Looking for something new to read? Check out our New and Noteworthy, Current Literature, and Overdrive collections for some good reads to enjoy! Here is a selection of books you will find in these collections!
Murder your Employer: the McMasters Guide to Homicide by Rupert Holmes. Who hasn’t wondered for a split second what the world would be like if a person who is the object of your affliction ceased to exist? But then you’ve probably never heard of The McMasters Conservatory, dedicated to the consummate execution of the homicidal arts. To gain admission, a student must have an ethical reason for erasing someone who deeply deserves a fate no worse (nor better) than death. The campus of this “Poison Ivy League” college–its location unknown to even those who study there–is where you might find yourself the practice target of a classmate…and where one’s mandatory graduation thesis is getting away with the perfect murder of someone whose death will make the world a much better place to live. To learn more, you may enjoy this Barnes & Noble sponsored conversation between the author and Neil Patrick Harris.
Jezebel by Megan Barnard. Jezebel. You’ve heard the name. But you’ve never heard her story. “Historical fiction at its finest,” (Louisa Morgan) this propulsive novel is a stunning reimagining of the story of a fierce princess from Tyre and her infamous legacy. Jezebel was born into the world howling. She intends to leave it the same way. When Jezebel learns she can’t be a king like her father simply because she’s a girl, she vows never to become someone’s decorative wife, nameless and lost to history. At fifteen she’s married off, despite her protests, to Prince Ahab of Israel. There, she does what she must to gain power and remake the dry and distant kingdom in the image of her beloved, prosperous seaside homeland of Tyre, beginning by building temples to the gods she grew up worshipping. As her initiatives usher in an era of prosperity for Israel, her new subjects love her, and her name rings through the land. Then Elijah, the prophet of Yahweh and her former lover, begins to speak out against her. Bitter at having been abandoned by Jezebel, he lashes out, calling her a slut. Harlot. Witch. And the people, revering their prophet’s message, turn on her. A stunning revision of a notorious queen’s story, Jezebel is a thrilling lyrical debut about a fierce woman who refuses to be forgotten. Check out this essay “Why the Rise of Morally Gray Women In Fiction Is Good For All of Us” by the author.
The Darkness Manifesto: On Light Pollution, Night Ecology, and the Ancient Rhythms that Sustain Life by Johan Eklöf. How much light is too much light? Satellite pictures show our planet as a brightly glowing orb, and in our era of constant illumination, light pollution has become a major issue. The world’s flora and fauna have evolved to operate in the natural cycle of day and night. But in the last 150 years, we have extended our day–and in doing so have forced out the inhabitants of the night and disrupted the circadian rhythms necessary to sustain all living things, including ourselves. Swedish conservationist Johan Eklöf urges us to appreciate natural darkness, its creatures, and its unique benefits. He ponders the beauties of the night sky, traces the errant paths of light-drunk moths and the swift dives of keen-eyed owls, and shows us the bioluminescent creatures of the deepest oceans. As a devoted friend of the night, Eklöf reveals the startling domino effect of diminishing darkness: insects, dumbfounded by streetlamps, failing to reproduce; birds blinded and bewildered by artificial lights; and bats starving as they wait in vain for insects that only come out in the dark. Here’s a NYT review and a review from the Geographical Magazine.
American Mermaid by Julia Langbein. Broke English teacher Penelope Schleeman is as surprised as anyone when her feminist, eco-warrior novel American Mermaid becomes a best-seller. But when Hollywood insists she convert her fierce, androgynous protagonist into to a teen sex object in a clamshell bra, strange things start to happen. Is Penelope losing her mind, or has her fictional mermaid come to life, enacting revenge against society’s limited view of what a woman can and should be? American Mermaid follows a young woman braving the casual slights and cruel calculations of a winner-take-all society and discovering a beating heart in her own fiction: a new kind of hero who fights to keep her voice and choose her place. A hilarious story about deep things, American Mermaid asks how far we’ll go to protect the parts of ourselves that are not for sale. You can read a review in the Chicago Review of Books or this blog post by The Bossy Bookworm.
Appalachia on the Table: Representing Mountain Food and People by Erica Abrams Locklear. When her mother passed along a cookbook made and assembled by her grandmother, Erica Abrams Locklear thought she knew what to expect. But rather than finding a homemade cookbook full of apple stack cake, leather britches, pickled watermelon, or other “traditional” mountain recipes, Locklear discovered recipes for devil’s food cake with coconut icing, grape catsup, and fig pickles. Some recipes even relied on food products like Bisquick, Swans Down flour, and Calumet baking powder. Where, Locklear wondered, did her Appalachian food script come from? And what implicit judgments had she made about her grandmother based on the foods she imagined she would have been interested in cooking? Appalachia on the Table argues, in part, that since the conception of Appalachia as a distinctly different region from the rest of the South and the United States, the foods associated with the region and its people have often been used to socially categorize and stigmatize mountain people. The question at the core of Locklear’s analysis asks, How did the dominant culinary narrative of the region come into existence and what consequences has that narrative had for people in the mountains? To learn more, check out this review from the Southern Review of Books.