Book Discussion KitsBook Discussion Kit Home
Sno-Isle Libraries and the Sno-Isle Foundation are proud to offer book discussion kits.
Each kit includes 10 copies of a single title. Resources for book discussions may be found at publishers' websites, bound into some editions of the book, or at www.bookreporter.com or www.readinggroupguides.com (Download a printer friendly list of book kits.)
100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, TheJonasson, Jonas
... After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant (not to mention a death by elephant). It would be the adventure of a lifetime for anyone else, but Allan has a larger-than-life backstory: Not only has he witnessed some of the most important events of the twentieth century, but he has actually played a key role in them. Starting out in munitions as a boy, he somehow finds himself involved in many of the key explosions of the twentieth century and travels the world, sharing meals and more with everyone from Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to Mao, Franco, and de Gaulle. Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed readers across the world...
Alan TuringHodges, Andrew
It is only a slight exaggeration to say that the British mathematician Alan Turing (1912-1954) saved the Allies from the Nazis, invented the computer and artificial intelligence, and anticipated gay liberation by decades--all before his suicide at age forty-one. This acclaimed biography of the founder of computer science, with a new preface by the author that addresses Turing's royal pardon in 2013, is the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life...
Alexander HamiltonChernow, Ron
Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow's biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today's America is the result of Hamilton's countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. "To repudiate his legacy," Chernow writes, "is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world." Chernow here recounts Hamilton's turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington's aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.
Alice Network, TheQuinn, Kate
"It's 1947 and American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a fervent belief that her missing French cousin Rose might still be alive somewhere. In 1915, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance to serve when she's recruited to work as a spy for the English. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launching them both on a mission to find the truth ... no matter where it leads"-- Provided by publisher.
GoodReads Award Nominee
All the Single LadiesTraister, Rebecca
In 2009 the proportion of American women who were married dropped below fifty percent and the median age of first marriages, which had remained between twenty and twenty-two years old for nearly a century (1890-1980), had risen dramatically to twenty-seven.
Over the course of Traister's research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered a startling truth: the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change--temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. Today, only twenty percent of Americans are married by age twenty-nine, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960.
A New York Times Notable Book
American Heiress, TheGoodwin, Daisy
Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts', suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage. Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora's story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James. "For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn't always buy them happiness"--Provided by publisher.
American SpyWilkinson, Lauren
It's 1986, the heart of the Cold War. Marie Mitchell is an intelligence officer with the FBI. She's brilliant and talented, but she's also a black woman working in an all-white boys' club, and her career has stalled with routine paperwork - until she's recruited to a shadowy task force aimed at undermining Thomas Sankara, the charismatic, revolutionary president of Burkina Faso, whose Communist ideology has made him a target for American intervention. In the year that follows, Marie will observe Thomas, seduce him, and ultimately, have a hand in the coup that will bring him down. But doing so will change everything she believes about what it means to be a spy, a lover, and a good American. Inspired by true events—Thomas Sankara is known as “Africa’s Che Guevara”—American Spy knits together a gripping spy thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, and a passionate romance. Selected for 'Now Read This' Book Club - PBS NewsHour and the New York Times (June 2020) Nominated for the NAACP Image Award • Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
Amish GraceKraybill, Donald
On October 2, 2006, Charles Roberts entered a one room Amish school in Pennsylvania and opened fire on 10 girls, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. This book explores the religious beliefs and practices that led the Amish community to forgive so quickly.
In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after. How will one born there make his way through life and the world outside of Arcadia where he must eventually live when the commune fails? With Arcadia , her first novel since her lauded debut, The Monsters of Templeton , Lauren Groff establishes herself not only as one of the most gifted young fiction writers at work today but also as one of our most accomplished literary artists.
Booklist Editors' Choice
New York Times Notable Book
As Good as GoneWatson, Larry
"Calvin Sidey is a cowboy of the old-school, no-guff sort--steely, hardened, with his own personal code. It's the 1960s, and he's living off the grid in a stifling trailer on the prairie when his adult son, Bill, seeks his help. A mostly absentee father, and a virtual no-show as a grandfather, Calvin nevertheless reluctantly agrees to stay with his grandchildren for a week. He decamps for his son's dark and musty basement, to the small town where he once was a mythic figure, and soon enough problems arise. Calvin only knows one way to solve a problem: the Old West way, in which scores are settled, ultimatums are issued, and your gun is always loaded. In the changing culture of the 1960s, Calvin isn't just a relic, he's a wild card and a threat." - From the publisher
Booklist Editors' Choice
In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation's landscape and its global standing. Six years after Lewis and Clark's began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of the Eastern establishment's leading figures, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson, turned their sights to founding a colony akin to Jamestown on the West Coast and transforming the nation into a Pacific trading power. Author and correspondent for Outside magazine Peter Stark recreates this pivotal moment in American history for the first time for modern readers, drawing on original source material to tell the amazing true story of the Astor Expedition. Unfolding over the course of three years, from 1810 to 1813, Astoria is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship in the wilderness and at sea. Of the more than one hundred-forty members of the two advance parties that reached the West Coast--one crossing the Rockies, the other rounding Cape Horn--nearly half perished by violence. Others went mad. Within one year, the expedition successfully established Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River. Though the colony would be short-lived, it opened provincial American eyes to the potential of the Western coast and its founders helped blaze the Oregon Trail.
Bad-ass Librarians of Timbuktu, TheHammer, Joshua
To save ancient Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean's Eleven in this "fast-paced narrative that is...part intellectual history, part geopolitical tract, and part out-and-out thriller" ( The Washington Post )."Part history, part scholarly adventure story, and part journalist survey....Joshua Hammer writes with verve and expertise" ( The New York Times Book Review ) about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world's greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction. With bravery and patience, Haidara organized a dangerous operation to sneak all 350,000 volumes out of the city to the safety of southern Mali. His heroic heist "has all the elements of a classic adventure novel" ( The Seattle Times ), and is a reminder that ordinary citizens often do the most to protect the beauty of their culture. His the story is one of a man who, through extreme circumstances, discovered his higher calling and was changed forever by it.
Baker's Secret, TheKiernan, Stephen P.
Set in Occupied France during WWII, this follows the struggles and ingenuity of a village as they struggle to survive under a capricious and brutal occupation. A "beautifully written account of the emotional and moral struggles of a people gripped by fear in the depths of WWII" (Booklist). For those who love All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale.
Beautiful RuinsWalter, Jess
The award-winning author of The Financial Lives of the Poets presents his most romantic and enjoyable novel yet that follows a young Italian innkeeper and his almost-love affair with a beautiful American starlet, which draws him into a glittering world filled with unforgettable characters. Reprint. 100,000 first printing.
Becoming ClementineNiven, Jennifer
After her B-15 Flying Fortress is shot down over Normandy, Velva Jean Hart becomes Clementine Roux and works as a spy with the Resistance, during which time she falls in love with a fellow agent and ends up in a brutal prison.
Becoming Marie AntoinetteGrey, Juliet
This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette...Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, Becoming Marie Antoinette will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike...
Behind the Beautiful ForeversBoo, Katherine
As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees "a fortune beyond counting" in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting, carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century's hidden worlds--and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.
National Book Award
ALA Notable Book
Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved AmericaEgan, Timothy
Narrates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire of August, 1910, and Teddy Roosevelt's pioneering conservation efforts that helped turn public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service with consequences felt in the fires of today.
Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in AmericaPhillips, Patrick
Phillips digs into the history of a series of events in his hometown in Georgia. After a series of crimes were blamed on some of the area’s young black men, the citizens of the town saw fit to run off the entire African American population. Phillips researches the crimes and the mob mentality that followed, and shows how certain citizens of Forsyth County continued to intimidate and assault African Americans who wandered across their border for almost eighty years. This is the type of history that is far too important ever to forget. -- Amy Hall for LibraryReads.
Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction & Nonfiction
Notable Books for Adults
Boat Runner, TheMurphy, Devin
Sent to a Hitler Youth Camp to secure German business for his family's Dutch company, Jacob Koopman, the privileged nephew of a fisherman, finds his world upended by the outbreak of the war, which eventually forces him to make a transformative decision about his life purpose. For fans of All The Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale.
Book ThiefZusak, Markus
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel, a young German girl whose book-stealing and storytelling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.
Born a CrimeNoah, Trevor
The host of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah traces his wild coming of age during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed, offering insight into the farcical aspects of the political and social systems of today's world.
Funds for this kit were generously donated by the Edmonds Lutheran Book Club. To donate funds for book kits, please contact the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.
Bosnia List, TheTrebincevic, Kenan
A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return. "A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family. At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coach - showed up at his door with an AK-47, screaming: "You have one hour to leave or be killed!" Kenan's only crime: he was Muslim. This poignant, searing memoir chronicles Kenan's miraculous escape from the brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that swept the former Yugoslavia." -Publisher description
Boston Girl, TheDiamant, Anita
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night , ... Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie's intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can't imagine-a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her "How did you get to be the woman you are today."
Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, TheKamkwamba, William
A resonant, hopeful, engaging memoir showing the power of the human spirit through the author’s difficult life in Malawi and his quest to bring electricity to his village by building a windmill from scraps.
Boys in the Boat, TheBrown, Daniel James
The dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics, Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together--a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism. An irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times--the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant.
ALA Notable Book
Indies' Choice Book Award
2015 Whidbey Reads selection
Boys in the Bunkhouse, The: Servitude and Salvation in the HeartlandBarry, Dan
In this haunting modern Dickensian story that is a literary tour de force, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Dan Barry chronicles a shameful case of exploitation and abuse in America’s heartland, involving a group of developmentally disabled men and the advocates who helped them find justice and reclaim their lives. A luminous work told with compassion and compelling detail, The Boys in the Bunkhouse is inspired storytelling and a clarion call for vigilance—an American tale that holds lasting reverberations for all of us. -From the publisher
ALA Notable Books
Booklist Editors' Choice
Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, A: The Human Story Retold Through Our GenesRutherford, Adam
In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species--births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away--until now. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story--from 100,000 years ago to the present. This book will upend your thinking on Neanderthals, evolution, royalty, race, and even redheads. Plus, here is the remarkable, controversial story of how our genes made their way to the Americas--one that's still being written, as ever more of us have our DNA sequenced. Rutherford closes with "A Short Introduction to the Future of Humankind," filled with provocative questions that we're on the cusp of answering: Are we still in the grasp of natural selection? Are we evolving for better or worse? And . . . where do we go from here?
Book Critics Circle Award Nominee
Wellcome Book Prize Nominee
Buddha in the Attic, TheOtsuka, Julie
Presents the stories of six Japanese mail-order brides whose new lives in early twentieth-century San Francisco are marked by backbreaking migrant work, cultural struggles, children who reject their heritage, and the prospect of wartime internment.
Bully Pulpit, TheGoodwin, Doris Kearns
...Doris Kearns Goodwin's highly anticipated The Bully Pulpit -a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air. The story is told through the intense friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft-a close relationship that strengthens both men before it ruptures in 1912, when they engage in a brutal fight for the presidential nomination that divides their wives, their children, and their closest friends, while crippling the progressive wing of the Republican Party, causing Democrat Woodrow Wilson to be elected, and changing the country's history. The Bully Pulpit is also the story of the muckraking press, which arouses the spirit of reform that helps Roosevelt push the government to shed its laissez-faire attitude toward robber barons, corrupt politicians, and corporate exploiters of our natural resources...
Burial RitesKent, Hannah
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place. -- provided by publisher.
Library Reads Favorite
Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
International Dublin Literary Award
Davitt Awards Best Debut and Readers' Choice
Australian Book Industry Award
Caleb's CrossingBrooks, Geraldine
A richly imagined new novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller, People of the Book . Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure. The narrator of Caleb's Crossing is Bethia Mayfield, growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless and curious, she yearns after an education that is closed to her by her sex. As often as she can, she slips away to explore the island's glistening beaches and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a tentative secret friendship that draws each into the alien world of the other...
Cat's Table, TheOndaatje, Michael
In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. At mealtimes he is seated at the "cat's table"--as far from the Captain's Table as can be--with a ragtag group of "insignificant" adults and two other boys, Cassius and Ramadhin. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys tumble from one adventure to another, bursting all over the place like freed mercury...
China DollsSee, Lisa
It's 1938 in San Francisco: a world's fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition. The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.
Clara and Mr. TiffanyVreeland, Susan
Louis Comfort Tiffany staffs his studio with female artisans--a decision that protects him from strikes by the all-male union--but refuses to employ women who are married. Lucky for him, Clara Driscoll's romantic misfortunes insure that she can continue to craft the jewel-toned glass windows and lamps that catch both her eye and her imagination.
Cleopatra : A LifeSchiff, Stacy
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.
New York Times Notable
Crooked Letter, Crooked LetterFranklin, Tom
"...set in rural Mississippi. In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas "32" Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county-and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town. More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades" --Publisher description.
Day the World Came to Town, TheDeFede, Jim
The True Story Behind the Events on 9/11 that Inspired Broadway's Smash Hit Musical Come from Away:
When 38 jetliners bound for the United States were forced to land at Gander International Airport in Canada by the closing of U.S. airspace on September 11, the population of this small town on Newfoundland Island swelled from 10,300 to nearly 17,000. This book recounts the inspiring story of the residents of Gander, Canada, whose acts of kindness have touched the lives of thousands of people and been an example of humanity and goodwill.
Come From Away Cast Recording
Death and Life of the Great Lakes, TheEgan, Dan
The Great Lakes--Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior--hold 20 percent of the world's supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan's compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.
Booklist Editors' Choice
LA Times Book Prize
Desperate Fortune, AKearsley, Susanna
"Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing--for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed. As Mary's gripping tale of rebellion and betrayal is revealed to amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas, she faces events in her own life that require letting go of everything she thought she knew--about herself, about loyalty, and especially about love"--Amazon.com.
Destiny of the RepublicMillard, Candice
A narrative account of the twentieth president's political career offers insight into his background as a scholar and Civil War hero, his battles against the corrupt establishment, and Alexander Graham Bell's failed attempt to save him from an assassin'sbullet.
Dragon Springs RoadChang, Janie
After being abandoned by her mother in 1908 Shanghai, a young Eurasian girl, Jialing, becomes the bondservant to the new owners of a grand estate until she befriends a young English girl who mysteriously disappears and forever changes her life.
Dressmaker, TheAlcott, Kate
A spirited woman survives the sinking of the Titanic only to find herself embroiled in the tumultuous aftermath of that great tragedy. Tess is one of the last people to escape into a lifeboat. When an enterprising reporter turns her employer, Lady Duff Gordon, into an object of scorn, Tess is torn between loyalty and the truth.
Edible History of Humanity, AnStandage, Tom
The bestselling author of A History of the World in 6 Glasses brilliantly charts how foods have transformed human culture through the ages. Throughout history, food has acted as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict, and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is a pithy, entertaining account of how a series of changes--caused, enabled, or influenced by food--has helped to shape and transform societies around the world. The first civilizations were built on barley and wheat in the Near East, millet and rice in Asia, corn and potatoes in the Americas. Why farming created a strictly ordered social hierarchy in contrast to the loose egalitarianism of hunter-gatherers is, as Tom Standage reveals, as interesting as the details of the complex cultures that emerged, eventually interconnected by commerce. Trade in exotic spices in particular spawned the age of exploration and the colonization of the New World. Food's influence over the course of history has been just as prevalent in modern times. In the late eighteenth century, Britain's solution to food shortages was to industrialize and import food rather than grow it. Food helped to determine the outcome of wars: Napoleon's rise and fall was intimately connected with his ability to feed his vast armies. In the twentieth century, Communist leaders employed food as an ideological weapon, resulting in the death by starvation of millions in the S oviet Union and China. And today the foods we choose in the supermarket connect us to global debates about trade, development, the environment, and the adoption of new technologies. Encompassing many fields, from genetics and archaeology to anthropology and economics--and invoking food as a special form of technology-- An Edible History of Humanity is a fully satisfying discourse on the sweep of human history.
Egg and I, TheMacDonald, Betty
When Betty MacDonald married a marine and moved to a small chicken farm on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, she was largely unprepared for the rigors of life in the wild. With no running water, no electricity, a house in need of constant repair, and days that ran from four in the morning to nine at night, the MacDonalds had barely a moment to put their feet up and relax. And then came the children. Yet through every trial and pitfall—through chaos and catastrophe—this indomitable family somehow, mercifully, never lost its sense of humor. A beloved literary treasure for more than half a century, Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I is a heartwarming and uproarious account of adventure and survival on an American frontier.
Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of An Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War IICroke, Vicki
At the onset of World War II, Williams formed Elephant Company and was instrumental in defeating the Japanese in Burma and saving refugees, including on his own "Hannibal Trek." Billy Williams became a media sensation during the war, telling reporters that the elephants did more for him than he was ever able to do for them, but his story has since been forgotten. Part biography, part war story, and part wildlife adventure, Croke delivers an utterly charming narrative and an important, little-known piece of the legacy of World War II"-- Provided by publisher.
New York Time Notable
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee
Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. HelensOlson, Steve
For months in early 1980, scientists, journalists, sightseers, and nearby residents listened anxiously to rumblings in Mount St. Helens, part of the chain of western volcanoes fueled by the 700-mile-long Cascadia fault. Still, no one was prepared when an immense eruption took the top off of the mountain and laid waste to hundreds of square miles of verdant forests in southwestern Washington State. The eruption was one of the largest in human history, deposited ash in eleven U.S. states and five Canadian providences, and caused more than one billion dollars in damage. It killed fifty-seven people, some as far as thirteen miles away from the volcano’s summit. Shedding new light on the cataclysm, author Steve Olson interweaves the history and science behind this event with page-turning accounts of what happened to those who lived and those who died.
From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the '30's caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives. English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe in the Territory of New Guinea. Haunted by the memory of his brothers' deaths and increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when a chance encounter with colleagues, the controversial Nell Stone and her wry and mercurial Australian husband Fen, pulls him back from the brink.
Everything I Never Told YouNg, Celeste
Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue--in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.
Fascism: A WarningAlbright, Madeleine Korbel
Madeleine Albright was a child in war-torn Europe, a lifelong diplomat, and the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State. She draws upon these experiences to understand fascism – its rise, its attraction to its adherents, and the questions we must answer if we are to save ourselves from repeating the tragic errors of the past. (Adapted from publisher description)