Contemporary views of the Mormon Church have been shaped by influences as disparate as the Broadway hit The Book of Mormon, the HBO series “Big Love” and the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney. Suffice it to say that most Americans have a shallow understanding of Mormonism. Some view Mormons as squeaky-clean apostles doing door-to-door missionary work. Others label Mormons as hedonistic polygamists, even though multiple marriages have been prohibited for more than a century by the official Mormon Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Gretchen Müller is a Nazi darling. Ever since her father died protecting Adolf Hitler in 1923, Uncle “Dolf” and his National Socialist cronies look out for Gretchen and her family. It’s Uncle Dolf who gets Gretchen’s mother a job running a Munich boarding house and indoctrinates Gretchen’s brother into the Nazi party. And it’s Uncle Dolf whom Gretchen loves like a father.
Sicilian wax sculptor Gaetano Zumbo left his hometown of Siracusa, Italy, at age 19, amid rumors of betrayal and patricide. On the run from his past, he made his way across Italy and changed his name to Zummo, all the while earning acclaim for his wax sculptures of human bodies. He eventually stopped in Florence to join the Medici court at the request of the Grand Duke himself, Cosimo III, whose unreciprocated love for his wife has left him tortured—and leads him to make a strange request of the celebrated sculptor.
From the best-selling author of Airborn and This Dark Endeavor comes another cinematic adventure. In this historical steampunk folktale, young William Everett is traveling across Canada on the maiden voyage of The Boundless. With seven miles of cars, including enough freight cars to form a circus “town,” The Boundless is the longest train in the world.
The world of Abuelo, written by Arthur Dorros and illustrated by Raúl Colón, is warm, windy, wild and free. The story depicts the affection between a boy and his grandfather, his abuelo, as they ride horseback across the colorful and wide-open backdrop of the Pampas, the vast, low-lying grasslands of Argentina.
Under the Egg starts out with a horrific bang: 13-year-old Theodora Tenpenny sees that her beloved grandfather Jack has just been struck by a cab. She’s just in time to hear his dying words, “Look under the egg,” with instructions to also look for a letter and a treasure.
If you want a gut-level understanding of why preservation of the Earth’s biodiversity is vital to the survival of our own species, Edward O. Wilson’s new book, A Window on Eternity, is an excellent place to start.
In a book that manages to be both cosmic and grounded at the same time, author-illustrator Claire A. Nivola explores no less than the notion of one’s very soul. This isn’t a picture book that addresses merely birth and death. It’s a story that suggests that we are beings who originate from stars; we enter a “river of time” on Earth; and we return to the “elders” at the star homes from which we came.
Simon Wroe is a former chef, so it’s no surprise that he set his debut novel in a kitchen. What is surprising about Chop Chop, though, is how little Wroe lets this fiendish little book get bogged down in the details of its setting. It’s very much about the chaotic life of a kitchen, but this darkly comic narrative covers so much more, and the result is addictively entertaining.
Justin Go’s ambitious, sprawling and compelling debut novel, The Steady Running of the Hour, lurches from America to England, France, Sweden Germany and Iceland—even stretching to the Himalayas—switching back and forth in time from pre-WWI England to the present.