It is almost impossible to choose the most memorable thing about James Hannaham’s powerful and daring second novel, Delicious Foods (a title suggestive of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”). It might be that one of its narrators is crack cocaine, or that one of its main characters loses his hands. It might be the evocative African-American slang and dialect. Or it might be the way the novel can be read as an extended metaphor for the situation of blacks in America.
In an interview some years ago, Erik Larson, author of such bestsellers as The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts, called himself “an animator of history” rather than a historian. Indeed, he has always shown a brilliant ability to unearth the telling details of a story and has the narrative chops to bring a historical moment vividly alive. But in his new book, Larson simply outdoes himself.
Move over, Mary Poppins, and make way for Ms. Rapscott, Headmistress of the Great Rapscott School for Girls of Busy Parents. Elise Primavera, creator of the popular Auntie Claus books, offers a whimsical tale of a most unusual teacher and her school for girls whose parents are much too busy to be, well, parents. In fact, there’s no need for moms or dads to even bother bringing the girls to school, as the admissions materials include a self-addressed box for safely mailing daughters to campus.
Have you ever bemoaned the price of stamps as you hauled a large package to the post office? Maybe it’s time to consider alternative methods of conveyance. Special Delivery has some exciting—if slightly unusual—suggestions.
Welcome to the Neighborwood by master paper craftsman Shawn Sheehy is at once a breathtaking work of interactive art and a fact-filled exploration of the great outdoors. Young readers learn about the habits and survival skills of seven different creatures through pop-up models of the places they call home. Each burrow and nest bursts from the page in 3-D form, and Sheehy complements these visual astonishments with information about each animal. In easy-to-absorb prose, he explains the ways in which they adapt to the wild, construct homes and flourish.
Lizzie Vogel has grown up in what she, even at age 9, understands is “a very good situation.” She has a nice home with a nanny and a chauffeur, two siblings and a dog. Then one day, her mother learns that Lizzie’s father has had an affair. The next thing Lizzie knows, her parents have split and she has been shuffled off to live in the country with her mother, brother and sister.
Jo Knowles’ new novel was apparently inspired by a real-life incident in which the author and her family were given the finger by another driver, even though he was in the wrong. This episode prompted her to think about the aggression, power and even hatred implied by this small gesture.
Nick was driving the car with her sister, Dara, when they crashed. Months later, Nick (short for Nicole) cannot remember how it happened. All she knows is that the accident irreparably severed their once-close sisterly bond.
Ten years ago, Ian Caldwell and his co-author, Dustin Thomason, struck gold with The Rule of Four, a page-turning academic mystery with emotional depth. Now, after a decade of research, writing and rewriting, Caldwell is back with a solo effort, a new novel that promises to live up to The Rule of Four. And The Fifth Gospel delivers, with compelling characters, impeccable pacing and a central enigma that is as intellectually satisfying as it is emotionally harrowing.
When Nica Baker, a gorgeous, popular 16-year-old, is found dead on the campus of her prestigious private high school, her family, friends and community are shocked and devastated. While the case is closed neatly and quickly—an awkward classmate with an unrequited crush and a bad temper—Nica’s older sister Grace has the sick suspicion that the obvious answer is not always the right one. She goes on a quest to find out what really happened to Nica—and ends up discovering far more than she ever wanted to know about her family, her friends and herself.