New Reads (August 4, 2015–)

The Marriage of Opposites
by Alice Hoffman
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things : a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro-the Father of Impressionism. Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel’s salvation is their maid Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father’s business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.

 

Wind / Pinball (Two Novels)
by Haruki Murakami
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In the spring of 1978, a young Haruki Murakami sat down at his kitchen table and began to write. The result: two remarkable short novels– Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 –that launched the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time. These powerful, at times surreal, works about two young men coming of age–the unnamed narrator and his friend the Rat–are stories of loneliness, obsession, and eroticism. They bear all the hallmarks of Murakami’s later books, and form the first two-thirds, with A Wild Sheep Chase , of the trilogy of the Rat. Widely available in English for the first time ever, newly translated, and featuring a new introduction by Murakami himself, Wind/Pinball gives us a fascinating insight into a great writer’s beginnings.

 

Flood of Fire
by Amitav Ghosh
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The stunningly vibrant final novel in the bestselling Ibis Trilogy It is 1839 and China has embargoed the trade of opium, yet too much is at stake in the lucrative business and the British Foreign Secretary has ordered the colonial government in India to assemble an expeditionary force for an attack to reinstate the trade. Among those consigned is Kesri Singh, a soldier in the army of the East India Company. He makes his way eastward on the Hind , a transport ship that will carry him from Bengal to Hong Kong. Along the way, many characters from the Ibis Trilogy come aboard, including Zachary Reid, a young American speculator in opium futures, and Shireen, the widow of an opium merchant whose mysterious death in China has compelled her to seek out his lost son. The Hind docks in Hong Kong just as war breaks out and opium “pours into the market like monsoon flood.” From Bombay to Calcutta, from naval engagements to the decks of a hospital ship, among embezzlement, profiteering, and espionage, Amitav Ghosh charts a breathless course through the culminating moment of the British opium trade and vexed colonial history. With all the verve of the first two novels in the trilogy, Flood of Fire completes Ghosh’s unprecedented reenvisioning of the nineteenth-century war on drugs.

 

The Trip: Andy Warhol’s Plastic Fantastic Cross-Country Adventure 
by Deborah Davis
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From the author of Strapless and Guest of Honor , a book about a little-known road trip Andy Warhol took from New York to LA in 1963, and how that journey-and the numerous artists and celebrities he encountered-profoundly influenced his life and art. In 1963, up-and-coming artist Andy Warhol took a road trip across America. What began as a madcap, drug-fueled romp became a journey that took Warhol on a kaleidoscopic adventure from New York City, across the vast American heartland, all the way to Hollywood and back. With locations ranging from a Texas panhandle truck stop to a Beverly Hills mansion, from the beaches of Santa Monica to a Photomat booth in Albuquerque, The Trip captures Warhol’s interactions with Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Marcel Duchamp, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra. Along the way he also met rednecks, beach bums, underground filmmakers, artists, poets, socialites, and newly minted hippies, and they each left an indelible mark on his psyche. In The Trip , Andy Warhol’s speeding Ford Falcon is our time machine, transporting us from the last vestiges of the sleepy Eisenhower epoch to the true beginning of the explosive, exciting ’60s.

 

Pretty Is
by Maggie Mitchell
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A fiercely imagined fiction debut in which two young women face what happened the summer they were twelve, when a handsome stranger abducted them Everyone thought we were dead. We were missing for nearly two months; we were twelve. What else could they think? – Lois It’s always been hard to talk about what happened without sounding all melodramatic. . . . Actually, I haven’t mentioned it for years, not to a goddamned person. -Carly May The summer precocious Lois and pretty Carly May were twelve years old, they were kidnapped, driven across the country, and held in a cabin in the woods for two months by a charismatic stranger. Nearly twenty years later, Lois has become a professor, teaching British literature at a small college in upstate New York, and Carly May is an actress in Los Angeles, drinking too much and struggling to revive her career. When a movie with a shockingly familiar plot draws the two women together once more, they must face the public exposure of their secret history and confront the dark longings and unspeakable truths that haunt them still. Maggie Mitchell’s Pretty Is beautifully defies ripped-from-the-headlines crime story expectations and announces the debut of a masterful new storytelling talent.

 

Dancing With the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink
by Juliana Barbassa
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In the tradition of Detroit: An American Autopsy and Maximum City comes a deeply reported and beautifully written biography of the seductive and chaotic city of Rio de Janeiro from prizewinning journalist and Brazilian native Juliana Barbassa. Juliana Barbassa moved a great deal throughout her life, but Rio was always home. After twenty-one years abroad, she returned to find the city that once ravaged by inflation, drug wars, corrupt leaders, and dying neighborhoods was now on the precipice of a major change. Rio has always aspired to the pantheon of global capitals, and under the spotlight of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games it seems that its moment has come. But in order to prepare itself for the world stage, Rio must vanquish the entrenched problems that Barbassa recalls from her childhood. Turning this beautiful but deeply flawed place into a predictable, pristine showcase of the best that Brazil has to offer in just a few years is a tall order-and with the whole world watching, the stakes couldn’t be higher. With a cast of larger-than-life characters who are driving this fast-moving juggernaut or who risk getting caught in its gears, this kaleidoscopic portrait of Rio introduces the reader to the people who make up this city of extremes, revealing their aspirations and their grit, their violence, their hungers and their splendor, and shedding light on the future of this city they are building together.

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