BLOOMSBURY SUGGESTIONS FOR THESE TURBULENT TIMES
WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A BIRD
David Allen Sibley
Doesn’t it feel like a consolation to have a truly magnificent spring during this season of fear and sickness? For the many people who are lucky enough to be able to go outside, there are birds – flying, nesting, eating and singing.
David Sibley, our foremost ornithologist, has written the bird book for birders and nonbirders alike – a treasure trove of stunning illustrations and extraordinary facts about what common and uncommon birds are doing – and why. It is the perfect family book.
END OF OCTOBER
Wright had the grim good luck to write a thriller about a novel corona virus, probably first passed to humans by bats, published just as the world was convulsing with COVID-19. Wright, also a journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winner, is at his best when describing the science of the virus and the disease. The force and intelligence of these strands of protein are frighteningly brilliant as they invade living cells to replicate. (I still can’t grasp that they are not living. How can you destroy something that’s not alive?) Anyway, it’s fascinating reading and the heroes are the public health workers, nurses and doctors on the front lines – just as they are in our new reality.
SPLENDID AND THE VILE
This is the book to lift your morale and make you remember that people have survived relentless horrors with courage and grace, inspired by the words and example of true leadership.
Larson turns history into an enthralling page turner as he chronicles how the British survived the Blitz, which killed over 40,000 civilians and destroyed over two million homes. According to Larson, Churchill taught the British people the “art of being fearless” as he held the country together and persuaded President Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally and willing to fight to the end.
This is also an intimate domestic drama of the Churchills, with Winston always at the core – dictating from his bathtub, with a cat under his arm and chomping a cigar, eccentrically and magnificently saving the world.
YEAR OF WONDERS
In 1666, a young woman comes of age during an extraordinary year of love and death. Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a “plague village” in the rugged hill country of England, “Year of Wonders” is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history.
THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL
Nina Hill’s life may not seem like much, but for a person battling anxiety, it’s more than enough. She enjoys her job at a bookstore and her small circle of friends. Until a visit from a lawyer changes everything…The father that Nina never knew existed has died, leaving behind an enormous extended family. Nina now has innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, and cousins all living within a twenty-mile radius all demanding her attention. If that’s not enough, Nina’s talent for worrying is taking the thrill out of falling in love. Tom, a fellow trivia nerd–who’s totally into her–is obviously too good to be true. Caught in a whirlwind of new people, emotions and experiences, she feels the need to protect herself. But maybe opening her world–and her heart–is a risk worth taking.
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original.
THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
A. J. Finn
Anna Fox lives alone–a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE
Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect; and to 15-year-old Bee, she is her best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette vanishes. It all began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle — and people in general — has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence — creating a compulsively readable and surprisingly touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
One of my favorite books of 2019. She confirms my belief that Florida is a weird, fantastical, all-American state. Lauren Groff is one of the best! – Sheila
UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN
For the 28th novel in Donna Leon’s bestselling mystery series, the apparent indiscretion of an elderly family friend involves a reluctant Commissario Guido Brunetti . . . until the sudden natural death of his friend sets in motion a murder.
MACHINES LIKE ME
A McEwan is near the top of my list for “best living novelist”. MACHINES is brilliantly entertaining, yet morally played & thought provoking. -Sheila