Thursday, May 8, 2014

New Adult Nonfiction - May 8, 2014

Rage: The Legend of "Baseball Bill" Denehy by Bill Denehy and Peter Golenbock

Bill Denehy was at the top of his game... until he threw a pitch that changed the course of his life. A home-run bio about a gifted pitcher whose National League career held promise until a hard slider to Willie Mays injured his shoulder, Rage chronicles Denehy's injury-plagued career in major league baseball and the loss of his vision due to injections used to keep him in the game. Denehy holds nothing back as he shares the rage he felt his whole life, his lost dreams, his descent in addiction, and eventually finding peace when he entered recovery. His experience will resonate with athletes, baseball fans, those who struggle with addiction, and those who know someone who does.

Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End-of-Life Care and the Hospice Movement by Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel

There’s a quiet revolution happening in the way we die. More than 1.5 million Americans a year die in hospice care—nearly 44 percent of all deaths—and a vast industry has sprung up to meet the growing demand. Once viewed as a New Age indulgence, hospice is now a $14 billion business and one of the most successful segments in health care. Changing the Way We Die, by award-winning journalists Fran Smith and Sheila Himmel, is the first book to take a broad, penetrating look at the hospice landscape, through gripping stories of real patients, families, and doctors, as well as the corporate giants that increasingly own the market.
Changing the Way We Die is a vital resource for anyone who wants to be prepared to face life’s most challenging and universal event. You will learn:
  •  Hospice use is soaring, yet most people come too late to get the full benefits.
  •  With the age tsunami, it becomes even more critical for families and patients to choose end-of-life care wisely.
  •  Hospice at its best is much more than a way to relieve the suffering of dying. It is a way to live.

Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice  by Scott Helman and Jenna Russell

In the tradition of 102 Minutes and Columbine, Long Mile Home is the definitive book on the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers, written by reporters from The Boston Globe and published to coincide with the first anniversary of the tragedy.

Long Mile Home tells the gripping story of the tragic, surreal, and ultimately inspiring week of April 15, 2013: the preparations of the bombers; the glory of the race; the extraordinary emergency response to the explosions; the massive deployment of city, state, and federal law enforcement personnel; and the nation's and the world's emotional and humanitarian response before, during, and after the apprehension of the suspects.

The authors, both journalists at The Boston Globe, are backed by that paper's deep, relentless, and widely praised coverage of the event. Through the eyes of seven principal characters including the bombers, the wounded, a victim, a cop, and a doctor, Helman and Russell trace the distinct paths that brought them together. With an unprecedented level of detail and insight, the book offers revelations, insights, and powerful stories of heroism and humanity.

Long Mile Home also highlights the bravery, resourcefulness, and resiliency of the Boston community. It portrays the city on its worst day but also at its best.

Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books by Wendy Lesser

“Wendy Lesser’s extraordinary alertness, intelligence, and curiosity have made her one of America’s most significant cultural critics,” writes Stephen Greenblatt. In Why I Read, Lesser draws on a lifetime of pleasure reading and decades of editing one of the most distinguished literary magazines in the country, The Threepenny Review, to describe her love of literature. As Lesser writes in her prologue, “Reading can result in boredom or transcendence, rage or enthusiasm, depression or hilarity, empathy or contempt, depending on who you are and what the book is and how your life is shaping up at the moment you encounter it.”

Here the reader will discover a definition of literature that is as broad as it is broad-minded. In addition to novels and stories, Lesser explores plays, poems, and essays along with mysteries, science fiction, and memoirs. “Reading literature is a way of reaching back to something bigger and older and different,” she writes. “It can give you the feeling that you belong to the past as well as the present, and it can help you realize that your present will someday be someone else’s past. This may be disheartening, but it can also be strangely consoling at times.”

A book in the spirit of E. M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel and Elizabeth Hardwick’s A View of My Own, Why I Read is iconoclastic, conversational, and full of insight. It will delight those who are already avid readers as well as neophytes in search of sheer literary fun.

The Dream of the Great American Novel by Lawrence Buell

The idea of "the great American novel" continues to thrive almost as vigorously as in its nineteenth-century heyday, defying 150 years of attempts to dismiss it as amateurish or obsolete. In this landmark book, the first in many years to take in the whole sweep of national fiction, Lawrence Buell reanimates this supposedly antiquated idea, demonstrating that its history is a key to the dynamics of national literature and national identity itself.

The dream of the G.A.N., as Henry James nicknamed it, crystallized soon after the Civil War. In fresh, in-depth readings of selected contenders from the 1850s onward in conversation with hundreds of other novels, Buell delineates four "scripts" for G.A.N. candidates. One, illustrated by The Scarlet Letter, is the adaptation of the novel's story-line by later writers, often in ways that are contrary to the original author's own design. Other aspirants, including The Great Gatsby and Invisible Man, engage the American Dream of remarkable transformation from humble origins. A third script, seen in Uncle Tom's Cabin and Beloved, is the family saga that grapples with racial and other social divisions. Finally,mega-novels from Moby-Dick to Gravity's Rainbow feature assemblages of characters who dramatize in microcosm the promise and pitfalls of democracy.

The canvas of the great American novel is in constant motion, reflecting revolutions in fictional fashion, the changing face of authorship, and the inseparability of high culture from popular. As Buell reveals, the elusive G.A.N. showcases the myth of the United States as a nation perpetually under construction.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Adult Fiction - Apr. 22, 2014

The Tournament by Matthew Reilly

England, 1546. A young Princess Elizabeth is surrounded by uncertainty. She is not currently in line for the throne, but remains a threat to her older sister and brother.

In the midst of this fevered atmosphere comes an unprecedented invitation from the Sultan in Constantinople. He seeks to assemble the finest chess players from the whole civilised world and pit them against each other.

Roger Ascham, Elizabeth's teacher and mentor in the art of power and politics, is determined to keep her out of harm's way and resolves to take Elizabeth with him when he travels to the glittering Ottoman capital for the tournament.

But once there, the two find more danger than they left behind. There's a killer on the loose and a Catholic cardinal has already been found mutilated. Ascham is asked by the Sultan to investigate the crime. But as he and Elizabeth delve deeper, they find dark secrets, horrible crimes and unheard-of depravity - things that mark the young princess for life and define the queen she will become.

The Cost of Lunch, Etc.: Short Stories by Marge Piercy

In this collection of short stories, bestselling author Marge Piercy brings us glimpses into the lives of everyday women moving through and making sense of their daily internal and external worlds. Keeping to the engaging, accessible language of Piercy's novels, the collection spans decades of her writing along with a range of locations, ages, and emotional states of her protagonists. From the first-person account of hoarding and a girl's narrative of sexual and spiritual discovery to the recounting of a past love affair, each story is a tangible, vivid snapshot in a varied and subtly curated gallery of work. Whether grappling with death, familial relationships, friendship, sex, illness, or religion, Piercy's writing is as passionate, lucid, insightful, and thoughtfully alive as ever.

High Crime Area: Tales of Darkness and Dread by Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is an unparalleled investigator of human flaws. In these eight stories, she deftly tests the bonds between damaged individuals—a brother and sister, a teacher and student, two strangers on a subway—in the fearless prose for which she’s become so celebrated.

In the title story, “High Crime Area,” a white, aspiring professor is convinced she is being followed. No need to panic, she has a handgun stowed away in her purse—just in case. But when she turns to confront her black, male shadow, the situation isn’t what she expects. In “The Rescuer,” a promising graduate student detours to inner city Trenton, New Jersey to save her brother from a downward spiral. But she soon finds out there may be more to his world than to hers. And in “The Last Man of Letters,” the world-renowned author X embarks on a final grand tour of Europe. He has money, fame, but not a whole lot of manners. A little thing like etiquette couldn’t bring a man like X down, could it?

In these biting and beautiful stories, Oates confronts, one by one, the demons within us. Sometimes it’s the human who wins, and sometimes it’s the demon.

The Lie by Helen Dunmore

Cornwall, 1920. Infantry officer Daniel Branwell has returned to his coastal hometown after the war. Unmoored and alone, Daniel spends his days in solitude, quietly working the land. However, all is not as it seems in the peaceful idylls of the countryside; and although he has left the trenches, Daniel cannot escape his dreadful past.  As former friendships re-ignite, Daniel is drawn deeper and deeper into the tangled traumas of his youth and the memories of his best friend and his first love. Old wounds reopen, and old troubles resurface, though none so great as the lie that threatens to ruin Daniel's life, the lie from which he cannot run. Told with Dunmore's breathtaking poise and exacting suspense, The Lie is a haunting and captivating journey through the mind of a tormented man, as he tries to fit the pieces of his shattered past together.

Frog Music: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.

The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice--if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.

In thrilling, cinematic style, Frog Music digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue's lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boomtown like no other.

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Adult Nonfiction - Mar. 28, 2014

Beautiful LEGO by Mike Doyle

Mix hundreds of thousands of LEGO bricks with dozens of artists, and what do you get? Beautiful LEGO, a compendium of LEGO artwork that showcases a stunning array of pieces ranging from incredibly lifelike replicas of everyday objects and famous monuments to imaginative renderings of spaceships, mansions, and mythical creatures.

You'll also meet the minds behind the art. Interviews with the artists take you inside the creative process that turns simple, plastic bricks into remarkable LEGO masterpieces.

Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship by John MacArthur

In Strange Fire, bestselling author and pastor John MacArthur lays out his case that the Charismatic movement in the Christian church is heretical. He claims it is consumed by the empty promises of the prosperity gospel, promotes a "Christianity" without Christ, and does not show true reverence to the Holy Spirit.

Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood by Joachim Fest

Few writers have deepened our understanding of the Third Reich as much as German historian, biographer, journalist, and critic Joachim Fest. His biography of Adolf Hitler has reached millions of readers around the world. Born in 1926, Fest experienced firsthand the rise of the Nazis, the Second World War, and a catastrophically defeated Germany, thus becoming a vital witness to these difficult years.

In this memoir of his childhood and youth, Fest offers a far-reaching view of how he experienced the war and National Socialism. True to the German Bildung tradition, Fest grows up immersed in the works of Goethe, Schiller, Mörike, Rilke, Kleist, Mozart, and Beethoven. His father, a conservative Catholic teacher, opposes the Nazi regime and as a result loses his job and status. Fest is forced to move to a boarding school in the countryside that he despises, and in his effort to come to terms with his father’s strong political convictions, he embarks on a tireless quest for knowledge and moral integrity that will shape the rest of his life and writing career.

Drinking and Dating: P.S. Social Media Is Ruining Romance by Brandi Glanville

On the heels of her New York Times bestselling book Drinking and Tweeting, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville takes readers on a wild ride through her dating life in this highly-entertaining relationship book.

Drinking and Dating chronicles Glanville’s misadventures stumbling through today’s dating world. From social media blunders to bedroom escapades, Brandi withholds nothing. Each chapter is inspired by a relationship encounter she has had since her sensational divorce from actor Eddie Cibrian. Hilarious, surprising, vulnerable, and outspoken, Glanville’s unexpected take on dating after heartbreak – and life in general – is as unique as she is. Just like Brandi herself, Drinking and Dating is sexy, funny, and eyebrow-raising.

Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes by Svante Pääbo

What can we learn from the genomes of our closest evolutionary relatives?

Neanderthal Man tells the story of geneticist Svante Pääbo's mission to answer this question, and recounts his ultimately successful efforts to genetically define what makes us different from our Neanderthal cousins. Beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies in the early 1980s and culminating in the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2010, Neanderthal Man describes the events, intrigues, failures, and triumphs of these scientifically rich years through the lens of the pioneer and inventor of the field of ancient DNA.

We learn that Neanderthal genes offer a unique window into the lives of our hominid relatives and may hold the key to unlocking the mystery of why humans survived while Neanderthals went extinct. Drawing on genetic and fossil clues, Pääbo explores what is known about the origin of modern humans and their relationship to the Neanderthals and describes the fierce debate surrounding the nature of the two species interactions. His findings have not only redrawn our family tree, but recast the fundamentals of human history — the biological beginnings of fully modern Homo sapiens, the direct ancestors of all people alive today.

A riveting story about a visionary researcher and the nature of scientific inquiry, Neanderthal Man offers rich insight into the fundamental question of who we are.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Adult Fiction - Mar. 20, 2014

Revolutionary by Alex Myers

In 1782, during the final clashes of the Revolutionary War, one of our young nation’s most valiant and beloved soldiers was, secretly, a woman.

When Deborah Samson disguised herself as a man and joined the Continental Army, she wasn’t just fighting for America’s independence—she was fighting for her own. Revolutionary, Alex Myers’s richly imagined and meticulously researched debut novel, brings the true story of Deborah’s struggle against a rigid colonial society back to life—and with it the courage, hope, fear, and heartbreak that shaped her journey through a country’s violent birth.

After years as an indentured servant in a sleepy Massachusetts town, chafing under the oppressive norms of colonial America, Deborah can’t contain her discontent any longer. When a sudden crisis forces her hand, she decides to finally make her escape. Embracing the peril and promise of the unknown, she cuts her hair, binds her chest, and, stealing clothes from a neighbor, rechristens herself Robert Shurtliff. It’s a desperate, dangerous, and complicated deception, and becomes only more so when, as Robert, she enlists in the Continental Army.

What follows is an inspiring, one-of-a-kind journey through an America torn apart by war: brutal winters and lethal battlefields, the trauma of combat and the cruelty of betrayal, the joy of true love and the tragedy of heartbreak. In his brilliant Revolutionary, Myers, who himself is a descendant of the historical Deborah, takes full advantage of this real-life heroine’s unique voice to celebrate the struggles for freedom, large and small, like never before.

A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger

London, 1385. Surrounded by ruthless courtiers--including his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt, and Gaunt's artful mistress, Katherine Swynford--England's young, still untested king, Richard II, is in mortal peril, and the danger is only beginning. Songs are heard across London--catchy verses said to originate from an ancient book that prophesies the end of England's kings--and among the book's predictions is Richard's assassination. Only a few powerful men know that the cryptic lines derive from a "burnable book," a seditious work that threatens the stability of the realm. To find the manuscript, wily bureaucrat Geoffrey Chaucer turns to fellow poet John Gower, a professional trader in information with connections high and low.

Gower discovers that the book and incriminating evidence about its author have fallen into the unwitting hands of innocents, who will be drawn into a labyrinthine conspiracy that reaches from the king's court to London's slums and stews--and potentially implicates his own son. As the intrigue deepens, it becomes clear that Gower, a man with secrets of his own, may be the last hope to save a king from a terrible fate.

Medieval scholar Bruce Holsinger draws on his vast knowledge of the period to add colorful, authentic detail--on everything from poetry and bookbinding to court intrigues and brothels--to this highly entertaining and brilliantly constructed epic literary mystery that brings medieval England gloriously to life.

City of Darkness and Light: A Molly Murphy Mystery by Rhys Bowen

Molly and Daniel Sullivan are settling happily into the new routines of parenthood, but their domestic bliss is shattered the night a gang retaliates against Daniel for making a big arrest. Daniel wants his family safely out of New York City as soon as possible. In shock and grieving, but knowing she needs to protect their infant son Liam, Molly agrees to take him on the long journey to Paris to stay with her friends Sid and Gus, who are studying art in the City of Light.

But upon arriving in Paris, nothing goes as planned. Sid and Gus seem to have vanished into thin air, and Molly's search to figure out what happened to them will lead her through all levels of Parisian society, from extravagant salons to the dingy cafes where starving artists linger over coffee and loud philosophical debates. And when in the course of her search she stumbles across a dead body, Molly, on her own in a foreign country, starts to wonder if she and Liam might be in even more danger in Paris than they had been at home.

As Impressionism gives way to Fauvism and Cubism, and the Dreyfus affair rocks France, Molly races through Paris to outsmart a killer in City of Darkness and Light, Rhys Bowen's most spectacular Molly Murphy novel yet.

Raiders of the Nile: A Novel of the Ancient World by Steven Saylor

In 88 B.C. it seems as if all the world is at war. From Rome to Greece and to Egypt itself, most of civilization is on the verge of war. The young Gordianus—a born-and-raised Roman citizen—is living in Alexandria, making ends meet by plying his trade of solving puzzles and finding things out for pay. He whiles away his time with his slave Bethesda, waiting for the world to regain its sanity. But on the day Gordianus turns twenty-two, Bethesda is kidnapped by brigands who mistake her for a rich man’s mistress. If Gordianus is to find and save Bethesda, who has come to mean more to him than even he suspected, he must find the kidnappers before they realize their mistake and cut their losses. Using all the skills he learned from his father, Gordianus must track them down and convince them that he can offer something of enough value in exchange for Bethesda’s release.

As the streets of Alexandria slowly descend into chaos, and the citizenry begin to riot with rumors of an impending invasion by Ptolemy’s brother, Gordianus finds himself in the midst of a very bold and dangerous plot—the raiding and pillaging of the golden sarcophagus of Alexander the Great himself.

Watching You by Michael Robotham

Marnie Logan often feels like she's being watched: a warm breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye that vanishes when she turns her head.

She has reason to be frightened. Her husband Daniel has inexplicably vanished, and the police have no leads in the case. Without proof of death or evidence of foul play, she can't access his bank accounts or his life insurance. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin.
O'Loughlin is concerned by Marnie's reluctance to talk about the past and anxious to uncover what Marnie is withholding that could help with her treatment. The breakthrough in Marnie's therapy and Daniel's disappearance arrives when Marnie shares with O'Loughlin her discovery of the Big Red Book, a collage of pictures, interviews, and anecdotes from Marnie's friends and relatives that Daniel had been compiling as part of a surprise birthday gift.
Daniel's explorations into Marnie's past led him to a shocking revelation on the eve of his disappearance: Anyone who has ever gotten close to Marnie has paid an exacting price. A cold-blooded killer is eliminating the people in Marnie's life, and now that O'Laughlin is a part of it, he is next in line.

Friday, February 28, 2014

New Adult Audiobooks - Feb. 28, 2014

Rogue's Lady by Robyn Carr; read by Justine Eyre

Born to a respected family, seventeen-year-old English beauty Vieve Donnelle always gets what she wants. But when word arrives that her father’s estate isn’t as wealthy as it appears, the noble heiress must rethink her betrothal to an impoverished aristocrat. Enter Captain Tyson Gervais, an infuriating colonial sea captain traveling to England for business in foreign trade. Despite high tensions between England and the colonies, Vieve can’t resist thinking about the dashing American merchant who elicits such conflicting reactions from her - making her feel both the sensual temptress and the childish fool in the same moment. Tyson never imagined he’d be dallying with a spoiled noble, but Vieve’s young, tempting curves seduce him against his better judgment. Though he knows a designing woman can wreak havoc, he aches for the chance to claim one as his own. Spanning two countries in the Georgian era, Rogue's Lady is a sexy tale of forbidden love that fans of romance will devour.

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin; read by Oliver Wyman

New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights; its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake, orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side.

Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying.

Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.

The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew by Alan Lightman; read by Bronson Pinchot

In The Accidental Universe, physicist and novelist Alan Lightman explores the emotional and philosophical questions raised by discoveries in science, focusing most intently on the human condition and the needs of humankind. Here, in a collection of exhilarating essays, Lightman shows us our own universe from a series of fascinating and diverse perspectives. He takes on the difficult dialogue between science and religion; the conflict between our human desire for permanence and the impermanence of nature; the possibility that our universe is simply an accident; the manner in which modern technology has divorced us from enjoying a direct experience of the world; and our resistance to the view that our bodies and minds can be explained by scientific logic and laws alone. With his customary passion, precision, lyricism and imagination, in The Accidental Universe Alan Lightman leaves us with the suggestion - heady and humbling - that what we see and understand of the world and ourselves is only a tiny piece of the extraordinary, perhaps unfathomable whole.

e. e. cummings: A Life by Susan Cheever; read by Stefan Rudnicki

e. e. cummings' radical experimentation with form, punctuation, spelling, and syntax resulted in his creation of a new, idiosyncratic means of poetic expression. And while there was critical disagreement about his work (Edmund Wilson called it ''hideous,'' while Malcolm Cowley called him ''unsurpassed in his field''), at the time of his death in 1962, at age sixty-seven, he was, after Robert Frost, the most widely read poet in the United States.

Now, in this new biography, Susan Cheever traces the development of the poet and his work. She takes us from cummings' seemingly idyllic childhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, through his years at Harvard (rooming with Dos Passos, befriending Malcolm Cowley and Lincoln Kirstein) where the radical verse of Ezra Pound lured the young writer away from the politeness of the traditional nature poem and towards a more adventurous, sexually conscious form. We follow cummings to Paris in 1917 and, finally, to Greenwich Village to be among other modernist poets of the day, including Marianne Moore and Hart Crane.

Rich and illuminating, e. e. cummings: A Life is a revelation of the man and the poet, and a brilliant reassessment of the freighted path of his legacy.

I Always Loved You: A Story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas by Robin Oliveira; read by Mozhan Marno

A novel of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas’s great romance from the New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter...

The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War to be an artist was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary’s fierce determination wavers. Her father is begging her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged for the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships.

In I Always Loved You, Robin Oliveira brilliantly re-creates the irresistible world of Belle Époque Paris, writing with grace and uncommon insight into the passion and foibles of the human heart.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Children's Books - Feb. 27, 2014

Tugboat by Michael Garland

A tugboat has many jobs, keeping it busy from morning 'til night. Despite their small size, tugboats perform important tasks. This early nonfiction book showcases these jobs and has a glossary at the back identifying different types of boats the tugboats help.

Ages 4-8.

Two Tough Crocs by David Bedford

Sylvester and Arnold enjoy being big, tough crocodiles so when they finally meet they are about to fight until Betty, an enormous crocodile, comes hissing by to take over their swamp.

Ages 4-8.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Adult Nonfiction - Feb. 26, 2014

Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance by Heidi Boghosian

Until the watershed leak of top-secret documents by Edward Snowden to the Guardian UK and the Washington Post, most Americans did not realize the extent to which our government is actively acquiring personal information from telecommunications companies and other corporations. As made startlingly clear, the National Security Agency (NSA) has collected information on every phone call Americans have made over the past seven years. In that same time, the NSA and the FBI have gained the ability to access emails, photos, audio and video chats, and additional content from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, YouTube, Skype, Apple, and others, allegedly in order to track foreign targets.

In Spying on Democracy, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian documents the disturbing increase in surveillance of ordinary citizens and the danger it poses to our privacy, our civil liberties, and to the future of democracy itself. Boghosian reveals how technology is being used to categorize and monitor people based on their associations, their movements, their purchases, and their perceived political beliefs. She shows how corporations and government intelligence agencies mine data from sources as diverse as surveillance cameras and unmanned drones to iris scans and medical records, while combing websites, email, phone records and social media for resale to third parties, including U.S. intelligence agencies.

The ACLU's Michael German says of the examples shown in Boghosian's book, "this unrestrained spying is inevitably used to suppress the most essential tools of democracy: the press, political activists, civil rights advocates and conscientious insiders who blow the whistle on corporate malfeasance and government abuse." Boghosian adds, “If the trend is permitted to continue, we will soon live in a society where nothing is confidential, no information is really secure, and our civil liberties are under constant surveillance and control.” Spying on Democracy is a timely, invaluable, and accessible primer for anyone concerned with protecting privacy, freedom, and the U.S. Constitution.

What the Frack?: Everything You Need to Know About Coal Seam Gas by Paddy Manning

Australia’s new $50 billion industry—coal seam gas—carries unprecedented environmental risks, but it could be the path to energy salvation by being cleaner than coal, safer than nuclear energy, and a complement to renewables. While big oil and gas companies believe Australia could be the biggest liquid natural gas exporter in the world, farmers and environmentalists are united in their opposition to coal seam gas extraction from the nation's most fertile agricultural lands. Does interfering with thousands of coal seam gas wells poison food resources? Does coal seam gas really aid in tackling climate change? Where will they drill next? Visiting drill sites, boardrooms, pipelines, parliamentary offices, and farm gate protests, this book demonstrates how coal seam gas extraction may be one boom that is happening too fast.

Newtown: an American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak

In the vein of Dave Cullen's Columbine, the first comprehensive account of the Sandy Hook tragedy--with exclusive new reporting that chronicles the horrific events of December 14, 2012, including new insight into the dark mind of gunman Adam Lanza.

Twenty-six people dead; twenty of them schoolchildren between the ages of six and seven. The world mourned the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. Now, here is the startling, comprehensive look at this tragedy, and into the mind of the unstable killer, Adam Lanza.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews and a decade's worth of emails from Lanza's mother to close friends that chronicled his slow slide into mental illness, Newtown pieces together the perfect storm that led to this unspeakable act of violence that shattered so many lives.

Newtown explores the two central theories that have permeated the media since the attack: some claim Lanza suffered from severe mental illness, while others insist that, far from being a random act of insanity, this was a meticulously thought out, premeditated attack at least two years in the making by a violent video-gamer so obsessed with "glory kills" and researching mass murderers that he was willing to go to any length to attain the top score. Lanza's dark descent from a young boy with adjustment disorders to a calculating killer is interwoven with the Newtown massacre as it unfolded at the time, told from the points of view of eye witnesses, survivors, parents of victims, first responders, and Adam's relatives. A definitive account of a tragedy that shook a nation, Newtown features exclusive material including initial misinformation reported by the media and commentary on how this catastrophic event became a lightning rod for political agendas, much like Columbine did more than a decade ago.

A Religion of One's Own: a Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World by Thomas Moore

Something essential is missing from modern life. Many who’ve turned away from religious institutions—and others who have lived wholly without religion—hunger for more than what contemporary secular life has to offer but are reluctant to follow organized religion’s strict and often inflexible path to spirituality. In A Religion of One’s Own, bestselling author and former monk Thomas Moore explores the myriad possibilities of creating a personal spiritual style, either inside or outside formal religion.

Two decades ago, Moore’s Care of the Soul touched a chord with millions of readers yearning to integrate spirituality into their everyday lives. In A Religion of One’s Own, Moore expands on the topics he first explored shortly after leaving the monastery. He recounts the benefits of contemplative living that he learned during his twelve years as a monk but also the more original and imaginative spirituality that he later developed and embraced in his secular life. Here, he shares stories of others who are creating their own path: a former football player now on a spiritual quest with the Pueblo Indians, a friend who makes a meditative practice of floral arrangements, and a well-known classical pianist whose audiences sometimes describe having a mystical experience while listening to her performances. Moore weaves their experiences with the wisdom of philosophers, writers, and artists who have rejected materialism and infused their secular lives with transcendence.

At a time when so many feel disillusioned with or detached from organized religion yet long for a way to move beyond an exclusively materialistic, rational lifestyle, A Religion of One’s Own points the way to creating an amplified inner life and a world of greater purpose, meaning, and reflection.

Train: Riding the Rails That Created the Modern World : from the Trans-Siberian to the Southwest Chief by Tom Zoellner

Tom Zoellner loves trains with a ferocious passion. In his new book he chronicles the innovation and sociological impact of the railway technology that changed the world, and could very well change it again.

From the frigid trans-Siberian railroad to the antiquated Indian Railways to the futuristic MagLev trains, Zoellner offers a stirring story of man's relationship with trains. Zoellner examines both the mechanics of the rails and their engines and how they helped societies evolve. Not only do trains transport people and goods in an efficient manner, but they also reduce pollution and dependency upon oil. Zoellner also considers America's culture of ambivalence to mass transit, using the perpetually stalled line between Los Angeles and San Francisco as a case study in bureaucracy and public indifference. Train presents an entertaining history of railway travel around the world, while offering a serious and impassioned case for the future of train travel.

Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting edited by Ann Hood

Why does knitting occupy a place in the hearts of so many writers? What is so magical and transformative about yarn and needles? How does knitting help us get through life-changing events and inspire joy? In Knitting Yarns, Ann Hood has collected original essays by twenty-seven writers including Anita Shreve, Elizabeth Berg, Ann Patchett, and Barbara Kingsolver. Knitting Yarns tells stories about how knitting healed, challenged, or helped these writers to grow. Andre Dubus III tells how knitting a Christmas gift for his blind aunt helped him knit an understanding with his girlfriend. Kaylie Jones finds the woman who cared for her as a child by using knitting to heal old wounds. Sue Grafton writes about her passion for knitting. And knitting goddess Helen Bingham has created five original patterns for the anthology.

Poignant, funny, and moving, Knitting Yarns is sure to delight knitting enthusiasts and lovers of literature alike.

The Photographed Cat: Picturing Human-Feline Ties, 1890-1940 by Arnold Arluke

With more than 130 illustrations, The Photographed Cat is both an archive and an analytical exploration of the close relationships between Americans and their cats during a period that is significant for photography and for modern understandings of animals as pets. This volume examines the cultural implications of feline companions while also celebrating the intimacy and joys of pets and family photographs. In seven thematic sections, Arluke and Rolfe engage with the collection of antique images as representations of real relationships and of ideal relationships, noting the cultural trends and tropes that occur throughout this increasingly popular practice. Whether as surrogate children, mascots, or companions to women, cats are part of modern American life and visual culture.

Entertaining, smart, and filled with a collector's trove of wonderful images, The Photographed Cat pays homage to the surprising range of relationships we have with cats and offers thoughtful consideration of the ways in which we represent them.

Why Cows Need Names: and More Secrets of Amish Farms by Randy James

Why Cows Need Names follows one young Amish family as they dream about and then struggle to establish a profitable and quintessentially American small farm. The story starts with Eli Gingerich's first timid phone call to author Randy James, the county agricultural agent in Ohio's Geauga Amish Settlement - the fourth-largest Amish settlement in the world - and traces the family's progress over the next five years. Through gentle dialogue and true stories, James captures the challenges of creating a simple business plan that will lead to the family's radiant success or dismal failure. As the narrative unfolds, readers get a rare glimpse into what it's like to work in the fields with draft horses; in the barn with cows, calves, children, and Chip the family dog; or to sit at the table talking with family and friends over a noontime meal. A picture emerges of how quietly living a shared goal and doing without during hard times can strengthen families and provide an appreciation for what is truly important in life.

In addition to the business aspects and day-to-day farm activities, James interweaves commentary on our complex relationships with animals. The stark differences in the way animals are treated and valued in agribusinesses versus on small family farms is a recurring theme, as is debunking the myth that bigger is always better in American agriculture.

Surrounded by a factory-farm world, the Gingerich family employs a business model that flatly rejects the dogma of economies of scale and instead focuses on the diversity, flexibility, and efficiency that only a small family farm can capture. Why Cows Need Names provides a partial roadmap, not only for other small farms but for the many thousands of family businesses that are created each year and largely ignored in our national psyche. It will appeal to anyone interested in business management, our food supply, animal welfare, and Amish family life.

Levels of Life by Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes, author of the Man Booker Prize–winning novel The Sense of an Ending, gives us his most powerfully moving book yet, beginning in the nineteenth century and leading seamlessly into an entirely personal account of loss—making Levels of Life an immediate classic on the subject of grief.

Levels of Life is a book about ballooning, photography, love and loss; about putting two things, and two people, together, and about tearing them apart. One of the judges who awarded Barnes the 2011 Booker Prize described him as “an unparalleled magus of the heart.” This book confirms that opinion.

The News: a User's Manual by Alain de Botton

What does the news do to our brains, our souls, and our views of one another?

We spend an inordinate amount of time checking on it. It molds how we view reality, we’re increasingly addicted to it on our luminous gadgets, we check it every morning when we wake up and every evening before we sleep — and yet the news has rarely been the focus of an accessible, serious, saleable, book-length study. Until now.

Mixing snippets of current news with philosophical reflections, The News will blend the timeless with the contemporary, and bring the wisdom of thousands of years of culture to bear on our contemporary obsessions and neuroses. There will be illustrations for this book — a shot of Emma Watson having an ice cream, a portrait of Jesus by Duccio (both were playing a similar role in their respective societies, the book will allege) — and examples of news stories will be drawn from across the world.

The News ranges across news categories—from politics to murders, from economics to celebrities, from the weather to paparazzi shows — in search of answers to the questions: “What do we want from this?” and “Is it doing us any good?” After The News, we’ll never look at a celebrity story, the report on a tropical storm, or the sex scandal of a politician in quite the same way again.