Bookshelf

BOOKSHELF

September Books

FICTION

Amazing Grace Adams, by Fran Littlewood

Grace Adams gave birth, blinked, and now suddenly she is 45, perimenopausal and stalled — the unhappiest age you can be, according to the Guardian. And today she’s really losing it. Stuck in traffic, she finally has had enough. To the astonishment of everyone, Grace gets out of her car and simply walks away. She sets off across London, armed with a £200 cake, to win back her estranged teenage daughter on her 16th birthday. Because today is the day she’ll remind her daughter that no matter how far we fall, we can always get back up again. Because Grace Adams used to be amazing. Her husband thought so. Her daughter thought so. Even Grace thought so. But everyone seems to have forgotten. Grace is about to remind them . . . and, most importantly herself.

Bright Lights, Big Christmas, by Mary Kay Andrews

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Santa Suit comes a novella celebrating the magic of Christmas and second chances. Newly single and unemployed, Kerry Tolliver needs a second chance. When she moves back home to her family’s Christmas tree farm in North Carolina, she is guilt-tripped into helping her brother, Murphy, sell trees in New York City. She begrudgingly agrees, but she isn’t happy about sharing a trailer with her brother in the East Village for two months. Plus, it’s been years, since before her parents’ divorce, that she’s been to the city to sell Christmas trees. Then, Kerry meets Patrick, the annoying Mercedes owner who parked in her spot for the first two days. Patrick is recently divorced, father to a 6-year-old son, and lives in the neighborhood. Can Kerry’s first impressions about the recently divorced, single father and — dare she say, handsome — neighbor be wrong?

The Fall of Ruin and Wrath, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Long ago, the world was destroyed by gods. Only nine cities were spared. Separated by vast wilderness teeming with monsters and unimaginable dangers, each city is now ruled by a guardian — royalty who feed on mortal pleasure. Born with an intuition that never fails, Calista knows her talents are of great value to the power-hungry of the world, so she lives hidden as a courtesan of the Baron of Archwood. In exchange for his protection, she grants him information. When her intuition leads her to save a traveling prince in dire trouble, the voice inside her blazes with warning — and promise. Today he’ll bring her joy. One day he’ll be her doom. But the city simmers with rebellion, and with knights and monsters at her city gates, and a hungry prince in her bed, intuition may not be enough to keep her safe.

The Vaster Wilds, by Lauren Groff

A servant girl escapes from a Colonial settlement in the wilderness, carrying nothing with her but her wits, a few possessions, and the spark of God that burns hot within her. What she finds will bend her belief of everything that her own civilization has taught her. At once a thrilling adventure story and a penetrating fable, The Vaster Wilds is a work of raw and prophetic power that tells the story of America in miniature, through one girl at a hinge point in history, to ask how — and if — we can adapt quickly enough to save ourselves.

NONFICTION

The Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts, by Loren Grush

When NASA sent astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s the agency excluded women from the corps, arguing that only military test pilots — a group then made up exclusively of men — had the right stuff. It was an era in which women were steered away from jobs in science and deemed unqualified for space flight. Eventually, though, NASA recognized its mistake and opened the application process to a wider array of hopefuls, regardless of race or gender. From a candidate pool of 8,000, six elite women were selected in 1978 — Sally Ride, Judy Resnik, Anna Fisher, Kathy Sullivan, Shannon Lucid and Rhea Seddon. The Six shows these brilliant and courageous women enduring claustrophobic — and sometimes deeply sexist — media attention, undergoing rigorous survival training, and preparing for years to take multi-million-dollar payloads into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle. Together, they helped build the tools that made the space program run. One of the group, Judy Resnik, sacrificed her life when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded at 46,000 feet. Everyone knows of Sally Ride’s history-making first space ride, but each of the six would make their mark.


CHILDREN’S BOOKS

My First Lift-the-Flap Nursery Rhymes, art by Ingela P. Arrhenius

Just what does the Itsy Bitsy Spider do when the sun comes out? Find out this and much more in this retro-cool, lift-the-flap collection of classic nursery rhymes that also includes QR codes for sing-along recordings. The perfect gift for any new baby. (Ages birth-3.)

Who Works at Night?, by Peter Arrhenius

A number of community-helper books feature police officers, firefighters and garbage collectors. In Who Works at Night? some less-seen nighttime helpers get their day in the sun. Road construction workers, night drivers and doctors are just a few of the jobs featured in this fun lift-the-flap title that’s perfect for preschool classrooms. (Ages 3-6.)

The Lost Library, by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass

When 11-year-old Evan discovers a little free library that has mysteriously appeared in his town — the physical library burned to the ground years ago — he begins to investigate with no idea that two weathered books will completely upend his entire world. Narrated by a massive orange cat and an omnipresent ghost librarian, this is a story every book lover will devour. (Ages 8-12.)

Wicked Wild Poems of the Pine Tree State, by Diane Lang

From salamanders to seagulls and every tree, bush and animal in between, these poems celebrate the familiar wild living things we cherish from the Maine woods to the craggy windswept coastline. From pelicans to porcupines, blueberries to bears, dragonflies to deer, Maine holds gems of nature that are beautiful and rare. Turn a page and come inside — they’re waiting for you here! (Ages 7-18.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Bookshelf

Bookshelf

August Books

FICTION

Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett

In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew. Both hopeful and elegiac, Tom Lake explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety.

The Night Ship, by Jess Kidd

Based on a true story, this epic historical novel illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, 300 years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island. 1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks. 1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck. With her trademark storytelling, Kidd weaves a true work of magic about friendship, sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.

My Name Is Iris, by Brando Skyhorse

Iris Prince is starting over. After years of drifting apart, she and her husband are going through a surprisingly drama-free divorce. She’s moved to a new house in a new neighborhood, and has plans for gardening, coffee clubs and spending more time with her 9-year-old daughter, Melanie. It feels like her life is finally exactly what she wants it to be. Then, one beautiful morning, she looks outside her kitchen window — and sees that a wall has appeared in her front yard overnight. Where did it come from? What does it mean? And why does it seem to keep growing? Meanwhile, a Silicon Valley startup has launched a high-tech wrist wearable called “the Band.” Pitched as a convenient, eco-friendly tool to help track local utilities and replace driver’s licenses and IDs, the Band is available only to those who can prove parental citizenship. Suddenly, Iris, a proud second-generation Mexican American, is now of “unverifiable origin,” unable to prove who she is, or where she, and her undocumented loved ones, belong. Amid a climate of fear and hate-fueled violence, Iris must confront how far she’ll go to protect what matters to her most.

NONFICTION

The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed Art Forever, by Prudence Peiffer

In this exquisite biography, an art historian and critic captures a singular moment of community and creativity in mid-20th century New York City, bringing to life a group of struggling artists and the place they all called home, an obscure little street at the lower tip of Manhattan, Coenties Slip. For just over a decade, from 1956 to 1967, a collection of dilapidated former sail-making warehouses clustered at the lower edge of Manhattan became the quiet epicenter of the art world. Coenties Slip, a dead-end street near the water, was home to a circle of wildly talented and varied artists that included Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, James Rosenquist, Delphine Seyrig, Lenore Tawney and Jack Youngerman. As friends and inspirations to one another, they created a unique community for unbridled creative expression and experimentation, and the works they made at the Slip would go on to change the course of American art. Despite Coenties Slip’s obscurity, the entire history of Manhattan was inscribed into its cobblestones — one of the first streets and central markets of the new colony, built by enslaved people, with revolutionary meetings at the tavern just down Pearl Street. It was named by Herman Melville in Moby Dick, and the site of the boom and bust of the city’s maritime industry. The Slip’s history is entwined with that of the artists and their art — eclectic and varied — exploring how we are shaped by our environment, and how it in turn shapes our work.


CHILDREN’S BOOKS

When Rubin Plays, by Gracey Zhang

Beautiful music is in the ear of the beholder, and in this stunning picture book from the author/illustrator of Lala’s Words, that ear is a chorus of cats! Both a celebration of music and of new musicians, this one is sure to become a storytime favorite. (Ages 3-7.)

You Can’t Be a Pterodactyl!, by James Breakwell

Veterinarian, garbage truck driver or nurse – kids want to grow up to be all kinds of things. But Tommy? Tommy wants to be a pterodactyl. This super-silly picture book shows that determination can go a long, long way. (Ages 3-7.)

A Shell Is Cozy, by Diana Hutts Aston

A shell is a cozy, bony shelter that keeps the delicate parts of the animal tucked safely inside, but it’s also an anatomical wonder and a beautiful treasure for the patient beachcomber. This lyrical nonfiction title is chock-full of information, yet is lovely enough to be a coffee table book. Check out the entire series, which includes A Butterfly Is Patient, An Egg Is Quiet, A Rock Is Lively, A Nest Is Noisy and A Seed Is Sleepy. (Ages 3-10.)

All That’s Left to Say, by Emery Lord

Her prom night and her dress are ruined, and maybe her whole life, but Hannah absolutely believes that it was all worth it if she can find out the truth about what happened to Sophie. A beautiful exploration of grief, a friends-to-lovers romance and an emotional thriller, All That’s Left to Say will devastate you in the best kind of way. (Ages 14 and up.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Bookshelf

Bookshelf

July Books

FICTION

The Displacements, by Bruce Holsinger

To all appearances, the Larsen-Hall family has everything: healthy children, a stable marriage, a lucrative career for Brantley, and the means for Daphne to pursue her art full time. Their deluxe new Miami life has just clicked into place when Luna — the world’s first Category 6 hurricane — upends everything they have taken for granted. When the storm makes landfall, it triggers a descent of another sort. Their home destroyed, two of its members missing and finances abruptly cut off, the family finds everything they assumed about their lives now up for grabs. Swept into a mass rush of evacuees from across the South, they are transported hundreds of miles to a FEMA megashelter where their new community includes an insurance-agent-turned-drug dealer, a group of vulnerable children, and a dedicated relief worker trying to keep the peace. Will “normal” ever return?

The Exhibitionist, by Charlotte Mendelson

Meet the Hanrahan family, gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art — the first in many decades — and one he is sure will burnish his reputation forever. His three children will be there: eldest daughter Leah, always her father’s biggest champion; son Patrick, who has finally decided to strike out on his own; and daughter Jess, the youngest, who has her own momentous decision to make. And what of Lucia, Ray’s steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. What will happen if she decides to change? Lucia is hiding secrets of her own. As the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice about which desires to follow. A furiously funny novel, The Exhibitionist is a dazzling exploration of art, sacrifice, toxic family politics, desire and personal freedom.

Café Unfiltered, by Jean-Philippe Blondel

At a classic café in the French provinces, anonymity, chance encounters and traumatic pasts collide against the muted background of global instability. Blondel, author of the bestselling The 6:41 to Paris, presents a moving fresco of intertwined destinies. In the span of 24 hours, a medley of characters retrace the fading patterns of their lives after a long disruption from COVID. A mother and son realize their vast differences, a man takes tea with a childhood friend he had once covertly fallen for, and a woman crosses paths with the ex who abandoned her in Australia. Amid it all, the café swirls like a kaleidoscope, bringing together customers, waiters and owners past and present. Within its walls and on its terrace, they examine the threads of their existence, laying bare their inner selves, their failed dreams, and their hopes for the uncertain future that awaits us all.

POETRY

Beguiled by the Frailties of Those Who Precede Us, by Stephen E. Smith

It’s best to let former North Carolina poet laureate Shelby Stephenson describe Smith’s latest volume of poetry, his eighth. “Stephen E. Smith’s poems in Beguiled by the Frailties of Those Who Precede Us exude truths so real they haunt our memories . . . Father, mother, family, past, present, future swoop and dive into the imagination the way a whale searches for deep water.”


CHILDREN’S BOOKS

The Digger and the Butterfly, by Joseph Kuefler

Sometimes it takes a new friend to remind you to slow down, listen to the river, feel the wind, appreciate the sun. This is what happens when Digger befriends a butterfly and waits patiently to see what will happen next. When the butterfly finally emerges, it’s clear that Digger and his friends have also been changed forever. A lovely story with fun science facts on the life cycle of the butterfly, it’s a perfect summer read. (Ages 2-7.)

Sunshine: A Graphic Novel, by Jarrett Krosoczka

When Jarrett Krosoczka was in high school, he was part of a program that sent students to be counselors at a camp for seriously ill kids and their families. At Camp Sunshine he engaged in some of the usual rituals that come with being a camp counselor (wilderness challenges, spooky campfire stories, an extremely stinky mascot costume), but he also got a chance to meet some extraordinary kids facing extraordinary circumstances. This gem from the author of Hey, Kiddo will have you laughing out loud and crying in public. (Ages 12 and up.)

The Jules Verne Prophecy, by Larry Schwarz and Iva-Marie Palmer

When Owen finds himself stuck in Paris for the summer with his mom, he is sure the whole vacation will be a boring flop until a mysterious skateboarder, a rare Jules Verne book and a few new friends turn things around. This wild ride of an adventure journeys through the most amazing sites in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, the catacombs and a secret skate park. (Ages 9-13.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

June Bookshelf

June Bookshelf

June Books

FICTION

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women, by Lisa See

From a young age, Yunxian learns about women’s illnesses alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. The two girls find fast friendship and a mutual purpose and they vow to be forever friends. No mud, no lotus, they tell themselves: from adversity beauty can bloom. But when Yunxian is sent into an arranged marriage, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing Meiling and from helping the women and girls in the household. Yunxian is to act like a proper wife — embroider bound-foot slippers, pluck instruments, recite poetry, give birth to sons, and stay forever within the walls of the family compound, the Garden of Fragrant Delights. How might a woman break free of these traditions and lead a life of such importance that many of her remedies are still used five centuries later? Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a captivating story of women helping other women.

Love, Theoretically, by Ali Hazelwood

The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. In another life, Elsie offers her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people-pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs. It’s a pretty sweet gig — until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who rules over the physics department at MIT, standing right between Elsie and her dream job. She’s prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but . . . those long, penetrating looks? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?

The Quiet Tenant, by Clémence Michallon

Aidan Thomas is a hard-working family man in the small upstate New York town where he lives. He’s the kind of man who always lends a hand and has a good word for everyone. But Aidan has a dark secret. He’s a kidnapper and serial killer. Aidan has murdered eight women and there’s a ninth he has earmarked for death: Rachel, imprisoned in a backyard shed, fearing for her life. When Aidan’s wife dies, he and his 13-year-old daughter Cecilia are forced to move. Aidan has no choice but to bring Rachel along, introducing her to Cecilia as a “family friend” who needs a place to stay. Rachel recognizes Cecilia might just be the lifeline she has waited for all these years. As Rachel tests the boundaries of her new living situation, she begins to form a tenuous connection with Cecilia. And when Emily, a local restaurant owner, develops a crush on the handsome widower, she finds herself drawn into Rachel and Cecilia’s orbit, coming dangerously close to discovering Aidan’s secret.

Liberty Biscuit, by Melanie Sue Bowles

Katherine Pearl Baker — Kip for short — is the only child on her family’s rural peach farm. She longs for a pet to ease the loneliness. Hiding in the woods on the Fourth of July, Kip encounters a bedraggled donkey with one eye and a floppy ear. Immediately smitten and compelled to protect him, she feeds him biscuits and takes him home. When it is discovered that the donkey fled an abusive owner, Kip’s father reluctantly allows him to stay. Kip is elated when her grandfather agrees to help her foster the donkey, who she names “Liberty Biscuit,” along with two emaciated horses removed by the local sheriff from the same home, as the cruelty case goes to court. A court order to return the horses, and even worse, Kip’s beloved Liberty Biscuit, to the owner who had starved and beaten them throws Kip’s world into turmoil. Proceeds from his book support Bowles’ charity, Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary.


CHILDREN’S BOOKS

What Were You Expecting? First Words for New Parents, by Cameron Spires

This little gem will have sleep-deprived new parents laughing until they cry (or crying until they laugh). The absolute perfect first read-aloud bedtime book, the striking art is for baby while the simple text is all grown up. (Ages infant-adult.)

Daddy & Me, Side by Side, by Pierce Freelon

Camping, fishing, trekking over rocks and through the woods is fun, but even more fun when Daddy is there. Daddy & Me celebrates family traditions and shared experiences and is perfect for Father’s Day or any day. (Ages 2-6.)

Pluto! Not a Planet? Not a Problem!, by Stacy McAnulty

Outer space comes alive in McAnulty’s “Our Universe” series. Fun facts and out of this world trivia will make any reader an expert on Pluto, a unique celestial orb. (Ages 4-8.)

Monster Camp, by Sarah Henning

Ghost stories around the fire are requisite activities at most summer camps, but what if you realize the monsters at your camp are actually your fellow campers? That’s what happens in this hilarious, slightly spooky summer sleepaway tale that is the perfect read for a long summer night. (Ages 9-12.)

The Storyteller, by Brandon Hobson

Ziggy is just a regular kid, well, a regular kid who encounters talking coyotes, singing frogs, prophesying snakes, truth-telling horses, a very interesting grandma, and Cherokee spirit people, the Nunnehi. Funny, sad, wise, and jam-packed with adventure, The Storyteller may be the very best book you’ll read in 2023. (Ages 10-14.)   PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Bookshelf

Bookshelf

May Books

FICTION

All the Pretty Places, by Joy Callaway

In Rye, New York, in the Gilded Age, Sadie Fremd’s dreams hinge on her family’s nursery, which has been the supplier of choice for respected landscape architects on the East Coast for decades. As the economy plummets into a depression, Sadie’s father pressures her to secure her future by marrying a wealthy man among her peerage, but Sadie’s heart is already spoken for. Rather than seek potential suitors, she pursues new business to bolster her father’s floundering nursery. The more time Sadie spends in the secluded gardens of the elite, the more she notices the hopelessness in the eyes of those outside the mansions — the poor, the grieving, the weary. Sadie has always wanted her father to pass the business to her instead of to one of her brothers, but he seems oblivious to her desire and talent, and now to her passion for providing natural beauty to those who can’t afford it. When a former employee, Sam, shows up unexpectedly, Sadie wonders if their love can be rekindled, or if his presence will simply be another reminder of a life she longs for and cannot have.

The Making of Another Motion Picture Masterpiece, by Tom Hanks

From the Academy Award-winning actor and bestselling author, Hanks’ debut novel is the story of the making of a colossal, star-studded, multi-million-dollar superhero action film . . . and the humble comic book that inspired it. Part One of the story takes place in 1947. A troubled soldier, returning from the war, meets his talented 5-year-old nephew, leaves an indelible impression, and then disappears for 23 years. Cut to 1970. The nephew, now drawing underground comic books in Oakland, California, reconnects with his uncle and, remembering the comic book he saw when he was 5, draws a new version with his uncle as a World War II fighting hero. Cut to the present day. A commercially successful director discovers the 1970 comic book and decides to turn it into a contemporary superhero movie. We meet the film’s extremely difficult male star, his wonderful leading lady, the eccentric writer/director, the producer, the gofer production assistant, and everyone else on both sides of the camera. As a bonus, interspersed throughout the novel are the three comic books all created by Hanks himself.

The Postcard, by Anne Berest

Luminous and gripping to the very last page, The Postcard is an enthralling investigation into family secrets, a poignant tale of mothers and daughters, and a vivid portrait of 20th century Parisian intellectual and artistic life. In 2003, an anonymous postcard is delivered to the Berest family home. On the front is a photo of the Opéra Garnier in Paris. On the back are the names of Anne Berest’s maternal great-grandparents, Ephraïm and Emma Rabinovitch, and their children, Noémie and Jacques — all killed at Auschwitz. Fifteen years after the postcard is delivered, Anne, the heroine in this autofiction, is moved to discover who sent it and why. Aided by her chain-smoking mother, family members, friends, associates, a private detective, a graphologist and many others, she embarks on a journey to discover the fate of the Rabinovitch family and then the identity of the person who sent the postcard. What emerges is a moving story of a family devastated by the Holocaust and partly restored through the power of storytelling that shatters long-held certainties about Anne’s family, her country, and herself.

NONFICTION

His Majesty’s Airship: The Life and Tragic Death of the World’s Largest Flying Machine, by S.C. Gwynne

The tragic story of the British airship R101 — which went down in a spectacular hydrogen-fueled fireball in 1930, killing more people than died in the Hindenburg disaster seven years later — has been largely forgotten. Gwynne resurrects it in vivid detail, telling the epic story of great ambition gone terribly wrong. Airships, those airborne leviathans that occupied center stage in the world in the first half of the 20th century, were a symbol of the future. R101 was not just the largest aircraft ever to have flown and the product of the world’s most advanced engineering — it was also the lynchpin of an imperial British scheme to link by air the far-flung areas of its empire from Australia to India, South Africa, Canada, Egypt and Singapore. There was just one problem: Beyond the hype and technological wonders, these big, steel-framed, hydrogen-filled airships were a dangerously bad idea.

 


 

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

The Astronaut’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth, by Terry Virts

At some point, every kid wants to be an astronaut, and with this guide, they’ll get their zero gravity feet on the right path. With a handy space info guide, space travel history timeline, pick-your-path career planning tips, and fun “ask an astronaut” Q&A, this fabulous guide is perfect for budding astronauts and curious young scientists. Autographed copies are available at The Country Bookshop. (Ages 8-14.)

The Seasons Within Me, by Bianca Pozzi

Sometimes the day is gray outside, but other times its gray inside you. Almost always the best way out of a gray day is to find a good friend who will sit with you until the rainbows shine through. This important book emphasizes that, while things aren’t always perfect, there’s always hope when supportive friends are nearby. (Ages 3-8.)

The Fantastic Bureau of Imagination, by Brad Montague

The Department of Dreams, the Cave of Untold Stories, the Planetarium of Possibility. These are all divisions of the FBI. That’s right, the Fantastic Bureau of Imagination. Whoosh down the whoosh-scilator and dive into possibility, fun and imagination. (Ages 4-8.)

Woo Hoo! You’re Doing Great!, by Sandra Boynton

Sometimes it just takes a little enthusiasm to change the world. Celebrate positivity, grand achievements, special days (and silliness) with this fun new gem that’s the perfect graduation gift alternative to Oh, The Places You’ll Go! (Ages 5-adult.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

April Bookshelf

April Bookshelf

FICTION

Homecoming, by Kate Morton

The highly anticipated new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a sweeping saga with a thrilling mystery at its heart tracing a shocking crime whose effects echo across continents and generations. On Christmas Eve, 1959, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tumbeela becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia. Sixty years later, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost 20 years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Stella, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital. When Jess visits her in the hospital she learns Stella had been distracted in the weeks before her accident, and that she fell on the steps to the attic — the one place Jess was forbidden from playing when she was small. At loose ends in Stella’s house, Jess does some digging of her own. She discovers a true crime book, chronicling the police investigation into a long-buried tragedy: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the book that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous crime — a crime that has never been resolved satisfactorily. For a journalist without a story, a cold case is the best distraction of all.

Symphony of Secrets, by Brendan Slocumb

From the author of The Violin Conspiracy comes a gripping page-turner about a professor who uncovers a shocking secret about the most famous American composer of all time — that his music was stolen from a young Black composer named Josephine Reed. Determined to uncover the truth and right history’s wrongs, Bern Hendricks will stop at nothing to finally give Josephine the recognition she deserves. As one of the world’s preeminent experts on the famed 20th-century composer Frederick Delaney, Hendricks knows everything there is to know about the man behind the music. When Mallory Roberts, a board member of the distinguished Delaney Foundation and a direct descendant of the man himself, asks for Hendrick’s help authenticating a newly discovered piece, he jumps at the chance. With the help of his tech-savvy acquaintance Eboni, Hendricks soon discovers that the truth is far more complicated than history would have them believe. In Manhattan of the 1920s, Josephine Reed is living on the streets and frequenting jazz clubs when she meets the struggling musician Fred Delaney. She’s a natural prodigy who hears beautiful music in the sounds of the world around her. With Josephine as his silent partner, Delaney’s career takes off — but who is the real genius? In the present day, Bern and Eboni begin to uncover clues that indicate Delaney may have had help in composing his most successful work. Armed with more questions than answers they move heaven and earth in a dogged quest to right history’s wrongs.

NONFICTION

Without Children, by Peggy O’Donnell Heffington

In an era of falling births, it’s often said that millennials invented the idea of not having kids. But history is full of women without children: some who chose childless lives, others who wanted children but never had them, and still others — the vast majority, then and now — who fell somewhere in-between. Modern women considering how and if children fit into their lives are products of their political, ecological, and cultural moment. History also tells them that they are not alone. Drawing on deep research and her own experience as a woman without children, Heffington shows that many of the reasons women are not having children today are ones they share with women in the past: a lack of support, their jobs or finances, environmental concerns, infertility, and the desire to live different kinds of lives. Understanding this history — how normal it has always been to not have children, and how hard society has worked to make it seem abnormal — is key, she writes, to rebuilding kinship between mothers and non-mothers, and to building a better world for us all.


CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Hard Boiled Eggs for Breakfast, by Jack Prelutsky

April is poetry month and what better way to celebrate than with some silliness by a poetry master? From tree-sitting cows to antelopes with fans, these fun poems, with illustrations by Ruth Chan, will delight and inspire young poets to create some of their own silliness. (Ages 5-10.)

Peek-A-Boo Haiku, by Danna Smith

This adorable board book is filled with haiku about hidden woodland animals with lift-the-flap illustrations on each page. It’s the perfect way to celebrate poetry month with little ones. (Ages 1-3.)

Twenty Questions, by Mac Barnett

What’s on the other side of the door? Who committed the dastardly deed? What happened here? These and other ponderances are presented in this fun book of questions from the Caldecott Award-winning team of Barnett and Christian Robinson. (Ages 5-adult.)

Slow Down and Be Here Now: More Nature Stories to Make You Stop, Look, and Be Amazed by the Tiniest Things, by Laura Brand

Frog tongues, dandelion puffs, snowflakes — all wonders of the world and all worth an extra minute of time in your day. This charming giftable nature guide/storybook encourages readers to slow down and enjoy all the amazing things in the natural world. (Ages 4-10.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Bookshelf

Bookshelf

March Books

FICTION

Hang the Moon, by Jeannette Walls

Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid. Born at the turn of the 20th century into a life of comfort and privilege, Sallie remembers little about her mother, who died in a violent argument with the Duke. By the time she’s 8 years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie. While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral. When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out. Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family. Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.

A Likely Story, by Leigh McMullan Abramson

The only child of an iconic American novelist discovers a shocking tangle of family secrets, upending everything she thought she knew about her parents, her gilded childhood and her own stalled writing career in this standout debut novel. Growing up in the ’90s in New York City as the only child of famous parents was both a blessing and a curse for Isabelle Manning. Her beautiful society hostess mother, Claire, and New York Times bestselling author father, Ward, were the city’s intellectual It couple. Ward’s glamorous obligations often took him away from Isabelle, but Claire made sure her childhood was filled with magic and love. Now an adult, all Isabelle wants is to be a successful writer like her father. After many false starts and the unexpected death of her mother, she faces her upcoming 35th birthday alone and on the verge of a breakdown. Her anxiety skyrockets when she uncovers some shocking truths about her parents and begins wondering if everything she knew about her family was all based on an elaborate lie.

Community Board, by Tara Conklin

Where does one go, you might ask, when the world falls apart? When the immutable facts of your life — the mundane, the trivial, the take-for-granted minutiae that once filled every second of every day — suddenly disappear? Where does one go in such dire and unexpected circumstances? Home, of course. Darcy Clipper, prodigal daughter, nearly 30, has returned home to Murbridge, Massachusetts, after her life takes an unwelcome left turn. Murbridge, Darcy is convinced, will welcome her home and provide a safe space in which she can nurse her wounds and harbor grudges, both real and imagined. But Murbridge, like so much else Darcy thought to be fixed and immutable, has changed. And while Darcy’s first instinct might be to hole herself up in her childhood bedroom, subsisting on Chef Boyardee and canned chickpeas, it is human nature to do two things: seek out meaningful human connection and respond to anonymous internet postings. As Murbridge begins to take shape around Darcy, both online and in person, she asks herself: What can she expect of her community? And what does she owe it in return?

The Gospel of Orla, by Eoghan Walls

In this stunning debut novel from the Northern Irish poet, The Gospel of Orla is the coming-of-age story of a young girl, Orla, and the man she meets who has an astonishing and unique ability. It is also a road novel that takes us across the north of England after the two flee Orla’s village together, and the mysteries of faith charge full bore into the vagaries of contemporary mores.

 

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

The Three Little Guinea Pigs, by Erica Perl

Oh, my, cuteness overload! This charming retelling of the classic tale will have every guinea pig lover squeaking for joy at the three piggies’ clever antics. The fun facts at the end really amp up the “awwww” factor. (Ages 3-8.)

When Sea Becomes Sky, by Gillian McDunn

When you live near a salt marsh, a boat, no matter how tiny, is a ticket to freedom. For Bex, her rowboat is where she feels closest to her brother, Davey, and where she begins to see how art and life and personal passion intersect. When Sea Becomes Sky is destined to join the canon of summer must-reads. (Ages 9-12.)

Heroes of Havensong : Dragonboy, by Megan Reyes

This debut novel follows four children — a boy turned dragon; his reluctant dragon rider; a runaway witch; and a young soldier — bound together by the fates themselves to save their world, and magic itself, from being destroyed. Perfect for Wings of Fire fans looking for a new series. (Ages 9-12.)

Outdoor School: Tree, Wildflower, and Mushroom Spotting, by Mary Kay Carson

How do you know if that weed growing in your backyard actually is common liverwort? Does stinging nettle really sting? How do you recognize poison ivy? Find out all this and more in the newest edition of outdoor school. (Ages 8-13.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Bookshelf

Bookshelf

FICTION

The Woman with the Cure, by Lynn Cullen

In 1940s and ’50s America, polio is as dreaded as the atomic bomb. No one’s life is untouched by this disease that kills or paralyzes its victims, particularly children. Outbreaks of the virus across the country regularly put American cities in lockdown. Some of the world’s best minds are engaged in the race to find a vaccine. The person who succeeds will be a god. But Dorothy Horstmann is not focused on beating her colleagues to the vaccine. She just wants the world to have a cure. Applying the same determination that lifted her from a humble background as the daughter of immigrants, to becoming a doctor — often the only woman in the room — she hunts down the monster where it lurks: in the blood.

The Devil’s Ransom, by Brad Taylor

Conducting a routine cover development trip to Tajikistan, Pike Logan learns that Afghanistan has fallen, and there’s a man on the run — one who has done more for the United States in Afghanistan than anyone else. Pulled in to extract him, Logan collides headlong with a broader mystery: His covert company, along with every other entity in the Taskforce, has been hit with a ransomware attack, and there’s some connection between the Taliban and the hack. Given the order to track down the perpetrators, he has no idea that the problem set is much, much larger and more dangerous than a simple attack on his organization. That hack was just a test run, and the real one is coming soon.

 

NONFICTION

All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me, by Patrick Bringley

Millions of people climb the grand marble staircase to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art every year. But only a select few have unrestricted access to every nook and cranny. They’re the guards who roam unobtrusively in dark blue suits, keeping a watchful eye on the 2 million-square-foot treasure house. Caught up in his glamorous fledgling career at The New Yorker, Bringley never thought he’d be one of them. Then his older brother was diagnosed with a fatal cancer and he found himself needing to escape the mundane clamor of daily life. He quit The New Yorker and sought solace in the most beautiful place he knew. To his surprise, and the reader’s delight, this temporary refuge becomes Bringley’s home away from home for a decade. We follow him as he guards delicate treasures from Egypt to Rome, strolls the labyrinths beneath the galleries, wears out nine pairs of company shoes, and marvels at the beautiful works in his care. All The Beauty in the World is an inspiring portrait of a great museum in the tradition of classic workplace memoirs like Lab Girl and Working Stiff.

B.F.F.: A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found, by Christie Tate

After more than a decade of dead-end dates and dysfunctional relationships, Tate has reclaimed her voice and settled down. Her days of agonizing in group therapy over guys who won’t commit are over, the grueling emotional work required to attach to another person tucked neatly into the past. Or so she thought. Weeks after giddily sharing stories of her new boyfriend at Saturday morning recovery meetings, Christie receives a gift from a friend. Meredith, 20 years older and always impeccably accessorized, gives Christie a box of holiday-themed scarves as well as a gentle suggestion: Maybe now is the perfect time to examine why friendships give her trouble. “The work never ends, right?” she says with a wink. With Meredith by her side, she embarks on a brutally honest exploration of her friendships past and present, sorting through the ways that debilitating shame and jealousy have kept the lasting bonds she craves out of reach. But when Meredith becomes ill and Christie’s baggage threatens to muddy their final days, she’s forced to face her deepest fears in honor of the woman who finally showed her how to be a friend.

 

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Evergreen, by Matthew Cordell

There comes a point in every squirrel’s life when they have to face their fears. So it is for Evergreen. Thunder, predators, hawks! Evergreen faces them all on the mission to care for the ailing Granny Oak. With the charm of the beloved “Little Bear” books, this one’s sure to become a classic. (Ages 6-8.)

Love, Escargot, by Dashka Slater

Oooh la la! Escargot, the adorable French gastropod, is back for another adventure. It’s Snailentine’s Day, and Escargot is (slowly) on the way to a très bonne fête with canapés, crudités, dancing and beautiful cards to exchange with the one who makes you feel magnifique! Silly, fun, and just a little French, Escargot is sure to become a giggle-inducing read-together favorite for any day of the year. (Ages 3-7.)

A Is for Aretha, by Leslie Kwan

Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross. Read through the alphabet with famous Black women in this history lesson disguised as a lovely picture book. Get it for Black History Month, keep it for an everyday reminder of the powerful women who shaped our world. (Ages 3-8.)

The Labyrinth of Curiosities, by Faye Moss Rider

Information junkies, listen up. This is the book you’ve been waiting for. From one fact-filled rabbit hole to another, The Labyrinth of Curiosities dives into everything from flying lemons to hidden salt mines in a clever new way. (Ages 7-12.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Bookshelf

Bookshelf

January Books

FICTION

Moonrise Over New Jessup, by Jamila Minnicks

It’s 1957, and after leaving the only home she has ever known, Alice Young steps off the bus into the all-Black town of New Jessup, Alabama, where residents have largely rejected integration as the means for Black social advancement. Instead, they seek to maintain, and fortify, the community they cherish on their “side of the woods.” Alice falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo and could lead to the young couple’s expulsion — or worse — from the home they both hold dear. But as Raymond continues to push alternatives for enhancing New Jessup’s political power, Alice must find a way to balance her undying support for his underground work with her desire to protect New Jessup from the rising pressure of upheaval from inside, and outside, their side of town. Minnicks’ debut novel is both a celebration of Black joy and an examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America.

Just the Nicest Couple, by Mary Kubica

Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found. Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and co-worker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered in this high-octane, edge-of-your-seat thriller.

The Mitford Affair, by Marie Benedict

Between the World Wars, the six Mitford sisters — each more beautiful, brilliant and eccentric than the next — dominate the English scene. Though they’ve weathered scandals before, the family falls into disarray when Diana divorces her wealthy husband to marry a fascist leader, and Unity follows her sister’s lead all the way to Munich, inciting rumors that she has become Hitler’s mistress. As the Nazis rise to power, Nancy Mitford grows suspicious of her sisters’ constant visits to Germany and the high-ranking fascist company they keep. When she overhears alarming conversations and uncovers disquieting documents, Nancy must make excruciating choices as Great Britain goes to war with Germany.

The Faraway World, by Patricia Engel

Two Colombian expats meet as strangers on the rainy streets of New York City, both burdened with traumatic pasts. In Cuba, a woman discovers her deceased brother’s bones have been stolen, and the love of her life returns from Ecuador for a one-night visit. A cash-strapped couple hustle in Miami, to life-altering ends. The Faraway World is a collection of arresting stories from the New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Country. The Washington Post calls Engel “a gifted storyteller whose writing shines even in the darkest corners.” Intimate and panoramic, these stories bring to life the vibrancy of community, and the epic deeds and quiet moments of love.

Exiles, by Jane Harper

At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowd. A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family. Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems. Between Falk’s closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.

 

NONFICTION

The Creative Act: A Way of Being, by Rick Rubin

Many famed music producers are known for a particular sound. Rubin is known for something else: creating a space where artists of all different genres and traditions can hone in on who they really are and what they really offer. He has made a practice of helping people transcend their self-imposed expectations in order to reconnect with a state of innocence from which the surprising becomes inevitable. Over the years, as he has thought deeply about where creativity comes from and where it doesn’t, he has learned that being an artist isn’t about your specific output, it’s about your relationship to the world. Creativity has a place in everyone’s life, and everyone can make that place larger. The Creative Act is a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow.

 

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Ice! Poems about Polar Life, by Douglas Florian

Brrrrfect poetry for the winter months. Ice! will warm the hearts of young readers with funny frozen antics of penguins, caribou, narwhals and other cold climate critters. (Ages 3-7.)

The Year of the Cat, by Richard Ho

Rat, pig, dog, sheep, monkey, rooster, horse, snake, dragon, tiger, rabbit and ox — all are stars of the zodiac. But whatever happened to Cat? Find out the rest of the story in this fun tale that’s the perfect way to honor the Chinese New Year. (Ages 5-7.)

Groundhog Gets it Wrong, by Jessica Townes

Predicting the weather is a big job, so when Groundhog takes over as the spring seer, and things don’t go exactly as planned, he has to get creative to make meteorological magic happen. Not your normal Groundhog Day title, this humorous take on the celebration also includes a few historical facts to make the day even more fun. (Ages 3-6.)

Moon Rising: A Graphic Novel, by Tui Sutherland

The Wings of Fire series is the hottest property on the market for voracious readers in grades 3-6 and with a scheduled print run of 500,000 this sixth graphic novel adaptation is sure to be the book in every backpack when it lands on Dec 27. (Ages 8-12.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.

Bookshelf

December Books

 

NONFICTION

Like a Rolling Stone, by Jann Wenner

The Rolling Stone founder, co-editor and publisher offers a memoir described by Bruce Springsteen as “touchingly honest” and “wonderfully deep.” Called the greatest editor of his generation, Wenner brings you inside the music, the politics and the lifestyle of a generation, an epoch of cultural change that swept America and beyond. He takes us into the life and work of Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Bono and Springsteen, to name a few. He was instrumental in the careers of Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Wolfe and Annie Leibovitz. His journey took him to the Oval Office with his legendary interviews with Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. From Jerry Garcia to the Dalai Lama, Aretha Franklin to Greta Thunberg, the people Wenner chose to be seen and heard in the pages of Rolling Stone tried to change American culture, values and morality.

Rare Birds True Style: Extraordinary Interiors, Personal Collections & Signature Looks, by Violet Naylor-Leyland

The private realms of well-known creatives reveal how unique personal style can color the home with a sense of history, autobiography and, above all else, magic. This lively book celebrates unique and inspiring British style and those who own it. Spanning generations — from Nicky Haslam to Alice Temperley, Beata Heuman and Luke Edward Hall — Rare Birds is an irresistible tour through the homes and wardrobes of some of England’s most celebrated contemporary talents, each with their own distinctive and unconventional taste.

A Few Collectors, by Pierre Le-Tan

An utterly charming book by the beloved Parisian artist Le-Tan, A Few Collectors is filled with dazzling illustrations and intriguing tales about often eccentric art collectors. Known for designing New Yorker magazine covers and collaborations with fashion houses, Le-Tan summons memories of inveterate collectors in this lavishly illustrated volume. He evokes fascinating, sometimes troubled figures through insightful and curious portraits. With 70 of his distinctive pen and ink drawings, the book details encounters in Paris, the Côte d’Azur, North Africa, London and New York, where Le-Tan’s subjects have amassed a range of treasures.

The Vegetable Grower’s Handbook, by Huw Richards

Following the success of Veg in One Bed and Grow Food for Free, Richards shares his tried-and-tested approaches from his own garden so you can unearth your garden’s potential. With simple yet effective methods, such as nurturing healthy soil, optimizing space and following a planting plan, anyone can be a productive vegetable grower while working in harmony with nature. In addition to recommendations on good planning and infrastructure, Richards has tips for plenty of quick wins too, like how to attract beneficial pollinators. Every successful business has a strategy. Why not apply one to your vegetable patch?

 

POETRY

Jim Harrison: Complete Poems, by Jim Harrison

Introduced by activist and naturalist writer Terry Tempest Williams, this is the definitive collection from one of America’s iconic writers, containing every poem Harrison, who passed away in 2016, published over his 50-year career, as well as a section of previously unpublished “Last Poems.” The volume includes the nature-based lyrics of his early work; the high-velocity ghazals; a harrowing prose-poem “correspondence” with a Russian suicide; the riverine suites; fearless meditations inspired by the Zen monk Crazy Cloud; and a joyous conversation in haiku-like gems with friend and fellow poet Ted Kooser. Weaving throughout its pages are Harrison’s legendary passions and appetites, his love songs and lamentations and a clarion call to pay attention to the life you are actually living. Jim Harrison: Complete Poems confirms what Publishers Weekly called him, “an untrammeled renegade genius . . . a poet talking to you instead of around himself, while doing absolutely brilliant and outrageous things with language.”

 

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Ty’s Travels: Winter Wonderland, by Kelly Starling Lyons

Joining Biscuit, Amelia Bedelia and Little Bear, these tales are now a must-have for every learning-to-read shelf. Fun family adventures, lovable characters and accessible language make these the perfect choice for beginning readers. (Ages 4-6.)

The Corgi and the Queen, by Caroline Perry

On Queen Elizabeth’s 16th birthday, she didn’t ask for a car or a trip to a faraway land, she asked for a corgi puppy. That puppy, Susan, was the first in a long line of beloved pets that stayed by the queen’s side during her long reign. This is their story. (Ages 6-8.)

Through the North Pole Snow, by Polly Faber

When a little fox goes looking for dinner and meets a certain jolly old soul, they find something to fill the belly and something to warm the heart. This one is destined to become a new holiday classic. (Ages 4-8.)

Moo, Baa, La La La, by Sandra Boynton

Deck the halls with cows and holly! Boynton’s beloved cows are back and it’s time to celebrate Christmas in the barn. Sure to become a holiday favorite, Moo, Baa, La La La is the perfect way to celebrate with the littlest carolers. (Ages birth-2.)

The Replay, by Adam Skinner

Whether its baseball, basketball, golf or football, every sports fan has that favorite story they love to tell again and again. Relive 25 of the greatest moments in sports with this fun title that is perfect for that sport-loving young reader. (Ages 9-13.)  PS

Compiled by Kimberly Daniels Taws and Angie Tally.