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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!

The 2019 Shirley Jackson Award Nominees!

Last week, the nominees for the 2019 Shirley Jackson Awards were announced in Boston, and we are over the moon to add so many sensational titles to our “To Be Read” lists!

As we’ve noted here in the past,  the Shirley Jackson Awards were established in 2007, and named after the beloved and revered author of such seminal works as “The Lottery” (among a phenomenal collection of short stories), We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and The Haunting of Hill House.  In recognition of the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s writing, and with permission of the author’s estate, the Shirley Jackson Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror, and the dark fantastic.  The final winners are determined by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors, who are charged with selecting the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories:  Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection and Edited Anthology.  The final announcement of the winners will be made at Readercon, right nearby in Burlington, MA!  You can click on this link here for more information on Readercon itself.

So here is a selection from the categories of winners and nominees for the 2019 Shirley Jackson Awards, with links to the titles in our catalogs.  We hope you find some new books to add to your list here, and would love to help you find even more dark fiction to add to your summer reading!



Be sure to check out the Shirley Jackson Awards website for a full list of nominees and more information about the awards!  And, as ever, a hearty Free-For-All congratulations to all the nominated authors.  We can’t wait to see who is crowned the winner at Readercon in July!

Five Book Friday!

And a friendly reminder that PILCon, the Peabody Institute Library’s 3rd Annual all-ages Comic Con! PILCON will be held on Saturday, May 4th from 10am-4pm at “PIL”, aka, the Main Library, at 82 Main Street.  We can’t wait to see you there!

The Library will also be open as usual during the day on Saturday, though patrons should be advised that it might be a little louder and more hectic than usual outside of the ground floor reading area (where the new fiction, dvds, cds, and public computers live).  It’s all good fun, however, so please feel free to take part, should the mood strike you!

And now, on to the books!

The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays: Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative.  All together, these essays form a powerful guide through the lived experiences of patients who often go understood and understudied, providing support and insight for those who experience schizoaffective disorder, and those looking to understand the condition more empathetically.  The Washington Post gave this book a ringing endorsement, noting “Wang . . . is an implicitly trustworthy guide to this netherworld of psychosis and chronic illness. . . . Her characteristic nuance more often carries the ring of wisdom, hard won.”

RoarHere’s another collection for those looking for some more bite-sized reading, this time in the realm of fiction from much-beloved author Cecelia Ahearn.  In this singular and imaginative story collection, Cecelia Ahern explores the endless ways in which women blaze through adversity with wit, resourcefulness, and compassion. Ahern takes the familiar aspects of women’s lives–the routines, the embarrassments, the desires–and elevates these moments to the outlandish and hilarious with her astute blend of magical realism and social insight.  One woman is tortured by sinister bite marks that appear on her skin; another is swallowed up by the floor during a mortifying presentation; yet another resolves to return and exchange her boring husband at the store where she originally acquired him. The women at the center of this curious universe learn that their reality is shaped not only by how others perceive them, but also how they perceive the power within themselves.  By turns sly, whimsical, and affecting, these thirty short stories can stand alone, or be read together to create a dynamic and honest look at women’s experiences today.  Kirkus Reviews agreed, calling this book “Curiously delightful…each story resonate[s] as simultaneously personal and universal…A sharp, breathtaking collection.”

Sissy: A Coming-Of-Gender Story: From the moment a doctor in Raleigh, North Carolina, put “male” on Jacob Tobia’s birth certificate, everything went wrong. Alongside “male” came many other, far less neutral words: words that carried expectations about who Jacob was and who Jacob should be, words like “masculine” and “aggressive” and “cargo shorts” and “SPORTS!” Naturally sensitive, playful, creative, and glitter-obsessed, as a child Jacob was given the label “sissy.” In the two decades that followed, “sissy” joined forces with “gay,” “trans,” “nonbinary,” and “too-queer-to-function” to become a source of pride and, today, a rallying cry for a much-needed gender revolution. Through revisiting their childhood and calling out the stereotypes that each of us have faced, Jacob invites us to rethink what we know about gender and offers a bold blueprint for a healed world–one free from gender-based trauma and bursting with trans-inclusive feminism. Writing with the fierce honesty, wildly irreverent humor, and wrenching vulnerability that have made them a media sensation, Jacob shatters the long-held notion that people are easily sortable into “men” and “women.”  Their book guarantees that you’ll never think about gender the same way again.   Booklist loved this book, and gave it a starred review, noting that “Tobia writes extremely well, with insight, lucidity, occasional anger, and, when things get too serious, wit. The result is, hands down, one of the best trans narratives available; it deserves a place in every library.”

They All Fall Down: Overtones of Agatha Christie blend with the terror modern technological failures to make for a compulsively readable thriller.  Delighted by a surprise invitation, Miriam Macy sails off to a luxurious private island off the coast of Mexico with six other strangers. Surrounded by miles of open water in the gloriously green Sea of Cortez, Miriam is soon shocked to discover that she and the rest of her companions have been brought to the remote island under false pretenses―and all seven strangers harbor a secret. Danger lurks in the lush forest and in the halls and bedrooms of the lonely mansion. Sporadic cell-phone coverage and miles of ocean keeps the group trapped in paradise. And strange accidents stir suspicions, as one by one, they all, as the title reminds, fall down.  Publisher’s Weekly clearly got a kick out of this title, describing how “This cleverly updated version of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None…slips from funny to darkly frightening with elegant ease.”

The Binding: All we can say about this book, dear readers, is that if the cover doesn’t entrance you, the story beneath it will! Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice amongst their small community, but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse. For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored. But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.  A haunting and nuanced tale about memory, love, and the life-changing power of books, this is a novel that The Guardian called “Truly spellbinding… Many readers of The Binding will simply sink gratefully into the pleasures of its pages, because, like all great fables, it also functions as transporting romance.”


Until next week, beloved patrons–Happy Reading!

PILCon is coming!

There are few days at the Library that are more fun, more creative, and more engaging than PILcon, the Peabody Library’s annual all-ages Comic Con!

This year’s Con, which will be taking place this Saturday, May 4, from 10am – 4pm, will feature plenty of fan-favorite events and crafts, as well as some new and innovative fun!

One young patron showing off his powers at last year’s PILCon

What is a Comic Con, you ask? According to Wikipedia, “a comic book convention or comic-con is an event with a primary focus on comic books and comic book culture, in which comic book fans gather to meet creators, experts, and each other.” PILCON is a Comic Con with a twist- in addition to meeting local artists, learning about their work, and meeting other fans, we’re giving you the chance to be artists, as well, through drawing workshops, makerspace workshops in our Creativity Lab makerspace, and kid’s crafts! Whether you’re a newbie to the world of comics or a Con expert, PILCON has something for you!

  • PILCON is an all-ages event, with storytimes and crafts for younger kids through panels, workshops, Dungeons & Dragons sessions, meetups and events for teens and adults.
  • This year KIDCON will be a full day of Jedi Academy where young padawans will learn the ways of the force, featuring even more activities, story times and games for kids!
  • Our Artist Alley will give you the chance to meet local artists and support their work, if you choose to do so. We’ll also have official PILCON swag (stickers, buttons and magnets) for sale to benefit the Library!
  • Everyone is encouraged to come in costume, as the day will end with a giant costume contest for all ages with prizes from local businesses and restaurants!
PILCon attendees from 2018!

Tickets are now available at! Be sure to register and snag your official PILCON lanyard that you’ll pick up on the big day!

You can also check out the schedule below for more information about the big day:

Check out the Library’s Tumblr page for more information!  And don’t forget to pick up your official PILCon merch when you attend.  We can’t wait to see you on Saturday!

Who’s ready for PILCON? Official merch is being made as we type and we couldn’t be more excited!
Don’t forgot to get your FREE tickets at for a free personalized lanyard badge and a chance to compete in Iron Cosplay!

PILCON is generously supported by Century Bank!

The Women’s Prize Shortlist is here!

And we could not be more excited!


Just as a reminder, The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award that specifically celebrates fiction by women.  It was founded in 1996 to ” celebrate originality, accessibility & excellence in writing by women and to connect world-class writers with readers everywhere.”

Over the years, the Prize has had several sponsors, the most recent of which was Bailey’s.  From 2018, however, the prize has moved to a collaborative sponsorship model, which means that it is now just “The Women’s Prize for Fiction,” and we must admit, we like that name!

In this year’s shortlist, feminist revisions of history seem to be dominating, with chronological settings as diverse as ancient Greece and the Northern Irish Troubles.  For those eager to get reading, note that the final award will be announced on June 9, giving you plenty of time to take in these incredible novels, and make your own predictions on the winners!  And now without further ado, the shortlist for the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction are:

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Milkman by Anna Burns

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Circe by Madeline Miller

A big, huge, Free For All congratulations to all the shortlisted authors!

National Poetry Month, Week 4!

It’s that time again, dear readers, where we gather to share some verse in honor of National Poetry Month!  This week, we honor Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, a Black poet, teacher, activist, and social advocate.National Poetry Month Poster 2019

Frances Harper was born in Baltimore Maryland on September 24, 1825, the only daughter of two free Black parents whose names are not known.  Following the death of her parents by the age of three, she was raised by her maternal aunt and uncle, Henrietta and Rev. William Watkins, whose name she also took.  Rev. Watkins ran a school for Black children, and Frances was educated there until she found work at a seamstress at age 14. During her early twenties, she published poems and articles in the local newspaper and wrote her first volume of poetry.  When the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850, which rendered all Black people in the United States at risk of being sent into slavery on the pretext that they were “fugitive slaves,” Frances and her family fled to the northern United States; they lived in Ohio, where Frances  where she worked as the first female teacher at Union Seminary, and eventually settled in Pennsylvania, where Frances joined the American Anti-Slavery Society.

Women of distinction - remarkable in works and invincible in character (1893) (14598047448).jpg
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, 1893, via Wikimedia

In addition to supporting abolition, Frances was also an active and vocal supporter of prohibition and woman’s suffrage.  She helped to found the American Woman Suffrage Association, which rejected the racist, classist ideology of the suffrage parties led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who refused to support the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which gave freed Black men the right to vote.  1858, a century before Rosa Park’s protest, she refused to give up her seat or ride in the “colored” section of a segregated trolley car in Philadelphia.  A lifelong advocate of women’s personal and political rights, as well as the rights of people of color made her a mentor (and a friend) to many other African American writers and journalists, including Mary Shadd CaryIda B. WellsVictoria Earle Matthews, and Kate D. Chapman.  Today, we are honored to bring her one of Frances’ most well-known poems as part of our National Poetry Month celebration!

The Slave Mother

By Frances Ellen Watkins Harper
Heard you that shriek? It rose
   So wildly on the air,
It seem’d as if a burden’d heart
   Was breaking in despair.
Saw you those hands so sadly clasped—
   The bowed and feeble head—
The shuddering of that fragile form—
   That look of grief and dread?
Saw you the sad, imploring eye?
   Its every glance was pain,
As if a storm of agony
   Were sweeping through the brain.
She is a mother pale with fear,
   Her boy clings to her side,
And in her kyrtle vainly tries
   His trembling form to hide.
He is not hers, although she bore
   For him a mother’s pains;
He is not hers, although her blood
   Is coursing through his veins!
He is not hers, for cruel hands
   May rudely tear apart
The only wreath of household love
   That binds her breaking heart.
His love has been a joyous light
   That o’er her pathway smiled,
A fountain gushing ever new,
   Amid life’s desert wild.
His lightest word has been a tone
   Of music round her heart,
Their lives a streamlet blent in one—
   Oh, Father! must they part?
They tear him from her circling arms,
   Her last and fond embrace.
Oh! never more may her sad eyes
   Gaze on his mournful face.
No marvel, then, these bitter shrieks
   Disturb the listening air:
She is a mother, and her heart
   Is breaking in despair.

Five Book Friday!

And we wanted to remind you, beloved patrons, that the Friends of the Library are again selling beautiful geranium and impatiens plants, just in time for Mother’s Day and
Memorial Day.  The money raised from these sales will be used to help the Peabody Institute Libraries to offer some of the best programs and services in the area.   You can find the form on our website, in person at the Library, or right here, by clicking this link.

Orders must be prepaid and received at the Main Library by Wednesday, May 8. Plants may be picked up at the Main Library on Saturday, May 11. Make checks payable to: Friends of the Peabody Institute Libraries.  You can then deliver or mail the form to any one of our libraries.  Thank you for your assistance, and we sincerely hope your flowers bring you color and joy!

And now, on to the books!

Boy Swallows Universe: Trent Dalton’s debut is being celebrated by authors and critics across the country for its realistic depiction of Australia in the 1980’s, along side a fantastical story about the power of love in its many forms. Eli Bell’s life is complicated. His father is lost, his mother is in jail, and his stepdad is a heroin dealer. The most steadfast adult in Eli’s life is Slim—a notorious felon and national record-holder for successful prison escapes—who watches over Eli and August, his silent genius of an older brother. Exiled from the people who may be able to help him, Eli is just trying to follow his heart, learn what it takes to be a good man, and train for a glamorous career in journalism. Life, however, insists on throwing obstacles in Eli’s path—most notably Tytus Broz, Brisbane’s legendary drug dealer. But the real trouble lies ahead. Eli is about to fall in love, face off against truly bad guys, and fight to save his mother from a certain doom—all before starting high school. A novel about friendship, brotherhood, family, and romance, this is a story that earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who said it “makes the typical coming-of-age novel look bland by comparison…In less adept hands, these antics might descend into whimsy, but Dalton’s broadly observant eye, ability to temper pathos with humor, and thorough understanding of the mechanics of plot prevent the novel from breaking into sparkling pieces…This is an outstanding debut.”

In the Night of Memory: Linda LeGarde Grover’s introduces readers to a new generation of the Gallette family she crafted in her other words, and deals with the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, the trauma of loss, and the long and painful history of Native/American women in the United States in a beautiful and wonderfully accessible manner. When Loretta surrenders her young girls to the county and then disappears, she becomes one more missing Native woman in Indian Country’s long devastating history of loss. Habsence haunts all the lives she has touched—and all the stories they tell in this novel. After a string of foster placements, from cold to kind to cruel, Azure and Rain, Loretta’s two daughters, find their way back to their extended Mozhay family, and a new set of challenges, and stories, unfolds, creating a nuanced, moving, often humorous picture of two Ojibwe girls becoming women in light of this lesson learned in the long, sharply etched shadow of Native American history.  This is a powerful, heart-rending, but ultimately, uplifting book that Ms. Magazine celebrated for the way it “brings together themes of missing women, family and community, complicated histories and collective wisdoms.”

Loch of the Dead: Readers of Oscar De Muriel’s McGray and Frey series can delight in this fourth mystery, which brings a boatload of gothic atmosphere and a fun, twisty adventure for the two sleuths to solve. A mysterious woman pleads for the help of our devoted  Inspectors. Her son, illegitimate scion of the Koloman family, has received an anonymous death threat―right after learning he is to inherit the best part of a vast wine-producing estate. In exchange for their protection, she offers McGray the ultimate cure for his sister, who has been locked in an insane asylum after brutally murdering their parents: the miraculous waters that spring from a small island in the remote Loch Maree. The island has been a sacred burial ground since the time of the druids, but the legends around it will turn out to be much darker than McGray could have expected. Murder and increasingly bizarre happenings will intermingle throughout this trip to the Highlands, before Frey and McGray learn a terrible truth.  Nothing is what is seems in this book, and readers will be hard-pressed to guess what is coming next–or to keep from turning pages to discover the next revelation!  Kirkus Reviews gave this book a stellar review, describing it as “Steeped in history, myth, and medical lore, murky as the deepest loch, miles from the remotest civilizing forces, this provides all the thrills of an amusement-park concession for grown-ups who want to test their limits.”

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming: In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await—food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe. But the world will be remade by warming in more profound ways as well, transforming our politics, our culture, our relationship to technology, and our sense of history. It will be all-encompassing, shaping and distorting nearly every aspect of human life as it is lived today. Frightening, but also deeply informative, this book is both a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action. For just as the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe within the span of a lifetime, the responsibility to avoid it now belongs to a single generation. Indeed, The New York Times called it “the most terrifying book I have ever read. Its subject is climate change, and its method is scientific, but its mode is Old Testament. The book is a meticulously documented, white-knuckled tour through the cascading catastrophes that will soon engulf our warming planet.”

Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Loneliest Horse RaceAt the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest, toughest horse race”―an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. On a whim, she decided to enter the race. As she boarded a plane to East Asia, she was utterly unprepared for what awaited her.  Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that re-creates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan, and many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their jeeps.  Told in breathtaking, breathless prose, this is the story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this amazing race.  Kirkus Reviews called this tale “Feisty and exhilarating . . . Horse lovers will adore this inspiring and spirited memoir.”


Until next week, beloved patrons–Happy Reading!