Staff Picks: February 2022

Anders, Charlie Jane author.

"Sophie serves coffee at an underground cafe. She stays in the shadows and listens to the troubles of the parlor guests, but does not draw attention to herself for one simple reason: Sophie is supposed to be dead. When a nationalistic revolution forces Sophie from her safe haven, she must make a dangerous journey to a new city, one that revels in hedonism and chaos. After joining up with a band of smugglers, she finds herself on a long and treacherous path that will lead her far closer to the truth of her entire world---and to the dangers that lurk even in the light of day" -- Provided by publisher.

Arnade, Chris, author.

"Widely acclaimed photographer and writer Chris Arnade shines new light on America's poor, drug-addicted, and forgotten--both urban and rural, blue state and red state--and indicts the elitists who've left them behind. Like Jacob Riis in the 1890s, Walker Evans in the 1930s, or Michael Harrington in the 1960s, Chris Arnade bares the reality of our current class divide in stark pictures and unforgettable true stories. Arnade's raw, deeply reported accounts cut through today's clickbait media headlines and indict the elitists who misunderstood poverty and addiction in America for decades. After abandoning his Wall Street career, Arnade decided to document poverty and addiction in the Bronx. He began interviewing, photographing, and becoming close friends with homeless addicts, and spent hours in drug dens and McDonald's. Then he started driving across America to see how the rest of the country compared. He found the same types of stories everywhere, across lines of race, ethnicity, religion, and geography. The people he got to know, from Alabama and California to Maine and Nevada, gave Arnade a new respect for the dignity and resilience of what he calls America's Back Row--those who lack the credentials and advantages of the so-called meritocratic upper class. The strivers in the Front Row, with their advanced degrees and upward mobility, see the Back Row's values as worthless. They scorn anyone who stays in a dying town or city as foolish, and mock anyone who clings to religion or tradition as nave. As Takeesha, a woman in the Bronx, told Arnade, she wants to be seen she sees herself: "a prostitute, a mother of six, and a child of God." This book is his attempt to help the rest of us truly see, hear, and respect millions of people who've been left behind"-- Provided by publisher.

Barbery, Muriel, 1969- author.

"A humorous and touching story that pays tribute to creativity, beauty, the poetry of the everyday, and to the ingenuity and sardonic humor of cats. 'The Writer's Cats' tells the story of four felines, each with a very distinct personality. There's Ocha, the leader of the gang, a tough guy with a soft heart; there's bandy-legged, affectionate Mizu; There's the phlegmatic and refined Petrus, lover of flowers; and finally, there's pretty Kirin, narrator of this bewitching story. Together, they have decided enough is enough! They deserve recognition for the assistance they have provided their owner over the years; they demand acknowledgment not as mere muses but as co-creators. Kirin, chuffed beyond measure to have been elected their representative in this important matter will present their case." -- Back cover.

Brown, Lisa, 1972- author.

"One hundred pithy and skewering three-panel literary summaries, from curriculum classics like Don Quixote, Lord of the Flies, and Jane Eyre to modern favorites like Beloved, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Atonement, conveniently organized by subjects including "Love," "Sex," "Death," and "Female Trouble.""-- Provided by publisher.

Chambers, Becky, author.

"At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in subzero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to journey to neighboring exoplanets long known to harbor life. A team of these explorers, Ariadne O'Neill and her three crewmates, are hard at work in a planetary system fifteen light-years from Sol, on a mission to ecologically survey four habitable worlds. But as Ariadne shifts through both form and time, the culture back on Earth has also been transformed. Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the story of the wonders and dangers of her mission, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening."-- Amazon.com

Clifton, Lucille, 1936-2010, author.

"Buffalo. A father's funeral. Memory. In Generations, Louise Clifton's formidable poetic gift emerges in prose, giving us a memoir of stark and profound beauty. Her story focuses on the lives of the Sayles family: Caroline, "born among the Dahomey people in 1822," who walked north from New Orleans to Virginia in 1830 when she was eight years old; Lucy, the first black woman to be hanged in Virginia; and Gene, born with a withered arm, the son of a carpetbagger and the author's grandmother. Lucille Clifton tells us about the life of an African-American family through slavery and hard times and beyond, of the death of her father and grandmother, but also of all the life and love and triumph that came before and remains even now. Generations is a powerful work of determination and affirmation. "I look at my husband," Clifton writes, "and my children and I feel the Dahomey women gathering in my bones.""-- Provided by publisher.

Cooper, Brittney C., 1980- author.

"So what if it's true that Black women are mad as hell? They have the right to be. In the Black feminist tradition of Audre Lorde, Brittney Cooper reminds us [in this memoir] that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give us the strength to keep on fighting"--Dust jacket flap.

Dewitt, Helen, 1957- author.

Sibylla, an American-at-Oxford turned loose on London, finds herself trapped as a single mother after a misguided one-night stand. High-minded principles of child-rearing work disastrously well. J. S. Mill (taught Greek at three) and Yo Yo Ma (Bach at two) claimed the methods would work with any child; when these succeed with the boy Ludo, he causes havoc at school and is home again in a month. (Is he a prodigy, a genius? Readers looking over Ludo's shoulder find themselves easily reading Greek and more.) Lacking male role models for a fatherless boy, Sibylla turns to endless replays of Kurosawa's masterpiece Seven Samurai. But Ludo is obsessed with the one thing he wants and doesn't know: his father's name. At eleven, inspired by his own take on the classic film, he sets out on a secret quest for the father he never knew. He'll be punched, sliced, and threatened with retribution. He may not live to see twelve. Or he may find a real samurai and save a mother who thinks boredom a fate worse than death.

Evans, Danielle, author.

"The award-winning author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self brings her signature voice and insight to the subjects of race, grieieief, apology, and American history"--Provided by publisher.

Fahmy, Huda, author.

Huda and her family just moved to Dearborn, Michigan, a small town with a big Muslim population. In her old town, Huda knew exactly who she was: She was the hijabi girl. But in Dearborn, everyone is the hijabi girl. Huda is lost in a sea of hijabis, and she can't rely on her hijab to define her anymore. She has to define herself. So she tries on a bunch of cliques, but she isn't a hijabi fashionista or a hijabi athlete or a hijabi gamer. She's not the one who knows everything about her religion or the one all the guys like. She's miscellaneous, which makes her feel like no one at all. Until she realizes that it'll take finding out who she isn't to figure out who she is.

Harrow, Alix E., author.

"It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it's the last birthday she'll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one. Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia's last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate"-- Provided by publisher.

Harvey, Samantha, 1975- author.

"In 2016, Samantha Harvey began to lose sleep. She tried everything to appease her wakefulness: from medication to therapy, changes in her diet to changes in her living arrangements. Nothing seemed to help. The Shapeless Unease is Harvey's darkly funny and deeply intelligent anatomy of her insomnia, an immersive interior monologue of a year without one of the most basic human needs. Original and profound, and narrated with a lucid breathlessness, this is a startlingly insightful exploration of memory, writing and influence, death and the will to survive, from "this generation's Virginia Woolf" (Telegraph)"-- Provided by publisher.

Hauck, Liz, author.

"Liz Hauck and her dad had a plan to start a weekly cooking program in a residential home for teen-aged boys in state care, which was run by the human services agency he co-directed. When her father died unexpectedly after a brief illness, Liz decided to attempt the cooking project without him. She didn't know what to expect volunteering with court-involved youth, but as a high school teacher she knew that teenagers are drawn to food-related activities, and as a daughter, she believed that if she and the kids made even a single dinner together she could check one box off of her father's long, unfinished to-do list. This is the story of what happened around the table, and how one dinner became one hundred dinners"-- Provided by publisher.

Hazzard, Shirley, 1931-2016
Heinerth, Jill, author.

"From one of the world's most renowned cave divers, a firsthand account of exploring the earth's final frontier: the hidden depths of our oceans and the sunken caves inside our planet. More people have died exploring underwater caves than climbing Mount Everest, and we know more about deep space than we do about the depths of our oceans. From one of the top cave divers working today--and one of the very few women in her field--Into the Planet blends science, adventure, and memoir to bring readers face-to-face with the terror and beauty of earth's remaining unknowns and the extremes of human capability. Jill Heinerth--the first person in history to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg and leader of a team that discovered the ancient watery remains of Mayan civilizations--has descended farther into the inner depths of our planet than any other woman. She takes us into the harrowing split-second decisions that determine whether a diver makes it back to safety, the prejudices that prevent women from pursuing careers underwater, and her endeavor to recover a fallen friend's body from the confines of a cave. But there's beauty beyond the danger of diving, and while Heinerth swims beneath our feet in the lifeblood of our planet, she works with biologists discovering new species, physicists tracking climate change, and hydrogeologists examining our finite freshwater reserves. Written with hair-raising intensity, Into the Planet is the first book to deliver an intimate account of cave diving, transporting readers deep into inner space, where fear must be reconciled and a mission's success balances between knowing one's limits and pushing the envelope of human endurance." --Amazon.

Henderson, Danielle, author.

"A sharp, hilarious memoir about a nontraditional upbringing and growing up Black in a predominantly white community"-- Provided by publisher.

Hernandez Castillo, Marcelo, 1988- author.

"A new edition of American contemporary poetry" -- Provided by publisher.

Jalaluddin, Uzma, author.

"Sales are slow at Three Sisters Biryani Poutine, the only halal restaurant in the close-knit Golden Crescent neighborhood of Toronto. Hana waitresses there part time, but what she really wants is to tell stories on the radio. If she can just outshine her fellow intern at the city radio station, she may have a chance at landing a job. In the meantime, Hana pours her thoughts and dreams into a podcast, where she forms a lively relationship with one of her listeners"-- Provided by publisher.

Jenkins, Beverly, 1951- author.

'"Banished by her grandfather at the age of eighteen, Spring Lee has survived scandal to claim her own little slice of Paradise, Wyoming. She's proud of working her ranch alone and unwilling to share it with a stranger--especially one like Garrett McCray, who makes her second-guess her resolve to avoid men. Garrett escaped slavery years ago and is now a reporter in Washington. He's traveled west to interview Dr. Colton Lee for an article, yet it's Lee's fearless sister, Spring, who captures his interest. Clad in denim and buckskins instead of dresses, she's the most fascinating woman he's ever met. And he's certain she also feels the connection that sizzles between them. But when a shadow from Spring's past returns, all is on the line: her ranch, her safety--and this wild, fierce love."--Provided by publisher.

Kelleher, Dharma, author.

When Holly Schwarz, a seventeen-year-old disabled girl charged with her mother's murder, jumps bail, bounty hunter Jinx Ballou is hired to her to jail. Having recently been outed as transgender by a local newspaper, Jinx is determined to prove she is one of the best in the business. But locating the missing girl proves to be more dangerous than expected when clues lead Jinx to believe her fugitive has been kidnapped by a Chechen mobster running a human trafficking operation.

Khaw, Cassandra, author.

"Cassandra Khaw's Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a gorgeously creepy haunted house tale, steeped in Japanese folklore and full of devastating twists. A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company. It's the perfect venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends, brought back together to celebrate a wedding. A night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare as secrets get dragged out and relationships are tested. But the house has secrets too. Lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart. And she gets lonely down there in the dirt. Effortlessly taking the classic haunted house story and turning it on its head, Nothing but Blackened Teeth is a sharp and devastating exploration of grief, the parasitic nature of relationships, and the consequences of our actions"-- Provided by publisher.

Kurian, Vera, author.
Ladau, Emily, 1991- author.

"A guide for how to be a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people, with actionable steps for what to say and do (and what not to do) and how you can help make the world a more accessible place"-- Provided by publisher.

Laymon, Kiese, author.

"Laymon writes ... about the physical manifestations of violence, grief, trauma, and abuse on his own body, [examining] his own eating disorder and gambling addiction as well as similar issues that run throughout his family. Through self-exploration, storytelling, and honest conversation with family and friends, Heavy seeks to bring what has been hidden into the light and to reckon with all of its myriad sources, from the most intimate--a mother-child relationship--to the most universal--a society that has undervalued and abused black bodies for centuries"-- Provided by publisher.

Lewis, Shantrelle P., 1978- author.

Black men appropriating, subverting, and reinventing the dress styles of society elites, described as "high-styled rebels" by author Shantrelle P. Lewis-are influencing the language of contemporary fashion. 'Dandy Lion' presents and celebrates the black dandy movement, and its designers and tailors, in photographs and stories from all over the world. Exhibition: Brighton Photo Biennial, UK (01.-31.10.2016) / Lowe Museum of Art, Miami, United States (02.-05.2017).

Morden, S. J., author.

"XO, the greedy and ultimately murderous corporate architects of humanity's first Mars base, made a costly mistake...they left Frank Kittredge alive. And now XO will do anything to keep their secrets safe. If there's one thing in Frank's favor, it's this, he's always been prepared to go to the extreme to get the job done. That's how he ended up on Mars in the first place. It just might be his ticket back. In this sequel to the terrifying sci-fi thriller, One Way, returning home from Mars may Mean striking a deal with the very people who abandoned him." -- Page 4 of cover.

Parker, Morgan, author.

"The debut collection from award-winning poet Morgan Parker demonstrates why she's become one of the most beloved writers working today. Her command of language is on full display. Parker bobs and weaves between humor and pathos, grief and anxiety, Gwendolyn Brooks and Jay-Z, the New York school and reality television. She collapses any foolish distinctions between the personal and the political, the "high" and the "low." Other People's Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night not only introduced an essential new voice to the world, it contains everything readers have come to love about Morgan Parker's work"-- Provided by publisher.

Quade, Kirstin Valdez, author.

"From an award-winning storyteller comes a stunning debut novel following a New Mexican family's extraordinary year of love and sacrifice. It's Holy Week in the small town of Las Penas, New Mexico, and thirty-three-year-old unemployed Amadeo Padilla has been given the part of Jesus in the Good Friday procession. He is preparing feverishly for this role when his fifteen-year-old daughter Angel shows up pregnant on his doorstep and disrupts his plans. Their reunion sets her own life down a startling path. Vivid, tender, darkly funny, and beautifully rendered, The Five Wounds spans the baby's first year as five generations of the Padilla family converge: Amadeo's mother, Yolanda, reeling from a recent discovery; Angel's mother, whom Angel isn't speaking to; and disapproving Tio Tive, keeper of the family's history. In the absorbing, realist tradition of Elizabeth Strout and Jonathan Franzen, Kirstin Valdez Quade conjures characters that will linger long after the final page, bringing to life their struggles to parent children they may not be equipped to save"-- Provided by publisher.

Rediger, Jeffrey, author.

When it comes to spontaneous healing, skepticism abounds. Doctors are taught that "miraculous" recoveries are flukes, and don't take them into account when treating patients. Rediger's research has uncovered insights into why some people beat the odds. He shows how to create an environment that sets the stage for healing: physically healing our diet and our immune systems; mentally healing our stress response and our identities. In explaining the science behind the miracles, Rediger provides a guidebook to both healing and preventing disease. -- adapted from jacket

Robinson, Phoebe, author.

"New York Times bestselling author, comedian, actress, and producer Phoebe Robinson is back with a new essay collection that is equal parts thoughtful, hilarious, and sharp about human connection, race, hair, travel, dating, Black excellence, and more. Written in Phoebe's unforgettable voice and with her unparalleled wit, Robinson's latest collection, laced with spot-on pop culture references, takes on a wide range of topics. From the values she learned from her parents (including, but not limited to, advice on not bringing outside germs onto your clean bed) to her and her boyfriend, lovingly known as British Baekoff, deciding to have a child-free union, to the way the Black Lives Matter movement took center stage in America, and, finally, the continual struggle to love her 4C hair, each essay is packed with humor and humanity. By turns insightful, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartfelt, Please Don't Sit On My Bed In Your Outside Clothes is not only a brilliant look at our current cultural moment, but a collection that will stay with you for years to come"-- Provided by publisher.

Rollins, Alison C., author.
Sen, Mayukh, author.

"America's modern culinary history told through the lives of seven pathbreaking chefs and food writers. Who's really behind America's appetite for foods from around the globe? This group biography from an electric new voice in food writing honors seven extraordinary women, all immigrants, who left an indelible mark on the way Americans eat today. Taste Makers stretches from World War II to the present, with absorbing and deeply researched portraits of figures including Mexican-born Elena Zelayeta, a blind chef; Marcella Hazan, the deity of Italian cuisine; and Norma Shirley, a champion of Jamaican dishes. In imaginative, lively prose, Mayukh Sen-a queer, brown child of immigrants-reconstructs the lives of these women in vivid and empathetic detail, daring to ask why some were famous in their own time, but not in ours, and why others shine brightly even today. Weaving together histories of food, immigration, and gender, Taste Makers will challenge the way readers look at what's on their plate-and the women whose labor, overlooked for so long, makes those meals possible"-- Provided by publisher.

Sibley, David, 1961- author, illustrator.

"'Can birds smell?' 'Is this the same cardinal that was at my feeder last year?' 'Do robins "hear" worms?' In [this book], David Sibley answers the most frequently asked questions about the birds we see most often. This special, large-format volume is geared as much to nonbirders as it is to the out-and-out obsessed, covering more than two hundred species and including more than 330 new illustrations by the author"--Publisher marketing.

Springsteen, Bruce, author.

"Two longtime friends share an intimate and urgent conversation about life, music, and their enduring love of America, with all its challenges and contradictions, in this stunningly produced expansion of their groundbreaking Higher Ground podcast, featuring more than 350 photographs, exclusive bonus content, and never-before-seen archival material"-- Provided by publisher

Walker, David, 1968- author.

"A bold and fascinating graphic novel history of the Black Panther Party"-- Provided by publisher.

Webb, Heather, 1976 December 30- author.

"Disembarking on Ellis Island, Francesca arrives on the shores of America with her sights set on a better life than the one she left in Italy. That same day, aspiring linguist Alma reports to her first day of work at the immigrant processing center. Ellis, though, is not the refuge it first appears thanks to President Roosevelt's attempts to deter crime. Francesca and Alma will have to rely on each other to escape its corruption and claim the American dreams they were promised. A thoughtful historical story inspired by true events, this novel probes America's history of prejudice and exclusion-when entry at Ellis Island promised a better life but often delivered something drastically different, immigrants needed strength, resilience, and friendship to fight for their futures"-- Provided by publisher.

Williams, Terry Tempest, author.

In these new essays, Williams explores the concept of erosion: of the land, of the self, of belief, of fear. She wrangles with the paradox of desert lands and the truth of erosion: What is weathered, worn, and whittled away through wind, water, and time is as powerful as what remains.

Zevin, Gabrielle, author.

"Aviva Grossman [is] an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss, who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married--and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn't take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. She becomes a late night talk show punchline; she is slut-shamed, labeled as fat and ugly, and considered a blight on politics in general. How does one go on after this? In Aviva's case, she sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine"-- Provided by publisher.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.