INHERITANCES


inheritance1Bleak House / Charles Dickens

Bleak House defies a single description. It is a mystery story, in which Esther Summerson discovers the truth about her birth and her unknown mother’s tragic life. It is a murder story, which comes to a climax in a thrilling chase, led by one of the earliest detectives in English fiction, Inspector Bucket.

Absalom’s Daughters: a novel / Suzanne Feldman

Self-educated and brown skinned, Cassie works full time in her grandmother’s laundry in rural Mississippi. Illiterate and white, Judith falls for “colored music” and dreams of life as a big city radio star. These teenaged girls are half-sisters. And when they catch wind of their wayward father’s inheritance coming down in Virginia, they hitch their hopes to a road trip together to claim what’s rightly theirs. In an old junk car, with a frying pan, a ham, and a few dollars hidden in a shoe, they set off through the American Deep South of the 1950s, a bewitchingly beautiful landscape as well as one bedeviled by racial striving and violence. Absalom’s Daughters combines the buddy movie, the coming-of-age tale, and a dash of magical realism to enthrall and move us with an unforgettable, illuminating novel.

The Turner House / Angela Flournoy

A powerful, timely debut, The Turner House marks a major new contribution to the story of the American family. The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house has seen thirteen children grown and gone–and some returned; it has seen the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit’s East Side, and the loss of a father. The house still stands despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs. But now, as ailing matriarch Viola finds herself forced to leave her home and move in with her eldest son, the family discovers that the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called home to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts haunts–and shapes–their family’s future. Already praised by Ayana Mathis as “utterly moving” and “un-putdownable,” The Turner House brings us a colorful, complicated brood full of love and pride, sacrifice and unlikely inheritances. It’s a striking examination of the price we pay for our dreams and futures, and the ways in which our families bring us home.

Orhan’s Inheritance: a novel / Aline Ohanesian

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather’s will raises more questions than it answers. Kemal has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather would have left their home to this woman rather than to his own family. Intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles.

The Nest / Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Gathering to confront their older brother, who has recently been released from rehab after a drunk driving accident, the Plumb siblings watch as the trust fund left by their father rises and falls according to self-inflicted problems.

Island Girls / Nancy Thayer

When the will of a recently deceased ladies’ man mandates a summer-long reunion for his daughters from different marriages at his posh Nantucket house, the three sisters are forced to confront long-festering resentments and misunderstandings as well as challenges in their private and professional lives, a situation that is complicated by a shocking revelation and the arrival of their mothers.

The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs / Nick Trout

After fifteen years, Dr. Cyrus Mills returns to rural Vermont to inherit the Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the failing veterinary practice of his recently deceased and long-estranged father. Cyrus, a veterinary pathologist far more comfortable with cold clinical facts than living, breathing animals (not to mention their quirky, demanding owners), intends to sell the practice and get out of town as fast as he can.

The apple Orchard / Susan Wiggs

Tess Delaney makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners. People like Annelise Winther, who refuses to sell her long-gone mother’s beloved necklace–despite Tess’s advice. To Annelise, the jewel’s value is in its memories. But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. So Tess is shocked when she discovers the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. And that she has been named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, a hundred-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel. The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen. A half-sister she’s never heard of. Against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, Tess begins to discover a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family, of the warm earth beneath her bare feet. A world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable. And in a season filled with new experiences, Tess begins to see the truth in something Annelise once told her: if you don’t believe memories are worth more than money, then perhaps you’ve not made the right kind of memories.

That Summer / Lauren Willig

Inheriting a London house from an unknown relative, Julia begins work on the house at the side of an alluring antiques dealer before discovering an old painting that reveals the house’s shrouded history and the story of a mid-nineteenth-century woman trapped in a loveless marriage.

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Just In – October 2017


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Ranger Games: a story of soldiers, family, and an inexplicable crime / Ben Blum

Documents the story of an aspiring U.S. Army Ranger who inexplicably participated in an armed robbery hours before being deployed to Iraq, investigating the influence of the young man’s superior and the Ranger indoctrination program.

Motherest: a novel / Kristen Iskandrian

A young college student in the early 1990s writes letters to her estranged and seemingly disappeared mother to try and capture a closeness they never had until she discovers she is pregnant and grapples with the concept of being a mother herself.

The Boat Runner: a novel / Devin MurphySent to a Hitler Youth Camp to secure German business for his family’s Dutch company, Jacob Koopman, the privileged nephew of a fisherman, finds his world upended by the outbreak of the war, which eventually forces him to make a transformative decision about his life purpose.

Something Like Happy / Eva Woods

Annie Hebden is stuck. Stuck in her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, Annie is still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through the perfect existence she’d once taken for granted–and hiding away is safer than remembering what used to be. Until she meets the eccentric Polly Leonard.

Impossible Views of the World / Lucy Ives

Navigating a sticky personal life, a colleague’s disappearance and an exhibit by a megalomaniacal corporation, museum curator Stella comes into possession of a map depicting a mysterious 19th-century utopian settlement and embarks on an all-consuming research mission that is complicated by a counterfeiting scheme.

Brave Deeds: a novel / David Abrams

A powerful novel of war, brotherhood, and America. Spanning eight hours, the novel follows a squad of six AWOL soldiers as they attempt to cross war-torn Baghdad on foot to attend the funeral of their leader, Staff Sergeant Rafe Morgan. In an inhospitable landscape, these men recall the most ancient of warriors while portraying a cross section of twenty-first century America–sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but subject to the same human flaws as all of us.

The Secret Rescue: an untold story of American nurses and medics behind Nazi lines / Cate Lineberry

Recounts how the passengers and crew of an American medical evacuation plane, including thirteen nurses and thirteen medics, survived after it crashed in Nazi-controlled Albania in November, 1943, until they could be rescued

What we Lose: a novel / Zinzi Clemmons

Raised in America, the multiracial daughter of a mother from Johannesburg struggles with her mother’s terminal cancer and her own need to find love and a place to belong, quests shaped by losses, changes in her sense of identity and unexpected motherhood.

Young Jane Young: a novel ; Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young’s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins.

Women in Science


womeninscienceRemarkable Creatures / Tracy Chevalier

When Mary Anning uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home on the English coast, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, and in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.

 

The Signature of all Things / Elizabeth Gilbert

Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this sweeping novel follows the fortunes of the Whittakers — a family of botanical explorers, led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman who makes his fortune in the South American quinine trade and swiftly becomes the richest man in the New World. His daughter, Alma, born into great luxury in 1800, ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. She is brilliant and insatiable, driven by an unquenchable sense of wonder, and also by a desperate need to understand the hidden mechanism behind all life.

Prodigal Summer: a novel / Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver’s fifth novel is a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself. It weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives amid the mountains and farms of southern Appalachia. Over the course of one humid summer, this novel’s intriguing protagonists face disparate predicaments but find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place.

State of Wonder / Ann Patchett

Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota-based pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug. Nothing about the assignment is easy : not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marisa’s research partner Anders Eckman died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marisa embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding Dr. Swenson as well as answers to troubling questions about her friend’s death, the state of company’s future, and her own past.

A Perfect Life : a novel / Danielle Steel

A mother and daughter confront challenges, cope with celebrity, and work through tragedy while maintaining an idyllic facade to the outside world.

 Chemistry : a novel / Weike Wang

Three years into her graduate studies at a demanding Boston university, the unnamed narrator of this nimbly wry, concise debut finds her one-time love for chemistry is more hypothesis than reality. She’s tormented by her failed research–and reminded of her delays by her peers, her advisor, and most of all by her Chinese parents, who have always expected nothing short of excellence from her throughout her life. But there’s another, nonscientific question looming: the marriage proposal from her devoted boyfriend, a fellow scientist, whose path through academia has been relatively free of obstacles, and with whom she can’t make a life before finding success on her own. Eventually, the pressure mounts so high that she must leave everything she thought she knew about her future, and herself, behind. And for the first time, she’s confronted with a question she won’t find the answer to in a textbook: What do I really want?

Silent Spring / Rachel Carson

Discusses the reckless annihilation of fish and birds by the use of pesticides and warns of the possible genetic effects on humans.

Lab Girl / Hope Jahren

A memoir by an award-winning paleo biologist traces her childhood in her father’s laboratory, her longtime relationship with a brilliant but wounded colleague and the remarkable discoveries they have made both in the lab and during extensive field research assignments.

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks / Rebecca Skloot

Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping.

Hidden Figures : the American dream and the untold story of the Black women mathematicians who helped win the space race / Margot Lee Shetterly

Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation.

Gorillas in the Mist / Dian Fossey                                                                                                                                             

One of the most important books ever written about our connection to the natural world, GORILLAS IN THE MIST is the riveting account of Dian Fossey’s thirteen years in a remote African rain forest with the greatest of the great apes. Fossey’s extraordinary efforts to ensure the future of the rain forest and its remaining mountain gorillas are captured in her own words and in candid photographs of this fascinating endangered species. As only she could, Fossey combined her personal adventure story with groundbreaking scientific reporting in an unforgettable portrait of one of our closest primate relatives. Although Fossey’s work ended tragically in her murder, GORILLAS IN THE MIST remains an invaluable testament to one of the longest-running field studies of primates and reveals her undying passion for her subject.