by Glenn Kenny
For the thirtieth anniversary of its premiere comes the vivid and immersive history behind Martin Scorsese’s signature film Goodfellas, hailed by critics as the greatest mob movie ever made. When Goodfellas first hit the theatres in 1990, a classic was born. Few could anticipate the unparalleled influence it would have on pop culture, one that would inspire future filmmakers and redefine the gangster picture as we know it today. From the rush of grotesque violence in the opening scene to the iconic hilarity of Joe Pesci’s endlessly quoted “Funny how?” shtick, it’s little wonder the film is widely regarded as a mainstay in contemporary cinema. In the first ever behind-the-scenes story of Goodfellas, film critic Glenn Kenny chronicles the making and afterlife of the film that introduced America to the real modern gangster—brutal, ruthless, yet darkly appealing, the villain we can’t get enough of. Featuring interviews with the film’s major players, including Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Made Men shines a light on the lives and stories wrapped up in the Goodfellas universe, and why its enduring legacy is still essential to charting the trajectory of American culture thirty years later. (Amazon.com)
The Cold Millions
by Jess Walter
Orphans Gig and Rye Dolan don't have a penny to their names. The brothers work grueling, odd jobs each day just to secure a meal, and spend nights sleeping wherever they can with other day laborers. Twenty-three-year-old Gig is a passionate union man, fighting for fair pay and calling out the corrupt employers who exploit the working class. Eager to emulate his older brother, Rye follows suit, though he can't quite muster Gig's passion for the cause. But when Rye's turn on the soap box catches the eye of well-known activist and suffragette Elizabeth Gurley, he is swept into the world of labor activism-and dirty business. With his brother's life on the line, Rye must evade the barbaric police force, maneuver his way out of the clutches of a wealthy businessman-and figure out for himself what he truly stands for. The Cold Millions is a stunning portrait of class division and familial bonds. In this masterful historical take on the enduring saga of America's economic divide, Jess Walter delivers nothing less than another "literary miracle." (NPR)
Confessions on the 7:45
by Lisa Unger
From master of suspense Lisa Unger comes a riveting thriller about a chance encounter that unravels a stunning web of lies. Selena Murphy is commuting home on the train when she strikes up a conversation with a beautiful stranger in the next seat. The woman introduces herself as Martha and soon confesses that she’s been stuck in an affair with her boss. Selena, in turn, confesses that she suspects her husband is sleeping with the nanny. When the train arrives at Selena’s station, the two women part ways, presumably never to meet again. Then the nanny disappears. As Selena is pulled into the mystery of what happened, and as the fractures in her marriage grow deeper, she begins to wonder, who was Martha really? But she is hardly prepared for what she’ll discover… (Amazon.com)
The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop
by Fannie Flag
Bud Threadgoode grew up in the bustling little railroad town of Whistle Stop, Alabama, with his mother Ruth, church going and proper, and the fun-loving hell-raiser, his Aunt Idgie. Together they ran the town's popular Whistle Stop Café, known far and wide for its famous "Fried Green Tomatoes." And as Bud often said of his childhood, "How lucky can you get?" But sadly, the railroad yards began to shut down and the town became a ghost town, with nothing left but boarded-up buildings and memories of a happier time. Then one day, Bud decides to take one last trip, just to see where his beloved Whistle Stop used to be. In so doing, he discovers new surprises about Idgie's life and about other beloved Fried Green Tomatoes characters, and about the town itself. He also sets off a series of events, both touching and inspiring, which change his life and the lives of his daughter and others. Could these events all be just coincidences? Or something else? And can you go home again?
One by Oneby Ruth Ware
Getting snowed in at a luxurious, rustic ski chalet high in the French Alps doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world. Especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a full-service chef and housekeeper, a cozy fire to keep you warm, and others to keep you company. Unless that company happens to be eight coworkers…each with something to gain, something to lose, and something to hide. When the cofounder of Snoop, a trendy London-based tech startup, organizes a weeklong trip for the team in the French Alps, it starts out as a corporate retreat like any other: PowerPoint presentations and strategy sessions broken up by mandatory bonding on the slopes. But as soon as one shareholder upends the agenda by pushing a lucrative but contentious buyout offer, tensions simmer and loyalties are tested. The storm brewing inside the chalet is no match for the one outside, however, and a devastating avalanche leaves the group cut off from all access to the outside world. Even worse, one Snooper hadn’t made it back from the slopes when the avalanche hit. As each hour passes without any sign of rescue, panic mounts, the chalet grows colder, and the group dwindles further…one by one.
To sleep in a sea of stars
by Christopher Paolini
Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds. Now she's awakened a nightmare. During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she's delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn't at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity's greatest and final hope . . .
by Karen Kingsbury
In the shadow of very great loss, the only way to live with passion is truly, madly, deeply. When eighteen-year-old Tommy Baxter declares to his family that he wants to be a police officer after graduation, his mother, Reagan, won't hear of it. After all, she's still mourning the death of her own father on September 11 and she's determined to keep her son safe from danger and disaster. But Tommy's father, Luke Baxter, is proud of Tommy's decision, even arranging for his son to take part in a ride-along program with the Indianapolis Police Department. Meanwhile, Tommy is in love for the first time. Annalee Miller has been a family friend for years. Their relationship is sweet and too good to be true. After prom, Tommy begins seriously thinking about asking her to marry him but she hasn't been feeling well. Days later, tests reveal the unthinkable. While his girlfriend begins the fight of her life, Tommy is driven to learn more about the circumstances surrounding his birth...and the grandfather he never knew. Realizations come to light that rock Tommy's world, and he becomes determined to spend his future fighting crime. Or is this just his way to wage war in a battle he cannot win-the one facing Annalee? Blending romance and family drama into an emotionally satisfying story, Truly, Madly, Deeply is a testament to living and loving without fear, so that each moment is marked by reckless abandon and breathtaking passion.
by Christina Baker Kline
London, 1840. Evangeline lost more than just her position as a governess when she was accused of stealing, realizing she was pregnant by her employer’s son. Having languished in Newgate prison for months in her condition, she is now destined for a prison ship heading to Australia. On board, Evangeline befriends Hazel, sentenced to seven years’ transport for theft. Soon Hazel's path will cross with an orphaned indigenous girl. Mathinna is 'adopted' by the new governor of Tasmania where the family treat her more like a curiosity than a child. Amid hardships and cruelties, new life will take root in stolen soil, friendships will define lives, and some will find their place in a new society in the land beyond the seas. (Google.com)
by W. Bruce Cameron
The perfect, feel-good holiday gift from W. Bruce Cameron, the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the A Dog’s Purpose series. The problems fracturing the Goss family as Christmas approaches are hardly unique, though perhaps they are handling them a little differently than most people might. But then a true emergency arises, one with the potential to not only ruin Christmas, but everything holding the family together. Is the arrival of a lost puppy yet another in the string of calamities facing them, or could the little canine be just what they all need? A Dog’s Perfect Christmas is a beautiful, poignant, delightful tale of what can happen when family members open their hearts to new possibilities. You’ll find love and tears and laughter―the ideal holiday read. (Amazon.com)
Sins of the Bees
by Annie Lampman
Sins of the Bees blends the majesty and mystery of Where the Crawdads Sing with the character explorations of The Girls to present the lives of two very different women and their tumultuous interactions with a dangerous doomsday cult. Other than her bonsai trees, twenty-year-old arborist Silvania August Moonbeam Merigal is alone in the world. After first her mother dies and then her grandfather—the man who raised her and the last of her family—Silva suffers a sexual assault and becomes pregnant. Then, ready to end her own life, she discovers evidence of a long-lost artist grandmother, Isabelle. Desperate to remake a family for herself, Silva leaves her island home on the Puget Sound and traces her grandmother’s path to first a hippie beekeeper named Nick Larkins, and then to a religious, anti-government, Y2K cult embedded deep in the wilds of Hells Canyon. Len Dietz is the charismatic leader of the Almost Paradise compound, a place full of violence and drama: impregnated child brides called the Twelve Maidens, an armed occupation of a visitor’s center, shot-up mountain sheep washing up along with a half-drowned dog, and men transporting weapons in the middle of the night. As Isabelle paints portraits of Len Dietz and the Twelve Maidens ceremonially progressing toward their group marriage on the prophesized end of the world—January 1, 2000, the new millennium—Silva moves ever closer to finding her grandmother in Hells Canyon and finds herself drawn Nick, whose life is also irrevocably tied to Len Dietz. As tensions erupt into violence, Silva, Isabelle, Nick, and the members of Almost Paradise find themselves disastrously entangled. And like the ancient bonsai struggling to navigate territories both new and old, Silva is forced to face both her own history of loss, and the history of loss she’s stepped into: ruinous stories of family that threaten to destroy them all. (Books.Google.com)
by Jodi Picoult
Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: Prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband but of a man she last saw fifteen years ago: Wyatt Armstrong. Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, their beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, in which she helps ease the transition between life and death for her clients. But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a career Dawn once studied for but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made. After the crash landing, the airline ensures that the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation to wherever they want to go. The obvious destination is to fly home, but she could take another path: return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways—the first known map of the afterlife. As the story unfolds, Dawn’s two possible futures unspool side by side, as do the secrets and doubts long buried with them. Dawn must confront the questions she’s never truly asked: What does a life well lived look like? When we leave this earth, what do we leave behind? Do we make choices . . . or do our choices make us? And who would you be if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are right now? (Amazon.com)