October/November 2016

Sam Phillips: the man who invented rock 'n' roll
by Peter Guralnick

The author of Last Train to Memphis brings us the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records. The music that Phillips shaped in his tiny Memphis studio, with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before. He brought forth a singular mix of black and white voices unabashedly proclaiming the primacy of the American vernacular tradition while at the same time declaring, once and for all, a new, integrated musical world. With extensive interviews and firsthand personal observations extending over the author's 25-year acquaintance with Phillips, along with wide-ranging interviews with nearly all the legendary Sun Records artists, this book gives us an ardent, intimate, and unrestrained portrait of an American original as compelling in his own right as Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, and Thomas Edison.

Killing the Rising Sun
by Bill O'Reilly & Martin Dugard

A latest entry in the best-selling series dramatically portrays the events of World War II in 1944, when escalating Pacific battles between the forces of General Douglas MacArthur and the Japanese army lead to the development of humanity's deadliest weapon and newly appointed President Truman's impossible choice.

Winter Storms
by Elin Hilderbrand

Margaret Quinn is finally marrying the charming Dr. Drake Carroll, and all three of her children will reconvene on Nantucket for the event. Her oldest, Kevin, is struggling for his place in the world, especially now that he and his girlfriend have a baby girl. His sister, Ava, is badly managing two boyfriends and swears off men until Christmas, only to meet a handsome stranger while on vacation in Anguila. Patrick is finally out of prison, having served his sentence for insider trading, but the shine on his charmed life is dulled by his wife's addiction to pain pills and the fact that her dealer is Kevin's toxic ex-wife. Meanwhile, the Quinn patriarch, Kelley, has defeated prostate cancer with his formerly estranged second wife, Mitzi, by his side, though a celebration just doesn't feel right without their son, Bart, still MIA in Afghanistan. There's a lot going on in this dishy and readable conclusion to the Winter Street trilogy, with some luxurious details adding a touch of glamour to the drama.- 2016 Booklist Reviews

Small Great Things
by Jodi Picoult

A woman and her husband admitted to a hospital to have a baby requests that their nurse be reassigned - they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into a courtroom. As the two come to developa truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear.

The Christmas Angel Project
by Melody Carlson

Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club--enjoying one another's company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they're sure that without her the group can't continue. When the group gathers "one last time" to open a bag Abby's husband gives them, they find Abby had made each of them an angel ornament for Christmas, crafted especially for each woman and accompanied by a sweet and personal note. Inspired by their beloved friend, together Cassidy, Louisa, Grace, and Belinda decide to commit themselves to becoming Christmas Angels to others in need. Each woman will use her life situation and talents to reach out and help others in her own unique way--little knowing that her own life and her relationships will be changed forever. Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another touching Christmas story sure to grip readers' hearts and perhaps inspire them to become Christmas Angels themselves.

Alton Brown: EveryDayCook
by Alton Brown

 My name is Alton Brown, and I wrote this book. It’s my first in a few years because I’ve been a little busy with TV stuff and interwebs stuff and live stage show stuff. Sure, I’ve been cooking, but it’s been mostly to feed myself and people in my immediate vicinity—which is really what a cook is supposed to do, right? Well, one day I was sitting around trying to organize my recipes, and I realized that I should put them into a personal collection. One thing led to another, and here’s EveryDayCook. There’s still plenty of science and hopefully some humor in here (my agent says that’s my “wheelhouse”), but unlike in my other books, a lot of attention went into the photos, which were all taken on my iPhone (take that, Instagram) and are suitable for framing. As for the recipes, which are arranged by time of day, they’re pretty darned tasty.

The Other Einstein
by Marie Benedict

Benedict's novel, her first, of love, ambition, disappointment, and betrayal begins in 1896 with a young Serbian woman enrolling in the Swiss Federal Polytechnic to study physics. Though possessed of exceptional intellect and talent, Mileva is not easily accepted by her male classmates and professors, except for one outspoken student. Their classroom relationship leads to much more, first sharing music, then mutual scientific theorizing, on to a sexual relationship that yields a child and marriage. The remarkable hook here is that Mileva's love interest is Albert Einstein. The sweetness of the courtship and the bitterness of his betrayal, both scientific-the source of the theory of relativity might have been her rather than him-and personal, with his unfaithfulness leading to divorce, provide the tension. Benedict insightfully portrays Mileva, Albert, and other European intellectuals of the time and dramatizes the difficulties a woman faced when attempting to enter that world. She also vividly captures the atmosphere, the cafes, the boardinghouse, and the customs of Mileva's world, making for an engaging and thought-provoking fictional telling of the poignant story of an overshadowed woman scientist.- 2014 Booklist Reviews.