The Mars Room
by Rachel Kushner
The line between being a murderer or not is not a bright one. It is more readily breached than we imagine.
Romy Hal, a former stripper, receives two consecutive life sentences for killing her stalker, and is sent to the Starville Women’s Correctional Facility in the Central Valley of California. The action takes place around the invasion of Iraq in 2003, of which many of the inmates are only dimly aware. When larger movements like war are blocked from view, the daily hand-offs and scuffles of family and acquaintances are what remain.
This is a powerful novel and mesmerizing social commentary. The Mars Room
is a book about what it means to have had little chance in life, and what it is like to “do time”. It takes us into the lives of people who are as alike as they are different from us.
The Man Who Would Be Sherlock: The Real-life Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle
by Christopher Sandford
Christopher Sandford, author of The Strange Friendship of Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini
, is back again with another delightful perspective on the creator of Sherlock Holmes. The Man Who Would Be Sherlock
is not your typical biography. There are no mundane chronological details present. Instead, Sandford jumps right into the hot debate regarding the identity of Holmes and suggests that Doyle himself, and not his mentor Dr. Joseph Bell, is the inspirational essence of the great detective.
To fully convince you that Doyle was the true embodiment of Holmes, the book examines two outlandish cases in which Doyle found himself smack in the middle: the imprisonment of George Edalji related to a series of cattle mutilations in the English Midlands and the case of Oscar Slater, a German-Jew who was almost executed for murdering a Glasgow spinster. Packed with historical pictures and genuine scribbled notes to help you solve the mysteries along with Doyle, this tome will convince you that the impossibility that Doyle could act like Sherlock Holmes in real life, however improbable, might be true.
Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else
by Maeve Higgins
For all of those in the post-show vacuum following the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
, this book is for you. Maeve Higgins hosts a hilarious podcast called Maeve in America: Immigration IRL
and her collection of essays is equally as belly-laugh inducing. Higgins emigrated to America from Ireland in 2014, and she brings a fresh yet poignant perspective to the strange goings on of everyday life that many of us have accepted as background noise. Like having to spell your name at Shake Shack. Three times.
It is practically impossible not to like Maeve. Whether it is nearly being offed by dolphins, a date gone wrong due to stubbornness and food wedged in teeth, realizing one Monday morning that it is too late to work out because summer is already here and this is the body you are stuck with, or oversharing at a child’s birthday party; Maeve will have you in stitches. Yet she always manages to sew you back together by the end of the essay. She’s just that good.
Well + Good: 100 Healthy Recipes + Expert Advice for Better Living
Well + Good
by Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula
is the cookbook you want—Nay, need!—for summer. Brimming with recipes that are vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, Well + Good
also provides you with recipes that help you clear skin, sleep better, improve mood, or gain focus.
Champions of the idea of eating for wellness since 2009, Brue and Gelula helpfully divide the enhanced cookbook into colorful sections based on meal type. The recipes included are as creative as they are healthy. For example, under the heading “Light Fare” they include a dairy-free, gluten-free, low-inflammation, vegan recipe for “Spicy Watermelon Salad” that also helps improve your skin. There are even coffee and cocktail recipes like the “Bulletproof Matcha Latte” for those of us who love a little boost. Scoop this one up today!
The Love Quotient
by Helen Hoang
Helen Hoang snatched the 2018 GoodReads Choice Award for best romance with her debut novel, The Kiss Quotient
. Driven and beautiful, econometrician Stella Lane seems to have it all. However, her autism makes it easier to connect with data sets than other humans. When her parents tell her they are ready for grandchildren, Stella decides it is time to figure out relationships. And to figure out relationships she decides she needs to get better at the sex part. Enter escort with a heart of gold and K-drama worthy looks: Michael Phan.
The Kiss Quotient
reminds you of a gender-flipped Pretty Woman
. Yet Hoang’s deliciously genuine voice shines through. In the process of writing Stella’s story, Hoang discovered that she had been living with undiagnosed high-functioning autism all of her life. All in all, The Kiss Quotient
is a fun, frothy, and sexy romance that keeps you turning pages and occasionally provokes you to deeper thought.
Forest Bathing Retreat: Find Wholeness in the Company of Trees
by Hannah Fries
Relieve stress and discover wholeness by becoming a dendrophile—someone who loves trees. Forest Bathing Retreat
invites you to use your senses to explore trees in a way that may have become lost to our generation. Coined from a 1980’s Japanese description of retreating from urban life for restorative purposes, “forest bathing” has even greater implications in our world of 24/7 connectivity.
This helpful guide is divided into four primary tenets: Breathe, Connect, Heal, and Give Thanks. For each principle, Fries offers the reader gorgeous photographs and helpful quotes. Readers are gently coaxed to let go and embrace the nourishing nature of trees.
Stray: Memoir of a Runaway
by Tanya Marquardt
It is never easy to hear someone talk about abuse, especially at the hands of family. However, Stray: Memoir of a Runaway
by Tanya Marquardt, is a rich biography of growing up and feeling broken, and finding your way through into safety.
Actor and playwright Marquardt relates the conditions of her young life in compact prose that picks out evocative details from life in Canada, and also presents the jumbled inner life of a teen living around violence. She begins when she leaves her mother’s home to live with friends for most of a school year, and dips back to a kitchen destroyed by her alcoholic father, the refrigerator on its side. Stray
winds back and forth between key moments in her life, ultimately following her through bad decisions and adventures in the Vancouver Goth scene, which lead to validating encounters with teachers and friendships that challenge her.
pulls you in with apprehension for its distant, plucky narrator, but leaves you with the reminder that joy grows back when nurtured, in spite of the vagrant tides of a defiant teenager’s heart.
Mecha Samurai Empire
Mecha Samurai Empire
by Peter Tieryas
follows on from the United States of Japan, an alternative history novel which continues the story of Philip K. Dick’s seminal novel, The Man in the High Castle
. The “Allies” lost World War II, and as a result, a large part of the planet is shared out amongst the victors. America is split with the west coast becoming the United States of Japan, while the east-side is occupied by the Nazi’s. This novel is set a decade after the defeat of the “Allies”. It is not necessary to read the first book to enjoy this one.
The story is well thought-out; following Makoto as he tries to realize his ambition of becoming a Mecha pilot, only to discover it’s not quite what he imagined it to be. Essentially a coming-of-age story set against this rich, unique background. There is a tremendous amount of thought and energy put into each of the characters. Complex and colorful, the paths they take are relatable and realistic.
When I Walk Through That Door, I Am: An Immigrant Mother’s Quest
by Jimmy Santiago Baca
Jimmy Santiago Baca, an American Book Award Winner as well as the writer and producer of Blood In/Blood Out
, astonishes with his most recent book. When I Walk Through That Door, I Am
unveils the story of Sophia. Sophia is a young El Salvadorian mother attempting to flee the country with her young son after the murder of her husband. Told in a lyrical epic poem, Sophia’s plight grabs you from the first page. You flee, fear, and feel along with her as she struggles to conquer her circumstances. Her perseverance is contagious and heart-wrenching until the final line.
Though this story is the struggle of a young immigrant woman, her quest is also a journey of what it means to face hardship. Baca’s latest comes highly recommended for poetry month or any other time of the year.
Trauma Plan: Grace Medical
by Candace Calvert
Being a former ER nurse, Candace Calvert writes with credibility about the lives of those who help people in their most desperate hours. This novel features Riley Hale who has been sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault and is determined to return to her former duties as an ER nurse. To test her skills, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge. Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.
Calvert will surprise the reader as the story is revealed, but most of all, she expertly weaves a tale of how physical and emotional pain can interfere or draw a person closer to God in a realistic way without being preachy. The first book of three in an excellent series.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
by Yuval Noah Harari
is, as the title suggests, a loose collection of themed essays. The best reason not to throw this book out of the window is that, occasionally, Harari writes a paragraph that is genuinely mind-expanding. There are plenty of provocations – why climate change might benefit the Russian economy, how humans could evolve into different species – but the globetrotting, history-straddling scope of Harari’s approach has an obvious drawback: Some of the observations feel recycled. His sweeping statements can seem untethered from the intellectual traditions from which they come. Ultimately, it is a good read, and it acts as a gateway drug to more academic accounts of human history. The 22nd lesson of this book is obvious yet necessary and states that no single member of the tribe Homo Sapiens can know everything. If this new age needs new stories, then we have to let more people tell them.
Rewrite: Loops in the timescape
by Gregory Benford
It’s 2002, and Charlie, a sad-sack professor of history in his late forties, gets into a car accident with a truck, and wakes up, fully aware as his adult mind, in his sixteen-year-old body in 1968. Charlie takes what he remembers of the future and uses it for himself in his present, the past. He becomes a screenwriter, anticipating the careers of Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg, and then, in a 1980s life of excess, he dies and wakes up again in his bedroom at sixteen in 1968.
Charlie realizes things he didn’t see the first time: That there are others like him, like Albert Einstein, Philip K. Dick, Robert Heinlein. And, there is a society who loop through time to change the world for their selfish agenda. Now, Charlie knows he has to do something other than being self-indulgent and he tries to change one of the pivotal events of 1968 in this clever thriller.
by Asuma Zehanat Khan
The Talisman is a dark and powerful force led by the One-Eyed Preacher, who seek to eradicate literacy and enslave women across the land. It is up to Arian and her sisterhood to prevent the Talisman from forever corrupting their religion known as the Claim. Arian is blessed with knowledge and magic that is both her savior and her curse. In order to bring about unity and strengthen the belief in the Claim, Arian is sent on a perilous journey along with her trusted friend Sinnia to find The Bloodprint, the only remaining written proof of the Claim’s existence.
is a fantasy story that soon sweeps you up into its intrigues, mystery, and romance. It is an intriguing adventure story with a compelling heroine that will have you eagerly awaiting the next installment of this series.
Talk Southern to Me: Stories & Sayings to Accent Your Life
by Julia Fowler
Julia Fowler invokes uncontrollable laughter in Talk Southern to Me
. Fowler created Youtube’s Southern Women Channel and frequently delights audiences around the world with her quick wit and sense of humor. To help readers grasp the all-encompassing linguistic art of talking southern the way she was raised, Fowler helpfully divides the book into sections like Charm, Beauty and Style, Parenting, and Stuff that Needs Interpretin’ for quick reference. A useful glossary of southern terms and their more common counterparts is also included.
Readers will experience the side-splitting impact of integrating southern phrases into everyday life such as, “Don’t go up a hog’s butt to see how much lard is in a pound” or “That boy’s got more moves than a slinky going down an escalator”. But, more importantly, those who pick up Talk Southern to Me
will gain an appreciation for the spirit behind the culture that brought forth such a comedic gem.
On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas
Bestselling and award-winning author Angie Thomas is back with a new novel packed with as much heart as The Hate U Give
. On the Come Up
tells the story of sixteen-year-old Bri, who also lives in the fictional neighborhood of Garden Heights. Bri is not a student at the private school. Passionate Bri lives in a world where her home, her education, and her next meal are never certain. She would describe herself as “not enough” except when she is “too much” for her teachers. Yet through scribbled lines punctuated with the heartbeat of living, Bri finds her voice in hip hop. And it is the sense of urgency to tell a story that no one would listen to before that drives readers to the final, satisfying page.
Readers who appreciated The Hate U Give
will be more than thrilled with this exploration of another story in need of telling, but every reader should grab a copy of On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas.
Angie Thomas will be speaking in Kalamazoo as a part of Reading Together Wednesday, April 17, 2019, from 7 pm – 9 pm at Miller Auditorium.
The Mystery of Three Quarters: A New Hercule Poirot Mystery
by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie
In The Mystery of Three Quarters
, bestselling crime writer Sophie Hannah breathes new life into one of the better-known characters of detective literature, Hercule Poirot. Poirot has a problem. Someone has been writing threatening letters in his name. The letters accuse the recipients of murdering one Barnabas Pandy. But who is Pandy and why is someone writing letters in Poirot’s name to draw attention to Pandy’s apparently unsuspicious demise?
Hannah does a marvelous job resurrecting Agatha Christie’s fastidious sleuth for a mystery set in 1930s England. Eccentricities, comic touches, and a story with more twists and turns than a country road will make this a welcome addition to every mystery-lover’s bookshelf.
A Princess in Theory
by Alyssa Cole
When a paperback romance lands on the 2018 NYT
Notable Books List, you know it’s going to be good. And A Princess in Theory
by Alyssa Cole does not disappoint. Naledi Smith knows the world isn’t served on a silver platter. A former foster kid and hardworking graduate student with two jobs, she knows better than to entertain the many emails claiming she is the betrothed of an African prince. But when a fellow server named Jamal wins her heart, she begins to believe in the existence of fairy tales… Until he reveals his true identity as Prince Thabiso. She’s shocked to learn he was duty-bound to woo her and bring her back home to his country. Will Ledi embrace the Pauper Prince who broke her trust or rely on the life she built with her own ingenuity?
Packed with plenty of laughs and a fresh twist on some old clichés, A Princess in Theory
keeps the pages turning until the ever-after end.
The Highlander’s Promise: Highland Brides
by Lynsay Sands
Beast saves beauty in this delightful romp across the Scottish Highlands.
Aulay, the laird of the Buchanans and eldest of the Buchanan brothers, retreats the clan’s hunting lodge in order to mourn the loss of his brother. Scarred forever by the battle that took his twin’s life, he plans to fish and ponder his lonely future. That is until he pulls a gorgeous unconscious woman out of the sea who, upon waking, thinks Aulay is her husband.
Jetta cannot remember how she met Aulay, but she knows he is the kindest man in the Highlands. Life is all she dreamed it could be, but she cannot put her finger on the foreboding feeling that lingers over their life together.
An Hour Unspent
by Roseanna M. White
Barclay Pearce has found God and a new life working for the British government after leaving behind his life as one of London’s top thieves. Together with his adopted family, Barclay relocates from his old life in Poplar to the middle-class neighborhood of Hammersmith. While there, he is assigned to assist a clockmaker with a knack for inventing something worthy of the military’s attention. Evelina Manning sees herself as her father’s ultimate automaton, which drives away her fiancé into the arms of World War I. The Manning family soon finds themselves intertwined with Barclay’s unorthodox family. With the war pressing from all sides, Evelina and her parents face increasing danger and must rely on a former thief to save them from a German plot.
This storyline provides a fascinating interplay with those involving Evelina and her family, which are more typical to those living a relative life of privilege during the war. In Ms. White’s expert style, she manages to tie together all of the storylines in a satisfying way.
The Patriot Bride
The Patriot Bride
by Kimberley Woodhouse
, by Kimberley Woodhouse, is the 4th installment in the Daughters of The Mayflower
series. This book features Faith Lytton as the American colonies teeter on the brink of independence and war. Matthew Weber, a patriot who disguises his allegiance to infiltrate the highest levels of the Loyalist cause, is introduced to Faith as their lives intersect for the Patriot cause. The two are endearing characters. Woodhouse adds the historical figures of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin to give the story an authentic feel. Purely fictional in their interactions with Faith and Matthew, the author drew from documents and letters to remain faithful to the historical record. Other characters round out the story that highlighted the role of spies during the Revolutionary War.
As in all the books of the series, this one is sweet romance and can be read as a standalone book. For fans who love historical romance set in the colonial American time period, The Patriot Bride
is a recommended read.
Gmorning, Gnight! little pep talks for me & you
by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Illustrated by Jonny Sun
“Good morning. Do not get stuck in the comments section of life today. Make, do, create the things. Let others tussle it out. Vamos!”
Did you make a resolution to be more positive? This collection from Lin-Manuel Miranda is for you! Before he became an international sensation as the creator of Broadway’s Hamilton, Miranda was quietly encouraging people on social media with a special message every morning and every evening. Gmorning, Gnight!
features the best of these original poems and sayings along with delightful illustrations by Jonny Sun.
The aphorisms are appropriate for bathroom mirror post-its and bedtime reflections: “Gnight. I dunno exactly how to tell you this, but you’re not perfect. You never will be. You keep growing and messing up and learning, and today’s [tumble] becomes a turning point once you survive it and see it behind you. You leave perfect in the DUST
, love, you keep going.”
Read this book and become a more wonderful you.
You Need a Budget: The proven system for breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, getting out of debt, and living the life you want
by Jesse Mecham
Jesse Mecham, a founder of a personal finance platform, tackles that seemingly ever-present money-related anxiety with one simple question: What do I want my money to do for me? He shows you how to answer this question with a simple four-step program that will get you where you want to be with your finances while creating an every-dollar budget. Helpful one sentence chapter summaries and cheat-sheet sections also make this book skimmable for busy go-getters.
Applicable and anecdotal, the friendly tone of Mecham’s how-to budget guide will allow you to let go of your intimidation about this topic and embrace confidence. Examples of real people and situations help present the goals discussed as verifiably achievable and show you that you are not alone in your situation. Whether you are starting your first budget or are desirous of refining your existing financial goals, You Need a Budget
would be a great addition to your reading list.
New Minimalism: Decluttering and design for sustainable, intentional living
by Cary Telander Fortin and Kyle Louise Quilici
shines as a practical guide for someone seeking more knowledge about minimalism and intentional living. Authors Fortin and Quilici achieve the perfect balance between telling personal stories and conveying concrete action steps. They get to the root of the issue by presenting various personality archetypes and the unique challenges each type will face as they pursue intentional living.
Sprinkled with tasteful photographs, the book helps readers learn about themselves as well as design homes and lives. The authors show how taking the time to first establish what is most important to you will make the rest of the process nearly painless. Applying the accumulated wisdom present in this book may assist you in achieving lagom
, the luxurious, independently determined, optimistic version of “enough.” And that is a joy worth having.
Let Go of Emotional Overeating and Love Your Food: A five-point plan for success
by Arlene B. Englander
Tried diet after diet and remain unsatisfied? Then this volume about the emotions behind eating might be what finally satieties you. Arlene B. Englander, an experienced and licensed psychotherapist, encourages you to change your life by shifting your perspective on food. She shows how the restrictive nature of diets often cause stress, which leads to emotional overeating, which leads to guilt and more stress.
In the book, Englander unveils a straightforward five-point guide for breaking the cycle and embracing a love of self that she established after fine-tuning the process with countless clients. Her tips are not necessarily new, but she connects the dots in a way that creates an entirely original picture. You learn how to glean genuine enjoyment out of a meal, to truly savor the experience, and as a result, eat less. All in all, Englander promotes getting the most out of life without losing what you love. A must try!
All titles are available here at the Library.