Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
From the attic of Lyntons, a dilapidated English country mansion, Frances Jellico sees them―Cara first: dark and beautiful, then Peter: striking and serious. The couple is spending the summer of 1969 in the rooms below hers while Frances is researching the architecture in the surrounding gardens. But she’s distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she finds a peephole that gives her access to her neighbors’ private lives.
To Frances’ surprise, Cara and Peter are keen to get to know her. It is the first occasion she has had anybody to call a friend, and before long they are spending every day together: eating lavish dinners, drinking bottle after bottle of wine, and smoking cigarettes until the ash piles up on the crumbling furniture. Frances is dazzled.
But as the hot summer rolls lazily on, it becomes clear that not everything is right between Cara and Peter. The stories that Cara tells don’t quite add up, and as Frances becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the glamorous, hedonistic couple, the boundaries between truth and lies, right and wrong, begin to blur. Amid the decadence, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand their lives forever.
My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
There comes a time in every sitcom actress’s life when she is faced with the prospect of writing a book. When star of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ellie Kemper’s number was up, she was ready. Contagiously cheerful, predictably wholesome, and mostly inspiring except for one essay about her husband’s feet, My Squirrel Days is a funny, free-wheeling tour of Ellie’s life—from growing up in suburban St. Louis with a vivid imagination and a crush on David Letterman to moving to Los Angeles and accidentally falling on Doris Kearns Goodwin.
But those are not the only famous names dropped in this synopsis. Ellie will also share stories of inadvertently insulting Ricky Gervais at the Emmy Awards, telling Tina Fey that she has “great hair—really strong and thick,” and offering a maxi pad to Steve Carell. She will take you back to her childhood as a nature lover determined to commune with squirrels, to her college career as a benchwarming field hockey player with no assigned position, and to her young professional days writing radio commercials for McDonald’s but never getting paid. Ellie will guide you along her journey through adulthood, from unorganized bride to impatient wife to anxious mother who—as recently observed by a sassy hairstylist—“dresses like a mom.” Well, sassy hairstylist, Ellie Kemper is a mom. And she has been dressing like it since she was four.
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November Road by Lou Berney
Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out. A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.
Guidry knows that the first rule of running is “don’t stop,” but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.
In My Father’s House: A New View of How Crime Runs in the Family by Fox Butterfield
The United States currently holds the distinction of housing nearly one-quarter of the world’s prison population. But our reliance on mass incarceration, Fox Butterfield argues, misses the intractable reality: As few as 5 percent of families account for half of all crime, and only 10 percent account for two-thirds. In introducing us to the Bogle family, the author invites us to understand crime in this eye-opening new light. He chronicles the malignant legacy of criminality passed from parents to children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Examining the long history of the Bogles, a white family, Butterfield offers a revelatory look at criminality that forces us to disentangle race from our ideas about crime and, in doing so, strikes at the heart of our deepest stereotypes. And he makes clear how these new insights are leading to fundamentally different efforts at reform. With his empathic insight and profound knowledge of criminology, Butterfield offers us both the indelible tale of one family’s transgressions and tribulations, and an entirely new way to understand crime in America.
Man with a Seagull on His Head by Harriet Paige
When office drone Ray Eccles is struck on the head by a dying seagull on a hot summer beach, he awakens compelled to obsessively paint the unknown woman he saw at the moment of impact. Discovered by an eccentric and powerful couple, Ray‘s paintings suddenly light the art world on fire. Meanwhile, the unknown woman, observing from afar, begins to wonder if this stranger is the only person who has ever really seen her.