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: 06/18/2024

Middle of the Night by Riley Sager

The worst thing to ever happen on Hemlock Circle occurred in Ethan Marsh’s backyard. One July night, ten-year-old Ethan and his best friend and neighbor, Billy, fell asleep in a tent set up on a manicured lawn in a quiet, quaint New Jersey cul-de-sac. In the morning, Ethan woke up alone. During the night, someone had sliced the tent open with a knife and taken Billy. He was never seen again.

Thirty years later, Ethan has reluctantly returned to his childhood home. Plagued by bad dreams and insomnia, he begins to notice strange things happening in the middle of the night. Someone seems to be roaming the cul-de-sac at odd hours, and signs of Billy’s presence keep appearing in Ethan’s backyard. Is someone playing a cruel prank? Or has Billy, long thought to be dead, somehow returned to Hemlock Circle?

The mysterious occurrences prompt Ethan to investigate what really happened that night, a quest that reunites him with former friends and neighbors and leads him into the woods that surround Hemlock Circle. Woods where Billy claimed ghosts roamed and where a mysterious institute does clandestine research on a crumbling estate.

The closer Ethan gets to the truth, the more he realizes that no place—be it quiet forest or suburban street—is completely safe. And that the past has a way of haunting the present.

The Art and Science of Connection: Why Social Health Is the Missing Key to Living Longer, Healthier, and Happier by Kasley Killam

Exercise. Eat a balanced diet. Go to therapy. Most wellness advice is focused on achieving and maintaining good physical and mental health. But Harvard-trained social scientist and pioneering social health expert Kasley Killam reveals that this approach is missing a vital component: human connection.

Relationships not only make us happier, but also are critical to our overall health and longevity. Research shows that people with a strong sense of belonging are 2.6 times more likely to report good or excellent health. Perhaps even more astonishingly, people who lack social support are up to 53% more likely to die from any cause. Yet social health has been overlooked and underappreciated—until now.

Just as we exercise our physical muscles, we can strengthen our social muscles. Weaving together cutting-edge science, mindset shifts, and practical wisdom, Killam offers the first methodology for how to be socially healthy. An antidote to the loneliness epidemic and an inspiring manifesto for seeing wellbeing as not only physical and mental, but also social, The Art and Science of Connection is a handbook for thriving.

The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Welcome to the opening weekend of The Manor, a luxury resort built on top of old secrets in an ancient wood. The founder, the husband, the mystery guest, the kitchen help.

All have an agenda. All have a past. But not everyone will survive The Midnight Feast.

The Next Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Amber Patterson Parrish has come a long way. Hard work and immaculate planning turned her from invisible wallflower to prominent socialite, though there have been bumps along the way. Less than a year after her husband Jackson’s tax-evasion scandal, Amber reigns supreme over the Bishops Harbor community. But with Jackson being released from prison, Amber’s free time—and money—is vanishing.

Meanwhile, Daphne Parrish left Bishops Harbor after her divorce from Jackson, swearing she would never go back. But when one of her daughters runs away from home, desperate to see her father, Daphne agrees to return for the summer for their daughters’ sake. Jackson swears he’s a changed man, but Daphne knows all too well that he can’t be trusted.

When a ghost from Amber’s past emerges looking for revenge, these three figures find unlikely allies in one another. But who is playing who? When all is said and done, they’ll have to fight tooth and nail for everything they have left in this zero-sum game.

1974: A Personal History by Francine Prose

During her twenties, Francine Prose lived in San Francisco, where she began an intense and strange relationship with Tony Russo, who had been indicted and tried for working with Daniel Ellsberg to leak the Pentagon papers. The narrative is framed around the nights she spent with Russo driving manically around San Francisco, listening to his stories–and the disturbing and dramatic end of that relationship in New York.

What happens to them mirrors the events and preoccupations of that historical moment: the Vietnam war, drugs, women’s liberation, the Patty Hearst kidnapping. At once heartfelt and ironic, funny and sad, personal and political, 1974 provides an insightful look at how Francine Prose became a writer and artist during a time when the country, too, was shaping its identity.

Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Know About Women by Maggie Mertens

More than a century ago, a woman ran in the very first modern Olympic marathon. She just did it without permission. Award-winning journalist Maggie Mertens uncovers the story of how women broke into competitive running and how they are getting faster and fiercer every day—and changing our understanding of what is possible as they go.

Despite women proving their abilities on the track time and again, men in the medical establishment, media, and athletic associations have fought to keep women (or at least white women) fragile—and sometimes literally tried to push them out of the race (see Kathrine Switzer, Boston Marathon, 1967). Yet before there were running shoes for women, they ran barefoot or in nursing shoes. They ran without sports bras, which weren’t invented until 1977, or disguised as men. They faced down doctors who put them on bed rest and newspaper reports that said women collapsed if they ran a mere eight hundred meters, just two laps around the track. Still today, women face relentless attention to their bodies: Is she too strong, too masculine? Is she even really a woman?

Mertens transports us from that first boundary-breaking marathon in Greece, 1896, to the earliest “official” women’s races of the twentieth century to today’s most intense ultramarathons, in which women are setting all-out records, even against men. For readers of Good and Mad, Born to Run, and Fly Girls, Better Faster Farther takes us inside the lives and the victories of the women who have redefined society’s image of strength and power.

Caledonian Road by Andrew O’Hagan

Campbell Flynn, art historian, professor, and feted fixture of the literati, always knew that when his life came crashing down, it would happen in public―yet he never imagined that a single year in London would expose so much.

He’s never taken other people half as seriously as they take themselves, which is the first of his mistakes. The second is a new project: opportunistic and precisely calibrated to rake in a fortune. Riding on the high of a best-selling biography of Vermeer and fielding more inquiries and requests than he has the time or patience to pursue, Campbell has nevertheless still not managed to shake the question of money. The fact of his quiet loan from a school friend now embroiled in scandal makes the ever-present worry feel even more pressing. His unflappable agent, Atticus; his steadfast wife, Elizabeth; his sister, Moira, crusading parliamentarian for the poor; his well-adjusted, well-off adult children, Angus and Kenzie; and all the outward trappings of success can’t conceal that something in his life is off.

As Campbell becomes increasingly entangled with a brilliant student, convention-smashing and working class, like he used to be, he feels he’s been given a second chance to embrace the change that frightens him, even as he sees trouble brewing for his family and friends. Campbell’s personal quest takes him down darker roads than he could have imagined, and all his worlds―the art scene and academia, fashion and the English aristocracy, journalism and the internet―collide in spectacular fashion, culminating in one shocking night on Caledonian Road.

Craft: Stories I Wrote for the Devil by Ananda Lima

At a Halloween party in 1999, a writer slept with the devil. She sees him again and again throughout her life and she writes stories for him about things that are both impossible and true.

Lima lures readers into surreal pockets of the United States and Brazil where they’ll find bite-size Americans in vending machines and the ghosts of people who are not dead. Once there, she speaks to modern Brazilian-American immigrant experiences–of ambition, fear, longing, and belonging―and reveals the porousness of storytelling and of the places we call home.

Daughter of Calamity by Rosalie M. Lin

Jingwen spends her nights as a showgirl at the Paramount, one of the most lavish clubs in Shanghai, competing ruthlessly to charm wealthy patrons. To cap off her shifts, she runs money for her grandmother, the exclusive surgeon to the most powerful gang in the city. A position her grandmother is pressuring her to inherit…

When a series of dancers are targeted―the attacker stealing their faces―Jingwen fears she could be next. And as the faces of the dancers start appearing on wealthy foreign socialites, she realizes Shanghai’s glittering mirage of carefree luxury comes at a terrible price.

Fighting not just for her own safety but that of the other dancers―women who have simultaneously been her bitterest rivals and only friends―Jingwen has no choice but to delve into the city’s underworld. In this treacherous realm of tangled alliances and ancient grudges, silver-armed gangsters haunt every alley, foreign playboys broker deals in exclusive back rooms, and the power of gods is wielded and traded like yuan. Jingwen will have to become something far stranger and more dangerous than her grandmother ever imagined if she hopes to survive the forces waiting to sell Shanghai’s bones.

Devil Is Fine by John Vercher

Reeling from the sudden death of his teenage son, our narrator receives a letter from an attorney: he has just inherited a plot of land from his estranged grandfather. He travels to a beach town several hours south of his home with the intention of immediately selling the land. But upon inspection, what lies beneath the dirt is much more than he can process in the throes of grief. As a biracial Black man struggling with the many facets of his identity, he’s now the owner of a former plantation passed down by the men on his white mother’s side of the family.

End of Active Service by Matt Young

What was it like? It’s the only thing anyone wants to know about war-and the last thing Corporal Dean Pusey wants to talk about, at least not with one of these fat and happy civilians crowding the bar. Dean is two months free from the Marine Corps, and life back in his Indiana hometown is anything but peaceful.

That’s when the woman next to him offers to buy him a drink. Max is nice-gorgeous, funny, easy to talk to. Dean doesn’t dare tell her about the sheep he took care of on his first deployment, only to watch it get torn to shreds by a pack of wild dogs; or the naked, shivering Iraqi teenager his platoon detained after an IED blast. He needs to leave all that behind and become a new person-the kind who sticks around when Max gets pregnant. He’s white-knuckling it, trying to keep calm, and it’s not easy. Harder still when his friend and comrade Ruiz starts showing up all over the place like he’s been invited-like he didn’t die a year ago. He has Max now, he has his baby daughter, River. He doesn’t have time for ghosts.

Four Squares by Bobby Finger

In 1992, on his thirtieth birthday, Artie Anderson meets the man who will change his life. Artie spends his days at a tedious advertising job, finding relief in the corner of New York City he can call his own, even as the queer community is still being ravaged by HIV. But when his birthday celebration brings Artie and his friends to his favorite bar, a chance encounter with Abe, an uptight lawyer and Artie’s opposite in almost every way, pushes Artie to want, and to ask for, more for himself.

Thirty years later, Artie is stunned when Halle and Vanessa, Abe’s daughter and ex-wife, announce they are moving across the country. Artie has built a lovely, if small, life, but their departure makes Artie realize that he might be lonelier than he previously thought. When a surprising injury pushes Artie into the hands of GALS, the local center for queer seniors, a rambunctious group of elders insist on taking him under their wing.

God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer by Joseph Earl Thomas

After a deployment in the Iraq War dually defined by threat and interminable mundanity, Joseph Thomas is fighting to find his footing. Now a doctoral student at The University, and an EMS worker at the hospital in North Philly, he encounters round the clock friends and family from his past life and would-be future at his job, including contemporaries of his estranged father, a man he knows little about, serving time at Holmesburg prison for the statutory rape of his then-teenage mother. Meanwhile, he and his best friend Ray, a fellow vet, are alternatingly bonding over and struggling with their shared experience and return to civilian life, locked in their own rhythms of lust, heartbreak, and responsibility.

Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi

Aima and Kalu are a longtime couple who have just split. When Kalu, reeling from the breakup, visits an exclusive sex party hosted by his best friend, Ahmed, he makes a decision that will plunge them all into chaos, brutally and suddenly upending their lives. Ola and Souraya, two Nigerian sex workers visiting from Kuala Lumpur, collide into the scene just as everything goes to hell. Sucked into the city’s corrupt and glittering underworld, they’re all looking for a way out, fueled by a desperate need to escape the dangerous threat that looms over them.

Lula Dean’s Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

Beverly Underwood and her arch enemy, Lula Dean, live in the tiny town of Troy, Georgia, where they were born and raised. Now Beverly is on the school board, and Lula has become a local celebrity by embarking on mission to rid the public libraries of all inappropriate books—none of which she’s actually read. To replace the “pornographic” books she’s challenged at the local public library, Lula starts her own lending library in front of her home: a cute wooden hutch with glass doors and neat rows of the worthy literature that she’s sure the town’s readers need.

What Lula doesn’t know is that a local troublemaker has stolen her wholesome books, removed their dust jackets, and restocked Lula’s library with banned books: literary classics, gay romances, Black history, witchy spell books, Judy Blume novels, and more. One by one, neighbors who borrow books from Lula Dean’s library find their lives changed in unexpected ways. Finally, one of Lula Dean’s enemies discovers the library and decides to turn the tables on her, just as Lula and Beverly are running against each other to replace the town’s disgraced mayor.

That’s when all the townspeople who’ve been borrowing from Lula’s library begin to reveal themselves. That’s when the showdown that’s been brewing between Beverly and Lula will roil the whole town…and change it forever.

Night Flyer: Harriet Tubman and the Faith Dreams of a Free People by Tiya Miles and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Harriet Tubman is among the most famous Americans ever born and soon to be the face of the twenty-dollar bill. Yet often she’s a figure more out of myth than history, almost a comic-book superhero. Despite being barely five feet tall, unable to read, and suffering from a brain injury, she managed to escape from her own enslavement, return again and again to lead others north to freedom without loss of life, speak out powerfully against slavery, and then become the first American woman in history to lead a military raid, freeing some seven hundred people. You could almost say she’s America’s Robin Hood, a miraculous vision, often rightly celebrated but seldom understood.

Tiya Miles’s extraordinary Night Flyer changes all that. With her characteristic tenderness and imaginative genius, Miles explores beyond the stock historical grid to weave Tubman’s life into the fabric of her world. She probes the ecological reality of Tubman’s surroundings and examines her kinship with other enslaved women who similarly passed through a spiritual wilderness and recorded those travels in profound and moving memoirs. What emerges, uncannily, is a human being whose mysticism becomes more palpable the more we understand it—a story that offers us powerful inspiration for our own time of troubles. Harriet Tubman traversed many boundaries, inner and outer. Now, thanks to Tiya Miles, she becomes an even clearer and sharper signal from the past, one that can help us to echolocate a more just and sustainable path.

Parade by Rachel Cusk

Midway through his life, the artist G begins to paint upside down. Eventually, he paints his wife upside down. He also makes her ugly. The paintings are a great success.

In Paris, a woman is attacked by a stranger in the street. Her attacker flees, but not before turning around to contemplate her victim, like an artist stepping back from a canvas.

At the age of twenty-two, the painter G leaves home for a new life in another country, far from the disapproval of her parents. Her paintings attract the disapproval of the man she later marries.

When a mother dies, her children confront her legacy: the stories she told, the roles she assigned to them, the ways she withheld her love. Her death is a kind of freedom.

Same As It Ever Was by Claire Lombardo

Julia Ames, after a youth marked by upheaval and emotional turbulence, has found herself on the placid plateau of mid-life. But Julia has never navigated the world with the equanimity of her current privileged class. Having nearly derailed herself several times, making desperate bids for the kind of connection that always felt inaccessible to her, she finally feels, at age fifty seven, that she has a firm handle on things.

She’s unprepared, though, for what comes next: a surprise announcement from her straight-arrow son, an impending separation from her spikey teenaged daughter, and a seductive resurgence of the past, all of which threaten to draw her back into the patterns that had previously kept her on a razor’s edge.

Sandwich by Catherine Newman

For the past two decades, Rocky has looked forward to her family’s yearly escape to Cape Cod. Their humble beach-town rental has been the site of sweet memories, sunny days, great meals, and messes of all kinds: emotional, marital, and—thanks to the cottage’s ancient plumbing—septic too.

This year’s vacation, with Rocky sandwiched between her half-grown kids and fully aging parents, promises to be just as delightful as summers past—except, perhaps, for Rocky’s hormonal bouts of rage and melancholy. (Hello, menopause!) Her body is changing—her life is, too. And then a chain of events sends Rocky into the past, reliving both the tenderness and sorrow of a handful of long-ago summers.

The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks

There is only one way to travel across the Wastelands: on the Trans-Siberian Express, a train as famous for its luxury as for its danger. The train is never short of passengers, eager to catch sight of Wastelands creatures more miraculous and terrifying than anything they could imagine. But on the train’s last journey, something went horribly wrong, though no one seems to remember what exactly happened. Not even Zhang Weiwei, who has spent her life onboard and thought she knew all of the train’s secrets.

Now, the train is about to embark again, with a new set of passengers. Among them are Marya Petrovna, a grieving woman with a borrowed name; Henry Grey, a disgraced naturalist looking for redemption; and Elena, a beguiling stowaway with a powerful connection to the Wastelands itself. Weiwei knows she should report Elena, but she can’t help but be drawn to her. As the girls begin a forbidden friendship, there are warning signs that the rules of the Wastelands are changing and the train might once again be imperiled. Can the passengers trust each other, as the wildness outside threatens to consume them all?

The Glassmaker by Tracy Chevalier

It is 1486 and Venice is a wealthy, opulent center for trade. Orsola Rosso is the eldest daughter in a family of glassblowers on Murano, the island revered for the craft. As a woman, she is not meant to work with glass—but she has the hands for it, the heart, and a vision. When her father dies, she teaches herself to make glass beads in secret, and her work supports the Rosso family fortunes.

Skipping like a stone through the centuries, in a Venice where time moves as slowly as molten glass, we follow Orsola and her family as they live through creative triumph and heartbreaking loss, from a plague devastating Venice to Continental soldiers stripping its palazzos bare, from the domination of Murano and its maestros to the transformation of the city of trade into a city of tourists. In every era, the Rosso women ensure that their work, and their bonds, endure.

The Nature of Disappearing by Kimi Cunningham Grant

Emlyn doesn’t let herself think about the past.

How she and her best friend, Janessa, barely speak anymore. How Tyler, the love of her life, left her half dead on the side of the road three years ago.

Her new life is simple and safe. She lives alone in her Airstream trailer and works as a fishing and hunting guide in scenic Idaho. Her closest friends are the community’s makeshift reverend and a handsome Forest Service ranger who took her in at her lowest.

But when Tyler shows up with the news that Janessa is missing, Emlyn is propelled back into the world she worked so hard to forget. Janessa has become a social media star, documenting her #vanlife adventures with her rugged boyfriend. She hasn’t posted lately, though, and when Emlyn realizes the most recent photo doesn’t match up with its caption, she reluctantly joins Tyler to find her old friend. As the two trace Janessa’s path through miles of wild country, Emlyn can’t deny the chemistry still crackling between them. But the deeper they press into the wilderness, the more she begins to suspect that a darker truth lies in the woods―and that Janessa isn’t the only one in danger.

We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer

As a young, queer couple who flip houses, Charlie and Eve can’t believe the killer deal they’ve just gotten on an old house in a picturesque neighborhood. As they’re working in the house one day, there’s a knock on the door. A man stands there with his family, claiming to have lived there years before and asking if it would be alright if he showed his kids around. People pleaser to a fault, Eve lets them in.

As soon as the strangers enter their home, uncanny and inexplicable things start happening, including the family’s youngest child going missing and a ghostly presence materializing in the basement. Even more weird, the family can’t seem to take the hint that their visit should be over. And when Charlie suddenly vanishes, Eve slowly loses her grip on reality. Something is terribly wrong with the house and with the visiting family—or is Eve just imagining things?

What You Leave Behind by Wanda M. Morris

Deena Wood’s life has fallen apart in the aftermath of losing her beloved mother, her marriage, and her prestigious job at an Atlanta law firm. She needs what the Geechee people of coastal Georgia call a “dayclean,” a fresh start.

She returns to her childhood home in Brunswick, Georgia, to heal. But her return is anything but the respite she thought it might be. To make peace with all her loss, she often drives through the city. One day, she unwittingly finds herself on the oceanfront property of a loner widower who is fighting to keep land that has been in his family since the end of the Civil War. He threatens her and warns her to never return. But shortly after, he disappears, and his very expensive property is quickly put up for sale. Curious about what has happened to the man, Deena digs into his disappearance and finds a family legacy at risk. What starts out as a bit of curious snooping, turns into a deadly game of illegal land grabs and property redevelopment in poor and rural communities with dark and powerful forces at work.

Without realizing it, Deena finds herself caught up in a nightmarish scheme that threatens her community and her family. She’ll need help and finds it in a close but unlikely source because she knows she must do whatever it takes to stop the sinister forces at play before she becomes their next target.

Categories: Adults, Blog, and New Adult Books.

New Books: 06/18/2024

Middle of the Night by Riley Sager

The worst thing to ever happen on Hemlock Circle occurred in Ethan Marsh’s backyard. One July night, ten-year-old Ethan and his best friend and neighbor, Billy, fell asleep in a tent set up on a manicured lawn in a quiet, quaint New Jersey cul-de-sac. In the morning, Ethan woke up alone. During the night, someone had sliced the tent open with a knife and taken Billy. He was never seen again.

Thirty years later, Ethan has reluctantly returned to his childhood home. Plagued by bad dreams and insomnia, he begins to notice strange things happening in the middle of the night. Someone seems to be roaming the cul-de-sac at odd hours, and signs of Billy’s presence keep appearing in Ethan’s backyard. Is someone playing a cruel prank? Or has Billy, long thought to be dead, somehow returned to Hemlock Circle?

The mysterious occurrences prompt Ethan to investigate what really happened that night, a quest that reunites him with former friends and neighbors and leads him into the woods that surround Hemlock Circle. Woods where Billy claimed ghosts roamed and where a mysterious institute does clandestine research on a crumbling estate.

The closer Ethan gets to the truth, the more he realizes that no place—be it quiet forest or suburban street—is completely safe. And that the past has a way of haunting the present.

The Art and Science of Connection: Why Social Health Is the Missing Key to Living Longer, Healthier, and Happier by Kasley Killam

Exercise. Eat a balanced diet. Go to therapy. Most wellness advice is focused on achieving and maintaining good physical and mental health. But Harvard-trained social scientist and pioneering social health expert Kasley Killam reveals that this approach is missing a vital component: human connection.

Relationships not only make us happier, but also are critical to our overall health and longevity. Research shows that people with a strong sense of belonging are 2.6 times more likely to report good or excellent health. Perhaps even more astonishingly, people who lack social support are up to 53% more likely to die from any cause. Yet social health has been overlooked and underappreciated—until now.

Just as we exercise our physical muscles, we can strengthen our social muscles. Weaving together cutting-edge science, mindset shifts, and practical wisdom, Killam offers the first methodology for how to be socially healthy. An antidote to the loneliness epidemic and an inspiring manifesto for seeing wellbeing as not only physical and mental, but also social, The Art and Science of Connection is a handbook for thriving.

The Midnight Feast by Lucy Foley

Welcome to the opening weekend of The Manor, a luxury resort built on top of old secrets in an ancient wood. The founder, the husband, the mystery guest, the kitchen help.

All have an agenda. All have a past. But not everyone will survive The Midnight Feast.

The Next Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Amber Patterson Parrish has come a long way. Hard work and immaculate planning turned her from invisible wallflower to prominent socialite, though there have been bumps along the way. Less than a year after her husband Jackson’s tax-evasion scandal, Amber reigns supreme over the Bishops Harbor community. But with Jackson being released from prison, Amber’s free time—and money—is vanishing.

Meanwhile, Daphne Parrish left Bishops Harbor after her divorce from Jackson, swearing she would never go back. But when one of her daughters runs away from home, desperate to see her father, Daphne agrees to return for the summer for their daughters’ sake. Jackson swears he’s a changed man, but Daphne knows all too well that he can’t be trusted.

When a ghost from Amber’s past emerges looking for revenge, these three figures find unlikely allies in one another. But who is playing who? When all is said and done, they’ll have to fight tooth and nail for everything they have left in this zero-sum game.

1974: A Personal History by Francine Prose

During her twenties, Francine Prose lived in San Francisco, where she began an intense and strange relationship with Tony Russo, who had been indicted and tried for working with Daniel Ellsberg to leak the Pentagon papers. The narrative is framed around the nights she spent with Russo driving manically around San Francisco, listening to his stories–and the disturbing and dramatic end of that relationship in New York.

What happens to them mirrors the events and preoccupations of that historical moment: the Vietnam war, drugs, women’s liberation, the Patty Hearst kidnapping. At once heartfelt and ironic, funny and sad, personal and political, 1974 provides an insightful look at how Francine Prose became a writer and artist during a time when the country, too, was shaping its identity.

Better Faster Farther: How Running Changed Everything We Know About Women by Maggie Mertens

More than a century ago, a woman ran in the very first modern Olympic marathon. She just did it without permission. Award-winning journalist Maggie Mertens uncovers the story of how women broke into competitive running and how they are getting faster and fiercer every day—and changing our understanding of what is possible as they go.

Despite women proving their abilities on the track time and again, men in the medical establishment, media, and athletic associations have fought to keep women (or at least white women) fragile—and sometimes literally tried to push them out of the race (see Kathrine Switzer, Boston Marathon, 1967). Yet before there were running shoes for women, they ran barefoot or in nursing shoes. They ran without sports bras, which weren’t invented until 1977, or disguised as men. They faced down doctors who put them on bed rest and newspaper reports that said women collapsed if they ran a mere eight hundred meters, just two laps around the track. Still today, women face relentless attention to their bodies: Is she too strong, too masculine? Is she even really a woman?

Mertens transports us from that first boundary-breaking marathon in Greece, 1896, to the earliest “official” women’s races of the twentieth century to today’s most intense ultramarathons, in which women are setting all-out records, even against men. For readers of Good and Mad, Born to Run, and Fly Girls, Better Faster Farther takes us inside the lives and the victories of the women who have redefined society’s image of strength and power.

Caledonian Road by Andrew O’Hagan

Campbell Flynn, art historian, professor, and feted fixture of the literati, always knew that when his life came crashing down, it would happen in public―yet he never imagined that a single year in London would expose so much.

He’s never taken other people half as seriously as they take themselves, which is the first of his mistakes. The second is a new project: opportunistic and precisely calibrated to rake in a fortune. Riding on the high of a best-selling biography of Vermeer and fielding more inquiries and requests than he has the time or patience to pursue, Campbell has nevertheless still not managed to shake the question of money. The fact of his quiet loan from a school friend now embroiled in scandal makes the ever-present worry feel even more pressing. His unflappable agent, Atticus; his steadfast wife, Elizabeth; his sister, Moira, crusading parliamentarian for the poor; his well-adjusted, well-off adult children, Angus and Kenzie; and all the outward trappings of success can’t conceal that something in his life is off.

As Campbell becomes increasingly entangled with a brilliant student, convention-smashing and working class, like he used to be, he feels he’s been given a second chance to embrace the change that frightens him, even as he sees trouble brewing for his family and friends. Campbell’s personal quest takes him down darker roads than he could have imagined, and all his worlds―the art scene and academia, fashion and the English aristocracy, journalism and the internet―collide in spectacular fashion, culminating in one shocking night on Caledonian Road.

Craft: Stories I Wrote for the Devil by Ananda Lima

At a Halloween party in 1999, a writer slept with the devil. She sees him again and again throughout her life and she writes stories for him about things that are both impossible and true.

Lima lures readers into surreal pockets of the United States and Brazil where they’ll find bite-size Americans in vending machines and the ghosts of people who are not dead. Once there, she speaks to modern Brazilian-American immigrant experiences–of ambition, fear, longing, and belonging―and reveals the porousness of storytelling and of the places we call home.

Daughter of Calamity by Rosalie M. Lin

Jingwen spends her nights as a showgirl at the Paramount, one of the most lavish clubs in Shanghai, competing ruthlessly to charm wealthy patrons. To cap off her shifts, she runs money for her grandmother, the exclusive surgeon to the most powerful gang in the city. A position her grandmother is pressuring her to inherit…

When a series of dancers are targeted―the attacker stealing their faces―Jingwen fears she could be next. And as the faces of the dancers start appearing on wealthy foreign socialites, she realizes Shanghai’s glittering mirage of carefree luxury comes at a terrible price.

Fighting not just for her own safety but that of the other dancers―women who have simultaneously been her bitterest rivals and only friends―Jingwen has no choice but to delve into the city’s underworld. In this treacherous realm of tangled alliances and ancient grudges, silver-armed gangsters haunt every alley, foreign playboys broker deals in exclusive back rooms, and the power of gods is wielded and traded like yuan. Jingwen will have to become something far stranger and more dangerous than her grandmother ever imagined if she hopes to survive the forces waiting to sell Shanghai’s bones.

Devil Is Fine by John Vercher

Reeling from the sudden death of his teenage son, our narrator receives a letter from an attorney: he has just inherited a plot of land from his estranged grandfather. He travels to a beach town several hours south of his home with the intention of immediately selling the land. But upon inspection, what lies beneath the dirt is much more than he can process in the throes of grief. As a biracial Black man struggling with the many facets of his identity, he’s now the owner of a former plantation passed down by the men on his white mother’s side of the family.

End of Active Service by Matt Young

What was it like? It’s the only thing anyone wants to know about war-and the last thing Corporal Dean Pusey wants to talk about, at least not with one of these fat and happy civilians crowding the bar. Dean is two months free from the Marine Corps, and life back in his Indiana hometown is anything but peaceful.

That’s when the woman next to him offers to buy him a drink. Max is nice-gorgeous, funny, easy to talk to. Dean doesn’t dare tell her about the sheep he took care of on his first deployment, only to watch it get torn to shreds by a pack of wild dogs; or the naked, shivering Iraqi teenager his platoon detained after an IED blast. He needs to leave all that behind and become a new person-the kind who sticks around when Max gets pregnant. He’s white-knuckling it, trying to keep calm, and it’s not easy. Harder still when his friend and comrade Ruiz starts showing up all over the place like he’s been invited-like he didn’t die a year ago. He has Max now, he has his baby daughter, River. He doesn’t have time for ghosts.

Four Squares by Bobby Finger

In 1992, on his thirtieth birthday, Artie Anderson meets the man who will change his life. Artie spends his days at a tedious advertising job, finding relief in the corner of New York City he can call his own, even as the queer community is still being ravaged by HIV. But when his birthday celebration brings Artie and his friends to his favorite bar, a chance encounter with Abe, an uptight lawyer and Artie’s opposite in almost every way, pushes Artie to want, and to ask for, more for himself.

Thirty years later, Artie is stunned when Halle and Vanessa, Abe’s daughter and ex-wife, announce they are moving across the country. Artie has built a lovely, if small, life, but their departure makes Artie realize that he might be lonelier than he previously thought. When a surprising injury pushes Artie into the hands of GALS, the local center for queer seniors, a rambunctious group of elders insist on taking him under their wing.

God Bless You, Otis Spunkmeyer by Joseph Earl Thomas

After a deployment in the Iraq War dually defined by threat and interminable mundanity, Joseph Thomas is fighting to find his footing. Now a doctoral student at The University, and an EMS worker at the hospital in North Philly, he encounters round the clock friends and family from his past life and would-be future at his job, including contemporaries of his estranged father, a man he knows little about, serving time at Holmesburg prison for the statutory rape of his then-teenage mother. Meanwhile, he and his best friend Ray, a fellow vet, are alternatingly bonding over and struggling with their shared experience and return to civilian life, locked in their own rhythms of lust, heartbreak, and responsibility.

Little Rot by Akwaeke Emezi

Aima and Kalu are a longtime couple who have just split. When Kalu, reeling from the breakup, visits an exclusive sex party hosted by his best friend, Ahmed, he makes a decision that will plunge them all into chaos, brutally and suddenly upending their lives. Ola and Souraya, two Nigerian sex workers visiting from Kuala Lumpur, collide into the scene just as everything goes to hell. Sucked into the city’s corrupt and glittering underworld, they’re all looking for a way out, fueled by a desperate need to escape the dangerous threat that looms over them.

Lula Dean’s Little Library of Banned Books by Kirsten Miller

Beverly Underwood and her arch enemy, Lula Dean, live in the tiny town of Troy, Georgia, where they were born and raised. Now Beverly is on the school board, and Lula has become a local celebrity by embarking on mission to rid the public libraries of all inappropriate books—none of which she’s actually read. To replace the “pornographic” books she’s challenged at the local public library, Lula starts her own lending library in front of her home: a cute wooden hutch with glass doors and neat rows of the worthy literature that she’s sure the town’s readers need.

What Lula doesn’t know is that a local troublemaker has stolen her wholesome books, removed their dust jackets, and restocked Lula’s library with banned books: literary classics, gay romances, Black history, witchy spell books, Judy Blume novels, and more. One by one, neighbors who borrow books from Lula Dean’s library find their lives changed in unexpected ways. Finally, one of Lula Dean’s enemies discovers the library and decides to turn the tables on her, just as Lula and Beverly are running against each other to replace the town’s disgraced mayor.

That’s when all the townspeople who’ve been borrowing from Lula’s library begin to reveal themselves. That’s when the showdown that’s been brewing between Beverly and Lula will roil the whole town…and change it forever.

Night Flyer: Harriet Tubman and the Faith Dreams of a Free People by Tiya Miles and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Harriet Tubman is among the most famous Americans ever born and soon to be the face of the twenty-dollar bill. Yet often she’s a figure more out of myth than history, almost a comic-book superhero. Despite being barely five feet tall, unable to read, and suffering from a brain injury, she managed to escape from her own enslavement, return again and again to lead others north to freedom without loss of life, speak out powerfully against slavery, and then become the first American woman in history to lead a military raid, freeing some seven hundred people. You could almost say she’s America’s Robin Hood, a miraculous vision, often rightly celebrated but seldom understood.

Tiya Miles’s extraordinary Night Flyer changes all that. With her characteristic tenderness and imaginative genius, Miles explores beyond the stock historical grid to weave Tubman’s life into the fabric of her world. She probes the ecological reality of Tubman’s surroundings and examines her kinship with other enslaved women who similarly passed through a spiritual wilderness and recorded those travels in profound and moving memoirs. What emerges, uncannily, is a human being whose mysticism becomes more palpable the more we understand it—a story that offers us powerful inspiration for our own time of troubles. Harriet Tubman traversed many boundaries, inner and outer. Now, thanks to Tiya Miles, she becomes an even clearer and sharper signal from the past, one that can help us to echolocate a more just and sustainable path.

Parade by Rachel Cusk

Midway through his life, the artist G begins to paint upside down. Eventually, he paints his wife upside down. He also makes her ugly. The paintings are a great success.

In Paris, a woman is attacked by a stranger in the street. Her attacker flees, but not before turning around to contemplate her victim, like an artist stepping back from a canvas.

At the age of twenty-two, the painter G leaves home for a new life in another country, far from the disapproval of her parents. Her paintings attract the disapproval of the man she later marries.

When a mother dies, her children confront her legacy: the stories she told, the roles she assigned to them, the ways she withheld her love. Her death is a kind of freedom.

Same As It Ever Was by Claire Lombardo

Julia Ames, after a youth marked by upheaval and emotional turbulence, has found herself on the placid plateau of mid-life. But Julia has never navigated the world with the equanimity of her current privileged class. Having nearly derailed herself several times, making desperate bids for the kind of connection that always felt inaccessible to her, she finally feels, at age fifty seven, that she has a firm handle on things.

She’s unprepared, though, for what comes next: a surprise announcement from her straight-arrow son, an impending separation from her spikey teenaged daughter, and a seductive resurgence of the past, all of which threaten to draw her back into the patterns that had previously kept her on a razor’s edge.

Sandwich by Catherine Newman

For the past two decades, Rocky has looked forward to her family’s yearly escape to Cape Cod. Their humble beach-town rental has been the site of sweet memories, sunny days, great meals, and messes of all kinds: emotional, marital, and—thanks to the cottage’s ancient plumbing—septic too.

This year’s vacation, with Rocky sandwiched between her half-grown kids and fully aging parents, promises to be just as delightful as summers past—except, perhaps, for Rocky’s hormonal bouts of rage and melancholy. (Hello, menopause!) Her body is changing—her life is, too. And then a chain of events sends Rocky into the past, reliving both the tenderness and sorrow of a handful of long-ago summers.

The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks

There is only one way to travel across the Wastelands: on the Trans-Siberian Express, a train as famous for its luxury as for its danger. The train is never short of passengers, eager to catch sight of Wastelands creatures more miraculous and terrifying than anything they could imagine. But on the train’s last journey, something went horribly wrong, though no one seems to remember what exactly happened. Not even Zhang Weiwei, who has spent her life onboard and thought she knew all of the train’s secrets.

Now, the train is about to embark again, with a new set of passengers. Among them are Marya Petrovna, a grieving woman with a borrowed name; Henry Grey, a disgraced naturalist looking for redemption; and Elena, a beguiling stowaway with a powerful connection to the Wastelands itself. Weiwei knows she should report Elena, but she can’t help but be drawn to her. As the girls begin a forbidden friendship, there are warning signs that the rules of the Wastelands are changing and the train might once again be imperiled. Can the passengers trust each other, as the wildness outside threatens to consume them all?

The Glassmaker by Tracy Chevalier

It is 1486 and Venice is a wealthy, opulent center for trade. Orsola Rosso is the eldest daughter in a family of glassblowers on Murano, the island revered for the craft. As a woman, she is not meant to work with glass—but she has the hands for it, the heart, and a vision. When her father dies, she teaches herself to make glass beads in secret, and her work supports the Rosso family fortunes.

Skipping like a stone through the centuries, in a Venice where time moves as slowly as molten glass, we follow Orsola and her family as they live through creative triumph and heartbreaking loss, from a plague devastating Venice to Continental soldiers stripping its palazzos bare, from the domination of Murano and its maestros to the transformation of the city of trade into a city of tourists. In every era, the Rosso women ensure that their work, and their bonds, endure.

The Nature of Disappearing by Kimi Cunningham Grant

Emlyn doesn’t let herself think about the past.

How she and her best friend, Janessa, barely speak anymore. How Tyler, the love of her life, left her half dead on the side of the road three years ago.

Her new life is simple and safe. She lives alone in her Airstream trailer and works as a fishing and hunting guide in scenic Idaho. Her closest friends are the community’s makeshift reverend and a handsome Forest Service ranger who took her in at her lowest.

But when Tyler shows up with the news that Janessa is missing, Emlyn is propelled back into the world she worked so hard to forget. Janessa has become a social media star, documenting her #vanlife adventures with her rugged boyfriend. She hasn’t posted lately, though, and when Emlyn realizes the most recent photo doesn’t match up with its caption, she reluctantly joins Tyler to find her old friend. As the two trace Janessa’s path through miles of wild country, Emlyn can’t deny the chemistry still crackling between them. But the deeper they press into the wilderness, the more she begins to suspect that a darker truth lies in the woods―and that Janessa isn’t the only one in danger.

We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer

As a young, queer couple who flip houses, Charlie and Eve can’t believe the killer deal they’ve just gotten on an old house in a picturesque neighborhood. As they’re working in the house one day, there’s a knock on the door. A man stands there with his family, claiming to have lived there years before and asking if it would be alright if he showed his kids around. People pleaser to a fault, Eve lets them in.

As soon as the strangers enter their home, uncanny and inexplicable things start happening, including the family’s youngest child going missing and a ghostly presence materializing in the basement. Even more weird, the family can’t seem to take the hint that their visit should be over. And when Charlie suddenly vanishes, Eve slowly loses her grip on reality. Something is terribly wrong with the house and with the visiting family—or is Eve just imagining things?

What You Leave Behind by Wanda M. Morris

Deena Wood’s life has fallen apart in the aftermath of losing her beloved mother, her marriage, and her prestigious job at an Atlanta law firm. She needs what the Geechee people of coastal Georgia call a “dayclean,” a fresh start.

She returns to her childhood home in Brunswick, Georgia, to heal. But her return is anything but the respite she thought it might be. To make peace with all her loss, she often drives through the city. One day, she unwittingly finds herself on the oceanfront property of a loner widower who is fighting to keep land that has been in his family since the end of the Civil War. He threatens her and warns her to never return. But shortly after, he disappears, and his very expensive property is quickly put up for sale. Curious about what has happened to the man, Deena digs into his disappearance and finds a family legacy at risk. What starts out as a bit of curious snooping, turns into a deadly game of illegal land grabs and property redevelopment in poor and rural communities with dark and powerful forces at work.

Without realizing it, Deena finds herself caught up in a nightmarish scheme that threatens her community and her family. She’ll need help and finds it in a close but unlikely source because she knows she must do whatever it takes to stop the sinister forces at play before she becomes their next target.

Categories: Adults, Blog, and New Adult Books.