I never imagined that I’d want to visit India to do a milk tasting, snuggle close to native cows or befriend a milk-lady, but now I’m dying to! With her willingness to adventure and wicked sense of humor the author led me through her native country as she and her husband and daughters reunited with old family members and connected with strangers who became new ones. A delicious peek into aspects of Indian and Hindu society I could never have experienced on my own.
— Kathy W.
Denis Johnson perfectly captures the essence of the down-and-out, the drifter, and the outcast. He has a way of pulling you in and completely immersing you in the tales he is telling. For long time fans his last collection of stories will leave you feeling satisfied. For first timers -- you will want to devour everything he has ever written. Denis Johnson is a master storyteller.
An introspective look at what happens when a magician loses his sense of wonder and travels across the world to find it again. I really loved reading about Nate and his journey. A well written, fascinating biography that gives a little peek into the world of magic, without giving anything away. Also part travel biography, as Nate goes to India to seek out different kinds of magicians.
I have always had a fascination with magic and illusions, so this was a treat to read. I highly recommend also heading to Nate's website and watching some of his performance videos!
Usually it takes me a few weeks to read a nonfiction book, but I read this good old-fashioned tale of adventure in just a few days. While its premise alone should be enough to make you want to read this inspiring true story, the details and twists of The Stowaway will leave you shaking your head in disbelief. Exciting, charming, and surprisingly funny, it is both an engrossing portrait of a young man hellbent on living a life of adventure and an insightful examination of a transformative time in American history.
In a future where Roe vs. Wade has been reversed, depriving women of the right to choose, Congress is now pushing legislation to require that every child have two parents. The stories of four women intertwine as they navigate a world of fear and hopelessness. A great companion to “The Power” by Naomi Alderman, Red Clocks is powerfully thought provoking and relevant, darkly exploring themes of feminism and authority.
The setting of this intense literary psychological thriller is a wild upstate New York forest filled with natural beauty and a building sense of menace. The story is told from the perspectives of three kids involved in a horrific and senseless crime. I felt I knew these families and their rural community with prejudices and class issues at play. The three are each damaged in their own way as adults as their lives converge in New York City and back upstate with shocking results. (going home again may NOT be a good idea).
While I knew on a basic level that managing timing was important to my personal life, I never closely considered the secrets to good timing. After reading Pink’s fascinating study of timing as a science, I am eager to put his lessons to work.
Pink’s extensive research helps him reveal how best to live, work, and succeed in a style which is in-depth, engaging, and easy for readers to comprehend. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing taught me how we can use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule, how individuals can turn a difficult beginning into a fresh start, and the ideal times to take big life steps such as quitting a job, among many other lessons. I cannot wait to use Pink’s practical takeaways about timing to improve my everyday life, and am confident readers will feel the same way.
I loved Winter, the second book in Ali Smith's Seasonal quartet completely, but what really delighted me was how much this brilliant novel made me laugh. An ambitious and timely work of literature, it features uniquely human characters, sharp political commentary, and reflections on how people evolve through the course of their lives. Cunningly fragmented and ethereally odd at times, it enchanted me wholly.
A trio of characters caught in a slow eddy, only to be sucked into the downward spiral of events where they finally realize their connection. Set in 2012 New York City, this book exudes the true feel of NYC for people who know the city, and if you don’t, then you will by the last page.
This book is “Soul-Quenching”!! Like having a drink with your wisest, funniest, most self-deprecating friend who brings her most honest self for a chat. Organized around “things we say to people (including ourselves) that make things better.” LOVED IT!!
— Kathy W.
Would knowing the date of your death change the way you live? The Immortalists compellingly and enchantingly tackles that question as four siblings diverge in the decades following an encounter with a fortune teller. Ambitiously plotted, this novel poignantly deals with the complicated dynamics of guilt, grief, love, and, of course, life. It is most captivating when exploring the delicate but enduring link the siblings share, even as they realize their differences.
It’s rare for me to find a book that I can’t determine the direction it is taking me. Even at the very end – I refused to put it down until the last page – left me astonished that I had not seen what would happen. Like a puzzle you think you know how to put together only to find out you had it backwards. Complex and relevant, make sure to pick up an extra copy for a friend!
An absolutely entrancing tale filled with eccentrics, mystery, doubt and faith, then set to music (on vinyl of course). The author takes huge themes of humanity and redemption and fits them neatly into a small London record store. Caution: don’t expect to get anything done once you open this book!
For the WWII lover, a personal account of a dashing young man born into wealth, who, by the age of 21 has survived the Nazi’s toughest torture, and goes on to be a top saboteur. The opening scene, a war criminal’s trial, will shock you. Gripping!
The phrase “if these walls could talk” is ever present in our minds as young Lucy and her family move into elderly Elsie’s house once her children move her out. A bond is formed between the two ladies although they never meet…or do they? Ashley Hay sprinkles this story of everyday life and love with mysteries and secrets. As I read it, it reminded me of those little chance moments in life that might not seem to mean anything at the time, but carry a story forward nonetheless.
NY Times journalist A. Herman’s 1917 was a game changer read for me. His provocative premise that Wilson’s decision on WWI and Lenin’s Soviet revolution were motivated by both leaders craving Superpower status internationally. Herman gave me a fresh look at Wilson’s policies - “safe for Democracy” League of Nations -, along with Lenin’s totalitarian policies to better understand peace v. power in today’s U.S. & Soviet landscape. Masterfully written. A Gentleman in Moscow is the perfect follow up.
I’ve been a fan for over 40 years, so I was quite excited about this bio. Gold Dust Woman does not disappoint, and offers incredible insight into Stevie as a phenomenally gifted singer/songwriter and a woman of substance. There was so much I didn’t know, her happy childhood singing duets with her country singer grandfather, her honorary membership in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and who she considers the real love of her life (a bit of a shocker). Most fascinating is the evolution of her confidence, talent and power through the crazy decades of the 70’s and 80’s as her star rose into the stratosphere. I love you Stevie!
Since 1847, West Point has published and updated their own textbook for cadets, “The West Point History of Warfare.” Finally available to the public, this impressive tome is stocked with tactical maps, data visualizations, and newly commissioned chapters that make it the definitive history of our revolution. A book to be examined and revisited, appropriate for history fans young and old.
Yes, I judged this book based on its cover, and it did not disappoint. I was immediately pulled into this Middle-Eastern fantasy of magic, mysteries, and djinn.
Nahri is a fascinating character – a con woman with a healing magic she can’t explain and a past she doesn’t know. When she accidentally summons an outcast Djinn named Dara to her side everything she thinks she knows changes. Dara is equally mysterious and sly and between him, Nahri, and Prince Alizayd of the legendary city of Daevabad, well, I was intrigued the entire ride. Wonderful world building, great characters and a cliff hanger (fair warning!) that left me literally gasping and wanting the next book ASAP. I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here.
Although Mrs. Osmond is basically a sequel to the 1881 Henry James classic The Portrait of a Lady, you do not have to have read that book (I haven’t) to enjoy this one. Banville skillfully captures the essence of James’s writing style, so much so that you’ll feel like James rose from the grave and wrote this book himself. An emotionally satisfying and acutely observed tale of female empowerment, this is the perfect read for those who yearn for a new classic.
A new direction, a new town, and this time, a new plot. Once again, our favorite humble hero, Jack Reacher, is caught up in something bigger than what he expected, but this time, it’s of his own volition. On a rest-stop stroll, Jack spies a West Point class ring in a pawn shop window. He knows that not only is this unusual, but unlikely that the owner would give up a class ring. Thinking it might have been stolen, Jack decides to buy the ring, and therefor starts the search for the rings rightful owner. Of course, in true Lee Child style, what Jack finds is so much more. By far the best Reacher book so far!
This book will bring the acclaimed chef and cookbook writer David Lebovitz many new admirers. On the surface, L’Appart appears to be about an ex-Pat’s adventure into buying and renovating an apartment in Paris, but it is also a story about changing one’s life. Entertaining and funny, Lebovitz also treats his readers to a story about French culture, Parisian people and of course food, plus a new batch of recipes.
A.J. Jacobs’ writing is just so smooth, easy to read & absolutely hilarious. And the poignancy of this book…well, it’s one we should all read. Follow A.J. on his journey of creating a family tree, discovering what really makes a family and his eventual Global Family Reunion. A great gift for everyone in your family! Seriously. I kid you not.
An excellent mystery with twists and turns, it hooked me immediately and wouldn't let go. A quick, fun read. Abby left her small town home 10 years ago, and now she's back - investigating the big plastics company who may or may not be dumping waste into the town's water supply - but has the town folk hooked around their little finger. At the same time, Abby is dealing with old memories, old enemies, and her own demons. Particularly surrounding a missing school friend with a dark history. Bonfire is a strong mystery with fascinating characters and good storytelling instincts. Ritter blends a handful of plot lines seamlessly, and I loved seeing how it all turned out.
We all know the story of the Nutcracker, or at least we think we do. Once again we are taken into one of our favorite tales and spun around to see the other side, as Gregory Maguire takes us on a journey long before The Nutcracker to explore the most enigmatic character of all time – Herr Drosselmeier, the mysterious Godfather to Klara. From his beginnings as an orphan, and on through to his life as a Master Toymaker and Storyteller, once you’ve read this enchanting story, you’ll see The Nutcracker with an enlightened perspective. Maguire is himself a Master Storyteller.
Faced with a failing book, financial difficulties and writers block, Dickens returns to his writing roots to find not only his words, but himself. Written in tones of Dicken’s himself, Mr. Dickens and His Carol is a perfect holiday tale and companion to the original Christmas Carol. Get them both and add some magic to your holiday season.
It's always a treat to read Fredrik Backman. This novella at Christmas time is a perfect reminder of what love and family are all about. Illustrations enhance this heartwarming and thought provoking story.
Another great piece of work by Isabel Allende! Filled with just enough wonder and emotion that just keeps you reading. Following characters with very unique and diverse backgrounds, this novel spins quite an interesting tale between past and present day South America and the United States. I would suggest this book for someone looking to read something more diverse but an easy read. It is a novel that will keep your entertained and has just enough suspense to keep you wrapped up in its pages.
What really matters? 200 women from a variety of backgrounds -some famous and some not- are asked this question along with 4 other ones. Their answers are equally moving and eye opening. Paired with a brief bio and stunning photograph of each woman, this makes an ideal gift full of inspiration!
Few modern photographers have a portfolio and client repertoire as vast as Annie Leibovitz. Few also have as distinct a style of portraiture- painterly, timeless, recognizable instantly when glanced on the cover of a glossy magazine. This collection of those portraits is at home on the shelf of the art critic, the movie buff, the music enthusiast, the fashion obsessed, and the casual celeb-stalker alike.
This book is perfect not only for fans of the iconic New York Times comic Barry Blitt, but admirers of brilliant illustrations! I first heard of Barry Blitt while studying Graphic Design and I was drawn in by his unique type found throughout all of his comics, and immediately fell in love with the witty content he created. Blitt is the ultimate collection of his comics and even includes personal notations throughout, making it more personal. Anyone who loves art and appreciates a good sense of political humor will love this book!
This memoir is the most powerful, influential story for today’s narrative on immigration policy! Every page of this book is a lesson in patriotism, our constitution, and the overwhelming courage and sacrifice this family endured to defend those freedoms. Personally, it should be required reading given our recent anti-immigrant speech.
With the #1 New York Times best-selling My Life in France, Alex Prud’homme helped his great aunt Julia Child share her inspiring story of finding her life’s calling in France. In France is a Feast, Prud’homme shares his Great Uncle Paul Child’s passion: photography, and in turn helps to chronicle Julia falling for French food and cooking as well as the country’s abundant culture and beauty in the years following World War II. More than 200 luscious, black-and-white photographs are included in the book, some intimate portraits of Julia, complete with the author’s personal stories about a couple who quite simply adored each other.
In Endangered, renowned photographer Tim Flach does an incredible job of capturing the ephemeral beauty of our planet’s most precious species. Flach’s breathtaking photographs should strike a chord with readers concerned with protecting our planet’s most precious species. By exposing readers to the threats that our global ecosystem faces (climate change, poaching, reduction in natural habitats, and deforestation), this book will inspire readers to make changes in their own day-to-day lives. Our future depends on it.
Just how big are the worlds we enter when we watch a movie? And just how far do the characters go? Cinemaps aims to show you, with exquisitely illustrated maps showing the locations in each film, and the paths characters took from place to place. Side bars give you trivia and additional commentary on specific locations, and each map is paired with an essay giving you a brief overview of the film and its geography. From Star Wars to Pulp Fiction, no film geography is too small or big to be displayed in this gorgeous book for film buffs and people who love to see all the details. All in all, 35 popular films are documented in this unique atlas, sure to bring hours of conversation and exploration to your favorite movie fan.
Even as a child, one of the most gifted, imaginative, and inventive characters, Leonardo was a man before his time. Ever wonder why the Mona Lisa is the most famous smile of all times? Isaacson has once again, taken one of history’s most famous persons, painted the most riveting picture of Leonardo in full-color, and written an engrossing true tale that you will not be able to stop reading.
American Wolf, which focuses on the life and adventures of the world-famous alpha female O-Six and her pack, is one of the most thrilling, affecting books I’ve ever read. O-Six and her family are besieged on all sides in and around Yellowstone National Park— by rival packs, by ranchers and hunters who would loving nothing more than to kill every wolf in America, and by state and federal politicians indifferent to the ecological importance of wolves. And yet O-Six, seemingly invincible, endures. Nate Blakeslee’s mythic story of an American legend is surely the best nature book of 2017.
Chris Ware has created his own artistic category, joining people like Miles Davis, David Bowie, and Andy Warhol as one who has taken an art form beyond its own preconceived borders. With this monograph of his work spanning decades, Ware shows us how he quickly outgrew the cartoonist label to become one of the most lauded graphic artists and pointed social critics of the modern age. An amazing book to be savored by even the most casual art lover.
Wise Trees is a glorious coffee table book depicting 50 wondrous ancient and sacred trees throughout the world. From familiar icons like Isaac Newton's Apple tree to the incomprehensibly massive Montezuma Cypress in Mexico, each one is astonishing. The format includes stunning photos and fascinating stories that will draw you into the lives of these profoundly magnificent living monuments.
Filled with striking photographs and vivid profiles, this book lives up to its billing: the best of the New York Times Home Section. The gorgeous interior and architectural designs found within span a wide range of styles, inspirations, and locales- from Alabama to Russia, with a wealth of gorgeous selections from the New York area alone. Any lover of beautiful and unique homes will enjoy sinking into the pages of this exceptional collection.
Waiting for the Punch is a selection of snippets from interviews Marc Maron conducted on his immensely popular podcast WTF! Every chapter is full of wisdom and humor from actors like Amy Poehler and Michael Keaton to comedians like Patton Oswalt and Louis CK and even Barack Obama. The list of heavy hitters in this book is massive, and the small excerpts from interviews, arranged by topic, are endlessly fascinating, perhaps because they are so masterfully woven together with commentary by Maron himself, or simply because the guests are so interesting. This book is great for fans of comedy and entertainment, or for someone who just needs a good quote to get them through the day.
What if everything we thought was true about how the world was run was not the truth? What would the world be like if women were the dominate sex? Would men be fighting for equality? How different would everything be? Thrilling to the very last sentence, Naomi Alderman brings us into the near future, building an alternate yet believable scenario, showing us that power without management, in anyone’s hands – in this case, teenage girls – is always corruptible.
The best magical realism comes from Alice Hoffman, and this book is no different. The story of Franny and Jet Owens (the aunts from Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic) is full of love and tragedy and hope. Their story gives dimension to the Owens family that I didn't realize was missing, and made me cry at least twice.
It's strange, but Fran and Jet were such their own beings that it never occurred to me that they are AUNTS and must therefore have a sibling somewhere. Vincent was everything I could have wanted him to be. The perfect piece to the story.
Recommended for any fans of magical realism, fans of Alice Hoffman, and those who ever wondered more about the Owens family, and the Aunts in particular.
Oh, and the best part? It begins "Once upon a time..."; the best possible opening for any book.
Devotions is stunningly honest, incredibly kind, and utterly hopeful. Mary Oliver writes with an essence of knowing, noticing, and pointing out. Pulled from 27 individual publications, the poems in this collection highlight her ability to string together quiet moments, and spin them into profound verse, often grounded in the natural world. This is a must-have for Oliver fans, poetry fanatics, and nature lovers, alike.
A wild ride through the history of one of our most iconic, truest symbols of our American selves, the triumphant/tragic saga of the wild Mustang is exhilarating, yet eye-opening. Protected but misunderstood the population of one of our country’s first natives is at risk of disappearing. Philipps has written a rich history spanning centuries, that delves deeply into the current day crisis, but also gives us hope for the future of this truly amazing animal.
Night Stories is a beautiful idea executed to perfection. Linden Frederick, known for his realistic paintings of rural New England at dusk and at night, gathered some of New England's favorite storytellers who used his art to tell stories that dive beyond the surface of the canvas and into the hearts and lives of the people you'd find in those scenes. Each author brings their own voice to Frederick's art in their own way. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, I'd say having both is even better!
An astounding debut from a talented author, this collection of stories is original, inventive, and wholly mesmerizing. Beautifully written with a dark and exhilarating edge, each tale vibrates with its own brilliant ferocity. Seamlessly blending aspects of realism and fantasy, the book also effortlessly manages to be funny, insightful, terrifying, and relatable.
In what is ultimately a book about what it means to be human, one of our greatest scientific minds explores the complicated relationship between the humanities, the sciences, and creativity itself in its myriad forms. Reaching back beyond the Paleolithic age to the dawn of our planet, Wilson explores genetic evolution, the origins of art and storytelling, and the miracle of language. A fascinating and invigorating read, this book simultaneously looks backward and forward, reminding us how far we've come and how much further we've yet to go.
This third book in the "John Dies at the End" series is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny, and stay-up-all-night scary. This book is the forbidden fruit your parents would never let you read as a child: rife with beautifully-crafted toilet humor and surreal monsters which will make you question your reality. This book stands on its own but is best enjoyed after John Dies at the End and This Book is Full of Spiders.
New Yorker writer Masha Gessen’s National Book Award winner is extremely ambitious and insightful. Gessen uses the powerful life stories of people born during the collapse of the Soviet Union and then came of age during the brief period where Russia appeared to be moving towards individual freedom and democracy, to tell how the lives of Russians drastically changed and the country moved to becoming a totalitarian state under Vladimir Putin. Gessen’s detailed stories and observations help readers understand how Russia has slowly but drastically transformed in this century. The Future is History requires a lot of patience from readers, but will fascinate those who love reading about history and politics and want to understand Russia better.