Recent Reviews

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The Bear Cover Image
The Bear

 

DUE IN FEBRUARY Ancient in its rhythm and content, Andrew Krivak’s The Bear reads as a folktale from an entirely possible, fast-approaching future. The lives that may very well be lived by the last of us are lyrically and lovingly articulated across these pages.  A vital connection with our surroundings and the forgotten wisdom we have lost over many generations of rapid development are brought to the forefront in this work. Old ways of survival and storytelling are thoughtfully reawakened and practiced by the creatures that yet remain within. Mankind is remembered by the creatures of the forest and thoughtfully cared for in our death throes. Recommended by Jack

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Humpty Dumpty Lived Near a Wall Cover Image
Humpty Dumpty Lived Near a Wall

If you thought Humpty Dumpty couldn’t bring tears to your eyes, think again.  Humpty Dumpty Lived Near a Wall tells a classic tale in a modern way—in a spooky burned-out world with illustrations so triumphant they gave me chills (multiple times!) and with a story so special you’ll want to read it every night.  A collaboration like this is the stuff of fairy tales! Recommended by Mary

 

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The Crying Book Cover Image
The Crying Book

When, where, why do we cry?  How is it that some are predisposed to cry little and others to weep endlessly?  Why does it so often feel shameful? When does it relieve us, does it trap us in depression?  Peaceful and powerful, The Crying Book is a poetic examination of the art of weeping.  Poet Heather Christle meditates on tears, grief, in a graceful mourning song held together by personal experiences, scientific insight, and her most beloved—poetry.  In the face of great loss, Christle’s account is crystalline and mystical, a necessary embrace for the bereaved, and validating manifesto to the tearful. Recommended by Mary

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Re-Bisoning the West: Restoring an American Icon to the Landscape Cover Image
Re-Bisoning the West

DUE IN SEPTEMBER America's complicated relationship with the bison is the subject of Kurt Repanshek’s Re-Bisoning the West, in which he traces the shameful history of Americans with the great shaggy beast of the plains as well as our modern attempts to replace and reimagine them in the western landscape.  It’s a particularly timely book as the bison as recently been named the first the national mammal of the United States.  By now, the near-extinction of the bison by the beginning of the twentieth century is well known.  What is perhaps less understood by twenty-first century Americans is the fraught process of conservation, made difficult by cattle-bison cross-breeding, diseases carried by some bison, and the always complicated politics of Western land use by the federal government. At the center of the controversy is the Yellowstone herd, the survivors of the Great Slaughter of the nineteenth century. Their role as a source of pure bison DNA is hampered by the fact that they also carry brucellosis, a disease rightly feared by the ranchers whose lands surround the park. Repanshek navigates these waters in deft and interesting prose that is scientific and historical and very compelling, asking important questions about how we can reintegrate the bison into the modern American landscape.  The bison is our nation’s next high-profile symbol of destruction and then conservation. Hopefully, it will join the bald eagle as a symbol not just of the nation but of our ability to correct the mistakes of our past. If you have ever stood in the Hayden Valley of Yellowstone or along the high plains of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and watched the great brown beast rumble and snort its way across the landscape, you will love this book.  If you have never seen large herds of bison, this book will inspire you to seek them out and marvel at their strength, beauty, tenacity and vulnerability. Recommended by Sarah

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The Long Call (The Two Rivers Series #1) Cover Image
The Long Call

DUE IN SEPTEMBER Ann Cleeves continues to thrill by offering up a new series with an intriguing new character destined to hook her fans. Detective Matthew Venn finds himself back in the North Devon of his youth after having been estranged from his strictly evangelical family. In a new job as Detective and recently married to his husband Jonathan, Venn investigates the murder of a man on the beach, and finds himself confronting the pain of his own past.  Venn is surrounded by a team of intriguing characters and, as usual, Cleeves is superb in evoking place. This is a cracker-jack new mystery series: It’s intelligent, atmospheric and suspenseful. Recommended by Sarah

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The Other End of the Line (An Inspector Montalbano Mystery #24) Cover Image
The Other End of the Line

DUE IN SEPTEMBER Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano mysteries are gems, and here is another in this long-running series that you won’t be able to put down. Struggling with the influx of refugees to the Sicilian coast, Montalbano and his team are stretched thin trying to manage the ongoing humanitarian crisis when the beautiful tailor Elena Biasini is found murdered in her shop. The violence of the crime unsettles Montalbano who had been a reluctant customer after his girlfriend Livia insisted he order from her a tailored suit. With Elena’s orphaned cat and the members of his team, the Inspector sets out unravel this complicated crime. Montalbano is a quirky , insightful and sardonic hero of fundamental decency and strength, with a fondness for triple espresso and pasta, who endears himself to readers almost immediately.  This is a splendid addition to the series. Recommended by Sarah

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This Tender Land: A Novel Cover Image
This Tender Land

DUE IN SEPTEMBER This Tender Land is  a beautiful, absorbing story that will haunt you for some time.  Grounded in the historical reality of the Great Depression, this is a tale, an adventure story whose hero is a twentieth century Huck Finn. You won’t be able to put down this deeply felt story of family and love and self discovery that takes as part of it central message the healing power of stories. Recommended by Sarah

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Little Weirds Cover Image
Little Weirds

DUE IN NOVEMBER While generally associated with comedy, Jenny Slate’s powerful artistic voice shines through in Little Weirds. I had expected a memoir when opening the book, but I found instead a mixture of works that read more like poetry and stream of consciousness, hooking me with Slate’s vivid imagination and sincerity. Slate does not hesitate to express her anger over her experiences as a woman, the current political climate, and the common critique that she is too much. However, readers can still find the humor we know and love from her, making Little Weirds a captivating journey into Slate’s unique mind. Recommended by Nikita

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Eat Joy: Stories & Comfort Food from 31 Celebrated Writers Cover Image
Eat Joy

DUE IN OCTOBER There are moments in our lives which imprint on our souls, and often when we recollect them, our memories entangle with sensory information.  The visceral quality of food as it relates to memory is unparalleled—sometimes we eat our favorite foods as comfort during grief, or a dish prepared by a friend becomes healing food from then on.  Eat Joy is a lively collection of autobiographical stories in which food plays a starring role (recipes included—and they are lovely!).  A diverse selection of celebrated authors tell stories of growth and loss, healing and homecoming, and the resulting collection is nothing short of magical. Recommended by Mary

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Penny for Your Secrets (A Verity Kent Mystery #3) Cover Image
Penny for Your Secrets

DUE IN OCTOBER Verity Kent returns to post-World War I London, in an exciting new mystery by Anna Lee Huber. Lovers of Downtown Abbey will relish Huber's opulent descriptions of manor houses in their waning glory days. Along with a page-turner of a mystery, Penny for Your Secrets also continues to develop complex characters still struggling to recover their lives and relationships from the rubble of the war. A satisfying and engaging read.