Book Reviews

American Wolf

American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee reads like a novel but it's nonfiction--well-reported, in-depth nonfiction that presents an intimate portrait of a beautiful creature. The book is ostensibly a biography of Oh-Six, a female wolf who leads a fearsome Yellowstone pack. But the story it tells is much bigger: politics, livelihood, regionalism, class, survival, and landscape all figure into this tragic and compelling tale. The book is part legal thriller, part biography, part nature book, and part rural cultural analysis, but it's 100% unforgettable. Recommended by Danny

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American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101902783
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Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - October 17th, 2017


The enthralling story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her

The Alice Network

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn is a stunning book that brings to life the dangerous world of female espionage agents in World War I. The "present day" of the novel is two years post-World War II, and American Charlie St. Clair sets off to find her cousin, missing since the last days of the fall of France. She enlists the help of the mysterious Eve Gardiner, whose story as a spy in the Alice Network in France is interwoven through the novel in flashback.

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The Alice Network: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062654199
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Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 6th, 2017

Featuring an exclusive excerpt from Kate Quinn's next incredible historical novel, THE HUNTRESS




One of NPR's Best Books of the Year!

Leonardo da Vinci

STAFF REVIEW: Deep winter is the time to stretch your reading muscles. (It worked for me several years ago with Nicholas Nickleby, trust me, a marathon that made all other books feel like strolls.) Have I got the perfect tome for you: Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson. It's true; I do love a long biography. Having read Isaacson's previous biography of Steve Jobs, I knew I could trust his exhaustive research, a sign of any good biography.

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Leonardo Da Vinci Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501139154
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Published: Simon & Schuster - October 17th, 2017

The #1 New York Times bestseller

"A powerful story of an exhilarating mind and life...a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it." --The New Yorker

"Vigorous, insightful." --The Washington Post

"A masterpiece." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Luminous." --The Daily Beast

Code Girls

Code Girls by Liz Mundy. The passage of time allows us to know more about the cadre of intelligent women code breakers for the United States during WWII. Long shrouded in secrecy, their vital work for the war effort at “Arlington Hall” is revealed by Mundy’s top-notch research with declassified documents, personal records, and interviews with surviving women. Mundy’s compelling prose is filled with specific details about code systems and presents dimensional portraits of real women now no longer forgotten. Recommended by Sarah

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Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316352536
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Published: Hachette Books - October 10th, 2017


Emily Alone

Each in the pair of novels Wish You Were Here and Emily Alone by Stuart O'Nan is perfect on its own, and together they are magic. In Wish, Emily Maxwell spends a strained week with her adult children, grandchildren, sister-in-law, and her arthritic dog, Rufus, in a summer lake cabin while it pours rain. The foundations of the intricate relationships established in this first novel are built upon in Emily Alone, a perfect novel to read this time of year with its autumnal beginning.

Emily, Alone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143120490
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Published: Penguin Books - December 27th, 2011

A bittersweet tale of love and longing from the bestselling author of Last Night at the Lobster.

O'Nan's newest novel, City of Secrets, is now available from Viking.

In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World

In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every parent: That's its beauty. By following the same freethinking instincts that have landed them safely ashore of a religious-free life, readers can use author Maria Polonchek's brave and revelatory descriptions of her own experience and her cogent suggestions to raise thoughtful, compassionate, and engaged children without religion.

In Good Faith: Secular Parenting in a Religious World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781442270664
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Published: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers - August 8th, 2017

Part memoir, part cultural exploration, this book covers the author's journey as she grows up in an evangelical Christian home, leaves religion behind as a young adult, and goes on to raise children in a family outside of religious belief.

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm

Farming is a gamble. The new book, This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm, makes this abundantly clear. Author Ted Genoways alternates between discussions of the common challenges facing small family farms with chapters focusing on two Nebraska families struggling to make ends meet while sorting out the vagaries of climate, consumer demand, and government subsidies and regulations. A moving, painful, and important read about a topic that should be a far larger part of the national dialogue. Recommended by Kelly

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This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393292572
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 19th, 2017

The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a small ranch, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife's fifth-generation homestead in York County, Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm--and their entire way of life--are under siege.

Dear Reader

Lawrencian Mary O'Connell's latest book Dear Reader will satisfy adult and young adult reader alike. The story is told from a dual point of view. One narrator, misfit Catholic school student Flanner, goes alone to New York City in search of her missing English teacher Miss Sweeney, when the copy of Wuthering Heights she finds in her teacher's bag takes on a life of its own; it literally becomes Miss Sweeney's own tale of lost love, leaving clues to her whereabouts along the way.

Dear Reader Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250077080
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Published: Flatiron Books - May 9th, 2017

"Imaginative, exhilarating, genre-bending, and one of the best YA novels of the year." --BookRiot

"An audacious tale. Like much classic literature and like growing up, reading this immersive novel is all about the experience." --The Horn Book

An IndieNext Pick

The Nakano Thrift Shop

Hiromi Kawakami’s The Nakano Thrift Shop is a charming and quirky novel  set almost entirely in a Tokyo secondhand store. It’s the first US translation from a promising and popular Japanese novelist, with more to come soon. Protagonist Hitomi works the register as the strange rhythms of life working for the eccentric Mr. Nakano unfold at an easy and enjoyable pace around her. This delightful novel, anchored by an unconventional and often funny love story, is a breezy look at everyday Tokyo life. Recommended by Danny


The Nakano Thrift Shop Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609453992
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Published: Europa Editions - June 6th, 2017

From the author of Strange Weather in Tokyo comes this funny, heartwarming story about love, life, and human relationships that features a delightfully offbeat cast of characters.

Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald

I love discovering one writer through the relationship with another, as I did Ross MacDonald through his letters to Eudora Welty. This is a memoir of the relationship between the most talented and private of Southern novelists, Welty, and noir mystery writer, MacDonald, who had long admired each others writing before they began corresponding. Though many assumed Welty looked at life through the lens of a dutiful spinster, caring for her aging mother and ailing brother, this lovely book proves otherwise.

Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross MacDonald Cover Image
By Suzanne Marrs (Editor), Tom Nolan (Editor)
ISBN: 9781628727531
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Published: Arcade Publishing - June 6th, 2017

A 2016 Edgar Award finalist, the "intimate, luminous portrait of a friendship" of two American literary icons (Kirkus, starred review).