July Books


Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man, by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic

Vincent, the co-author of Same Kind of Different as Me and Heaven is For Real, teams up with Vladic to re-examine the story of the Indianapolis. Thanks to a decade of original research and interviews with 107 survivors and eyewitnesses, Vincent and Vladic tell the complete story of the ship, her crew, and their final mission to save one of their own — the fight for justice on behalf of their skipper, Capt. Charles McVay III, who was put on trial as a scapegoat for the infamous and unforgettable moment in American naval history. 

Jell-O Girls: A Family History, by Allie Rowbottom

After her great-great-great-uncle bought the patent to Jell-O from its inventor for $450, Rowbottom reveals the dark family history that flowed from one of the most profitable business deals ever. Jell-O Girls is a family story, a feminist memoir, and a tale of motherhood, love and loss. In crystalline prose, Rowbottom considers the roots of trauma not only in her own family, but in the American psyche, ultimately weaving a story that is deeply personal, as well as deeply connected to the collective female experience.

Killing It: An Education, by Camas Davis

A longtime food writer, Davis delivers a funny, heartfelt memoir of her journey from a girl without a job, home or boyfriend in Portland, Oregon, to rural France, where she learned the artisanal craft of an enlightened butcher. When Davis returns to Portland, the city is in the midst of a food revolution, where it suddenly seems possible to translate much of the Old World skills she learned in Gascony to a New World setting. Camas faces hardships and heartaches along the way, but in the end, Killing It is about what it means to pursue the real thing and dedicate your life to it.

Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America’s Forgotten Border, by Porter Fox

Spending three years exploring the border between the United States and Canada, traveling from Maine to Washington by canoe, freighter, car and on foot, Fox blends a deeply reported and beautifully written story of the region’s history with a riveting account of his travels. Fox follows explorer Samuel de Champlain’s adventures across the Northeast; recounts the rise and fall of the timber, iron and rail industries; crosses the Great Lakes on a freighter; tracks America’s fur traders through the Boundary Waters; and traces the 49th parallel from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean.

City of Devils: The Two Men Who Ruled The Underworld of Old Shanghai, by Paul French 

Set in a city of temptations, French tells an astonishing story of the two men whose lives intertwined in both crime and a twisted friendship. “Lucky” Jack Riley, with his acid-burnt fingertips, finds a future as The Slots King while “Dapper” Joe Farren, whose name was printed in neon across the Shanghai Badlands, rules the nightclubs. Eyewitness accounts from moles at the Shanghai Municipal Police, letters and contemporary newspaper articles inform this meticulously researched story, bringing to life the extravagant music halls, bars, theaters and political unrest of a city that appears both intensely glamorous and depressingly seedy. 


The Family Tabor, by Cherise Wolas

The beloved author of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby returns with a second novel. A family patriarch’s forthcoming award as Man of the Decade causes his wife and adult children to re-examine their choices, and the parts of themselves they share with family members in an engaging and remarkable work of literary fiction. The author will be in Southern Pines on July 25th. 

Dear Mrs. Bird, by A.J. Pearce

British women’s magazines during World War II published articles about making do, keeping calm and carrying on as well as answers to queries about trivial events or how to cope when bad things happen. Dear Mrs. Bird tells the story of Emmy, who opens the mail addressed to the advice column at a magazine, and the events that unfold when she writes her own reply to one of the letters. If you loved Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, or the Miss Read books, you will adore this book.

Clock Dance, by Anne Tyler

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her 9-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. Surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in an unexpected place.

Who Is Vera Kelly, by Rosalie Knecht

New York City, 1962. Vera Kelly is struggling to pay the rent and blend into the underground gay scene in Greenwich Village. She’s working night shifts at a radio station when her quick wit, sharp tongue and technical skills get her noticed by a recruiter for the CIA. Next thing she knows she’s in Argentina, tasked with wiretapping a congressman and infiltrating a group of student activists in Buenos Aires. As Vera becomes more and more enmeshed with the young radicals, the fragile local government begins to split at the seams. When a betrayal leaves her stranded in the wake of a coup, Vera learns the Cold War makes for strange and unexpected bedfellows, and she’s forced to take extreme measures to save herself.


Doll-E 1.0, by Shanda McCloskey

Curious, inquisitive, confident Charlotte is always tinkering, coding, clicking and downloading. So when she gets a doll for a gift, what does she do? She tinkers, codes and clicks, and creates the new Doll-E 1.0. A celebration of science, creativity and play, Doll-E is the perfect book for budding young scientists who also love Rosie Revere. (Ages 3-7.)

Albert’s Tree, by Jenni Desmond

Who wouldn’t just adore sweet Albert! Concerned about why his tree is crying, Albert the bear sets out to solve the mystery and what he discovers surprises everyone. A great read-aloud, Albert’s Tree will become a favorite read-it-again story for young nature lovers. (Ages 3-6.)

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe,
by Jo Watson Hackl

Quirky charming Cricket Overland wanders out of Thelma’s Cash and Carry Grocery Store and into the hearts of readers who have loved Three Times Lucky, Savvy and The Penderwicks. Armed with only a few snacks, a hand shovel, duct tape and a live cricket named Charlene, Cricket sets out on her own to find some answers. A sweet, clever, stand-alone adventure story with an art history/mystery twist thrown in for good measure. (Ages 8-12.)

Furyborn, by Claire Legrand

Two young women, Rielle and Eliana, living centuries apart, tap into their extraordinary personal powers when someone close to them is threatened. As they fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world — and of each other. Bloody, violent, fast-paced and impossible to put down, fantasy fans everywhere will consider Furyborn a must-read for the summer.
(Ages 14 and up.) 

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

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