Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire moments of transcendent grace.
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Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
‘Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness . . . which actually means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.
But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents host, carols play on repeat, her mother pretends she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors come ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?
Her sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave—again, and little Minnie demands a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old-boyfriend-turned-rock-star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her big-hearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky starts to wonder if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.
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A Book of Bones by John Connolly
He is our best hope. He is our last hope. On a lonely moor in northern England, the body of a young woman is discovered. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull. Each is a sacrifice, a summons. And something in the darkness has heard the call.
Charlie Parker has also heard it and from the forests of Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border, from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London, he will track those who would cast the world into darkness. Parker fears no evil—but evil fears him.
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The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson once again proves himself to be an incomparable companion as he guides us through the human body—how it functions, its remarkable ability to heal itself, and (unfortunately) the ways it can fail. Full of extraordinary facts (your body made a million red blood cells since you started reading this) and irresistible Bryson-esque anecdotes, The Body will lead you to a deeper understanding of the miracle that is life in general and you in particular. As Bill Bryson writes, “We pass our existence within this wobble of flesh and yet take it almost entirely for granted.” The Body will cure that indifference with generous doses of wondrous, compulsively readable facts and information.
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The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas
As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes has solved murders and found missing individuals. But she has never stolen a priceless artwork—or rather, made away with the secrets hidden behind a much-coveted canvas.
But Mrs. Watson is desperate to help her old friend recover those secrets and Charlotte finds herself involved in a fever-paced scheme to infiltrate a glamorous Yuletide ball where the painting is one handshake away from being sold and the secrets a bare breath from exposure.
Her dear friend Lord Ingram, her sister Livia, Livia’s admirer Stephen Marbleton—everyone pitches in to help and everyone has a grand time. But nothing about this adventure is what it seems and disaster is biding time on the grounds of a glittering French chateau, waiting only for Charlotte to make a single mistake.
Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms by John Hodgman
After spending most of his twenties pursuing a career as a literary agent, John Hodgman decided to try his own hand at writing. Following an appearance to promote one of his books on The Daily Show, he was invited to return as a contributor. This led to an unexpected and, frankly, implausible career in front of the camera that has lasted to this very day, or at least until 2016.
In these pages, Hodgman explores the strangeness of his career, speaking plainly of fame, especially at the weird, marginal level he enjoyed it. Through these stories you will learn many things that only John Hodgman knows, such as how to prepare for a nude scene with an oboe, or what it feels like to go to a Hollywood party and realize that you are not nearly as famous as the Property Brothers, or, for that matter, those two famous corgis from Instagram. And there are stories about how, when your television gig is canceled, you can console yourself with the fact that all of that travel that made your young son so sad at least left you with a prize: platinum medallion status with your airline.
Both unflinchingly funny and deeply heartfelt, Medallion Status is a thoughtful examination of status, fame, and identity–and about the way we all deal with those moments when we realize we aren’t platinum status anymore and will have to get comfortable in that middle seat again.
Me: Elton John Official by Elton John
In his first and only official autobiography, music icon Elton John reveals the truth about his extraordinary life, from his rollercoaster lifestyle as shown in the film Rocketman, to becoming a living legend.
Christened Reginald Dwight, he was a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of twenty-three he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in his bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt, and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived and the music world would never be the same again.
His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with song-writing partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from half-heartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation to conquering Broadway with Aida, The Lion King, and Billy Elliot the Musical. All the while Elton was hiding a drug addiction that would grip him for over a decade.
Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox
Amaryllis Fox was in her last year as an undergraduate at Oxford studying theology and international law when her writing mentor Daniel Pearl was captured and beheaded. Galvanized by this brutality, Fox applied to a master’s program in conflict and terrorism at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, where she created an algorithm that predicted, with uncanny certainty, the likelihood of a terrorist cell arising in any village around the world. At twenty-one, she was recruited by the CIA. Her first assignment was reading and analyzing hundreds of classified cables a day from foreign governments and synthesizing them into daily briefs for the president. Her next assignment was at the Iraq desk in the Counterterrorism center. At twenty-two, she was fast-tracked into advanced operations training, sent from Langley to “the Farm,” where she lived for six months in a simulated world learning how to use a Glock, how to get out of flexicuffs while locked in the trunk of a car, how to withstand torture, and the best ways to commit suicide in case of captivity. At the end of this training she was deployed as a spy under non-official cover–the most difficult and coveted job in the field as an art dealer specializing in tribal and indigenous art and sent to infiltrate terrorist networks in remote areas of the Middle East and Asia.
Life Undercover is exhilarating, intimate, fiercely intelligent–an impossible to put down record of an extraordinary life, and of Amaryllis Fox’s astonishing courage and passion.
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Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein
Ivy and her sisters have a secret: their reclusive Great-Aunt is actually Adela Martin, inspired author of the fantasy classic, Ivory Apples. Generations of obsessive fans have searched for Adela, poring over her letters, sharing their theories online, and gathering at book conventions. It is just a matter of time before one fan gets too close.
So when the seemingly-perfect Kate Burden appears at the local park, Ivy knows that something isn’t right. Kate has charmed the entire family, but she is suspiciously curious about Ivory Apples. And Ivy must protect what she and her Great-Aunt share: magic that is real, untamable, and―despite anyone’s desire―always prefers choosing its own vessel.
If Only I Could Tell You by Hannah Beckerman
Audrey’s dream as a mother had been for her daughters, Jess and Lily, to be as close as only sisters can be. But now, as adults, they no longer speak to each other, and Audrey’s two teenage granddaughters have never met. Audrey just can’t help feeling like she’s been dealt more than her fair share as she’s watched her family come undone over the years, and she has no idea how to fix her family as she wonders if they will ever be whole again.
If only Audrey had known three decades ago that a secret could have the power to split her family in two, and yet, also keep them linked. And when hostilities threaten to spiral out of control, a devastating choice that was made so many years ago is about to be revealed, testing this family once and for all. Once the truth is revealed, will it be enough to put her family back together again or break them apart forever?
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Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews
With this second memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, Andrews picks up the story with her arrival in Hollywood and her phenomenal rise to fame in her earliest films–Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Andrews describes her years in the film industry — from the incredible highs to the challenging lows. Not only does she discuss her work in now-classic films and her collaborations with giants of cinema and television, she also unveils her personal story of adjusting to a new and often daunting world, dealing with the demands of unimaginable success, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage, embracing two stepchildren, adopting two more children, and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards. The pair worked together in numerous films, including Victor/Victoria, the gender-bending comedy that garnered multiple Oscar nominations.
Cowritten with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, and told with Andrews’s trademark charm and candor, Home Work takes us on a rare and intimate journey into an extraordinary life that is funny, heartrending, and inspiring.
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Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong
In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so strongly that she even became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads.
The sharp insights and humor are even more personal in this completely original collection. She shares the wisdom she’s learned from a life in comedy and reveals stories from her life off stage, including the brutal single life in New York (i.e. the inevitable confrontation with erectile dysfunction), reconnecting with her roots (and drinking snake blood) in Vietnam, tales of being a wild child growing up in San Francisco, and parenting war stories. Though addressed to her daughters, Ali Wong’s letters are absurdly funny, surprisingly moving, and enlightening (and gross) for all.
Good Things Out of Nazareth: The Uncollected Letters of Flannery O’Connor and Friends by Flannery O’Connor
Flannery O’Connor is a master of 20th-century American fiction, joining, since her untimely death in 1964, the likes of Hawthorne, Hemingway, and Faulkner. Those familiar with her work know that her powerful ethical vision was rooted in a quiet, devout faith that informed all she wrote and did.
Good Things out of Nazareth, a much-anticipated collection of many of O’Connor’s unpublished letters, along with those of literary luminaries such as Walker Percy, Robert Giroux, Caroline Gordon, Katherine Anne Porter, and movie critic Stanley Kauffmann, explores such themes as creativity, faith, suffering, and writing. Brought together they form a riveting literary portrait of these friends, artists, and thinkers. Here we find their joys and loves, as well as their trials and tribulations as they struggle with doubt and illness while championing their Christian beliefs and often confronting racism in American society during the Civil Rights era.
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow
In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family.
All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance they could not explained-until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood to Washington and beyond.This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.
Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook the culture.
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