Turning Point 1917: The British Empire at War
by Douglas E. Delaney and Nikolas Gardner
UBC Press $39.95
For the British Empire and its allies of the Great War, 1917 was a year marked by one crisis after another. There was the overthrow of the Russian czar and the collapse of his massive armies, and the mutinies of the battered French army. There was also social and political upheaval on the home front, including labour unrest in Britain and opposition to conscription in Canada and Australia. But, here and there, glimmers of light pierced the gloom. Soldiers began solving the problems posed by trench warfare. The dominions, inspired by burgeoning nationalism, asserted themselves more in the councils of imperial power. And the United States finally entered the war.
Turning Point 1917 examines the British imperial war effort during the most pivotal and dynamic twelve months of the Great War. Written by internationally recognized historians from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, its chapters explore military, diplomatic, and domestic aspects of how the empire prosecuted the war. Their rich, nuanced analysis transcends narrow, national viewpoints of the conflict to examine the British Empire as a coalition rather than individual states engaged in their own distinctive struggles.
By drawing attention to the events that made 1917 a turning point, this book provides a unique perspective on the war. These events ultimately laid the groundwork for victory, strengthening the position of the British Empire relative to its enemies while, at the same time, forging arrangements to accommodate the increasingly divergent interests and identities of the dominions.
by Donna Leon
Grove Atlantic $36.50
Fiction / Mystery
Donna Leon's bestselling mystery novels set in Venice have won a multitude of fans for their insider's portrayal of La Serenissima. From family meals to coffee bars, and from vaporetti rides to the homes and apartments of Venetians, the details and rhythms of everyday life are an integral part of this beloved series. But so are the suffocating corruption, the never-ending influx of tourists, and crimes big and small. Through it all, Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti has been an enduring figure. A good man who loves his family and his city, Brunetti is relentless in his pursuit of truth and some measure of justice.
In Earthly Remains, the twenty-sixth novel in this series, Brunetti's endurance is tested more than ever before. During an interrogation of an entitled, arrogant man suspected of giving drugs to a young girl who then died, Brunetti acts rashly, doing something he will quickly come to regret. In the fallout, he realizes that he needs a break, needs to get away from the stifling problems of his work.
When Brunetti is granted leave from the Questura, his wife, Paola, suggests he stay at the villa of a relative on Sant'Erasmo, one of the largest islands in the laguna. There he intends to pass his days rowing, and his nights reading Pliny's Natural History. The recuperative stay goes according to plan until Davide Casati, the caretaker of the house on Sant'Erasmo, goes missing following a sudden storm. Now, Brunetti feels compelled to investigate, to set aside his leave of absence and understand what happened to the man who had become his friend.
Earthly Remains is quintessential Donna Leon, a powerful addition to this celebrated series.
Printer's Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History
by Rebecca Romney and JP Romney
A funny and entertaining history of printed books as told through absurd moments in the lives of authors and printers, collected by television’s favorite rare-book expert from History Chanel's hit series Pawn Stars.
Since the Gutenberg Bible first went on sale in 1455, printing has been viewed as one of the highest achievements of human innovation. But the march of progress hasn’t been smooth; downright bizarre is more like it. Printer’s Error chronicles some of the strangest and most humorous episodes in the history of Western printing, and makes clear that we’ve succeeded despite ourselves. Rare-book expert Rebecca Romney and author J. P. Romney take us from monasteries and museums to auction houses and libraries to introduce curious episodes in the history of print that have had a profound impact on our world.
Take, for example, the Gutenberg Bible. While the book is regarded as the first printed work in the Western world, Gutenberg’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on it. Today, Johannes Gutenberg is recognized as the father of Western printing. But for the first few hundred years after the invention of the printing press, no one knew who printed the first book. This long-standing mystery took researchers down a labyrinth of ancient archives and libraries, and unearthed surprising details, such as the fact that Gutenberg’s financier sued him, repossessed his printing equipment, and started his own printing business afterward. Eventually the first printed book was tracked to the library of Cardinal Mazarin in France, and Gutenberg’s forty-two-line Bible was finally credited to him, thus ensuring Gutenberg’s name would be remembered by middle-school students worldwide.
Like the works of Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman, and Ken Jennings, Printer’s Error is a rollicking ride through the annals of time and the printed word.
Exit West: A Novel
by Mohsin Hamid
Riverhead Books $35.00
In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .
Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
The Greatest Story Ever Told- So Far: Why Are We Here?
by Lawrence M. Krauss
Atria Books $36.00
Physics / Philosophy
ON SALE TUESDAY, MARCH 21
Internationally renowned, award-winning theoretical physicist, New York Times bestselling author of A Universe from Nothing, and passionate advocate for reason, Lawrence Krauss tells the dramatic story of the discovery of the hidden world of reality—a grand poetic vision of nature—and how we find our place within it.
In the beginning there was light.
But more than this, there was gravity.
After that, all hell broke loose…
In A Universe from Nothing, Krauss revealed how our entire universe could arise from nothing. Now, he reveals what that something—reality—is. And, reality is not what we think or sense—it’s weird, wild, and counter-intuitive; it’s hidden beneath everyday experience; and its inner workings seem even stranger than the idea that something can come from nothing.
In a landmark, unprecedented work of scientific history, Krauss leads us to the furthest reaches of space and time, to scales so small they are invisible to microscopes, to the birth and rebirth of light, and into the natural forces that govern our existence. His unique blend of rigorous research and engaging storytelling invites us into the lives and minds of the remarkable, creative scientists who have helped to unravel the unexpected fabric of reality—with reason rather than superstition and dogma. Krauss has himself been an active participant in this effort, and he knows many of them well. The Greatest Story challenges us to re-envision ourselves and our place within the universe, as it appears that “God” does play dice with the universe. In the incisive style of his scintillating essays for The New Yorker, Krauss celebrates the greatest intellectual adventure ever undertaken—to understand why we are here in a universe where fact is stranger than fiction.
Norton and Alpha
by Kristyna Litten
Fiction (Ages 4+)
Meet the adorable robot Norton and his robot-dog Alpha! They’re about to make an amazing discovery . . .
Battered wheels, rusty cogs, broken springs: Norton loves collecting these discarded objects and using them to create the most amazing inventions. But one day he and Alpha come upon something they’ve never seen before: a beautiful flower. At first, they’re baffled . . . but with a little rain, sun, and soil, the flower itself teaches them about the magic of nature.
The quirky illustrations of robots in their futuristic world will engage all kids with their fun sci-fi feel.
by Theo Guignard
Wide Eyed Editions $25.99
Activity Books . Mazes (Ages 7-10)
The biggest maze book to hit shelves this year!
Explore worlds made of plants, giant skyscrapers, wild habitats, and futuristic cities, in this book that asks you to trace your way through 14 magical mazes.
With things to spot along the way, each maze grows in complexity with every turn of the page.
From Ant and Eagle
by Alex Lyttle
Central Avenue Publishing $12.95
Fiction / Death (Ages 12+)
My name is Calvin Sinclair, I'm eleven years old and I have a confession… I killed my brother. It's the summer before grade six and Calvin Sinclair is bored to tears. He's recently moved from a big city to a small town and there's nothing to do. It's hot, he has no friends and the only kid around is his six-year-old brother, Sammy, who can barely throw a basketball as high as the hoop. Cal occupies his time by getting his brother to do almost anything: from collecting ants to doing Calvin's chores. And Sammy is all too eager - as long as it means getting a "Level" and moving one step closer to his brother's Eagle status.
When Calvin meets Aleta Alvarado, a new girl who shares his love for Goosebumps books and adventure, Sammy is pushed aside. Cal feels guilty but not enough to change. At least not until a diagnosis causes things at home to fall apart and he's left wondering whether Sammy will ever complete his own journey… From Ant to Eagle.
by Kerry Clare
Sarah Lundy has a secret online life, and it might all come crashing down.
Back at the beginning of the new millennium, when the Internet was still unknown territory, Sarah Lundy started an anonymous blog documenting her return to the dating scene after a devastating divorce. The blog was funny, brutally honest and sometimes outrageous. Readers loved it. Through her blog persona, “Mitzi Bytes,” Sarah not only found her feet again, but she found her voice.
Fifteen years later, Sarah is happily remarried with children and she’s still blogging, but nobody IRL—not even her husband or best friends—knows about Mitzi. They don't know that Sarah’s been documenting all her own exploits, as well as mining the experiences of those around her and sharing these stories with the world. Which means that Sarah is in serious trouble when threatening emails arrive from the mysterious Jane Q. Time’s up, the first one says. You’re officially found out.
As she tries to find out Jane Q’s identity before her secret online self is revealed to everyone, Sarah starts to discover that her loved ones have secrets of their own, and that stronger forces than she imagined are conspiring to turn her world upside down.
A grown-up Harriet the Spy for the digital age, Mitzi Bytes examines the bonds of family and friendship, and the truths we dare tell about ourselves—and others.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
by Matthew Desmond
Broadway Books $23.00
Political Science / Sociology
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION
WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR NONFICTION
FINALIST FOR THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America.
In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.
Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.