Friday, June 26, 2015

The Big, One-Millionth Pageview Friday Freebie Contest (aka The Mother of All Giveaways)

Congratulations to Bart Zimmer, winner of last week's Friday Freebie contest, As Good as Dead by Elizabeth Evans.

This week's book giveaway is a big one--"big" as in, "all previous Friday Freebies were sardines compared to this Moby Dick-sized lineup." It's all in celebration of passing a major milestone here at The Quivering Pen: the one-millionth pageview. Earlier this week, the Blogger odometer rolled over into the seven digits. That means, over the course of the past five years, one million fingers have clicked an equal number of mice, touchpads, touchscreens, or whatever people use to navigate around the web. Whether the owners of those fingers were delighted or disappointed by what they found, I can't say...but what I can tell you is that I'm delighted by all the support I've gotten from readers (that's-a you!) over the last half-decade.

So, to return the favor, I've cleaned out my shelves and boxed up 33 books to give away to one lucky reader. There's something for just about every reader in this batch of books (unless you're looking for an owner's manual on how to repair a 1977 Atari 2600 game console, in which case you're out of luck, sorry). Some of the books are recent releases, others are volumes which have lingered on my surplus bookshelf for a number of years and it's now time I send them out to a good home. The mix includes both hardcovers and paperbacks--all of which are in new, unread condition. Rather than take up a lot of space right now telling you about the books, let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

How do I win this pot of literary gold? I'm glad you asked...

If you’d like a chance at winning ALL THE BOOKS, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on July 2, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on July 3.  If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

Now, read on for more info about each of the books...


Charlie Martz and Other Stories: The Unpublished Stories
by Elmore Leonard

A collection of fifteen stories, eleven of which have never been previously published, from the early career of bestselling American master Elmore Leonard. Over his long and illustrious career, Elmore Leonard was recognized as one of the greatest crime writers of all time, the author of dozens of bestselling books—many adapted for the big screen—as well as a master of short fiction. A superb stylist whose crisp, tight prose crackled with trademark wit and sharp dialogue, Leonard remains the standard for crime fiction and a literary model for writers of every genre. Marked by his unmistakable grit and humor, the stories in Charlie Martz and Other Stories—produced early in his career, when he was making his name particularly with westerns—reveal a writer in transition, exploring new voices and locations, from the bars of small-town New Mexico and Michigan to a film set in Hollywood, a hotel in Southern Spain, even a military base in Kuala Lumpur. They also introduce us to classic Leonard characters, some who recur throughout the collection, such as aging lawman Charlie Martz and weary former matador Eladio Montoya. Devoted Leonard aficionados and fans new to his fiction will marvel at these early works that reveal an artist on the cusp of greatness.

Crazy Mountain Kiss
by Keith McCafferty

In the latest addition to the acclaimed Sean Stranahan mystery series, PI Stranahan and Sheriff Ettinger reunite to investigate a young girl’s death. It’s April, but there’s still snow on the Montana mountains the day a member of the Madison River Liar and Fly Tiers club finds a Santa hat in the chimney of his rented cabin. With the flue clogged and desperate to make a fire, he climbs up to the roof, only to find the body of a teenage girl wedged into the chimney. When Sheriff Martha Ettinger and her team arrive to extract the body they identify the victim as Cinderella “Cindy” Huntington, a promising young rodeo star, missing since November. Was Cindy murdered? Or running for her life—and if so, from whom? Cindy’s mother, Etta, hires private detective Sean Stranahan to find out. Jasper Fey, the girl’s stepfather, believes moving on is the only way to heal. But Etta’s not willing to let it go, and neither are Sean or Martha, who find clues to the death in the mysterious legends of the Crazy Mountains. The fourth book in McCafferty’s mystery series features a brisk, savvy plot and charming yet authentic characters—perfect for fans of C. J. Box and Craig Johnson.

The Heart of the Order
by Theo Schell-Lambert

A sharply observed debut novel that signals a significant voice in contemporary fiction, The Heart of the Order follows a ballplayer as he takes time to mend—physically and emotionally—from a spectacular injury. Blake Alexander—“Xandy” to his teammates and fans—is the starting leftfielder for the Carolina Birds of the National League South, until a knee injury in Cincinnati leaves him facing a summer of rehab and a career in doubt. Eager to occupy himself around game time, Xandy trades his glove for an Acer laptop, and each night before first pitch, he settles into a lounger behind his borrowed house to write. What emerges from Xandy’s patio sessions is a series of reflections on the game he loves and beyond—from losing streaks to bullpen phones to his beguiling physical therapist, Jenn, who (like a third base coach) keeps giving him signs he can’t quite read. A winning narrator, with an observational style honed over years spent judging the spin on fly balls, Xandy shines as a fresh and memorable voice in American fiction.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin
by Erik Larson

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror.

Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes
by Daniel Kehlmann

Fame and facelessness, truth and deception, spin their way through the nine interlocking chapters of this captivating and wickedly funny novel by the internationally bestselling author of Measuring the World. No one is more surprised than Ebling when his new cell phone begins receiving calls meant for popular actor Ralf Tanner. At first he tries to set the callers right, but soon he is enjoying the drama and power that celebrity brings. Little does he know that his actions will cause a ripple effect that will leave very few lives untouched, from the movie star himself to those lingering at the edges of the limelight. And as paths cross and plots thicken, the boundaries of fiction and reality start to crumble.

A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates
by Blake Bailey

The first biography of acclaimed American novelist and story writer Richard Yates. Celebrated in his prime, forgotten in his final years, only to be championed anew by our greatest contemporary authors, Richard Yates has always exposed readers to the unsettling hypocrisies of our modern age. Classic novels such as Revolutionary Road and The Easter Parade are incomparable chronicles of the quiet and not-so-quiet desperation of the American middle-class. Lonely housewives, addled businessmen, desperate career-girls and fearful boys and soldiers, Yates’s America was a panorama of high living, self-doubt and self-deception. And in the tradition of other great realistic writers of his time (Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Cheever and Updike), Yates’s fictional world mirrored his own. A manic-depressive alcoholic and unapologetic gentleman, his life was a hornets’ nest of childhood ghosts, the horrors of war, money woes, and ebullient cocktailed evenings in New York, Hollywood, and the Riviera. A Tragic Honesty is a masterful evocation of a man who in many ways embodied the struggles of the Great American Writer in the latter half of the twentieth century. Fame and reward followed by heartbreak and obscurity, Richard Yates here stands for what the writer must sacrifice for his craft, the devil’s bargain of artistry for happiness, praise for sanity.

A Dirty Job
by Christopher Moore

Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy. A little hapless, somewhat neurotic, sort of a hypochondriac. He's what's known as a Beta Male: the kind of fellow who makes his way through life by being careful and constant -- you know, the one who's always there to pick up the pieces when the girl gets dumped by the bigger/taller/stronger Alpha Male. But Charlie's been lucky. He owns a building in the heart of San Francisco, and runs a secondhand store with the help of a couple of loyal, if marginally insane, employees. He's married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. And she, Rachel, is about to have their first child. Yes, Charlie's doing okay for a Beta. That is, until the day his daughter, Sophie, is born. Just as Charlie -- exhausted from the birth -- turns to go home, he sees a strange man in mint-green golf wear at Rachel's hospital bedside, a man who claims that no one should be able to see him. But see him Charlie does, and from here on out, things get really weird....People start dropping dead around him, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death. It's a dirty job. But hey, somebody's gotta do it. Christopher Moore, the man whose Lamb served up Jesus' "missing years" (with the funny parts left in), and whose Fluke found the deep humor in whale researchers' lives, now shines his comic light on the undiscovered country we all eventually explore -- death and dying -- and the results are hilarious, heartwarming, and a hell of a lot of fun.

Assassination Vacation
by Sarah Vowell

New York Times bestselling author of The Wordy Shipmates and contributor to NPR’s "This American Life" Sarah Vowell embarks on a road trip to sites of political violence, from Washington DC to Alaska, to better understand our nation’s ever-evolving political system and history. Sarah Vowell exposes the glorious conundrums of American history and culture with wit, probity, and an irreverent sense of humor. With Assassination Vacation, she takes us on a road trip like no other -- a journey to the pit stops of American political murder and through the myriad ways they have been used for fun and profit, for political and cultural advantage. From Buffalo to Alaska, Washington to the Dry Tortugas, Vowell visits locations immortalized and influenced by the spilling of politically important blood, reporting as she goes with her trademark blend of wisecracking humor, remarkable honesty, and thought-provoking criticism. We learn about the jinx that was Robert Todd Lincoln (present at the assassinations of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley) and witness the politicking that went into the making of the Lincoln Memorial. The resulting narrative is much more than an entertaining and informative travelogue -- it is the disturbing and fascinating story of how American death has been manipulated by popular culture, including literature, architecture, sculpture, and -- the author's favorite -- historical tourism. Though the themes of loss and violence are explored and we make detours to see how the Republican Party became the Republican Party, there are all kinds of lighter diversions along the way into the lives of the three presidents and their assassins, including mummies, show tunes, mean-spirited totem poles, and a nineteenth-century biblical sex cult.

Congo: The Epic History of a People
by David Van Reybrouck

Hailed as "a monumental history...more exciting than any novel" (NRC Handelsblad), David van Reybrouck’s rich and gripping epic, in the tradition of Robert Hughes' The Fatal Shore, tells the extraordinary story of one of the world's most devastated countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Epic in scope yet eminently readable, penetrating and deeply moving, David van Reybrouck's Congo: The Epic History of a People traces the fate of one of the world's most critical, failed nation-states, second only to war-torn Somalia: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Van Reybrouck takes us through several hundred years of history, bringing some of the most dramatic episodes in Congolese history. Here are the people and events that have impinged the Congo's development—from the slave trade to the ivory and rubber booms; from the arrival of Henry Morton Stanley to the tragic regime of King Leopold II; from global indignation to Belgian colonialism; from the struggle for independence to Mobutu's brutal rule; and from the world famous Rumble in the Jungle to the civil war over natural resources that began in 1996 and still rages today. Van Reybrouck interweaves his own family's history with the voices of a diverse range of individuals—charismatic dictators, feuding warlords, child-soldiers, the elderly, female merchant smugglers, and many in the African diaspora of Europe and China—to offer a deeply humane approach to political history, focusing squarely on the Congolese perspective and returning a nation's history to its people.

Blood Infernal
by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

As an escalating scourge of grisly murders sweeps the globe, archaeologist Erin Granger must decipher the truth behind an immortal prophecy foretold in the Blood Gospel, a tome written by Christ and lost for centuries: The shackles of Lucifer have been loosened, and his Chalice remains lost. It will take the light of all three to forge the Chalice anew and banish him again to his eternal darkness. With the Apocalypse looming, Erin must again join forces with Army Sergeant Jordan Stone and Father Rhun Korza to search for a treasure lost for millennia. But the prize has already fallen into the hands of their enemy, a demon named Legion, before whom even the walls of the Vatican will fall. The search for the key to salvation will take Erin and the others across centuries and around the world, from the dusty shelves of the Vatican's secret archives to lost medieval laboratories, where ancient alchemies were employed to horrific ends. All the while, they are hunted, besieged by creatures of uncanny skill and talent. As clues are dug free from ancient underground chapels and found frozen in icy mountain caverns, Erin will discover that the only hope for victory lies in an impossible act--one that will destroy not only her, but all she loves. To protect the world, Erin must walk through the very gates of Hell and face the darkest of enemies: Lucifer himself. With The Blood Gospel, the first novel in the Order of the Sanguines series, James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell combined science, myth, and religion to introduce a breathtaking world where miracles hold new meaning and the fight for good over evil is far more complicated than we ever dreamed. And now, in this epic conclusion to the Sanguines trilogy, Blood Infernal, they take us to the very pit of Hell itself, making us peer into the abyss and face our greatest fears, to answer the ultimate question: What price will we pay for true salvation?

The Instructions
by Adam Levin

Beginning with a chance encounter with the beautiful Eliza June Watermark and ending, four days and 900 pages later, with the Events of November 17, this is the story of Gurion Maccabee, age ten: a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and a truly spectacular talker. Expelled from three Jewish day-schools for acts of violence and messianic tendencies, Gurion ends up in the Cage, a special lockdown program for the most hopeless cases of Aptakisic Junior High. Separated from his scholarly followers, Gurion becomes a leader of a very different sort, with righteous aims building to a revolution of troubling intensity. The Instructions is an absolutely singular work of fiction by an important new talent. Combining the crackling voice of Philip Roth with the encyclopedic mind of David Foster Wallace, Adam Levin has shaped a world driven equally by moral fervor and slapstick comedy—a novel that is muscular and exuberant, troubling and empathetic, monumental, breakneck, romantic, and unforgettable.

The Barbed Crown: An Ethan Gage Adventure
by William Dietrich

In The Barbed Crown, the sixth tale of rogue and adventurer Ethan Gage by William Dietrich, our hero returns to Paris and London. Against a background of imperial pomp and the gathering clouds of war, Gage plots revenge on Napoleon Bonaparte for the kidnap of his son. Paris, the “City of Lights,” shines – but alongside its splendor is great squalor. Heroic patriotism rubs against mean ambition, while grand strategy and back-alley conspiracy are never far apart. While Ethan spies on the French court, his wife, Astiza, works to sabotage Napoleon’s coronation using the Crown of Thorns, a legendary relic said to have come from the Crucifixion itself. But when Napoleon is crowned nonetheless, they flee to England. At Walmer Castle on the English coast, Gage joins a daring campaign by Smith, Fulton, rocket inventor William Congreve and smuggler Tom Johnstone to halt Napoleon’s intended invasion of England – a campaign which leads Ethan to take a role in the Battle of Trafalgar itself…


Everything I Never Told You
by Celeste Ng

“Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam—a city ruled by glittering wealth and oppressive religion—The Miniaturist is a masterful debut steeped in atmosphere and shimmering with mystery, in the tradition of Emma Donoghue, Sarah Waters, and Sarah Dunant. ”There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed...“ On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin. But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways...Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction? Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932
by Francine Prose

A richly imagined and stunningly inventive literary masterpiece of love, art, and betrayal, exploring the genesis of evil, the unforeseen consequences of love, and the ultimate unreliability of storytelling itself. Paris in the 1920s shimmers with excitement, dissipation, and freedom. It is a place of intoxicating ambition, passion, art, and discontent, where louche jazz venues like the Chameleon Club draw expats, artists, libertines, and parvenus looking to indulge their true selves. It is at the Chameleon where the striking Lou Villars, an extraordinary athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge among the club’s loyal denizens, including the rising Hungarian photographer Gabor Tsenyi, the socialite and art patron Baroness Lily de Rossignol; and the caustic American writer Lionel Maine. As the years pass, their fortunes—and the world itself—evolve. Lou falls desperately in love and finds success as a race car driver. Gabor builds his reputation with startlingly vivid and imaginative photographs, including a haunting portrait of Lou and her lover, which will resonate through all their lives. As the exuberant twenties give way to darker times, Lou experiences another metamorphosis—sparked by tumultuous events—that will warp her earnest desire for love and approval into something far more.

Seven Houses in France
by Bernard Atxaga

A brooding novel of colonial intrigue in the Congo, from the author of The Accordionist’s Son and Obabakoak. The year is 1903, and the garrison of Yangambi on the banks of the Congo is under the command of Captain Lalande Biran. The captain is also a poet whose ambition is to amass a fortune and return to the literary cafés of Paris. His glamorous wife, Christine, has a further ambition: to own seven houses in France, a house for every year he has been abroad. At Lalande Biran’s side are the ex-legionnaire van Thiegel, a brutal womanizer, and the servile, treacherous Donatien, who dreams of running a brothel. The officers spend their days guarding enslaved rubber-tappers and kidnapping young girls, and at their hands the jungle is transformed into a wild circus of human ambition and absurdity. But everything changes with the arrival of a new officer and brilliant marksman: the enigmatic Chrysostome Liege. An outstanding new novel from the critically acclaimed and prizewinning author Bernardo Atxaga, Seven Houses in France is a blackly comic tale which reveals the darkest sides of human desire.

Light from Heaven
by Jan Karon

The ninth novel in the beloved Mitford series, by the bestselling author of At Home in Mitford and Somebody Safe with Somebody Good. Father Tim Kavanagh has been asked to "come up higher" more than once. But he's never been asked to do the impossible--until now. The retired Episcopal priest takes on the revival of a mountain church that's been closed for forty years. Meanwhile, in Mitford, he's sent on a hunt for hidden treasure, and two beloved friends are called to come up higher. As Father Tim finds, there are still plenty of heartfelt surprises, dear friends old and new, and the most important lesson of all: It's never too late.

Confessions of a High School Word Nerd: Laugh Your Gluteus Off and Increase Your SAT Verbal Score
edited by Arianne Cohen and Colleen Kinder

Effortlessly acquire an SAT vocabulary through hilarious high school essays. Every year, 9 million American students expend large amounts of time and energy preparing for proficiency and entrance exams like the SAT, ACT, PSAT, and SSAT with a heap of vocabulary flash cards and a fat volume of repetitive practice tests. Each one of them, along with their parents and teachers, wishes that there was a less painful way to prepare for test day. There is, and this book is the solution: a collection of ten well-written, entertaining essays by recent college-graduates-turned-writers that honestly and amusingly recount wild, traumatizing, and hilarious high-school events, using common SAT words as a study tool.

The Meagre Tarmac
by Clark Blaise

An Indo-American Canterbury Tales, The Meagre Tarmac explores the places where tradition, innovation, culture, and power meet with explosive force. It begins with Vivek Waldekar, who refused to attend his father’s funeral because he was “trying to please an American girl who thought starting a fire in his father’s body too gross a sacrilege to contemplate.” It ends with Pranab Dasgupta, the Rockefeller of India, who can only describe himself as “‘a very lonely, very rich, very guilty immigrant.’” And in between is a cluster of remarkable characters, incensed by the conflict between personal desire and responsibility, who exhaust themselves in pursuit of the miraculous. Fearless and ferociously intelligent, these stories are vintage Blaise, whose outsider’s view of the changing heart of America has always been ruthless and moving and tender. "Clark Blaise’s brilliantly imagined The Meagre Tarmac is a novel in short-story form, warmly intimate, startling in its quick jumps and revelations, a portrait of individuals for whom we come to care deeply – and a portrait of an Indo-American way of life that shimmers before our eyes with the rich and compelling detail for which Clark Blaise’s fiction is renowned…The Meagre Tarmac is a remarkable accomplishment." (Joyce Carol Oates)

A Replacement Life
by Boris Fishman

A singularly talented writer makes his literary debut with this provocative, soulful, and sometimes hilarious story of a failed journalist asked to do the unthinkable: Forge Holocaust-restitution claims for old Russian Jews in Brooklyn, New York. Yevgeny Gelman, grandfather of Slava Gelman, “didn’t suffer in the exact way” he needs to have suffered to qualify for the restitution the German government has been paying out to Holocaust survivors. But suffer he has—as a Jew in the war; as a second-class citizen in the USSR; as an immigrant to America. So? Isn’t his grandson a “writer”? High-minded Slava wants to put all this immigrant scraping behind him. Only the American Dream is not panning out for him—Century, the legendary magazine where he works as a researcher, wants nothing greater from him. Slava wants to be a correct, blameless American—but he wants to be a lionized writer even more. Slava’s turn as the Forger of South Brooklyn teaches him that not every fact is the truth, and not every lie a falsehood. It takes more than law-abiding to become an American; it takes the same self-reinvention in which his people excel. Intoxicated and unmoored by his inventions, Slava risks exposure. Cornered, he commits an irrevocable act that finally grants him a sense of home in America, but not before collecting a price from his family. A Replacement Life is a dark, moving, and beautifully written novel about family, honor, and justice.

Sweet Forgiveness
by Lori Nelson Spielman

#1 international bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman follows The Life List with Sweet Forgiveness, in which a woman’s receipt of two “forgiveness stones” sends her searching for atonement. The Forgiveness Stones craze is sweeping the nation—instantly recognizable pouches of stones that come with a chain letter and two simple requests: to forgive, and then to seek forgiveness. But New Orleans' favorite talk show host, Hannah Farr, isn't biting. Intensely private and dating the city’s mayor, Hannah has kept her very own pouch of Forgiveness Stones hidden for two years—and her dark past concealed for nearly two decades. But when Fiona Knowles, creator of the Forgiveness Stones, appears on Hannah’s show, Hannah unwittingly reveals on air details of a decades-old falling out with her mother. Spurned by her fans, doubted by her friends, and accused by her boyfriend of marring his political career, Hannah reluctantly embarks on a public journey of forgiveness. As events from her past become clearer, the truth she’s clung to since her teenage years has never felt murkier. Hannah must find the courage to right old wrongs, or risk losing her mother, and any glimmer of an authentic life, forever.

Out of the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding
by Lynn Darling

Combining the soul-baring insight of Wild, the profound wisdom of Shop Class as Soulcraft, and the adventurous spirit of Eat, Pray, Love: Lynn Darling’s powerful, lyrical memoir of self-discovery, full of warmth and wry humor, Out of the Woods. When her college-bound daughter leaves home, Lynn Darling, widowed over a decade earlier, finds herself alone—and utterly lost, with no idea of what she wants or even who she is. Searching for answers, she leaves New York for the solitary woods of Vermont. Removed from the familiar, cocooned in the natural world, her only companions a new dog and a compass, she hopes to develop a sense of direction—both in the woods and in her life. Hiking unmapped trails, Darling meditates on the milestones of her past; as she adapts to her new surroundings, she uses the knowledge she’s gained to chart her future. And when an unexpected setback nearly derails her newfound balance, she is able to draw upon her newfound skills to find her bearings and stay the course. In revealing how one woman learned to navigate—literally and metaphorically—the uneven course of life, Out of the Woods is, in the words of Pulitzer-prize winning author Geraldine Brooks, “a marvelous book...both a compass and a manifesto for navigating the often-treacherous switchbacks of the second half of life.”

The Master of Confessions: The Making of a Khmer Rouge Torturer
by Thierry Cruvellier

Renowned journalist Thierry Cruvellier takes us into the dark heart of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge with The Master of Confessions, a suspenseful account of a Chief Interrogator's trial for war crimes. On April 17, 1975, the communist Khmer Rouge, led by its secretive prime minister Pol Pot, took over Cambodia. Renaming the country Democratic Kampuchea, they cut the nation off from the world and began systematically killing and starving two million of their people. Thirty years after their fall, a man named Duch (pronounced "Doïk"), who had served as Chief Prison officer of S21, the regime's central prison complex, stood trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Unlike any other tribunal defendant, Duch acknowledged his personal responsibility, pleaded guilty, and asked for forgiveness from his victims. In The Master of Confessions, Thierry Cruvellier uses the trial to tell the horrifying story of this terrible chapter in history. Cruvellier offers a psychologically penetrating, devastating look at the victims, the torturers, and the regime itself, searching to answer crucial questions about culpability. Self-drawing on his knowledge, and experience, Cruvellier delivers a startling work of journalistic history—by turns deeply moving, horrifying, and darkly funny.

Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World
by Noreena Hertz

Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World is Noreen Hertz’s practical, cutting-edge guide to help you cut through the data deluge and make smarter and better choices, based on her highly popular TED talk. In this eye-opening handbook, the internationally noted speaker, economics expert, and bestselling author of IOU: The Debt Threat and Silent Takeover reveals the extent to which the biggest decisions in our lives are often made on the basis of flawed information, weak assumptions, corrupted data, insufficient scrutiny of others, and a lack of self-knowledge. To avert such disasters, Hertz persuasively argues, we need to become empowered decision-makers, capable of making high-stakes choices and holding accountable those who advise us. In Eyes Wide Open, she weaves together scientific research with real-world examples from Hollywood to Harry Potter, NASA to World War Two spies, to construct a path to more astute and empowered decision-making in ten clear steps. With a razor-sharp intellect and an instinct for popular storytelling, she offers counter-intuitive, actionable guidance for making better choices—whether you are a business-person, a professional, a patient, or a parent.

The Angel of Losses
by Stephanie Feldman

Stephanie Feldman's lushly imagined debut novel—reminiscent of The Tiger's Wife and The History of Love—explores the intersections of family secrets, Jewish myths, the legacy of war and history, and the bonds between sisters. Sisters Marjorie and Holly are best friends—until Holly converts to a mysterious Jewish sect and marries a controlling man Marjorie despises. When Holly announces she's expecting her first child, Marjorie fears that she's lost her sister forever. But then Marjorie discovers their late grandfather Eli's notebook and its tale about a wizard named the White Rebbe and his struggle against the Angel of Losses, protector of the lost letter of the alphabet, which completes the secret name of God. Everything Marjorie thought she knew about her family comes undone. To learn the truth, she embarks on an odyssey that will lead her deep into the past and back to the present—and finally to her estranged sister, Holly, whom she must save from the consequences of Eli's secrets. Interweaving history, theology, and both real and imagined Jewish folktales, The Angel of Losses is a family story of what lasts, and of what we can—and cannot—escape.

A Tender Struggle: Story of a Marriage
by Krista Bremer

Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer would not have been able to imagine her life today: married to a Libyan-born Muslim, raising two children with Arabic names in the American South. Nor could she have imagined the prejudice she would encounter or the profound ways her marriage would change her perception of the world. But on a running trail in North Carolina, she met Ismail. He was passionate and sincere—and he loved adventure as much as she did. From acquaintances to lovers to a couple facing an unexpected pregnancy, this is the story of two people—a middle-class American raised in California and a Muslim raised by illiterate parents in an impoverished Libyan fishing village—who made a commitment to each other without forsaking their own identities. It is the story of a bicultural marriage—and aren’t all marriages bicultural? In any marriage, we might discover that our mate is foreign to us, with very different language, memories, and assumptions about home and family. How we respond to difference shapes our world. Profoundly moving and often funny, this meditation on tolerance explores what it means to open our hearts to another culture and to embrace our own.

The Master
by Colm Toibin

Like Michael Cunningham in The Hours, Colm Toibin captures the extraordinary mind and heart of a great writer. Brilliant and profoundly moving, The Master tells the story of Henry James, a man born into one of America's first intellectual families two decades before the Civil War. James left his country to live in Paris, Rome, Venice, and London among privileged artists and writers. In stunningly resonant prose, Toibin captures the loneliness and longing, the hope and despair of a man who never married, never resolved his sexual identity, and whose forays into intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. The emotional intensity of Toibin's portrait of James is riveting. Time and again, James, a master of psychological subtlety in his fiction, proves blind to his own heart and incapable of reconciling his dreams of passion with his own fragility. Toibin is "a great and humanizing writer" who describes complex relationships in "supple, beautifully modulated prose" (The Washington Post Book World). In The Master, he has written his most ambitious and heartbreaking novel, an extraordinarily inventive encounter with a character at the cusp of the modern age, elusive to his own friends and even family, yet astonishingly vivid in these pages.

All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood
by Jennifer Senior

Thousands of books have examined the effects of parents on their children. But almost none have thought to ask: What are the effects of children on their parents? In All Joy and No Fun, award-winning journalist Jennifer Senior analyzes the many ways children reshape their parents' lives, whether it's their marriages, their jobs, their habits, their hobbies, their friendships, or their internal senses of self. She argues that changes in the last half century have radically altered the roles of today's mothers and fathers, making their mandates at once more complex and far less clear. Recruiting from a wide variety of sources—in history, sociology, economics, psychology, philosophy, and anthropology—she dissects both the timeless strains of parenting and the ones that are brand new, and then brings her research to life in the homes of ordinary parents around the country. The result is an unforgettable series of family portraits, starting with parents of young children and progressing in later chapters to parents of teens. Through lively and accessible storytelling, Senior follows these mothers and fathers as they wrestle with some of parenthood's deepest vexations—and luxuriate in some of its finest rewards. Meticulously researched yet imbued with emotional intelligence, All Joy and No Fun makes us reconsider some of our culture's most basic beliefs about parenthood, all while illuminating the profound ways children deepen and add purpose to our lives. By focusing on parenthood, rather than parenting, the book is original and essential reading for mothers and fathers of today—and tomorrow.

Appointment in Samarra (Penguin Classics Deluxe)
by John O'Hara

The writer whom Fran Lebowitz compared to the author of The Great Gatsby, calling him “the real F. Scott Fitzgerald,” makes his Penguin Classics debut with this beautiful deluxe edition of his best-loved book. One of the great novels of small-town American life, Appointment in Samarra is John O’Hara’s crowning achievement. In December 1930, just before Christmas, the Gibbsville, Pennsylvania, social circuit is electrified with parties and dances. At the center of the social elite stand Julian and Caroline English. But in one rash moment born inside a highball glass, Julian breaks with polite society and begins a rapid descent toward self-destruction. Brimming with wealth and privilege, jealousy and infidelity, O’Hara’s iconic first novel is an unflinching look at the dark side of the American dream—and a lasting testament to the keen social intelligence if a major American writer.

The Wilding
by Benjamin Percy

From the author of this year's The Dead Lands, The Wilding is a powerful debut novel (published in 2010) set in a threatened western landscape. Echo Canyon is a disappearing pocket of wilderness outside of Bend, Oregon, and the site of conflicting memories for Justin Caves and his father, Paul. It's now slated for redevelopment as a golfing resort. When Paul suggests one last hunting trip, Justin accepts, hoping to get things right with his father this time, and agrees to bring his son, Graham, along. As the weekend unfolds, Justin is pushed to the limit by the reckless taunting of his father, the physical demands of the terrain, and the menacing evidence of the hovering presence of bear. All the while, he remembers the promise he made to his skeptical wife: to keep their son safe.

Fear in the Sunlight
by Nicola Upson

Nicola Upson blends biography and fiction, excitement and menace, and a touch of Alfred Hitchcock in Fear in the Sunlight, a mystery starring real-life writer Josephine Tey. Summer, 1936: Josephine Tey joins her friends in the resort village of Portmeirion to celebrate her fortieth birthday. Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma Reville, are there to sign a deal to film Josephine’s novel, A Shilling for Candles, and Alfred Hitchcock has one or two tricks up his sleeve to keep the holiday party entertained—and expose their deepest fears. But things get out of hand when one of Hollywood’s leading actresses is brutally slashed to death in a cemetery near the village. The following day, fear and suspicion take over in a setting where nothing—and no one—is quite what it seems. Based in part on the life of Josephine Tey—one of the most popular, best-loved crime writers of the Golden Age, Nicola Upson’s Fear in the Sunlight features legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock as a prominent character—and features the classic suspense and psychological tension that fans of Hitchcock films love.

All I Love and Know
by Judith Frank

Told with the storytelling power and emotional fidelity of Wally Lamb, this is a searing drama of a modern American family on the brink of dissolution, one that explores adoption, gay marriage, and love lost and found. For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a quiet domestic life together in Northampton, Massachusetts. Opposites in many ways, they have grown together and made their relationship work. But when they learn that Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed. In dealing with their families and the need to make a decision about who will raise the deceased couple’s two children, both Matthew and Daniel are confronted with challenges that strike at the very heart of their relationship. What is Matthew’s place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel’s questions about his identity as a Jewish man affect his life as a gay American? Tensions only intensify when they learn that the deceased parents wanted Matthew and Daniel to adopt the children—six-year-old Gal, and baby Noam. The impact this instant new family has on Matthew, Daniel, and their relationship is subtle and heartbreaking, yet not without glimmers of hope. They must learn to reinvent and redefine their bond in profound, sometimes painful ways. What kind of parents can these two men really be? How does a family become strong enough to stay together and endure? And are there limits to honesty or commitment—or love?

Elegy for Eddie
by Jacqueline Winspear

In this latest entry in Jacqueline Winspear’s acclaimed, bestselling mystery series—“less whodunits than why-dunits, more P.D. James than Agatha Christie” (USA Today)—Maisie Dobbs takes on her most personal case yet, a twisting investigation into the brutal killing of a street peddler that will take her from the working-class neighborhoods of her childhood into London’s highest circles of power. Perfect for fans of A Lesson in Secrets, The Mapping of Love and Death, or other Maisie Dobbs mysteries—and an ideal place for new readers to enter the series—Elegy for Eddie is an incomparable work of intrigue and ingenuity, full of intimate descriptions and beautifully painted scenes from between the World Wars, from one of the most highly acclaimed masters of mystery, Jacqueline Winspear.

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