New Books: Friday, September 18

The library is now open for limited patron access. There are four marked parking spaces outside; please park in one of these if you’d like to come in to browse. If all four spaces are full, please wait until one becomes available, in order to allow us to keep safe social distances inside. There is also a space designated for curbside book delivery, and another for anyone who needs to use a computer. Please use these spaces as appropriate, or wait in another spot until one becomes available. Thank you for your help as we work to make the library a safe place for all!

Here are a few more of the new books we’ve gotten in recently:

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These Ghosts Are Family

These Ghosts are Family centers on Abel and Vera Paisley, a working-class Jamaican couple, striving to build a better life for their children. Abel travels to London in the early 1960s in search of fortune. Instead, he sees an opportunity to escape the drudgery of his life by faking his death and assuming a new identity. Vera, now a widow, is racked with guilt over her husband’s “death” and takes out her grief on her children, Irene and Vincent. The effects of Abel’s decision reverberate across generations. Ghosts follows the Paisleys over time and across continents, as they wrestle with the burdens of family lore and struggle to forge independent identities. Despite everything, Abel finds a second chance at love. Vincent follows his dream to move to New York. Irene also moves to New York but realizes you can never fully leave the past behind. Set in the United States and Jamaica, Card’s debut incorporates elements of gothic fiction and Jamaican folklore to explore the immigrant experience, as told through the voices of these flawed, memorable characters.

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The Holdout (large print edition)

It’s the most sensational case of the decade. Fifteen-year-old Jessica Silver, heiress to a billion-dollar real estate fortune, vanishes on her way home from school. Her teacher Bobby Nock, a twenty-five-year-old African American man, is the prime suspect after illicit text messages are discovered between them — and Jessica’s blood is found in his car. The subsequent trial taps straight into America’s most pressing preoccupations: race, class, sex, law enforcement, and the lurid sins of the rich and famous. It’s an open and shut case for the prosecution, and a quick conviction seems all but guaranteed. Until Maya Seale, a young woman on the jury, convinced of Nock’s innocence, persuades the rest of the jurors to return the verdict of not guilty, a controversial decision that will change all of their lives forever. Flash forward ten years. A true-crime docuseries reassembles the jurors, with particular focus on Maya, now a defense attorney herself. When one of the jurors is found dead in Maya’s hotel room, all evidence points to her as the killer. Now, she must prove her own innocence — by getting to the bottom of a case that is far from closed. As the present-day murder investigation weaves together with the story of what really happened during their deliberation, told by each of the jurors in turn, the secrets they have all been keeping threaten to come out–with drastic consequences for all involved.

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The Illness Lesson

The year is 1871. In Ashwell, Massachusetts, at the farm of Samuel Hood and his daughter, Caroline, a mysterious flock of red birds descends. Samuel, whose fame as a philosopher has waned in recent years, takes the birds’ appearance as an omen that the time is ripe for his newest venture. He will start a school for young women, guiding their intellectual development as he has so carefully guided his daughter’s. Despite Caroline’s misgivings, Samuel’s vision — revolutionary, as always; noble, as always; full of holes, as always — takes shape. It’s not long before the students begin to manifest bizarre symptoms. Rashes, fits, headaches, verbal tics, night wanderings. In desperation, the school turns to the ministering of a sinister physician — based on a real historic treatment — just as Caroline’s body, too, begins its betrayal. As the girls’ conditions worsen, long-buried secrets emerge, and Caroline must confront the all-male, all-knowing authorities around her, the ones who insist the voices of the sufferers are unreliable. In order to save herself, Caroline may have to destroy everything she’s ever known. Written in intensely vivid prose and brimming with psychological insight, The Illness Lesson is a powerful exploration of women’s bodies, women’s minds, and the time-honored tradition of doubting both.

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