January 17, 2013
The newest Oprah's Book Club 2.0 selection. The arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction. A debut of extraordinary distinction: Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family. In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother's monumental courage and the journey of a nation. Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis's The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last--glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing novel, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.
by Jenny Milchman
Waking up one wintry morning in her old farmhouse nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Nora Hamilton instantly knows that something is wrong. When her fog of sleep clears, she finds her world is suddenly, irretrievably shattered: Her husband, Brendan, has committed suicide. The first few hours following Nora's devastating discovery pass for her in a blur of numbness and disbelief. Then, a disturbing awareness slowly settles in: Brendan left no note and gave no indication that he was contemplating taking his own life. Why would a rock-solid police officer with unwavering affection for his wife, job, and quaint hometown suddenly choose to end it all? Having spent a lifetime avoiding hard truths, Nora must now start facing them. Unraveling her late husband's final days, Nora searches for answers but meets with bewildering resistance from Brendan's best friend and partner, his fellow police officers, and his brittle mother. It quickly becomes clear to Nora that she is asking questions no one wants to answer. For beneath the soft cover of snow lies a powerful conspiracy that will stop at nothing to keep its presence unknown . . . and its darkest secrets hidden.
by Jojo Moye
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose. Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life--steady boyfriend, close family--who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex--Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life--big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel--and now he's pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy--but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn't have less in common--a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
by Isaac Marion
WARM BODIES is a witty, original, beautiful, unexpected and entertaining book with tremendous heart, about a Zombie, "R" in a ruined world, who falls in love with Julie, a living girl who is one of the few remaining people, and the daughter of a harsh security minded General in charge of the city where most of the living reside. R meets Julie when he eats the brain of her long time boyfriend Perry, and appropriates his memories of this wonderful girl. In the middle of the feed, R sees her in the room, and manages to keep himself and the other zombies from attacking her and then brings her back to the airport where they live. The story has so many things going for it, it's hard to know where to begin. The character of R, a kind of Edward Scissorhands like saintly child, who begins to grow and learn from his newfound relationship with Julie. And Julie is pretty terrific too, assertive, tough but honest about what she needs and wants. I could go on and on about the intricacies and nuances of the novel, but I wouldn't want to ruin anyone's read of this beautiful book. It is really worth the time to get to know these characters.
by Derek Haas
Meet Austin Clay, the CIA's best-kept secret. There has always been a need in the spy game for operations outside the realm of legality-covert missions so black no one in the American government, and almost no one in intelligence itself, is aware of their existence. The left hand can't know what the right hand is doing. Austin Clay is that right hand, executing missions that would be disavowed by his own government were he ever to be compromised. His team consists of only his trusted handler and himself. His missions are among the most important and dangerous in U.S. history. Clay is sent to track down a missing American operative, a man who was captured outside of Moscow, in the Russian countryside. Soon he discovers the missing officer is only the beginning of the mission, and finds himself protecting a desperate woman who believes a mole has penetrated the top levels of the U.S. government, throwing the international balance of power into jeopardy. With blistering pace, international intrigue, and a high-stakes plot that spans continents, THE RIGHT HAND introduces a new hero, from the novelist whose work the New York Times Book Review has proclaimed "devastatingly cool."
by Burton W. Peretti
American presidents and Hollywood have interacted since the 1920s. This relationship has made our entertainment more political and our political leadership more aligned with the world of movies and movie stars. In The Leading Man, Burton W. Peretti explores the development of the cinematic presidential image. He sets the scene in chapter 1 to show us how the chief executive, beginning with George Washington, was positioned to assume the mantle of cultural leading man. As an early star figure in the young republic, the president served as a symbol of national survival and wish fulfillment. The president, as head of government and head of state, had the potential to portray a powerful and charismatic role. At the center of the story are the fourteen presidents of the cinematic era, from Herbert Hoover to Barack Obama. Since the 1920s, the president, like the lead actor in a movie, has been given the central place on the political stage under the intense glare of the spotlight. Like other American men, future presidents were taught by lead movie actors how to look and behave, what to say, and how to say it. Some, like John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon, took particular care to learn from the grooming, gestures, movements, and vocal inflections of film actors and applied these lessons to their political careers. Ronald Reagan was a professional actor. Bill Clinton, a child of the post--World War II Baby Boom, may have been the biggest movie fan of all presidents. Others, including Lyndon Johnson, showed little interest in movies and their lessons for politicians. Presidents and other politicians have been criticized for cheapening their offices by hiring image and advertising consultants and staging their public events. Peretti analyzes the evolution and the significance of this interaction to trace the convoluted history of the presidential cinematic image. He demonstrates how movies have been the main force in promoting appearance and drama over the substance of governing, and how Americans' lives today may be dominated by entertainment at the expense of their engagement as citizens.