Best New Books: Week of 11/15/22

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” – Michelle Obama, Becoming

A Book of Days by Patti Smith

nonfiction / art / photography / music / memoir.

A Book of DaysA deeply moving and brilliantly idiosyncratic visual book of days by the National Book Award–winning author of Just Kids and M Train, featuring more than 365 images and reflections that chart Smith’s singular aesthetic—inspired by her wildly popular Instagram.

In 2018, without any plan or agenda for what might happen next, Patti Smith posted her first Instagram photo: her hand with the simple message “Hello Everybody!” Known for shooting with her beloved Land Camera 250, Smith started posting images from her phone including portraits of her kids, her radiator, her boots, and her Abyssinian cat, Cairo. Followers felt an immediate affinity with these miniature windows into Smith’s world, photographs of her daily coffee, the books she’s reading, the graves of beloved heroes—William Blake, Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Simone Weil, Albert Camus. Over time, a coherent story of a life devoted to art took shape, and more than a million followers responded to Smith’s unique aesthetic in images that chart her passions, devotions, obsessions, and whims. Original to this book are vintage photographs: anniversary pearls, a mother’s keychain, and a husband’s Mosrite guitar. Here, too, are photos from Smith’s archives of life on and off the road, train stations, obscure cafés, a notebook always nearby. In wide-ranging yet intimate daily notations, Smith shares dispatches from her travels around the world.

With over 365 photographs taking you through a single year, A Book of Days is a new way to experience the expansive mind of the visionary poet, writer, and performer. Hopeful, elegiac, playful—and complete with an introduction by Smith that explores her documentary process—A Book of Days is a timeless offering for deeply uncertain times, an inspirational map of an artist’s life.

“[A] vibrant photo scrapbook… Wrapped in a nostalgic glow, this will be an inspiration for Smith’s fans.” – Publishers Weekly

“Her images of coffee cups and gravestones, beaches and gardens are intimate and poetic; her captions are tender, imaginative, funny, and elegiac. Laced with gratitude and wonder, this is a transporting and affecting tour of Smith’s influences and aesthetics, an evocative celebration of her devotion to creativity and ‘the blessed task of remembrance.'” – Booklist

“…by turns intimate, humorous, and insightful… visually impactful and lyrically moving… the book serves as a rich exploration of the author’s fascinating mind… A powerful melding of image and text inspired by Instagram yet original in its execution.” – Kirkus Reviews

Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius by Nick Hornby

nonfiction / writing / music / ART / history / biography.

Dickens and PrinceEvery so often, a pairing comes along that seems completely unlikely–until it’s not. Peanut butter and jelly, Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un, ducks and puppies, and now: Dickens and Prince.

Equipped with a fan’s admiration and his trademark humor and wit, Nick Hornby invites us into his latest obsession: the cosmic link between two unlikely artists, geniuses in their own rights, spanning race, class, and centuries–each of whom electrified their different disciplines and whose legacy resounded far beyond their own time.

When Prince’s 1987 record Sign o’ the Times was rereleased in 2020, the iconic album now came with dozens of songs that weren’t on the original– Prince was endlessly prolific, recording 102 songs in 1986 alone. In awe, Hornby began to wonder, Who else ever produced this much? Who else ever worked that way? He soon found his answer in Victorian novelist and social critic Charles Dickens, who died more than a hundred years before Prince began making music.

Examining the two artists’ personal tragedies, social statuses, boundless productivity, and other parallels, both humorous and haunting, Hornby shows how these two unlikely men from different centuries “lit up the world.” In the process, he creates a lively, stimulating rumination on the creativity, flamboyance, discipline, and soul it takes to produce great art.

“An ardent fan letter from Hornby that makes you want to re-read Great Expectations while listening to Sign o’ the Times. This slim, companionable volume combines biography—Dickens’s impoverished childhood, Prince’s bruising battle with his record label—as it champions the creative impulse to always make more: more novels, more songs. A love letter to maximalism.” – Vogue

“Hornby’s admiration for his subjects is infectious… a zesty tribute to two cultural legends not often spoken about in the same breath.” – Publishers Weekly

“Smart, witty and weirdly convincing… Pop culture is political to Hornby. Beneath this latest book’s stocking-filler-light surface, you can sense a subtle sort of crusade. By pairing these two artists, he’s making a couple of implicit assertions — that Prince is as important as Dickens and that Dickens is as fun as Prince.” – The Times

Faith Still Moves Mountains: Miraculous Stories of the Healing Power of Prayer by  Harris Faulkner

nonfiction / religion / christianity / inspirational.

Faith Still Moves MountainsWe often think about prayer as a wish list, with God as Santa Claus. The reality is that the power of prayer reminds us not only how small we are, but also how big God is. Prayer is hope put into action. And prayer works.

From the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti to the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, believers testify to how God inspired hope even when all seemed lost.

Two teenagers who were saved from treacherous seas by a vessel named Amen now give thanks for the rescue that changed their lives. A woman’s near-death experience with COVID-19 turned out to be the crisis freeing her from despair. Others speak to how prayer helped them navigate family trauma, overcome abuse, and cope with mental illness and depression. Historical accounts of miracles testify to God’s power throughout time, and Faulkner recounts the role of faith and prayer in her own life and the life of her father.

Along with these stories of God’s presence, the book includes an exclusive packet of newly written prayers. Created to reflect the current times, this prayer booklet will provide a road map for putting the lessons of these stories into action.

Faith Still Moves Mountains reminds us that God’s light always shines through the darkness. Through these testimonies, we learn prayer isn’t just a ritual, it’s a vital spiritual strategy in a world that wants us to give up the fight.

“Every story in Faulkner’s book talks about God never abandoning his people and working through tragedy…” – Fox News

“The book includes stories of miraculous answers to prayer…” – Washington Times

Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life by Marie Kondo

nonfiction / self-help.

Kurashi at HomeInspired by the Japanese concept of kurashi, or “way of life,” Kurashi at Home invites you to visualize your ideal life from the moment you wake up until the end of each day. By applying the time-tested query from Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up—“Does it spark joy?”—to your mindset and behaviors, you are invited to imagine what your life could look like free from any limitations. This vision then becomes a touchpoint that helps you make conscious, mindful choices—from how you use every corner of your living space to how you take advantage of every moment.

At its core, the KonMari philosophy focuses not on what to get rid of, but on what to keep. In this inspirational visual guide, beautiful photographs and Kondo’s unique suggestions empower you to embrace what you love about your life and then reflect it in your home, activities, and relationships, like creating a calm nook for writing, taking time each morning to review a to-do list, or having relaxing nighttime rituals that promote a restful sleep.

Your newfound clarity will inspire you to clear out the unneeded clutter so you can appreciate the inviting spaces, treasured belongings, and joy-sparking moments that remain.

“[A] wise guide to achieving one’s ‘ideal lifestyle’… the majority of her advice is sound and easy to implement. This one’s another must-read for Kondophiles.” – Publishers Weekly

“Filled with practical and common-sense tips and techniques… This book moves beyond the home to include everyday activities and lifestyle. It’s likely to be in high demand due to Kondo’s popularity.” – Library Journal

“As she moves through each room, Kondo offers tips for making areas more playful and joyful… Kondo’s life has changed since the success of her first book, and she admits to challenges as a wife and mother. But she retains her overall peacefulness and her love of order, which readers find so very inspiring.” – Booklist

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times by Michelle Obama

nonfiction / inspirational / self-help.

The Light We CarryThere may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life’s big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?

Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles—the earned wisdom that helps her continue to “become.” She details her most valuable practices, like “starting kind,” “going high,” and assembling a “kitchen table” of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.

“When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it,” writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.

“What makes the book special is that it builds on parts of Becoming, and Obama serves as mentor and guide, using pivotal moments in her life to demonstrate when she had to rely on boldness, pluck and grit as she made her way from a second-floor apartment on Chicago’s South Euclid Avenue to the Ivy League to what she describes as a ‘132-room palace, surrounded by guards.’… familiar but much needed.” – Washington Post

“Obama’s road map for uncertain times resonates in ways that other self-help books do not… she reveals herself, subtly and endearingly, in a dozen different ways… Her thoughts are nuanced and never prescriptive; she tells stories about what has worked for her.” – New York Times

“[A] manifesto for thriving in a world that too often says you aren’t good enough… Each chapter takes a theme that in other hands would become an entire money-spinning book… To go high, in the phrase that will now always be connected with her, is an ongoing battle to evade [life’s] sinkholes; a daily, grinding, moment-by-moment decision to choose empathy, and openness, to ask ‘How do we build places where gladness lives?’, and then set out to do it.” – The Guardian

“…both personal and practical… After all she has witnessed and experienced, both as a first lady and as a Black woman in America, she knows in her bones just how timely these themes of unity, compassion, gratitude, courage and the desire to see one another are… Obama somehow manages to tie everything up in a bow that is neither neat nor messy but, rather, tidily handmade.” – Los Angeles Times

The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

fiction / historical fiction / mystery.

The Lindbergh NannyWhen the most famous toddler in America, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., is kidnapped from his family home in New Jersey in 1932, the case makes international headlines. Already celebrated for his flight across the Atlantic, his father, Charles, Sr., is the country’s golden boy, with his wealthy, lovely wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, by his side. But there’s someone else in their household—Betty Gow, a formerly obscure young woman, now known around the world by another name: the Lindbergh Nanny.

A Scottish immigrant deciphering the rules of her new homeland and its East Coast elite, Betty finds Colonel Lindbergh eccentric and often odd, Mrs. Lindbergh kind yet nervous, and Charlie simply a darling. Far from home and bruised from a love affair gone horribly wrong, Betty finds comfort in caring for the child, and warms to the attentions of handsome sailor Henrik, sometimes known as Red. Then, Charlie disappears.

Suddenly a suspect in the eyes of both the media and the public, Betty must find the truth about what really happened that night, in order to clear her own name—and to find justice for the child she loves.

“A poignant crime novel… Fredericks creates suspense for even those familiar with the case by suggesting the real-life culprit had accomplices, thus rendering everyone a suspect. Betty’s distress and distrust are palpable, heightening anxiety. Historical mystery fans and true crime aficionados will be well pleased.” – Publishers Weekly

“Mariah Fredericks is an expert at capturing history’s ordinary voices in extraordinary circumstances, and The Lindbergh Nanny is her best yet. An eyewitness view of a still-shocking event that makes for perfect historical fiction.” – CrimeReads

“Fredericks is especially adept at historical settings, and this book doesn’t disappoint. The Lindbergh Nanny can cross-over in all kinds of directions, and should appeal to readers of crime fiction, historical fiction, women’s fiction and those just needing a solid read.” – First Clue, STARRED REVIEW

Button Hoopla Listen

Maus Now: Selected Writing edited by Hillary Chute

nonfiction / art / history.

Maus NowRichly illustrated with images from Art Spiegelman’s Maus (“the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” – Wall Street Journal), Maus Now includes work from twenty-one leading critics, authors, and academics–including Philip Pullman, Robert Storr, Ruth Franklin, and Adam Gopnik–on the radical achievement and innovation of Maus, more than forty years since the original publication of “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman is one of our most influential contemporary artists; it’s hard to overstate his effect on postwar American culture. Maus shaped the fields of literature, history, and art, and has enlivened our collective sense of possibilities for expression. A timeless work in more ways than one, Maus has also often been at the center of debates, as its recent ban by the McMinn County, Tennessee, school board from the district’s English language-arts curriculum demonstrates.

Maus Now: Selected Writing collects responses to Spiegelman’s monumental work that confirm its unique and terrain-shifting status. The writers approach Maus from a wide range of viewpoints and traditions, inspired by the material’s complexity across four decades, from 1985 to 2018. The book is organized into three loosely chronological sections– “Contexts,” “Problems of Representation,” and “Legacy”–and offers for the first time translations of important French, Hebrew, and German essays on Maus.

Maus is revelatory and generative in profound and long-lasting ways. With this collection, American literary scholar Hillary Chute, an expert on comics and graphic narratives, assembles the world’s best writing on this classic work of graphic testimony.

“This is a thought-provoking collection of pieces that explore topics that Maus touches on, and is a must-read if you’ve read Spiegelman’s books.” – Book Riot

“At a time when book banning is on the rise—and, indeed, the very nature of truth is under attack—this omnibus investigates relevant questions… Chute’s book, which contains a generous selection of illustrations, features such luminaries as Ruth Franklin, Adam Gopnik, Marianne Hirsch, Alisa Solomon, and Philip Pullman, all coming together to create a valuable resource for the cottage industry of Maus research.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…absolutely wonderful and engaging… a highly in-depth work that celebrates the pioneering graphic novel-cum-biography of family… Chute’s book disseminates Maus in a way that makes it clear that it is more than just a simple ‘comic’ for the layperson… an insightful and impactful collection of essays dedicated to one of the most important stories of our time – one that may be more necessary now than ever before.” – Forces of Geek

Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions by Steve Martin; illustrated by Harry Bliss

nonfiction / graphic novel / memoir / film / comedy.

Number One Is WalkingNumber One Is Walking is Steve Martin’s cinematic legacy―an illustrated memoir of his legendary acting career, with stories from his most popular films and artwork by New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss.

Steve Martin has never written about his career in the movies before. In Number One Is Walking, he shares anecdotes from the sets of his beloved films―Father of the Bride, Roxanne, The Jerk, Three Amigos, and many more―bringing readers directly into his world. He shares charming tales of antics, moments of inspiration, and exploits with the likes of Paul McCartney, Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, and Chevy Chase. Martin details his forty years in the movie biz, as well as his stand-up comedy, banjo playing, writing, and cartooning, all with his unparalleled wit.

With gorgeously illustrated cartoons and single-panel “diversions” in Steve and Harry’s signature style, Number One Is Walking is full of the everyday moments that make up a movie star’s life, capturing Steve Martin’s singular humor and acclaimed career in film. The perfect gift from the team who brought you the #1 New York Times bestseller A Wealth of Pigeons.

“Irresistibly charming… Film buffs, comedy fans, and legion admirers of both the actor and artist will find themselves smiling from cover to cover.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] breezy, funny, informative illustrated book… Readers who enjoyed A Wealth of Pigeons should enjoy Martin and Bliss’s newest collaboration as well.” – Library Journal

“Sparkling… Martin comes across as an immensely likable fellow, a guy who still marvels at the success he’s had and who appears to be just as down-to-earth and humble as we’ve always imagined him to be… a clever and original way to approach a memoir, and it’s delightfully executed. A Hollywood memoir unlike any other.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Pathetic Literature edited by Eileen Myles

fiction / nonfiction / poetry / writing.

Pathetic Literature“Literature is pathetic.” So claims Eileen Myles in their bold and bracing introduction to Pathetic Literature, an exuberant collection of pieces ranging from poetry to drama to prose to something in between, all of which explore those so-called “pathetic” or sensitive feelings around which lives are built and revolutions are incited.

Myles first reclaimed the word for a seminar they taught at the University of California San Diego, rescuing it from the derision into which it had slipped and restoring its original meaning of inspiring emotion or feeling, from the Ancient Greek rhetorical method pathos. Their reinvention of “pathetic” formed the bedrock for this anthology, which includes a breathtaking 105 contributors, encompassing titans of global literature like Robert Walser, Jorge Luis Borges, Rumi, and Gwendolyn Brooks, queer icons and revolutionaries like Dodie Bellamy, Samuel R. Delany, and Bob Flanagan, as well as the invigorating newness and excitement of writers on the rise, including Nicole Wallace, Precious Okoyomon, and Will Farris. Creative nonfiction by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, Jack Halberstam, and Porochista Khakpour rubs shoulders with poetry by Natalie Diaz, Victoria Chang, Lucille Clifton, and Ariana Reines, all joined by prose from Chester Himes, Djuna Barnes, Chris Kraus, and Qiu Miaojin, among so many others. The result is a matchless anthology that is as much an ongoing dialogue as an essential compendium of revolutionary, joyful, and always moving literature.

From confrontations with suffering, embarrassment, and disquiet, to the comforts and consolations of finding one’s familiar double in a poem, Pathetic Literature is a swarming taxonomy of ways to think differently and live pathetically on a polarized and fearful planet.

“In this powerful anthology, poet Myles shares a wide-ranging but deeply focused reading list linked by the concept of pathos… The collection amounts to a solid argument for the value of literature that lays bare its author’s personal investment.” – Publishers Weekly

“Maybe the way these pieces relate to each other seems opaque, but I am 672 pages inside Eileen Myles’s head, and it all makes perfect sense to me. Spending time on this book gave me the same feeling that reading Kafka gives me, the same feeling that I’ve been going through the world with after reading nothing but Dennis Cooper for a month or so. I grin to myself—really grin—when I come across both names in Pathetic Literature, feeling like I’ve discovered something incredible, like Myles knows me… I would recommend Pathetic Literature… It might depress you, but probably only if you were depressed beforehand. What I know is that I’ll keep the book with me, just like I keep a German copy of Kafka’s diaries on my bedside.” – Liber

Button Hoopla Read

Portable Magic: A History of Books and Their Readers by Emma Smith

nonfiction / history / writing.

Portable MagicMost of what we say about books is really about the words inside them: the rosy nostalgic glow for childhood reading, the lifetime companionship of a much-loved novel. But books are things as well as words, objects in our lives as well as worlds in our heads. And just as we crack their spines, loosen their leaves and write in their margins, so they disrupt and disorder us in turn. All books are, as Stephen King put it, ‘a uniquely portable magic’. Here, Emma Smith shows us why.

Portable Magic unfurls an exciting and iconoclastic new story of the book in human hands, exploring when, why and how it acquired its particular hold over us. Gathering together a millennium’s worth of pivotal encounters with volumes big and small, Smith reveals that, as much as their contents, it is books’ physical form – their ‘bookhood’ – that lends them their distinctive and sometimes dangerous magic. From the Diamond Sutra to Jilly Cooper’s Riders, to a book made of wrapped slices of cheese, this composite artisanal object has, for centuries, embodied and extended relationships between readers, nations, ideologies and cultures, in significant and unpredictable ways.

Exploring the unexpected and unseen consequences of our love affair with books, Portable Magic hails the rise of the mass-market paperback, and dismantles the myth that print began with Gutenberg; it reveals how our reading habits have been shaped by American soldiers, and proposes new definitions of a ‘classic’-and even of the book itself. Ultimately, it illuminates the ways in which our relationship with the written word is more reciprocal – and more turbulent – than we tend to imagine.

“Smith’s work is a delight for bibliophiles, historians, and curious readers craving an unconventional piece of nonfiction… The author’s trenchant analysis, attention to detail, and conversational tone combine to make a page-turning historical study… A fascinating material history of the book told through a geopolitical lens.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Entertaining… With wit and verve, Smith concludes that a book becomes a book ‘in the hands of its readers… a book that is not handled and read is not really a book at all.’ Readers should make space on their shelves for this dazzling and provocative study.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Brilliantly written… Joyful… Smith reminds us of the thrills and spills of shabby covers, the illicit delight of writing in margins when you have been told not to and the guilty joy that comes from poring over traces left by someone else. It is these haptic, visceral and even slightly seedy pleasures of ‘bookhood’ that she brings so brilliantly to life.” – The Guardian

The Queen: Her Life by Andrew Morton

nonfiction / biography / history.

The QueenPainfully shy, Elizabeth Windsor’s personality was well suited to her youthful ambition of living quietly in the country, raising a family, and caring for her dogs and horses. But when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated, she became heir to the throne—embarking on a journey that would test her as a woman and queen.

Ascending to the throne at only 25, this self-effacing monarch navigated endless setbacks, family conflict, and occasional triumphs throughout her 70 years as the Queen of England. As her mettle was tested, she endeavored to keep the monarchy relevant culturally, socially, and politically, often in the face of resistance from inside the institution itself. And yet the greatest challenges she faced were often inside her own family, forever under intense scrutiny; from rumors about her husband’s infidelity, her sister’s marital breakdown, Princess Diana’s tragic death, to the recent departure of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Now in The Queen, renowned biographer Andrew Morton takes an in-depth look at Britain’s longest reigning monarch, exploring the influence Queen Elizabeth had on both Britain and the rest of the world for much of the last century. From leading a nation struggling to restore itself after the devastation of the second World War to navigating the divisive political landscape of the present day, Queen Elizabeth was a reluctant but resolute queen. This is the story of a woman of unflagging self-discipline who will long be remembered as mother and grandmother to Great Britain, and one of the greatest sovereigns of the modern era.

“Incisive character sketches and a touch of gossip make this admiring biography go down smooth.” – Publishers Weekly

“[A] fond remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II… A fitting tribute to a long reign.” – Kirkus Reviews

Rootwork by Tracy Cross

fiction / horror / historical fiction.

RootworkThe year is 1889.

Set in a small Louisiana parish, deep in the segregated South, Rootwork follows school-age sisters, Betty, Ann, and Pee Wee during one life-changing summer when the three of them head off to stay with their hoodoo-practicing aunt, Theodora, a powerful woman feared by the local townspeople. She teaches the girls the secrets of her craft, like how to make “hot foot powder” and how to whip up some “goofer dust” to get back at an enemy. The girls delight in their harmless hoodoo adventures until a tragic event involving the town’s racist sheriff promises to change their lives forever.

A story of love and redemption, Rootwork explores the strength of family and the darker side of the heart.

“[The] story works its magic on you… full of heart, soul, and family… addictive…” – Syn’s Book Nook

“Something about Rootwork feels like it’s from another era. While I was reading, tendrils of the story dug their way into my brain and wrapped themselves around totally unrelated thoughts, creating some pretty weird comparisons. It’s like if Mildred D Taylor’s classic Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was a supernatural horror.” – Equal Opportunity Reader

Button Hoopla Read

Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files by Deb Perelman

nonfiction / cooking.

Smitten Kitchen KeepersDeb Perelman is the author of two best-selling cookbooks; one of the internet’s most successful food bloggers; the creator of a homegrown brand with more than a million Instagram followers; and the self-taught cook with the tiny kitchen who obsessively tests her recipes to make sure that no bowls are wasted and that the results are always worth the effort.

Here, in her third book, Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files, Perelman gives us 100 recipes (including a few favorites from her site) that aim to make shopping easier, preparation more practical and enjoyable, and food more reliably delicious for the home cook.

What’s a keeper?

A full-crunch cucumber salad you’ll want to make over and over again for lunch. A tomato and corn cobbler that tastes like summer sunshine. An epic deep-dish broccoli cheddar quiche that even quiche skeptics love. A slow-roasted chicken on a bed of unapologetically schmaltzy croutons. A butterscotched apple crisp that will ruin you for all others. Perfect spaghetti and meatballs, better than ever. Deb’s ultimate pound cake, one to redeem all the sleepy ones you’ve eaten over the years.

These are the fail-safe, satisfying recipes you’ll rely on for years to come–from Perelman’s forever files to yours.

“In an industry that often hypes what’s new, it’s refreshing to see equal attention paid to the familiar. If there’s one person to rely on for tried-and-tested recipes, it’s Deb Perelman, who has been running her blog, Smitten Kitchen, for 16 years. The essence of her latest cookbook is about repetition—recipes that she’s made time and time again, each time with a new improvement, so that they may make their way into your forever files. This collection features those almost-perfect dishes, peppered with Perelman’s inviting energy.” – Thrillist

“For her third cookbook, Perelman has taken the wisdom she has accumulated in the 16 years since she created Smitten Kitchen and funneled it into ‘keepers,’ i.e., recipes deserving of a place in her ‘forever files’ and yours. That means, for example, a towering broccoli cheddar quiche baked in a springform pan, deli pickle potato salad that makes smart use of both pickles and brine, and chocolate peanut butter cup cookies that I can personally attest merit the ‘keeper’ designation. Perelman, as is her wont, employs her trademark warmth and humor as she shepherds you from breakfast to dessert and beyond, making this both a fun and practical read.” – Eater

“Keeper recipes should bring chefs joy, writes Smitten Kitchen blogger Perelman in this fuss-free collection that aims to make ‘food more reliably delicious.’ Those on offer here cover a range of options, from weeknight fare to more elaborate offerings, and easily earn their place in home cooks’ ‘forever’ files… Perelman’s mastery of culinary magic is evident on every page, and the recipes are clearly the work of someone who knows what she is doing in the kitchen. Practical and versatile, this is a boon to home cooks.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

The Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz

fiction / mystery / Suspense / Comedy.

The Twist of a Knife“Our deal is over.”

That’s what reluctant author Anthony Horowitz tells ex-detective Daniel Hawthorne in an awkward meeting. The truth is that Anthony has other things on his mind.

His new play, Mindgame, is about to open in London’s Vaudeville theatre. Not surprisingly Hawthorne declines a ticket.

On opening night, Sunday Times critic Harriet Throsby gives the play a savage review, focusing particularly on the writing. The next morning she is found dead, stabbed in the heart with an ornamental dagger which, it turns out, belongs to Anthony and which has his finger prints all over it.

Anthony is arrested, charged with Throsby’s murder, thrown into prison and interrogated.

Alone and increasingly desperate, he realises only one man can help him.

But will Hawthorne take his call?

“An adventure that will enchant mystery lovers, Anglophiles and theater buffs.” – Washington Post

“Fair-play whodunits don’t come much funnier than bestseller Horowitz’s brilliant fourth mystery featuring a fictionalized version of himself as the bumbling sidekick to former detective inspector Daniel Hawthorne… This humorous homage to golden age closed-circle mysteries is not to be missed.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Excellent… Readers of character-driven novels will love the twists and turns of this Agatha Christie–style mystery that leads to an unexpected reveal. Perfect for fans of G. M. Malliet, Elly Griffiths, and Richard Osman.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Horowitz continues to delight in mixing real life (e.g., Horowitz’s play Mindgame was staged in London) and fiction, as well as in juxtaposing Horowitz (the character) as nebbish against the always-three-steps-ahead Hawthorne. Not to worry, their relationship isn’t over quite yet. There’s much more to discover, and readers will be waiting eagerly for more from one of the best mystery writers around.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Wayward by Chuck Wendig

fiction / science fiction / horror / suspense.

WaywardFive years ago, ordinary Americans fell under the grip of a strange new malady that caused them to sleepwalk across the country to a destination only they knew. They were followed on their quest by the shepherds: friends and family who gave up everything to protect them.

Their secret destination: Ouray, a small town in Colorado that would become one of the last outposts of civilization. Because the sleepwalking epidemic was only the first in a chain of events that led to the end of the world–and the birth of a new one.

The survivors, sleepwalkers and shepherds alike, have a dream of rebuilding human society. Among them are Benji, the scientist struggling through grief to lead the town; Marcy, the former police officer who wants only to look after the people she loves; and Shana, the teenage girl who became the first shepherd–and an unlikely hero whose courage will be needed again.

Because the people of Ouray are not the only survivors, and the world they are building is fragile. The forces of cruelty and brutality are amassing under the leadership of self-proclaimed president Ed Creel. And in the very heart of Ouray, the most powerful survivor of all is plotting its own vision for the new world: Black Swan, the A.I. who imagined the apocalypse.

Against these threats, Benji, Marcy, Shana, and the rest have only one hope: one another. Because the only way to survive the end of the world is together.

“Readers will experience a rollercoaster of emotions while ensconced in Wendig’s meticulously built world and find peace as the story reaches a heartbreakingly beautiful conclusion. This high demand sequel to one of the best and most terrifying books of 2019 will delight fans.” – Library Journal

“A sequel to a pandemic novel written during an actual pandemic sounds pretty intense, and this one doesn’t disappoint, heightened by its author’s deft narrative skills, killer cliffhangers, and a not inconsiderable amount of bloodletting… This novel is an overflowing font of treasures… IMAX-scale bleeding-edge techno-horror from a writer with a freshly sharpened scalpel and time on his hands.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Welcome to the Game by Craig Henderson

fiction / suspense / mystery.

Welcome to the GameCraig Henderson screeches onto the scene with this fast-paced debut starring ex-rally driver Spencer Burnham. Having moved his family from England to Detroit and opened a foreign car dealership, Spencer’s life was derailed by the death of his beloved wife. Now disconnected from his young daughter and losing control of the cocktail of drugs and alcohol that gets him through the day, he only just keeps Child Protective Services at bay while his business teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.

Then he has a seemingly chance encounter with a charismatic but lethal gangster, Dominic McGrath. Feeling the squeeze from informants, the rise of tech surveillance, and a hotshot detective who’s made busting him a personal crusade, McGrath’s been planning a last heist that would allow a comfortable retirement, provided he can find a very special type of driver—one who’s capable, trustworthy… and naïve.

Spencer quickly proves himself behind the wheel, with his innate sense of timing and precise, high-speed maneuvers. And McGrath even pays cash, lots of it. But it comes at a price; Spencer finds himself playing in an arena where rookies don’t last long. Wising up to the ruthlessness behind McGrath’s charming façade, he tries to break free, but McGrath has too much invested to allow him to leave.

As the city swelters in a heat wave, the two men apply their considerable talents to besting each other, while mistakenly assuming they have only each other to beat.

“The action rarely stops… the first-time novelist brings a fresh, hardscrabble voice to Elmore Leonard land, albeit with more sentimentality. A corrosive debut that makes you look forward to a sequel.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Henderson makes his flawed and troubled lead easy to sympathize with, and fleshed-out characters match satisfying plot twists. Fans of the Fast & Furious movie franchise will be riveted.” – Publishers Weekly

“Henderson’s prose has a personality of its own, and it’s as dynamic and captivating as the cars it harbors… thrilling… [An] exhilarating reading experience [that] comes with its own heady aura; one that pastures the reader in coatings of intrigue.” – Delphic Reviews

Button Hoopla Read

Wicked Little Things by Justin Arnold

fiction / young adult / horror / fantasy.

Wicked Little ThingsJoin a coven.

Catch a killer.

Get a makeover…?

When his cousin is murdered, recently outed 16-year-old Dane Craven is forced to return to his unbearably small hometown of Jasper Hollow. It would be easy enough for him to keep his head down if it weren’t for three inescapable facts.

One, Dane is a witch with fiery powers he has little ability to control.

Two, Dane thinks he’s responsible for the death of his cousin.

And three, he’s already been claimed by a coven of fashion-forward ‘mean girls’ desperate to give him a makeover.

Being the gay best friend to a trio of teenage witches wasn’t ever high on Dane’s list of aspirations, but fortunately for him these girls have the necromantic powers he needs to figure out who killed his cousin. Plus, he could do with some new clothes.

While on the hunt for his cousin’s killer Dane discovers life in Jasper Hollow isn’t all bad. There’s the cute boy who works at the local coffee shop and enjoys long walks in the woods, for one.

But when the rabbit-faced killer comes for Dane, he’ll be forced to come to terms with who he is and where he belongs before it’s too late for him and everyone in Jasper Hollow.

“What would the month be without a new queer YA horror novel to be excited about?” – Book Riot

Button Hoopla Read

The Wind at My Back: Resilience, Grace, and Other Gifts from My Mentor, Raven Wilkinson by Misty Copeland with Susan Fales-Hill

nonfiction / memoir / biography / dance / history.

The Wind at My BackMisty Copeland made history as the first African-American principal ballerina at the American Ballet Theatre. Her talent, passion, and perseverance enabled her to make strides no one had accomplished before. But as she will tell you, achievement never happens in a void. Behind her, supporting her rise was her mentor Raven Wilkinson. Raven had been virtually alone in her quest to breach the all-white ballet world when she fought to be taken seriously as a Black ballerina in the 1950s and 60s. A trailblazer in the world of ballet decades before Misty’s time, Raven faced overt and casual racism, hostile crowds, and death threats for having the audacity to dance ballet.

The Wind at My Back tells the story of two unapologetically Black ballerinas, their friendship, and how they changed each other—and the dance world—forever. Misty Copeland shares her own struggles with racism and exclusion in her pursuit of this dream career and honors the women like Raven who paved the way for her but whose contributions have gone unheralded. She celebrates the connection she made with her mentor, the only teacher who could truly understand the obstacles she faced, beyond the technical or artistic demands.

A beautiful and wise memoir of intergenerational friendship and the impressive journeys of two remarkable women, The Wind at My Back captures the importance of mentorship, of shared history, and of respecting the past to ensure a stronger future.

“A beautiful memoir that captures the friendship between Copeland and Wilkinson, and shares the impact that their stories continue to have on the world of dance.” – Town & Country

“Copeland celebrates her mentor’s wisdom as she shoulders the burdens and thrills of her historic career, and aims to inspire other dancers of color who face similar barriers as they pursue their passions… The strength that Copeland found in Wilkinson is moving, and she renders it gracefully throughout. This is an inspiring and insightful account.” – Publishers Weekly

“These pages are a heartfelt tribute to Wilkinson, who passed away in 2018, and an acknowledgment of her remarkable life and career. Copeland has gracefully accepted the challenge to continue to improve dance—and humanity—in honor of Wilkinson and all those who follow her.” – Booklist

The World Deserves My Children by Natasha Leggero

nonfiction / memoir / comedy / parenting.

The World Deserves My ChildrenWhen Natasha Leggero got pregnant at forty-two after embarking on the grueling IVF process, she was over the moon. But once her feelings of bliss dissipated, she couldn’t help but shake the lingering question: Am I doing this right? And then, Should I be doing this if the world is about to end?

In The World Deserves My Children, Natasha explores themes like “geriatric” motherhood, parenting in an environmental panic, fear and love, discipline (and conflicting schools of thought on how not to raise a brat), and more. Ultimately, Natasha determines that motherhood is worth it. After all, where do you think the next five generations of humans will be if the only people who are having kids don’t believe in science? The world deserves my children.

“[Natasha’s] essays shine with wit and warmth, turning an irreverent eye toward what the future may hold for the global warming generation.” – Washington Post

“[An] irreverent debut… No topic is off-limits; Leggero bares all about ‘geriatric pregnancy,’ breastfeeding, parental anxiety, and her conversion to ‘Jew-by-choice’… this will induce grins from stand-up fans who’ve been missing shows because they can’t get a babysitter.” – Publishers Weekly

“Many aspects of her motherhood journey will resonate with a wide variety of readers, including breastfeeding and pandemic-era parenting, though she satirically skewers just about everything else with gleeful abandon… Leggero’s snark comes fast and furious throughout biting quips about nannies and the terror of having her elderly parents babysit… achieves a commendable balance among practical advice, wry commentary, and over-the-top offensiveness. The benefits and headaches of later-life motherhood from a candid, often hilarious comedic mind.” – Kirkus Reviews


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