Five Book Friday!

And the beginning of what we all hope is a very happy Labor Holiday Weekend for you all, dear readers!  Just a reminder, we’ll be closed this Saturday and Monday (September 2 and 4) in observation of the holiday, but that still leaves plenty of time to come in and grab a few books to take along on your long-weekend excursions!  Here are a few that have ambled onto our shelves this week and are eager to make your acquaintance!

Glass Houses: Fans of Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache novels will be delighted to hear that his fourth adventure–one that will force the Canadian police inspector to do quite a bit of soul searching.  When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.  Gamache suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing, hoping his discretion is the right decision.  But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, Gamache struggles with actions he set in motion that bitter November, even as an accused prisoner is brought to trial. As the court case wears on through the sultry summer, Gamache will find his own conscious under intense examination, as well.  This series is a favorite among a number of our patrons (all of whom, clearly, have excellent taste), and they will thus be pleased to know that critics are hailing this book as a triumph of an already sensational series.  Library Journal, for example, gave this book a starred review, noting “The award-winning Penny does not rest on her laurels with this challenging and timely book. Though touched by the evils of the outside world, Three Pines remains a singular place away from time.”

My Absolute DarlingI have to say, whenever I see a Stephen King blurb on the front of a book, I sit up and take notice.  Whenever I heard that the King blurb in question came unsolicited because he just loved the book that much, I consider it a must read.  This is just such a book.  In this stunning debut Gabriel Tallent tells of Turtle Alveston, fourteen trained survivor who roams the woods along the northern California coast. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school and to her life with her father–until Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her.  This book has been making some very serious waves, not only for the writing style, but for Tallent’s ability to create a heroine who is unlike any you’ve ever met before.  As Stephen King put it, “The word ‘masterpiece’ has been cheapened by too many blurbs, but My Absolute Darling absolutely is one.”

Rogue heroes : the history of the SAS, Britain’s secret special forces unit that sabotaged the Nazis and changed the nature of war: Britain’s Special Air Service—or SAS—was the brainchild of David Stirling, a young, gadabout aristocrat whose aimlessness in early life belied a remarkable strategic mind. Where most of his colleagues looked at a battlefield map of World War II’s African theater and saw a protracted struggle with Rommel’s desert forces, Stirling saw an opportunity: given a small number of elite, well-trained men, he could parachute behind enemy lines and sabotage their airplanes and war material. Paired with his constitutional opposite, the disciplined martinet Jock Lewes, Stirling assembled a revolutionary fighting force that would upend not just the balance of the war, but the nature of combat itself. He faced no little resistance from those who found his tactics ungentlemanly or beyond the pale, but in the SAS’s remarkable exploits facing the Nazis in the Africa and then on the Continent can be found the seeds of nearly all special forces units that would follow.  This fantastic story of real-life espionage finds an excellent narrator in Ben McIntyre, who has already brought some of the spy world’s best stories to light.  The Boston Globe agrees, calling this work “a thrilling saga, breathtakingly told, full of daring and heroes…One of the many virtues of this volume… is the surprising small asides tucked into these pages, tiny truths that give the book depth along with derring-do.”

Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and RedemptionIn the summer of 1988, Willie J. Grimes, a gentle spirit with no record of violence, was shocked and devastated to be convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to life imprisonment. A quarter-century later, Grimes’ was an innocent man, thanks to an investigation spearheaded by his relentless champion, Christine Mumma, a cofounder of North Carolina’s Innocence Inquiry Commission. The  commission, founded in 2006, remains a model organization unlike any other in the country, and one now responsible for a growing number of exonerations.  In this well-researched and equally well-told story, Benjamin Rachlin presents Grimes’ story, the botched evidence and testimony that led to his incarceration, and the quest for the truth that set him free.  Though Rachlin focuses on the details of the case with a precise legal eye, there is also a lot of big-picture commentary on the American criminal justice system that kept and held Grimes unfairly for so long.  Publisher’s Weekly gave this debut work a starred review, praising it as “An absorbing true-crime saga . . . Rachlin’s debut combines a gripping legal drama with a penetrating exposé of the shoddy investigative and trial standards nationwide . . . His narrative offers a moving evocation of faith under duress.”

The Golden House: Salman Rushdie’s newest book is already being hailed as a modern American epic, and drawing comparison’s to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby–a comparison not easily made.  Set during the inauguration of Barack Obama, the story follows Nero Golden, a strangely named, and untraceable enigmatic billionaire who takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family.  Golden has brought along his three adult sons, all of whom exhibit elaborate phobias, harbor explosive secrets, and spark with talent.  Our guide to the Goldens’ world is their neighbor René, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he ingratiates himself into their household, diving deep into their mystique, their quarrels, and their reality, even as reality outside begins to shift treacherously.  Critics all agree that Rushdie remains one of the foremost authors of our times, bringing magnificent insight and and an irrepressible love to every story and ever character he creates.  Booklist gave this newest release a starred review, cheering that it is “A ravishingly well-told, deeply knowledgeable, magnificently insightful, and righteously outraged epic which pos­es timeless questions about the human condition.”


Until next week, beloved patrons, happy reading!