Elaine and Luisa's Picks: September - October 2018

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Washington Black: A novel By Esi Edugyan Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525521426
Published: Knopf - September 18th, 2018

Washington is a young slave on a plantation in Barbados when he gets plucked from the fields to assist his master’s brother with scientific experiments. The bright spark of his intellect catches the attention of this unconventional scientist. But as the bond between them grows, so do the threats around them. Edugyan’s prose thrums with life as she takes us on an unforgettable trip around the world, illuminating the dark corners of our past.  —Luisa

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She Would Be King: A Novel By Wayétu Moore Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781555978174
Published: Graywolf Press - September 11th, 2018

In this debut novel we explore Liberia’s 19th century origins through a fantasy that revolves around three very different characters. Gbessa was born in Africa where she was shunned because of the circumstances of her birth. June Dey escaped from slavery on a Virginia plantation. Norman Aragon had a Jamaican mother and the fair complexion of his terrible British father. All three meet in Monrovia where they join together to fight the slave trade. Moore beautifully illustrates the conflicted desires of human nature and the pain and hope that led to the creation of Liberia.  —Luisa

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Betty Ford: First Lady, Women's Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer By Lisa McCubbin Hill, Susan Ford Bales (Foreword by) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501164682
Published: Gallery Books - September 11th, 2018

This is a brilliant biography of the outspoken first lady who followed the very quiet Pat Nixon into the White House. She fervently supported the Equal Rights Amendment. She was pro-choice. She was an advocate for gun control. When she had a mastectomy, she talked about it and brought a hidden subject into the light. In 1982 she spoke of her own addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. She was the founder of the Betty Ford Center which has revolutionized treatment for addiction. And she did it all with humor, courage and deep devotion.  —Elaine

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Vox By Christina Dalcher Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780440000785
Published: Berkley - August 21st, 2018

In a world where women’s speech has been subjugated by the government, how do you fight the outrageous statements from those in power or those in your own home? Dr. Jean McClellen struggles to raise a family in a world that has become hostile to women, but she realizes that an opportunity to fight for her daughter’s future falls in her lap. As shocking revelations unfold, Jean discovers being a hero starts with speaking the truth. Dalcher’s novel keeps us on the edge of our seats as we wonder what we would do in that situation and if it is a path we are already on.  —Luisa

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The Dinner List: A Novel By Rebecca Serle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250295187
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Flatiron Books - September 11th, 2018

This is a book that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. Asked to come up with a wishlist of dinner guests, Sabrina never dreams that she will have the opportunity to live this fantasy, let alone discuss old issues and uncomfortable truths with those invited. As stories from Sabrina’s life are revealed, we begin to understand the love, hurt, and confusion that has brought this remarkable event to life. This touching novel reminds us that new beginnings often spring from a complicated past.  —Luisa

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November Road: A Novel By Lou Berney Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062663849
Published: William Morrow - October 9th, 2018

Frank Guidry has always had a talent for reading people, so it doesn’t take him long to realize his life is on the line after he unwittingly plays a role in the most shocking event of the '60s. Charlotte Roy is a young mother on the run from a life that was quickly going nowhere. Together they might just save each other. Berney skillfully paints the picture of America at the crossroads as this road trip takes us from the throbbing clubs of New Orleans to the burning lights of Las Vegas, and along the way from despair to redemption.  —Luisa

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Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home By Nora Krug Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476796628
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - October 2nd, 2018

This remarkable book of illustrations, family photos, and handwritten documents guides you through Nora Krug’s family’s past—except, that it was a Nazi past. She was raised to never ask what her family did during the war, a decision which untethered her from history without a sense of her own identity. After moving to America, Nora decides she must return home to search for the unvarnished story of her family during the war. Nora’s story encourages us to embrace the good while acknowledging the pain in the history of our own home.  —Luisa

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Virgil Wander By Leif Enger Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802128782
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - October 2nd, 2018

Virgil Wander may have been a bit of a curmudgeon before he crashed into the lake, but when he emerges it is without the blinders of his past or the burdens of his personality. His new-found clarity allows him to appreciate the people around him and their daily struggles. Together with a mysterious stranger, Virgil works towards redemption for themselves and the town. This is a novel about America that shows us our faults and gently allows us to discover our strengths.  —Luisa

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Sea Prayer By Khaled Hosseini Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525539094
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 18th, 2018

Khaled Hosseini’s profound book was inspired by the three-year-old, Alan Kurdi, whose body was brought from the waters off the coast of Turkey after his family attempted to escape the horrors in Syria. Instead of emphasizing the nightmare, Hosseini’s poem is letter from a father to his child, recalling the beauty of the Syrian town where they had lived. He tells why they had to turn to the sea to escape the war that destroyed their country. The love of the father for his child and the recollection of nature, family, and life connects this child to all humanity.  —Elaine

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Transcription: A Novel By Kate Atkinson Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780316176637
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 25th, 2018

Kate Atkinson is a master of literary suspense. Her sharp wit enables her to build worlds that are both achingly familiar and yet completely foreign. This Wold War II story is remarkable from the first twist to the unexpected ending. The protagonist Juliet learns just how insidious spy craft is, even for a country you love. An unanticipated invitation to become an undercover agent in 1940 has now come back to haunt her decades later. Atkinson deftly reveals the connections between the past and the present, along with the complicated nature of  right and wrong.  —Luisa

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The Winter Soldier By Daniel Mason Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780316477604
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 11th, 2018

When Austria entered WWI, Lucius, a medical student, volunteered for service. He was sent to a field hospital in the Carpathian Mountains, where despite his inexperience and scant training, he was the doctor in charge. The only nurse at the hospital, Sister Margaret, taught him to be a surgeon. When a shell shocked, frost bitten, uncommunicative patient arrived, Lucius became obsessed with finding a cure for this man he called the Winter Soldier. Mason brings us a sweeping tale of war, love, and obsession, yet it’s the intimate scenes that make The Winter Soldier such a treasure.  —Elaine

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Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen By Jose Antonio Vargas Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062851352
Published: Dey Street Books - September 18th, 2018

He’s been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism. He’s an esteemed filmmaker and founder of the media non-profit, Define America. At great personal risk, Jose Antonio Vargas told the world that he was brought here from the Philippines at age 12 as an undocumented immigrant and that he now faces deportation. Dear America is riveting and courageous. I was taken by the gentility and humor that Vargas brings to the telling of his own experience and how, without preaching, he illuminates the lives of the undocumented. Our country is fortunate to have such a citizen.  —Elaine

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Gone So Long: A Novel By Andre Dubus, III Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780393244106
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 2nd, 2018

Susan is married to a man who loves her. She teaches at a college and she is pregnant. She is trying to write a memoir. Sounds ideal, but of course that’s not the case. When Susan was three years old, she watched her father murder her mother. Now, Danny has been released from prison. He is dying and he wants to reconnect with his daughter. In the hands of Andre Dubus, a master story teller, we find ourselves deeply immersed in the lives of complex and fascinating characters. This book is going to win prizes, but don’t read it for that. Read it because the master story teller, Andre Dubus, will plunge you into a page turning thriller that dives into the complex lives of fascinating characters.  —Elaine

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In Pieces By Sally Field Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538763025
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 18th, 2018

Sally Field worked on her memoir for seven years. The result is a gorgeous, honest, illuminating, and at times heartbreaking book. We learn about her lonely, and at times terrifying, childhood. She became the beloved and celebrated actor who started in film at 17 as Gidget. Her career could have ended with the Flying Nun, but Sally persisted and against the predictions of the powerful, she went on to play such complex roles as Sybil, Norma Rae, and Mary Todd Lincoln. She found her way as an actor, a daughter, and a mother. It is the honest portrayal of her relationships, especially with her mother, that make In Pieces so powerful.  —Elaine