NEW BOOKS JULY 2019

FICTION

THAI AUTHOR

Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad

An intoxicating collage of lives intersecting around a building in Bangkok. Places remember us. . . 

A missionary begs to be moved from disease-ridden Bangkok.
A musician plays a private show for ghosts.
A student abandoned by his lover bleeds to death in the street.
A plastic surgeon designs a girl a new face. 
A woman decides whether to cook a final meal for a dying murderer.

Lurching through decades, from Bangkok’s rich past to its imagined, uploaded future, witness the city as it changes from a booming capitalist hub to a city engulfed by water, through human tales seeping into one another, held together by delicate threads. 

Katalin Street by Magda Szabo

In prewar Budapest three families live side by side on gracious Katalin Street, their lives closely intertwined. A game is played by the four children in which Balint, the promising son of the Major, invariably chooses Iren Elekes, the headmaster’s dutiful elder daughter, over her younger sister, the scatterbrained Blanka, and little Henriette Held, the daughter of the Jewish dentist.

Their lives are torn apart in 1944 by the German occupation, which only the Elekes family survives intact. The postwar regime relocates them to a cramped Soviet-style apartment and they struggle to come to terms with social and political change, personal loss, and unstated feelings of guilt over the deportation of the Held parents and the death of little Henriette, who had been left in their protection. But the girl survives in a miasmal afterlife, and reappears at key moments as a mute witness to the inescapable power of past events.

As in The Door and Iza’s Ballad, Magda Szabo conducts a clear-eyed investigation into the ways in which we inflict suffering on those we love. Katalin Street, which won the 2007 Prix Cevennes for Best European novel, is a poignant, sombre, at times harrowing book, but beautifully conceived and truly unforgettable. Translated from the Hungarian by Len Rix.

THAI AUTHOR

The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth  by Veeraporn Nitiprapha

On the day Chareeya is born, her mother discovers her father having an affair with a traditional Thai dancer. From then on, Chareeya’s life is fated to carry the weight of her parents’ disappointments. She and her sister grow up in a lush riverside town near the Thai capital, Bangkok, captivated by trashy romance novels, classical music and games of make-believe. When the laconic orphan, Pran, enters their world, he unwittingly lures the sisters into a labyrinth of their own making as they each try to escape their intertwined fates. 

The original Thai language edition of The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth won the prestigious South East Asian Writers (“S.E.A. Write”) Award for fiction and was a best-seller in Thailand. It is translated into English by Thai film critic and recipient of France’s Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Kong Rithdee.

Attuned to the addictive rhythms of a Thai soap opera and written with the consuming intensity of a fever dream, this novel opens an insightful and truly compelling window onto the Thai heart.

The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

The Miltons are a powerful old New York family – the kind of family that used to run the world. And in 1935, they still do. Kitty and Ogden Milton seem to have it all – an elegant apartment on the Upper East Side, two beautiful little boys, a love everyone envies. When a tragedy befalls them, Ogden comforts Kitty the only way he knows how – they go sailing, picnic on a small island off the coast of Maine, and buy it. 

For generations the Miltons of Crockett Island revel in a place that is entirely their own. But it’s 1959, and the world is changing – Ogden’s firm hire a Jewish man, Len Levy, who earns the admiration of not only his boss, but his boss’s beautiful young daughter. When Len and his friend visit the island, the Milton’s principles and prejudices are challenged like never before. 

At the dawn of the 21st century, the family money has run dry, and the island is up for sale. Returning for one last visit, Kitty’s granddaughter uncovers disturbing evidence about her family’s wealth – and realizes she is on the verge of finally understanding the silences that seemed to hover just below the surface of her family all her life.

The Old Drift  by Namwali Serpell

Namwali Serpell’s ground-shaking debut novel is an epic story of three generations of three Zambian families – one black, one brown and one white. Unfolding over 200 years, but set mainly in the twentieth century, one family begins in Italy, another in England and the third in Zambia. 

The three families’ lives become entwined as each is plagued by a curse passed on down the generations. Hugely ambitious, each of the three ‘books’ that make up the novel – The Grandmothers, The Mothers, The Children – engages with a different genre of writing, satirizing the kind of language historically used to describe Africa, whilst celebrating the diversity and hybridity of African culture. 

Playful, full of humour and utterly captivating in its storytelling – this is a colossal novel that you can live in. Sprawling out across time and space, it recalls One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, animating a culture that cannot escape its colonial past, but which yearns for greatness. 

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her – freedom, prison or death. 

With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. 

‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’ Margaret Atwood

Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank

Beekeeper Holly McNee Jensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivan’s Island, tending her hives and working at the local island library. Holly calls her mother The Queen Bee because she’s a demanding hulk of a woman. Her mother, a devoted hypochondriac, might be unaware that she’s quite ill but that doesn’t stop her from tormenting Holly. To escape the drama, Holly’s sister Leslie married and moved away, wanting little to do with island life. Holly’s escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie.

Her world is upended when the more flamboyant Leslie returns and both sisters, polar opposites, fixate on what’s happening in their neighbor’s home. Is Archie really in love with that awful ice queen of a woman? If Archie marries her, what will become of his little boys? Restless Leslie is desperate for validation after her imploded marriage, squandering her favors on any and all takers. Their mother ups her game in an uproarious and theatrical downward spiral. Scandalized Holly is talking to her honey bees a mile a minute, as though they’ll give her a solution to all the chaos. Maybe they will.

Queen Bee is a classic Lowcountry Tale—warm, wise and hilarious, it roars with humanity and a dropperful of whodunit added for good measure by an unseen hand. In her twentieth novel, Dorothea Benton Frank brings us back to her beloved island with an unforgettable story where the Lowcountry magic of the natural world collides with the beat of the human heart.

NON-FICTION

A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

In 1942, the Gestapo would stop at nothing to track down a mysterious ‘limping lady’ who was fighting for the freedom of France. The Nazi chiefs issued a simple but urgent command: ‘She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her.’

The Gestapo’s target was Virginia Hall, a glamorous American with a wooden leg who broke through the barriers against her gender and disability to be the first woman to infiltrate Vichy France for the SOE. In so doing she helped turn the course of the intelligence war.

This is the epic tale of an heiress who determined that a hunting accident would not define her existence; a young woman who gambled her life to fight for the freedoms she believed in; an espionage novice who helped to light the flame of French Resistance.

Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall, an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance and personal triumph over shocking adversity.

Absolute Power: How the Pope Became the Most Influential Man in the World by Paul Collins

The fascinating and sensational story of the last two centuries of the papacy and a vital call for the reevaluation and reimagination of papal power by one of today’s preeminent theologians.

In 1799, the papacy was at rock bottom: The Papal States had been swept away and Rome seized by the revolutionary French armies. The cardinals were scattered across Europe, and Catholics feared they would be unable to elect the next pope. Even if Catholicism survived, it seemed the papacy was finished. And yet, just over two hundred years later, the pope still stands “at the very center of the central conversations of our time” (Time). His influence reaches across the world–from Cuban politics to gender equality to the refugee crisis–and the strength of his “soft power” is incomparable.

In this gripping narrative of religious and political history, Paul Collins tells the improbable success story of the last 220 years of the papacy, from the unexalted death of Pope Pius VI in 1799 to the celebrity of Pope Francis today. As a historian, journalist, and theologian, Collins also poses pressing, critical questions to the Catholic Church: Does today’s church governance stray from the teachings of the gospel? Is the papacy’s internal power so great that it might be considered heretical? If so, what can be done to ensure a credible–and Christ-like–path forward?

Absolute Power is required reading for anyone interested in the history of today’s complex power structures–as well as anyone invested in religious, political, and social progress in the West. 

An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System by Matt Richtel

A terminal cancer patient rises from the grave. A medical marvel defies HIV. Two women with autoimmunity discover their own bodies have turned against them. An Elegant Defense uniquely entwines these intimate stories with science’s centuries-long quest to unlock the mysteries of sickness and health, and illuminates the immune system as never before. 

The immune system is our body’s essential defense network, a guardian vigilantly fighting illness, healing wounds, maintaining order and balance, and keeping us alive. Its legion of microscopic foot soldiers from T cells to “natural killers” patrols our body, linked by a nearly instantaneous communications grid. It has been honed by evolution over millennia to face an almost infinite array of threats. 

For all its astonishing complexity, however, the immune system can be easily compromised by fatigue, stress, toxins, advanced age, and poor nutrition hallmarks of modern life and even by excessive hygiene. Paradoxically, it is a fragile wonder weapon that can turn on our own bodies with startling results, leading today to epidemic levels of autoimmune disorders. 

Richtel effortlessly guides readers on a scientific detective tale winding from the Black Plague to twentieth-century breakthroughs in vaccination and antibiotics, to the cutting-edge laboratories that are revolutionizing immunology perhaps the most extraordinary and consequential medical story of our time. The foundation that Richtel builds makes accessible revelations about cancer immunotherapy, the microbiome, and autoimmune treatments that are changing millions of lives. An Elegant Defense also captures in vivid detail how these powerful therapies, along with our behavior and environment, interact with the immune system, often for the good but always on a razor’s edge that can throw this remarkable system out of balance. 

Drawing on his groundbreaking reporting for the New York Times and based on extensive new interviews with dozens of world-renowned scientists, Matt Richtel has produced a landmark book, equally an investigation into the deepest riddles of survival and a profoundly human tale that is movingly brought to life through the eyes of his four main characters, each of whom illuminates an essential facet of our “elegant defense.

Madame Fourcade’s Secret War: The Daring Yound Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler by Lynne Olson

In 1941, a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast Resistance organisation – the only woman to hold such a role. Brave, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. 

Her group’s name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah’s Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. The name Marie-Madeleine chose for herself was Hedgehog – unthreatening in appearance, yet a tough little animal, that, as she put it, “even a lion would hesitate to bite. 

“No other French spy network lasted as long or supplied as much crucial intelligence as Alliance – and as a result, the Gestapo pursued its members relentlessly, capturing, torturing, and executing hundreds of its three thousand agents, including Fourcade’s own lover and many of her key spies. 

Fourcade had to move her headquarters every few weeks, constantly changing her hair colour, clothing, and identity, yet was still captured twice by the Nazis. Both times she managed to escape. Though so many of her agents died defending their country, Fourcade survived the occupation to become active in post-war French politics. 

Now, in a dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.

Milk of Paradise by Lucy Inglis

Poppy tears, opium, heroin, fentanyl: humankind has been in thrall to the ‘Milk of Paradise’ for millennia. The latex of papaver somniferum is a bringer of sleep, of pleasurable lethargy, of relief from pain – and hugely addictive. A commodity without rival, it is renewable, easy to extract, transport and refine, and subject to an insatiable global demand.

No other substance in the world is as simple to produce or as profitable. It is the basis of a gargantuan industry built upon a shady underworld, but ultimately it is a farm-gate material that lives many lives before it reaches the branded blister packet, the intravenous drip or the scorched and filthy spoon. Many of us will end our lives dependent on it.

In Milk of Paradise, acclaimed cultural historian Lucy Inglis takes readers on an epic journey from ancient Mesopotamia to modern America and Afghanistan, from Sanskrit to pop, from poppy tears to smack, from morphine to today’s synthetic opiates. It is a tale of addiction, trade, crime, sex, war, literature, medicine and, above all, money. And, as this ambitious, wide-ranging and compelling account vividly shows, the history of opium is our history and it speaks to us of who we are. 

Oh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki

Worried about potty training? Let Jamie Glowacki, potty-training expert, show you how it’s done. Her 6-step, proven process to get your toddler out of diapers and onto the toilet has already worked for tens of thousands of kids and their parents. Here’s the good news: your child is probably ready to be potty trained EARLIER than you think (ideally, between 20–30 months), and it can be done FASTER than you expect (most kids get the basics in a few days—but Jamie’s got you covered even if it takes a little longer). If you’ve ever said to yourself:

How do I know if my kid is ready?
Why won’t my child poop in the potty?
How do I avoid “potty power struggles”?
How can I get their daycare provider on board?
My kid was doing so well—why is he regressing?
And what about nighttime?!

Oh Crap! Potty Training can solve all of these (and other) common issues. This isn’t theory, you’re not bribing with candy, and there are no gimmicks. This is real-world, from-the-trenches potty training information—all the questions and all the ANSWERS you need to do it once and be done with diapers for good.

Shame Nation: Choosing Kindness and Compassion in the Age of Cruelty and Trolling by Sue Scheff

An essential toolkit to help everyone – from parents to teenagers to educators – take charge of their digital lives. 

Online shame comes in many forms, and it’s surprising how much of an effect a simple tweet might have on your business, love life, or school peers. A rogue tweet might bring down a CEO; an army of trolls can run an individual off-line; and virtual harassment might cause real psychological damage. In Shame Nation, parent advocate and internet safety expert, Sue Scheff, presents an eye-opening examination around the rise in online shaming, and offers practical advice and tips including: preventing digital disasters, defending your online reputation, building digital resilience, reclaiming online civility.

The Houseplant Handbook by David Squire

Houseplants bring life and color to any room, and with the right care you can successfully cultivate everything from succulents and bonsai to foliage, flowers, and fruit. Here is everything you always wanted to know about houseplants packed into one easy-to-use volume. Horticulturist David Squire provides simple, step-by-step instructions on choosing the right plants and helping them thrive, with tips on propagation, repotting, grooming, and pest control. 

The heart of the book is a well-illustrated plant directory that offers a fresh perspective on more than 300 popular varieties, arranged by houseplant families. Each entry features a color photograph for identification; the plant’s botanical and common names; its height, spread, optimum climate and light; and propagation tips.

The Vampire: A New History by Nick Groom

Published to mark the bicentenary of John Polidori’s publication of The Vampyre, Nick Groom’s detailed new account illuminates the complex history of the iconic creature. The vampire first came to public prominence in the early eighteenth century, when Enlightenment science collided with Eastern European folklore and apparently verified outbreaks of vampirism, capturing the attention of medical researchers, political commentators, social theorists, theologians, and philosophers. Groom accordingly traces the vampire from its role as a monster embodying humankind’s fears, to that of an unlikely hero for the marginalized and excluded in the twenty-first century.

Drawing on literary and artistic representations, as well as medical, forensic, empirical, and sociopolitical perspectives, this rich and eerie history presents the vampire as a strikingly complex being that has been used to express the traumas and contradictions of the human condition.

Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan

Bursting with the freshness and brightness that is characteristic of all Levantine cuisine, Palestinian food is fragrant, healthy and delicious. From a colourful array of bountiful mezze dishes to rich slow-cooked stews flavoured with aromatic spice blends, it’s a cuisine that represents the very best of modern Middle Eastern cookery.

In this beautiful Palestinian cookbook, food writer Yasmin Khan shares recipes and stories from her travels through the region. On her journey she harvests black olives from the groves of Burquin in the West Bank, hand-rolls maftool – the plump Palestinian couscous – in home kitchens in Jenin and even finds time to enjoy a pint with workers at the Taybeh brewery, which is producing the first Palestinian craft beer. As she feasts and cooks with Palestinians of all ages and backgrounds, she learns about the realities of their everyday lives.

Zaitoun includes herb-filled salads, quick pickles, fragrant soups, tender roasted meats and rich desserts, and has a special focus on vegetarian versions of Palestinian classics. It has recipes for olive, fig and honey tapenade, roast chicken stuffed with pine nuts and raisins, and pomegranate passion cake, among many others. And surrounding the recipes, there is a chorus of stories from those who love, live and cook with Palestine in their hearts.

MYSTERY/THRILLER

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Janina, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her two dogs. When members of a local hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Janina is reclusive, preferring the company of animals to people; she’s unconventional, believing in the stars, and she is fond of the poetry of William Blake, from whose work the title of the book is taken.

Filled with wonderful characters like Maladroit, Big Foot, Black Coat, Dizzy and Boros, this subversive, entertaining noir novel, by ‘one of Europe’s major humanist writers’ (Guardian), offers thought-provoking ideas on our perceptions of madness, injustice against marginalised people, animal rights, the hypocrisy of traditional religion, belief in predestination — and getting away with murder.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain. Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought. And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

YOUNG ADULT

INTERNMENT by Samira Ahmed

Set in a horrifying ‘fifteen minutes in the future’ United States, seventeen-year-old Layla Amin is forced into an internment camp for Muslim-Americans along with her parents. 

With the help of newly-made friends also trapped within the camp, her boyfriend on the outside, and an unexpected alliance, Layla begins a journey to fight for freedom, leading a revolution against the internment camp’s Director and his guards. 

Heart-racing and emotional, INTERNMENT questions the imaginary boundaries that separate us and challenges readers to fight the complicit silence that exists in our society today.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least get some streams on her mixtape. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her mom unexpectedly loses her job, food banks and shut-off notices become as much a part of her life as beats and rhymes. 

With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to make it.

MEMBER RECOMMENDATION

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, Book 3) by James Dasher

The trials are over. Wicked have collected all the information they can. Now it’s up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test. But something has happened that no one at Wicked has foreseen: Thomas has remembered more than they think. And he knows Wicked can’t be trusted…

The times for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than anyone could have imagined. With the Gladers divided can they all make it?

The pulse-pounding third book in the Maze Runner trilogy.

The Kill Order (Maze Runner, Book 4) by James Dasher 

When sun flares hit the Earth intense heat, toxic radiation and flooding followed, wiping out much of the human race. Those who survived live in basic communities in the mountains hunting for food. 

For Mark and his friends surviving is difficult – and then an enemy arrives, infecting people with a highly contagious virus. Thousands die and the virus is spreading. Worse, it’s mutating and people are going crazy. It’s up to Mark and his friends to find the enemy – and a cure – before the Flare infects them all…

The Fever Code (Maze Runner, Book 5) by James Dasher 

Book five in the blockbuster Maze Runner series that spawned a movie franchise and ushered in a worldwide phenomenon! Don’t miss the highly-anticipated series conclusion that finally reveals the story of how Thomas and Wicked built the Maze. 

Once there was a world’s end.
The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.
Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.
Next came Wicked, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.
The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.
Now there are secrets.
There are lies.
And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.
This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.
All will be revealed.

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan 

Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, Rukhsana Ali keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana’s mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.

Devastated and confused, Rukhsana’s parents whisk her off to stay with their extended family in Bangladesh, where she is met with a world of arranged marriages, religious tradition, and intolerance. Fortunately, Rukhsana finds allies along the way, and, through reading her grandmother’s old diary, finds the courage to stand up for her beliefs, take control of her future, and fight for her love.

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

What We Buried by Kate A. Boorman

Told from the split viewpoints of Liv and Jory, Kate A. Boorman’s What We Buried is a psychological thrill ride that deftly explores how memories can lie, how time can bend, and how reconciling the truth can be a matter of life or death.

Siblings Liv and Jory Brewer have grown up resenting each another. Liv—former pageant queen and reality TV star—was groomed for a life in the spotlight, while her older brother, Jory, born with a partial facial paralysis, was left in the shadows. The only thing they have in common is contempt for their parents.

Now Liv is suing her mom and dad for emancipation, and Jory views the whole thing as yet another attention-getting spectacle. But on the day of the hearing, their parents mysteriously vanish, and the siblings are forced to work together. Liv feels certain she knows where they are and suspects that Jory knows more than he’s telling…which is true.

What starts as a simple overnight road trip soon takes a turn for the dangerous and surreal. And as the duo speeds through the deserts of Nevada, brother and sister will unearth deep family secrets that force them to relive their pasts as they try to retain a grip on the present.

CHILDREN'S FICTION

A Crystal of Time (The School for Good and Evil, Book 5) by Soman Chainani

In this fifth installment in Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling fantasy series, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie, Agatha, and their friends must find a way to overthrow the sinister evil that twists lies into the truth and seeks to rewrite their story. A false king has claimed the throne of Camelot, sentenced Tedros to death, and forced Sophie to be his queen. Only Agatha manages to escape. Now Agatha and the students at the School for Good and Evil must find a way to restore Tedros to his throne and save Camelot . . . before all of their fairy tales come to a lethal end.

MEMBER RECOMMENDATION

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

(9+ years) Born as blank as canvas in a world brimming with colour and magic, Alice’s pale skin and milk-white hair mark her as an outcast. Because, for the people of Ferenwood, colour and magic are one and the same. And since the disappearance of her beloved father, Alice is more determined than ever to prove herself and her own magical abilities. 

To do so she’ll have to travel into the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, with the help of a fiercely annoying boy named Oliver. But nothing in Furthermore is as it seems, and it will take all of Alice’s wits to find her father and return him safely home.

McFig & McFly by Henrik Drescher

(9-12 years) From the unparalleled Henrik Drescher comes a wickedly funny story about the perils of runaway rivalry (with a happy ending). 

McFig lives with his daughter, Rosie, in a lovely little cottage far away from anywhere big and important. One day, McFly and his son, Anton, buy the land next door. At first McFig and McFly hit it off big-time and build McFly a cottage modeled exactly after McFig’s house. But then the two start to add things onto their houses — a medieval tower, a second-story playroom — and soon McFig and McFly are in a lifelong competition to be bigger and better than each other. Where will all their obsessive one-upmanship end?

MEMBER RECOMMENDATION

Take the Reins (Canterwood Crest, Book 1) by Jessica Burkhart

(9-13 years) When Sasha Silver and her horse, Charm, arrive on the campus of the elite Canterwood Crest Academy, Sasha knows that she’s in trouble. She’s not exactly welcomed with open arms. One group of girls in particular is used to being the best, the brightest, and the prettiest on the team, and when Sasha shows her skills in the arena, the girls’ claws come out. 

Sasha is determined to prove that she belongs at Canterwood. Will she rise to the occasion and make the advanced riding team by the end of her first semester? Or will the pressure send Sasha packing? 

MEMBER RECOMMENDATION

Chasing Blue (Canterwood Crest, Book 2) by Jessica Burkhart

(9-13 years) In Chasing Blue, Sasha and her horse, Charm, have proven that they’re worthy competitors for the elite Canterwood Crest equestrian team. Things are definitely looking up . . . until Sasha finds out who her riding partner for the semester is: her archnemesis, Queen Bee Heather. Not. Good. And when Heather starts spending a little too much QT with Sasha’s almost-boyfriend, Jacob, the partnership is put to the ultimate test. The tension builds in Behind the Bit when Sasha and her team are accepted to a prestigious horse clinic. Can Sasha and Callie work together when it counts?

MEMBER RECOMMENDATION

The Borrowers Afield (The Borrowers, Book 2) by Mary Norton

(7-10 years) Driven out of their cozy house by the rat catcher, the Borrowers find themselves homeless. Worse, they are lost and alone in a frightening new world: the outdoors. Nearly everything outside — cows, moths, field mice, cold weather — is a life-threatening danger for the Borrowers. But as they bravely journey across country in search of a new home and learn how to survive in the wild, Pod, Homily, and their daughter, Arrietty, discover that the world beyond their old home has more joy, drama, and people than they’d ever imagined.

MEMBER RECOMMENDATION

The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers by Mary Norton

(7-10 years) Mary Norton’s beloved, best-selling books. A collection of four novels relating the adventures of the tiny people who call themselves Borrowers. Includes: The Borrowers, The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft.

MEMBER RECOMMENDATION

The Girl Who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll

(9-12 years) Louie, who was abandoned at Chipchase’s Travelling Circus as a baby, dreams of becoming a ‘Showstopper’, but Mr Chipchase keeps her hidden, tucked away in the ticket booth. No Death-Defying Stunts for her. But Louie has been secretly practising her act; the tightrope and dreams of being the Girl Who Walked on Air – she just needs to be given the chance to shine.

And the circus needs her too – Wellbeloved’s rival show is stealing their crowds. They need a Showstopper. Desperate, Mr Chipchase reluctantly lets Louie perform. She is a sensation, and gets an offer from the sinister Mr Wellbeloved himself to perform . . . over Niagara Falls. But nothing is quite as it seems and soon Louie’s bravery is tested not just on the highwire but in confronting her past and the shady characters in the world of the circus . . .

MEMBER RECOMMENDATION

Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi

(12 years) Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way) and she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days scrubbing the skins and souls of the dead in preparation for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore not only her ever-increasing loneliness, but the way her overworked hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair. 

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appear, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.

CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOKS

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her. 

But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.

 

With vivid illustrations and text bursting with heart, My Papi Has a Motorcycle is a young girl’s love letter to her hardworking dad and to memories of home that we hold close in the midst of change.

The Sad Little Fact by Jonah Winter

(4-7 years) In this spare, ingenious story that reads like a modern-day parable, follow a sad little fact that is locked away for telling the truth. In its underground prison, it meets other facts, all hidden away because they could not lie. Finally, with the help of a few skillful fact finders, the facts are able to spread truth–something that ultimately can’t be denied.

Though some people continue to ignore them, the facts are out in the world, ready for anyone who wants to hear, because “a fact is a fact,” and that’s that.