New Fiction – March 2018

Anatomy of a ScandalAnatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Desperate to clear the name of her loving and charismatic husband in the wake of scandalous accusations, Sophie clashes with a determined prosecution lawyer, Kate, who is determined to uncover the truth and bring Sophie’s husband to justice.

 

 

Everything Here is BeautifulEverything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

The bond between a responsible, self-contained older sister and her mentally ill, impulsive younger sister is shaped and tested over years marked by the loss of their mother, an impetuous first marriage, a fling that results in the birth of a baby and painful sacrifices.

 

The Gone WorldThe Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch

Time-travel secret agent Shannon Moss visits future time periods for clues about a Navy SEAL astronaut’s murdered family and the disappearance of his teenage daughter, a case that is complicated by the SEAL’s and Shannon’s own impact on the timeline.  A Pittsburgh author.

 

 

The Great AloneThe Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

When her volatile, former POW father impulsively moves the family to mid-1970s Alaska to live off the land, young Leni and her mother are forced to confront the dangers of their lack of preparedness in the wake of a dangerous winter season. By the author of The Nightingale.

 

Song of a Captive BirdSong of a Captive Bird by Jasmin Darznik

A first novel by the best-selling author of The Good Daughter re-imagines the life of rebel poet Forugh Farrokzhad, who is depicted as a passionate young writer in search of freedom and independence from the restrictions imposed on women in mid-20th century Iran.

New Nonfiction for February

Check out this selection of our new nonfiction. Pick up something different to read this cold and wet winter!

 

American WolfAmerican Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

The story of the rise and reign of O-Six, the celebrated Yellowstone wolf, and the people who loved or feared her.  Great reviews!

Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.  With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth.

 

BunkBunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News by Kevin Young

“Has the hoax now moved from the sideshow to take the center stage of American culture?”

 

 

In pursuit of memoryIn Pursuit of Memory: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s by Joseph Jebelli

Alzheimer’s is a global epidemic of our time, affecting millions worldwide with more than five million people diagnosed in the United States alone.  Scientists are working against the clock to find a cure.

 

 

Ramp HollowRamp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia by Steven Stoll

A provocative account of Appalachia, and why it matters.  Beginning with the earliest European settlers, whose desire to hunt in vast forests was frustrated by absentee owners who laid claim to the region.  Within a few decades, Appalachian hunters and famers went from pioneers to pariahs.

 

WhenWhen: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?

In When , Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesizes them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.

Coming to the Big Screen 2018

AnnihilationAnnihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation , the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

(February 23)

 

A Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L”Engle”s ground-breaking science fiction and fantasy classic, soon to be a major motion picture.

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

(March 9)

 

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

The bestselling cult classic–soon to be a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg.

At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut–part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner , and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

(March 30)

 

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette Maria Semple

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Cate Blanchett

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle–and people in general–has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

(May 11)

 

Crazy Rich AsiansCrazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

(August 17)

Comfort Food

Carla's Comfort FoodsCarla’s Comfort Foods : Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall

Featuring 130 recipes with new variations on soulful favorites, this cookbook covers the culinary globe on an ingenious, delicious mission: to capture the international flavors of comfort.

Soul Food LoveSoul Food Love : Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams

A mother-daughter duo reclaims and redefines soul food by mining the traditions of four generations of black women and creating 80 healthy recipes to help everyone live longer and stronger.

Martha Stewart's Dinner at HomeMartha Stewart’s Dinner at Home : 52 Quick Meals to Cook for Family & Friends

Two hundred recipes perfect for dinner when you have a little time–but not all day–to cook. For meals that are meant for sharing with friends and family but created with busy cooks in mind, Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home is a new classic that cooks of all levels will depend on. Whether you’re making a Sunday supper or hosting a casual get-together, Martha Stewart has put together 52 diverse menus that make the most of each season’s flavors–and the various ways we like to cook as the weather changes.

Nobel Prize Winners

Check out these titles from 2017 Nobel Prize Winners in Literature and Economics:

Remains of the DayThe Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is Kazuo Ishiguro’s profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England. Stevens, at the end of three decades of service at Darlington Hall, spending a day on a country drive, embarks as well on a journey through the past in an effort to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving the “great gentleman,” Lord Darlington. But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington’s “greatness,” and much graver doubts about the nature of his own life.

 

NudgeNudge : improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness by Richard Thaler

Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nobel laureate Richard Thaler and legal scholar and bestselling author Cass Sunstein explain in this important exploration of choice architecture that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.

Back to School

Summer’s over, but don’t fret. Here are some books to get you back to school.

 

 Old FilthOld Filth by Jane Gardam

Sir Edward Feathers has had a brilliant career, from his early days as a lawyer in Southeast Asia, where he earned the nickname Old Filth (FILTH being an acronym for Failed In London Try Hong Kong) to his final working days as a respected judge at the English bar. Yet through it all he has carried with him the wounds of a difficult and emotionally hollow childhood. Now an eighty-year-old widower living in comfortable seclusion in Dorset, Feathers is finally free from the regimen of work and the sentimental scaffolding that has sustained him throughout his life. He slips back into the past with ever mounting frequency and intensity, and on the tide of these vivid, lyrical musings, Feathers approaches a reckoning with his own history. Not all the old filth, it seems, can be cleaned away.

The MagiciansThe Magicians by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

The Art of FieldingThe Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

At Westish College, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league until a routine throw goes disastrously off course. In the aftermath of his error, the fates of five people are upended. Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life. As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets.

Straight ManStraight Man by Richard Russo

William Henry Devereaux, Jr., is the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt.  Devereaux’s reluctance is partly rooted in his character–he is a born anarchist–and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans.

In the course of a single week, Devereaux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with his dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television.  All this while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital body functions.  In short, Straight Man is classic Russo–side-splitting, poignant, compassionate, and unforgettable.

Dear Committee MembersDear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

Jason Fitger is a beleaguered professor of creative writing and literature at Payne University, a small and not very distinguished liberal arts college in the midwest. His department is facing draconian cuts and squalid quarters, while one floor above them the Economics Department is getting lavishly remodeled offices. His once-promising writing career is in the doldrums, as is his romantic life, in part as the result of his unwise use of his private affairs for his novels. His star (he thinks) student can’t catch a break with his brilliant (he thinks) work  In short, his life is a tale of woe, and the vehicle this droll and inventive novel uses to tell that tale is a series of hilarious letters of recommendation that Fitger is endlessly called upon by his students and colleagues to produce, each one of which is a small masterpiece of high dudgeon, low spirits, and passive-aggressive strategies.

 

 

 

Beach Reads

Need an escape? Check out some of our favorite titles from 2017 to read on the beach.

The Last LaughThe Last Laugh by Lynn Freed

To escape their griping grown children, husbands and lovers, and an abundance of grandchildren underfoot, three self-proclaimed “old bags,” Dania, Ruth, and Bess, head for a quiet island on the Aegean Sea. They’ll spend a year by the water–watching the sunset, eating grilled fish and fresh olives, sipping ouzo. They deserve it, they say. After all those years, the three women will finally have some peace.

Except that they can’t. For one, Bess, a pampered, once-beautiful inheritress, falls swiftly into an affair with a poetry-writing taxi driver–who has, of course, a territorial wife. And Dania, a therapist, begins to receive an increasing number of cryptically menacing phone calls from a psychotic patient. An ex-lover of Ruth’s shows up unexpectedly, right before one of Bess’s does–and then the women’s children arrive, with their own demanding children in tow. As the island quickly becomes crowded, the women’s serene year in Greece devolves perilously, and uproariously, into something much more complicated.

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny

When Graham Cavanaugh divorced his first wife it was to marry his girlfriend, Audra, a woman as irrepressible as she is spontaneous and fun. But, Graham learns, life with Audra can also be exhausting, constantly interrupted by chatty phone calls, picky-eater house guests, and invitations to weddings of people he’s never met. Audra firmly believes that through the sheer force of her personality she can overcome the most socially challenging interactions, shepherding her son through awkward play dates and origami club, and even deciding to establish a friendship with Graham’s first wife, Elspeth. Graham isn’t sure he understands why Audra longs to be friends with the woman he divorced. After all, former spouses are hard to categorize–are they enemies, old flames, or just people you know really, really well? And as Graham and Audra share dinners, holidays, and late glasses of wine with his first wife he starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did I make the right choice? Is there a right choice? A hilarious and rueful debut novel of love, marriage, infidelity, and origami, Standard Deviation never deviates from the superb.

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter , Scaachi Koul deploys her razor-sharp humor to share all the fears, outrages, and mortifying moments of her life. She learned from an early age what made her miserable, and for Scaachi anything can be cause for despair. Whether it’s a shopping trip gone awry; enduring awkward conversations with her bikini waxer; overcoming her fear of flying while vacationing halfway around the world; dealing with Internet trolls, or navigating the fears and anxieties of her parents. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of color: where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision, or outright scorn; where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, leaving little room for a woman not solely focused on marriage and children to have a career (and a life) for herself.

With a sharp eye and biting wit, incomparable rising star and cultural observer Scaachi Koul offers a hilarious, scathing, and honest look at modern life.

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Or did she?

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

Recalling Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity, Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others.

Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother’s happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton, the author’s celebrated New York Times bestseller) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence.

Saints for All OccasionsSaints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

A sweeping, unforgettable novel from  The New York Times  best-selling author of Maine , about the hope, sacrifice, and love between two sisters and the secret that drives them apart.

Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she’s shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn’t sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan–a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, quietly preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora’s favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache. Estranged from her sister, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago. A graceful, supremely moving novel from one of our most beloved writers, Saints for All Occasions explores the fascinating, funny, and sometimes achingly sad ways a secret at the heart of one family both breaks them and binds them together.

 

Looking for a Thriller?

Check out these new titles for something to get your heart racing this summer.

The DestroyersThe Destroyers by Christopher Bollen

Arriving on the Greek island of Patmos broke and humiliated, Ian Bledsoe is fleeing the emotional and financial fallout from his father’s death. His childhood friend Charlie–rich, exuberant, and basking in the success of his new venture on the island–could be his last hope.

At first Patmos appears to be a dream–long sun-soaked days on Charlie’s yacht and the reappearance of a girlfriend from Ian’s past–and Charlie readily offers Ian the lifeline he so desperately needs. But, like Charlie himself, this beautiful island conceals a darkness beneath, and it isn’t long before the dream begins to fragment. When Charlie suddenly vanishes, Ian finds himself caught up in deception after deception. As he grapples with the turmoil left in his friend’s wake, he is reminded of an imaginary game called Destroyers they played as children–a game, he now realizes, they may have never stopped playing.

 

Fierce KingdomFierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours—the entire scope of the novel—she keeps on running.

 

Final GirlsFinal Girls by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie-scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to–a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

 

Now, Quincy is doing well–maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiance, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep.

 

Magpie MurdersMagpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

From the New York Times bestselling author of Moriarty and Trigger Mortis, this fiendishly brilliant, riveting thriller weaves a classic whodunit worthy of Agatha Christie into a chilling, ingeniously original modern-day mystery.

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway’s latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she’s intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan’s traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job.

Conway’s latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she’s convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder.

 

National Barbecue Month

Master of the GrillMaster of the Grill : Foolproof Recipes, Top-Rated Gadgets, Gear, and Ingredients Plus Clever Test Kitchen Tips and Fascinating Food Science by America’s Test Kitchen

Part field guide to grilling and barbecuing and part cookbook, Master of the Grill features a wide variety of kitchen-tested recipes for meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, pizza, and more. These are the recipes everyone should know how to make— the juiciest burgers, barbecue chicken that’s moist not tough, tender grill-smoked pork ribs, the greatest steak (and grilled potatoes to serve alongside). Regional specialties are included, too—learn how to make Cowboy Steaks, Alabama BBQ Chicken, and Kansas City Sticky Ribs. Colorful photography captures the beauty of the recipes and step-by-step shots guide you through everything you need to know. A section on grilling essentials covers the pros and cons of gas and charcoal grills and which might be right for you, as well as the tools you’ll use with them— such as grill brushes, tongs, vegetable baskets, and wood chips and chunks.

Feeding the FireFeeding the Fire : Recipes & Strategies for Better Barbecue & Grilling by Joe Carroll

Joe Carroll makes stellar barbecue and grilled meats in Brooklyn, New York, at his acclaimed restaurants Fette Sau and St. Anselm. In Feeding the Fire , Carroll gives us his top 20 lessons and more than 75 recipes to make incredible fire-cooked foods at home, proving that you don’t need to have fancy equipment or long-held regional traditions to make succulent barbecue and grilled meats. Feeding the Fire teaches the hows and whys of live-fire cooking: how to create low and slow fires, how to properly grill chicken (leave it on the bone), why American whiskey blends so nicely with barbecued meats (both are flavored with charred wood), and how to make the best sides to serve with meat (keep it simple). Recipes nested within each lesson include Pulled Pork Shoulder, Beef Short Ribs, Bourbon-Brined Center-Cut Pork Chops, Grilled Clams with Garlic Butter, and Charred Long Beans. Anyone can follow these simple and straightforward lessons to become an expert.

GrillingGrilling : Mouthwatering Recipes for Unbeatable Barbecue by Good Housekeeping

Fire up the grill–and your appetite! Everyone loves to barbecue, and these 65 sure-fire recipes from Good Housekeeping make it easy to prepare irresistibly mouthwatering meals. Of course you’ll learn how to make the perfect burger, but you’ll also find Grilled Pesto and Mozzarella Pizzas, Mojito-Rubbed Chicken with Pineapple, Baby-Back Ribs Supreme, Shrimp Sonoma, Corn on the Cob with Molasses Butter, and much more. All the basics are here, including advice on accessories, terrific marinades, ideas for flavoring the fire, and (in case it rains) instructions for preparing many faves indoors in a grill pan.

The Outdoor TableThe Outdoor Table : The Ultimate Cookbook for Your Next Backyard BBQ, Front-Porch Meal, Tailgate, or Picnic by April McKinney

April McKinney celebrates the tradition of packing up your best food and enjoying a meal outdoors.

When most people say they are going out to eat, they usually mean out to a restaurant. But it could mean a front porch brunch with your closest friends; a nighttime concert in the park; a tailgate party at the stadium; a moonlit dinner at the drive-in movie theater; or a picnic at a vineyard.

Whether at a planned event or just an impromptu cookout in the backyard with your friends and neighbors, The Outdoor Table is your guide to creating portable dishes that you can prepare ahead of time and serve cold or at room temperature when you get to your destination that your family and friends will love. It’s time to pack a picnic and start making memories.

Get Outside

Need inspiration to get outside? Check out these tales of enjoying the outdoors and walking the trails.

A Walk in the WoodsA Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and

The Old WaysThe Old Ways : A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane

In this exquisitely written book, which folds together natural history, cartography, geology, and literature, Robert Macfarlane sets off to follow the ancient routes that crisscross both the landscape of the British Isles and its waters and territories beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the voices that haunt old paths and the stories our tracks tell. Macfarlane’s journeys take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird islands of the Scottish northwest, from Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas. He matches strides with the footprints made by a man five thousand years ago near Liverpool, sails an open boat far out into the Atlantic at night, and commingles with walkers of many kinds, discovering that paths offer a means not just of traversing space but also of feeling, knowing, and thinking.

The MarchesThe Marches: A Borderland Journey between England and Scotland by Rory Stewart

In The Places in Between Rory Stewart walked through the most dangerous borderlandsin the world. Now he walks along the border he calls home—where political turmoil and vivid lives have played out for centuries across a magnificent natural landscape—to tell the story of the Marches.

In his thousand-mile journey, Stewart sleeps on mountain ridges and housing estates, in hostels and farmhouses. Following the lines of Neolithic standing stones, wading through floods and ruined fields, he walks Hadrian’s Wall with soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan and visits the Buddhist monks who outnumber Christian monks in the Scottish countryside today. He melds the stories of the people he meets with the region’s political and economic history, tracing the creation of Scotland from ancient tribes to the independence referendum. And he discovers another country buried in history, a vanished Middleland: the lost kingdom of Cumbria.

With every step, Stewart reveals the force of myths and traditions and the endurance of ties that are woven into the fabric of the land itself. A meditation on deep history, the pull of national identity, and home, The Marches is a transporting work from a powerful and original writer.

 

WanderlustWanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit

Drawing together many histories-of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores, Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking. Arguing that the history of walking includes walking for pleasure as well as for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit focuses on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from philosophers to poets to mountaineers. She profiles some of the most significant walkers in history and fiction-from Wordsworth to Gary Snyder, from Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet to Andre Breton’s Nadja-finding a profound relationship between walking and thinking and walking and culture. Solnit argues for the necessity of preserving the time and space in which to walk in our ever more car-dependent and accelerated world.

 

On TrailsOn Trails by Robert Moor

From a debut talent who’s been compared to Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey, David Quammen, and Jared Diamond, On Trails is a wondrous exploration of how trails help us understand the world—from invisible ant trails to hiking paths that span continents, from interstate highways to the Internet.

In 2009, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others fade? What makes us follow or strike off on our own? Over the course of the next seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. He learned the tricks of master trail-builders, hunted down long-lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet. In each chapter, Moor interweaves his adventures with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing—combining the nomadic joys of Peter Matthiessen with the eclectic wisdom of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.