Women in Science

Did you enjoy the movie Hidden Figures? Then you are sure to enjoy more tales of women breaking barriers in science and math fields. Check out a few of these similar titles or be inspired by the book version of Hidden Figures!

Hidden FiguresHidden Figures : The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Glass UniverseThe Glass Universe : How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel

In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations their male counterparts made via telescope each night. At the outset this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but soon the female corps included graduates of the new women’s colleges—Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned from computation to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates.

HeadstrongHeadstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby

Headstrong delivers a powerful, global, and engaging response. Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, Rachel Swaby’s vibrant profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one’s ideas developed, from their first moment of scientific engagement through the research and discovery for which they’re best known. This fascinating tour reveals these 52 women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats.

Rise of the Rocket GirlsRise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt

In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women–known as “human computers”–who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we’ve been, and the far reaches of space to which we’re heading.

 

Girls of Atomic CityThe Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan

At the height of World War II, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was home to 75,000 residents, and consumed more electricity than New York City, yet it was shrouded in such secrecy that it did not appear on any map. Thousands of civilians, many of them young women from small towns across the U.S., were recruited to this secret city, enticed by the promise of solid wages and war-ending work. What were they actually doing there? Very few knew. The purpose of this mysterious government project was kept a secret from the outside world and from the majority of the residents themselves. Some wondered why, despite the constant work and round-the-clock activity in this makeshift town, did no tangible product of any kind ever seem to leave its guarded gates? The women who kept this town running would find out at the end of the war, when Oak Ridge’s secret was revealed and changed the world forever.

Recent Releases

Check out these recent releases for help celebrating Black History Month.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The MothersIt is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

Lazaretto by Diane McKinney-Whetstone

LazarettoThis stunning new novel from Diane McKinney-Whetstone, nationally bestselling author of Tumbling, begins in the chaotic backstreets of post–Civil War Philadelphia as a young black woman gives birth to a child fathered by her wealthy white employer.

In a city riven by racial tension, the father’s transgression is unforgivable. He has already arranged to take the baby, so it falls to Sylvia, the midwife’s teenage apprentice, to tell Meda that her child is dead—a lie that will define the course of both women’s lives. A devastated Meda dedicates herself to working in an orphanage and becomes a surrogate mother to two white boys; while Sylvia, fueled by her guilt, throws herself into her nursing studies and finds a post at the Lazaretto, the country’s first quarantine hospital, situated near the Delaware River, just south of Philadelphia.

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Here Comes the SunCapturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis- Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman―fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves―must confront long-hidden scars. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground RailroadCora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

HomegoindThe unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

 

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

The SelloutA biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality―the black Chinese restaurant.

Coming to the Big Screen

Watch out for these great titles about to become movies!

 

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Release Date: March 3

 

The Shack by William P. Young

Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

Release Date: March 3

 

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these “guests,” and human names for the animals, it’s no wonder that the zoo’s code name became “The House Under a Crazy Star.” Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story―sharing Antonina’s life as “the zookeeper’s wife,” while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism.

Release Date: March 31

 

The Lost City of Z by David Zann

In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called “The Lost City of Z.” In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for “Z” and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.

Release Date: April 21

 

The Circle by Dave Eggers

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Release Date: April 28

 

It by Stephen King

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

Release Date: September 8

 

For more titles, see here: 19 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters in 2017

True Life Tales from the Dark

Sometimes true life is scarier than fiction. Check out some of these titles this Halloween instead of the usual ghost stories.

GhostlandGhostland: An American History in Haunted Places

Colin Dickey is on the trail of America’s ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and “zombie homes,” Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. Some have established reputations as “the most haunted mansion in America,” or “the most haunted prison”; others, like the haunted Indian burial grounds in West Virginia, evoke memories from the past our collective nation tries to forget.

 

GhostsA Natural History of Ghosts : 500 Years of Searching for Proof by Roger Clarke

Taking us through the key hauntings that have obsessed the world, from the true events that inspired Henry James’s classic The Turn of the Screw right up to the present day, Roger Clarke unfolds a story of class conflict, charlatans, and true believers. The cast list includes royalty and prime ministers, Samuel Johnson, John Wesley, Harry Houdini, and Adolf Hitler. The chapters cover everything from religious beliefs to modern developments in neuroscience, the medicine of ghosts, and the technology of ghosthunting. There are haunted WWI submarines, houses so blighted by phantoms they are demolished, a seventeenth-century Ghost Hunter General, and the emergence of the Victorian flash mob, where hundreds would stand outside rumored sites all night waiting to catch sight of a dead face at a window.

Written as grippingly as the best ghost fiction, A Natural History of Ghosts takes us on an unforgettable hunt through the most haunted places of the last five hundred years and our longing to believe.

In cold bloodIn Cold Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

 

Monster of Florence by Douglas PrestonMonster of Florence

In 2000, Douglas Preston fulfilled a dream to move his family to Italy. Then he discovered that the olive grove in front of their 14th century farmhouse had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence. Preston, intrigued, meets Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to learn more.

This is the true story of their search for–and identification of–the man they believe committed the crimes, and their chilling interview with him. And then, in a strange twist of fate, Preston and Spezi themselves become targets of the police investigation. Preston has his phone tapped, is interrogated, and told to leave the country. Spezi fares worse: he is thrown into Italy’s grim Capanne prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself. Like one of Preston’s thrillers, The Monster Of Florence, tells a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide-and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi, caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.

Stranger beside meThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

Ted Bundy was handsome, charming, a brilliant law student, and on the verge of a dazzling career. On January 24, 1989, he was executed for the murders of three young women, having confessed to taking the lives of at least thirty-five more.This is the story of one of the most fascinating killers in American history–of his magnetic power, his bleak compulsion, his double life, his string of helpless victims. It is also the story of Ann Rule, a writer working on the biggest story of her life, tracking down a brutal mass murderer. Little did she realize that the “Ted” the police were seeking was the same Ted who worked with her at a Seattle crisis clinic, a man who had become her close friend and confidant. As she began to put the evidence together, a terrifying picture emerged of the man she thought she knew.Thirty-five years after it was first published, The Stranger Beside Me remains a gripping, explosive true-crime classic.

Lady and Her MonstersThe Lady and her Monsters: a Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley’s Masterpiece by Roseanne Montillo

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein.

Montillo recounts how–at the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution–Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein was inspired by actual scientists of the period: curious and daring iconoclasts who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body and how it might be reanimated after death.

With true-life tales of grave robbers, ghoulish experiments, and the ultimate in macabre research–human reanimation–The Lady and Her Monsters is a brilliant exploration of the creation of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s horror classic.

RabidRabid : A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy

The most fatal virus known to science, rabies-a disease that spreads avidly from animals to humans-kills nearly one hundred percent of its victims once the infection takes root in the brain. In this critically acclaimed exploration, journalist Bill Wasik and veterinarian Monica Murphy chart four thousand years of the history, science, and cultural mythology of rabies. From Greek myths to zombie flicks, from the laboratory heroics of Louis Pasteur to the contemporary search for a lifesaving treatment, Rabid is a fresh and often wildly entertaining look at one of humankind’s oldest and most fearsome foes.

 

On MonstersOn Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears by Stephen T. Asma

Hailed as “a feast” (Washington Post) and “a modern-day bestiary” (The New Yorker), Stephen Asma’s On Monsters is a wide-ranging cultural and conceptual history of monsters–how they have evolved over time, what functions they have served for us, and what shapes they are likely to take in the future. Beginning at the time of Alexander the Great, the monsters come fast and furious–Behemoth and Leviathan, Gog and Magog, Satan and his demons, Grendel and Frankenstein, circus freaks and headless children, right up to the serial killers and terrorists of today and the post-human cyborgs of tomorrow. Monsters embody our deepest anxieties and vulnerabilities, Asma argues, but they also symbolize the mysterious and incoherent territory beyond the safe enclosures of rational thought. Exploring sources as diverse as philosophical treatises, scientific notebooks, and novels, Asma unravels traditional monster stories for the clues they offer about the inner logic of an era’s fears and fascinations. In doing so, he illuminates the many ways monsters have become repositories for those human qualities that must be repudiated, externalized, and defeated.

For more try this list: https://www.ebscohost.com/novelist/novelist-special/nonfiction-for-horror-readers

Big Fall Books

Summer is almost over, and autumn is approaching. Here are some books to get excited about as the temperature falls.

FICTION

CommonwealthCommonwealth by Ann Patchett

The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

 

 

A Great ReckoningA Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

#1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny pulls back the layers to reveal a brilliant and emotionally powerful truth in her latest spellbinding novel.

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes. Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.

 

Here I Am by Jonathan Sanfran FoerHere I Am

A monumental new novel from the bestselling author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Showcasing the same high-energy inventiveness, hilarious irreverence, and emotional urgency that readers loved in his earlier work, Here I Am is Foer’s most searching, hard-hitting, and grandly entertaining novel yet. It not only confirms Foer’s stature as a dazzling literary talent but reveals a novelist who has fully come into his own as one of our most important writers.

 

 

Razor GirlRazor Girl by Carl Hiassan

When Lane Coolman’s car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an ordinary accident is anything but (this is Hiaasen!). Behind the wheel of the other car is Merry Mansfield–the eponymous Razor Girl–and the crash scam is only the beginning of events that spiral crazily out of control while unleashing some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page.

 

 

Today Will Be DifferentToday Will Be Different by Maria Semple

Eleanor knows she’s a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won’t swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother’s company. It’s also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he’s on vacation. Just when it seems like things can’t go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret.

Today Will Be Different is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.

 

 

NON FICTION

Born To RunBorn To Run by Bruce Springsteen

In 2009, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band performed at the Super Bowl’s halftime show. The experience was so exhilarating that Bruce decided to write about it. That’s how this extraordinary autobiography began.

Over the past seven years, Bruce Springsteen has privately devoted himself to writing the story of his life, bringing to these pages the same honesty, humor, and originality found in his songs.

 

Killing the Rising SunKilling the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan by Bill O’Reilly

Autumn 1944. World War II is nearly over in Europe but is escalating in the Pacific, where American soldiers face an opponent who will go to any length to avoid defeat. The Japanese army follows the samurai code of Bushido, stipulating that surrender is a form of dishonor. Killing the Rising Sun takes readers to the bloody tropical-island battlefields of Peleliu and Iwo Jima and to the embattled Philippines, where General Douglas MacArthur has made a triumphant return and is plotting a full-scale invasion of Japan.

June Staff Pick: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

After a month off from staff picks, we’re back in June with one from Meghan!


Lost LakeLOST LAKE by Sarah Addison Allen

Kate has been lingering in a fog throughout the year since her husband died, and it is only when her manipulative mother-in-law threatens to hijack her life that Kate begins to snap to. When her wardrobe-challenged eight-year-old daughter, Devin, discovers an old letter from Kate’s great-aunt Eby, the pair go on the lam to Lost Lake, Eby’s dilapidated resort camp tucked deep in the south Georgia swamplands. Long widowed, with dwindling funds and a diminishing guest roster, Eby may be forced to sell her fading haven to an unscrupulous developer, until Kate’s arrival gives her a new lease on life.

When talking about why she liked this book, Meghan said,

I love Sarah Addison Allen’s books because of their atmosphere, magical realism, and pleasurable endings.

If this sounds like a story you’d enjoy reading too, be sure to click the title above to request a copy. It is also available as an audiobook. Book description from Booklist, copyright 2010.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr


All the Light We Cannot SeeAnthony Doerr
‘s latest book, All The Light We Cannot See, tells the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France during World War II. The novel was ten years in the writing and highly anticipated. If you haven’t placed a hold for it and would like to, take a look at it in our catalog and request it here.

In the meantime, here are five similar books to tide you over until you can get your hands on it:


STONES FROM THE RIVER by Ursula Hegi

Follows Trudi Montag, a dwarf who serves as her town’s librarian, unofficial historian, and recorder of the secret stories of her people, in a novel that charts the course of German history in the first half of the twentieth century. This book is also stylistically complex and describes the challenges that the characters surmount to survive the Second World War.


JACOB’S OATH by Martin Fletcher

As World War II winds to a close, Europe’s roads are clogged with twenty million exhausted refugees walking home. Among them are Jacob and Sarah, lonely Holocaust survivors who meet in Heidelberg. But Jacob is consumed with hatred and cannot rest until he has killed his brother’s murderer, a concentration camp guard nicknamed “The Rat.” Now he must choose between revenge and love, between avenging the past and building a future. This book is also atmospheric and depicts the brutality of the War, with characters experiencing its emotional and psychological effects.


THE ENGLISH PATIENT by Michael Ondaatje

With unsettling beauty and intelligence, Michael Ondaatje’s Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II. The nurse Hana obsessively tends to her last surviving patient. Caravaggio, the thief, tries to reimagine who he is, now that his hands are hopelessly maimed. The Indian sapper Kip searches for hidden bombs in a landscape where nothing is safe but himself. And at the center of his labyrinth lies the English patient, nameless and hideously burned, a man who is both a riddle and a provocation to his companions-and whose memories of suffering, rescue, and betrayal illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning. This moving, stylistically complex novel is similar in that it reflects on the brutality of World War II and its lingering effects.


SARAH’S KEY by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard-their secret hiding place-and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released. Sixty Years Later: Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future. This book is moving and lyrical, and gives a perspective of family relationships in the desperate times of World War II.


THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE by Julie Orringer

Paris, 1937. Andras Lévi, a Hungarian-Jewish architecture student, arrives from Budapest with a scholarship, a single suitcase, and a mysterious letter he promised to deliver. But when he falls into a complicated relationship with the letter’s recipient, he becomes privy to a secret that will alter the course of his-and his family’s-history. From the small Hungarian town of Konyár to the grand opera houses of Budapest and Paris, from the despair of Carpathian winter to an unimaginable life in labor camps, The Invisible Bridge tells the story of a family shattered and remade in history’s darkest hour.

Click the titles to visit our online catalog and place a request for any of these books. Descriptions and cover images are from the library online catalog, descriptors of how these books are similar to All The Light We Cannot See are from Novelist.

April Staff Pick: Assassination Vacation

For our April Staff Pick, which comes a little later in the month, let’s look at a recommendation from Emily (who, for full disclosure, is me…since referring to myself in the third person just felt weird).


Assassination VacationAssassination Vacation,
 by Sarah Vowell
, is an exploration of the places in America with connections to the first three US Presidential assassinations. Vowell explains how these places and the collective memories of significant people and events related to the assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley have been shaped and in some cases manipulated by the historical tourism industry. Assassination Vacation reads as part pop history, part travelogue and part (irreverently) witty essay.

I really liked this book and enjoyed reading it because of the characters. Even though it is a nonfiction book, there were definitely characters. I found the section on President Garfield to be particularly interesting, and he an especially interesting character. Also, Sarah Vowell herself, and her friends and family were all really great, vivid characters.

Assassination Vacation is also available in Large Print, as a Book on CD, and as an OverDrive eBook in Kindle Book or Adobe EPUB eBook formats. Vowell has written several other books on American history and culture, including The Partly Cloudy PatriotTake the Cannoli: Stories from the New World, and Unfamiliar Fishes.

Spotlight on New Historical Fiction

If you enjoy history, but like a good story to go along with it, you may have already discovered the genre of historical fiction. If not, consider this your introduction.

Your librarian can help you to find a great historical novel set in any era using tools such as NoveList. Or follow the link to our library database page and under the heading for literature, click on ‘NoveList’ (or ‘Remote Access’ from home) to access this useful resource for readers.

Take  a look at these works of historical fiction, recently added to the shelves at Sewickley Public Library. You can follow the linked titles to find them in the library catalog, where you may request a copy for pickup.

 


THE PAGAN LORD: A NOVEL by Bernard Cornwell

The seventh and latest in the ‘Saxon Tales Saga,’ also referred to as ‘The Warrior Chronicles’ and ‘Saxon Stories,’ this book is by “the move prolific and successful historical novelist in the world today,” according to a Wall Street Journal review. The Pagan Lord continues Cornwell’s epic telling of the making of England in the middle ages and the struggle to unite Britain, centering on the stories of Alfred the Great and his descendents. If you are an Anglophile or love Viking stories (or both!), this book and series will have appeal.

The full list of books in the ‘Saxon Stories’ can be found on Bernard Cornwell’s website. If this series and setting sounds intriguing and you’d like to begin at the beginning, the first in this series is The Last Kingdom: A Novel.


THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE by Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin’s latest work of historical fiction explores the unanswered questions surrounding the Mary Celeste, an American merchant vessel found adrift off the Spanish coast in 1872, cargo intact but the entire crew vanished with no signs of foul play.

Martin has written other acclaimed works of historical fiction. Mary Reilly, a retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the point of view of a young female servant, won both the Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award. And Property, which tells the story of a plantation master’s wife and her slave on a sugar plantation near New Orleans in 1828, won the Orange Prize (now called the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction) and was named one of the 10 best historical novels by The Observer in 2012.


THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS by Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon’s debut novel, set in Jazz Age New York, The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress is an fictionalized account of the real disappearance in 1930 of Justice Joseph Crater. The investigation is undertaken by newly promoted police officer Jude Simon, who proceeds by questioning three women in Crater’s life: his wife, his mistress, and his maid (who also happens to be Simon’s wife). The mystery winds its way through speakeasies and involves the most notorious gangsters of the day.

 

Of course, these are only three recently written historical fiction novels, set in three eras, and in three different geographic settings. There is sure to be a great work of historical fiction set in whatever time period or in whatever place interests you.

Fascinating New Nonfiction for Spring


We Will SurviveWE WILL SURVIVE: TRUE STORIES OF ENCOURAGEMENT, INSPIRATION, AND THE POWER OF SONG, by Gloria Gaynor and Sue Carswell

Remarkable stories reveal that “I Will Survive” has reached people from all walks of life and touched their lives in thousands of unique ways. From individuals triumphing over illness to those suffering from the painful loss of a loved one to others piecing their lives together after bearing witness to national tragedy, “I Will Survive” has become an emotional anthem for them and for millions of Gloria Gaynor’s adoring fans around the world. In We Will Survive, Gloria shares forty of these inspirational, true stories about survivors of all kinds – individuals who have found comfort, hope, and courage through the power of this one song.


FOR THE BENEFIT OF THOSE WHO SEE: DISPATCHES FROM THE WORLD OF THE BLIND, by Rosemary Mahoney

In the tradition of Oliver Sacks’s The Island of the Colorblind , Rosemary Mahoney tells the story of Braille Without Borders, the first school for the blind in Tibet, and of Sabriye Tenberken, the remarkable blind woman who founded the school. Fascinated and impressed by what she learned from the blind children of Tibet, Mahoney was moved to investigate further the cultural history of blindness. As part of her research, she spent three months teaching at Tenberken’s international training center for blind adults in Kerala, India, an experience that reveals both the shocking oppression endured by the world’s blind, as well as their great resilience, integrity, ingenuity, and strength.


DANUBIA: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF HABSBURG EUROPE, by Simon Winder

For centuries much of Europe was in the hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians and warriors, they saw off-through luck, guile and sheer mulishness-any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918. From their principal lairs along the Danube they ruled most of Central Europe and Germany and interfered everywhere-indeed the history of Europe hardly makes sense without them. Danubia, Simon Winder’s hilarious new book, plunges the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy, skeletons, jewels, bear-moats, unfortunate marriages and a guinea-pig village. Full of music, piracy, religion and fighting, it is the history of a strange dynasty, and the people they ruled, who spoke many different languages, lived in a vast range of landscapes, believed in rival gods and often showed a marked ingratitude towards their oddball ruler in Vienna.


TRAIN: RIDING THE RAILS THAT CREATED THE MODERN WORLD – FROM THE TRANS-SIBERIAN TO THE SOUTHWEST CHIEF, by Tom Zoellner

Tom Zoellner loves trains with a ferocious passion and chronicles the innovation and sociological impact of the railway technology that changed the world, and could very well change it again. From the frigid trans-Siberian railroad to the antiquated Indian Railways to the futuristic MagLev trains, Zoellner offers a stirring story of man’s relationship with trains. Zoellner examines both the mechanics of the rails and their engines and how they helped societies evolve. Zoellner also considers America’s culture of ambivalence to mass transit, using the perpetually stalled line between Los Angeles and San Francisco as a case study in bureaucracy and public indifference. Train presents both an entertaining history of railway travel around the world while offering a serious and impassioned case for the future of train travel


THE MONKEY’S VOYAGE: HOW IMPROBABLE JOURNEYS SHAPED THE HISTORY OF LIFE, by Alan de Quieroz

In The Monkey’s Voyage, biologist Alan de Queiroz describes the radical new view of how fragmented distributions came into being: frogs and mammals rode on rafts and icebergs, tiny spiders drifted on storm winds, and plant seeds were carried in the plumage of sea-going birds to create the map of life we see today. In other words, these organisms were not simply constrained by continental fate; they were the makers of their own geographic destiny. And as de Queiroz shows, the effects of oceanic dispersal have been crucial in generating the diversity of life on Earth, from monkeys and guinea pigs in South America to beech trees and kiwi birds in New Zealand. By toppling the idea that the slow process of continental drift is the main force behind the odd distributions of organisms, this theory highlights the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the history of life.


My Life in MiddlemarchMY LIFE IN MIDDLEMARCH, by Rebecca Mead

Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not. In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot’s masterpiece-the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure-and brings them into our world.


ME, MYSELF, AND WHY: SEARCHING FOR THE SCIENCE OF SELF, by Jennifer Ouellette

As diverse as people appear to be, all of our genes and brains are nearly identical. In Me, Myself, and Why, Jennifer Ouellette dives into the minuscule ranges of variation to understand just what sets us apart. She draws on cutting-edge research in genetics, neuroscience, and psychology-enlivened as always with her signature sense of humor-to explore the mysteries of human identity and behavior. Readers follow her own surprising journey of self-discovery as she has her genome sequenced, her brain mapped, her personality typed, and even samples a popular hallucinogen. Bringing together everything from Mendel’s famous pea plant experiments and mutations in the X-Men to our taste for cilantro and our relationships with virtual avatars, Ouellette takes us on an endlessly thrilling and illuminating trip into the science of ourselves.

To find any of the above titles in the online library catalog, click the titles. From there, you may also place a hold for pickup.