Hunger: A Memoir of my Body – Roxane Gay

From the New York Times best-selling author of Bad Feminist, a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”

New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she casts an insightful and critical eye on her childhood, teens, and twenties–including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life–and brings readers into the present and the realities, pains, and joys of her daily life.

With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and authority that have made her one of the most admired voices of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to be overweight in a time when the bigger you are, the less you are seen. Hunger is a deeply personal memoir from one of our finest writers, and tells a story that hasn’t yet been told but needs to be.

Would Everybody Please Stop – Jennie Allen

Humorous essays about Jenny Allen’s attempt to make sense of the baffling and annoying world around her

In Can I Borrow That?, a collection of first-person essays and humor pieces, Jenny Allen asks the tough questions: Why do people say It is what it is ? What’s the point of fat-free half-and-half? Why don t the women detectives on TV carry purses, and where are we supposed to think they keep all their stuff? And haven t we heard enough about memes?

Reporting from the potholes midway through life’s journey, Allen addresses these and other more serious matters, like the rude awakenings of being single after twenty-five years, of mothering a teenager, and of living with a serious illness. She also discusses life’s everyday trials, like the horrors of attempting a crafts project, the anxieties of being a houseguest, and the ever-changing rules of recycling.

Allen is a performer at heart her one-woman show I Got Sick Then I Got Better premiered in 2009, and she regularly acts in other plays and she brings that same spirit to these thirty-five short essays, which read like the work of a female Dave Barry. Writing on places both real (like a swag den for celebrities at Sundance and the parking lot at L.L.Bean’s flagship store) and imaginary (a Buddhist retreat attended by Martha Stewart, Elmer Fudd’s psychotherapy appointment), Allen’s wit and compassion give a fresh slant on the vicissitudes of day-to-day, and not so day-to-day, life.

A House Among the Trees – Julia Glass

In Julia Glass’s fifth book since her acclaimed novel Three Junes won the National Book Award, she gives us the story of an unusual bond between a world-famous writer and his assistant–a richly plotted novel of friendship and love, artistic ambition, the perils of celebrity, and the power of an unexpected legacy.
When the revered children’s book author Mort Lear dies accidentally at his Connecticut home, he leaves his property and all its contents to his trusted assistant, Tomasina Daulair, who is moved by his generosity but dismayed by the complicated and defiant directives in his will. Tommy knew Morty for more than four decades, since meeting him in a Manhattan playground when she was twelve and he was working on sketches for the book that would make him a star. By the end of his increasingly reclusive life, she found herself living in his house as confidante and helpmeet, witness not just to his daily routines but to the emotional fallout of his strange boyhood and his volatile relationship with a lover who died of AIDS. Now Tommy must try to honor Morty’s last wishes while grappling with their effects on several people, including Dani Daulair, her estranged brother; Meredith Galarza, the lonely, outraged museum curator to whom Lear once promised his artistic estate; and Nicholas Greene, the beguiling British actor cast to play Mort Lear in a movie.
When the actor arrives for the visit he had previously arranged with the man he is to portray, he and Tommy are compelled to look more closely at Morty’s past and the consequences of the choices they now face, both separately and together. Morty, as it turns out, made a confession to Greene that undermines much of what Tommy believed she knew about her boss–and about herself. As she contemplates a future without him, her unlikely alliance with Greene–and the loyalty they share toward the man whose legacy they hold in their hands–will lead to surprising upheavals in their wider relationships, their careers, and even their search for love.

Sweetbitter – Stephanie Danler

Anyone would enjoy this book with its humor, compelling characters & beautiful prose. But those who have spent time “behind the apron” will especially appreciate its spot-on image of the hectic world of service industry life. Intoxicating & marvelous!

Emily – B&B Staff

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

You’ll love the spunk of twelve-year-old Marie-Laure, a blind girl who is relocated from Paris to the walled coastal city of St. Malo, where she and her father must guard a prized gem, while deceiving their Nazi overseers.

Just out in paperback after three years as a hardcober bestseller. You won’t want to miss reading it!

George – B & B Staff

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Arundhati Roy

A dazzling, richly moving new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The God of Small Things

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent–from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.
It is an aching love story and a decisive remonstration, a story told in a whisper, in a shout, through unsentimental tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Each of its characters is indelibly, tenderly rendered. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, patched together by acts of love–and by hope.
The tale begins with Anjum–who used to be Aftab–unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her–including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo’s landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs’ Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi.
As this ravishing, deeply humane novel braids these lives together, it reinvents what a novel can do and can be. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.

Wolf on a String – Benjamin Black

Bestselling author Benjamin Black turns his eye to sixteenth century Prague and a story of murder, magic and the dark art of wielding extraordinary power

Christian Stern, an ambitious young scholar and alchemist, arrives in Prague in the bitter winter of 1599, intent on making his fortune at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor, the eccentric Rudolf II. The night of his arrival, drunk and lost, Christian stumbles upon the body of a young woman in Golden Lane, an alley hard by Rudolf’s great castle. Dressed in a velvet gown, wearing a large gold medallion around her neck, the woman is clearly well-born or was, for her throat has been slashed.

A lesser man would smell danger, but Christian is determined to follow his fortunes wherever they may lead. He quickly finds himself entangled in the machinations of several ruthless courtiers, and before long he comes to the attention of the Emperor himself. Rudolf, deciding that Christian is that rare thing a person he can trust sets him the task of solving the mystery of the woman’s murder. But Christian soon realizes that he has blundered into the midst of a power struggle that threatens to subvert the throne itself. And as he gets ever nearer to the truth of what happened that night in Golden Lane, he finally sees that his own life is in grave danger.

From the spectacularly inventive Benjamin Black, here is a historical crime novel that delivers both a mesmerizing portrait of a lost world and a riveting tale of intrigue and suspense.

Kennedy and King – Steven Levingston

Kennedy and King is an unqualified masterpiece of historical narrative…. A landmark achievement.”—Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author of Rosa Parks

“By reminding us of these great leaders and their accomplishments, this book will fuel your passion for the new work we still need to do in our society today.”—Congressman John Lewis Kennedy and King traces the emergence of two of the twentieth century’s greatest leaders, their powerful impact on each other and on the shape of the civil rights battle between 1960 and 1963. These two men from starkly different worlds profoundly influenced each other’s personal development. Kennedy’s hesitation on civil rights spurred King to greater acts of courage, and King inspired Kennedy to finally make a moral commitment to equality. As America still grapples with the legacy of slavery and the persistence of discrimination, Kennedy and King is a vital, vivid contribution to the literature of the Civil Rights Movement.