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Bookmarks Magazine Best Books of 2021

A look back at our favorite books. Includes fiction, non-fiction, and YA titles.

Cloud cuckoo land : a novel by Anthony Doerr

"From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of perhaps the most bestselling and beloved literary fiction of our time comes a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring novel about children on the cusp of adulthood in a broken world, who find resilience, hope, and story. The heroes of Cloud Cuckoo Land are children trying to figure out the world around them, and to survive.

The cold millions : a novel by Jess Walter

"Orphans Gig and Rye Dolan don't have a penny to their names. The brothers work grueling, odd jobs each day just to secure a meal, and spend nights sleeping wherever they can with other day laborers. Twenty-three-year-old Gig is a passionate union man, fighting for fair pay and calling out the corrupt employers who exploit the working class. Eager to emulate his older brother, Rye follows suit, though he can't quite muster Gig's passion for the cause. But when Rye's turn on the soap box catches the eye ofwell-known activist and suffragette Elizabeth Gurley, he is swept into the world of labor activism-and dirty business. With his brother's life on the line, Rye must evade the barbaric police force, maneuver his way out of the clutches of a wealthy businessman-and figure out for himself what he truly stands for. The Cold Millions is a stunning portrait of class division and familial bonds. In this masterful historical take on the enduring saga of America's economic divide, Jess Walter delivers nothing less than another "literary miracle" (NPR)"--

The final revival of Opal & Nev : a novel by Dawnie Walton

"Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can't imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job--despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can bea star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar's amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records. In early seventies New York City, just as she'sfinding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal's bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth. Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo's most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatensto blow up everything."--

Gold diggers by Sanjena Sathian

"An Indian-American serio-comic and magical realist epic love story about the perils of ambition, tracing the mysterious alchemy of its characters' transformation from high school in an Atlanta suburb through young adulthood in the Bay Area"--

The love songs of W.E.B. Du Bois : a novel by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

"The great scholar, W. E. B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called 'double Consciousness,' a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans—the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers—Ailey carries Du Bois’s Problem on her shoulders. Ailey is reared in the north in the City but spends summers in the small Georgia town of Chicasetta, where her mother’s family has lived since their ancestors arrived from Africa in bondage. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle for belonging that’s made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women—her mother, Belle, her sister, Lydia, and a maternal line reaching back two centuries—that urge Ailey to succeed in their stead. To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors—Indigenous, Black, and white—in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story—and the song—of America itself." --book jacket

Matrix : a novel by Lauren Groff

"Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie's vision be bulwark enough? Equally alive to the sacred and the profane, Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. Lauren Groff's new novel, her first since Fates and Furies, is a defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world"--

Memorial : a novel by Bryan Washington

"A rom-com novel about two young people at a crossroads in their relationship"--

Milk fed : a novel by Melissa Broder

Transitioning from her Jewish faith to dieting to maintain an illusion of existential control, Rachel bonds with an Orthodox woman at a frozen yogurt shop before embarking on a journey of food, desire and spiritual fulfillment.

More than I love my life : a novel by David Grossman

"From the internationally best-selling author--and revered moral voice--a remarkable novel of suffering, love, and healing, the story of three generations of women and a secret that needs to be told. The story was inspired by the life of a friend and confidante of David Grossman who, in the late 1940s, was imprisoned and tortured on the notorious Goli Otok, a barren island prison off the coast of Croatia. Grossman's telling focuses on three strong women--Vera, 90; her daughter, Nina; and her granddaughter, Gili, who at 39 years old is a filmmaker and a wary consumer of affection. A bitter secret divides each mother and daughter pair, though Gili--abandoned when she was just three by Nina--has been close to her grandmother throughout her life. With Gili making the arrangements, they travel together back to Goli ("the Adriatic Alcatraz"), where Vera was imprisoned, enslaved, and tortured for three years as a young wife, when she refused to betray her husband and denounce him as an enemy of the people. This unlikely journey, documented by Gili's camera, lays bare the intertwining of fear, love, and mercy, and the complex overlapping demands of romantic and parental passion. With flashbacks to the stalwart Vera protecting what was most precious on the wretched rock where she was held, and Grossman's fearless examination of the human heart, this swift novel will thrill his many readers and bring new ones into the fold"--

Morningside heights by Joshua Henkin

"When Pru Steiner met and married Spence Robin--her dazzling young hotshot English professor at Columbia--she thought she knew what she was signing up for. But thirty years later, when Spence develops early-onset Alzheimer's, the peaceful (if ambivalent) life Pru has built for herself begins to crumble. Spence is no longer the Great Man she fell in love with, and as his needs become more pronounced, Pru finds herself short on money, overwhelmed by responsibility and, for the first time in decades, in need of companionship. Further complicating things is Arlo, Spence's son from an earlier marriage, who feels he has never lived up to his father's expectations, and who might be Spence's best hope. Moving and deeply-felt, Morningside Heights is a warm-hearted story about love in the face of illness, about the support networks that surround us, and about what a marriage means when your partner is no longer the person you fell in love with"--

At night all blood is black by David Diop

Haunted for refusing to kill an injured comrade who begged to be spared an agonizing death, a World War I soldier from Senegal begins killing enemy soldiers as penance, earning a sinister reputation.

The office of historical corrections : a novella and stories by Danielle Evans

In "The Office of Historical Corrections, [author Danielle] Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters’ lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by grief—all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history—about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight. In 'Boys Go to Jupiter,' a white college student tries to reinvent herself after a photo of her in a Confederate-flag bikini goes viral. In “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain,” a photojournalist is forced to confront her own losses while attending an old friend’s unexpectedly dramatic wedding. And in the eye-opening title novella, a black scholar from Washington, DC, is drawn into a complex historical mystery that spans generations and puts her job, her love life, and her oldest friendship at risk." --publisher's website

Outlawed : a novel by Anna North

"The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West. In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw. The day of her wedding, 17 year oldAda's life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows. She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she's willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all. Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga aboutthe search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear"--

The prophets : a novel by Robert Jones

"A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence"--

The removed : a novel by Brandon Hobson

"Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago--from National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson"--

The souvenir museum : stories by Elizabeth McCracken

"Award-winning author Elizabeth McCracken is an undisputed virtuoso of the short story, and this new collection features her most vibrant and heartrending work to date"--

Unsettled ground by Claire Fuller

"At fifty-one years old, twins Jeanie and Julius still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation in the English countryside. The cottage they have shared their entire lives is their only protection against the modernizing world around them. Inside its walls, they make music, and in its garden, they grow everything they need to survive. To an outsider, it looks like poverty; to them, it is home. But when Dot dies unexpectedly, the world they've so carefully created begins to fall apart. The cottage they love, and the security it offered, is taken back by their landlord, exposing the twins to harsh truths and even harsher realities. Seeing a new future, Julius becomes torn between the loyalty he feels towards his sister and his desire for independence, while Jeanie struggles to find work and a home for them both. And just when it seems there might be a way forward, a series of startling secrets from their mother's past come to the surface, forcing the twins to question who they are, and everything they know of their family's history. In this stunning novel, award-winning author Claire Fuller masterfully builds a tale of sacrifice and hope, of homelessness and hardship, of love and survival, in which two marginalized and remarkable people uncover long-held family secrets and, in their own way, repair, recover, and begin again"--

Velvet was the night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

"From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic comes a riveting noir about a daydreaming secretary, a lonesome thug, and the mystery of the missing woman that brings them together. 1970s Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger. Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman--and journeying deeper into Leonora's secret life of student radicals and dissidents. Meanwhile, someone else is also lookingfor Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric thug who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock 'n' roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance--and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music, and the unspoken loneliness of his heart. Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the secrets behind Leonora's disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies aiming to protect Leonora's secrets--at gunpoint"--

Before she disappeared : a novel by Lisa Gardner

"From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten"--

Zorrie : a novel by Laird Hunt

Cast adrift in the Depression-era West after the last of her relatives pass away, Zorrie survives by working at a radium processing plant before finding love, community and unexpected loss upon returning to her small Indiana hometown

Bullet train : a novel by Kōtarō Isaka

Lady Bird, an unlucky assassin, is tasked with grabbing a suitcase from a bullet train from Tokyo to Morioka and exiting at the next stop, but doesn't realize other dangerous passengers are trying to do the same

Harlem shuffle by Colson Whitehead

"To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Ray Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably-priced furniture, making a life for himself and his family. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger and bigger all the time. See, cash is tight, especially with all those installment plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace at the furniture store, Ray doesn't see the need to ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweler downtown who also doesn't ask questions. Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa -- the "Waldorf of Harlem" -- and volunteers Ray's services as the fence. The heist doesn't go as planned; they rarely do, after all. Now Ray has to cater to a new clientele, one made up of shady cops on the take, vicious minions of the local crime lord, and numerous other Harlem lowlifes. "--

The house on Vesper Sands : a novel by Paraic O'Donnell

"London, 1893: high up in a house on a dark, snowy night, a lone seamstress stands by a window. So begins the swirling, serpentine world of Paraic O'Donnell's Victorian-inspired mystery, the story of a city cloaked in shadow, but burning with questions: why does the seamstress jump from the window? Why is a cryptic message stitched into her skin? And how is she connected to a rash of missing girls, all of whom seem to have disappeared under similar circumstances? On the case is Inspector Cutter, a detective as sharp and committed to his work as he is wryly hilarious. Gideon Bliss, a Cambridge dropout in love with one of the missing girls, stumbles into a role as Cutter's sidekick. And clever young journalist Octavia Hillingdon sees the case as a chance totell a story that matters-despite her employer's preference that she stick to a women's society column. As Inspector Cutter peels back the mystery layer by layer, he leads them all, at last, to the secrets that lie hidden at the house on Vesper Sands"--

The devil and the dark water by Stuart Turton

"Samuel Pipps is the greatest detective of his day...but now he's a prisoner, accused of an unknown crime by one of the world's most powerful men. Along with his faithful sidekick, Arent Hayes, they're sailing back to Amsterdam from the East Indies, wherehe'll stand trial. But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. Still shackled in his cell, Pipps sends Hayes to solve a mystery that connects every passenger on board. All hope is pinned on Hayes solving the mystery, but when he goes missing, Pipps is faced with the most dangerous puzzle of his career...All the while, voices whisper to him in the dark. But are those whispers clues? Warnings? Or the devil himself..."--

Lady Joker by Kaoru Takamura

"This tour-de-force is widely regarded as the quintessential post-WWII Japanese novel. A plan to kidnap a major corporation's CEO becomes an allegory for the alienation of the individual self, a mirror to modern-day Japaense identity. In 1995 in Tokyo, five men meet at the racetrack every Sunday to bet on the horses. They have little in common except a disaffection with their lives. One is a poorly socialized but genius factory welder. One is a demoted detective with a chip on his shoulder. One is an ethnically Korean banker who is tired of being ostracized for his race. One is a truck driver who struggles to make ends meet; he is also the harried single parent of a teenage girl with down's syndrome. The fifth man, Monoi, a sixty-five-year-old drug storeowner, is the one who brings them all together. Monoi has a hard past and a tragic present. He grew up in poverty during the war, and gave the best years of his life working for companies that didn't take care of him. Last summer, his only grandson was killed in a highly suspicious one-person car accident; shortly after, Monoi's son-in-law, the boy's father, a successful dentist, committed suicide after a correspondence with Hinode Beer Company, a huge conglomerate where his son had been interviewing. Snooping around, Monoi discovers a very strange chain of communication between his dead son-in-law and a blackmailer over a forgotten family secret. Monoi, alone in the world and intent on revenge, decides to put together a heist that will victimize the corporate behemoth that stole his family: he will kidnap Hinode's CEO and extract blood money from the corrupt financiers who back it. He enlists his four disaffected friends to help pull it off"--

The low desert : gangster stories by Tod Goldberg

"With gimlet eyed cool and razor sharp wit, The Low Desert explores both the depravity and humanity at the heart of Tod Goldberg's critically acclaimed gangster universe, first introduced in Gangsterland, continued in Gangster Nation, and expanded here with all-new and returning characters. The uncle of an FBI agent spends his life as sheriff in different cities, living too close to the violent acts of men; a cocktail waitress moves through several desert towns trying to escape the loss of an adopted daughter who went missing under unexplained circumstances; a drug dealer with a penchant for karaoke and a bullet hole in his foot meets a talkative lawyer and a silent clown in a Palm Springs bar. These surprising and thrilling stories from a master of modern crime fiction elaborate and enrich the dynamic Sal Cupertine/Rabbi David Cohen gangster universe"--

Who is Maud Dixon? : a novel by Alexandra Andrews

"Florence Darrow is a low-level publishing employee who believes that she's destined to be a famous writer. When she stumbles into a job the assistant to the brilliant, enigmatic novelist known as Maud Dixon — whose true identity is a secret — it appears that the universe is finally providing Florence’s big chance. The arrangement seems perfect. Maud Dixon (whose real name, Florence discovers, is Helen Wilcox) can be prickly, but she is full of pointed wisdom -- not only on how to write, but also on how to live. Florence quickly falls under Helen’s spell and eagerly accompanies her to Morocco, where Helen’s new novel is set. Amidst the colorful streets of Marrakesh and the wind-swept beaches of the coast, Florence’s life at last feels interesting enough to inspire a novel of her own. But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car accident, with no memory of the previous night — and no sign of Helen — she’s tempted to take a shortcut. Instead of hiding in Helen’s shadow, why not upgrade into Helen's life? Not to mention her bestselling pseudonym..."--Dust jacket

Appleseed : a novel by Matt Bell

"In the vein of Neal Stephenson and Jeff VanderMeer, an epic speculative novel from Young Lions Fiction Award-finalist Matt Bell, a breakout book that explores climate change, manifest destiny, humanity's unchecked exploitation of natural resources, and the small but powerful magic contained within every single apple"--

The chosen and the beautiful by Nghi Vo

"Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society-she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire,and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. Nghi Vo's debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice"--

Hummingbird salamander by Jeff VanderMeer

"From Jeff VanderMeer, the author of Annihilation, comes a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the end of all things"--

The invisible life of Addie LaRue by Victoria Schwab

Making a Faustian bargain to live forever but never be remembered, a woman from early eighteenth-century France endures unacknowledged centuries before meeting a man who remembers her name

No gods, no monsters : a novel by Cadwell Turnbull

When creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, setting off a chain of seemingly unrelated events, people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase and protests erupt globally-until the world finds out what has frightened the monsters out of the dark

Remote control by Nnedi Okorafor

"The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From here on in she would be known as Sankofa--a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks-alone, except for her fox companion-searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?"--

Concrete rose by Angie Thomas

"A gang leader's son finds his effort to go straight for the sake of his child challenged by a loved one's brutal murder, in a poignant exploration of Black coming-of-age set seventeen years before the events of the award-winning 'The Hate U Give'"--

Firekeeper's daughter by Angeline Boulley

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.

The last cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

". . . Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children - among them Petra and her family - have been chosen to journey to a new planet . . . Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet - and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past . . . [by] systematically purg[ing] the memories of all on board - or purging them altogether. Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?" -- Adapted from jacket

The way back by Gavriel Savit

A historical fantasy that follows Eastern European teens Yehuda and Bluma on a journey through the Far Country, the Jewish land of the dead

American baby : a mother, a child, and the shadow history of adoption by Gabrielle Glaser

The shocking truth about postwar adoption in America, told through the bittersweet story of one teenager, the son she was forced to relinquish, and their search to find each other-- As Baby Boomers became teenagers in 1960s America, women were encouraged to stay home and raise large families, but sex and childbirth were taboo subjects. Premarital sex was common, but birth control was hard to get and abortion was illegal. In 1961, sixteen-year-old Margaret Erle fell in love and became pregnant. Her enraged family sent her to a maternity home, and after she gave birth, she wasn't even allowed her to hold her own son. Social workers threatened her with jail until she signed away her parental rights. Her son vanished, his whereabouts and new identity known only to an adoption agency that would never share the slightest detail about his fate. Claiming to be acting in the best interests of all, the adoption business was founded on secrecy and lies.

Empire of pain : the secret history of the Sackler dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe

Presents a portrait of three generations of the Sackler family, who built their fortune on the sale of Valium and later sponsored the creation and marketing of one of the most commonly prescribed and addictive painkillers of the opioid crisis

Fuzz : when nature breaks the law by Mary Roach

"What's to be done about a jaywalking moose? A grizzly bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? As Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology. Roach tags along with animal attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller-blasters. She travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter's Square in the early hours before the Pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. Along the way, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature's lawbreakers. Combining little- known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and mugging macaques, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat

The good girls : an ordinary killing by Sonia Faleiro

"The girls' names were Padma and Lalli, but they were so inseparable that people in the village called them Padma Lalli. Sixteen-year-old Padma sparked and burned. Fourteen-year-old Lalli was an incorrigible romantic. They grew up in Katra Sadatganj, an eye-blink of a village in western Uttar Pradesh crammed into less than one square mile of land. It was out in the fields, in the middle of mango season, that the rumors started. Then one night in the summer of 2014 the girls went missing; and hours later they were found hanging in the orchard. Who they were, and what had happened to them, was already less important than what their disappearance meant to the people left behind. In the ensuing months, the investigation into their deaths would implode everything that their small community held to be true, and instigate a national conversation about sex and violence. Slipping deftly behind political maneuvering, caste systems, and codes of honor in a village in northern India, The Good Girls returns to the scene of Padma and Lalli's short lives and shameful deaths, and dares to ask: What is the human cost of shame?"--

The kissing bug : a true story of a family, an insect, and a nation's neglect of a deadly disease by Daisy Hernaandez

"Growing up in a New Jersey factory town in the 1980s, Daisy Hernaandez believed that her aunt had become deathly ill from eating an apple. No one in her family, in either the United States or Colombia, spoke of infectious diseases, and even into her thirties, she only knew that her aunt had died of a rare illness called Chagas. But as Hernaandez dug deeper, she discovered that Chagas--or the kissing bug disease--is more prevalent in the United States than the Zika virus. Today, more than three hundred thousand Americans have Chagas. Why do some infectious diseases make headlines and others fall by the wayside? After her aunt's death, Hernaandez begins searching for answers about who our nation chooses to take care of and who we ignore. Crisscrossing thecountry, she interviews patients, epidemiologists, and even veterinarians with the Department of Defense. She learns that outside of Latin America, the United States is the only country with the native insects--the "kissing bugs"--that carry the Chagas parasite. She spends a night in southwest Texas hunting the dreaded bug with university researchers. She also gets to know patients, like a mother whose premature baby was born infected with the parasite, his heart already damaged. And she meets one cardiologist battling the disease in Los Angeles County with local volunteers. The Kissing Bug tells the story of how poverty, racism, and public policies have conspired to keep this disease hidden--and how the disease intersects with Hernaandez's own identity as a niece, sister, and daughter; a queer woman; a writer and researcher; and a citizen of a country that is only beginning to address the harms caused by Chagas, and the dangers it poses. A riveting and nuanced investigation into racial politics and for-profit healthcare in the United States, The Kissing Bug reveals the intimate history of a marginalized disease and connects us to the lives at the center of it all"--

The plague year : America in the time of Covid by Lawrence Wright

Tells the story of Covid-19 in authoritative, galvanizing detail and with the full drama of events on both a global and intimate scale, illuminating the medical, economic, political, and social ramifications of the pandemic. Wright takes us inside the CDC, where a first round of faulty test kits lost America precious time . . . inside the halls of the White House, where Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger’s early alarm about the virus was met with confounding and drastically costly skepticism . . . into a Covid ward in a Charlottesville hospital, with an idealistic young woman doctor from the town of Little Africa, South Carolina . . . into the precincts of prediction specialists at Goldman Sachs . . . into Broadway’s darkened theaters and Austin’s struggling music venues . . . inside the human body, diving deep into the science of how the virus and vaccines function—with an eye-opening detour into the history of vaccination and of the modern anti-vaccination movement. And in this full accounting, Wright makes clear that the medical professionals around the country who’ve risked their lives to fight the virus reveal and embody an America in all its vulnerability, courage, and potential. Lawrence Wright is a formidable guide, slicing through the dense fog of misinformation to give us a 360-degree portrait of the catastrophe we thought we knew as we lived through it

150 glimpses of the Beatles by Craig Brown

150 Glimpses of the Beatles is, above all, a distinctively kaleidoscopic examination of the Beatles’ effect on the world around them and the world they helped bring into being. Part anthropology and part memoir, and enriched by the recollections of everyone from Tom Hanks to Bruce Springsteen, this book is a humorous, elegiac, and at times madcap take on the Beatles’ role in the making of the sixties and of music as we know it.

The Copenhagen trilogy : Childhood; Youth; Dependency by Tove Irma Margit Ditlevsen

"Tove Ditlevsen's autobiographical trilogy about her troubled life in Copenhagen"--

Crying in H Mart : a memoir by Michelle Zauner

"From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon;of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence (; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. Asshe grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share,and reread"--

A ghost in the throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

"In the eighteenth century, on discovering her husband has been murdered, an Irish noblewoman drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary lament that reaches across centuries to the young Doireann Ní Ghríofa, whose fascination with it is later rekindled when she narrowly avoids fatal tragedy in her own life and becomes obsessed with learning everything she can about the poem Peter Levi has famously called 'the greatest poem written in either Ireland or Britain' during its era. A kaleidoscopic blend of memoir, autofiction, and literary studies, A Ghost in the Throat moves fluidly between past and present, quest and elegy, poetry and the people who make it." --

The hard crowd : essays 2000-2020 by Rachel Kushner

A career-spanning anthology of essays on politics and culture by the best-selling author of The Flamethrowers includes entries discussing a Palestinian refugee camp, an illegal Baja Peninsula motorcycle race, and the 1970s Fiat factory wildcat strikes

Letters to Camondo by Edmund De Waal

"Tragic family history told in a collection of imaginary letters to a famed collector, Moise de Camondo"--

Mozart : the reign of love by Jan Swafford

"At the earliest ages it was apparent that Wolfgang Mozart's singular imagination was at work in every direction. He hated to be bored and hated to be idle, and through his life he responded to these threats with a repertoire of antidotes mental and physical. Whether in his rabidly obscene mode or not, Mozart was always hilarious. He went at every piece of his life, and perhaps most notably his social life, with tremendous gusto. His circle of friends and patrons was wide, encompassing anyone who appealed to his boundless appetites for music and all things pleasurable and fun... Like Jan Swafford's biographies Beethoven and Johannes Brahms, Mozart is the complete exhumation of a genius in his life and ours: a man who would enrich the world with his talent for centuries to come and who would immeasurably shape classical music. As Swafford reveals, it's nearly impossible to understand classical music's origins and indeed its evolutions, as well as the Baroque period, without studying the man himself." --Amazon.com

She come by it natural : Dolly Parton and the women who lived her songs by Sarah Smarsh

Explores how the music of Dolly Parton and other prominent women country artists has both reflected and validated the harsh realities of rural working-class American women

Somebody's daughter : a memoir by Ashley C Ford

"One of the most prominent voices of her generation debuts with an extraordinarily powerful memoir: the story of a childhood defined by the ever looming absence of her incarcerated father and the path we must take to both honor and overcome our origins. For as long as she could remember, Ashley has put her father on a pedestal. Despite having only vague memories of seeing him face-to-face, she believes he's the only person in the entire world who understands her. She thinks she understands him too. He's sensitive like her, an artist, and maybe even just as afraid of the dark. She's certain that one day they'll be reunited again, and she'll finally feel complete. There are just a few problems: he's in prison, and she doesn't know what he did to end up there. Through poverty, puberty, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley returns to her image of her father for hope and encouragement. She doesn't know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates; when the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. Still reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley finally finds out why her father is in prison, and that's where the story really begins. Somebody's Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she provides a poignant coming-of-age recollection that speaks to finding the threads between who you are and what you were born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them. "Ashley Ford's prose is glass-so clear, sharp and smooth that the reader sees, in vivid focus, her complicated childhood, brilliant mind, and golden heart. The gravity and urgency of Somebody's Daughter anchored me to my chair and slowed my heartbeat-like no book has since Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Ashley Ford is a writer for the ages, and Somebody's Daughter will be a book of the year." -- Glennon Doyle, author of #1 New York Times bestseller Untamed and founder of Together Rising"--

Walking with ghosts : a memoir by Gabriel Byrne

"As a young boy growing up in the outskirts of Dublin, Gabriel Byrne sought refuge in a world of imagination among the fields and hills near his home, at the edge of a rapidly encroaching city. Born to working-class parents and the eldest of six children,he harbored a childhood desire to become a priest. When he was eleven years old, Byrne found himself crossing the Irish Sea to join a seminary in England. Four years later, Byrne had been expelled and he quickly returned to his native city. There he tookodd jobs as a messenger boy and a factory laborer to get by. In his spare time, he visited the cinema where he could be alone and yet part of a crowd. It was here that he could begin to imagine a life beyond the grey world of sixties Ireland. He reveledin the theater and poetry of Dublin's streets, populated by characters as eccentric and remarkable as any in fiction, those who spin a yarn with acuity and wit. It was a friend who suggested Byrne join an amateur drama group, a decision that would changehis life forever and launch him on an extraordinary forty-year career in film and theater. Moving between sensual recollection of childhood in a now almost vanished Ireland and reflections on stardom in Hollywood and Broadway, Byrne also courageously recounts his battle with addiction and the ambivalence of fame. Walking with Ghosts is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking as well as a lyrical homage to the people and landscapes that ultimately shape our destinies"--

All that she carried : the journey of Ashley's sack, a black family keepsake by Tiya Miles

"Sitting in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is a rough cotton bag, called "Ashley's Sack," embroidered with just a handful of words that evoke a sweeping family story of loss and of love passed down through generations. In 1850s South Carolina, just before nine-year-old Ashley was sold, her mother, Rose, gave her a sack filled with just a few things as a token of her love. Decades later, Ashley's granddaughter, Ruth, embroidered this history on the bag--includingRose's message that "It be filled with my Love always." Historian Tiya Miles carefully follows faint archival traces back to Charleston to find Rose in the kitchen where she may have packed the sack for Ashley. From Rose's last resourceful gift to her daughter, Miles then follows the paths their lives and the lives of so many like them took to write a unique, innovative history of the lived experience of slavery in the United States. The contents of the sack--a tattered dress, handfuls of pecans, a braidof hair, "my Love always"--speak volumes and open up a window on Rose and Ashley's world. As she follows Ashley's journey, Miles metaphorically "unpacks" the sack, deepening its emotional resonance and revealing the meanings and significance of everythingit contained. These include the story of enslaved labor's role in the cotton trade and apparel crafts and the rougher cotton "negro cloth" that was left for enslaved people to wear; the role of the pecan in nutrition, survival, and southern culture; thesignificance of hair to Black women and of locks of hair in the nineteenth century; and an exploration of Black mothers' love and the place of emotion in history"--

Facing the mountain : a true story of Japanese American heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown

"From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat, a gripping World War II saga of patriotism and courage: the special Japanese-American Army unit that overcame brutal odds in Europe; their families, incarcerated in camps back home; and a young man who refused to surrender his constitutional rights, even if it meant imprisonment. They came from across the continent and Hawaii. Their parents taught them to embrace both their Japanese heritage and the ways of their American homeland. They faced bigotry, yet they believed in their bright futures as American citizens. But within days of Pearl Harbor, the FBI was ransacking their houses and locking up their fathers. Within months many would themselves be living in internment camps. Facing the Mountain is an unforgettable chronicle of war-time America and the battlefields of Europe. Based on Daniel James Brown's extensive interviews with the families of the protagonists as well as deep archival research, it portrays the kaleidoscopic journey of four Japanese-American families and their sons, who volunteered for 442nd Regimental Combat Team and were deployed to France, Germany, and Italy, where they were asked to do the near impossible. But this is more than a war story. Brown also tells the story of these soldiers' parents, immigrants who were forced to shutter the businesses, surrender their homes, and submit to life in concentration camps on U.S. soil. Woven throughout is the chronicle of a brave young man, one of a cadre of patriotic resisters who stood up against their government in defense of their own rights. Whether fighting on battlefields or in courtrooms, these were Americans under unprecedented strain, doing what Americans do best--striving, resisting, pushing back, rising up, standing on principle, laying down their lives, and enduring."--
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