The Museum of Extraordinary Things
by Alice Hoffman
Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice Hoffman's "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different souls in New York during the volatile first decades of the twentieth century. Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermaid in her father's "museum," alongside performers like the Wolfman, the Butterfly Girl, and a one-hundred-year-old turtle. One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River. The dashing photographer is Eddie Cohen, a Russian immigrant who has run away from his father's Lower East Side Orthodox community and his job as a tailor's apprentice. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman's disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie. With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" is Alice Hoffman at her most spellbinding.
Teatime for the Firefly
by Shona Patel
Layla Roy has defied the fates. Despite being born under an inauspicious horoscope, she is raised to be educated and independent by her eccentric grandfather, Dadamoshai. And, by cleverly manipulating the hand fortune has dealt her, she has even found love with Manik Deb--a man betrothed to another. All were minor miracles in India that spring of 1943, when young women's lives were predetermined--if not by the stars, then by centuries of family tradition and social order. Layla's life as a newly married woman takes her away from home and into the jungles of Assam, where the world's finest tea thrives on plantations run by native labor and British efficiency. Fascinated by this culture of whiskey-soaked expats who seem fazed by neither earthquakes nor man-eating leopards, she struggles to find her place among the prickly English wives with whom she is expected to socialize, and the peculiar servants she now finds under her charge. But navigating the tea-garden set will hardly be her biggest challenge. Layla's remote home is not safe from the powerful changes sweeping India on the heels of the Second World War. Their colonial society is at a tipping point, and Layla and Manik find themselves caught in a perilous racial divide that threatens their very lives.
The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that Built America's First Subway
by Doug Most
In the late nineteenth century, as cities like Boston and New York grew more congested, the streets became clogged with plodding, horse-drawn carts. When the great blizzard of 1888 crippled the entire northeast, a solution had to be found. Two brothers from one of the nation's great families--Henry Melville Whitney of Boston and William Collins Whitney of New York--pursued the dream of his city digging America's first subway, and the great race was on. The competition between Boston and New York played out in an era not unlike our own, one of economic upheaval, life-changing innovations, class warfare, bitter political tensions, and the question of America's place in the world. The Race Underground is peopled with the famous, like Boss Tweed, Grover Cleveland and Thomas Edison, and the not-so-famous, from brilliant engineers to the countless "sandhogs" who shoveled, hoisted?and blasted their way into the earth's crust, sometimes losing their lives in the construction of?the tunnels. Doug Most chronicles the science of the subway, looks at the centuries of?fears people overcame about traveling underground and tells a story as exciting as any ever ripped from the pages of U.S. history. The Race Underground is a great American saga of two rival American cities, their rich, powerful and sometimes corrupt interests, and an invention that changed the lives of millions.
by E.L. Doctorow
This brilliant new novel by an American master, the author of" Ragtime, The Book of Daniel, Billy Bathgate, "and" The March, "takes us on a radical trip into the mind of a man who, more than once in his life, has been the inadvertent agent of disaster. Speaking from an unknown place and to an unknown interlocutor, Andrew is thinking, Andrew is talking, Andrew is telling the story of his life, his loves, and the tragedies that have led him to this place and point in time. And as he confesses, peeling back the layers of his strange story, we are led to question what we know about truth and memory, brain and mind, personality and fate, about one another and ourselves. Written with psychological depth and great lyrical precision, this suspenseful and groundbreaking novel delivers a voice for our times--funny, probing, skeptical, mischievous, profound. "Andrew's Brain" is a surprising turn and a singular achievement in the canon of a writer whose prose has the power to create its own landscape, and whose great topic, in the words of Don DeLillo, is "the reach of American possibility, in which plain lives take on the cadences of history."
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War
by Robert M. Gates
From the former secretary of defense, a strikingly candid, vividly written account of his experience serving Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before Robert M. Gates received a call from the White House in 2006, he thought he'd left Washington politics behind: after working for six presidents in both the CIA and the National Security Council, he was happy in his role as president of Texas A&M University. But when he was asked to help a nation mired in two wars and to aid the troops doing the fighting, he answered what he felt was the call of duty. Now, in this unsparing memoir, meticulously fair in its assessments, he takes us behind the scenes of his nearly five years as a secretary at war: the battles with Congress, the two presidents he served, the military itself, and the vast Pentagon bureaucracy; his efforts to help Bush turn the tide in Iraq; his role as a guiding, and often dissenting, voice for Obama; the ardent devotion to and love for American soldiers--his "heroes"--he developed on the job. In relating his personal journey as secretary, Gates draws us into the innermost sanctums of government and military power during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, illuminating iconic figures, vital negotiations, and critical situations in revealing, intimate detail. Offering unvarnished appraisals of Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Presidents Bush and Obama among other key players, Gates exposes the full spectrum of behind-closed-doors politicking within both the Bush and Obama administrations. He discusses the great controversies of his tenure--surges in both Iraq and Afghanistan, how to deal with Iran and Syria, "Don't Ask Don't Tell," Guantanamo Bay, WikiLeaks--as they played out behind the television cameras. He brings to life the Situation Room during the Bin Laden raid. And, searingly, he shows how congressional debate and action or inaction on everything from equipment budgeting to troop withdrawals was often motivated, to his increasing despair and anger, more by party politics and media impact than by members' desires to protect our soldiers and ensure their success. However embroiled he became in the trials of Washington, Gates makes clear that his heart was always in the most important theater of his tenure as secretary: the front lines. We journey with him to both war zones as he meets with active-duty troops and their commanders, awed by their courage, and also witness him greet coffin after flag-draped coffin returned to U.S. soil, heartbreakingly aware that he signed every deployment order. In frank and poignant vignettes, Gates conveys the human cost of war, and his admiration for those brave enough to undertake it when necessary. "Duty" tells a powerful and deeply personal story that allows us an unprecedented look at two administrations and the wars that have defined them.
On Such A Full Sea
by Chang-Rae Lee
In a future where America has been in a long-decline, self-contained labor settlements replace abandoned urban neighborhoods, containing contented workers who devote their lives to the cultivation of pristine produce and seafood for the wealthy residents of distant elite walled villages. Fan, a Chinese descendant, fish-tank diver, and resident of the B-Mor labor settlement, shocks her community by leaving the safety of the walls to search for the man she loves after he disappears.
Saints of the Shadow Bible
by Ian Rankin
Rebus and Malcolm Fox go head-to-head when a 30-year-old murder investigation resurfaces, forcing Rebus to confront crimes of the past Rebus is back on the force, albeit with a demotion and a chip on his shoulder. He is investigating a car accident when news arrives that a case from 30 years ago is being reopened. Rebuss team from those days is suspected of helping a murderer escape justice to further their own ends. Malcolm Fox, in what will be his last case as an internal affairs cop, is tasked with finding out the truth. Past and present are about to collide in shocking and murderous fashion. What does Rebus have to hide? And whose side is he really on? His colleagues back then called themselves "The Saints," and swore a bond on something called the Shadow Bible. But times have changed and the crimes of the past may not stay hidden much longer -- and may also play a role in the present, as Scotland gears up for a referendum on independence. Allegiances are being formed, enemies made, and huge questions asked. Who are the saints and who the sinners? And can the one ever become the other?
North of Boston
by Elisabeth Elo
Dennis Lehane meets Smilla's Sense of Snow : a big discovery in the world of female suspense, about an edgy young woman with the rare ability to withstand extreme conditions Elisabeth Elo's debut novel introduces Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred tough-talking girl with an acerbic wit and a moral compass that points due north. When the fishing boat Pirio is on is rammed by a freighter, she finds herself abandoned in the North Atlantic. Somehow, she survives nearly four hours in the water before being rescued by the Coast Guard. But the boat's owner and her professional fisherman friend, Ned, is not so lucky. Compelled to look after Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina, Pirio can't shake the lurking suspicion that the boat's sinking#151;and Ned's death#151;was no accident. It's a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, who tells her that nothing is ever what it seems. Then the navy reaches out to her to participate in research on human survival in dangerously cold temperatures. With the help of a curious journalist named Russell Parnell, Pirio begins unraveling a lethal plot involving the glacial whaling grounds off Baffin Island. In a narrow inlet in the arctic tundra, Pirio confronts her ultimate challenge: to trust herself. A gripping literary thriller, North of Boston combines the atmospheric chills of Jussi Adler-Olsen with the gritty mystery of Laura Lippman. And Pirio Kasparov is a gutsy, compellingly damaged heroine with many adventures ahead.
An Officer and a Spy
by Robert Harris
The Book of Jonah
by Joshua Max Feldman
A major literary debut, an epic tale of love, failure, and unexpected faith set in New York, Amsterdam, and Las Vegas The modern-day Jonah at the center of Joshua Max Feldman's brilliantly conceived retelling of the book of Jonah is a young Manhattan lawyer named Jonah Jacobstein. He's a lucky man: healthy and handsome, with two beautiful women ready to spend the rest of their lives with him and an enormously successful career that gets more promising by the minute. He's celebrating a deal that will surely make him partner when a bizarre, unexpected biblical vision at a party changes everything. Hard as he tries to forget what he saw, this disturbing sign is only the first of many Jonah will witness, and before long his life is unrecognizable. Though this perhaps divine intervention will be responsible for more than one irreversible loss in Jonah's life, it will also cross his path with that of Judith Bulbrook, an intense, breathtakingly intelligent woman who's no stranger to loss herself. As this funny and bold novel moves to Amsterdam and then Las Vegas, Feldman examines the way we live now while asking an age-old question: How do you know if you're chosen?
The Wedding Gift
by Marlen Suyapa Bodden
A captivating and unforgettable historical novel and underground national bestseller that explores the powerful bonds between a slave girl, her mother, the slave master's wife, and her daughter. When Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa's hand in marriage, he presents her with a wedding gift: the young slave she grew up with, Sarah. Sarah is also Allen's daughter and Clarissa's sister, a product of his longtime relationship with his house slave, Emmeline. When Clarissa's husband suspects that their newborn son is illegitimate, Clarissa and Sarah are sent back to her parents, Cornelius and Theodora, in shame, setting in motion a series of events that will destroy this once powerful family. Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius' wife, The Wedding Gift, a stunning novel that shows where the complicated and compelling bonds and relationships between women explored in novels like The Help and The Secret Life of Bees began. It is an intimate portrait that shows where this particular American story and dynamic all started and will leave readers breathless.
by Renee Rosen
Vera Abramowitz leaves her childhood behind for the glamour of Chicago, and soon she is the ultimate flapper with two boyfriends, one a nightclub owner and the other a gambler, but as she gains entrance into the world of bootleg bourbon, jazz music and money to burn, she discovers that her boyfriends are from rival gangs involved in Chicago's infamous Beer Wars, the battle between opposing organized crime gangs.