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Staff Pick

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Cloud Cuckoo Land

Doerr, Anthony
$30.00
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See, perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time, comes the highly anticipated Cloud Cuckoo Land.

Set in Constantinople in the fifteenth century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, Anthony Doerr's gorgeous third novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope--and a book. In Cloud Cuckoo Land, Doerr has created a magnificent tapestry of times and places that reflects our vast interconnectedness--with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and with those who will be here after we're gone.

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna's will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon's story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.

Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of gravest danger. Their lives are gloriously intertwined. Doerr's dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to "the librarians then, now, and in the years to come," Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship--of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.

Melanie says: From the author of the much loved All The Light We Cannot See, comes a very different and imaginative story. Doerr writes of the longevity of books and libraries and how they endure through time. Spanning from 15th century Constantinople, to present day Idaho (where he lives), to a 22nd century spaceship, one wonders how these settings and characters could possibly intersect. But, they do in surprising ways. This is my favorite book of the year. Enjoy!

Love

Love

Doyle, Roddy
$17.00
Two old friends reconnect in Dublin for a dramatic, revealing evening of drinking and storytelling in this winning new novel from the author of the Booker Prize winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

One summer's evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant.

Drinking pals back in their youth, now married and with grown up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he needs to tell Davy, and Davy has a sorrow he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be.

Joe has left his wife and family for another woman, Jessica. Davy knows her too, or should - she was the girl of their dreams four decades earlier, the girl with the cello in George's pub. As Joe's story unfolds across Dublin - pint after pint, pub after pub - so too do the memories of what eventually drove Davy from Ireland: his first encounter with Faye, the lively woman who would become his wife; his father's somber disapproval; the pained spaces left behind when a parent dies.

As the two friends try to reconcile their versions of the past over the course of one night, Love offers a delightfully comic yet moving portrait of the many forms love can take throughout our lives.

Andrea says: If you love pubs and you love conversation; and friendship, love and family are important to you; than this marvelous novel is for you.

Women of Chateau Lafayette

Women of Chateau Lafayette

Dray, Stephanie
$27.00
The USA Today Bestseller!

Recommended by Oprah MagazineCosmo PopSugar ∙ SheReads Parade and more!

An epic saga from New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray based on the true story of an extraordinary castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy.

Most castles are protected by men. This one by women.

A founding mother...

1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband, the Marquis de Lafayette's political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

A daring visionary...

1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing--not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France firsthand, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what's right.

A reluctant resistor...

1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan's self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become.

Intricately woven and powerfully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we take from those who came before us.

Melanie says: Chateau de Chavaniac was the family home of the Marquis de Lafayette. "The Women of Chateau Lafayette '' highlights the extraordinary women whose lives intersected with the Chateau and three major wars: The French Revolution, World War I and World War 11.This is an intricately told story of love, courage, bravery, and hope.

Middlemarch

Middlemarch

Eliot, George
$17.00
George Eliot's beloved masterpiece in a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition with a foreword by Rebecca Mead, author of the bestselling memoir My Life in Middlemarch

A triumph of realist fiction, George Eliot's Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life explores a fictional nineteenth-century Midlands town in the midst of sweeping change. The proposed Reform Bill, the new railroads, and scientific advances are threatening upheaval on every front. Against this backdrop, the quiet drama of ordinary lives is played out by the novel's complexly portrayed characters--until the arrival of two outsiders further disrupts the town's equilibrium. Every bit as powerful and perceptive in our time as it was in the Victorian era, Middlemarch displays George Eliot's clear-eyed yet humane understanding of characters caught up in the mysterious unfolding of self-knowledge.

In this elegant Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, Rebecca Mead introduces the novel that shaped her life and reflects on its joys and its timeless relevance.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Nora says: If you haven’t read Middlemarch, now is the time—thought by many to be the best novel written in English.

Death of Vivek Oji

Death of Vivek Oji

Emezi, Akwaeke
$17.00
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Electrifying. -- O: The Oprah Magazine



Named a Best Book of 2020 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, USA TODAY, Vanity Fair, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Shondaland, Teen Vogue, Vulture, Lit Hub, Bustle, Electric Literature, and BookPage

What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son's body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family's struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek's closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens--and Osita struggles to understand Vivek's escalating crisis--the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations--a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

Andrea says: Set in Nigeria, The Death of Vivek Oji is a powerful and poetic story of a family living with their own views of what is real. In the end, it is a story of love...a parent for a child, for a cousin who is part of the unfolding, and of the love of friends.

Infinite Country

Infinite Country

Engel, Patricia
$17.00

A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK and INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

 

"A profound, beautiful novel." -- People * "Poignant." --BuzzFeed * "A breathtaking story of the unimaginable prices paid for a better life." --Esquire

 

This "heartbreaking portrait of a family dealing with the realities of migration and separation" (Time) is "a sweeping love story and tragic drama [and] an authentic vision of what the American Dream looks like in a nationalistic country" (Elle).

 

I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.

 

Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family.

 

How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering--the costs they've all been living with ever since.

 

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself a dual citizen and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, gives voice to all five family members as they navigate the particulars of their respective circumstances. Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in America, Infinite Country "is as much an all-American story as it is a global one" (Booklist, starred review).

Georgia says: A story of family separation. A Colombian family comes to the US on a tourist visa thinking they'll be able to start a new, better life in America. Father is deported, mother and children stay but must live under the radar. Heart breaking and so, so important to understanding the plight of immigrants.

Infinite Country

Infinite Country

Engel, Patricia
$25.00
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK AND INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"A knockout of a novel...we predict [Infinite Country] will be viewed as one of 2021's best." --O, The Oprah Magazine

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 from Esquire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Elle, GMA, New York Post, Ms. Magazine, The Millions, Electric Literature, LitHub, AARP, Refinery29, BuzzFeed, Autostraddle, She Reads, Alma, and more.

I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.

Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.

How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering--the costs they've all been living with ever since.

Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself a dual citizen and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, gives voice to all five family members as they navigate the particulars of their respective circumstances. And all the while, the metronome ticks: Will Talia make it to Bogotá in time? And if she does, can she bring herself to trade the solid facts of her father and life in Colombia for the distant vision of her mother and siblings in America?

Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family--for whom every triumph is stitched with regret, and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.

Georgia says: Story of family separation. A Colombian family comes to the US on a tourist visa thinking they'll be able to start a new, better life in America. Father is deported, mother and children stay but must live under the radar. Heart breaking and so, so important to understanding the plight of immigrants.


Night Watchman

Night Watchman

Erdrich, Louise
$18.00

WINNER OF THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

WASHINGTON POST, AMAZON, NPR, CBS SUNDAY MORNING, KIRKUS, CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY, AND GOOD HOUSEKEEPING BEST BOOK OF 2020

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich's grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

Thomas Wazhashk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new "emancipation" bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn't about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a "termination" that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans "for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run"?

Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice's shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn't been in touch in months, and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence, and endangers her life.

Thomas and Patrice live in this impoverished reservation community along with young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother Juggie Blue, her niece and Patrice's best friend Valentine, and Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice.

In the Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich creates a fictional world populated with memorable characters who are forced to grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature. Illuminating the loves and lives, the desires and ambitions of these characters with compassion, wit, and intelligence, The Night Watchman is a majestic work of fiction from this revered cultural treasure.

Go, Went, Gone

Go, Went, Gone

Erpenbeck, Jenny
$16.95
Go, Went, Gone is the masterful new novel by the acclaimed German writer Jenny Erpenbeck, "one of the most significant German-language novelists of her generation" (The Millions). The novel tells the tale of Richard, a retired classics professor who lives in Berlin. His wife has died, and he lives a routine existence until one day he spies some African refugees staging a hunger strike in Alexanderplatz. Curiosity turns to compassion and an inner transformation, as he visits their shelter, interviews them, and becomes embroiled in their harrowing fates. Go, Went, Gone is a scathing indictment of Western policy toward the European refugee crisis, but also a touching portrait of a man who finds he has more in common with the Africans than he realizes. Exquisitely translated by Susan Bernofsky, Go, Went, Gone addresses one of the most pivotal issues of our time, facing it head-on in a voice that is both nostalgic and frightening.

Andrea says: An amazing examination of the plight of a group of African refugees and the quest for meaning in the life of a retired college professor. Moving and enlightening. Taught me a lot and made me cry.

Mrs. March

Mrs. March

Feito, Virginia
$26.00

George March's latest novel is a smash. No one could be prouder than his dutiful wife, Mrs. March, who revels in his accolades. A careful creature of routine and decorum, she lives a precariously controlled existence on the Upper East Side until one morning, when the shopkeeper of her favorite patisserie suggests that her husband's latest protagonist--a detestable character named Johanna--is based on Mrs. March herself. Clutching her ostrich leather pocketbook and mint-colored gloves, she flees the shop. What could have merited this humiliation?

That one casual remark robs Mrs. March of the belief that she knew everything about her husband--and herself--thus sending her on an increasingly paranoid journey that begins within the pages of a book. While snooping in George's office, Mrs. March finds a newspaper clipping about a missing woman. Did George have anything to do with her disappearance? He's been going on a lot of "hunting trips" up north with his editor lately, leaving Mrs. March all alone at night with her tormented thoughts, and the cockroaches that have suddenly started to appear, and strange breathing noises . . . As she begins to decode her husband's secrets, her deafening anxiety and fierce determination threaten everyone in her wake--including her stoic housekeeper, Martha, and her unobtrusive son, Jonathan, whom she loves so profoundly, when she remembers to love him at all.

Combining a Hitchcockian sensibility with wickedly dark humor, Virginia Feito, a brilliantly talented and, at times, mischievous newcomer, offers a razor-sharp exploration of the fragility of identity. A mesmerizing novel of psychological suspense and casebook insecurity turned full-blown neurosis, Mrs. March will have you second-guessing your own seemingly familiar reflection in the mirror.

Nora says: A smart, well-written, fun and creepy psychological suspense about the mental unraveling of the forgotten spouse of a famous writer--is she being gas-lighted by her crafty and homicidal husband or is she, in fact, the menacing, unhinged persecutor of an innocent man? An amusing, fast, fun read!