Bookshelf

May Books

FICTION

The Paris Hours, by Alex George

What would happen if instead of burning all of Marcel Proust’s notebooks, his maid kept the last remaining one? And what would happen if that last notebook made its way into Ernest Hemingway’s hands? The Paris Hours follows four characters, each on a quest to right a past wrong.

A Children’s Bible, by Lydia Millet

Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel — her first since the National Book Award long-listed Sweet Lamb of Heaven — follows a group of 12 eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion. Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs and sex, the children feel neglected and suffocated at the same time. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group’s ringleaders — including Eve, who narrates the story — decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside.

All Adults Here, by Emma Straub

Straub writes with knife-edged humor, sliced and diced and added into a delectable stew of flawed characters and story. Astrid is a steely widow and mother of three adult children in the small town of Clapham. She witnesses a terrible accident involving a longtime acquaintance, and it turns out to be the cataclysm that unleashes her reflections on past mistakes and decisions kept bottled up for decades. Her intentions and attempts to right a series of wrongs spanning the years allows the reader to dive into the secrets kept not only by Astrid, but also by her family and those around them. This is a sly, wicked and wholly satisfying read.

Latitudes of Longing, by Shubhangi Swarup

This book is nothing short of amazing. The elemental forces of nature and how we understand and relate to those forces are at the core of the three stories of interconnected people in this book. Unapologetic and with a full portrayal of complex lives, this book is ultimately a love story to the best and worst versions of humanity and the planet. The young author is a storyteller of extraordinary talent and insight who was awarded one of the most prestigious prizes in India for this novel. Richly imaginative and wryly perceptive, Latitudes of Longing offers a soaring view of humanity: our beauty and ugliness, our capacity to harm and love each other, and our mysterious and sacred relationship with nature.

Hello, Summer, by Mary Kay Andrews

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. Or so she thinks. When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Silver Bay Beacon afloat — and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.” Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman — a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hotspot of the summer.

Old Lovegood Girls, by Gail Godwin

From the best-selling, award-winning author of Flora and Evensong comes the story of two remarkable women and the complex friendship between them that spans decades. When the dean of Lovegood Junior College for Girls decides to pair Feron Hood with Merry Jellicoe as roommates in 1958, she has no way of knowing the far-reaching consequences of the match. Feron, who has narrowly escaped from a dark past, instantly takes to Merry and her composed personality. Underneath their fierce friendship is a stronger, stranger bond, one comprising secrets, rivalry and influence — with neither of them able to predict that Merry is about to lose everything she grew up taking for granted, and that their time together will be cut short. Ten years later, Feron and Merry haven’t spoken since college. Life has led them into vastly different worlds. And when each woman finds herself in need of the other’s essence, that spark — that remarkable affinity, unbroken by time — is reignited, and their lives begin to shift.

NONFICTION

On Lighthouses, by Jazmina Barrera, Christina MacSweeney

Obsession can be a form of mental collecting, involving an accumulation of images, experiences and stories, but it’s the stories that really bring the thing to life. On Lighthouses artfully examines lighthouses from the Spanish to the Oregon coasts and those in the works of Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe, Ingmar Bergman and many others. Barrera’s musings take the reader on a journey into her obsession, from hopeless isolation to a meaningful one, so comforting, yet so very ethereal and spectral. This is a book to be read, then read again and again.

Revolver: Sam Colt and the Six-Shooter that Changed America, by Jim Rasenberger

A riveting and revealing biography of Colt, a man who made significant contributions to our country during the 19th century, Revolver is also a lively and informative historical portrait of America during a time of extraordinary transformation. Colt seemingly lived five lives in his 47 years — he traveled, womanized, drank prodigiously, smuggled guns into Russia, bribed politicians, and supplied the Union Army with the guns they needed to win the Civil War. He lived during an age of promise and progress, but also of slavery, corruption and unbridled greed, and he not only helped to create this America, he embodied it. By the time he died in 1862 in Hartford, Connecticut, he was one of the most famous men in the nation, and one of the richest.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Hundred Feet Tall, by Benjamin Scheuer

With a little love and a little time and a little care, a little seed in a little jar can grow a hundred feet tall. Perfect for Earth Day or graduations or for simply a story of persistence and dedication, Hundred Feet Tall is sure to become a classic. (Ages 3-6.)

Green on Green, by Dianne White

This stunningly beautiful ode to the seasons practically begs to be read aloud in the shade of a longleaf pine. For story time, bedtime or anytime a new season comes around, Green on Green will delight young listeners and fulfill the desires of readers when new seasons begin to peek their heads out of the weather-worn earth. (Ages 3-6.)

Layla’s Luck, by Jo Rooks

Layla is sooo lucky. She wins the race wearing her lucky socks, aces the spelling test with her lucky pencil, and grows the tallest flowers with her lucky watering can. But on the day when it matters most, it seems Layla’s luck has just run out. It takes a friend to point out that it’s not luck that helped Layla find such success, but hard work and dedication, and this is just the thing she needs to push on toward her goal. Cute illustrations and a gentle message of stick-to-itiveness make this the perfect book to read together. (Ages 4-7.)

Malamander, by Thomas Taylor

Herbert Lemon works as the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, and among the lost umbrellas and trunks one day, Herbert finds himself face-to-face with a lost girl. This girl, Violet, leads Herbert on a wild journey through his unusual town, where the pair encounter a powerful old woman with spying capabilities, a top hat-wearing book-recommending monkey, a 12-year-old mystery, and a mysterious aquatic monster. A fun mystery with quirky humor, Malamander is perfect for that sophisticated young reader who appreciates a little dark humor. (Ages 9-12.)

Be You!, by Peter Reynolds

Brave, curious, kind, adventurous. Reynolds honors all the ways we celebrate the amazing young people in our lives in this charming new book destined to become a classic for new babies and graduation gift giving. (All ages.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally

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