Tag Archives: Five Book Friday

Five Book Friday!

And today we honor the life, work, and legacy of Andrea Levy, who, it was announced today, has passed away at the age of 62.

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Andrea Levy, via The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/feb/15/andrea-levy-obituary

Levy was born in 1956 to Jamaican parents who had traveled to England as part of a generation of postwar migrants.  They arrived in the UK on the Empire Windrush, the ship that brought one of the first groups of West Indian migrants to the UK in 1948.

Levy did not start writing until she was in her mid-30s, after enrolling in a creative writing class at an adult education college in London.  There were precious few books about Jamaican immigrants at the time, and in telling the story of her family and her heritage, Levy provided a voice for the thousands of immigrants who made their lives in Britain following the Second World War.

Levy was best known for Small Island, a beautiful and lyrical novel about two Jamaicans immigrants who immigrate to Britain, much like Levy’s own parents did.  Her last novel, The Long Song, was published in 2010, and dealt with the history and legacy of slavery in Jamaica, stretching from the 19th century to the present.  It was nominated for the Man Booker Prize.  Her final work was the 2014 release Six Stories and an Essay, a collection of short stories and essays compiled over a lifetime of work about her career and her Caribbean heritage.

The Guardian published a moving tribute to Levy, her work, and her significance as a British and Jamaican author.  We are honored to share it with you today, and to celebrate the live of such a strong, remarkable storyteller.

And in that spirit, we’d like to introduce you to a few of the titles that slogged through this week’s weird winter weather to make your acquaintance:

Death is Hard Work: Syrian writer Khaled Khalifa continues to reside in Damacus, despite the constant threat of physical harm and trauma caused by the ongoing violence across the country.  As a result, this work provides a searing, honest, first-hand account of modern life in a world destroyed by war, and the way it shapes the lives of three otherwise ordinary people.  Abdel Latif, an old man from the Aleppo region, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. His final wish, conveyed to his youngest son, Bolbol, is to be buried in the family plot in their ancestral village of Anabiya. Though Abdel was hardly an ideal father, and though Bolbol is estranged from his siblings, this conscientious son persuades his older brother Hussein and his sister Fatima to accompany him and the body to Anabiya, which is―after all―only a two-hour drive from Damascus.  With the landscape of their childhood now a labyrinth of competing armies whose actions are at once arbitrary and lethal, the siblings’ decision to set aside their differences and honor their father’s request quickly balloons from a minor commitment into an epic and life-threatening quest. Syria, however, is no longer a place for heroes, and the decisions the family must make along the way―as they find themselves captured and recaptured, interrogated, imprisoned, and bombed―will prove to have enormous consequences for all of them.  This is a novel that shows the power of fiction to speak truth to power, and has earned glowing reviews from outlets around the world.  Kirkus gave it a starred review, calling it an “Insistent, memorable portrait of the small indignities and large horrors of the civil war in Syria . . . a skillfully constructed epic that packs a tremendous amount of hard-won knowledge into its pages.”

Black Leopard Red Wolf: Marlon James’ Booker Award came as something of a surprise in 2015–but only to those who had not before encountered his magical way with words and stories.  This novel is the opening of a trilogy that utilizes the tools of African legend, mythology, fantasy and historical fiction together to create a magical new world. Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard. As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?  This is a work that is as entertaining as it is searching and profound, and the reviews are all inspired and elated.  The New York Times provided one of many, cheering,  “Marlon James is one of those novelists who aren’t afraid to give a performance, to change the states of language from viscous to gushing to grand, to get all the way inside the people he’s created…Not only does this book come with a hefty cast of characters (like Seven Killings), there are also shape shifters, fairies, trolls, and, apparently, a map. The map might be handy. But it might be the opposite of why you come to James—to get lost in him.”

Still in Love: Readers of Michael Downing’s Perfect Agreement will recognize the characters in this follow-up novel, but there is plenty here to keep new comers spellbound, as well.  Mark Sternum is a veteran teacher. Twenty years older than when we first met him, separated for six months from his longtime lover, and desperate to duck the overtures of double-dealing deans above him and disgruntled adjunct faculty below him, Mark has one ambition every day he is on campus―to close the classroom door and leave the world behind. His escape, however, is complicated by his contentious, complicated wrestling match of a relationship with the Professor, the tenured faculty member with whom Mark has co-taught this creative-writing workshop for ten years. Their exchanges and interactions create the foundation of this of one semester in a college classroom. And it is an urgent reminder that we desperately need classrooms, that those singular, sealed-off-from-the-world sanctuaries are where we learn to love our lives. Publisher’s Weekly noted in their review that “Downing’s witty follow-up …satisfyingly transports readers to college as teacher Mark Sternum begins winter term at Hellman College in New England . . . In depicting Mark’s ordinary semester, Downing poignantly illustrates the dynamics of the college classroom as well as its potential for lasting lessons, making for a resonant campus novel.”

Early Riser: Jasper Fforde has a way with words–and with reality.  By foregoing all the traditional rules of science fiction, he has created a novel set in an alternative Wales that is as funny as it is unsettling.  Every Winter, the human population hibernates.  During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity.  Well, not quite…Your name is Charlie Worthing and it’s your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses. You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact borne of the sleeping mind. When the dreams start to kill people, it’s unsettling. When you get the dreams too, it’s weird. When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity.  But teasing truth from the Winter is never easy, and the adventures you encounter on your way will make your nightmares look like child’s play.  Library Journal loved this book, describing its “Veiled commentary on corporate greed, sleep and dreaming, and twisted popular culture highlight why Fforde, perhaps best known for his “Thursday Next” series, is on par with authors such as Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.”

The Current: Tim Johnston is a marvel at creating characters and natural settings, and this work shows him at his literary best.  In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their car from the icy Black Root River. One is found downriver, drowned, while the other is found at the scenehalf frozen but alive. What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens the community’s memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river ten years earlier, and whose killer may still live among them. Determined to find answers, the surviving young woman soon realizes that she’s connected to the earlier unsolved case by more than just a river, and the deeper she plunges into her own investigation, the closer she comes to dangerous truths, and to the violence that simmers just below the surface of her hometown. Fast-paced, cleverly-plotted, and gripping, this is a work that the Washington Independent Review of Books called “much more than a skillfully constructed, beautifully written whodunit. It’s a subtle and lyrical acclamation of the heart and spirit of small-town America. The Current is not your conventional, frenetically paced page-turner, although it smolders with a brooding, slow-burn tension that nudges the reader forward, catching you up in the lives of the troubled solitaries at the book’s core.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

Five Book Friday!

It’s our first FBF of the month, beloved patrons!  And though February may be a short month, there’s still plenty to celebrate!  In addition to the holiday on February 14, there are a few other days that might strike your fancy to celebrate, such as:

February 17: National Random Act of Kindness Day (originally a New Zealand holiday that appears to be spreading)

February 25: National Clam Chowder Day

February 26: National Tell A Fairy Tale Day!

February 28: National Toast Day (as in toasted bread–originally a UK holiday, but, as fans of toast, we are delighted to join the celebration!)

February is also Black History Month.  Stop in and check out our displays and get some recommendations to enrich your reading!

And speaking of books…here are just a few of the titles that trundled their way through this week’s wacky weather to meet you!

The Atlas of Reds and Blues: Some of literature’s most noteworthy books take place within the context of a single day, and Devi S. Lakar’s novel follows in that tradition, setting out a story that unfolds over the course of a single morning.  When a woman―known only as Mother―moves her family from Atlanta to its wealthy suburbs, she discovers that neither the times nor the people have changed since her childhood in a small Southern town. Despite the intervening decades, Mother is met with the same questions: Where are you from? No, where are you really from? The American-born daughter of Bengali immigrants, she finds that her answer―Here―is never enough.  Mother’s simmering anger breaks through one morning, when, during a violent and unfounded police raid on her home, she finally refuses to be complacent. As she lies bleeding from a gunshot wound, her thoughts race from childhood games with her sister and visits to cousins in India, to her time in the newsroom before having her three daughters, to the early days of her relationship with a husband who now spends more time flying business class than at home.   This is a novel that looks at the complexities of the second-generation American experience, what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace, and a sister, a wife, and a mother to daughters in today’s America.  Based on Laskar’s own experience of a raid on her home, this is a searing and important work that earned a starred review from Booklist.  Their review describes it as a work that   “takes place in a morning; it covers a lifetime . . . Not only does Laskar bring her honed skills as a poet and journalist to her pulse-racing first novel about otherness and prejudice, she also draws on her own experience of a shocking raid on her home. Laskar’s bravura drama of one woman pushed to the brink by racism is at once sharply relevant and tragically timeless.”

The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill: Another striking debut about the dark underbelly of the American dream, James Charlesworth’s first novel is told from the perspective of the children of a ‘self-made man’.  All their lives, the children of George Benjamin Hill have fought to escape the shadow of their father, a dust-bowl orphan, self-made millionaire in bedrock American capitalism (fast food and oil), and destroyer of two families on his way to financial success. Now, they are approaching middle age and ruin: A failed ex–minor league ballplayer, divorced and mourning the death of his daughter in Miami; CIA veteran, off his meds and deciphering conspiracies in Manhattan; a Las Vegas showgirl turned old maid of The Strip, trying to stay clean; and an Alaskan bush pilot, twice un-indicted for manslaughter and recently thrown off his land by the federal government.  While their father finds himself at the center of a national scandal, these estranged siblings are drawn from their four corners of the country, compelled along crowded interstates by resentment and confusion, converging on a 300-acre horse ranch outside Omaha for a final confrontation with the father they never had.  This is a story about corporate greed, about the failures of capitalism, and, in the midst of these huge themes, there is a moving and suspenseful tale about one family’s unique dysfunctions.  The New York Times Review of Books wrote a lovely review of this debut, noting, “Charlesworth doesn’t mince words. . . . For such an unabashedly polemical first novel, The Patricide of George Benjamin Hill works surprising well, due in large measure to the unremitting intensity of its prose, the unsettling verisimilitude of its characters, and the moral courage at the core of its message.”

The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction: A miraculous alchemy occurs when one person reads to another, transforming the simple stuff of a book, a voice, and a bit of time into complex and powerful fuel for the heart, brain, and imagination.  Meghan Cox Gurdon’s work tales a scientific approach to the act of reading, blending the latest neuroscience and behavioral research with a passion for literature to explain and explore the dazzling cognitive and social-emotional benefits that await children, whatever their class, nationality or family background. But it’s not just about bedtime stories for little kids: Reading aloud consoles, uplifts and invigorates at every age, deepening the intellectual lives and emotional well-being of teenagers and adults, too.  For everyone, reading aloud engages the mind in complex narratives; for children, it’s an irreplaceable gift that builds vocabulary, fosters imagination, and kindles a lifelong appreciation of language, stories and pictures.  This is a book for anyone looking to understand the power of sharing and hearing stories that Library Journal recommended “For anybody interested in reading, especially parents, teachers, caregivers, and librarians, this inspirational work proclaims its joys and rewards.”

The Girls at 17 Swann Street: As much as we are heartily over the “books with girls in the title” trend, there’s no denying that Yara Zgheib’s debut is a vitally necessary and deeply emotional story that deserves to be read and discussed.  Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.  This isn’t an easy read, but it’s an important one.  Publisher’s Weekly gave this book a starred review, calling it, “an impressive, deeply moving debut. ”  And can we just say, what a week it is for debut novels!

The Stranger Inside: There have been a number of books that deal with strangers attempting to move into, or already living in, someone’s, and Laura Bendict plays on those fears in this new novel.  There’s a stranger living in Kimber Hannon’s house. He tells the police that he has every right to be there, and he has the paperwork to prove it. But Kimber definitely didn’t invite this man to move in. He tells her that he knows something about her, and he wants everyone else to know it too.  His  words reveal a connection to Kimber’s distant past, and dark secrets she’d long ago left buried. This trespasser isn’t after anything as simple as her money or her charming Craftsman bungalow. He wants to move into her carefully orchestrated life–and destroy it.  This book also earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it “Outstanding…. Kimber’s complicated personality and unusual family life drive the ever-twisting, surprise-filled plot…. [She] is the epitome of the unreliable narrator.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

 

Five Book Friday!

And guess what?

We have tax forms!

Just so you are aware, things are a little bit different this year.  For Tax Year 2018, you will no longer use Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ, but instead will use the redesigned Form 1040. Many people will only need to file Form 1040 and no schedules.

While our tax appointments are all full, if you need assistance from AARP, you can contact them.  Their website also offers a wealth of other numbers and institutions that can provide you with tax assistance.

Not only that, but we have books, too!  Here are just some of the new titles that forged their way through this ridiculous week of weather to grace our shelves this week!

Ghost Wall:  Sarah Moss is a remarkable author, whose stories always bend and weave around your expectations to produce something truly unique.  This slim little tale is packed with emotions and revelations, and is an ideal read for those looking for something to add to the ambiance of a dark winter night.   In the north of England, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age.  For two weeks, the length of her father’s vacation, they join an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times.  The students are fulfilling their coursework; Silvie’s father is fulfilling his lifelong obsession. He has raised her on stories of early man, taken her to witness rare artifacts, recounted time and again their rituals and beliefs―particularly their sacrifices to the bog. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind.  The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past…and the brutalities that marked it.  This is a unique kind of dystopian novel that has been riveting readers in the UK and Europe for a while.  We’re delighted to finally get our hands on the book that the The Wall Street Journal described as “A master class in compressing an unbearable sense of dread into a book that can be read in a single horrified (and admiring) hour . . . perhaps the finest novel so far to come out of the British literary response to these uneasy times.”

UnmarriageableFans of Pride and Prejudice, rejoice!  Soniah Kamal has provided you with a delightful retelling of this classic tale, set in modern-day Pakistan.  A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.  When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles’s friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.  Kamal is a witty, insightful writer, and this twist on Austen’s story opens a cultural window that makes it feel fresh and new.  Publisher’s Weekly gave this book a starred review, calling it “funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites.”

The Kingdom of Copper: S.A. Chakraborty’s follow-up to The City of Brass brings readers right back into her magical fantasy world for a second book that is being hailed by many as better than the series’ debut–no easy feat to manage!  Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.  Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe.  Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him.  But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.  This is a book, and a trilogy, in which to get lost entirely.  Library Journal agreed, giving this book a starred review and noting  “With a richly immersive setting and featuring complex familial, religious, and racial ties and divides, Chakraborty’s second book in the trilogy wraps readers in a lush and magical story that takes over all the senses.”

No Sunscreen for the Dead: This is Tim Dorsey’s 22nd crime novel, an a rollicking good time it is, too!  Serge A. Storms, known to readers and reviewers alike as “The Sunshine State’s most lovable psychopath”, is at it again with his buddy Coleman,  ready to hit the next stop on their list of obscure and wacky points of interest in Florida.  This time, Serge’s interest is drawn to one of the largest retirement villages in the world—also known as the site of an infamous sex scandal between a retiree and her younger beau that rocked the community.  What starts out as an innocent quest to observe elders in their natural habitats, sample the local cuisine, and scope out a condo to live out the rest of their golden years, soon becomes a Robin Hood-like crusade to recover the funds of swindled residents. After all, our seniors should be revered and respected—they’ve heroically fought in wars, garnered priceless wisdom, and they have the best first-hand accounts of bizarre Floridian occurrences only Serge would know about. But as the resident’s rally for Serge to seek justice on their behalves, two detectives are hot on the heels of Serge and Coleman’s murderous trail.  A time-hopping narrative full of quirky characters and mayhem, this is a book that series regulars and newcomers alike will be able to enjoy.  Booklist loved this installment, saying in its review, “Dorsey’s novels are unfailingly entertaining… Serge is, hands down, the most smoothly charming, irrepressibly goofy, joyfully out-of-his-mind series lead in contemporary mystery fiction…. Don’t miss this one.”

Women Who Rock: Bessie to Beyonce, Girl Groups to Riot Grrrl: Women have played an essential and undeniable role in the evolution of popular music including blues, rock and roll, country, folk, glam rock, punk, and hip hop since the dawn of the music industry. Today, in a world traditionally dominated by male artists, women have a stronger influence on popular music than ever before. Yet, not since the late nineteen-nineties has there been a major work that acknowledges and pays tribute to the female artists who have contributed to, defined, and continue to make inroads in music.  In this sensational book, writer and professor of journalism Evelyn McDonnell leads a team of women rock writers and pundits in an all-out celebration of 104 of the greatest female musicians. Organized chronologically, the book profiles each artist and places her in the context of both her genre and the musical world at large. Sidebars throughout recall key moments that shaped both the trajectory of music and how those moments influenced or were influenced by women artists.  Packed full of illustrations and sensational details, Vulture echoed our sentiments when it said in its review, “It’s about damned time there was a collection dedicated to major women musicians. Women Who Rock is a neon-pink compendium of odes to legends past and present…[It] takes the rallying cry “Girls to the front” to another level.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons, happy reading!

Five Book Friday!

And today, beloved patrons, we celebrate the life of Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, who passed away on January 17 at the age of 83.

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Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? (Mary Oliver, “Summer’s Day”) Image via thebark.com

Mary Oliver was one of America’s most popular and oft-quoted poets.  She was born on September 10, 1935, in Maple Heights, Ohio, and attended, but did not graduate from, Ohio State University and Vassar College, finding her best education in nature.  As she explained in a rare 2012 interview with NPR, “The two things I loved from a very early age were the natural world and dead poets, [who] were my pals when I was a kid.”

The love of Oliver’s life was the photographer Molly Malone Cook, to whom she dedicated much of her work. The pair met in the late 1950s, and remained together until Cook’s death in 2005.  In the book they produced together, titled Our World (Oliver wrote the text and Cook provided the photographs), Oliver wrote : “I took one look and fell, hook and tumble”.

Oliver’s poetry is still under copyright, so we can’t reproduce it here without permission, but we welcome you to come and meet her beautiful body of work in our books at the library anytime!

And now…on to the books!

Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974We hear a lot of discussion these days about the polarization of American society and its inhabitants–but when did it start?  For leading historians Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer, it all starts in 1974. In that one year, the nation weathered the Watergate crisis and the departure of President Richard Nixon, the first and only U.S. President to resign.  In addition, people coped with the winding down of the Vietnam War and rising doubts about America’s military might, as well as the fallout from the OPEC oil embargo that paralyzed America with the greatest energy crisis in its history.  More locally, the desegregation busing riots in South Boston showed a horrified nation that our efforts to end institutional racism were failing. Longstanding historical fault lines over income inequality, racial division, and a revolution in gender roles and sexual norms would deepen and fuel a polarized political landscape in the years to come, and were widened thanks to profound changes in our political system as well as a fracturing media landscape that was repeatedly transformed with the rise of cable TV, the internet, and social media.  This is a fascinating, insightful, and thoroughly engaging book from some genuinely savvy historians that earned a starred review from Library Journal, who called it “a concise, riveting, and carefully argued chronicle of the last four decades of American history…This highly readable, compelling book should be required reading for all Americans of voting age.”

The Shaker Murders: Have you met Eleanor Kuhns’ hero Will Rees?  If not, this is a perfect time to get acquainted with the revolutionary war veteran and traveler weaver, because these historical mysteries are fascinating.  In this sixth series installment, Will is still trying to reconcile himself with his previous case, and has taken his heavily pregnant wife Lydia and six adopted children to take refuge in Zion, a Shaker community in rural Maine. Shortly after their arrival, screams in the night reveal a drowned body … but is it murder or an unfortunate accident? The Shaker Elders argue it was just an accident, but Rees believes otherwise.  As Will investigates further, more deaths follow and a young girl vanishes from the community. Haunted by nightmares for his family’s safety, Rees must rush to uncover the truth before the dreams can become reality and more lives are lost. Yet can the Shaker Elders be trusted, or is an outsider involved?  Publisher’s Weekly praised this book’s “authentic period detail and nuanced characterizations”, and noted that “Kuhns makes the most of the cloistered Shaker community setting in this top-notch outing.”

The Accidental Further Adventures of the 100-Year-Old Man: Another hilarious, witty, and entertaining novel from bestselling author Jonas Jonasson is just what readers need on a cold and snowy weekend like this, and this brilliant second outing for our favorite centenarian is going to make your weekend so much better.  It all begins with a hot air balloon trip and three bottles of champagne. Allan and Julius are ready for some spectacular views, but they’re not expecting to land in the sea and be rescued by a North Korean ship, and they could never have imagined that the captain of the ship would be harboring a suitcase full of contraband uranium, on a nuclear weapons mission for Kim Jong-un. Yikes!  Soon Allan and Julius are at the center of a complex diplomatic crisis involving world figures from the Swedish foreign minister to Angela Merkel and President Trump. Needless to say, things are about to get very, very complicated.  Booklist wrote a delightful review of his novel, calling it  “A welcome visit from an old friend that’s filled with laugh out-loud hijinx as well as thought- provoking and timely satire on the current state of the world and the perils of power.”

An Orchestra of Minorities: Man Booker Prize finalist Chigozie Obioma provides a stunning modern retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey set on the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigeria, and narrated by a chi, or guardian spirit.  Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to express the severity of such a fall. The woman, Ndali, is stopped her in her tracks.  Bonded by this night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family and struggles to imagine a future near a chicken coop. When her family objects to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But when he arrives he discovers there is no place at the school for him, and that he has been utterly duped by the young Nigerian who has made the arrangements.. Penniless, homeless, and furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further away from his dream, from Ndali and the farm he called home.  A book that is both enormous in scope and deeply personal in its subject matter, this book has earned starred reviews from a number of national outlets, including Publisher’s Weekly, who said in its review “Obioma’s novel is electrifying, a meticulously crafted character drama told with emotional intensity. His invention, combining Igbo folklore and Greek tragedy in the context of modern Nigeria, makes for a rich, enchanting experience.”

Joy Enough: A moving account of loss, love, family, this debut by Sarah McColl,  founding editor-in-chief of Yahoo Food, is making waves with reviewers and readers alike.  Mining the dual losses of both her young marriage and her beloved mother, McColl confronts her identity as a woman, walking lightly in the footsteps of the woman who came before her and clinging fast to the joy she left behind.  Even as she was coping with her marriage ending, McColl drops everything when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, returning to the family farmhouse and laboring over elaborate meals in the hopes of nourishing her back to health. In this series of vibrant vignettes, she reveals a woman of endless charm and infinite love for her unruly brood of children. Booklist wrote a glowing review of this book, saying in part that is it “Written with enough beauty to stop clocks ticking and heart’s beating…. McColl’s resonant first book is resplendent with love, and the hope she finds in discovering that her unfathomable grief also carved a space for more profound joy.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

Five Book Friday!

We know plenty of people who have had their fill of celebrations over the past month or so, dear readers.  For many of us, the beginning of January is a terrific time to build a pillow fort and snuggle up with a good book and some comfort food.  If, however, you are looking for some fun ways to keep the party going, here are a few suggestions for some quirky national days in January to celebrate.

January 6: National Shortbread Day: Check out the Walker’s Shortbread website for more information, and here for a quick shortbread recipe to try yourself!

January 11: National Milk Day: Said to commemorate the day that  the first milk deliveries in glass bottles began in the United States in 1878, as stated by Alexander Campbell of the New York Dairy Company.  In 1915, The International Association of Milk Inspectors submitted a request, but the day was never officially ratified.  Nevertheless, any day is a good day for a celebration, right?

January 13: National Rubber Duck Day: According to a 1973 Sesame Street calendar, Rubber Duckie’s Birthday is January 13 so around the country it’s National Rubber Ducky Day!

January 14: Ratification Day: Commemorating the ratification of the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution.  Every year in honor of this day, there is a ceremony at the State House in Annapolis, Maryland where the treaty was signed, and a flag in the design that was displayed at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Paris flies over the State House.

January 21: National Squirrel Appreciation Day: Established by by Christy Hargrove from Asheville, North Carolina on January 21, 2001, because squirrels need some love, too!

And now, on to the books, dear readers!

The Frame-Up: Meghan Scott Molin launches a new mystery series in style in this fun and delightfully nerdy new novel.  MG Martin works as a writer for the comic book company she idolized as a kid. But despite her love of hooded vigilantes, MG prefers her comics stay on the page. But when someone in LA starts recreating crime scenes from her favorite comic book, MG is the LAPD’s best—and only—lead. She recognizes the golden arrow left at the scene as the calling card of her favorite comic book hero. But superheroes aren’t real. Are they?  When too-handsome-for-his-own-good Detective Kildaire asks for her comic book expertise, MG is more than up for the adventure. Unfortunately, MG has a teeny little tendency to not follow rules.  And her off-the-books sleuthing may land her in a world of trouble. Because for every superhero, there is a supervillain. And the villain of her story may be closer than she thinks.  This is a book for mystery lovers and comic book fans alike that earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it a “stellar first novel…Molin’s clever humor enhances the inventive plot. Readers will eagerly await the sequel.”

The Big Empty: Stan Jones and Patricia Watts bring the remote beauty of Alaska to life in their mystery series featuring Chukchi police chief Nathan Active.  In this sixth outing, Active is asked to investigate a plane crash by his close friend, Cowboy Decker.  Evie Kavoonah, a young mother-to-be, and her fiancé, Dr. Todd Brenner were flying when their bush plane ran out of gas and hit a ridge, instantly killing them both.  Evie was like a daughter to Cowboy, who trained her to fly, and he insists there’s no way his protégée made a fatal mistake that day. Nathan reluctantly plays along and discovers that Cowboy’s instincts are correct—the malfunction that led to the crash was carefully planned, and several people in the village have motives for targeting the pair.  Meanwhile, Nathan’s wife, Gracie, is pregnant, but so scarred by memories of domestic abuse that she isn’t sure she should have the baby. Nathan must support her and their adopted daughter, Nita, while managing an increasingly complex and dangerous murder case.  Though this is an ongoing series, new readers will find a good amount to enjoy here.  Booklist gave it a favorable review, noting “Jones’s and coauthor Watts’s prose has been called muscular and stark, but it has an inviting, cinematic quality to it as well. A well-constructed mystery recommended for fans of C.J. Box and Craig Johnson.”

Eighteen Below: Another mystery series with a great sense of place, Stefan Ahnhem’s Fabian Risk novels transform the beauty of Sweden into a character in and of itself.  This third book in the series opens on a hot summer’s day, as the police chase a speeding car through the streets of Helsingborg. When they reach the bridge, the driver keeps going straight into the cold, dark waters of the Öresund strait.  The body recovered from the wreck is that of Peter Brise, one of the city’s richest tech entrepreneurs. Fabian Risk and his team are confident this is suicide. Young, rich, successful―Brise just didn’t know how to ask for help. But then the autopsy reveals something unexpected. Brise was already dead when his car crashed. He’d been brutally murdered two months ago. His body frozen in perfect condition, at eighteen degrees below zero…Something doesn’t match up. And when a string of other odd murders and unusual behavior come to light in the area, Fabian Risk takes the case. This is a case that grows darker and darker with each twist, giving Kirkus Reviews cause to cheer, “Hats off to Ahnhem for creating a villain more powerful than the franchise team charged with bringing him in.”

HousegirlThis is a new-to-us book that we’re really excited to feature here today.  Michael Donkor’s work is a moving and unexpectedly funny exploration of friendship and family, as three women forge their way in a complicated world.  Belinda knows how to follow the rules. As a housegirl, she has learned the right way to polish water glasses, to wash and fold a hundred handkerchiefs, and to keep a tight lid on memories of the village she left behind when she came to Kumasi.  Mary is still learning the rules. Eleven-years-old and irrepressible, the young housegirl-in-training is the little sister Belinda never had. Amma has had enough of the rules. A straight-A student at her exclusive London school, she has always been the pride of her Ghanaian parents―until now. Watching their once-confident teenager grow sullen and wayward, they decide that sensible Belinda is the shining example Amma needs.  So Belinda must leave Mary behind as she is summoned from Ghana to London, where she tries to impose order on her unsettling new world. As summer turns to autumn, Belinda and Amma are surprised to discover common ground. But when the cracks in their defenses open up, the secrets they have both been holding tightly threaten to seep out. NPR provided a fascinating review of this novel, explaining, “I hate novels because too often, I know exactly where the story is heading, where the characters are heading. I loved Housegirl because Michael Donkor’s storytelling and character building were so exquisite…Two days after I finished the book, I found myself actually missing [them]. This is a rare accomplishment.”

It Takes Two to Tumble: Cat Sebastian’ historical m/m romances are always an emotional, funny, and clever, and this newest addition to her Seducing the Sedgewicks series is no exception, turning a beloved romance trope on its ear with rare skill.  After an unconventional upbringing, Ben Sedgewick is perfectly content with the quiet, predictable life of a country vicar, free of strife or turmoil. When he’s asked to look after an absent naval captain’s three wild children, he reluctantly agrees, but instantly falls for the hellions. And when their stern but gloriously handsome father arrives, Ben is tempted in ways that make him doubt everything.  Phillip can’t wait to leave England’s shores and be back on his ship, away from the grief that haunts him. But his children have driven off a succession of governesses and tutors and he must set things right. The unexpected presence of the cheerful, adorable vicar sets his world on its head and now he can’t seem to live without Ben’s winning smiles or devastating kisses.  Amidst the turmoil of runaway children, a plot to blackmail Ben’s family, and torturous nights of pleasure, Ben and Phillip must decide if a safe life is worth losing the one thing that makes them come alive.  Booklist gave this title a starred review, noting “Sebastian’s latest elegantly and eloquently written Regency historical… slowly unfolds into an unforgettable love story that manages to be both sweetly romantic and sizzlingly sensual at the same time, demonstrating once again why Sebastian is one of the brightest new stars in the romance genre.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!

Five Book Friday!

If you, beloved patrons, aren’t sure what day today is, what year it is, or why in general, then please know that you are in good company, and that we are here for you.  Additionally, we are also bringing you a selection of books that have meandered through the holiday revelry to join you on your final reading spree of 2018.  We hope they bring you joy!

Just a reminder, the Main Library, as well as the South and West Branches will be observing the following hours in the coming week:

Monday December 31:  Close at 1 pm

Tuesday January 1, 2019:  Closed

Normal hours will resume on Wednesday, January 2, at which time, we can all try to get back to a more routine schedule!

Until then, we wish you all joy for the coming year, and a 2019 full of literary adventures!  And now, on to the books!

Dare to Love a Duke: We are going to be talking a lot about this book in an upcoming post, friends, so let’s take a moment to introduce you to Eva Leigh’s newest historical romance.  Thomas Powell, the new Duke of Northfield, knows he should be proper and principled, like his father. No more dueling, or carousing, or frequenting masked parties where Londoners indulge their wildest desires. But he’s not ready to give up his freedom just yet. The club is an escape, a place where he can forget about society and the weight of his title… and see the woman he’s wanted forever.  Lucia—known as Amina—manages the Orchid Club, a secret society where fantasies become reality. But for Lucia, it’s strictly business, profitable enough to finance her dream: a home for the lost girls of the streets. Surrounded by lovers, she only observes, unwilling risk her future for any man. No member has ever intrigued her…until the masked stranger whose heated looks sear her skin. After months of suppressed longing, they dare to give in to temptation, just once, before they both move on.  But the late duke’s legacy comes with a shocking secret, and the scandal threatens to destroy everything Tom loves… his family, the Orchid Club, and even Lucia.  Leigh’s book is getting a good deal of attention, mostly for the right reasons, and is a worthy addition to her Underground London series.  Publisher’s Weekly, for example, wrote a glowing review of this book, describing it as “a sexy, scandalous tale… Complex characters, witty exchanges, a little blackmail, and a lot of loyalty and love make this a fantastic ending to a sensational series.”

The Long Take or a Way to Lose More Slowly: Robin Robertson’s 2018 Man Booker Prize Finalist book has at last arrived on our shelves, and we couldn’t be more excited to dive into this new noir tale.  Walker is a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; he can’t return home to rural Nova Scotia, and looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. As he finds his way from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco, we witness a crucial period of fracture in American history, one that also allowed film noir to flourish. The Dream had gone sour but—as those dark, classic movies made clear—the country needed outsiders to study and to dramatize its new anxieties. Both an outsider and, gradually, an insider, Walker finds work as a journalist, and tries to piece his life together as America is beginning to come apart: riven by social and racial divisions, spiraling corruption, and the collapse of the inner cities.  This is a book with deep literary insight and the visual power of a film that the Los Angeles Review of Books called “A remarkable work . . . I can’t think of anything quite like it  . . . Modern, complex, political . . .Though rooted in a specific time and place, The Long Take’s larger theme is the capacity of greed and politics to turn hope into despair . . . A poem that’s long been waiting to be written.”

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?From three-time Hugo Award winner-author N. K. Jemisin comes a collection of short fiction that sharply examines modern society.  Jemisin’s work always challenges and delights in equal measure with thought-provoking narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption.  In this collection, spirits haunt the flooded streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow South must save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story “The City Born Great,” a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.  This is a book for Jemisin’s growing fan base, as well as for new readers looking for an introduction to her brilliance.  NPR wrote a stirring review of this collection, noting in part that “One line from [Jemisin’s introduction] has tattooed itself on my mind, a sort of manifesto for her ongoing work and all the fiction I love: ‘Now I am bolder, and angrier, and more joyful.’ I felt, after reading these stories, that I was too.”

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to the Civil War: In this thoroughly-researched and wonderfully readable history, Joanne B. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.  These fights didn’t happen in a vacuum. Freeman’s dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities―the feel, sense, and sound of it―as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and riveting, this book earned a starred review from Library Journal, who called it “A thought-provoking and insightful read for anybody interested in American politics in the lead up to the Civil War.”

All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson: Rock Hudson was a film icon worshiped by moviegoers and beloved by his colleagues.  He represented the embodiment of all that romantic American cinema had to offer. Yet beneath the suave and commanding star persona, there was an insecure, deeply conflicted, and all too vulnerable human being. Growing up poor in Winnetka, Illinois, Hudson was abandoned by his biological father, abused by an alcoholic stepfather, and controlled by his domineering mother. Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Hudson was determined to become an actor at all costs. After signing with the powerful but predatory agent Henry Willson, the young hopeful was transformed from a clumsy, tongue-tied truck driver into Universal Studio’s resident Adonis. In a more conservative era, Hudson’s wholesome, straight arrow screen image was at odds with his closeted homosexuality.  For years, Hudson dodged questions concerning his private life, but in 1985 the public learned that the actor was battling AIDS. The disclosure that such a revered public figure had contracted the illness focused worldwide attention on the epidemic.  Drawing on more than 100 interviews with co-stars, family members and former companions, as well as utilizing private journals, personal correspondence, and production files, Mark Griffin provides a nuanced and in-depth portrait of the man behind the movie posters, and an exploration of Hudson’s classic films.  USA Today provided a moving review of this book, describing it as “Exhaustive and empathetic…. Griffin fills in what’s left to say [about Hudson’s life] in between the lines with an impressive list of interviews with movie star friends, acquaintances and co-stars and also digs deep into private journals and correspondence.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons, happy reading, and Happy New Year!

Six Book Saturday!

So due to some change in staffing yesterday, we weren’t able to bring you our traditional Five Book Friday post, dear patrons–however, we are making it up to you today (well, we’re going to try to make it up to you, anyways) by providing you with six new books that have traipsed onto our shelves this week, and who would be delighted to spend the final weeks of the year in your company!

If you’re looking for some more recommendations for reading over the long holiday weekends to come, our good friends at the Boston Public Library have released their lists of the  Most Checked-Out Books of 2018.  There is a list of Adult Books, Teen Books, and Kids Books, so have a look through these great lists and see what other readers have been enjoying this year!

And speaking of wonderful books, let’s see what’s on our list for today!

We Can’t Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies, and the Art of Survival: In her novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison confronts what she called the “Master Narrative“, which she described as “whatever ideological script that is being imposed by the people in authority on everybody else,” involving the way we understand beauty, competence, and our place in the world.  In this new work, Jabari Asim contradicts that narrative and replaces it with a story of black survival and persistence through art and community in the face of centuries of racism. In eight wide-ranging and penetrating essays, he explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body. What emerges is a rich portrait of a community and culture that has resisted, survived, and flourished despite centuries of racism, violence, and trauma. These thought-provoking essays present a different side of American history, one that doesn’t depend on a narrative steeped in oppression but rather reveals black voices telling their own stories.  Kirkus Reviews gave this collection a starred review, noting how Asim “places current events within the context of a legacy that is literary, political, and cultural, as well as racial, with a voice that is both compelling and convincing…A sharp vision that challenges readers to shift perspective and examine conventional narratives.”

EdenbrookeThis is an older romance novel, but Julie C. Donaldson’s novel is a staff favorite, so we’re delighted to welcome it into our collection!  Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will Marianne be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.  When it debuted, Publisher’s Weekly gave this book a starred review, calling it  a “delightful and completely engrossing Heyeresque Regency debut…This beautiful love story will warm…the reader’s heart.”

Not of This Fold: Mette Ivie Harrison’s mystery series featuring Linda Wallheim is a fascinating, insightful, and honest portrait of Mormon Utah, as well as some inventive mysteries.  When this fourth outing begins, all five of her sons have left home, leaving Mormon bishop’s wife Linda Wallheim with quite a bit of time on her hands.  She has also become close with one of the women in her ward, Gwen Ferris.  But Gwen is quickly losing faith in the church, and her issues with the Mormon power structure are only reinforced by her work with a ward of both legal and undocumented immigrants who aren’t always getting the community support they should be from their church.  When Gabriela Gonzalez, a young mother and Gwen’s friend in the Spanish Ward, is found strangled at a gas station, Gwen is paralyzed with guilt. The dead woman’s last phone call was to Gwen, and her voice mail reveals that she knew she was in danger. When Gwen decides the police aren’t doing enough to get justice for Gabriela, who was undocumented, she decides to find the killer herself. Linda reluctantly takes part in Gwen’s vigilante sleuthing, fearing for her young friend’s safety, but what the pair discovers may put them both in danger.  Harrison’s books confront homophobia, xenophobia, faith, and gender issues without flinching or compromising, making them unique and powerful in a number of ways.  Even the Association of Mormon Letters cheered this fourth installment, saying in its review “Harrison has hit her stride as a front-rank mystery novelist . . . Come for the engaging intellectual puzzle and stay for the nuanced treatment of Mormonism. Or do it the other way around. But definitely come and stay. You won’t be sorry.”
American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts: As Chris McGreal writes in this deeply felt and pitilessly researched book, the opioid epidemic has been described as “one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine.” But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world’s opioid painkillers.  Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, McGreal reveals not only how Americans were sold on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let permitted opioid makers get away with it.  Although some were remorseless in sounding a warning against this operation, the power structures that were manipulated to produce, market, and sell opioid drugs over-whelmed all previous structures of warning.  In this book, McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.  Booklist gave this work a starred review, noting “McGreal, an award-winning journalist, presents this grim cautionary tale of opioids, greed, and addiction in three acts: ‘Dealing,’ ‘Hooked,’ and Withdrawal’…. McGreal goes on to successfully address the question of how the greatest drug epidemic in history grew largely unchecked for nearly two decades….What can be done to reverse this? McGreal’s powerfully stated indictment is a start.”

Influenza: The Hundred-Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in HistoryOn the 100th anniversary of the devastating pandemic of 1918, Jeremy Brown, a veteran ER doctor, explores the troubling, terrifying, and complex history of the flu virus, from the origins of the Great Flu that killed millions, to vexing questions such as: are we prepared for the next epidemic, should you get a flu shot, and how close are we to finding a cure?  Dr. Brown digs into the discovery and resurrection of the flu virus in the frozen victims of the 1918 epidemic, as well as the now-bizarre-sounding remedies that once treated the disease, such as whiskey and blood-letting.  He also breaks down the current dialogue surrounding the disease, explaining the controversy over vaccinations, antiviral drugs like Tamiflu, and the federal government’s role in preparing for pandemic outbreaks. Though 100 years of advancement in medical research and technology have passed since the 1918 disaster, Dr. Brown warns that many of the most vital questions about the flu virus continue to confound even the leading experts.  Insightful and well-informed, this is a book that earned high praise from Science News, which described the book as “An in-depth look at what scientists know now about the 1918 strain [and] a fascinating look at the factors that make the more common seasonal flu so challenging to predict and prevent… For those who want more science with a frank discussion of the challenges influenza still poses, Brown delivers a clear and captivating overview.”

The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil WarFor decades after its founding, America was really two nations–one slave, one free. There were many reasons why this composite nation ultimately broke apart, but the fact that enslaved black people repeatedly risked their lives to flee their masters in the South in search of freedom in the North proved that the “united” states was actually a lie. Fugitive slaves exposed the contradiction between the myth that slavery was a benign institution and the reality that a nation based on the principle of human equality was in fact a prison-house in which millions of Americans had no rights at all. By awakening northerners to the true nature of slavery, and by enraging southerners who demanded the return of their human “property,” fugitive slaves forced the nation to confront the truth about itself.  By 1850, with America on the verge of collapse, Congress reached what it hoped was a solution– the notorious Compromise of 1850, which required that fugitive slaves be returned to their masters. Like so many political compromises before and since, it was a deal by which white Americans tried to advance their interests at the expense of black Americans. Yet the Fugitive Slave Act, intended to preserve the Union, in fact set the nation on the path to civil war. It divided not only the American nation, but also the hearts and minds of Americans who struggled with the timeless problem of when to submit to an unjust law and when to resist.  In this excellently-written and wonderfully-researched work, Professor Andrew Delbanco of Columbia University emphasizes how and why the fugitive slave story brought the United States to war with itself, and the terrible legacies of slavery that are with us still.  This book has been getting enormous and well-deserved praise across the country, including from the New York Times, who described how “Delbanco . . . excavates the past in ways that illuminate the present.  He lucidly shows [how] in the name of avoiding conflict  . . . the nation was brought to the brink and into the breach. This is a story about compromises—and a riveting, unsettling one at that.”

 

Until next week, beloved patrons–happy reading!