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MC-NPL Staff Picks for Summer Reading 2019

 
Book cover of Americanah Americanah
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Separated by respective ambitions after falling in love in occupied Nigeria, beautiful Ifemelu experiences triumph and defeat in America while exploring new concepts of race, while Obinze endures an undocumented status in London until the pair is reunited in their homeland 15 years later, where they face the toughest decisions of their lives. By the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun. – (Baker & Taylor)
Book cover of The Handmaid’s tale The Handmaid’s tale
by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. In this oppressive world, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction. Offred remembers the years before, when she lived with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that in gone now. (Anchor Books)
Book cover of The Immortalists The Immortalists
by Chloe Benjamin
Sneaking out to get readings from a traveling psychic reputed to be able to tell customers when they will die, four adolescent siblings from New York City's Lower East Side embark on five decades of experiences shaped by their determination to control fate. (G.P. Putnam and Sons)
Book cover of I am enough I am enough
by Grace Byers
Shares a story of loving who you are, respecting others and being kind to one another. (Balzer + Bray)
Book cover of The Alchemist The Alchemist
by Paul Coelho
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations. (Harper One)
Book cover of Invisible Man Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison
A Black man's search for success and the American dream leads him out of college to Harlem and a growing sense of personal rejection and social invisibility – (Baker & Taylor)
Book cover of This is how it always is This is how it always is
by Laurie Frankel
This is how a family keeps a secret . . . and how that secret ends up keeping them. This is how a family lives happily ever after . . . until happily ever after becomes complicated. This is how children change . . . and then change the world. When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it's another baby boy. At least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect. But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl. Rosie and Penn aren't panicked at first. Kids go through phases, after all, and make-believe is fun. But soon the entire family is keeping Claude's secret. Until one day it explodes. (Flatiron Books)
Book cover of Being mortal: medicine and what matters in the end Being mortal: medicine and what matters in the end
by Atul Gawande
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should. Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients' anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them. (Metropolitan Books)
Book cover of The Last Black Unicorn The Last Black Unicorn
by Tiffany Haddish
Haddish grew up in one of the poorest parts of South Central Los Angeles and felt she never fit in anywhere and finally realized she had talent in an area she never would have suspected: comedy. The obstacles of sex, race, and class in her way, but she got there. Here she tells of how she was able to achieve her dreams by reveling in her pain and awkwardness, showing the world who she really is, and inspiring others through the power of laughter. (First Gallery Books)
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
by Mark Haddon
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother. (Vintage Contemporaries)
Book cover of The Great Alone The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah
Lenora Allbright is 13 when her father convinces her mother, Cora, to forgo their inauspicious existence in Seattle and move to Kaneq, AK. It's 1974, and the former Vietnam POW sees a better future away from the noise and nightmares that plague him. Having been left a homestead by a buddy who died in the war, Ernt is secure in his beliefs, but never was a family less prepared for the reality of Alaska, the long, cold winters and isolation. Locals want to help out, especially classmate Matthew Walker, who likes everything about Leni. Yet the harsh conditions bring out the worst in Ernt, whose paranoia takes over their lives and exacerbates what Leni sees as the toxic relationship between her parents. The Allbrights are as green as greenhorns can be, and even first love must endure unimaginable hardship and tragedy as the wilderness tries to claim more victims. (St. Martin’s Press)
Book cover of The Nightingale The Nightingale
by Kristin Hannah
Vianne and Isabelle have always been close despite their differences. Younger, bolder sister Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne lives a quiet and content life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. When World War II strikes and Antoine is sent off to fight, Vianne and Isabelle's father sends Isabelle to help her older sister cope. As the war progresses, it's not only the sisters' relationship that is tested, but also their strength and their individual senses of right and wrong. With life as they know it changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions. (St. Martin’s Press)
Book cover of A Piece of the World A Piece of the World
by Christine Baker Kline
Imagines the life story of Christina Olson, the subject of Andrew Wyeth's painting “Christina's World,” describing the simple life she led on a remote Maine farm, her complicated relationship with her family, and the illness that incapacitated her. (Harper Colins)
Book cover of The Kiss Quotient The Kiss Quotient
by Helen Hoang
When mathematician Stella Lane decides to improve her love life, she hires Michael Phan, an escort, to help her gain knowledge and experience in dating. (JOVE)
Book cover of Brave new world Brave new world
by Aldous Huxley
Towering classic of dystopian satire, BRAVE NEW WORLD is a brilliant and terrifying vision of a soulless society–and of one man who discovers the human costs of mindless conformity. Hundreds of years in the future, the World Controllers have created an ideal civilization. Its members, shaped by genetic engineering and behavioral conditioning, are productive and content in roles they have been assigned at conception. Government-sanctioned drugs and recreational sex ensure that everyone is a happy, unquestioning consumer; messy emotions have been anesthetized and private attachments are considered obscene. Only Bernard Marx is discontented, developing an unnatural desire for solitude and a distaste for compulsory promiscuity. When he brings back a young man from one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old unenlightened ways still continue, he unleashes a dramatic clash of cultures that will force him to consider whether freedom, dignity, and individuality are worth suffering for. (Alfred A. Knopf)
Book cover of The Lilac Girls The Lilac Girls
by Martha Hall Kelly
New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline's world is forever changed when Hitler's army invades Poland in September 1939–and then sets its sights on France. An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences. For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power. The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbruck, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents–from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland–as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten. (Ballantine Books)
Book cover of The Good Neighbor : the life and work of Fred Rogers The Good Neighbor : the life and work of Fred Rogers
by Maxwell King
Drawing on original interviews, oral histories and archival documents, the author traces the iconic children's program host's personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work. (Abrams Press)
Book cover of The Alice Network The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn
In 1947, pregnant Charlie St. Clair, an American college girl banished from her family, arrives in London to find out what happened to her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, and meets a former spy who, torn apart by betrayal, agrees to help her on her mission. (HarperCollinsPublishers)
Book cover of Before we were yours Before we were yours
by Lisa Wingate
Memphis, Tennessee, 1939. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about the woman's life will take her on a journey through her family's long-hidden history. (Ballantine Books)
Book cover of Educated: A memoir Educated: A memoir
by Tara Westover
Traces the author's experiences as a child born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, describing her participation in her family's paranoid stockpiling activities and her resolve to educate herself well enough to earn acceptance into a prestigious university and the unfamiliar world beyond. (Random House)
Book cover of Small great things Small great things
by Jodi Picoult
A woman and her husband admitted to a hospital to have a baby requests that their nurse be reassigned – they are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is black, to touch their baby. The hospital complies, but the baby later goes into cardiac distress when Ruth is on duty. She hesitates before rushing in to perform CPR. When her indecision ends in tragedy, Ruth finds herself on trial, represented by a white public defender who warns against bringing race into a courtroom. As the two come to develop a truer understanding of each other's lives, they begin to doubt the beliefs they each hold most dear. (Ballantine Books)
Book cover of Wonder Wonder
by RJ Palacio
Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates. (Alfred A. Knopf)
Book cover of Elevation Elevation
by Stephen King
Although Scott Carey doesn't look any different, he's been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn't want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis. In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King's most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade–but escalating–battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott's lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face-including his own–he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott's affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others. (First Scribner)
Book cover of The Outsider The Outsider
by Stephen King
An eleven-year-old boy's violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City's most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. The case seems ironclad, especially when Anderson and the district attorney are able to add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. But Maitland has an alibi, and it turns out his story has incontrovertible evidence of its own. How can two opposing stories be true? Scribner)
Book cover of To kill a mockingbird To kill a mockingbird
by Harper Lee
A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, Scout, as her father, Atticus Finch — a crusading local lawyer– risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime. (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
Book cover of Pachinko: a novel Pachinko: a novel
by Min Jin Lee
In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family until a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and move with her to Japan, in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question. (Grand Central Publishing)
Book cover of The Giver The Giver
by Lois Lowry
Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives. (Houghton Mifflin)
Book cover of Kingdom of Ash Kingdom of Ash
by Sarah J. Maas
Aelin has risked everything to save her people-but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day. With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation–and a better world. And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen–before she is lost to him forever. (Bloomsbury)
Book cover of The Ninth Hour The Ninth Hour
by Alice McDermontt
On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife that the hours of his life belong to himself alone. In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child. We begin deep inside Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the twentieth century. Decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man's brief existence. Yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives and over the decades testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Book cover of I’ll be gone in the dark : one woman's obsessive search for the Golden State Killer I’ll be gone in the dark : one woman's obsessive search for the Golden State Killer
by Michelle McNamara
A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer– the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade– from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case. (Harper)
Book cover of Circe Circe
by Madeline Miller
Follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals. (Little Brown & Company)
Book cover of Still Me Still Me
by JoJo Moyes
Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on. Lou is determined to get the most out of the experience and throws herself into her job and New York life within this privileged world. Before she knows what's happening, Lou is mixing in New York high society, where she meets Joshua Ryan, a man who brings with him a whisper of her past. In Still Me, as Lou tries to keep the two sides of her world together, she finds herself carrying secrets–not all her own–that cause a catastrophic change in her circumstances. And when matters come to a head, she has to ask herself Who is Louisa Clark? And how do you reconcile a heart that lives in two places? (Viking)
Book cover of Commonwealth: a novel Commonwealth: a novel
by Ann Patchett
Commonwealth is the story of two broken families and the paths their lives take over the course of 40 years, through love and marriage, death and divorce, and a dark secret from childhood that lies underneath it all. (Harper Collins Publishers)
Book cover of The Burning Maze The Burning Maze
by Rick Riordan
The Greek god Apollo, cast down to earth as the ungifted human teenager Lester Papadopoulos, and his demigod friends must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor–and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles–somewhere in the American Southwest. (Disney Hyperion)
Book cover of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer
As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey–a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island. (Dial Press Trade Paperbacks)
Book cover of Vengeful Vengeful
by V.E. Schwab
Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she's finally gained the control she's always sought–and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She'll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other. With Marcella's rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning. (Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates book, 2018.)
Book cover of The Book thief The Book thief
by Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors. (Alfred A. Knopf)
Book cover of Frankenstein Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
For the bicentennial of its first publication, Mary Shelley’s original 1818 text, introduced by National Book Critics Circle award-winner Charlotte Gordon. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read. (Penguin Classics)
Book cover of Hidden figures : the untold true story of four African-American women who helped launch our nation into space Hidden figures : the untold true story of four African-American women who helped launch our nation into space
by Margot Lee Shetterly
Now in an adapted edition perfect for young readers, this is the amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program. (HarperCollins Publishers)
Book cover of Of Mice and Men Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck
Two close friends in the Salinas Valley of California dream of the time they will have enough money to buy their own farm. (Penguin Books)
Book cover of Beneath a Scarlet Sky Beneath a Scarlet Sky
by Mark Sullivan
Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He's a normal Italian teenager–obsessed with music, food, and girls–but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. In an attempt to protect him, Pino's parents force him to enlist as a German soldier–a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler's left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich's most mysterious and powerful commanders. Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share. (Lake Union Publishing)
Book cover of Cravings. Hungry for more Cravings. Hungry for more
by Chrissy Teigen
After the extraordinary success of Cravings, Chrissy comes back with more of her signature wit and take-no-prisoners flavor bombs. This time the 100 recipes are even simpler and more bang-for-your-buck–it's how she's cooking now as a new parent, but it's perfect for all busy cooks. Building on Cravings and the establishment of Chrissy as a major new culinary voice, this follow-up takes us further into her kitchen–a kitchen now marked by new parenthood, a need for some quicker meals, and multi-purpose sauces and condiments, without sacrificing any of Chrissy's signature need for maximum flavor. Through 100 full-flavored, family-friendly recipes, Teigen shows how to make cooking part of a stylish-but-busy lifestyle. (Clarkson Potter Publishers)
Book cover of The Hate U Give The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died. (Harper Collins Publishers)