Best Sellers Club July Nonfiction picks

Have you joined the Best Sellers Club? If not, you’re missing out! Four times a year, our librarians choose three nonfiction titles for our Best Sellers Club to read: a biography, a cookbook, and a true crime title. Below you will find information provided by the publishers on the four titles our selectors have picked for July.

True Crime pick

What Happened to Paula by Katherine Dykstra

In July 1970, eighteen-year-old Paula Oberbroeckling left her house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and never returned. A cold case for fifty years, Paula’s story had been largely forgotten when Katherine Dykstra began looking for answers. A woman was dead. Why had no one been held responsible? How could a community give up and move on? Could there ever be justice for Paula?

Tracing the knowns and unknowns, Dykstra discovers a girl who was hemmed in by the culture of the late 1960s, when women’s rights had been brought to the fore but had little practical bearing on actual lives. The more she learns about Paula, the more parallels Dykstra finds in the lives of the women who knew Paula, the lives of the women in her own family, and even in her own life.

Captivating and expertly crafted, What Happened to Paula is a timely, powerful look at gender, autonomy, and the cost of being a woman.

Librarian Anna has the following to say about her True Crime pick:

‘ This brand-new book investigates the 1970 murder of Paula Oberbroeckling, an eighteen-year-old woman who left her home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and never returned. Four months later, her remains were discovered near the Cedar River, but the case was never solved and quickly forgotten by the police and local media. Fifty years later, author and journalist Katherine Dykstra began searching for answers, weaving together the loose threads of this cold case to determine why the crime had been abandoned so quickly. Through police reports and case files, interviews with Paula’s family and friends, and further investigation on the scene, Dykstra discovered the complex circumstances of Paula’s story. As a young white woman in the 1960s, Paula defied many social norms that may have impacted the reception of and actions taken for the case; from having a Black ex-boyfriend to a rumored pregnancy and abortion, Dykstra considers how this particular case was deeply entangled with the social expectations of the time, as well as the overarching question of how much agency women have over their own bodies in our society.

I primarily selected this title for the BSC due to its highly anticipated demand, as well as due to the positive reviews it received from acclaimed journals and reader communities upon publication. Another major reason I selected this title was due to its somewhat local connection – this happened less than two hours away from Davenport! Lastly, I chose this book due to its melding of true crime story, memoir, and social history; one review likened this book to our previous selection of We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper due to its consideration of larger social themes at work in true crime stories.’

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Social Justice pick

On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed

Weaving together American history, dramatic family chronicle, and searing episodes of memoir, Annette Gordon-Reed’s On Juneteenth provides a historian’s view of the country’s long road to Juneteenth, recounting both its origins in Texas and the enormous hardships that African-Americans have endured in the century since, from Reconstruction through Jim Crow and beyond. All too aware of the stories of cowboys, ranchers, and oilmen that have long dominated the lore of the Lone Star State, Gordon-Reed—herself a Texas native and the descendant of enslaved people brought to Texas as early as the 1820s—forges a new and profoundly truthful narrative of her home state, with implications for us all.

Combining personal anecdotes with poignant facts gleaned from the annals of American history, Gordon-Reed shows how, from the earliest presence of Black people in Texas to the day in Galveston on June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger announced the end of legalized slavery in the state, African-Americans played an integral role in the Texas story.

Reworking the traditional “Alamo” framework, she powerfully demonstrates, among other things, that the slave- and race-based economy not only defined the fractious era of Texas independence but precipitated the Mexican-American War and, indeed, the Civil War itself.

In its concision, eloquence, and clear presentation of history, On Juneteenth vitally revises conventional renderings of Texas and national history. Especially now that the U.S. recognizes Juneteenth (June 19) as a national holiday, On Juneteenth is both an essential account and a stark reminder that the fight for equality is exigent and ongoing.

Librarian Anna has the following to say about this pick:

‘Published in May, this title delves into the Texan history of Juneteenth, as well as the lived experiences of the author and her family as Texas natives. A Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian and professor at Harvard University, Gordon-Reed presents an elucidating history lesson, while also piecing together her family history, to call attention to the legacy of slavery, her personal experiences of racial injustice, and how we can move forward. Described by Kirkus Reviews as a “concise personal and scholarly history that avoids academic jargon as it illuminates emotional truths,” this book is made up of several short, accessible essays to draw in any and all readers.

I primarily selected this title for the BSC due to several positive reviews it received from acclaimed journals and reader communities upon publication, but also because of the possibility of Juneteenth becoming a federal holiday this year (which it officially has – hooray!). I also had the privilege of watching a webinar in which Gordon-Reed talked about this publication. It was absolutely inspiring to not only hear about what it took to write her family’s history, but also how she hopes readers will realize that the past is a part of who we are today and that we need to truly consider both the human experience and the reality of racism’s past, present, and future impacts to achieve true social justice and freedom for everyone.’

This book is also available in the following format:

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Biography pick

Brat: an ’80s Story  by Andrew McCarthy

Most people know Andrew McCarthy from his movie roles in Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Weekend at Bernie’s, and Less than Zero, and as a charter member of Hollywood’s Brat Pack. That iconic group of ingenues and heartthrobs included Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Demi Moore, and has come to represent both a genre of film and an era of pop culture.

In his memoir Brat: An ’80s Story, McCarthy focuses his gaze on that singular moment in time. The result is a revealing look at coming of age in a maelstrom, reckoning with conflicted ambition, innocence, addiction, and masculinity. New York City of the 1980s is brought to vivid life in these pages, from scoring loose joints in Washington Square Park to skipping school in favor of the dark revival houses of the Village where he fell in love with the movies that would change his life. Filled with personal revelations of innocence lost to heady days in Hollywood with John Hughes and an iconic cast of characters, Brat is a surprising and intimate story of an outsider caught up in a most unwitting success.

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Cookbook Pick

Zoe Bakes Cakes by Zoe Francois

Cake is the ultimate symbol of celebration, used to mark birthdays, weddings, or even just a Tuesday night. Yet too many people use chemical-laden mixes even though a cake is so easy to make from scratch and infinitely more fun to share. In Zoë Bakes Cakes, bestselling author Zoë François demystifies the craft of cakes with more than 100 easy-to-use recipes, showing how to get gorgeous confections on the table to mark any occasion, big or small.

Librarian Ann says the following about her newest pick:

‘Initially I choose this cookbook for the cover: an exquisite chocolate cake topped with cubes of marbled goodness. Inside are more pictures of beautiful, drool-worthy cakes. But this is more than a picture book – recipes are concise and clear, ingredients are easily found (mostly in your pantry) and the presentation of each cake is fun and innovative. In addition, the opening chapters offer a virtual master class in baking techniques allowing even a beginner baker to master these delicious creations. Finally, I love Zoe’s philosophy, that any day can be made better with cake, even a Tuesday!

Zoe Francois also hosts the television series “Zoe Bakes” which can be seen on the Magnolia Network.’

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Join the Best Sellers Club to have the new nonfiction picks automatically put on hold for you four times a year.

June’s Celebrity Book Club Picks

It’s the beginning of the month which means that Jenna Bush Hager and Reese Witherspoon have picked new books for their book clubs! Reminder that if you join our Best Sellers Club, these titles will automatically be put on hold for you.

Jenna Bush Hager has selected Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Curious what Malibu Rising is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over–especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud–because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own–including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come bubbling to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

This book is also available in the following format:

Want to make sure that Jenna’s picks are automatically put on hold for you? Be sure to join our Best Sellers Club.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected Seven Days in June by Tia Williams.

Curious what Seven Days in June is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget and seven days to get it all back again… From the author of The Perfect Find, this is a witty, romantic, and sexy-as-hell new novel of two writers and their second chance at love.

Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas, but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can’t deny their chemistry-or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.

Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered. . .

With its keen observations of Black life and the condition of modern motherhood, as well as the consequences of motherless-ness, Seven Days in June is by turns humorous, warm and deeply sensual.

Want to make sure Reese’s picks are automatically put on hold for you? Be sure to join our Best Sellers Club.

Best Sellers Club June Authors – Michael Connelly & Robyn Carr

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! June’s authors are Michael Connelly for fiction and Robyn Carr for romance.

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Our June fiction pick is Michael Connelly. Connelly is the internationally bestselling author of the Harry Bosch thriller series. That series has been made into a television series called Bosch,  which can be found streaming on Amazon Prime Video. A former police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Connelly once had a magazine story short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize. He has written over thirty-six novels as well as one nonfiction title. There are over eighty million copies of his books worldwide that have been translated into forty languages.

Connelly’s latest book is The Law of Innocence, the sixth book in the Lincoln Lawyer series and 24th in the Harry Bosch universe. This book was published on November 10, 2021.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

Defense attorney Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, who find the body of a client in the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is charged with murder and can’t make the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a vindictive judge.

Mickey elects to defend himself and must strategize and build his defense from his jail cell in the Twin Towers Correctional Center in downtown Los Angeles, all the while looking over his shoulder–as an officer of the court he is an instant target.

Mickey knows he’s been framed. Now, with the help of his trusted team, he has to figure out who has plotted to destroy his life and why. Then he has to go before a judge and jury and prove his innocence.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our June romance pick is Robyn Carr. With 11 of her novels reaching #1 on the New York Times bestselling books list, Robyn Carr has become one of the most popular authors of women’s fiction and romance. Her books have sold over 27 million copies and have also been translated into nineteen languages in thirty countries. In 2016, the Romance Writers of America awarded Robyn the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Carr’s current writing plans involve writing one stand-alone women’s fiction and one contemporary romance per year.

Carr is best known for her Virgin River novel series, which has been made into a popular Netflix series. Season 3 is set to premiere on July 9, 2021.

Carr’s latest book is Return to Virgin River, the 21st book in the Virgin River series. This book was published on October 13, 2020.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr returns to the beloved town of Virgin River with a brand-new story about fresh starts, new friends and the magic of Christmas.

Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.

Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.

Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Best Sellers Club May Authors – Mary Higgins Clark and Joanne Fluke

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! April’s authors are Danielle Steel for fiction and Sandra Brown for romance. Have you read either of these authors?

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Our May fiction pick is Mary Higgins Clark. While Clark passed away in January 2020 due to complications of old age, she is still known as the Queen of Suspense. Even though she may not be publishing any new books, Clark is considered such a force in the suspense and mystery genre that her books are canon. Clark began publishing in 1975 with Where are the Children, a bestseller. Ever since the publication of that novel, all of her subsequent books have been bestsellers: 56 in all. More that 100 million copies of her books are in print in the United States. They are also international bestsellers and have been translated into many languages worldwide. Her latest book was released after her death in November 2020.

Her latest book is Piece of My Heart, which was published in November 2020. This book is the seventh book in the Under Suspicion series that Clark wrote with author Alafair Burke. Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

In the latest thrilling collaboration from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, television producer Laurie Moran must solve the kidnapping of her fiancée’s nephew—just days before her wedding.

Television producer Laurie Moran and her fiancée, Alex Buckley, the former host of her investigative television show, are just days away from their mid-summer wedding, when things take a dark turn. Alex’s seven-year-old nephew, Johnny, vanishes from the beach. A search party begins and witnesses recall Johnny playing in the water and collecting shells behind the beach shack, but no one remembers seeing him after the morning. As the sun sets, Johnny’s skim board washes up to shore, and everyone realizes that he could be anywhere, even under water.

A ticking clock, a sinister stalker, and fresh romance combine in this exhilarating follow up to the bestselling You Don’t Own Me—another riveting page-turner from the “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark and her dazzling partner-in-crime Alafair Burke.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our May mystery pick is Joanne Fluke. Fluke is best known for her Hannah Swensen mystery series with her latest book being number 27 in that series. Fluke grew up in rural Minnesota and now lives in Southern California with her family. In addition to writing under her own name, Fluke also writes under several pseudonyms. She writes suspense, mysteries, romances, and humorous nonfiction, as well as titles for young adults. Fluke is known for writing cozy mysteries with a bit of romance in her Hannah Swensen series.

Fluke’s latest book is Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder, book 27 in the Hannah Swensen series. Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

Spring has sprung in Lake Eden, Minnesota, but Hannah Swensen doesn’t have time to stop and smell the roses–not with hot cross buns to make, treats to bake, and a sister to exonerate!

Hannah’s up to her ears with Easter orders rushing in at The Cookie Jar, plus a festive meal to prepare for a dinner party at her mother’s penthouse. But everything comes crashing to a halt when Hannah receives a panicked call from her sister Andrea–Mayor Richard Bascomb has been murdered…and Andrea is the prime suspect.

Even with his reputation for being a bully, Mayor Bascomb–or “Ricky Ticky,” as Hannah’s mother likes to call him–had been unusually testy in the days leading up to his death, leaving Hannah to wonder if he knew he was in danger. Meanwhile, folks with a motive for mayoral murder are popping up in Lake Eden. Was it a beleaguered colleague? A political rival? A jealous wife? Or a scorned mistress?

As orders pile up at The Cookie Jar–and children line up for Easter egg hunts–Hannah must spring into investigation mode and identify the real killer…before another murder happens!

This book is also available in the following formats:

May’s Celebrity Book Club Picks

It’s the beginning of the month which means that Jenna Bush Hager and Reese Witherspoon have picked new books for their book clubs! Reminder that if you join our Best Sellers Club, these titles will automatically be put on hold for you.

Jenna Bush Hager has selected Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead for May.

Curious what Great Circle is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Spanning Prohibition-era Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New Zealand, wartime London, and modern-day Los Angeles, Great Circle tells the unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost.

After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There–after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in beat-up biplanes–Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fourteen she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles.

A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian’s disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian’s own story, as the two women’s fates–and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times–collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead.

This book is also available in the following format:

Want to make sure that Jenna’s picks are automatically put on hold for you? Be sure to join our Best Sellers Club.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave.

Curious what The Last Thing He Told Me is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

We all have stories we never tell.

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.

Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.

This book is also available in the following format:

Want to make sure Reese’s picks are automatically put on hold for you? Be sure to join our Best Sellers Club.

Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club Picks

Oprah Winfrey has selected the Gilead quartet of novels by Marilynne Robinson as her current book club selections: Gilead, Home, Lila, and Jack. Join our Best Sellers Club and have Oprah’s book club selections automatically put on hold for you. The following descriptions are provided by the publisher.

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Gilead – first published in 2004

Nearly 25 years after Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations, from the Civil War to the 20th century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. In the words of Kirkus, it is a novel “as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering.” GILEAD tells the story of America and will break your heart.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Home – published in 2008

Home parallels the story told in Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead. It is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith.

Hundreds of thousands were enthralled by the luminous voice of John Ames in Gilead Marilynne Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Home is an entirely independent, deeply affecting novel that takes place concurrently in the same locale, this time in the household of Reverend Robert Boughton, Ames’s closest friend.

Glory Boughton, aged thirty-eight, has returned to Gilead to care for her dying father. Soon her brother, Jack—the prodigal son of the family, gone for twenty years—comes home too, looking for refuge and trying to make peace with a past littered with tormenting trouble and pain.

Jack is one of the great characters in recent literature. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold a job, he is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton’s most beloved child. Brilliant, lovable, and wayward, Jack forges an intense bond with Glory and engages painfully with Ames, his godfather and namesake.

Home is a moving and healing book about families, family secrets, and the passing of the generations, about love and death and faith. It is Robinson’s greatest work, an unforgettable embodiment of the deepest and most universal emotions.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Lila – published in 2014

Marilynne Robinson, one of the greatest novelists of our time, returns to the town of Gilead in an unforgettable story of a girlhood lived on the fringes of society in fear, awe, and wonder.

Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church – the only available shelter from the rain – and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security.

Neglected as a toddler, Lila was rescued by Doll, a canny young drifter, and brought up by her in a hardscrabble childhood. Together they crafted a life on the run, living hand to mouth with nothing but their sisterly bond and a ragged blade to protect them. Despite bouts of petty violence and moments of desperation, their shared life was laced with moments of joy and love. When Lila arrives in Gilead, she struggles to reconcile the life of her makeshift family and their days of hardship with the gentle Christian worldview of her husband which paradoxically judges those she loves.

Revisiting the beloved characters and setting of Robinson’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Gilead and Home, a National Book Award finalist, Lila is a moving expression of the mysteries of existence that is destined to become an American classic.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Jack – published in 2020

Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, returns to the world of Gilead with Jack, the latest in one of the great works of contemporary American fiction.

Jack  tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the beloved, erratic, and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister in Gilead, Iowa. In segregated St. Louis sometime after World War II, Jack falls in love with Della Miles, an African American high school teacher who is also the daughter of a preacher―discerning, generous, and independent. Their fraught, beautiful romance is one of Robinson’s greatest achievements.

The Gilead novels are about the dilemmas and promise of American history―about the ongoing legacy of the Civil War and the enduring impact of both racial inequality and deep-rooted religious belief. They touch the deepest chords in our national character and resonate with our deepest feelings.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Want to make sure that all of Oprah’s future book club selections are put on hold for you? Join our Best Sellers Club and we’ll automatically put them on hold as soon as they are announced.

April’s Celebrity Book Club Picks

It’s the beginning of the month which means that Jenna Bush Hager and Reese Witherspoon have picked new books for their book clubs! Reminder that if you join our Best Sellers Club, these titles will automatically be put on hold for you. Let’s dive in.

Jenna Bush Hager has selected Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney for her April pick.

Curious what Good Company is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

A warm, incisive new novel about the enduring bonds of marriage and friendship from Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of the instant New York Times bestseller The Nest.

Flora Mancini has been happily married for more than twenty years. But everything she thought she knew about herself, her marriage, and her relationship with her best friend, Margot, is upended when she stumbles upon an envelope containing her husband’s wedding ring—the one he claimed he lost one summer when their daughter, Ruby, was five.

Flora and Julian struggled for years, scraping together just enough acting work to raise Ruby in Manhattan and keep Julian’s small theater company—Good Company—afloat. A move to Los Angeles brought their first real career successes, a chance to breathe easier, and a reunion with Margot, now a bona fide television star. But has their new life been built on lies? What happened that summer all those years ago? And what happens now?

With Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s signature tenderness, humor, and insight, Good Company tells a bighearted story of the lifelong relationships that both wound and heal us.

This book is also available in the following format:

Want to make sure that Jenna’s picks are automatically put on hold for you? Be sure to join our Best Sellers Club.

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Reese Witherspoon has selected Northern Spy by Flynn Berry for April.

Curious what Northern Spy is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

The acclaimed author of Under the Harrow and A Double Life returns with her most thrilling novel to date: the story of two sisters who become entangled with the IRA.

A producer at the Belfast bureau of the BBC, Tessa is at work one day when the news of another raid comes on the air. The IRA may have gone underground after the Good Friday agreement, but they never really went away, and lately, bomb threats, arms drops, and helicopters floating ominously over the city have become features of everyday life. As the anchor requests the public’s help in locating those responsible for this latest raid – a robbery at a gas station – Tessa’s sister appears on the screen. Tessa watches in shock as Marian pulls a black mask over her face.

The police believe Marian has joined the IRA, but Tessa knows this is impossible. They were raised to oppose Republicanism, and the violence enacted in its name. They’ve attended peace vigils together. And besides, Marian is vacationing by the sea. Tessa just spoke to her yesterday.

When the truth of what has happened to Marian reveals itself, Tessa will be forced to choose: between her ideals and her family, between bystanderism and action. Walking an increasingly perilous road, she fears nothing more than endangering the one person she loves more fiercely than her sister: her infant son.

A riveting and exquisite novel about family, terror, motherhood, betrayal, and the staggering human costs of an intractable conflict, Northern Spy cements Flynn Berry’s status as one of the most sophisticated and accomplished authors of crime and suspense novels working today.

Want to make sure Reese’s picks are automatically put on hold for you? Be sure to join our Best Sellers Club.

Best Sellers Club April Authors – Danielle Steel and Sandra Brown

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! April’s authors are Danielle Steel for fiction and Sandra Brown for romance. Have you read either of these authors?

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Our April fiction pick is Danielle Steel. Steel has written more than 194 books and has sold more than 650 million copies of said books internationally. She writes across many genres: general fiction, romance, historical, mystery, thriller, historical romance, and children’s fiction. Her works have been published in sixty-nine countries and forty-three languages. Of the 165 books she has written, eighteen are children’s books and 139 are novels. In addition to her books, Steel has also founded and runs two foundations. One foundation helps the homeless, while the other was named in honor of her late son, The Nick Traina Foundation. This foundation helps to finance organizations that deal with child abuse, mental illness, and suicide prevention.

Her latest book is Complications, which will be published in  August 2021. Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

Scandal and tragedy erupt against the backdrop of an exclusive Paris hotel in Danielle Steel’s riveting novel.

Known for its luxurious accommodations and bespoke service, the Hotel Louis XVI has been the most lauded boutique hotel in all of Paris for decades, attracting an international clientele of the rich and famous. Now, after four years of renovations and the death of its legendary and beloved manager, it is set to reopen its doors at last. An esteemed group of loyal returning guests is set to descend upon the hotel, joined by a number of new faces who have managed to secure coveted bookings in the wake of last-minute cancellations.

Awaiting them all is the Louis XVI’s new manager, Olivier Bateau, an anxious man whose lack of experience leaves him unprepared. He and his level-headed assistant manager, Yvonne Philippe, both strive to continue the hotel’s tradition of excellence. But they quickly realize that anything can happen at any moment, and on one cool September evening, everything does.

A successful art consultant arrives at the hotel for the first time since her brutal divorce, and is surprised to find new love—if she is willing to risk her heart again. A new guest contemplates ending his life, and saves a life instead. A couple finds their once-in-a-lifetime trip interrupted by a tragic medical emergency, leaving the idyllic future they’ve long waited for hanging in the balance. And one of the hotel’s most high-profile guests, a French politician and assumed presidential candidate, holds a mysterious meeting in his suite that will threaten his life and legacy. Rocked by the events of this one fateful night, guests and staff alike brace themselves for the aftershock, as it quickly becomes apparent that more dramas and misfortunes are still in store.

Danielle Steel tells an unforgettable story about a famed hotel, where a few complications quickly escalate into a matter of life and death, changing the lives of everyone who passes through its doors.

This book is also available in the following format:

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Our April romance pick is Sandra Brown. Brown writes suspense, thriller, historical, and classic romance books. She has written over 70 New York Times bestselling books, but since 1981, Brown has written over eighty novels. Almost eighty million copies of her book have been published in thirty-four languages. Television movies have been made of four of her novels: French Silk, Smoke Screen, Ricochet, and White Hot.

Brown’s latest book is Blind Tiger,  which will be published in August 2021. Brown hasn’t released much information about this forthcoming title, but what we know is provided by the publisher below:

A new page-turning historical thriller set in Prohibition-era Texas.

This book is also available in the following format:

Best Sellers Club April Nonfiction Picks

Have you joined the Best Sellers Club? If not, you’re missing out! Four times a year, our librarians choose three nonfiction titles for our Best Sellers Club to read: a biography, a cookbook, and a true crime title. Below you will find information on the three titles they have picked for April.

Cookbook Pick

Cook Real Hawai’i by Sheldon Simeon with Garrett Snyder

Written by a favorite Top Chef finalist, Cook Real Hawai’i brings together the many cultures that have influenced Hawaiian cuisine. These are recipes that are eaten at home with family and friends. During this time of quarantine and social distancing, this cookbook can bring back fond memories of past travels, or help you dream of future adventures.

The story of Hawaiian cooking, by a two-time Top Chef finalist and Fan Favorite, through 100 recipes that embody the beautiful cross-cultural exchange of the islands. On two seasons of Top Chef, Sheldon Simeon established himself as a leading young, creative chef (he was both a finalist and Fan Favorite on both seasons). The role he is even more proud to fill, though, is as the storyteller of Hawaiian cuisine and the many cultures that have come together there to create it: the native Hawaiian traditions, Japanese influences, Portuguese cooking techniques, and dynamic flavors that are closest to Sheldon’s heart.

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True Crime pick

Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion by Tori Telfer

A thoroughly entertaining and darkly humorous roundup of history’s notorious but often forgotten female con artists and their bold, outrageous scams—by the acclaimed author of Lady Killers.

From Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey to Frank Abagnale and Charles Ponzi, audacious scams and charismatic scammers continue to intrigue us as a culture. As Tori Telfer reveals in Confident Women, the art of the con has a long and venerable tradition, and its female practitioners are some of the best—or worst.

In the 1700s in Paris, Jeanne de Saint-Rémy scammed the royal jewelers out of a necklace made from six hundred and forty-seven diamonds by pretending she was best friends with Queen Marie Antoinette.

In the mid-1800s, sisters Kate and Maggie Fox began pretending they could speak to spirits and accidentally started a religious movement that was soon crawling with female con artists. A gal calling herself Loreta Janeta Velasquez claimed to be a soldier and convinced people she worked for the Confederacy—or the Union, depending on who she was talking to. Meanwhile, Cassie Chadwick was forging paperwork and getting banks to loan her upwards of $40,000 by telling people she was Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter.

In the 1900s, a 40something woman named Margaret Lydia Burton embezzled money all over the country and stole upwards of forty prized show dogs, while a few decades later, a teenager named Roxie Ann Rice scammed the entire NFL. And since the death of the Romanovs, women claiming to be Anastasia have been selling their stories to magazines. What about today? Spoiler alert: these “artists” are still conning.

Confident Women asks the provocative question: Where does chutzpah intersect with a uniquely female pathology—and how were these notorious women able to so spectacularly dupe and swindle their victims?

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Biography pick

Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight by Julia Sweig

A magisterial portrait of Lady Bird Johnson, and a major reevaluation of the profound yet underappreciated impact the First Lady’s political instincts had on LBJ’s presidency.

In the spring of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson had a decision to make. Just months after moving into the White House under the worst of circumstances–following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy–he had to decide whether to run to win the presidency in his own right. He turned to his most reliable, trusted political strategist: his wife, Lady Bird Johnson. The strategy memo she produced for him, emblematic of her own political acumen and largely overlooked by biographers, is just one revealing example of how their marriage was truly a decades-long political partnership.

Perhaps the most underestimated First Lady of the twentieth century, Lady Bird Johnson was also one of the most accomplished and often her husband’s secret weapon. Managing the White House in years of national upheaval, through the civil rights movement and the escalation of the Vietnam War, Lady Bird projected a sense of calm and, following the glamorous and modern Jackie Kennedy, an old-fashioned image of a First Lady. In truth, she was anything but. As the first First Lady to run the East Wing like a professional office, she took on her own policy initiatives, including the most ambitious national environmental effort since Teddy Roosevelt. Occupying the White House during the beginning of the women’s liberation movement, she hosted professional women from all walks of life in the White House, including urban planning and environmental pioneers like Jane Jacobs and Barbara Ward, encouraging women everywhere to pursue their own careers, even if her own style of leadership and official role was to lead by supporting others.

Where no presidential biographer has understood the full impact of Lady Bird Johnson’s work in the White House, Julia Sweig is the first to draw substantially on Lady Bird’s own voice in her White House diaries to place Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson center stage and to reveal a woman ahead of her time–and an accomplished politician in her own right.

Join the Best Sellers Club to have the new nonfiction picks automatically put on hold for you four times a year.

Best Sellers Club March Authors

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! March’s authors are. Have you read either of these authors?

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Our March fiction pick is Lee Child. Lee Child is the pen name for James Dover Grant. Lee Child is best known for his Jack Reacher novel series and also writes thriller novels.

His latest book is The Sentinelpublished in October 2020. This title is book 25 in the Jack Reacher series. Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

As always, Reacher has no particular place to go, and all the time in the world to get there. One morning he ends up in a town near Pleasantville, Tennessee.

But there’s nothing pleasant about the place.

In broad daylight Reacher spots a hapless soul walking into an ambush. “It was four against one” . . . so Reacher intervenes, with his own trademark brand of conflict resolution.

The man he saves is Rusty Rutherford, an unassuming IT manager, recently fired after a cyberattack locked up the town’s data, records, information . . . and secrets. Rutherford wants to stay put, look innocent, and clear his name.

Reacher is intrigued. There’s more to the story. The bad guys who jumped Rutherford are part of something serious and deadly, involving a conspiracy, a cover-up, and murder—all centered on a mousy little guy in a coffee-stained shirt who has no idea what he’s up against.

Rule one: if you don’t know the trouble you’re in, keep Reacher by your side.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our March mystery pick is Jonathan Kellerman. Kellerman is a New York Times bestselling author of more than forty crime novels. He is best known for his Alex Delaware series. Kellerman has also co-authored book with his wife, Faye Kellerman, who is also an author. In addition to writing with his wife, he has also co-authored books with his son, Jesse Kellerman. In addition to his adult crime novels, Kellerman has written two children’s books and nonfiction titles as well.

Kellerman’s latest book is Serpentine , published in February 2021. This is Book 36 in the Alex Delaware series. The following description is provided by the publisher:

LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis is a master detective. He has a near-perfect solve rate and he’s written his own rule book. Some of those successes–the toughest ones–have involved his best friend, the brilliant psychologist Alex Delaware. But Milo doesn’t call Alex in unless cases are “different.”

This murder warrants an immediate call. Milo’s independence has been compromised as never before, as the department pressures him to cater to the demands of a mogul: a hard-to-fathom, megarich young woman who is obsessed with reopening the coldest of cases–the decades-old death of the mother she never knew.

The facts describe a likely loser: a mysterious woman found with a bullet in her head in a torched Cadillac that has overturned on infamously treacherous Mulholland Drive. No physical evidence, no witnesses, no apparent motive. And a slew of detectives have already worked the case and failed. But as Delaware and Sturgis begin digging, the mist begins to lift. Too many coincidences. Facts turn out to be anything but. And as they soon discover, very real threats lurking in the present.

This book is also available in the following formats: