Iowa City Book Festival

The Iowa City Book Festival is coming up from October 1-6! This list features a sampling of books that are in our collection and that authors will be highlighting at the event. Find the festival schedule on the website here or pick up a schedule in ICPL's lobby. 

Bloody Genius.

John Sandford

ON ORDER BOOK
Mystery

At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of PC culture. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right? Then someone winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate ... and he soon comes to realize he's dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy. Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.

A history of the world in seven cheap things : a guide to capitalism, nature, and the future of the planet

Raj Patel

303.44 /Patel
Nonfiction

"Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed, and devastated Earth. In A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things, Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore present a new approach to analyzing today's planetary emergencies. Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, slave revolts, and other rebellions and uprisings, Patel and Moore demonstrate that throughout history, crises have always prompted fresh strategies to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism. At a time of crisis in all seven cheap things, innovative and systemic thinking is urgently required. This book proposes a radical new way of understanding--and reclaiming--the planet in the turbulent twenty-first century"--Provided by publisher.

Augustown

Kei Miller

FICTION Miller Kei
Historical Fiction

"In the wake of Marlon James's Man Booker Prize-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings, Augustown--set in the backlands of Jamaica--is a magical and haunting novel of one woman's struggle to rise above the brutal vicissitudes of history, race, class, collective memory, violence, and myth. Ma Taffy may be blind but she sees everything. So when her great-nephew Kaia comes home from school in tears, what she senses sends a deep fear running through her. While they wait for his mama to come home from work, Ma Taffy recalls the story of the flying preacherman and a great thing that did not happen. A poor suburban sprawl in the Jamaican heartland, Augustown is a place where many things that should happen don't, and plenty of things that shouldn't happen do. For the story of Kaia leads back to another momentous day in Jamaican history, the birth of the Rastafari and the desire for a better life"--

The far away brothers : two young migrants and the making of an American life

Lauren Markham

305.868 /Markham
Biographies

"Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, the United States was a distant fantasy to identical twins Ernesto and Raul Flores—until, at age seventeen, a deadly threat from the region’s brutal gangs forces them to flee the only home they’ve ever known. In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the Flores twins as they make their way across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother in Oakland, CA. Soon these unaccompanied minors are navigating school in a new language, working to pay down their mounting coyote debt, and facing their day in immigration court, while also encountering the triumphs and pitfalls of teenage life with only each other for support. With intimate access and breathtaking range, Markham offers an unforgettable testament to the migrant experience." (Amazon Summary)

American advertising cookbooks : how corporations taught us to love Spam, bananas, and Jell-o

Christina Ward

394.12 /Ward
Nonfiction

"American Advertising Cookbooks: How Corporations Taught Us to Love Spam, Bananas, and Jell-O is a deeply researched and entertaining survey of twentieth century American food. Connecting cultural, social, and geopolitical aspects, author Christina Ward (Preservation: The Art & Science of Canning , Fermentation, and Dehydration, Process 2017) uses her expertise to tell the fascinating and often infuriating story of American culinary culture." (Amazon Summary)

Going the distance : The Life and Works of W.P. Kinsella

William O. Steele

eBOOK
Biographies

"This frank and authoritative biography explores the life and often controversial work of W.P. Kinsella, the author who penned iconic lines such as “If you build it, he will come.” Kinsella’s work was thrust into the limelight when, in the spring of 1989, his novel Shoeless Joe was turned into the international blockbuster Field of Dreams.... Having been granted full access to Kinsella’s personal diaries, correspondence and unpublished notes, and with hours of personal interviews with Kinsella, his friends and his family, biographer William Steele offers insight into Kinsella’s personal life while balancing it with the critical analysis and commentary his fiction has inspired." (Amazon Summary)

A house on stilts : mothering in the age of opioid addiction, a memoir

Paula (Paula J.) Becker

RECEIVED
Biographies

"A House on Stilts tells the story of one woman’s struggle to reclaim wholeness while mothering a son addicted to opioids. Paula Becker’s son Hunter was raised in a safe, nurturing home by his writer/historian mom and his physician father. He was a bright, curious child. And yet, addiction found him. More than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids, some half-million of these to heroin. For many of them, their drug addiction leads to lives of demoralization, homelessness, and constant peril. For parents, a child’s addiction upends family life, catapulting them onto a path no longer prescribed by Dr. Spock, but by Dante’s Inferno. Within this ten-year crucible, Paula is transformed by an excruciating, inescapable truth: the difference between what she can do and what she cannot do." (Amazon Summary)

After the flood : a novel

Kassandra Montag

FICTION Montag Kassandr
Fiction

A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America's great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water. Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Artic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.

Nice try : stories of best intentions and mixed results

Josh Gondelman

eBOOK

"Emmy-Award winning writer and comedian Josh Gondelman's collection of personal stories of best intentions and mixed results"--

God land : a story of faith, loss, and renewal in Middle America

Lyz Lenz

261.7 /Lenz
Nonfiction

Through a thoughtful interrogation of the effects of faith and religion on our lives, our relationships, and our country, God Land investigates whether our divides can ever be bridged and if America can ever come together.

The professor of immortality : A Novel

Eileen Pollack

eBOOK
Fiction

"Professor Maxine Sayers once found her personal and professional life so fulfilling that she founded the Institute of Future Studies, a program dedicated to studying the effects of technology on our culture and finding ways to prolong human life. But when her beloved husband dies, she is so devastated she can barely get out of bed. To make matters worse, her son, Zach, has abruptly quit his job in Silicon Valley and been out of contact for seven months. Maxine is jolted from her grief by her sudden suspicion that a favorite former student (and a former close friend of her son) might be a terrorist called the Technobomber and that Zach might either be involved in or become a victim of this extremist’s bombing. Deserting her teaching responsibilities, her ailing mother, and an appealing suitor, Maxine feels compelled to set out and search for her son in order to warn and protect him, even as she knows she should report her suspicions to the FBI to prevent greater carnage." (Amazon Summary)

When you learn the alphabet

Kendra Allen

814.6 /Allen
Nonfiction

"Kendra Allen's first collection of essays When You Learn the Alphabet--at its core--is a bunch of mad stories about things she never learned to let go of. Unifying personal narrative and cultural commentary, this collection grapples with the lessons that have been stored between father and daughter as well as mother and daughter. These parental relationships expose the conditioning that subconsciously informed and encouraged her ideas on social issues such as colorism, feminism, war-induced PTSD, homophobia, marriage, and 'the n-word, ' among other things"--

House of stone : a novel

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

FICTION Tshuma Novuyo
Fiction

In the chronic turmoil of modern Zimbabwe, Abednego and Agnes Mlambo's teenage son, Bukhosi, has gone missing, and the Mlambos fear the worst. Their enigmatic lodger, Zamani, seems too helpful in the search, ingratiating himself into their lives, knowing that the one who controls the narrative inherits the future.

Bestiary : poems

Donika Kelly

811.6 /Kelly
Poetry

"Across this remarkable first book are encounters with animals, legendary beasts, and mythological monsters--half human and half something else. Donika Kelly's Bestiary is a catalogue of creatures--from the whale and ostrich to the pegasus and chimera to the centaur and griffin. Among them too are poems of love, self-discovery, and travel, from "Out West" to "Back East." Lurking in the middle of this powerful and multifaceted collection is a wrenching sequence that wonders just who or what is the real monster inside this life of survival and reflection. Selected and with an introduction by the National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Bestiary questions what makes us human, what makes us whole." (Amazon Summary)

Abandon me : memoirs

Melissa Febos

BIOGRAPHY Febos, Melissa
Biographies

"In her dazzling Abandon Me, Febos captures the intense bonds of love and the need for connection -- with family, lovers, and oneself. First, her birth father, who left her with only an inheritance of addiction and Native American blood, its meaning a mystery. As Febos tentatively reconnects, she sees how both these lineages manifest in her own life, marked by compulsion and an instinct for self-erasure. Meanwhile, she remains closely tied to the sea captain who raised her, his parenting ardent but intermittent as his work took him away for months at a time. Woven throughout is the hypnotic story of an all-consuming, long-distance love affair with a woman, marked equally by worship and withdrawal. In visceral, erotic prose, Febos captures their mutual abandonment to passion and obsession -- and the terror and exhilaration of losing herself in another. At once a fearlessly vulnerable memoir and an incisive investigation of art, love, and identity, Abandon Me draws on childhood stories, religion, psychology, mythology, popular culture, and the intimacies of one writer’s life to reveal intellectual and emotional truths that feel startlingly universal." (Amazon Summary)

The myth of Seneca Falls : memory and the women's suffrage movement, 1848-1898

Lisa Tetrault

eBOOK
Nonfiction

"The story of how the women's rights movement began at the Seneca Falls convention of 1848 is a cherished American myth. The standard account credits founders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott with defining and then leading the campaign for women's suffrage. In her provocative new history, Lisa Tetrault demonstrates that Stanton, Anthony, and their peers gradually created and popularized this origins story during the second half of the nineteenth century in response to internal movement dynamics as well as the racial politics of memory after the Civil War"--

Near the exit : travels with the not-so-grim reaper

Lori Erickson

236.1 /Erickson
Nonfiction

"After her brother died unexpectedly and her mother moved into a dementia-care facility, spiritual travel writer and Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson felt called to a new quest: to face death head on, with the eye of a tourist and the heart of a pastor. Blending memoir, spirituality, and travel, Near the Exit examines how cultures confront and have confronted death, from Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and Mayan temples, to a Colorado cremation pyre and Day of the Dead celebrations, to Maori settlements and tourist-destination graveyards. Erickson reflects on mortality—the ways we avoid it, the ways we cope with it, and the ways life is made more precious by accepting it—in places as far away as New Zealand and as close as the nursing home up the street. Throughout her personal journey and her travels, Erickson helps us to see that one of the most life-affirming things we can do is to invite death along for the ride." (Amazon Summary)

Redemption songs : a year in the life of a community prison choir

Andy Douglas

615.85154 /Douglas
Nonfiction

"Redemption Songs" takes the reader inside the walls of a medium-security prison and offers a glimpse at how music and the arts are offering second chances to the incarcerated. For six years, the author volunteered with the Oakdale Community Choir, a performing chorus composed of volunteers and inmates, based in a men's correctional facility in Coralville, Iowa. As the gates clang shut behind choir volunteers each week, and we walk the long halls to the rehearsal room, the reader encounters the rewards and challenges of creating music in this environment, a place usually defined by trauma, danger, and control. But it's also, as we learn, a place where healing, atonement and growth can occur.--

Feldy's girl

Joseph Dobrian

RECEIVED
Fiction

"Feldy’s Girl is an historical novel set in the late 1960s. It addresses topics that are as relevant in today’s inflamed political and social landscape as they were when the story took place. Expertly blending controversial and thought-provoking themes such as racial tensions, the Vietnam War, a sexual and academic revolution, internal conflict with faith, and a sordid murder case - this book is both riveting and inspiring. Feldy’s Girl will leave you yearning for more." (Amazon Summary)

Delayed rays of a star : a novel

Amanda Lee Koe

FICTION Lee Amanda
Historical Fiction

"At a chance encounter at a Berlin soirée in 1928, the photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt captures three very different women together in one frame: up-and-coming German actress Marlene Dietrich, who would wend her way into Hollywood as one of its lasting icons; Anna May Wong, the world's first Chinese American star, playing for bit parts while dreaming of breaking away from her father's modest laundry; and Leni Riefenstahl, whose work as a director would first make her famous--then, infamous. From this curious point of intersection, Delayed Rays of a Star lets loose the trajectories of these women's lives. From Weimar Berlin to LA's Chinatown, from a seaside resort in East Germany to a luxury apartment on the Champs-Élysée, the different settings they inhabit are as richly textured as the roles they play: siren, muse, predator, or lover, each one a carefully calibrated performance. And in the orbit of each star live secondary players--a Chinese immigrant housemaid, a German soldier on leave from North Africa, a pompous Hollywood director--whose voices and viewpoints reveal the legacy each woman left in her own time, as well as in ours. Amanda Lee Koe's playful, wry prose guides the reader dexterously around murky questions of ego, persona, complicity, desire, and difference. Intimate and raw, Delayed Rays of a Star is a visceral depiction of womanhood--its particular hungers, its calculations, and its eventual betrayals--and announces a bold new literary voice"--