recent book acquisitions

The Art of Losing
by Rebecca Connell
Rebecca Connell’s debut novel is a brilliantly crafted mix of thriller and literary romance that examines the consequences of betrayal and the legacy of loss.

At the age of ten, Louise lost her mother in a tragic accident. More than a decade later she is convinced of the truth she glimpsed as a girl: her mother’s lover Nicholas, an Oxford professor, was responsible for her death. And so Louise becomes Lydia, hiding her true identity behind her dead mother’s name and setting out to confront Nicholas. At first she only watches him from the shadows, but a chance meeting with his son provides the pretext she needs to fully insinuate herself into the unsuspecting professor’s life.

Nicholas may not know who Lydia really is, but her name evokes memories of his harrowing and passionate affair all those years ago. His and Lydia’s intense and torturous romance changed the course of his life. Despite his success and his seemingly perfect family, memories of its awful conclusion haunt him still.

Homer & Langley
by E.L. Doctorow

Homer and Langley Collyer are brothers—the one blind and deeply intuitive, the other damaged into madness, or perhaps greatness, by mustard gas in the Great War. They live as recluses in their once grand Fifth Avenue mansion, scavenging the city streets for things they think they can use, hoarding the daily newspapers as research for Langley’s proposed dateless newspaper whose reportage will be as prophecy. Yet the epic events of the century play out in the lives of the two brothers—wars, political movements, technological advances—and even though they want nothing more than to shut out the world, history seems to pass through their cluttered house in the persons of immigrants, prostitutes, society women, government agents, gangsters, jazz musicians . . . and their housebound lives are fraught with odyssean peril as they struggle to survive and create meaning for themselves.

From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association
by Kris Harzinski

It's a situation we are all acquainted with: planning to visit friends in an unfamiliar part of the city, you draw yourself a rudimentary map with detailed directions. In March 2008, graphic designer Kris Harzinski founded the Hand Drawn Map Association in order to collect just such drawings of the everyday. Fascinated by these accidental records of a moment in time, he soon amassed a wide variety of maps, ranging from simple directions to fictional maps, to maps of unusual places, including examples drawn by well-known historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Shackleton, and Alexander Calder.

From Here to There celebrates these ephemeral documents usually forgotten or tossed aside after having served their purpose giving them their due as artifacts representing stories from people's lives around the world. There is the young woman suffering from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis who created maps of the Humira injections on her stomach and thighs to help her remember the sites, and give them time to heal. Or the young boy who imagined a whole country for ants and put it to paper. Lucas from Australia drew an obsessively detailed map of his local traffic island, and a teenage girl contributed a map of her high school locker. Two American tourists got lost in the Bulgarian mountains following the hand drawn map of a local, and Britanny from Denmark drew directions to an animal rights protest in Copenhagen. The maps featured in From Here to There are as varied and touching as the stories they tell.

Hector and the Search for Happiness
by Francois Lelord
From the Introduction:

Hector is a successful young psychiatrist with the right spectacles, the right office furniture, and all the right medications at his disposal but he feels like a failure. His patients—an urban, educated, and seemingly privileged class of people—are persistently unhappy, and despite his excellent training and sympathetic ear, Hector doesn't know how to truly help them. Even worse, he finds himself becoming increasingly drained and dissatisfied by his own life, including his uncertain relationship with an equally successful pharmaceutical marketing professional named Clara.

Ready for a break, Hector books a vacation with a mission: He will travel the world in search of what makes people happy or unhappy. Since Clara is too busy with work, he sets out on his own, stopping first in China to visit his old school friend Édouard. Through Édouard, a lonely businessman trapped on the money-making treadmill, he learns one of his first lessons—that no matter how fine the wine, happiness can't really be bought. He also meets a young woman, Ying Li, who teaches him about love, and an elderly monk who questions the very nature of his journey but invites him to return when he's completed it.

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