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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

What if Jesus of Nazareth had a wife? In best-selling author (The Secret Life of Bees) Sue Monk Kidd’s new novel, she imagines just that. With painstaking detail about the historical time, Kidd introduces us to Ana, a young woman born with a gift for words who lives in a time when silence and obedience defined a woman’s place and belonging. Ana’s finding of her voice is intertwined with Jesus’s pursuit for kindness and humanity. What is imagined here is not a tale of one person saving another, but an unfolding love story in which mirroring and respect lead to both risk and reward. Kidd’s ability to hold reverence while infusing new life and perspective to a story that is so known is extraordinary. I cannot explain the beauty and depth of this book, its language, its heart, its anger, its grief, and ultimately its triumph; this is one novel you don’t want to miss.

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ISBN: 9780525429760
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - April 21st, 2020

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

The Knockout Queen wrapped its fist around my heart and then squeezed. I mean this literally—the sensation was physical. Rufi Thorpe writes with breathtaking grace and creates a slow build that explodes: the loveability, failings, and deficiencies of everyone, the drift and splintering that time deals to even our closest relationships. The Knockout Queen also has pockets of profundity, both in the adolescent narrator’s wise, shattering musings, and in the grim realities this story contains. Thorpe’s skill makes the experience a pleasure: the effortless dialogue, the wry and funny scenes, and the complex, unforgettable characters that are so human (though it may hurt to admit that humanness can contain a person like the Knockout Queen’s father Ray, who is cut from the same cloth as con man-in-chief Donald Trump, utterly self-serving, with a casual brutality that is beyond redemption. Thorpe reflects our world back to us. I was completely captivated by The Knockout Queen—rushing to consume it but wanting at the same time to savor the rare experience of a book this close to perfect. I wanted it to last and last.

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ISBN: 9780525656784
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Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

Pizza Girl is the metric that every other book released this year will be compared against for me. It’s Juno meets Mulholland Drive. Pizza girl is 18, with a sweet boyfriend who loves her mom; a dead alcoholic dad; and an enigmatic woman who calls on Wednesdays to order a pizza with pickles on it. Who are you when you don’t know what you want out of life? What is motherhood and family? What is desire? The level of attention to detail, the FEELINGS—it’s like the book emerged fully formed for the pit of a pure heart. I can barely contain my love for Pizza Girl.

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ISBN: 9780385545723
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - June 9th, 2020

Pretty as a Picture by Elizabeth Little

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ISBN: 9780670016396
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Published: Viking - February 25th, 2020

Marissa Dahl is a film editor, not a detective. In fact, she may be the worst person for the job: too introverted, has seen too many movies, and has too vivid of an imagination... But Marissa might just be the only one to solve a 25-year old cold murder case—and prevent a truly bad narrative from becoming a blockbuster film! Not only is Little amazing at writing a suspenseful, character-driven slow-burn, but she also has a fantastic knowledge of the film industry and a fabulous sense of humor. Moreover, providing an urgent commentary in the #MeToo era, the novel offers an excellent exploration of what it means to be a woman in Hollywood—and in a culture that has more interest in worshiping dead girls than in caring for the living ones. —Ksenia

Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA by Neil Shubin

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ISBN: 9781101871331
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Published: Pantheon - March 17th, 2020

“Nothing begins where you think it does.” This includes our very existence. Humans didn’t just spring forth fully formed like Athena, but rather through chance and many years of intense evolution. Shubin manages to take the smallest part of us, DNA, and show just why it looms so large in everything we do. My mind was blown more than once and I raced to find the next revelation.  —Ivy

The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren

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ISBN: 9780525563389
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Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2020

Climate change is overwhelming in its scope, severity, and immediacy. While there are plenty of books out there tackling this pressing topic, Jahren’s work is absolutely worth a read. In just a few short chapters, she’s managed to condense many of the complex aspects of climate change into layman's terms. Jahren describes some of the changes she’s seen in her own lifetime (she was born in 1969) and then applies her expertise as a scientist to offer solutions that actually seem doable. Written in the witty, conversational style that endeared her to readers in Lab Girl, Jahren’s follow-up is an impactful and important read.  —Jade

The Man in the Red Coat by Julian Barnes

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ISBN: 9780525658771
Availability: Backordered
Published: Knopf - February 18th, 2020

At its heart, this is the story of Dr. Samuel Pozzi, a late-Nineteenth-Century French surgeon, philosopher and societal figure, and subject of one of John Singer Sargent’s most famous portraits. But it’s really an intelligent, witty re-examination of the Belle Epoque. In addition to the era's glamour and artistic achievements (think Henry James, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, Proust, etc.), Barnes shows us its darker side—the prejudice and backward thinking—and the ways it parallels our current era (think Brexit, the broader global swing toward nationalism, and America’s own political situation). A great read for fans of art, literature, history and excellent writing. —Rico

Wow, No Thank You: Essays by Samantha Irby

Wow, No Thank You.: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525563488
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Published: Vintage - March 31st, 2020

Samantha Irby’s new collection of hilarious, truth-telling essays has arrived, and not a moment too soon. This is exactly the mirror I need right now, if I dare look in a mirror at all, and I nodded, smiled, and howled my way through her book, basking in the comfort of shared humanity. Whether lamenting middle-aged girls’ nights out, skewering of-the-moment beauty regimens, or critiquing the social media wormhole, Irby has hit her stride; her honesty writ large and funny as hell, her gloriously messy but exactly right observations, her wit and heart, all are balm for our complex, conflicted, all too human souls.  —Melinda

How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C. Pam Zhang

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ISBN: 9780525537205
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Published: Riverhead Books - April 7th, 2020

This debut novel bursts with an emotion and raw energy that mirrors her chosen setting—California’s gold rush. Her story is from a perspective oft forgotten, that of a Chinese immigrant family searching for a home. I felt as if I walked every step with Lucy and Sam, shared their sorrows and their triumphs, and saw a side to my home state I never imagined. This story has lingered with me, and I find myself sifting through Zhang’s words again and again, always turning up another sliver of gold. —Jax

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

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ISBN: 9780525436034
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Published: Vintage - March 17th, 2020

The Other Americans is a novel that traces the aftermath of a Moroccan immigrant family after the father, Driss, is killed in a hit and run. Laila Lalami tells the story through the perspectives of nine narrators, alternating between the daughter, Nora, her family, and the residents of the town. Lalami is a master in character development and has created a beautiful novel that effortlessly combines family drama and murder mystery. 



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