Staff Picks: June 2022

Alameddine, Rabih, author.

"Mina Simpson, a Lebanese doctor, arrives at the infamous Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, Greece, after being urgently summoned for help by her friend who runs an NGO there. Alienated from her family except for her beloved brother, Mina has avoided being so close to her homeland for decades. But with a week off work and apart from her wife of thirty years, Mina hopes to accomplish something meaningful, among the abundance of Western volunteers who pose for selfies with beached dinghies and the camp's children. Soon, a boat crosses bringing Sumaiya, a fiercely resolute Syrian matriarch with terminal liver cancer. Determined to protect her children and husband at all costs, Sumaiya refuses to alert her family to her diagnosis. Bonded together by Sumaiya's secret, a deep connection sparks between the two women, and as Mina prepares a course of treatment with the limited resources on hand, she confronts the circumstances of the migrants' displacement, as well as her own constraints in helping them. Not since the inimitable Aaliya of An Unnecessary Woman has Rabih Alameddine conjured such a winsome heroine to lead us to one of the most wrenching conflicts of our time. Cunningly weaving in stories of other refugees into Mina's singular own, The Wrong End of the Telescope is a bedazzling tapestry of both tragic and amusing portraits of indomitable spirits facing a humanitarian crisis"-- Provided by publisher.

Alexander, Stephon, author.

"Where does great physics come from? As a young graduate student, cosmologist Stephon Alexander had a life-changing lesson in the subject. When asked by the legendary theoretical physicist Christopher Isham why he had attended graduate school, Alexander answered: "To become a better physicist." He could hardly have anticipated Isham's response: "Then stop reading those physics books." Instead, Isham said, Alexander should start listening to his dreams. This is only the first of a great many surprising and even shocking lessons in Fear of a Black Universe. As Alexander explains, greatness in physics requires transgression, a willingness to reject conventional expectations. He shows why progress happens when some physicists come to think outside the mainstream, and both the outsiders and insiders respond to the resulting tensions. He also shows why, as in great jazz, great physics requires a willingness to make things up as one goes along, and a willingness to rely on intuition when the path forward isn't clear. Unfortunately, most physicists are too afraid of being wrong -- and jeopardizing their careers -- to embrace this sort of improvisation. Indeed, for a long time Alexander was, too. Of course, Alexander doesn't mean that physics should be lawless. After all, even jazz musicians must respect the key and tempo of the music their fellow musicians are playing. But it does mean that not all the answers can be found, as Isham argued, as equations in a book. Drawing on Einstein's notion of principle theories -- ideas that constrain the shape that other theories take -- Alexander shows that from general relativity to quantum theory, three principles underlie everything we know about the Universe: the principle of invariance, the quantum principle, and the principle of emergence. Using these three principles as a guide, Alexander takes a stab at some of the greatest mysteries of the Universe, including what happened before the Big Bang; the quantum theory of gravity; the nature of dark energy and dark matter; and the quantum physics of consciousness. Along the way, he explains where our understanding of the universe and those principles don't jibe, as in the nature of the Big Bang, and asks what such discrepancies mean. He shows us what discoveries lie on the horizon, and crucially, calls on us not just to embrace improvisation and knowledge outside of physics but to diversify our scientific communities by reaching out to people of color. As compelling as it is necessary, Fear of a Black Universe offers us remarkable insight into the art of physics and empowers us all to theorize"-- Provided by publisher.

Arceneaux, Michael, author.

"Ever since Oprah Winfrey told the 2007 graduating class of Howard University, 'Don't be afraid,' Michael Arceneaux has been scared to death. You should never do the opposite of what Oprah instructs you to do, but when you don't have her pocket change, how can you not be terrified of the consequences of pursuing your dreams? Michael has never shied away from discussing his struggles with debt, but in I Don't Want to Die Poor, he reveals the extent to which it has an impact on every facet of his life--how he dates; how he seeks medical care (or in some cases, is unable to); how he wrestles with the question of whether or not he should have chosen a more financially secure path; and finally, how he has dealt with his 'dream' turning into an ongoing nightmare as he realizes one bad decision could unravel all that he's earned. I Don't Want to Die Poor is an unforgettable and relatable examination about what it's like leading a life that often feels out of your control."--Amazon.com.

Axelrod, Xio, author.

"Growing up, Antonia "Toni" Bennett's guitar was her only companion...until she met Sebastian Quick. Seb was a little older, a lot wiser, and he became Toni's way out, promising they'd escape their small town together. Then Seb turned eighteen and split without looking back. Now, Toni B is all grown up and making a name for herself in Philadelphia's indie scene. When a friend suggests she try out for the hottest new band in the country, she decides to take a chance...not realizing that this opportunity will bring her face-to-face with the boy who broke her heart and nearly stole her dreams"-- Provided by publisher.

Batsha, Nishant, author.

"A riveting, tender debut novel, following a brother and sister whose paths diverge-one forced to leave, one left behind-in the wake of a nationalist coup in the South Pacific"-- Provided by publisher.

Biss, Eula, author.

Upon becoming a new mother, Eula Biss addresses a chronic condition of fear: fear of the government, the medical establishment, and what is in children's food, mattresses, medicines, and vaccines. Biss investigates the metaphors and myths surrounding the conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body. As she hears more and more fears about vaccines, Biss researches what they mean for her own child, her immediate community, America, and the world.

Clinton, Hillary Rodham, author.

State of Terror follows Ellen Adams, a novice Secretary of State, who has joined the administration of her rival, a president inaugurated after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage. A series of terrorist attacks throws the global order into disarray and the secretary is tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most. This high-stakes thriller of international intrigue features behind-the-scenes global drama informed by details only an insider could know.

Cosimano, Elle, author.

"Megan Miranda Finlay Donovan is--once again--struggling to finish her next novel and keep her head above water as a single mother of two. On the bright side, she has her live-in nanny and confidant Vero to rely on, and the only dead body she's dealt with lately is that of her daughter's pet goldfish. On the not-so-bright side, someone out there wants her ex-husband Steven out of the picture. Permanently. Whatever else Steven may be, he's a good father, but saving him will send her down a rabbit hole of soccer moms disguised as hit-women, and a little bit more involvement with the Russian mob than she'd like"-- Provided by publisher.

David, Cazzie, 1994- author.

"From writer/director Cazzie David comes a series of acerbic, darkly funny essays about anxiety, social media, misanthropy, and growing up in a wildly eccentric family"-- Provided by publisher.

Deane, Maya, 1985- author.

"The gods wanted blood. She fought for love. Achilles has fled her home and her vicious Myrmidon clan to live as a woman with the kallai, the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite. When Odysseus comes to recruit the "prince" Achilles for a war against the Hittites, she prepares to die rather than fight as a man. However, her divine mother, Athena, intervenes, transforming her body into the woman's body she always longed for, and promises her everything: glory, power, fame, victory in war, and, most importantly, a child born of her own body. Reunited with her beloved cousin, Patroklos, and his brilliant wife, the sorceress Meryapi, Achilles sets out to war with a vengeance. But the gods-a dysfunctional family of abusive immortals that have glutted on human sacrifices for centuries-have woven ancient schemes more blood-soaked and nightmarish than Achilles can imagine. At the center of it all is the cruel, immortal Helen, who sees Achilles as a worthy enemy after millennia of ennui and emptiness. In love with her newfound nemesis, Helen sets out to destroy everything and everyone Achilles cherishes, seeking a battle to the death. An innovative spin on a familiar tale, this is the Trojan War unlike anything ever told, and an Achilles whose vulnerability is revealed by the people she chooses to fight...and chooses to trust"-- Provided by publisher.

Desai, Sara, author.

"Opposites attract in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about a free-spirited lawyer who is determined to find the perfect match for the grumpy bachelor at her cousin's wedding. After a devastating breakup, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find their happily ever afters. She's never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn't match-until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Donovan. Former military security specialist Jay has no time for love. His life is about working hard, staying focused, and winning at all costs. When charismatic Zara crashes into his life, he's thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of chaos he wants to avoid. Worse, they're stuck together for the entire wedding season. So they make a deal. She'll find his special someone if he introduces her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own"-- Provided by publisher.

Emezi, Akwaeke, author.

There are no monsters anymore. In the city of Lucille, Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their lives. Then Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood. Pet has come to hunt a monster-- and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? -- adapted from jacket

Ewing, Rhea, author.

"Graphic artist Rhea Ewing celebrates the incredible diversity of experiences within the transgender community with this vibrant and revealing debut. For fans of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and Meg-John Barker's Queer, Fine is an essential graphic memoir about the intricacies of gender identity and expression. As Rhea Ewing neared college graduation in 2012, they became consumed by the question: What is gender? This obsession sparked a quest in their quiet Midwest town, where they anxiously approached both friends and strangers for interviews to turn into comics. A decade later, their project has exploded into a fantastical and informative portrait of a surprisingly vast community spread across the country. Questions such as How do you identify? invited deep and honest accounts of adolescence, taking hormones, changing pronouns-and how these experiences can differ depending on culture, race, and religion. Amidst beautifully rendered scenes emerges Ewing's own visceral story growing up in rural Kentucky, grappling with their identity as a teenager, and ultimately finding themself through art-and by creating something this very fine"-- Provided by publisher.

Glancy, Diane, author.

"In September 1921, a young Inupiat woman named Ada Blackjack traveled to Wrangel Island, 200 miles off the Arctic Coast of Siberia, as a cook and seamstress, along with four professional explorers. The expedition did not go as planned. When a rescue ship finally broke through the ice two years later, she was the only survivor. Diane Glancy discovered Blackjack's diary in the Dartmouth archives and created a new narrative based on the historical record and her vision of this woman's extraordinary life. She tells the story of a woman facing danger, loss, and unimaginable hardship, yet surviving against the odds where four "experts" could not. Beyond the expedition, the story examines Blackjack's childhood experiences at an Indian residential school, her struggles as a mother and wife, and the faith that enabled her to survive alone on a remote island in the Arctic Sea. Glancy's creative telling of this heroic tale is a high mark in her award-winning hybrid investigations of suffering, identity, and Native American history"-- Provided by publisher.

Guillory, Jasmine, author.

"Ben Stephens has never bothered with serious relationships. He has plenty of casual dates to keep him busy, family drama he's trying to ignore, and his advertising job to focus on. When Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner, however, it's hard to keep it purely professional. Anna is not just gorgeous and sexy, she's also down-to-earth and considerate, and he can't help flirting a little. . . . Anna Gardiner is on a mission: to make herself a household name, and this ad campaign will be a great distraction while she waits to hear if she's booked her next movie. However, she didn't expect Ben Stephens to be her biggest distraction. She knows mixing business with pleasure never works out, but why not indulge in a harmless flirtation? But their lighthearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna with a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other, truths they've barely shared with those closest to them. When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben be content to play the background role in Anna's life and leave when the cameras stop rolling? Or could he be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending?"-- Provided by publisher.

Harkness, Deborah E., 1965- author.

Witch and Yale historian Diana Bishop discovers an enchanted manuscript, attracting the attention of 1,500-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. The orphaned daughter of two powerful witches, Bishop prefers intellect, but relies on magic when her discovery of a palimpsest documenting the origin of supernatural species releases an assortment of undead who threaten, stalk, and harass her.

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"-- Provided by publisher.

Irvine, William Braxton, 1952- author.

"Some people bounce back in response to setbacks; others break. Irvine combines key lessons from the ancient Stoics with modern psychological techniques to develop a surprisingly simple strategy for dealing with life's unpleasant surprises. By using the updated Stoic strategy, we can transform life's setbacks into opportunities for becoming calmer, tougher, and more resilient." -- adapted from jacket

Jacobs, A. J., 1968- author.

"The New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Living Biblically goes on a journey to understand the enduring power of puzzles: why we love them, what they do to our brains, and how they can improve our world"-- Provided by publisher.

Johnson, Micaiah, author.

"A multiverse-hopping outsider discovers a secret that threatens her home world and her fragile place in it-a stunning sci-fi debut that's both a cross-dimensional adventure and a powerful examination of identity, privilege, and belonging. CARA IS DEAD ON THREE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FOUR WORLDS. The multiverse business is booming, but there's just one catch: no one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive. Enter Cara, whose parallel selves happen to be exceptionally good at dying-from diseases, from turf wars, from vendettas they couldn't outrun. But on this earth, Cara's survived. And she's reaping the benefits, thanks to the well-heeled Wiley City scientists who ID'd her as an outlier and plucked her from the dirt. Now she's got a new job collecting offworld data, a path to citizenship, and a near-perfect Wiley City accent. Now she can pretend she's always lived in the city she grew up staring at from the outside, even if she feels like a fraud on either side of its walls. But when one of her eight remaining doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined-and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse."-- Provided by publisher.

Kennedy, Gerrick, author.

"A candid exploration of the genius, shame, and celebrity of Whitney Houston a decade after her passing. On February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston was found submerged in the bathtub of her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. In the decade since, the world has mourned her death amid new revelations about her relationship to her Blackness, her sexuality, and her addictions. Didn't We Almost Have It All is author Gerrick Kennedy's exploration of the duality of Whitney's life as both a woman in the spotlight and someone who often had to hide who she was. This is the story of Whitney's life, her whole life, told with both grace and honesty. Long before that fateful day in 2012, Whitney split the world wide open with her voice. Hers was a once-in-a-generation talent forged in Newark, NJ, and blessed with the grace of the church and the wisdom of a long lineage of famous gospel singers. She redefined 'The Star-Spangled Banner.' She became a box-office powerhouse, a queen of the pop charts, and an international superstar. But all the while, she was forced to rein in who she was amid constant accusations that her music wasn't Black enough, original enough, honest enough. Kennedy deftly peels back the layers of Whitney's complex story to get to the truth at the core of what drove her, what inspired her, and what haunted her. He pulls the narrative apart into the key elements that informed her life--growing up in the famed Drinkard family; the two romantic relationships that shaped the entirety of her adult life, with Robyn Crawford and Bobby Brown; her fraught relationship to her own Blackness and the ways in which she was judged by the Black community; her drug and alcohol addiction; and, finally, the shame that she carried in her heart, which informed every facet of her life. Drawing on hundreds of sources, Kennedy takes readers back to a world in which someone like Whitney simply could not be, and explains in excruciating detail the ways in which her fame did not and could not protect her. In the time since her passing, the world and the way we view celebrity have changed dramatically. A sweeping look at Whitney's life, Didn't We Almost Have It All contextualizes her struggles against the backdrop of tabloid culture, audience consumption, mental health stigmas, and racial divisions in America. It explores exactly how and why we lost a beloved icon far too soon" -- From Amazon.com.

Keohane, Joe, author.

"In The Power of Strangers, journalist Joe Keohane takes us through an inquiry into our shared history, one that offers surprising and compelling insights into our own social and political moment. But if strangers seem to some to be the problem, history, data, and science show us that they are actually our solution. In fact, throughout human history, our address to the stranger, the foreigner, the marginalized, and the other has determined the fate and well-being of both nations and individuals. A raft of new science confirms that the more we open ourselves up to encounters with those we don't know, the healthier we are. Modern cities are vast clusters of strangers. Technology has driven many of us into silos of isolation. Through deep immersion with sociologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, theologians, philosophers, political scientists and historians, Keohane learns about how we're wired to sometimes fear, distrust, and even hate strangers; what happens to us--as individuals, groups, and as a culture--when we indulge those biases; and at the same time, he digs into a growing body of cutting-edge research on the surprising social and psychological benefits that come from talking to strangers; how even passing interactions with strangers can enhance empathy, happiness, and cognitive development, ease loneliness and isolation, and root us in the world, deepening our sense of belonging; how paradoxically, strangers can help us become more fully ourselves. Keohane explores the ways in which biology, culture, and history have defined us and our understanding of people we don't know"-- Provided by publisher.

Lauren, Christina, author.

"For readers of The Rosie Project and One Plus One, an "entertaining and moving" novel about what happens when a matchmaking company finds an ideal match in an unlikely pair, by the author of The Unhoneymooners"-- Provided by publisher.

May, Meredith, author.

"Edie is an unusually anxious dog. She cowers around most people and the slightest noise sends her into a frenzy. Edie's fears become so intense that May can't leave the house. Is this normal puppy behavior or something more? May grows determined to fix Edie, but what will she do if Edie can't be fixed? In this poignant and heartfelt memoir, May shares her unforgettable journey with Edie, and the lessons about selflessness and unconditional love that she learns along the way. From treating Edie with CBD gummies to visiting a dog medium, May shows just how far she is willing to go to save her dog. But maybe Edie is secretly the one doing the saving, if May will only open her heart."--Book jacket.

Miles, Kathryn, 1974- author.

"An account of the unsolved murder of two women in Shenandoah National Park, by a journalist with unprecedented access to all key elements of the case, and a story that reveals the challenges of wilderness forensics and the failures of our justice system"-- Provided by publisher.

Mirza, Fatima Farheen, 1991- author.

"The first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint, SJP for Hogarth, A Place for Us is a deeply moving and resonant story of love, identity and belonging A Place for Us unfolds the lives of an Indian-American Muslim family, gathered together in their Californian hometown to celebrate the eldest daughter, Hadia's, wedding - a match of love rather than tradition. It is here, on this momentous day, that Amar, the youngest of the siblings, reunites with his family for the first time in three years. Rafiq and Layla must now contend with the choices and betrayals that lead to their son's estrangement - the reckoning of parents who strove to pass on their cultures and traditions to their children; and of children who in turn struggle to balance authenticity in themselves with loyalty to the home they came from. In a narrative that spans decades and sees family life through the eyes of each member, A Place For Us charts the crucial moments in the family's past, from the bonds that bring them together to the differences that pull them apart. And as siblings Hadia, Huda, and Amar attempt to carve out a life for themselves, they must reconcile their present culture with their parent's faith, to tread a path between the old world and the new, and learn how the smallest decisions can lead to the deepest of betrayals. A deeply affecting and resonant story, A Place for Us is truly a book for our times: a moving portrait of what it means to be an American family today, a novel of love, identity and belonging that eloquently examines what it means to be both American and Muslim -- and announces Fatima Farheen Mirza as a major new literary talent. "-- Provided by publisher.

Morín, Tomás Q., author.

"This fresh voice in American poetry wields lyric pleasure and well-honed insight against a cruel century that would kill us with a thousand cuts. "Dios aprieta, pero no ahorca" ("God squeezes, but He doesn't strangle")--the epigraph of Machete--sets the stage for a powerful poet who summons a variety of ways to endure life when there's an invisible hand at your throat. Tomás Morín hails from the coastal plains of Texas, and explores a world where identity and place shift like that ever-changing shore. In these poems, culture crashes like waves and leaves behind Billie Holiday and the CIA, disco balls and Dante, the Bible and Jerry Maguire. They are long, lean and dazzle in their telling: "Whiteface" is a list of instructions for people stopped by the police; "Duct Tape" lauds our domestic life from the point of view of the tape itself. One part Groucho Marx, one part Job, Morín considers our obsession with suffering--"the pain in which we trust"--and finds that the best answer to our predicament is sometimes anger, sometimes laughter, but always via the keen line between them that may be the sharpest weapon we have"-- Provided by publisher.

Mueller, Sara A., author.

"Sara A. Mueller's The Bone Orchard is a fascinating whodunit set in a lush, gothic world of secrets and magic--where a dying emperor charges his favorite concubine with solving his own murder, and preventing the culprit, which undoubtedly is one of his three terrible sons, from taking control of an empire. Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow. Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain. Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren't real. Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself. But now--Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire--by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder. If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil - her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart. Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor's will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge"-- Provided by publisher.

Neubauer, Erica Ruth, 1979- author.

Taking flying lessons on the 1926 Essex countryside, Jane Wunderly teams up with the enigmatic Mr. Redvers to investigate the suspicious death of an Air Force veteran.

Okorafor, Nnedi, author.

With the help of her friends, fifteen-year-old Sunny embarks on a mission to find a precious object and return it to the spider deity Udide, but defeating the guardians of Udide's ghazal will put all of Sunny's hard lessons and abilities to the test.

Onyebuchi, Tochi, author.

"'Onyebuchi sets fire to the boundary between fiction and reality, and brings a crumbling city and an all too plausible future to vibrant life. Riveting, disturbing, and rendered in masterful detail.'-Leigh Bardugo In his adult novel debut, Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and NAACP Image Award finalist and ALA Alex and New England Book Award winner Tochi Onyebuchi delivers a sweeping science fiction epic in the vein of Samuel R. Delany and Station Eleven In the 2050s, Earth has begun to empty. Those with the means and the privilege have departed the great cities of the United States for the more comfortable confines of space colonies. Those left behind salvage what they can from the collapsing infrastructure. As they eke out an existence, their neighborhoods are being cannibalized. Brick by brick, their houses are sent to the colonies, what was once a home now a quaint reminder for the colonists of the world that they wrecked. A primal biblical epic flung into the future, Goliath weaves together disparate narratives-a space-dweller looking at New Haven, Connecticut as a chance to reconnect with his spiraling lover; a group of laborers attempting to renew the promises of Earth's crumbling cities; a journalist attempting to capture the violence of the streets; a marshal trying to solve a kidnapping-into a richly urgent mosaic about race, class, gentrification, and who is allowed to be the hero of any history"-- Provided by publisher.

Parkes, Nii Ayikwei.
Popp, Misha, author.

"The first time Daisy Ellery killed a man with a pie, it was an accident. Now, it's her calling. Daisy bakes sweet vengeance into her pastries, which she and her dog Zoe deliver to the men who've done dirty deeds to the town's women. But if she can't solve the one crime that's not of her own baking, she'll be out of the pie pan and into the oven"-- Provided by publisher.

Prophète, Emmelie, 1971- author.

An award-winning Haitian novel about silence, beauty, and the solidarity of tears. Airports are distillations of the world. I like thinking of them that way. The hope of leaving and the desire to come home, existing side by side. Any voyage is possible. My mind flies off toward the blue province once again. I don't know, anymore, why I always associate it with blue. It isn't even my favorite color. Traveling alone from Miami to Port-au-Prince, our narrator finds comfort at the airport. She feels free to ponder the silence that surrounds her homeland, her mother, her aunts, and her own inner thoughts. Between two places, she sees how living in poverty keeps women silent, forging their identities around practicality and resilience. From a distance, she is drawn inevitably homeward toward her family and the glittering blue Caribbean Sea. Blue comes alive through vivid images crowding the page, just as memories do in real life, as if the author is trying to sort through them, to come to grips with her own emotional conflict. Balancing the pain and anger are spiritual bonds that connect the author to the women who have come before her, who have created her, and with Haiti itself, her motherland. No amount of glittering opportunity up north can prevent her from finding her way home. -- Book jacket.

Ravn, Olga, author.

"Funny and doom-drenched, The Employees chronicles the fate of the Six-Thousand Ship. The human and humanoid crew members complain about their daily tasks in a series of staff reports and memos. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew becomes strangely and deeply attached to them, even as tensions boil toward mutiny, especially among the humanoids. Olga Ravn's prose is chilling, crackling, exhilarating, and foreboding. The Employees probes into what makes us human, while delivering a hilariously stinging critique of life governed by the logic of productivity"-- Provided by publisher.

Reid-Benta, Zalika, author.

"Kara Davis is a girl caught in the middle--of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a "true" Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother's rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too "faas" or too "quiet" or too "bold" or too "soft." Set in "Little Jamaica," Toronto's Eglinton West neighbourhood, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig's head in her great aunt's freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother's house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents. A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society."-- Provided by publisher.

Rice, Andrew, 1975- author.

"Combining the compelling insight of Nixonland and the narrative verve of Ladies and Gentleman: The Bronx is Burning, a journalist's definitive cultural and political history of the fatefully important moment when American politics and culture turned: the year 2000. Before there was Coronavirus, before there was the contentious 2020 election or the entire Trump presidency, there was a turning-point year that proved momentous and transformative for American politics and the fate of the nation. That year was 2000, the last year of America's unchallenged geopolitical dominance, the year Mark Burnett created Survivor and a new form of celebrity, the year a little Cuban immigrant became the focus of a media circus, the year Donald Trump flirted with running for President (and failed miserably), the year a group of Al Qaeda operatives traveled to America to learn to fly planes. They all converged in Florida, where that fall, the most important presidential election in generations was decided by the slimmest margin imaginable. But the year 2000 was also the moment when the authority of the political system was undermined by technical malfunctions; when the legal system was compromised by the justices of the Supreme Court; when the financial system was devalued by deregulation, speculation, creative securitization, and scam artistry; when the mainstream news media was destabilized by the propaganda power of Fox News and the supercharged speed of the internet; when the power of tastemakers, gatekeepers, and cultural elites was diminished by a dawning recognition of its irrelevance. Expertly synthesizing many hours of interviews, court records, FOIA requests, and original archival research, Andrew Rice marshals an impressive cast of dupes, schmucks, superstars, politicians, and shameless scoundrels in telling the fascinating story of this portentous year that marked a cultural watershed. Back at the start of the new millennium it was easy to laugh and roll our eyes about the crazy events in Florida in the year 2000--but what happened then and there has determined where we are and who we've become"--Amazon.

Schalansky, Judith, 1980- author.

"Each disparate object described in this book--a Caspar David Friedrich painting, a species of tiger, a villa in Rome, a Greek love poem, an island in the Pacific--shares a common fate: it no longer exists, except as the dead end of a paper trail. Recalling the works of W.G. Sebald, Bruce Chatwin, and Rebecca Solnit, [this book] is [an] ... evocation of twelve specific treasures that have been lost to the world forever, and that, taken as a whole, open ... new vistas of how to think about extinction and loss"-- Provided by publisher.

Schwab, Victoria, author.

Making a Faustian bargain to live forever but never be remembered, a woman from early eighteenth-century France endures unacknowledged centuries before meeting a man who remembers her name.

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.

Slaght, Jonathan C., author.

"A young field scientist and conservationist tracks the elusive Blakiston's Fish Owl in the forbidding reaches of eastern Russia."-- Provided by publisher.

Swinson, Kiki, author.

"A former journalist with a knack for unraveling dirty secrets, Khloé Mercer figures if she's going to risk her life, she might as well make big money as a private investigator. But this reckless newbie needs a major case to make her name - and really show she can handle Norfolk, Virginia's toughest streets ... When a narcotics detective's widow needs someone to investigate her disgraced husband's so-called suicide, Khloé jumps at the lucrative fee - and the clues that the Norfolk Police Department is rotten from top to bottom. And with formidable backup from her ex-felon uncle, she turns the city upside-down to uncover the truth ... But Khloé's cage-rattling tactics and high-wire strategies threaten both the cops and the city's brutal underworld alike. Now, with her life in the crosshairs and no one she can trust, she'll find that building a reputation comes with a price she may not survive to pay ..." --Publisher's description.

Tan, Sue Lynn, author.

"An enthralling debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang'e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman's quest to free her mother sets her on a dangerous path and pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm. Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing the elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin's magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind. Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to train alongside the emperor's son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince. To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies. However, when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream - striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves and plunging the realm into chaos. Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins and enchanting, romantic duology that weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic, of loss and sacrifice - where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant." -- Book jacket.

Van Ness, Jonathan, author.

In Jonathan Van Ness' New York Times bestselling memoir Over the Top, he showed readers how the incredibly difficult moments from his life (surviving sexual abuse and addiction, being diagnosed with HIV) have existed alongside great joy and positivity (landing a breakout role on Netflix's Queer Eye, becoming an amateur figure skater and professional stand-up comedian, doting on his cats). If Jonathan has learned anything from these experiences, it's that in order to thrive, he had to push past the shame and fear of being his true self. To embark on that journey, he had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In this candid and curious essay collection, Jonathan takes a thoughtful, in-depth look at timely topics through the lens of his own personal experience--instances that have required him to learn, grow, and back handspring layout to a better understanding of the world around him. He dives deeply and widely--from a poignant reflection on grief and embracing body neutrality to an examination of the HIV safety net and white privilege--to share the ways in which he has learned to embrace change. These stories speak to doing the work to challenge internalized beliefs, finding compassion and confidence, and learning more about what makes us all so messy and gorgeous. Balancing the dark and the light, the serious and the signature humor that is Jonathan Van Ness, these essays will encourage readers to examine their individual assumptions and expand their horizons. Ultimately, it is about giving ourselves the permission to be the flawed and fabulous humans we are, and loving our stories.

Vargas, Jose Antonio, author.

"The movement of people--what Americans call 'immigration' and the rest of the world calls 'migration'--is among the defining issues of our time. Technology and information crosses countries and continents at blistering speed. Corporations thrive on being multinational and polyglot. Yet the world's estimated 244 million total migrant population, particularly those deemed 'illegal' by countries and societies, are locked in a chaotic and circular debate about borders and documents, assimilation and identity. An issue about movement seems immovable: politically, culturally and personally. Dear America: Notes Of An Undocumented Citizen is an urgent, provocative and deeply personal account from Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who happens to be the most well-known undocumented immigrant in the United States. Born in the Philippines and brought to the U.S. illegally as a 12-year-old, Vargas hid in plain-sight for years, writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country (The Washington Post, The New Yorker) while lying about where he came from and how he got here. After publicly admitting his undocumented status--risking his career and personal safety--Vargas has challenged the definition of what it means to be an American, and has advocated for the human rights of immigrants and migrants during the largest global movement of people in modern history. Both a letter to America and a window into Vargas's America, this book is a transformative argument about migration and citizenship, and an intimate, searing exploration on what it means to be home when the country you call your home doesn't consider you one of its own"-- Provided by publisher.

Ward, Catriona, author.

"You can't escape what's in your blood... All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. Far from her childhood home, Sundial, hidden deep in the wild Mojave Desert. But beneath the veneer, Rob is terrified for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind. Running from her past has led her directly back to it -- what's buried at Sundial could never stay a secret forever, and Rob must risk one last trip out there to protect her family, and her future"-- Provided by publisher.

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