Recent staff favorites and suggestions for adults, teens and children.
All systems red
A murderous android discovers itself in "All Systems Red", a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial intelligence. In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn't a primary concern. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied 'droid -- a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as "Murderbot." Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it's up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
"Before Area X, there was Ambergris. Jeff VanderMeer conceived what would become his first cult classic series of speculative works: the Ambergris Trilogy. Now, for the first time ever, the story of the sprawling metropolis of Ambergris is collected into a single volume, including City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek: An Afterword, and Finch"-- Provided by publisher.
"Austerlitz is the story of a man's search for the answer to his life's central riddle. A small child when he comes to England on a Kindertransport in the summer of 1939, Jacques Austerlitz is told nothing of his real family by the Welsh Methodist minister and his wife who raise him. When he is a much older man, fleeting memories return to him, and obeying an instinct he only dimly understands, Austerlitz follows their trail back to the world he left behind a half century before. There, faced with the void at the heart of twentieth-century Europe, he struggles to rescue his heritage from oblivion."
Bitter root. 1, Family business
In the 1920s, the Harlem Renaissance is in full swing, and only the Sangerye Family, once known as the greatest monster hunters of all time, can save New York -- and the world -- from the supernatural forces threatening to destroy humanity. But those days are fading and the once-great family that specialized in curing the souls of those infected by racism and hate has been torn apart by tragedies and conflicting moral codes. A terrible tragedy has claimed most of the family, leaving the surviving cousins divided between by the desire to cure monsters or to kill them; they must heal the wounds of the past and move beyond their differences ... or sit back and watch a force of unimaginable evil ravage the human race.
Blood runs coal
"In the early hours of New Year's Eve 1969, in the small soft coal mining borough of Clarksville, Pennsylvania, longtime trade union insider Joseph 'Jock' Yablonski and his wife and daughter were brutally murdered in their old stone farmhouse. Seven months earlier, Yablonski had announced his campaign to oust the corrupt president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), Tony Boyle. Yablonski wanted to return the union to the coal miners it was supposed to represent. Boyle was enraged about his opponent's bid to take over,and would go to any lengths to maintain power. The most infamous crimes in the history of American labor unions, the Yablonski murders triggered one of the most intensive and successful manhunts in FBI history, and also led to the first successful rank-and-file takeover of a major labor union in modern US history, one that inspired workers in other labor unions to rise up and challenge their own entrenched, out-of-touch leaders."
Broken (in the best possible way)
"As Jenny Lawson's hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken (in the best possible way), she explores her experimental treatment of transcranial magnetic stimulation with brutal honesty. But also with brutal humor: A treat for Jenny Lawson's already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter"
The chicken sisters
Merinac, Kansas. Chicken Mimi's and Chicken Frannie's have spent a century vying to serve up the best friend chicken in the state. The legendary feud between the owners-- the Moores and the Pogociellos-- has caught widow Amanda Moore in the middle. She had worked for her mom at Mimi's before marrying Frank Pogociello and working for Frannie's. When she convinces Food Wars, a reality-TV competition, to cover the feud, Amanda and her sister Mae must choose whether to fight with each other, or for their heritage
The color of air : a novel
"From the New York Times bestselling author of Women of the Silk and The Samurai's Garden comes a gorgeous and evocative historical novel about a Japanese-American family set against the backdrop of Hawai'i's sugar plantations. Daniel Abe, a young doctor in Chicago, is finally coming back to Hawai'i. He has his own reason for returning to his childhood home, but it is not to revisit the past, unlike his Uncle Koji. Koji lives with the memories of Daniel's mother, Mariko, the love of his life, and the scars of a life hard-lived. He can't wait to see Daniel, who he's always thought of as a son, but he knows the time has come to tell him the truth about his mother, and his father. But Daniel's arrival coincides with the awakening of the Mauna Loa volcano, and its dangerous path toward their village stirs both new and long ago passions in their community. Alternating between past and present-from the day of the volcano eruption in 1935 to decades prior-The Color of Air interweaves the stories of Daniel, Koji, and Mariko to create a rich, vibrant, bittersweet chorus that celebrates their lifelong bond to one other and to their immigrant community. As Mauna Loa threatens their lives and livelihoods, it also unearths long held secrets simmering below the surface that meld past and present, revealing a path forward for them all."
Detransition, baby : a novel
Reese had what previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Ames thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese, and losing her meant losing his only family. Then Ames's boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she is pregnant with his baby-- and is not sure whether she wants to keep it. Ames wonders: Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family, and raise the baby together?
The father's tale : a novel
"Canadian bookseller Alex Graham is a middle-age widower whose quiet life is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears without any explanation or trace of where he has gone. With minimal resources, the father begins a long journey that takes him for the first time away from his safe and orderly world. As he stumbles across the merest thread of a trail, he follows it in blind desperation, and is led step by step on an odyssey that takes him to fascinating places and sometimes to frightening people and perils. Through the uncertainty and the anguish, the loss and the longing, Graham is pulled into conflicts between nations, as well as the eternal conflict between good and evil. Stretched nearly to the breaking point by the inexplicable suffering he witnesses and experiences, he discovers unexpected sources of strength as he presses onward in the hope of recovering his son--and himself"
Felon : poems
"A searing volume by a poet whose work conveys "the visceral effect that prison has on identity" (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times). Felon tells the story of the effects of incarceration in fierce, dazzling poems-canvassing a wide range of emotions and experiences through homelessness, underemployment, love, drug abuse, domestic violence, fatherhood, and grace-and, in doing so, creates a travelogue for an imagined life. Reginald Dwayne Betts confronts the funk of postincarceration existence and examines prison not as a static space, but as a force that enacts pressure throughout a person's life. The poems move between traditional and newfound forms with power and agility-from revolutionary found poems created by redacting court documents to the astonishing crown of sonnets that serves as the volume's radiant conclusion. Drawing inspiration from lawsuits filed on behalf of the incarcerated, the redaction poems focus on the ways we exploit and erase the poor and imprisoned from public consciousness. Traditionally, redaction erases what is top secret; in Felon, Betts redacts what is superfluous, bringing into focus the profound failures of the criminal justice system and the inadequacy of the labels it generates. Challenging the complexities of language, Betts animates what it means to be a "felon."
"Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug. Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims. Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known."
A god in ruins : a novel
"Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life explored the possibility of infinite chances and the power of choices, following Ursula Todd as she lived through the turbulent events of the last century over and over again. A GOD IN RUINS tells the dramatic story of the 20th century through Ursula's beloved younger brother Teddy--would-be poet, heroic pilot, husband, father, and grandfather--as he navigates the perils and progress of a rapidly changing world. After all that Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge is living in a future he never expected to have"
Good talk : a memoir in conversations
"Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob's half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she's gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love. Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation--and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions"
The house in the Cerulean Sea
"A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they're likely to bring about the end of days. But the children aren't the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn. An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place-and realizing that family is yours"
If you take away the otter
On the Pacific Coast of North America, sea otters play, dive, and hunt for sea urchins, crabs, abalone, and fish in the lush kelp forests beneath the waves. But there was a time when people hunted the otters almost to extinction. Without sea otters to eat them, an army of hungry sea urchins grew and destroyed entire kelp forests. Fish and other animals that depended on the kelp were lost, too. But when people protected the sea otters with new laws, their numbers began to recover, and so did the kelp forests. The author offers an account of a trophic cascade, which happens when the removal of a single element affects an entire habitat.--Amazon.com.
The initial insult
Tress Montor's parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home. The entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the 'White Trash Zoo,' a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things. Felicity Turnado has worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. She buried what she knows so deeply that she can't even remember what it is--only that she can't look at Tress without having a panic attack. At a Halloween costume party at an abandoned house, Tress wants either the truth--or revenge. She tries to pry the truth from Felicity by slowly sealing her former best friend into a coal chute...with a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl. --Adapted from jacket
The institute : a novel
In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis' parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there's no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents - telekinesis and telepathy - who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and 10-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, "like the roach motel," Kalisha says. "You check in, but you don't check out." In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don't, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from The Institute. As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King's gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don't always win.
It's been a pleasure, Noni Blake
Of all the women and men Noni Blake has pleased in her life, there's one she's often overlooked--herself. After the end of a decade-long relationship, Noni decides it's time for that to change. She's finally going to prioritize her wants and desires and only do things (and people) that feel good in the moment. As she embarks on a pleasure-seeking quest that takes her halfway around the world, she discovers that maybe she can have everything, and everyone, she's ever wanted.--back cover.
"Kitty thinks she might be a unicorn. She feels so perfectly unicorn-y! “Neigh!” says Kitty. But when Unicorn clop clop clops over, sweeping his magnificent tail and neighing a mighty neigh, Kitty feels no bigger than a ball of lint. Can this unlikely pair embrace who they are, and truly see one another? In their first picture book together, the magical, bestselling team of Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham put their horns together for the most heart-bursting, tail-twitching, fuzzy-feeling, perfectly unicorn-y story imaginable."--Book jacket flap.
The last whalers : three years in the far Pacific with a courageous tribe and a vanishing way of life
A journalist draws on his immersive visits to the remote Indonesian island of the Lamalerans, the world's last subsistence whalers, to profile their way of life and illuminate how their indigenous culture is succumbing to the modern world.
The long way to a small, angry planet
Rosemary Harper doesn't expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers a bed, a chance to explore the galaxy, and some distance from her past. The crew is diverse: Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot; chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, the captain. They are offered a job tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet. It's a lucrative job, but a host of unexpected mishaps force the crew to depend on each other.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemi Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She's not sure what she will find--her cousin's husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemi knows little about the region. Noemi is also an unlikely rescuer: She's a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she's also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin's new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemi; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi's dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family's youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemi, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family's past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family's once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemi digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
Nothing to see here
Lillian and Madison were unlikely, yet inseparable friends at their boarding school. Then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal, and they have barely spoken since. Years later, Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help. Madison's twin stepkids are moving in, and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there's a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it's the truth. Thinking of the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other while also staying out of the way of Madison's uptight husband. Surprised by her intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her. Could this be the start of the amazing life she'd always hoped for?-- Publisher's description.
The once and future witches
"In the late 1800s, three sisters use witchcraft to change the course of history in Alix E. Harrow's powerful novel of magic and the suffragette movement. In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box. But when the Eastwood sisters -- James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna -- join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote -- and perhaps not even to live -- the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive. There's no such thing as witches. But there will be"-- Provided by publisher.
The Paris library : a novel
"Paris, 1939. Young, ambitious, and tempestuous, Odile Souchet has it all: Paul, her handsome police officer beau; Margaret, her best friend from England; her adored twin brother Remy; and a dream job at the American Library in Paris, working alongside the library's legendary director, Dorothy Reeder. But when World War II breaks out, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear - including her beloved library. After the invasion, as the Nazis declare a war on words and darkness falls over the City of Light, Odile and her fellow librarians join the Resistance with the best weapons they have: books. They risk their lives again and again to help their fellow Jewish readers. When the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal. Montana, 1983. Odile's solitary existence in gossipy small-town Montana is unexpectedly interrupted by Lily, her neighbor, a lonely teenager longing for adventure. As Lily uncovers more about Odile's mysterious past, they find they share a love of language, the same longings, the same lethal jealousy. Odile helps Lily navigate the troubled waters of adolescence by always recommending just the right book at the right time, never suspecting that Lily will be the one to help her reckon with her own terrible secret. Based on the true story of the American Library in Paris, The Paris Library explores the geography of resentment, the consequences of terrible choices made, and how extraordinary heroism can be found in the quietest of places"-- Provided by publisher.
The push : a novel
"A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family, about a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for--and everything she feared. Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, comforting, supportive mother to her new baby Violet that she herself never had. But in the thick of motherhood's exhausting early days, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter--Violet rejects her mother, screams uncontrollably, and becomes a disturbing, disruptive presence at her preschool. Or is it all in Blythe's head? Her husband, Fox, says she's imagining things. What he sees is an overwhelmed wife who can't cope with the day-to-day grind. The more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity, and the more we begin to question what Blythe is telling us about her life as well. Then their son Sam is born--and with him, Blythe has the natural, blissful connection she'd always imagined with her child. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth. Here, we see the making and breaking of a family in crystalline detail, and what it feels like when women are not believed. The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an utterly immersive pageturner that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood, about our children, and about what happens behind the doors of even the most perfect-looking families. . "-- Provided by publisher.
Red, white, and whole
"Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she's the only Indian American student, and home, with her family's traditions and holidays. But Reha's parents don't understand why she's conflicted--they only notice when Reha doesn't meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked--Reha means "star" and Punam means "moon"--but they are a universe apart. Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick. Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can't stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She'll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma's life"-- Provided by publisher
Redhead by the side of the road
"From the beloved and best-selling Anne Tyler, a sparkling new novel about misperception, second chances, and the sometimes elusive power of human connection. Micah Mortimer is a creature of habit. A self-employed tech expert, superintendent of his Baltimore apartment building, cautious to a fault behind the steering wheel, he seems content leading a steady, circumscribed life. But one day his routines are blown apart when his woman friend (he refuses to call anyone in her late thirties a "girlfriend") tells him she's facing eviction, and a teenager shows up at Micah's door claiming to be his son. These surprises, and the ways they throw Micah's meticulously organized life off-kilter, risk changing him forever. An intimate look into the heart and mind of a man who finds those around him just out of reach, and a funny, joyful, deeply compassionate story about seeing the world through new eyes, Redhead by the Side of the Road is a triumph, filled with Anne Tyler's signature wit and gimlet-eyed observation"-- Provided by publisher.
The secret commonwealth
Lyra Belacqua, aka Lyra Silvertongue, is an undergraduate at St. Sophia's College. She and her daemon, the soft-furred pine marten Pantalaimon, are alienated to the point of hostility. Lyra falls under the influence of popular writers who express 'universal skepticism' and contempt for sentiment, kindness and faith. When Pantalaimon witnesses a murder, both of them are pulled into a conspiracy involving the Magisterium. Lyra reconnects with Malcolm Polstead, now a professor at the College, but they are soon drawn back into a battle Lyra thought she'd left behind forever. -- adapted from jacket and online reviews.
Sharks in the time of saviors
In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends. Nainoa's family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods--a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family's legacy. When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawai this time ;with tragic consequences--they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.
The stationery shop
"A novel set in 1953 Tehran, against the backdrop of the Iranian Coup, about a young couple in love who are separated on the eve of their marriage, and who are reunited sixty years later, after having moved on to live independent lives in America, to discover the truth about what happened on that fateful day in the town square"-- Provided by publisher.
Sugar in milk
"A young immigrant girl joins her aunt and uncle in a new country that is unfamiliar to her. She struggles with loneliness, with a fierce longing for the culture and familiarity of home, until one day, her aunt takes her on a walk. As the duo strolls through their city park, the girl's aunt begins to tell her an old myth, and a story within the story begins. A long time ago, a group of refugees arrived on a foreign shore. The local king met them, determined to refuse their request for refuge. But there was a language barrier, so the king filled a glass with milk and pointed to it as a way of saying that the land was full and couldn't accommodate the strangers. Then, the leader of the refugees dissolved sugar in the glass of milk. His message was clear: Like sugar in milk, our presence in your country will sweeten your lives. The king embraced the refugee, welcoming him and his people. The folktale depicted in this book was a part of author Thrity Umrigar's Zoroastrian upbringing as a Parsi child in India, but resonates for children of all backgrounds, especially those coming to a new homeland" --Amazon.com.
The three-body problem
"With the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, this near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multple-award-winning phenemonenon from China's most beloved science fiction author. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision"-- Provided by publisher.
The Toni Morrison book club
"What is a book club but an excuse to talk to friends? The Toni Morrison Book Club brings that experience to life by telling the story of four friends who turn to Toni Morrison as they search for meaning in their lives. In this startling group memoir, the writers--black and white, gay and straight, immigrant and American born--allow Morrison's words, like music, to make them feel, confess, and discover. The result is a collection of deeply personal conversations about everything from first love to Soul Train to police brutality, all told with an ever present lens on race in America. Not shying away from controversies, this book offers a radically new way to envision book clubs as a healing force in our lives. So pull up a chair and pour yourself a much needed glass of wine, as you get ready to experience the messy differences, surprising revelations, and restorative power of The Toni Morrison Book Club"-- Provided by publisher.
Vera : a novel
"Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco's most legendary bordello and ally to the city's corrupt politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds -- the madam's alluring sphere, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her. On the morning of the great quake, Vera's worlds collide. As the shattered city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors. Together they navigate their way beyond disaster."--Publisher.
The water dancer : a novel
"Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage--and lost his mother and all memory of her when he was a child--but he is also gifted with a mysterious power. Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a force he doesn't understand, a blue light that lifts him up and lands him a mile away. This strange brush with death forces a new urgency on Hiram's private rebellion. Spurred on by his improvised plantation family, Thena, his chosen mother, a woman of few words and many secrets, and Sophia, a young woman fighting her own war even as she and Hiram fall in love, he becomes determined to escape the only home he's ever known. So begins an unexpected journey into the covert war on slavery that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia's proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he's enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, all Hiram wants is to return to the Walker Plantation to free the family he left behind--but to do so, he must first master his magical gift and reconstruct the story of his greatest loss. This is a bracingly original vision of the world of slavery, written with the narrative force of a great adventure. Driven by the author's bold imagination and striking ability to bring readers deep into the interior lives of his brilliantly rendered characters, The Water Dancer is the story of America's oldest struggle--the struggle to tell the truth--from one of our most exciting thinkers and beautiful writers"-- Provided by publisher.
While the city slept : a love lost to violence and a young man's descent into madness
"A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's gripping account of one young man's path to murder--and a wake-up call for mental health care in America On a summer night in 2009, three lives intersected in one American neighborhood. Two people newly in love--Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper, who spent many years trying to find themselves and who eventually found each other--and a young man on a dangerous psychological descent: Isaiah Kalebu, age twenty-three, the son of a distant, authoritarian father and a mother with a family history of mental illness. All three paths forever altered by a violent crime, all three stories a wake-up call to the system that failed to see the signs. In this riveting, probing, compassionate account of a murder in Seattle, Eli Sanders, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper coverage of the crime, offers a deeply reported portrait in microcosm of the state of mental health care in this country--as well as an inspiring story of love and forgiveness. Culminating in Kalebu's dangerous slide toward violence--observed by family members, police, mental health workers, lawyers, and judges, but stopped by no one--While the City Slept is the story of a crime of opportunity and of the string of missed opportunities that made it possible. It shows what can happen when a disturbed member of society repeatedly falls through the cracks, and in the tradition of The Other Wes Moore and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, is an indelible, human-level story, brilliantly told, with the potential to inspire social change"-- Provided by publisher.
Queen Bitterblue of Monsea has been doing the hard work of rebuilding her kingdom for nearly five years when she first learns about the magical land to east where people and animals perform feats greater than even the most impressive Grace. When her envoy's ships drown, Bitterblue takes off on a diplomatic mission with her most trusted advisors, while politicians in Monsea consider what could happen if the Queen were to disappear as well.
"Summoned before the Emperor, Prince Kiem - a famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor's least favorite grandchild - is commanded to renew the empire's bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire. But the Jainan suspects his late husband's death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers that Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy. In the shadows of a secret past and an insecure future, Kiem and Jainan must come together to protect both of their worlds."--Provided by publisher.
A wish in the dark
A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. A compelling fantasy looks at issues of privilege, protest, and justice. All light in Chattana is created by one man -- the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, and he dreams of the day he will be able to walk among them. But when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. The wealthy dine and dance under bright orb light, while the poor toil away in darkness. Worst of all, Pong's prison tattoo marks him as a fugitive who can never be truly free. Nok, the prison warden's perfect daughter, is bent on tracking Pong down and restoring her family's good name. But as Nok hunts Pong through the alleys and canals of Chattana, she uncovers secrets that make her question the truths she has always held dear. Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, Christina Soontornvat's twist on Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is a dazzling, fast-paced adventure that explores the difference between law and justice -- and asks whether one child can shine a light in the dark.
The Witch Elm : a novel
"A brilliant new work of suspense from "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years." (Washington Post) From the writer who "inspires cultic devotion in readers" (The New Yorker) and has been called "incandescent" by Stephen King, "absolutely mesmerizing" by Gillian Flynn, and "unputdownable" (People), comes a gripping new novel that turns a crime story inside out. Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life - he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden - and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed. A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we're capable of, when we no longer know who we are"-- Provided by publisher.
Yellow wife : a novel
Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Brown was promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday. Instead she finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil's Half-Acre, a jail where slaves are broken, tortured, and sold every day. Forced to become the mistress of the brutal man who owns the jail, Pheby's survival lies in outwitting him-- even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice. -- adapted from jacket
A new history of the future in 100 objects : a fiction
"In the year 2082, a curator looks back at the twenty-first century, offering a history of the era through a series of objects and artifacts. He reminisces about the power of connectivity, which was reinforced by such technologies as silent messaging - wearable computers that relay subvocal communication; recalls the Fourth Great Awakening, when a regimen of pills could make someone virtuous; and notes disapprovingly the use of locked interrogation, which delivers "enhanced interrogation" simulations via virtual reality. The unnamed curator quotes from a self-help guide to making friends with "posthumans," describes the establishment of artificial worlds on asteroids, and recounts pro-democracy movements in epistocratic states. In A New History of the Future in 100 Objects, Adrian Hon constructs a possible future by imagining the things it might leave in its wake."--Provided by publisher.