January/February 2021

The Cup of Coffee Club
by  Jacob Kornhauser

The Cup of Coffee Club shares the stories of eleven men who played in just a single major league baseball game and how they responded to the heartache of never making it back. Featuring exclusive interviews with each of the players, their insight provides a unique look into the struggles of being a professional ballplayer. Reaching the major leagues is a pipe dream for most young baseball players in America. Very few ever get to live it out. While many that do make it to the big leagues stay there for a long time, there are just as many that are only there for a brief moment. A select few of those players face the elation and frustration of getting to play in just one major league game. The Cup of Coffee Club: 11 Players and Their Brush with Baseball History tells the stories of eleven of these players and their struggles to reach the major leagues, as well as their struggles to get back. They include a former Major League Baseball manager, the son of a Baseball Hall of Famer, and two different brothers of Hall of Famers. Exclusive interviews with each of the players provide insight into what that single seminal moment meant and how they dealt with the blow of never making another major league appearance again. Spanning half a century of baseball, each player’s journey to Major League Baseball is distinct, as is each of their responses to having played in just a single game. The Cup of Coffee Club shares their unique perspectives, providing a better understanding of just how special each major league game can be. (Google Books)


World of Wonders
by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction--a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us. As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted--no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape--she was able to turn to our world's fierce and funny creatures for guidance.
"What the peacock can do," she tells us, "is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life." The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world's gifts. Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a book of sustenance and joy. (Goodreads.com)


HRH
by Elizabeth Holmes

Veteran style journalist Elizabeth Holmes expands her popular Instagram series, So Many Thoughts, into a nuanced look at the fashion and branding of the four most influential members of the British Royal Family: Queen Elizabeth II; Diana, Princess of Wales; Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge; and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are global style icons, their every fashion choice chronicled and celebrated. With all eyes on them, the duchesses select clothes that send a message about their values, interests, and priorities. Their thoughtful sartorial strategies follow in the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales, two towering figures known for using their personal style to great acclaim. With one section devoted to each woman, HRH is a celebration of their stories and their style, pairing hundreds of gorgeous photographs with extensive research. A picture emerges of the British monarchy’s evolution and the power of royal fashion, showing there’s always more than what meets the eye. (Goodreads.com)


Waiting for the Night Song
by Julie Carrick Dalton

A moving novel about friendships forged in childhood magic and ruptured by the high price of secrets that leave you forever changed. Cadie Kessler has spent decades trying to cover up one truth. One moment. But deep down, didn't she always know her secret would surface? An urgent message from her long-estranged best friend Daniela Garcia brings Cadie, now a forestry researcher, back to her childhood home. There, Cadie and Daniela are forced to face a dark secret that ended both their idyllic childhood bond and the magical summer that takes up more space in Cadie's memory then all her other years combined. Now grown up, bound by long-held oaths, and faced with truths she does not wish to see, Cadie must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to protect the people and the forest she loves, as drought, foreclosures, and wildfire spark tensions between displaced migrant farm workers and locals. Waiting for the Night Song is a love song to the natural beauty around us, a call to fight for what we believe in, and a reminder that the truth will always rise. (Goodreads.com)


A House at the Bottom of the Lake
by Josh Malerman

Both seventeen. Both afraid. But both saying yes.
It sounded like the perfect first date: canoeing across a chain of lakes, sandwiches and beer in the cooler. But teenagers Amelia and James discover something below the water’s surface that changes their lives forever.
It’s got two stories.
It’s got a garden.
And the front door is open.
It’s a house at the bottom of a lake.
For the teens, there is only one rule: no questions. And yet, how could a place so spectacular come with no price tag? While the duo plays house beneath the waves, one reality remains:
Just because a house is empty, doesn’t mean nobody’s home. (Goodreads.com)


Out of Rushmore's shadow
by Lou Del Bianco

Sometimes history does not tell you the whole story.
When 8-year-old Lou Del Bianco finds out that his Grandpa Luigi was the Chief Carver on Mount Rushmore, his young life is instantly changed. Follow Lou's journey as he and his Uncle Caesar make the painful discovery that Luigi is not even mentioned in the most definitive book on Rushmore. Cheer them on as you read the historic documents they unearth from the Library of Congress that not only tell Luigi's story but also prove his great importance. Finally, ride the roller-coaster of the 25 year journey to get Luigi the recognition he deserves. Out of Rushmore's Shadow is the dramatic and touching story of Luigi's legacy and the immigrant's struggle. (Google Books)


The Last Days of Ellis Island
by Gaelle Josse

New York, November 3, 1954. In a few days, the immigration inspection station on Ellis Island will close its doors forever. John Mitchell, an officer of the Bureau of Immigration, is the guardian and last resident of the island. As Mitchell looks back over forty-five years as gatekeeper to America and its promise of a better life, he recalls his brief marriage to beloved wife Liz, and is haunted by memories of a transgression involving Nella, an immigrant from Sardinia. Told in a series of poignant diary entries, this is a story of responsibility, love, fidelity, and remorse. (Goodreads.com)


Take a look at the five and ten
by Connie Willis

Ori’s holidays are an endless series of elaborately awful meals cooked by her one-time stepfather Dave’s latest bride. Attended by a loose assemblage of family, Ori particularly dreads Grandma Elving—grandmother of Dave’s fourth wife—and her rhapsodizing about the Christmas she worked at Woolworth’s in the 1950s. And, of course, she hates being condescended to by beautiful, popular Sloane and her latest handsome pre-med or pre-law boyfriend. But this Christmas is different. Sloane’s latest catch Lassiter is extremely interested in Grandma Elving’s boringly detailed memories of that seasonal job, seeing in them the hallmarks of a TFBM, or traumatic flashbulb memory. With Ori’s assistance, he begins to use the older woman in an experiment—one she eagerly agrees to. As Ori and Lassiter spend more time together, Ori’s feelings for him grow alongside the elusive mystery of Grandma’s past. From beloved New York Times bestselling, multiple-award-winning author Connie Willis comes another enchanting science fictional Christmas tale and screwball comedy, Take a Look at the Five and Ten. Readers in the need for a dose of Willis’s humor and heart will want to curl up with this novella for the holidays. (Goodreads.com)


The Children's Blizzard
by Melanie Benjamin

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats—leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn’t get lost in the storm? 
Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers—one becomes a hero of the storm and the other finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It’s also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It was Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured northern European immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed them to settle territories into states, and they didn’t care what lies they told these families to get them there—or whose land it originally was.
At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents’ choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today—because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country. (Amazon.com)


Accidentally Wes Anderson
by Wally Koval

Accidentally Wes Anderson began as a personal travel bucket list, a catalog of visually striking and historically unique destinations that capture the imagined worlds of Wes Anderson. Now, inspired by a community of more than one million Adventurers, Accidentally Wes Anderson tells the stories behind more than 200 of the most beautiful, idiosyncratic, and interesting places on Earth. This book, authorized by Wes Anderson himself, travels to every continent and into your own backyard to identify quirky landmarks and undiscovered gems: places you may have passed by, some you always wanted to explore, and many you never knew existed. Fueled by a vision for distinctive design, stunning photography, and unexpected narratives, Accidentally Wes Anderson is a passport to inspiration and adventure. Perfect for modern travelers and fans of Wes Anderson's distinctive aesthetic, this is an invitation to look at your world through a different lens.