New Book Tuesday for 10/20

Hello readers!

Though we are open to browsing again (with restrictions and shortened hours!), we know there are many of you who are still staying home while the pandemic is still ongoing. We shall continue our Digital Browsing New Book Tuesdays for you who are still being careful and shopping from home.


Fiction:

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Plain Bad Heroines, by Emily M. Danforth, illustrated by Sara Lautman

The award-winning author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes her adult debut with this highly imaginative and original horror-comedy centered around a cursed New England boarding school for girls—a wickedly whimsical celebration of the art of storytelling, sapphic love, and the rebellious female spirit.

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period-inspired illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.

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Phoenix Extravagant, by Yoon Ha Lee

Gyen Jebi isn’t a fighter or a subversive. They just want to paint.

One day they’re jobless and desperate; the next, Jebi finds themself recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers.

But when Jebi discovers the depths of the Razanei government’s horrifying crimes—and the awful source of the magical pigments they use—they find they can no longer stay out of politics.

What they can do is steal Arazi, the ministry’s mighty dragon automaton, and find a way to fight…

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Where the Wild Ladies Are, by Aoko Matsuda, translated by Polly Barton

A busybody aunt who disapproves of hair removal; a pair of door-to-door saleswomen hawking portable lanterns; a cheerful lover who visits every night to take a luxurious bath; a silent house-caller who babysits and cleans while a single mother is out working. Where the Wild Ladies Are is populated by these and many other spirited women–who also happen to be ghosts. This is a realm in which jealousy, stubbornness, and other excessive “feminine” passions are not to be feared or suppressed, but rather cultivated; and, chances are, a man named Mr. Tei will notice your talents and recruit you, dead or alive (preferably dead), to join his mysterious company.

In this witty and exuberant collection of linked stories, Aoko Matsuda takes the rich, millenia-old tradition of Japanese folktales–shapeshifting wives and foxes, magical trees and wells–and wholly reinvents them, presenting a world in which humans are consoled, guided, challenged, and transformed by the only sometimes visible forces that surround them.

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Ruby, by Nina Allan

Multi-award-winning author Nina Allan takes us on a journey exploring the elliptical nature of time and place, and in precise and beautiful prose explores the very nature of storytelling.

The story of Ruby Castle is told in snapshots and fleeting glimpses and secret histories, in tales repeated and reinvented by those who fall under the horror film actress’s spell: her childhood sweetheart; an antiquarian bookseller with a passion for magical artefacts; the mistress of the poet who was once Castle’s lover; a young girl in a future Russia who dreams of the stars.

As worlds collide, the boundaries between the real and the fantastic begin to break down. Is Ruby Castle a living person or a collective fantasy? By the time the final page of Ruby is turned, the world that Castle created through her films has become dangerously indistinguishable from our own.

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To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

In To Hold Up the Sky, Cixin Liu takes us across time and space, from a rural mountain community where elementary students must use physicas to prevent an alien invasion; to coal mines in northern China where new technology will either save lives of unleash a fire that will burn for centuries; to a time very much like our own, when superstring computers predict our every move; to 10,000 years in the future, when humanity is finally able to begin anew; to the very collapse of the universe itself.

Written between 1999 and 2017 and never before published in English, these stories came into being during decades of major change in China and will take you across time and space through the eyes of one of science fiction’s most visionary writers.

Experience the limitless and pure joy of Cixin Liu’s writing and imagination in this stunning collection.


Nonfiction:

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The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, by Les Payne

Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X—all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures, FBI moles and cops, and political leaders around the world. His goal was ambitious: to transform what would become over a hundred hours of interviews into an unprecedented portrait of Malcolm X, one that would separate fact from fiction.

The result is this historic biography that conjures a never-before-seen world of its protagonist, a work whose title is inspired by a phrase Malcolm X used when he saw his Hartford followers stir with purpose, as if the dead were truly arising, to overcome the obstacles of racism. Setting Malcolm’s life not only within the Nation of Islam but against the larger backdrop of American history, the book traces the life of one of the twentieth century’s most politically relevant figures “from street criminal to devoted moralist and revolutionary.”

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Dessert Person, by Claire Saffitz

Claire Saffitz is a baking hero for a new generation. In Dessert Person, fans will find Claire’s signature spin on sweet and savory recipes like Babkallah (a babka-Challah mashup), Apple and Concord Grape Crumble Pie, Strawberry-Cornmeal Layer Cake, Crispy Mushroom Galette, and Malted Forever Brownies. She outlines the problems and solutions for each recipe—like what to do if your pie dough for Sour Cherry Pie cracks (patch it with dough or a quiche flour paste!)—as well as practical do’s and don’ts, skill level, prep and bake time, step-by-step photography, and foundational know-how. With her trademark warmth and superpower ability to explain anything baking related, Claire is ready to make everyone a dessert person.

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Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema, by Lindy West

New York Times opinion writer and bestselling author Lindy West was once the in-house movie critic for Seattle’s alternative newsweekly The Stranger, where she covered film with brutal honesty and giddy irreverence. In Shit, Actually, Lindy returns to those roots, re-examining beloved and iconic movies from the past 40 years with an eye toward the big questions of our time: Is Twilight the horniest movie in history? Why do the zebras in The Lion King trust Mufasa-WHO IS A LION-to look out for their best interests? Why did anyone bother making any more movies after The Fugitive achieved perfection? And, my god, why don’t any of the women in Love, Actually ever fucking talk?!?!

From Forrest Gump, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Bad Boys II, to Face/Off, Top Gun, and The Notebook, Lindy combines her razor-sharp wit and trademark humor with a genuine adoration for nostalgic trash to shed new critical light on some of our defining cultural touchstones-the stories we’ve long been telling ourselves about who we are. At once outrageously funny and piercingly incisive, Shit, Actually reminds us to pause and ask, “How does this movie hold up?”, all while teaching us how to laugh at the things we love without ever letting them or ourselves off the hook.

Shit, Actually is a love letter and a break-up note all in one: to the films that shaped us and the ones that ruined us. More often than not, Lindy finds, they’re one and the same.

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Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread, by Michiko Kakutani

Readers will discover novels and memoirs by some of the most gifted writers working today; favorite classics worth reading or rereading; and nonfiction works, both old and new, that illuminate our social and political landscape and some of today’s most pressing issues, from climate change to medicine to the consequences of digital innovation. There are essential works in American history (The Federalist PapersThe Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.); books that address timely cultural dynamics (Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction, Daniel J. Boorstin’s The Image, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale); classics of children’s literature (the Harry Potter novels, Where the Wild Things Are); and novels by acclaimed contemporary writers like Don DeLillo, William Gibson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Ian McEwan.

With richly detailed illustrations by lettering artist Dana Tanamachi that evoke vintage bookplates, Ex Libris is an impassioned reminder of why reading matters more than ever.

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The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart, by Alicia Garza

In 2013, Alicia Garza wrote what she called “a love letter to Black people” on Facebook, in the aftermath of the acquittal of the man who murdered seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin. Garza wrote:
 
Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter. 

With the speed and networking capacities of social media, #BlackLivesMatter became the hashtag heard ’round the world. But Garza knew even then that hashtags don’t start movements—people do.

Long before #BlackLivesMatter became a rallying cry for this generation, Garza had spent the better part of two decades learning and unlearning some hard lessons about organizing. The lessons she offers are different from the “rules for radicals” that animated earlier generations of activists, and diverge from the charismatic, patriarchal model of the American civil rights movement. She reflects instead on how making room amongst the woke for those who are still awakening can inspire and activate more people to fight for the world we all deserve.

This is the story of one woman’s lessons through years of bringing people together to create change. Most of all, it is a new paradigm for change for a new generation of changemakers, from the mind and heart behind one of the most important movements of our time.

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Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin, by Megan Rosenbloom

In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy—the practice of binding books in this most intimate covering. Dozens of such books live on in the world’s most famous libraries and museums. Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, innocents, and indigents whose lives are sewn together in this disquieting collection. Along the way, Rosenbloom tells the story of how her team of scientists, curators, and librarians test rumored anthropodermic books, untangling the myths around their creation and reckoning with the ethics of their custodianship.

A librarian and journalist, Rosenbloom is a member of The Order of the Good Death and a cofounder of their Death Salon, a community that encourages conversations, scholarship, and art about mortality and mourning. In Dark Archives—captivating and macabre in all the right ways—she has crafted a narrative that is equal parts detective work, academic intrigue, history, and medical curiosity: a book as rare and thrilling as its subject.

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The Verso Book of Feminism: Revolutionary Words from Four Millennia of Rebellion, edited by Jessie Kindig

Throughout written history and across the world, women have protested the restrictions of gender and the limitations placed on women’s bodies and women’s lives. People–of any and no gender–have protested and theorized, penned manifestos and written poetry and songs, testified and lobbied, gone on strike and fomented revolution, quietly demanded that there is an “I” and loudly proclaimed that there is a “we.” The Book of Feminism chronicles this history of defiance and tracks it around the world as it develops into a multivocal and unabashed force.

Global in scope, The Book of Feminism shows the breadth of feminist protest and of feminist thinking, moving through the female poets of China’s Tang Dynasty and accounts of indigenous women in the Caribbean resisting Columbus’s expedition, British suffragists militating for the vote and the revolutionary petroleuses of the 1848 Paris Commune, the first century Trung sisters who fought for the independence of Nam Viet to women in 1980s Botswana fighting for equal protection under the law, from the erotica of the 6th century and the 19th century to radical queer politics in the 20th and 21st.

The Book of Feminism is a weapon, a force, a lyrical cry, and an ongoing threat to misogyny everywhere.

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The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential, by Wim Hof

Wim Hof has a message for each of us: “You can literally do the impossible. You can overcome disease, improve your mental health and physical performance, and even control your physiology so you can thrive in any stressful situation.” With The Wim Hof Method, this trailblazer of human potential shares a method that anyone can use—young or old, sick or healthy—to supercharge their capacity for strength, vitality, and happiness.

Wim has become known as “The Iceman” for his astounding physical feats, such as spending hours in freezing water and running barefoot marathons over deserts and ice fields. Yet his most remarkable achievement is not any record-breaking performance—it is the creation of a method that thousands of people have used to transform their lives.


Kids and Teen:

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Among the Beasts & Briars, by Ashley Poston

Cerys is safe in the Kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden.

Cerys knows this all too well: When she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything.

As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions a small and irritating fox from the royal garden and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home.

But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

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Willa the Wisp, by Jonathan Auxier, illustrated by Olga Demidova

Welcome to the Fabled Stables, a magical building filled with one-of-a-kind creatures. Creatures including the Gargantula, the Yawning Abyss, the Hippopotamouse . . . and Auggie. Auggie is the only human boy at the Stables, and he takes care of all the other animals. The Fabled Stables have a mind of their own, and every so often, the building SHAKES and SHUDDERS, TWITCHES and SPUTTERS—it’s making room for a new arrival! It’s Auggie’s job to venture out and rescue a new creature from mortal danger. But will he be able to complete his mission before it’s too late? With some help from Fen (a literal stick-in-the-mud) and his animal companions, Auggie saves the day and makes a new friend in the process.

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Kitty and Dragon, by Meika Hashimoto, illustrated by Gillian Reid

When Kitty looks for the perfect home, she makes an unlikely best friend—Dragon! From Epic! Originals, Kitty and Dragon is a lovable early reader series about finding true friendship when you least expect it.

Book 1 of this early reader series features three adorable stories about Kitty and Dragon—best friends, even when one of them is snoring, being messy, or having a sad day. Even though they are quite different from one another, Kitty and Dragon have learned that there’s nothing better than being together, just the way they are.

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The Bookstore Cat, by Cylin Busby, illustrated by Charles Santoso

The bookstore cat is an adorable . . .

bossy . . .

cuddly cat.

He is everything from intelligent and loyal to naughty and vocal! But most of all, the bookstore cat is a well-loved (and well-read) kitty. Follow his funny antics from A to Z through a day in his bustling, book-filled shop.

The Bookstore Cat is based on a Victorian parlor game, The Minister’s Cat, in which players try to think of adjectives to describe the cat in alphabetical order. Readers can extend the fun of the book by playing their own version of the game.


Check out rest in the New Book Tuesday tag here on the blog!

All books can be purchased online by clicking on their titles above, and we’re happy to deliver them right to your door! Deliveries happen on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and there’s no waiting for the mail!

Thank you for all your support!

Stay safe and Happy reading!

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