The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end.
In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments.
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Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart has her whole life before her. At the stroke of midnight she will turn nineteen, and the year ahead promises to be one of consequence. Should she go to London to study economics, or remain at home in Brooklyn to pursue her passion for music and be with her boyfriend? As the countdown to the New Year begins, Oona faints and awakens thirty-two years in the future in her fifty-one-year-old body. Greeted by a friendly stranger in a beautiful house she’s told is her own, Oona learns that with each passing year she will leap to another age at random. And so begins Oona Out of Order…
Hopping through decades, pop culture fads, and much-needed stock tips, Oona is still a young woman on the inside but ever changing on the outside. Who will she be next year? Philanthropist? Club Kid? World traveler? Wife to a man she’s never met?
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Apeirogon by Colum McCann
Bassam Aramin is Palestinian. Rami Elhanan is Israeli. They inhabit a world of conflict that colors every aspect of their daily lives, from the roads they are allowed to drive on, to the schools their daughters, Abir and Smadar, each attend, to the checkpoints, both physical and emotional, they must negotiate.
Their worlds shift irreparably after ten-year-old Abir is killed by a rubber bullet and thirteen-year-old Smadar becomes the victim of suicide bombers. When Bassam and Rami learn of each other’s stories, they recognize the loss that connects them and they attempt to use their grief as a weapon for peace.
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The Lost Diary of M by Paul Wolfe
An engrossing debut novel that cannily reimagines the extraordinary life and mysterious death of bohemian Georgetown socialite Mary Pinchot Meyer— secret lover of JFK, ex-wife of a CIA chief, sexual adventurer, LSD explorer and early feminist living by her own rules.
She was a longtime lover of JFK. She was the ex-wife of a CIA chief. She was the sister-in-law of the Washington Post’s Ben Bradlee. She believed in mind expansion and took LSD with Timothy Leary. She was a painter, a socialite and a Bohemian in Georgetown during the Cold War. And she ended up dead in an unsolved murder a year after JFK’s assassination. The diary she kept was never found. Until now. . . .
Apartment by Teddy Wayne
In 1996, an unnamed narrator is attending the MFA writing program at Columbia on his father’s dime and living in an illegal sublet of a rent-stabilized apartment. Feeling guilty about his good fortune, he offers his spare bedroom–rent-free–to Billy, a talented, charismatic classmate from the Midwest eking out a hand-to-mouth existence in Manhattan.
The narrator’s rapport with Billy develops into the friendship he’s never had due to a lifetime of holding people at arm’s length, hovering at the periphery, feeling “fundamentally defective.” But their living arrangement, not to mention their radically different upbringings, breeds tensions neither man could predict. Interrogating the origins of our contemporary political divide and its ties to masculinity and class, Apartment is a gutting portrait of one of New York’s many lost, disconnected souls by a writer with an uncommon aptitude for embodying them.
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming an adult, journalist and former Sunday Times columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, finding a job, getting drunk, getting dumped, realizing that Ivan from the corner shop might just be the only reliable man in her life, and that absolutely no one can ever compare to her best girlfriends. Everything I Know About Love is about bad dates, good friends and—above all else— realizing that you are enough.
Glittering with wit and insight, heart and humor, Dolly Alderton’s unforgettable debut weaves together personal stories, satirical observations, a series of lists, recipes, and other vignettes that will strike a chord of recognition with women of every age—making you want to pick up the phone and tell your best friends all about it. Like Bridget Jones’ Diary but all true, Everything I Know About Love is about the struggles of early adulthood in all its terrifying and hopeful uncertainty.
Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic by Harry Wiland
Based on the PBS three-part mini series, Do No Harm: The Opioid Epidemic follows author and director, Harry Wiland as he works to unearth the history and truth behind America’s rampant opioid crises, and investigates how this crisis ballooned into an epidemic fueled by Big Pharma’s ploys, the medical community’s obliviousness, and policymakers lack of oversight.
The Opioid Epidemic is the worst man-made epidemic in the history of our nation. More people die each year from an opioid overdose than in automobile accidents. The statistics are staggering. Do No Harm spotlights experts, journalists, and public health crusaders who are combating the special interests of Big Pharma and informing the world on how an aggressive pharmaceutical mass marketing campaign for the new drug OxyContin misled doctors and the public into our current crisis of death and addiction.
Wiland highlights the stories of those hit hardest by prescription opioid addiction and overdose death, and sheds light on how whole communities have been ravaged by the spread of addiction. Despite regional health experts, local government, law enforcement, journalists, and the DEA’s efforts to combat the epidemic, people continue to die at an alarming rate from prescription drug overdoses.
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Facebook: The Inside Story by Steven Levy
In his sophomore year of college, Mark Zuckerberg created a simple website to serve as a campus social network. The site caught on like wildfire, and soon students nationwide were on Facebook.
Today, Facebook is nearly unrecognizable from Zuckerberg’s first, modest iteration. It has grown into a tech giant, the largest social media platform and one of the most gargantuan companies in the world, with a valuation of more than $576 billion and almost 3 billion users, including those on its fully owned subsidiaries, Instagram and WhatsApp. There is no denying the power and omnipresence of Facebook in American daily life. And in light of recent controversies surrounding election-influencing “fake news” accounts, the handling of its users’ personal data, and growing discontent with the actions of its founder and CEO, never has the company been more central to the national conversation.
Based on hundreds of interviews inside and outside the company, Levy’s sweeping narrative digs deep into the whole story of the company that has changed the world and reaped the consequences.
Follow Me by Kathleen Barber
Audrey Miller has an enviable new job at the Smithsonian, a body by reformer Pilates, an apartment door with a broken lock, and hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to bear witness to it all. Having just moved to Washington, DC, Audrey busies herself impressing her new boss, interacting with her online fan base, and staving off a creepy upstairs neighbor with the help of the only two people she knows in town: an ex-boyfriend she can’t stay away from and a sorority sister with a high-powered job and a mysterious past.
But Audrey’s faulty door may be the least of her security concerns. Unbeknownst to her, her move has brought her within striking distance of someone who’s obsessively followed her social media presence for years—from her first WordPress blog to her most recent Instagram Story. No longer content to simply follow her carefully curated life from a distance, he consults the dark web for advice on how to make Audrey his and his alone. In his quest to win her heart, nothing is off-limits—and nothing is private.
Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little
Marissa Dahl, a shy but successful film editor, travels to a small island off the coast of Delaware to work with the legendary–and legendarily demanding–director Tony Rees on a feature film with a familiar logline Some girl dies.
It’s not much to go on, but the specifics don’t concern Marissa. Whatever the script is, her job is the same. She’ll spend her days in the editing room, doing what she does best: turning pictures into stories.
But she soon discovers that on this set, nothing is as it’s supposed to be–or as it seems. There are rumors of accidents and indiscretions, of burgeoning scandals and perilous schemes. Half the crew has been fired. The other half wants to quit. Even the actors have figured out something is wrong. And no one seems to know what happened to the editor she was hired to replace.
Red Letter Days by Sarah-Jane Stratford
Amid the glitz and glamour of 1950s New York, Phoebe Adler pursues her dream of screenwriting. A dream that turns into a living nightmare when she is blacklisted—caught in the Red Menace that is shattering the lives of suspected Communists. Desperate to work, she escapes to London, determined to keep her dream alive and clear her good name.
There, Phoebe befriends fellow American exile Hannah Wolfson, who has defied the odds to build a career as a successful television producer in England. Hannah is a woman who has it all, and is now gambling everything in a very dangerous game—the game of hiring blacklisted writers.
Neither woman suspects that danger still looms . . . and their fight is only just beginning.
Short Life in a Strange World: Birth to Death in 42 Panels by Toby Ferris
In 2012, facing the death of his father and impending fatherhood, Toby Ferris set off on a seemingly quixotic mission to track down and look at—in situ—every painting still in existence by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the most influential and important artist of Northern Renaissance painting.
The result of that pursuit is a remarkable journey through major European cities and across continents. As Ferris takes a keen analytical eye to the paintings, each piece brings new revelations about Bruegel’s art, and gives way to meditations on mortality, fatherhood, and life. Ferris conjures a whole world to which most of us have probably lost the key, and in the process teaches us how to look, patiently and curiously, at the world.
The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac
In this cautionary but optimistic book, Figueres and Rivett-Carnac–the architects of the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement–tackle arguably the most urgent and consequential challenge humankind has ever faced: the world’s changing climate and the fate of humanity.
In The Future We Choose, the authors outline two possible scenarios for the planet. In one, they describe what life on Earth will be like by 2050 if we fail to meet the Paris targets for carbon dioxide emission reduction. In the other, they describe what it will take to create and live in a carbon neutral, regenerative world. They argue for confronting the climate crisis head on, with determination and optimism.
How we all of us address the climate crisis in the next thirty years will determine not only the world we will live in but also the world we will bequeath to our children and theirs. The Future We Choose presents our options and tells us, in no uncertain terms, what governments, corporations, and each of us can and must do to fend off disaster.
The Girl in White Gloves: A Novel of Grace Kelly by Kerri Maher
Grace knows what people see. She’s the Cinderella story. An icon of glamour and elegance frozen in dazzling Technicolor. The picture of perfection. The girl in white gloves.
But behind the lens, beyond the panoramic views of glistening Mediterranean azure, she knows the truth. The sacrifices it takes for an unappreciated girl from Philadelphia to defy her family and become the reigning queen of the screen. The heartbreaking reasons she trades Hollywood for a crown. The loneliness of being a princess in a fairy tale kingdom that is all too real.
Hardest of all for her adoring fans and loyal subjects to comprehend, is the harsh reality that to be the most envied woman in the world does not mean she is the happiest. Starved for affection and purpose, facing a labyrinth of romantic and social expectations with more twists and turns than Monaco’s infamous winding roads, Grace must find her own way to fulfillment. But what she risks–her art, her family, her marriage—she may never get back.
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Too Much: How Victorian Constraints Still Bind Women Today by Rachel Vorona Cote
A weeping woman is a monster. So too is a fat woman, a horny woman, a woman shrieking with laughter. Women who are one or more of these things have heard, or perhaps simply intuited, that we are repugnantly excessive, that we have taken illicit liberties to feel or fuck or eat with abandon. After bellowing like a barn animal in orgasm, hoovering a plate of mashed potatoes, or spraying out spit in the heat of expostulation, we’ve flinched-ugh, that was so gross. I am so gross. On rare occasions, we might revel in our excess–belting out anthems with our friends over karaoke, perhaps–but in the company of less sympathetic souls, our uncertainty always returns. A woman who is Too Much is a woman who reacts to the world with ardent intensity is a woman familiar to lashes of shame and disapproval, from within as well as without.
Written in the tradition of Shrill, Dead Girls, Sex Object and other frank books about the female gaze, Too Much encourages women to reconsider the beauty of their excesses-emotional, physical, and spiritual. Rachel Vorona Cote braids cultural criticism, theory, and storytelling together in her exploration of how culture grinds away our bodies, souls, and sexualities, forcing us into smaller lives than we desire. An erstwhile Victorian scholar, she sees many parallels between that era’s fixation on women’s “hysterical” behavior and our modern policing of the same; in the space of her writing, you’re as likely to encounter Jane Eyre and Lizzie Bennet as you are Britney Spears and Lana Del Rey. This book will tell the story of how women, from then and now, have learned to draw power from their reservoirs of feeling, all that makes us “Too Much.”
The Unexpected Spy: From the CIA to the FBI, My Secret Life Taking Down Some of the World’s Most Notorious Terrorists by Tracy Walder
When Tracy Walder enrolled at the University of Southern California, she never thought that one day she would offer her pink beanbag chair in the Delta Gamma house to a CIA recruiter, or that she’d fly to the Middle East under an alias identity.
The Unexpected Spy is the riveting story of Walder’s tenure in the CIA and, later, the FBI. In high-security, steel-walled rooms in Virginia, Walder watched al-Qaeda members with drones as President Bush looked over her shoulder and CIA Director George Tenet brought her donuts. She tracked chemical terrorists and searched the world for Weapons of Mass Destruction. She created a chemical terror chart that someone in the White House altered to convey information she did not have or believe, leading to the Iraq invasion. Driven to stop terrorism, Walder debriefed terrorists―men who swore they’d never speak to a woman―until they gave her leads. She followed trails through North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, shutting down multiple chemical attacks.
Then Walder moved to the FBI, where she worked in counterintelligence. In a single year, she helped take down one of the most notorious foreign spies ever caught on American soil. Catching the bad guys wasn’t a problem in the FBI, but rampant sexism was. Walder left the FBI to teach young women, encouraging them to find a place in the FBI, CIA, State Department or the Senate―and thus change the world.