List: Summer Reads: Books That Fit Into Your Carry-On
Penner, Sarah, author.
Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kin... More
Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientèle. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary's fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries. Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary's in a stunning twist of fate, and not everyone will survive. Less
Fung, Pik-Shuen, author.
In Ghost Forest, the unnamed narrator is the eldest of two daughters who grew up in Vancouver with h... More
In Ghost Forest, the unnamed narrator is the eldest of two daughters who grew up in Vancouver with her mother, away from her father in China, who's now sick. She's twenty-four and realizing she has never told her father that she loves him. The stories and experiences that unfold through his subsequent death and memorialization are lessons and curiosities of intimacy and affection. They are real, raw, and poignant meditations on how life and love can sometimes best be discovered in dying. This is a story of an underrepresented Chinese identity, a transnational identity, one that is neither rootless nor completely uprooted. Told in space and monologue, traveling through present and past, Ghost Forest recounts memories and performs traditions with a weight and tenderness that only family can inspire. Less
Garcia, Gabriela, 1984- author.
A sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter's fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own pa... More
A sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter's fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt. From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals-personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others-that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America's most tangled, honest, human roots. Less
Haig, Matt, 1975- author.
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every... More
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?' A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time. Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better? In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig's enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place. Less
Stringfellow, Tara M., author.
In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father's ... More
In the summer of 1995, ten-year-old Joan, her mother, and her younger sister flee her father's violence to the only place they have left: her mother's ancestral home in Memphis. Half a century ago, Joan's grandfather built this majestic house for her grandmother--only to be lynched, days after becoming the first Black detective in Memphis, by his all-white police squad. This wasn't the first time violence altered the course of Joan's family's trajectory, and given who lives inside this house now, she knows it won't be the last. When her aunt opens the door, Joan sees the cousin who once brutally assaulted her. Over the next few years, she is determined not just to survive, but to find something to dream for. Longing to become an artist, she pours her rage and grief into sketching portraits of the women in her life--including old Miss Dawn from down the street, who seems to know something about curses. Less
Five years after Sunday Brennan deserted her family without explanation, she is injured in a drunk d... More
Five years after Sunday Brennan deserted her family without explanation, she is injured in a drunk driving accident. Sunday returns home to meet her resentful brothers and ex-fiancé. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect the Brennan's is to upend all their secrets. In the aftermath, the Brennans are forced to confront painful mistakes and find a way forward together. Less
Itami, Emily, author.
Combining the incisive intimacy of Sally Rooney with the sharp wit of Helen Fielding, a compulsively... More
Combining the incisive intimacy of Sally Rooney with the sharp wit of Helen Fielding, a compulsively readable and astonishingly relatable debut novel about marriage, motherhood, love, self and the vibrant, surprising city that is modern Tokyo. Mizuki is a Japanese housewife. She has a hardworking husband, two adorable children and a beautiful Tokyo apartment. It's everything a woman could want, yet sometimes she wonders whether it would be more fun to throw herself off the high-rise balcony than spend another evening not talking to her husband or hanging up laundry. Then, one rainy night, she meets Kiyoshi, a successful restaurateur. In him, she rediscovers freedom, friendship, a voice, and the neon, electric pulse of the city she has always loved. But the further she falls into their relationship, the clearer it becomes that she is living two lives -- and in the end, we can choose only one. Alluring, compelling, startlingly honest and darkly funny, Fault Lines is a bittersweet love story and a daring exploration of modern relationships from a writer to watch. Less
Vo, Nghi, author.
Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American... More
Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society--she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She's also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. Nghi Vo's debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice. Less
El-Mohtar, Amal, author.
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before r... More
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future. Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. Less
Ford, Ashley C., author.
One of the most prominent voices of her generation debuts with an extraordinarily powerful memoir: t... More
One of the most prominent voices of her generation debuts with an extraordinarily powerful memoir: the story of a childhood defined by the ever looming absence of her incarcerated father and the path we must take to both honor and overcome our origins. For as long as she could remember, Ashley has put her father on a pedestal. Despite having only vague memories of seeing him face-to-face, she believes he's the only person in the entire world who understands her. She thinks she understands him too. He's sensitive like her, an artist, and maybe even just as afraid of the dark. She's certain that one day they'll be reunited again, and she'll finally feel complete. There are just a few problems: he's in prison, and she doesn't know what he did to end up there. Through poverty, puberty, and a fraught relationship with her mother, Ashley returns to her image of her father for hope and encouragement. She doesn't know how to deal with the incessant worries that keep her up at night, or how to handle the changes in her body that draw unwanted attention from men. In her search for unconditional love, Ashley begins dating a boy her mother hates; when the relationship turns sour, he assaults her. Still reeling from the rape, which she keeps secret from her family, Ashley finally finds out why her father is in prison. And that's where the story really begins. Somebody's Daughter steps into the world of growing up a poor Black girl, exploring how isolating and complex such a childhood can be. As Ashley battles her body and her environment, she provides a poignant coming-of-age recollection that speaks to finding the threads between who you are and what you were born into, and the complicated familial love that often binds them. Less
Okorafor, Nnedi, author.
The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From here on in she would be known as Sankofa--a... More
The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From here on in she would be known as Sankofa--a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past. Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks--alone, except for her fox companion--searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers. But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion? Less
Wu, Kyle Lucia, 1989- author.
Willa Chen has never quite fit in. Growing up as a biracial Chinese American girl in New Jersey, Wil... More
Willa Chen has never quite fit in. Growing up as a biracial Chinese American girl in New Jersey, Willa felt both hypervisible and unseen, too Asian to fit in at her mostly white school, and too white to speak to the few Asian kids around. After her parents' early divorce, they both remarried and started new families, and Willa grew up feeling outside of their new lives, too. For years, Willa does her best to stifle her feelings of loneliness, drifting through high school and then college as she tries to quiet the unease inside her. But when she begins working for the Adriens-a wealthy white family in Tribeca-as a nanny for their daughter, Bijou, Willa is confronted with all of the things she never had. As she draws closer to the family and eventually moves in with them, Willa finds herself questioning who she is, and revisiting a childhood where she never felt fully at home. Self-examining and fraught with the emotions of a family who fails and loves in equal measure, Win Me Something is a nuanced coming-of-age debut about the irreparable fissures between people, and a young woman who asks what it really means to belong, and how she might begin to define her own life. Less
Johnson, Jocelyn Nicole, author.
An irresistibly accessible yet startlingly bold book of short stories and a novella, inspired by Bla... More
An irresistibly accessible yet startlingly bold book of short stories and a novella, inspired by Black lives in America and featuring the gripping eponymous work My Monticello. Less
Hawkins, Rachel, 1979- author.
A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins's The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm ... More
A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins's The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda. Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates--a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name. But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates' most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can't help but see an opportunity in Eddie--not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she's always yearned for. Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie's heart before her past--or his--catches up to her? Less
Harrow, Alix E., author.
It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it's the las... More
It's Zinnia Gray's twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it's the last birthday she'll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one. Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia's last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate. Less
Albom, Mitch, 1958- author.
After a deadly ship explosion, nine people, adrift in a raft, struggle to survive at sea and pull a ... More
After a deadly ship explosion, nine people, adrift in a raft, struggle to survive at sea and pull a strange man from the sea who claims to be the Lord. Less