Anticipated Reads Feb – Mar

Everything from the Queen solving crimes to Prime Ministers getting lost in this set of books we’re looking forward to in the coming month.

Ben Anticipates

After the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport

 

 

Paris has always been a city of cultural excellence, fine wine and food, and the latest fashions. But it has also been a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, never more so than before and after the Russian Revolution and the fall of the Romanov dynasty. For years, Russian aristocrats had enjoyed all that Belle Époque Paris had to offer, spending lavishly when they visited. It was a place of artistic experimentation, such as Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. But the brutality of the Bolshevik takeover forced Russians of all types to flee their homeland, sometimes leaving with only the clothes on their backs.

 

Arriving in Paris, former princes could be seen driving taxicabs, while their wives who could sew worked for the fashion houses, their unique Russian style serving as inspiration for designers like Coco Chanel. Talented intellectuals, artists, poets, philosophers, and writers struggled in exile, eking out a living at menial jobs. Some, like Bunin, Chagall and Stravinsky, encountered great success in the same Paris that welcomed Americans like Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Political activists sought to overthrow the Bolshevik regime from afar, while double agents from both sides plotted espionage and assassination. Others became trapped in a cycle of poverty and their all-consuming homesickness for Russia, the homeland they had been forced to abandon.

 

This is their story.

 

Due March 8

 

All the Queen’s Men by SJ Bennett

 

 

At Buckingham Palace, the autumn of 2016 presages uncertain times. The Queen must deal with the fallout from the Brexit referendum, a new female prime minister, and a tumultuous election in the United States—yet these prove to be the least of her worries when a staff member is found dead beside the palace swimming pool. Is it truly the result of a tragic accident, as the police think, or is something more sinister going on?

 

Meanwhile, her assistant private secretary, Rozie Oshodi, is on the trail of a favorite painting that once hung outside the Queen’s bedroom and appears to have been misappropriated by the Royal Navy. And a series of disturbing anonymous letters have begun circulating in the palace. The Queen’s courtiers think they have it all ‘under control’, but Her Majesty is not so sure. After all, though the staff and public may not be aware, she is the keenest sleuth among them. Sometimes, it takes a Queen’s eye to see connections where no one else can.

 

Due March 1

 


 

Rupert Anticipates

The Lost Prime Ministers by Michael Hill

 

 

After John A. Macdonald’s death, four Tory prime ministers — each remarkable but all little known — rose to power and fell in just five years.

From 1891 to 1896, between John A. Macdonald’s and Wilfrid Laurier’s tenures, four lesser-known men took on the mantle of leadership. Tory prime ministers John Abbott, John Thompson, Mackenzie Bowell, and Charles Tupper headed the government of Canada in rapid succession. Each came to the job with qualifications and limitations, and each left after unexpectedly short terms. Yet these reluctant prime ministers are an important part of our political legacy. Their roles were much more than caretakers between the administrations of two great leaders. Personal tragedy, terrible health issues, backstabbing, and political manipulation all led to their eventual downfalls. The Lost Prime Ministers is the dramatic saga of these overlooked Canadian leaders.

 

Due February 22

 

Glory by Noviolet Bulawayo

 

 

Glory centres around the unexpected fall of Old Horse, a long-serving, tyrannical leader of the fictional country of Jidada, and the drama that follows for a rumbustious nation of animals on the precarious path to freedom.

 

Inspired by the unexpected fall by coup, in November 2017, of Robert Mugabe—Zimbabwe’s president of nearly four decades—Bulawayo’s bold, vividly imagined novel shows a country imploding, narrated by a chorus of animal voices who unveil the ruthlessness and cold strategy required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, and the imagination and bullet-proof fortitude to overthrow it completely.

 

 At the centre of this tumult is Destiny, who has returned to Jidada from exile to bear witness to revolution and brings into focus the unofficial history and the potential legacy of the remarkable women who have quietly pulled the strings in this country

 

Due March 8

 


 

Danielle Anticipates

Sandy Hook by Elizabeth Williamson

 

 

On December 14, 2012, 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., including 20 children barely older than toddlers, were shot and killed. It felt like a line in the sand, on gun violence and safety. Instead, nine years on, Sandy Hook has become a foundational story, and a symbol: of how malevolent, profit-motivated actors use the internet to terrorize the vulnerable, even the families of murdered children, and how conspiracy has gained traction in our world.   In the wake of the tragedy, parents of the young victims have been accosted on the street. They are harassed online. They are stalked and forced out of the towns they live in. Someone shot a rifle into the home of one parent.

 

But the conspiracy has asked the victims and survivors themselves to defend that the event even occurred. At the center of conspiracy theorists’ crusade is Alex Jones’s InfoWars, where hoaxers air noxious theories and raise money. Egged on by Jones, emboldened by online anonymity, his followers’ questions grew into suspicion, suspicion into demands for proof, unanswered demands into rage, with a through line straight to January 6.

 

Due March 8

 

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

 

 

The swimmers are unknown to one another except through their private routines (slow lane, medium lane, fast lane) and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world without comfort or relief.

 

One of these swimmers is Alice, who is slowly losing her memory. For Alice, the pool was a final stand against the darkness of her encroaching dementia. Without the fellowship of other swimmers and the routine of her daily laps she is plunged into dislocation and chaos, swept into memories of her childhood and the Japanese American incarceration camp in which she spent the war. Alice’s estranged daughter, reentering her mother’s life too late, witnesses her stark and devastating decline.

 

Due February 22

 


 

Olivia Anticipates

Daughters of the Deer  by Danielle Daniel

 

 

1657. Marie, a gifted healer of the Deer Clan, does not want to marry the green-eyed soldier from France who has asked for her hand. But her people are threatened by disease and starvation and need help against the Iroquois and their English allies if they are to survive. When her chief begs her to accept the white man’s proposal, she cannot refuse him, and sheds her deerskin tunic for a borrowed blue wedding dress to become Pierre’s bride.

 

1675. Jeanne, Marie’s oldest child, is seventeen, neither white nor Algonquin, caught between worlds. Caught by her own desires, too. Her heart belongs to a girl named Josephine, but soon her father will have to find her a husband or be forced to pay a hefty fine to the French crown. Among her mother’s people, Jeanne would have been considered blessed, her two-spirited nature a sign of special wisdom. To the settlers of New France, and even to her own father, Jeanne is unnatural, sinful—a woman to be shunned, beaten, and much worse.

 

Due March 8

 

Stray Dogs by Rawi Hage

 

 

In Montreal, a photographer’s unexpected encounter with actress Sophia Loren leads to a life-altering revelation about his dead mother. In Beirut, a disillusioned geologist eagerly awaits the destruction that will come with an impending tsunami. In Tokyo, a Jordanian academic delivering a lecture at a conference receives haunting news from the Persian Gulf. And in Berlin, a Lebanese writer forms a fragile, fateful bond with his voluble German neighbours.

 

The irresistible characters in Stray Dogs lead radically different lives, but all are restless travelers, moving between states—nation-states and states of mind—seeking connection, escaping the past and following delicate threads of truth, only to experience the sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing and often random ways our fragile modern identities are constructed, destroyed, and reborn.

 

Due March 1

 


 

Patti Anticipates

The Fell by Sarah Moss

 

 

At dusk on a November evening, a woman slips through her garden gate and turns up the hill. Kate is in the middle of a two-week mandatory quarantine period, a true lockdown, but she can’t take it anymore—the closeness of the air in her small house, the confinement. And anyway, the moor will be deserted at this time. Nobody need ever know she’s stepped out.

 

Kate planned only a quick walk—a stretch of the legs, a breath of fresh air—on paths she knows too well. But somehow she falls. Injured, unable to move, she sees that her short, furtive stroll will become a mountain rescue operation, maybe even a missing person case.

 

Due March 1

 

Groundskeeping by Lee Cole

 

 

In the run-up to the 2016 election, Owen Callahan, an aspiring writer, moves back to Kentucky to live with his Trump-supporting uncle and grandfather. Eager to clean up his act after wasting time and potential in his early twenties, he takes a job as a groundskeeper at a small local college, in exchange for which he is permitted to take a writing course.

 

Here he meets Alma Hazdic, a writer in residence who seems to have everything that Owen lacks—a prestigious position, an Ivy League education, success as a writer. They begin a secret relationship, and as they grow closer, Alma—who comes from a liberal family of Bosnian immigrants—struggles to understand Owen’s fraught relationship with family and home.

 

Due March 1

 


 

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