Staff Picks May 2015
Can working parents in America--or anywhere--ever find true leisure time? According to the Leisure Studies Department at the University of Iowa, true leisure is "that place in which we realize our humanity." If that's true, argues Brigid Schulte, then we're doing dangerously little realizing of our humanity. In Overwhelmed, Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, asks: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but "contaminatedtime"? Schulte first asked this question in a 2010 feature for The Washington Post Magazine: "How did researchers compile this statistic that said we were rolling in leisure--over four hours a day? Did any of us feel that we actually had downtime? Was there anything useful in their research--anything we could do?" Overwhelmed is a map of the stresses that have ripped our leisure to shreds, and a look at how to put the pieces back together. Schulte speaks to neuroscientists, sociologists, and hundreds of working parents to tease out the factors contributing to our collective sense of being overwhelmed, seeking insights, answers, and inspiration. She investigates progressive offices trying to invent a new kind of workplace; she travels across Europe to get a sense of how other countries accommodate working parents; she finds younger couples who claim to have figured out an ideal division of chores, childcare, and meaningful paid work. Overwhelmed is the story of what she found out.
One morning Achilles, a young crocodile, insists that he will eat a child that day and refuses all other food, but when he actually finds a little girl, she puts him in his place.
A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.
A pilgrimage to the realm of the Shrike, a part-god/part-killing machine, provides the travellers the forum to tell their incredible stories
Sent to live with her aunt and grandfather after Germans bomb Norway in 1940, ten-year-old Marit longs to join her parents in the Resistance and when her aunt is taken away, she resents even more her grandfather's refusal to oppose the Nazis.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century. Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie's intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can't imagine--a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her "How did you get to be the woman you are today." She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naive girl she was and a wicked sense of humor. The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman's complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.
An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, from the author of three highly acclaimed previous novels. One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.
Given days to live and attended by a cast of well-wishers, Queenie Hennessy hides the existence of a long letter to Harold Fry revealing shocking and beautiful truths about her life. By the author of the international best-seller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
Attending a performance by a opera star he saved in Death at La Fenice, Brunetti learns that the singer is being stalked by an obsessed fan who subsequently attacks a fellow performer.
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court.
When sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot to death, his community is thrown into an uproar because Tariq was black and the shooter, Jack Franklin, is white, and in the aftermath everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.
Offers practical guidance for raising boys while nurturing their physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Dr. Zooper answers questions about life's ordinary puzzles, such as why homework disappears, where all those lost socks go or how a song gets stuck in one's head, by identifying and describing different kinds of Mischievians. By the creators of the #1 New York Times best-selling and Academy Award-winning The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.
When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.
When the daughter of an enigmatic cult horror film director is found dead in an abandoned Manhattan warehouse, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath, disbelieving the official suicide ruling, probes into the strange circumstances of the young woman's death while being drawn into the director's eerie world. By the author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics.
In an afterlife world inhabited by the recently departed who remain in the memories of the living, Marion and Phillip Byrd fall in love again, while on Earth, their daughter, Laura, is stranded alone in an Antarctic research station.
Astoria : John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's lost Pacific empire : a story of wealth, ambition, and survival
Drawing on original source material, this gripping true story, filled with high adventure and incredible hardship, documents the three-year expedition, from 1810 to 1813, to establish Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.
The years-long New York Times bestseller soon to be a major motion picture from Spielberg’s Dreamworks that is “irresistible…seductive…with a high concept plot that keeps you riveted from the first page” (O, The Oprah Magazine). After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
With humor and opinions aplenty, a woman embarks on an unconventional quest to see if she is meant to be a nun. Just as Jane Christmas decides to enter a convent in mid-life to find out whether she is "nun material”, her long-term partner Colin, suddenly springs a marriage proposal on her. Determined not to let her monastic dreams be sidelined, Christmas puts her engagement on hold and embarks on an extraordinary year long adventure to four convents: one in Canada and three in the UK. In these communities of cloistered nuns and monks, she shares, and at times chafes and rails against, the silent, simple existence she has sought all of her life. Christmas takes this spiritual quest seriously, but her story is full of the candid insights, humorous social faux pas, profane outbursts, and epiphanies that make her books so relatable and popular. And Then There Were Nuns offers a seldom-seen look inside modern cloistered life, and it is sure to ruffle more than a few starched collars among the ecclesiastical set.
First published in 1942, One Man's Meat has been in print almost without interruption. Now these classic essays on Maine life have come home to roost with a Maine publisher.
Inheriting the family kilim rug dynasty when his eccentric grandfather is found dead, Orhan struggles with will stipulations that leave the family estate to a stranger who holds secrets from the final years of the Ottoman Empire.