Staff Pick

 This extraordinarily powerful, painful and exquisitely written novel concerns the Cultural Revolution in China and the fallout across generations, including the 1989 student protests and massacre in Tiananmen Square.  It's about music and the influence of Western composers on a circle of Chinese musicians at the Shanghai Conservatory.  It's about friendship, love and loss, and the power of music written, practiced, but never heard.  Most significantly, it's about a secret Book of Records, copied and recopied, each time newly encoded with Chinese characters holding hidden meanings, so as to record their stories. And when you read the stories of Sparrow, Kai, Zhuli, Ai-Ming and others, I’m certain you’ll never forget them. 

Do Not Say We Have Nothing Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393354720
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 3rd, 2017

Staff Pick

Tara Westover grew up in Bucks Peak, the daughter of a Mormon Survivalist father who frequently ranted about the imposition of “west coast socialism on the good people of Idaho.” She never went to school or to the doctor and didn’t have a birth certificate until she was eleven. Instead she read the Bible and the Book of Mormon, worked in her father’s scrap metal yard, and prepared for the End of the World or Y2K—whichever one came first. Westover thought she knew how her life would play out.  She would marry at eighteen, learn about herbs and midwifery from her mother, and live in a house built by her husband on her father’s land.  In the meantime, her brother would abuse her and call her a whore and even dance class would be considered one of Satan’s deceptions because it “claimed to teach dance but actually taught promiscuity. Against all odds, Westover turned her back on this world. With no knowledge of the Holocaust, thinking that Europe was a country, and only having vaguely heard the word “Shakespeare,” she attended Brigham Young University.  Her thirst to learn “how the gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality” led her to study at Cambridge University and earn a PhD from Harvard—drawn to such “unwomanly” subjects as law, politics and Jewish History. Educated is a raw and fiercely brave memoir that goes further than Hillbilly Elegy in giving voice to hidden aspects of the American experience.

Educated: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399590504
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House - February 20th, 2018

Staff Pick

Like all Anne Tyler’s delicious novels, Clock Dance (Knopf, $26.95) is full of flawed and lovable characters who find new ways of being needed and who, in a blended family, make surprising and meaningful choices. The story focuses on Willa; raised by a mercurial and impetuous mother, Willa grows up determined to be exactly the opposite: she wants to be taken for granted and disappear—to the point where, held at gunpoint on a plane, she’s reluctant to make a scene and so does nothing. But life has a way of revisiting early missteps, and after living in Arizona Willa returns to her native Baltimore to care for the child of her son’s ex-girlfriend. This at first makes little sense—until you realize that Willa is retracing personal childhood traumas, and her actions are motivated by the need to rescue the little girl she once was. Then there’s that cactus on the book’s cover: “Just water it from time to time but not too much.  It can stand a lot remember; it doesn’t need to be pampered.” No, a cactus doesn’t need pampering, but pampering others is what gives Tyler’s characters their purpose and their heart.  We all need meaning in our lives—and meaning for Tyler comes from connection with others, however flawed or marginal they may be.

Clock Dance: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984833648
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Random House Large Print - July 10th, 2018