Book Previews -


Previous
Next

Silverview , by John Le Carre

In his last completed novel, John le Carré turns his focus to the world that occupied his writing for the past sixty years—the secret world itself.

Named a most anticipated book of the fall by the Associated Press, TIME, PeopleEntertainment Weekly, Washington Post, AARP, The Millions, Lit Hub, Thrillist, and more


Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the city for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian’s evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish émigré living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian’s family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise.
 
When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea . . .
 
Silverview is the mesmerizing story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In his inimitable voice John le Carré, the greatest chronicler of our age, seeks to answer the question of what we truly owe to the people we love.



Oh William! , by Elizabeth Strout

I would like to say a few things about my first husband, William. 

Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are. 

So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret—one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout’s “perfect attunement to the human condition.” There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together—even after we’ve grown apart. 

At the heart of this story is the indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. “This is the way of life,” Lucy says: “the many things we do not know until it is too late.”



Dear Santa , by Debbie Macomber

A special holiday wish list brings about hope, love, and second chances in this nostalgic novel from the queen of Christmas stories, Debbie Macomber.

Lindy Carmichael isn’t feeling particularly joyful when she returns home to Wenatchee, Washington, for Christmas. The man she thought was “the one” has cheated on her with her best friend, and she feels completely devoid of creativity in her graphic-design job. Not even carolers or Christmas cookies can cheer her up—but Lindy’s mother, Ellen, remembers an old tradition that might lift her daughter’s spirits.
 
Reading through a box of childhood letters to Santa and reminiscing about what she’d wished for as a young girl may be just the inspiration Lindy needs. With Ellen’s encouragement, she decides to write a new letter to Santa, one that will encourage her to have faith and believe just as she’d done all those years ago. Little does Lindy know that this exercise in gratitude will cause her wishes to unfold before her in miraculous ways. And, thanks to some fateful twists of Christmas magic—especially an unexpected connection with a handsome former classmate—Lindy ultimately realizes that there is truly no place like home for the holidays.
 
In Dear Santa, Debbie Macomber celebrates the joys of Christmas blessings, old and new.



State of Terror , by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

From the #1 bestselling authors Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny comes a novel of unsurpassed thrills and incomparable insider expertise—State of Terror.

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source.

Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of power in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state.

State of Terror is a unique and utterly compelling international thriller cowritten by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the 67th secretary of state, and Louise Penny, a multiple award-winning #1 New York Times bestselling novelist.



The Sentence , by Louise Erdrich

In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage, and of a woman's relentless errors.

Louise Erdrich's latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls' Day, but she simply won't leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading "with murderous attention," must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.

The Sentence begins on All Souls' Day 2019 and ends on All Souls' Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written. 




Clive Cussler's The Devil's Sea , by Dirk Cussler

Fearless adventurer Dirk Pitt must unravel a historical mystery of epic importance in the latest novel in the beloved New York Times bestselling series created by the “grand master of adventure” Clive Cussler.

In 1959 Tibet, a Buddhist artifact of immense importance was seemingly lost to history in the turmoil of the Communist takeover. But when National Underwater and Marine Agency Director Dirk Pitt discovers a forgotten plane crash in the Philippine Sea over 60 years later, new clues emerge to its hidden existence.
 
But Pitt and his compatriot Al Giordino have larger worries when they are ordered to recover a failed hypersonic missile from Luzon Strait. Only someone else is after it, too…a rogue Chinese military team that makes their own earthshattering discovery, hijacking a ship capable of stirring the waters of the deep into a veritable Devil’s Sea.
 
From the cold dark depths of the Pacific Ocean to the dizzying heights of the Himalaya Mountains, only Dirk Pitt and his children, Summer and Dirk Jr., can unravel the mysteries that will preserve a religion, save a nation…and save the world from war.



Mercy , by David Baldacci

FBI Agent Atlee Pine’s harrowing search for her long-lost sister Mercy reaches a boiling point in this breakneck thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci. 
 
For her entire life, FBI agent Atlee Pine has been searching for her twin sister, Mercy, who was abducted at the age of six and never seen again. Mercy’s disappearance left behind a damaged family that later shattered beyond repair when Atlee’s parents inexplicably abandoned her.
 
Now, after a perilous investigation that nearly proved fatal, Atlee has finally discovered not only the reason behind her parents’ abandonment and Mercy’s kidnapping, but also the most promising breakthrough yet: proof that Mercy survived her abduction and then escaped her captors many years ago. 
 
Though Atlee is tantalizingly close to her family at last, the final leg of her long road to Mercy will be the most treacherous yet. Mercy left at least one dead body behind before fleeing her captors years before. Atlee has no idea if her sister is still alive, and if so, how she has been surviving all this time. When the truth is finally revealed, Atlee Pine will face the greatest danger yet, and it may well cost her everything.



Never, by Ken Follett

“Every catastrophe begins with a little problem that doesn’t get fixed.” So says Pauline Green, president of the United States, in Follett’s nerve-racking drama of international tension.
 
A shrinking oasis in the Sahara Desert; a stolen US Army drone; an uninhabited Japanese island; and one country’s secret stash of deadly chemical poisons: all these play roles in a relentlessly escalating crisis.
 
Struggling to prevent the outbreak of world war are a young woman intelligence officer; a spy working undercover with jihadists; a brilliant Chinese spymaster; and Pauline herself, beleaguered by a populist rival for the next president election.

Never is an extraordinary novel, full of heroines and villains, false prophets and elite warriors, jaded politicians and opportunistic revolutionaries. It brims with cautionary wisdom for our times, and delivers a visceral, heart-pounding read that transports readers to the brink of the unimaginable.




The Dark Hours , by Michael Connelly

There’s chaos in Hollywood at the end of the New Year’s Eve countdown. Working her graveyard shift, LAPD detective Renée Ballard waits out the traditional rain of lead as hundreds of revelers shoot their guns into the air. Only minutes after midnight, Ballard is called to a scene where a hardworking auto shop owner has been fatally hit by a bullet in the middle of a crowded street party.
 
Ballard quickly concludes that the deadly bullet could not have fallen from the sky and that it is linked to another unsolved murder—a case at one time worked by Detective Harry Bosch. At the same time, Ballard hunts a fiendish pair of serial rapists, the Midnight Men, who have been terrorizing women and leaving no trace.
 
Determined to solve both cases, Ballard feels like she is constantly running uphill in a police department indelibly changed by the pandemic and recent social unrest. It is a department so hampered by inertia and low morale that Ballard must go outside to the one detective she can count on: Harry Bosch. But as the two inexorable detectives work together to find out where old and new cases intersect, they must constantly look over their shoulders. The brutal predators they are tracking are ready to kill to keep their secrets hidden.
 
Unfolding with unstoppable drive and nail-biting intrigue, The Dark Hours shows that “relentless on their own, Ballard’s and Bosch’s combined skills…could be combustible” (Los Angeles Times).



Previous
Next

Vanderbilt , by Anderson Cooper

New York Times bestselling author and journalist Anderson Cooper teams with New York Times bestselling historian and novelist Katherine Howe to chronicle the rise and fall of a legendary American dynasty—his mother’s family, the Vanderbilts.

When eleven-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt began to work on his father’s small boat ferrying supplies in New York Harbor at the beginning of the nineteenth century, no one could have imagined that one day he would, through ruthlessness, cunning, and a pathological desire for money, build two empires—one in shipping and another in railroads—that would make him the richest man in America. His staggering fortune was fought over by his heirs after his death in 1877, sowing familial discord that would never fully heal. Though his son Billy doubled the money left by “the Commodore,” subsequent generations competed to find new and ever more extraordinary ways of spending it. By 2018, when the last Vanderbilt was forced out of The Breakers—the seventy-room summer estate in Newport, Rhode Island, that Cornelius’s grandson and namesake had built—the family would have been unrecognizable to the tycoon who started it all.

Now, the Commodore’s great-great-great-grandson Anderson Cooper, joins with historian Katherine Howe to explore the story of his legendary family and their outsized influence. Cooper and Howe breathe life into the ancestors who built the family’s empire, basked in the Commodore’s wealth, hosted lavish galas, and became synonymous with unfettered American capitalism and high society. Moving from the hardscrabble wharves of old Manhattan to the lavish drawing rooms of Gilded Age Fifth Avenue, from the ornate summer palaces of Newport to the courts of Europe, and all the way to modern-day New York, Cooper and Howe wryly recount the triumphs and tragedies of an American dynasty unlike any other.

Written with a unique insider’s viewpoint, this is a rollicking, quintessentially American history as remarkable as the family it so vividly captures.




A Carnival of Snackery , by David Sedaris

There’s no right way to keep a diary, but if there’s an entertaining way, David Sedaris seems to have mas­tered it.
 
If it’s navel-gazing you’re after, you’ve come to the wrong place; ditto treacly self-examination. Rather, his observations turn outward: a fight between two men on a bus, a fight between two men on the street, pedestrians being whacked over the head or gathering to watch as a man considers leap­ing to his death. There’s a dirty joke shared at a book signing, then a dirtier one told at a dinner party—lots of jokes here. Plenty of laughs.
 
These diaries remind you that you once really hated George W. Bush, and that not too long ago, Donald Trump was just a harm­less laughingstock, at least on French TV. Time marches on, and Sedaris, at his desk or on planes, in hotel dining rooms and odd Japanese inns, records it. The entries here reflect an ever-changing background—new administrations, new restrictions on speech and conduct. What you can say at the start of the book, you can’t by the end. At its best, A Carnival of Snackery is a sort of sampler: the bitter and the sweet. Some entries are just what you wanted. Others you might want to spit discreetly into a napkin.



The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Super Easy , by Ree Drummond

Bring the family together—and take it easy on yourself!

Between my family, my website, my cookbooks, and my TV show, I make a lot of food around here! And as much as I’ve always loved cooking (and of course, eating!), it seems that more and more these days, I’m looking for ways to simplify my life in the kitchen. I find myself gravitating toward recipes that are delicious but don’t require a lot of prep or fuss, because they free me up to have more time (and energy) for other areas of my life. This also makes cooking less of a chore and more of a pleasure—exactly what cooking should be!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks—Super Easy! will free you up and transform your cooking life as well, with 120 recipes that range from effortless breakfasts to breezy skillet meals to speedy soups to ready-in-minutes Tex-Mex delights, so you’ll have lots of options for any given meal. Many recipes in this cookbook call for step-saving (and sanity-saving) shortcuts that will revolutionize the time you spend making meals for your family, and all of them are utterly scrumptious! I’ve absolutely fallen in love with this new generation of recipes, including Butter Pecan French Toast, Buffalo Chicken Totchos, Speedy Dumpling Soup, Broccoli-Cheese Stromboli (so great for kids!), and an entire section of pastas and grains, such as One-Pot Sausage Pasta and colorful and fresh Hawaiian Shrimp Bowls. You’ll find yummy meals such as Pepperoni Fried Rice, Chicken-Fried Steak Fingers, and ultra-tasty Chicken Curry in a Hurry . . . as well as assemble-in-the-baking-dish casseroles, throw-together sheet pan suppers, and simply decadent desserts such as Mug Cakes, Coconut Cream Pie, and Brownie S’Mores Bars that you’ll dream about.

There’s something for everyone in this cookbook, and not a single recipe, ingredient, or step is complicated or difficult. Now that’s the kind of cooking we can all get behind! 




E. R. Nurses:True Stories from America's Greatest Unsung Heroes, by James Patterson

They save our lives every day, and we’ve never heard their stories.  The life-or-death intensity of working on the front lines, from America’s greatest unsung heroes.
 
“The compassion, the work ethic, and the selflessness of nurses … are given the respect they deserve and captured beautifully here.”
–Sanjay Gupta, MD, neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent, CNN

"James Patterson's account of the twilight world between life and death that nurses inhabit is one of the most moving things I have ever read.”
–Sebastian Junger, author of Freedom and The Perfect Storm 
 
Around the clock, across the country, these highly skilled and compassionate men and women sacrifice and struggle for us and our families. 
 
You have never heard their true stories. Not like this. From big-city and small-town hospitals. From behind the scenes. From the heart.  
 
This book will make you laugh, make you cry, make you understand. 
 
When we’re at our worst, E.R. nurses are at their best. 



The Boys , by Ron Howard and Clint Howard

“This extraordinary book is not only a chronicle of Ron’s and Clint’s early careers and their wild adventures, but also a primer on so many topics—how an actor prepares, how to survive as a kid working in Hollywood, and how to be the best parents in the world! The Boys will surprise every reader with its humanity.”   — Tom Hanks

"I have read dozens of Hollywood memoirs. But The Boys stands alone. A delightful, warm and fascinating story of a good life in show business.”   — Malcolm Gladwell

Happy DaysThe Andy Griffith Show, Gentle Ben—these shows captivated millions of TV viewers in the ’60s and ’70s. Join award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard and audience-favorite actor Clint Howard as they frankly and fondly share their unusual family story of navigating and surviving life as sibling child actors.

“What was it like to grow up on TV?” Ron Howard has been asked this question throughout his adult life. in The Boys, he and his younger brother, Clint, examine their childhoods in detail for the first time. For Ron, playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days offered fame, joy, and opportunity—but also invited stress and bullying. For Clint, a fast start on such programs as Gentle Ben and Star Trek petered out in adolescence, with some tough consequences and lessons.

With the perspective of time and success—Ron as a filmmaker, producer, and Hollywood A-lister, Clint as a busy character actor—the Howard brothers delve deep into an upbringing that seemed normal to them yet was anything but. Their Midwestern parents, Rance and Jean, moved to California to pursue their own showbiz dreams. But it was their young sons who found steady employment as actors. Rance put aside his ego and ambition to become Ron and Clint’s teacher, sage, and moral compass. Jean became their loving protector—sometimes over-protector—from the snares and traps of Hollywood.

By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing, THE BOYS is a dual narrative that lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives. It’s the journey of a tight four-person family unit that held fast in an unforgiving business and of two brothers who survived “child-actor syndrome” to become fulfilled adults.




The Midwest Survival Guide , by Charlie Berens

A hilarious full-color guide to Midwestern culture, from comedian and journalist Charlie Berens, creator of the viral comedic series "The Manitowoc Minute"

Everything you need to know to survive in the greatest place on Earth

Have you ever had a goodbye lasting more than four hours? Do you lack the emotional capacity to say “I love you” so you just tell your loved ones to “watch out for deer”? Have you apologized to a stranger because she stepped on your foot? If you answered yes to any of these questions, there’s a good chance you’re a Midwesterner—or a Midwesterner at heart. 

Even if you answered no, you probably know someone who held the door for you from two football fields away. He likely waved at you and said, “Hey there,” like you organized the church bar crawl together. That was a Midwesterner in the wild. We understand that your interaction was strange—but it’s likely to get stranger. Don’t wait until they stick their head in your second-floor window to invite you over for a perch fry because they climbed on your roof to clean your gutters. There’s no need to pull the pepper spray; this species is helpful by nature. And the relationship could be very symbiotic—but only if you let it happen. And that’s where this book comes into play.

Inspired by my comedy tours across the Midwest and life growing up in Wisconsin, this book is an exploration into my favorite region on Earth. Some may think the Midwest is just a bunch of bland flyover states filled with less diversity than a Monsanto monoculture. But scratch that surface with your buck knife and you’ll find rich cultures and traditions proving we’re more than just fifty shades of milk. 

So whether you’re a born-and-bred Midwesterner looking to sharpen your skill at apologies or a costal elite visiting the in-laws for the holidays, this book will help you navigate the Midwest, with everything from the best flannel looks to dating and mating rituals (yes, casserole is involved) to climbing the corporate corn silo to how to handle a four-way stop—and every backyard brat fry in between. 

And for those of you who don’t like reading, don’t worry—we’ve got pictures! Toss in illustrations, sidebars, quizzes, and jokes worthy of a supper club stall and The Midwest Survival Guide is just the walleye-deep look into this distinctive, beautiful, and bizarre American culture you’ve been looking for.