In the Shadow of the Banyan - Vaddey Ratner

Potomac author Vaddey Ratner survived the nightmare of the Khmer Rouge as a child growing up in Cambodia, and now she has turned that experience into In the Shadow of the Banyan (Simon & Schuster, $25), a graceful and memorable debut novel. In other hands the story might have been purely grim, but somehow Ratner manages to convey the injustice and horror of the Communist dictatorship’s atrocities while also celebrating a deeper humanity that, in its own way, triumphs in the end.

In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel By Vaddey Ratner Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451657715
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 4th, 2013

Panorama City - Antoine Wilson

Oppen Porter, the twenty eight- year-old narrator of Antoine Wilson’s second novel, is a self-described “slow absorber” who is holed up in a hospital room sure that he is about to die. Now he is talking into a tape recorder, explaining to his about to- be-born son why he left home after his father’s death and headed to Panorama City (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24), an extraordinarily ordinary patch of suburbia in southern California, to become “a man of the world.” Oppen’s experiences there and the characters he encounters, from his odd and uncompromising aunt to a street philosopher and ex-con named Paul, frame this story of innocence, life’s vicissitudes, and self discovery. Part picaresque and part bildungsroman, Panorama City is charming, touching, and funny all in one.

Panorama City By Antoine Wilson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544106277
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - September 10th, 2013

Breasts - Florence Williams

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History (W.W. Norton, $25.95) is a fine and serious book, even though the title may lead some readers to wonder what it could possibly be about. Far from an x-rated treatment of the subject, it is a highly readable and fascinating documentation of how an essential part of the human anatomy has been altered and harmed by environmental degradation. Florence Williams, a respected environmental reporter, discovered while breast-feeding her child that she had a high percentage of a toxin called perchlorate in her breast milk. This prompted her to do more research (it turns out most women have perchlorate and a lot of other bad stuff in their mammary glands) that explores the history and evolution of breasts, including the early popularity of silicon implants to a frightening rise in breast cancer cases among U.S. servicemen.

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History By Florence Williams Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393345070
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 6th, 2013