Five Book Friday!

And it’s time again, beloved patrons, for the Peabody Elementary Schools Art Show here at the Main Library!

The Elementary Schools Student Art Show is scheduled for May 8 — 28 in the Peabody Institute Library’s Main Reading Room.  Anyone who comes to visit the Main Library during this time will have the opportunity to enjoy artwork from Peabody’s eight public elementary schools!  The art show is one of our favorite events of the year, filling the library with color, imagination, and a myriad of mixed media artwork.  Come on by and see for yourself!

And now, here are some of the books that have slogged through this damp spring to make it to our shelves, and are eager to pass the weekend by your side.

Sing To It: New Stories: Multiple-award-winning author Amy Hempel is a master of the short story, as proven in these fifteen stunning stories. Each of these bite-sized bits of fiction introduce characters, lonely and adrift, searching for connection. In “A Full-Service Shelter,” a volunteer at a dog shelter tirelessly, devotedly cares for dogs on a list to be euthanized. In “Greed,” a spurned wife examines her husband’s affair with a glamorous, older married woman. And in “Cloudland,” the longest story in the collection, a woman reckons with the choice she made as a teenager to give up her newborn infant. Quietly dazzling, these stories are replete with moments of revelation and transcendence. Kirkus Reviews gave this collection a starred review, cheering it as “A dizzying array of short fiction…Hempel packs a lot into her narrow spaces: nuance, longing, love, and loss. The brilliance of the writing resides in the way Hempel manages to tell us everything in spite of her narrator’s reticence, teaching us to read between the lines.”

Lights All Night Long: A moving stories about brotherhood, family, and the many meanings of home, Lydia Fitzpatrick’s debut is getting rave reviews from a number of outlets.  Fifteen-year-old Ilya grew up in a decrepit mining town in Russia, learning English from the Die Hard movies.  As an adult, he has arrived in Louisiana for what should be the adventure of his life: a year in America as an exchange student. The abundance of his new world–the Super Walmarts and heated pools and enormous televisions–is as hard to fathom as the relentless cheerfulness of his host parents. And Sadie, their beautiful and enigmatic daughter, has miraculously taken an interest in him.  But Ilya’s brother Vladimir is instead consuming his thoughts. The two have always been close, spending their days dreaming of escaping to America. But when Ilya was tapped for the exchange, Vladimir disappeared into their town’s seedy, drug-plagued underworld. Just before Ilya left, the murders of three young women rocked the town’s usual calm, and Vladimir found himself in prison. With the help of Sadie, who has secrets of her own, Ilya embarks on a mission to prove Vladimir’s innocence. Publisher’s Weekly gave this book a glowing review, calling it “A glittering debut. . . . The murder mystery is intricate and well-crafted, but the highlight is the relationship between the two brothers—the shy brainiac and the charming addict—and in the smoldering, seething resentment felt by young people. This is a heartbreaking novel about the lengths to which people go to escape their own pain, and the prices people are willing to pay to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones.”

Inspection: If you, like us, loved Bird Box and Unbury Carol, then you’ll be as delighted as we are about Josh Malerman’s newest release. J is one of only twenty-six students, at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.  Each student thinks of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father, and J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know. But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them? Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.  Unsettling, intriguing, and compulsively readable, this is a book that is sure to keep you up past your bedtime.  Booklist agreed in their starred review, calling this story “Fast-paced, tension-filled [and] with lots to think about . . . Malerman’s latest has all of the claustrophobic tension his fans crave, but this time the monsters are 100 percent human.”

Little Darlings: Another creepy play on fairy tales and folklore, Melanie Golding’s new novel is a thoroughly unsettling tale about changelings and children. Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things. A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies. Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.  This book also earned a starred review from Booklist, who called it  “A modern story of ghosts and fairy tales . . . Golding beautifully blends the supernatural with the everyday, keeping readers riveted to the page as they question what is true.”

The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris: Ever since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, scientists have dreamed of preventing catastrophic outbreaks of infectious disease. Yet despite a century of medical progress, viral and bacterial disasters continue to take us by surprise, inciting panic and dominating news cycles. From the Spanish flu to the 1924 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Los Angeles to the 1930 “parrot fever” pandemic, through the more recent SARS, Ebola, and Zika epidemics, the last one hundred years have been marked by a succession of unanticipated pandemic alarms. Mark Honigsbaum combines reportage with the history of science and medical sociology to artfully reconstruct epidemiological mysteries and the ecology of infectious diseases. We meet dedicated disease detectives, obstructive or incompetent public health officials, and brilliant scientists often blinded by their own knowledge of bacteria and viruses. We also see how fear of disease often exacerbates racial, religious, and ethnic tensions, all of which harm humans, while diseases continue to rampage humanity.  Kirkus gave this engaging and enlightening book a starred review, noting that it is both “Lively, gruesome, and masterful….Honigsbaum mixes superb medical history with vivid portraits of the worldwide reactions to each [pandemic] event.”

 

Until next week beloved patrons…Happy Reading!

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