Staff Picks: January 2022

Addison, Katherine, author.

Maia, the youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir. Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment. Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend ... and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne-or his life. --from Amazon.

Anaya, Rudolfo A.

Ultima, a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic, comes to Antonio Marez's New Mexico family when he is six years old, and she helps him discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past.

Anders, Charlie Jane, author.

"In her short story collection, ... Charlie Jane Anders upends genre clichés and revitalizes classic tropes with heartfelt and ... funny social commentary. The woman who can see all possible futures is dating the man who can see the one and only foreordained future. A wildly popular slapstick filmmaker is drawn, against his better judgment, into working with a fascist militia, against a background of social collapse. Two friends must embark on an Epic Quest To Capture The Weapon That Threatens The Galaxy, or else they'll never achieve their dream of opening a restaurant"-- Provided by publisher.

Chew-Bose, Durga, author.

"An entirely original portrait of a young writer shutting out the din in order to find her own voice"-- Provided by publisher.

Ehrlich, Gretel, author.

"From one of our most intrepid and eloquent adventurers of the natural world: an account of her search for home--experiences traveling in Greenland, the North Pole, the Channel Islands of California, Japan; of herding animals in Wyoming and Montana, and her embrace of the balance between the ordinary and celestial. In The Solace of Open Spaces, Gretel Ehrlich announced her aspiration as a writer to assign the physical qualities of the earth--weather, light and wind--to our contemporary age. In Unsolaced, thirty-five years later, Ehrlich shows us how these forces have shaped her experience and her understanding as she recalls the split-end strands of friendships spliced to new loves, houses built and lived in, conversations that shifted outlooks, as she tries to catch a glimpse of herself and the places she has sought as an anchor for her spirit. Ehrlich's quest is not for the comfort of permanence, but for transience, the need to be unsettled--to find stillness in the disquiet of engagement, to find in the landscapes of earth, ice, climate, genetic mayhem, and shifting canvas of memory--the possibility of longing. Ehrlich's voice is a unique amalgam of poetry and science, her attention held fast by the vegetation and animals she cares for, the lyric exaltation of insight that gives both her and her readers an intimation of a greater whole"-- Provided by publisher.

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.

Flea (Musician) author.

Through anecdotes, poetical meditations, and occasional flights of fantasy, Flea chronicles the experiences that forged him as an artist, a musician, and a young man. In the Los Angeles of the 1970s and 80s he found family in a community of musicians, artists, and junkies who also lived on the fringe. It was here that in music he found a higher meaning, a place to channel his frustration, loneliness, and love. And where he and his best friends and partners-in-mischief came up with the idea to start their own band, which became the Red Hot Chili Peppers. -- adapted from jacket

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.

García, Rodrigo, 1959- author.

"In March 2014, Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most internationally beloved writers of the 20th century, came down with a cold. He was almost 87 years old, and battling dementia. 'I don't think we'll get out of this one,' Mercedes Barcha, his wife of over fifty years, told Rodrigo, their son. As reality begins to sink in, Rodrigo asks himself, 'Is this how the end begins?' Instead of waiting for an answer, Rodrigo starts to write about the beginning of the end. The resulting pages became A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes -- an intimate and honest account of the last days of a literary genius's life, written by an exceptional witness. Through Rodrigo's measured prose, we are not only reminded of an icon's mortality, but his remarkable humanity. We see the great writer--a master at creating the dramatic arc of an entire life on the page--become a tragic yet charming character of his own right as he and his family come to terms with the end. With A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes, Rodrigo has written not a novel, but a stunning work of reportage. The minute and major snapshots captured--Rodrigo and his brother's discomfort around the public interest in their father's state, Mercedes' reluctant deference to Gabriel's knowing aides, and Gabriel's wry humor at a vulnerable time, when his lucidity is waning--form a diary, distilled by distance and time, but invigorated by introspection. Gabriel savors affection and attention from those in his orbit, but wrestles with what he will lose and what is already lost. And almost always by his side is the charismatic Mercedes, his constant companion and creative muse. The book also honors Rodrigo's late mother, introducing readers to one of the foremost influences of his father's life. Bittersweet and insightful, A Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes celebrates the formidable legacy of Rodrigo's parents, offering an unprecedented look at the private family life of a literary giant. It is at once a gift to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's loyal readers, and a grand act of generosity from a writer who knew the man better than most"-- Provided by publisher.

Graves, Joseph L., 1955- author.

"We talk a lot about race, yet we rarely focus on the underlying question of what race is and its connections to racism. Conversations about race can be uncomfortable and confusing, but this is resolvable if we ask the right questions and focus on clear answers. What, exactly, is race? Joseph L. Graves and Alan H. Goodman illuminate the idea of race so that people who want to confront the topic of racial injustice can do so with the necessary conceptual tools. Most people think race is real, they argue, and it is. But race is not real in the way that most of us have grown up to think of it. Race is not natural, fixed, or based on biology. Instead, they continue, racism created the idea of race, the idea of race has real effects, and while human genetic variation is biologically real, it is not race. The book is based on evidence from biological and social science. It is composed of twelve question-begging chapters, which engage topics such as the origins of race, race and genetics, the forms of racism, race and health, race and ability, institutional racism, DNA and ancestry testing, "race mixing," race and politics, and what it means to be an antiracist. The book is ideally suited for people want to understand more about what race is, where it came from, and how to confront its pernicious effects, in a format that is clear, direct, and can be used as a model to defend one's antiracist position"-- Provided by publisher.

Hall, Rachel Howzell, author.

Mickie Lambert creates "digital scrapbooks" for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren't forgotten or lost. When her latest client Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman's last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d'art. A music box, a hair clip, a keychain -- twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country. They mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been getting threatening messages from a long-dormant serial killer to leave Nadia's past alone.

Hanson, Thor, author.

"In his three previous books-Feathers, The Triumph of Seeds, and Buzz-Thor Hanson has taken his readers on unforgettable journeys into nature, rendered with great storytelling, the soul of a poet, and the insight of a biologist. In this new book, he is doing it again, but exploring one of the most vital scientific and cultural issues of our time: climate change. As a young biologist, Hanson by his own admission watched with some detachment as our warming planet presented plants and animals with an ultimatum: change or face extinction. But his detachment turned to both concern and awe, as he observed the remarkable narratives of change playing out in each plant and animal he studied. In Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid, Hanson tells the story of how nature-both plants and animals, from beech trees to beetles-are meeting the challenges of rapid climate change head-on, adjusting, adapting, and sometimes noticeably evolving. Brown pelicans are fleeing uphill, seeking out new lives in the mountains. Gorillas in Uganda are turning to new food sources, such as eucalyptus trees (which humans only imported to Africa in the past several decades), as their old sources wain. Auklets, a little sea bird, aren't so lucky: changes in the lifecycles of their primary food source means they return at specific times of year to oceanic feeding grounds expecting plankton blooms that are no longer there. As global warming transforms and restructures the ecosystems in which these animals and others live, Hanson argues, we are forced to conclude that climate change will not have just one effect: Some transformations are beneficial. Others, and perhaps most, are devastating, wiping out entire species. One thing is constant: with each change an organism undergoes, the delicate balance of interdependent ecosystems is tipped, forcing the evolution of thousands more species, including us. To understand how, collectively, these changes are shaping the natural world and the future of life, Hanson looks back through deep time, examining fossil records, pollen, and even the tooth enamel of giant wombats and mummified owl pellets. Together, these records of our past tell the story of ancient climate change, shedding light on the challenges faced by today's species, the ways they will respond, and how these strategies will determine the fate of ecosystems around the globe. Ultimately, the story of nature's response to climate change is both fraught and fascinating, a story of both disaster and resilience, and, sometimes, hope. Lyrical and thought-provoking, Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid is poised to transform the conversation around climate change, shifting the focus from humans to the lattice of life, of which humans are just a single point"--|cProvided by publisher.

Howell, Dan, 1991- author.

Written by Daniel Howell, in consultation with a qualified psychologist, in an entertaining and personal way from the perspective of someone who has been through it all--this no-nonsense book gives you the tools to understand your mind so you can be in control and really live. Split into three chapters for each stage of the journey: This Night - how to get through your toughest moments and be prepared to face anything. Tomorrow - small steps to change your thoughts and actions with a big impact on your life. The Days After - help to look after yourself in the long term and not just survive, but thrive. You will laugh and learn--but most of all, this book will assure you that even in your darkest times, there is always hope.

King, Laurie R., author.

"A queen, a castle, a dark and ageless threat--all await Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes in this chilling new adventure. The queen is Marie of Roumania: the doubly royal granddaughter to Victoria, Empress of the British Empire, and Alexander II, Tsar of Russia. A famous beauty who was married at seventeen into Roumania's young dynasty, Marie had beguiled the Paris Peace Conference into returning her adopted country's long-lost provinces, single-handedly transforming Roumania from a backwater into a force. The castle is Bran: a tall, quirky, ancient structure perched on high rocks overlooking the border between Roumania and its newly regained territory of Transylvania. The castle was a gift to Queen Marie, a thanks from her people, and she loves it as she loves her own children. The threat is...now, that is less clear. Shadowy figures, vague whispers, the fears of girls, dangers that may only be accidents. But this is a land of long memory and hidden corners, a land that had known Vlad the Impaler, a land from whose churchyards the shades creep. When Queen Marie calls, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are as dubious as they are reluctant. But a young girl is involved, and a beautiful queen. Surely it won't take long to shine light on this unlikely case of what would seem to be strigoi? Or, as they are known in the West...vampires"-- Provided by publisher.

Libaire, Jardine, author.

"A sober hedonist's guide to living a decadent, wild, and soulful life--alcohol-free. In a culture where sipping "rosé all day" is seen as the epitome of relaxation, "grabbing a drink" the only way to network; and meeting at a bar the quintessential "first date," many of us are left wondering if drinking alcohol really is the only way to cultivate joy and connection in life. Jardine Libaire and Amanda Eyre Ward wanted to live spontaneous and luxurious lives, to escape the ordinary and enjoy the intoxicating. Their drinking, however, had started to numb them to the present moment instead of unlocking it. Ward was introduced to Libaire when she first got sober. As they became friends, the two women talked about how they yearned to create lives that were Technicolor, beautifully raw, connected, blissed out, and outside the lines . . . but how? In The Sober Lush, Libaire and Ward provide a road map for living a lush and sensual life without booze"-- Provided by publisher.

Mattson, James Han, author.

"A chilling and blisteringly relevant literary novel of social horror centered around a brutal killing that takes place in a full-contact haunted escape room--a provocative exploration of capitalism, hate politics, racial fetishism, and our obsession with fear as entertainment"-- Provided by publisher.

McKenzie, Alecia, 1960- author.

After a personal tragedy upends his world, American-born artist Chris travels to his mother's homeland in the Caribbean hoping to find some peace and tranquility. He plans to spend his time painting in solitude and coming to terms with his recent loss and his fractured relationship with his father. Instead, he discovers a new extended and complicated 'family,' with their own startling stories, including a love triangle. The people he meets help him to heal, even as he supports them in unexpected ways, through his art. Told from different points of view, this is a compelling novel about unlikely love, friendship, and community, with several surprises along the way.

Miller, Lulu, 1983- author.

Nineteenth-century scientist David Starr Jordan built one of the most important fish specimen collections ever seen, until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake shattered his life's work.

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia, author.

"Certain Dark Things combines elements of Latin American mythology with a literary voice that leads readers on an exhilarating and fast-paced journey. Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Here in the city, heavily policed to keep the creatures of the night at bay, Domingo is another trash-picking street kid, just hoping to make enough to survive. Then he meets Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers. Domingo is smitten. He clings to her like a barnacle until Atl relents and decides to let him stick around. But Atl's problems, Nick and Rodrigo, have come to find her. When they start to raise the body count in the city, it attracts the attention of police officers, local crime bosses, and the vampire community. Atl has to get out before Mexico City is upended, and her with it. In 2015, Silvia's debut, Signal to Noise, was named on seven year's best lists: B & N's Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, RT, BookRiot, Buzzfeed, i09, Vice, and Tor.com. Certain Dark Things was also listed on B & N's Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog as one of 42 books they can't wait to read in 2016 and on io9 as one of 40 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books That Will Rock Your World In 2016!" --Publisher description.

Munier, Paula, author.

"Former Army MP Mercy Carr and her retired bomb-sniffing dog Elvis are back in Blind Search, the sequel to the page-turning, critically acclaimed A Borrowing of Bones It's October, hunting season in the Green Mountains-and the Vermont wilderness has never been more beautiful or more dangerous. Especially for nine-year-old Henry, who's lost in the woods. Again. Only this time he sees something terrible. When a young woman is found shot through the heart with a fatal arrow, Mercy thinks that something is murder. But Henry, a math genius whose autism often silences him when he should speak up most, is not talking. Now there's a murderer hiding among the hunters in the forest-and Mercy and Elvis must team up with their crime-solving friends, game warden Troy Warner and search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear, to find the killer-before the killer finds Henry. When an early season blizzard hits the mountains, cutting them off from the rest of the world, the race is on to solve the crime, apprehend the murderer, and keep the boy safe until the snowplows get through. Inspired by the true search-and-rescue case of an autistic boy who got lost in the Vermont wilderness, Paula Munier's mystery is a compelling roller coaster ride through the worst of winter-and human nature"-- Provided by publisher.

Murphy, Kate (Journalist), author.

Despite constant digital communication we are lonelier, more isolated, and less tolerant than ever before. Murphy explains why we're not listening, what it's doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there. It's time to stop talking and start listening. -- adapted from jacket

Newport, Cal, author.

In recent years, our culture's relationship with personal technology has transformed from something exciting into something darker. Innovations like smartphones and social media are useful, but many of us are increasingly troubled by how much control these tools seem to exert over our daily experiences--including how we spend our free time and how we feel about ourselves. In Digital Minimalism, Newport proposes a bold solution: a minimalist approach to technology use in which you radically reduce the time you spend online, focusing on a small set of carefully-selected activities while happily ignoring the rest. He mounts a vigorous defense for this less-is-more approach, combining historical examples with case studies of modern digital minimalists to argue that this philosophy isn't a rejection of technology, but instead a necessary realignment to ensure that these tools serve us, not the other way around.

Oluo, Ijeoma, author.

"A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today's racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment, Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans. Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned, and crystalize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, and Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor's seminal essay "The Meaning of a Word.""-- Provided by publisher.

Oyeyemi, Helen, author.

"The prize-winning, bestselling author of Gingerbread; Boy, Snow, Bird; and What is Not Yours is Not Yours returns with a vivid and inventive new novel about a couple forever changed by an unusual train voyage. When Otto and Xavier Shin declare their love, an aunt gifts them a trip on a sleeper train to mark their new commitment - and to get them out of her house. Setting off with their pet mongoose, Otto and Xavier arrive at their sleepy local train station, but quickly deduce that The Lucky Day is no ordinary locomotive. Their trip on this former tea-smuggling train has been curated beyond their wildest imaginations, complete with mysterious and welcoming touches, like ingredients for their favorite breakfast. They seem to be the only people onboard, until Otto discovers a secretive woman who issues a surprising message. As further clues and questions pile up, and the trip upends everything they thought they knew, Otto and Xavier begin to see connections to their own pasts, connections that now bind them together. A spellbinding tale from a star author, Peaces is about what it means to be seen by another person--whether it's your lover or a stranger on a train--and what happens when things you thought were firmly in the past turn out to be right beside you"-- Provided by publisher.

Platt, Christine A., 1976- author.

"Forget the aesthetics of mainstream minimalism and discover a life of authenticity and intention with this practical guide to living with less...your way"-- Provided by publisher.

Scalzi, John, 1969- author.

"Faster than light travel is impossible--until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field available at certain points in space-time, which can take us to other planets around other stars. Riding The Flow, humanity spreads to innumerable other worlds. Earth is forgotten. A new empire arises, the Interdependency, based on the doctrine that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war--and, for the empire's rulers, a system of control. But when it's discovered that the entire Flow is moving, possibly separating all human worlds from one another forever, a scientist, a starship captain, and the emperox of the Interdependency must race to find out what can be salvaged from an empire on the brink of collapse." --Publisher description.

Sebree, Chet'la, author.

"A lyric poem meditating on sexuality, desire, womanhood, and blackness"-- Provided by publisher.

Solomon, Rachel Lynn, author.

"Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon's sparkling romantic comedy debut. Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can't imagine working anywhere else. But lately it's been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who's fresh off a journalism master's program and convinced he knows everything about public radio. When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it's this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it's not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts. As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers"-- Provided by publisher.

Tagore, Rabindranath, 1861-1941.

Gathers more than one hundred poems that deal with the pleasures and pains of life's experiences by the Nobel Prize-winning Indian poet.

Wilson, Kevin, 1978- author.

"Lillian and Madison were unlikely, yet inseparable friends at their boarding school. Then Lillian had to leave the school unexpectedly in the wake of a scandal, and they have barely spoken since. Years later, Lillian gets a letter from Madison pleading for her help. Madison's twin stepkids are moving in, and she wants Lillian to be their caretaker. However, there's a catch: the twins spontaneously combust when they get agitated. Lillian is convinced Madison is pulling her leg, but it's the truth. Thinking of the life that has consistently disappointed her, Lillian figures she has nothing to lose. Over the course of one demanding summer, Lillian and the twins learn to trust each other while also staying out of the way of Madison's uptight husband. Surprised by her intense feelings of protectiveness she feels for them, Lillian ultimately begins to accept that she needs these strange children as much as they need her. Could this be the start of the amazing life she'd always hoped for?"-- Provided by publisher.

Wood, Amelia, author.

"Amelia Wood's What's Your F*cking Sign? is your opportunity to better relate to your managers, coworkers, love interests, friends, and family and know why they do all the sh-t they do. If you have ever wondered why your Aries boss is such a hard-ass, been convinced that a Virgo in your life sleeps with a label maker under their pillow, or tried to get your Capricorn friend to lighten the f*ck up, just look to the stars"--Back cover.

Wright, Lawrence, 1947- author.

"At an internment camp in Indonesia, within one week, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When the microbiologist and epidemiologist Henry Parsons travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi doctor and prince in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city"-- Provided by publisher.

Wurth, Erika T., author.

Fiction. Native American Studies. Erika T. Wurth's BUCKSKIN COCAINE is a wild, beautiful ride into the seedy underworld of Native American film. These are stories about men maddened by fame, actors desperate for their next buckskin gig, directors grown cynical and cruel, and dancers who leave everything behind in order to make it, only to realize at thirty that there is nothing left. Poetic and strange, Wurth's characters and vivid language will burn themselves into your mind, and linger.

Yejide, Morowa, author.

"Nephthys Kinwell is a taxi driver of sorts in Washington, DC, ferrying passengers in a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere with a ghost in the trunk. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, Osiris, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River. Unknown to Nephthys when the novel opens in 1977, her estranged great-nephew, ten-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash--reeling from having witnessed an act of molestation at his school, but still questioning what and who he saw--has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the "River Man." When Dash arrives unexpectedly at Nephthys's door bearing a cryptic note about his unusual conversations with the River Man, Nephthys must face what frightens her most. Morowa Yejidé's deeply captivating novel shows us an unseen Washington filled with otherworldly landscapes, flawed super-humans, and reluctant ghosts, and brings together a community intent on saving one young boy in order to reclaim itself."--Amazon.

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