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Staff Pick

Half Life

Half Life

Cantor, Jillian
$16.99

The USA Today bestselling author of In Another Time reimagines the pioneering, passionate life of Marie Curie using a parallel structure to create two alternative timelines, one that mirrors her real life, one that explores the consequences for Marie and for science if she'd made a different choice.

In Poland in 1891, Marie Curie (then Marya Sklodowska) was engaged to a budding mathematician, Kazimierz Zorawski. But when his mother insisted she was too poor and not good enough, he broke off the engagement. A heartbroken Marya left Poland for Paris, where she would attend the Sorbonne to study chemistry and physics. Eventually Marie Curie would go on to change the course of science forever and be the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.But what if she had made a different choice?

What if she had stayed in Poland, married Kazimierz at the age of twenty-four, and never attended the Sorbonne or discovered radium? What if she had chosen a life of domesticity with a constant hunger for knowledge in Russian Poland where education for women was restricted, instead of studying science in Paris and meeting Pierre Curie?

Entwining Marie Curie's real story with Marya Zorawska's fictional one, Half Life explores loves lost and destinies unfulfilled--and probes issues of loyalty and identity, gender and class, motherhood and sisterhood, fame and anonymity, scholarship and knowledge. Through parallel contrasting versions of Marya's life, Jillian Cantor's unique historical novel asks what would have happened if a great scientific mind was denied opportunity and access to education. It examines how the lives of one remarkable woman and the people she loved - as well as the world at large and course of science and history--might have been irrevocably changed in ways both great and small.

Doug says: Not merely poignant, intricate and absorbing—this book moves and teaches. I learned a lot about the early twentieth-century, Poland and France, science and the role of women in the changes that came about during that period. I dare say many of all generations and backgrounds will find this new novel as entrancing and right-on-time as I did. It has the potential to create change, give hope and empower.

 

Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins

Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins

Casey, Susan
$16.95

A New York Times Bestseller

Inspired by a profound experience swimming with wild dolphins off the coast of Maui, Susan Casey set out on a quest to learn everything she could about these creatures. Her journey takes her from a community in Hawaii known as "Dolphinville," where the animals are seen as the key to spiritual enlightenment, to the dark side of the human-cetacean relationship at marine parks and dolphin-hunting grounds in Japan and the Solomon Islands, to the island of Crete, where the Minoan civilization lived in harmony with dolphins, providing a millennia-old example of a more enlightened coexistence with the natural world.

Along the way, Casey recounts the history of dolphin research and introduces us to the leading marine scientists and activists who have made it their life's work to increase humans' understanding and appreciation of the wonder of dolphins--the other intelligent life on the planet.

Moonglow

Moonglow

Chabon, Michael
$16.99

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Winner of the Sophie Brody Medal - An NBCC Finalist for 2016 Award for Fiction - ALA Carnegie Medal Finalist for Excellence in Fiction - Wall Street Journal's Best Novel of the Year - A New York Times Notable Book of the Year - A Washington Post Best Book of the Year - An NPR Best Book of the Year - A Slate Best Book of the Year - A Christian Science Monitor Top 15 Fiction Book of the Year - A New York Magazine Best Book of the Year - A San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year - A Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year - A New York Post Best Book of the Year

iBooks Novel of the Year - An Amazon Editors' Top 20 Book of the Year - #1 Indie Next Pick - #1 Amazon Spotlight Pick - A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice - A BookPage Top Fiction Pick of the Month - An Indie Next Bestseller

This book is beautiful." -- A.O. Scott, New York Times Book Review, cover review

Following on the heels of his New York Times bestselling novel Telegraph Avenue, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure--and the forces that work to destroy us.

In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother's home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon's grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.

Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather." It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact--and the creative power--of keeping secrets and telling lies. It is a portrait of the difficult but passionate love between the narrator's grandfather and his grandmother, an enigmatic woman broken by her experience growing up in war-torn France. It is also a tour de force of speculative autobiography in which Chabon devises and reveals a secret history of his own imagination.

From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York's Wallkill prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of the "American Century," the novel revisits an entire era through a single life and collapses a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most moving and inventive.

Obit

Obit

Chang, Victoria
$17.00
The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2020

Time Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of 2020

NPR's Best Books of 2020

National Book Award in Poetry, Longlist

Frank Sanchez Book Award

After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. In Obit, Chang writes of "the way memory gets up after someone has died and starts walking." These poems reinvent the form of newspaper obituary to both name what has died ("civility," "language," "the future," "Mother's blue dress") and the cultural impact of death on the living. Whereas elegy attempts to immortalize the dead, an obituary expresses loss, and the love for the dead becomes a conduit for self-expression. In this unflinching and lyrical book, Chang meets her grief and creates a powerful testament for the living.

When you lose someone you love, the world doesn't stop to let you mourn. Nor does it allow you to linger as you learn to live with a gaping hole in your heart. Indeed, this daily indifference to being left behind epitomizes the unique pain of grieving. Victoria Chang captures this visceral, heart-stopping ache in Obit, the book of poetry she wrote after the death of her mother. Although Chang initially balked at writing an obituary, she soon found herself writing eulogies for the small losses that preceded and followed her mother's death, each one an ode to her mother's life and influence. Chang also thoughtfully examines how she will be remembered by her own children in time.--Time Magazine

Baby Sloth: Finger Puppet Book

Baby Sloth: Finger Puppet Book

Chronicle Books
$7.99
Where does Baby Sloth like to nap? Follow along with this cute baby animal as it experiences its world, from playtime to bedtime. The simple, comforting story in this go-to baby gift series have made it a multimillion seller. Featuring a permanently attached plush finger puppet, this volume offers parents and children a fun, interactive way to play and read as they build a lifelong love of books together.

Melanie says: Children can play with a plush baby sloth puppet while their parents read a sweet story about how baby sloth spends his day. 


Baby Unicorn Finger Puppet Book

Baby Unicorn Finger Puppet Book

Chronicle Books (COR); Ying, V
$7.99
The Finger Puppet series has sold over a million copies worldwide

Simple, comforting story with a permanently attached finger puppet

Follow Baby Unicorn as she explores her world: Baby Unicorn Finger Puppet Book invites the youngest readers to follow along with Baby Unicorn as she explores her world and her special healing powers. The simple, comforting story is easy to follow and the permanently attached soft finger puppet keeps little ones engaged. Start building a lifelong love of books at story time with Baby Unicorn.

- Perfect size for curious babies and toddlers to hold and manipulate
- Fun and interactive way to play and read
- Full of colorful, soothing illustrations by Victoria Ying

Fans of other books in the Finger Puppet Book series such as Baby Elephant, Baby Bear, and Baby Fish will love exploring the enchanted forest with Baby Unicorn.

Babies and toddlers will love this board book's colorful pictures, simple story, and soft finger puppet. It's also sized perfectly for small hands to hold.

-Sturdy board book
- Makes a great gift and is a must-have for a baby's bookshelf
- Books for kids ages 0-2
- Interactive and fun

Dinner in French

Dinner in French

Clark, Melissa
$37.50
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The beloved author of Dinner in an Instant breaks down the new French classics with 150 recipes that reflect a modern yet distinctly French sensibility.

"Melissa Clark's contemporary eye is just what the chef ordered. Her recipes are traditional yet fresh, her writing is informative yet playful, and the whole package is achingly chic."--Yotam Ottolenghi

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST COOKBOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR - Delish - Library Journal


Just as Julia Child brought French cooking to twentieth-century America, so now Melissa Clark brings French cooking into the twenty-first century. She first fell in love with France and French food as a child; her parents spent their August vacations traversing the country in search of the best meals with Melissa and her sister in tow. Near to her heart, France is where Melissa's family learned to cook and eat. And as her own culinary identity blossomed, so too did her understanding of why French food is beloved by Americans.

Now, as one of the nation's favorite cookbook authors and food writers, Melissa updates classic French techniques and dishes to reflect how we cook, shop, and eat today. With recipes such as Salade Nicoise with Haricot Vert, Cornmeal and Harissa Soufflé, Scalloped Potato Gratin, Lamb Shank Cassoulet, Ratatouille Sheet-Pan Chicken, Campari Olive Oil Cake, and Apricot Tarte Tatin (to name a few), Dinner in French will quickly become a go-to resource and endure as an indispensable classic.

Scott says: This is a lovely, lively, and delicious book from a seasoned staff writer for the New York Times Food section, perfect for home cooks looking for a more relaxed, contemporary, and healthy way to make great French food, from French Onion Soup with Grilled Gruyére Sandwiches, Truffled Mac and Cheese, and Roasted Tarragon Chicken with Crispy Mushrooms to Asparagus Almondine, Roasted Butternut Squash with Lime and Hazelnuts, Brown Butter Scallops with Parsley and Lemon, Almond Milk Sorbet, and Lavender Lemonade. Bon appetit!


Piranesi

Piranesi

Clarke, Susanna
$27.00

New York Times Bestseller!

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.

 

Piranesi's house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

 

There is one other person in the house--a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

 

For readers of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller's Circe, Piranesiintroduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.

Doug says: Confession Time. I skipped my daily prep hour for Poetry Workshop Friday. My excuse: I was kidnapped. Taken to another world. I had to keep reading all day to finish the book in order to return. What a book. It's been a long time since I've read one like this.


Last Train to Key West

Last Train to Key West

Cleeton, Chanel
$16.00
Instant New York Times bestseller

One of Bustle's Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2020

"The perfect riveting summer read!"--BookBub

In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys.



For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler's legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person's paradise can be another's prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.

After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez's family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in Havana, Mirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can't deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.

Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.

Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women's paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.

Unwell Women

Unwell Women

Cleghorn, Elinor
$28.00
A trailblazing, conversation-starting history of women's health--from the earliest medical ideas about women's illnesses to hormones and autoimmune diseases--brought together in a fascinating sweeping narrative.

Elinor Cleghorn became an unwell woman ten years ago. She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease after a long period of being told her symptoms were anything from psychosomatic to a possible pregnancy. As Elinor learned to live with her unpredictable disease she turned to history for answers, and found an enraging legacy of suffering, mystification, and misdiagnosis.

In Unwell Women, Elinor Cleghorn traces the almost unbelievable history of how medicine has failed women by treating their bodies as alien and other, often to perilous effect. The result is an authoritative and groundbreaking exploration of the relationship between women and medical practice, from the wandering womb of Ancient Greece to the rise of witch trials across Europe, and from the dawn of hysteria as a catchall for difficult-to-diagnose disorders to the first forays into autoimmunity and the shifting understanding of hormones, menstruation, menopause, and conditions like endometriosis.

Packed with character studies and case histories of women who have suffered, challenged, and rewritten medical orthodoxy--and the men who controlled their fate--this is a revolutionary examination of the relationship between women, illness, and medicine. With these case histories, Elinor pays homage to the women who suffered so strides could be made, and shows how being unwell has become normalized in society and culture, where women have long been distrusted as reliable narrators of their own bodies and pain. But the time for real change is long overdue: answers reside in the body, in the testimonies of unwell women--and their lives depend on medicine learning to listen.

Bryn says: A British medical historian, Cleghorn collects a massive amount of material that tells of how, for centuries, women have had to seek treatment from a medical profession dominated by men, and illustrates just what this bias has meant for women's health across the ages. Although fact not fiction, many of the stories sound like something out of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and will have you reading with a mix of anger and a determination to create change.