By Romey Petite
Royce Rolls, by Margaret Stohl
The author of the best-selling Beautiful Creatures and Black Widow series turns her pen toward satire in this thinly veiled caricature of the Kardashian family. Bentley Royce, a girl of 16 years, is sick of playing second fiddle to her older sister Porsche (Kim), suffering at the schemes of her manipulative mother, Mercedes (Kris), and her brother, Maybach (Rob), who is of little help to her. Reality intercedes when both Bentley and T. Wilson White — her brother-in-law to be — careen off a cliff on Mulholland Drive. Peppered throughout with memo-like footnotes and press releases, Royce Rolls is a rollicking send-up of the culture of reality TV and our desire to live vicariously through the stars.
What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories,
by Lesley Nneka Arimah
In What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, Arimah uses speculative fiction to illustrate truths that are otherwise intangible. Each story is a skillfully concocted, strange, yet plausible, world that a novelist might have wasted an entire sea of words on. In one, a girl crafts a baby out of fallen hair she sweeps up at a salon, but her woven-child’s hunger proves far more ferocious than any child born of flesh and blood. In another, an equation is discovered with the potential to solve all the unhappiness in the world, but mathematicians repeatedly fail to fully integrate it into daily life. Fans of Karen Russell’s St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves or Aimee Bender’s Willful Creatures will adore and admire the seamlessness with which Arimah takes only the time she needs to tell a story — before weaving another its equal in depth.
Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich, by Norman Ohler
Five years of scintillating research went into Ohler’s Blitzed, an account of the rise of drug culture in Weimar Germany and the immediate fallout — the weaponized manufacture of opiates. It includes the dark history behind corporations such as Merck & Co, Bayer AG and Temmler, and how these companies became producers of narcotics on an unprecedented scale in Nazi-Occupied Germany. Unique to his book is the deconstruction of Adolf Hitler as the teetotaling, abstinent figure the Fuhrer purported himself to be. Blitzed spent five weeks on the best-seller list in Germany, where its publication received considerable acclaim regarding its findings. Its debut on this side of the pond is not to be missed.
The Boy in the Earth, by Fuminori Nakamura
While being a meditative yet relatively slim weekend read, Nakamura’s The Boy in the Earth has the makings of psychological thriller, a nightmarish noir setting. Part Taxi Driver (1976), part Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, for the author it is a personal voyage into the human soul. The narrator, an orphan and survivor of a traumatic, abusive childhood, finds himself co-habiting with a strange girl who has also fallen between the cracks in the world. Further disillusioned at discovering his father is still alive, he remains desperate for answers. Nakamura’s first novel to be translated into English, The Thief, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He is also the winner of the Oe Prize, Japan’s highest literary award.
Foxlowe, by Eleanor Wasserberg
Set against the backdrop of the East Anglian moorlands, the Foxlowe folk are an in-group holding fast to their strange maypole customs. Superstitious and reclusive, they live in fear of the Bad, cursing the memory of Leavers, and otherwise shun the Outside. In their society power comes from naming and marking boundaries. All new arrivals are rechristened. Green, being born in Foxlowe, has no past outside of their tiny world, but she isn’t the only one for long. A baby arrives and Green finds herself forever bound to this newcomer, having mistakenly named her Blue. While Wasserberg’s invented language in this foreboding coming-of-age novel might put one in mind of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, her approach toward depicting this rural society has earned her comparisons with the haunted works of Shirley Jackson and reveals her to be a promising new talent — a voice in fiction to watch out for.
My Cat Yugoslavia, by Pajtim Statovci
An arranged marriage becomes the impetus for Statovci’s first novel, a tale bridging two moments in time. In 1980, Emine — a Muslim girl from Kosovo — receives a marriage proposal from a man she’s had little chance to get to know. While the pairing is blessed by the girl’s father, it’s clear her own feelings regarding the match aren’t mutual. Shortly thereafter, war breaks out and the couple flees to Finland, where they try to raise a family despite their splintering union. It is their youngest son, Bekim, who features prominently in the adjacent narrative — intertwined with the first and taking place in the present day. He lives a libertine life of eccentricity, allowing his pet boa constrictor free rein of his apartment. His life takes a turn from the simply odd toward the fabulist when he meets an allegorical cat. It is the subsequent conversations with this outspoken anthropomorphic feline that lead Bekim to return to his mother’s homeland and retrace the steps of his family’s fragmented history.
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple, by Jeff Guinn
The New York Times best-selling author of Manson returns with a chilling new foray into the subject of mass-hysteria and cults of personality with his investigation into the mind behind the Jonestown massacre — Jim Jones. The Road to Jonestown delves deeply into the jungle settlement in Guyana and provides revelations into the bizarre figure of Jones himself, painting a portrait of the enigmatic figure of the Peoples Temple’s leader. Thoroughly researched and compiled from interviews with survivors of the congregation’s cyanide-induced mass suicide, Guinn’s book is a harrowing read into this quintessential, yet uniquely American, tragedy — one that must never be forgotten.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS By Angie Talley
Bunny’s Book Club, by Annie Silvestro
On a sunny afternoon, on the front steps of the library, Bunny discovered the power, the delight of stories and knew he would do anything to have more books in his world. Book lovers everywhere understand the power of being absolutely drawn in by a good story and will enjoy sharing this tale of book love. Ages 3-6.
65 Story Treehouse, by Andy Griffiths
Andy and Terry live and write books in their 65-story treehouse that was once 13, then 26, then 38, then 52 stories tall. It has a pet-grooming salon, a birthday room where it’s always your birthday, a room full of exploding eyeballs, a shark tank, a lollipop shop, a quicksand pit, an ant farm and a time machine. Andy Griffiths, author of the wildly popular 13 Story Treehouse graphic novel series will bring his own version of wackiness to The Country Bookshop Thursday, April 6, at 4 p.m. This event is free and appropriate for children ages 6-12 and their families.
by Stuart Gibbs
In this fourth fast-paced endangered species mystery series set in FunJungle, panda fanatics are frenzied, awaiting the arrival of the park’s most thrilling animal yet, Li Ping, a rare and incredibly expensive giant panda. However, when the truck transporting Li Ping finally arrives, its precious cargo has vanished. Author Stuart Gibbs will visit The Country Bookshop Monday, April 3, at 4 p.m., to introduce Panda-monium as well as his New York Times bestselling Spy School and Space Case series. This event is free and appropriate for children ages 8-12 and their families.
Daughter of a Pirate King,
by Tricia Levenseller
Alosa is the daughter of the infamous Pirate King, the overlord of the seas. When he hears word of a map to an island filled with treasure, he sends the only person he has trained himself — his daughter. She expects her task to be easy but soon encounters a problem, the first mate, Riden. Alosa is just as determined to find the map for her father, but will Riden prove too much to resist? Ages 13 and up. PS