We need to hear from you about your new favorite books. What is your book club reading this month? Please use the guest book above.
Click here for the Indie Bestseller List. This is based on
reporting from many hundreds of independent
bookstores across the United States.
Below are recent books recommended by our class
book store owner. Enjoy!
PLEASE NOTE: This page is getting very long but please continue to scroll down all the way to see some books that you may have missed. The link back to the Home Page is at the bottom, and here as well, if you don't want to scroll all the way. Enjoy!
by Isabel Allende
Below are our past book recommendations and because the page is getting very long, we have deleted their descriptions. You can find information about them on the internet.
by Jhumpa Lahiri
This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
by Ann Patchett
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin
by Sue Miller
And the Dark Sacred Night: A Novel
by Julia Glass
Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarity
The Miseducation of the
by William Deresiewicz
by Jane Smiley
All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr
by Kristen Hannah
In Defense of a Liberal Education
by Fareed Zakaria
From Pulitzer Prize–winning American historian Joseph J. Ellis, the unexpected story of why the thirteen colonies, having just fought off the imposition of a distant centralized governing power, would decide to subordinate themselves anew.
We all know the famous opening phrase of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this Continent a new Nation.” The truth is different. In 1776, thirteen American colonies declared themselves independent states that only temporarily joined forces in order to defeat the British. Once victorious, they planned to go their separate ways. The triumph of the American Revolution was neither an ideological nor a political guarantee that the colonies would relinquish their independence and accept the creation of a federal government with power over their autonomy as states.
The Quartet is the story of this second American founding and of the men most responsible—George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. These men, with the help of Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris, shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force the calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement.
Ellis has given us a gripping and dramatic portrait of one of the most crucial and misconstrued periods in American history: the years between the end of the Revolution and the formation of the federal government.
The Quartet unmasks a myth, and in its place presents an even more compelling truth—one that lies at the heart of understanding the creation of the United States of America.
Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.
Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.
Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.
Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.
Circling The Sun
by Paula McLain
Winner of the recent Pulitizer Prize for fiction
by Joseph Ellis
A wise and entertaining novel about a woman who has lived life on her own terms for seventy-five defiant and determined years, only to find herself suddenly thrust to the center of her family's various catastrophes Meet Florence Gordon: blunt, brilliant, cantankerous and passionate, feminist icon to young women, invisible to almost everyone else. At seventy-five, Florence has earned her right to set down the burdens of family and work and shape her legacy at long last. But just as she is beginning to write her long-deferred memoir, her son Daniel returns to New York from Seattle with his wife and daughter, and they embroil Florence in their dramas, clouding the clarity of her days and threatening her well-defended solitude. And then there is her left foot, which is starting to drag.
With searing wit, sophisticated intelligence, and a tender respect for humanity in all its flaws, Brian Morton introduces a constellation of unforgettable characters. Chief among them, Florence, who can humble the fools surrounding her with one barbed line, but who eventually finds there are realities even she cannot outwit.
by Brian Morton
Author, lawyer, and pundit Hirshman (Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution) offers a dual biography of the first two women appointed to the SCOTUS: Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
She explores the two justices’ very different personalities and how their experiences as pioneering women in the legal profession informed their approaches to constitutional law.
Of particular interest are Hirshman’s descriptions of the respective paths O’Connor and Ginsburg took to reach the Supreme Court. O’Connor, an obscure Arizona appellate judge, mixed extraordinary social skills, fierce self-reliance, and Republican connections to secure her historic nomination. Ginsburg, “the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s movement,” parlayed her work on a number of pivotal cases regarding the constitutional rights of women into her coveted appointment.
Hirshman illuminates how Ginsburg and O’Connor navigated the high-stakes internal politics of the Supreme Court, and she takes the unusual step of addressing the influence that Supreme Court law clerks can have on the Court’s decision making.
She also spends quality time discussing the evolution of the constitutional theories that the justices apply when analyzing such flash-point issues as reproductive rights and workplace sexual harassment.
Hirshman’s conversational style and deep analysis of several precedent-setting constitutional cases should appeal to both casual and professional readers.
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World
by Linda Hirshman
My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality—and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country—a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world.
In prose that is revealing and rich, Gloria reminds us that living in an open, observant, and “on the road” state of mind can make a difference in how we learn, what we do, and how we understand each other.
Lady Byron and Her Daughters
by Julia Markus
My Life on the Road
by Gloria Steinem
.The center of public attention after her tumultuous marriage to Lord Byron, Annabella Milbanke transformed herself from a neglected wife into a figure of incredible resilience and social vision. After she and her infant child were cast out of their home, she was left to navigate the stifling and unsupportive social environment of Regency England. Far from a victim or an obstacle to Byron’s work, however, Lady Byron was a rebel against the fashionable snobbery of her class, founding the first Infants School and Co-Operative School in England.
A poet and talented mathematician, Lady Byron supported the education of her precocious daughter, Ada Lovelace, now recognized and lauded as a pioneer of computer science, and saved from death her “adoptive daughter” Medora Leigh, the child of Lord Byron’s incest with his sister. Lady Byron was adored by the younger abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe and by many notable friends. Yet her complex relationships with her family, including the sister Byron loved, runs like a live wire through this skillfully told and groundbreaking biography of a remarkable woman who made a life for herself and became a leading light in her century.
The New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter returns with an unforgettable story of love, honor, tradition, and identity.
The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, the golden son, leaves his tiny Indian village to begin a medical residency at one of the best hospitals in America. When his father dies, Anil becomes the head of the Patel household and inherits the mantle of arbiter for all of the village's disputes. But he is uncertain that he has the wisdom and courage required to take on the role.
Back home in India, Anil's childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband. Arranged by her parents, the marriage shatters Leena's romantic hopes, and forces her to make choices that will hold drastic repercussions for her family.
Tender and bittersweet, The Golden Son illuminates the decisions we must make to find our true selves.
The Golden Son
byShilpi Somaya Gowda
Looking to some of the world's greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade.
Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, "The Road to Character" provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.
Joy, David Brooks writes, is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.
The Road to Character
by David Brooks
Never before have women been represented in such great numbers in the Supreme Court, both chambers of Congress, and in the West Wing. In Broad Influence, Jay Newton-Small, one of the nation's most deeply respected and sourced journalists takes readers through the corridors of Washington D.C., the offices and hallways of Capital Hill and everywhere else conversations and deals are happening to demonstrate how women are reaching across the aisles, coalescing, and affecting lasting change.
With deep, exclusive and behind-closed-doors reporting and interviews, including conversations with Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Mikulski, Kirsten Gillibrand, Valerie Jarrett, Sarah Palin, Kelly Ayotte, Cathy McMorris Rogers and dozens of other former and current senators, representatives, senior White House staffers, governors and cabinet members, Broad Influence is an insightful look at how women are transforming government, politics, and the workforce, and how they are using that power shift to effect change throughout America.
by Jay Newton-Small
A RARE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY PAINTING LINKS THREE LIVES, ON THREE CONTINENTS, OVER THREE CENTURIES IN THE LAST PAINTING OF SARA DE VOS, AN EXHILARATING NEW NOVEL FROM DOMINIC SMITH.
Amsterdam, 1631: Sara de Vos becomes the first woman to be admitted as a master painter to the city’s Guild of St. Luke. Though women do not paint landscapes (they are generally restricted to indoor subjects), a wintry outdoor scene haunts Sara: She cannot shake the image of a young girl from a nearby village, standing alone beside a silver birch at dusk, staring out at a group of skaters on the frozen river below. Defying the expectations of her time, she decides to paint it.
New York City, 1957: The only known surviving work of Sara de Vos, At the Edge of a Wood, hangs in the bedroom of a wealthy Manhattan lawyer, Marty de Groot, a descendant of the original owner. It is a beautiful but comfortless landscape. The lawyer’s marriage is prominent but comfortless, too. When a struggling art history grad student, Ellie Shipley, agrees to forge the painting for a dubious art dealer, she finds herself entangled with its owner in ways no one could predict.
Sydney, 2000: Now a celebrated art historian and curator, Ellie Shipley is mounting an exhibition in her field of specialization: female painters of the Dutch Golden Age. When it becomes apparent that both the original At the Edge of a Wood and her forgery are en route to her museum, the life she has carefully constructed threatens to unravel entirely and irrevocably.
The Last Painting of
Sara De Vos
by Dominic Smith
Everyone Brave is Forgiven
by Chris Cleave
We’ve been wondering lately: What is the secret sauce that makes novels like Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale so popular, stories set against the backdrop of WWII? Whatever it is, it made me approach Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave is Forgiven with a particularly wary eye. Sure, it’s got all of the ingredients—heroes and heroines who are flawed yet admirable. Check! A love story that manages to be poignant without being precious. Check! It even has cover art that is, as an astute colleague put it, a little cartoonish but appealingly “Disney-London.” If you’re a terrible cook like me, however, you know that you can have all of the right ingredients and still concoct something utterly inedible. But this couldn’t be farther from the case with ‘Brave,’ which was inspired by love letters that Cleave unearthed from his grandparents. The non-love story aspects of this novel are just as compelling, and add a layer of gravitas to a story that could easily slip into “sudsy” territory. These parts provide a chilling reminder that it wasn’t just the Jews who were marginalized and punished during WWII, but black children, poor children, and the otherwise “different” or disenfranchised. Moreover, through the character of Mary North, ‘Brave’ emphasizes the importance of challenging injustices. This timeless message is another key ingredient in what is sure to be another beloved (WWII) novel. --Erin Kodicek
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In a small town on the verge of big change, a young woman unearths deep secrets about her family and unexpected truths about herself. Filled with insights that are the hallmark of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, Miller’s Valley is an emotionally powerful story about a family you will never forget.
For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”
Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.” Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.
by Anna Quindlen
: Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things is about racism, choice, fear, and hope. The novel is based on the true story of a labor and delivery nurse who was prohibited from caring for a newborn because the father requested that no African-American nurses tend to his baby. In the fictional version, Ruth, the African-American nurse in question, finds herself on trial for events related to the same request made by a white supremacist father. Using the narratives of Ruth, the baby’s father, and the female public defender who takes Ruth’s case, Picoult examines multiple facets of racism. The topic of race in America is difficult to talk about, but in in an honest and revealing way Picoult allows readers to draw their own conclusions about how we see ourselves and others in the world. Small Great Things is an important and thought-provoking novel about power and prejudice that deserves to be read, digested, and shared with others.
Small Great Things
by Jodi Picoult
Final words and heartfelt remembrances from bestselling author Pat Conroy take center stage in this winning nonfiction collection, supplemented by touching pieces from Conroy s many friends.
This new volume of Pat Conroy s nonfiction brings together some of the most charming interviews, magazine articles, speeches, and letters from his long literary career, many of them addressed directly to his readers with his habitual greeting, Hey, out there. Ranging across diverse subjects, such as favorite recent reads, the challenge of staying motivated to exercise, and processing the loss of dear friends, Conroy s eminently memorable pieces offer a unique window into the life of a true titan of Southern writing.
With a beautiful introduction from his widow, novelist Cassandra King, A Lowcountry Heart also honors Conroy s legacy and the innumerable lives he touched. Finally, the collection turns to remembrances of The Great Conroy, as he is lovingly titled by friends, and concludes with a eulogy. The inarguable power of Conroy s work resonates throughoutA Lowcountry Heart, and his influence promises to endure
This moving tribute is sure to be a cherished keepsake for any true Conroy fan and remain a lasting monument to one of the best-loved masters of contemporary American letters."
by Pat Conroy
He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.
Take Note: The movie is particularly good. Don't miss it!
by Margot Lee Shetterly
The National Book Award Winner and #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood--where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned--Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
In Whitehead's ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor--engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar's first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city's placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
Like the protagonist of Gulliver's Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey--hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.
by Colson Whitehead
Move Fast and Break Things is the riveting account of a small group of libertarian entrepreneurs who in the 1990s began to hijack the original decentralized vision of the Internet, in the process creating three monopoly firms--Facebook, Amazon, and Google--that now determine the future of the music, film, television, publishing and news industries.
Jonathan Taplin offers a succinct and powerful history of how online life began to be shaped around the values of the men who founded these companies, including Peter Thiel and Larry Page: overlooking piracy of books, music, and film while hiding behind opaque business practices and subordinating the privacy of individual users in order to create the surveillance-marketing monoculture in which we now live.
The enormous profits that have come with this concentration of power tell their own story. Since 2001, newspaper and music revenues have fallen by 70 percent; book publishing, film, and television profits have also fallen dramatically. Revenues at Google in this same period grew from $400 million to $74.5 billion. Today, Google's YouTube controls 60 percent of all streaming-audio business but pay for only 11 percent of the total streaming-audio revenues artists receive. More creative content is being consumed than ever before, but less revenue is flowing to the creators and owners of that content.
With the reallocation of money to monopoly platforms comes a shift in power. Google, Facebook, and Amazon now enjoy political influence on par with Big Oil and Big Pharma, which in part explains how such a tremendous shift in revenues from artists to platforms could have been achieved and why it has gone unchallenged for so long.
The stakes here go far beyond the livelihood of any one musician or journalist. As Taplin observes, the fact that more and more Americans receive their news, as well as music and other forms of entertainment, from a small group of companies poses a real threat to democracy. Move Fast and Break Things offers a vital, forward-thinking prescription for how artists can reclaim their audiences using knowledge of the past and a determination to work together. Using his own half-century career as a music and film producer and early pioneer of streaming video online, Taplin offers new ways to think about the design of the World Wide Web and specifically the way we live with the firms that dominate it.
Move Fast and Break Things
by Jonathan Taplin
New This Month
Citizen: An American Lyric
by Claudia Rankine
“So groundbreaking is Rankine's work that it's almost impossible to describe; suffice it to say that this is a poem that reads like an essay (or the other way around) - a piece of writing that invents a new form for itself, incorporating pictures, slogans, social commentary and the most piercing and affecting revelations to evoke the intersection of inner and outer life.”
New Common Read
Click on this URL to hear a wonderful speech by Peggy Noonan about the importance of books.
"the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still."--NPR Books
The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger
The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive -- until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.
But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come.
Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...