New True Crime Titles at Main

Looking for a new true crime book to read? Here are some titles that hit the shelves at our Main Branch in January, February, and March. If any of these titles interest you, you can use the links below to place a hold in our catalog, or you can always give us a call to put one on hold for you. The following descriptions were provided by the publisher.

American Serial Killers: The Epidemic Years 1950-2000 by Peter Vronsky

Fans of Mindhunter and true crime podcasts will devour these chilling stories of serial killers from the American “Golden Age” (1950-2000). With books like Serial Killers, Female Serial Killers and Sons of Cain, Peter Vronsky has established himself as the foremost expert on the history of serial killers. In this first definitive history of the “Golden Age” of American serial murder, when the number and body count of serial killers exploded, Vronsky tells the stories of the most unusual and prominent serial killings from the 1950s to the early twenty-first century. From Ted Bundy to the Golden State Killer, our fascination with these classic serial killers seems to grow by the day. American Serial Killers gives true crime junkies what they crave, with both perennial favorites (Ed Kemper, Jeffrey Dahmer) and lesser-known cases (Melvin Rees, Harvey Glatman).

Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher by Charlotte Bismuth

In 2010, a brave whistleblower alerted the police to Dr. Stan Li’s corrupt pain management clinic in Queens, New York. Li spent years supplying more than seventy patients a day with oxycodone and Xanax, trading prescriptions for cash. Emergency room doctors, psychiatrists, and desperate family members warned him that his patients were at risk of death but he would not stop.

In Bad Medicine, former prosecutor Charlotte Bismuth meticulously recounts the jaw dropping details of this criminal case that would span four years, culminating in a landmark trial. As a new assistant district attorney and single mother, Bismuth worked tirelessly with her team to bring Dr. Li to justice. Bad Medicine is a chilling story of corruption and greed and an important look at the role individual doctors play in America’s opioid epidemic.

Hunting Whitey: The Inside Story of the Capture & Killing of America’s Most Wanted Crime Boss by Casey Sherman

Based on exclusive, fresh reporting, the thrilling, definitive inside story of the pursuit, capture, and killing of legendary South Boston mob boss, James “Whitey” Bulger, detailing as never before his years on the run, how he evaded capture, and his brutal murder in prison.

For the first time, Boston reporters Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge draw on exclusive interviews and exhaustive investigative reportage to tell the complete story of Whitey Bulger, one of the most notorious crime bosses in American history—alongside Al “Scarface” Capone and Vito Genovese—and a longtime FBI informant. The leader of Boston’s Winter Hill Gang and #1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, Bulger was indicted for nineteen counts of murder, racketeering, narcotics distribution, and extortion. But it was his sixteen-year flight from justice on the eve of his arrest that made him a legend and exposed deep corruption within the FBI.

While other accounts have examined Bulger’s crimes, this remarkable chronicle tells the story of his life on the run, his capture, and his eventual murder inside one of America’s most dangerous prisons—”Misery Mountain”—in 2018. Interweaving the perspectives of Bulger, his family and cohorts, and law enforcement, Hunting Whitey explains how this dangerous criminal evaded capture for nearly two decades and shines a spotlight on the dedicated detectives, federal agents, and prosecutors involved in bringing him to justice. It is also a fascinating, detailed portrait of both Bulger’s trial and his time in prison—including shocking new details about his death at Misery Mountain less than twenty-four hours after his arrival.

Granted access to exclusive prison letters and interviews with dozens of people connected to the case on both sides, Sherman and Wedge offer a trove of fascinating new stories and create an incomparable portrait of one of the most infamous criminals in American history.

The Last Book on the Left: Stories of Murder and Mayhem from History’s Most Notorious Serial Killers by Ben Kissel

An equal parts haunting and hilarious deep-dive review of history’s most notorious and cold-blooded serial killers, from the creators of the award-winning Last Podcast on the Left.

Since its first show in 2010, The Last Podcast on the Left has barreled headlong into all things horror, as hosts Henry Zebrowski, Ben Kissel, and Marcus Parks cover subjects spanning Jeffrey Dahmer, werewolves, Jonestown, and supernatural phenomena. Deeply researched but with a morbidly humorous bent, the podcast has earned a dedicated and aptly cultlike following for its unique take on all things macabre.

In their first book, the guys take a deep dive into history’s most infamous serial killers, from Ted Bundy to John Wayne Gacy, exploring their origin stories, haunting habits, and perverse predilections. Featuring newly developed content alongside updated fan favorites, each profile is an exhaustive examination of the darker side of human existence. With appropriately creepy four-color illustrations throughout and a gift-worthy paper over board format, The Last Book on the Left will satisfy the bloodlust of readers everywhere.

Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob by Russell Shorto

Family secrets emerge as a best-selling author dives into the history of the mob in small-town America. Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a city “in its brawny postwar prime,” is where “Little Joe” Regino and Russ Shorto build a local gambling empire on the earnings of factory workers for whom placing a bet-on a horse or pool game, pinball or “tip seal”-is their best shot at the American dream. Decades later, Russell Shorto grew up knowing that his grandfather was a small-town mobster, but never thought to write about him, in keeping with an unspoken family vow of silence. Then a distant cousin prodded him: You gotta write about it. Smalltime, the story of Shorto’s search for his namesake, delves into the world of the small-town mob, an intricate web that spanned midcentury America, stitching together cities from Yonkers to Fresno. A riveting immigrant story, Smalltime is also deeply personal, as the author’s ailing father, Tony, becomes his partner in piecing together their patriarch’s troubled past. Moving, wryly funny, and richly detailed, Smalltime is an irresistible memoir by a masterful writer of historical narrative.

Till Murder Do Us Part: True Crime Thrillers by James Patterson

From the world’s #1 bestselling author comes a collection of Discovery ID true crime stories where the bonds of matrimony and love can tear you brutally apart.

Till Murder Do Us Part: Kathi Spiars can’t believe she’s found such a good man to marry as Stephen Marcum. Twelve years later, she starts to suspect that he isn’t who he says he is. As she digs into his past, she doesn’t realize that learning the truth will lead to a lifetime of fear and hiding. (with Andrew Bourelle)

Ramp Up to Murder: Brandi McClain, a young beautiful teenager, moves to California from Arizona, to model and live with her new boyfriend, a professional skateboarder. But her perfect life is about to turn on its head. In San Diego, investigators hunt for a missing girl. It’s a case that seems to plagued by dead ends. But once the truth emerges, it’s more haunting than they could have imagined. (with Max DiLallo)

The Unusual Suspect: The Rise and Fall of a Modern-Day Outlaw by Ben Machell

The remarkable true story of a modern-day Robin Hood: a British college student who started robbing banks as the financial crisis unfolded.

Stephen Jackley was a young British college student when the global financial crisis began in 2007. Overwhelmed by the growing indifference towards economic equality, he became obsessed with the idea of taking on the role of Robin Hood. With no prior experience, he resolved to become a bank robber. He would steal from the rich and give to the poor. Against all likelihood, his plan actually worked.

Jackley used disguises, elaborate escape routes, and fake guns to successfully hold up a string of banks, making away with thousands of pounds. He attempted ten robberies in southwest England over a six-month period. Banknotes marked with “RH”–“Robin Hood”–began finding their way into the hands of the homeless. Motivated by a belief that global capitalism was ruining lives and driving the planet toward ecological disaster, he dreamed of changing the world for the better through his crimes. The police, despite their concerted efforts, had no idea what was going on or who was responsible. That is, until Jackley’s ambition got the better of him.

This is his story.

Acclaimed journalist Ben Machell had full and direct access to Stephen Jackley, who in turn shared his complete set of diaries, selections of which are included throughout the narrative. The result lends an intense intimacy and urgency to Jackley’s daring and disturbing tale, shedding light on his mental state and the challenges he faced in his own mind and beyond. It wasn’t until Jackley was held in custody that he underwent a psychiatric evaluation, resulting in a diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome.

Behind the simple act of bank robbery lies a complex and emotionally wrought story of an individual whose struggles led him to create a world in which he would succeed against all odds. Until he didn’t.

New Religion Titles at Eastern

Looking for a new religious title to read? Here are some books that hit the shelves at our Eastern Branch in January, February, and March. If any of these titles interest you, you can use the links below to place a hold in our catalog, or you can always give us a call to put one on hold for you. The following descriptions were provided by the publisher.

Centered: Trading Your Plans for a Life that Matters by Jason Brown 

This riveting story of a top-earning NFL center and his family who walked away from it all to follow God’s call to alleviate hunger as farmers–a life they knew absolutely nothing about–illustrates the sacrifice and ultimate reward of obedience to our heavenly Father even when it doesn’t make earthly sense.

NFL lineman Jason Brown had everything he could ever want. He was the highest-paid center in the game, lived a life of luxury, and was cheered on by millions of people every week. Then, in 2012, Jason heard a call from God that changed everything. Jason turned his back on an incredibly successful career in football to pursue a new dream: ending hunger. But through third-party mismanagement and bad luck, Jason lost most of his savings from the NFL–the same money he’d planned to use to start his new career. He desperately needed the miracle that soon came.

Today, Jason and his family run First Fruits Farms in Louisburg, North Carolina, a state where one in four children don’t know where their next meal will come from. Since 2014, the Browns have donated more than 1.6 million servings of fresh produce to their community. Their motto: Never stop giving. Never stop loving. Never stop growing.

With powerful and deeply personal insight, Centered is an inspiration to embrace the joy of following where God leads–no matter how crazy it sounds.

Crazy Happy: Nine Surprising Ways to Live the Truly Beautiful Life by Daniel Fusco

Is it crazy to want a happy life? The host of Jesus Is Real Radio and Hillsong Channel’s Real with Daniel Fusco unlocks the happiness we long for in the most famous teachings of Jesus and the apostle Paul.

Dissatisfied with your life? Yeah, most of us have been there. There’s no shame in wanting to be happy, but real satisfaction often eludes us. At best, what fleeting happiness we find tends to dribble away in never-ending debts, stressful deadlines, and mindless scrolling. At worst, it’s chased away by anxiety, depression, or fallout from our selfishness.

Here’s the truth: whether we hunt for happiness in parties, bars, the workplace hustle, or even in church pews, we’ll wind up shortchanged. Why? Because we don’t see our lives as beautiful.

But God wants something better for you—happiness so real this world might think it’s too good to be true.

In Crazy Happy, Daniel Fusco unpacks fresh connections in two of the Bible’s most familiar passages—secrets of happiness that can really, truly, honest-to-goodness change things. If you stick around for the ride, you’ll find the kind of God-given beauty that can change your life for good—even in our sometimes-crazy world.

Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It  by Brian D. McLaren

From the author of A New Kind of Christianity comes a bold proposal: only doubt can save the world and your faith.

Sixty-five million adults in the U.S. have dropped out of active church attendance and about 2.7 million more are leaving every year. Faith After Doubt is for the millions of people around the world who feel that their faith is falling apart.

Using his own story and the stories of a diverse group of struggling believers, Brian D. McLaren, a former pastor and now an author, speaker, and activist shows how old assumptions are being challenged in nearly every area of human life, not just theology and spirituality. He proposes a four-stage model of faith development in which questions and doubt are not the enemy of faith, but rather a portal to a more mature and fruitful kind of faith. The four stages—Simplicity, Complexity, Perplexity, and Harmony—offer a path forward that can help sincere and thoughtful people leave behind unnecessary baggage and intensify their commitment to what matters most.

Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience: A Crucible at the Crossroads by Via Hedera

Witchcraft and magic in America is an inherently multicultural experience and the folklore of our ancestors from every country converges here at a crossroads. It’s a complicated history; one of uncertainty and fear, displacement and enslavement, merging and migration. Our ancestors may not have agreed on how they saw the world or the magic that inhabits the world, but they shared a very real fear of Witches. Hags, Devils, charms and spells; witchery is rooted in our deepest superstitions and folklore. The traditions of people and their cultures stretch and intersect across the country and this is where the unique traditions of American witchcraft and magic are born.

As practitioners seek to revive and reconstruct the paths of our ancestors, we’ve begun to trace the interconnected roots of witchcraft folklore as it emerged in the Americas, from the blending of people and their faiths. For multiracial practitioners, this is part of our identity as Americans and as witches of this country. Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience is an exploration of the folklore, magic and witchcraft that was forged in the New World.

The Gravity of Joy: A Story of Being Lost and Found by Angela Williams Gorrell

“My vocation was supposed to be joy, and I was speaking at funerals.”

Shortly after being hired by Yale University to study joy, Angela Gorrell got word that a close family member had died by suicide. Less than a month later, she lost her father to a fatal opioid addiction and her nephew, only twenty-two years old, to sudden cardiac arrest. The theoretical joy she was researching at Yale suddenly felt shallow and distant—completely unattainable in the fog of grief she now found herself in.

But joy was closer at hand than it seemed. As she began volunteering at a women’s maximum-security prison, she met people who suffered extensively yet still showed a tremendous capacity for joy. Talking with these women, many of whom had struggled with addiction and suicidal thoughts themselves, she realized: “Joy doesn’t obliterate grief. . . . Instead, joy has a mysterious capacity to be felt alongside sorrow and even—sometimes most especially—in the midst of suffering.”

This is the story of Angela’s discovery of an authentic, grounded Christian joy. But even more, it is an invitation for others to seize upon this more resilient joy as a counteragent to the twenty-first-century epidemics of despair, addiction, and suicide—a call to action for communities that yearn to find joy and are willing to “walk together through the shadows” to find it.

The In-Between Place: Where Jesus Changes Your Story by Kat Armstrong

Jesus’ journey to the woman at the well in Samaria offers insights and hope for women today to make peace with the past, find hope in the present, and step into the future.

God wants us to move toward the goodness He has planned for us. But what do we do when challenges stop our forward momentum? What’s the next step when we fall into a pit of despair with the determination knocked right out of us?

On his way from Judea to Galilee, Jesus traveled through Samaria, a broken place everyone knew to avoid. In Samaria he stopped in Shechem, where evil had gained such a foothold of power that it eventually reigned. Yet the place once condemned as somewhere no one wanted to visit—let alone hang out in for a while—was the location of one Samaritan woman’s most hope-filled encounter with the Savior.

The In-Between Place offers deeply important insights to anyone who feels stuck and can’t see a way forward. It is for the person who feels that if she looks left, her face will be scraped by an immovable boulder, and if she looks right, she’ll see nothing but hard to handle. It’s for the person who feels lost and is not sure she is worth the effort to be found, for the person who feels overlooked and unfulfilled. Because sometimes Jesus saves our greatest spiritual breakthroughs for our in-between places.

Win the Day: 7 Daily Habits to Help You Stress Less & Accomplish More by Mark Batterson

The New York Times bestselling author of Chase the Lion reveals seven powerful habits that can help you tackle God-sized goals by turning yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s anxieties into fuel for a better today.

Too many people delay, downsize, or shrug off their dreams just because they don’t know where to start, but playing it safe doesn’t account for the massive cost of a life not fully lived. Win the Day is the jump-start you need to go after your goals, one day at a time. You’ll discover how to:

1. Flip the Script: If you want to change your life, start by changing your story.
2. Kiss the Wave: The obstacle is not the enemy; the obstacle is the way.
3. Eat the Frog: If you want God to do the super, you’ve got to do the natural.
4. Fly the Kite: How you do anything is how you’ll do everything.
5. Cut the Rope: Playing it safe is risky.
6. Wind the Clock: Time is measured in minutes; life is measured in moments.
7. Seed the Clouds: Sow today what you want to see tomorrow.

As Batterson unpacks each of these daily habits, you’ll see how simple it is to pursue them with focus and dedication—not someday down the road, but now. Transform your perspective of a single day and you’ll discover the potential waiting to be grasped at the beginning of each new sunrise.

Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America by Michael Eric Dyson

“Our bodies carry memory – not just our own, but the memory of the group as well. We feel the history in our bones as much as we witness it with our eyes.” 

This is just one of the many profound quotes in Long Time Coming, the latest publication by Michael Eric Dyson, a distinguished scholar of race and religion, as well as a prolific, New York Times bestselling author. In this short, powerful book, Dyson considers how race has shaped our nation from its very founding, tapping into both historical and contemporary insights to guide readers on how we can truly reckon with race in America.

The profundity of this text impacts readers from the very beginning, as each chapter is a letter addressed to a black martyr of racial injustice, including Elijah McClain, Emmett Till, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Hadiya Pendleton, Sandra Bland, and Rev. Clementa Pinckney. In each letter, Dyson considers significant aspects and examples of injustice plaguing Black Americans, relating how the systemic racism inherently planted to enable slavery still permeates today’s society in a myriad of ways. This book  is also extremely timely, as the title itself denotes the momentum of a cultural and social movement, one that has been a long time coming, that spilled over after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Since then, powerful and reverberating calls for change and reform to achieve true justice for all have been a large part of the history being made today, not unlike the passionate calls for change that occurred in the 1960s.

When reflecting on this book as a whole, one particularly striking moment for me was Dyson’s metaphor of racism illustrated through a tree and its offshoots. When considering the idea of racism as either a seed that is planted or one that merely falls to the ground, thereby growing into both intentional and unintentional forms of racism, he depicts how the change that must occur is bigger than any individual’s thoughts or actions regarding race. Rather, Dyson contends this change must be structural in order to truly combat the cyclical nature of racism and the notions of Anti-Blackness in our country. After drawing this comparison, Dyson ponders whether a reckoning of this scale will occur in today’s world to bring true justice and equity to Black Americans.

All in all, I would highly recommend this book for everyone to read. Not only is it accessible in length and language, but it also delivers an earnest, compelling, and passionate message of racial justice that could not be timelier for the history being made today.

*On this topic of racial justice, I also wanted to share a new resource recently added to the Davenport Public Library website for those interested in finding more books about social justice. Titled “Social Justice Reads,” this guide features new and notable titles in our collection for many types of social justice issues, such as racial equity, LGBTQ+ rights, environmental justice, and women’s rights. This guide will be continually updated to showcase and reflect the newest titles regarding social justice added to our collection. You can access the guide here.*

New Religion Titles at Main

Looking for a new religious title to read? Here are some books that hit the shelves at our Main Downtown Branch in December, January, and February. If any of these titles interest you, you can use the links below to place a hold in our catalog, or you can always give us a call to put one on hold for you. The following descriptions were provided by the publisher.

Be the Refuge: Raising the Voices of Asian American Buddhists by Chenxing Han

A must-read for modern sanghas–Asian American Buddhists in their own words, on their own terms.

Despite the fact that two thirds of U.S. Buddhists identify as Asian American, mainstream perceptions about what it means to be Buddhist in America often whitewash and invisibilize the diverse, inclusive, and intersectional communities that lie at the heart of American Buddhism.

Be the Refuge is both critique and celebration, calling out the erasure of Asian American Buddhists while uplifting the complexity and nuance of their authentic stories and vital, thriving communities. Drawn from in-depth interviews with a pan-ethnic, pan-Buddhist group, Be the Refuge is the first book to center young Asian American Buddhists’ own voices. With insights from multi-generational, second-generation, convert, and socially engaged Asian American Buddhists, Be the Refuge includes the stories of trailblazers, bridge-builders, integrators, and refuge-makers who hail from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds.

Championing nuanced representation over stale stereotypes, Han and the 89 interviewees in Be the Refuge push back against false narratives like the Oriental monk, the superstitious immigrant, and the banana Buddhist–typecasting that collapses the multivocality of Asian American Buddhists into tired, essentialized tropes. Encouraging frank conversations about race, representation, and inclusivity among Buddhists of all backgrounds, Be the Refuge embodies the spirit of interconnection that glows at the heart of American Buddhism.

Black & Buddhist: What Buddhism Can Teach Us About Race, Resilience, Transformation & Freedom by Pamela Ayo Yetunde

Leading African American Buddhist teachers offer lessons on racism, resilience, spiritual freedom, and the possibility of a truly representative American Buddhism. With contributions by Acharya Gaylon Ferguson, Cheryl A. Giles, Gyōzan Royce Andrew Johnson, Ruth King, Kamilah Majied, Lama Rod Owens, Lama Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Sebene Selassie, and Pamela Ayo Yetunde.

What does it mean to be Black and Buddhist? In this powerful collection of writings, African American teachers from all the major Buddhist traditions tell their stories of how race and Buddhist practice have intersected in their lives. The resulting explorations display not only the promise of Buddhist teachings to empower those facing racial discrimination but also the way that Black Buddhist voices are enriching the Dharma for all practitioners. As the first anthology comprised solely of writings by African-descended Buddhist practitioners, this book is an important contribution to the development of the Dharma in the West.

The Great Belonging: How Loneliness Leads Us to Each Other by Charlotte Donlon

Loneliness has reached epidemic proportions, according to many sources. In an age of mobility and fraying civic life, we are all susceptible to its power. But what if loneliness is a necessary part of the human condition? What if it is a current that leads us deeper into belonging–to ourselves, to each other, and to God?

In The Great Belonging, writer and spiritual director Charlotte Donlon reframes loneliness and offers us a language for the disquiet within. Instead of turning away from the waters of loneliness for fear they will engulf us, she invites us to wade in and see what we find there. In vulnerable, thoughtful prose, Donlon helps us understand our own occasional or frequent loneliness and offers touchpoints for understanding alienation. We can live into the persistent questions of loneliness. We can notice God’s presence even when we feel alone in our doubts. Ultimately, Donlon claims, we can find connection that emerges from honesty, and she offers tools, resources, and practices for transforming loneliness into true belonging.

This Hallelujah Banquet: How the End of What We Were Reveals Who We Can Be by Eugene H. Peterson

In this powerful new interpretation of the Book of Revelation, the late, revered author and translator of The Message Bible shows us how to live with profound joy and faithfulness–even when it feels like the end of the world.

When John the Beloved Disciple penned the Book of Revelation, Christians lived in a time of oppression, violence, deception, and injustice. There were temptations from outside the church and divisions within. Some days, it felt like the end of the world.

Two millennia later, the characters are different, but the story’s the same. The life of faith is anything but easy. So how can we learn to live with truth and power when challenges seem to be everywhere?

Through the dramatic symbolism of John’s Letters to the Seven Churches, Eugene Peterson encourages us to see ourselves in these ancient communities as they are examined by the Risen Christ. As we do, we’re forced to ask: What if the troubles that face us were intended to test our faith? What if the secret to deeper satisfaction in Jesus did not mean avoiding pain and trial, but living faithfully through it?

In this powerful, never-before-published work, we are given a new and timely message from one of our most iconic Christian voices. Our anxious longings for peace and joy will be met as we learn to live with overcoming faith, even in the most turbulent times.

My Heart Sutra: A World in 260 Characters by Frederik Schodt 

A cultural and personal journey into the famous sutra that teaches “form is emptiness; and emptiness is form.”

The Heart Sutra is the most widely read, chanted, and copied text in East Asian Buddhism. Here Frederik L. Schodt explores his lifelong fascination with the sutra: its mesmerizing mantra, its ancient history, the “emptiness theory, and the way it is used around the world as a metaphysical tool to overcome chaos and confusion and reach a new understanding of reality–a perfection of wisdom. Schodt’s journey takes him to caves in China, American beats declaiming poetry, speculations into the sutra’s true origins, and even a robot Avalokitesvara at a Kyoto temple.

The Second Happy: Seven Practices to Make Your Marriage Better than Your Honeymoon by Kevin Myers

What is the secret to a healthy, happy, fulfilling marriage?

Nearly every marriage starts out happy, and if we’re honest, nearly every marriage at some point becomes unhappy. Is there a solution? Can an unhappy marriage really get back to being happy? Can it be truly and authentically happy–even better than it was at first? Kevin and Marcia Myers, married for thirty-seven years through nearly every challenge a couple can face, emphatically say yes.

Revealing seven practices that offer help and hope for a happy and enduring marriage, The Second Happy is a captivating, practical resource that provides the tools necessary to tune-up, overhaul, or even rebuild your marriage. Practices to sustain and strengthen marriage include the following:

  • breaking the quit cycle;
  • picking a fair fight so both people win;
  • keeping disagreements from escalating; and 
  • removing pretense from your relationship.

Rooted in Scripture and contemporary insights from the Myers’ marriage, as well as real stories from other couples, this revelatory book shows how any marriage can regain depth, meaning and, yes, happiness.

New Religion Titles at Fairmount

Looking for a new religious title to read? Here are some books that hit the shelves at our Fairmount Branch in January, February, and March. If any of these titles interest you, you can use the links below to place a hold in our catalog, or you can always give us a call to put one on hold for you. The following descriptions were provided by the publisher.

The Night Lake: A Young Priest Maps the Topography of Grief by Liz Tichenor

Called “such a sad, tough story, but finally so life-affirming, filled with spirit and love” by Anne Lamott, this is a raw and intensely affecting memoir by a young priest about loss of a child, its grief and its aftermath, and the hard-won joy that can follow.

Liz Tichenor has taken her newborn son, five weeks old, to the doctor, from a cabin on the shores of Lake Tahoe. She is sent home to her husband and two-year-old daughter with the baby, who is pronounced “fine” by an urgent care physician. Six hours later, the baby dies in their bed. Less than a year and a half before, Tichenor’s mother jumped from a building and killed herself after a long struggle with alcoholism. As a very young Episcopal priest, Tichenor has to “preach the Good News,” to find faith where there is no hope, but she realizes these terrible parts of her own life will join her in the pulpit.

The Night Lake is the story of finding a way forward through tragedies that seem like they might be beyond surviving and of learning to carve out space for the slow labor of learning to live again, in grief.

They Turned the World Upside Down: A Storyteller’s Journey with Those Who Dared to Follow Jesus by Charles Martin

Walk in the shoes of the disciples, as New York Times bestselling author Charles Martin brings their stories to life with his storyteller’s perspective. 

In the first century, believer didn’t just mean someone who heard and agreed with Jesus; it meant someone who acted on that belief. And when the outside world saw the faith of these new believers, they declared “they turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

That’s the kind of believer Charles Martin wants us to be. The kind who understands that the truth of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is so powerful, it reshaped history. The kind of believer who lives with that same world-changing faith today. 

In his second non-fiction work, he uses his talents as a novelist to walk you through the lives of the disciples in the aftermath of the Resurrection and as they spread the message of the Gospel and “turn the world upside down”, leading up to Paul’s ministry in Thessonalica. In his beloved lyrical style, Martin illuminates key moments from Scripture and shares stories from his own life as a disciple.

With the same depth, sensitivity, and emotion that have made his novels beloved to millions, Martin will helps you engage with your faith in a new and inspiring way.

A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal by Sarah Bessey

For the weary, the angry, the anxious, and the hopeful, this collection of moving, tender prayers offers rest, joyful resistance, and a call to act, written by Barbara Brown Taylor, Amena Brown, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and other artists and thinkers, curated by the author Glennon Doyle calls “my favorite faith writer.”

It’s no secret that we are overworked, overpressured, and edging burnout. Unsurprisingly, this fact is as old as time—and that’s why we see so many prayer circles within a multitude of church traditions. These gatherings are a trusted space where people seek help, hope, and peace, energized by God and one another. This book, curated by acclaimed author Sarah Bessey, celebrates and honors that prayerful tradition in a literary form. A companion for all who feel the immense joys and challenges of the journey of faith, this collection of prayers says it all aloud, giving readers permission to recognize the weight of all they carry. These writings also offer a broadened imagination of hope—of what can be restored and made new. Each prayer is an original piece of writing, with new essays by Sarah Bessey throughout.

Encompassing the full breadth of the emotional landscape, these deeply tender yet subversive prayers give readers an intimate look at the diverse language and shapes of prayer.

Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone by James Martin

One of America’s most beloved spiritual leaders and the New York Times bestselling author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything and Jesus: A Pilgrimage teaches anyone to converse with God in this comprehensive guide to prayer.

In The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, Father James Martin included a chapter on communicating with God. Now, he expands those thoughts in this profound and practical handbook. Learning to Pray explains what prayer is, what to expect from praying, how to do it, and how it can transform us when we make it a regular practice in our lives.

A trusted guide walking beside us as we navigate our unique spiritual paths, Martin lays out the different styles and traditions of prayer throughout Christian history and invites us to experiment and discover which works best to feed our soul and build intimacy with our Creator. Father Martin makes clear there is not one secret formula for praying. But like any relationship, each person can discover the best style for building an intimate relationship with God, regardless of religion or denomination. Prayer, he teaches us, is open and accessible to anyone willing to open their heart.

The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

From the New York Times-bestselling author of Stony the Road and one of our most important voices on the African-American experience, a powerful new history of the Black church in America as the Black community’s abiding rock and its fortress.

For the young Henry Louis Gates, Jr., growing up in a small, segregated West Virginia town, the church was his family and his community’s true center of gravity. Within those walls, voices were lifted up in song to call forth the best in each other, and to comfort each other when times were at their worst. In this book, his tender and magisterial reckoning with the meaning of the Black church in American history, Gates takes us from his own experience onto a journey across more than four hundred years and spanning the entire country. At road’s end, we emerge with a new understanding of the centrality of the Black church to the American story–as a cultural and political force, as the center of resistance to slavery and white supremacy, as an unparalleled incubator of talent, and as a crucible for working through the community’s most important issues, down to today.

In a country that has historically afforded its citizens from the African diaspora tragically few safe spaces, the Black church has always been more than a sanctuary; it’s been a place to nourish the deepest human needs and dreams of the African-American community. This fact was never lost on white supremacists: from the earliest days of slavery, when enslaved people were allowed to worship at all, their meeting houses were subject to surveillance, and often destruction. So it continued, long after slavery’s formal eradication; church burnings and church bombings by the Ku Klux Klan and others have always been a hallmark of the violent effort to suppress the struggle for equality for the African-American community. The past often isn’t even past–Dylann Roof committed his slaughter in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church 193 years after the church was first burned down by whites following a thwarted slave rebellion.

But as Gates brilliantly shows, the Black church has never been only one thing. Its story lies at the vital center of the civil rights movement, and produced many of its leaders, from the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on, but at the same time there have always been churches and sects that eschewed a more activist stance, even eschewed worldly political engagement altogether. That tension can be felt all the way to the Black Lives Matter movement and the work of today. Still and all, as a source of strength and a force for change, the Black church is at the center of the action at every stage of the American story, as this enthralling history makes vividly clear.

Hope in Times of Fear: The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter by Timothy Keller

The Resurrection accounts of Jesus in the Gospels are the most dramatic and impactful stories ever told. One similarity unites each testimony–that none of his most loyal and steadfast followers could “see” it was him, back from the dead. The reason for this is at the very foundation of the Christian faith.

She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. (John 20:14)

Hope in the Time of Fear is a book that unlocks the meaning of Jesus’s resurrection for readers. Easter is considered the most solemn and important holiday for Christians. It is a time of spiritual rebirth and a time of celebrating the physical rebirth of Jesus after three days in the tomb. For his devoted followers, nothing could prepare them for the moment they met the resurrected Jesus. Each failed to recognize him. All of them physically saw him and yet did not spiritually truly see him. It was only when Jesus reached out and invited them to see who he truly was that their eyes were open. Here the central message of the Christian faith is revealed in a way only Timothy Keller could do it–filled with unshakable belief, piercing insight, and a profound new way to look at a story you think you know. After reading this book, the true meaning of Easter will no longer be unseen.

Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living by Charles J. Chaput

With a balance of wisdom, candor, and scholarly rigor the beloved archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia takes on life’s central questions: why are we here, and how can we live and die meaningfully?

In Things Worth Dying For, Chaput delves richly into our yearning for God, love, honor, beauty, truth, and immortality. He reflects on our modern appetite for consumption and individualism and offers a penetrating analysis of how we got here, and how we can look to our roots and our faith to find purpose each day amid the noise of competing desires. Chaput examines the chronic questions of the human heart; the idols and false flags we create; and the nature of a life of authentic faith. He points to our longing to live and die with meaning as the key to our search for God, our loyalty to nation and kin, our conduct in war, and our service to others.

Ultimately, with compelling grace, he shows us that the things worth dying for reveal most powerfully the things worth living for.

Beauty in the Browns: Walking with Christ in the Darkness of Depression by Paul Asay

You can find beauty in life, even when your world is painted in bleak shades of brown.

Let’s face it, no one wants to be depressed. So if we’re prone to this disquieting malady, we try to hide it, to fake the smile that isn’t really there—especially if we’re Christians. Author Paul Asay knows all about that. He knows the ins and outs of depression from personal experience, and he wants to help you work your way out.

But don’t worry, this isn’t some simplistic how-to book, promising rainbows and unicorns in three easy steps. Paul knows “fixing” depression isn’t that easy. He gets the complexity of the darkness—but he also knows you can’t stay there. And he can’t stay there, either. In Beauty in the Browns, he’ll share what he’s learned about how to live with hope, with Christ—and not let the darkness win.

This book will make you laugh (really!), and it will make you cry in that good way when something touches you deep inside. Most of all, it will give you the hope and the certainty that you can go on, you can find life again—with the Lord by your side.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

As someone who doesn’t read a plethora of science fiction books, it has been a while since I have read anything like Christopher Paolini’s latest release, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. While I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book while browsing at the library, this title has been on my to-read list since it was announced due to my love of the Inheritance Cycle series, a fantasy tetralogy Paolini began writing at the age of fifteen. For anyone who has read Paolini or enjoys a good space opera, I assure you that this title will not disappoint!

Taking place in a future in which humans have established colonies on planets beyond Earth, this story revolves around Kira Navárez, a xenobiologist who studies new planets to gauge their habitability for human life and future societies. While Kira is truly passionate about studying and discovering new worlds, she and her fiancé, Alan, decide they want to begin a life of their own together in one of the established colonies. They plan to marry and settle down after their last mission on Adrasteia, an Earth-sized moon they had been surveying for a few months. Just before this mission ends, however, Kira stumbles upon an alien relic that quite literally transforms her life and world. Soon afterward, she finds herself in the middle of an intergalactic war in which she becomes humanity’s greatest hope for surviving in the face of a violent extraterrestrial species.

While this book is full of aliens and space travel and warfare, as well as a string of catastrophic events that never seems to end, this book was also full of introspection and camaraderie, capturing the true resiliency and depth of what it means to be human. I will admit that this book was intense – definitely more so than Eragon and the rest of the Inheritance Cycle series, but it truly was out of this world (pun fully intended!). It was both exhilarating and humbling to find myself lost among the stars alongside the unforgettable characters in this story. Another neat aspect of this novel was the obvious research Paolini did to familiarize himself with the scientific background of space travel and space itself. While some of the explanations went right over my head (physics class was a long time ago), it was still interesting and didn’t detract from the story at all.

Additionally, according to Paolini’s website, this book is the first of many in the Fractalverse series and it is slated to become a movie, scripted by Paolini himself. While I find that movies rarely do their respective books justice I am, nevertheless, excited at the prospect of losing myself in this story on the big screen.

Overall, I cannot wait for the rest of the series to be released and would highly recommend this book! Despite its nearly 900 pages in length, I flew through the story and didn’t want it to end upon reaching the last page.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Playaway

Spanish text

On Writing by Stephen King

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” 

While I have always been a fan of Stephen King, I had no idea he had written a memoir about the craft of writing itself until very recently. Published in 2000, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft delves into King’s thoughts and philosophies on writing and how his life experiences have contributed to his own craft.

King aptly titles the first half of this memoir “CV,” which details significant moments and experiences in his life that have shaped him into the writer he is today. While I was surprised at some of the traumatic experiences he recounted as both a child and young man, I was admittedly more surprised to read about how many rejection letters King received when he first started writing science fiction stories. It is mind-boggling to think that Stephen King, a staple name in the horror genre, experienced so much rejection when he first started out. Consequently, I was extremely inspired by his perseverance to continue writing, despite countless setbacks. For him, writing wasn’t (and isn’t) a job – he is truly passionate about the craft and it is a part of who he is.

In the second half of the memoir, titled “On Writing,” King reflects upon the craft of writing itself. He definitely isn’t afraid to say what he thinks (NOT a fan of adverbs or passive voice!), but gives much encouragement to the aspiring writers who read this book. I found it absolutely fascinating to see inside the mind of one of the most brilliant and prolific authors of our time – not only through the lens of an autobiography, but also through the lens of how and why he writes the way he does. One of the most engrossing sections of this book for me was when he described how he plans and details his plots… he doesn’t! He describes his process as starting with a “what if” question and, if the situation arising from that question is strong enough, he lets his characters lead him through the actual writing of the story. How amazing is that? Some examples he gives in the text include the following:

  • What if vampires invaded a small New England village? (‘Salem’s Lot)
  • What if a policeman in a remote Nevada town went berserk and started killing everyone in sight? (Desperation)
  • What if a young mother and her son became trapped in their stalled car by a rabid dog? (Cujo)

Overall, I found this memoir to be a captivating read and would highly recommend it for both aspiring writers and fans of King alike!

The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

“We cannot solve our most intractable problems unless we are honest about what they are, unless we are willing to have difficult conversations and accept what facts make plain.”

Upon the groundbreaking milestone of Kamala Harris becoming the first woman, first Black, and first South Asian American to serve as vice president-elect of the United States, I made it a priority to get my hands on her book The Truths We Hold. In this book, Harris recounts memories of her upbringing, including the monumental role social justice played in her life from a young age; chronicles her career path from prosecutor, to district attorney, to attorney general, to U.S. senator, to vice president-elect; and asserts truths behind key issues affecting our world today.

Throughout the text, Harris stresses how she is motivated by the opportunity to give those without voices fair and just representation in government and, thereby, in the laws and policies governing their everyday lives. Upon finishing, I was inspired by the ways in which Harris has used her various positions of power to be a voice for the people she represented, despite the countless frustrations and setbacks she faced. No matter who may have doubted her or her ideas, she did what she knew needed to be done to serve and truly represent those counting on her.

I also appreciated the humanistic lens applied to this text. Rather than just write about her views on issues on a broad and general scale, Harris illustrated the human beings who she was able to help by listening to their stories and directly responding to their needs. From representing sexual assault victims, to creating initiatives aimed at reforming the criminal justice system, to helping pass legislation at the federal level to ensure the legality and legitimacy of same-sex marriage in the state of California, Harris’ experience and work has not only served as models for other states, but has also demonstrated her true passion for helping those who need help with the power she possesses. Additionally, she has blazed a path for up-and-coming women of all backgrounds and will undoubtedly inspire countless women to participate in U.S. government and politics.

At its conclusion, Harris takes the time to consider some of the truths she herself has learned from her experience in government over the years and one of the most powerful of these is this: “You may be the first. Don’t be the last.” Reading this immediately gave me goose bumps, as she used those very words in her address upon becoming vice president-elect with respect to her becoming the first woman to hold this office. She is truly an inspirational figure and this book was definitely one of the most interesting and motivational titles I have read this year.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Conditional Citizens by Laila Lalami

“Conditional citizens are people who know what it is like for a country to embrace you with one arm, and push you away with the other.” 

In the recently published title Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America, Laila Lalami reflects upon what it means to be an American citizen as an Arab, Muslim woman who immigrated from Morocco after studying abroad in the United States. In this book, she designates individuals such as herself as “conditional citizens,” or those who are unable to participate and share in the traditional liberties and equalities promised upon becoming a citizen due to their race, nationality, religion, or gender.

In this collection of essays, Lalami explores her place in America by focusing on different spaces in which she experiences conditional citizenship, spanning from allegiance and faith to caste, inheritance, and assimilation. She considers how conditional citizens are all too often attributed a collective narrative based on race, gender, nationality, and religion, which can lead to demeaning stereotypes, dehumanizing rhetoric, and destructive notions of “the Other.” Lalami also elaborates upon how the very foundations of the United States are upheld by a caste system supporting white supremacy, in which white males are upheld at the top of the social order. All in all, this account asks the monumental questions of what it means to be an American and what it means to truly belong in the United States of America.

Overall, this deeply personal and moving narrative provides a vital perspective and addresses a variety of undeniably important topics in short, insightful essays. For me, this was not only an extremely enlightening read, but also a disheartening one as Lalami illuminates the hardships many people experience in the United States each and every day, despite being citizens. One of the most poignant experiences Lalami recounts is when a white woman asked her about the formation of ISIS at a book talk for her novel The Moor’s Account, which is a fictionalized memoir of the first black explorer in the United States. In other words, a work that has absolutely nothing to do with ISIS, but asked based on an ignorant, collective narrative drawn solely from her nationality and appearance. Unfortunately, these generalizations are by no means uncommon and can be extremely dangerous for so many people, which is why I especially recommend this title to everyone.

This title is also available in the following formats:

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Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

“The Beauty of the House is immeasurable; its Kindness infinite.”

Any Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell fans out there? If so, I am happy to share that Susanna Clarke has recently published a new book called Piranesi. While this title doesn’t have any direct ties to Clarke’s first novel, it does share magical and fantastical elements in a world you won’t want to leave. Let’s jump right in!

This novel follows the journal entries of Piranesi, one of two humans living in “the House.” This setting is described as an endless labyrinth of halls, corridors, and vestibules filled with statues, an entombed ocean, and various types of wildlife, such as the majestic albatross. Piranesi lives to explore this world, documenting his travels by mapping its contents and cataloging all of the statues he finds, all while utilizing the House’s resources in order to survive.

In this world is only one other human besides Piranesi, aptly called “the Other.” They initially work together in an attempt to find and unleash the “Great and Secret Knowledge,” or the God-like powers the Other believes are harnessed in the House. Over time, Piranesi begins to fall away from this quest, as he doesn’t view the House as merely a means to an end, but still assists the Other with anything he requests of him. As the story progresses, however, Piranesi comes to question the world as he knows it upon discovering journals in his own handwriting he can’t remember writing and the existence of another person in the House. This story then blurs the lines between magic and reality, identity and purpose, as Piranesi endeavors to solve the mysterious and mind-bending plot he finds himself in the middle of.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the dream-like escapism this story provides and reveled in Clarke’s suspenseful writing style that leaves you guessing until the end. While Piranesi is a very innocent protagonist, he also proves to be unreliable as the story unfolds, which lends an additional interesting twist to the story. I did find myself wanting more, though, as this book is a mere 245 pages in comparison to the 1,000+ pages of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (I even missed having footnotes!).

I would also recommend taking a look at the name “Piranesi” before or while you are reading this book. It is named for Giovanni Battista Piranesi, an 18th century Italian artist who is well known for his prints of dizzying and fantastic imaginary prisons. Interestingly enough, Piranesi always considered himself to be an architect, which absolutely shows when viewing the architecture he brought to life in his etchings. Viewing his work definitely helped me visualize and wrap my head around the extraordinary world Clarke creates in this story.

All in all, if you are looking for a quick read in which you are immersed in a surreal labyrinth of beauty, fantasy, and discovery, I would highly recommend this title!

This book is also available in the following formats:

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