All posts by George Cooper

Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

Don’t be fooled. This is not another self-help book…
Duhigg explores the neurology of how we form habits, usingĀ  stories from individuals, businesses & communities that have transformed themselves (from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Febreze!)
An extremely interesting and enjoyable read.
Emily Berg – B&B Staff

Eligible – Curtis Sittenfeld

A fresh, funny take on Pride and Prejudice set in modern day Cincinnati. So entertaining you wont want to put it down. Perfect summer reading.
Judy Blume

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER – Wonderfully tender and hilariously funny, Eligible tackles gender, class, courtship, and family as Curtis Sittenfeld reaffirms herself as one of the most dazzling authors writing today.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE TIMES (UK)

The Stars Are Fire – Anita Shreve

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot’s Wife (an Oprah’s Book Club selection): an exquisitely suspenseful new novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event and its devastating aftermath–based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine’s history
In October 1947, after a summer long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie’s two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort. The women spend the night frantically protecting their children, and in the morning find their lives forever changed: homeless, penniless, awaiting news of their husbands’ fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. In the midst of this devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms–joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain–and her spirit soars. And then the unthinkable happens–and Grace’s bravery is tested as never before.

Killers of the Flower Moon – David Grann

From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.
In this last remnant of the Wild West–where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the -Phantom Terror, – roamed–many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection. Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.

The Last Days of Cafe Leila – Donia Bijan

-A glorious treat awaits you at the literary table of Donia Bijan.- –Adriana Trigiani

Set against the backdrop of Iran’s rich, turbulent history, this exquisite debut novel is a powerful story of food, family, and a bittersweet homecoming. When we first meet Noor, she is living in San Francisco, missing her beloved father, Zod, in Iran. Now, dragging her stubborn teenage daughter, Lily, with her, she returns to Tehran and to Cafe Leila, the restaurant her family has been running for three generations. Iran may have changed, but Cafe Leila, still run by Zod, has stayed blessedly the same–it is a refuge of laughter and solace for its makeshift family of staff and regulars.

As Noor revisits her Persian childhood, she must rethink who she is–a mother, a daughter, a woman estranged from her marriage and from her life in California. And together, she and Lily get swept up in the beauty and brutality of Tehran.

Bijan’s vivid, layered story, at once tender and elegant, funny and sad, weaves together the complexities of history, domesticity, and loyalty and, best of all, transports readers to another culture, another time, and another emotional landscape.

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For – David McCollough

A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States–winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others–that reminds us of fundamental American principles.
Over the course of his distinguished career, David McCullough has spoken before Congress, the White House, colleges and universities, historical societies, and other esteemed institutions. Now, at a time of self-reflection in America following a bitter election campaign that has left the country divided, McCullough has collected some of his most important speeches in a brief volume designed to identify important principles and characteristics that are particularly American. The American Spirit reminds us of core American values to which we all subscribe, regardless of which region we live in, which political party we identify with, or our ethnic background. This is a book about America for all Americans that reminds us who we are and helps to guide us as we find our way forward.

The Shadow Land – Elizabeth Kostova

From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes a mesmerizing novel that spans the past and the present–and unearths the troubled history of a gorgeous but haunted country.
A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi–and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.
As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppression–and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.
Elizabeth Kostova’s new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.
Advance praise for The Shadow Land
-In The Shadow Land, Elizabeth Kostova, a master storyteller, brings vividly to life an unfamiliar country–Bulgaria–and a painful history that feels particularly relevant now. You won’t want to put down this remarkable book.-–Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
-In this brilliant work, what appears at first a minor mystery quickly becomes emblematic of a whole country’s hidden history. Lyrical and compelling, The Shadow Land proves a profound meditation on how evil is inflicted, endured, and, through courage and compassion, defeated. Elizabeth Kostova’s third novel clearly establishes her as one of America’s finest writers.-–Ron Rash, author of The Risen
The Shadow Land is thrilling, and not just as a gripping tale. It’s also thrilling to watch such a talented writer cast her spell. The central character actually begins this deft novel in an urn, only to emerge as one of the most memorable characters I’ve encountered in a long time.-–Richard Russo, author of Everybodys Fool
-Transporting . . . draws us into Bulgarian history and character revelation like an elegant, mysterious labyrinth. Page-turning, evocative, and richly imagined.-–Dominic Smith, author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos
Praise for Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian
-Quite extraordinary . . . Kostova is a natural storyteller. . . . She has refashioned the vampire myth into a compelling contemporary novel, a late-night page-turner.-–San Francisco Chronicle
-Hypnotic . . . a thrill ride through history.-–The Denver Post
-Part thriller, part history, part romance . . . Kostova has a keen sense of storytelling and she has a marvelous story to tell.-–Baltimore Sun
Praise for The Swan Thieves
-Exquisite.-–The Boston Globe
-Engrossing.-–O: The Oprah Magazine
-Stunning . . . A beautifully written tale of art, love and an obsession triggered by both.-–Associated Press

If We Were Villains – M.L. Rio

Much like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, M. L. Rio’s sparkling debut is a richly layered story of love, friendship, and obsession…If We Were Villains will keep you riveted through its final, electrifying moments.
–Cynthia D Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of The Nest

Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.

Intelligent, thrilling, and richly detailed, If We Were Villains is a captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.