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Book Club

City of Thieves

City of Thieves

Benioff, David
$18.00

From the critically acclaimed author of The 25th Hour and When the Nines Roll Over and co-creator of the HBO series Game of Thrones, a captivating novel about war, courage, survival -- and a remarkable friendship that ripples across a lifetime.

 

During the Nazis' brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter's wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible.

 

By turns insightful and funny, thrilling and terrifying, the New York Times bestseller City of Thieves is a gripping, cinematic World War II adventure and an intimate coming-of-age story with an utterly contemporary feel for how boys become men.

Wild Seed

Wild Seed

Butler, Octavia E.
$18.99
In an "epic, game-changing, moving and brilliant" story of love and hate, two immortals chase each other across continents and centuries, binding their fates together -- and changing the destiny of the human race (Viola Davis).

Doro knows no higher authority than himself. An ancient spirit with boundless powers, he possesses humans, killing without remorse as he jumps from body to body to sustain his own life. With a lonely eternity ahead of him, Doro breeds supernaturally gifted humans into empires that obey his every desire. He fears no one -- until he meets Anyanwu.

Anyanwu is an entity like Doro and yet different. She can heal with a bite and transform her own body, mending injuries and reversing aging. She uses her powers to cure her neighbors and birth entire tribes, surrounding herself with kindred who both fear and respect her. No one poses a true threat to Anyanwu -- until she meets Doro.

The moment Doro meets Anyanwu, he covets her; and from the villages of 17th-century Nigeria to 19th-century United States, their courtship becomes a power struggle that echoes through generations, irrevocably changing what it means to be human.

Playlist for the Apocalypse: Poems

Playlist for the Apocalypse: Poems

Dove, Rita
$15.95

In her first volume of new poems in twelve years, Rita Dove investigates the vacillating moral compass guiding America's, and the world's, experiments in democracy. Whether depicting the first Jewish ghetto in sixteenth-century Venice or the contemporary efforts of Black Lives Matter, a girls' night clubbing in the shadow of World War II or the doomed nobility of Muhammad Ali's conscious objector stance, this extraordinary poet never fails to connect history's grand exploits to the triumphs and tragedies of individual lives.

Meticulously orchestrated and musical in its forms, Playlist for the Apocalypse collects a dazzling array of voices: an elevator operator simmers with resentment, an octogenarian dances an exuberant mambo, a spring cricket philosophizes with mordant humor on hip hop, critics, and Valentine's Day. Calamity turns all too personal in the book's final section, "Little Book of Woe," which charts a journey from terror to hope as Dove learns to cope with debilitating chronic illness.

At turns audaciously playful and grave, alternating poignant meditations on mortality and acerbic observations of injustice, Playlist for the Apocalypse takes us from the smallest moments of redemption to catastrophic failures of the human soul. Listen up, the poet says, speaking truth to power; what you'll hear in return is "a lifetime of song."

Doug says: Not every book chosen for the store's poetry book club is a favorite. They are all good in their own way. But Dove's Playlist is the best I've read since its release in 2021. This poet speaks to me, and stirs my response. Perhaps her poems will resonate with you, too.

Days of Abandonment

Days of Abandonment

Ferrante, Elena
$17.00

From the New York Times-bestselling author of My Brilliant Friend, this novel of a deserted wife's descent into despair--and rage--is "a masterpiece" (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

The Days of Abandonment is the gripping story of an Italian woman's experiences after being suddenly left by her husband after fifteen years of marriage. With two young children to care for, Olga finds it more and more difficult to do the things she used to: keep a spotless house, cook meals with creativity and passion, refrain from using obscenities. After running into her husband with his much-younger new lover in public, she cannot even refrain from assaulting him physically.

In a "raging, torrential voice" (The New York Times), Olga conveys her journey from denial to devastating emptiness--and when she finds herself literally trapped within the four walls of their high-rise apartment, she is forced to confront her ghosts, the potential loss of her own identity, and the possibility that life may never return to normal.

"Intelligent and darkly comic." --Publishers Weekly

"Remarkable, lucid, austerely honest." --The New Yorker

Bryn says: This book bleeds. If you've experienced heartbreak, you'll understand. Elena Ferrante will give you a visceral vocabulary for those feelings. If you don't know what heartbreak feels like, let Elena Ferrante show you.

Turn Up the Ocean

Turn Up the Ocean

Hoagland, Tony
$16.00

The final book of poems by Tony Hoagland, "one of the most distinctive voices of our time" (Carl Dennis).

Over the course of his celebrated career, Tony Hoagland ventured fearlessly into the unlit alleys of emotion and experience. The poems in Turn Up the Ocean examine with an unflinching eye and mordant humor the reality of living and dying in a time and culture that conspire to erase our inner lives. Hoagland's signature wit and unparalleled observations take in long-standing injustices, the atrocities of American empire and consumerism, and our ongoing habit of looking away. In these poems, perseverance depends on a gymnastics of skepticism and comedy, a dogged quest for authentic connection, and the consolations of the natural world. Turn Up the Ocean is a remarkable and moving collection, a fitting testament to Hoagland's devotion to the capaciousness and art of poetry.

Doug says: Loved his work before he died, love it even more given this collection after his death. It's a safe bet that the works we choose for Poetry Book Club are must-reads for poetry lovers and aspiring poets. This one goes above and beyond. Hoagland inspires me to write the vivid real, convey with artful utterance things I resist saying in order to spare listeners, and expose my denial without excuse. The Afterword by his wife, Kathleen Lee, is a meaningful, personal and essential note.

Whale BC

Hoare, Philip
$16.99

Obituary Writer: A Novel

Hood, Ann
$15.95

Einstein

Isaacson, Walter
$19.99
Foster

Foster

Keegan, Claire
$20.00
An international bestseller and one of The Times' "Top 50 Novels Published in the 21st Century," Claire Keegan's piercing contemporary classic Foster is a heartbreaking story of childhood, loss, and love; now released as a standalone book for the first time ever in the USIt is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A child is taken by her father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when or if she will be brought home again. In the Kinsellas' house, she finds an affection and warmth she has not known and slowly, in their care, begins to blossom. But there is something unspoken in this new household--where everything is so well tended to--and this summer must soon come to an end.Winner of the prestigious Davy Byrnes Award and published in an abridged version in the New Yorker, this internationally bestselling contemporary classic is now available for the first time in the US in a full, standalone edition. A story of astonishing emotional depth, Foster showcases Claire Keegan's great talent and secures her reputation as one of our most important storytellers.

Georgia says: It's a beautiful book of a child finding the family she needs and a good family finding a child to fill the hole in their hearts.

Poetry Home Repair Manual : Practical Advice for Beginning Poets PLAU

Poetry Home Repair Manual : Practical Advice for Beginning Poets PLAU

Kooser, Ted
$16.95

"No other poet seems better suited to represent the United States as its Laureate in this era than Ted Kooser, and The Poetry Home Repair Manual should enhance his grip on our slumbering Republic."--Larry Woiwode, Poet Laureate of North Dakota, in North Dakota Quarterly

Much more than a guidebook to writing and revising poems, this manual has all the comforts and merits of a long and enlightening conversation with a wise and patient old friend--a friend who is willing to share everything he's learned about the art he's spent a lifetime learning to execute so well.

Ted Kooser has been writing and publishing poetry for more than forty years. In the pages of The Poetry Home Repair Manual, Kooser brings those decades of experience to bear. Here are tools and insights, the instructions (and warnings against instructions) that poets--aspiring or practicing--can use to hone their craft, perhaps into art. Using examples from his own rich literary oeuvre and from the work of a number of successful contemporary poets, the author schools us in the critical relationship between poet and reader, which is fundamental to what Kooser believes is poetry's ultimate purpose: to reach other people and touch their hearts.