Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War
Product rating: 4.3 with 173 reviews
“A raw, intimate look at the impact of combat and the healing power of friendship” (People
): the lives of three women deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, and the effect of their military service on their personal lives and families—
named a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly
“In the tradition of Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Richard Rhodes, and other masters of literary journalism, Soldier Girls
is utterly absorbing, gorgeously written, and unforgettable” (The Boston Globe
). Helen Thorpe follows the lives of three women over twelve years on their paths to the military, overseas to combat, and back home…and then overseas again for two of them. These women, who are quite different in every way, become friends, and we watch their interaction and also what happens when they are separated. We see their families, their lovers, their spouses, their children. We see them work extremely hard, deal with the attentions of men on base and in war zones, and struggle to stay connected to their families back home. We see some of them drink too much, have affairs, and react to the deaths of fellow soldiers. And we see what happens to one of them when the truck she is driving hits an explosive in the road, blowing it up. She survives, but her life may never be the same again.
Deeply reported, beautifully written, and powerfully moving, Soldier Girls
is “a breakthrough work…What Thorpe accomplishes in Soldier Girls
is something far greater than describing the experience of women in the military. The book is a solid chunk of American history…Thorpe triumphs” (The New York Times Book Review
Posted in Women Tagged with: Battles, Girls, Home, Scribner, Soldier, Three, Women
Henna House: A Novel
Product rating: 4.5 with 271 reviews
“A touching coming-of-age story” (Publishers Weekly
) in the tradition of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent
, about a young woman, her family, their community and the customs that bind them, from “a storyteller of uncommon energy and poise” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
This vivid saga begins in Yemen in 1920. Adela Damari’s parents’ health is failing as they desperately seek a future husband for their young daughter, who is in danger of becoming adopted by the local Muslim community if she is orphaned. With no likely marriage prospects, Adela’s situation looks dire—until she meets two cousins from faraway cities: a boy with whom she shares her most treasured secret, and a girl who introduces her to the powerful rituals of henna. Ultimately, Adela’s life journey brings her old and new loves, her true calling, and a new life as she is transported to Israel as part of Operation On Wings of Eagles.
Rich, evocative, and enthralling, Henna House
is an intimate family portrait interwoven with the traditions of the Yemenite Jews and the history of the Holocaust and Israel. This sensuous tale of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness—and the dyes that adorn the skin and pierce the heart—will captivate readers until the very last page.
Posted in Jewish Tagged with: Henna, House, Novel, Scribner
Racing the Rain: A Novel
Product rating: 4.6 with 16 reviews
From the author of the New York Times
bestselling Once a Runner
—“The best novel ever written about running” (Runner’s World
)—comes that novel’s prequel, the story of a world-class athlete coming of age in the 1950s and 60s on Florida’s Gold Coast.
Quenton Cassidy’s first foot races are with nature itself: the summer storms that sweep through his subtropical neighborhood. Shirtless, barefoot, and brown as a berry, Cassidy is a skinny, mouthy kid with aspirations to be a great athlete. As he explores his primal surroundings, along the Loxahatchee River and the nearby Atlantic Ocean, he is befriended by Trapper Nelson, “the Tarzan of the Loxahatchee,” a well-known eccentric who lives off the land.
In junior high school, quite by chance, Cassidy discovers an ability to run long distances, but his real dream is to be a basketball star. Still, Cassidy absorbs Nelson’s view of running as a way of relating to and interacting with the natural world. Though he is warned of Nelson’s checkered past, Cassidy dismisses the stories as superstitious gossip, until his small town is stunned by the disappearance of a prominent judge and his wife. Cassidy’s loyalty to his friend is severely tested just as his opportunity to make his mark as a gifted runner comes to fruition.
John Parker’s prequel to the New York Times
bestseller Once a Runner
vividly captures how a runner is formed and the physical endurance, determination, and mindset he develops on the way to becoming a champion. Racing the Rain
is an epic coming-of-age classic about the environments and friendships that shape us all.
Posted in Sports Tagged with: Novel, Racing, Rain, Scribner
The Reason for Flowers: Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives
Product rating: 4.9 with 14 reviews
Cultural history at its best—the engaging, lively, and definitive story of the beauty, sexuality, ecology, myths, lore, and economics of the world’s flowers, written by a passionately devoted author and scientist, and illustrated with his stunning photographs.
Flowers, and the fruits that follow, feed, clothe, sustain, and inspire all humanity. They have done so since before recorded history. Flowers are used to celebrate all-important occasions, to express love, and are also the basis of global industries. Americans buy ten million flowers a day and perfumes are a worldwide industry worth $30 billion dollars annually. Yet, we know little about flowers, their origins, bizarre sex lives, or how humans relate and depend upon them.
Stephen Buchmann takes us along on an exploratory journey of the roles flowers play in the production of our foods, spices, medicines, perfumes, while simultaneously bringing joy and health. Flowering plants continue to serve as inspiration in our myths and legends, in the fine and decorative arts, and in literary works of prose and poetry. Flowers seduce us—and animals, too—through their myriad shapes, colors, textures, and scents. And because of our extraordinary appetite for more unusual and beautiful “super flowers,” plant breeders have created such unnatural blooms as blue roses and black petunias to cater to the human world of haute couture
fashion. In so doing, the nectar and pollen vital to the bees, butterflies, and bats of the world, are being reduced. Buchmann explains the unfortunate consequences, and explores how to counter them by growing the right flowers. Here, he integrates fascinating stories about the many colorful personalities who populate the world of flowers, and the flowers and pollinators themselves, with a research-based narrative that illuminates just why there is, indeed, a Reason for Flowers
Posted in Flowers Tagged with: Biology, Change, Culture, Flowers, History, Lives, Reason, Scribner, Their, They
The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball’s Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy
Product rating: 4.6 with 7 reviews
An award-winning veteran sportswriter who personally covered the Pine Tar Game looks back and explores one of the wackiest events in baseball history.
On July 24, 1983, during the finale of a heated four-game series between the dynastic New York Yankees and small-town Kansas City Royals, umpires nullified a go-ahead home run based on an obscure rule, when Yankees manager Billy Martin pointed out an illegal amount of pine tar—the sticky substance used for a better grip—on Royals third baseman George Brett’s bat. Brett wildly charged out of the dugout and chaos ensued. The call temporarily cost the Royals the game, but the decision was eventually overturned, resulting in a resumption of the game several weeks later that created its own hysteria. The Pine Tar Game
chronicles this watershed moment, marking a pivot in the sport, when benign cheating tactics, like spitballs, Superball bats, and a couple extra inches of tar on an ash bat, gave way to era of soaring salaries, labor struggles, and rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs. Filip Bondy paints a portrait of the Yankees and Royals of that era, featuring two diametrically opposed owners, in George Steinbrenner and Ewing Kauffman; a host of bad actors and phenomenal athletes; and lots of yelling. Players and club officials like Brett, Goose Gossage, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, David Cone, and John Schuerholz offer fresh commentary on the events along with their take on a rivalry that culminated in one of the most iconic baseball tantrums of all time. Rush Limbaugh, employed by the Royals at the time as a promotions director, offers his own insider’s perspective. Through this one fateful game, the ensuing protest, and ultimate fallout, The Pine Tar Game
examines a more innocent time in professional sports, as well as the shifting tide that gave us today’s modern iteration of baseball.
Posted in Baseball Tagged with: Absurd, Baseball's, City, Controversy, Entertaining, Game, Kansas, Most, Pine, Royals, Scribner, Yankees, York
Let Me Explain You: A Novel
Product rating: 4.5 with 10 reviews
A powerful debut novel about a Greek American family and its enigmatic patriarch from a riveting new voice in contemporary literature.
Stavros Stavros Mavrakis, Greek immigrant and proud owner of the Gala Diner, believes he has just ten days to live. As he prepares for his final hours, he sends a scathing email to his ex-wife and three grown daughters, outlining his wishes for how they each might better live their lives. With varying degrees of laughter and scorn, his family and friends dismiss his behavior as nothing more than a plea for attention, but when Stavros disappears, those closest to him are forced to confront the possibility of his death.
A vibrant tour de force that races to a surprising conclusion, Let Me Explain You
is told from multiple perspectives: Stavros Stavros, brimming with pride and cursing in broken English; his eldest daughter Stavroula, a talented chef in love with her boss’s daughter; her sister, the wounded but resilient Litza; and many other voices who compose a veritable Greek chorus.
By turns hilarious and deeply moving, this multigenerational novel delivers a heartfelt meditation on the power of storytelling and family, the relationship between fathers and daughters, and also the complex bond of sisterhood. Annie Liontas explores our origins and family myths, hunger and what feeds us, reinvention and forgiveness.
Posted in Cultural Heritage Tagged with: Explain, Novel, Scribner
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League
Product rating: 4.4 with 883 reviews
An instant New York Times
bestseller, named a best book of the year by The New York Times Book Review
, Amazon, and Entertainment Weekly,
among others, this celebrated account of a young African-American man who escaped Newark, NJ, to attend Yale, but still faced the dangers of the streets when he returned is, “nuanced and shattering” (People
) and “mesmeric” (The New York Times Book Review
When author Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the 1980s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, trying to fit in at Yale, and at home on breaks.
A compelling and honest portrait of Robert’s relationships—with his struggling mother, with his incarcerated father, with his teachers and friends—The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
encompasses the most enduring conflicts in America: race, class, drugs, community, imprisonment, education, family, friendship, and love. It’s about the collision of two fiercely insular worlds—the ivy-covered campus of Yale University and the slums of Newark, New Jersey, and the difficulty of going from one to the other and then back again. It’s about trying to live a decent life in America. But most all this “fresh, compelling” (The Washington Post
) story is about the tragic life of one singular brilliant young man. His end, a violent one, is heartbreaking and powerful and “a haunting American tragedy for our times” (Entertainment Weekly
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2014: To read The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, a meticulous and heartfelt account of a brilliant black student from the poverty-stricken streets of Newark, is to see the best of the American dream lived and ultimately, tragically, lost. Peace’s mother endured great sacrifices to ensure that her gifted son would meet his full potential. His father, until his arrest for murder when Rob was seven, dedicated himself to helping his son learn and mature. Rob was a popular, straight-A student who played on the water polo team (his mother scraped up enough money to send him to parochial school), and upon graduating he was rewarded with a scholarship to Yale. Although he continued to thrive academically in college, growing up in the second largest concentration of African-Americans living under the poverty line created barriers that even one as gifted as Robert Peace could not fully surmount. This is a riveting and heartbreaking read, as Rob Peace seems always to have been on the outside—the resented geek in the hood, and the inner city black man in the Ivy League. –Chris Schluep
Posted in African-American & Black Tagged with: Brilliant, League, Left, Life, Newark, Peace, Robert, Scribner, Short, Tragic, young
Green Hills of Africa: The Hemingway Library Edition
Product rating: 3.9 with 89 reviews
The most intimate and elaborately enhanced addition to the Hemingway Library series: Hemingway’s memoir of his safari across the Serengeti—presented with archival material from the Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Library, and with the never-before-published safari journal of Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer.
First published in 1935, Green Hills of Africa
is Ernest Hemingway’s lyrical account of his safari in the great game country of East Africa with his wife Pauline. Hemingway’s fascination with big-game hunting is magnificently captured in this evocative narrative of his trip. In examining the poetic grace of the chase, and the ferocity of the kill, Hemingway looks inward, seeking to explain the lure of the hunt and the primal undercurrent that comes alive on the plains of Africa. Green Hills of Africa
is also an impassioned portrait of the glory of the African landscape, and of the beauty of a wilderness that was, even then, being threatened by the incursions of man. Hemingway’s rich description of the land and his passion for hunting combine to give Green Hills of Africa
the immediacy of a deeply felt individual experience that is the hallmark of the greatest travel writing.
This new Hemingway Library Edition offers a fresh perspective on Hemingway’s classic travelogue with a personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway, the author’s sole surviving son, who, himself, spent many years as a professional hunter in East Africa; a new introduction by Seán Hemingway, grandson of the author; and published for the first time in its entirety the African journal of Hemingway’s wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, which provides new insight into the experiences that shaped her husband’s craft.
Posted in Authors Tagged with: Africa, Edition, Green, Hemingway, Hills, Library, Scribner
The Boston Girl: A Novel
Product rating: 4.0 with reviews
New York Times
An unforgettable novel about a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century, told “with humor and optimism…through the eyes of an irresistible heroine” (People
)—from the acclaimed author of The Red Tent
Anita Diamant’s “vivid, affectionate portrait of American womanhood” (Los Angeles Times
), follows the life of one woman, Addie Baum, through a period of dramatic change. Addie is The Boston Girl, the spirited daughter of an immigrant Jewish family, born in 1900 to parents who were unprepared for America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End of Boston, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine—a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, to finding the love of her life, eighty-five-year-old Addie recounts her adventures with humor and compassion for the naïve girl she once was.
Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl
is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world. “Diamant brings to life a piece of feminism’s forgotten history” (Good Housekeeping
) in this “inspirational…page-turning portrait of immigrant life in the early twentieth century” (Booklist
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, December 2014: There’s a lot that’s familiar about The Boston Girl. A tale of a plucky immigrant girl at the turn of the century, it addresses some of the same themes as other contemporary novels, including the author’s breakout The Red Tent: religion, feminism, the pull between tradition and the modern world. Here, our heroine is Addie Baum of Boston, now in her eighties telling the story of her life to her twentysomething granddaughter. And what a life it was: born in 1900, Addie survived the travails of aggressive greenhorn parents, world wars, abusive men and a flu epidemic to become a woman, finally, with a voice and a life of her own. What makes this story engaging is just that old-fashioned straightforwardness, as well as its perfect ear for the locutions of the time. Someone is “smiling to beat the band.” Addie “can really cut a rug.” You had to “kiss a lot of frogs before [you] found a prince.” No wonder this book rings so true: reading it feels like lazing away a winter afternoon with a beloved aging relative paging through a family scrapbook. – Sara Nelson
Posted in Jewish Tagged with: Boston, Girl, Novel, Scribner