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.
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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

Article here.

A quick publisher search for Sasquatch shows 423 titles in Polaris including ebooks.

The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest by Audrey Benedict, of which we hold the most copies, has  circulated nearly 1000 times.

The Salish Sea

“Fashioned by the violent volcanism of the Pacific Rim of Fire, plate tectonics, and the sculptural magic wrought by Ice Age glaciers, the Salish Sea straddles the western border between Canada and the United States and is connected to the Pacific Ocean primarily through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This fascinating visual journey through the Salish Sea combines a scientist’s inquiring mind, beautiful photographs, and a lively narrative of fascinating stories, all of which impart a sense of connection with this intricate marine ecosystem and the life that it sustains”– Provided by publisher.

Between the World and Me circulated nearly 850 times and won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction among others.  This collection of essays comes out next week and has 28 holds so far. Comment to claim.

We Were Eight Years in PowerPublisher summary: “We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South…the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period–and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective–the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.

The PBS Newshour had a great segment Friday highlighting “Titles to Fall For Now That Summer Is Over” – watch here [time permitting of course].  Louise Penny is one of the very most popular authors here at Sno-Isle, with Glass Houses currently holding at 261 holds on 59 copies.  This segment shows she’s just as delightful a reader’s advisor and book promoter as author.  One of her mentioned discoveries is the debut Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo, a Nigerian writer who once wrote in residence on Whidbey Island. This has 16 holds on 7 copies, a good start.  I still have an ARC – can Louise tempt you?

Pamela Paul, the other reviewer here, also has her own book on books out called My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues. No ARC of this I’m afraid but the current queue is short.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ARC available.

Stay With Me

Yejide and Akin fell in love and married while at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide agreed polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage– after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures– Yejide is still not pregnant. When her family arrives with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant. She does–but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine.
“A novel about a married Nigerian couple who must grapple with staggering levels of loss and betrayal in their quest to create a family for themselves” — Provided by publisher.

 

 

No ARC but notable: 

 

My Life With Bob“Imagine keeping a record of every book you ever read. What would those titles say about you? With humor and warmth, the editor of The New York Times Book Review shares the stories that have shaped her life. For twenty-eight years, Pamela Paul has been keeping a diary that records the books she reads, rather than the life she leads. Or does it? Over time, it’s become clear that this Book of Books, or Bob, as she calls him, tells a much bigger story. For Paul, as for many readers, books reflect her inner life– her fantasies and hopes, her dreams and ideas. And her life, in turn, influences which books she chooses, whether for solace or escape, diversion or self-reflection, information or entertainment. My Life with Bob isn’t about what’s in those books; it’s about the relationship between books and readers. Bob was with her when she struggled to get through the Norton Anthology of English Literature in college and when she read Anna Karenina while living abroad alone. He was there when she fell in love and much needed when she sought solace in self-help and memoirs like Autobiography of a Face. Through marriage and divorce, remarriage (The Master and Margarita) and parenthood (The Hunger Games), professional setbacks and successes, Bob recorded what she read while all that happened. The diary–now coffee-stained and frayed–is the record of a lifelong love affair with books, and has come to mean more to her than any other material possession. My Life with Bob is a testament to the power of books to provide the perspective, courage, companionship, and ultimately self-knowledge to forge our own path”– Provided by publisher.

 

A certain political memoir is too obvious to mention, but besides Hillary Clinton’s What Happened the Purchase Order Placed report this week highlights debut author Gabriel Tallent, whose My Absolute Darling has hit 63 holds and rising.  Here is a link from the Guardian about Tallent. An even bigger hit for us is Celest Ng’s latest Little Fires Everywhere, with 114 holds! Her last, Everything I Never Told You, has circulated over 760 times at Sno-Isle.  We have got to put her on the standing order list.

Ng, Celeste. Little Fires Everywhere. Penguin.

Little Fires EverywhereFrom the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, the intertwined stories of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster–Provided by Publisher.

Tallent, Gabriel. My Absolute Darling. Riverhead.

My Absolute Darling“Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At fourteen, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father. Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high-school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her.”– Provided by publisher.

 

 

Clinton, Hillary. What Happened. Simon & Schuster.

What Happened“‘In the past, for reasons I try to explain, I’ve often felt I had to be careful in public, like I was up on a wire without a net. Now I’m letting my guard down.’ For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet. In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterward. With humor and candor, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet–the rituals, relationships, and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age, and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics. She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on our democracy by a foreign adversary. By analyzing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect our values and our democracy in the future. The election of 2016 was unprecedented and historic. What Happened is the story of that campaign and its aftermath–both a deeply intimate account and a cautionary tale for the nation.”  The former secretary of state relates her experiences as the first woman candidate nominated for president by a major party, discussing the sexism, criticism, and double standards she had to confront, and how she coped with a devastating loss.

Library Reads October 2017

September 14, 2017

The new Library Reads list is out and it includes some fresh new talent as well as well-known favorites like Alice Hoffman, Joe Hill, Wiley Cash and Jennifer Egan.  Gabrielle Union’s true “stories” memoir is a notable non-fiction selection, as is mortician Caitlin Doughty’s latest.  Check the link for full list and librarian reviews.  And Tom Hanks’ new short story collection is there!  I’m ordering the audio and eaudio we didn’t already own. I haven’t scrounged up print ARC’s of these but I’ll let you know.

First the favorite:

Hornak, Francesca.  Seven Days of Us. Berkley.

Seven Days of UsSummary:   “A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays… It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter–who is usually off saving the world–will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family. For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity–and even decent Wi-FI–and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems. As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as awar correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down. In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…”– Provided by publisher.

 

Other Interesting Great Books Making the List

Constantine, Liv. The Last Mrs. Parrish. Harper.

The Last Mrs. Parrish

Summary: “Deliciously duplicitous. . . . equally as twisty, spellbinding, and addictive as Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train.”–Library Journal (starred review). The mesmerizing debut about a coolly manipulative woman and a wealthy “golden couple,” from a stunning new voice in psychological suspense.  Some women get everything. Some women get everything they deserve.  Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more–a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne–a socialite and philanthropist–and her real-estate mogul husband, Jackson, are a couple straight out of a fairy tale.  Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life–the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrishes and their lovely young daughters, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

Union, Gabrielle.  We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories. Dey Street Books.

We're Going to Need More Wine

Summary: In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.  One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union–a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies–instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: “It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real.” In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

Doughty, Caitlin.  From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. W. W. Norton.

From Here to Eternity

Summary: Fascinated by our pervasive fear of dead bodies, mortician Caitlin Doughty set out to discover how other cultures care for the dead. From Here to Eternity is an immersive global journey that introduces compelling, powerful rituals almost entirely unknown in America.In rural Indonesia, she watches a man clean and dress his grandfather’s mummified body, which has resided in the family home for two years. In La Paz, she meets Bolivian natitas (cigarette-smoking, wish-granting human skulls), and in Tokyo she encounters the Japanese kotsuage ceremony, in which relatives use chopsticks to pluck their loved-ones’ bones from cremation ashes.With boundless curiosity and gallows humor, Doughty vividly describes decomposed bodies and investigates the world’s funerary history. She introduces deathcare innovators researching body composting and green burial, and examines how varied traditions, from Mexico’s D#65533;as de los Muertos to Zoroastrian sky burial help us see our own death customs in a new light.Doughty contends that the American funeral industry sells a particular–and, upon close inspection, peculiar–set of “respectful” rites: bodies are whisked to a mortuary, pumped full of chemicals, and entombed in concrete. She argues that our expensive, impersonal system fosters a corrosive fear of death that hinders our ability to cope and mourn. By comparing customs, she demonstrates that mourners everywhere respond best when they help care for the deceased, and have space to participate in the process.Exquisitely illustrated by artist Landis Blair, From Here to Eternity is an adventure into the morbid unknown, a story about the many fascinating ways people everywhere have confronted the very human challenge of mortality.