Bookshelf

November Books

FICTION

Here Is the Beehive, by Sarah Crossan

Ana, an unhappily married lawyer, and Connor have a three-year affair. Ana is happy to leave her family for him but Connor is hesitant. Ana finds out about his death from his wife, who calls Ana, Connor’s lawyer. The cause of death is kept from the reader. In beautiful and sparing language, this book is told in five parts dealing with Ana’s grief, love and loss — all a secret, even as she secretly changes the will so that she is the executor and can keep him close a little longer.

Together in a Sudden Strangeness: America’s Poets Respond to the Pandemic, edited by Alice Quinn

In this urgent outpouring of American voices, poets speak to us as they shelter in place, addressing our collective fear, grief and hope from eloquent and diverse individual perspectives. The executive director of the Poetry Society of America, Quinn was also the poetry editor at The New Yorker from 1987 to 2007 and an editor at Alfred A. Knopf for more than 10 years prior to that.

The Archer, by Paulo Coelho

From the bestselling author of The Alchemist comes an inspiring story about a young man seeking wisdom from an elder, and the practical lessons imparted along the way. It’s the story of Tetsuya, a man once famous for his prodigious gift with a bow and arrow, and the boy who comes searching for him. The boy has many questions, and in answering them Tetsuya illustrates the tenets of a meaningful life, how one must take risks, build courage, and embrace the unexpected journey fate has to offer.

NONFICTION

From Russia with Blood: The Kremlin’s Ruthless Assassination Program and Vladimir Putin’s Secret War on the West, by Heidi Blake

The untold story of how Russia refined the art and science of targeted assassination abroad — while Western spies watched in horror as their governments failed to guard against the threat — is now in paperback. Unflinchingly documenting the growing web of death on British and American soil, Blake bravely exposes the Kremlin’s assassination campaign as part of Putin’s ruthless pursuit of global dominance and reveals why Western governments have failed to stop the bloodshed. The unforgettable story that emerges whisks us from London’s high-end night clubs to Miami’s million-dollar hideouts, and ultimately renders a bone-chilling portrait of money, betrayal and murder, written with the pace and propulsive power of a thriller.

The Science of James Smithson: Discoveries from the Smithsonian Founder, by Steven Turner

By providing scientific and intellectual context to his work, The Science of James Smithson is a comprehensive tribute to Smithson’s contributions to his fields, including chemistry, mineralogy and more. This detailed narrative illuminates Smithson and his quest for knowledge at a time when chemists still debated things as basic as the nature of fire, and struggled to maintain their networks amid the ever-changing conditions of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

Pancho Villa’s Saddle at the Cadillac Bar: Recipes and Memories, by Wanda Garner Cash

In 1924, Achilles Mehault “Mayo” Bessan and his 18-year-old bride journeyed from New Orleans to Mexico, where he ultimately transformed a dirt-floored cantina in Nuevo Laredo into a bar and restaurant renowned across the United States for its fine seafood and fancy cocktails. Cash writes, “I grew up behind the bar: first child and first grandchild. I spoke Spanish before I spoke English and I learned my numbers counting coins at my grandfather’s desk . . . I rode Pancho Villa’s saddle on a sawhorse in the main dining room, with a toy six-shooter in my holster. I fed the monkeys and parrots my grandfather kept in the Cadillac’s parking lot.” Readers will find themselves drawn to a different, more languid time, when Laredo society matrons passed long afternoons in the bar, sipping Ramos Gin Fizzes; when fraternity miscreants slouched into the Cadillac to recover from adventures “South of the Border”; when tourists waited in long lines for 40-cent tequila sours and plates of chicken envueltos.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Margaret’s Unicorn, by Briony May Smith

When a unicorn is your friend, you wish spring was far away. You wish for long days of feeding your unicorn water warmed by moonlight and flowers from the meadow. You want more first snows, warm fires and days splashing in the waves. But when spring comes and your unicorn rejoins his herd, you’re just glad for the wonderful memories of your amazing friend. The absolute perfect book for unicorn fans. (Ages 4-7.)

The Silver Arrow,
by Lev Grossman

What to do if it’s your 11th birthday and your life is much too boring? Why, write to your long-lost rich uncle and ask for a birthday surprise, of course! So when a full-sized steam engine arrives in Kate’s backyard, she and her brother find themselves rolling right into the middle of an epic adventure in which they must imagine cars for the train (swimming pool car!) and must care for the animals (talking ones!) who are waiting at each station platform with tickets. Perfect for a family read-together. (Ages 8-12.)

Pearl and Squirrel Give Thanks, by Cassie Ehrenberg

“Thanksgiving is when you share what you’re thankful for with family and friends,” Stan tells Pearl and Squirrel. Jump rope, fetch, fountains for swimming, friends and cuddly nap spots are all amazing things, but the thing Pearl and Squirrel are most thankful for is a warm dry place to call home. A break from the traditional Thanksgiving books, this one is sure to be a kid favorite this holiday season. (Ages 3-6.)

The Blue Table, by Chris Raschka

Flowers, apples, pies. There are so many things to be thankful for, but the thing that stands out the most is the family that gathers around the table. Great for Thanksgiving or any day everyone gathers, The Blue Table is a wonderful celebration of the things that matter most. (Ages 3-6.)

Only the Cat Saw,
by Ashley Wolf

As the family busily goes through their daily routine, only the cat sees the sheep grazing, the lightning bugs come out and the shooting star streak across the sky. Only the cat sees the beauty and wonder. A gentle reminder to slow down and appreciate the miracles in every day. (Ages 3-6.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

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