This Week's Best New Books

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This Is Climate Change: A Visual Guide to the Fact

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This Is Climate Change: A Visual Guide to the Fact

by David Nelles, Christian Serrer

This Is Climate Change: A Visual Guide to the Fact

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Using research gathered from more than 100 scientists, David Nelles and Christian Serrer interpret climate change data and capture it visually in This Is Climate Change: A Visual Guide to the Facts. They urge readers to "See for Yourself How the Planet Is Warming and What It Means for Us" as they walk their audience through clearly illustrated, logically ordered chapters covering topics that include how the Earth's climate functions and the impact of rising temperatures on the cryosphere (frozen ... [ Read More » ]

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Things I Have Withheld

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Things I Have Withheld

by Kei Miller

Things I Have Withheld

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Literary chameleon Kei Miller (The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion) has produced award-winning short stories, novels, poetry and essays. Things I Have Withheld is arguably his most stupendous title to date. These 14 exquisitely vulnerable essays explore his Jamaican heritage, his British residency, his worldwide travels. Divulging searing conversations he's self-silenced, Miller--a globe-trotting gay Black man--produces a magnificent examination of race, sexuality and identity. ... [ Read More » ]

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Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from Ancient to Modern Bakers

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Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from Ancient to Modern Bakers

by Eric Pallant

Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from Ancient to Modern Bakers

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Searching #sourdough on Instagram produces more than 5.1 million results--and counting! An unexpected resurgence in the bread's popularity is perhaps one of the more unlikely side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, making Eric Pallant's Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from Ancient to Modern Bakers a perfectly timed publication.

Pallant, an environmental sciences professor, has spent decades baking sourdough and years researching the history of sourdough and bread-making. His interest ... [ Read More » ]

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Rock, Paper, Scissors

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Rock, Paper, Scissors

by Alice Feeney

Rock, Paper, Scissors

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British novelist Alice Feeney (Sometimes I Lie) offers up another thrill ride for readers who dare to accept this delightfully dark and sinuous story that asks how well spouses can truly know each other.

Mr. and Mrs. Wright's marriage has gone all wrong, and they both know a getaway to a remote chapel-cum-romantic-hideaway in the Scottish Highlands is their last chance to save it. Arriving in the middle of a snowstorm, they find the chapel dark and foreboding. While it seems deserted, Mrs. Wright's ... [ Read More » ]

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My Sweet Girl

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My Sweet Girl

by Amanda Jayatissa

My Sweet Girl

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Aspects of Amanda Jayatissa's debut thriller may call to mind several of Alfred Hitchcock's classics--especially Vertigo--but My Sweet Girl is neither derivative nor a Hitchcock homage: it's a homespun tour de force that will elicit an amusement park ride's worth of gasps.

One of the novel's two alternating story lines plays out in San Francisco and is driven by an amusingly foulmouthed, drink-addled and short-tempered narrator. "Be nice, Paloma. Be kind," is one of her many stabilizing ... [ Read More » ]

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Bright Star

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Bright Star

by Yuyi Morales

Bright Star

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Bright Star, a powerful, radiant picture book by Pura Belpré Award winner and Caldecott honoree Yuyi Morales (Dreamers), begins with an eager observation: "Child, you are awake!"

A doe sees that her fawn has opened her eyes. After allowing the fawn to wake gently, the mother coaxes her babe into getting ready for the day as if it's a celebration: "You are ALIVE! You are a bright star inside our hearts." Then, with a cry of "Vámonos!" they are ready to go. The pair walk through the desert ... [ Read More » ]

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The Dreamweavers

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The Dreamweavers

by G.Z. Schmidt

The Dreamweavers

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The Dreamweavers by G.Z. Schmidt (No Ordinary Thing) is set during China's Ming Dynasty and seamlessly incorporates folklore and magic into a vivid middle-grade adventure about sibling bonds and destiny.

Twelve-year-old twins Mei and Yun don't have many friends in their small village in the mountains of southern China. They were raised by their Grandpa Wu after their parents disappeared six years ago in the dreadful, haunted City of Ashes. Grandpa Wu taught them that "not even the most powerful person ... [ Read More » ]

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Karachi Vice: Life and Death in a Contested City

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Karachi Vice: Life and Death in a Contested City

by Samira Shackle

Karachi Vice: Life and Death in a Contested City

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In Karachi Vice: Life and Death in a Contested City, British-Pakistani investigative reporter Samira Shackle incisively explores recent violent events in Karachi, Pakistan's industrial and financial center, through the accounts of five working-class Karachiites.

Shackle offers a truly intimate view of the port city's reckoning with terrorism and crime, having spent extended periods in Karachi's most dangerous neighborhoods to understand the complex dynamics among rival gangs, corrupt officials, extremist ... [ Read More » ]

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Harlem Shuffle

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Harlem Shuffle

by Colson Whitehead

Harlem Shuffle

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Harlem Shuffle once again shows off Colson Whitehead's ability to master myriad genres, this time with his first crime novel, the eagerly awaited follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning novels The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys. After delving into zombie fiction (Zone One) and even a nonfiction book about poker (The Noble Hustle), Whitehead confidently crafts a pressure-cooker novel about a used furniture dealer sliding into criminality in tumultuous early-1960s ... [ Read More » ]

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Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South

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Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South

by Margaret Renkl

Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South

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Everyone should have a friend like Margaret Renkl: thoughtful, engaged, compassionate and, above all, acutely observant. Since that's not always possible, the next best thing is to share her company in the diverse and consistently stimulating essay collection Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South. 

An offhanded conversation in 2015 led to an invitation to Renkl (Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss) to write her first column for the  ... [ Read More » ]

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Friends Like These

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Friends Like These

by Kimberly McCreight

Friends Like These

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No one should want to be a part of the messy, self-centered group of college pals in Kimberly McCreight's shrewd, insightful fourth novel, Friends Like These--a look at the dark side of friendship.

Wealthy Jonathan Cheung and friends Stephanie Allen, Maeve Travis, Keith Lazard and Derrick Chism--all Vassar alumni--claim they are bonded by unconditional love, devoted to each other, willing to forgive any transgression. Instead, guilt, fear and secrets unite them. A decade ago in college, a young man ... [ Read More » ]

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Bombshell

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Bombshell

by Sarah MacLean

Bombshell

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Sarah MacLean kicks off her Hell's Belles series with Bombshell, featuring the bold and scandalous Lady Sesily Talbot in a feminist historical novel that will delight MacLean's longtime fans just as it introduces new readers to her work.

Sesily Talbot has never cared much for her reputation. The London elite calls her "Sexily" behind her back, a moniker she does nothing to discourage, in no small part because it's not entirely untrue--and because it gives her cover to go about her business taking ... [ Read More » ]

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Weird Women: Volume 2: 1840-1925

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Weird Women: Volume 2: 1840-1925

by Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger, editors

Weird Women: Volume 2: 1840-1925

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In the second volume of Weird Women, editors Lisa Morton and Leslie S. Klinger offer another thought-provoking collection of 16 short horror and science fiction stories by both iconic and overlooked women writers. In "The Lifted Veil" by George Eliot, a man falls under the mysterious and deadly spell of his brother's fiancée. Meanwhile, in "The Dead and the Countess" by Gertrude Atherton, a priest struggles to perform the last rituals for a dead countess. In the collection's perhaps best-known ... [ Read More » ]

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Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood

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Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood

by Dawn Turner

Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood

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Journalist and novelist Dawn Turner (Only Twice I've Wished for Heaven; An Eighth of August) has spent her career writing about politics, race and class in Chicago and across the United States, including coverage of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. In Three Girls from Bronzeville, those same themes become the lens through which Turner explores her childhood memories, as well as those of her sister and childhood best friend, whose lives started so similarly and diverged in remarkable and heartbreaking ... [ Read More » ]

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A Play for the End of the World

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A Play for the End of the World

by Jai Chakrabarti

A Play for the End of the World

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Time, geographies and backgrounds flow effortlessly through Jai Chakrabarti's exquisite debut novel, A Play for the End of the World. At its core is the provenance of a possible love story between two strangers in New York City. Interwoven into this uncertain romance are two all-too-real, grievous world events--the Holocaust in Poland and the Communist Naxalite insurgencies in 1970s West Bengal, India. The eponymous play--Dak Ghar by Rabindranath Tagore--staged 30 years and thousands ... [ Read More » ]

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The Last Mona Lisa

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The Last Mona Lisa

by Jonathan Santlofer

The Last Mona Lisa

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Into the pantheon of great art heist stories leaps The Last Mona Lisa, Jonathan Santlofer's novel of intrigue, romance and murder. It's set in Florence, Paris and New York and centered on a cast of art scholars, forgers and--those most nefarious of public servants--librarians.

One day, New Yorker Luke Perrone receives a curious e-mail from Italy: before his "sudden death," a professor requested that Luke be contacted about a recent discovery--"what may have been your great-grandfather's journal," ... [ Read More » ]

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L.A. Weather

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L.A. Weather

by María Amparo Escandón

L.A. Weather

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L.A. Weather is a lovely, compelling and occasionally brutal novel by María Amparo Escandón (Esperanza's Box of Saints) about a family on the brink of disaster, in a city similarly on edge. Captivating, sympathetic, funny characters and never-ending surprises (that even those involved compare with a telenovela) form a world for readers to get lost in.

Patriarch Oscar Alvarado has become a shell of his formerly assertive self; his wife, Keila, a sculptor, is losing patience. Their ... [ Read More » ]

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Obie Is Man Enough

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Obie Is Man Enough

by Schuyler Bailar

Obie Is Man Enough

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Schuyler Bailar's powerful middle-grade debut highlights the triumphs and struggles of an adolescent transgender competitive swimmer.

After Korean American Zechariah-Obadiah "Obie" Chang begins identifying as a boy, he endures transphobic epithets hurled by his coach, abandonment by his two best friends and both physical and verbal assaults in the boys' bathroom. Traumatized but proud of himself and fueled by his passion for swimming, he joins a new team and learns to face school without his old ... [ Read More » ]

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Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown

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Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown

by Steve Sheinkin

Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown

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Three-time National Book Award nominee and Newbery Honor author Steve Sheinkin recounts the "most intense years of the Cold War" with a cinematic writing style that is keenly detailed.

In 1948, three years after the end of World War II, the Soviets and Americans, former allies who "crushed Hitler" and won the war in Europe, are clashing over postwar plans. The two countries find themselves "locked in a struggle for power and influence over the world" as American leaders encourage the establishment ... [ Read More » ]

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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

by Zoraida Córdova

The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina

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Zoraida Córdova's The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina is a gorgeous work of magical realism that follows the Ecuadoran and Ecuadoran American Montoya family on a spellbinding journey as they fight for their home and their future against dangers from an obscured past.

Orquídea Divina, bruja matriarch of the Montoya family, has outlived several husbands, built an unusually productive farmstead and raised a large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The ... [ Read More » ]

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The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All

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The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All

by Josh Ritter

The Great Glorious Goddamn of It All

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In this gutsy folktale of a novel, author and singer-songwriter Josh Ritter (Bright's Passage) takes readers into treacherous forests and lawless towns to witness the last days of the era of the lumberjacks.

At 99, retired lumberjack Weldon Applegate lies in a hospital bed, though not for reasons of old age. He was "in my prime, full of Rainier and vinegar, fixing to live forever" until his mortal enemy, the son of a clear-cutting sawmill tycoon, had other ideas. In what may be his last words, Weldon ... [ Read More » ]

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The Dark Remains

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The Dark Remains

by William McIlvanney, Ian Rankin

The Dark Remains

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William McIlvanney, the father of tartan noir, made his mark on crime fiction with 1977's Laidlaw, the first book in a trilogy revolving around rule-snubbing detective Jack Laidlaw. McIlvanney died in 2015, leaving behind an unfinished manuscript and an opportunity for a from-the-beyond collaboration with his obvious literary heir, Ian Rankin, author of the Rebus series (Rather Be the Devil; Standing in Another Man's Grave; Saints of the Shadow Bible). In The Dark Remains, the Scottish masters make ... [ Read More » ]

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Cranial Fracking

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Cranial Fracking

by Ian Frazier

Cranial Fracking

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For years, Ian Frazier has been good-naturedly stuffing the New Yorker's Shouts & Murmurs section with observations filtered through a range of hilariously moronic, incompetent and self-important fictional personas. Cranial Fracking contains 43 choice Frazier humor pieces from the past decade and longer, almost all of which were Shouts & Murmurs, and many of which flambé the newsworthy, or at least news-making, stories of their day.

Frazier seems to have a keen understanding of everything ... [ Read More » ]

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Along Came a Lady

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Along Came a Lady

by Christi Caldwell

Along Came a Lady

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Along Came a Lady, the launch of the Regency series All the Duke's Sins, is a deeply emotional tale featuring two illegitimate offspring of upper-crust society. When the Duke and Duchess of Bentley hire lovely Edwina Dalrymple to prepare the duke's bastard son to enter society, Edwina is certain that this success will guarantee her business reputation. But first, she must travel to rural Staffordshire and convince her new charge, Rafe Audley, to leave the coal mines and return to London. She assumes ... [ Read More » ]

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