“I cannot live without books”
By Anne Tyler
Penguin Random House $27
In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss
By Amy Bloom
Penguin Random House $27
By C.J. Box
Penguin Random House $28
By Karen Joy Fowler
Penguin Random House $28
In 1822, a secret family moves into a secret cabin some thirty miles northeast of Baltimore, to farm, to hide, and to bear ten children over the course of the next sixteen years. Junius Booth–breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor, and master of the house in more ways than one–is at once a mesmerizing talent and a man of terrifying instability. One by one the children arrive, as year by year, the country draws frighteningly closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war. As the tenor of the world shifts, the Booths emerge from their hidden lives to cement their place as one of the country’s leading theatrical families. But behind the curtains of the many stages they have graced, multiple scandals, family triumphs, and criminal disasters begin to take their toll, and the solemn siblings of John Wilkes Booth are left to reckon with the truth behind the destructively specious promise of an early prophecy.
By Lucy Foley
Harper Collins Publishers $28.99
A new locked room mystery, set in a Paris apartment building in which every resident has something to hide … Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up … he’s not there. The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.
One Italian Summer
By Rebecca Serle
Simon & Schuster $27
A moving and unforgettable exploration of the powerful bond between mother and daughter set on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast … When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. To make matters worse, the mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone. But as soon as she steps foot on the beautiful Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. And then Carol appears for real–in the flesh, healthy and sun-tanned … and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how. But over the course of her time in Italy, Katy gets to know Carol in this new form, and soon she must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue. One Italian Summer is Rebecca Serle’s next great love story, a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.
Animal Power: 100 Animals to Energize Your Life and Awaken Your Soul
By Alison Charles
In this luxe compendium, get ready to discover rituals, meditations, and visualizations to connect with 100 remarkable animals and their specific messages to share with you. Learn how to connect with the animal power of the bear for comfort and protection, the leopard for confidence, the seal for healthy relationships, and the peacock for creative inspiration, and many others. The practices are paired with illuminating stories from spiritual teachers around the world, plus sidebars with fascinating details on ancient traditions, global mythology, and scientific trivia. Delivered in an enchanting package overflowing with insight and magic, Animal Power is a celebration of the natural world and an inspiring companion for modern mystics, nature and animal lovers, and the spiritually curious.
By Oliver Roeder
W.W. Norton $26.95
Checkers, backgammon, chess, and Go. Poker, Scrabble, and bridge. These seven games, ancient and modern, fascinate millions of people worldwide. In Seven Games, Oliver Roeder charts their origins and historical importance, the delightful arcana of their rules, and the ways their design makes them pleasurable. Roeder introduces thrilling competitors, such as evangelical minister Marion Tinsley, who across forty years lost only three games of checkers; Shusai, the Master, the last Go champion of imperial Japan, defending tradition against “modern rationalism”; and an IBM engineer who created a backgammon program so capable at self-learning that NASA used it on the space shuttle. He delves into the history and lore of each game: backgammon boards in ancient Egypt, the Indian origins of chess, how certain shells from a particular beach in Japan make the finest white Go stones. Beyond the cultural and personal stories, Roeder explores why games, seemingly trivial pastimes, speak so deeply to the human soul. He introduces an early philosopher of games, the aptly named Bernard Suits, and visits an Oxford cosmologist who has perfected a computer that can effectively play bridge, a game as complicated as human language itself.
Free: A Child and a Country at the End of History
By Lea Ypi
W.W. Norton, $27.95
For precocious 11-year-old Lea Ypi, Albania’s Soviet-style socialism held the promise of a preordained future, a guarantee of security among enthusiastic comrades. That is, until she found herself clinging to a stone statue of Joseph Stalin, newly beheaded by student protests. Communism had failed to deliver the promised utopia. One’s “biography”–class status and other associations long in the past–put strict boundaries around one’s individual future. When Lea’s parents spoke of relatives going to “university” or “graduating,” they were speaking of grave secrets Lea struggled to unveil. And when the early ’90s saw Albania and other Balkan countries exuberantly begin a transition to the “free market,” Western ideals of freedom delivered chaos: a dystopia of pyramid schemes, organized crime, and sex trafficking. With her elegant, intellectual, French-speaking grandmother; her radical-chic father; and her staunchly anti-socialist, Thatcherite mother to guide her through these disorienting times, Lea had a political education of the most colorful sort–here recounted with outstanding literary talent. Now one of the world’s most dynamic young political thinkers and a prominent leftist voice in the United Kingdom, Lea offers a fresh and invigorating perspective on the relation between the personal and the political, between values and identity, posing urgent questions about the cost of freedom.