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Nancy Randall

Our newest staff member comes to us from the Book Stall and is a fantastic reader.  Just check out this list -

In the picture, Nancy's TBR pile holds upcoming releases, Afterlife by Julia Alvarex, How Much of These Hills are Gold by C. Pam Zhang, and Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles, and recent release, Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn.

His Truth Is Marching On: John Lewis and the Power of Hope Cover Image
By Jon Meacham, John Lewis (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781984855022
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - August 25th, 2020

The novel opens with Lydia and her eight year old son, Luca, hiding in the shower stall of his grandmother's home in Acapulco while sixteen members of their family are murdered by the local cartel.  From that moment until the final pages of American Dirt, the two are on the run from this cartel, hoping to reach el norte( The United States) safely.  Their journey is at times horrifying, often dangerous, but Lydia and Luca also meet some warm, caring people along the way.

American Dirt is a timely page turner.  Cummins has written on an important topic with sympathetic characters and a well-planned plot.  I can't imagine anyone NOT finding American Dirt a worthwhile read.

Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593230251
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - August 4th, 2020

Although written differently than her first book, The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson once again gives her readers subtle suggestions and heart breaking, little known examples.  She describes three caste systems in depth, Nazi Germany, India and The United States, and vividly describes how these castes destroy humanity.  In a compelling way, Wilkerson illustrates why there are castes, what is wrong with them and the way castes can be eliminated.  She looks at these three castes historically, psychologically, sociologically, anthropologically and politically.

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385543767
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - April 7th, 2020

Mimi and Don Galvin married in the early 1940's and in twenty years had a dozen children-10 boys and 2 girls.  What began as a charmed life-handsome family, ambitious father, caring mother-slowly unraveled into a nightmare.  Eventually it was discovered that six of the Galvin sons suffered from schizophrenia.  Life was not only a living hell for Mimi and Don and the six sons with schizophrenia, it was also unbearable for the healthy siblings.  Although Mimi tried to present to the outside world a perfect family, the Galvin household was filled with violence, abuse and chaos.


The Vanishing Half: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525536291
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2020

Valentine: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062913265
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - March 31st, 2020

Homeland Elegies: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316496421
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 15th, 2020

Hamnet is the only son of William and Agnes Shakespeare. He died at the age of eleven from the plague. Although his name is the title of O'Farrell's novel, the central character is Agnes. She was three months pregnant with her first child when she married Shakespeare and went to live at his parents' home in Stratford. Hamnet is the story of Agnes and her family. It is a tale of love, marriage, family, and grief. Hamnet is a beautifully written, vividly described novel with empathetic, complex characters. It is a masterfully done work of historical fiction.



What Are You Going Through: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593191415
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 8th, 2020

One day in August on the Kamchatka Peninsula, a remote area in northeastern Russia, two young sisters are kidnapped by a man with a round face and a well taken care of dark sedan.  Disappearing Earth depicts, in twelve vignettes characters from the region whose lives are closely or loosely tied to the missing girls.  There is Alla, whose youngest daughter has been missing for four years, Oksana, who thinks she saw the girls get into the kidnapper's car, Marina the mother of the missing sisters, as well as others.

I thought Phillips' debut novel was fantastic.  First of all, I love learning about people and places I never knew existed.  Also, all the characters are finely drawn with just enough tension in their lives for me to remember them and want to continue reading.  Don't worry about their foreign names;  Phillips describes the cast of characters at the beginning of Disappearing Earth.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385539302
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - October 15th, 2019

If you're a fan of Bill Bryson, and I am, you'll want to read The Body.  Bryson takes his readers on a detailed tour of our insides and outsides, what works and what doesn't.  To give you an idea of his exploration, a few chapter titles are:  Down the Hatch:  The Mouth and Throat, The Chemistry Department, The Guts and In the Nether Regions.  The Body not only describes how different parts function, it also relates how some men and women discovered these parts, how they function, what can go wrong and how that can be cured.  And just when this work of nonfiction starts getting a little dry, Bill Bryson drops in an amusing quip or a wry anecdote.

The Body is highly informative and thoroughly enjoyable

The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction): A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385537070
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday - July 16th, 2019

Nickel Academy is a reform school for boys in Florida.  It is segregated-white boys on the west side of the institution, black boys on the east side.  While Nickel calls itself an academy, it really is a house of torture.  The Nickel Boys focuses on the life of Elwood Curtis.  Elwood is a black youngster raised by his grandmother.  He is bright, motivated and takes the inspirational words of Martin Luther King, Jr. to heart.  Unfortunately, he is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I was not enthralled with Whitehead's, The Underground Railroad, although the rest of the world found it superb.  For me, The Nickel Boys is a much finer novel.  The characters, the plot, its presentation, and its historical significance make for an exceptional, thought-provoking work with a terrific ending.


The Overstory: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393356687
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 2nd, 2019