Author: Book Store

Wolves, wives, witches, and wanderings fill the pages of this week’s set of anticipated reads. On top of which, Patti goes coastal on both of her choices.

Ben Anticipates

 

Lives of the Wives by Carmela Ciuraru

 

 

A witty look inside the tumultuous marriages of five famous writers—focusing on the “wives” of either gender—that illuminates the creative process as well as the role of money, fame, and power in these complex, fascinating relationships.

 

The history of wives is largely one of silence, resilience, and forbearance. Toss in celebrity, male privilege, ruthless ambition, narcissism, misogyny, infidelity, alcoholism, and a mood disorder or two, and it’s easy to understand why the marriages of so many famous writers have been stormy, short-lived, and mutually destructive.

 

A provocative exploration of the intersection of life and art, creativity and love, envy and rage, Lives of the Wives offers a fresh and unusual look at literary life that is insightful, poignant, humorous, and always surprising.

 

Release date: February 7th

pre-order a copy of Lives of the Wives from the webstore here

 

Wanderlust by Reid Mitenbuler

 

 

Deep in the Arctic wilderness, Peter Freuchen was buried alive under the snow. During a sudden blizzard, he had taken shelter underneath his dogsled. He managed to claw a hole through the ice only to find himself in even greater danger: his beard, wet with condensation from his struggling breath, had frozen to his sled runners, locking him in place as feeling drained from his body… If Freuchen could escape that, he could escape anything.

 

Freuchen’s life seemed ripped from the pages of an adventure novel—and provided fodder for many books of his own. A wildly eccentric Dane with an out-of-nowhere sense of humor, his insatiable curiosity drove him from the twilight years of Arctic exploration to the Golden Age of Hollywood, and from the burgeoning field of climate research to the Danish underground during World War II. He conducted jaw-dropping expeditions, survived a Nazi prison camp, and overcame a devastating injury that robbed him of his foot and very nearly his life. Through it all, he was guided not only by restlessness but also by ideals that were remarkably ahead of his time, championing Indigenous communities, environmental stewardship, and starting conversations that continue today. 

 

Meticulously researched and grippingly written, Wanderlust is an unforgettable tale of daring and discovery, an inspiring portrait of restlessness and grit, and a powerful meditation on our relationship to the planet and our fellow human beings. Reid Mitenbuler’s exquisite book restores a heroic giant of the last century back into public view.

 

Release date: February 21st

pre-order a copy of Wanderlust from the webstore here

 


Rupert Anticipates

 

The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg

 

 

You might think it’s an impossible task: secure a safe future for life on Earth, at a scale and speed never seen, against all the odds. There is hope – but only if we listen to the science before it’s too late.

 

In The Climate Book, Greta Thunberg has gathered the wisdom of over one hundred experts – geophysicists, oceanographers and meteorologists; engineers, economists and mathematicians; historians, philosophers and indigenous leaders – to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster. Throughout, illuminating and often shocking grayscale charts, graphs, diagrams, photographs, and illustrations underscore their research and their arguments. Alongside them, she shares her own stories of demonstrating and uncovering greenwashing around the world, revealing how much we have been kept in the dark. This is one of our biggest challenges, she shows, but also our greatest source of hope. Once we are given the full picture, how can we not act? And if a schoolchild’s strike could ignite a global protest, what could we do collectively if we tried?

 

We are alive at the most decisive time in the history of humanity. Together, we can do the seemingly impossible. But it has to be us, and it has to be now.

 

Release date: February 14th

pre-order a copy of The Climate Book from the webstore here

 

My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor

 

 

September 1943: German forces occupy Rome. Gestapo boss Obersturmbannführer Paul Hauptmann rules with terror. Hunger is widespread. Rumors fester. The war’s outcome is far from certain.

 

Diplomats, refugees, and escaped Allied prisoners flee for protection into Vatican City, at one fifth of a square mile the world’s smallest state, a neutral, independent country within Rome. A small band of unlikely friends led by a courageous Irish priest is drawn into deadly danger as they seek to help those seeking refuge.

 

Book 1 in the Rome Escape Line Trilogy, My Father’s House is a powerful, heartbreaking literary thriller based on the true story of Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, who risked his life to smuggle thousands of Jews and escaped Allied prisoners out of Italy under the nose of his Nazi nemesis. A deadly high-stakes battle of wits ensues in this astonishing, unforgettable story of love, faith and sacrifice, exploring what it means to be truly human in the most extreme circumstances.

 

Release date: February 10th

pre-order a copy of My Father’s House from the webstore here

 


Danielle Anticipates

 

Wolfish by Erica Berry

 

 

“This is one of those stories that begins with a female body. Hers was crumpled, roadside, in the ash-colored slush between asphalt and snowbank.”

 

So begins Erica Berry’s kaleidoscopic exploration of wolves, both real and symbolic. At the center of this lyrical inquiry is the legendary OR-7, who roams away from his familial pack in northeastern Oregon. While charting OR-7’s record-breaking journey out of the Wallowa Mountains, Erica simultaneously details her own coming-of-age as she moves away from home and wrestles with inherited beliefs about fear, danger, femininity, and the body.

 

As Erica chronicles her own migration—from crying wolf as a child on her grandfather’s sheep farm to accidentally eating mandrake in Sicily—she searches for new expressions for how to be a brave woman, human, and animal in our warming world. What do stories so long told about wolves tell us about our relationship to fear? How can our society peel back the layers of what scares us? By strategically unspooling the strands of our cultural constructions of predator and prey, and what it means to navigate a world in which we can be both, Erica bridges the gap between human fear and grief through the lens of a wrongfully misunderstood species.

 

Wolfish is for anybody trying to navigate a world that is often scary. A powerful, timeless, and necessary book for our current and future generations.

 

Release date: February 21st

pre-order a copy of Wolfish from the webstore here

 

Sterling Karat Gold by Isabel Waidner

 

 

Sterling Beckenbauer is plunged into a terrifying and nonsensical world one morning when they are attacked, then unfairly arrested, in their neighborhood in London. With the help of their friends, Sterling hosts a trial of their own in order to exonerate themselves and to hold the powers that be to account.

 

Sterling Karat Gold, in the words of Kamila Shamsie, is “a madly brilliant and deeply sane novel that reveals surrealism as possibly the most effective way of talking about the political moment we find ourselves in.” In it, Isabel Waidner concocts a world replete with bullfighters, high fashion, DIY theater, the Beach Boys, and time-traveling spaceships. The acclaimed winner of the 2021 Goldsmiths Prize for fiction that breaks the mold and extends the possibilities of the form, this novel explores the phantasmagoric nature of contemporary life, especially for nonbinary migrants, and daringly revises how solidarity and justice might be sought and won. Sterling Karat Gold couldn’t be a better North American introduction to a writer with an irresistible style and unforgettable vision.

 

Release date: February 7th

pre-order a copy of Sterling Karat Gold from the webstore here

 


Olivia Anticipates

 

Dyscalculia by Camonghne Felix

 

 

When Camonghne Felix goes through a monumental breakup, culminating in a hospital stay, everything—from her early childhood trauma and mental health to her relationship with mathematics—shows up in the tapestry of her healing. In this exquisite and raw reflection, Felix repossesses herself through the exploration of history she’d left behind, using her childhood “dyscalculia”—a disorder that makes it difficult to learn math—as a metaphor for the consequences of her miscalculations in love. Through reckoning with this breakup and other adult gambles in intimacy, Felix asks the question: Who gets to assert their right to pain?

 

Dyscalculia negotiates the misalignments of perception and reality, love and harm, and the politics of heartbreak, both romantic and familial.

 

Release date: February 14th

pre-order a copy of Dyscalculia from the webstore here

 

VenCo by Cherie Dimaline

 

 

Lucky St. James, orphaned daughter of a bad-ass Métis good-times girl, is barely hanging on to her nowhere life when she finds out that she and her grandmother, Stella, are about to be evicted from their apartment. Bad to worse in a heartbeat. Then one night, doing laundry in the building’s dank basement, Lucky feels an irresistible something calling to her. Crawling through a hidden hole in the wall, she finds a tarnished silver spoon depicting a story-book hag over letters that spell out S-A-L-E-M.

 

Which alerts Salem-born Meena Good, finder of a matching spoon, to Lucky’s existence. One of the most powerful witches in North America, Meena has been called to bring together seven special witches and seven special spoons—infused with magic and scattered to the four directions more than a century ago—to form a magic circle that will restore women to their rightful power. Under the wing of the international headhunting firm VenCo, devoted to placing exceptional women in roles where they can influence business, politics and the arts, Meena has spent years searching out witches hiding in plain sight wherever women gather: suburban book clubs, Mommy & Me groups, temp agencies. Lucky and her spoon are number six.

 

With only one more spoon to find, a very powerful adversary has Meena’s coven in his sights—Jay Christos, a roguish and deadly witch-hunter as old as witchcraft itself. As the clock ticks toward a now-or-never deadline, Meena sends Lucky and her grandmother on a dangerous, sometimes hilarious, road trip through the United States in search of the seventh spoon. The trail leads them at last to the darkly magical city of New Orleans, where Lucky’s final showdown with Jay Christos will determine whether the coven will be completed, ushering in a new beginning, or whether witches will be forced to remain forever underground.

 

Release date: February 14th

 


Patti Anticipates

 

Lesser Islands by Lorenza Pieri

 

A tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean with fewer than a thousand inhabitants. An older sister, a combative mother, a hedonistic father, a grandmother who fought in the Resistance, a wild younger brother. These are the people and the place that Teresa—the younger daughter and narrator—tries to escape from, eager to find a place in the world that she can call her own.

 

But soon enough she’ll have to reckon with the island, with the bittersweet distance separating her from her beloved yet domineering sister, and with the long shadow of the darkest moments in Italian history. Guided by nostalgia for the long, bright summer that was her childhood, Teresa will have to confront her condition, perceived or real, as the “lesser” one—accepting herself and rediscovering what she thought she had to escape from.

 

Between a coming-of-age novel, a family saga, and a parable on the last forty years of Italian history, Lorenza Pieri’s novel is an intense and luminous book, in which language has the magnetic force of the stark, beautiful landscape that has inspired it.

 

Release date: March 3rd

pre-order a copy of Lesser Islands from the webstore here

 

Far Cry by Alissa York

 

 

It’s 1922 at Far Cry Cannery, a quarter-mile of boardwalk and wooden buildings strung along the rocks of Rivers Inlet on the northwest coast of British Columbia. The time has come for Anders Viken, storekeeper and honorary uncle to the recently orphaned Kit, to give an account of his secret self—from his first home in Norway, another land of islands and fjords, to his escape from his family’s loving grip, to his wide-open years of rough living and impossible love.

 

As the sockeye flood up the inlet, Anders sets his secrets down for 18-year-old Kit, the only member of his chosen family he has left after her mother, Bobbie, scandalized Far Cry by running off with the camp’s handsome Chinese cook, and her father, Frank, was found drowned alongside his own boat. While Anders does his reckoning, Kit fends off the attentions of the cannery manager and tries to earn her keep. Oars in hand, she glides her skiff out over the great returning school and casts her net. This, at least, makes sense to her, as opposed to the convoluted workings of love.

 

Release date: February 28th

pre-order a copy of Far Cry from the webstore here

 


 

There’s a bit of a theme in this week’s book set regarding being on the run: some are scattered, some disappeared, and others know they are being chased. All of them, funny enough, offer some pretty good escapes.

 

Ben Recommends

The Half Known Life by Pico Iyer

 

 

Paradise: that elusive place where the anxieties, struggles, and burdens of life fall away. Most of us dream of it, but each of us has very different ideas about where it is to be found. For some it can be enjoyed only after death; for others, it’s in our midst—or just across the ocean—if only we can find eyes to see it.

 

Traveling from Iran to North Korea, from the Dalai Lama’s Himalayas to the ghostly temples of Japan, Pico Iyer brings together a lifetime of explorations to upend our ideas of utopia and ask how we might find peace in the midst of difficulty and suffering. Does religion lead us back to Eden or only into constant contention? Why do so many seeming paradises turn into warzones? And does paradise exist only in the afterworld – or can it be found in the here and now?

 

For almost fifty years Iyer has been roaming the world, mixing a global soul’s delight in observing cultures with a pilgrim’s readiness to be transformed. In this culminating work, he brings together the outer world and the inner to offer us a surprising, original, often beautiful exploration of how we might come upon paradise in the midst of our very real lives.

 

order a copy of The Half Known Life from the webstore here

 

This is the Night They Come for You by Robert Goddard

 

 

On a stifling afternoon at Police HQ in Algiers, Superintendent Taleb, coasting towards retirement, with not even an air-conditioned office to show for his long years of service, is handed a ticking time bomb of a case which will take him deep into Algeria’s troubled past and its fraught relationship with France.

 

To his dismay, he is assigned to work with Agent Hidouchi, an intimidating representative of the country’s feared secret service, who makes it clear she intends to call the shots. They are instructed to pursue a former agent, now on the run after twenty years in prison for his part in a high-level corruption scandal. But their search will lead them inexorably towards a greater mystery, surrounding a murder that took place in Paris more than fifty years ago.

 

Uncovering the truth may be his responsibility, but Taleb is well aware that no-one in Algeria wants to be reminded of the dark deeds carried out in the struggle for independence – or in the violence that has racked the nation since. Before long, he will face a choice he has long sought to avoid, between self-preservation and doing the right thing.

And, ultimately, the choice may not even be his to make.

 

order a copy of This is the Night they Come for You from the webstore here

 


Rupert Recommends

American Midnight by Adam Hochschild

 

 

The nation was on the brink. Mobs burned Black churches to the ground. Courts threw thousands of people into prison for opinions they voiced—in one notable case, only in private. Self-appointed vigilantes executed tens of thousands of citizens’ arrests. Some seventy-five newspapers and magazines were banned from the mail and forced to close. When the government stepped in, it was often to fan the flames.  

 

This was America during and after the Great War: a brief but appalling era blighted by lynchings, censorship, and the sadistic, sometimes fatal abuse of conscientious objectors in military prisons—a time whose toxic currents of racism, nativism, red-baiting, and contempt for the rule of law then flowed directly through the intervening decades to poison our own. It was a tumultuous period defined by a diverse and colorful cast of characters, some of whom fueled the injustice while others fought against it: from the sphinxlike Woodrow Wilson, to the fiery antiwar advocates Kate Richards O’Hare and Emma Goldman, to labor champion Eugene Debs, to a little-known but ambitious bureaucrat named J. Edgar Hoover, and to an outspoken leftwing agitator—who was in fact Hoover’s star undercover agent. It is a time that we have mostly forgotten about, until now. 

 

In American Midnight, award-winning historian Adam Hochschild brings alive the horrifying yet inspiring four years following the U.S. entry into the First World War, spotlighting forgotten repression while celebrating an unforgettable set of Americans who strove to fix their fractured country—and showing how their struggles still guide us today.

 

order a copy of American Midnight from the webstore here

 

Dr. No by Percival Everett

 

 

The protagonist of Percival Everett’s puckish new novel is a brilliant professor of mathematics who goes by Wala Kitu. (Wala, he explains, means “nothing” in Tagalog, and Kitu is Swahili for “nothing.”) He is an expert on nothing. That is to say, he is an expert, and his area of study is nothing, and he does nothing about it. This makes him the perfect partner for the aspiring villain John Sill, who wants to break into Fort Knox to steal, well, not gold bars but a shoebox containing nothing. Once he controls nothing he’ll proceed with a dastardly plan to turn a Massachusetts town into nothing. Or so he thinks.

 

With the help of the brainy and brainwashed astrophysicist-turned-henchwoman Eigen Vector, our professor tries to foil the villain while remaining in his employ. In the process, Wala Kitu learns that Sill’s desire to become a literal Bond villain originated in some real all-American villainy related to the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. As Sill says, “Professor, think of it this way. This country has never given anything to us and it never will. We have given everything to it. I think it’s time we gave nothing back.”

 

Dr. No is a caper with teeth, a wildly mischievous novel from one of our most inventive, provocative, and productive writers. That it is about nothing isn’t to say that it’s not about anything. In fact, it’s about villains. Bond villains. And that’s not nothing.

 

order a copy of Dr. No from the webstore here

 


Danielle Recommends

A Heart That Works by Rob Delaney

 

 

In 2016, Rob Delaney’s one-year-old son, Henry, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The family had moved from Los Angeles to London with their two young boys when Rob’s wife was pregnant with Henry, their third. The move was an adventure and a challenge that would bind them even more tightly together as they navigated the novelty of London, the culture clashes, and the funhouse experience of Rob’s fame—thanks to his role as co-creator and co-star of the hit series Catastrophe. Henry’s illness was a cataclysm that changed everything about their lives. Amid the hospital routine, surgeries, and brutal treatments, they found a newfound community of nurses, aides, caregivers, and fellow parents contending with the unthinkable. Two years later, Henry died, and his family watched their world fall away to reveal the things that matter most. 

 

A Heart That Works is Delaney’s intimate, unflinching, and fiercely funny exploration of what happened – from the harrowing illness to the vivid, bodily impact of grief and the blind, furious rage that followed through to the forceful, unstoppable love that remains. In the madness of his grief, Delaney grapples with the fragile miracle of life, the mysteries of death, and the question of purpose for those left behind. 

 

Delaney’s memoir—profound, painful, full of emotion, and bracingly honest—offers solace to those who have faced devastation and shows us how grace may appear even in the darkest times.

 

order a copy of A Heart that Works from the webstore here

 

The Guest Lecture by Martin Riker

 

 

In a hotel room in the middle of the night, Abby, a young feminist economist, lies awake next to her sleeping husband and daughter. Anxious that she is grossly underprepared for a talk she is presenting tomorrow on optimism and John Maynard Keynes, she has resolved to practice by using an ancient rhetorical method of assigning parts of her speech to different rooms in her house and has brought along a comforting albeit imaginary companion to keep her on track—Keynes himself.

 

Yet as she wanders with increasing alarm through the rooms of her own consciousness, Abby finds herself straying from her prepared remarks on economic history, utopia, and Keynes’s pragmatic optimism. A lapsed optimist herself, she has been struggling under the burden of supporting a family in an increasingly hostile America after being denied tenure at the university where she teaches. Confronting her own future at a time of global darkness, Abby undertakes a quest through her memories to ideas hidden in the corners of her mind—a piecemeal intellectual history from Cicero to Lewis Carroll to Queen Latifah—as she asks what a better world would look like if we told our stories with more honest and more hopeful imaginations.

 

With warm intellect, playful curiosity, and an infectious voice, Martin Riker acutely animates the novel of ideas with a beating heart and turns one woman’s midnight crisis into the performance of a lifetime. 

 

order a copy of The Guest Lecture from the webstore here

 


Olivia Recommends

Scatterlings by Rešoketšwe Manenzhe

 

 

In 1927, South Africa passes the Immorality Act, prohibiting sexual intercourse between “Europeans” (white people) and “natives” (Black people). Those who break the draconian new law face imprisonment—for men of up to five years; for women, four years.

 

Abram and his wife Alisa have their share of marital problems, but they also have a comfortable life in South Africa with their two young girls. But then the Act is passed. Alisa is black, and their two children are now evidence of their involvement in a union that has been criminalized by the state.

 

At first, Alisa and Abram question how they’ll be affected by the Act, but then officials start asking questions at the girls’ school, and their estate is catalogued for potential disbursement. Abram is at a loss as to how to protect his young family from the grinding machinery of the law, whose worst discriminations have until now been kept at bay by the family’s economic privilege. And with this, his hesitation, the couple’s bond is tattered.

 

Alisa, who is Jamaican and the descendant of slaves, was adopted by a wealthy white British couple, who raised her as their child. But as she grew older and realized that the prejudices of British society made no allowance for her, she journeyed to South Africa where she met Abram. In the aftermath of the Immorality Act, she comes to a heartbreaking conclusion based on her past and collective history – and she commits her own devastating act, one that will reverberate through their entire family’s lives.

 

Intertwining her storytelling with ritual, myth, and the heart-wrenching question of who stays and who leaves, Scatterlings marks the debut of a gifted storyteller who has become a sensation in her native South Africa—and promises to take the Western literary world by storm as well.

 

order a copy of Scatterlings from the webstore here

 

Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin

 

 

The seven houses in these seven stories are strange. A person is missing, or a truth, or memory; some rooms are enticing, some unmoored, others empty. But in Samanta Schweblin’s tense, visionary tales, something always creeps back inside: a ghost, a fight, trespassers, a list of things to do before you die, a child’s first encounter with darkness or the fallibility of parents.

 

In each story, twists and turns will unnerve and surprise: Schweblin never takes the expected path and instead digs under the skin, revealing surreal truths about our sense of home, of belonging, and of the fragility of our connections with others. This is a masterwork from one of our most brilliant modern writers.

 

order a copy of Winter Swimming from the webstore here

 


Patti Recommends

The Disappearance of Josef Mengele by Olivier Guez

 

 

An extraordinary novel about one of history’s most reviled figures, written as an action-packed historical biography

 

For three decades, until the day he collapsed in the Brazilian surf in 1979, Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death who performed horrific experiments on the prisoners of Auschwitz, floated through South America in linen suits, keeping two steps ahead of Mossad agents, international police and the world’s journalists.

 

In this rigorusly researched factual novel—drawn almost entirely from historical documents—Olivier Guez traces Mengele’s footsteps through these years of flight.

 

This chilling novel situates the reader in a literary manhunt on the trail of one of the most elusive and evil figures of the twentieth century.

 

order a copy of The Disappearance of Josef Mengele from the webstore here

 

Forbidden Notebook by Alba de Céspedes

 

 

In this modern translation by acclaimed Elena Ferrante translator Ann Goldstein, Forbidden Notebook centers the inner life of a dissatisfied housewife living in postwar Rome.

 

Valeria Cossati never suspected how unhappy she had become with the shabby gentility of her bourgeois life—until she begins to jot down her thoughts and feelings in a little black book she keeps hidden in a closet. This new secret activity leads her to scrutinize herself and her life more closely, and she soon realizes that her individuality is being stifled by her devotion and sense of duty toward her husband, daughter, and son. As the conflicts between parents and children, husband and wife, and friends and lovers intensify, what goes on behind the Cossatis’ facade of middle-class respectability gradually comes to light, tearing the family’s fragile fabric apart.  

 

An exquisitely crafted portrayal of domestic life, Forbidden Notebook recognizes the universality of human aspirations.

 

order a copy of Forbidden Notebook from the webstore here

 


 

Queens rule in the first Anticipated Reads of the new year, regardless if they do so over bandits or dirt. Ben goes with the blue covers, whereas Rupert goes red, just to stick with alliteration.

 

Ben Anticipates

Winter Swimming by Susanna Soberg

 

 

A beautifully illustrated exploration of cold-water traditions in Scandinavia and around the world, and a thorough account of why it provides such a boost to body and soul.

 

Whether in lake, lido, river or sea, we know the benefits of swimming outdoors and in nature – environmentally friendly and accessible, it can influence our happiness, our energy and our inner tranquility, and give us that winter glow.

 

Danish scientist Dr Susanna Søberg leads us step by step into the icy water and explains the “cold-shock response”, the massive endorphin rush as our body reacts and adapts to very cold temperatures through the winter season. Not only do our circulation, heart, lungs and skin respond positively, but our immune system, metabolism and mental health too. In particular she explains how our “brown fat” is activated to benefit multiple health conditions.

 

Winter swimming is fast becoming one of our most popular pastimes. This beautifully illustrated exploration of cold-water traditions in Scandinavia and around the world shows how it can have a significant positive impact on our physical and mental health, confidence and well-being, providing such a boost to body and soul.

 

pre-order a copy of Winter Swimming from the webstore here

 

The Blue Window by Suzanne Berne

 

 

Secrets abound in Lorna’s family. Her mother Marika, who survived the Nazi occupation of Holland, abandoned the family when Lorna and her brother Wade were just seven and twelve years old. The reason she left, and her whereabouts afterward, were shrouded in mystery. As is a darker secret Marika has repressed for nearly seventy years.

 

Now that Lorna, a respected psychotherapist, has a child of her own, she’s determined to make Marika a part of their lives. But it’s been a struggle for nearly two decades. Lorna’s son Adam is creative, passionate, and uncomfortable in his own skin. Three weeks before the story opens, he abruptly returns home from college after an incident that he refuses to discuss. And he refuses to be called by his name. He refers to himself as “A” for “anti-matter” and insists that Lorna do the same.

 

The more Lorna tries to get Adam to talk, the more he withdraws. So, when she gets the call that Marika has had a fall and is incapacitated, she sees an opportunity to bond with Adam on the long drive north to Vermont, and to reconnect with her mother by nursing her back to health.

 

But how do you care for people you can’t understand, and who don’t want to be understood? As Lorna confronts this question, she must face secrets of her own, which she has tried to ignore by spending her life analyzing other people.

 

A deft and compelling exploration of family dynamics infused with suspense, Blue Window shows what happens to people who hide from themselves—and the act of imagination it takes to find them.

 

pre-order a copy of The Blue Window from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Anticipates

Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia by David Graeber

 

 

The final book from David Graeber, the iconic intellectual, activist, and co-author of the New York Times bestseller, The Dawn of Everything.

 

Pirates have long lived in the realm of romance and fantasy, symbolizing risk, lawlessness, and radical visions of freedom. But at the root of this mythology is a rich history of pirate societies— vibrant, imaginative experiments in self-governance and alternative social formations at the edges of European empire.

 
In graduate school, David Graeber conducted ethnographic field research in Madagascar, producing what would eventually become a doctoral thesis on the island’s magic, slavery, and politics. During this time, he encountered the Zana-Malata, an ethnic group made up of mixed descendants of the many pirates who settled on the island at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Pirate Enlightenment, or the True Libertalia, Graeber’s final posthumous book, is the outgrowth of this early research, written while he and David Wengrow were working on what would become their major bestseller, The Dawn of Everything. In direct conversation with that work, Graeber explores how the proto-democratic, even libertarian practices of the Zana-Malata came to shape the Enlightenment project defined for too long as distinctly European. The result is a short but sweeping exploration of the non-European origins of what we consider to be “Western” thought, and an endeavor to recover forgotten forms of social and political order that gesture toward new, hopeful possibilities for the future.

 

pre-order a copy of Pirate Enlightenment from the webstore here

 

Bad Cree by Jessica Johns

 

 

A haunting debut novel where dreams, family and spirits collide.

 

Mackenzie, a Cree millennial, wakes up in her one-bedroom Vancouver apartment clutching a pine bough she had been holding in her dream just moments earlier. When she blinks, it disappears. But she can still smell the sharp pine scent in the air, the nearest pine tree a thousand kilometres away in the far reaches of Treaty 8. 

 

Mackenzie continues to accidentally bring back items from her dreams, dreams that are eerily similar to real memories of her older sister and Kokum before their untimely deaths. As Mackenzie’s life spirals into a living nightmare—crows are following her around and she’s getting texts from her dead sister on the other side—it becomes clear that these dreams have terrifying, real-life consequences. Desperate for help, Mackenzie returns to her mother, sister, cousin, and aunties in her small Alberta hometown. Together, they try to uncover what is haunting Mackenzie before something irrevocable happens to anyone else around her. 

 

Haunting, fierce, an ode to female relations and the strength found in kinship, Bad Cree is a gripping, arresting debut by an unforgettable voice. 

 

pre-order a copy of Bad Cree from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Anticipates

Still Pictures by Janet Malcolm

 

 

For decades, Janet Malcolm’s books and dispatches for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books poked and prodded at reportorial and biographical convention, gesturing toward the artifice that underpins both public and private selves. In Still Pictures, she turns her gimlet eye on her own life—a task demanding a writer just as peerlessly skillful as she was widely known to be.

 

Still Pictures, then, is not the story of a life but an event on its own terms, an encounter with identity and family photographs as poignant and original as anything since Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida. Malcolm looks beyond the content of the image and the easy seductions of self-recognition, constructing a memoir from memories that pose questions of their own.

 

Still Pictures begins with the image of a morose young girl on a train, leaving Prague for New York at the age of five in 1939. From her fitful early loves, to evenings at the old Metropolitan Opera House, to her fascination with what it might mean to be a “bad girl,” Malcolm assembles a composite portrait of a New York childhood, one that never escapes the tug of Europe and the mysteries of fate and family. Later, Still Pictures delves into her marriage to Gardner Botsford, the world of William Shawn’s New Yorker, and the libel trial that led Malcolm to become a character in her own drama.

 

pre-order a copy of Still Pictures from the webstore here

 

The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan

 

 

From the multi-award-winning and internationally bestselling author Donal Ryan, a searing, jubilant story about four generations of women and fierce love

 

The Aylward women of Nenagh, Tipperary, are mad about each other, but you wouldn’t always think it. You’d have to know them to know that—in spite of what the neighbors might say about raised voices and dramatic scenes—their house is a place of peace, filled with love, a refuge from the sadness and cruelty of the world.

 
Their story begins at an end and ends at a beginning. It involves wives and widows, gunrunners and gougers, sinners and saints. It’s a story of terrible betrayals and fierce loyalties, of isolation and togetherness, of transgression, forgiveness, desire, and love. Of all the things family can be and all the things it sometimes isn’t. The Queen of Dirt Island is an uplifting celebration of fierce, loyal love and the powerful stories that bind generations together.

 

pre-order a copy of The Queen of Dirt Island from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Anticipates

After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz

 

 

Longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize


An exhilarating debut from a radiant new voice, After Sappho reimagines the intertwined lives of feminists at the turn of the twentieth century.

 

The first thing we did was change our names. We were going to be Sappho,” so begins this intrepid debut novel, centuries after the Greek poet penned her lyric verse. Ignited by the same muse, a myriad of women break from their small, predetermined lives for seemingly disparate paths: in 1892, Rina Faccio trades her needlepoint for a pen; in 1902, Romaine Brooks sails for Capri with nothing but her clotted paintbrushes; and in 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: “I want to make life fuller and fuller.” Writing in cascading vignettes, Selby Wynn Schwartz spins an invigorating tale of women whose narratives converge and splinter as they forge queer identities and claim the right to their own lives. A luminous meditation on creativity, education, and identity, After Sappho announces a writer as ingenious as the trailblazers of our past.

 

pre-order a copy of After Sappho from the webstore here

 

In the Upper Country by Kai Thomas

 

 

The fates of two unforgettable women—one just beginning a journey of reckoning and self-discovery and the other completing her life’s last vital act—intertwine in this sweeping, deeply researched debut set in the Black communities of Ontario that were the last stop on the Underground Railroad.

 

Young Lensinda Martin is a protegee of a crusading Black journalist in mid-18th century southwestern Ontario, finding a home in a community founded by refugees from the slave-owning states of the American south—whose agents do not always stay on their side of the border.

 

One night, a neighbouring farmer summons Lensinda after a slave hunter is shot dead on his land by an old woman recently arrived via the Underground Railroad. When the old woman, whose name is Cash, refuses to flee before the authorities arrive, the farmer urges Lensinda to gather testimony from her before Cash is condemned.

 

But Cash doesn’t want to confess. Instead she proposes a barter: a story for a story. And so begins an extraordinary exchange of tales that reveal the interwoven history of Canada and the United States; of Indigenous peoples from a wide swath of what is called North America and of the Black men and women brought here into slavery and their free descendents on both sides of the border.

 

Sweeping along the path of the Underground Railroad from the southern States to Canada, through the lands of Indigenous nations around the Great Lakes, to the Black communities of southern Ontario, In the Upper Country weaves together unlikely stories of love, survival, and familial upheaval that map the interconnected history of the peoples of North America in an entirely new and resonant way.

 

pre-order a copy of In the Upper Country from the webstore here

 


 

Patti Anticipates

Daughters Beyond Command by Véronique Olmi

 

 

An absorbing bildungsroman that tells the story of three sisters during a decade of radical societal transformation.

 

Three sisters were born into a modest Catholic family in Aix-en-Provence. Sabine, the eldest, dreams of an artist’s life in Paris; Hélène, the middle girl, grows up divided between the bourgeois environment of Neuilly-sur-Seine and the simple life led by her parents; Mariette, the youngest, learns the secrets and silences of a dazzling and crazy world. 

 

In 1970, French society is changing. Women have emancipated themselves whilst men have lost their bearings, and the three sisters, each in their own way, find ways to live a life of their own—a strong life, far from the morality, education, and the religion of their childhood. 

 

This family chronicle, which takes us from the May 1968 protests to the 1981 elections, is as much a tender and tragic stroll through the 20th century as it is the chronicle of an era, where consciousnesses are awakening to the upheaval of the world, and heralding the chaos to come.

 

pre-order a copy of Daughters Beyond Command from the webstore here

 

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

 

 

Five years ago, Geeta lost her no-good husband. As in, she actually lost him—he walked out on her and she has no idea where he is. But in her remote village in India, rumor has it that Geeta killed him. And it’s a rumor that just won’t die.

 

It turns out that being known as a “self-made” widow comes with some perks. No one messes with her, harasses her, or tries to control (ahem, marry) her. It’s even been good for business; no one dares to not buy her jewelry.

 

Freedom must look good on Geeta, because now other women are asking for her “expertise,” making her an unwitting consultant for husband disposal.

 

And not all of them are asking nicely.

 

With Geeta’s dangerous reputation becoming a double-edged sword, she has to find a way to protect the life she’s built—but even the best-laid plans of would-be widows tend to go awry. What happens next sets in motion a chain of events that will change everything, not just for Geeta, but for all the women in their village.

 

Filled with clever criminals, second chances, and wry and witty women, Parini Shroff’s The Bandit Queens is a razor-sharp debut of humor and heart that readers won’t soon forget.

 

pre-order a copy of The Bandit Queens from the webstore here

 


 

Food is a feature in this week’s collection of anticipated reads, which includes dinner, recipes, and even a mango (or was that a man?)

 

Ben Anticipates

The Island of Extraordinary Captives by Simon Parkin

 

 

Following the events of Kristallnacht in 1938, Peter Fleischmann evaded the Gestapo’s midnight roundups in Berlin by way of a perilous journey to England via the Kindertransport train. But he could not escape the British police, who came for him in the early hours and shipped him off to Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man, under suspicion of being a spy for the very regime he had fled.

 

Peter’s story was no isolated incident. During Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s, tens of thousands of German and Austrian Jews escaped and found refuge in Britain. Once war broke out in 1939, the nation turned against them, fearing that Nazis had planted spies posing as refugees. Innocent asylum seekers thus were labeled “enemy aliens” and ultimately sentenced to an indefinite period of internment.

 

When Peter arrived at Hutchinson Camp, he found one of history’s most astounding prison populations: renowned professors, composers, journalists, and artists. Together, they created a thriving cultural community, complete with art exhibitions, lectures, musical performances, and poetry readings. The artists welcomed Peter as their pupil and forever changed the course of his life. Meanwhile, suspicions grew that a real spy was hiding among them—one connected to a vivacious heiress from Peter’s past.

 

Drawing from unpublished first-person accounts and newly declassified documents from the British government, award-winning journalist Simon Parkin tells the story of this unlikely group of internees. The Island of Extraordinary Captives brings history to life in vivid detail, revealing the hidden truth of Britain’s grave wartime mistake and showcasing how hope and creativity can flourish in even the darkest of circumstances.

 

Due November 1

pre-order a copy of The Island of Extraordinary Captives from the webstore here

 

Smitten Kitchen Keepers by Deb Perelman

 

 

The long-awaited new book from the bestselling and beloved author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook—a collection of essential recipes for meals you’ll want to prepare again and again.

 

Deb Perelman is the author of two bestselling cookbooks, the OG of the culinary blogosphere, the homegrown brand with more than a million Instagram followers, the self-taught cook who obsessively tests her recipes until they’re perfect.
 
Here, in her third book, Perelman presents 100 new recipes (plus a few old favorites from her site) that aim to make shopping easier, preparation more practical and enjoyable and food more reliably delicious for the home cook.
 
What’s a keeper? It’s a brilliantly fuss-free lemon poppy seed cake. It’s Perelman’s favorite roasted winter squash. It’s an epic quiche. It’s a slow-roasted chicken on a bed of unapologetically schmaltzy croutons. It’s the only apple crisp she will personally ever make. It’s perfect spaghetti and meatballs. These are the fail-safe, satisfying recipes you’ll rely on for years to come – from Perelman’s forever files to yours.

 

Due November 15

pre-order a copy of Smitten Kitchen Keepers from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Anticipates

Dinner with Joseph Johnson by Daisy Hay

 

 

A fascinating portrait of a radical age through the writers associated with a London publisher and bookseller—from William Wordsworth and Mary Wollstonecraft to Benjamin Franklin.

 

Once a week, in late eighteenth-century London, writers of contrasting politics and personalities gathered around a dining table. The veal and boiled vegetables may have been unappetising but the company was convivial and the conversation brilliant and unpredictable. The host was Joseph Johnson, publisher and bookseller: a man at the heart of literary life. In this book, Daisy Hay paints a remarkable portrait of a revolutionary age through the connected stories of the men and women who wrote it into being, and whose ideas still influence us today.

 

Johnson’s years as a publisher, 1760 to 1809, witnessed profound political, social, cultural and religious changes—from the American and French revolutions to birth of the Romantic age—and many of his dinner guests and authors were at the center of events. The shifting constellation of extraordinary people at Johnson’s table included William Blake, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Benjamin Franklin, the scientist Joseph Priestly and the Swiss artist Henry Fuseli, as well as a group of extraordinary women—Mary Wollstonecraft, the novelist Maria Edgeworth, and the poet Anna Barbauld. These figures pioneered revolutions in science and medicine, proclaimed the rights of women and children and charted the evolution of Britain’s relationship with America and Europe. As external forces conspired to silence their voices, Johnson made them heard by continuing to publish them, just as his table gave them refuge.

 

A rich work of biography and cultural history, Dinner with Joseph Johnson is an entertaining and enlightening story of a group of people who left an indelible mark on the modern age.

 

Due November 15

pre-order a copy of Dinner with Joseph Johnson from the webstore here

 

Man or Mango? by Lucy Ellmann

 

 

By the Booker-shortlisted author of Ducks, Newburyport, a formally madcap and prescient novel about men (and women), mangos (and bees), and modern love.

 

Reclusive Eloïse lives with her cats and her cello in an English country cottage, privately building a case against men, women, the Queen, Nazi list-makers, fluorescent lighting, her ex-flatmate Howard, nuclear bombs, and toilet-roll-holder manufacturers. She has a real thing about giant pumpkin growers too. George is an American poet, recently arrived in the UK. Struggling to finish an epic poem on ice hockey, he plays a lot of pinball and gets chased around by his students. Lost, lonely, and in love, he and Eloïse really should be together, yet it seems they may never meet up…

 

But Man or Mango? is more than a lament for unrequited transatlantic romance. Funny and furious, it is a scathing, searing, rollicking and vertiginous reflection on life and love in a belligerent world.

 

Due November 8

pre-order a copy of Man or Mango? from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Anticipates

Foster by Claire Keegan

 

 

It is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A child is taken by her father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when or if she will be brought home again. In the Kinsellas’ house, she finds an affection and warmth she has not known and slowly, in their care, begins to blossom. But there is something unspoken in this new household—where everything is so well tended to—and this summer must soon come to an end.

 

Winner of the prestigious Davy Byrnes Award and published in an abridged version in the New Yorker, this internationally bestselling contemporary classic is now available for the first time in the US in a full, standalone edition. A story of astonishing emotional depth, Foster showcases Claire Keegan’s great talent and secures her reputation as one of our most important storytellers.

 

Due November 11

pre-order a copy of Foster from the webstore here

 

Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

 

 

An exuberant, bighearted novel about two teenage misfits who spectacularly collide one fateful summer, and the art they make that changes their lives forever.

 

Sixteen-year-old Frankie Budge—aspiring writer, indifferent student, offbeat loner—is determined to make it through yet another summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented artist who has just moved into his grandmother’s house and who is as awkward as Frankie is. Romantic and creative sparks begin to fly, and when the two jointly make an unsigned poster, shot through with an enigmatic phrase, it becomes unforgettable to anyone who sees it. The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.

 

The posters begin appearing everywhere, and people wonder who is behind them and start to panic. Satanists, kidnappers—the rumors won’t stop, and soon the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread far beyond the town.

 

Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge gets a call that threatens to upend her carefully built life: a journalist named Mazzy Brower is writing a story about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Might Frances know something about that?

 

A bold coming-of-age story, written with Kevin Wilson’s trademark wit and blazing prose, Now Is Not the Time to Panic is a nuanced exploration of young love, identity, and the power of art. It’s also about the secrets that haunt us—and, ultimately, what the truth will set free.

 

Due November 8

pre-order a copy of Now is Not the Time to Panic from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Anticipates

Ghost Town by Kevin Chen

 

 

FROM THE BEST-SELLING AUTHOR & WINNER OF THE TAIWAN LITERATURE AWARD

 

Keith Chen, the second son of a traditional Taiwanese family of seven, runs away from the oppression of his village to Berlin in the hope of finding acceptance as a young gay man.

 

The novel begins a decade later, when Chen has just been released from prison for killing his boyfriend. He is about to return to his family’s village, a poor and desolate place. With his parents gone, his sisters married, mad, or dead, there is nothing left for him there. As the story unfurls, we learn what tore this family apart and, more importantly, the truth behind the murder of Chen’s boyfriend.

 

Told in a myriad of voices, both living and dead, and moving through time with deceptive ease, Ghost Town weaves a mesmerizing web of family secrets and countryside superstitions, the search for identity and clash of cultures.

 

Due November 4

pre-order a copy of Ghost Town from the webstore here

 

December Breeze by Marvel Moreno

 

 

A masterful novel exploring womanhood, class, and tradition in 1950s Colombia.

 

From her home in Paris, Lina recalls the story of three women whose lives unfold in the conservative city of Barranquilla in Colombia. Amid parties at the Country Club and strolls along the promenade in Puerto Colombia unfurls a story of sensuality suppressed by violence; a narrative of oppression in which Dora, Catalina, and Beatriz are victims of a patriarchy that is woven into the social fabric.

 

In Lina’s obsessive account of the past, this masterful novel transforms personal anecdotes into a profound panorama of Colombian society towards the end of the 1950s. From private memories to historical reality, the structure of this book is full of precision, poetry, and exile’s insight.

 

Standing above and apart from her contemporaries of the Latin American literary boom, Marvel Moreno narrates a reality that describes the private lives of the people of Barranquilla while offering a compelling perspective on the human condition.

 

Due November 25

pre-order a copy of December Breeze from the webstore here

 


 

Patti Anticipates

Mussolini’s Daughter by Caroline Moorehead

 

 

The bestselling author of A Train in Winter returns with the definitive story of Mussolini’s daughter, Edda, one of the most influential women in 1930s Italy, whose life had more twists and turns than a spy novel.

 

Edda Mussolini was Benito’s favourite child: spoiled and venal, uneducated but clever, faithless but flamboyant, a brilliant diplomat, wild but brave, and ultimately strong and loyal. For much of the twenty-year period of Fascist rule, she was her father’s closest confidante.

 

In 1930, at the age of nineteen, Edda married Count Galeazzo Ciano, who would become the youngest Foreign Secretary in Italian history. Acting as envoy to both Germany and Britain, Edda played a part in steering Italy to join forces with Hitler. During this time, the Cianos became the most celebrated and glamorous couple in elegant, vulgar Roman fascist society.

 

Their fortunes turned in 1943, when Ciano voted against Mussolini in a plot to bring him down, and his father-in-law did not forgive him. Edda’s dramatic story includes hidden diaries, her father’s downfall and her husband’s execution, and an escape into Switzerland followed by a period in exile. Moorehead draws a portrait of a complicated, bold, and determined woman—one who emerges not just as a witness but as a key player in some of the twentieth century’s defining moments. And we see Fascist Italy with all its glamour, decadence and political intrigue, and the turbulence before its violent end.

 

Due November 1

pre-order a copy of Mussolini’s Daughter from the webstore here

 

Flight by Lynn Steger Strong

 

 

It’s December twenty-second and siblings Henry, Kate, and Martin have converged with their spouses on Henry’s house in upstate New York. This is the first Christmas the siblings are without their mother, the first not at their mother’s Florida house. Over the course of the next three days, old resentments and instabilities arise as the siblings, with a gaggle of children afoot, attempt to perform familiar rituals, while also trying to decide what to do with their mother’s house, their sole inheritance. As tensions rise, the whole group is forced to come together unexpectedly when a local mother and daughter need help. 

 

With the urgency and artfulness that cemented her previous novel Want as “a defining novel of our age” (Vulture), Strong once again turns her attention to the structural and systemic failings that are haunting Americans, but also to the ways in which family, friends, and strangers can support each other through the gaps. Flight is a novel of family, ambition, precarity, art, and desire, one that forms a powerful next step from a brilliant chronicler of our time.

 

Due November 8

pre-order a copy of Flight from the webstore here

 


 

 

This week’s selection of books we’ve read and enjoyed features friends and lovers, creepies and crawlies, and some men on the run for killing King Charles (no, not that one!)

 

Ben Recommends

Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris

 

 

“From what is it they run?”

 

He took a while to reply. By the time he spoke the men had gone inside. He said quietly, “They killed the King.”

 

1660. General Edward Whalley and his son-in-law Colonel William Goffe board a ship in London bound for the New World and an uncertain future in exile. They are wanted for the 1649 murder of King Charles I – a brazen execution that marked the culmination of the English Civil War, in which parliamentarians successfully battled royalists for control. But ten years after Charles’ beheading, the royalists returned to power. Under the provisions of the Act of Oblivion, the fifty-nine men who signed the king’s death warrant have been found guilty in absentia of high treason. Some parliamentarians, including Oliver Cromwell, are dead; others have been captured, hung, drawn, and quartered. A few are imprisoned for life. But Whalley and Goffe escaped to New England. 

 

In London, Richard Nayler, secretary of the regicide committee of the Privy Council, is charged with bringing the traitors back home to justice and will stop at nothing to find them. A substantial bounty hangs over their heads for their capture – dead or alive. Encompassing a period of tremendous upheaval in English history the novel brings alive pivotal moments including the Black Death and the Great Fire of London as Nayler closes in on the exiles. Act of Oblivion is an epic story of religion, vengeance, and of power – and the costs to those who wield it.

 

Order a copy of Act of Oblivion through the webstore here.

 

Citizens of Light by Sam Shelstad

 

 

Colleen Weagle works in a call centre and lives in a bungalow with her mother in a quiet Toronto suburb. In her spare time she writes spec scripts for a CBC riding-school drama (her mother’s favourite) and plays an online game set in a resort populated by reindeer. It’s a typical life. Except three months ago Colleen’s husband Leonard—who led a similarly monotonous life—was found in a bog in the middle of the night, a two hours’ drive from home. Dead.

 

With a flatly optimistic belief in the power of routine, Colleen has been soldiering on, trying not to think too hard about all the unknowns surrounding the death. But when a local news photo twigs Colleen’s memory of a mystery attendee at Leonard’s funeral she snaps into action.

 

In the maddening company of her ornery co-worker Patti, she heads to Niagara Falls on a quest to find the truth behind the death. Amid the slot machines and grubby hotels, the pair stumble into the darker underworld of a faded tourist trap. What they find will lead straight to an episode from Colleen’s adolescence she thought she’d put firmly behind her.

 

Bleakly madcap, with deadpan dialogue, Shelstad’s debut novel is a noir anti-thriller reminiscent of Twin Peaks and the work of Ottessa Moshfegh and early Kate Atkinson. He captures call-centre life, ramshackle tourist attractions, and suburbia with wit and sharp realism, and reveals the undercurrents of melancholy and the truly bizarre that can run beneath even the most seemingly mild-mannered lives.

 

Order a copy of Citizens of Light through the webstore here.

 


Rupert Recommends

Indigenous Continent by Pekka Hämäläinen

 

 

There is an old, deeply rooted story about America that goes like this: Columbus “discovers” a strange continent and brings back tales of untold riches. The European empires rush over, eager to stake out as much of this astonishing “New World” as possible. Though Indigenous peoples fight back, they cannot stop the onslaught. White imperialists are destined to rule the continent, and history is an irreversible march toward Indigenous destruction.

 

Yet as with other long-accepted origin stories, this one, too, turns out to be based in myth and distortion. In Indigenous Continent, acclaimed historian Pekka Hämäläinen presents a sweeping counternarrative that shatters the most basic assumptions about American history. Shifting our perspective away from Jamestown, Plymouth Rock, the Revolution, and other well-trodden episodes on the conventional timeline, he depicts a sovereign world of Native nations whose members, far from helpless victims of colonial violence, dominated the continent for centuries after the first European arrivals. From the Iroquois in the Northeast to the Comanches on the Plains, and from the Pueblos in the Southwest to the Cherokees in the Southeast, Native nations frequently decimated white newcomers in battle. Even as the white population exploded and colonists’ land greed grew more extravagant, Indigenous peoples flourished due to sophisticated diplomacy and leadership structures.

 

By 1776, various colonial powers claimed nearly all of the continent, but Indigenous peoples still controlled it—as Hämäläinen points out, the maps in modern textbooks that paint much of North America in neat, color-coded blocks confuse outlandish imperial boasts for actual holdings. In fact, Native power peaked in the late nineteenth century, with the Lakota victory in 1876 at Little Big Horn, which was not an American blunder, but an all-too-expected outcome.

 

Hämäläinen ultimately contends that the very notion of “colonial America” is misleading, and that we should speak instead of an “Indigenous America” that was only slowly and unevenly becoming colonial. The evidence of Indigenous defiance is apparent today in the hundreds of Native nations that still dot the United States and Canada. Necessary reading for anyone who cares about America’s past, present, and future, Indigenous Continent restores Native peoples to their rightful place at the very fulcrum of American history.

 

Order a copy of Indigenous Continent through the webstore here.

 

Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka

 

 

Three Assassins is the high-stakes, high-style, and utterly propulsive follow-up to Kotaro Isaka’s international bestseller, Bullet Train, Crime Reads “Most Anticipated Book of 2021.”
    
Suzuki is an ordinary man until his wife is murdered. To get answers and his revenge, Suzuki abandons his law-abiding lifestyle and takes a low-level job with a front company operated by the crime gang Maiden, who are responsible for his wife’s death. Before long, Suzuki finds himself caught up in a network of quirky and highly effective assassins:
    
The Cicada is a knife expert.
The Pusher nudges people into oncoming traffic.
The Whale whispers bleak aphorisms to his victims until they take their own lives. 
     
Intense and electrifying, Three Assassins delivers a wild ride through the criminal underworld of Tokyo, populated by contract killers who are almost superhumanly good at their jobs.

 

Order a copy of Three Assassins through the webstore here.

 


Danielle Recommends

Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie

 

 

Zahra and Maryam have been best friends since childhood in Karachi, even though—or maybe because—they are unlike in nearly every way. Yet they never speak of the differences in their backgrounds or their values, not even after the fateful night when a moment of adolescent impulse upends their plans for the future.
 
Three decades later, Zahra and Maryam have grown into powerful women who have each cut a distinctive path through London. But when two troubling figures from their past resurface, they must finally confront their bedrock differences—and find out whether their friendship can survive.
 
Thought-provoking, compassionate, and full of unexpected turns, Best of Friends offers a riveting take on an age-old question: Does principle or loyalty make for the better friend?

 

Order a copy of Best of Friends through the webstore here.

 

Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan

 

 

Kathryn Scanlan’s Kick the Latch vividly captures the arc of one woman’s life at the racetrack—the flat land and ramshackle backstretch; the bad feelings and friction; the winner’s circle and the racetrack bar; the fancy suits and fancy boots; and the “particular language” of “grooms, jockeys, trainers, racing secretaries, stewards, pony people, hotwalkers, everybody”—with economy and integrity.

 

Based on transcribed interviews with Sonia, a horse trainer, the novel investigates form and authenticity in a feat of synthesis reminiscent of Charles Reznikoff’s Testimony. As Scanlan puts it, “I wanted to preserve—amplify, exaggerate—Sonia’s idiosyncratic speech, her bluntness, her flair as a storyteller. I arrived at what you could call a composite portrait of a self.” Whittled down with a fiercely singular artistry, Kick the Latch bangs out of the starting gate and carries the reader on a careening joyride around the inside track.

 

Order a copy of Kick the Latch through the webstore here.

 


Olivia Recommends

The Book of Phobias & Manias by Kate Summerscale

 

 

The Book of Phobias and Manias is a thrilling compendium of 99 obsessions that have shaped us all, the rare and the familiar, from ablutophobia (a horror of washing) to syllogomania (a compulsion to hoard) to zoophobia (a fear of animals).
 
Phobias and manias are deeply personal experiences, and among the most common anxiety disorders of our time, but they are also clues to our shared past. The award-winning author Kate Summerscale uses rich and riveting case studies to trace the origins of our obsessions, unearthing a history of human strangeness, from the middle ages to the present day, and a wealth of explanations for some of our most powerful aversions and desires.

 

Order a copy of The Book of Phobias & Manias through the webstore here.

 

No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies by Julian Aguon

 

 

Part memoir, part manifesto, Chamorro climate activist Julian Aguon’s No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies is a collection of essays on resistance, resilience, and collective power in the age of climate disaster; and a call for justice—for everyone, but in particular, for Indigenous peoples.

 

In bracing poetry and compelling prose, Aguon weaves together stories from his childhood in the villages of Guam with searing political commentary about matters ranging from nuclear weapons to global warming. Undertaking the work of bearing witness, wrestling with the most pressing questions of the modern day, and reckoning with the challenge of truth-telling in an era of rampant obfuscation, he culls from his own life experiences—from losing his father to pancreatic cancer to working for Mother Teresa to an edifying chance encounter with Sherman Alexie—to illuminate a collective path out of the darkness.

 

A powerful, bold, new voice writing at the intersection of Indigenous rights and environmental justice, Julian Aguon is entrenched in the struggles of the people of the Pacific to liberate themselves from colonial rule, defend their sacred sites, and obtain justice for generations of harm. In No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies, Aguon shares his wisdom and reflections on love, grief, joy, and triumph and extends an offer to join him in a hard-earned hope for a better world.

 

Order a copy of No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies through the webstore here.

 


Patti Recommends

Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson

 

 

1926, and in a country still recovering from the Great War, London has become the focus for a delirious new nightlife. In the clubs of Soho, peers of the realm rub shoulders with starlets, foreign dignitaries with gangsters and girls sell dances for a shilling a time.
 
The notorious queen of this glittering world is Nellie Coker, ruthless but also ambitious to advance her six children, including the enigmatic eldest, Niven, whose character has been forged in the crucible of the Somme. But success breeds enemies, and Nellie’s empire faces threats from without and within. For beneath the dazzle of Soho’s gaiety, there is a dark underbelly, a world in which it is all too easy to become lost.
 
With her unique Dickensian flair, Kate Atkinson gives us a window in a vanished world. Slyly funny, brilliantly observant and ingeniously plotted, Shrines of Gaiety showcases the myriad talents that have made Atkinson one of the most lauded writers of our time.

 

Order a copy of Shrines of Gaiety through the webstore here.

 

Touch by Olaf Olafsson

 

 

When the pandemic hits, Kristofer is forced to shutter his successful restaurant in Reykjavik, sending him into a spiral of uncertainty, even as his memory seems to be failing. But an uncanny bolt from the blue—a message from Miko Nakamura, a woman whom he’d known in the sixties when they were students in London—both inspires and rattles him, as he is drawn inexorably back into a love story that has marked him for life. Even as the pandemic upends his world, Kristofer finds himself pulled toward an answer to the mystery of Miko’s sudden departure decades before, compelling him to travel to London and Japan as the virus threatens to shut everything down.

 

A heart-wrenching love story and an absorbing mystery, Touch delves into the secrets of the past to explore the hidden lives that we all possess, the pain and beauty of our past loves and friendships that continue to leave their mark on us. Searching and lyrically rendered by acclaimed author Olaf Olafsson, Touch is a stunning tribute to the weight of history and the complexities of the human heart. 

 

Order a copy of Touch through the webstore here.

 


 

The past looms large in this week’s selection of books we’re looking forward to: not just in Rupert’s history books, but also in the novels. It’s all about connections, and –unexpectedly– two main characters named Gil!

 

Ben Anticipates

The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case by Jon S. Dellandrea

 

 

In May 2016, Jon S. Dellandrea came into possession of a box of the last effects of an obscure artist, William Firth MacGregor. The contents of the box chronicled a major, and long forgotten, trial involving forgeries of the art of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven.

 

The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case takes readers back to 1962, a time when forgeries were turning up on gallery walls, in auction houses, and (unwittingly) being hung in the homes of luminaries across Canada. Inspector James Erskine, enlisting the help of A.J. Casson, the youngest living member of the Group of Seven, set out to discover where the forgeries were coming from. Fifty years later, Dellandrea follows Erskine’s hunt to the end, uncovering the masterminds behind the forgeries.

 

Lavishly illustrated with reproductions and archival images, The Great Canadian Art Fraud Case unravels the mystery of the greatest art fraud trial in Canadian history. Along the way, it also tells the story of a talented artist whose career might have been so very different.

 

Due Oct 18

pre-order a copy of Great Canadian Art Fraud Case from the webstore here

 

 

 

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro

 

 

Signal Fires opens on a summer night in 1985. Three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything on Division Street changes. Each of their lives, and that of Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the Wilf family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.

 

On Division Street, time has moved on. When the Shenkmans arrive—a young couple expecting a baby boy—it is as if the accident never happened. But when Waldo, the Shenkmans’ brilliant, lonely son who marvels at the beauty of the world and has a native ability to find connections in everything, befriends Dr. Wilf, now retired and struggling with his wife’s decline, past events come hurtling back in ways no one could ever have foreseen.

 

In Dani Shapiro’s first work of fiction in fifteen years, she returns to the form that launched her career, with a riveting, deeply felt novel that examines the ties that bind families together—and the secrets that can break them apart. Signal Fires is a work of haunting beauty by a masterly storyteller.

 

Due Oct 18

pre-order a copy of Signal Fires from the webstore here

 


Rupert Anticipates

On Every Tide by Sean Connolly

 

 

When people think of Irish emigration, they often think of the Great Famine of the 1840s, which caused many to flee Ireland for the United States. But the real history of the Irish diaspora is much longer, more complicated, and more global.

 

In On Every Tide, Sean Connolly tells the epic story of Irish migration, showing how emigrants became a force in world politics and religion. Starting in the eighteenth century, the Irish fled limited opportunity at home and fanned out across America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These emigrants helped settle new frontiers, industrialize the West, and spread Catholicism globally. As the Irish built vibrant communities abroad, they leveraged their newfound power—sometimes becoming oppressors themselves.

 

Deeply researched and vividly told, On Every Tide is essential reading for understanding how the people of Ireland shaped the world.

 

Due Oct 11

pre-order a copy of On Every Tide from the webstore here

 

 

Tudor England by Lucy Wooding

 

 

When Henry VII landed in a secluded bay in a far corner of Wales, it seemed inconceivable that this outsider could ever be king of England. Yet he and his descendants became some of England’s most unforgettable rulers, and gave their name to an age. The story of the Tudor monarchs is as astounding as it was unexpected, but it was not the only one unfolding between 1485 and 1603.

 

In cities, towns, and villages, families and communities lived their lives through times of great upheaval. In this comprehensive new history, Lucy Wooding lets their voices speak, exploring not just how monarchs ruled but also how men and women thought, wrote, lived, and died. We see a monarchy under strain, religion in crisis, a population contending with war, rebellion, plague, and poverty. Remarkable in its range and depth, Tudor England explores the many tensions of these turbulent years and presents a markedly different picture from the one we thought we knew.

 

Due Oct 18

pre-order a copy of Tudor England from the webstore here

 

 


Danielle Anticipates

Balladz by Sharon Olds

 

 

“At the time of have-not, I look at myself in this mirror,” writes Olds in this self-scouring, exhilarating volume, which opens with a section of quarantine poems, and at its center boasts what she calls Amherst Balladz (whose syntax honors Emily Dickinson: “she was our Girl – our Woman – / Man enough – for me”) and many more in her own contemporary, long-flowing-sentence rhythm. Olds sings of her childhood, young womanhood, and maturity all mixed up together, seeing an early lover in the one who is about to buried; seeing her white privilege without apology; seeing her mother (whom her readers will recognize) “flushed exalted at Punishment time”; seeing how we’ve spoiled the earth but carrying a stray indoor spider carefully back out to the garden.

 

It is Olds’s gift to us that in the richly detailed exposure of her sorrows she can still elegize songbirds, her true kin, and write that heaven comes here in life, not after it.

 

Due Oct 4

pre-order a copy of Balladz from the webstore here

 

Weasels in the Attic by Hiroko Oyamada

 

 

In three interconnected scenes, Hiroko Oyamada revisits the same set of characters at different junctures in their lives. In the back room of a pet store full of rare and exotic fish, old friends discuss dried shrimp and a strange new relationship. A couple who recently moved into a rustic home in the mountains discovers an unsettling solution to their weasel infestation. And a dinner party during a blizzard leads to a night in a room filled with aquariums and unpleasant dreams.

 

Like Oyamada’s previous novels, Weasels in the Attic sets its sights on the overlooked aspects of contemporary Japanese society, and does so with a surreal sensibility that is entirely her own.

 

Due Oct 4

pre-order a copy of Weasels in the Attic from the webstore here

 

 


Olivia Anticipates

The Lost Century by Larissa Lai

 

 

Lambda Literary Award winner Larissa Lai (The Tiger Flu) returns with a sprawling historical novel about war, colonialism and queer experience during Japan’s occupation of Hong Kong during World War II.

 

On the eve of the return of the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong to China in 1997, young Ophelia asks her peculiar great-aunt Violet about the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II and the disappearance of her uncle Theo. From Violet, she learns the story of her grandmother, Emily.

 

Emily’s marriage – three times – to her father’s mortal enemy causes a stir among three very different Hong Kong Chinese families, as well as among the young cricketers at the Hong Kong Cricket Club, who’ve just witnessed King Edward VIII’s abdication to marry Wallis Simpson. But the class and race pettiness of the scandal around Emily’s marriage is violently disrupted by the Japanese Imperial Army’s invasion of Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 1941, which plunges the colony into a landscape of violence none of its inhabitants escape from unscathed, least of all Emily. When her situation becomes dire, Violet, along with a crew of unlikely cosmopolitans determines to rescue Emily from the wrath of the person she thought loved her the most, her husband, Tak-Wing. In the middle of it all, a strange match of timeless Test cricket unfolds, in which the ball has an agency all its own.

 

With great heart, The Lost Century explores the intersections of Asian relations, queer Asian history, underground resistance, the violence of war, and the rise of modern China – a sprawling novel of betrayal, epic violence and intimate passions.

 

Due Oct 18

pre-order a copy of The Lost Century from the webstore here

 

The Night Ship by Jess Kidd

 

 

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 “thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written” (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves a unputdownable and charming tale of friendship and sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.

 

Due Oct 4

pre-order a copy of The Night Ship from the webstore here

 

 


Patti Anticipates

The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn

 

 

One blustery night in 1928, a whale washes up on the shores of the English Channel. By law, it belongs to the King, but twelve-year-old orphan Cristabel Seagrave has other plans. She and the rest of the household—her sister, Flossie; her brother, Digby, long-awaited heir to Chilcombe manor; Maudie Kitcat, kitchen maid; Taras, visiting artist—build a theatre from the beast’s skeletal rib cage. Within the Whalebone Theatre, Cristabel can escape her feckless stepparents and brisk governesses, and her imagination comes to life.

 

As Cristabel grows into a headstrong young woman, World War II rears its head. She and Digby become British secret agents on separate missions in Nazi-occupied France—a more dangerous kind of playacting, it turns out, and one that threatens to tear the family apart.

 

Due Oct 4

pre-order a copy of The Whalebone Theatre from the webstore here

 

Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet

 

 

Over twelve novels and two collections Lydia Millet has emerged as a major American novelist. Hailed as “a writer without limits” (Karen Russell) and “a stone-cold genius” (Jenny Offill), Millet makes fiction that vividly evokes the ties between people and other animals and the crisis of extinction.

 

Her exquisite new novel is the story of a man named Gil who walks from New York to Arizona to recover from a failed love. After he arrives, new neighbors move into the glass-walled house next door and his life begins to mesh with theirs. In this warmly textured, drily funny, and philosophical account of Gil’s unexpected devotion to the family, Millet explores the uncanny territory where the self ends and community begins—what one person can do in a world beset by emergencies.

 

Dinosaurs is both sharp-edged and tender, an emotionally moving, intellectually resonant novel that asks: In the shadow of existential threat, where does hope live?

 

Due Oct 11

pre-order a copy of Dinosaurs from the webstore here

 

 


 

This week’s books feature both the spectral and the spectacular. Three Pullitzer Prize winners are mixed in here, alongside a couple of Brits and une Française. 

 

Ben Recommends

Prisoners of the Castle by Ben MacIntyre

 

 

The myth of Colditz, the most infamous prison in history, has stood unchallenged for 70 years: prisoners of war, mustaches firmly set on stiff upper lips, defying the Nazis by tunnelling out of a grim Gothic castle on a German hilltop. Like all legends, that story contains only part of the truth. In Ben Macintyre’s brilliant, cliche-smashing new history, he offers a vision of Colditz previously unimagined, a story of much more than an escape, just as the prison’s inmates were far more complicated than the cardboard saints depicted in post-war pop culture.

 

Colditz was a miniature replica of office-class society at the time, only far stranger: a lethal, high stakes boarding school surrounded by barbed wire, initially containing prisoners of all Allied nations, including Canada, but eventually only Britons and Americans, a heavily guarded cage with its own culture, eccentricities, and internal tensions. In intimate and compelling detail, Macintyre explores what happens to people when they are locked up without committing a crime and with no idea when or if they might be liberated. Colditz, then, is a tale of the indomitable human spirit, but also one of snobbery, class conflict, hidden sexuality, bullying, espionage, boredom, insanity, and farce.

 

With access to declassified archives, private papers, and never-before-seen photos, the author reveals a remarkable cast of characters, previously hidden from history: Indian doctor Birendranath Mazymdar, the only non-white prisoner, whose ill-treatment, hunger-strike and eventual escape reads like fiction; Florimond Duke, America’s oldest paratrooper and least successful secret agent; Christoper Clayton Hutton, the brilliant inventor employed by British intelligence to manufacture escape aids for POWs, from maps hidden in playing cards to a compass secreted inside a walnut; and many others.

 

Order a copy of Prisoners of the Castle through the webstore here.

 

Winchelsea by Alex Preston

 

 

The year is 1742. Goody Brown, saved from drowning and adopted when just a babe, has grown up happily in the smuggling town of Winchelsea. Then, when Goody turns sixteen, her father is murdered in the night by men he thought were friends.

 

To find justice in a lawless land, Goody must enter the cut-throat world of her father’s killers. With her beloved brother Francis, she joins a rival gang of smugglers. Facing high seas and desperate villains, she also discovers something else: an existence without constraints or expectations, a taste for danger that makes her blood run fast.

 

Goody was never born to be a gentlewoman. But what will she become instead?

 

Winchelsea is an electrifying story of vengeance and transformation; a rare, lyrical and transporting work of historical imagination that makes the past so real we can touch it.

 

Order a copy of Winchelsea through the webstore here.

 


Rupert Recommends

Off with Her Head by Eleanor Herman

 

 

Imagine Hillary Clinton as a man. Howard Clinton says and does the exact same things as Hillary. Would Howard Clinton have been portrayed in a thousand Pinterest images as a witch, stirring a cauldron or riding a broomstick? Would he have been called a bitch on countless T-shirts? Would his thoughtful, circumspect answers to media questions have been seen as inauthenticity, secretiveness, and untrustworthiness?

 

There is a particular kind of rage—let’s call it unadulterated bloodlust—usually reserved for women, especially women in power or vying for it. From the ancient world, through the European Renaissance, up to the most recent U.S. elections, the Misogynist’s Handbook, as Eleanor Herman calls it, has been wielded to put uppity women in their place.

 

In a story that is shocking, eye-opening, and a powerful force for change, Eleanor Herman’s signature wit and humor explores the patterns that have been operating for more than three thousand years—and are still operating today—against powerful women across the globe, including Cleopatra, Anne Boleyn, Marie Antoinette, Catherine the Great, Hillary Clinton, Kamala Harris, and more.

 

Each chapter analyzes a tried-and-true misogynistic method to keep women down, including: Her Overweening Ambition, Why Doesn’t She Do Something About Her Hair?, The Dangers of Female Hormones, The Alarming Shrillness of Her Voice, The Mysterious Unlikability of Female Candidates, She’s a Bitch and Other Animals, She’s a Witch and Other Monsters, and Her Sexual Depravity. Herman ends the book by looking forward, examining ways to rip up the Misogynist’s Handbook once and for all.

 

Order a copy of Off With Her Head through the webstore here.

 

Joan by Katherine J Chen

 

 

1412. France is mired in a losing war against England. Its people are starving. Its king is in hiding. From this chaos emerges a teenage girl who will turn the tide of battle and lead the French to victory, becoming an unlikely hero whose name will echo across the centuries.

 

In Katherine J. Chen’s hands, the myth and legend of Joan of Arc is transformed into a flesh-and-blood young woman: reckless, steel-willed, and brilliant. This meticulously researched novel is a sweeping narrative of her life, from a childhood steeped in both joy and violence, to her meteoric rise to fame at the head of the French army, where she navigates the perils of the battlefield and the equally treacherous politics of the royal court. Many are threatened by a woman who leads, and Joan draws wrath and suspicion from all corners, while her first taste of fame and glory leaves her vulnerable to her own powerful ambition.

 

With unforgettably vivid characters, transporting settings, and action-packed storytelling, Joan is a thrilling epic, a triumph of historical fiction, as well as a feminist celebration of one remarkable—and remarkably real—woman who left an indelible mark on history.

 

Order a copy of Joan through the webstore here.

 


Danielle Recommends

People Person by Candice Carty-Williams

 

 

If you could choose your family…you wouldn’t choose the Penningtons.

 

Dimple Pennington knows of her half siblings, but she doesn’t really know them. Five people who don’t have anything in common except for faint memories of being driven through Brixton in their dad’s gold jeep, and some pretty complex abandonment issues. Dimple has bigger things to think about.

 

She’s thirty, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. An aspiring lifestyle influencer with a terrible and wayward boyfriend, Dimple’s life has shrunk to the size of a phone screen. And despite a small but loyal following, she’s never felt more alone in her life. That is, until a dramatic event brings her half siblings Nikisha, Danny, Lizzie, and Prynce crashing back into her life. And when they’re all forced to reconnect with Cyril Pennington, the absent father they never really knew, things get even more complicated.

 

From an author with “a flair for storytelling that appears effortlessly authentic” (Time), People Person is a vibrant and charming celebration of discovering family as an adult.

 

Order a copy of People Person through the webstore here.

 

My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley

 

 

Helen Grant is a mystery to her daughter. An extrovert with few friends who has sought intimacy in the wrong places, a twice-divorced mother of two now living alone surrounded by her memories, Helen (known to her acquaintances as “Hen”) has always haunted Bridget.

 

 

Now, Bridget is an academic in her forties. She sees Helen once a year, and considers the problem to be contained. As she looks back on their tumultuous relationship—the performances and small deceptions—she tries to reckon with the cruelties inflicted on both sides. But when Helen makes it clear that she wants more, it seems an old struggle will have to be replayed.

 

 

From the prize-winning author of First LoveMy Phantoms is a bold, heart-stopping portrayal of a failed familial bond, which brings humor, subtlety, and new life to the difficult terrain of mothers and daughters.

 

Order a copy of My Phantoms through the webstore here.

 


Olivia Recommends

Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson

 

 

The Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and memoirist Margo Jefferson has lived in the thrall of a cast of others—her parents and maternal grandmother, jazz luminaries, writers, artists, athletes, and stars. These are the figures who thrill and trouble her, and who have made up her sense of self as a person and as a writer. In her much-anticipated follow-up to Negroland, Jefferson brings these figures to life in a memoir of stunning originality, a performance of the elements that comprise and occupy the mind of one of our foremost critics.

 

In Constructing a Nervous System, Jefferson shatters her self into pieces and recombines them into a new and vital apparatus on the page, fusing the criticism that she is known for, fragments of the family members she grieves for, and signal moments from her life, as well as the words of those who have peopled her past and accompanied her in her solitude, dramatized here like never before. Bing Crosby and Ike Turner are among the author’s alter egos. The sounds of a jazz LP emerge as the intimate and instructive sounds of a parent’s voice. W. E. B. Du Bois and George Eliot meet illicitly. The muscles and movements of a ballerina are spliced with those of an Olympic runner, becoming a template for what a black female body can be.

 

The result is a wildly innovative work of depth and stirring beauty. It is defined by fractures and dissonance, longing and ecstasy, and a persistent searching. Jefferson interrogates her own self as well as the act of writing memoir, and probes the fissures at the center of American cultural life.

 

Order a copy of Constructing a Nervous System through the webstore here.

 

Self-Portrait with Ghost by Meng Jin

 

 

Meng Jin’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Little Gods, was praised as “spectacular and emotionally polyphonic (Omar El-Akkad, BookPage), “powerful” (Washington Post), and “meticulously observed, daringly imagined” (Claire Messud). Now Jin turns her considerable talents to short fiction, in ten thematically linked stories.

 

Written during the turbulent years of the Trump administration and the first year of the pandemic, these stories explore intimacy and isolation, coming-of-age and coming to terms with the repercussions of past mistakes, fraying relationships and surprising moments of connection. Moving between San Francisco and China, and from unsparing realism to genre-bending delight, Self-Portrait with Ghost considers what it means to live in an age of heightened self-consciousness, seemingly endless access to knowledge, and little actual power.

 

Page-turning, thought-provoking, and wholly unique, Self-Portrait with Ghost further establishes Meng Jin as a writer who “reminds us that possible explanations in our universe are as varied as the beings who populate it” (Paris Review).

 

Order a copy of Self-Portrait with Ghost through the webstore here.

 


Patti Recommends

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

 

 

With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.

 

As a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.

 

Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.

 

Order a copy of Lucy by the Sea through the webstore here.

 

Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer

 

 

For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner, Freddy Pelu. But nothing lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US.

 

Less roves across the “Mild Mild West,” through the South and to his mid-Atlantic birthplace, with an ever-changing posse of writerly characters and his trusty duo – a human-like black pug, Dolly, and a rusty camper van nicknamed Rosina. He grows a handlebar mustache, ditches his signature gray suit, and disguises himself in the bolero-and-cowboy-hat costume of a true “Unitedstatesian”… with varying levels of success, as he continues to be mistaken for either a Dutchman, the wrong writer, or, worst of all, a “bad gay.”

 

We cannot, however, escape ourselves—even across deserts, bayous, and coastlines. From his estranged father and strained relationship with Freddy, to the reckoning he experiences in confronting his privilege, Arthur Less must eventually face his personal demons. With all of the irrepressible wit and musicality that made Less a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning, must-read breakout book, Less Is Lost is a profound and joyous novel about the enigma of life in America, the riddle of love, and the stories we tell along the way.

 

Order a copy of Less is Lost through the webstore here.

 


 

Art and Music reign supreme in this week’s set of books we’re looking forward to here at the shop, with a montage, a portrait, a chorus, and a few lessons.

 

Ben Anticipates

Servants of the Damned by David Enrich

 

 

In his acclaimed #1 bestseller Dark Towers, David Enrich presented the never-before-told saga of how Deutsche Bank became the global face of financial recklessness and criminality. Now Enrich turns his eye towards the world of “Big Law” and the nearly unchecked influence these firms wield to shield the wealthy and powerful—and bury their secrets. To tell this story, Enrich focuses on Jones Day, one of the world’s largest law firms. Jones Day’s narrative arc—founded in Cleveland in 1893, it became the first law firm to expand nationally and is now a global juggernaut with deep ties to corporate interests and conservative politics—is a powerful encapsulation of the changes that have swept the legal industry in recent decades.

 

Since 2016, Jones Day has been in the spotlight for representing Donald Trump and his campaigns (and now his PACs)—and for the fleet of Jones Day attorneys who joined his administration, including White House Counsel Don McGahn. Jones Day helped Trump fend off the Mueller investigation and challenged Obamacare. Its once and future lawyers defended Trump’s Muslim ban and border policies and handled his judicial nominations. Jones Day even laid some of the legal groundwork for Trump to challenge the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

 

But the Trump work is but one chapter in the firm’s checkered history. Jones Day, like many of its peers, have become highly effective enablers of the business world’s worst misbehavior. The firm has for decades represented Big Tobacco in its fight to avoid liability for its products. Jones Day worked tirelessly for the Catholic Church as it tried to minimize its sexual-abuse scandals. And for Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, as it sought to protect its right to make and market its dangerously addictive drug. And for Fox News as it waged war against employees who were the victims of sexual harassment and retaliation. And for Russian oligarchs as their companies sought to expand internationally.

 

Due Sept. 20

pre-order a copy of Servants of the Damned on the webstore here.

 

The Enigma of Room 622 by Joël Dicker

 

 

 

A writer named Joël, Switzerland’s most prominent novelist, flees to the Hôtel de Verbier, a luxury resort in the Swiss Alps. Disheartened over a recent breakup and his longtime publisher’s death, Joël hopes to rest. However, his plans quickly go awry. It all starts with a seemingly innocuous detail: at the Verbier, there is no room 622

 

Before long, Joël and fellow guest Scarlett uncover a long-unsolved murder that transpired in the hotel’s room 622. The attendant circumstances: the succession of Switzerland’s largest private bank, a mysterious counterintelligence operation called P-30, and a most disreputable sabotage of hotel hospitality. A European phenomenon, The Enigma of Room 622 is a matryoshka doll of intrigue–as precise as a Swiss watch–and Dicker’s most diabolically addictive thriller yet.

 

Due Sept. 13

pre-order a copy of The Enigma of Room 622 on the webstore here.

 


Rupert Anticipates

Before We Were Trans by Kit Heyam

 

 

 

Today’s narratives about trans people tend to feature individuals with stable gender identities that fit neatly into the categories of male or female. Those stories, while important, fail to account for the complex realities of many trans people’s lives.  
 
Before We Were Trans illuminates the stories of people across the globe, from antiquity to the present, whose experiences of gender have defied binary categories. Blending historical analysis with sharp cultural criticism, trans historian and activist Kit Heyam offers a new, radically inclusive trans history, chronicling expressions of trans experience that are often overlooked, like gender-nonconforming fashion and wartime stage performance. Before We Were Trans transports us from Renaissance Venice to seventeenth-century Angola, from Edo Japan to early America, and looks to the past to uncover new horizons for possible trans futures.  

 

Due Sept. 13

pre-order a copy of Before We Were Trans on the webstore here.

 

The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr

 

 

Baxter’s name isn’t George. But it’s 1929, and Baxter is lucky enough, as a Black man, to have a job as a sleeping car porter on a train that crisscrosses the country. So when the passengers call him George, he has to just smile and nod and act invisible. What he really wants is to go to dentistry school, but he’ll have to save up a lot of nickel and dime tips to get there, so he puts up with “George.”

 

On this particular trip out west, the passengers are more unruly than usual, especially when the train is stalled for two extra days; their secrets start to leak out and blur with the sleep-deprivation hallucinations Baxter is having. When he finds a naughty postcard of two queer men, Baxter’s memories and longings are reawakened; keeping it puts his job in peril, but he can’t part with the postcard or his thoughts of Edwin Drew, Porter Instructor.

 

Due Sept. 27

pre-order a copy of The Sleeping Car Porter on the webstore here.

 


Danielle Anticipates

Gentrification is Inevitable and Other Lies by Leslie Kern

 

 

From the author of the best-selling Feminist City, this urbanite’s guide to gentrification knocks down the myths and exposes the forces behind the most urgent housing crisis of our time.

 

Gentrification is no longer a phenomenon to be debated by geographers or downplayed by urban planners—it’s an experience lived and felt by working-class people everywhere. Leslie Kern travels to Toronto, Vancouver, New York, London, and Paris to look beyond the familiar and false stories we tell ourselves about class, money, and taste. What she brings back is an accessible, radical guide on the often-invisible forces that shape urban neighbourhoods: settler-colonialism, racism, sexism, ageism, ableism, and more.

 

Gentrification is not inevitable if city lovers work together to turn the tide. Kern examines resistance strategies from around the world and calls for everyday actions that empower everyone, from displaced peoples to long-time settlers. We can mobilize, demand reparations, and rewrite the story from the ground up.

 

Due Sept. 6

pre-order a copy of Gentrification is Inevitable and Other Lies on the webstore here.

 

The Bloater by Rosemary Tonks

 

 

Min works at the BBC as a sound engineer, and in theory she’s married, but her husband George is so invisible that she accidentally turns the lights off even when he’s still in the room. Luckily, she has her friends and lovers to distract her: in Min’s self-lacerating, bracingly opinionated voice, life boils down to sex appeal—and of late she’s being courted by an internationally renowned opera singer whom she refers to as The Bloater (a swelled, salted herring). Disgusted by and attracted to him in equal measure, her dilemma—which reaches a hysterical, hilarious pitch—is whether to sleep with him or not.

 

Rosemary Tonks—the salt and pepper of the earth—is a writer who gets her claws into the reader with all the joy of a cat and a mouse. Vain and materialistic, tender and savage, narrated in brilliant, sparkling prose, The Bloater is the perfect snapshot of London in the 1960s.

 

Due Sept. 6

pre-order a copy of The Bloater on the webstore here.

 


Olivia Anticipates

A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt

 

 

An unnamed narrator abandons his unfinished thesis and returns to northern Alberta in search of what eludes him: the shape of the novel he yearns to write, an autobiography of his rural hometown, the answers to existential questions about family, love, and happiness.
 
What ensues is a series of conversations, connections, and disconnections that reveals the texture of life in a town literature has left unexplored, where the friction between possibility and constraint provides an insistent background score.
 
Whether he’s meeting with an auntie distraught over the imprisonment of her grandson, engaging in rez gossip with his cousin at a pow wow, or lingering in bed with a married man after a hotel room hookup, the narrator makes space for those in his orbit to divulge their private joys and miseries, testing the theory that storytelling can make us feel less lonely.

 

Due Sept. 13

pre-order a copy of A Minor Chorus on the webstore here.

 

Bliss Montage by Ling Ma

 

 

What happens when fantasy tears the screen of the everyday to wake us up? Could that waking be our end?

 

In Bliss Montage, Ling Ma brings us eight wildly different tales of people making their way through the madness and reality of our collective delusions: love and loneliness, connection and possession, friendship, motherhood, the idea of home. A woman lives in a house with all her ex-boyfriends. A toxic friendship grows up around a drug that makes you invisible. An ancient ritual might heal you of anything—if you bury yourself alive.

 

These and other scenarios investigate the ways that the outlandish and the ordinary are shockingly, deceptively, heartbreakingly alike.

 

Due Sept. 13

pre-order a copy of Bliss Montage on the webstore here.

 


Patti Anticipates

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell

 

 

Florence, the 1550s. Lucrezia, third daughter of the grand duke, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and to devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Moderna and Regio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father just as quick to accept on her behalf.

 

Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her new husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appeared to be before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?

 

As Lucrezia sits in constricting finery for a painting intended to preserve her image for centuries to come, one thing becomes worryingly clear. In the court’s eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferranese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, the new duchess’s future hangs entirely in the balance.

 

Due Sept. 6

pre-order a copy of The Marriage Portrait on the webstore here.

 

Lessons by Ian McEwan

 

 

When the world is still counting the cost of the Second World War and the Iron Curtain has closed, eleven-year-old Roland Baines’s life is turned upside down. 2,000 miles from his mother’s protective love, stranded at an unusual boarding school, his vulnerability attracts piano teacher Miss Miriam Cornell, leaving scars as well as a memory of love that will never fade.

 

Now, when his wife vanishes, leaving him alone with his tiny son, Roland is forced to confront the reality of his restless existence. As the radiation from Chernobyl spreads across Europe, he begins a search for answers that looks deep into his family history and will last for the rest of his life.

 

From the Suez Crisis to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the fall of the Berlin Wall to the current pandemic and climate change, Roland sometimes rides with the tide of history, but more often struggles against it. Haunted by lost opportunities, he seeks solace through every possible means—music, literature, friends, sex, politics and, finally, love cut tragically short, then love ultimately redeemed. His journey raises important questions for us all. Can we take full charge of the course of our lives without damage to others? How do global events beyond our control shape our lives and our memories? And what can we really learn from the traumas of the past?

Due Sept. 13

 

pre-order a copy of Lessons on the webstore here.

 


 

We’re branching out into some new subjects in this week’s list of suggested books: numbers, graphic novels, and honest living!

 

Ben Recommends

Sisters in Resistance by Tilar J Mazzeo

 

 

In 1944, news of secret diaries kept by Italy’s Foreign Minister, Galeazzo Ciano, had permeated public consciousness. What wasn’t reported, however, was how three women—a Fascist’s daughter, a German spy, and an American banker’s wife—risked their lives to ensure the diaries would reach the Allies, who would later use them as evidence against the Nazis at Nuremberg.

 

In 1944, Benito Mussolini’s daughter, Edda, gave Hitler and her father an ultimatum: release her husband, Galeazzo Ciano, from prison, or risk her leaking her husband’s journals to the press. To avoid the peril of exposing Nazi lies, Hitler and Mussolini hunted for the diaries for months, determined to destroy them.

 

Hilde Beetz, a German spy, was deployed to seduce Ciano to learn the diaries’ location and take them from Edda. As the seducer became the seduced, Hilde converted as a double agent, joining forces with Edda to save Ciano from execution. When this failed, Edda fled to Switzerland with Hilde’s daring assistance to keep Ciano’s final wish: to see the diaries published for use by the Allies. When American spymaster Allen Dulles learned of Edda’s escape, he sent in Frances De Chollet, an “accidental” spy, telling her to find Edda, gain her trust, and, crucially, hand the diaries over to the Americans. Together, they succeeded in preserving one of the most important documents of WWII.

 

Order a copy of Sisters in Resistance from the webstore here.

 

An Honest Living by Dwyer Murphy

 

 

After leaving behind the comforts and the shackles of a prestigious law firm, a restless attorney makes ends meet in mid-2000s Brooklyn by picking up odd jobs from a colorful assortment of clients. When a mysterious woman named Anna Reddick turns up at his apartment with ten thousand dollars in cash and asks him to track down her missing husband Newton, an antiquarian bookseller who she believes has been pilfering rare true crime volumes from her collection, he trusts it will be a quick and easy case. But when the real Anna Reddick—a magnetic but unpredictable literary prodigy—lands on his doorstep with a few bones to pick, he finds himself out of his depth, drawn into a series of deceptions involving Joseph Conrad novels, unscrupulous booksellers, aspiring flâneurs, and seedy real estate developers.

 

Set against the backdrop of New York at the tail end of the analog era and immersed in the worlds of literature and bookselling, An Honest Living is a gripping story of artistic ambition, obsession, and the small crimes we commit against one another every day.

 

Order a copy of An Honest Living from the webstore here.

 


 

Rupert Recommends

Geography is Destiny by Ian Morris

 

 

 

When Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016, the 48 percent who wanted to stay and the 52 percent who wanted to go each accused the other of stupidity, fraud, and treason. In reality, the Brexit debate merely reran a script written ten thousand years earlier, when the rising seas physically separated the British Isles from the European continent. Ever since, geography has been destiny—yet it is humans who get to decide what that destiny means.

 

Ian Morris, the critically acclaimed author of Why the West Rules—for Now, describes how technology and organization have steadily enlarged Britain’s arena, and how its people have tried to turn this to their advantage. For the first seventy-five hundred years, the British were never more than bit players at the western edge of a European stage, struggling to find a role among bigger, richer, and more sophisticated continental rivals. By 1500 CE, however, new kinds of ships and governments had turned the European stage into an Atlantic one; with the English Channel now functioning as a barrier, England transformed the British Isles into a United Kingdom that created a worldwide empire. Since 1900, thanks to rapid globalization, Britain has been overshadowed by American, European, and—increasingly—Chinese actors.

 

In trying to find its place in a global economy, Britain has been looking in all the wrong places. The ten-thousand-year story bracingly chronicled by Geography Is Destiny shows that the great question for the current century is not what to do about Brussels; it’s what to do about Beijing.

 

Order a copy of Geography is Destiny from the webstore here.

 

Watersong by Clarissa Goenawan

 

 

When Shouji Arai crosses one of his company’s most powerful clients, he must leave Akakawa immediately or risk his life. But his girlfriend Youko is nowhere to be found.

 

Haunted by dreams of drowning and the words of a fortune teller who warned him away from three women with water in their names, he travels to Tokyo, where he tries in vain to track Youko down. But Shouji soon realises that not everything Youko told him about herself was true. Who is the real woman he once lived with and loved, and where could she be hiding?

 

Watersong is a spellbinding novel of loves lost and recovered, of secrets never spoken, and of how our pasts shape our futures.

 

Order a copy of Watersong from the webstore here.

 


 

Danielle Recommends

The Moment by Andrea Constand

 

 

When Bill Cosby was convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault in 2018, the verdict sent shock waves around the globe. Some were outraged that a beloved icon of family values, the man dubbed “America’s dad,” had been accused, let alone convicted. Others were stunned because they had waited so long to see justice; in accusations going back decades, more than sixty women recounted how they’d been drugged, raped, and assaulted at Cosby’s hands. Andrea Constand is just one of these women, but her case could still be criminally prosecuted.
 
Constand’s legal marathon required her to endure an excruciating civil suit, and two harrowing criminal trials. It was her deep sense of personal and social responsibility, fostered by her close-knit immigrant family and values earned through team sports, that gave her the courage to testify at the criminal trial–something she agreed to do not for herself, but for the more than sixty other women whose stories would never be told in court. Ultimately, Constand’s testimony brought a powerful man to account. Cosby spent nearly three years in prison before his conviction was overturned on a procedural technicality in June 2021.
 
In The Moment, Constand opens up about the emotional and spiritual work she did to recover from the assault and the psychological regimen she developed to strengthen herself. She also gained a new understanding of the resiliency of human spirit, and the affirming knowledge that stepping up and doing the right thing, even when the outcome is uncertain, is the surest path to true healing. From the woman who has been called “the true hero of #MeToo,” The Moment is a memoir about the moment a life changes, as hers did when she was assaulted; about the moment, nearly a decade later, when she stood up for victims without a voice and put herself through an arduous criminal trial; and about the cultural moment, signified by the #MeToo movement, that made justice and accountability possible.

 

Order a copy of The Moment from the webstore here.

 

MOTHERCARE by Lynne Tillman

 

 

When a mother’s unusual health condition, normal pressure hydrocephalus, renders her entirely dependent on you, your sisters, caregivers, and companions, the unthinkable becomes daily life. In MOTHERCARE, Tillman describes doing what seems impossible: handling her mother as if she were a child and coping with a longtime ambivalence toward her.

 

In Tillman’s celebrated style and as a “rich noticer of strange things” (Colm Tóibín), she describes, without flinching, the unexpected, heartbreaking, and anxious eleven years of caring for a sick parent.

 

MOTHERCARE is both a cautionary tale and sympathetic guidance for anyone who suddenly becomes a caregiver. This story may be helpful, informative, consoling, or upsetting, but it never fails to underscore how impossible it is to get the job done completely right.

 

Order a copy of MOTHERCARE from the webstore here.

 


 

Olivia Recommends

Dog Flowers by Danielle Geller

 

 

When Danielle Geller’s mother dies of alcohol withdrawal during an attempt to get sober, Geller returns to Florida and finds her mother’s life packed into eight suitcases. Most were filled with clothes, except for the last one, which contained diaries, photos, and letters, a few undeveloped disposable cameras, dried sage, jewelry, and the bandana her mother wore on days she skipped a hair wash.

 

Geller, an archivist and a writer, uses these pieces of her mother’s life to try and understand her mother’s relationship to home, and their shared need to leave it. Geller embarks on a journey where she confronts her family’s history and the decisions that she herself had been forced to make while growing up, a journey that will end at her mother’s home: the Navajo reservation.

 

Dog Flowers is an arresting, photo-lingual memoir that masterfully weaves together images and text to examine mothers and mothering, sisters and caretaking, and colonized bodies. Exploring loss and inheritance, beauty and balance, Danielle Geller pays homage to our pasts, traditions, and heritage, to the families we are given and the families we choose.

 

Order a copy of Dog Flowers from the webstore here.

 

The Biggest Number in the World by David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee

 

 

We all know that numbers go on forever, that you could spend your life counting and never reach the end of the line, so there can’t be such a thing as a ‘biggest number’. Or can there?

 

To find out, David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee embark on an epic quest, revealing the answers to questions like: are there more grains of sand on Earth or stars in the universe? Is there enough paper on Earth to write out the digits of a googolplex? And what is a googolplex?

 

Then things get serious.

 

Enter the strange realm between the finite and the infinite, and float through a universe where the rules we cling to no longer apply. Encounter the highest number computable and infinite kinds of infinity. At every turn, a cast of wild and wonderful characters threatens the status quo with their ideas, and each time the numbers get larger.

 

Order a copy of The Biggest Number in the World from the webstore here.

 


 

Patti Recommends

A Career in Books by Kate Gavino

 

 

Shirin, Nina, and Silvia have just gotten their first jobs in publishing, at a University Press, a traditional publisher, and a trust-fund kid’s “indie” publisher, respectively. And it’s . . . great? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ They know they’re paying their dues and the challenges they meet (Shirin’s boss just assumes she knows Cantonese, Nina cannot get promoted by sheer force of will, and Silvia has to deal with daily microaggressions) are just part of “a career in books.” When they meet their elderly neighbor, Veronica Vo, and discover she’s a Booker Prize winner dubbed the “Tampax Tolstoy” by the press, each woman finds a thread of inspiration from Veronica’s life to carry on her own path. And the result is full of twists and revelations that surprise not only the reader but the women themselves.

 

Charming, wry, and with fantastic black-and-white illustrations, A Career in Books is a modern ode to Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything, and perfect for fans of Good Talk, Younger, and The Bold Type, as readers chart the paths of three Asian-American women trying to break through the world of books with hilarious, incisive, and heartbreaking results.

 

Order a copy of Career in Books from the webstore here.

 

Elizabeth Finch by Julian Barnes

 

 

This novel of unrequited platonic love takes aim at the singular character of the exacting Elizabeth Finch. When Neil, adrift in his 30s, takes her adult education class on Culture and Civilization, he becomes deeply fascinated by this private, withholding yet commanding woman. While other personal relationships and even his children drift from his grasp, Neil hangs tight to Finch and her unorthodox application of history and philosophy to the practical matters of daily living. As much as he wants to figure her out intellectually, he want to please her. Both are impossible.

 

In Neil’s story, readers are treated to everything they cherish in Barnes: his eye for the unconventional forms love can take, a compelling swerve into nonfiction (this time through Neil’s obsessive study of Julian the Apostate, following the trail of crumbs Elizabeth Finch has left for him), and the forcefully moving undercurrent of history and biography as both nourishment and guide in our daily lives. Finch is a character who challenges the reader as much as her students to think for themselves, and leaves us searching for a way to deal with one of her simplest of ideas: “Some things are up to us, and some things are not up to us.”

 

Order a copy of Elizabeth Finch from the webstore here.

 


 

 

Everywhere from Tkaronto to San Felipe, Berlin to Waukesha. A Mink, a Slenderman, and two Eds feature in this week’s list of our anticipated reads.

 

Ben Anticipates

Berlin by Sinclair McKay

 

 

Sinclair McKay’s Berlin begins by taking readers back to 1919 when the city emerged from the shadows of the Great War to become an extraordinary by-word for modernity—in art, cinema, architecture, industry, science, and politics. He traces the city’s history through the rise of Hitler and the Battle for Berlin which ended in the final conquest of the city in 1945. It was a key moment in modern world history, but beyond the global repercussions lay thousands of individual stories of agony. From the countless women who endured nightmare ordeals at the hands of the Soviet soldiers to the teenage boys fitted with steel helmets too big for their heads and guns too big for their hands, McKay thrusts readers into the human cataclysm that tore down the modernity of the streets and reduced what was once the most sophisticated city on earth to ruins.

 

Amid the destruction, a collective instinct was also at work—a determination to restore not just the rhythms of urban life, but also its fierce creativity. In Berlin today, there is a growing and urgent recognition that the testimonies of the ordinary citizens from 1919 forward should be given more prominence. That the housewives, office clerks, factory workers, and exuberant teenagers who witnessed these years of terrifying—and for some, initially exhilarating—transformation should be heard. Today, the exciting, youthful Berlin we see is patterned with echoes that lean back into that terrible vortex. In this new history of Berlin, Sinclair McKay erases the lines between the generations of Berliners, making their voices heard again to create a compelling, living portrait of life in this city that lay at the center of the world.

 

Order a copy of Berlin from the webstore here.

Due August 23

 

Inventor of the Future by Alec Nevala-Lee

 

 

During his lifetime, Buckminster Fuller was hailed as one of the greatest geniuses of the twentieth century. As the architectural designer and futurist best known for the geodesic dome, he enthralled a vast popular audience, inspired devotion from both the counterculture and the establishment, and was praised as a modern Leonardo da Vinci. To his admirers, he exemplified what one man could accomplish by approaching urgent design problems using a radically unconventional set of strategies, which he based on a mystical conception of the universe’s geometry. His views on sustainability, as embodied in the image of Spaceship Earth, convinced him that it was possible to provide for all humanity through the efficient use of planetary resources. From Epcot Center to the molecule named in his honor as the buckyball, Fuller’s legacy endures to this day, and his belief in the transformative potential of technology profoundly influenced the founders of Silicon Valley.

 

Inventor of the Future is the first authoritative biography to cover all aspects of Fuller’s career. Drawing on meticulous research, dozens of interviews, and thousands of unpublished documents, Nevala-Lee has produced a riveting portrait that transcends the myth of Fuller as an otherworldly generalist. It reconstructs the true origins of his most famous inventions, including the Dymaxion Car, the Wichita House, and the dome itself; his fraught relationships with his students and collaborators; his interactions with Frank Lloyd Wright, Isamu Noguchi, Clare Boothe Luce, John Cage, Steve Jobs, and many others; and his tumultuous private life, in which his determination to succeed on his own terms came at an immense personal cost. In an era of accelerating change, Fuller’s example remains enormously relevant, and his lessons for designers, activists, and innovators are as powerful and essential as ever. 

 

Order a copy of Inventor of the Future from the webstore here.

Due August 2

 


Rupert Anticipates

The Price of Time by Edward Chancellor

 

 

In the beginning was the loan, and the loan carried interest. For at least five millennia people have been borrowing and lending at interest. The practice wasn’t always popular—in the ancient world, usury was generally viewed as exploitative, a potential path to debt bondage and slavery. Yet as capitalism became established from the late Middle Ages onwards, denunciations of interest were tempered because interest was a necessary reward for lenders to part with their capital. And interest performs many other vital functions: it encourages people to save; enables them to place a value on precious assets, such as houses and all manner of financial securities; and allows us to price risk.

 

All economic and financial activities take place across time. Interest is often described as the “price of money,” but it is better called the “price of time:” time is scarce, time has value, interest is the time value of money.

 

Over the first two decades of the twenty-first century, interest rates have sunk lower than ever before. Easy money after the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 has produced several ill effects, including the appearance of multiple asset price bubbles, a reduction in productivity growth, discouraging savings and exacerbating inequality, and forcing yield starved investors to take on excessive risk. The financial world now finds itself caught between a rock and a hard place, and Edward Chancellor is here to tell us why. In this enriching volume, Chancellor explores the history of interest and its essential function in determining how capital is allocated and priced.

 

Order a copy of The Price of Time from the webstore here.

Due August 26

 

 

Witches by Brenda Lozano

 

 

Paloma is dead. But before she was murdered, before she was even Paloma, she was a traditional healer named Gaspar. Before she was murdered, she taught her cousin Feliciana the secrets of the ceremonies known as veladas, and about the Language and the Book that unlock their secrets.

 

Sent to report on Paloma’s murder, Zoe meets Feliciana in the mountain village of San Felipe. There, the two women’s lives twist around each other in a danse macabre. Feliciana tells Zoe the story of her struggle to become an accepted healer in her community, and Zoe begins to understand the hidden history of her own experience as a woman, finding her way in a hostile environment shaped by and for men.

 

Weaving together two parallel narratives that mirror and refract one another, this extraordinary novel envisions the healer as storyteller and the writer as healer, and offers a generous and nuanced understanding of a world that can be at turns violent and exultant, cruel and full of hope.

 

Order a copy of Witches from the webstore here.

Due August 16

 


Danielle Anticipates

Slenderman by Kathleen Hale

 

 

On May 31, 2014, in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, Wisconsin, two twelve-year-old girls attempted to stab their classmate to death. Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier’s violence was extreme, but what seemed even more frightening was that they committed their crime under the influence of a figure born by the internet: the so-called “Slenderman.” Yet the even more urgent aspect of the story, that the children involved suffered from undiagnosed mental illnesses, often went overlooked in coverage of the case.

 

Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls tells that full story for the first time in deeply researched detail, using court transcripts, police reports, individual reporting, and exclusive interviews. Morgan and Anissa were bound together by their shared love of geeky television shows and animals, and their discovery of the user-uploaded scary stories on the Creepypasta website could have been nothing more than a brief phase. But Morgan was suffering from early-onset childhood schizophrenia. She believed that she had seen Slenderman long before discovering him online, and the only way to stop him from killing her family was to bring him a sacrifice: Morgan’s best friend Payton “Bella” Leutner, whom Morgan and Anissa planned to stab to death on the night of Morgan’s twelfth birthday party. Bella survived the attack, but was deeply traumatized, while Morgan and Anissa were immediately sent to jail, and the severity of their crime meant that they would be prosecuted as adults. There, as Morgan continued to suffer from worsening mental illness after being denied antipsychotics, her life became more and more surreal.

 

Order a copy of Slenderman from the webstore here.

Due August 26

 

Nomenclature by Dionne Brand

 

 

Spanning almost four decades, Dionne Brand’s poetry has given rise to whole new grammars and vocabularies. With a profound alertness that is attuned to this world and open to some other, possibly future, time and place, Brand’s ongoing labours of witness and imagination speak directly to where and how we live and reach beyond those worlds, their enclosures, and their violences.
 
Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems begins with a new long poem, the titular “Nomenclature for the Time Being,” in which Dionne Brand’s diaspora consciousness dismantles our quotidian disasters. In addition to this searing new work, Nomenclature collects eight volumes of Brand’s poetry published between 1982 and 2010 and includes a critical introduction by the literary scholar and theorist Christina Sharpe.

 

Order a copy of Nomenclature from the webstore here.

Due August 9

 


Olivia Anticipates

Mink Returns to Tkaronto by Lee Maracle

 

 

At the core of this novel, Lee Maracle’s last, is the question “Do the dead regret dying after they reach the after world?” Mink wonders this as he regrets dying. He does not want to leave earth with regrets, but he is so young when he dies again, after returning to earth with his ancestors’ permission. This time, however, he has seen Tkaronto, the city where his father lived, and he has seen and experienced first-hand the deep forests and bubbling rivers in the physical world he missed out on in his previous life.

 

Mink Returns to Tkaronto is a novel about a spirit’s return to earth, its experience in the physical world, and its development and growth. Paralleled with this, the novel is also an exploration of how Turtle Island’s geography and ecosystems have been manipulated and changed.

 

No one should regret dying; in this, her last novel, Lee Maracle describes the voyage undertaken by a young mink spirit and in doing so she reminds her readers to live their lives truthfully and to have good memories and stories to take with them to the spirit world.

 

Order a copy of Mink Retunrs to Tkaronto from the webstore here.

Due August 12

 

Utopia by Heidi Sopinka

 

 

Paz, an ambitious young artist, is drawn to Romy, one of the only women to break into the male-dominated art scene of 1970s California. She is also drawn to Romy’s husband, Billy, an enigmatic art star. When Romy dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances, Billy is left unmoored, caring for their newborn.

 

Leaving New York and grad school behind, Paz takes on the mantle of Romy’s life and steps into a ghostly love triangle. When Paz attempts to claim her creative life, strange things start to happen—photographs move, an unexplained postcard arrives, and an unsettling journal entry begins to blur the line between art and life.

 

As Paz becomes increasingly obsessed with the woman she has replaced and the absent man she has married, a disturbing picture begins to emerge, driving her deep into the desert to uncover the truth.

 

Order a copy of Utopia from the webstore here.

Due August 9

 


Patti Anticipates

A Waiter in Paris by Edward Chisholm

 

 

A waiter’s job is to deceive you. They want you to believe in a luxurious calm because on the other side of that door … is hell.

 

Edward Chisholm’s spellbinding memoir of his time as a Parisian waiter takes you below the surface of one of the most iconic cities in the world and right into its glorious underbelly. There, Chisholm inhabits a world of inhuman hours, snatched sleep, and dive bars. He scrapes by on coffee, bread, and cigarettes, often working under sadistic managers, for a wage so low he’s forced to fight his colleagues for tips. And these colleagues — thieves, narcissists, ex-Legionnaires, paperless immigrants, wannabe actors, and drug dealers — are the closest thing he has to family.

 

Waiting tables is physically demanding work, frequently humiliating, and incredibly competitive. But it doesn’t matter because you’re in Paris, the centre of the universe, and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be in the world.

 

Order a copy of A Waiter in Paris from the webstore here.

Due August 9

 

Jones by Neil Smith

 

 

Abi and Eli share a special bond. Eli looks up to his sister Abi, two years older, who knows how to inhabit the souls of animals, and sometimes even the soul of her brother. They share jokes, codes, and an obsession with impressive feats of word power—such are the survival tricks for growing up Jones. Pal, their alcoholic father, is haunted by demons from the Korean War, and their less-than-nurturing mother Joy hasn’t got the courage to leave him. Always moving to where Pal gets work, the Joneses go from Montreal to Boston, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and back to Montreal. No matter where they go, though, they can never get away from Jones Town.
 
And then, on Eli’s twelfth birthday, the darkness deepens when he stumbles on something he doesn’t understand—an episode that represents the beginning of Abi’s unraveling, although no one knows it yet. Over the years, Eli and Abi lurch towards and into adulthood on separate paths that sometimes cross, negotiating the world through sexual experimentation, drugs and alcohol, art and language.

 

Order a copy of Jones from the webstore here.

Due August 23