Poet Amanda Gorman has a much-anticipated upcoming book of poetry titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, but when she presented her poem so eloquently at the inauguration, the world couldn't wait until September 9th.
This little book with its yellow and red cover - reminiscent of Gorman's cheerful coat and hat - is the result. The poem that inspired the nation is preceded by Oprah Winfrey's forward, and this little book would make a wonderful graduation gift - or a pick-me-up for anyone who needs words of hope and encouragement.
Seventeen-year-old Opal Pruitt enjoys working alongside her grandmother, cooking and cleaning for Miss Peggy. She has a close-knit family, neighbors who look out for each other, and a romantic interest in Cedric Perkins, the preacher's son. She's looking forward to the 1936 Founder's Day celebration. But she also feels in her bones that a storm is brewing and hopes that it won't interfere with Founder's Day and her upcoming birthday.
The storm arrives in the Parsons, Georgia area of Colored Town in the form of the Ku Klux Klan, who are riding through Opal's neighborhood determined to terrorize its citizens - and maybe worse.
I loved every character in When Stars Rain Down - with obvious exceptions - and Jackson-Brown's writing of the terror and confusion and hope of Opal's story is powerful. She will be discussing the book with author Katrina Kittle in a Facebook event hosted by Saturn Booksellers. Information is on our website and we hope you'll join us. I can't wait.
Lila Bruce and her brother Henry escaped their small southern town, their mother's disapproving eye, and their vacuous sister Abigail years ago - Lila is widowed, but starting a creative second career in Maine, and Henry owns an art gallery and lives with his partner Andrew in Rhode Island. They're forced back to Georgia by their very proper mother's sudden and unusual death - in the middle of the night, she'd crept to the muscadine arbor, clad in her nightgown and clutching a silver soup spoon. Here she died, creating a mystery for her children and the whole town, and letting loose decades of family secrets.
Pamela Terry's novel swings between Maine, the Deep South, and Scotland, and her descriptions of each are lush. And while I am pretty glad I'm not a member of the Bruce family, I certainly did enjoy and sympathize with them.
Carter University is "the Harvard of the South" and home to prep school elites, brilliant scholarship students, and those that serve them. Fourth-year student Tyler Brand is the former - and he's been accused of the sexual assault of freshman Annie, who had just been hoping to fit into this formidable institution.
Privilege is told through the voices of Annie, Bea, who has been assigned Tyler as a student advocate, and Stayja, who works in the campus coffee shop and dreams of returning to school. I love a good "elite education" story (like The Divines or The Starboard Sea), and this was a fascinating look at schools who favor alumni donations over individual students.
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is quite a wild ride. It's been aptly compared to both the old television show Quantum Leap (you know, where the guy wakes up a different person every day), but it's mashed up with a British manor house mystery set during Blackheath's masquerade ball weekend to welcome home Evelyn Hardcastle from Paris, where she just might have been exiled by her parents in response to her young brother's murder. Our hero Aiden must discover Evelyn's murderer as she dies every night at 11:00 pm, and he must do it while inhabiting the bodies and minds of eight "hosts" in eight days. The goal is to free himself from Blackheath. And this is me talking, but he really should trust no one.
This is author Stuart Turton's first novel, and I loved it. But it admittedly took a long time to finish, as both the storyline and cast of characters were a bit complicated, and the days hop around a lot. It's definitely worth the commitment.
Valerie Alston-Holt was widowed and raising her brilliant and talented son Xavier in a tight-knit, diverse, established neighborhood in North Carolina. Life was good and Zay was looking forward to college in the fall. Until local celebrity Brad Whitman's family moved in. Until their new McMansion began killing Valerie's beloved historic oak tree. Until romance blooms between Zay and his new neighbor, overly protected young Juniper. Until Brad's jealousy over the relationship starts the whole mess spiraling out of control...
I love Therese Fowler's thoughtfulness in writing stories of difficult situations, and this one broke my heart over and over. Its subject is timely, and A Good Neighborhood just released in paperback. This was an immediate permanent staff pick. Do not miss it.
Malcolm Kershaw is a bookseller specializing in murder mysteries - an expert who has compiled his own list of fiction's eight most perfect murders from the genre's masters. He's the quiet owner of the Old Devil's Bookstore in Boston, so he's shocked when an FBI agent shows up at his door seeking more information about his list. A copycat killer is working his way through it, and Mal is compelled to help, if only to protect himself and the secrets he's not even told his recently deceased wife...
This was a lot of fun and will keep you guessing until the end. It's perfect for a cozy weekend spent with the masters of crime fiction.
The great Hercule Poirot has been summoned to the exclusive Kingfisher Hill estates by Richard Devonport, who wants Poirot to keep Richard's fiancée Helen off the hangman's scaffold. He is certain that Helen is innocent of killing her first fiancée, Richard's brother Frank. Are you with me so far? Just you wait.
The case is complicated by a young woman demanding to get off of the luxury coach in which she and Poirot are traveling, insisting that if she remains, she will be murdered. Are the cases related? Our detective thinks so, but author Sophie Hannah throws a whole lot of red herrings at our friend...
Hannah was approached by Dame Agatha Christie's estate to give us new mysteries starring Poirot, and she does quite a good job of giving us another taste of Christie's beloved character but never trying too hard to copy her work. This is her fourth in the series, and they are a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
I was kindly gifted with this little book recently, and with all that's gone on for the last year, it has been very welcome. Author Santomero was mentored by none other than the great Fred Rogers, and it's from his words of kindness and acceptance of oneself that she's dedicated her life and career.
Radical Kindness goes beyond just being nice. It begs us to recognize all we encounter as worthy of understanding, and to purposefully practice kindness not only when it's easy, but with everyone we meet. She makes the point that like gratitude, kindness must be practiced.
This book - and my friend Rose - is a splendid reminder.
The Divines - students of the St. John the Divine school - had a long history of tradition. They lived in the same dorms as their mothers and grandmothers, called each other by boy's names, joined cliques, chain smoked, married well, and were universally loathed by the 'townies." And they were united in their dislike of their classmate Gerry, who refused to do any of those things and instead remained focused on - bizarrely to the other Divines - her figure skating. But a prank gone wrong results in scandal that the elite school can't overcome.
THE DIVINES is narrated by Josephine - "Joe" to her schoolmates, and "Sephine" to her new husband, whose curiosity about her time with the Divines dredges up memories about the girls with whom she hasn't spoken in almost fifteen years, and the event that lead to the school's ruin.
I loved this book. The girl's thoughtlessness and entitlement were the right level of uncomfortable, and the slow rollout of the whole story kept me on edge. There's a whole lot to think about here...