Mon – Thur: 9AM to 9PM | Fri – Sat: 9AM to 5PM | Sun: 1PM to 5PM
4613 N Oketo Ave, Harwood Heights, IL 60706 | 708-867-7828
Mon – Thur: 9AM to 9PM
Fri – Sat: 9AM to 5PM
Sun: 1PM to 5PM
4613 N Oketo Ave
Harwood Heights, IL 60706
708-867-7828

4613 N Oketo Ave, Harwood Heights, IL 60706 708-867-7828

Mon – Thur: 9AM to 9PM | Fri – Sat: 9AM to 5PM | Sun: 1PM to 5PM

New Books: 03/05/2024

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

The Hunter by Tana French

It’s a blazing summer when two men arrive in a small village in the West of Ireland. One of them is coming home. Both of them are coming to get rich. One of them is coming to die.

Cal Hooper took early retirement from Chicago PD and moved to rural Ireland looking for peace. He’s found it, more or less: he’s built a relationship with a local woman, Lena, and he’s gradually turning Trey Reddy from a half-feral teenager into a good kid going good places. But then Trey’s long-absent father reappears, bringing along an English millionaire and a scheme to find gold in the townland, and suddenly everything the three of them have been building is under threat. Cal and Lena are both ready to do whatever it takes to protect Trey, but Trey doesn’t want protecting. What she wants is revenge.

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir by RuPaul

From international drag superstar and pop culture icon RuPaul, comes his most revealing and personal work to date—a brutally honest, surprisingly poignant, and deeply intimate memoir of growing up Black, poor, and queer in a broken home to discovering the power of performance, found family, and self-acceptance. A profound introspection of his life, relationships, and identity, The House of Hidden Meanings is a self-portrait of the legendary icon on the road to global fame and changing the way the world thinks about drag.

In The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul strips away all artifice and recounts the story of his life with breathtaking clarity and tenderness, bringing his signature wisdom and wit to his own biography. From his early years growing up as a queer Black kid in San Diego navigating complex relationships with his absent father and temperamental mother, to forging an identity in the punk and drag scenes of Atlanta and New York, to finding enduring love with his husband Georges LeBar and self-acceptance in sobriety, RuPaul excavates his own biography life-story, uncovering new truths and insights in his personal history.

Murder Road by Simone St. James

July 1995. April and Eddie have taken a wrong turn. They’re looking for the small resort town where they plan to spend their honeymoon. When they spot what appears to a lone hitchhiker along the deserted road, they stop to help. But not long after the hitchiker gets into their car, they see the blood seeping from her jacket and a truck barreling down Atticus Line after them.

When the hitchhiker dies at the local hospital, April and Eddie find themselves in the crosshairs of the Coldlake Falls police. Unexplained murders have been happening along Atticus Line for years and the cops finally have two witnesses who easily become their only suspects. As April and Eddie start to dig into the history of the town and that horrible stretch of road to clear their names, they soon learn that there is something supernatural at work, something that could not only tear the town and its dark secrets apart, but take April and Eddie down with it all.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

1985. Anita de Monte, a rising star in the art world, is found dead in New York City; her tragic death is the talk of the town. Until it isn’t. By 1998 Anita’s name has been all but forgotten―certainly by the time Raquel, a third-year art history student is preparing her final thesis. On College Hill, surrounded by privileged students whose futures are already paved out for them, Raquel feels like an outsider. Students of color, like her, are the minority there, and the pressure to work twice as hard for the same opportunities is no secret.

But when Raquel becomes romantically involved with a well-connected older art student, she finds herself unexpectedly rising up the social ranks. As she attempts to straddle both worlds, she stumbles upon Anita’s story, raising questions about the dynamics of her own relationship, which eerily mirrors that of the forgotten artist.

Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi

For reasons of her own, Hero Tojosoa accepts an invitation she was half expected to decline, and finds herself in Prague on a bachelorette weekend hosted by her estranged friend Sofie. Little does she know she’s arrived in a city with a penchant for playing tricks on the unsuspecting. A book Hero has brought with her seems to be warping her mind: the text changes depending on when it’s being read and who’s doing the reading, revealing startling new stories of fictional Praguers past and present. Uninvited companions appear at bachelorette activities and at city landmarks, offering opinions, humor, and even a taste of treachery. When a third woman from Hero and Sofie’s past appears unexpectedly, the tensions between the friends’ different accounts of the past reach a new level.

But the Girl by Jessica Zhan Mei Yu

Girl was born on the very day her parents and grandmother immigrated from Malaysia to Australia. The story goes that her mother held on tight to her pelvic muscles in an effort to gift her the privilege of an Australian passport. But it’s hard to be the embodiment of all your family’s hopes and dreams, especially in a country that’s hostile to your very existence.

When Girl receives a scholarship to travel to the UK, she is finally free for the first time. In London and then Scotland she is meant to be working on a PhD on Sylvia Plath and writing a postcolonial novel. But Girl can’t stop thinking about her upbringing and the stories of the people who raised her. How can she reconcile their expectations with her reality? Did Sylvia Plath have this problem? What even is a ‘postcolonial novel’? And what if the story of becoming yourself is not about carving out a new identity, but learning to understand the people who made you who you are?

American Spirits by Russell Banks

A husband sells property to a mysterious, temperamental stranger, and is hounded on social media when he publicly questions the man’s character. A couple grows concerned when an enigmatic family moves next door, and the children start sneaking over to beg for help. Two dangerous criminals kidnap an elderly couple and begin blackmailing their grandson, demanding that he pay back what he owes.

Suspenseful, thrilling, and expertly crafted, American Spirits explores the hostile undercurrents of our communities and American politics at large, as well as the ways local tragedies can be both devastating and, somehow, everyday. Ushering the reader through the town of Sam Dent, Russell Banks has etched yet another brilliant entry into the bedrock of American fiction.

Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering

On a brisk fall night in a New York apartment, 35-year-old Billie West hears terrified screams. It’s her lifelong best friend Cassie Barnwell, one floor above, and she’s just realized her infant daughter has gone missing. Billie is shaken as she looks down into her own arms to see the baby, remembering―with a jolt of fear―that she is responsible for the kidnapping that has instantly shattered Cassie’s world.

Once fiercely bonded by their secrets, Cassie and Billie have drifted apart in adulthood, no longer the inseparable pair they used to be in their small Hudson Valley hometown. Cassie is married to a wealthy man, has recently become a mother, and is building a following as a lifestyle influencer. She is desperate to leave her past behind―including Billie, who is single and childless, and no longer fits into her world. But Billie knows the worst thing Cassie has ever done, and she will do whatever it takes to restore their friendship.

Ellipses by Vanessa Lawrence

When cosmetics mogul Billie rolls down her town car window and offers Lily a ride home from a glitzy Manhattan gala, Lily figures this could be a useful professional connection. She’s heard of Billie’s storied rise as a business titan, the product of white New England privilege and one of the few queer women in a corner suite. Billie could be just the jolt Lily needs to manifest her next step.

A magazine writer, Lily interviews influencers, actresses, and fashion designers for her publication’s stylish pages, all while navigating office microaggressions. Stalled at work, she worries that her dream print career will soon succumb to the rise of social media. She is at a standstill, too, in her relationship with her girlfriend Alison. And Lily feels unable to voice her authenticity when others’ sliding perceptions of her mixed race and bisexual identity repeatedly drown her out.

Charming and hyperconfident, Billie seems invested in mentoring Lily out of her slump, from the screen of her phone. But their text exchanges and Billie’s relentless worldview begin to consume Lily’s life. Eager to impress her powerful guide, Lily is perpetually suspended in an ellipsis, waiting for those three gray dots to bloom into a new message from Billie.

Ghost Dogs: On Killers and Kin by Andre Dubus III

During childhood summers in Louisiana, Andre Dubus III’s grandfather taught him that men’s work is hard. As an adult, whether tracking down a drug lord in Mexico as a bounty hunter or grappling with privilege while living with a rich girlfriend in New York City, Dubus worked―at being a better worker and a better human being.

In Ghost Dogs, Dubus’s nonfiction prowess is on full display in his retelling of his own successes, failures, triumphs, and pain. In his longest essay, “If I Owned a Gun,” Dubus reflects on the empowerment and shame he felt in keeping a gun, and his decision, ultimately, to give it up. Elsewhere, he writes of a violent youth and of settled domesticity and fatherhood, about the omnipresent expectations and contradictions of masculinity, about the things writers remember and those they forget. Drawing upon kindred literary spirits from Rilke to Rumi to Tim O’Brien, Ghost Dogs renders moments of personal revelation with emotional generosity and stylistic grace, ultimately standing as essential witness and testimony to the art of the essay.

My Heavenly Favorite by Lucas Rijneveld

A confession, a lament, a mad gush of grief and obsession, My Heavenly Favorite is the remarkable and chilling successor to Lucas Rijneveld’s international sensation, The Discomfort of Evening. It tells the story of a veterinarian who visits a farm in the Dutch countryside where he becomes enraptured by his “Favorite”―the farmer’s daughter. She hovers on the precipice of adolescence, and longs to have a boy’s body. The veterinarian seems to be a tantalizing possible path out from the constrictions of her conservative rural life.

Narrated after the veterinarian has been punished for his crimes, Rijneveld’s audacious, profane novel is powered by the paradoxical beauty of its prose, which holds the reader fast to the page. Rijneveld refracts the contours of the Lolita story with a kind of perverse glee, taking the reader into otherwise unimaginable spaces full of pop lyrics, horror novels, the Favorite’s fantasized conversations with Freud and Hitler, and her dreams of flight and destruction and transcendence.

Say Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capó Crucet

Failed Pitbull impersonator Ismael Reyes—you can call him Izzy—might not be the Scarface type, but why should that keep him from trying? Growing up in Miami has shaped him into someone who dreams of being the King of the 305, with the money, power, and respect he assumes comes with it. After finding himself at the mercy of a cease-and-desist letter from Pitbull’s legal team and living in his aunt’s garage-turned-efficiency, Izzy embarks on an absurd quest to turn himself into a modern-day Tony Montana.

When Izzy’s efforts lead him to the tank that houses Lolita, a captive orca at the Miami Seaquarium, she proves just how powerful she and the water surrounding her really are—permeating everything from Miami’s sinking streets to Izzy’s memories to the very heart of the novel itself. What begins as Izzy’s story turns into a super-saturated fever dream as sprawling and surreal as the Magic City, one as sharp as an iguana’s claws, and as menacing as a killer whale’s teeth. As the truth surrounding Izzy’s boyhood escape from Cuba surfaces, the novel reckons with the forces of nature, with the limits and absence of love, and with the dangers of pursuing a tragic inheritance. Wildly narrated and expertly rendered, Say Hello to My Little Friend is Jennine Capó Crucet’s most daring, heart-breaking, and fearless book yet.

The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft

Eight translators arrive at a house in a primeval Polish forest on the border of Belarus. It belongs to the world-renowned author Irena Rey, and they are there to translate her magnum opus, Gray Eminence. But within days of their arrival, Irena disappears without a trace.

The translators, who hail from eight different countries but share the same reverence for their beloved author, begin to investigate where she may have gone while proceeding with work on her masterpiece. They explore this ancient wooded refuge with its intoxicating slime molds and lichens and study her exotic belongings and layered texts for clues. But doing so reveals secrets-and deceptions-of Irena Rey’s that they are utterly unprepared for. Forced to face their differences as they grow increasingly paranoid in this fever dream of isolation and obsession, soon the translators are tangled up in a web of rivalries and desire, threatening not only their work but the fate of their beloved author herself.

The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez

It is said that the canal will be the greatest feat of engineering in history. But first, it must be built. For Francisco, a local fisherman who resents the foreign powers clamoring for a slice of his country, nothing is more upsetting than the decision of his son, Omar, to work as a digger in the excavation zone. But for Omar, whose upbringing was quiet and lonely, this job offers a chance to finally find connection.

Ada Bunting is a bold sixteen-year-old from Barbados who arrives in Panama as a stowaway alongside thousands of other West Indians seeking work. Alone and with no resources, she is determined to find a job that will earn enough money for her ailing sister’s surgery. When she sees a young man—Omar—who has collapsed after a grueling shift, she is the only one who rushes to his aid.

John Oswald has dedicated his life to scientific research and has journeyed to Panama in single-minded pursuit of one goal: eliminating malaria. But now, his wife, Marian, has fallen ill herself, and when he witnesses Ada’s bravery and compassion, he hires her on the spot as a caregiver. This fateful decision sets in motion a sweeping tale of ambition, loyalty, and sacrifice.

The Haunting of Velkwood by Gwendolyn Kiste

The Velkwood Vicinity was the topic of occult theorists, tabloid one-hour documentaries, and even some pseudo-scientific investigations as the block of homes disappeared behind a near-impenetrable veil that only three survivors could enter—and only one has in the past twenty years, until now.

Talitha Velkwood has avoided anything to do with the tragedy that took her mother and eight-year-old sister, drifting from one job to another, never settling anywhere or with anyone, feeling as trapped by her past as if she was still there in the small town she so desperately wanted to escape from. When a new researcher tracks her down and offers to pay her to come back to enter the vicinity, Talitha claims she’s just doing it for the money. Of all the crackpot theories over the years, no one has discovered what happened the night Talitha, her estranged, former best friend Brett, and Grace, escaped their homes twenty years ago. Will she finally get the answers she’s been looking for all these years, or is this just another dead end?

The Silver Bone by Andrey Kurkov

Kyiv, 1919. World War I has ended in Western Europe, but to the East, six factions continue to vie for control of Ukraine. Amidst the political turmoil, young Samson Kolechko is forced to place his engineering career on hold. But in the city of Kyiv everything remains up for grabs and new opportunity lurks just around the corner . . .

When two Red Army soldiers commandeer his home, Samson’s life is completely upended. But as Samson juggles his personal life –including a budding romance with the ingenious Nadezhda, a statistician helping run the city’s census– with the soldiers’ intrusion, he winds up overhearing their secret plans. Deciding to report them, Samson instead finds himself unwittingly recruited as an investigator for the city’s new police force.

His first case involves two murders, a long bone made of pure silver, and a suit of decidedly unusual proportions tailored from fine English cloth. The odds stacked against him, Samson turns to Nadezhda, who proves to be more than his match. Inflected with Kurkov’s signature humor and off kilter universe, The Silver Bone takes its inspiration from the archives of Kyiv’s secret police, crafting a propulsive narrative bursting to life with rich historical detail.

The Tower by Flora Carr

Scotland, 1567. A pregnant Mary, Queen of Scots is dragged out of her palace by rebel lords and imprisoned in the isolated Lochleven Castle, an ancient fortress surrounded by a vast lake. Her infant son and heir, James, has been captured by her enemies.

Accompanying Mary are two inconspicuous serving women: observant, ambitious Jane and romantic, quick-tempered Cuckoo, who endeavor to keep their mercurial mistress company while sharing the space of a claustrophobic room over the course of their eleven-month forced stay. Their hosts want them dead. They’ll settle for Mary’s abdication.

After Mary reluctantly surrenders her throne, her closest friend, the reserved, devoted Lady Seton, is permitted to join the captive women. Against the odds, as they hatch a perilous getaway plan, the four women form a bond that transcends class and religion, and for Jane and Seton, becomes something even deeper. At the center of it all is Mary–calculating, charming, brave, and unbowed. Flora Carr’s thrilling, feverish debut is a celebration of resilience, a meditation on the meaning of power, and a testament to the unshakeable strength of female friendship, starring one of history’s most charismatic leaders.

Categories: Adults, Blog, and New Adult Books.

New Books: 03/05/2024

Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano

Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

The Hunter by Tana French

It’s a blazing summer when two men arrive in a small village in the West of Ireland. One of them is coming home. Both of them are coming to get rich. One of them is coming to die.

Cal Hooper took early retirement from Chicago PD and moved to rural Ireland looking for peace. He’s found it, more or less: he’s built a relationship with a local woman, Lena, and he’s gradually turning Trey Reddy from a half-feral teenager into a good kid going good places. But then Trey’s long-absent father reappears, bringing along an English millionaire and a scheme to find gold in the townland, and suddenly everything the three of them have been building is under threat. Cal and Lena are both ready to do whatever it takes to protect Trey, but Trey doesn’t want protecting. What she wants is revenge.

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir by RuPaul

From international drag superstar and pop culture icon RuPaul, comes his most revealing and personal work to date—a brutally honest, surprisingly poignant, and deeply intimate memoir of growing up Black, poor, and queer in a broken home to discovering the power of performance, found family, and self-acceptance. A profound introspection of his life, relationships, and identity, The House of Hidden Meanings is a self-portrait of the legendary icon on the road to global fame and changing the way the world thinks about drag.

In The House of Hidden Meanings, RuPaul strips away all artifice and recounts the story of his life with breathtaking clarity and tenderness, bringing his signature wisdom and wit to his own biography. From his early years growing up as a queer Black kid in San Diego navigating complex relationships with his absent father and temperamental mother, to forging an identity in the punk and drag scenes of Atlanta and New York, to finding enduring love with his husband Georges LeBar and self-acceptance in sobriety, RuPaul excavates his own biography life-story, uncovering new truths and insights in his personal history.

Murder Road by Simone St. James

July 1995. April and Eddie have taken a wrong turn. They’re looking for the small resort town where they plan to spend their honeymoon. When they spot what appears to a lone hitchhiker along the deserted road, they stop to help. But not long after the hitchiker gets into their car, they see the blood seeping from her jacket and a truck barreling down Atticus Line after them.

When the hitchhiker dies at the local hospital, April and Eddie find themselves in the crosshairs of the Coldlake Falls police. Unexplained murders have been happening along Atticus Line for years and the cops finally have two witnesses who easily become their only suspects. As April and Eddie start to dig into the history of the town and that horrible stretch of road to clear their names, they soon learn that there is something supernatural at work, something that could not only tear the town and its dark secrets apart, but take April and Eddie down with it all.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

1985. Anita de Monte, a rising star in the art world, is found dead in New York City; her tragic death is the talk of the town. Until it isn’t. By 1998 Anita’s name has been all but forgotten―certainly by the time Raquel, a third-year art history student is preparing her final thesis. On College Hill, surrounded by privileged students whose futures are already paved out for them, Raquel feels like an outsider. Students of color, like her, are the minority there, and the pressure to work twice as hard for the same opportunities is no secret.

But when Raquel becomes romantically involved with a well-connected older art student, she finds herself unexpectedly rising up the social ranks. As she attempts to straddle both worlds, she stumbles upon Anita’s story, raising questions about the dynamics of her own relationship, which eerily mirrors that of the forgotten artist.

Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi

For reasons of her own, Hero Tojosoa accepts an invitation she was half expected to decline, and finds herself in Prague on a bachelorette weekend hosted by her estranged friend Sofie. Little does she know she’s arrived in a city with a penchant for playing tricks on the unsuspecting. A book Hero has brought with her seems to be warping her mind: the text changes depending on when it’s being read and who’s doing the reading, revealing startling new stories of fictional Praguers past and present. Uninvited companions appear at bachelorette activities and at city landmarks, offering opinions, humor, and even a taste of treachery. When a third woman from Hero and Sofie’s past appears unexpectedly, the tensions between the friends’ different accounts of the past reach a new level.

But the Girl by Jessica Zhan Mei Yu

Girl was born on the very day her parents and grandmother immigrated from Malaysia to Australia. The story goes that her mother held on tight to her pelvic muscles in an effort to gift her the privilege of an Australian passport. But it’s hard to be the embodiment of all your family’s hopes and dreams, especially in a country that’s hostile to your very existence.

When Girl receives a scholarship to travel to the UK, she is finally free for the first time. In London and then Scotland she is meant to be working on a PhD on Sylvia Plath and writing a postcolonial novel. But Girl can’t stop thinking about her upbringing and the stories of the people who raised her. How can she reconcile their expectations with her reality? Did Sylvia Plath have this problem? What even is a ‘postcolonial novel’? And what if the story of becoming yourself is not about carving out a new identity, but learning to understand the people who made you who you are?

American Spirits by Russell Banks

A husband sells property to a mysterious, temperamental stranger, and is hounded on social media when he publicly questions the man’s character. A couple grows concerned when an enigmatic family moves next door, and the children start sneaking over to beg for help. Two dangerous criminals kidnap an elderly couple and begin blackmailing their grandson, demanding that he pay back what he owes.

Suspenseful, thrilling, and expertly crafted, American Spirits explores the hostile undercurrents of our communities and American politics at large, as well as the ways local tragedies can be both devastating and, somehow, everyday. Ushering the reader through the town of Sam Dent, Russell Banks has etched yet another brilliant entry into the bedrock of American fiction.

Bye, Baby by Carola Lovering

On a brisk fall night in a New York apartment, 35-year-old Billie West hears terrified screams. It’s her lifelong best friend Cassie Barnwell, one floor above, and she’s just realized her infant daughter has gone missing. Billie is shaken as she looks down into her own arms to see the baby, remembering―with a jolt of fear―that she is responsible for the kidnapping that has instantly shattered Cassie’s world.

Once fiercely bonded by their secrets, Cassie and Billie have drifted apart in adulthood, no longer the inseparable pair they used to be in their small Hudson Valley hometown. Cassie is married to a wealthy man, has recently become a mother, and is building a following as a lifestyle influencer. She is desperate to leave her past behind―including Billie, who is single and childless, and no longer fits into her world. But Billie knows the worst thing Cassie has ever done, and she will do whatever it takes to restore their friendship.

Ellipses by Vanessa Lawrence

When cosmetics mogul Billie rolls down her town car window and offers Lily a ride home from a glitzy Manhattan gala, Lily figures this could be a useful professional connection. She’s heard of Billie’s storied rise as a business titan, the product of white New England privilege and one of the few queer women in a corner suite. Billie could be just the jolt Lily needs to manifest her next step.

A magazine writer, Lily interviews influencers, actresses, and fashion designers for her publication’s stylish pages, all while navigating office microaggressions. Stalled at work, she worries that her dream print career will soon succumb to the rise of social media. She is at a standstill, too, in her relationship with her girlfriend Alison. And Lily feels unable to voice her authenticity when others’ sliding perceptions of her mixed race and bisexual identity repeatedly drown her out.

Charming and hyperconfident, Billie seems invested in mentoring Lily out of her slump, from the screen of her phone. But their text exchanges and Billie’s relentless worldview begin to consume Lily’s life. Eager to impress her powerful guide, Lily is perpetually suspended in an ellipsis, waiting for those three gray dots to bloom into a new message from Billie.

Ghost Dogs: On Killers and Kin by Andre Dubus III

During childhood summers in Louisiana, Andre Dubus III’s grandfather taught him that men’s work is hard. As an adult, whether tracking down a drug lord in Mexico as a bounty hunter or grappling with privilege while living with a rich girlfriend in New York City, Dubus worked―at being a better worker and a better human being.

In Ghost Dogs, Dubus’s nonfiction prowess is on full display in his retelling of his own successes, failures, triumphs, and pain. In his longest essay, “If I Owned a Gun,” Dubus reflects on the empowerment and shame he felt in keeping a gun, and his decision, ultimately, to give it up. Elsewhere, he writes of a violent youth and of settled domesticity and fatherhood, about the omnipresent expectations and contradictions of masculinity, about the things writers remember and those they forget. Drawing upon kindred literary spirits from Rilke to Rumi to Tim O’Brien, Ghost Dogs renders moments of personal revelation with emotional generosity and stylistic grace, ultimately standing as essential witness and testimony to the art of the essay.

My Heavenly Favorite by Lucas Rijneveld

A confession, a lament, a mad gush of grief and obsession, My Heavenly Favorite is the remarkable and chilling successor to Lucas Rijneveld’s international sensation, The Discomfort of Evening. It tells the story of a veterinarian who visits a farm in the Dutch countryside where he becomes enraptured by his “Favorite”―the farmer’s daughter. She hovers on the precipice of adolescence, and longs to have a boy’s body. The veterinarian seems to be a tantalizing possible path out from the constrictions of her conservative rural life.

Narrated after the veterinarian has been punished for his crimes, Rijneveld’s audacious, profane novel is powered by the paradoxical beauty of its prose, which holds the reader fast to the page. Rijneveld refracts the contours of the Lolita story with a kind of perverse glee, taking the reader into otherwise unimaginable spaces full of pop lyrics, horror novels, the Favorite’s fantasized conversations with Freud and Hitler, and her dreams of flight and destruction and transcendence.

Say Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capó Crucet

Failed Pitbull impersonator Ismael Reyes—you can call him Izzy—might not be the Scarface type, but why should that keep him from trying? Growing up in Miami has shaped him into someone who dreams of being the King of the 305, with the money, power, and respect he assumes comes with it. After finding himself at the mercy of a cease-and-desist letter from Pitbull’s legal team and living in his aunt’s garage-turned-efficiency, Izzy embarks on an absurd quest to turn himself into a modern-day Tony Montana.

When Izzy’s efforts lead him to the tank that houses Lolita, a captive orca at the Miami Seaquarium, she proves just how powerful she and the water surrounding her really are—permeating everything from Miami’s sinking streets to Izzy’s memories to the very heart of the novel itself. What begins as Izzy’s story turns into a super-saturated fever dream as sprawling and surreal as the Magic City, one as sharp as an iguana’s claws, and as menacing as a killer whale’s teeth. As the truth surrounding Izzy’s boyhood escape from Cuba surfaces, the novel reckons with the forces of nature, with the limits and absence of love, and with the dangers of pursuing a tragic inheritance. Wildly narrated and expertly rendered, Say Hello to My Little Friend is Jennine Capó Crucet’s most daring, heart-breaking, and fearless book yet.

The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft

Eight translators arrive at a house in a primeval Polish forest on the border of Belarus. It belongs to the world-renowned author Irena Rey, and they are there to translate her magnum opus, Gray Eminence. But within days of their arrival, Irena disappears without a trace.

The translators, who hail from eight different countries but share the same reverence for their beloved author, begin to investigate where she may have gone while proceeding with work on her masterpiece. They explore this ancient wooded refuge with its intoxicating slime molds and lichens and study her exotic belongings and layered texts for clues. But doing so reveals secrets-and deceptions-of Irena Rey’s that they are utterly unprepared for. Forced to face their differences as they grow increasingly paranoid in this fever dream of isolation and obsession, soon the translators are tangled up in a web of rivalries and desire, threatening not only their work but the fate of their beloved author herself.

The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez

It is said that the canal will be the greatest feat of engineering in history. But first, it must be built. For Francisco, a local fisherman who resents the foreign powers clamoring for a slice of his country, nothing is more upsetting than the decision of his son, Omar, to work as a digger in the excavation zone. But for Omar, whose upbringing was quiet and lonely, this job offers a chance to finally find connection.

Ada Bunting is a bold sixteen-year-old from Barbados who arrives in Panama as a stowaway alongside thousands of other West Indians seeking work. Alone and with no resources, she is determined to find a job that will earn enough money for her ailing sister’s surgery. When she sees a young man—Omar—who has collapsed after a grueling shift, she is the only one who rushes to his aid.

John Oswald has dedicated his life to scientific research and has journeyed to Panama in single-minded pursuit of one goal: eliminating malaria. But now, his wife, Marian, has fallen ill herself, and when he witnesses Ada’s bravery and compassion, he hires her on the spot as a caregiver. This fateful decision sets in motion a sweeping tale of ambition, loyalty, and sacrifice.

The Haunting of Velkwood by Gwendolyn Kiste

The Velkwood Vicinity was the topic of occult theorists, tabloid one-hour documentaries, and even some pseudo-scientific investigations as the block of homes disappeared behind a near-impenetrable veil that only three survivors could enter—and only one has in the past twenty years, until now.

Talitha Velkwood has avoided anything to do with the tragedy that took her mother and eight-year-old sister, drifting from one job to another, never settling anywhere or with anyone, feeling as trapped by her past as if she was still there in the small town she so desperately wanted to escape from. When a new researcher tracks her down and offers to pay her to come back to enter the vicinity, Talitha claims she’s just doing it for the money. Of all the crackpot theories over the years, no one has discovered what happened the night Talitha, her estranged, former best friend Brett, and Grace, escaped their homes twenty years ago. Will she finally get the answers she’s been looking for all these years, or is this just another dead end?

The Silver Bone by Andrey Kurkov

Kyiv, 1919. World War I has ended in Western Europe, but to the East, six factions continue to vie for control of Ukraine. Amidst the political turmoil, young Samson Kolechko is forced to place his engineering career on hold. But in the city of Kyiv everything remains up for grabs and new opportunity lurks just around the corner . . .

When two Red Army soldiers commandeer his home, Samson’s life is completely upended. But as Samson juggles his personal life –including a budding romance with the ingenious Nadezhda, a statistician helping run the city’s census– with the soldiers’ intrusion, he winds up overhearing their secret plans. Deciding to report them, Samson instead finds himself unwittingly recruited as an investigator for the city’s new police force.

His first case involves two murders, a long bone made of pure silver, and a suit of decidedly unusual proportions tailored from fine English cloth. The odds stacked against him, Samson turns to Nadezhda, who proves to be more than his match. Inflected with Kurkov’s signature humor and off kilter universe, The Silver Bone takes its inspiration from the archives of Kyiv’s secret police, crafting a propulsive narrative bursting to life with rich historical detail.

The Tower by Flora Carr

Scotland, 1567. A pregnant Mary, Queen of Scots is dragged out of her palace by rebel lords and imprisoned in the isolated Lochleven Castle, an ancient fortress surrounded by a vast lake. Her infant son and heir, James, has been captured by her enemies.

Accompanying Mary are two inconspicuous serving women: observant, ambitious Jane and romantic, quick-tempered Cuckoo, who endeavor to keep their mercurial mistress company while sharing the space of a claustrophobic room over the course of their eleven-month forced stay. Their hosts want them dead. They’ll settle for Mary’s abdication.

After Mary reluctantly surrenders her throne, her closest friend, the reserved, devoted Lady Seton, is permitted to join the captive women. Against the odds, as they hatch a perilous getaway plan, the four women form a bond that transcends class and religion, and for Jane and Seton, becomes something even deeper. At the center of it all is Mary–calculating, charming, brave, and unbowed. Flora Carr’s thrilling, feverish debut is a celebration of resilience, a meditation on the meaning of power, and a testament to the unshakeable strength of female friendship, starring one of history’s most charismatic leaders.

Categories: Adults, Blog, and New Adult Books.