Bloomsbury Books Ashland

Bloomsbury Books Ashland

290 E. Main St
Ashland, OR 97520
541-488-0029
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Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Specializing in contemporary fiction, children’s books, young adult, local authors, & a large Shakespeare & theater section

After shopping, enjoy your book at… Bloomsbury Coffee House
Organic eats, drinks, treats
Above Bloomsbury Books.
290 E. Main
(541) 482-6112
More about
the cafe…

BLOOMSBURY FEATURED BOOKS FOR DECEMBER

UNSHELTERED
Barbara Kingsolver
How could two hardworking people do everything right in life and end up destitute? A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion in times of great upheaval by one of our most beloved and acclaimed authors.

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
Delia Owens
“A painfully beautiful first novel that is at once a murder mystery, a coming-of-age narrative and a celebration of nature.” – “N.Y. Times Books Review” One of the best novels of 2018.

THE RECKONING
John Grisham
A murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a family saga – one of his most powerful, surprising and suspenseful thrillers yet.

KILLING COMMENDATORE
Haruki Murakami
A stunning work of the imagination from one of the world’s greatest writers.

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER
Kate Morton
A love affair and a mysterious murder cast the shadows across generations in this spellbinding novel in the grand storytelling tradition of Daphne DuMaurier.

THERE, THERE 
Tommy Orange
A groundbreaking, extraordinary novel about twelve unforgettable characters, Urban Indians, living in Oakland, Calif. This is the novel that everyone is talking about, and it’s destined to be a classic.

THE GREAT BELIEVERS
Rebecca Makkai
Short-listed for the National Book Award, this emotionally riveting novel captures the heartbreak of the AIDS epidemic so poignantly, reminding us of how may young, often brilliant, people were lost to it and how it affected those who loved them.

WARLIGHT
Michael Ondaatje
Set in post-WWII London, this is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire from the author of THE ENGLISH PATIENT.

THE OVERSTORY
Richard Powers
A monumental novel about trees and people, activism and resistance, that is also a stunning evocation of – and a paean to – the natural world.

CIRCE
Madeline Miller
A bold and subversive retelling of the goddess’s story, recasting the most infamous female figure from the Odyssey as a hero in her own right.

THE WITCH ELM
Tana French
From the writer who has been called “incandescent” by Stephen King and “absolutely mesmerizing” by Gillian Flynn – “her best and most intricately nuanced novel yet.” ~ “NY Times”

Spinning SilverSPINNING SILVER 
Naomi Novik
Bookseller Becky Petterson’s ardent championship has made this complex and magical story a Bloomsbury bestseller. A fresh and imaginative retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, it is one of the year’s strongest fantasy novels.

BECOMING
Michelle Obama
The publishing event of the year is an intimate, powerful and inspiring memoir by the former and beloved First Lady of the United States.

21 LESSONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Yuval Noah Harari
In SAPIENS, he explored our past. In HOMO DEUS, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’a most pressing issues in twenty-one accessible chapters, both provocative and profound.

ALMOST EVERYTHING
Anne Lamott
The book we need from her now: How to bring hope back into our lives.

THE LIBRARY BOOK
Susan Orlean
A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution – and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries – from the best-selling author hailed as a “national treasure” by the “Washington Post.”

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
Michael Pollan
A brilliant and fascinating investigation,by the author of OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA, into the scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs – and the fascinating story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences.

BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS
Stephen Hawking
Will humanity survive? Should we colonize space? Does God exist? These are just a few of the questions addressed in the final book from one of the greatest minds in history.

EDUCATED
Tara Westover
An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

LEADERSHIP IN TURBULENT TIMES
Doris Kearns Goodwin
The respected and accessible historian gives us a strong and resonant addition to the literature of the presidency. “A marvelous bouquet with four great presidents, who provide lessons for all. Pull up a chair.” ~ Warren Buffett

 

 

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR NOVEMBER

THE MERMAID AND MRS. HANCOCK
Imogen Hermes Gowar
Set in London during the height of the Georgian era, this is the story of a shipping merchant, who has made a fortune exhibiting an alleged mermaid corpse, and the most famed courtesan in the city, who woos him at the behest of her madam, who wants to exhibit the corpse in her brothel. Things get complicated in their romance when one of the merchant’s ships captures a real mermaid off the coast of Scotland and brings it home. It is a richly detailed historical fiction with a glaringly ahistorical element –  a true mermaid. If you’re weary of the proliferation of young-women-in-peril fiction and despairing political non-fiction, try this unique and and absorbing novel. -Sheila

WASHINGTON BLACK
Esi Edugyan
George Washington Black, or “Wash,” an eleven-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master’s brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning–and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic. What brings Christopher and Wash together will tear them apart, propelling Wash even further across the globe in search of his true self. From the blistering cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, from the earliest aquariums of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black tells a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again, and asks the question, What is true freedom?

IN PIECES
Sally Field
One of the most celebrated, beloved, and enduring actors of our time, Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated the nation for more than five decades, beginning with her first TV role at the age of seventeen. From Gidget’s sweet-faced “girl next door” to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-worthy ferocity and depth of Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within.
With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind-the-scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships–including her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

UNSHELTERED
Barbara Kingsolver
Separately the two stories Kingsolver tells, spaced more than 150 years apart in 2016 and in the 1870s, are engaging and moving portraits of family life linked through time by location. Taken together they provide a pattern. Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1869, upending a faith based reality into a world of science. In 2016, as the technological revolution remakes the workforce and global warming threatens the planet, the known world is once again threatened. Too often in the face of the unknown we turn to meanness and bullying instead of towards each other. But, there is hope hidden in the ugliness–for those willing to unlearn what we think we know and remake reality accordingly. Elegant, engaging and pertinent, Kingsolver’s tale also brings a lesser known woman of science, Mary Treat, to the forefront.  -Becky

THE WITCH ELM
Tana French
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR OCTOBER

THE TANGLED TREE: A RADICAL NEW HISTORY OF LIFE
David Quammen
A very enjoyable read of the history, personalities, and science leading to what Quammen calls the three big surprises revealed by the new method of molecular phylogenetics that compellingly invites a rethinking of “… who we are…and what we are, and how life on our planet has evolved.” Quammen understands how off-putting the term molecular phylogenics is, but his deserved reputation as one of our most reliable and readable guides through science for the curious, educated general reader is on full display here. A caveat: those looking for a linear story line or a deep dive into only the science may be disappointed by Quammen’s broad approach to the material. -JG

VENGEFUL
V. E. Schwab 

A super-powered collision of extraordinary minds and vengeful intentions–#1 New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab returns with the thrilling follow-up to Vicious. Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine. But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought–and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other. With Marcella’s rise, new enmities create opportunity–and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

DARWIN COMES TO TOWN: HOW THE URBAN JUNGLE DRIVES EVOLUTION 
Menno Schilthuizen

Menno Schilthuizen is one of a growing number of “urban ecologists” studying how our manmade environments are accelerating and changing the evolution of the animals and plants around us. In Darwin Comes to Town, he takes us around the world for an up-close look at just how stunningly flexible and swift-moving natural selection can be. With human populations growing, we’re having an increasing impact on global ecosystems, and nowhere do these impacts overlap as much as they do in cities. The urban environment is about as extreme as it gets, and the wild animals and plants that live side-by-side with us need to adapt to a whole suite of challenging conditions: they must manage in the city’s hotter climate (the “urban heat island”); they need to be able to live either in the semidesert of the tall, rocky, and cavernous structures we call buildings or in the pocket-like oases of city parks (which pose their own dangers, including smog and free-rangingdogs and cats); traffic causes continuous noise, a mist of fine dust particles, and barriers to movement for any animal that cannot fly or burrow; food sources are mainly human-derived. And yet, as Schilthuizen shows, the wildlife sharing thes spaces with us is not just surviving, but evolving ways of thriving. Darwin Comes to Town draws on eye-popping examples of adaptation to share a stunning vision of urban evolution in which humans and wildlife co-exist in a unique harmony. It reveals that evolution can happen far more rapidly than Darwin dreamed, while providing a glimmer of hope that our race toward over population might not take the rest of nature down with us.

FRENCH EXIT
Patrick DeWitt

Frances Price–tart widow, possessive mother, and Upper East Side force of nature–is in dire straits, beset by scandal and impending bankruptcy. Her adult son Malcolm is no help, mired in a permanent state of arrested development. And then there’s the Prices’ aging cat, Small Frank, who Frances believes houses the spirit of her late husband, an infamously immoral litigator and world-class cad whose gruesome tabloid death rendered Frances and Malcolm social outcasts. Putting penury and pariahdom behind them, the family decides to cut their losses and head for the exit. One ocean voyage later, the curious trio land in their beloved Paris.

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR SEPTEMBER

WHISKEY WHEN WE’RE DRY 
John Larison 

In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family’s homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother Noah and bring him home. A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess’s quest lands her in the employ of the territory’s violent, capricious Governor, whose militia is also hunting Noah–dead or alive.Wrestling with her brother’s outlaw identity, and haunted by questions about her own, Jess must outmaneuver those who underestimate her, ultimately rising to become a hero in her own right.Told in Jess’s wholly original and unforgettable voice, Whiskey When We’re Dry is a stunning achievement, an epic as expansive as America itself–and a reckoning with the myths that are entwined with our history.

THE TRAVELING FEAST: ON THE ROAD AND AT THE TABLE WITH MY HEROES
Rick Bass 
This book is a marvelous tribute to writers old and new, to the importance of ceremony, to great food, lovingly prepared, and, ultimately, to the glory of life. Rick Bass travels widely to prepare gourmet meals for dozens of his writer heroes, bringing along young writers he believes in, so they can breath the same air as the greats. Dine with David Sedaris, Peter Matthiesson, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, Denis Johnson, and more. I love everything about this book. -Brandon

VOX
Christina Dalcher 

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her … Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard … For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR AUGUST

CHERRY
Nico Walker
Jesus’ Son meets Reservoir Dogs in a breakneck-paced debut novel about love, war, bank robberies, and heroin. Cleveland, 2003. A young man is just a college freshman when he meets Emily. They share a passion for Edward Albee and ecstasy and fall hard and fast in love. But soon Emily has to move home to Elba, New York, and he flunks out of school and joins the army. Desperate to keep their relationship alive, they marry before he ships out to Iraq. But as an army medic, he is unprepared for the grisly reality that awaits him. His fellow soldiers smoke; they huff computer duster; they take painkillers; they watch porn. And many of them die. He and Emily try to make their long-distance marriage work, but when he returns from Iraq, his PTSD is profound, and the drugs on the street have changed. The opioid crisis is beginning to swallow up the Midwest. Soon he is hooked on heroin, and so is Emily. They attempt a normal life, but with their money drying up, he turns to the one thing he thinks he could be really good at–robbing banks. Hammered out on a typewriter, Cherry marks the arrival of a raw, bleakly hilarious, and surprisingly poignant voice straight from the dark heart of America.

FIRESTORM: HOW WILDFIRE WILL SHAPE OUR FUTURE 
Edward Struzik

In the spring of 2016, the world watched as wildfire ravaged the Canadian town of Fort McMurray. Firefighters named the fire “the Beast” because it behaved in seemingly sinister and often unpredictable ways. Many of them hoped that they would never see anything like it again. Yet it’s not a stretch to suggest that megafires like the Beast have become the new normal. A glance at international headlines shows a remarkable increase in higher temperatures, stronger winds, and drier lands- a trifecta for igniting wildfires like we have rarely seen before. Fires are burning bigger, hotter, faster, and more often. In Firestorm, journalist Edward Struzik confronts this new reality, offering a deftly woven tale of science, economics, politics, and human determination. To understand how we might yet flourish in the coming age of megafires, Struzik visits scorched earth from Alaska to Maine, and introduces the scientists, firefighters, and resource managers making the case for a radically different approach to managing wildfire in the twenty-first century. We must begin by acknowledging that fire is unavoidable, and be much more prepared to cope when we cannot completely control the flames.Living with fire also means, Struzik reveals, that we must better understand how the surprising, far-reaching impacts of these massive fires will linger long after the smoke eventually clears.

THE SHAKESPEARE REQUIREMENT 
Julie Schumacher

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep hitting beleaguered English professor Jason Fitger right between the eyes in this hilarious and eagerly awaited sequel to the cult classic of anhedonic academe, the Thurber Prize-winning Dear Committee Members. Once more into the breach… Now is the fall of his discontent, as Jason Fitger, newly appointed chair of the English Department of Payne University, takes arms against a sea of troubles, personal and institutional. His ex-wife is sleeping with the dean who must approve whatever modest initiatives he undertakes. The fearsome department secretary Fran clearly runs the show (when not taking in rescue parrots and dogs) and holds plenty of secrets she’s not sharing. The lavishly funded Econ Department keeps siphoning off English’s meager resources and has taken aim at its remaining office space. And Fitger’s attempt to get a mossbacked and antediluvian Shakespeare scholar to retire backfires spectacularly when the press concludes that the Bard is being kicked to the curricular curb. Lord, what fools these mortals be! Julie Schumacher proves the point and makes the most of it in this delicious romp of satire

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING
Delia Owens

Fans of Barbara Kingsolver will love this stunning debut novel from a New York Times bestselling nature writer, about an unforgettable young woman determined to make her way in the wilds of North Carolina, and the two men that will break her isolation open. For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens. In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a heartbreaking coming of age story and a surprising murder investigation. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR JULY

Spinning SilverSPINNING SILVER

Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik has quite possibly surpassed herself in Spinning Silver. Once again the lines between good and evil blur and ordinary people become heroes and heroines. A moneylender’s daughter, a poor farmer’s daughter, and the daughter of a duke are unexpectedly bound by a magical being’s demand for gold. Strong women populate this clever reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin, and the magic is both beautifully and simply rendered. There is also an interesting thread of Jewish history running through the narrative. Readers will love falling under the spell of Novik’s Polish fairytale. I’m so excited to recommend this book! -Becky

 

MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION
Ottessa Moshfegh

What would you give for a good night’s sleep? This book can be read allegorically, as the pre-9-11 sleepwalking New Yorker and/or American; a literal reading is also possible, as it is rare to encounter a narrative making something as necessary and mundane as sleep so compelling. Orphaned and grieving both the deaths of her parents and the deaths of the parents she wished she had, Moshfegh’s heroine decides sleeping for a year will make her a better version of herself. She finds a questionable therapist and begins a Carrollesque descent into the world of prescription sleep aids. There is an element of poor pretty rich white girl here, she wants to eat her privilege and have it too, but her desire for sleep is palpable enough to transcend class even as her wealth enables her quest. Moshfegh is a keen observer of New York and an astute chronicler of its denizens—a veritable van diagram of some of the most and least privileged people in our country, if not the world. Provocative, sharp, and surprisingly moving. -Becky

LULLABY ROAD
James Anderson
“What becomes of the broken-hearted?” Sometimes, they become inhabitants of Lullaby Road, a stretch of highway 117 in the Utah desert, along which Ben Jones, a truck driver with his own damaged heart, makes deliveries. Ben has found a small hispanic child, abandoned in the snow at a gas station with a note that reads, “Please, Ben, help my son. Big Trouble.” Ben takes the child with him in the truck–and there is big trouble. Lullaby Road is a well-plotted, satisfying mystery; but it is Anderson’s broken-yet-resilient characters, who have chosen–or were forced–to live in the lonely desert, who make it memorable. Ben Jones is a great modern protagonist–funny, compassionate, flawed and so human. The solitude and sere beauty of the landscape are always present and the descriptions of the flat vistas and endless horizons are haunting on James Anderson’s fine prose. –Sheila

THE GREAT BELIEVERS

Rebecca Makkai

This is a book to spend the day doing nothing except reading.  In 1985, as the AIDS crisis is growing,  Yale Tishman is  the young director of an art  gallery whose career is flourishing but, one by one, his friends are dying …and he may have the virus himself.  Finally, the only friend he has left is Fiona, the little sister of a dead friend.   Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris, searching for her estranged daughter, and grappling with the way the AIDS crisis affected her and her relationship with her daughter.  The novel captures the heartbreak of the AIDS epidemic so poignantly, reminding us of how many young, often talented and brilliant, people were lost to it and how it affected those who loved them.  The characters are so fully realized- they will remain in my heart forever.    -Sheila

CIRCE

Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller, author of Song of Achilles, adds depth and beauty to a recognizable but narrowly defined character of myth: Circe, immortal daughter of Helios, witch of Aeaea, lover to gods and mortals alike. When we think of Circe we likely think of a vindictive witch who turns men into pigs and slaughters them until brave Odysseus, warned by Hermes, outwits her. But what about the story of an eldest and least favored daughter, one rejected by love and tortured by her own regrets, a victim of banishment and abuse and assault who remains different from the callous nature of her fellow gods? What of the before and the after of Odysseus? Gorgeously rendered and populated with some of the greatest monsters, heroes, demigods and goddesses of Greek myth, Circe proves once again that Miller is the Gregory Maguire of mythology. -Becky

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR APRIL

OVERSTORY
Richard Powers
They were here long before us. They will be here long after us. Trees. Nine strangers are connected by the arboreal, and by a desire to preserve a story larger than their own. Environmental activists live in old growth redwoods. An orphaned artist inherits the photographic family legacy of one chestnut tree. A partying and promiscuous college girl dies and returns to life, called to an aborescent destiny. The stories in this novel are both concentric, like the rings inside each trunk marking a tree’s age, and interlocking, like the complex root systems which send nutrients and water upwards and messages outwards. No living writer equals Powers for creating a novel that is both literary and commercial. Stunning, prescient, and one of the best books I’ve read this year.

TANGERINE
Christine Mangan

This is a deeply atmospheric and disturbing debut. Reading Tangerine is like drinking a gin martini that is icy enough to hurt your teeth and strong enough to burn all the way down. Morocco, 1956. The air is tight with both heat and the start of revolution. Two former college roommates are entangled in a psychological dance reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith, Shirley Jackson, and Daphne du Maurier. This is a perfect spring break read!

ITALIAN PARTY
Christina Lynch

Chris Pavone’s The Expats meets Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow in this delightful novel. Scottie and Michael Messina are newlyweds when they arrive in Italy in April of 1956, where Michael is supposed to head up a new division of Ford. There is so much unknown between any typical pair of newlyweds, but Michael and Scottie harbor deeper secrets from each other, among them Michael’s true occupation as a spy for the American government. Mynch evokes the period of the 1950s—Betty Crocker, Wonder Bread, and an entrenched distrust of Communism—in a story that froths with gossip and is sweetened by intrigue, stirred with the complex history of Italian and American relations. Delicious and positively drinkable.
-Becky (as seen in the April Indie Next List)

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR MARCH

AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE
Tayari Jones

Celestial and Roy are still newlyweds when Roy is wrongfully accused of raping a white woman and is sentenced to twelve years in prison. The two write letters to bridge the chasm between their sundered lives, but as the years pass their marriage is made up of more time spent apart than together. The writing is bright and sharp and unexpected, like a weapon fashioned from folded layers of sheet metal, and cuts to the quick of both what it means to be married and what it means to be a black man in America, while also exposing the systemic flaws in our justice system. I don’t agree with the decisions of Celestial, Roy, and their best friend Andre, but I am deeply moved by their plights. This is a haunting and important novel.

JANESVILLE
Amy Goldstein

General Motors (GM) had a long history of success in Janesville, Wisconsin, reaching back to the end of WWI with tractor manufacturing, surviving the Great Depression, and the autoworker strike of the 1930s. But in 2008, GM announced they were closing the Janesville plant. Amy Goldstein, a staff writer with the Washington Post, tells the story of the next five years as a traditionally democratic union town tries to rebuild, and ends up deeply split along party lines. Families are irrevocable changed as fathers work hundreds of miles away and teenagers take on part-time jobs. There are clashes between republicans and progressives who both want job growth, but disagree about how to make that happen. Goldstein explores the flawed concept of reeducation, retraining does not guarantee jobs, and the shortsightedness of Janesville’s blind belief that the GM plant would always be there. There is a systemic cultural problem, not just in Janesville but across America—conspicuous consumption as symbols of success. This is a devastating and unflinching look at our vanishing working and middle class. In the vein of Evicted, and Hillbilly Elegy, this is an impressive and important piece of reporting.

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR FEBRUARY

I AM I AM I AM
Maggie O’Farrell

Life is a series of near death experiences punctuated by moments of brief, beautiful, reprieve. In these seventeen essays, each centered on a brush with death, O’Farrell explores how life and death work in tandem to create meaning for the living. This is not a book about dying, nor is it macabre. Instead, this is a story about embracing the wonder and ugliness, the dichotomy, inherent in conscious existence. This memoir, penned for O’Farrell’s daughter who lives with a serious immunology disorder which means every day, for her, is a sequence of small and large encounters with mortality, defies both life and death in its depth and breadth and moments of pure perfection, and is absolutely stunning. I am. She is. We are, together, alive.

PRAIRIE FIRES
Caroline Fraser

As a lifelong devotee of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I was thrilled by the publication of her annotated memoir, Pioneer Girl; so much was fictionalized, made softer, or omitted in her novels. Fraser’s fascinating and comprehensive biography goes far deeper than Pioneer Girl. Fraser draws on Wilder’s memoir, historical records, letters, and a myriad of never-before-complied sources to provide a vivid portrait of America leading up to and during the Gilded Age, through womens suffrage, two World Wars, the Great Depression, the New Deal and the start of the Cold War. There are personal facts, such as a deeper examination of Wilder’s childhood poverty, which she carefully hid in her novels by detailing the small joys and comforts her parents were able to provide, and a more tarnished portrait of Wilder’s father. There is the birth and death of Wilder’s son, the heavy debts that Almanzo Wilder incurred, and his stroke, brought on by diphtheria, which hurt his use of his legs for the rest of his life. Surprisingly, Wilder was wary of feminism, and had negative feelings towards Roosevelt’s federal programs following the Depression. Also surprising is the selfishness of Wilder’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was equally bullish and childish in her treatment of her mother, and had fascist leanings. Far from dry, and never boring, this is an incredible book, both a history of America and a more complete look at one of our country’s most famous pioneer women.

THE RED CLOCKS
Leni Zumas

The wife. The daughter. The biographer. The mender. These are archetypes, but are also four very different women who chafe against the legislation of their bodies, and feel the ticking of their red clocks. In this stunning, disturbingly prescient debut, abortion is illegal in all fifty states, and in vitro fertilization is federally banned under the Personhood Amendment. Laws further restricting adoption will soon take effect, prohibiting unmarried persons from adopting. The world Zumas creates feels eerily familiar. Just like her characters, many of us woke up to a President-elect we didn’t vote for. We felt a sense of misplaced incredulity: “Many horrors are legitimated in broad daylight, against the will of most of the people.” Zumas’ book reads like a Handmaid’s Tale for a new generation. Both Atwood and Zumas are pointing to a large hole in the ground, warning us not to fall in. Zumas ties togeher the stories of four women in surprising ways in writing that is sharp, daring, and wise.

PRIESTDADDY
Patricia Lockwood

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this memoir, and I’m still not sure how to classify it, except to say how compelling, beautifully written, and unexpectedly funny it is. Circumstances force Lockwood, a 30-something poet, and her husband to move in with Lockwood’s parents, who are both larger-than-life characters. Lockwood’s father is a Catholic priest who spends as much time in his underwear as possible, plays loud riffs on his various guitars, and has an abiding love for trilogies (he vehemently believes the original Star Wars trilogy is about priests in space). Her mother, who tries to stuff plates of toast under the door to her daughter’s bedroom, and pops B vitamins by the handful, may not have a direct line to God, but she does have a flair for drama. Lockwood’s book is a moving tribute to her eccentric family life, a deep examination of belonging and religion, and an analysis of how a good Catholic girl has become a poet who deftly weaves magic of the profane, and who re appropriates the language of the church into a vocabulary that makes sense to her. This profound memoir brings to mind Jeanette Walls, Jenny Lawson and Jeanette Winterson.

THE IMMORTALISTS
Chloe Benjamin

What if a fortuneteller told you the day of your death when you were just a child? Would belief or disbelief rule your life? The four Gold children each react to their prophesied deaths differently. Simon charges ahead to the San Fransisco of the 1980s, carrying the knowledge of his death in his back pocket but never consulting it. Klara becomes a magician in Las Vegas, treating her own demise as part of a greater magic act, but her greatest trick won’t be her death after all. Daniel spends his career as an army doctor fighting the mortality of others. Varya is perhaps the most stubborn nonbeliever of them all, yet her work with longevity research belies her lack of faith in the old woman’s predictions decades before. Each section in this beautiful, heartbreaking, book is narrated by a different Gold child, and begs deep questions about life, death, immortality, and inevitability. Would knowing the day of your death help you prevent or change it, or is there no intervention big enough to fight the end that comes for us all?

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR JANUARY

BRAIDING SWEETGRASS
Robin Wall Kimmerer

Braiding Sweetgrass, first published in 2014, has quietly climbed to the top of our store bestseller list. What has prompted this phenomenon? Word of mouth. Moved by Kimmerer’s powerful prose and enduring message, readers have pressed copies into the hands of their friends and loved-ones, and have submitted the title to their book clubs, eager to share this antidote to what feels like an increasingly reckless and dangerous political climate. Kimmerer applies her background as botanist, a professor of plant ecology, and a Potawatomi woman to argue that our path forward requires remembering and honoring ancient wisdom. She explores nature through the lens of science, and encourages readers to increase their ecological consciousness by connecting more deeply with other living beings. Elizabeth Gilbert calls the book “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise.” Being informed is important, but sometimes we need to turn off the news and pick up a book. Braiding Sweetgrass is that book.

THE FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD
Louise Erdrich

“Perhaps all of creation…was just a grandly detailed thought that God was engrossed in elaborating upon, when suddenly God fell asleep. We are an idea, then. Maybe God has decided that we are an idea not worth thinking anymore.”

This book is terrifying in the way that The Handmaid’s Tale is terrifying—the horror comes from the plausibility of the plot (there is so much still unknown in science), and is connected to the writer’s deep understanding of how humans react in times of uncertainty, how governments enact legislation, and how quickly democracy can erode. No one knows why evolution has stalled. Animals are reverting, plants are changing. The future of humanity is tenuous as newborns also exhibit symptoms of reversed evolution. Cedar Songmaker’s pregnancy is one of equal parts terror and wonder. Her pregnancy cannot be celebrated and honored because she must go into hiding. Pregnant woman across the country are rounded up and housed in hospitals and jails. Their fates are unknown, as are the fates of their infants. Cedar begins a journal chronicling the deterioration of her known world in the form of a love-letter to her unborn child. Suspenseful and beautiful, this is a deeply affecting book told in Erdrich’s incomparable style, with an ending that will leave readers breathless.

BLOOMSBURY PICKS FOR DECEMBER

HOOVER
Kenneth Whyte
From his classically American humble, rural, Quaker origins, Herbert Hoover became the classically American self-made man. By his thirties, he had become bored with making millions from his international mining operations and turned his drive towards becoming a player in “the big game”. With the near-death of Europe following WWI, Hoover, the globalist, rationalist, results-oriented technocrat, was the perfect man to help America re-imagine itself and push to the forefront of the 20th-century. Running on the Progressive platform of the Republican party (think Teddy Roosevelt), he became the thirty-first U.S. president. Seven months after his inauguration, Wall Street experienced the Great Crash of 1929, and the follow-on global Depression made him a one-term president. Feeling that FDR alternately lied about or appropriated many of his own programs and attempts to manage the Depression, Hoover was an implacable New Deal foe. Hoover juggled a fervent belief in boot-strapping, American individualism and local solutions with a robust, activist government agenda of action in the national economy, and a deeply-felt but tightly conceived support for a national social safety net. As one observer put it, “Hoover was as radical as he needed to be.”-JG

ELMET
Fiona Mozley
We know there was a fire. Ash still clings to the air at the novel’s onset as Daniel, the teenage narrator, follows the railroad tracks leading away from his family’s land. He is searching for someone, but who, and why? Daniel lives with his older sister, Cathy, and his father, a boxer who is rough around the edges but is gentle at home, in the isolated outskirts of a small town in Yorkshire. They live close to the land, in a house hewn from the surrounding forest and raised by pure manpower. When their autonomy is threatened, a series of events escalating in violence lead to horrific consequences. Set against a devastatingly gorgeous backdrop, this is a study of power: who wields it, who abuses it, and how one man leads an uprising against it. This examination of the male archetype is reminiscent of My Absolute Darling, but has a softer touch. Amazing. –Becky

GIFT BOOKS FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES: THE ILLUSTRATED EDITION In his international bestseller The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben opened readers’ eyes to the amazing processes at work in forests every day. Now this new, breathtakingly illustrated edition brings those wonders to life like never before. With compelling selections from the original book and stunning, large-format photographs of trees from around the world, this gorgeous volume distills the essence of Wohlleben’s message to show trees in all their glory and diversity. Through rich language highlighting the interconnectedness of forest ecosystems, the book offers fascinating insights about the fungal communication highway known as the “wood wide web,” the difficult life lessons learned in tree school, the hard-working natural cleanup crews that recycle dying trees, and much more. Beautiful images provide the perfect complement to Wohlleben’s words, with striking close-ups of bark and seeds, panoramas of vast expanses of green, and a unique look at what is believed to be the oldest tree on the planet.

WHISKEY IN A TEACUP: WHAT GROWING UP IN THE SOUTH TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, AND BAKING BISCUITS Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery. Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids–not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.

OTTOLENGHI SIMPLE: A COOKBOOK Yotam Ottolenghi presents 130 streamlined recipes packed with his signature Middle Eastern-inspired flavors, all simple in at least (and often more than) one way: made in 30 minutes or less, with 10 or fewer ingredients, in a single pot, using pantry staples, or prepared ahead of time for brilliantly, deliciously simple meals. Brunch gets a make-over with Braised Eggs with Leeks and Za’atar; Cauliflower, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Salad refreshes the side-dish rotation; Lamb and Feta Meatballs bring ease to the weeknight table; and every sweet tooth is sure to be satisfied by the spectacular Fig and Thyme Clafoutis. With more than 130 photographs, this is elemental Ottolenghi for everyone.

THE FLAME: POEMS, NOTEBOOKS, LYRICS, DRAWINGS The Flame is the final work from Leonard Cohen, the revered poet and musician whose fans span generations and whose work is celebrated throughout the world. Featuring poems, excerpts from his private notebooks, lyrics, and hand-drawn self-portraits, The Flame offers an unprecedentedly intimate look inside the life and mind of a singular artist. A reckoning with a life lived deeply and passionately, with wit and panache, The Flame is a valedictory work