Liz Recommends

Margaret the First: A Novel By Danielle Dutton Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936787357
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 15th, 2016

Danielle Dutton's Margaret the First takes the already-extraordinary life of Margaret Cavendish--natural philosopher, author of The Blazing World, and Duchess of Newcastle--and transforms it into a stunning work of historical fiction. From an England ravaged by civil war to Europe's glittering hubs of art and science, Dutton tugs readers along by the hand as shy Margaret metamorphoses from a sheltered lady-in-waiting, to a silent presence in her husband's salons, to a fierce and passionate scholar in her own right. Like Margaret herself, Dutton doesn't bother with trifles or irrelevancies in this luminous, nonlinear tale, but alights on each big, glowing moment and basks in it. With women in the sciences still a hot issue today, Margaret the First satisfies a craving for women's writing, women's voices, and women's stories like nothing else, painting a portrait of a sensitive, thoughtful woman hungry for not just praise and recognition, but acknowledgment, affirmation, and validation. Margaret the First is a triumph: it's inventive, artful, and conjures a world as luminous and strange as Cavendish's own blazing world.

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Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home By Leah Lax Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631529955
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: She Writes Press - August 28th, 2015

People throw the word “compelling” around a lot when it comes to books, but I truly mean it for this powerful memoir. Lax’s prose flows like true memory, connecting small moments across decades, tying little incidents to larger ones in a truly mesmerizing read. She beautifully tells her story of converting to Hasidic Judaism, spending thirty years as a covered woman of the community, and eventually finding new  strength: to break loose of the strictures that had once meant so much to her, and to live as her authentic self. Immerse yourself in this jouney--you'll feel transformed, too.

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The Book of Speculation: A Novel By Erika Swyler Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250055637
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - May 31st, 2016

An old, handwritten book, delivered to a house perched precariously on a cliff over the sea--I got chills every third page reading THE BOOK OF SPECULATION. It’s a debut novel, but it feels like a classic: obsessions, mermaids, carnivals and card-readers fill these pages in spades, as family secrets spill out and flood the pages like the oncoming sea that hammers against every page. A fantastic page-turner about the bonds between siblings, breathing underwater, and living side-by-side with a past that’s never quite gone.

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Modern Romance By Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143109259
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Penguin Books - June 14th, 2016

I was probably not the target reader for a book about heterosexual dating habits. I’m an aromantic bisexual woman: I don’t even know what a “Tinder” is. But now Aziz Ansari has taken my hand and led me, wise-cracking all the while, through the intricate, frustrating, yet oddly adorable dating scene of our times. MODERN ROMANCE, to me, is a fascinating field guide to the mating rituals of my straight peers; to anyone involved in this dance, I’m sure it will resonate. But it’s not just Ansari’s cackle-worthy asides that make this book great--he teamed up with top sociologists and communication scientists to get concrete data on how people text, swipe, and awkwardly mumble their way through finding partners these days. From the perfect formula for an OkCupid profile to photoshopping celebs over your ex in old pictures, Ansari offers up an earnest picture of people just wanting to find love, and the sometimes bizarre lengths they’ll go to in their search.

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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer (Pantheon Graphic Library) By Sydney Padua Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307908278
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Pantheon - April 21st, 2015

Alternate history ahoy! This divertingly-phrased, enchantingly-drawn, and incredibly-footnoted comic explores an alternate universe in which the first programmers, Lady Ada Byron Lovelace and Charles Babbage, were able to build their Difference Engine--the first computer. So, naturally, they use it to explore uncharted mathematics, meet other famous luminaries, and, of course, fight crime. For science!

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The Midas Flesh Vol. 1 By Ryan North, Braden Lamb (Illustrator), Shelli Paroline (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Ryan North, Braden Lamb (Illustrator), Shelli Paroline (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781608864553
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: BOOM! Box - December 23rd, 2014

Mythology! Space battles! Dinosaur astronauts! If you don’t already know and love Ryan North, creator of the wise and witty Dinosaur Comics, treat yourself to his brilliant, wholly original miniseries, THE MIDAS FLESH. It explores what would really happen if King Midas’ curse had been real, and turned literally everything he touched to gold--because, that would include: the air and the ground on which he stood--leaving Earth a lifeless, solid gold, quarantined planet, until centuries in the future...

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The Wonders: A Novel By Paddy O'Reilly Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476766362
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Atria Books - February 10th, 2015

This truly wondrous realist’s fable asks all the right questions—about art, celebrity, disability, humanity and so much more. In THE WONDERS, the daughter of a ringmaster finds three medical marvels and makes them The Wonders, touring sensations and superstars. But finding a family comes at the cost of fame, scrutiny, and fear for Leon, Kathryn, and Christos, and author O’Reilly blends the fantasy of their stories seamlessly with the harshness of reality. Are they artists, free and independent, or just a sideshow collection? Who gets to say? Do you know? I’m still not sure I do. I guess I’ll just have to read it again.

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The Magician's Lie: A Novel By Greer Macallister Cover Image
ISBN: 9781492628996
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - October 6th, 2015

Magicians lie by trade--illusion, fantasy, carefully drawn  scenarios with precisely chosen words--so I’ll admit: I really only picked up this book to see how redundant the title was. I need to thank my bitter skepticism for leading me to this fabulous historical fiction-mystery-romance. THE MAGICIAN’S LIE is the story of The Amazing Arden, caught and interrogated by a young policeman on the night her husband is murdered: murdered, they think, during the Halved Man trick of her act. As she spills out her story to Virgil, it’s hard not to get caught up in the illusion, too--but the question hangs: what's true? Her story screams for sympathy--a young woman hurt by self-absorbed parents, by sexual violence, by a world with no time for her--and as she becomes sure of herself, learning her trade and becoming her own person, I was ready to fight to the death for her. But the question remains--where’s the lie? You’ll race to find out like I did, led along by Arden’s vibrant voice and sharply-etched imagery as memorable as a stage illusionist should be.