Bookshelf

February Books

 

FICTION

The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah

The author of The Nightingale returns with a story of a family of three, Ernt, Cora and Leni, who move to the remote Alaskan wilderness in the 1970s. After years as a prisoner of war, Ernt is restless, tormented and given to rages. Leni is precocious and befriends a young, sweet boy whose family is on a collision course with her own.

Only Child, by Rhiannon Navin

Hiding in a coat closet, Zach Taylor hears gunshots echoing through his school as a gunman takes 19 lives, irrevocably changing the close-knit community. While Zach’s mother goes on a quest for justice against the young gunman’s parents, Zach loses himself in a world of books and art, becoming determined to help the adults around him rediscover the love and healing compassion in their lives.

White Houses, by Amy Bloom

Beginning with Lorena Hickok’s childhood and following her through Eleanor Roosevelt’s death, Bloom’s fiction brings a slice of history to life in this lively and heartbreaking biographical novel about the long-term relationship of the two women.

The Hush, by John Hart

Returning to the world of Hart’s The Last Child, it’s been 10 years since the events that changed Johnny Merrimon’s life and rocked his hometown to the core. Though Johnny has fought to maintain his privacy, books have been written of his exploits. Living alone in the wilderness outside town, Johnny’s only connection to normal life is his boyhood friend, Jack. The Hush is more than an exploration of friendship, persistence and forgotten power. It takes the reader to unexpected places, and reminds us why Hart, after five consecutive New York Times best-sellers, warrants comparison to luminaries like Pat Conroy, Cormac McCarthy and Scott Turow.

An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones

A masterpiece of storytelling, An American Marriage is a stirring love story and a profoundly insightful look into the souls of three people who must reckon with the past while moving forward — with hope and pain — into the future. Jones, the author of Silver Sparrow, writes a brilliant book that is both a joy to read and thought-provoking.

Promise, by Minrose Gwin

In the aftermath of a tornado that rips through Tupelo, Mississippi, at the height of the Great Depression, two women — one black, one white; one a great-grandmother, the other a teenager — fight for their families’ survival in this powerful novel. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage and race, Promise reminds us of the transformative power of confronting our most troubled relations with one another.

NONFICTION

The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South, by John T. Edge

The director of the Southern Foodways Alliance writes a people’s history that reveals how the region came to be at the forefront of American culinary culture, and the way issues of race shaped Southern cuisine over the last six decades.

Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America, by Vegas Tenold

Embedded among three of America’s most ideologically extreme white nationalist groups for the last six years, journalist Vegas Tenold has watched these groups move from a disorganized counterculture into the mainstream. Tenold offers a terrifying, sobering look inside these newly empowered movements, taking readers to the dark, paranoid underbelly of America.

The Leading Brain: Neuroscience Hacks to Work Smarter, Better, Happier, by Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann

Now in paperback, this book by a neuropsychologist and a leadership expert applies science-based strategies to achieve peak performance. Examples such as how to learn and retain information more efficiently, improving complex decision-making and cultivating trust and building strong teams are highlighted.

Berlin 1936: Sixteen Days in August, by Oliver Hilmes

From an award-winning historian and biographer, the 1936 Olympics told in the present tense, through the voices and stories of those who witnessed it. Berlin 1936 takes the reader through the XI Olympiad in 16 chapters, each opening with the day’s weather and, with the help of translator Jefferson Chase, describing the events in the German capital through the eyes of a select cast of characters — Nazi leaders, foreign diplomats, sportsmen, journalists, writers, socialites, nightclub owners and jazz musicians.

A Dangerous Woman: American Beauty, Noted Philanthropist, Nazi Collaborator — The Life of Florence Gould, by Susan Ronald

From the author of Hitler’s Art Thief comes a revealing biography about a fabulously wealthy socialite and patron of the arts. In Paris, Gould entertained the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, Picasso, Joseph Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin, with whom she had an affair. During the Nazi occupation she had affairs with Germans and became enmeshed in a money-laundering scheme for fleeing high-ranking officers. In New York after the war, her money bought her respectability as an important contributor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy, by Andrew Morton

Using never before seen records along with letters and diary entries, Morton’s biographical portrait of Wallis takes us through the cacophonous Jazz Age; her romantic adventures in Washington and friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt; her exploits in China and beyond; and her entrance into the strange wonderland of London society. During her journey, we meet an extraordinary array of characters, many who smoothed the way for Wallis’ dalliance with the King of England, Edward VIII.

Renoir’s Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon, by Catherine Hewitt

Hewitt delivers a fantastic biography of the daughter of a provincial maid who found her way to Paris and became a part of the Impressionist art movement. Having affairs with many painters and a model for Renoir and others, Valadon was an ambitious, headstrong woman fighting to find a professional voice in a male dominated world.

The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of the Planet’s Great Ocean Voyagers, by Adam Nicolson

Seabirds have always entranced the human imagination and New York Times best-selling author Adam Nicolson has been in love with them all his life: for their mastery of wind and ocean, their aerial beauty and the unmatched wildness of the coasts and islands where every summer they return to breed. Over the last couple of decades, modern science has begun to understand their epic voyages, their astonishing abilities to navigate for tens of thousands of miles on featureless seas, their ability to smell their way toward fish and home. The Seabird’s Cry examines the science and the stories of seabirds and the current crisis of seabird decline.

Full Battle Rattle: My Story as the Longest-Serving Special Forces A-Team Soldier in American History, by Changiz Lahidji and Ralph Pezzullo

Recognized as one of the finest noncommissioned officers to ever serve in Special Forces, Changiz’s story after more than 100 combat missions in Afghanistan and 24 years as a Green Beret is an amazing tale of perseverance and courage, combat and a man’s love for America. The memoir is a first by a Muslim member of Special Forces.

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

The Word Collector, by Peter H. Reynolds

Vociferous, effervescent, torrential, guacamole, dream. Jerome collected words. Short and sweet words, two syllable treats and multi-syllable words that sound like little songs. The more words he knew, the more clearly he could share with the world what he was thinking, feeling and dreaming. What happens when Jerome decides to share his collection changes not only him, but everyone around him. (Ages 4-8)

If I Had a Horse, by Gianna Marino

Horses are the world’s best teachers as seen in this stunning, simple yet profound little book. They teach patience, gentleness, bravery, kindness, friendship, persistence, tolerance and cooperation. Perfect for horse fans, art lovers and anyone in need of a little encouragement. (Ages 4-8)

Tiny and the Big Dig, by Sherri Duskey Rinker

From the author of the beloved Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site comes this plucky little picture book that proves even little folks can do great things when they just dig in and stick to it. Tiny the pup proves his determination to everyone in this cute story in the vein of The Little Engine That Could. (Ages 3-6)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

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