Cilka’s Journey, by Heather Morris
Author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz returns with a novel about beautiful Cilka, who is 16 years old and forcibly separated from the other women prisoners at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. When the camp is liberated Cilka is charged as a collaborator and sent to a Siberian prison camp, where she begins to tend to the ill, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions. From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka’s journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit and the will to survive.
The Giver of Stars, by Jojo Moyes
In the late 1930s, the WPA (Works Progress Administration) developed a number of projects intended to provide employment opportunities for unemployed artists, writers and craftsmen. One of those projects was the Pack Horse Library Initiative in which horsewomen picked their way along snowy hillsides and through muddy creeks with a simple goal: to deliver reading material to Kentucky’s isolated mountain communities. In The Giver of Stars, Moyes has brought to life the amazing, funny, adventurous stories of a few of these trailblazing women. Lovers of historical fiction will devour this story of a little-known piece of U.S. history.
Holding on to Nothing, by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne
In luminous prose, Shelburne brings us a present-day Appalachian story in the tradition of Lee Smith, Silas House and Ron Rash, cast without sentiment or cliché, but with a genuine and profound understanding of the place and its people. Lucy Kilgore has her bags packed for her escape from her rural Tennessee upbringing, but a drunken mistake forever tethers her to the town and one of its least-admired residents, Jeptha Taylor. Their path is harrowing, but Lucy and Jeptha are characters to love, and readers will root for their success in this debut novel so riveting that no one will want to turn out the light until they know whether this family will survive.
Notre-Dame, by Ken Follett
In this short, spellbinding book, international best-selling author Ken Follett describes the emotions that gripped him when he learned about the fire that threatened to destroy one of the greatest cathedrals in the world — the Notre-Dame de Paris. Follett tells the story of the cathedral, from its construction to the role it has played throughout its history. He reveals the influence it has had on cathedrals around the world and on the writing of one of his most famous novels, The Pillars of the Earth. Follett will donate the proceeds from the book to the charity La Fondation du Patrimoine.
Tell Me a Story, by Cassandra King Conroy
Cassandra King was leading a quiet life as a professor, divorced “Sunday wife” of a preacher, and debut novelist when she met Pat Conroy. The two courted and married, and now Cassandra King Conroy looks back at her love affair with a natural-born storyteller whose lust for life was fueled by a passion for literature, food and the Carolina low country that was his home. As she reflects on their relationship and the 18 years they spent together, cut short by Conroy’s passing at 70, Cassandra reveals how the marshlands of the South Carolina low country ultimately cast their spell on her, too, and how she came to understand the convivial, generous, funny, and wounded flesh-and-blood man beneath the legend — the original Prince of Tides.
Peculiar Questions and Practical Answers: A Little Book of Whimsy and Wisdom, from the New York Public Library
What did people do before Google? They asked a librarian. In this book, published from the archives of the New York Public Library, questions asked from the 1940s to the 1980s and the librarians’ answers are examined. For example, in 1965 a patron asked what “higher water” meant, curious if the term referenced American Indians. The reply was that they didn’t know what “higher water” meant, but then went into a brief discussion on Hiawatha. One of The New Yorker’s best-known and beloved illustrators, Barry Blitt, has created watercolors that bring many of the questions hilariously to life in a book that answers, among other questions, “What kind of apple did Eve eat?”
Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA, by Amaryllis Fox
Fox was in her last year as an undergraduate at the University of Oxford when her writing mentor, Daniel Pearl, was captured and beheaded. Galvanized by this brutality, Fox applied to a master’s program in conflict and terrorism at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she created an algorithm that predicted, with uncanny accuracy, the likelihood of a terrorist cell arising in any village around the world. At 21, she was recruited by the CIA. Her first assignment was reading and analyzing hundreds of classified cables a day from foreign governments and synthesizing them into daily briefs for the president of the United States. Her next assignment was at the Iraq desk in the counterterrorism center. At 22, she was fast-tracked into advanced operations training and was deployed as a spy under non-official cover — the most difficult and coveted job in the field — as an art dealer specializing in tribal and indigenous art and sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in remote areas of the Middle East and Asia.
The Body: A Guide for Occupants, by Bill Bryson
Bryson proves himself, once again, to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body — how it functions; its remarkable ability to heal itself; and, unfortunately, the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life, in general, and you, in particular. As Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information that is as addictive as it is comprehensive.
Roar Like a Dandelion, by Ruth Krauss
This oh-so-cute alphabet book from the author of The Carrot Seed is filled with gems of playful, sage advice, including “jump like a raindrop” and “kick away the snow and make spring come.” Perfect for story time or even graduation giving, Roar like a Dandelion will be a read-aloud favorite. (Ages 4-6.)
The Scarecrow, by Beth Ferry, illustrations by the Fan Brothers
Sometimes friends come from the most unlikely places, and in this sweet story with stunning illustrations, Scarecrow finds a friend one would assume to be an enemy. A perfect read-together story for any time of the year, The Scarecrow is sure to become a classic. (Ages 3-6.)
Thundercluck: Chicken of Thor, by Paul Tillery IV and Meg Wittwer
Thundercluck, the chicken with the power of Thor, is BWACKKKK in this second hilarious adventure from author/illustrator team of Tillery and Wittwer. Half mortal. Half god. All chicken. It’s perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid or Dogman. (Ages 8-12.)
Malamander, by Thomas Taylor
Herbert Lemon works as the lost-and-founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel and one day, among the lost umbrellas and trunks, he finds himself face-to-face with a lost girl. The girl, Violet, leads Herbert on a wild journey through his unusual town, where the pair encounters a powerful old woman with spying capabilities, a top hat-wearing book-recommending monkey, a 12-year-old mystery and an aquatic monster. A fun mystery with quirky humor, Malamander is perfect for that sophisticated young reader who appreciates a little dark humor. (Ages 10-14.)
Allies, by Alan Gratz
From land, air and sea, Allies follows the lives of four young people through the 24-hour period that will forever change their lives and the lives of so many others in this masterpiece by the ever-amazing historical fiction master Gratz. Fans of all ages can meet the author Monday, Oct. 21, at 4 p.m., at The Country Bookshop. This event is free and open to the public. (Ages 12 and up.) PS
Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally