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NEW & UPCOMING RELEASES — posted 3/2024

I've been reading alot of ARCs lately, along with going back to old favorites for a second go-around — Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone, Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, among others. Here's some goodies that just came out, along with books I'm excited to share with you that will be available in April.

Under the Henfluence   -   Tove Danovich

This heartening memoir is an homage to chickens and roosters, especially the backyard kind. With historical data about the domestication of the fowl thousands of years ago, to introducing the reader to the rescue missions and chicken saviors around the world, journalist Tove Danovich makes a strong statement for finding respect for these sweet and clever birds who are anything but "bird-brained." Thoroughly captivating, the book is truly an eye-opener . . . what most people perceive simply as lunch or dinner are actually intelligent members of the world of the living, complete with feelings and emotions, and a dedication to their keeper as much as they are to their flock.

You Are Here   -   Ada Limon, Editor

Poet Laureate Ada Limon (2022), in association with the Library of Congress, edited this collection of fifty contemporary poets that marry nature and poetry with poems that speak to our changed and changing landscape. Poets included: former U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo; Pulitzer Prize winners Jericho Brown, Carl Phillips and Diane Suess; and PEN/Voelcker Award winners Victoria Chang and Rigoberto González, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, among others. "I believe the way we respond to this crucial moment on our planet could define humanity forever. In conceiving of the project, I wanted something that could both praise our sacred and natural wonders and also speak the complex truths of this urgent time." - Ada Limon

Secrets of the Octopus   -   Sy Montgomery

My favorite nature writer, author of the wonderful "The Soul of an Octopus," has demonstrated even further her passionate respect for octopus, their world and their brain, with this lovely book dedicated to the species she loves. With gorgeous National Geographic photography throughout, the book is a deep dive into octopuses environment and their genius survival techniques. Montgomery, referred to as the "octopus whisperer," sought out stories about the scientists who have dedicated their lives and careers into octopus research and protection, adding even more information about this sly and clever mollusk whose intelligence is related to the molecular structure of the human brain.

Demon of Unrest  -   Erik Larson

The letters, journal writings, secret communiques, plantation and slave records, and political records kept before Lincoln's election and inauguration and the months leading up to the Confederacy's attack on Fort Sumter, by members of the mainly American Southern states' pro-slavery Democratic Party, are the basis of Erik Larson's book about the Civil War. It is an essential read for gaining an appalling image of the insidiously blatant racism much of this country has held on to for far too many generations. I highly recommend for people whose knowledge of the Civil War, especially what led to it, is what was briefly taught in middle school civics class.   

Days of Wonder   -   Caroline Leavitt

The pain of loss and the powerful pull of survival is at the heart of Caroline Leavitt's 13th novel. We agonize along with Ella Fitchburg, who we meet as a teenager desperately in love - so in love, she'll do anything for her boyfriend Jude. Ella and Jude's story unveils as she is released, at age 22, from a 25-year prison sentence, the reason for her conviction I will not divulge in this review! It's a page-turner of a story, a pull at heartstrings and reason — and a really good read! 

Lucky   -   Jane Smiley

An homage to 60s & 70s folk singer/songwriters as well as to a sense of home, place, and family. Though there aren't actual dates, the novel reads like it's the central character's lifetime journal, as it follows the fictionalized story of a musician, Jodie Rattler. Jodie's destiny was partly determined at the start of her story as she recounts her totally random big win, at age six, at the racetrack with her uncle — the win being the luck that made her view her life as lucky. Her story and the songwriting included in the book, and Jodie's tales of being on the road as a musician make me wonder if Jane Smiley was a musician, as she has a exhibits a vast knowledge of folkies and singer/songwriters and life is on the road as a member of a band.

The Titanic Survivors Book Club  -   Timothy Schaffert

The premise of this book is really interesting: the survivors of the fated ship are ticket holders who didn’t board the ship, though their names remained on the published list of travelers who perished at sea with the sinking of the Titanic. A small group of them come together, creating their secret society of survivors. They form a book club, in which they attempt to come to terms with their fortune in remaining among the living through the discussing of books and life — and love.


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