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What’s New @Skidompha 
Recent additions to our collection 
                                  


What’s New at Skidompha            April 2017

New Non-Fiction

Kurlansky, Mark     Havana:  A subtropical delirium
The author’s insider's view of Havana, the elegant, diverse and tattered city he has come to know over more than 30 years, is part cultural history and part travelogue, with recipes, historic engravings, photographs, and his own pen-and-ink drawings throughout.  The city’s singular music, literature, baseball and food, its five centuries of outstanding, neglected architecture,  and its extraordinary blend of cultures – all these are expressed as well through the eyes of Cuban writers such as Alejo Carpentier and José Martí, and foreigners, including Graham Greene and Hemingway.  Once the only country Americans couldn't visit, Cuba is now opening to us, as is Havana, not only by plane or boat but also through Mark Kurlansky's multilayered and electrifying portrait of the long-elusive city.

Finkel, Michael     The Stranger in the Woods:  The extraordinary story of the last true hermit
In 1986, 20-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods.  He would not have a conversation with another human being for nearly three decades, not until he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the hermit’s secluded life as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

Leibovitz, Liel     A Broken Hallelujah:  Rock and roll, redemption, and the life of Leonard Cohen
This bio lays bare the creative gifts of the late great musician and poet Leonard Cohen and defines the beliefs at the core of his work. From his crippling stage fright as a young performer to his long residency in a remote Zen retreat to his renaissance after four decades as an aging, irresistible performer on a world tour, Cohen remained attuned to notions of justice, lust, longing, loneliness, beauty and redemption, writing and singing throughout his life with a voice and vision commonly reserved only for prophets.

Logsdon, Gene     Letter to a Young Farmer:  How to live richly without wealth on the new garden farm
For more than four decades, the self-described "contrary farmer" and writer Logsdon has commented on the state of American agriculture. In this final book of essays, he addresses the new wave of young, small-scale "garden farmers," acknowledging that the lifestyle they choose is not defined by accumulated wealth or by the get-big-or-get-out agribusiness mindset, but rather one that cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It's one that also looks forward and embraces right technologies, including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.

Miller, Scott       Agent 110:  An American spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII
Agent 110 was the code name for Allen Dulles when in 1942 he was sent to Bern, Switzerland, then a hotbed of spies, as a head agent for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), assigned to psychological warfare, intelligence gathering, and informant cultivation. What he discovered was that the German Resistance movement wanted his support in deposing Hitler. This clandestine history weaves a double narrative of Dulles’ machinations and those of the German resistance, explaining how they intersected and where they parted.  In memory of Chris Kennedy.

Bradshaw, G.A.     Carnivore Minds:  Who these fearsome animals really are
Psychologist-ecologist Bradshaw, who discovered the first instance of PTSD in a nonhuman animal (elephants), here tackles the minds and emotions of carnivores, specifically seven predatory species, drawing from neuroscience and psychology, which, combined with the animals’ natural history, reveal surprising aspects of each group. After analyzing the behavior of crocodiles, bears, sharks, snakes, pumas, orcas and coyotes, she concludes that carnivores wield powerful weapons, but use them with restraint.

New Fiction

Morin, Christopher     The Rebel Wrath
A young Union soldier in the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment finds himself in combat for the first time when he is led into the deadly battle of Gettysburg.  Miraculously, he survives, continues to serve, and finally prepares to muster out to make his way in the world.  But when he receives an unexpected letter from home, from his ailing father, beseeching him to return to Maine to save the family business before all is lost, he goes reluctantly, but finds the small community of North Scarborough filled with dangerous and unlawful people.  As violence escalates, suspicions fall on the new man in town -- the former soldier.

Iles, Greg     Mississippi Blood
A doctor on trial for the murder of a former lover seems bent on self-destruction, having frozen his son out of the trial, preferring to die in prison than reveal the truth to him.  For decades, this doctor has had a second son known to almost no one, the product of an affair with his African-American nurse.  Discovering the secret history of the doctor’s family will be, in a way, discovering the secret history of the South itself, and the search will put all of their lives at risk.

See, Lisa     The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
One day a jeep appears at the gate of a remote Yunnan village, where farmers of tea have been observing for centuries the traditions and rituals of growing their essential crop.  In search of a rare tea, the stranger finds one of the few educated girls on her mountain to translate for him.  Soon she will be among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence, and has a baby outside of wedlock. Rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city. The young mother will slowly emerge from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life, while the abandoned baby will grow up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite the girl’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins, and the mom continues to long for her lost daughter. They will search for answers and find them in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

Coulter, Catherine     The Devil’s Triangle
A couple, who are FBI special agents and leaders of a new high-powered team tackling international crime, fear that the first case for their fledgling unit may be their last, when a dangerous and enigmatic thief appeals to them for help, after stealing an artifact from a museum in Istanbul and receiving death threats from the client whose order she was trying to fill.  In return for their help, the thief has information for them:  she’s overheard talk that a devastating Gobi Desert sandstorm that has killed thousands in Beijing isn’t a natural phenomenon, but rather one produced by man.

Rosenfeld, Lucinda     Class
A woman wanting to lead an honorable life works for a nonprofit that helps feed disadvantaged youth; she supports the local overpriced coffee shop, and drops her daughter off at an integrated urban public school.  All is well until a troubled boy starts bullying kids in her daughter’s class, causing her values to come into conflict with her need to protect her child.

Cussler, Clive     The Cutthroat
It’s 1911 on Broadway, where hopeful young people aspiring to become actors gather, among them a beautiful runaway whose father has used his money and connections to dispatch a detective to find her.  When her murdered body turns up , the detective vowing to bring the killer to justice begins a manhunt which leads him into increasingly more alarming territory – young women are being murdered in cities across America.

Jaswal, Bali Kaur     Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
After taking a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the ladies of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, a woman is shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals.  But, having spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands, they nevertheless have inner lives that are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. As they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, the writing teacher realizes that the illicit nature of the class and their risqué conversations may place them all in danger.

Ferencik, Erica     The River at Night
This high-stakes drama is set against the harsh beauty of the Maine wilderness, charting the journey of four friends as they fight to survive the aftermath of a white water rafting accident. What started out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion into the remote Allagash Wilderness became a nightmare: the accident left the women stranded, separated from their raft and everything they would need to survive. When at nightfall a fire on the mountainside lured them to a ramshackle camp, they would soon grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors.

Chaon, David     Ill Will
A psychologist in suburban Cleveland is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: his adopted brother is being released from prison, a man who 30 years previously received a life sentence for the massacre of their parents, aunt, and uncle, the crime thought to be inspired by a Satanic cult.  Despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations the family made against the adopted brother. Now, DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, and the brothers will soon confront each other.

Rollins, James     The Seventh Plague
The autopsy of a British archaeologist who vanished, then reappeared, then died before saying what happened to him reveals that the scientist was mummified while still alive.  When the medical personnel work on his body, they begin to show signs of a strange disease.  It turns out that the professor had been researching the biblical 10 plagues of Egypt.  Are they back?

Lodato, Victor     Edgar and Lucy
An eight-year-old is torn between the two women in his life: his mother who, although she has moments where she loves him, mostly disappears at night with her various suitors, and his grandmother, who dotes on him to the point of obsession.  When the granny suddenly dies, the mom is thrown into the role of main caretaker, inept at that job. More unsettling are the attentions of an adult which are at once more sinister and more innocent than the boy could ever know.

Kalfar, Jaroslav      Spaceman of Bohemia
In the near-future, the first Czech space mission sets out to explore an enigmatic cosmic dust cloud located somewhere between Venus and Earth.  A lone spaceman takes on the ongoing psychological challenge of the long space flight, while suffering from a deteriorating relationship with his wife.  He will make a surprising discovery of galactic proportions, and narrowly escape death.

Patterson, James     Black Book
A horrifying murder leads investigators to an unexpected address – an exclusive brothel catering to Chicago’s most powerful citizens.  There’s plenty of incriminating evidence on the crime scene, but what is missing is the madam’s black book.  Shock waves ripple through the city’s elite, and everyone’s desperate to find it.

Weldon, Fay     Before the War
In a train station in 1920s London, a wealthy 20-year-old waits on the platform, the only daughter of the nation’s top publisher.  Intelligent but plain, she is already considered a spinster.  But the spinster has a plan:  to propose to a charismatic aspiring novelist and editor working in her father’s office. Will he resist the thought of plenty of funds for enjoying life, and writing in comfort?

Kinsella, Sophie     My Not So Perfect Life
A young woman would love to have the life her boss has – she is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes.  The young woman’s life is a daily struggle, from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. When she takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, desperate to make her dad proud, she is fired.  Shattered but determined to stay positive, she retreats to her family’s farm to help them set up a vacation business.  When her ex-boss unexpectedly turns up as a guest, secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for the young woman’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Ko, Lisa     The Leavers
An undocumented Chinese immigrant goes to her job at a nail salon one morning, and never comes home. With his mother gone, her eleven-year-old son, mystified and bereft, is eventually adopted by a pair of well-meaning white professors who move from the Bronx to a small town upstate and rename him. Far from all he’s ever known, the boy struggles to reconcile his adoptive parents’ insistence that he assimilate, with his memories of his mother and the community he left behind.  Set in New York and China, this novel is a vivid examination of borders and belonging.

New Mysteries

Higashino, Keigo     Under the Midnight Sun
A murder in 1970s Osaka, never resolved, continues to spin off consequences that affect both the obsessive detective pursuing the case and the two people most touched by it:  the son of the murdered man, and the daughter of the prime suspect. All of their lives have remained inextricably linked for 20 years.

Bannister, Jo     Other Countries
Returning after a leave of absence, a constable is sent to nursemaid a TV historian visiting the area to open a Museum of the Crusades.  What neither knows is that a young man has travelled 1,600 miles in order to fire-bomb the event.  
The constable saves the day, but at the cost of putting herself in danger.  And now she has disappeared.

O’Neill, Heather     The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Two babies abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914 grow up to find their talents aligned:  the boy is a piano prodigy, and the girl lights up a room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around Montreal performing clown routines, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen. Then, separated as teenagers, they are sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both pulled into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. After years of searching and poverty they reunite, and soon their troupe of clowns and chorus girls has hit New York, commanding the stage as well as the alleys, and neither the theater nor the underworld will ever look the same.

Cleeves, Ann     The Crow Trap
In dim, damp Northumberland, three women (a botanist, a zoologist, and a team leader) band together to study the environmental impacts of a proposed quarry near a national park, a project which has disrupted small town life and stirred up bad blood.  A rumpled, middle-aged detective investigating the murder of someone closely linked to the project is also suspicious of the alleged suicide of the team leader’s friend.  In memory of Parker Carey.

Vargas, Fred     A Climate of Fear
A slow-moving, deep-thinking French commissaire must reckon with the murder of two people who were part of an expedition to Iceland gone catastrophically wrong ten years earlier. The group had found themselves trapped on a deserted island for two weeks, surrounded by a thick, impenetrable fog rumored to be summoned by an ancient local demon. Two of them didn’t make it back alive.

Black, Lisa      Unpunished
When a copy editor at a the Cleveland Herald is found hanging above the grinding wheels of the newspaper assembly with a strap wrapped around his throat, a forensic investigator has her suspicions about this apparent suicide, considering the desperation and tension in the news industry.  When the evidence suggests murder, she has no choice but to place her trust in the one person she doesn’t trust at all, a former homicide detective now killer with a conscience and his own code of honor.

Sheikh, Nazneen     The Place of Shining Light
An Islamabad antiquities dealer hires a former special forces operative to smuggle an ancient Buddha statue from Afghanistan to the Punjab. But when the operative experiences a spiritual awakening upon seeing the statue, he resolves to steal it away from the dealer in order to protect its purity. Desperate to disappear before his betrayal is discovered, the operative in flight will be hampered by the Taliban and by a mysterious woman he encounters on the run.  

Jance, J.A.     Man Overboard
A cybersecurity expert has his life back on track after years of struggling with depression. When he falls from the balcony of his suite on a cruise, police call it an accident.  But the victim’s aunt is determined to find answers.  When she contacts her nephew’s friend to investigate, she unwittingly sets up a collision course with a serial killer.

Alem, Raja     The Dove’s Necklace
The discovery of the naked body of a young woman in an alley in Mecca has the investigating detective confronting painful memories of the honor killing of his own sister by their father.  

White, Randy Wayne     Mangrove Lightning
The ghosts of a 1925 multiple murder are stalking a marine biologist living along the Florida waterways.  A charter captain and guide comes to him, muttering about a curse, claiming his family has come under a bizarre series of attacks, admitting that in the Prohibition, his relatives were involved in smuggling and killing.  The biologist, a former CIA operative, will have to solve the 100-year-old murders and probe the mind of a madman.

Hillerman, Anne     Song of the Lion
When a car bomb explodes in a school parking lot during a basketball game, a Navajo Tribal policewoman learns that the young man who was killed was not the intended victim.  In reality, the bomb was meant for a mediator for a multi-million dollar development planned alongside the Grand Canyon.  What appears as an act of ecoterrorism will unfold as a complicated scheme of revenge against the mediator and his family.

Perry, Anne     Murder on the Serpentine
When the commander of Special Branch receives a royal summons, he expects it must be very serious business.  A body has been found in Hyde Park, that of the Queen’s confidant, who had been surreptitiously investigating a horse-racing enthusiast thought to have an undue amount of influence on the Prince of Wales. The investigation will require discretion and stealth, because it seems certain that the killer is a member of the upper classes.

Dobyns, Stephen     Saratoga Payback
A former p.i., his license revoked by police, is a regular, elderly Saratoga civilian again, until a dead body appears on his front lawn, the victim one of the city’s most annoying residents.  Can he resist poking his nose into the case?  Nope.

Robb, J.D.     Echoes in Death
As an NYPD lieutenant and her billionaire businessman husband drive home from a swanky party, they nearly run over a bloody, naked and extremely traumatized woman who staggers in front of their car.  While the woman is being transported to the ER, her husband, a doctor much disliked, lies dead in their townhouse, his three safes broken into and emptied. When questioned, the injured woman, nearly unconscious, can only utter one word:  devil.

New Fantasy/SciFi

Mastai, Elan     All Our Wrong Todays
A young man who just can’t seem to find his place in a dazzling techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks and moon bases has his life turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, he makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, he finds himself stranded in our 2016, where he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and, just maybe, his soul mate. Should he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or should he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? His search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future is supposed to be.

New in Large Print

Sobel, Dava     The Glass Universe: How the ladies of the Harvard Observatory took the measure of the stars
This work of non-fiction presents the women hired in the mid-19th century by the Harvard College Observatory to interpret the observations male astronomers made via telescope.  As photography transformed astronomy, the ladies turned to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates.  The half million plates amassed over the ensuing decades enabled the women to help make extraordinary discoveries, discerning what stars are made of, categorizing stars for further research, and measuring distances across space by starlight.

Macallister, Greer     Girl in Disguise
The streets of 1956 Chicago offer a woman mostly trouble and ruin, unless that woman is the nation’s first female Pinkerton detective who has a knack for manipulation and an unusually quick mind.  Inspired by that real character, this story presents a fiercely independent woman whose forgotten triumphs helped sway the fate of the country.

Jance, J.A.     Man Overboard
A cybersecurity expert has his life back on track after years of struggling with depression. When he falls from the balcony of his suite on a cruise, police call it an accident.  But the victim’s aunt is determined to find answers.  When she contacts her nephew’s friend to investigate, she unwittingly sets up a collision course with a serial killer.

Goodwin, Daisy     Victoria
From her early girlhood through her coronation at 18, her marriage, and the birth of her first child, this film-based book presents the evolution of Victoria into one of history's greatest monarchs. From the upper echelons of the royal court to the below-stairs staff, there are passionate affairs, power struggles, and unrequited love, and at the center of it all stands the new queen, a strong, complex, and willful woman who must, somehow, rule over an enormous empire and become an enduring icon.

Finkel, Michael     The Stranger in the Woods:  The extraordinary story of the last true hermit
In 1986, 20-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods.  He would not have a conversation with another human being for nearly three decades, not until he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the hermit’s secluded life as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

Knott, Robert     Robert B. Parker’s Revelation
Two territorial marshals are hoping things have finally settled down in their jurisdiction in the wild west, but everything changes when a notorious criminal and a pack of cold-blooded convicts are suddenly on the loose, having kidnapped a woman during their escape. With an unconventional Yankee detective by their side, the marshals set off on a massive manhunt, unaware that the leader of the pack has gone off on his own furious search for a hidden cache of gold and jewels, and for the men who betrayed him and left him for dead.

Gawande, Atul     Being Mortal:  Medicine and what matters most
The author believes that in the face of our inevitable aging and death, modern medicine often runs counter to what it should do.  Telling the stories of his own patients and their families, he reveals the suffering that often ensues from the medical extension of life, and shows that the ultimate goal is not a good death, but a good life – until the very end.

Krentz, Jayne Ann     When All the Girls Have Gone
When a woman is unable to contact her stepsister to tell her that one of her closest friends was found dead, she discovers that the stepsister has vanished. She teams up with a struggling PI who is burned out, divorced and almost broke, and after surviving a near-fatal attack, they turn to the stepsister’s closest friends, women in a Seattle-based online investment club, for answers.  What they find is chilling.

Pethick, Sue     Boomer’s Bucket List
When her cuddly canine companion is diagnosed with a rare heart condition, a woman decides to take her pet on the greatest road trip of his life.  The trip becomes a love story about a passionate dog owner, a smitten newsman and an unforgettable pup who steals everybody’s hearts.

Perry, Thomas      The Old Man
A man seems to be a harmless retiree in Vermont with two big mutts and a grown daughter he keeps in touch with by phone. But most sixty-year-old widowers don’t have multiple driver’s licenses, savings stockpiled in banks across the country, and two Berettas stashed in a closet. He has spent decades on the run, because 35 years ago, as a hotshot in army intelligence, he made the wrong decision while covertly assisting a rebel army in Libya.  Just as he is now starting to feel safe, it becomes clear that someone wants him dead.  

Sanchez, Mamen     The Altogether Unexpected Disappearance of Atticus Craftsman
An Englishman who never travels without his tea, teacup and electric kettle is sent to Madrid to shut down a failing literary magazine.  After three months, there’s no sign of him.  Dispatched to find her, an investigator will be blocked at every turn by five fiery Spanish women who run the literary magazine and who will do anything to keep their jobs.

Coulter, Catherine     The Devil’s Triangle
A couple, who are FBI special agents and leaders of a new high-powered team tackling international crime, fear that the first case for their fledgling unit may be their last, when a dangerous and enigmatic thief appeals to them for help, after stealing an artifact from a museum in Istanbul and receiving death threats from the client whose order she was trying to fill.  In return for their help, the thief has information for them:  she’s overheard talk that a devastating Gobi Desert sandstorm that has killed thousands in Beijing isn’t a natural phenomenon, but rather is one produced by man.

Woods, Stuart     Below the Belt
Newly ensconced in Santa Fe with a lovely female companion, an attorney receives a call from a friend requesting a delicate favor, one requiring him to step into the circle of a charming and ambitious gentleman with friends in high places.  But in these fickle circles of power, fortunes rise and fall on the turn of a dime, and it may be that the attorney will hold the key not just to one man’s fate, but to the fate of the nation.

Perry, Anne     Murder on the Serpentine
When the commander of Special Branch receives a royal summons, he knows it must be very serious business.  A body has been found in Hyde Park, that of the Queen’s confidant, who had been surreptitiously investigating a horse-racing enthusiast thought to have an undue amount of influence on the Prince of Wales. The investigation will require discretion and stealth, because it seems certain that the killer is a member of the upper classes.

New Audiobooks

Nevins, Sheila     You Don’t Look Your Age… and Other Fairytales
Vowing to tell it like it is, a famed documentary producer steps out from behind the camera to recount the real life challenges of being a working mother in a man's world, what it's like to be an older woman in a youth-obsessed culture, the sometimes changing, often sweet truth about marriages, what being a feminist really means, and that you are in good company if your adult children don't return your phone calls. This program is read by a full cast including Alan Alda, Kathy Bates, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Katie Couric, Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Lane, Lesley Stahl, Gloria Steinem, Meryl Streep, Marlo Thomas, Lily Tomlin, and Gloria Vanderbilt.

See, Lisa    The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane   
One day a jeep appears at the gate of a remote Yunnan village, where farmers of tea have been observing for centuries the traditions and rituals of growing their essential crop.  In search of a rare tea, the stranger finds one of the few educated girls on her mountain to translate for him.  Soon she will be among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence, and has a baby outside of wedlock. Rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city. The young mother will slowly emerge from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life, while the abandoned baby will grow up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite the girl’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins, and the mom continues to long for her lost daughter. They will search for answers and find them in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

Lethem, Jonathan     A Gambler’s Anatomy
A handsome, impeccably tuxedoed man travels the world winning large sums of money at backgammon.  Fronted by his pasty, vampiric manager, he arrives in Berlin after a troubling run of bad luck in Singapore. Perhaps it was the chance encounter with a crass childhood acquaintance and his smoldering girlfriend, or perhaps it was the emergence of a blot that distorts his vision so he has to look at the board sideways. Things don't go much better in Berlin, where after collapsing and being sent to the local hospital, he is given an extremely depressing diagnosis. After running out of money, he returns home to Berkeley, where he discovers his psychic abilities, and where he confronts two existential questions: is the gambler being played by life? and what if you're telepathic but it doesn't do you any good?"

Lax, Leah     Uncovered:  How I left Hasidic life and finally came home
Born into a non-observant, dysfunctional Jewish family, her father abusive and mentally ill, her mother cold and distant, the author found the acceptance and warmth she so desperately wanted in the Lubavitch Hasidic community, which she joined at age 18 and describes here in great detail. After bringing up seven children in strict adherence to Hasidic Law, she remained sexually and creatively repressed. She fixed that by acknowledging that she is a lesbian and by rejecting the strictures of the religious life.

Friedman, Thomas L.    Thank You for Being Late:  An optimist’s guide to thriving in the age of accelerations
How should we live in an age of dizzying acceleration?  Increases in computing power mean that climbers atop Mount Everest enjoy excellent cell-phone service, and self-driving cars are taking to the roads. A parallel explosion of economic interdependency has created new riches as well as spiraling debt burdens. Meanwhile, Mother Nature is also seeing dramatic changes as carbon levels rise and species go extinct, with compounding results. How to cope? Friedman concludes that nations and individuals must learn to be fast (innovative and quick to adapt), fair (prepared to help the casualties of change), and slow (adept at shutting out the noise and accessing their deepest values).

Williams, Florence     The Nature Fix:  Why nature makes us happier, healthier, and more creative
The author investigates cutting-edge research as she travels to fragrant cypress forests in Korea to meet the rangers who administer “forest healing programs,” to the green hills of Scotland and its “ecotherapeutic” approach to caring for the mentally ill, to a river trip in Idaho with Iraqi vets suffering from PTSD, to the West Virginia mountains where she discovers how being outside helps children with ADHD. She argues that our connection to nature is much more important to our cognition than we think and that even small amounts of exposure to the living world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. Nature, she believes, is not a luxury, but is in fact essential to our humanity.

New Films

A Man Called Ove          In a Swedish neighborhood, a sad and crotchety old retiree with strict principles and a short fuse spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, visiting his wife's grave, and secretly preparing to end the life he has given up on. When one day a boisterous young family moves in next door, accidentally flattening his mailbox in the process, they earn his special brand of ire. Yet from this inauspicious beginning an unlikely friendship forms through which we learn of the widower's past happiness and heartbreak. This is a heartwarming tale of unreliable first impressions that concludes with a gentle reminder that life is sweeter when it's shared.

Victoria          From her early girlhood through her coronation at 18, her marriage, and the birth of her first child, this film presents the evolution of Victoria into one of history's greatest monarchs. From the upper echelons of the royal court to the below-stairs staff, there are passionate affairs, power struggles, and unrequited love, and at the center of it all stands the new queen, a strong, complex, and willful woman who must, somehow, rule over an enormous empire and become an enduring icon.

After Hours          When in Manhattan's SoHo, an uptown man innocently meets a downtown girl, he's uncontrollably drawn through her into a terrible nighttime vortex of wild, malevolent and paranoid adventures. Nothing in his humdrum life as a word processor has prepared him for this night's surreal encounters with this new woman, or her far-out artist roommate, or an ice cream vendor, or a woman who lives in the basement of a nightclub, or a man who is ripe for his first gay experience. Now, he longs only for the safety of his upper-East Side apartment ... but will he ever make it home?

Indian Summers, Season 2          Aspiring to become the next Viceroy of India with the help of his American wife, a British government official struggles with the heat, with his sister's abusive husband, with rumors of her risky love affair with one of his Indian aides, and with the momentum of revolution against the British regime spreading like fire within the Indian community.

A Monster Calls          Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones, and Sigourney Weaver star in this visually and stunningly emotional drama in which a boy's life takes a turn after his mother becomes ill and he is sent to live with his unsympathetic grandmother. As an escape, he turns to his artwork and conjures up a 40-foot-high monster who becomes a most unlikely ally, guiding him on a journey of courage, faith and truth, powerfully fusing imagination and reality.

Lion             After begging to accompany his older brother on a work assignment, a 5-year-old Indian boy gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home and family. Alone, on the streets, and so small, he must learn to survive in a huge city, until he is rescued and given to an Australian couple for adoption. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out from Australia to find his lost family and his first home. Based on a true story.

The Durrells in Corfu           An impoverished widow makes the radical decision to leave 1930s England to seek out a new destiny for her family, relocating her brood of four uncooperative children to a house in the Greek sun. All face a whole new set of challenges as they establish relationships with new friends, rivals, lovers and animals. It is a realistic portrayal of the frustrations and angst of a single mother experiencing living abroad with virtually no income.  In memory of Parker Carey.
 

Book and film descriptions are excerpted from dust jackets, publisher info, and book and film reviews.
 

If you’re in a book club, or would like to start one, take a look at our new “Book Club in a Bag.”  It’s a tote filled with 10 copies of the same book, along with a discussion leader’s guide, and the whole bag checks out on your library card like a book.  You have several titles to choose from.  Ask us about it!

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