Reinventing Yourself


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Britt-Marie Was Here: a novel / Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie is a woman who is used to her life being organized. But when she leaves her cheating spouse and takes a temporary job as caretaker of the recreation center in the tiny town of Borg, her life changes in unpredictable ways. With its wonderful cast of oddball characters and sly sense of humor, this novel is sure to capture readers’ hearts.

 

The Versions of Us / Laura Barnett

A novel musing on the role small choices can play in determining the course of a life follows Eva and Jim, who meet by chance on a Cambridge street, and the three different paths their lives could take.

 

Sweetbitter / Stephanie Danler

At her new job at one of NYC’s posh restaurants, Tess falls for a mysterious bartender and negotiates the politics of the service industry while building a social life. Danler drew from her own experience and the writing is vivid and stimulating. I’m always interested in a story about a girl trying to find her place in the world and her adventures, but anyone who appreciates writing that pulses with life will drink this down.

 

Ladivine / Marie NDiaye

After a woman, Clarisse, is murdered on a trip to visit her mother in Bordeaux, her daughter tries to uncover what happened to her with the help of a brown dog who appears to have taken in the spirit of the deceased.

 

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper / Phaedra Patrick

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed, dresses, waters his fern, and heads out to his garden, carrying on just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing, and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

 

Queen Sugar / Natalie Baszile

A mother-daughter story of reinvention-about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana. Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles. They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.

 

 Signed, Mata Hari: a novel /Yannick Murphy

A tale inspired by the life of the infamous spy finds a woman awaiting execution in Paris and attempting to save herself by recounting the story of her Netherlands childhood, self-reinvention after ending a loveless marriage, and performances for the crowned heads of Europe.

 

Lucky Us: a novel / Amy Bloom

Forging a life together after being abandoned by their parents, half-sisters Eva and Iris share decades in and out of the spotlight in golden-era Hollywood and mid-twentieth-century Long Island.

 

The Ten-Year Nap / Meg Wolitzer

For a group of four New York friends, the past decade has been largely defined by marriage and motherhood. Educated and reared to believe that they would conquer the world, they then left prestigious jobs to stay home with their babies. What was meant to be a temporary leave of absence has lasted a decade. Now, at age forty, with the halcyon days of young motherhood behind them and without professions to define them, Amy, Jill, Roberta, and Karen face a life that is not what they were brought up to expect but seems to be the one they have chosen. But when Amy meets someone who seems to have fulfilled the classic women’s dream of having it all–work, love, family–without having to give anything up, a lifetime’s worth of concerns, both practical and existential, opens up. As her obsession with this woman’s bustling life grows, it forces the four friends to confront the choices they’ve made–until a series of startling events shatters the peace and, for some of them, changes the landscape entirely.

 

Life After Life: a novel / Kate Atkinson

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. Ursula dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war. Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can — will she?

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JUST IN – January 2017


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The Girl Before/ Delaney, J. P.

Alternates between two time periods. Back “then,” there is Emma, looking for the perfect flat. Her agent suggests One Folgate Street, built by architect Edward Monkford. In present day, Jane, a single thirty-something also ends up on Folgate Street. Both women learn the sinister history of the property and readers won’t know who to trust as Delaney’s debut clutches you by the throat and won’t let you go.

Heat and Light / Jennifer Haigh

Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas. Told through a cast of characters whose lives are increasingly bound by the opposing interests that underpin the national debate, this novel depicts a community blessed and cursed by its natural resources.

The Fortunes / Peter Ho Davies

Explores a century of American history through the lives of Chinese Americans, using the lives of four individuals to depict how an immigrant community survives and ultimately becomes American in the process.

Time Travel: a history / James Gleick

James Gleick tracks the evolution of time travel as an idea that becomes part of contemporary culture—from Marcel Proust to Doctor Who, from Jorge Luis Borges to Woody Allen. He investigates the inevitable looping paradoxes and examines the porous boundary between pulp fiction and modern physics. Finally, he delves into a temporal shift that is unsettling our own moment: the instantaneous wired world, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

The Girl Before / Rena Olsen

In this powerful psychological suspense debut, when a woman’s life is shattered, she is faced with a devastating question: What if everything she thought was normal and good and true really wasn’t? Clara Lawson is torn from her life in an instant. Without warning, her home is invaded by armed men, and she finds herself separated from her beloved husband and daughters. The last thing her husband yells to her is to say nothing. In chapters that alternate between past and present, the novel slowly unpeels the layers of Clara’s fractured life. We see her growing up, raised with her sisters by the stern Mama and Papa G, becoming a poised and educated young woman, falling desperately in love with the forbidden son of her adoptive parents. We see her now, sequestered in an institution, questioned by men and women who call her a different name–Diana–and who accuse her husband of unspeakable crimes.

A Lowcountry Heart: reflections on a writing life / Pat Conroy

A collection of letters, interviews and magazine articles spanning The Prince of Tides author’s long literary career is supplemented by touching pieces from the beloved author’s many friends.

Gilded Cage / Vic James

An American farm girl discovers that she’s an English heiress but claiming her fortune leads to danger and intrigue.

Moonglow: a novel / Michael Chabon

A man bears witness to his grandfather’s deathbed confessions, which reveal his family’s long-buried history and his involvement in a mail-order novelty company, World War II, and the space program.

Faithful / Alice Hoffman

Shelby Richmond loves Chinese food, bookstores, and a cocky, bad-boy type, so maybe her move from Long Island to New York City makes sense. But she’s still a lost soul, circling around others like her, because as a teenager she walked away unscathed from an accident that tragically changed the course of her best friend’s life. She’s since been shaped by survivor’s guilt, but perhaps somewhere, somehow, someone is watching over her.

Just In!
Check our catalog, and place a hold, or ask a librarian to place a hold for you.

National Jewish Book Award Winners


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To the End of the Land / David Grossman; translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen

Ora is about to celebrate her son Ofer’s release from Israeli army service when he voluntarily rejoins. In a fit of magical thinking, she takes off to hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the notifiers who might deliver the worst news a parent can hear. Recently estranged from her husband, she drags along an unlikely companion: their once best friend Avram, who was tortured as a POW during the Yom Kippur War and, in his brokenness, refused to ever know the boy or even to keep in touch with them.

Rich Boy / Sharon Pomerantz

The upward strivings of a middle-class Jew as he loses himself in the strange world of the fabulously wealthy is threatened by a chance encounter with a beautiful girl from his old NYC neighborhood–and the forgotten life she reawakens–threatens to unravel his carefully constructed new identity.

Early Modern Jewry: a new cultural history/ Ruderman, David B.

Early Modern Jewry boldly offers a new history of the early modern Jewish experience. From Krakow and Venice to Amsterdam and Smyrna, David Ruderman examines the historical and cultural factors unique to Jewish communities throughout Europe, and how these distinctions played out amidst the rest of society.

When They Come For Us, we’ll be gone: the epic struggle to save soviet Jewry / Beckerman, Gal

Draws on newly released government documents to trace the three-decade effort to protect Jewish Soviet citizens after World War II, providing coverage of the movement’s impact on Judaism, the Cold War, and immigration.

Jerusalem: the biography / Simon Sebag Montefiore

Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgment Day and the battlefield of today’s clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of three thousand years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the “center of the world” and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life.

Until the Dawn’s Light / Aharon Appelfeld ; translated from the Hebrew by Jeffrey M. Green

A high school honor student bound for university and a career as a mathematician, Blanca lives with her parents in a small town in Austria in the early years of the twentieth century. At school one day she meets Adolf, who comes from a family of peasant laborers. Tall and sturdy, plainspoken and uncomplicated, Adolf is unlike anyone Blanca has ever met. And Adolf is awestruck by beautiful, brilliant Blanca–even though she is Jewish. When Blanca is asked by school administrators to tutor Adolf, the inevitable happens: they fall in love. And when Adolf asks her to marry him, Blanca abandons her plans to attend university, converts to Christianity, and leaves her family, her friends, and her old life behind.

Nazis on the Run : how Hitler’s henchmen fled justice / Gerald Steinacher

Steinacher not only reveals how Nazi war criminals escaped from justice at the end of the Second World War, fleeing through the Tyrolean Alps to Italian seaports, but he also highlights the key roles played by the Red Cross, the Vatican, and the Secret Services of the major powers. 

The Innocents / Francesca Segal

As he prepares for his wedding to Rachel Gilbert, the girl he has been with for twelve years, Adam Newman begins to question everything when Rachel’s fiercely independent and beautiful young cousin moves home from New York.

An American Bride in Kabul : a memoir / Phyllis Chesler

In 1961 Phyllis Chesler, a Jewish-American girl embarked on an adventure to meet her westernized husband’s family in Afghan. Back home he reverted to traditional customs and she found herself unexpectedly trapped. This dramatic tale shows how Chesler escaped and turned adversity into a passion for political reform.

Between Friends / Amos Oz ; translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston

Oz returns to the kibbutz of the late 1950s, the time and place where his writing began. These eight interconnected stories, set in the fictitious Kibbutz Yekhat, draw … profiles of idealistic men and women enduring personal hardships in the shadow of one of the greatest collective dreams of the twentieth century.

My Promised Land : the triumph and tragedy of Israel / Ari Shavit

Presents an examination of Israel that traces the events that led the country to its current state of conflict through the stories of everyday citizens to illuminate the importance of lesser-known historical events.

The Betrayers : a novel / David Bezmozgis

A Soviet Jewish dissident finds himself a disgraced Israeli politician. When he refuses to back down from a contrary but principled stand regarding the settlements in the West Bank, his political opponents expose his affair with a mistress decades his junior, and the besieged couple escapes to Yalta.

The Mathematician’s Shiva / Stuart Rojstaczer

Following the death of Rachela, a famous female math professor, mathematicians crash the Shiva in order to discover the solution to the million-dollar Navier-Stokes Millennium Prize Problem, which she was rumored to have solved.

The Boatmaker / [a novel] by John Benditt

In John Benditt’s debut novel, a fierce, complicated, silent man wakes from a fever dream compelled to build a boat and sail away from the small island where he was born. The boat carries him to the next, bigger, island, where he becomes locked in a drunken and violent affair whose explosion propels him all the way to the mainland. There he struggles to understand the intricacies of a larger society and its dark underworld. As he encounters greed, corruption, and racial and religious hatred, he uncovers truths that allow him to redirect the course of his destiny. The boatmaker‘s journey cannot be traced on any map, and yet it is located at the epicenter of European history.

The Last Flight of Poxl West / Daniel Torday

All his life, Elijah Goldstein has idolized his charismatic Uncle Poxl. Intensely magnetic, cultured and brilliant, Poxl takes Elijah under his wing, introducing him to opera and art and literature. But when Poxl publishes a memoir of how he was forced to leave his home north of Prague at the start of WWII and then avenged the deaths of his parents by flying RAF bombers over Germany during the war, killing thousands of German citizens, Elijah watches as the carefully constructed world his uncle has created begins to unravel.

Doomed to Succeed : the U.S.-Israel relationship from Truman to Obama / Dennis Ross

When it comes to Israel, U.S. policy has always emphasized the unbreakable bond between the two countries and our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security. Today our ties to Israel are close―so close that when there are differences, they tend to make the news. But it was not always this way.

The Crime and the Silence : confronting the massacre of Jews in wartime Jedwabne / Anna Bikont; translated from the Polish by Alissa Valles

The devastating story of Jedwabne, which was the basis of Jan Gross’s controversial Neighbors (2001). Based on the author’s encounters with witnesses, survivors, murderers, and their helpers between 2000 and 2004, The Crime and the Silence raises important questions about the responsibility of Poles for the Holocaust”.