Readers met the Langdon family in Some Luck, the first novel in Jane Smiley’s trilogy about an American family and an Iowa farm. A straightforward, almost old-fashioned novel, it opened in 1920 and covered the following 33 years—one year per chapter—in the lives of Walter and Rosanna Langdon and their six children with tenderness and surprisingly subtle humor. Now, in the more ominously titled Early Warning, Smiley casts an even wider net, as the Langdon children, now grown to adulthood and with children of their own, navigate the immense social changes of the 1960s and ’70s.
It’s late in the 19th century, and literary works are often plundered by so-called “bookaneers.” These literary pirates swoop in, abscond with a manuscript and sell it to the highest bidder. The stories should be property of the reader, not the writer, the bookaneers argue. And they’ll stop at nothing to ensure it.
The frequent surprises in Oliver Sacks’ guardedly self-revelatory autobiography begin with the book’s cover photo. There we see a buff, leather-jacketed Sacks astride his new BMW motorcycle in Greenwich Village in 1961. Who knew that the genial, gray-bearded, best-selling writer-neurologist once portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie Awakenings (1990) was such a hunk in his late 20s? Or a state-champion lifter on Southern California’s Muscle Beach? Or a physician addicted for a while to amphetamines? Or a closeted gay man who had sex during the week of his 40th birthday and then not again until he fell in love at 75?
Janis Heaphy Durham walked into the bathroom of her home one year to the day after the death of her beloved husband, only to stare in amazement at what appeared to be a handprint on the mirror. This was just one of many strange things that had happened since Max’s premature death from esophageal cancer at age 56. Was Max trying to contact her from beyond the grave? In her gripping new book, The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story of Life Beyond Death, Durham reveals her own awakening to possibilities beyond the material world.
Love and Death are inexorably intertwined. Love seeks to fulfill life; Death seeks to end it. In The Game of Love and Death, Love and Death take an active role in this eternal struggle, each selecting a player at birth and then competing to see if the players fall in love or if they die. It is a hard-fought game filled with subterfuge, manipulation and deep passion, and in the centuries that they have played, Love has never won.
In the time Before, Peter Lee and his older brother, Nelson, loved baseball. They played it, listened to it on the radio and cheered for both Taiwan and the United States in the 1972 Little League World Series. But now Peter lives in the After. With Nelson dead from a car accident, Peter’s mother does nothing but watch TV, his younger sister is increasingly frustrated and his father, Ba, has become more distant than ever.
The Martial Empire is an ancient, Rome-like civilization where the military rules with unwavering violence. Two heroic characters occupy the heart of this tale: Laia, a member of the oppressed Scholar class, and Elias, an elite soldier on the brim of desertion.
Rapunzel could not be happier. She has a beautiful tower that obeys her command; no one bothers her when she reads stories or brushes her hair; and a loving, caring Witch protects her from the evil people who would want to steal her away. In Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel, life is innocent and perfect—until Jack arrives. Jack thinks Rapunzel was involved in the injury of a fairy yesterday, but she’d remember something like that . . . right?
Seventeen-year-old Echo is human, but the feathered Avicen is her only family. Ten years ago, the Avicen caught her pick-pocketing in the New York Public Library and, rather than punish the small child, took her under her magical wing. When the centuries-old war between the Avicen and the Drakharin—scaled descendants of dragons—suddenly heats up, Echo is eager to prove her loyalty by tracking down the legendary firebird.
Bowser has led a tough life, avoiding thugs in the city before ending up in an animal rescue shelter in Louisiana’s bayou country. Life hasn’t been easy for 11-year-old Birdie Gaux, either. With a police detective father killed in the line of duty and an engineering mother working on an oil rig off the coast of Africa, Birdie is being raised by Grammy, who owns a bait store and gives swamp tours. When Birdie selects Bowser as a belated birthday present, the lovable mutt and spunky tween become a formidable sleuthing team.