Author: Book Store

This month’s staff recommendations offer weird and wild reads. We found them enjoyable and enlightening.

 

Ben Recommends

Blue Sky Kingdom by Bruce Kirkby

Douglas & McIntyre

 

Recounted with wit and humility, Blue Sky Kingdom is an engaging travel memoir as well as a thoughtful exploration of modern distraction, the loss of ancient wisdom, and the challenges and rewards of intercultural friendships.

 


The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

Harper Collins

 

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020

At once a blazing lament of our contempt for nature and a deeply humane portrayal of motherhood and what it means to be human, The New Wilderness is an extraordinary novel from a one-of-a-kind literary force.

 


Rupert Recommends

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Random House

Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of American life today.

 


Pew by Catherine Lacy

FSG

 

In a small, unnamed town in the American South, a church congregation arrives for a service and finds a figure asleep on a pew. The person is genderless and racially ambiguous and refuses to speak. One family takes in the strange visitor and nicknames them Pew.

 


Danielle Recommends

If Then by Jill Lepore

The Simulmatics Corporation, launched during the Cold War, mined data, targeted voters, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge. Jill Lepore, best-selling author of These Truths, came across the company’s papers in MIT’s archives and set out to tell this forgotten history, the long-lost backstory to the methods, and the arrogance, of Silicon Valley.

 


 

Just us by Claudia Rankine

Sometimes wry, often vulnerable, and always prescient, Just Us is Rankine’s most intimate work, less interested in being right than in being true, being together.

 


 

Olivia Recommends

How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang

Riverhead Books

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE

An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape—trying not just to survive but to find a home.

 


 

Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin

Europa Editions

Valérie Perrin has given readers an intimately told story that tugs on the heartstrings about a woman who believes obstinately in happiness, despite it all.

 


Patti Recommends

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Milkweed Editions

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction—a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.

 


 

Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Pamela Dorman Books

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club.


 

The Cold Millions Book Cover The Cold Millions
Jess Walter
Fiction
Harper
Oct 27

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Beautiful Ruins delivers another “literary miracle” (NPR)—a propulsive, richly entertaining novel about two brothers swept up in the turbulent class warfare of the early twentieth century.

The Dolans live by their wits, jumping freight trains and lining up for day work at crooked  job agencies. While sixteen-year-old Rye yearns for a steady job and a home, his older brother, Gig, dreams of a better world, fighting alongside other union men for fair pay and decent treatment. Enter Ursula the Great, a vaudeville singer  who performs with a live cougar and introduces the brothers to a far more dangerous creature: a mining  magnate determined to keep his wealth and his hold on Ursula.

Dubious of Gig’s idealism, Rye finds himself drawn to a fearless nineteen-year-old activist and feminist named Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. But a storm is coming, threatening to overwhelm them all, and Rye will be forced to decide where he stands. Is it enough to win the occasional  battle, even if you cannot win the war?

An intimate story of brotherhood, love, sacrifice,  and betrayal set against the panoramic backdrop of an early twentieth-century America that eerily echoes our own time, The Cold Millions offers a  kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation grappling with the chasm between rich and poor, between harsh realities and simple dreams. Featuring an unforgettable cast of cops and tramps, suffragists and socialists, madams and murderers, it is a tour de force from a “writer who has planted himself firmly  in the first rank of American authors” (Boston Globe).

150 Glimpses of The Beatles Book Cover 150 Glimpses of The Beatles
Craig Brown
Music History
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Oct 13

A distinctive portrait of the Fab Four by one of the sharpest and wittiest writers of our time.

Though fifty years have passed since the breakup of the Beatles, the fab four continue to occupy an utterly unique place in popular culture. Their influence extends far beyond music and into realms as diverse as fashion and fine art, sexual politics and religion. When they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, fresh off the plane from England, they provoked an epidemic of hoarse-throated fandom that continues to this day.

Who better, then, to capture the Beatles phenomenon than Craig Brown—the inimitable author of Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret and master chronicler of the foibles and foppishness of British high society? This wide-ranging portrait of the four lads from Liverpool rivals the unique spectacle of the band itself by delving into a vast catalog of heretofore unexamined lore.

When actress Eleanor Bron touched down at Heathrow with the Beatles, she thought that a flock of starlings had alighted on the roof of the terminal—only to discover that the birds were in fact young women screaming at the top of their lungs. One journalist, mistaken for Paul McCartney as he trailed the band in his car, found himself nearly crushed to death as fans climbed atop the vehicle and pressed their bodies against the windshield. Or what about the Baptist preacher who claimed that the Beatles synchronized their songs with the rhythm of an infant’s heartbeat so as to induce a hypnotic state in listeners? And just how many people have employed the services of a Canadian dentist who bought John Lennon’s tooth at auction, extracted its DNA, and now offers paternity tests to those hoping to sue his estate?

150 Glimpses of the Beatles is, above all, a distinctively kaleidoscopic examination of the Beatles’ effect on the world around them and the world they helped bring into being. Part anthropology and part memoir, and enriched by the recollections of everyone from Tom Hanks to Bruce Springsteen, this book is a humorous, elegiac, and at times madcap take on the Beatles’ role in the making of the sixties and of music as we know it.

The Searcher Book Cover The Searcher
Tana French
Mystery
Viking
Oct 6

A spellbinding, propulsive new novel from the bestselling mystery writer who "is in a class by herself." (The New York Times)

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

War Book Cover War
Margaret MacMillan
History
Allen Lane
Oct 6

Thoughtful and brilliant insights into the very nature of war--from the ancient Greeks to modern times--from the world's foremost expert historian.

War--its imprint in our lives and our memories--is all around us, from the metaphors we use to the names on our maps. As books, movies, and television series show, we are drawn to the history and depiction of war. Yet we nevertheless like to think of war as an aberration, as the breakdown of the normal state of peace. This is comforting but wrong. War is woven into the fabric of human civilization.

In this sweeping new book, international bestselling author and historian Margaret MacMillan analyzes the tangled history of war and society and our complicated feelings towards it and towards those who fight. It explores the ways in which changes in society have affected the nature of war and how in turn wars have changed the societies that fight them, including the ways in which women have been both participants in and the objects of war.

MacMillan's new book contains many revelations, such as war has often been good for science and innovation and in the 20th century it did much for the position of women in many societies. But throughout, it forces the reader to reflect on the ways in which war is so intertwined with society, and the myriad reasons we fight.

Azadi Book Cover Azadi
Arundhati Roy
Politics
Hamish Hamilton
Sep 8

The chant of Azadi!--Urdu for "Freedom!"--is the slogan of the freedom struggle in Kasmir against what Kasmirris see as the Indian Occupation. Ironically it has also become the chant of millions on the streets of India against the project of Hindu Nationalism. What lies between these two calls for Freedom? A chasm or a bridge?

In this series of penetrating essays on politics and literature, Arundhati Roy examines this question and challenges us to reflect on the meaning of freedom in a world of growing authoritarianism.

Roy writes of the existential threat posed to Indian democracy by an emboldened Hindu nationalism, of the internet shutdown and information siege in Kashmir--the most densely militarized zone in the world--and India's new citizenship laws that discriminate against Muslims and marginalized communities and could create a crisis of statelessness on a scale previously unknown. The essays include mediations on language, public as well as private, and the role of fiction and alternative imaginations in these disturbing times.

Azadi, she warns, hangs in the balance for us all.

Dead Doubles Book Cover Dead Doubles
Trevor Barnes
Harper
Sep 15

The astonishing but true story of one of the most notorious spy cases from the Cold War—and the international manhunt that seized global attention as it revealed the shadowy world of deep cover KGB operatives. 

The dramatic arrest in London on January 7, 1961 of five Soviet spies made headlines worldwide and had repercussions around the globe. Alerted by the CIA, Britain's security service, MI5, had discovered two British spies stealing invaluable secrets from the highly sensitive submarine research center at Portland, UK.  Their controller, Gordon Lonsdale, was a Canadian who frequently visited a middle-aged couple, the Krogers, in their sleepy London suburb. But the seemingly unassuming Krogers were revealed to be deep cover American KGB spies—infamous undercover agents the FBI had been hunting for years—and they were just one part of an extensive network of Soviet operatives in the UK.

In the wake of the spies' sensational trial, the FBI uncovered the true identity of the enigmatic Lonsdale—Konon Molody, a Russian who had lived in California before being recruited by the KGB. Molody opened secret talks with MI5 to betray Russia, but before he had the chance, the KGB blackmailed Britain into spy swaps for him and the Krogers.

Based on revelatory, newly-released archival material and inside sources from around the world, Dead Doubles follows the hunt for the highly damaging Portland Spy Ring. As gripping as a le Carré novel, this incredible narrative, layered with false identities, deceptions, and betrayal, crisscrosses from the UK to the USSR to the US, Canada, Europe and New Zealand, and brings to life one of the most extraordinary spy stories of the Cold War.

Transcendent Kingdom Book Cover Transcendent Kingdom
Yaa Gyasi
Fiction
Bond Street Books
Sep 1
The Lying Life of Adults Book Cover The Lying Life of Adults
Elena Ferrante
Fiction
Europa
Sep 1

Giovanna’s pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Is she turning into her Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise? Surely there is a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is.

Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves from one to the other in search of the truth, but neither city seems to offer answers or escape.

Named one of 2016’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world’s most read and beloved writers. With this new novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, Ferrante proves once again that she deserves her many accolades., she proves once again that she deserves her many accolades. In The Lying Life of Adults, readers will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.

The Certainties Book Cover The Certainties
Aislinn Hunter
Fiction
Knopf Canada
In store now!

A vivid, moving novel reminiscent of Anthony Doerr and Michael Ondaatje, about the entwined fates of two very different refugees.

In 1940, as the shadow of war lengthens over Europe, three mysterious travelers enter a village in Spain. They have the appearance of Parisian intellectuals, but the trio of two men and a woman are starving and exhausted from crossing illegally through the Pyrenees. Their story, told over a period of 48 tense hours, is narrated by one of the men, who slowly accepts his unthinkable fate. In a voice despairing and elegant, he calmly considers what he should do, and weighs what any one life means. As he does so, his attention is caught by a five-year-old named Pia who wanders near his cafe table. To Pia he begins to address all that he thinks and feels in his final hours--envisioning a rich future life for her that both reflects and contrasts with his own.

Meanwhile, in the 1980s, a woman named Pia seeks solitude on a remote island in the Atlantic, where she works at an inn and reflects on her chaotic childhood. As Pia's story begins, a raging storm engulfs the island and a boat flounders offshore. Pia and her fellow islanders rush to help--and past and present calamities collide.

By turns elegiac and heart-pounding, a love letter in the guise of a song of despair, The Certainties is a moving and transformative blend of historical and speculative fiction--a novel that shows us what it means to bear witness, and to attend to those who seek refuge, past and present.