Book Recommendations for 12/22
Check out some shiny new titles selected by our resident bookseller, Kathy.
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (2022)
"From the bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a lavish historical drama reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico."
Tesla: Wizard at War by Marc Seifer (2022)
"In this insightful and revelatory new book, the author of the highly acclaimed, award-winning international bestseller Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla delves deeper into the groundbreaking ideas and astonishing mind of one of the greatest geniuses of modern times. The culmination of more than four decades of research, Tesla: Wizard at War explores the historical impact of Tesla’s particle beam weapon and other brilliant work—and how it continues to shape global military technology and diplomatic strategies even today."
The Candy House by Jennifer Egan (2022)
"The Candy House opens with the staggeringly brilliant Bix Bouton, whose company, Mandala, is so successful that he is 'one of those tech demi-gods with whom we’re all on a first name basis.' Bix is forty, with four kids, restless, and desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or 'externalizing' memory. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, 'Own Your Unconscious' —which allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share your memories in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes."
The New Yorkers by Sam Roberts (2022)
"From award-winning New York Times reporter Sam Roberts, the story of the world's most exceptional city, told through 31 little-known yet pivotal inhabitants who helped define it. In Sam Roberts's pulsating history of the world's most exceptional metropolis, greet the city anew through thirty-one unique New Yorkers you've probably never heard of-just in time for the city's 400th birthday."
Twist of a Knife by Anthony Horowitz (2022)
"Thrown into prison and fearing for both his personal future and his writing career, Anthony is the prime suspect in Throsby’s murder and when a second theatre critic is found to have died in mysterious circumstances, the net closes in. Ever more desperate, he realizes that only one man can help him. But will Hawthorne take the call?"
Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang (2022)
"A dazzling debut novel set against the backdrop of the Chinese Exclusion Act, about a Chinese girl fighting to claim her place in the 1880s American West. Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story."
The Writing of the Gods by Edward Dolnick (2022)
"The Rosetta Stone is one of the most famous objects in the world, attracting millions of visitors to the British museum every year, and yet most people don’t really know what it is. Discovered in a pile of rubble in 1799, this slab of stone proved to be the key to unlocking a lost language that baffled scholars for centuries.
Carved in ancient Egypt, the Rosetta Stone carried the same message in different languages—in Greek using Greek letters, and in Egyptian using picture-writing called hieroglyphs. Until its discovery, no one in the world knew how to read the hieroglyphs that covered every temple and text and statue in Egypt.
Dominating the world for thirty centuries, ancient Egypt was the mightiest empire the world had ever known, yet everything about it—the pyramids, mummies, the Sphinx—was shrouded in mystery. Whoever was able to decipher the Rosetta Stone would solve that mystery and fling open a door that had been locked for two thousand years.
Two brilliant rivals set out to win that prize..."
Hokuloa Road by Elizabeth Hand (2022)
"On a whim, Grady Kendall applies to work as a live-in caretaker for a luxury property in Hawaiʻi, as far from his small-town Maine life as he can imagine. Within days he's flying out to an estate on remote Hokuloa Road, where he quickly uncovers a dark side to the island’s idyllic reputation: it has long been a place where people vanish without a trace.
When a young woman from his flight becomes the next to disappear, Grady is determined—and soon desperate—to figure out what's happened to Jessie, and to all those staring out of the island’s “missing" posters. But working with Raina, Jessie’s fiercely protective best friend, to uncover the truth is anything but easy, and with an inexplicable and sinister presence stalking his every step, Grady can only hope he'll find the answer before it's too late.
Perfect for fans of Peter Heller and The White Lotus, and from award-winning writer Elizabeth Hand, a master of crime fiction known for her magnetic characters, seductive prose, and fearless excavations into the darkest corners of our world, comes a chilling and illuminating new novel about a place unlike any other—and the deadly cost of keeping it so."
The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk (2022)
"In the mid-eighteenth century, as new ideas—and a new unrest—begin to sweep the Continent, a young Jew of mysterious origins arrives in a village in Poland. Before long, he has changed not only his name but his persona; visited by what seem to be ecstatic experiences, Jacob Frank casts a charismatic spell that attracts an increasingly fervent following. In the decade to come, Frank will traverse the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires with throngs of disciples in his thrall as he reinvents himself again and again, converts to Islam and then Catholicism, is pilloried as a heretic and revered as the Messiah, and wreaks havoc on the conventional order, Jewish and Christian alike, with scandalous rumors of his sect’s secret rituals and the spread of his increasingly iconoclastic beliefs. The story of Frank—a real historical figure around whom mystery and controversy swirl to this day—is the perfect canvas for the genius and unparalleled reach of Olga Tokarczuk. Narrated through the perspectives of his contemporaries—those who revere him, those who revile him, the friend who betrays him, the lone woman who sees him for what he is—The Books of Jacob captures a world on the cusp of precipitous change, searching for certainty and longing for transcendence."
The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer (2022)
"The year is 1888, and Louis Le Prince is finally testing his “taker” or “receiver” device for his family on the front lawn. The device is meant to capture ten to twelve images per second on film, creating a reproduction of reality that can be replayed as many times as desired. In an otherwise separate and detached world, occurrences from one end of the globe could now be viewable with only a few days delay on the other side of the world. No human experience—from the most mundane to the most momentous—would need to be lost to history.
In 1890, Le Prince was granted patents in four countries ahead of other inventors who were rushing to accomplish the same task. But just weeks before unveiling his invention to the world, he mysteriously disappeared and was never seen or heard from again. Three and half years later, Thomas Edison, Le Prince’s rival, made the device public, claiming to have invented it himself. And the man who had dedicated his life to preserving memories was himself lost to history—until now."