Staff Book Picks: February 2021

Barba, Andrés, 1975- author.

"A ... novel ... about the arrival of feral children to a tropical city in Argentina, and the quest to stop them from pulling the place into chaos"-- Provided by publisher.

Barnett, Brittany K., author.

"Brittany K. Barnett was only a law student when she came across the case that would change her life forever--that of Sharanda Jones, single mother, business owner, and, like Brittany, Black daughter of the rural South. A victim of America's ... war on drugs, Sharanda had been torn away from her young daughter and was serving a life sentence without parole--for a first-time drug offense. In Sharanda, Brittany saw haunting echoes of her own life, both as the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother and as the once-girlfriend of an abusive drug dealer. As she studied this case, a system came into focus [for her]: one where widespread racial injustice forms the core of America's addiction to incarceration"-- Provided by publisher.

Bethencourt, Kahran, author.

"From Kahran and Regis Bethencourt, the dynamite husband and wife duo behind CreativeSoul Photography, comes GLORY, a photography book that shatters the conventional standards of beauty for Black children. Featuring a foreword by Amanda Seales With stunning images of natural hair and gorgeous, inventive visual storytelling, GLORY puts Black beauty front and center with more than 100 breathtaking photographs and a collection of powerful essays about the children. At its heart, it is a recognition and celebration of the versatility and innate beauty of black hair, and black beauty. The glorious coffee-table book pays homage to the story of our royal past, celebrates the glory of the here and now, and even dares to forecast the future. It brings to life past, present, and future visions of black culture and showcases the power and beauty of recognizing and celebrating oneself. Beauty as an expression of who you are is power. When we define our own standards of beauty, we take back that power. GLORY encourages children around the world to feel that power and harness it"-- Provided by publisher.

Carlson, Gretchen, 1966- author.
Cha, Frances, author.

A "debut novel set in contemporary Seoul, Korea, about four young women making their way in a world defined by impossible standards of beauty, after-hours room salons catering to wealthy men, ruthless social hierarchies, and K-pop mania"--Dust jacket flap.

Cho, Nam-ju, 1978- author.

"In a small, tidy apartment on the outskirts of ... Seoul, Kim Jiyoung--a millennial 'everywoman'--spends her days caring for her infant daughter. Her husband, however, worries over a strange symptom that has recently appeared: Jiyoung has begun to impersonate the voices of other women--dead and alive, both known and unknown to her ... As she plunges deeper into this psychosis, Jiyoung's concerned husband sends her to a psychiatrist, who listens to her narrate her own life story--from her birth to a family who expected a son, to elementary school teachers who policed girls' outfits, to male coworkers who installed hidden cameras in women's restrooms and posted the photos online"-- Provided by publisher.

Collette, Abby, author.

"This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop--with a fabulous cast of quirky characters. Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family's ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she's going back to basics. Wyn is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors--many from her grandmother's original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away. To make matters worse, that evening, Wyn finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Wyn's father is implicated in his death. It's not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Wyn is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she'll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown"-- Provided by publisher.

Ford, Kelli Jo, author.

"It's 1974 in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and fifteen-year-old Justine grows up in a family of tough, complicated, and loyal women, presided over by her mother, Lula, and Granny. After Justine's father abandoned the family, Lula became a devout member of the Holiness Church-a community that Justine at times finds stifling and terrifying. But she does her best as a devoted daughter, until an act of violence sends her on a different path forever. Crooked Hallelujah tells the stories of Justine-a mixed-blood Cherokee woman-and her daughter, Reney, as they move from Eastern Oklahoma's Indian Country in the hopes of starting a new, more stable life in Texas amid the oil bust of the 1980s. However, life in Texas isn't easy, and Reney feels unmoored from her family in Indian Country. Against the vivid backdrop of the Red River, we see their struggle to survive in a world-of unreliable men and near-Biblical natural forces like wildfires and tornadoes-intent on stripping away their connections to one another and their very ideas of home. In lush and empathic prose, Kelli Jo Ford depicts what this family of proud, stubborn women sacrifice for those they love, amid larger forces of history, religion, class, and culture. This is a big-hearted and ambitious novel-in-stories of the powerful bonds between mothers and daughters by an exquisite and rare new talent"-- Provided by publisher.

Fusselman, Amy, author.

Leaping from ballet to quiltmaking, from the The Nutcracker to an Annie-B Parson interview, Idiophone is a strikingly original meditation on risk-taking and provocation in art and a unabashedly honest, funny, and intimate consideration of art-making in the context of motherhood, and motherhood in the context of addiction. Amy Fusselman's compact, beautifully digressive essay feels both surprising and effortless, fueled by broad-ranging curiosity, and, fundamentally, joy.

Gerson, Stéphane, author.

"A piercing and luminescent catalogue of a father's grief, parsing the shapes and distances of profound loss into a way forward for a family in crisis"-- Provided by publisher.

Gilmour, Charlie Samson, author.

A "memoir of grief, healing, and fatherhood through the story of a young man who adopts a baby magpie"-- Provided by publisher.

Goodman, Makenna, author.

"The Shame is a novel about technology, capitalism, motherhood, and the search for meaningful art"-- Provided by publisher.

Hayes, Bill, 1961-

From the beloved author of Insomniac City, a poignant and profound tribute in stories and images to a city amidst a pandemic. A bookstore where readers shout their orders from the street. A neighborhood restaurant turned to-go place where one has a shared drink--on either end of a bar--with the owner. These scenes, among many others, became the new normal as soon as the world began to face the COVID-19 pandemic. In How We Live Now, author and photographer Bill Hayes offers an ode to our shared humanity--capturing in real time this strange new world we're now in (for who knows how long?) with his signature insight and grace. As he wanders the increasingly empty streets of Manhattan, Hayes meets fellow New Yorkers and discovers stories to tell, but he also shares the unexpected moments of gratitude he finds from within his apartment, where he lives alone and--like everyone else--is staying home, trying to keep busy and not bored as he adjusts to enforced solitude with reading, cooking, reconnecting with loved ones, reflecting on the past--and writing. Featuring Hayes's inimitable street photographs, How We Live Now chronicles an unimaginable moment in time, offering a long-lasting reminder that what will gets us through this unprecedented, deadly crisis is each other.

Lansens, Lori.

"From New York Times bestselling author Lori Lansens comes a harrowing survival story about four strangers who spend five days lost in the mountain wilderness above Palm Springs. Four go up the mountain, but only three will come down... On the morning of Wolf Truly's eighteenth birthday, he boards the first cable car to head up the mountains just a few miles from his sun-bleached trailer home in the desert community outside of Palm Springs. Armed with nothing but the clothes on his back, Wolf's intention that morning was to give up on life--specifically at the mountain site of his best friend's tragic accident one year ago. But on that shaky ride up the mountain, fate intervenes and Wolf meets three women that will leave an indelible imprint on the rest of his life. Through a series of missteps, the four wind up lost and stranded among the forested cliffs--in sight of the desert city below, but unable to find a way down. As the days pass without rescue, we come to learn how each of them came to be on the mountain that morning. And as their situation shifts from misadventure to nightmare, the lost hikers forge an inextricable bond, pushing themselves, and each other, beyond their limits. Reminiscent of John Krakauer's modern classic Into the Wild and Cheryl Strayed's #1 bestselling Oprah-endorsed Wild, Lori Lansen's The Mountain Story is a deeply affecting novel that pays homage to the rugged beauty--and utterly unforgiving nature--of the wilderness, and considers the question: What price are you willing to pay not only for the ones you love, but for a complete stranger?"-- Provided by publisher.

Liu, Ken, 1976-

Presents the author's selection of his best short stories, as well as a new piece, in a collection that includes "The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary," "Mono No Aware" and "The Waves."

Loskutoff, Maxim, author.

"In this haunting parable of the American west, a young woman faces the violent past of a remote Montana valley. In Montana's Bitterroot Valley, a young Ruthie Fear sees an apparition: a strange, headless creature near a canyon creek. Raised in a trailer by her stubborn, bowhunting father, Ruthie develops a powerful connection with the natural world but struggles to find her place in a society shaped by men. As she comes of age , her small community fractures in the face of class tension and encroaching natural disaster, and the creature she saw long ago reappears. An entirely new kind of Western and the first novel from one of this generation's most "wildly imaginative" (NPR) writers, RUTHIE FEAR captures the destruction and rebirth of the modern American West with warmth, urgency, and grandeur. Loskutoff presents this place as balanced on a knife's edge, at war with itself, but still unbearably beautiful and full of love"-- Provided by publisher.

Maniscalco, Kerri, author.

A gothic murder mystery set in gritty Victorian-era London, where an intrepid society girl finds herself embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

Merlan, Anna, author.

Merlin takes readers on a riveting tour through the landscape and meaning of modern conspiracy theories. American society has always been fertile ground for conspiracy theories, but with the election of Donald Trump, previously outlandish ideas suddenly attained legitimacy. Trump himself is a conspiracy enthusiast: from his claim that global warming is a Chinese hoax to the accusations of "fake news," he has fanned the flames of suspicion. Merlin looks beyond the caricatures of conspiracy theorists to give a nuanced, sympathetic account of the people behind them, across the political spectrum, and the circumstances that helped them take hold. In doing so, she transforms our understanding of American paranoia. -- adapted from jacket

Moore, Wayétu, author.

"When Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York. Before she gets the reunion her father promised her, war breaks out in Liberia. The family is forced to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks until they arrive in the village of Lai. Finally, a rebel soldier smuggles them across the border to Sierra Leone, reuniting the family and setting them off on yet another journey, this time to the United States"--Publisher's description.

O'Farrell, Maggie, 1972- author.

"Daniel Sullivan, a young American professor reeling from a failed marriage and a brutal custody battle, is on holiday in Ireland when he falls in love with Claudette, a world famous sexual icon and actress who fled fame for a reclusive life in a rural village. Together, they make an idyllic life in the country, raising two more children in blissful seclusion until a secret from Daniel's past threatens to destroy their meticulously constructed and fiercely protected home"-- Provided by publisher.

Rankin, Kenrya, author.

"Each page or spread showcases a passage from the writings or speeches of writers/activists in the POC or allied community-especially those who have been unheard in the past; words to enlighten, to prompt change, to provide encouragement, and to move readers to action"-- Provided by publisher.

Reines, Ariana, author.

A Sand Book is a poetry collection in nine parts, a travel guide that migrates from wildfires to hurricanes, tweety bird to the president, lust to aridity, desertification to prophecy, and mother to daughter. It explores the negative space of what is happening to language and to consciousness in our strange and desperate times. From Hurricane Sandy to the murder of Sandra Bland to the massacre at Sandy Hook, from the sand in the gizzards of birds to the desertified mountains of Haiti, from Attar's "Conference of the Birds" to Chaucer's "Parliament of Fowls" to Twitter, A Sand Book is about change and quantification, the relationship between catastrophe and cultural transmission. It moves among houses of worship and grocery stores, flitters between geological upheaval and the weird weather of the Internet. In her long-awaited follow-up to Mercury, Reines has written her most ambitious work to date, but also her most visceral and satisfying.

Ries, Ariel Slamet, author.

"In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. Those that are strong enough are conscripted by the Witch Guard, who enforce the law in peacetime and protect the land during war. However, those with hair judged too long are pronounced enemies of the kingdom, and annihilated. This is called a witch burning." -- page 4 of cover.

Ritter, R. William.

Newly arrived in 1892 New England, Abigail Rook becomes assistant to R.F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with the ability to see supernatural beings, and she helps him delve into a case of serial murder which, Jackaby is convinced, is due to a nonhuman creature.

Sanchez, Sonia, 1934-

A collection of poems by award-winning poet Sonia Sanchez, drawn from throughout more than thirty years of her work.

Schaffhausen, Joanna, author.
Shapland, Jenn, 1987- author.

"While working as an intern in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Jenn Shapland encounters the love letters of Carson McCullers and a woman named Annemarie-letters that are tender, intimate, and unabashed in their feelings. Shapland recognizes herself in the letters' language-but does not see McCullers as history has portrayed her. And so, Shapland is compelled to undertake a recovery of the full narrative and language of McCullers's life: she wades through the therapy transcripts; she stays at McCullers's childhood home, where she lounges in her bathtub and eats delivery pizza; she relives McCullers's days at her beloved Yaddo. As Shapland reckons with the expanding and collapsing distance between her and McCullers, she sees the way McCullers's story has become a way to articulate something about herself. The results reveal something entirely new not only about this one remarkable, walleyed life, but about the way we tell queer love stories. In genre-defying vignettes, Jenn Shapland interweaves her own story with Carson McCullers's to create a vital new portrait of one of America's most beloved writers, and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are"-- Provided by publisher.

Soule, Charles, author.

"The lead book in an exciting cross-publishing event, exploring a new era of Star Wars storytelling: the never-before-seen in any medium High Republic"-- Provided by publisher.

Stewart, Amy, author.

"The indomitable Kopp sisters are tested at home and aboard in this ... tale of wartime courage and camaraderie"-- Provided by publisher.

Woods, Rita, author.

"Remembrance...It's a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy...if you can make it there. Ohio, present day. A refugee struggling to rebuild her life in America after the devastating Haitian earthquake is suddenly inexplicably bound to a mysterious old woman who is not at all what she seems. Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution. When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers. 1857 New Orleans-a city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her 18th birthday and her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper.... Remembrance"-- Provided by publisher.