New Books! 3/17/2015

HARDCOVER FICTION

9781250051684The Last Flight of Poxl West by Daniel Torday

Poxl West is the epitome of manhood and something of an idol to his teenage nephew, Eli Goldstein, who reveres him as a brave, singular, Jewish war hero. Poxl fills Eli’s head with electric accounts of his derring-do, adventures and romances, as he collects the best episodes from his storied life into a memoir.
Daniel Torday’s debut novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West, beautifully weaves together the two unforgettable voices of Eli Goldstein and Poxl West, exploring what it really means to be a hero, and to be a family, in the long shadow of war.

 

owen_laukkanenThe Stolen Ones by Owen Laukkanen

Cass County, Minnesota: A sheriff’s deputy steps out of a diner on a rainy summer evening, and a few minutes later, he’s lying dead in the mud. When BCA agent Kirk Stevens arrives on the scene, he discovers local authorities have taken into custody a single suspect: A hysterical young woman found sitting by the body, holding the deputy’s own gun. She has no ID, speaks no English. A mystery woman.
The mystery only deepens from there, as Stevens and Carla Windermere, his partner in the new joint BCA–FBI violent crime task force, find themselves on the trail of a massive international kidnapping and prostitution operation. But just because you’re a victim doesn’t mean you have to stay one.

gortnerMademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

For readers of The Paris Wife and Z comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel–the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and become one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.
An enthralling novel of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.

 

skip_horackThe Other Joseph by Skip Horack

A masterful depiction of a life driven off the rails by tragedy and sin–a man now summoned by the legacy of a beloved, lost brother to embark on a journey in search toward understanding, happiness, and redemption.
Haunted by the disappearance of his older brother Tommy in the first Gulf War, the tragic deaths of his parents, and the felony conviction that has branded him for a decade, Roy Joseph has labored in lonesome exile–and under the ever-watchful eyes of the law–moving between oil rigs off the coast of Louisiana and an Airstream trailer he shares with his dog. Then, on the cusp of his thirtieth birthday, Roy is contacted by a teenage girl from California claiming to be his lost brother’s biological daughter.
With The Other Joseph, Skip Horack delivers a powerful, spellbinding tale of a man nearly defeated by life who is given one last chance at redemption–one last shot to find meaning and alter the course of his solitary existence.

 

susan_crawfordThe Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford

Dana Catrell is shocked when her neighbor Celia is brutally murdered. To Dana’s horror, she was the last person to see Celia alive. Suffering from mania, the result of her bipolar disorder, she has troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death.
Her husband’s odd behavior and the probing of Detective Jack Moss create further complications as she searches for answers. The closer she comes to piecing together the shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her . . . or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?
A story of marriage, murder, and madness, The Pocket Wife explores the world through the foggy lens of a woman on the edge.

 

jacobruinThe Poser by Jacob Rubin

All his life, Giovanni Bernini has possessed an uncanny gift: he can imitate anyone he meets. Honed by his mother at a young age, the talent catapults him from small-town obscurity to stardom.
As his fame grows, Giovanni encounters a beautiful and enigmatic stage singer, Lucy Starlight—the only person whose thread he cannot find—and becomes increasingly trapped inside his many poses. Ultimately, he must assume the one identity he has never been able to master: his own.
In the vein of Jonathan Lethem’s and Kevin Wilson’s playful surrealism, Jacob Rubin’s The Poser is the debut of a major literary voice, a masterfully written, deeply original comic novel, and the moving story of a man who must risk everything for the chance to save his life and know true love.

 

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

gretchen_rubinBetter Than Before: Mastering the Habit of Our Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin’s answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.
So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?
Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make readers eager to start work on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

 

barney_frankFrank: A Life In Politics From the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage by Barney Frank (BookPeople Event 4/08/2015)

In this feisty and often moving memoir, Frank candidly discusses the satisfactions, fears, and grudges that come with elected office. He recalls the emotional toll of living in the closet and how his public crusade against homophobia conflicted with his private accommodation of it. He discusses his painful quarrels with allies; his friendships with public figures, from Tip O’Neill to Sonny Bono; and how he found love with his husband, Jim Ready, becoming the first sitting member of Congress to enter a same-sex marriage. He also demonstrates how he used his rhetorical skills to expose his opponents’ hypocrisies and delusions. Through it all, he expertly analyzes the gifts a successful politician must bring to the job, and how even Congress can be made to work.

nataliejeanHey Natalie Jean by Natalie Holbrook

Beautifully illustrated and whimsically designed, the book offers 35 short essays and how-to’s that serve as a guide to life: making date-night magic in the middle of the mundane, successfully exploring the city with a three-year-old, and creating a satisfying daily routine that still leaves room for little adventures and lots of magic.
Natalie’s optimism, creativity, keen eye, and zeal for life are palpable, and she encourages others to make their lives beautiful with ease. This heartfelt, personal collection of essays and photographs show Natalie’s ability to identify and describe life’s lovely incidentals in the everyday routine of errands, play dates, and naps.

 

jason_jenningsThe High-Speed Company: Creating Urgency and Growth in a Nanosecond Culture by Jason Jennings

Jennings and his researchers have spent years up close and personal with thousands of organizations around the world—figuring out what makes them successful in both the short and long term. He understands the real challenges that keep more than eleven thousand CEOs, business owners, and executives up at night. And he knows how the best of the best combine speed and growth to deliver five times the average returns to shareholders.
The High-Speed Company reveals the unique practices of businesses that have proven records of urgency and growth. The key distinction is that they’ve created extraordinary cultures with a strong purpose, more trust, and relentless follow-through. These companies burn less energy, beat the competition, and have a lot of fun along the way.
Breathe easier. Handle any hurdle. Get things done faster. That’s the way of the high-speed company . . . and Jennings shows you how to build and sustain your own.

 

dan_jenkinsUnplayable Lies: (The Only Golf Book You’ll Ever Need) by Dan Jenkins

In this book Dan delves into the greatest rounds of golf he’s ever seen; the funniest things said on a golf course; the rivalries on tour and in the press box; the game’s most magical moments—and its most absurd. Unplayable Lies is an ode to the game Jenkins loves. But it is Dan Jenkins, so nothing—even the game of golf—can escape his wrath, his critical eye, or his acerbic pen.

 

jamesodonnellPagans: The End of Traditional Religion and the Rise of Christianity by James J. O’Donnell

For hundreds of years, religious and spiritual pluralism thrived in the Roman Empire. In the fourth century, however, as Christianity became the state religion, Christians developed the concept of the “pagan” as a way to stigmatize and ostracize those who refused to abandon their traditions and devote themselves to the Christian god. These “pagans” were Greeks, Romans, Gauls, and Syrians who piously observed the traditions of their ancestors–and who wrongly believed that Christianity was a passing fad.
The story of paganism turns out to be the story of how the new Christian cult staked its claim to exceptionalism. In this nuanced account of religious repression, O’Donnell offers an iconoclastic history of religion that tells an exciting new story with deep relevance to the way we think about religion in our own time.

 

michael_tennesenThe Next Species: The Future of Evolution in the Aftermath of Man by Michael Tennesen

A growing number of scientists agree we are headed toward a mass extinction, perhaps in as little as 300 years. Already there have been five mass extinctions in the last 600 million years, including the Cretaceous Extinction, during which an asteroid knocked out the dinosaurs. Though these events were initially destructive, they were also prime movers of evolutionary change in nature.
Tennesen delves into the history of the planet and travels to rainforests, canyons, craters, and caves all over the world to explore the potential winners and losers of the next era of evolution. His predictions, based on reports and interviews with top scientists, have vital implications for life on earth today.

 

jacob_silvermanTerms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

Social networking has grown into a staple of modern society, but its continued evolution is becoming increasingly detrimental to our lives. Shifts in communication and privacy are affecting us more than we realize or understand. Integrating politics, sociology, national security, pop culture, and technology, he reveals the surprising conformity at the heart of Internet culture–explaining how social media companies engineer their products to encourage shallow engagement and discourage dissent. Reflecting on the collapsed barriers between our private and public lives, Silverman brings into focus the inner conflict we feel when deciding what to share and what to “like,” and explains how we can take the steps we need to free ourselves from its grip.

 

PAPERBACK FICTION

michaelconnellyThe Burning Room by Michael Connelly

In the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent.
Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case. Beginning with the bullet that’s been lodged for years in the victim’s spine, they must pull new leads from years-old information, which soon reveal that this shooting may have been anything but random.

 

geminiGemini by Carol Cassella

When the skinny kid from the city first arrives in her Pacific Northwest hometown, Raney doesn’t quite know what to make of him. Yet her intense dislike of the know-it-all bookworm softens as Bo latches on to Raney, eager to learn about the Washington island he’s been sent for the summer.
Decades later Dr. Charlotte Reese finds herself fighting to keep an unconscious ICU patient stable while also unwrapping the mystery of the unconscious woman, the victim of a hit-and-run. Consumed by questions about the woman’s identity, Charlotte enlists Eric, her journalist boyfriend, to investigate. Their search for answers brings them to heartrending truths about Jane Doe―and themselves.
In beautiful interwoven storytelling, master of medical drama Carol Cassella presents two women–lifetimes apart–who face the inescapable forces shaping their lives.

 

browneLess Than Hero by S.G. Browne

Lloyd Prescott is a professional guinea pig. After nearly a year on unemployment, Lloyd discovered he could make money volunteering for Phase One pharmaceutical drug clinical trials, where drugs are tested for safety by giving them to subjects and studying the side effects. Every month, Lloyd meets up with a group of other guinea pigs to share information on their clinical trials, but soon they learn they’re getting a lot more than they bargained for…
Convulsions. Memory loss. Hallucinations. Drowsiness. Vomiting. Sudden weight gain. These and other side effects affect them all–but rather than simply suffer the consequences, the guinea pigs find they’re able to project these side effects onto others. And once they realize this, there’s no end to the ruckus they’ll cause using their powers for good…or ill.

 

jo_bakerThe Mermaid’s Child by Jo Baker

Malin has always been different, and when her father dies, leaving her alone, her choice is clear: stay, and remain an outsider forever, or leave in search of the mythical inheritance she is certain awaits her. Apprenticed to a series of strange and wonderful characters, Malin embarks on a grueling journey that crosses oceans and continents–from the high seas to desert plains–and leads to a discovery that she could never have expected. Beautifully written and hauntingly strange, “The Mermaid’s Child” is a remarkable piece of storytelling, and an utterly unique work of fantasy from literary star Jo Baker.

 

whisper_hollowWhisper Hollow by Chris Cander (Event 3/30/15)

One morning in Verra, a town nestled into the hillsides of West Virginia, the young Myrthen Bergmann is playing tug-of-war with her twin, when her sister is killed. Unable to accept her own guilt, Myrthen excludes herself from all forms of friendship and affection and begins a twisted, haunted life dedicated to God. Meanwhile, her neighbor Alta Krol longs to be an artist even as her days are taken up caring for her widowed father and siblings. Everything changes when Myrthen marries the man Alta loves. Fourteen years later, we meet Lidia, a teenage girl in the same town, and her precocious son, Gabriel. When Gabriel starts telling eerily prescient stories that hint at Verra’s long-buried secrets, it’s not long before the townspeople begin to suspect that the boy harbors evil spirits—an irresistible state of affairs for Myrthen and her obsession with salvation.

 

offillLast Things by Jenny Offill

To eight-year-old Grace Davitt, the world is full of strange wonders. Through the eyes of her mother, Anna—an ornithologist who speaks five languages—their small lakeside town in Vermont becomes a glittering mystery filled with secret tongues, monsters in the lake, and birthday parties for the Earth. Anna’s untamed spirit stands in sharp contrast to that of Grace’s father, a chemistry teacher who examines his surroundings through the lens of rationalism and order. As Grace’s family begins to fall apart and she finds that she must choose between her parents, her conflicting loyalties take her on a remarkable journey that spans all corners of the country—and of her own boundless imagination.

 

PAPERBACK NONFICTION

 

erik_davisTechGnosis by Erik Davis

How does our fascination with technology intersect with the religious imagination? In TechGnosis—a cult classic now updated and reissued with a new afterword—Erik Davis argues that while the realms of the digital and the spiritual may seem worlds apart, esoteric and religious impulses have in fact always permeated (and sometimes inspired) technological communication. Davis uncovers startling connections between such seemingly disparate topics as electricity and alchemy; online roleplaying games and religious and occult practices; virtual reality and gnostic mythology; programming languages and Kabbalah. The final chapters address the apocalyptic dreams that haunt technology, providing vital historical context as well as new ways to think about a future defined by the mutant intermingling of mind and machine, nightmare and fantasy.

 

bruce_weberLife Is A Wheel: Memoirs of a Bike-Riding Obituarist by Bruce Weber

“Life Is a Wheel” is the witty, inspiring, and reflective diary of his journey, in which the challenges and rewards of self-reliance and strenuous physical effort yield wry and incisive observations about cycling and America, not to mention the pleasures of a three-thousand-calorie breakfast. Part travelogue, part memoir, part romance, part paean to the bicycle–and part bemused and panicky account of a middle-aged man’s attempt to stave off, well, you know–“Life Is a Wheel” is a book for cyclists, and for anyone who has ever dreamed of such transcontinental travels.

 

sarah_lewisThe Rise: Creativity, The Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery by Sarah Lewis

From celebrated art historian, curator, and teacher Sarah Lewis, a fascinating examination of how our most iconic creative endeavors–from innovation to the arts–are not achievements but conversions, corrections after failed attempts.
The gift of failure is a riddle: it will always be both the void and the start of infinite possibility. “The Rise”–part investigation into a psychological mystery, part an argument about creativity and art, and part a soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit–makes the case that many of the world’s greatest achievements have come from understanding the central importance of failure.

 

arianna_huffingtonThrive:The Third Metric to Redifining Success and Creating a Life of Well Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

As more and more people are coming to realize, there is far more to living a truly successful life than just earning a bigger salary and capturing a corner office. Our relentless pursuit of the two traditional metrics of success — money and power — has led to an epidemic of burnout and stress-related illnesses, and an erosion in the quality of our relationships, family life, and, ironically, our careers. In being connected to the world 24/7, we’re losing our connection to what truly matters. Our current definition of success is, as Thrive shows, literally killing us. We need a new way forward. Drawing on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving, Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplace, and our lives.

 

george_willA Nice Little Place on the North Side: A History of Triumph, Mostly Defeat, and Incurable Hope at Wrigley Field by George F. Will

In A Nice Little Place on the North Side, leading columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it turns one hundred years old. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley is considered one of its sacred spaces. But what is its true, hyperbole-free history. Winding beautifully like Wrigley’s iconic ivy, Will’s meditation on “The Friendly Confines” examines both theunforgettable stories that forged the field’s legend and the larger-than-life characters—from Wrigley and Ruth to Veeck, Durocher, and Banks—who brought it glory, heartbreak, and scandal. Drawing upon his trademark knowledge and inimitable sense of humor, Will also explores his childhood connections to the team, the Cubs’ future, and what keeps long-suffering fans rooting for the home team after so many years of futility. In the end, A Nice Little Place on the North Side is more than just the history of a ballpark. It is the story ofChicago, of baseball, and of America itself.

 

 

 

 

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