies that influenced him… The acclaimed director finally follows through on his threat to turn film critic, combining personal passion with expertise from the point of view of an auteur’s auteur.” – Los Angeles Times

“Tarantino’s collection of essays about the important movies of his formative years is packed with everything needed for a powerful review: facts about the work, context about the creative decisions, and whether or not it was successful… his engaging style makes it impossible to leave an essay without learning something… With this collection, Tarantino offers well-researched love letters to his favorite movies of one of Hollywood’s most ambitious eras. A top-flight nonfiction debut from a unique artist.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[This] is quality mainstream analysis of plot and performance, either good or bad… At times it’s like leafing through yellowing back issues of Screen International. At others you feel Tarantino would have made a brilliant Tinseltown gossip columnist. As a writer he’s more conversationalist than stylist, which is fine: the reader will feel they’ve been cornered in a bar by a charming fanatic with no off switch.” – The Telegraph

The Cloisters by  Katy Hays

fiction / mystery / suspense / fantasy / horror.

The CloistersWhen Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.

Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.

A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

“The tension and foreboding builds gradually in this outstanding gothic debut, allowing readers to savor Ann’s voice. The disturbing account plays with class differences and women friendship, set against a medieval, academic atmosphere sheltered from the city.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] moody and suspenseful story… Readers will be fascinated by the evocative setting as well as the behind-the-scenes glimpses into museum curatorship and the cutthroat games of academia. It makes for an accomplished debut.” – Publishers Weekly

“…interesting… will keep you turning the pages… beautiful, lyrical, and intelligent.” – The Book Review Crew

Deliberate Cruelty: Truman Capote, the Millionaire’s Wife, and the Murder of the Century by  Roseanne Montillo

nonfiction / biography / true crime / history.

Deliberate CrueltyWhen Ann Woodward shot her husband, banking heir Billy Woodward, in the middle of the night in 1955, her life changed forever. Though she claimed she thought he was a prowler, few believed the woman who had risen from charismatic showgirl to popular socialite. Everyone had something to say about the scorching scandal afflicting one of the most rich and famous families of New York City, but no one was more obsessed with the tale than Truman Capote.

Acclaimed for his bestselling nonfiction book In Cold Blood, Capote was looking for new material and followed the scandal from beginning to end. Like Ann, he too had ascended from nobody to toast of the town, but he always felt like an outsider, even among the exclusive coterie of high society women who adored him. He decided the story of Ann’s turbulent marriage would be the basis of his masterpiece — a novel about the dysfunction and sordid secrets revealed to him by his high society “swans”—never thinking that it would eventually lead to Ann’s suicide and his own scandalous downfall.

“A 20th-century morality tale of enduring fascination” (Laura Thompson, author of The Heiresses), Deliberate Cruelty is a haunting cross between true crime and literary history that is perfect for fans of Furious Hours, Empty Mansions, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Deliberate Cruelty manages to be a hard-hitting true crime story and an interesting piece of cultural history, bringing out new facets of some well-known personalities to create a shocking story.” – CrimeReads

“Montillo’s deeply researched exposé of the untimely downfall of glittering icons haunted by fundamental insecurities and entrenched demons is a dishy true-crime, literary critique mash-up.” – Booklist

“This engaging, well-researched book will appeal to true-crime aficionados, Capote fans, and anyone interested in a darkly intriguing story well told. A compelling mix of true crime and literary biography.” – Kirkus Reviews

Foster by  Claire Keegan ★


FosterIt is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A child is taken by her father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when or if she will be brought home again. In the Kinsellas’ house, she finds an affection and warmth she has not known and slowly, in their care, begins to blossom. But there is something unspoken in this new household–where everything is so well tended to–and this summer must soon come to an end.

Winner of the prestigious Davy Byrnes Prize and first published in The New Yorker, Claire Keegan’s Foster has sold over 120,000 copies in the UK and Ireland, where it is also required reading in schools. A story of astonishing emotional depth now expanded and newly revised in a standalone edition, Foster showcases Claire Keegan’s great talent and cements her reputation as one of our most important and prodigious storytellers.

“A gem of a book, to be savored again and again.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Balancing Keegan’s delicate, sparing prose and masterful ear for dialogue with a tale that is almost overwhelming in its tenderness, Foster is a heart-wrenching treasure of a book that only serves to confirm Keegan’s place as one of contemporary Irish literature’s leading lights.” – Vogue

“A beautifully paced and delicately wrought tale… Claire Keegan has truly inhabited the mind of a child and crafted a story that will stay with you long after the final page has been read.” – Express

“Pristine… Both concise and gut-wrenching. [Keegan’s] superficially simple prose persuasively conveys a child’s sometimes-innocent but always careful and insightful observations of the world… A heartbreaking but deeply humane story about parents and children.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Button Hoopla Read

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir by  Matthew Perry ★

nonfiction / memoir / tv / addiction.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible ThingIn an extraordinary story that only he could tell, Matthew Perry takes readers onto the soundstage of the most successful sitcom of all time while opening up about his private struggles with addiction. Candid, self-aware, and told with his trademark humor, Perry vividly details his lifelong battle with the disease and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that shares the most intimate details of the love Perry lost, his darkest days, and his greatest friends.

Unflinchingly honest, moving, and hilarious: this is the book fans have been waiting for.

“…grimly funny, mostly unvarnished and frequently proctological… Perry’s wryly conversational, self-deprecating style will seem familiar to Friends viewers; it’s like a smarter version of Chandler wrote a book. He is easy to like, if prickly, and as easy to relate to as someone with multiple Banksys and a talent for repeatedly blowing up their own life could be.” – Washington Post

“[S]tarkly chronicl[es] his decades-long cage match with drinking and drug use… full of painful revelations… Friends fans will find poignant nuggets in its pages… [a] candid, darkly funny book…” – New York Times

Gilded Mountain by  Kate Manning

Fiction / Historical Fiction.

Gilded MountainIn a voice spiked with sly humor, Sylvie Pelletier recounts leaving her family’s snowbound mountain cabin to work in a manor house for the Padgetts, owners of the marble-mining company that employs her father and dominates the town. Sharp-eyed Sylvie is awed by the luxury around her; fascinated by her employer, the charming “Countess” Inge, and confused by the erratic affections of Jasper, the bookish heir to the family fortune. Her fairy-tale ideas of romance take a dark turn when she realizes the Padgetts’ lofty philosophical talk is at odds with the unfair labor practices that have enriched them. Their servants, the Gradys, formerly enslaved people, have long known this to be true and are making plans to form a utopian community on the Colorado prairie.

Outside the manor walls, the town of Moonstone is roiling with discontent. A handsome union organizer, along with labor leader Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, is stirring up the quarry workers. The editor of the local newspaper—a bold woman who takes Sylvie on as an apprentice—is publishing unflattering accounts of the Padgett Company. Sylvie navigates vastly different worlds and struggles to find her way amid conflicting loyalties. When the harsh winter brings tragedy, Sylvie must choose between silence and revenge.

Drawn from true stories of Colorado history, Gilded Mountain is a tale of a bygone American West seized by robber barons and settled by immigrants, and is a story infused with longing—for self-expression and equality, freedom and adventure.

“Looking for a big historical novel to read by the fire? Manning’s novel will scratch your itch… a stellar read from an acclaimed author.” – Los Angeles Times

“…stellar… Manning shines at giving the era’s class, racial, and economic tensions a human face. This is one to savor.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“An expansive novel of passions: love, beauty, suffering; struggles for labor rights, women’s equality and the rights of formerly enslaved people… it contains romance, historical fiction and inspired, high-minded thinking on important issues, [with] lovely writing about the natural world… a painfully beautiful novel of big ideals, heartbreaks and tragedies, sewn together by an admirable and unforgettable heroine.” – Shelf Awareness

Going Rogue: Rise and Shine Twenty-Nine by  Janet Evanovich

Fiction / mystery / comedy / romance / suspense.

Going RogueMonday mornings aren’t supposed to be fun, but they should be predictable. However, on this particular Monday, Stephanie Plum knows that something is amiss when she turns up for work at Vinnie’s Bail Bonds to find that longtime office manager Connie Rosolli, who is as reliable as the tides in Atlantic City, hasn’t shown up.

Stephanie’s worst fears are confirmed when she gets a call from Connie’s abductor. He says he will only release her in exchange for a mysterious coin that a recently murdered man left as collateral for his bail. Unfortunately, this coin, which should be in the office—just like Connie—is nowhere to be found.

The quest to discover the coin, learn its value, and save Connie will require the help of Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur, her best pal Lula, her boyfriend Morelli, and hunky security expert Ranger. As they get closer to unraveling the reasons behind Connie’s kidnapping, Connie’s captor grows more threatening and soon Stephanie has no choice but to throw caution to the wind, follow her instincts, and go rogue.

Full of surprises, thrills, and humor, Going Rogue reveals a new side of Stephanie Plum, and shows Janet Evanovich at her scorching, riotous best.

“Packed with humor.” – AARP

“Irreverent, raucous, bawdy, and always laugh-out-loud hilarious, this is Evanovich at her brilliant best.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“…fast and fun… Perky, fast-talking Stephanie’s nonstop monologue of zany events keeps the pages turning.” – Publishers Weekly

The Last Hill: The Epic Story of a Ranger Battalion and the Battle That Defined WWII by  Bob Drury &  Tom Clavin

nonfiction / history.

The Last HillThey were known as “Rudder’s Rangers,” the most elite and experienced attack unit in the United States Army. In December 1944, Lt. Col. James Rudder’s 2nd Battalion would form the spearhead into Germany, taking the war into Hitler’s homeland at last. In the process, Rudder was given two objectives: Take Hill 400… and hold the hill by any means possible. To the last man, if necessary. The battle-hardened battalion had no idea that several Wehrmacht regiments, who greatly outnumbered the Rangers, had been given the exact same orders. The clash of the two determined forces was one of the bloodiest and most costly encounters of World War II.

Castle Hill, the imposing 1320-foot mini-mountain the American Rangers simply called Hill 400, was the gateway to a desperate Nazi Germany. Several entire American divisions had already been repulsed by the last hill’s dug-in defenders as—unknown to the Allies—the height was the key to Adolf Hitler’s last-minute plans for a massive counterattack to smash through the American lines in what would become known to history as the Battle of the Bulge.

Thus the stalemate surrounding Hill 400 could not continue. For Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, there was only one solution: Call in Rudder’s Rangers. Of the 130 special operators who stormed, captured, and held the hill that December day, only 16 remained to stagger back down its frozen slopes. The Last Hill is replete with unforgettable action and characters—a rich and detailed saga of what the survivors of the 2nd Ranger Battalion would remember as “our longest day.”

“Military buffs will enjoy the authors’ account of the often bitter fighting… [they] vividly capture the miserable, freezing, wet conditions and the bloody small-unit actions that often failed… ‘Untold’ and ‘epic’ war stories remain a persistent genre, and this should satisfy its substantial readership.” – Kirkus Reviews

“[An] exhaustive history… Drury and Clavin pack the narrative with biographical details about the Rangers and skillfully toggle between battle scenes and big-picture analysis. WWII buffs will savor this deep dive.” – Publishers Weekly

Ocean’s Echo by  Everina Maxwell

Fiction / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Romance.

Ocean's EchoRich socialite, inveterate flirt, and walking disaster Tennalhin Halkana can read minds. Tennal, like all neuromodified “readers,” is a security threat on his own. But when controlled, readers are a rare asset. Not only can they read minds, but they can navigate chaotic space, the maelstroms surrounding the gateway to the wider universe.

Conscripted into the military under dubious circumstances, Tennal is placed into the care of Lieutenant Surit Yeni, a duty-bound soldier, principled leader, and the son of a notorious traitor general. Whereas Tennal can read minds, Surit can influence them. Like all other neuromodified “architects,” he can impose his will onto others, and he’s under orders to control Tennal by merging their minds.

Surit accepted a suspicious promotion-track request out of desperation, but he refuses to go through with his illegal orders to sync and control an unconsenting Tennal. So they lie: They fake a sync bond and plan Tennal’s escape.

Their best chance arrives with a salvage-retrieval mission into chaotic space—to the very neuromodifcation lab that Surit’s traitor mother destroyed twenty years ago. And among the rubble is a treasure both terrible and unimaginably powerful, one that upends a decades-old power struggle, and begins a war.

Tennal and Surit can no longer abandon their unit or their world. The only way to avoid life under full military control is to complete the very sync they’ve been faking.

Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?

“[A] brilliant and decisively modern space opera… This earns a space on shelves alongside the very best of the genre.” – Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] truly original story… triumphant… Writing fantastically memorable characters, Maxwell masterfully draws out a rich and complicated story which explores military incursions, familial ties, and the impact of secrets revealed.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“This stand-alone set in the same universe as Winter’s Orbit is an exciting, fast-paced sci-fi adventure with great worldbuilding and complex characters.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

The Philosophy of Modern Song by  Bob Dylan ★

nonfiction / music / history / philosophy.

The Philosophy of Modern SongThe Philosophy of Modern Song is Bob Dylan’s first book of new writing since 2004’s Chronicles: Volume One—and since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

Dylan, who began working on the book in 2010, offers his extraordinary insight into the nature of popular music. He writes over sixty essays focusing on songs by other artists, spanning from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, and in between ranging from Hank Williams to Nina Simone. He analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal. These essays are written in Dylan’s unique prose. They are mysterious and mercurial, poignant and profound, and often laugh-out-loud funny. And while they are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem and add to the work’s transcendence.

In 2020, with the release of his outstanding album Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan became the first artist to have an album hit the Billboard Top 40 in each decade since the 1960s. The Philosophy of Modern Song contains much of what he has learned about his craft in all those years, and like everything that Dylan does, it is a momentous artistic achievement.

“An homage to songwriting by the master of the art.” – AARP

“[A] rich, riffy, funny, and completely engaging book of essays.” – The New Yorker

“[The Philosophy of Modern Song] is less a rigorous study of craft than a series of rhapsodic observations on what gives great songs their power to fascinate us. [Dylan] worked on these for more than a decade, though they flow more like extemporaneous sermons.” – New York Times

“THE great book of 2022… utterly extraordinary… It is not framed as a work of music criticism; it is a lifelong performer’s attempt to get deeply into a pop song panorama and a lifelong consumer of other singers’ takes as a member of their audiences. He is talking to the reader in a way that is unique and immediate and familiar to us. He is saying things that are fresh—even wild and radical—on every other page of the book… If the Swedes want to go ahead and give him still another Nobel Prize for Literature, I for one, will applaud vigorously. Let any possible objector read this book first.” – The Buffalo News

The Prisoner by  B.A. Paris

Fiction / Suspense / Mystery.

The PrisonerAmelie has always been a survivor, from losing her parents as a child in Paris to making it on her own in London. As she builds a life for herself, she is swept up into a glamorous lifestyle where she married the handsome billionaire Jed Hawthorne.

But then, Amelie wakes up in a pitch-black room, not knowing where she is. Why has she been taken? Who are her mysterious captors? And why does she soon feel safer here, imprisoned, than she had begun to feel with her husband Jed?

“A harrowing Cinderella thriller featuring an underestimated heroine in ruthless survivor Amelie, whose sharp-edged narrative keeps the suspense churning and offers a counterweight to the malignant entitlement of Hawthorpe’s world.” – Booklist

“…tense and uneasy… reduces a woman to a state of near incapacitation and then enables her to face a terrible situation with resolve. For fans of Joy Fielding.” – Library Journal

“…suspenseful… If you want a fast-paced thriller and like a good kidnapping, you’ll like this book.” – Shelf Reflection

Racing the Light by  Robert Crais

Fiction / mystery / suspense.

Racing the LightAdele Schumacher isn’t a typical worried mom. When she hires Elvis to find her missing son, a controversial podcaster named Josh Shoe, she brings a bag filled with cash, bizarre tales of government conspiracies, and a squad of professional bodyguards. Finding Josh should be simple, but Elvis quickly learns he isn’t alone in the hunt — a deadly team of mysterious strangers are determined to find Josh and his adult film star girlfriend first.

With Elvis being watched and dangerous secrets lurking behind every lead, Elvis needs his friend Joe Pike more than ever to uncover the truth about Josh, corrupt politicians, and the vicious business cartels rotting the heart of Los Angeles from within. And when Elvis Cole’s estranged girlfriend Lucy Chenier and her son Ben return, Elvis learns just how much he has to lose… if he survives.

Written with the heart, humor, and relentless suspense for which Crais is famous, Racing the Light delivers Elvis Cole’s most dangerous case yet.

“Crais’ affection for his characters, masterful pacing, and dry wit make this one of his better efforts… [Crais] keeps the traditional detective novel alive and well. An enjoyable mystery from a tried-and-true veteran.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A whirlwind of action, fisticuffs, and stray bullets, along with Crais’ usual dose of heart and humor, make for a riveting and satisfying read.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“…entertaining… This long-running series shows no signs of losing steam.” – Publishers Weekly

Requiem for the Massacre: A Black History on the Conflict, Hope, and Fallout of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre by  RJ Young ★

nonfiction / Memoir / History.

Requiem for the MassacreMore than one hundred years ago, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma perpetrated a massacre against its Black residents. For generations, the true story was ignored, covered up, and diminished by those in power and in a position to preserve a racist status quo. Blending memoir and immersive journalism, RJ Young shows how today Tulsa combats its racist past while still remaining all too tolerant of racial injustice. A collage of Black lives one hundred years after the massacre shows how things have changed and how they have not. Requiem for the Massacre includes interviews from survivors of the massacre and their descendants, as well as research from historical archives at the Greenwood Cultural Center, the University of Tulsa, and other sources, culminating in current efforts to excavate an empty sunken patch of land believed to be the site of an unmarked mass grave of victims of the massacre.

As the United States is in the throes of Black Lives Matter demonstrations spurned by the killing of George Floyd, and as Tulsa heads into the next one hundred years, Young’s own reflections thread together the stories of a community trying to heal and trying to hope.

“Essential reading for the next hundred years.” – Literary Hub

“At its core, [Requiem For the Massacre] is a memoir that uses [Young’s] coming to terms with the 1921 riot to reflect on his journey to understand what it means to be Black in the U.S. and in Tulsa, past and present. More than a personal story emerges from Young’s reflections and immersive journalism; he recreates Tulsa as a place where Black community networking succeeded enough to enrage whites to massacre and suppress that fact for generations… This beckons to readers willing to examine whether the centennial of the Tulsa Massacre reflected a reckoning and the substance of change, or was merely a spectacle of lip service.” – Library Journal

“A unique synthesis of memoir and a history of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Tulsa native Young, a FOX Sports analyst, offers an ambitious, forceful continuance of his debut memoir, Let It Bang, focused on his development as a consciously Black writer, while dogged by the massacre’s uneasy centennial… The author’s prose is consistently acute and his societal analysis, astute… An arresting account of Black ambition and endurance from an important new voice in narrative nonfiction.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

The Rewind by  Allison Winn Scotch

Fiction / romance.

The RewindWhen college sweethearts Frankie and Ezra broke up before graduation, they vowed to never speak to each other again. Ten years later, on the eve of the new millennium, they find themselves back on their snowy, picturesque New England campus together for the first time for the wedding of mutual friends. Frankie’s on the rise as a music manager for the hottest bands of the late ’90s, and Ezra’s ready to propose to his girlfriend after the wedding. Everything is going to plan–they just have to avoid the chasm of emotions brought up when they inevitably come face to face.

But when they wake up in bed next to each other the following morning with Ezra’s grandmother’s diamond on Frankie’s finger, they have zero memory of how they got there–or about any of the events that transpired the night before. Now Frankie and Ezra have to put aside old grievances in order to figure out what happened, what didn’t happen… and to ask themselves the most troubling question of all: what if they both got it wrong the first time around?

“Filled with great 90’s pop culture and two characters you really care about… One of the best rom-coms of the year.” – Red Carpet Crash

“[This] emotional outing delivers both laughs and poignancy. Fans of Emily Giffin, Katherine Center, and Christina Lauren should check this out.” – Publishers Weekly

“Nineties nostalgia is alive and well in this moving story of a lost first love and second chances. Readers will enjoy piecing together both the story of the forgotten night and the reasons behind the relationship’s disastrous first ending. The collegiate atmosphere and New Year’s Eve setting make this a cozy, romantic read from Scotch.” – Library Journal

Someday, Maybe by  Onyi Nwabineli


Someday, MaybeHere are three things you should know about my husband:
1. He was the great love of my life despite his penchant for going incommunicado.
2. He was, as far as I and everyone else could tell, perfectly happy. Which is significant because…
3. On New Year’s Eve, he committed suicide.

And here is one thing you should know about me:
1. I found him.

Bonus fact: No. I am not okay.

“If you are someone who gravitates toward emotional gut punch reads, allow me to introduce you to this spectacular debut…” – BuzzFeed

“Nwabineli’s exceptional debut is a heartfelt and moving portrayal of grief and recovery in all its messiness…This is an excellent choice for book clubs and for readers who enjoy thought-provoking, deeply emotional fiction.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“A devastating and powerful story about loss, love, and healing…  An emotional journey packed with heartbreak, grief, and beautiful memories.” – SheReads

Button Hoopla Listen

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by  Bono ★

nonfiction / memoir / music.

Surrender“When I started to write this book, I was hoping to draw in detail what I’d previously only sketched in songs. The people, places, and possibilities in my life. Surrender is a word freighted with meaning for me. Growing up in Ireland in the seventies with my fists up (musically speaking), it was not a natural concept. A word I only circled until I gathered my thoughts for the book. I am still grappling with this most humbling of commands. In the band, in my marriage, in my faith, in my life as an activist. Surrender is the story of one pilgrim’s lack of progress… With a fair amount of fun along the way.” – Bono

As one of the music world’s most iconic artists and the cofounder of the organizations ONE and (RED), Bono’s career has been written about extensively. But in Surrender, it’s Bono who picks up the pen, writing for the first time about his remarkable life and those he has shared it with. In his unique voice, Bono takes us from his early days growing up in Dublin, including the sudden loss of his mother when he was fourteen, to U2’s unlikely journey to become one of the world’s most influential rock bands, to his more than twenty years of activism dedicated to the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty. Writing with candor, self-reflection, and humor, Bono opens the aperture on his life–and the family, friends, and faith that have sustained, challenged, and shaped him.

Surrender‘s subtitle, 40 Songs, One Story, is a nod to the book’s forty chapters, which are each named after a U2 song. Bono has also created forty original drawings for Surrender, which appear throughout the book.

“A no-brainer for U2’s legions of fans.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A powerful and candid debut memoir… With remarkable frankness, he details what makes a great song; domestic life with his wife, Ali, and their four children; how the band almost fell apart during the 1990 recording of Achtung Baby; why he always wears glasses; and his experience of the conflict between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland… Self-aware and poignantly reflective, this is a must-read.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Surrender is more introspective than salacious or score-settling, and proof that the tunesmith who wrote it also speaks fluent prose… a representational self-portrait, not an aspirational one.” – Washington Post

“[An] ambitious, sprawling memoir… he knows what the skeptics think of him; he good-naturedly anticipates every criticism and mocks his own flirtations with self-parody… He’s open and honest, with language that can be witty and distinctive… Surrender soars whenever the spotlight comes on. Bono is never more powerful, on the page or the stage, than when he strives for the transcendence that only music can offer.” – New York Times

Toad by  Katherine Dunn ★


ToadSally Gunnar has been in love, has been mad, has been an agent of destruction, has been spurned; and now she has retreated from the world. She lives in isolation in her small house, where her only companions are a vase of goldfish, a garden toad, and the door-to-door salesman who sells her cleaning supplies once a month. From her comfortable perch, she broods over her deepest regrets: her wayward, weed-hazy college days; her blighted romance with a scornful poet; a tragically comic accident involving a paper cutter; a suicide attempt; and her decision to ultimately relinquish a conventional life.

Colorful, crass, and profound, Toad is Katherine Dunn’s ode to her time as a student at Reed College, filled with the same keen observations, taboo-shirking verve, and singular characters that made Geek Love a cult classic. Through the perceptive Sally, a fish out of water among a cadre of eccentric, privileged young people, we meet Sam, an unwashed collector of other people’s stories; Carlotta, a free spirit who nevertheless fails to escape the deception of marriage; and Rennel, a shallow, self-obsessed philosophy student. With sly self-deprecation and mordant wit, Sally recounts their misadventures, up to the tragedy that tore them apart.

Through it all, Toad demonstrates Dunn’s genius for black humor and irony, her ecstatic celebration of the grotesque. Daring and bizarre, Toad is a brilliant precursor to the book that would make Dunn a misfit hero—even fifty-some years after it was written, it’s a refreshing take on the lives of young outsiders treading the delicate lines between isolation and freedom, love and insanity, hatred and friendship.

“A gentle, funny, heartbreaking indictment of the naïve excesses of the 1960s and the testament of a woman who survived them.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“A sobering look at the reality of what one’s glory days actually entailed, shot through with the unmistakable undertow of pain and self-loathing.” – Publishers Weekly

“It’s imperative that the reader not know too much about the plot of Toad. The impact of events is meant to hit the reader as hard as they do narrator Sally Gunnar… a good story, tightly controlled and full of observations that should resonate with readers…” – Portland Tribune

“…mesmerizing… Toad is sad, funny and, most of all, deeply, unapologetically, ordinary. Which is not to say that Toad is an ordinary book. It’s as weird as anything you’d expect from a writer this good at describing animal functions… Toad like Dunn herself, is defiantly, triumphantly, its own thing.” – New York Times

Torch by  Lyn Miller-Lachmann

fiction / young adult / historical fiction.

TorchCzechoslovakia, 1969

Seventeen-year-old Pavol has watched his country’s freedoms disappear in the wake of the Soviet Union’s invasion. He’s seen his own dreams disappear too. In a desperate, fatal act of protest against the oppressive new government, he sets himself on fire in public, hoping to motivate others to fight for change.

Instead, Pavol’s death launches a government investigation of his three closest friends. Štěpán finds his Olympic hockey ambitions jeopardized and must conceal his sexual orientation from authorities who could use it against him. Tomáš has already been accused of “antisocial” behavior because he struggles to follow the unwritten rules of everyday interactions, and now he must work even harder to meet the expectations of his father, the leader of the local communist party. And aspiring film director Lída, Pavol’s girlfriend, is pregnant with his child, which brands her a traitor by association and upends all her plans.

With their futures hanging in the balance, all three must decide whether to keep struggling to survive in the country Pavol died hoping to save… or try to escape, together, in search of a better life.

“The story presents an unflinching look at the toll of authoritarianism; it’s a tale that will inspire readers to examine modern politics and the need for people to stand up for personal rights before human torches are once again lit. Equally terrifying and captivating.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“…searing… Miller-Lachmann deftly balances moments of happiness and hope within an ominously rendered narrative marked by fear and potential catastrophe. This captivating political thriller is perfect for Ruta Sepetys fans.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

s.” – Fresh Fiction

Button Hoopla ReadButton Hoopla Listen

We Are the Light by  Matthew Quick

Fiction / Fantasy.

We Are the LightLucas Goodgame lives in Majestic, Pennsylvania, a quaint suburb that has been torn apart by a recent tragedy. Everyone in Majestic sees Lucas as a hero—everyone, that is, except Lucas himself. Insisting that his deceased wife, Darcy, visits him every night in the form of an angel, Lucas spends his time writing letters to his former Jungian analyst, Karl. It is only when Eli, an eighteen-year-old young man whom the community has ostracized, begins camping out in Lucas’s backyard that an unlikely alliance takes shape and the two embark on a journey to heal their neighbors and, most important, themselves.

From Matthew Quick, the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook, We Are the Light is an unforgettable novel about the quicksand of grief and the daily miracle of love. The humorous, soul-baring story of Lucas Goodgame offers an antidote to toxic masculinity and celebrates the healing power of art. In this tale that will stay with you long after the final page is turned, Quick reminds us that guardian angels are all around us—sometimes in the forms we least expect.

We Are the Light is a testament to the broken and the rebuilt… Quick’s deeply moving epistolary novel is a balm.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Filled with everyday guardian angels, this bittersweet, redemptive meditation on rebuilding after the unthinkable reminds readers that beauty can be found even among shattered pieces. We Are the Light is a perfect read for anyone in need of an insightful, optimistic view of humanity’s capacity for compassion and growth.” – Shelf Awareness

“An illuminating epistolary novel… A crackling narrative builds to an excruciatingly honest disclosure. The author’s fans will love this.” – Publishers Weekly

The World We Make by  N.K. Jemisin ★

fiction / fantasy / science fiction.

The World We MakeEvery great city has a soul. A human avatar that embodies their city’s heart and wields its magic. New York? She’s got six.

But all is not well in the city that never sleeps. Though Brooklyn, Manny, Bronca, Venezia, Padmini, and Neek have temporarily managed to stop the Woman in White from invading–and destroying the entire universe in the process–the mysterious capital “E” Enemy has more subtle powers at her disposal. A new candidate for mayor wielding the populist rhetoric of gentrification, xenophobia, and “law and order” may have what it takes to change the very nature of New York itself and take it down from the inside. In order to defeat him, and the Enemy who holds his purse strings, the avatars will have to join together with the other Great Cities of the world in order to bring her down for good and protect their world from complete destruction.

“Hopeful and enthralling, The World We Make is more evidence of [Jemisin’s] ferocious talent.” – Esquire

“The conclusion to Jemisin’s Great Cities duology is a searing commentary on present-day politics as manipulated by a primordial evil… This riveting and powerful urban fantasy duology is masterfully written.”- BuzzFeed

“Highly recommended for readers who loved the deep dive into myth and roots of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, those fascinated with conspiracy theories about politics and corruption, and anyone who loves a good adventure where plucky underdogs rise up and triumph in spite of themselves.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“It’s cathartic to imagine fighting these slippery, inimical forces with magic, to believe for a moment that some complex problems have direct solutions—that passion, faith, and the will to fight can make miracles happen. Perhaps the possibility of confronting those problems head-on might serve as inspiration for all of us facing variants of this issue in the real world and help us model ourselves after Jemisin’s characterization of New Yorkers: tough, nasty, but ultimately kind people who defend their own while embracing newcomers into their midst. A ray of hope in a dark time.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW


Curious how these lists are put together? CLICK HERE!

NOTE: The library does not receive any compensation for links TO OTHER SITES.

Leave a Reply