The Free State of Jones

Do you think the only Civil War was between the Union and the Confederacy?  If so, then you haven’t been to Jones County, Mississippi! From fall 1863 to mid-1864, Newton Knight and his band of deserters battled the Confederate cavalry from their hideout in the Piney Woods of southeast Mississippi.  Declaring their loyalty to the …
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Every Song Ever

Every Song Ever cover art

This highly-engaging book is a deep analysis of music, how we relate to it, connect with it, and listen to it. According to the author, New York Times jazz and pop critic Ben Ratliff, we now live in a time that allows us to chart our own musical path. We can download one song instead …
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Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway

Razzle Dazzle cover

If you’ve ever wanted to know the history of Broadway – and some of its dirty little secrets – Razzle Dazzle will give you the inside look. Michael Riedel, theater critic for the New York Post, shares his rich knowledge of theater history by following the rise and dominance of the Shubert Organization. The book …
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Slade House

Slade House cover

Immortality: humans have lusted after it since time immemorial. Jonah and Norah Grayer, the soul-eating twins at the center of David Mitchell’s new novel, think they have immortality perfected. They’ve been thirty-some years old since 1931, thanks to the fact that every nine years, a “guest” is lured into the twins’ lair, beginning in 1979…
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The Shepherd’s Life

The Shepard's Life cover

Long before Romantic poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge made the Lake District a celebrated landscape, generation after generation of shepherds were farming this mountainous region of northwest England. These “nobodies,” as The Shepherd’s Life author James Rebanks likes to say, are “the great forgotten silent majority of people who live, work, love and die without leaving much of a trace that they were ever here.” Rebanks can no longer claim to be a nobody. On his popular Twitter account (@herdyshepherd1), he shares picturesque scenes from his Lake District sheep farm with his 68,000 followers, and now he’s written a best-selling book about the cycles of the shepherding year, his deep roots in Cumbria, and the farming culture of the region.
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H is for Hawk

H is for Hawk cover

Devastated by the sudden death of her beloved father, H is for Hawk author Helen Macdonald attempts to deal with her grief by acquiring and training a goshawk named Mabel, intending, like the famous British author and falconer T.H. White, to become “ferocious, feral and free.” H is for Hawk is a seamless blend of memoir, nature writing, and literary criticism: not only does it chronicle the development of Macdonald’s extraordinary relationship with Mabel , but it also follows the arc of the author’s grief and examines White’s process of training his own goshawk, drawing from his aptly named classic The Goshawk.
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The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I

Like fine wine, author Alison Weir is better with age. Or maybe it’s just taken this long to forgive her interpretation of Elizabeth I’s early years. The more Tudor historical fiction one reads the more one is apt to forgive the glossing over of certain persons and events, as well as the concept of artistic license. Still, it would be safe to say that this novel is Weir’s crowning achievement as she flawlessly manages to both realistically and sympathetically  portray Elizabeth’s endless sidesteps and intricate machinations in avoiding “the married state.”

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Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Edogawa Rampo has been called the Edgar Allan Poe of Japan, and with good reason. Each of the nine stories in this collection offers the reader a unique level of creepy discomfort with endings that still manage to surprise. “The Caterpillar” tells of a bitter wife trapped caring for her husband, a war veteran and quadruple amputee, while “The Human Chair” features a young author who is increasingly disturbed while reading the manuscript sent to her by a fan.
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