Stranger To The End - Everybody Is Running Away From Something. (Thoughtful Tales Series Book 5)

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Publish date: May 15 Why it's worth reading: Jim Holt approaches some of the biggest questions on the blurry boundary between science and philosophy, not as a journalist making a beeline for empirical truth, but as an essayist, circling and spiraling toward understanding. This book also offers a collection of biographical sketches of some of the greatest thinkers from the last century, including Benoit Mandelbrot, Alan Turing, and the titular pair, specifically the unlikely friendship they developed at Princeton in the '40s.

Together these essays create a complex though unfortunately overwhelmingly male portrait of the great minds of the twentieth century and an illuminating exploration of their ideas. Candace Chen could be any disaffected office worker, spending her days on the production of specialty bibles and her nights watching movies with her boyfriend.

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But then she turns out to be one of the very few people immune to Shen Fever, an epidemic that turns its victims into zombies, of sorts: they become consumed by habitual actions, setting the table or folding clothing until they waste away. Everything in this book is sharper and funnier and stranger in practice than in summary. Candace joins a band of survivors heading for a promised refuge, but she knows to be skeptical of that kind of hope.

Sixteen-year-old Haemi finds respite at night by sneaking out with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan, trying to get into makeshift bars. But of course, escape is the exception, not the rule, and the realities of war -- and life -- are harsh for Haemi. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking story, told in equally beautiful prose. Miryem is the daughter of a Jewish moneylender, and takes charge to save her family from destitution. Many are runaways, literally or figuratively, searching for a place where they can be known as themselves and loved.

The story of that world is full of anger and sorrow and joy. What if a woman fell in love with a merman? Long story short, she meets Theo, who turns out to be a merman. What follows is sexy, funny, dark, and surprisingly complex. The result is a book about reality and fantasy, love and obsession, mental health and so much more.

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Wilson writes about family with plenty of love, but his stories are never saccharine, veering instead toward the quirky, strange, sad, and disturbing. Written by: Alice Bolin Publish date: June 26 Why it's worth reading: From its title, you know that Dead Girls carries a heavy premise -- this is an essay collection about our cultural obsession with dead, abused, and objectified women.

Why are we fascinated by watching women die onscreen, and by the stories of men who are obsessed with them? Bolin links Twin Peaks , Serial , Pretty Little Liars , and more to construct a theory of The Dead Girl, where a pristine victim becomes a symbol, a stand-in, and, often enough, a justification for more violence. Because as a girl herself, very much alive, Bolin has to think about her place in all this. Daphne leaves San Francisco with her month-old daughter after her Turkish husband is denied reentry to the US.

She finds her way to the high desert of Eastern California, a strange and isolated area, where she gets tangled up in the lives of her neighbors -- including an anti-government secessionist. Questions of family, freedom, and identity fill the pages of this rich novel, but that never slows down the narrative drive. The first is set in Chicago in the mid and late s, centering on a circle of friends, mostly young gay men. Also in that circle is Fiona, whose brother, Nico, died of the disease.

In the second thread, Fiona, now in her 50s, searches Paris for her estranged daughter, and has to grapple with the impact those years in Chicago and the AIDS epidemic have had on her life. While this book is full of death and loss, it is also full of light and hope and connection, a powerful and sweeping story. Instead, the work is transcendent in the most literal sense, surpassing every readerly expectation about genre and form to create a truly unique book. Mailhot, who grew up on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia, writes deftly about mental illness and indigenous identity, about failure and yearning and ambition.

This is a short book that packs a punch. But impersonating a deceased gentleman is a crime, and she knows the jig is almost up. Enter Alistair, an incredibly grumpy and bisexual marquess who finds himself surprisingly charmed by the young man he meets as Robbie. You can imagine where things go from there -- or at least the general sense; the getting there is surprising and delightful.

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Miller is in full command of the Greek tales that she spins into something utterly, brilliantly new. This is a book of magic of mortals, of myths and mysteries, that honors its ancient origins while being powerfully of our time. The stories range from dystopian near-future to alarmingly real: one is set in a theme park where white patrons get to enact imaginary violence on people of color; another in a department store on Black Friday; a third sees a white man exonerated for the murder of five black children, by chainsaw, after pleading self-defense.

But even the far-fetched premises hit disturbingly close to home. This is a sometimes bleak, surprisingly tender, always vicious debut. Written by: Sue Burke Publish date: February 6 Why it's worth reading: What if a clutch of human colonists landed on an alien planet and discovered that it was home to sentient plants? In Semiosis , an amazingly assured debut novel, Sue Burke takes this simple concept to soaring heights. In scenes spread across a century, Burke writes deeply believable characters -- young and old, men and women, and life beyond that, too -- and paints her human society and alien ecosystem with equally deft brushstrokes.

This is up there with Ursula K. Le Guin: science fiction at its most fascinating and most humane. But when Chung was on the verge of becoming a mother herself, she decided to see what she could learn about her birth family of Korean immigrants.

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In this compelling memoir, she tracks that journey, as well as her childhood growing up with white parents in an overwhelmingly white small Oregon town. She writes with clarity, insight, and astonishing generosity about race, adoption, and family. There are stories of friendship, loving and barbed, of the tender violence of familial love, and of the freedom and pain of loneliness.

This is a powerful and tender collection. Come on. When door-to-door salesman Joe and his wife Violet moved from the rural South to New York, everything seemed grand—until the day he shoots his teenage mistress, and Violet attacks her corpse at the funeral in a moment of passion.

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Why choose just one Edith Wharton novel when you can read three? The collection includes The House of Mirth , The Custom of the Country , and The Age of Innocence , each with their own tales of love and loss, vanity and sacrifice, and all set in the city of dreams. Lyrical, witty, and bitingly sharp, A Visit from the Goon Squad will knock you on your seat.

Grimes lives in Harlem, the stepson of a Pentecostal storefront church minister. Within the New York cricket scene, he meets Trinidadian Chuck Ramkissoon, an immigrant like himself with a very different set of experiences.

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Interspersed with photographs and eloquently written, M Train is a beautiful memoir to behold. Henry Park is no stranger to the feeling of having multiple identities.


He is of Korean descent, but he grew up in New York. He is also a spy for the United States, with all of the identities that brings. When his next assignment is to spy on a Korean-American politician, he comes face to face with his various identities, and must reconcile them in order to move forward. Catherine Sloper is fairly average. Mild, plain-faced, no great intelligence to speak of.

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When she receives a marriage proposal, her father is convinced that the man is after her money. Catherine must navigate her world carefully, as the New York societal fetters can be binding. New York is given a British slant here with unreliable narrator John Self, a London commercial director with the opportunity to make his first movie in America.

His twisted narration as he drinks, whores, and schmoozes his way through New York and London both sickens and entertains. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Oscar Hijuelos, opens his life up to readers in this witty, entertaining memoir. While you may know Fitzgerald from reading The Great Gatsby in your high school English class or watching the Baz Luhrmann film with Leonardo DiCaprio , this lesser known work of his is just as engrossing, if not more so. Anthony and Gloria are living the good life as a newly married couple in Manhattan, dining at expensive restaurants, going to private parties, and avoiding all responsibility.

As their money dwindles, so does their lavish lifestyle, and the cracks in their relationship and themselves begin to be revealed. It gets harder, however, when Frank is stabbed to death, and a colleague and fellow former member of St. As he becomes more deeply embroiled in drugs and street crime, we see how his circumstances played a part in the difficult, and at times violent, choices he made, resulting in his arrest and imprisonment.

Approaching this memoir with self-acceptance and understanding, Piri Thomas brings hope to a life of hardship. You may have seen the brilliant film adaptation from Francis Ford Coppola, but have you read the book that started it all? Blood is thicker than water, after all. Sonia Sotomayer, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the Supreme Court, reveals the story of how she rose to such great heights in this inspiring memoir.