Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad

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Just after graduating college and starting a new job in Paris, Suleika Jaouad is diagnosed with leukemia. This beautifully written, powerful memoir explores her illness, treatment, and the loneliness of being a young person battling cancer, along with how it impacts her relationships with her family and friends.

“When the life we had is snatched away, how do we find the conviction to live another? Between Two Kingdoms will resonate with anyone who is living a different life than they planned to live. This is a propulsive, soulful story of mourning and gratitude—and an intimate portrait of one woman’s sojourn in the wilderness between life and death.”—Tara Westover, author of Educated

“A beautiful, elegant, and heartbreaking book that provides a glimpse into the kingdom of illness . . . Suleika Jaouad avoids sentimentality but manages to convey the depth of the emotional turmoil that illness can bring into our lives.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies

“Jaouad does a beautiful job of writing from this place of ‘dual citizenship,’ where she finds pain but also joy, kinship, and possibility.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“This is a deeply moving and passionate work of art, quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. I will remember these stories for years to come, because Suleika Jaouad has imprinted them on my heart.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love

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True Biz by Sara Novic

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This novel takes place at a boarding school for the deaf and follows three main characters: two teens attending the school, and the headmistress. Each has their own history and experience in the deaf community, and while the book is a novel, it includes lots of diagrams and information about ASL. A page-turner that taught me a lot about an interesting topic.

“Goodness, I can’t even begin to put into words all the feelings this book provoked! . . . An eye-opening and heartfelt story about human connection and the beauty and adversity woven into the deaf community and culture. It is both an educational and electrifying peek into a family’s life as they fight to forge connections even as the outside world threatens to close the door on them. I loved this story so much, it is not one to miss.”—Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club April ’22 Pick)

“Part tender coming-of-age story, part electrifying tale of political awakening, part heartfelt love letter to Deaf culture, True Biz is wholly a wonder.”—Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere

“Sara Nović’s gifts for character, story, and language are evident from the first page. True Biz feels like the discovery of a new written form, a love letter to language itself.”—Liz Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Long Bright River

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Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

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Bereft at their mother’s death, Benny and Byron have the shock of their lives when the lawyer tells them their mother left a voice message revealing a heartbreaking story that they never knew.  The instructions to them were to share the family traditional black cake when the time was right.  A mother’s wisdom: we can’t choose what we inherit … but we can choose who we become?

“Fans of family dramas by Ann Patchett, Brit Bennett, and Karen Joy Fowler should take note. Black Cake marks the launch of a writer to watch, one who masterfully plumbs the unexpected depths of the human heart.”—BookPage (starred review)

“Wilkerson uses one Caribbean American family’s extraordinary tale to probe universal issues of identity and how the lives we live and the choices we make leave ‘a trail of potential consequences’ that pass down through generations.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Exquisite and expansive, Black Cake took ahold of me from the first page and didn’t let go. This is a novel about the formation and reformation of a family, and the many people, places, and events that can shape our inheritances without our knowing. A gripping, poignant debut from an important, new voice.”—Naima Coster, New York Times bestselling author of What’s Mine and Yours

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Black Walden: Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts by Elise Lemire

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Since we live next door to Lincoln, Massachusetts let author Lemire forever change your thoughts about the green space of Walden Pond.  In the 1700’s there was a community of enslaved individuals newly exposed to “freedom” whose stories need to be lifted up and shared.

Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, is most famous as the place where Henry David Thoreau went to ‘live deliberately’ and subsist on the land. Lemire . . . sets about to resurrect the memory of not only the freedmen and -women who dwelled there but also the history of slavery in Concord. . . . Ultimately, Lemire conveys the idea that before Walden Pond was a ‘green space, ‘ it was, in fact, a ‘black space.’–Library Journal

Lemire has genuinely enriched our understanding not only of the history of Concord but also of the country for which that fabled town still so often stands.–New England Quarterly

Thanks to Lemire’s ingenious research, such valiant figures as Brister Freeman and Cato Ingraham can claim their just place alongside the more famous Minutemen in the town that fired the ‘shot heard ’round the world.’–Robert Gross, author of The Minutemen and Their World

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The Coroner’s Lunch  (A Dr. Siri Paiboun Mystery Book 1) by Colin Cotterell

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Readers of literary mysteries will want to seek out a copy of The Coroner’s Lunch, the first of a series set in the country of Laos in the throes of its communist takeover during the 1970s. These engaging stories feature a strong sense of place and a sympathetic protagonist, one Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old physician and lonely widower. Dr. Siri, who hopes to retire quietly is instead conscripted as the country’s sole medical examiner and finds his work draws him into ever more suspicious and dangerous entanglements. 

”The sights, smells, and colors of Laos practically jump of the pages of this inspired, often wryly witty first novel.” —Denver Post

”In Siri, Cotterill has created a detective as distinctive as Maigret or Poirot.” —Orlando Sentinel

”This series kickoff is an embarrassment of riches: Holmesian sleuthing, political satire, and [a] droll comic study of a prickly late bloomer.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

”A wonderfully fresh and exotic mystery . . . If Cotterill . . . had done nothing more than treat us to Siri’s views on the dramatic, even comic crises that mark periods of government upheaval, his debut mystery would still be fascinating. But the multiple cases spread out on Siri’s examining table . . . are not cozy entertainments but substantial crimes that take us into the thick of political intrigue.” —New York Times Book Review

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The Henna Artist (The Jaipur Trilogy Book 1) by Alka Joshi

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Lakshmi at 17 years old, escapes an arranged, abusive marriage leaving her village to arrive in the pink city of Jaipur where she cultivates her original artistic designs of henna as she cultivates her upper class clientele.  She can never reveal her past but one day her husband finds her with a high-spirited 13 year old sister in tow that she never knew she had and all begins to unravel…..

“Rich in detail and bright with tastes and textures, The Henna Artist is a fabulous glimpse into Indian culture of the 1950s.”—Bookpage, Starred Review

“Vibrant characters, evocative imagery, and sumptuous prose create a satisfying, unforgettable tale.”—Christian Science Monitor


“Joshi has constructed a bewitching glimpse into the past with a tough heroine well worth cheering on.”—Booklist

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The Maid by Nita Prose

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A young woman, raised by her grandmother with a vocabulary of old fashioned expressions from simpler times, is left on her own to navigate the complex world.  Compulsively dedicated to order, she throws herself into her first job as hotel maid until one day her world is upturned with the discovery of the death of one of her regulars.  This is a light mystery – joyous, warmly uplifting.

“Molly is a likeable, neurodivergent narrator in this outstanding debut. The character-rich mystery ends with several twists that will appeal to fans of Eleanor Oliphant and other sympathetic heroines.”—Library Journal (starred review)


“Captivating, charming, and heart-warming, with deft writing and a clever, original plot, this unusual crime novel will leave readers with a warm glow.”Booklist (starred review)

“Prose threads a steady needle with the intricate plotting, the locked-room elements of the mystery, and especially Molly’s character. . . . The reader comes to understand Molly’s worldview, and to sympathize with her longing to be accepted—a quest that gives The Maid real emotional heft.”—The New York Times Book Review

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Honor by Thrity Umrigar

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I love this writer’s books about India in all its complexity.  My mother and I must have argued over the meaning of the ending in the The Space Between Us for months. In Honor the lives of two very different women come together after an unspeakable act of violence. I would add this warning:  the subject matter is not for sensitive readers.

In the way A Thousand Splendid Suns told of Afghanistan’s women, Thrity Umrigar tells a story of India with the intimacy of one who knows the many facets of a land both modern and ancient, awash in contradictions, permeated by a smoldering mix of ageless traditions and new ideas, beauty and brutality, hope and despair, certainty and mystery. A place where love can sometimes involve the peril of defying convention . . . and ultimately risking everything for what matters most.–Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

With insight and compassion, Thrity Umrigar writes masterfully about the complexities of hatred and love, estrangement and belonging, oppression and privilege, about holding on and letting go. A powerful, important, unforgettable book.–Cheryl Strayed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wild

Honor is a novel of profound depths–cultural, personal, romantic, spiritual. It’s also a story of tremendous grace, both in the understanding it shows its characters and in the ways they navigate a brutal but stunning life.–Rebecca Makkai, Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Great Believers

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Going There by Katie Couric    

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For more than forty years, Katie Couric has been an iconic presence in the media world  This novel has laugh out loud moments and the short chapters race by.  It’s also a trip through our recent history from the sixties to the present and she was mostly at the heart of each event.  I for one learned a lot about the inside world of media rife with sexism and misogyny from someone who seemed to want to share it all. Funny and heartbreaking.

“Fast-paced and riveting, Going There is an intimate memoir that chronicles the once magical world of TV news.  Every young woman should read this book to understand what ambition really feels like and the work it takes to fulfill it.”―Tina Brown

“The secret to Katie Couric’s success is that there are no secrets. While the dogged determination she has called upon her whole life is  an invaluable asset, there are other ingredients in Katie’s not-so-secret sauce: humor, concern, sincerity, steadfastness, and devotion to her daughters, family, and friends. If Katie is “going there,” no matter where “there” is, we’re along for the ride.”―Michael J. Fox, bestselling author of No Time Like the Future

“Longtime ‘Today’ co-anchor Couric, once known as ‘America’s Sweetheart,’ shows that she’s really ‘America’s Role Model’ in a frank, funny memoir about her journey from Arlington, Va., high school cheerleader to a leading voice for cancer research as well as first-rank investigative journalist. Some superstar books can be skipped; this one shouldn’t be.”―Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post

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All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days by Rebecca Donner

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This work of nonfiction examines the life of Mildred Harnack, an American woman who married a German man; living in Berlin in the 1930s, she and her husband joined others to secretly work in the German resistance. This engaging book follows their efforts while also describing what life was like for Germans as Hitler seized power.

“[Donner is] a meticulous researcher and master of narrative suspense… Here is a historical biography that reads like a literary thriller.”―Wall Street Journal (Best Books of the Year)

“Highly evocative, deeply moving, a stunning literary achievement. Rebecca Donner forges a new kind of biography—almost novelistic in style and tone, this scholarly work resurrects the courageous life Mildred Harnack, an unsung American hero who led part of the German resistance to the Nazi regime. A relentless sleuth in the archives, Donner has written a page-turner story of espionage, love, and betrayal.”―Kai Bird, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography

“A stunning biography… Donner’s research is impeccable, and her fluid prose and vivid character sketches keep the pages turning…This standout history isn’t to be missed.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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