New Books! 6/09/15

New in Hardback

Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen

9780812996913The enigmatic billionaire founder of Tetration, the world’s most powerful tech company, hires a failed novelist, Josh Cohen, to ghostwrite his memoirs. The mogul, known as Principal, brings Josh behind the digital veil, tracing the rise of Tetration, which started in the earliest days of the Internet by revolutionizing the search engine before venturing into smartphones, computers, and the surveillance of American citizens. Principal takes Josh on a mind-bending world tour from Palo Alto to Dubai and beyond, initiating him into the secret pretext of the autobiography project and the life-or-death stakes that surround its publication. Insider tech expose, leaked memoir-in-progress, international thriller, family drama, sex comedy, and biblical allegory, Book of Numbers renders the full range of modern experience both online and off. Embodying the Internet in its language, it finds the humanity underlying the virtual. (Book of Numbers even uses a special pagination system inspired by binary notation: the part number precedes the page number, and is separated from it by a decimal point.)

Nabakov in America: On the Road to Lolita by Robert Roper

9780802743633Born to an eminent Russian family, he conjures the apotheosis of the high modernist artist: cultured, refined–as European as they come. But Vladimir Nabokov, who came to the U.S. fleeing the Nazis, came to think of his time here as the richest of his life. Indeed, Nabokov was not only happiest here, but his best work flowed from his response to this exotic land.Robert Roper fills out this period in the writer’s life with charm and insight–covering Nabokov’s critical friendship with Edmund Wilson, his time at Cornell, his role at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. But Nabokov in America finds its narrative heart in his serial sojourns into the wilds of the West, undertaken with his wife, Vera, and their son over more than a decade. Nabokov covered more than 200,000 miles as he indulged his other passion: butterfly collecting. Roper has mined fresh sources to bring detail to these journeys, and traces their significant influence in Nabokov’s work: on two-lane highways and in late-’40s motels and cafes, we feel Lolita draw near, and understand Nabokov’s seductive familiarity with the American mundane. Nabokov in America is also a love letter to U.S. literature, in Nabokov’s broad embrace of it from Melville to the Beats. Reading Roper, we feel anew the mountain breezes and the miles logged, the rich learning and the Romantic mind behind some of Nabokov’s most beloved books.

A History of Money by Alan Pauls

9781612194233Alan Pauls, one of Latin American literature’s rising stars, combines the intimate and the political in a brilliant depiction of the place of money in its protagonists lives. It begins with a body: a top executive of an iron and steel company dies after his helicopter, travelling toward the factory where he is due to meet with striking workers, plummets into the river. The briefcase full of money which he was carrying disappears without a trace. Accident, or assassination? And where is the money? A History of Money revolves around this event, as does the imagination and memory of the unnamed protagonist of the novel, who returns over and over to it even as he reflects on the role of money in his family and his own life. His parents are divorced: his father is a gambler who plays in all-night poker games and carries around all of his money in a wad of cash; his mother is a socialite who squanders her inherited fortune on a lavish lifestyle. Our protagonist, for his part, pays in every sense of the word. And his individual story is echoed in the larger story of Argentina in the 1970s and 80s, where money is everything: promise and punishment, dream and disaster.

The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star by Tom Clynes

9780544085114By the age of nine, Taylor Wilson had mastered the science of rocket propulsion. At eleven, his grandmother’s cancer diagnosis drove him to investigate new ways to produce medical isotopes. And by fourteen, Wilson had built a 500-million-degree reactor and become the youngest person in history to achieve nuclear fusion. How could someone so young achieve so much, and what can Wilson’s story teach parents and teachers about how to support high-achieving kids? In The Boy Who Played with Fusion, science journalist Tom Clynes narrates Taylor Wilson s extraordinary journey from his Arkansas home where his parents fully supported his intellectual passions, to a unique Reno, Nevada, public high school just for academic superstars, to the present, when now nineteen-year-old Wilson is winning international science competitions with devices designed to prevent terrorists from shipping radioactive material into the country. Along the way, Clynes reveals how our education system shortchanges gifted students, and what we can do to fix it.

The Sunken Cathedral by Kate Walbert

9781476799322Marie and Simone, friends for decades, were once immigrants to the city, survivors of World War II in Europe. Now widows living alone in Chelsea, they remain robust, engaged, and adventurous, even as the vistas from their past interrupt their present. Helen is an art historian who takes a painting class with Marie and Simone. Sid Morris, their instructor, presides over a dusty studio in a tenement slated for condo conversion; he awakes the interest of both Simone and Marie. Elizabeth is Marie’s upstairs tenant, a woman convinced that others have a secret way of being, a confidence and certainty she lacks. She is increasingly unmoored–baffled by her teenage son, her husband, and the roles she is meant to play. In a chorus of voices, Kate Walbert explores the growing disconnect between the world of action her characters inhabit and the longings, desires, and doubts they experience. Interweaving long narrative footnotes, Walbert paints portraits of marriage, of friendship, and of love in its many facets, always limning the inner life, the place of deepest yearning and anxiety. The Sunken Cathedral is a stunningly beautiful, profoundly wise novel about the way we live now.

I Saw A Man by Owen Sheers

9780385529075An utterly stunning novel of love, loss, the insidious nature of secrets, and the enduring power of words. When journalist Caroline Marshall fails to return from assignment in Pakistan, her grief-stricken husband, Michael, leaves their cottage in Wales and returns to London where he quickly develops a friendship with his neighbors, Josh and Samantha Nelson, and their two young daughters. Michael s friendship with the Nelsons marks the beginning of a long healing process, until a terrible accident adds yet more grief, and the burden of a shattering secret, to Michael s life.How will Michael bear this weight as he navigates his persistent doubts on the path to attempted redemption? The answer, revealed with nerve-wracking suspense, is eloquent, resonant, and completely unforgettable.

New in Paperback

The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

9780804194938

In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty. At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla s arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family’s past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed and their personal histories completely rewritten.

YA New Release Pick

To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix

9780062292520Far to the north of the Old Kingdom, the Greenwash Bridge Company has been building a bridge for almost a hundred years. It is not an easy task, for many dangers threaten the bridge builders, from nomad raiders to Free Magic sorcerers. Despite the danger, Morghan wants nothing more than to join the Bridge Company as a cadet. But the company takes only the best, the most skillful Charter mages, and trains them hard, for the night might come when only a single young cadet must hold the bridge against many foes. Will Morghan be that cadet? With the novella To Hold the Bridge, Garth Nix continues to explore the magical world of the Old Kingdom series. Also included in this remarkable collection are eighteen short stories that showcase Nix’s versatility, as he adds a fantastical twist on an array of genres including science fiction, paranormal, realistic fiction, mystery, and adventure.

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