Bookshelf

September Books

 

FICTION

The Edge of America, by Jon Sealy

As chief financial officer for a Miami holding company and CIA front, Bobby West is on the edge. In the go-go ’80s financial culture, he’s over-leveraged his business and turned to a deal-with-the-devil money laundering operation with a local gangster in the high-stakes world of South Florida’s drug culture. When the operation goes south and $3 million goes missing, West must reckon with the fallout. With echoes of Iran-Contra and the Orwellian surveillance state, The Edge of America is a stunning thriller about greed, power and the limits of the American dream.

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett

Once upon a time, there was a house, an impossibly lavish house, in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Generations of two families would come and go, but there would always be the house. The Dutch House. Cyril Conroy was a man with a vision following WWII, buying and selling real estate. He bought the house and all the belongings of the former family as a surprise for his young wife. Unfortunately, the house and the lifestyle were too ostentatious for her, so she fled, entering a life of nun-like service while leaving her husband and two small children behind. The story skillfully navigates back and forth in time through the honest and, often humorous, voice of the son, Danny, who was primarily raised by his steadfast older sister, Maeve, and the household staff. Life changes drastically the day their father introduces a conniving young stepmother and her two daughters. Through love, loyalty, loss, treachery and wit, Patchett spins a tale impossible to put down.

The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Tobacco has finally leeched the lands of the Virginia plantations, and the “Quality” people are facing desperate times, leading them to even more horrific acts upon their “Tasked.” Hiram Walker is a young slave whose voice rises from the pages. His father is his owner, his mother a slave. Early on, it becomes apparent that he has certain abilities and even powers of “Conduction,” which lend a fantastical element to the story. These strengths will serve Hiram well as he enters the world of the Underground, joining Harriet Tubman and countless others in the quest to free all those entrapped in the maw of slavery. A powerful story by the essayist and literary force behind The Black Panther, the words that pour from Coates are pure magic. The Water Dancer is nothing short of brilliant.

Cold Storage, by David Koepp

Meet Cordyceps Novus, a highly adaptable fungus that wants just one thing, to take over the world. After being contained underground for 40 years, conditions are finally perfect for a comeback. Several floors above, two young night-shift security guards decide to track down the source of the mysterious alarm below. Koepp’s debut novel is both terrifying and humorous, a thrilling combination. After getting an inside look at the growth and spread of this fungus, you might never look at a mushroom the same way again.

This Tender Land, by William Kent Krueger

In Minnesota in 1932, the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, along with their best friend, Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy, steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her — freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. “Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in,” writes Atwood.

NONFICTION

Yale Needs Women: How The First Group of Girls Rewrote the Rules of an Ivy League Giant,
by Anne Gardiner Perkins

The experience the first undergraduate women found when they stepped onto Yale’s imposing campus was not the same one their male peers enjoyed. Isolated from one another, singled out as oddities and sexual objects, and barred from many of the privileges an elite education was supposed to offer, many of the first girls found themselves immersed in an overwhelmingly male culture they were unprepared to face. Yale Needs Women is the story of how these young women fought against the backward-leaning traditions of a centuries-old institution and created the opportunities that would carry them into the future. Perkins’ unflinching account of a group of young women striving for change is an inspiring story of strength, resilience and courage that resonates today.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know, by Malcolm Gladwell

The host of the podcast Revisionist History and best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw and David and Goliath, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers — and why they often go wrong. Talking to Strangers is a classically Gladwellian intellectual adventure, a challenging and controversial excursion through history, psychology and scandals taken straight from the news. He revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, the suicide of Sylvia Plath, the Jerry Sandusky pedophilia scandal at Penn State University, and the death of Sandra Bland — throwing our understanding of these and other stories into doubt. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know. And because we don’t know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world. In his first book since David and Goliath, Gladwell has written a gripping guidebook for troubled times.

How to Raise a Reader, by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo

An indispensable guide to welcoming children — from babies to teens — to a lifelong love of reading, written by two editors of The New York Times Book Review. Combining clear, practical advice with inspiration, wisdom, tips and curated reading lists, How to Raise a Reader shows you how to instill the joy and time-stopping pleasure of reading. Divided into four sections, from baby through teen, each section illustrated by a different artist, this book offers something useful on every page, whether it’s how to develop rituals around reading or build a family library, or ways to engage a reluctant reader. A fifth section, “More Books to Love: By Theme and Reading Level,” is chockfull of expert recommendations.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

I Love My Glam-Ma,
by Samantha Berger

Why would anyone want a plain old Grandma, when they could have a Glam-Ma! From fort building to rocking and rolling to hosting the event of the season, there’s not much a Glam-Ma cannot do. Celebrate Grandparents Day Sunday, Sept. 8. (Ages 3-6.)

Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home, by Guojing

Readers (and non-readers) of all ages will fall in love with this stunning picture book that explores trust, patience and kindness through the eyes of a lonely young woman and a homeless dog. This little book is sure to be a big hit with animal lovers everywhere. (Ages 3-6.)

Stay, by Bobbie Pyron

“Everyone loves a good story, especially one with a dog in it,” says Piper Trudeau’s mom as Piper steps on stage at school to share the story of Jewel, a homeless woman, her dog, Baby, and their incredibly difficult situation. The author of A Dog’s Way Home and A Pup Called Trouble brings a captivating story of hope, determination and just plain compassion that is just perfect for animal-loving middle-schoolers. (Ages 8-12.)

Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade, by Max Brallier and Douglas Holgate

Zombies! Monsters! Adventure! Laughs! The Last Kids on Earth series has it all and it comes to life Saturday, Sept. 21, at 2 p.m., when author Max Brallier brings his tricked-out Last Kids on Earth truck to The Country Bookshop. This free event will feature the fifth book in the New York Times best-selling series about a group of kids who defend themselves and their treehouse against the monster apocalypse. The book is available beginning Sept. 17. (Ages 9-13)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally

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