Every year, we at the Free For All ask the Peabody Library staff about the books, films, and music recordings that they would like to recommend to you for your summer reading/viewing/listening pleasure, and every year, we are delighted with the variety, the diversity, and the genuinely excellent recommendations that we receive. We will be offering suggestions over the course of the summer, beloved patrons, in the hopes of helping you find a new favorite story to savor over the coming summer months. Feel free to share your favorites with us, as well!
From the Reference Desk:
The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson: On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History g. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins—some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them—and escaped into the darkness. Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins?
From our staff: This is a fascinating book about the lengths people will go to for their passions and obsessions. It’s also a book about privilege and power, and how much damage people with both can inflict. It’s also a really fun look into what I would describe as a very quirky hobby (19th century salmon fly-tying). If you have a chance to listen to Macleod Andrews’ narration, the audiobook is sensational!
From the Circulation Desk:
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness: Kabi Nagata’s emotional auto-biography is an honest and heartfelt look at one young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist’s burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life. Nagata created the work when a lack of jobs in manga led to her writing down her own life story–and we are very, very glad she did.
From our staff: Regardless of how you may find the title, this book is not titillating. If anything, it painfully and sharply documents the author’s experiences with severe anxiety and depression.
From the Upstairs Offices:
Behind Her Eyes: Sarah Pinborough’s latest novel features Louise, a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise. And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.
From our staff: This is a book with an ending that you’ll never see coming…in fact, you might have to read the book twice to see the trick that Pinborough is pulling off here!
Phantom Thread: Set in the glamour of the 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of the British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by the scariest curse of all…love. And so begins a Gothic Romance of twists, turns and power struggles that is both wonderfully, subversively humorous, as well as sensual and compelling!
Happy Summer, Beloved Patrons–and Happy Reading!