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New York Times Bestsellers
Week of May 15, 2022
FICTION
#1  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
22 Seconds
Book Jacket   James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250820006 In a series starter from the ever-popular Armstrong, homicide detective Mallory is in 2019 Edinburgh when she experiences A Rip Through Time and winds up in one of the city's alleyways in 1869, inhabiting the body of strangled-if-not-quite-dead housemaid Catriona Thomson and soon hunting for a killer (50,000-copy first printing). In Atherton's Aunt Dimity and the Enchanted Cottage, the redoubtable sleuth and her English-village neighbors fail in their attempt to befriend standoffish newcomer Crispin Windle until they discover the ruins of a Victorian woolen mill—and the graves of children who worked there, whom they seek to identify (30,000-copy first printing; originally scheduled for July 2021). In Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride, crusty but beloved widow Nonna Maria—who lives on the isle of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples and was inspired by the No. 1 New York Times best-selling Carcaterra's grandmother—intervenes when a young bride-to-be declares that she's afraid of her fiancé. In Haines's Lady of Bones, Mississippi-based Sarah Booth Delaney of the Delaney Detective Agency is attending a party alit with jack-o-lanterns when she's approached by a woman seeking her vanished daughter, who has been investigating the disappearance of young women in New Orleans every Halloween for the last five years (40,000-copy first printing). The internationally best-selling author of the "Dark Iceland" and "Hulda" series, Jónasson sets his new standalone during an Icelandic blizzard, with four frantic friends sheltering in an abandoned hunting lodge and facing a reignited tragedy that likely makes them wish they were all Outside (50,000-copy first printing). In Klingborg's Wild Prey, Inspector Lu Fei of the Chinese Police travels to a remote region of Myanmar to find a missing 15-year-old girl in a case involving the illegal trafficking of exotic animals (50,000-copy first printing). In Robert B. Parker's Revenge Tour, Lupica assigns PI Sunny Randall the thankless task of investigating actress friend Melanie Joan Hall when Melanie's manager turns up dead, her bank account looks to be wiped out, and details of her past suddenly seem more imagined than real. In Paretsky's Overboard, a seriously injured teenage girl discovered by V.I. Warshawski on Lake Michigan's rocky shore subsequently vanishes from the hospital, and the iconic detective must chase down a monstrous conspiracy with pandemic-ridden Chicago as backdrop (100,000-copy first printing). Pursuing a massive drugs-and-weapons shipment being shepherded across the U.S.-Mexican border by former cops with the warning "You talk, you die" written on their bodies, Patterson/Paetro stalwart Sgt. Lindsay Boxer suddenly has 22 Seconds to decide what her fate will be. Second in the new series from librarian Weaver, who launched her writing career with the delightful Amory Ames mysteries, The Key to Deceit has breaker-and-enterer Ellie McDonnell again approached by stuffed-shirt good-guy Major Ramsey in World War II London: he wants her to discover which side the female spy found bobbing in the Thames was on (40,000-copy first printing).
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780316499378 Lindsay Boxer faces a ton of trouble in the latest entry in Patterson and Paetro’s Women’s Murder Club series. Senior crime reporter Cindy Thomas is writing a biography of Evan Burke, a notorious serial killer who sits in solitary confinement in San Quentin. She’s kidnapped by thugs wanting her to talk about her best friend, Lindsay Boxer, who’s an SFPD homicide detective and the story’s main character. San Francisco has a restrictive new gun law, and gun-totin’ folks everywhere have their boxer shorts in a twist. A national resistance movement has formed—Defenders of the Second—whose motto is “We will not comply.” They find it outrageous that the new law makes it illegal to own a gun that can kill 50 people with a single clip. Meanwhile, lots of bodies show up: A young girl disappears and is later found dead in a ditch, and ex-cops are found dead with their lips stapled shut and “You talk, you die” written on their foreheads. An inmate is found hanged in prison. And “a massive but unspecified load of military-style weaponry was en route from Mexico to the City by the Bay.” In a “frustrating, multipronged case,” there’s a harrowing shootout memorialized in a video showing “twenty-two of the scariest seconds” of Boxer’s life. She’s an appealing series hero with loving family and friends, but she may arrive at a crossroads where she has “to choose between my work and [my] baby girl.” The formulaic story has unmemorable writing, but it’s entertaining and well told. You probably won’t have to worry about the main characters, who have thus far survived 21 adventures. Except for the little girl, you can expect people to get what they deserve. It's relatively mild as crime novels go, but the women characters are serious, strong, and admirable. Enjoyable storytelling by two masters of the craft. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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#2  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
Book Of Night
Book Jacket   Holly Black
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut.Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magiciansor rather, gloamists. In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlies talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vincebut when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she cant help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlies brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlies characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch.Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250812193 Bestselling YA author Black (The Cruel Prince) conjures a dark world filled with crime, betrayal, and power in her atmospheric adult fantasy debut. Shadows are a valuable commodity to be manipulated, altered, traded, and experimented on—and there are many dangerous players looking to harvest them. Growing up in this treacherous world, Charlie Hall learned the arts of conning and thievery from a young age, and there’s no denying her skill. At 28, however, Charlie’s determined to stay on the straight and narrow, using a bartending job to distract herself from the thrill of her old lifestyle. But when she reluctantly agrees to an odd job, a horrifying encounter reveals the return of a sinister individual from her past, plunging her into the dark underworld of shadow trading. Investigating its secrets leads her to discover a magic even darker than the shadows themselves. As the narrative shifts between past and present and the skeletons in Charlie’s closet come to light, she must reckon with her dysfunctional childhood—and with just how powerful shadows can be. The many mysteries keep the suspense sizzling as Charlie guides readers through this slippery world. Black’s adult fans and readers looking for dark urban fantasy will be thrilled. (May)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250812193 DEBUT Best-selling YA author Black (The Cruel Prince) makes her adult debut with this gritty urban fantasy where the shadows have not only eyes but teeth as well—and feeding them is the way to magical power. Charlie Hall, formerly a low-level con artist, is trying to live on the straight and narrow. She's gone from pulling jobs to pulling drinks, living with her totally mundane boyfriend, trying to keep her sister in school. At least until a shadow-mage dies in her bar, and her life is thrown into chaos and back into the underworld she tried so hard to leave. Her old life has just been waiting in the shadows to draw her back in—whether to destroy her illusions or kill her outright is the question. Charlie wishes she didn't have to find out the hard way, even if that's the only way she knows. VERDICT Charlie Hall is every "bad luck and worse trouble" protagonist to ever magic her way into urban fantasy. She's desperate, she's profane, she's fascinating, and she kicks ass and takes names with the best antiheroes of the genre. Her world is gritty and mysterious, the stakes are always high, and the power is always tempting.—Marlene Harris
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781250812193 A former thief who specialized in stealing magical documents is forced back into her old habits in Black's adult debut. Charlie Hall used to work as a thief, stealing for and from magicians—or rather, “gloamists.” In this world, gloamists are people with magical shadows that are alive, gaining strength from the gloamists' own blood. A gloamist can learn to manipulate the magic of their shadow, doing everything from changing how it looks to using it to steal, possess a person, or even murder. Gloamists hire nonmagical people like Charlie to steal precious and rare magical documents written by their kind throughout history and detailing their research and experiments in shadow magic. Gloamists can use onyx to keep each other from sending shadows to steal these treasures, but onyx won't stop regular humans from old-fashioned breaking and entering. After Charlie’s talent for crime gets her into too much trouble, she swears off her old career and tries to settle down with her sensible boyfriend, Vince—but when she finds a dead man in an alley and notices that even his shadow has been ripped to pieces, she can’t help trying to figure out who he was and why he met such a gruesome end. Before she knows it, Charlie is forced back into a life of lies and danger, using her skills as a thief to find a book that could unleash the full and terrifying power of the shadow world. Black is a veteran fantasy writer, which shows in the opening pages as she neatly and easily guides the reader through the engrossing world of gloamists, magical shadows, and Charlie’s brand of criminality. There's a lot of flipping back and forth between the past and the present, and though both timelines are well plotted and suspenseful, the story leans a touch too hard on the flashbacks. Still, the mystery elements are well executed, as is Charlie’s characterization, and the big twist at the end packs a satisfying punch. Hits the marks for spooky thrills and mysterious chills. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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#3  (Last Week: 2 • Weeks on List: 9)  
Run, Rose, Run
 Dolly Parton and James Patterson
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780759554344 A singer/songwriter at the beginning of her career is befriended by a retired country-music luminary, but will the young woman's past destroy her before her star can ascend? "Underneath that sweet, doll-faced exterior, there was something fierce and furious about AnnieLee Keyes. Some dark pain powered those pipes; Ruthanna was sure of it." Like Bill Clinton before her, Parton has hooked up with Patterson to channel the details of her profession into a thriller framework—and in this case, to provide an album of songs purportedly written by the three main characters to be released at the same time. When we meet AnnieLee, she is on the run, hitchhiking to Nashville to escape some mysterious nightmare situation. Standing in the rain, she starts singing to herself: "Is it easy / No it ain't / Can I fix it? / No I cain't." This will become "Woman Up (and Take It Like a Man)," one of the songs she debuts in a roadside dive called the Cat's Paw, begging a place on the stage and playing a borrowed guitar before slinking off to sleep in a public park. But she has already been noticed by Ethan Blake, a handsome Afghanistan veteran–turned–Nashville session player and secret songwriter—"Demons, demons, we've both had enough of our own / Demons, demons, we don't have to fight them alone." He will take word of this tiny, skittish prodigy to his boss, the beloved Ruthanna Ryder, who has stepped back from a mega-career after personal tragedy—and who happens to own the Cat's Paw. Ruthanna, who recalls the great Parton in coiffure, jewelry, generosity, and business know-how, sees her former self in AnnieLee—"Big dreams and faded jeans / Fit together like a team"—and immediately goes to work to help her climb the slippery ladder of stardom. But between AnnieLee's durn pride and the vicious, violent marauders who are on her tail, it won't be easy. Good thing Patterson was there to give Ethan those military superhero moves. Showdown in Vegas, y'all! The fairy-tale characters and details of the country-music scene are so much fun you won't mind the silly plot. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780759554344 Yes, that's the Dolly Parton, contributing plot points to this story of a talented young singer-songwriter who has followed her dream to Nashville but remains terrified of the seething troubles she left behind. Will shadowy figures from her past come get her? Parton wrote 12 songs especially for the book. With a one-million-copy first printing.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780759554344 Country music legend Parton’s strong debut, an exhilarating rags-to-riches story coauthored with bestseller Patterson (The President Is Missing with Bill Clinton), revolves around the troubled past of plucky singer/songwriter AnnieLee Keyes. AnnieLee’s plan is to “get the hell out of Texas” and hitchhike to Nashville, Tenn., where she hopes to start her career as a performer. In Nashville, AnnieLee encounters ruthless, predatory agents and managers, but she also meets positive role models, notably Ruthanna Ryder, “one of country music’s grandest queens,” who takes AnnieLee under her wing. “If you want to make it in this town,” Ruthanna tells her, “being talented is just one little tiny part of the battle. Fearlessness is mandatory. And shamelessness sure as hell don’t hurt.” Her other ally is guitarist Ethan Blake, who brings her to Ruthanna’s attention. When AnnieLee’s life is threatened, she needs the help of her new friends to survive. Never mind that the mystery element runs a distant second to the story of AnnieLee making good in Nashville. Parton fans will relish this timeless fairy tale, which displays the singer’s lively way with words and draws liberally from her experience in the music business. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Mar.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A singer/songwriter at the beginning of her career is befriended by a retired country-music luminary, but will the young woman's past destroy her before her star can ascend?"Underneath that sweet, doll-faced exterior, there was something fierce and furious about AnnieLee Keyes. Some dark pain powered those pipes; Ruthanna was sure of it." Like Bill Clinton before her, Parton has hooked up with Patterson to channel the details of her profession into a thriller frameworkand in this case, to provide an album of songs purportedly written by the three main characters to be released at the same time. When we meet AnnieLee, she is on the run, hitchhiking to Nashville to escape some mysterious nightmare situation. Standing in the rain, she starts singing to herself: "Is it easy / No it ain't / Can I fix it? / No I cain't." This will become "Woman Up (and Take It Like a Man)," one of the songs she debuts in a roadside dive called the Cat's Paw, begging a place on the stage and playing a borrowed guitar before slinking off to sleep in a public park. But she has already been noticed by Ethan Blake, a handsome Afghanistan veteranturnedNashville session player and secret songwriter"Demons, demons, we've both had enough of our own / Demons, demons, we don't have to fight them alone." He will take word of this tiny, skittish prodigy to his boss, the beloved Ruthanna Ryder, who has stepped back from a mega-career after personal tragedyand who happens to own the Cat's Paw. Ruthanna, who recalls the great Parton in coiffure, jewelry, generosity, and business know-how, sees her former self in AnnieLee"Big dreams and faded jeans / Fit together like a team"and immediately goes to work to help her climb the slippery ladder of stardom. But between AnnieLee's durn pride and the vicious, violent marauders who are on her tail, it won't be easy. Good thing Patterson was there to give Ethan those military superhero moves. Showdown in Vegas, y'all!The fairy-tale characters and details of the country-music scene are so much fun you won't mind the silly plot. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780759554344 A singer/songwriter at the beginning of her career is befriended by a retired country-music luminary, but will the young woman's past destroy her before her star can ascend? "Underneath that sweet, doll-faced exterior, there was something fierce and furious about AnnieLee Keyes. Some dark pain powered those pipes; Ruthanna was sure of it." Like Bill Clinton before her, Parton has hooked up with Patterson to channel the details of her profession into a thriller framework—and in this case, to provide an album of songs purportedly written by the three main characters to be released at the same time. When we meet AnnieLee, she is on the run, hitchhiking to Nashville to escape some mysterious nightmare situation. Standing in the rain, she starts singing to herself: "Is it easy / No it ain't / Can I fix it? / No I cain't." This will become "Woman Up (and Take It Like a Man)," one of the songs she debuts in a roadside dive called the Cat's Paw, begging a place on the stage and playing a borrowed guitar before slinking off to sleep in a public park. But she has already been noticed by Ethan Blake, a handsome Afghanistan veteran–turned–Nashville session player and secret songwriter—"Demons, demons, we've both had enough of our own / Demons, demons, we don't have to fight them alone." He will take word of this tiny, skittish prodigy to his boss, the beloved Ruthanna Ryder, who has stepped back from a mega-career after personal tragedy—and who happens to own the Cat's Paw. Ruthanna, who recalls the great Parton in coiffure, jewelry, generosity, and business know-how, sees her former self in AnnieLee—"Big dreams and faded jeans / Fit together like a team"—and immediately goes to work to help her climb the slippery ladder of stardom. But between AnnieLee's durn pride and the vicious, violent marauders who are on her tail, it won't be easy. Good thing Patterson was there to give Ethan those military superhero moves. Showdown in Vegas, y'all! The fairy-tale characters and details of the country-music scene are so much fun you won't mind the silly plot. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780759554344 Yes, that's the Dolly Parton, contributing plot points to this story of a talented young singer-songwriter who has followed her dream to Nashville but remains terrified of the seething troubles she left behind. Will shadowy figures from her past come get her? Parton wrote 12 songs especially for the book. With a one-million-copy first printing.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780759554344 Country music legend Parton’s strong debut, an exhilarating rags-to-riches story coauthored with bestseller Patterson (The President Is Missing with Bill Clinton), revolves around the troubled past of plucky singer/songwriter AnnieLee Keyes. AnnieLee’s plan is to “get the hell out of Texas” and hitchhike to Nashville, Tenn., where she hopes to start her career as a performer. In Nashville, AnnieLee encounters ruthless, predatory agents and managers, but she also meets positive role models, notably Ruthanna Ryder, “one of country music’s grandest queens,” who takes AnnieLee under her wing. “If you want to make it in this town,” Ruthanna tells her, “being talented is just one little tiny part of the battle. Fearlessness is mandatory. And shamelessness sure as hell don’t hurt.” Her other ally is guitarist Ethan Blake, who brings her to Ruthanna’s attention. When AnnieLee’s life is threatened, she needs the help of her new friends to survive. Never mind that the mystery element runs a distant second to the story of AnnieLee making good in Nashville. Parton fans will relish this timeless fairy tale, which displays the singer’s lively way with words and draws liberally from her experience in the music business. Agent: Robert Barnett, Williams & Connolly. (Mar.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A singer/songwriter at the beginning of her career is befriended by a retired country-music luminary, but will the young woman's past destroy her before her star can ascend?"Underneath that sweet, doll-faced exterior, there was something fierce and furious about AnnieLee Keyes. Some dark pain powered those pipes; Ruthanna was sure of it." Like Bill Clinton before her, Parton has hooked up with Patterson to channel the details of her profession into a thriller frameworkand in this case, to provide an album of songs purportedly written by the three main characters to be released at the same time. When we meet AnnieLee, she is on the run, hitchhiking to Nashville to escape some mysterious nightmare situation. Standing in the rain, she starts singing to herself: "Is it easy / No it ain't / Can I fix it? / No I cain't." This will become "Woman Up (and Take It Like a Man)," one of the songs she debuts in a roadside dive called the Cat's Paw, begging a place on the stage and playing a borrowed guitar before slinking off to sleep in a public park. But she has already been noticed by Ethan Blake, a handsome Afghanistan veteranturnedNashville session player and secret songwriter"Demons, demons, we've both had enough of our own / Demons, demons, we don't have to fight them alone." He will take word of this tiny, skittish prodigy to his boss, the beloved Ruthanna Ryder, who has stepped back from a mega-career after personal tragedyand who happens to own the Cat's Paw. Ruthanna, who recalls the great Parton in coiffure, jewelry, generosity, and business know-how, sees her former self in AnnieLee"Big dreams and faded jeans / Fit together like a team"and immediately goes to work to help her climb the slippery ladder of stardom. But between AnnieLee's durn pride and the vicious, violent marauders who are on her tail, it won't be easy. Good thing Patterson was there to give Ethan those military superhero moves. Showdown in Vegas, y'all!The fairy-tale characters and details of the country-music scene are so much fun you won't mind the silly plot. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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  Book Jacket
#4  (Last Week: 1 • Weeks on List: 3)  
Dream Town
 David Baldacci
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781538719770 In the latest from the New York Times best-selling Pinborough, has-it-all heroine Emma Averell is beginning to suffer from Insomnia, which she fears may presage a descent into the insanity that destroyed her own mother's life (75,000-copy first printing).
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781538719770 Bestseller Baldacci’s welcome third outing for PI Aloysius Archer (after 2021’s A Gambling Man) takes Archer, a decorated WWII vet who works for a detective agency in Bay Town, Calif., to Los Angeles to celebrate New Year’s Eve 1952 with actress and love interest Liberty Callahan. That evening, at a restaurant frequented by such stars as Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx, Callahan introduces Archer to her friend Eleanor Lamb, a screenwriter working on a script for Bette Davis. After Lamb learns of Archer’s profession, she seeks to hire him because she’s gotten middle-of-the-night–hang-up calls, and someone entered her Malibu home and left a bloody knife in her kitchen sink. Lamb’s fears for her life seem justified when she disappears. Right after Archer finds an unknown man shot to death in her house, someone bludgeons the gumshoe into unconsciousness. The tension rises as his subsequent investigation places his own life in danger. Baldacci can be a bit overfond of similes and metaphors (ocean breakers hurl “their sound tentacles”), but otherwise solid prose nicely evokes the traditional hard-boiled whodunit. Raymond Chandler fans will be entertained. Agent: Aaron Priest, Aaron M. Priest Literary. (Apr.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. An old-fashioned gumshoe yarn about Hollywood dreams and dead bodies.Private investigator Aloysius Archer celebrates New Years Eve 1952 in LA with his gorgeous lady friend and aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Screenwriter Eleanor Lamb shows up and offers to hire him because someone might be trying to kill me. Im fifty a day plus expenses, he replies, but moneys no obstacle. Later, he sneaks into Lambs house and stumbles upon a body, then gets knocked out by an unseen assailant. Archer takes plenty of physical abuse in the story, but at least he doesnt get a bullet between the eyes like the guy he trips over. A 30-year-old World War II combat veteran, Archer is a righteous and brave hero. Luck and grit keep him alive in both Vegas and the City of Angels, which is rife with gangsters and crooked cops. Not rich at all, his one luxury is the blood-red 1939 Delahaye he likes to drive with the top down. Hed bought it with his gambling winnings in Reno, and only a bullet hole in the windscreen post mars its perfection. Liberty loves Archer, but will she put up with the daily danger of losing him? Why doesnt he get a safe job, maybe playing one of LAs finest on the hit TV show Dragnet? Instead, hes a tough and principled idealist who wants to make the world a better place. Either that or hes simply a pavement-pounding PI on a slow dance to maybe nowhere. And if some goon doesnt do him in sooner, his Lucky Strikes will probably do him in later. Baldacci paints a vivid picture of the not-so-distant era when everybody smoked, Joe McCarthy hunted commies, and Marilyn Monroe stirred mens loins. The 1950s werent the fabled good old days, but theyre fodder for gritty crime stories of high ideals and lowlifes, of longing and disappointment, and all the trouble a PI can handle.Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781538719770 An old-fashioned gumshoe yarn about Hollywood dreams and dead bodies. Private investigator Aloysius Archer celebrates New Year’s Eve 1952 in LA with his gorgeous lady friend and aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Screenwriter Eleanor Lamb shows up and offers to hire him because “someone might be trying to kill me.” “I’m fifty a day plus expenses,” he replies, but money’s no obstacle. Later, he sneaks into Lamb’s house and stumbles upon a body, then gets knocked out by an unseen assailant. Archer takes plenty of physical abuse in the story, but at least he doesn’t get a bullet between the eyes like the guy he trips over. A 30-year-old World War II combat veteran, Archer is a righteous and brave hero. Luck and grit keep him alive in both Vegas and the City of Angels, which is rife with gangsters and crooked cops. Not rich at all, his one luxury is the blood-red 1939 Delahaye he likes to drive with the top down. He’d bought it with his gambling winnings in Reno, and only a bullet hole in the windscreen post mars its perfection. Liberty loves Archer, but will she put up with the daily danger of losing him? Why doesn’t he get a safe job, maybe playing one of LA’s finest on the hit TV show Dragnet? Instead, he’s a tough and principled idealist who wants to make the world a better place. Either that or he’s simply a “pavement-pounding PI on a slow dance to maybe nowhere.” And if some goon doesn’t do him in sooner, his Lucky Strikes will probably do him in later. Baldacci paints a vivid picture of the not-so-distant era when everybody smoked, Joe McCarthy hunted commies, and Marilyn Monroe stirred men’s loins. The 1950s weren’t the fabled good old days, but they’re fodder for gritty crime stories of high ideals and lowlifes, of longing and disappointment, and all the trouble a PI can handle. Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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  Book Jacket
 
#5  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
The Homewreckers
Book Jacket   Mary Kay Andrews
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250278364 Andrews (The Newcomer) sparkles in this fast-paced tale of a reluctant TV star, a driven producer, and a long-dormant mystery on the Georgia coast. Widowed contractor Hattie Kavanaugh is in the middle of a plumbing disaster at the historic Savannah house she’s trying to flip when Mo Lopez, who creates reality shows for an HGTV-type network, stops by to pitch a show involving her project (“You’re passionate. You’re smart. You’ve got attitude.... And it doesn’t hurt that you’re damned attractive. The camera is going to love you,” he tells her). At first, Hattie wants nothing to do with it, but she reconsiders due to her bleak financial situation. She then purchases another fixer-upper, this one on nearby Tybee Island, and as she gets going on the demo work, with Mo and his camera crew at her side, she discovers in a wall a wallet that belonged to Lanier Ragan, her high school English teacher who went missing 17 years earlier. As she uncovers more clues about Lanier, it seems someone might be willing to kill to keep the house’s secrets. The author skillfully navigates the various threads—there’s sexual tension between Hattie and a slew of suitors, and a twisty third act involving Lanier’s fate. Andrews’s fans will eat this up. (May)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250278364 In Andrews's latest, widowed Hattie Kavanaugh has a chance to rescue her business by appearing in a beach-house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers, competing with a male lead who could be a new love interest—or her worst competitor ever (300,000-copy first printing). In debuter Caña's A Proposal They Can't Refuse, Kamilah Vega wants to update her family's Puerto Rican restaurant but can't get permission from her ailing octogenarian grandfather unless she marries his best friend's son, Irish American whiskey distiller Liam (75,000-copy first printing). In Colgan's Island Wedding, Flora MacKenzie is planning a sweet, small wedding on the Scottish island of Mure when she learns that rich, gorgeous Olivia is returning home to Mure for her own extravaganza wedding—planned for the same day (100,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). In Foster's The Honeymoon Cottage, Jubil Long isn't thrilled that the little sister he's cared for since their parents' deaths wants an out-of-the-way country wedding, but then he meets wedding planner Yardley Belanger, who wishes she could have her own wedding one day (75,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing). Lauren's Something Wilder takes Lily Wilder to the Utah desert, where she uses her difficult treasure-hunting dad's old maps to conduct staged hunts and encounters the one man from the past who always saw her as the love of his life (100,00-copy first printing). A thief since childhood, when he scrambled to support a mother dying of cancer, the ever-honorable Harry Booth feels he can't follow up his feelings for Miranda Emerson—although maybe there's hope if he disentangles himself from the Nightwork he's been trapped into doing for bad-guy Carter LaPorte. This latest from Roberts has a million-copy first printing.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250278364 Young widow Hattie Kavanaugh just lost her shirt on her last attempted renovation of a historic house in Savannah, so she's desperate enough to accept Mo Lopez's offer to star in her own show on the Home Place Television Network. Though the network lets her best friend, Cass, stay on as foreman, they bring on hotshot designer Trae Bartholomew to spice things up in the house and maybe with Hattie, too. Unfortunately, the beach house they are renovating on Tybee Island is a total disaster, and the network's time line is tighter than the budget. Then Cass finds a wallet hidden in a wall, one that belonged to their favorite English teacher, who went missing their senior year. That, plus an overzealous inspector and a mysterious dumpster fire, makes it seem like this renovation is doomed, too. Andrews' latest, after The Newcomer (2021), is a frothy combination of a hectic old-house-renovation story and a cozy mystery with a hint of romance centered around a likable heroine who has been holding too many feelings at bay. A perfect summer escape.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Andrews' perennial summer-bestseller status plus the hot home-renovation theme means lots of demand.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781250278364 A young Georgia widow flips a historic house and finds evidence of a long-missing woman while developing a growing attraction for a co-worker. Hattie Kavanaugh married her high school sweetheart and lost him to a motorcycle accident after just a few years of marriage. Almost seven years on, she’s still living in her unfinished bungalow renovation near Savannah, grieving her husband, Hank, and flipping houses with his dad, Tug; her best friend, Cassidy Pelletier; and Cass’ mother, Zenobia. After a disastrous flip where Hattie loses all her savings on a gorgeous—but dilapidated—157-year-old home, Hattie decides to take an offer to star in a Home Place Television Network production with Cass that will bring in a steady paycheck as she works on her next flip and tries to earn back the money she’s lost. The catch—which she doesn’t know but her producer, Mo Lopez, does—is that the show she signed on for has changed in concept from a straight house-flipping show to a house-flip–meets–dating-show, where the goal is for the handsome designer, Trae Bartholomew, to seduce her over the course of the series. Hattie digs deep to fund the flip, pawning her engagement ring and taking a loan from her father, a wealthy ex-felon who has served time in prison for embezzlement. Author Andrews has packed a lot into this story: Not only is there drama from the reality show and Hattie’s growing attraction to a co-worker, but 17 years earlier beloved local schoolteacher Lanier Ragan went missing, and the story follows both the renovation of the long-abandoned beach home Hattie buys and the discovery of evidence in the cold case of the teacher’s disappearance. A fun story with twists and turns that will appeal to romantics and cold-case fans alike. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250278364 Andrews (The Newcomer) sparkles in this fast-paced tale of a reluctant TV star, a driven producer, and a long-dormant mystery on the Georgia coast. Widowed contractor Hattie Kavanaugh is in the middle of a plumbing disaster at the historic Savannah house she’s trying to flip when Mo Lopez, who creates reality shows for an HGTV-type network, stops by to pitch a show involving her project (“You’re passionate. You’re smart. You’ve got attitude.... And it doesn’t hurt that you’re damned attractive. The camera is going to love you,” he tells her). At first, Hattie wants nothing to do with it, but she reconsiders due to her bleak financial situation. She then purchases another fixer-upper, this one on nearby Tybee Island, and as she gets going on the demo work, with Mo and his camera crew at her side, she discovers in a wall a wallet that belonged to Lanier Ragan, her high school English teacher who went missing 17 years earlier. As she uncovers more clues about Lanier, it seems someone might be willing to kill to keep the house’s secrets. The author skillfully navigates the various threads—there’s sexual tension between Hattie and a slew of suitors, and a twisty third act involving Lanier’s fate. Andrews’s fans will eat this up. (May)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250278364 In Andrews's latest, widowed Hattie Kavanaugh has a chance to rescue her business by appearing in a beach-house renovation reality show called The Homewreckers, competing with a male lead who could be a new love interest—or her worst competitor ever (300,000-copy first printing). In debuter Caña's A Proposal They Can't Refuse, Kamilah Vega wants to update her family's Puerto Rican restaurant but can't get permission from her ailing octogenarian grandfather unless she marries his best friend's son, Irish American whiskey distiller Liam (75,000-copy first printing). In Colgan's Island Wedding, Flora MacKenzie is planning a sweet, small wedding on the Scottish island of Mure when she learns that rich, gorgeous Olivia is returning home to Mure for her own extravaganza wedding—planned for the same day (100,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). In Foster's The Honeymoon Cottage, Jubil Long isn't thrilled that the little sister he's cared for since their parents' deaths wants an out-of-the-way country wedding, but then he meets wedding planner Yardley Belanger, who wishes she could have her own wedding one day (75,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing). Lauren's Something Wilder takes Lily Wilder to the Utah desert, where she uses her difficult treasure-hunting dad's old maps to conduct staged hunts and encounters the one man from the past who always saw her as the love of his life (100,00-copy first printing). A thief since childhood, when he scrambled to support a mother dying of cancer, the ever-honorable Harry Booth feels he can't follow up his feelings for Miranda Emerson—although maybe there's hope if he disentangles himself from the Nightwork he's been trapped into doing for bad-guy Carter LaPorte. This latest from Roberts has a million-copy first printing.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250278364 Young widow Hattie Kavanaugh just lost her shirt on her last attempted renovation of a historic house in Savannah, so she's desperate enough to accept Mo Lopez's offer to star in her own show on the Home Place Television Network. Though the network lets her best friend, Cass, stay on as foreman, they bring on hotshot designer Trae Bartholomew to spice things up in the house and maybe with Hattie, too. Unfortunately, the beach house they are renovating on Tybee Island is a total disaster, and the network's time line is tighter than the budget. Then Cass finds a wallet hidden in a wall, one that belonged to their favorite English teacher, who went missing their senior year. That, plus an overzealous inspector and a mysterious dumpster fire, makes it seem like this renovation is doomed, too. Andrews' latest, after The Newcomer (2021), is a frothy combination of a hectic old-house-renovation story and a cozy mystery with a hint of romance centered around a likable heroine who has been holding too many feelings at bay. A perfect summer escape.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Andrews' perennial summer-bestseller status plus the hot home-renovation theme means lots of demand.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781250278364 A young Georgia widow flips a historic house and finds evidence of a long-missing woman while developing a growing attraction for a co-worker. Hattie Kavanaugh married her high school sweetheart and lost him to a motorcycle accident after just a few years of marriage. Almost seven years on, she’s still living in her unfinished bungalow renovation near Savannah, grieving her husband, Hank, and flipping houses with his dad, Tug; her best friend, Cassidy Pelletier; and Cass’ mother, Zenobia. After a disastrous flip where Hattie loses all her savings on a gorgeous—but dilapidated—157-year-old home, Hattie decides to take an offer to star in a Home Place Television Network production with Cass that will bring in a steady paycheck as she works on her next flip and tries to earn back the money she’s lost. The catch—which she doesn’t know but her producer, Mo Lopez, does—is that the show she signed on for has changed in concept from a straight house-flipping show to a house-flip–meets–dating-show, where the goal is for the handsome designer, Trae Bartholomew, to seduce her over the course of the series. Hattie digs deep to fund the flip, pawning her engagement ring and taking a loan from her father, a wealthy ex-felon who has served time in prison for embezzlement. Author Andrews has packed a lot into this story: Not only is there drama from the reality show and Hattie’s growing attraction to a co-worker, but 17 years earlier beloved local schoolteacher Lanier Ragan went missing, and the story follows both the renovation of the long-abandoned beach home Hattie buys and the discovery of evidence in the cold case of the teacher’s disappearance. A fun story with twists and turns that will appeal to romantics and cold-case fans alike. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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#6  (Last Week: 7 • Weeks on List: 11)  
The Paris Apartment
Book Jacket   Lucy Foley
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780063003057 After Jess has a run-in with the boss at the restaurant where she works, she retaliates by stealing money from the cash register and heading across the Channel to hide out with her brother Ben in Paris. When she arrives at the unexpectedly swanky building where he lives, Ben is nowhere to be found, despite having told her he'd be waiting up for her. Small details unsettle her: a cat that has what looks like blood on its fur; Ben's St. Christopher medal in a crack on the floor, even though he never took it off. When she approaches the building's other residents for help, they're all strangely reticent, and when Jess finds a hidden door in the living room wall that opens onto to a staircase with peepholes into every apartment in the building, her investigation into her brother's whereabouts ramps up. Foley's (The Guest List) latest is another well-paced, suspenseful locked-room mystery with shifting points of view, though the eventual solution to the puzzle is not as satisfying as in her earlier books. VERDICT Foley's fans, especially those willing to suspend their disbelief about some of the more unlikely plot twists, will enjoy.—Stephanie Klose
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780063003057 Jess Hadley, the gutsy heroine of this well-paced mystery from bestseller Foley (The Guest List), arrives at the swanky Paris apartment building of her aspiring journalist half brother, Ben Daniels, after fleeing her latest unpleasant job in England. But Ben is not there and doesn’t show up the next morning. When Jess asks the other tenants about her brother, all of them—including imperious penthouse dweller Sophie Meunier, a blackmail victim; timid 19-year-old Mimi, who’s infatuated with Ben; and aggressive drunk Antoine, who suspects Ben has seduced his wife—deflect her questions. In her search for Ben, Jess learns the building’s tenants are members of a single family with secrets to hide. After an editor Ben worked for takes Jess’s worries about his disappearance seriously, the details of those secrets start to emerge, along with a credible portrait of a deeply damaged family. Amid plenty of red herrings and distinctive characters, each shifty in their own way, the relentlessly bleak plot builds to an uplifting twist ending that feels neither pat nor overly rosy. Foley reliably entertains. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. (Feb.)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780063003057 From the author of The Hunting Party (2019) and The Guest List (2020) comes this exceedingly clever new novel. Jess arrives at her brother Ben’s apartment in Paris to find that Ben seems to have disappeared. She talks to the other residents of the small apartment building, but no one seems to know what might have happened to him, although we know, from chapters written from the residents’ points of view, that something is not quite right. What’s especially interesting about the novel, apart from the deft characterizations and the overall feeling of dread, is the way Foley is cagey about exactly what kind of story this is. Could it be a riff on the Agatha Christie abundance-of-suspects theme? Could it be a twist on the traditional locked-room mystery? Could it be a psychological thriller? Could we be dealing with an unreliable-narrator? Who, exactly, is Ben? What kind of man is he? What is he capable of? The author keeps Jess and the reader guessing right up to the end. A fine suspenser from a writer who consistently delivers the goods.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780063003057 Suddenly jobless, woefully penniless, and without many friends for support, Jess decides to start anew by abandoning England and heading to Paris, where half-brother Ben has grudgingly agreed to let her stay with him for a time. But when she arrives at his apartment, Ben has vanished, and the cold and creepy neighbors—from a socialite to an alcoholic to a troubled young woman—seem to know something they're not telling. Following the million-copy best-selling The Guest List, a Reese's Book Club pick; with a 300,000-copy first printing.
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#7  (Last Week: 5 • Weeks on List: 5)  
Sea Of Tranquility
 Emily St. John Mandel
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780593321447 In 1912, Edwin, the third son of a wealthy British family who is sent into exile for his progressive views, has a transcendent experience in the remote Canadian woods when he is momentarily transported to a futuristic airship terminal and hears a violinist playing. Nearly a hundred years later, Vincent Smith (the heroine in Mandel’s previous novel, The Glass Hotel, 2020) has a similar experience as a teen. And several centuries into the future, a resident of a colony on the moon named Gaspery Roberts is sent back through time to investigate these incidents, and discover how and why they happened. Connecting characters across the centuries—including several others from The Glass Hotel, plus a writer, who, not unlike Mandel herself, has written an eerily prescient hit novel about a fictional pandemic just before the onset of a real one—Mandel spins a gripping and beautiful narrative that speaks to how we are all interconnected in great and small ways. With more than a few discoveries related to her previous novels, this will be a delight for longtime Mandel readers; but those new to her work won’t find themselves lost by any means, except in the sense that all readers will be subsumed by this gorgeously rendered, deeply intimate, conceptually rich, and affecting tale. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Mandel continues to reign as a cutting-edge, best-selling novelist, and the themes of this deeply involving tale promise even more attention and acclaim.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780593321447 The latest in Mandel's evolving uber novel opus once again builds an utterly singular world while remaining tethered to her previous works (characters from The Glass Hotel are instrumental here). The author's most distinctly genre-inflected work yet, it boasts a laundry list of sf elements; time travel, lunar colonies, and simulation theory are corded to the more grounded influences of music, the natural world, family, and, yes, pandemics (though smartly more abstracted here). Initially taking on an unsettled shape of a mystery replete with myriad narrative ellipses, the narrative eventually slows its pace to fill in its early narrative shading, settling into the perspective of Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a sort-of layabout who finds himself investigating an "anomaly" that manifests across several centuries and lives. What results is a decidedly lighter and looser work for Mandel, recalling some of the paradox-themed playfulness of Sean Ferrell's Man in the Empty Suit or Charles Yu's How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, without leaning full-bore into any quantum specificity. But while its littered enigmas and savvy narrative structure make for effortless reading, both the worldbuilding and Roberts are given short shrift. VERDICT A distinctly slight work from Mandel, one that is very much enjoyable on its own terms and nails its tonal progression but has too soft a center to hold up to much scrutiny.—Luke Gorham
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780593321447 After breaking out with the National Book Award finalist Station Eleven and following up with the multi-best-booked The Glass Hotel, Mandel returns with another fantastical work that links stories over the centuries as it contemplates the passage of time (and its disruption), the value of art (with music and literature figuring here), and the endless mystery of life (with mystery and speculative tropes both contributing to the narrative). Tossed out of polite society after all too boldly revealing outré opinions at a dinner party, young son-of-an-earl Edwin St. Andrew crosses the ocean by steamship in the early 1900s and lands in the stunning Canadian wilderness, where he hears the notes of a violin in (surprisingly) an airship terminal. Two centuries later, a violinist playing in a forest-shadowed air terminal appears in a best-selling pandemic novel written by famed author Olive Llewellyn, who's on a book tour of Earth though her home is the second moon colony. Finally, Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is tasked with investigating strange events—an aristocrat gone mad, an author trapped on Earth by pandemic—even as he and a childhood friend recognize that they might be able to rearrange the timeline of the universe. Sounds stunning to me, and with both Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel having sold 1.2 million copies so far and heading to the silver screen, you can bet this title will be big.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780593321447 Characters living centuries apart all have the same brief, puzzling experience—what does this mean about the nature of time? In 1912, at an estate in the British countryside, 18-year-old Edwin St. Andrew makes a rude comment at dinner and is sent in disgrace to live in Canada. In 1994, a young girl makes a video in the woods near her home; in 2020, after her death, her composer brother screens it during a concert. (These last two are Vincent and Paul Smith, characters from Mandel's last book, The Glass Hotel.) In 2203, author Olive Llewellyn has left her husband and daughter at home on the moon's Colony Two to travel to Earth for a book tour to promote her pandemic novel, Marienbad (reminiscent of Mandel's own bestselling Station Eleven). " 'I was so confused by your book,' a woman in Dallas said. 'There were all these strands, narratively speaking, all these characters, and I felt like I was waiting for them to connect, but they didn't, ultimately. The book just ended. I was like... "Huh? Is the book missing pages?" It just ended.' " This and other annoyances from Olive's book tour seem to humorously reflect Mandel's own experience, but no one will be making a similar complaint about her latest—a complicated and mysterious puzzle concerning the nature of reality solved perfectly, all loose ends connected. To find out why these various people have all experienced the same weird few seconds of sound and sensation, we must go all the way to the 2400s, when there are three colonies on the moon designed to relieve overcrowding on Earth, and where we meet a character named after someone in Olive's novel—yet he is already strangely familiar. Some of the scenes involving life in 25th-century pandemic quarantine are quite recognizable; this novel is futuristic without being all that dystopian. Perhaps our expectations have changed. Even more boldly imagined than Station Eleven. Exciting to read, relevant, and satisfying. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780593321447 In Mandel’s stunning latest, people find themselves inhabiting different places and times, from early 20th-century Canada to a 23rd-century moon colony. Edwin St. Andrew’s wealthy British family banishes him to Canada after his unpatriotic opinions disrupt a dinner party. Walking in the dense forest near tiny Caiette, B.C., in 1912, he suddenly hears haunting violin music and a human bustle. In 2020 Brooklyn, avant-garde composer Paul James Smith shapes a composition around a fragmentary video shot by his late half sister Vincent (both characters appeared in Mandel’s The Glass Hotel). Its footage of the forest outside Caiette, where Vincent was raised, is abruptly interrupted by a black screen and a collage of sounds including violin notes, a “dim cacophony” reminiscent of a train station, and “a strange kind of whoosh.” Author Olive Llewellyn leaves her home on the moon’s second colony in 2203 to promote her bestselling “pandemic novel” on Earth. As a new virus spreads through Australia, she fields questions about a scene in the book, based on personal experience, in which a character listening to violin music in an Oklahoma City airship terminal feels briefly transported to a forest. In 2401, the secretive, powerful Time Institute is concerned by the glitch that Edwin, Vincent, and Olive have all experienced. When they send investigator Gaspery-Jacques Roberts back in time to discover more, the novel’s narratives crystallize flawlessly. Brilliantly combining imagery from science fiction and the current pandemic, Mandel grounds her rich metaphysical speculation in small, beautifully observed human moments. By turns playful, tragic, and tender, this should not be missed. Agent: Katherine Fausset, Curtis Brown. (Apr.)
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  Book Jacket
#8  (Last Week: 8 • Weeks on List: 74)  
The Midnight Library
 Matt Haig
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525559474 Nora Seed believes her life is made up of wrong choices. She didn’t become an Olympic swimmer; she quit her brother’s band; she left her fiancé two days before the wedding. Living with crippling disappointment and situational depression, Nora decides that the only right choice for her is to end her existence. But “between life and death there is a midnight library,” a library that contains multiple volumes of the lives she could have had if she had made different choices. With the help of the friendly librarian Mrs. Elm, Nora tries on these lives in hopes of finding one where she will truly be happy. In the process, Nora finds that life is made of choices of both little and big consequence, and sometimes the choice to believe in oneself is both the biggest and smallest decision a person can make. Haig’s latest (after the nonfiction collection Notes on a Nervous Planet, 2019) is a stunning contemporary story that explores the choices that make up a life, and the regrets that can stifle it. A compelling novel that will resonate with readers.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? Thats the question at the heart of Haigs latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existenceas a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you wont need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isnt difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the books playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.A whimsical fantasy about learning whats important in life. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780525559474 An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives. How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable. A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525559474 Nora Seed believes her life is made up of wrong choices. She didn’t become an Olympic swimmer; she quit her brother’s band; she left her fiancé two days before the wedding. Living with crippling disappointment and situational depression, Nora decides that the only right choice for her is to end her existence. But “between life and death there is a midnight library,” a library that contains multiple volumes of the lives she could have had if she had made different choices. With the help of the friendly librarian Mrs. Elm, Nora tries on these lives in hopes of finding one where she will truly be happy. In the process, Nora finds that life is made of choices of both little and big consequence, and sometimes the choice to believe in oneself is both the biggest and smallest decision a person can make. Haig’s latest (after the nonfiction collection Notes on a Nervous Planet, 2019) is a stunning contemporary story that explores the choices that make up a life, and the regrets that can stifle it. A compelling novel that will resonate with readers.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525559474 Haig (How to Stop Time) draws on quantum wave theory in this charming if sometimes laborious account of the many possible lives of a depressed woman. Nora, in her mid-30s and living in the small English town of Bedford, suffers from “situational depression”—though, as she wryly observes, “It’s just that I keep on having new... situations.” After she gets fired from her job and her cat dies, she attempts suicide, only to wake up in a book-lined liminal zone, where she is guided by a librarian: “Between life and death there is a library... Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived.” There, Nora discovers what would have happened had she not abandoned her promising swimming career, called off her engagement, or left the rock band she started with her brother. Each time an alternate life disappoints or doesn’t feel quite right, Nora exits, reappearing in the library to continue browsing for the perfect story. While the formula grows repetitive, the set changes provide novelty, as Haig whisks Nora from Australian beaches to a South American rock concert tour to an Arctic encounter with a polar bear. Haig’s agreeable narrative voice and imagination will reward readers who take this book off the shelf. (Sept.)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525559474 If you could live your life over again, would you make the same choices? Nora Seed is depressed: Her best friend has ghosted her from the other side of the world; she is estranged from her brother; she just got fired; and her cat died. Suicide seems to be the answer, but instead of dying, she awakens in a library of infinite books, all about the lives she could have lived. There she meets her school librarian, who guides her first to her "Book of Regrets," where she sees every choice she made, while the rest of the books take her on journeys to visit her potential lives. What if, instead of quitting the band, she became a rock star? Or instead of leaving school, she became a world-renowned glaciologist? Nora gets to live these alternative lives, the goal being to find the life that will make her happy. But happiness, even in this fantasy, still proves elusive; perhaps that wasn't the goal after all. VERDICT Haig (How To Stop Time) takes readers on a journey of quantum physics that will have them feeling that they actually understand the theory. Most reminiscent of Ken Grimwood's Replay.—Stacy Alesi, Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Lib., Lynn Univ., Boca Raton, FL
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525559474 Nora Seed believes her life is made up of wrong choices. She didn’t become an Olympic swimmer; she quit her brother’s band; she left her fiancé two days before the wedding. Living with crippling disappointment and situational depression, Nora decides that the only right choice for her is to end her existence. But “between life and death there is a midnight library,” a library that contains multiple volumes of the lives she could have had if she had made different choices. With the help of the friendly librarian Mrs. Elm, Nora tries on these lives in hopes of finding one where she will truly be happy. In the process, Nora finds that life is made of choices of both little and big consequence, and sometimes the choice to believe in oneself is both the biggest and smallest decision a person can make. Haig’s latest (after the nonfiction collection Notes on a Nervous Planet, 2019) is a stunning contemporary story that explores the choices that make up a life, and the regrets that can stifle it. A compelling novel that will resonate with readers.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? Thats the question at the heart of Haigs latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existenceas a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you wont need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isnt difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the books playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.A whimsical fantasy about learning whats important in life. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780525559474 An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives. How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable. A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525559474 Nora Seed believes her life is made up of wrong choices. She didn’t become an Olympic swimmer; she quit her brother’s band; she left her fiancé two days before the wedding. Living with crippling disappointment and situational depression, Nora decides that the only right choice for her is to end her existence. But “between life and death there is a midnight library,” a library that contains multiple volumes of the lives she could have had if she had made different choices. With the help of the friendly librarian Mrs. Elm, Nora tries on these lives in hopes of finding one where she will truly be happy. In the process, Nora finds that life is made of choices of both little and big consequence, and sometimes the choice to believe in oneself is both the biggest and smallest decision a person can make. Haig’s latest (after the nonfiction collection Notes on a Nervous Planet, 2019) is a stunning contemporary story that explores the choices that make up a life, and the regrets that can stifle it. A compelling novel that will resonate with readers.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525559474 Haig (How to Stop Time) draws on quantum wave theory in this charming if sometimes laborious account of the many possible lives of a depressed woman. Nora, in her mid-30s and living in the small English town of Bedford, suffers from “situational depression”—though, as she wryly observes, “It’s just that I keep on having new... situations.” After she gets fired from her job and her cat dies, she attempts suicide, only to wake up in a book-lined liminal zone, where she is guided by a librarian: “Between life and death there is a library... Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived.” There, Nora discovers what would have happened had she not abandoned her promising swimming career, called off her engagement, or left the rock band she started with her brother. Each time an alternate life disappoints or doesn’t feel quite right, Nora exits, reappearing in the library to continue browsing for the perfect story. While the formula grows repetitive, the set changes provide novelty, as Haig whisks Nora from Australian beaches to a South American rock concert tour to an Arctic encounter with a polar bear. Haig’s agreeable narrative voice and imagination will reward readers who take this book off the shelf. (Sept.)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525559474 If you could live your life over again, would you make the same choices? Nora Seed is depressed: Her best friend has ghosted her from the other side of the world; she is estranged from her brother; she just got fired; and her cat died. Suicide seems to be the answer, but instead of dying, she awakens in a library of infinite books, all about the lives she could have lived. There she meets her school librarian, who guides her first to her "Book of Regrets," where she sees every choice she made, while the rest of the books take her on journeys to visit her potential lives. What if, instead of quitting the band, she became a rock star? Or instead of leaving school, she became a world-renowned glaciologist? Nora gets to live these alternative lives, the goal being to find the life that will make her happy. But happiness, even in this fantasy, still proves elusive; perhaps that wasn't the goal after all. VERDICT Haig (How To Stop Time) takes readers on a journey of quantum physics that will have them feeling that they actually understand the theory. Most reminiscent of Ken Grimwood's Replay.—Stacy Alesi, Eugene M. & Christine E. Lynn Lib., Lynn Univ., Boca Raton, FL
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#9  (Last Week: 6 • Weeks on List: 4)  
The Investigator
Book Jacket   John Sandford
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A domestic-terrorist plot gives the adopted daughter of storied U.S. Marshal Lucas Davenport her moment to shine.Veteran oilman Vermilion Wright knows that losing a few thousand gallons of crude is no more than an accounting error to his company but could mean serious money to whomevers found a way to siphon it off from wells in Texas Permian Basin. So he asks Sen. Christopher Colles, Chair of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, to look into it, and Colles persuades 24-year-old Letty Davenport, whos just quit his employ, to return and partner with Department of Homeland Security agent John Kaiser to track down the thieves. The plot that right-winger Jane Jael Hawkes and her confederates, most of them service veterans with disgruntled attitudes and excellent military skills, have hatched is more dire than anything Wright could have imagined. They plan to use the proceeds from the oil thefts to purchase some black-market C4 essential to a major act of terrorism that will simultaneously express their alarm about the countrys hospitality to illegal immigrants and put the Jael-Birds on the map for good. But they havent reckoned with Letty, another kid born on the wrong side of the tracks who can outshoot the men shes paired with and outthink the vigilantes she finds herself facingand who, along with her adoptive father, makes a memorable pair of pragmatists. Really harsh pragmatists willing to do whatever needs doing without batting an eye or losing a nights sleep afterward.Generations may succeed generations, but Sandfords patented investigation/action formula hasnt aged a whit. Bring it on. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780593328682 Introduced in 2003’s Naked Prey, Letty Davenport, U.S. Marshal Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, takes center stage in this welcome series spin-off from bestseller Sandford. Letty is bored by her D.C. job working for Senator Christopher Colles, until her unauthorized actions yield proof that two of his staff members stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the politician’s campaign funds. When she resigns her job in the hope of finding something more suited to her thirst for action, Colles, impressed by her initiative, offers her an acceptable alternative. As a member of a committee overseeing the Department of Homeland Security, he’s able to hire Letty as a researcher to follow up on reports that a gang of crooks may have stolen hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil in West Texas. Colles fears that the money the thieves made from selling the oil could be funding a national security threat. That original premise, coupled with Sandford’s rounded portrayal of Letty as more than just a stock action hero, add up to one of his best books in years. Karen Sisco admirers will hope Letty has a long literary life. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners. (Apr.)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780593328682 At 24, Letty Davenport, Lucas Davenport's adopted daughter, is already bored with government bureaucracy. She resigns from her job in Senator Chris Colles's office, but as Chair of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, he offers her a job as a researcher. Someone is stealing oil in Texas; Chris wants to know who it is and what they're doing with the profits. Letty works with an agent from DHS, John Kaiser, who quickly discovers Letty's ability with a gun. They will need to work together to face a former military woman calling herself Lorelei, who runs a site on the dark web urging others to join her militia in opposition to the government and its stand on immigration. With oil money, Lorelei recruits militants from all over the West and Midwest and brings them to a border town in Texas for a show of force. Letty and Kaiser can't take down over 100 militia members, but they can assist the local townspeople and control the carnage. VERDICT Sandford's ("Virgil Flowers" series) first Letty Davenport novel is a violent, topical, fast-paced story that's sure to please action fans.—Lesa Holstine
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780593328682 A domestic-terrorist plot gives the adopted daughter of storied U.S. Marshal Lucas Davenport her moment to shine. Veteran oilman Vermilion Wright knows that losing a few thousand gallons of crude is no more than an accounting error to his company but could mean serious money to whomever’s found a way to siphon it off from wells in Texas’ Permian Basin. So he asks Sen. Christopher Colles, Chair of Homeland Security and Government Affairs, to look into it, and Colles persuades 24-year-old Letty Davenport, who’s just quit his employ, to return and partner with Department of Homeland Security agent John Kaiser to track down the thieves. The plot that right-winger Jane Jael Hawkes and her confederates, most of them service veterans with disgruntled attitudes and excellent military skills, have hatched is more dire than anything Wright could have imagined. They plan to use the proceeds from the oil thefts to purchase some black-market C4 essential to a major act of terrorism that will simultaneously express their alarm about the country’s hospitality to illegal immigrants and put the Jael-Birds on the map for good. But they haven’t reckoned with Letty, another kid born on the wrong side of the tracks who can outshoot the men she’s paired with and outthink the vigilantes she finds herself facing—and who, along with her adoptive father, makes a memorable pair of “pragmatists. Really harsh pragmatists” willing to do whatever needs doing without batting an eye or losing a night’s sleep afterward. Generations may succeed generations, but Sandford’s patented investigation/action formula hasn’t aged a whit. Bring it on. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781538719770 In the latest from the New York Times best-selling Pinborough, has-it-all heroine Emma Averell is beginning to suffer from Insomnia, which she fears may presage a descent into the insanity that destroyed her own mother's life (75,000-copy first printing).
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780593328682 After more than 30 novels in the Prey series, starring the wily and obliquely funny Minnesota cop Lucas Davenport, and 13 more featuring Davenport’s colleague Virgil Flowers, Sandford adds another protagonist to his team, Davenport’s 24-year-old stepdaughter, smart-mouthed Letty, here relieved from her dull job as an aide to a DC. politician by an assignment to investigate oil theft in Texas. She’s assigned a partner/bodyguard, DHS agent John Kaiser, and as they banter their way across the Texas landscape where “the sun poured down like melted butter,” readers are treated to Sandford’s well-crafted prose, conversational but never chatty and charged with boisterous humor. A cop surveying a bloody crime scene exults that it’s enabled him to connect with the DC. fellow who doles out grant assistance to law enforcement, “for free!” Revelations about oil theft lead to a militia, “hapless goofs with guns,” and a spectacular confrontation, automatic weapons and Blackhawks at the Tex-Mex border. A top-line thriller from one of the genre’s heavy hitters.
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#10  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 47)  
The Last Thing He Told Me
Book Jacket   Laura Dave
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781501171345 When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him. Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic. Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. Shes also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that shes not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying Protect her and cant reach Owen by phone. Then theres the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shops CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isnt a suspect. Hannah doesnt know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannahs narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Baileys relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781501171345 Owen Michaels has disappeared, and all he left his wife Hannah is a note that says “protect her.” That, and a duffel bag containing over half a million dollars in cash. Could his disappearance have to do with his company’s recent financial-fraud scandal? Hannah seems to think so, especially when a US Marshal shows up on her doorstep. But why is a Texas-based US Marshal investigating a purported crime committed in Sausalito, California? This question convinces Hannah to go to Austin, along with her 16 year-old stepdaughter Bailey, to see if that city holds the answer to Owen’s disappearance, and maybe even Owen himself. What Hannah discovers is nothing she could have ever imagined, and she is soon forced to choose between finding her husband and keeping Bailey safe. Bestselling author Dave’s latest (after Hello, Sunshine, 2017) is a well-written story, and though readers may have trouble connecting with the characters, the plot is strong enough that the mystery will keep them hooked.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781501171345 Hannah's husband of two years, Owen, disappears amidst a work scandal; the only things he leaves her are a duffel bag full of money and a cryptic note that says "protect her," referring to his teenage daughter Bailey. When investigators reveal that Owen is not who he says he is, the mystery deepens, and Dave (Hello, Sunshine) heightens the stakes with the dynamic between Hannah and stepdaughter Bailey. Will Bailey come to trust her? Will Hannah be able to protect her as Owen asked? Dave focuses the action by filtering it through only Hannah's perspective, which keeps the plot tight where it could have been complicated, as Hannah chases leads to figure out who her husband used to be and meets people from his past. The first-person, present-tense point of view makes the pace quick; readers will be hooked from the start. Skillfully woven into the present mystery are flashbacks of scenes between Hannah and Owen, showing their tender relationship and Owen's behavior that hints at his past. VERDICT For readers who like a resilient, resourceful heroine and a compelling domestic suspense story.—Sonia Reppe, Stickney-Forest View P.L., IL
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781501171345 In Dave’s suspenseful latest (after Hello Sunshine), a Bay Area woman copes with her husband’s sudden disappearance. Owen Michaels, a coder for a prominent tech company, vanishes just before his boss is arrested for corruption, leaving his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, over half a million dollars in cash. Bailey and her stepmother, Hannah Hall, aren’t close, but they work together to uncover what made Owen flee, convinced he is innocent. Still, Hannah remains uncertain, and after she remembers how a man claimed to have recognized Owen from high school in Austin, Tex., despite Owen having said he’s from the East Coast, Hannah and Bailey travel there in hopes of triggering Bailey’s early childhood memories. Bailey does remember Texas, though her memories don’t track with what Owen had told both of them. Meanwhile, a U.S. Marshal who’s familiar with Owen’s past encourages Hannah to cooperate as Hannah and Bailey find themselves in danger. The first two-thirds are riveting, with mysteries unspooled at a steady pace and believable stepfamily angst, but unfortunately the final act slips into some loopy turns. The author’s fans, though, won’t have a hard time forgiving the flaws. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (May)
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NONFICTION
#1  (Last Week: 1 • Weeks on List: 2)  
Finding Me
 Viola Davis
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780063037328 Davis is the first African American actress to achieve an Academy Award, an Emmy, and two Tony Awards, the “triple crown of acting.” Still, few know the paths she took to overcome a complicated past and find purpose in her life. Finding Me is a reflective memoir about her childhood and college years in Central Falls, Rhode Island, studying at Juilliard, and her early acting years in New York City. Davis closely examines how she dealt with poverty, domestic abuse, molestation, and racism throughout her early years. As a teenager, acting became a vehicle that helped her release childhood trauma. Yet, because she experienced so much pain, she could not understand self-love, nor could she ever feel worthy of any of her accomplishments. Still, she did thrive, due to her close bond with her family, especially her sisters, along with tremendous support from educators, acting coaches, and friends. Davis gives readers hope, encouraging us to look back and embrace childhood dreams or failures, let go of shame, and move forward to become the best version of ourselves. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Davis' legions of fans will be eager to read and talk about her candid, challenging, and inspiring memoir.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The life story of an actor whose success has been shaped by grit and determination.In a starkly forthright memoir, Oscar and Tony winner Davis reflects on family, love, motherhood, and acting. Born in South Carolina on a plantation where her grandparents had been sharecroppers, she grew up in dire poverty in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Her father was a physically abusive alcoholic, and the family lived in a rat-infested apartment where they often had no heat or hot water. Besides being taunted by her classmates for being Black, she was shunned because she smelled, often of urine. As she writes, she wet the bed until she was 14. I was an awkward, angry, hurt, traumatized kid, Davis writes. I couldnt articulate what I was feeling and nobody asked. I didnt believe anybody cared. I was saturated in shame. Inspired by seeing Cicely Tyson on TV, Davis wanted to become an actora goal that seemed far out of reach. But an acting coach in an Upward Bound program encouraged her, and she won a scholarship to Rhode Island College. After graduating with a theater degree, Davis worked tirelessly to hone her craft, both by performing and studying. At Juilliard, she bristled, at first, at their Eurocentric approach. A trip to Africa, when she was 25, energized her. Early in her career, Davis was discouraged about the stereotypical roles she was offered, most for drug-addicted mothers. Later, she writes, I did a huge slate of what I call best friends to white women roles. For years, money worries dogged her. Even when working in theater, movies, and TV, she needed to supplement her income, and always, her familys financial straits weighed heavily. Therapy finally helped Davis face the generational trauma that created her sense of emotional abandonment. About her professional triumphs, the author is modest: Its an eenie, meenie, miny, mo game of luck, relationships, chance, how long youve been out there, and sometimes talent.An unvarnished chronicle of hard-won, well-earned success. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780063037328 The life story of an actor whose success has been shaped by grit and determination. In a starkly forthright memoir, Oscar and Tony winner Davis reflects on family, love, motherhood, and acting. Born in South Carolina on a plantation where her grandparents had been sharecroppers, she grew up in dire poverty in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Her father was a physically abusive alcoholic, and the family lived in a rat-infested apartment where they often had no heat or hot water. Besides being taunted by her classmates for being Black, she was shunned because she smelled, often of urine. As she writes, she wet the bed until she was 14. “I was an awkward, angry, hurt, traumatized kid,” Davis writes. “I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling and nobody asked. I didn’t believe anybody cared. I was saturated in shame.” Inspired by seeing Cicely Tyson on TV, Davis wanted to become an actor—a goal that seemed far out of reach. But an acting coach in an Upward Bound program encouraged her, and she won a scholarship to Rhode Island College. After graduating with a theater degree, Davis worked tirelessly to hone her craft, both by performing and studying. At Juilliard, she bristled, at first, at their Eurocentric approach. A trip to Africa, when she was 25, energized her. Early in her career, Davis was discouraged about the stereotypical roles she was offered, most for “drug-addicted mothers.” Later, she writes, “I did a huge slate of what I call ‘best friends to white women’ roles.” For years, money worries dogged her. Even when working in theater, movies, and TV, she needed to supplement her income, and always, her family’s financial straits weighed heavily. Therapy finally helped Davis face the generational trauma that created her sense of “emotional abandonment.” About her professional triumphs, the author is modest: “It’s an eenie, meenie, miny, mo game of luck, relationships, chance, how long you’ve been out there, and sometimes talent.” An unvarnished chronicle of hard-won, well-earned success. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780063037328 Tony and Oscar–winning actor Davis gives a master class in triumphing over poverty and despair in her soul-baring debut. Born in 1965, Davis became intimate with destitution, dysfunction, and abuse at a young age, growing up with an alcoholic father, and living off welfare checks in 1970s Central Falls, R.I. Inspired by the “true power of artistry” she watched Cicely Tyson display on TV, Davis took up acting, and, with the encouragement of an acting coach from a college prep program, won a scholarship to Rhode Island College. “Achieving became my idea of being alive,” Davis writes as she recounts honing her craft at Juilliard, before embarking on a trip to Gambia that transformed her and helped her celebrate her Blackness. Though her success didn’t come overnight, years of hard work led Davis to break out of the stereotypical “eye-rolling, ambiguous sidekick” roles that she bemoans Black women actors are often cast in, and win a 2014 Emmy at age 47 for her role in Shonda Rhimes’s How to Get Away with Murder. Even with her accomplishments, Davis is frank about the acting world’s shortcomings, where, she writes, “womanhood is defined by how ‘classically’ pretty you are... how close to white you are.” Davis’s grit and determination are moving, and her unflinching reckoning with the “racism and misogyny” she faced in Hollywood makes her story of overcoming all the more effective. Fans will be utterly enthralled. (Apr.)
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  Book Jacket
#2  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
Killing The Killers
 Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
  Book Jacket
 
#3  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
This Will Not Pass
Book Jacket   Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns
#4  (Last Week: 2 • Weeks on List: 2)  
The Palace Papers
Book Jacket   Tina Brown
 
#5  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
Out Of The Corner
 Jennifer Grey
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780593356708 An actor’s intimate self-portrait. In a gossipy, lively memoir, Grey (b. 1960) chronicles her evolving sense of identity—as a woman, actor, wife, and, most satisfyingly, mother—in what she calls an “ongoing coming-of-age story.” Born into an “extended family of Broadway royalty,” the daughter of actors Joel Grey and Jo Wilder, she was frequently uprooted between Los Angeles and New York, where her world was enlivened by her parents’ famous friends: actors, directors, artists, writers, activists, and even New York Mayor John Lindsay. “We lived in some extraordinary places,” Grey writes, “among extraordinary, accomplished humans.” Determined to be an actor, she enrolled at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre while, like many hopefuls, she worked as a server at a series of restaurants. Although she went out on plenty of auditions, she attributes her lack of success to her nose, which made her “not quite ‘pretty enough’ for the popular girl, but not awkward enough to pass for the loser.” Two roles charged her career: Matthew Broderick’s sister in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and Baby Houseman in Dirty Dancing (1987) with co-star Patrick Swayze. Grey recounts in detail the challenges of making and promoting Dirty Dancing, a movie that few had faith in—but that catapulted her to stardom. She is forthcoming about her many relationships, including with Broderick; Johnny Depp; an older director; a sexy hairdresser; and director and actor Clark Gregg, whom she married, recently divorced, and with whom she has a daughter. Grey has dealt with some severe health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and persistent anxiety and depression. “Ambition had a strangely distasteful and negative connotation to me,” she writes, continuing, “I had never been a big fan of competition and was quick to avoid conflict.” Yet at the age of 50, she enthusiastically competed on Dancing With the Stars—and won. A spirited look at stardom. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780593356708 The Dirty Dancing star cracks open her turbulent past in this searing and heartfelt debut. Born to Broadway sensation Joel Grey and actor Jo Wilder in 1960, Grey grew up in the glow of “the biz” glittering lights and, after surviving a gauntlet of New York City prep schools in the ’70s, eventually set her sights on joining the family profession. “I didn’t know how they did it exactly,” Grey writes, “but I saw firsthand that it was possible.” With the same self-deprecating charm that made her “America’s sweetheart” (for better or, often, worse), she recounts her breakout role in John Hughes’s 1986 hit Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; dating costar Matthew Broderick—and later handing him over to his paramour Helen Hunt; her abiding friendship with her Dirty Dancing costar Patrick Swayze; and embracing her father’s sexuality after he came out at age 82. She’s also strikingly frank when contending with debacles both painful and public, including the botched surgery of her “Jewish nose” that left her acting career in shambles (“Overnight, I was basically reduced to a punch line”). In spite of the devastation, Grey emerges as a resilient star in her own story, candidly sharing with readers all her joy, confusion, and hard-won wisdom along the way. Fans won’t want to miss this. (May)
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  Book Jacket
#6  (Last Week: 7 • Weeks on List: 42)  
Crying In H Mart
 Michelle Zauner
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A poignant memoir about a mothers love as told through Korean food.Losing a parent is one thing, but to also lose direct ties to ones culture in the process is its own tragedy. In this expansion of her popular 2018 New Yorker essay, Zauner, best known as the founder of indie rock group Japanese Breakfast, grapples with what it means to be severed from her Korean heritage following her mothers battle with cancer. In an attempt to honor and remember her umma, the author sought to replicate the flavors of her upbringing. Throughout, the author delivers mouthwatering descriptions of dishes like pajeon, jatjuk, and gimbap, and her storytelling is fluid, honest, and intimate. Aptly, Zauner frames her story amid the aisles of H Mart, a place many Asian Americans will recognize, a setting that allows the author to situate her personal story as part of a broader conversation about diasporic culture, a powerful force that eludes ownership. The memoir will feel familiar to children of immigrants, whose complicated relationships to family are often paralleled by equally strenuous relationships with their food. It will also resonate with a larger audience due to the authors validation of the different ways that parents can show their loveif not verbally, then certainly through their ability to nourish. I wanted to embody a physical warningthat if she began to disappear, I would disappear too, writes Zauner as she discusses the deterioration of her mothers health, when both stopped eating. When a loved one dies, we search all of our senses for signs of their presence. Zauners ability to let us in through taste makes her book stand out from others with similar themes. She makes us feel like we are in her mothers kitchen, singing her praises.A tender, well-rendered, heart-wrenching account of the way food ties us to those who have passed. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525657743 Based on the viral 2018 New Yorker essay of the same name, this debut by Zauner is an exceptionally vivid memoir that deftly explores the complex relationships between culture and family, mothers and daughters. The details of Zauner's mother's illness and death, as well as their devastating impact on the author, make for gut-wrenching reading, but it's hard to put this book down. The author holds nothing back as she navigates her adolescent search to understand her identity, made more complex by her biracial background. She's particularly open about her evolving relationship with her mother. Much of the book follows her mother's cancer diagnosis and Zauner's efforts to care for her. Threaded throughout the narrative are musings on food and culture, and the role of food in helping us to build connections and memories—however difficult at times— with family. The details and cultural references here are particular to Zauner's life, but her account contains so many all-too-common experiences of grief and endurance that it will resonate with just about everyone. VERDICT Zauner has created a memoir that is distinctly her own, but it will leave a mark on anyone who reads it—a mark that will not soon be forgotten.—Sarah Schroeder, Univ. of Washington Bothell
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525657743 Readers will sense years of reflection built into every sentence of musician Zauner’s debut memoir, which began as a 2018 New Yorker article. After losing her mom to rapidly advancing cancer when Zauner was in her midtwenties, the author finds herself in an Asian supermarket chain, devastated that she can’t call her mom for shopping advice or eat with her in the bustling food court. Zauner restores her mother in her vibrancy here, as a collector of knickknacks and face creams, an amazing cook who eschewed recipes, a loyal protector of her family. Zauner recalls trips to visit family in Korea, where she and her mother were both born, and moments during her adolescence that felt cruel at the time, but seem obviously born out of love in retrospect. As Zauner lives through her shocking grief, food binds her to her mother, as it always did, and in meditative paragraphs she shares her therapeutic experiences making jatjuk and kimchi. This is a beautiful, forthright memoir about the bewildering loss of a parent, and the complicated process of finding one’s art.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525657743 A singer/guitarist who performs shoegaze-inspired indie pop under the name Japanese Breakfast, Zauner recalls being the only Asian American in her school in Eugene, OR, then progressing to an East Coast college, a career, and marriage, getting the life she wanted yet moving away from her Korean identity. Her mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer brought her home. Spun from a 2018 New Yorker essay that went viral.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525657743 Musician Zauner debuts with an earnest account of her Korean-American upbringing, musical career, and the aftermath of her mother’s death. She opens with a memory of a visit to an Asian American supermarket, where, among fellow shoppers who were “searching for a piece of home, or a piece of ourselves,” Zauner was able to grieve the death of her mother, Chongmi, with whom she had a difficult relationship. Her white American father met her mother in Seoul in 1983, and Zauner immigrated as an infant to Eugene, Ore. In Zauner’s teenage years in the late 2000s, Chongmi vehemently opposed Zauner’s musical dreams and, in one outburst, admitted to having an abortion after Zauner’s birth “because you were such a terrible child!” The confession caused a rift that lasted almost six years, until Zauner learned of her mother’s cancer diagnosis. After Chongmi’s death in 2014, Zauner’s career took off, and during a sold-out concert in Seoul, Zauner writes, she realized her success “revolved around death, that the songs... memorialized her.” The prose is lyrical if at times overwrought, but Zauner does a good job capturing the grief of losing a parent with pathos. Fans looking to get a glimpse into the inner life of this megawatt pop star will not be disappointed. (Apr.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780525657743 A poignant memoir about a mother’s love as told through Korean food. Losing a parent is one thing, but to also lose direct ties to one’s culture in the process is its own tragedy. In this expansion of her popular 2018 New Yorker essay, Zauner, best known as the founder of indie rock group Japanese Breakfast, grapples with what it means to be severed from her Korean heritage following her mother’s battle with cancer. In an attempt to honor and remember her umma, the author sought to replicate the flavors of her upbringing. Throughout, the author delivers mouthwatering descriptions of dishes like pajeon, jatjuk, and gimbap, and her storytelling is fluid, honest, and intimate. Aptly, Zauner frames her story amid the aisles of H Mart, a place many Asian Americans will recognize, a setting that allows the author to situate her personal story as part of a broader conversation about diasporic culture, a powerful force that eludes ownership. The memoir will feel familiar to children of immigrants, whose complicated relationships to family are often paralleled by equally strenuous relationships with their food. It will also resonate with a larger audience due to the author’s validation of the different ways that parents can show their love—if not verbally, then certainly through their ability to nourish. “I wanted to embody a physical warning—that if she began to disappear, I would disappear too,” writes Zauner as she discusses the deterioration of her mother’s health, when both stopped eating. When a loved one dies, we search all of our senses for signs of their presence. Zauner’s ability to let us in through taste makes her book stand out from others with similar themes. She makes us feel like we are in her mother’s kitchen, singing her praises. A tender, well-rendered, heart-wrenching account of the way food ties us to those who have passed. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780593153901 As the daughter of an American father and a Korean mother, Zauner had an Oregon upbringing that was both typically American and undeniably Korean. From an early age, Zauner enjoyed her mother's spicy, aromatic Korean fare; it wasn't until adulthood that she realized that her mother's unique way of expressing love was by preparing particular Korean dishes. As a child and teen, Zauner felt cheated of the cuddly nurturing love that her friends received from their mothers; eventually she chose to attend college on the East Coast, hoping to break free from her mother's control. Zauner was at loose ends until she was confronted by the reality of her mother's cancer diagnosis, after which she threw herself headfirst into researching the disease, caring for her mother, and learning to prepare the particular Korean dishes that her mother might find appetizing. Neither medicine nor Zauner's nourishing cooking was able to save her mother's life, but the journey to the end brought Zauner close to her Korean roots. It also inspired Psychopomp, Zauner's first album under the name Japanese Breakfast (her solo musical project). Zauner herself narrates the audiobook, giving it emotional heft, as well as correct pronunciation of the Korean terms and foods that play pivotal roles. VERDICT This memoir of loss and identity is both personal and universal. Essential for public libraries.—Ann Weber, Bellarmine Coll. Prep., San Jose, CA.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525657743 Readers will sense years of reflection built into every sentence of musician Zauner’s debut memoir, which began as a 2018 New Yorker article. After losing her mom to rapidly advancing cancer when Zauner was in her midtwenties, the author finds herself in an Asian supermarket chain, devastated that she can’t call her mom for shopping advice or eat with her in the bustling food court. Zauner restores her mother in her vibrancy here, as a collector of knickknacks and face creams, an amazing cook who eschewed recipes, a loyal protector of her family. Zauner recalls trips to visit family in Korea, where she and her mother were both born, and moments during her adolescence that felt cruel at the time, but seem obviously born out of love in retrospect. As Zauner lives through her shocking grief, food binds her to her mother, as it always did, and in meditative paragraphs she shares her therapeutic experiences making jatjuk and kimchi. This is a beautiful, forthright memoir about the bewildering loss of a parent, and the complicated process of finding one’s art.
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#7  (Last Week: 3 • Weeks on List: 2)  
Unmasked
Book Jacket   Paul Holes
#8  (Last Week: 15 • Weeks on List: 31)  
What Happened To You?
Book Jacket   Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781250223180 A collaborative look at brain trauma and methods to alleviate the potentially lifelong effects. Child psychiatrist and neuroscientist Perry teams with Winfrey to examine traumatic injury caused by an abusive childhood. The book is formatted in a conversational interview format, with Perry sharing his insights on stress, brain biology, and physiological response, offering new approaches to emotional and psychological pain. Using medical models, Winfrey’s personal experience, and Perry’s years of research, the authors demonstrate the brain’s resilience and ability to adapt to traumatic situations, particularly when paired with psychopharmacological remedies, natural interventions, and behavioral treatments. This process of neural recalibration works wonders in instances of deeply embedded trauma and abuse, allowing people to live better lives through newly invigorated self-worth. Winfrey candidly shares difficult memories of a childhood where regular whippings (as early as age 3) were “accepted practice” and there were expectations of silence and a smile in their aftermath. In addition to this early trauma, she recounts her difficult adult relationship with her mother, which culminates in a powerful scene in a nursing home when Winfrey froze at her mother’s bedside, unable to address her. She admits that while collectively these events manifested into her adult relationships and behavior, she eventually processed and embraced the trauma as an opportunity for healing and a way to move forward. With proactive conviction, the authors help readers to recognize their own internalized trauma and encourage the reshaping of personal paths toward wellness and “to excavate the roots that were put down long before we had the words to articulate what was happening to us.” Through therapeutic frameworks and the curative power of community, belonging, human connection, and mindfulness, the authors show how renewal of mind and spirit is attainable. Though many of these issues have been addressed before, Perry and Winfrey’s partnership is notable, and their book is worthy of attention. A candid guidebook to exorcising mental trauma. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A collaborative look at brain trauma and methods to alleviate the potentially lifelong effects.Child psychiatrist and neuroscientist Perry teams with Winfrey to examine traumatic injury caused by an abusive childhood. The book is formatted in a conversational interview format, with Perry sharing his insights on stress, brain biology, and physiological response, offering new approaches to emotional and psychological pain. Using medical models, Winfreys personal experience, and Perrys years of research, the authors demonstrate the brains resilience and ability to adapt to traumatic situations, particularly when paired with psychopharmacological remedies, natural interventions, and behavioral treatments. This process of neural recalibration works wonders in instances of deeply embedded trauma and abuse, allowing people to live better lives through newly invigorated self-worth. Winfrey candidly shares difficult memories of a childhood where regular whippings (as early as age 3) were accepted practice and there were expectations of silence and a smile in their aftermath. In addition to this early trauma, she recounts her difficult adult relationship with her mother, which culminates in a powerful scene in a nursing home when Winfrey froze at her mothers bedside, unable to address her. She admits that while collectively these events manifested into her adult relationships and behavior, she eventually processed and embraced the trauma as an opportunity for healing and a way to move forward. With proactive conviction, the authors help readers to recognize their own internalized trauma and encourage the reshaping of personal paths toward wellness and to excavate the roots that were put down long before we had the words to articulate what was happening to us. Through therapeutic frameworks and the curative power of community, belonging, human connection, and mindfulness, the authors show how renewal of mind and spirit is attainable. Though many of these issues have been addressed before, Perry and Winfreys partnership is notable, and their book is worthy of attention.A candid guidebook to exorcising mental trauma. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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#9  (Last Week: 5 • Weeks on List: 2)  
I'll Show Myself Out
 Jessi Klein
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780062981592 What's so funny about parenting a small boy through the vicissitudes of aging, social media, the pandemic, and toddler risotto? In 22 clever, readable, and whimsically footnoted essays, Klein, an actor and executive producer for Inside Amy Schumer, continues the trajectory of her successful debut, You'll Grow Out of It. In the opening essay, after admitting to being possibly the last person in the civilized world to get wind of Joseph Campbell's mythic "hero's journey," she was possessed by the notion that her trip to the store to pick up teething biscuits was part of a meaningful narrative—complete with a "call to adventure," "unimaginable torment," "superhuman deeds," and a "strangely fluid and polymorphous being” (“my baby”). It takes a certain kind of mind to get this much out of a box of Nom-Noms, and Klein's comedic talent often involves an element of quasi-philosophical unspooling of mundane challenges and passages, often with a certain amount of profanity and all-caps exclamations. In the essay titled "On the Starbucks Bathroom Floor," she describes her struggles with her child’s potty training; in "Listening to Beyoncé in the Parking Lot of Party City," it’s balloons and birthdays; in “Your Husband Will Remarry Five Minutes After You Die," it’s brutal marital realism. "In Defense of Drinking" takes a tough stand on the mommy juice controversy: “I am a better mother because I drink." In "Demon Halloween," Klein confesses failure in the homemade costume department. Sometimes she puts joking aside and gets to the heart of things. "Somewhere between the optimism of pure faith and the letting go of pure Zen lies, I suppose, good parenting….Our children need us, at bare minimum, to not be nihilists, right? We have to believe in something,” she writes. The author clearly believes in family, love, laughter, and a well-placed Xanax—and she's pretty convincing. Frank, free-spirited sass for the modern mother's soul. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062981592 Comedy writer Klein (You'll Grow Out of It, 2016) expects the haters to come for her when she says tequila makes her a better mom. It's perhaps more likely that admissions like this one will make her a friend to readers of her second essay collection. After revealing her fear of writing about being a mom, Klein reclaims Joseph Campbell's hero's journey as a loose frame for the book. In motherhood, the hero's journey is "not a journey outward, to the most fantastic and farthest-flung places, but inward, downward, to the deepest parts of your strength." Klein writes about mothering her son—potty training him, playing boring games with him, watching "his" (her) pet caterpillar turn into a butterfly—as well as personal stuff like hair loss, body image, marital discord, and missing who she was before she became a mom. Klein isn't here to make motherhood look pretty, but she ends up making it look pretty great in the truest sense of the word, mixing laughs with poignancy and treating heavy topics with a brightening kind of honesty.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062981592 Comedian Klein (You’ll Grow Out of It) takes a moving look at motherhood in this bold and irreverent collection. The 22 essays offer a refreshing take on parenthood, mixing brutal honesty, candid emotion, and humor. “Mom Clothes” considers the author’s experience hanging on to baby weight post-labor and “the sheer unending exhaustion” of motherhood, while “The Car Seat” is a heartfelt take on the author’s frustration with car seats, and the loss of self as she sees “Baby on Board” car stickers and wonders why she can’t have one that simply reads “Me on Board.” “Bread and Cheese” is an ode to the insanity of picky eaters: “Of all the childhood behaviors that trigger me... Asher’s refusal to eat is the one that makes me most want to tantrum myself.” “In Defense of Drinking” is a response to anti “Mommy Drinking” sentiment, in which she labels alcohol an “ongoing epidural.” Klein is full of surprises, and moments of hilarity often dissolve into unexpected glimpses of joy: her reminder that “being a parent is a lot like having a dream.... Most of it, even when it’s ugly, is beautiful,” for example, lands with grace. Funny, clever, and full of heart, this one’s a gem. Agent: David Kuhn, Aevitas Creative Management. (Apr.)
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#10  (Last Week: 13 • Weeks on List: 25)  
The 1619 Project
 edited Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780593230572 Launched by the New York Times editors in August 2019 as an ongoing series with MacArthur Fellow Hannah-Jones at the helm, the 1619 Project takes the arrival of the first enslaved people from Africa in August 1619 as its starting point and proceeds through four centuries to explore the contributions of Black Americans and the ways both slavery and resistance to oppression have definitively shaped America. The project brings us up to the present day with examinations of persistent anti-Black racism and continuing discussions of reparations and other unresolved issues. Contributors range from Jamelle Bouie and Jeneen Interlandi to Matthew Desmond and Bryan Stevenson, with fiction and poetry included along with nonfiction. The aim is to provide a new perspective on American history, and Hannah-Jones has already won a Pulitzer Prize for the project; this work expands on coverage that has already appeared. Note that a children's edition will appear simultaneously (ISBN 9780593307359).
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780593230572 A book-length expansion of the New York Times Magazine issue that explores the history of slavery in America and its countless toxic consequences. Famously denied tenure at the University of North Carolina for her critical journalism, Hannah-Jones sounds controversial notes at the start: There are no slaves but instead enslaved people, a term that “accurately conveys the condition without stripping the individual of his or her humanity,” while the romantic plantation gives way to the more accurate terms labor camp and forced labor camp. The 1619 Project was intended to introduce Black people into the mainstream narrative of American history as active agents. It may have been White people who enslaved them, but apart from the legal and constitutional paperwork, it was Black people who resisted and liberated themselves and others, from their very first arrival at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619 to the very present. Hannah-Jones and colleagues consider a nation still wrestling with the outcomes of slavery, an incomplete Reconstruction, and a subsequent history of Jim Crow laws and current legal efforts to disenfranchise Black voters. As she notes, the accompanying backlash has been vigorous, including attempted laws by the likes of Sen. Tom Cotton to strip federal funds from schools that teach the 1619 Project or critical race theory. Among numerous other topics, the narrative examines: the thought that the American independence movement was fueled at least in part by the insistence on maintaining slavery as the Crown moved to abolition; the use of slavery to tamp down resistance among poor Whites whose functions were essentially the same as the enslaved but who, unlike Black people, were not considered property; the ongoing appropriation of Black music, which has “midwifed the only true integration this country has known,” as Wesley Morris writes, by a machine that perpetuates minstrelsy. Those readers open to fresh and startling interpretations of history will find this book a comprehensive education. A much-needed book that stakes a solid place in a battlefield of ideas over America’s past and present. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780593230572 Journalist, academic, and MacArthur fellow Hannah-Jones launched The 1619 Project in 2019 in the New York Times Magazine to mark the four-hundredth anniversary of the arrival of the pirate-seized White Lion, which brought the first captive Africans to colonial soil in Virginia, and to take fresh measure of what followed as a new nation gradually coalesced, then failed to live up to its founding ideals. The response was passionate, paving the way for this volume of expanded and new essays, each proceeded by an historical photograph and a history-inspired poem or work of fiction by Claudia Rankine, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jesmyn Ward, Tracy K. Smith, Yaa Gyasi, Natasha Trethewey, and many more. Readers will discover something new and redefining on every page as long-concealed incidents and individuals, causes and effects are brought to light by Hannah-Jones and 17 other vital thinkers and clarion writers, including Carol Anderson, Ibram X. Kendi, Tiya Miles, and Bryan Stevenson, each of whom sharpens our understanding of the dire influence of anti-Black racism on everything from the American Revolution to the Black church, Motown, health care, Trumpism, how infrastructure enforces racial inequality, the unrelenting financial struggle in Black families and communities, and how Black Americans fighting for equality decade after decade have preserved our democracy. The revelations are horrific and empowering. As Hannah-Jones writes: “If we are a truly great nation, the truth cannot destroy us.” This visionary, meticulously produced, profound, and bedrock-shifting testament belongs in every library and on every reading list.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A vigorous publicity campaign building on the impact of the first incarnation will guarantee avid interest in this invaluable and galvanizing history.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780593230572 In this substantial expansion of the New York Times Magazine’s 2019 special issue commemorating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in America, Pulitzer winner Hannah-Jones (coauthor, The 1619 Project: Born on the Water) and an impressive cast of historians, journalists, poets, novelists, and cultural critics deliver a sweeping study of the “unparalleled impact” of African slavery on American society. In an enlightening preface, Hannah-Jones pinpoints the origins of the project in her reading of Lerone Bennet Jr.’s Before the Mayflower as a high school student, and discusses the political and scholarly backlash it’s received. Updated versions of the original 10 essays examine the struggle for African American voting rights and the centrality of Black music to American culture, among other topics, while new essays by Carol Anderson and Leslie and Michelle Alexander spotlight double standards in the application of self-defense laws and the police response to Black Lives Matter protests and the January 6 Capitol riot. Stories and poems by Claudia Rankine, Terry McMillan, Darryl Pinckney, and others bring to vivid life historical moments such as the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to “one of the first Black military brigades.” The result is a bracing and vital reconsideration of American history. Photos. (Nov.)
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780593230572 Ed. Note: Choice considers racial justice a cornerstone of its mandate to support academic study. Accordingly, Choice is highlighting select racial justice titles through the creation of long-form reviews such as the one featured here. Though the scope of these reviews will be broader than those applied to the standard 190-word Choice reviews, many of the guidelines regarding what to focus on will remain the same, with additional consideration for how the text under review sheds light on racist systems and racial inequities or proposes means of dismantling them. The intent is to feature important works on racial justice that will be useful to undergraduates and faculty researching racism and racial inequalities from new perspectives. The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story is a reimagining of the standardized American history curriculum taught in mainstream public schools, based on The 1619 Project, created and published by The New York Times Magazine. Both the original project and the book are crafted by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who began this undertaking in 2019 in commemoration of the 400th year of the start of American slavery. Hannah-Jones, who joined Howard University as the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism in 2021, reports on issues pertaining to race for The New York Times Magazine and is well versed in matters of race, history, and disparity. Hannah-Jones is not the only expert to feature in this collection, however. She is joined by coeditors Caitlin Roper (former editor, The New York Times Magazine), Ilena Silverman (current story editor at the magazine), Jake Silverstein (editor in chief of the magazine), and a host of prominent contributing authors. Avid readers of history will take note of pieces by Martha S. Jones, Carol Anderson, Tiya Miles, Ibram X. Kendi, Dorothy Roberts, Khalil Gibran Muhammad, and Michelle Alexander. For those who enjoy poetry and fiction, heavyweights such as Clint Smith, Terrance Hayes, Terry McMillan, ZZ Packer, Claudia Rankine, and Sonia Sanchez make appearances as well. All together, the contributors boast a veritable bevy of Black thought leaders, scholars, artists, and social justice influencers. The 1619 Project explores a central question: What if we look at 1619, when 20 to 30 Africans bound for enslavement arrived aboard the White Lion, as the year of the American founding, rather than 1620 when the Mayflower arrived? In other words, this collection asks readers to consider the history of the United States through a non-white lens. In 18 chapters, the book presents elements of American history through the eyes of those who are descendants of the enslaved Africans who arrived before the Pilgrims. Nevertheless, this project is not just a retelling of history. It is a time line of important events that centers enslavement, spanning 1619–2020. At each important milestone, the book discusses a topic that sprouts from the existence of enslavement, and readers are treated to poetry, images, and essays to underscore the historical narrative. Chapters address several issues at the heart of American history and politics such as democracy, race, citizenship, and capitalism and elements of the human experience, including fear, the church, dispossession, and justice. Like many books that explore the intersections of race, sociology, and history, this work is targeted toward a broad audience. The 1619 Project sets out to decenter whiteness as the only American origin story and to highlight the contributions and experiences of oft-marginalized Black Americans, and it succeeds in doing so. It centers the Black experience through the voices of poets, essayists, historians, and writers. For example, in chapter 15 (“Healthcare”), author Jeneen Interlandi, a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, connects current discussions of universal health care to policies that began with the end of the Civil War when newly freed Black people had no access to health care. As smallpox ravaged the population, Black bodies littered the streets. Hospitals at the time were scarce, and those that were available attended to the needs of white people only. Freed Black citizens asked for the same disease prevention, in terms of sanitation and vaccination, that the Union Army received. After much debate, the request was granted, but when Black people continued to die, they were branded as “unfit for citizenship.” This stigma that deems Black Americans unworthy of citizenship is rooted in the same systemic racism that pervades the health care system today. The discussion that follows from this considers Black people’s responses to being written off as “soon to be extinct,” which has implications that simply addressing the history of American health care has never before captured. Each of the other 17 sections are given the same thoughtful, well-researched treatment. The essays, poetry, fiction, and photographs are combined in such a way that readers are taken on a journey through time. To be clear, the topics and stories in this project are not revisionist, negotiationist, or distortionist. Rather, they present research-based facts and time lines that coincide with white, mainstream history most often taught in high schools across the nation. Despite these admirable aims and excellent execution, The 1619 Project, both the book and (particularly) the original magazine feature, has created a remarkable amount of controversy. Though proponents of the work appreciate its ability to be more inclusive of Black voices, opponents have derided the text and even questioned the integrity of The New York Times Magazine for so much as broaching the topic, much less taking up such a project. Criticism has been loud, public, and at times full of vitriol. A group of historians, for example, wrote a public letter claiming that there were numerous distortions and errors in the original project. Upon closer reflection, there were sentences in Hannah-Jones’s original editorialization that drew fire, notably a passage in which she claims white colonizers wanted to come to America after growing dissatisfied with Britain’s move toward abolishing enslavement. Though it is true that not all colonizers felt this way, a significant number did. The wording in the book was changed to convey this by clarifying that “some” colonizers felt this way. It is worth noting that after rigorous fact checking, the claims put forward in the book were found to be true. Even in disagreement, major scholars have warned that the book should not be discounted because of such debate. Nevertheless, the book has still been attacked by white scholars who have doubled down on 1620 as the year the United States began. Though these critics acknowledge that other white-centered events in years such as 1776 are viable ways to define the beginnings of the country, they still label Hannah-Jones’s work “radical,” calling it incomplete because it overlooks the contributions of multicultural and working-class families. Perhaps most jarringly, fringe groups have used the book to stir anger and retaliation. In all fairness, however, such wild claims made against the book are not true. At no point in this book do Hannah-Jones or any of the writers call for violence or retaliation against white Americans. Even more recently, the book has been at the center of the critical race theory (CRT) debate. Right-wing detractors have described the text as an attempt to erase the contributions of white people to the United States as well as to shame those same Americans into denying their heritage. Conservative white scholars have even described the volume as racist and divisive and accused the creators of the project as socialists and tools of the left wing. Still, perhaps precisely because of this blowback, the book has been held up as an example of why CRT is needed in schools, as it features experiences of U.S. laws and public policies unknown to white Americans. At its core, The 1619 Project is simply a view of American history, laws, and public policy from the viewpoint of Black Americans. The book does not deride, deface, or suggest that white Americans be erased from history. Further, it does not claim to discuss the contributions of other groups of Americans such as the general working poor, immigrants, or white women. Instead, the book is clearly grounded in the Black viewpoint and the mission to highlight that viewpoint as a starting place for understanding the origins of the United States, just as other books have done, from different vantage points. Although this book contains high-level discussions well suited for higher education, practitioners, and general adult audiences, high school students will also benefit from many of the essays, poems, and short stories included here. Academic libraries will do well to include this title on their shelves. Controversy aside, this is a wonderful critical analysis of U.S. policy, law, and politics. Instructors will find the book an excellent resource for course discussions on race, justice, politics, progress, and other topics. For those looking to include supplemental work or highlight marginalized voices, this volume goes far to make this happen in a meaningful, enlightening way. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels. --Leslie T Grover, Southern University and A&M College
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780593230572 Based on the landmark 1619 Project, this collection edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hannah-Jones, who developed the Project in collaboration with the New York Times Magazine, expands on the groundbreaking work with added nuance and new contributions by poets like Tracy K. Smith, writers including Kiese Laymon, and historians such as Anthea Butler. In the preface, Hannah-Jones shares her inspiration for the magazine version of the 1619 Project and her fascination with history—and who is allowed to tell it. Fans of the 1619 Project will be eager to reread its essays, including Khalil Gibran Muhammad's examination of sugar slavery and Wesley Morris's treatise on the appropriation of Black music. Combining history, criticism, and literature, this book also adds powerful new contributions, including Carol Anderson's study of the connection between slavery and the Second Amendment and Leslie and Michelle Alexander's reporting on longstanding fears of Black rebellion. Interspersed throughout are historical facts about Black people fighting for freedom, as well as archival photographs. Like Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain's Four Hundred Souls, this work asks readers to deeply consider who is allowed to shape the collective memory. VERDICT Like the magazine version of the 1619 Project, this invaluable book sets itself apart by reframing readers' understanding of U.S. history, past and present.—Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal
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