Elaine and Luisa's Picks: January - February 2020

January - February 2020

Staff Pick Badge
A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel Cover Image
By Isabel Allende, Nick Caistor (Translated by), Amanda Hopkinson (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781984820150
Availability: Backordered
Published: Ballantine Books - January 21st, 2020

We begin as the fascist dictator, Franco, is taking control of Spain, and we are soon plunged into the lives of characters who are changed forever by the brutal Spanish Civil War. We meet heroes who become migrants, wanted by no country in Europe; then, Pablo Neruda crams as many refugees as possible into a cruise ship and brings them to Chile. Allende’s novel is stunning, seductive, haunting, and unforgettable. It’s for everyone who is interested in history, complex relationships, and ethical dilemmas. I was fascinated from the first to the last page and, months later, I can’t stop thinking about the people I came to love in A Long Petal of the Sea. —Elaine


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American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250209764
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - January 21st, 2020

Jeanine Cummins’s fearless novel illuminates the painful steps that transform a once-happy family into terrorized migrants on the run for the border. Lydia and her young son Luca are the only survivors of a brutal massacre at a family celebration, but instead of having time to grieve, they must flee everything they know to outrun the cartels. Even with surprising moments of kindness, the path is unimaginably difficult as they travel on buses, ride the tops of trains, and journey on foot across the desert. But there is also beauty here—along with the heartbreak experienced throughout the migrant trail, American Dirt is a celebration of the human spirit and our determination, even in the face of evil, to hold on to hope.  —Elaine & Luisa


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The Mercies Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316529259
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - February 11th, 2020

As Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s powerful novel begins, a sudden storm wipes out all the able-bodied men in a Norwegian fishing village, leaving the women to fend for themselves. The year is 1617, and among these tough women are a few brave enough to save themselves and learn the trades of men. This raises the ire of the church and soon a Scotsman with a taste for hunting witches arrives to snuff out any wisps of independent thought. Hargrave’s beautiful writing captures the contrasts between the stark landscape and rich interior lives of these women, as friendships, loyalties, and faith are all tested. This captivating novel reminds us that evil and bravery can come in many forms.  —Luisa


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First Cut Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781335008305
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hanover Square Press - January 7th, 2020

A San Francisco medical examiner is assigned the case of a woman who apparently overdosed on heroin, except there are also signs of a murder. Wait, the dead woman had also been the nanny for the deputy chief medical examiner—and she was pregnant. There may well be a drug lord involved in the murder, and it’s clear that some powerful people don’t want the investigation to continue. Judy Melinek knows her forensics and her office politics. She’s a former S.F. assistant medical examiner and now a forensic pathologist. She writes with her husband T.J. Mitchell.  —Elaine


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Dear Edward: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984854780
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: The Dial Press - January 6th, 2020

12-year-old Edward Adler becomes an orphan and a “miracle” when he survives a devastating plane crash. Burdened both by becoming a curiosity to the public and by the loss of his family, Edward finds solace with a neighbor girl who has struggles of her own. With stories of the other passengers interspersed between the chapters of Edward’s growth, we see the many lives connected by this tragedy. Ultimately, it is connection with the people in his life now, as well as those lost on that day, that brings Edward hope. Ann Napolitano’s brilliant novel shows us that the mystery isn’t in how one survives a plane crash, but how one survives life after loss.  —Luisa


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Summer Snow: New Poems Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062950024
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - January 7th, 2020

In Summer Snow, our former US Poet Laureate—and the recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize—brings us new poems that speak of love, nature, commerce, and conflict, while illuminating the confusing world we inhabit. Hass is insightful, very funny, and deeply serious. He writes of night walks, of poetry, of imperfection, of drones, and of love. He teases, delights, and challenges us. Please come to hear Bob Hass read from this astounding collection on Jan. 24th. I know you’ll want to take home a signed first edition.  —Elaine


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Uncanny Valley: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374278014
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: MCD - January 14th, 2020

Have the workings of Silicon Valley always been a mystery to you? With her sharp eye for detail and ear for humor, Anna Weiner reveals the bizarre and disturbing details of the industry that is quickly taking over our lives. As a book person, Anna is an outsider to the tech world ethos, but her curious nature and depressing financial situation prompt her to accept a job at a tech start-up. So begins her time in a topsy-turvy reality where her skills are undervalued and yet she continues to fail up. Anna quickly discovers this world can be intoxicating, frustrating, and cut-throat. Not only is it an absorbing memoir of a fish out of water, but Uncanny Valley also reveals the unsettling disconnect between the fun, laid-back culture that these Silicon Valley companies promote, and the casual damage left in their wake.  —Luisa


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Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9781452183336
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Chronicle Prism - January 14th, 2020

What happens when one of the nation’s foremost investigative reporters is forced to investigate his own life? David Talbot’s ground-breaking work included founding the Salon.com website and his acclaimed investigative books, such as The Devil’s Chessboard and The Season of the Witch. But unbeknownst to him, his tireless work was taking a toll on his body. In 2017 he suffered a serious stroke, but once he began to recover, he did what a good writer does: he began to tell the story of what happened. Between Heaven and Hell is an astonishing book. At times you’re moved to tears by the agony that he and his family went through. At other times you watch gleefully as he dissects the high-pressured world of the dot-coms and Hollywood producers who helped lead him to the brink.  —Elaine


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Such a Fun Age Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525541905
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - December 31st, 2019

Deftly twisting the “white savior” trope, Kiley Reid presents an astute examination of identity, privilege, and friendship. Alix is in the business of perception, putting into the world the person that you wish to be. When Emira comes into her life Alix views her as the kind of babysitter that reflects well on her. But when a racist incident happens while Emira is watching Alix’s daughter Briar, Alix finds her own identity at stake and becomes obsessed with inserting herself into Emira’s life in a misguided attempt to fix her own. Meanwhile, Emira is assessing her own choices, and the one thing she know for sure is that she doesn’t need anyone to save her. As secrets of the past and present collide, few survive unscathed. Such a Fun Age is a compelling look at the many facets of racism and the importance of honest dialog.  —Luisa


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Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781476786391
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster - February 11th, 2020

The best nonfiction books sweep you along from one fascinating story to the next, revealing answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask. Craig Fehrman does a masterful job of exactly this in his latest book, Author in Chief. The decision to put pen to paper is often the result of many personal choices. By looking at the books written by the men who have held the mantle of President of the United States, Fehrman reveals a side of them that had been previously unexamined. From Kennedy’s writerly aspirations but lack of discipline to Coolidge’s surprising deftness with the written word, we get a captivating glimpse behind the curtain of politics into the human side of history.   —Elaine


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When Time Stopped: A Memoir of My Father's War and What Remains Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982106379
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - February 4th, 2020

Ariana Neumann never imagined her father was anything other than the successful Venezuelan businessman he portrayed. When a collection of letters and documents after his death are translated, she discovers the heartbreaking truth of his youth as a Jewish man in Czechoslovakia, and the remarkable mettle that allowed him to survive while so many relatives perished. As she reflects on the contrast between his tortured past and her gilded youth, Ariana illuminates the fierceness with which he held onto life. Many people have struggled to understand their parents, but few discover such a fascinating story as the one unearthed by Ariana Neumann.  —Elaine


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Real Life: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525538882
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - February 18th, 2020

Brandon Taylor’s novel Real Life captures a lifetime of emotions during a brief window into the life of Wallace, a young graduate student struggling between his own private turmoil and the outward calm he is determined to project. Taylor brings Wallace’s inner dialog to life—that of a quiet, gay, black man who keenly sees those around him even as he’s overlooked. Surrounded by friends and colleagues he has kept at arms-length, burdened by the prejudices of others and by his own trauma, he finds himself one step away from giving up—but his friendships and work situations have more surprises in store. When romance beckons from an unexpected suitor and a vicious act unsettles him at work, he is forced to confront what he truly wants from life. This is a beautiful novel of sadness and strength, not to be missed. —Luisa


Staff Pick Badge
Run Me to Earth Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501154041
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - January 28th, 2020

There are few writers that convey the gravity held in the unspoken moments as well as Paul Yoon. In his latest novel, we meet Alisak, Noi, and Prany—three children in war-torn Laos, bonded by the horrors they have seen and the innocent moments they have shared. Talented at avoiding the buried bombs that have transformed every road and field into a war zone, they navigate this merciless landscape together. But their hopes for the future are dashed when the road to freedom veers in different directions for each of them. Yoon takes us from a bombed-out field hospital to a reeducation camp to a small coastal town in Spain, each location forming a piece of the puzzle of what happened in Laos all those years ago. A powerfully moving tale of what man can endure as long as there is hope.  —Luisa