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Jade's Reviews

The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy by Arik Kershenbaum

Common conception is that the discovery of alien life (beyond microbes) is unlikely, a one-in-a-trillion chance. But zoologist Arik Kershenbaum is here to dispel that belief, with science! If varying and intelligent life can exist here on Earth, why not on other planets? In his engaging manner, Kershenbaum breaks down the components necessary for intelligent life and explains how and why this process is also possible on other planets, even those with vastly different ecosystems. I found myself reassessing my understanding of evolution and humanity and of my place in space. Instead of asking ourselves if humans are alone in the universe, the more accurate question might be “Are we unique?” A truly fascinating read. — Jade

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The Zoologist's Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal About Aliens--and Ourselves Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984881960
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - March 16th, 2021

The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping by Samantha Harvey

While she usually writes fiction, Samantha Harvey’s latest work subverts genre. After a series of emotional trauma in quick succession leads her to insomnia, Harvey struggles to continue on with business as usual. The book is a memoir at its core, but it’s composed of stream-of-consciousness thoughts, letters, conversations, and late-night revelations. Much like the mind of a sleep-deprived person, the narrative is somewhat disjointed and doesn’t always make perfect sense. Harvey provides an intriguing examination of the fragility of the mind and an acknowledgement that most of us truly have very little control over our own consciousness. — Jade

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The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802148834
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - May 18th, 2021

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey was just 19 years old when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. In this melancholy and deeply introspective memoir, Trethewey examines the traumatic murder and the indelible impact it has had on her life. The author’s writing is imbued with her poetic tendencies and the descriptions of her childhood are veiled in an aura of nostalgia, like flipping through an old photo album. Trethewey’s grief seeps through the pages, but she has managed to take something truly tragic and make it a thing of beauty. — Jade 

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Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062248589
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - June 1st, 2021

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten

The remote Swedish mining town of Silvertjarn has been empty for more than 60 years. All of the residents in the quaint little village disappeared one day without a trace, and nobody knows what became of them. When Alice Lindstedt and her small crew arrive to film a documentary about the town, they enter an area with no phone reception or any other way of contacting the outside world. As things begin to go awry and people start disappearing, it doesn’t take Alice long to realize that she and her crew are not alone in Silvertjarn. Stern has crafted a mystery that is clever, creative, and creepy in all the best ways. — Jade

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The Lost Village: A Novel Cover Image
By Camilla Sten, Alexandra Fleming (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781250249258
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - March 23rd, 2021

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby

Beauregard “Bug” Montage managed to defy the odds, leaving a life of crime to start an honest business as a mechanic. But after a series of unfortunate financial setbacks, the stable life he has built for himself and his family begins to crumble around him. Bug sees no option but to return to his past profession: getaway driver. Cosby is a master of characters and his writing is visceral, raw, and evocative. I found that I couldn’t turn the pages of this exhilarating and immediately engaging book fast enough. — Jade

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Blacktop Wasteland: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250252692
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - June 1st, 2021

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

This is the story of the American Dream gone awry. Don and Mimi Gilbert want only the best for their 12 children. But in adolescence their eldest, golden son begins exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia, and it’s only a matter of time before several of his brother’s follow suit. Fascinating and heart-wrenching, Kolker’s interviews with the family and his research on the topic illustrate just how little is understood about an illness that afflicts so many. — Jade

This book is part of our Spring Reading Challenge. Read more here.

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Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525562641
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 2nd, 2021

Four Lost Cities by Annalee Newitz

Much has been written about the destruction of Pompeii, the “discovery” of Angkor; but what of those cities in their prime? What about the people who lived there? Newitz spent years traveling the world, researching, excavating, and speaking with experts in order to glean a deeper understanding of ancient cities and the lives of their citizens. Educational and engaging, Four Lost Cities is both an enjoyable history lesson and a call to take care of the cities of today, before they too fall into ruin. — Jade

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Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393652666
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 2nd, 2021

Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad

Young, fun, and ambitious, Jaoud’s entire world was knocked from its axis when she was diagnosed with leukemia at just 22 years old. Thrust into a life of grueling treatment, confinement, and total dependence, her struggle didn’t end with the remission of her disease. Taking to the road, she embarked on a post-cancer road trip to visit people who wrote to her during her illness, looking for a new sense of self along the way. A gifted writer, Jaoud’s story is immersive and her descriptions of grief and loss are profoundly moving. — Jade

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Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399588587
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - February 9th, 2021

The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen

I had high expectations for this book, and I was not disappointed. Thanh Nguyen is back with the dark wit, clever writing, and deeply flawed characters he’s so good at. Picking up where The Sympathizer left off, we follow our still nameless narrator to Paris, where he quickly begins a life of crime. Besieged by multiple personalities and haunted by ghosts from his past, our narrator is not necessarily reliable, but he is chock full of philosophical commentary. —Jade

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The Committed Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802157065
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - March 2nd, 2021

One by One by Ruth Ware

In this latest offering, Ware employs her winning formula: an isolated setting, a diverse cast of characters, and a narrator with a secret. A company retreat goes horribly awry when an avalanche traps the vacationers in their chalet. Cut off from the rest of the world, their predicament quickly worsens as people start to turn up murdered. It becomes clear that one of the people trapped in the chalet is the killer, and with no clear suspect, the vacationers don’t know who to trust. Ware’s engaging writing and clever plot twists had me on the edge of my seat once again. — Jade

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One by One Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501188817
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - September 8th, 2020


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