Fiction

spring2016-fiction

The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

This debut novel from Sweeney explores the raw power of family, both in the positive and negative.

From the jacket: Four adult siblings share the fate of an inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar.

Fool Me once, by Harlan Coben

Coben’s thriller has been riding a strong momentum wave since its drop March 22, putting it on pace to become his ninth consecutive New York Times number one bestseller.

From the jacket: Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.

Miller’s Valley, by Anna Quindlen

Quindlen keeps to her strengths by providing honest insight in this emotional novel about family and home.

From the jacket: For generations, the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship, and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”

A Man called ove, by Fredrik Backman

The NYT bestseller is another debut that has quickly earned accolades for Backman, a Swedish blogger whose feel-good story of  a grumpy old man boasts plenty of charm.

From the jacket: Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming story of unexpected friendship and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. It will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their foundations.

The Summer Before the War, by Helen Simonson

The follow-up to Simonson’s bestseller, “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” is about a love story amid war in the English countryside.

From the jacket: East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer. Hugh Grange is visiting his beloved Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband, John, in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Then, free-thinking, pretty Latin teacher Beatrice Nash arrives. For her part, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing. Quickly taken under Agatha’s wing, charmed by the beauty of the Sussex landscape, Beatrice soon finds herself questioning her original opinions on small-town life. But this serene countryside summer is about to end, and an unimaginable war is coming. Soon, the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small town and its inhabitants go to war.

NON-FICTION

spring2016-nonfiction

The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A mother and son on life, love and loss, by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt

A series of personal communication between author and CNN journalist Cooper and his mother, after she fell ill.

From the jacket: Both a son’s love letter to his mother in her final years and an unconventional mother’s life lessons for her grown son, “The Rainbow Comes and Goes” offers a rare window into their close relationship and fascinating lives. In these often humorous and touching exchanges, they share their most private thoughts and the hard-earned truths they’ve learned along the way. Throughout, their distinctive personalities shine through—Anderson’s darker outlook on the world is a brilliant contrast to his mother’s idealism and unwavering optimism.

Spark Joy: An illustrated master class on the Art of organizing and tidying up, by Marie Kondo

The KonMari Method of home and general organization was a revolution when introduced with Kondo’s first how-to, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” This one takes the process even further.

From the jacket: Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets. She also provides advice on frequently asked questions, such as whether to keep “necessary” items that may not bring one joy. With guidance on specific categories, including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, hobby goods, and digital photos, this comprehensive companion is sure to spark joy in anyone who wants to simplify their life.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond

The author’s nickname is Genius, and the Harvard sociologist puts that reputation on the line with this thoroughly reported dive into poverty and our perception of it.

From the jacket: Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor, renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

Dark Money: The hidden history of the billionaires behind the rise of the Radical right, by Jane Mayer

An exercise in investigative journalism, “Dark Money” delves deep into how the rich used their money and power to take control of our democratic process, thanks to five years of research and hundreds of interviews by Mayer.

From the jacket: As Mayer shows in this meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system. The network has brought together some of the richest people on the planet. Their beliefs advance their personal and corporate interests: Many of their companies have run afoul of federal pollution, worker safety, securities, and tax laws. The chief figures in the network are brothers Charles and David Koch. When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and control nearly everything.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli

An Italian physicist, Rovelli breaks down essential lessons in modern physics, making the complex lessons graspable for the novice.

From the jacket: “Seven Brief Lessons on Physics” is a book about the joy of discovery. Rovelli brings a playful, entertaining, and mind-bending introduction to modern physics, offering surprising—and surprisingly easy to grasp—explanations of Einstein’s general relativity, quantum mechanics, elementary particles, gravity, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, and the role humans play in this weird and wonderful world.

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