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The Verdun affair : a novel book cover
The Verdun affair : a novel book cover

The Verdun affair : a novel

Nick Dybek

FICTION Dybek Nick
Historical Fiction, Fiction

"A sweeping, romantic, and profoundly moving novel, set in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and Los Angeles in the 1950s, about a lonely young man, a beautiful widow, and the amnesiac soldier whose puzzling case binds them together even as it tears them apart. In 1921, two young Americans meet in Verdun, the city in France where one of the most devastating battles of the war was waged. Tom is an orphan from Chicago, a former ambulance driver now gathering bones from the battlefield; Sarah is an expatriate from Boston searching for the husband who wandered off from his division and hasn't been seen since. Quickly, the two fall into a complicated affair against the ghostly backdrop of the ruined city. Months later, Sarah and Tom meet again at the psychiatric ward of an Italian hospital, drawn there by the appearance of a mysterious patient the doctors call Douglas Fairbanks (after the silent film actor)--a shell-shocked soldier with no memory of who he is. At the hospital, Tom and Sarah are joined by Paul, an Austrian journalist with his own interest in the amnesiac. Each is keeping a secret; each has been shaken by the horrors of war. Decades later, Tom, now a successful screenwriter, encounters Paul by chance in LA, still grappling with the questions raised by this gorgeous and incisive novel: How to begin again after unfathomable trauma? How to love after so much loss? And who, in the end, was Douglas Fairbanks? From the bone-strewn fields of Verdun to the bombed-out cafes of Paris, from the riot-torn streets of Bologna to the riotous parties of 1950s Hollywood, The Verdun Affair is a riveting tale of romance, grief, and the far-reaching consequences of a single lie"--

This novel seems like an ode to Hemingway--and not because of the obvious World War I, ambulance driver, fascism details. It is something in the characters, their interactions with one another, a love story gone wrong. -Anne M

Mouse Guard book cover
Mouse Guard book cover

Mouse Guard

David Petersen

GRAPHIC NOVEL Petersen Mouse
Graphic Novels

Mouse Guard is so fun, and has wonderful illustrations to boot! I would say it's good for adults, kids, or for adults and kids to enjoy together. It's great for fans of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. -Heidi K

An American marriage book cover
An American marriage book cover

An American marriage

Tayari Jones

FICTION Jones Tayari
Literary Fiction

"Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control"--

When newlyweds Celestial and Roy are separated by Roy's incarceration for a crime he didn't commit, the life they've been trying to build together falls apart. This is a book written as letters between Roy and Celestial, which I really enjoyed. The writing is excellent, and the ending surprised me somewhat while still not being disappointing. -Heidi K

Queenpin : a novel book cover
Queenpin : a novel book cover

Queenpin : a novel

Megan E. Abbott

FICTION Abbott, Megan E.

This is an older (2007) novel, and is the first I've read by Megan Abbott. What a great crime novel from a female perspective! A little trashy, a little dark, but still well written. Shows us the mob underworld circa 1950's. This was lots of fun for a summer read. -Heidi K

Behind closed doors

Paris, B.A.


I could not wait to find out what happened in the end! -Heidi K

So you want to talk about race book cover
So you want to talk about race book cover

So you want to talk about race

Ijeoma Oluo

305.8 /Oluo

"A current, constructive, and actionable exploration of today's racial landscape, offering straightforward clarity that readers of all races need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide. In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment, Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the "N" word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don't dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans. Oluo is an exceptional writer with a rare ability to be straightforward, funny, and effective in her coverage of sensitive, hyper-charged issues in America. Her messages are passionate but finely tuned, and crystalize ideas that would otherwise be vague by empowering them with aha-moment clarity. Her writing brings to mind voices like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay, and Jessica Valenti in Full Frontal Feminism, and a young Gloria Naylor, particularly in Naylor's seminal essay "The Meaning of a Word.""--

This should be required reading, particularly for white people...but ultimately, it's just a great book. Each chapter highlights a different question related to race and racism in the USA. Ijeoma Oluo does a great job of keeping it concise, and offering plenty of passion and humor about the subject. Chapter titles include, "What is the school-to-prison pipeline?" "Why can't I say the N-word?" and "What are microaggressions?" Definitely check it out! -Heidi K

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