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Home is Burning

Dan’s mom has always had cancer. First diagnosed when he was only ten years old, she was the model of resilience throughout his childhood, fighting her disease with tenacity and a mouth foul enough to make a sailor blush. But just as she faces a relapse, her husband—a successful businessman and devoted father—is diagnosed with ALS. He is told that in a few months’ time, he will be unable to walk, eat, or breathe on his own. Dan, a recent college graduate living the good life in Los Angeles, has no choice but to return home to help. Reinstalled in his parents’ basement (in one of the only non-Mormon homes in a Salt Lake City subdivision), Dan is reunited with his siblings. His older sister Tiffany is resentful, having stayed closer to home to bear the brunt of their mother’s illness. Younger brother Greg comes to lend a hand, giving up a journalism career and evenings cruising Chicago gay bars. Younger sister Michelle is a sullen teenager experimenting with drinking and flirting with her 35-year-old soccer coach. And baby sister Chelsea—the oddest duck in a family of misfits—can only think about dance. Together they form Team Terminal, going to battle against their parents’ illnesses and cracking plenty of jokes along the way.

Early One Morning

Two strangers save a child during WWII—a split-second decision that will have powerful reverberations for decades to come. Chiara Ravello is about to flee occupied Rome when she locks eyes with a woman being herded onto a truck with her family. Claiming the woman’s son, Daniele, as her own nephew, Chiara demands his return; only as the trucks depart does she realize what’s happened. She is twenty-seven, with a sister who needs constant care, a hazardous journey ahead, and now a child, haunting her, in her charge.

Keep Moving

Beloved Hollywood icon Dick Van Dyke will celebrate his 90th birthday in December 2015. He is an established legend, having starred in Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. And he still keeps himself busy, entertaining America on television, movies, the stage, and social media. Everyone wonders, “How does he do it?” For the first time, Van Dyke will share his secrets and tips on life and aging: Just keep moving. With humor and upbeat flair, Keep Moving will serve as a memoir and instruction book on how to embrace age with a positive attitude. The chapters are filled with exclusive personal anecdotes that explore various themes on aging and living life to the fullest: how to adapt to the physical and social changes, deal with loss of friends and loved ones, stay current, fall in love again, and “keep moving” every day like there’s no tomorrow.

Geography of Genius

Acclaimed travel writer and the bestselling author of The Geography of Bliss examines the link between the power of place and the influence of culture on creativity. In The Geography of Genius, Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He relates the history of places like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley, to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. In these places, Weiner asks, “What was in the air, and can we bottle it?”

 

Gold, Fame, Citrus

Unrelenting drought has transfigured Southern California into a surreal, phantasmagoric landscape. Most “Mojavs,” prevented from freely crossing borders to lusher regions, have allowed themselves to be evacuated to internment camps. In Los Angeles’ Laurel Canyon, two young Mojavs—Luz, once a poster child for the Bureau of Conservation and its enemies, and Ray, a veteran of the “forever war” turned surfer—squat in a starlet’s abandoned mansion. Holdouts, they subsist on rationed cola and whatever they can loot, scavenge, and improvise.  The couple’s fragile love somehow blooms in this arid place, and for the moment, it seems enough. But when they cross paths with a mysterious child, the thirst for a better future begins. They head east, a route strewn with danger: sinkholes and patrolling authorities, bandits and the brutal, omnipresent sun. Ghosting after them are rumors of a visionary dowser—a diviner for water—and his followers, who whispers say have formed a colony at the edge of a mysterious sea of dunes.  Immensely moving, profoundly disquieting, and mind-blowingly original, Watkins’s novel explores the myths we believe about others and tell about ourselves, the double-edged power of our most cherished relationships, and the shape of hope in a precarious future that may be our own.

Notorious RGB

Nearly a half-century into being a feminist and legal pioneer, something funny happened to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: the octogenarian won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg made her name are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute. In a class of its own, and much to Ginsburg’s own amusement, is the Notorious RBG Tumblr, which juxtaposes the diminutive but fierce Jewish grandmother with the 350-pound rapper featuring original artwork submitted from around the world. Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers the fans all that and more — a visually rich, intimate, unprecedented look at the Justice and how she changed the world. From Ginsburg’s refusal to let the slammed doors of sexism stop her to her innovative legal work, from her before-its-time feminist marriage to her perch on the nation’s highest court — with the fierce dissents to match — get to know RBG as never before. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.

The Killing Kind

Hendricks makes his living as a hitman entrepreneur of sorts—he only hits other hitmen. For ten times the price on your head, he’ll make sure whoever’s coming to kill you winds up in the ground instead. Not a bad way for a guy with his skill-set to make a living—but a great way to make himself a target.

Gamelife

“You have been awakened.”

Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: “Computer games have taught me the things you can’t learn from people.”

Michael Clune’s Gamelife is a sui generis memoir. It captures the essential strangeness of childhood, when the world is still revealing itself. It describes cafeteria politics, locker-room hazing, and divorce with a sharpness that will leave you laughing and squirming. It re-creates a place—1980s suburban Illinois, John Hughes movie territory—in all its quotidian glory. And it explores, like nothing before it, how the ephemeral worlds of video games gave shape to a boy’s days.

The Expatriates

Mercy is adrift. A recent Columbia graduate without a safety net, she can’t hold down a job—or a man. Hilary, a wealthy housewife, is haunted by her inability to conceive a child she believes could save her floundering marriage. Meanwhile, Margaret, ostensibly a happily married mother of three, questions her maternal identity in the wake of a shattering loss. As each woman struggles with her own demons, their lives crash into one another in ways that could have devastating consequences for them all. Moving, atmospheric, and utterly compelling, The Expatriates confirms Lee as an exceptional talent and one of our keenest observers of women’s inner lives.

Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.