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Wednesday, September 21, 7pm, Anacortes Library
La Conner journalist and author Ashley Sweeney will be introducing her first novel, Eliza Waite (She Writes Press, $16.95). In 1898, after the tragic death of her husband and son on Cypress Island, in the San Juans, the title character joins the throng of miners, fortune hunters, business owners, con men, and prostitutes traveling north to the Klondike. Arriving in Skagway, Alaska, with less than fifty dollars to her name, Eliza opens a bakery on the main street and befriends a madam at a neighboring bordello. When an unsavory person from her past turns up, Eliza is fearful that she will be unable to conceal her identity and move forward with her new life. Using Gold Rush history, diary entries, and authentic pioneer recipes, Eliza Waite transports readers to the sights sounds, smells, and tastes of a raucous and fleeting era of American history.
Wednesday, September 28, 7pm, Anacortes Library
ACFL naturalist Denise Crowe will be giving a presentation based on the forthcoming book, The Hidden Life of Trees - What They Feel, How They Communicate--Discoveries from a Secret World, by Peter Wohlleben (Greystone Books, $24.95, to be published September 13, 2016). Save the date!
NEW AND NOTABLE PAPERBACKS
THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead Books, $16.00) The New York Times bestseller, soon to be released as a movie. Jessica, a British rail commuter, sees the same couple eating breakfast every weekday morning as her train waits for a routine signal change. She imagines their life to perfect, unlike her own. Then, one morning, she witnesses something shocking, and feels compelled to go to the police. Soon, she is deeply entangled in both the investigation and the lives of everybody involved, and wonders if she has done more harm than good?
PURITY, by Jonathan Franzen (Picador, $17.00) Young Pip Tyler doesn't really know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, she has $130,000 in student debts, she's squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and her relationship with her mother is hazardous. But she doesn't know who her father is, why her mother lives as a recluse with an invented name, and whether her own life can ever be "normal." Then a glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads her to South America and an internship with an organization that traffics in secrets - including, Pip hopes, the secret of her own origins. This is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity and murder, populated by a cast of vivdly original characters - Californians, East Germans, good and bad parents, journalists, and leakers - whose paths are all intertwined. In Purity, Jonathan Franzen has written his most daring and penetrating book yet.
CITY ON FIRE, by Garth Risk Hallberg (Vintage, $17.00) This immersive, exuberant novel takes the reader back in time forty years to New York City, where a detective attempts to solve a shooting in Central Park on New Year's Eve. The mystery reverberates through families, friendships, and the corridors of power. When the blackout of July 13, 1977, plunges the city into darkness, lives are altered forever. This is an unforgettable novel about love and betrayal, truth and forgiveness, art and rock 'n' roll, and what people need for life to be worth living.
THE DRIFTER, by Nicholas Petrie (Putnam, $16.00) Suffering from a claustrophobic form PTSD that he calls his "white static," Marine veteran Peter Ash has retreated to the mountains where he can sleep under the stars. But when a fellow ex-Marine commits suicide, Peter returns to civilization to help the man's widow with some home repairs. Under her porch, he finds, among other problematic things, a suitcase stuffed with cash and explosives. As he begins to investigate this unexpected discovery, Peter finds himself at the center of a plot much larger than he could have imagined, and which leads him back into a world he though he'd left for good.
KNOWN AND STRANGE THINGS, by Teju Cole (Random House, $17.00) From the author of Open City and Every Day is for the Thief, this is a blazingly intelligent first collection of essays on art, people, and historical subjects, taking in subjects from Virginia Woolf, Shakespeare and W.G. Sebald, to Instagram, Barack Obama, and Boko Haram. Persuasive and provocative, erudite yet accessible, this book offers the reader a chance to see the world in surprising and affecting new frames.