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Moonglow: A Novel

by Michael Chabon
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"The intersection of world history and family history, the interplay of memory and imagination, a tangle of humor and grief, and the blurred and shifting line that separates sanity and madness all come into play in this stunning book. In the months before his death, Chabon's grandfather revealed much of his life to his grandson. On that foundation, Chabon has built a novel filled with family stories, World War II episodes -- including an appearance by Wernher von Braun -- an obsession with rocketry, and a vividly realized, against-all-odds love story. While all the characters are richly developed, the narrator's grandfather -- the brave, eccentric, anger-fueled, and deeply loving center of this novel -- will remain with readers forever.

Swing Time

by Zadie Smith
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"In her gracefully written new work, the author of NW and White Teeth addresses the frustrations of family relations, the complications of race, the tyranny of celebrity, and the travesty of cultural appropriation. Smith looks at the fragile threads that tie friends together and how easily they can snap, and her prose flows without effort, granting even the most flawed characters --and there are many -- a modicum of redemption.

The Fate of the Tearling: A Novel

by Erika Johansen
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"Johansen has created an incredibly intense, intriguing, and completely captivating conclusion for her Tearling trilogy, that is sure to please all readers awaiting Queen Kelsea's fate. Rash, reckless, and filled with rage, Kelsea has surrendered to the Red Queen while unwittingly unleashing the Orphan, a threat so evil that both soon find themselves fighting together for their own survival. Will Kelsea unravel the mystery of her magical sapphires and save the Tear kingdom from ultimate destruction. Or, is she destined for an early demise thereby sealing the fate of the Tearling.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep: A Novel

by Beatrice Colin
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"Societal constraints and expectations of the time impede the love affair of Caitriona Wallace and Emile Nouguier from the moment they meet in a hot air balloon above the Champ de Mars in 1886. Emile's ailing mother is pressuring him to marry, start a family, and take over the family business even as he is facing both public and professional stress as co-designer of the Eiffel Tower. Cait is a young Scottish widow forced to work as a chaperone to a wealthy brother and sister. Cait's and Emile's paths cross and crisscross as Colin vividly captures the sights and sounds of La Belle Epoque in this quiet, atmospheric novel.

The Elephants in My Backyard: A Memoir

by Rajiv Surendra
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"While filming Mean Girls in 2003, actor Rajiv Surendra is told by the cameraman that he must read Life of Pi because he is Pi. As he reads the novel, Surendra is amazed at the similarities that he discovers between himself and Pi -- both live by a zoo, are the same height, and share a similar heritage. Realizing that the book is to be made into a movie, Surendra embarks on a personal journey to win the lead in the film. Along the way, he shares his own epic quest of self-discovery as he experiences exhilaration, disappointment, failure, and love, offering an intimate view of his journey.

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

by Dava Sobel
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"Spectrography is a way of studying stars by taking pictures that separate astral light into different wavelengths. The practice was pioneered by Dr. Henry Draper of the Harvard Observatory in the late 1800s, but the long and detailed work of interpreting the images and classifying the stars was done by a group of women. In this long overdue tribute to Harvard's 'human computers,' Sobel, author of the classic Longitude, brilliantly intertwines science, history, and biography, charting not only the advances in astrophysics from the 1870s to the 1940s, but also following the progress women made in establishing themselves in a notoriously male-dominated field.

Scrappy Little Nobody

by Anna Kendrick
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"Scrappy Little Nobody is less outsider-looking-in as it is insider-looking-out. Kendrick's anecdotes, experiences, and her initiation as a working youth breaking into Hollywood reflect her social awkwardness and self-deprecation as the product of a blue-collar family and a dogged work ethic. Humble and hilarious, Kendrick's lack of the knack for celebrity life allows for an unapologetic 'so-it-goes,' bluntness that makes her book relatable and heartwarmingly familiar. Never too funny to not be serious and never too serious to not be personable, Scrappy Little Nobody is filled with genuine thoughtfulness, a life's worth of intelligence, and Kendrick's impossible charm.

Moranifesto

by Caitlin Moran
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"Moran is a British journalist whose columns are known for covering a broad range of topics, from feminism and politics to fashion and TV. Some of those columns are reprinted in Moranifesto, a hilarious collection of opinion pieces that are Moran's personal manifesto for changing the world. The collection covers topics as diverse as the Syrian refugee crisis, cystitis, David Bowie, and why she no longer wears heels. As dissimilar as these themes may be, they are all tackled with the blunt humor for which Moran is known.

Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire

by Julia Baird
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"Only 18 when she assumed the throne, Victoria ruled a vast empire for more than 60 years. In this biography Baird reveals a woman who so dominated the world that an entire epoch was named for her. Her nine children and their children inhabited most of the thrones of Europe until the upheaval of World War I, and her expansionist policies enabled Great Britain to rule over a quarter of the entire world. Baird also portrays a passionate and vibrant woman who struggled to assert herself in a time and place that was dismissive of the female sex.

Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File

by John Edgar Wideman
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"This is a powerful meditation on the life of Louis Till, the father of Emmett Till whose brutal murder in 1955 spurred the Civil Rights Movement forward. It is not common knowledge today that Louis Till was convicted of a crime and executed in Italy while serving in the Army during World War II. Wideman was 14 years old -- the same age as Emmett when he died -- the year he saw pictures of Emmett Till's body in Jet magazine. When he found out decades later about Louis Till's fate, Wideman set out to investigate the tragic lives of both father and son.