Staff Book Picks: August 2021

A collection of never-before-seen humor pieces-essays, satire, short stories, poetry, cartoons, artwork, and more-from more than 150 of the biggest female comedians today, curated by Amy Solomon, a producer of the hit HBO shows Silicon Valley and Barry

 A celebration of these magnificent parks - packed with beautiful photography and inspiring ideas for your next adventure, whether you want to be alone amid the vast and haunting wilderness of Alaska's Denali Park or get up close to the teeming tropical wildlife of Florida's Everglades. All 62 national parks are covered, showcasing what makes each one unique, with maps, facts and figures, things to do, and when and where to experience it at its best.

Akyol, Mustafa, 1972- author.

A fascinating journey into Islam's diverse history of ideas, making an argument for an "Islamic Enlightenment" today In Reopening Muslim Minds, Mustafa Akyol, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and opinion writer for The New York Times, both diagnoses "the crisis of Islam" in the modern world, and offers a way forward. Diving deeply into Islamic theology, and also sharing lessons from his own life story, he reveals how Muslims lost the universalism that made them a great civilization in their earlier centuries. He especially demonstrates how values often associated with Western Enlightenment - freedom, reason, tolerance, and an appreciation of science - had Islamic counterparts, which sadly were cast aside in favor of more dogmatic views, often for political ends. Elucidating complex ideas with engaging prose and storytelling, Reopening Muslim Minds borrows lost visions from medieval Muslim thinkers such as Ibn Rushd (aka Averroes), to offer a new Muslim worldview on a range of sensitive issues: human rights, equality for women, freedom of religion, or freedom from religion. While frankly acknowledging the problems in the world of Islam today, Akyol offers a clear and hopeful vision for its future.

Arnett, Kristen N., author.

From the author of the New York Times-bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things: a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love If she's being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best--driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school--while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie's life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son's hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess--and the possibility that it will never be clean again. Blending the warmth and wit of Arnett's breakout hit, Mostly Dead Things, with a candid take on queer family dynamics, With Teeth is a thought-provoking portrait of the delicate fabric of family--and the many ways it can be torn apart.

Bear, Elizabeth, author.

Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law...usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence--with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big--just once--to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels. But when they make a shocking discovery about a long-thought-dead alien species, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into war.

Blanchin, Julie, author, artist.

A funny and intimate travelogue of one woman's unexpected adventures in Japan. French illustrator Julie Blanchin-Fujita arrived in Tokyo for what she thought would be a one-year stint, and ended up never leaving. In this graphic novel-style memoir she shares her love of Japan, while depicting personal experiences and stories from her life in Tokyo--from the exotic (sumo wrestlers, ramen, hot springs, tatami mats, bentos, Japanese trains, Mount Fuji, earthquakes) to the everyday (hanging out with friends, moving houses, falling in love). Her voyage of discovery in the world's most exciting city will appeal to a broad range of readers--from those contemplating a trip to Tokyo and Japanophiles to fans of graphic novels and anyone who enjoys a good manga love story. Packed with keen cultural observations, this enchanting story is told in both English and Japanese--also making it a great language learning resource"

Brammer, John Paul, 1991- author.

The popular LGBTQ advice columnist and writer presents a memoir-in-essays chronicling his journey growing up as a queer, mixed-race kid in America's heartland to becoming the "Chicano Carrie Bradshaw" of his generation.

Broder, Melissa, author.

Rachel is twenty-four, a lapsed Jew who has made calorie restriction her religion. By day, she maintains an illusion of existential control, by way of obsessive food rituals, while working as an underling at a Los Angeles talent management agency. At night, she pedals nowhere on the elliptical machine. Rachel is content to carry on subsisting--until her therapist encourages her to take a ninety-day communication detox from her mother, who raised her in the tradition of calorie counting. Early in the detox, Rachel meets Miriam, a zaftig young Orthodox Jewish woman who works at her favorite frozen yogurt shop and is intent upon feeding her. Rachel is suddenly and powerfully entranced by Miriam--by her sundaes and her body, her faith and her family--and as the two grow closer, Rachel embarks on a journey marked by mirrors, mysticism, mothers, milk, and honey.

Bynum, Sarah Shun-lien, author.

A new collection from an acclaimed author weaves together the real and unreal, fairy tale, sci-fi, and myth.

Cassara, Joseph, author.

1980, New York City. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must tend to their house alone. She recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus's life. The Xtravaganzas lean on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them.

Clark, Mary Higgins.

Nancy Harmon long ago fled the heartbreak of her first marriage, the macabre deaths of her two little children, and the shocking charges against her. She changed her name, dyed her hair, and left California for the windswept peace of Cape Cod. Now remarried, she has two more beloved children, and the terrible pain has begun to heal -- until the morning when she looks in the backyard for her little boy and girl and finds only one red mitten. She knows that the nightmare is beginning again ...

Cleeves, Ann, author.

On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat. Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It's also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there's a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow. As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family's complicated past.

Danforth, Emily M., author.

A century after the macabre deaths of several students at a New England girls' boarding school, the release of a sensational book on the school's history inspires a horror film adaptation that renews suspicions of a curse when the cast and crew arrive at the long-abandoned building.

Dev, Sonali, author.
Foster, Fiona King, 1977- author.

A rural noir about a woman on a pulse-pounding expedition to deliver a fugitive-and forced to confront her own past on the journey.

Gailey, Sarah, author.

When they said all happy families are alike, I don't think this is what they meant...' Evelyn Caldwell's husband Nathan has been having an affair - with Evelyn Caldwell. Or, to be exact, with a genetically cloned replica. After a morning that begins with a confrontation and ends with Nathan's body bleeding out on the kitchen floor, the two Caldwell wives will have to think fast-before sharing everything includes sharing a jail cell. The Echo Wife is a non-stop thrill ride of lies, betrayal, and identity, perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and Killing Eve.

Gay, Roxane, author.

Chicago. Southside. For fifty years the women of the Banks family have been the most successful thieves in the city by following one simple rule: Get in. Get away. Get paid. Never get greedy. But when the youngest Banks, who has long turned her back on her family, stumbles upon the heist of a lifetime, the potential windfall may be enough to bring three generations of thieves together for one incredible score and the chance to avenge a loved one taken too soon.

Goldberg, E. (Emma), author.

Weaving together in-depth interviews with doctors, their diaries, and notes, this page-turning account follows the medical students who received their degrees early to help treat thousands of critically ill COVID-19 patients in New York City during the height of the pandemic.

Harjo, Joy.

A memoir from the Native American poet describes her youth with an abusive stepfather, becoming a single teen mom, and how she struggled to finally find inner peace and her creative voice.

Harvey, Janet, 1966- author.

An action-adventure original graphic novel, following a team of young women recruited by an elite secret society--originally founded by Marie Curie--with the mission of supporting the most brilliant female scientists in the world. The heroines of the Curie Society use their smarts, gumption, and cutting-edge technology to protect the world from rogue scientists with nefarious plans. Follow recruits Simone, Taj, and Maya as they decipher secret codes, clone extinct animals, develop autonomous robots, and go on high-stakes missions.

Headlee, Celeste Anne, 1969- author.

We work feverishly to make ourselves happy. So why are we so miserable? Despite our constant search for new ways to "hack" our bodies and minds for peak performance, human beings are working more instead of less, living harder not smarter, and becoming more lonely and anxious. This manifesto helps us break free of our unhealthy devotion to efficiency and shows us how to reclaim our time and humanity with a little more leisure.

Henderson, Danielle, author.

A sharp, hilarious memoir about a nontraditional upbringing and growing up Black in a predominantly white community.

Henry, Christina, 1974- author.

It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that served as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She was just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that didn't look anything like the one she'd grown up in, the one that had been perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago. There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. Red didn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she wasn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she was a woman alone in the woods...

Holloway, Karla F. C., 1949- author.

A kidnapping tests the mettle, resourcefulness, and intuition of Harlem's first 'colored' policeman in this mystery, set during New York's Harlem Renaissance. The story references the infamous Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

Hong, Cathy Park, author.

Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achieving professionals. But in reality, this is the most economically divided group in the country, a tenuous alliance of people with roots from South Asia to East Asia to the Pacific Islands, from tech millionaires to service industry laborers. How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition--if such a thing exists? Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. Binding these essays together is Hong's theory of "minor feelings." As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality--when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. With sly humor and a poet's searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and artmaking, and to family and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche--and of a writer's search to both uncover and speak the truth.

Hunt, Laird, author.
Justseeds Artists' Cooperative, author.

These American heroes hail from Canada to Chile and everywhere in between, from the 1500s to today. Instead of the powerful, rich, white folks focused on in school textbooks, these gorgeous portraits with accompanying biographies recognize the work of grassroots organizers, revolutionaries, visionaries, anarchists, workers, and artists. These heroes put their bodies and souls into fighting injustice and making their communities better and often gave their lives for the causes they believed in. Each story is vividly illustrated, offering a radical glimpse of how individuals can work to change the world.Firebrands include: Frida Kahlo, Audre Lorde, Sitting Bull, Gloria Anzaldúa, Pablo Neruda, Nina Simone, Emma Goldman, Fred Hampton, Buckminster Fuller, Paolo Freire, W.E.B. Du Bois, Sojourner Truth, Chico Mendes, Tupac Shakur, Grace Lee Boggs, Muhammad Ali, Yuri Kochiyama, and many more.

Kingfisher, T., author.

A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle's house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel from the author of the "innovative, unexpected, and absolutely chilling" (Mira Grant, Nebula Award-winning author) The Twisted Ones. Pray they are hungry. Kara finds the words in the mysterious bunker that she's discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle's house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring this peculiar area-only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts...and the more one fears them, the stronger they become. With her distinctive "delightfully fresh and subversive" (SF Bluestocking) prose and the strange, sinister wonder found in Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, The Hollow Places is another compelling and white-knuckled horror novel that you won't be able to put down.

KunQuest, Quntos, 1976- author.

This is the debut novel by Quntos KunQuest, a longtime inmate at Angola, the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary. This marks the appearance of a bold, distinctive new voice, one deeply inflected by hiphop, that delves into the meaning of a life spent behind bars, the human bonds formed therein, and the poetry that even those in the most dire places can create. Lil Chris is just nineteen when he arrives at Angola as an AU-an admitting unit, a fresh fish, a new vict. He's got a life sentence with no chance of parole, but he's also got a clear mind and sharp awareness-one that picks up quickly on the details of the system, his fellow inmates, and what he can do to claim a place at the top. When he meets Rise, a mature inmate who's already spent years in the system, they begin to channel their questions, frustrations, and pain into rap, and flows with the same cadence that powers their charged verses. It pulses with the heat of impassioned inmates, the oppressive daily routines of the prison yard, and the rap contests that bring the men of the prison together. This Life is told in a voice that only a man who's lived it could have-a clipped, urgent, evocative voice that surges with anger, honesty, playfulness, and a deep sense of ugly history.

Lim, Roselle, author.

From the critically acclaimed author of Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune comes a delightful new novel about exploring all the magical possibilities of life in the most extraordinary city of all: Paris. Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people's fortunes-or misfortunes-in tea leaves. Ever since she can remember, Vanessa has been able to see people's fortunes at the bottoms of their teacups. To avoid blurting out fortunes, she converts to coffee, but somehow the fortunes escape and find a way to complicate her life and the lives of those around her. To add to this plight, her romantic life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai. After her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa sees death for the first time. She decides that she can't truly live until she can find a way to get rid of her uncanny abilities. When her eccentric aunt Evelyn shows up with a tempting offer to whisk her away, Vanessa says au revoir to California and bonjour to Paris. There, Vanessa learns more about herself and the root of her gifts, and realizes one thing to be true: Knowing one's destiny isn't a curse, but being unable to change it is.

Maas, Sarah J., author.

Half-Fae, half-human Bryce Quinlan loves her life. By day, she works for an antiquities dealer, selling barely legal magical artifacts, and by night, she parties with her friends, savoring every pleasure Lunathion-otherwise known as Crescent City-has to offer. But it all comes crumbling down when a ruthless murder shakes the very foundations of the city-and Bryce's world. Two years later, her job has become a dead end, and she now seeks only blissful oblivion in the city's most notorious nightclubs. But when the murderer attacks again, Bryce finds herself dragged into the investigation and paired with an infamous Fallen angel whose own brutal past haunts his every step. Hunt Athalar, personal assassin for the Archangels, wants nothing to do with Bryce Quinlan, despite being ordered to protect her. She stands for everything he once rebelled against and seems more interested in partying than solving the murder, no matter how close to home it might hit. But Hunt soon realizes there's far more to Bryce than meets the eye-and that he's going to have to find a way to work with her if they want to solve this case. As Bryce and Hunt race to untangle the mystery, they have no way of knowing the threads they tug ripple through the underbelly of the city, across warring continents, and down to the darkest levels of Hel, where things that have been sleeping for millennia are beginning to stir.

Massey, Sujata, 1964- author.

November, 1921. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales and future ruler of India, is arriving in Bombay to begin a four-month tour. The Indian subcontinent is chafing under British rule, and Bombay solicitor Perveen Mistry isn't surprised when local unrest over the royal arrival spirals into riots. But she's horrified by the death of Freny Cuttingmaster, an eighteen-year-old female Parsi student, who falls from a second-floor gallery just as the prince's grand procession is passing by her college. Freny had come for a legal consultation just days before her death, and what she confided makes Perveen suspicious that her death was not an accident. Perveen, who strongly identified with Freny-another young Parsi woman fighting hard against the confines of society's rules and expectations-feels terribly guilty for failing to help her. Perveen steps forward to assist Freny's family in the fraught dealings of the coroner's inquest, and when Freny's death is ruled a murder, Perveen knows she can't rest until she sees justice done. But Bombay is erupting: as armed British secret service march the streets, rioters attack anyone with perceived British connections and desperate shopkeepers destroy their own wares so they will not be targets of racial violence. Can Perveen help a suffering family when her own is in danger?

Mbue, Imbolo, author.

We should have known the end was near.' So begins Imbolo Mbue's exquisite and devastating novel How Beautiful We Were. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, it tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by a large and powerful American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean up and financial reparations to the villagers are made--and ignored. The country's government, led by a corrupt, brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight the American corporation. Doing so will come at a steep price. Told through multiple perspectives and centered around a fierce young girl named Thula who grows up to become a revolutionary, Joy of the Oppressed is a masterful exploration of what happens when the reckless drive for profit, coupled with the ghosts of colonialism, comes up against one village's quest for justice--and a young woman's willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of her people's freedom.

Mendez, Paul, 1982- author.

An essential and revelatory coming-of-age narrative following nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of his Jehovah's Witness upbringing.

Menkedick, Sarah, author.

A groundbreaking exposé and diagnosis of the silent epidemic of fear that afflicts new mothers, and a candid, feminist deep dive into culture, science, and psychology of contemporary motherhood.

Miller, Sam J., author.

From Nebula Award winner Sam J. Miller comes a frightening and uncanny ghost story about a rapidly changing city in upstate New York and the mysterious forces that threaten it.

Nimura, Janice P., author.

A "biography of two pioneering sisters who, together, became America's first female doctors and transformed New York's medical establishment by creating a hospital by and for women.

Porter, Regina, author.

Meet James Samuel Vincent - an affluent Manhattan attorney who shirks his modest Irish American background but hews to his father's philandering ways. James muddles through a topsy-turvy relationship with his son, Rufus, which is further complicated when Rufus marries Claudia Christie. Claudia's mother - Agnes Miller Christie - is a beautiful African American woman who survives a chance encounter on a Georgia road that propels her into a new life in the Bronx. Soon after, her husband, Eddie Christie, is called to duty on an aircraft carrier in Vietnam, where Tom Stoppard's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead becomes his life anchor as he grapples with mounting racial tensions on the ship and counts the days until he will see Agnes again. These unforgettable characters' lives intersect with a cast of lovers and friends: the unapologetic black lesbian who finds her groove in 1970s Berlin; a moving man stranded in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, during a Thanksgiving storm; two half brothers who meet as adults in a crayon factory; and a Coney Island waitress whose Prince Charming is too good to be true. Written with piercing humor, exacting dialogue, and a beautiful sense of place, Regina Porter's debut is both an intimate family portrait and a sweeping exploration of what it means to be American today.

Prince, W. Maxwell, author.

See here four more strange and sad stories of the critically lauded horror-adjacent anthology series, ICE CREAM MAN. See here a tetrad of tales featuring people for whom the world spins unevenly. See here nougat, licorice, nonpareils, and other oddly named confections. See here, see here!

Redondo, Dolores, 1969- author.

Amaia Salazar, a young detective from the north of Spain, has joined a group of trainees at the FBI Academy in Virginia. Haunted by her past and having already tracked down a predator on her own, Amaia is no typical rookie. And this is no ordinary student lecture at Quantico. FBI agent Aloysius Dupree is already well acquainted with Amaia’s skills, her intuition, and her ability to understand evil. He now needs her help in hunting an elusive serial killer dubbed “the composer”—a case that’s been following him his whole life. From New Jersey to Oklahoma to Texas, his victims are entire families annihilated to coincide with natural disasters, their bodies posed with chilling purpose amid the ruins. Dupree and Amaia are following his trail to New Orleans. The clock is ticking. It’s the eve of what’s threatening to be the worst hurricane in the city’s history. But a troubling call from Amaia’s aunt back home awakens in Amaia the ghosts from her childhood and sends her down a path as dark as that of the coming storm.

Scott, Sabrina, author, illustrator.

An inspiring, playful, and sensual invitation to the experience of everyday magic--in the form of a wildly original graphic novel. Witchbody is an invitation to awaken a sense of wonder to what lies beneath the surface of our experiences--the magic of all things. A plant, a tree, a coffee cup, garbage bins, you, me--they're all full of magic. Witchcraft is simply the power we all have to awaken to this magic."Reading Sabrina Scott's beautiful graphic novel Witchbody has been a transformative experience for me. I hope that the messages of Sabrina's work, their perspectives on ecology, materiality, nature and magic, will feel relevant to everyone who reads this.

Snider, Grant, author, illustrator.

it's no secret, but we are judged by our bookshelves. We learn to read at an early age, and as we grow older we shed our beloved books for new ones. But some of us surround ourselves with books. We collect them, decorate with them, are inspired by them, and treat our books as sacred objects. In this lighthearted collection of one- and two-page comics, writer-artist Grant Snider explores bookishness in all its forms, and the love of writing and reading, building on the beloved literary comics featured on his website, Incidental Comics.

Solomon, Rivers, author.

Vern gives birth to twins and raises them away from the influence of the outside world. But something is wrong-not with them, but with her own body...A genre-bending work of Gothic fiction that wrestles with the history of American racism.

Stanley, Stan, author, illustrator, colorist, letterer.
Taddeo, Lisa, author.

Joan has spent a lifetime enduring the cruelties of men. But when one of them commits a shocking act of violence in front of her, she flees New York City in search of Alice, the only person alive who can help her make sense of her past. In the sweltering hills above Los Angeles, Joan unravels the horrific event she witnessed as a child--that has haunted her every waking moment--while forging the power to finally strike back.

Tammet, Daniel, 1979- author.

Is vocabulary destiny? Why do clocks 'talk' to the Nahua people of Mexico? Will A.I. researchers ever produce true human-machine dialogue? In this mesmerizing collection of essays, Daniel Tammet answers these and many other questions about the intricacy and profound power of language. Tammet goes back in time to explore the numeric language of his autistic childhood; he looks at the music and patterns that words make, and how languages evolve and are translated. He meets one of the world's most accomplished lip readers in Canada, learns how endangered languages like Manx are being revived and corresponds with native speakers of Esperanto in their mother tongue. He studies the grammar of the telephone, contemplates the significance of disappearing dialects, and also asks: will chatbots ever manage to convince us that they are human? From the art of translation to the lyricism of sign language, "Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing" is a fascinating journey through the world of words, letters, stories and meanings, and an extraordinary testament to the stunning range of Tammet's literary and polyglot talents.

Williams, Beatriz, author.

The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora "Lulu" Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires? Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess's social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands' political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward's marriage lies an ugly-and even treasonous-reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau seethes with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle of it all stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of tremendous charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the willful and wounded Lulu falls in love. Then Nassau's wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, and the resulting coverup reeks of royal privilege. Benedict Thorpe disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London and beyond to unpick Thorpe's complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a mother from whom all joy is stolen.

Yan, Ge, 1984- author.

In the fictional Chinese city of Yong'an, an amateur cryptozoologist is tasked with uncovering the stories of its fabled beasts, which draws her deep within a mystery that threatens her very sense of self.

Yoon, David, author.

High school senior Frank Li is caught between his parents' traditional expectations and his own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance: 'Date Korean. But Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful-- and white. Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and they make a pact: they'll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. It seems like the perfect plan, until their fake-dating maneuver leaves Frank wondering if he ever really understood love- or himself- at all.