Comment to claim.

Halpern, Sue.  Summer House at the Robbers Library. HarperPerennial, February 2018.

Summer Hours at the Robbers Library

Summary: From journalist and author Sue Halpern comes a wry, observant look at contemporary life and its refugees. Halpern’s novel is an unforgettable tale of family…the kind you come from and the kind you create.

People are drawn to libraries for all kinds of reasons. Most come for the books themselves, of course; some come to borrow companionship. For head librarian Kit, the public library in Riverton, New Hampshire, offers what she craves most: peace. Here, no one expects Kit to talk about the calamitous events that catapulted her out of what she thought was a settled, suburban life. She can simply submerge herself in her beloved books and try to forget her problems.

But that changes when fifteen-year-old, home-schooled Sunny gets arrested for shoplifting a dictionary. The judge throws the book at Sunny–literally–assigning her to do community service at the library for the summer. Bright, curious, and eager to connect with someone other than her off-the-grid hippie parents, Sunny coaxes Kit out of her self-imposed isolation. They’re joined by Rusty, a Wall Street high-flyer suddenly crashed to earth.

In this little library that has become the heart of this small town, Kit, Sunny, and Rusty are drawn to each other, and to a cast of other offbeat regulars. As they come to terms with how their lives have unraveled, they also discover how they might knit them together again and finally reclaim their stories.

Mamet, David.  Chicago.  Custom House (WilliamMorrow), February 2018.

ChicagoSummary: “A big shouldered, big trouble thriller set in mobbed up 1920s Chicago–a city where some people knew too much, and where everyone should have known better–by the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of THE UNTOUCHABLES and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS”– Provided by publisher.
“A big-shouldered, big-trouble thriller set in mobbed-up 1920s Chicago–a city where some people knew too much, and where everyone should have known better–by the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Untouchables and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Glengarry Glen Ross. Mike Hodge–veteran of the Great War, big shot of the Chicago Tribune, medium fry–probably shouldn’t have fallen in love with Annie Walsh. Then, again, maybe the man who killed Annie Walsh have known better than to trifle with Mike Hodge. In Chicago, David Mamet has created a bracing, kaleidoscopic page-turner that roars through the Windy City’s underground on its way to a thunderclap of a conclusion. Here is not only his first novel in more than two decades, but the book he has beenbuilding to for his whole career. Mixing some of his most brilliant fictional creations with actual figures of the era, suffused with trademark “Mamet Speak,” richness of voice, pace, and brio, and exploring–as no other writer can–questions of honor, deceit, revenge, and devotion, Chicago is that rarest of literary creations: a book that combines spectacular elegance of craft with a kinetic wallop as fierce as the February wind gusting off Lake Michigan”– Provided by publisher.

 

 

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NPR announces these titles as winners of the National Book Award. We own all titles, even the poetry (must have consulted the shortlist earlier).  Announcement only, thank you. Sing, Unburied, Sing especially has the copies for another good run.

 

FICTION

Ward, Jesmyn.  Sing, Unburied, Sing. Scribner, 2017.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Summary: A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award–winner Jesmyn Ward. In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning Salvage the Bones , this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers. Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise. Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

NON-FICTION

Gessen, Masha.  The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.  Riverhead, 2017.

The Future Is HistorySummary: The visionary journalist and bestselling biographer of Vladimir Putin reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy.

Hailed for her “fearless indictment of the most powerful man in Russia” (TheWall Street Journal), award-winning journalist Masha Gessen is unparalleled in her understanding of the events and forces that have wracked her native country in recent times. In The Future Is History, she follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own—as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers, and writers, sexual and social beings.

Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today’s terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. Powerful and urgent, The Future Is History is a cautionary tale for our time and for all time.

 

POETRY

Bidart, Frank.  Half-Light: Collected Poems. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2017.

Half-light

Summary: Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. His pages represent the human voice in all its extreme registers, whether it’s that of the child-murderer Herbert White, the obsessive anorexic Ellen West, the tormented genius Vaslav Nijinsky, or the poet’s own. And in that embodiment is a transgressive empathy, one that recognizes our wild appetites, the monsters, the misfits, the misunderstood among us and inside us. Few writers have so willingly ventured to the dark places of the human psyche and allowed themselves to be stripped bare on the page with such candor and vulnerability. Over the past half century, Bidart has done nothing less than invent a poetics commensurate with the chaos and appetites of our experience. Half-light encompasses all of Bidart’s previous books, and also includes a new collection, Thirst, in which the poet austerely surveys his life, laying it plain for us before venturing into something new and unknown. Here Bidart finds himself a “Creature coterminous with thirst,” still longing, still searching in himself, one of the “queers of the universe.” Visionary and revelatory, intimate and unguarded, Bidart’s Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2017 are a radical confrontation with human nature, a conflict eternally renewed and reframed, restless line by restless line.

This is been getting quite some buzz and is now on order (Thanks ACQ! There will be 11 copies, not one – this was zapped by the server unpleasantness). Comment to claim this ARC.

Finn, A.J. The Woman in the Window. WilliamMorrow, January 2018.

The Woman in the Window

 

Publisher Summary from HarperCollins: SFor readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-six languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.

It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.

Courtesy of Becky and her LJ connection.  These aren’t quite in the catalog yet but will be shortly.  Educated  I can attest is an engaging memoir, written with critical affection and a literary flourish. The author is a History PHD whose paranoid and apocalypse obsessed parents, a scrap dealer and unlicensed midwife in rural Idaho, prevented her from receiving any formal education and who went on nonetheless to attend Brigham Young, Cambridge and Harvard.  Some are comparing it to The Glass Castle.   Comment to claim and please specify which title you’re interested in.  As this is a staff-only blog, I will concentrate on distributing some of our ARC’s on it since they should not be distributed directly to the public.

Westover, Tara. Educated: A Memoir. Random House, February 20, 2018.

Educated by Tara WestoverPublisher Summary: Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills” bag. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged metal in her father’s junkyard.

Her father distrusted the medical establishment, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when an older brother became violent.

When another brother got himself into college and came back with news of the world beyond the mountain, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. She taught herself enough mathematics, grammar, and science to take the ACT and was admitted to Brigham Young University. There, she studied psychology, politics, philosophy, and history, learning for the first time about pivotal world events like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing ties with those closest to you. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.

Elliott, Lexie.  The French Girl. Berkley, February 20, 2018.

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

This already has 74 holds on 35 copies for a February publication date.  Comment to claim.

The Great Alone

Publisher Description from MacMillan Palgrave: 

Alaska, 1974.
Untamed.
Unpredictable.
And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit.

From the author who brought you the phenomenon of The Nightingale.

We have plenty of copies for a second run – thanks!

 

Lincoln in the BardoOn February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body. Willie finds himself in a strange purgatory– the bardo– where ghosts commiserate quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance … and where a struggle erupts over his soul.
Set over the course of that one night and populated by ghosts of the recently passed and the long dead, Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, a novel – in its form and voice – completely unlike anything you have read before. It is also, in the end, an exploration of the deeper meaning and possibilities of life, written as only George Saunders can: with humor, pathos, and grace.

 

 

Nobel prize for literature

October 5, 2017

 

This year’s honor goes to Kazuo Ishiguro.  Ishiguro is probably best known as the author of Remains of the Day.  In announcing the award, the Nobel committee stated, “…In novels of great emotional force, [he] has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world,” later adding, “If you mix Jane Austin with Franz Kafka, you have Kazuo Ishiguro. You have to add a bit of Marcel Proust in there too.”

Sno-Isle owns copies of all of Ishiguro’s works; we’ll add copies as holds queues build.