9 Books to Add to Your Reading List this August

In January 1939, Pablo Picasso was renowned in Europe but disdained by many in the United States. One year later, Americans across the country were clamoring to see his art. Picasso’s War is the never-before-told story about how a single exhibition, a decade in the making, irrevocably changed American taste, and in doing so saved dozens of the twentieth century’s most enduring artworks from the Nazis.

As a historian, Buck resurrects the era’s adventurous spirit, but he also challenges familiar myths about American expansion, confronting the bloody truth behind settlers’ push for land and wealth. Weaving together a tapestry of first-person histories, Buck portrays this watershed era of American expansion as it was really lived. Life on the Mississippi is a majestic feat of storytelling from a writer who may be the closest that we have today to Mark Twain.

Sharp-tongued Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of the popular student radio show “Brown Sugar,” she’s made it her mission to make sure the women at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships”, players, and heartbreak. But when she kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” in front of everyone on campus, she finds her show on the brink. They’re soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try and salvage their reputations and save their futures.

London, 1940. Bombs fall and Josie Banks’s world crumbles around her. Her overbearing husband, Stan, is called to service. Her home, a ruin of rubble and ash. Evacuated to the English countryside, Josie ends up at the estate of the aristocratic Miss Harcourt. Seeing an opportunity, Josie convinces Miss Harcourt to let her open a humble tea shop. Her newfound courage will be put to the test if she is to emerge, like a survivor, triumphant.

 In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream murdered as many as ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedent. Poison was his weapon of choice. Jobb exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Dr. Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women.

Imagine nine women meeting. They’ve come together to share their love of books. They are friends. It’s a happy gathering. What could be more harmless? Then scratch the surface and look closer. One is lonely. One is desperate. And one of them is a killer. When the body of a woman is discovered on a Cambridge common, DCI Barrett and DI Palmer are called in to investigate. But the motive behind the crime isn’t clear–and it all leads back to a book club.

In 1943, while the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were winning pennants and meeting in that year’s World Series, Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Said practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina. They and other past and future stars formed one of the greatest baseball teams of all time. They were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who wore the Cloudbuster Nine baseball jersey at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kitty Talbot needs a husband who has a fortune. Left with her father’s massive debts, she has only twelve weeks to save her family from ruin. Kitty has never been one to back down from a challenge, so she leaves home and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of England: the London season. The only thing she doesn’t anticipate is Lord Radcliffe. The worldly Radcliffe sees Kitty for the mercenary fortune-hunter that she really is and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs, until their parrying takes a completely different turn.

A once idyllic American landscape is home to a closely knit, rural community that, for more than a generation, has battled the polluting practices of large-scale farming that had been making them sick and damaging their homes. After years of frustration and futile attempts to bring about change, an impassioned cadre of local residents, led by a team of intrepid and dedicated lawyers, brought suit against one of the world’s most powerful corporations-and, miraculously, they won.

1.21 Gigawatts: Time Travel Books Lost in the Stacks

Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success waivers when a disastrous raid gets half her team killed, and she herself is severely wounded. Soon after she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates. While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra travels through time leaving her stranded in the same place but in the year 1815.

 For August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train. Jane. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane is literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her.

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of him, she is pulled into another time. The Ireland of 1921 is teetering on the edge of war, but Anne finds herself there. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find.

 When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics, accidently meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter human history itself. Tristan needs Mel to translate some old documents, which, if authentic, prove that magic actually existed. And so the Department of Diachronic Operations–D.O.D.O. –gets cracking on its mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and meddle with a little history.

A time travelling serial killer is impossible to trace, until one of his victims survives. In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. He stalks them across different eras until in 1989, one of his victims—Kirby Mazrachi—starts hunting him back. Working with an ex-homicide reporter, Kirby has to unravel time to solve an impossible mystery.

 Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach – an “outlander” – in a Scotland torn by war and raising clans in the year 1743. Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart.

 After the death of her beloved twin brother, Felix, and the breakup with her longtime lover, Nathan, Greta Wells embarks on a radical psychiatric treatment to alleviate her suffocating depression. But the treatment has unexpected effects, and Greta finds herself transported to the lives she might have had if she’d been born in different eras. Which life will she choose as she wrestles with the consequences of her choices?

Jake Epping is a 35 year old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. Jake’s friend, Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret to Jake one day: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So Jake begins a new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald, and a beautiful librarian Sandie Dunhill—a life that transgressed all the normal rules of time.

If you could go back, who would you want to meet? In a small back alley of Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else besides coffee–the chance to travel back in time. But time travel isn’t so simple, and there are rules that must be followed. Most important, the trip can last only as long as it takes for the coffee to get cold.

Take Me to Your Leader: Extraterrestrial Books Lost in the Stacks

The future is here…in an adventure of cosmic dimension. When a signal is discovered that seems to come from far beyond our solar system, a multinational team of scientists decides to find the source. What follows is an eye-opening journey out to the stars to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who—or what—is out there? Why are they watching us? And what do they want with us?

 In the haunted city of Derry, four boys stood together and did a brave thing. Years later, the boys are now men with separate lives, but their ties endure. Each hunting season they reunite in the woods of Maine. This year, a stranger stumbles into their camp, disoriented, mumbling something about lights in the sky. Before long, the men are plunged into a horrifying struggle with a creature from another world. Their only chance of survival is locked in their shared past and in the Dreamcatcher.

Jonathan Doors. A man at the head of the world’s largest corporation, Doors International. A man of wealth and power, with the resources to change the world. The Taelons have arrived from beyond the stars on mission of mercy, to help humanity claim its destiny. Contacted by these Companions, Jonathan Doors helps introduce the aliens and their fantastic technology to the world, but there is a dark shadow behind the Taelons’ bright promises.

In Arrival’s “The Story of My Life,” alien lifeforms suddenly appear on Earth. When a linguist is brought in to help communicate with them and discern their intentions, her new knowledge of their language and its nonlinear structure allows her to see future events and all the joy and pain they may bring. In each story of this incredible collection, with sharp intelligence and humor, Ted Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty, but also by wonder.

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope.

Roaming through New York City at 3 a.m., April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. April and her friend, Andy, make a video, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world and April finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.  All eyes are on April to figure out what the Carls are, and what they want from us.

Prior to WWIII, the crewed spacecraft Envoy is launched toward Mars, but all contact is lost shortly before landing. Twenty-five years later, the spacecraft Champion makes contact with the missing ship and finds one survivor, Valentine Michael Smith. Raised by Martians on Mars, Valentine is a human being who has never seen another member of his species. Sent to Earth, he is a stranger who must learn what it is to be a man.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets mysterious Evan Walker.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over the world, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

9 Self-Help Books to Check out this August

 In The Plus, Greg teaches you how to brainwash yourself into better behavior, retaining the pluses in your life and eliminating the minuses. His approach to self-help is simple, and perfect for cynics; it’s not about positive thinking in the short term, it’s about positive being in the long term. In The Plus, Greg shows how skeptics too can advance themselves for the betterment of their lives and the healing of their communities.

Every day, we’re bombarded with pressure to be positive. We’re constantly told that the key to happiness is silencing negativity wherever it crops up. In this refreshingly honest guide, sought-after therapist Whitney Goodman shares the latest research along with everyday examples and client stories that reveal how damaging toxic positivity is to ourselves and our relationships, and presents simple ways to experience and work through difficult emotions.

Any given day brings a never-ending list. There’s the work thing, the laundry thing, the creative thing, the exercise thing, the family thing, the thing we don’t want to do, and the thing we’ve been putting off. After years of searching for the secret to productivity, Madeleine Dore discovered there isn’t one. I Didn’t Do the Thing Today is the call to dismantle our comparisons to others, aspirational routines, and the unrealistic notions of what can be done in a day.

Celebrated self-care storyteller Alexandra Elle delivers 15 lessons on how to overcome obstacles, build confidence, and cultivate abundance in her part memoir and part guide, After the Rain. This soulful collection is filled with illuminating reflections on loss, fear, bravery, healing, love and acceptance. Readers follow along her journey as she transforms challenging experiences into fuel for her career as a successful entrepreneur and author.

Dr. Ashton becomes both researcher and subject as she focuses on twelve separate challenges. Beginning with a new area of focus each month, she guides you through the struggles she faces, the benefits she experiences, and the science behind why each month’s challenge–giving up alcohol, doing more push-ups, adopting an earlier bedtime, limiting technology–can lead to better health.

In Joyful, designer Ingrid Fetell Lee explores how the seemingly mundane spaces and objects we interact with every day have surprising and powerful effects on our mood. Drawing on insights from neuroscience and psychology, she explains why one setting makes us feel anxious or competitive, while another fosters acceptance and delight–and, most importantly, she reveals how we can harness the power of our surroundings to live fuller, healthier, and truly joyful lives.

Sisters Emily Nagoski, Ph.D., and Amelia Nagoski, DMA, are here to help end the cycle of overwhelm and exhaustion, and confront the obstacles that stand between women and well-being. With insights from the latest science, prescriptive advice, and helpful worksheets and exercises, Burnout reveals what you can do to complete the biological stress cycle and return your body to a state of relaxation.

This isn’t a book about high-fiving everyone else in your life. You’re already doing that. Cheering for your favorite teams. Celebrating your friends. Supporting the people you love as they go after what they want in life. Imagine if you gave that same love and encouragement to yourself. You’d be unstoppable. In this book, Mel teaches you how to start high-fiving the most important person in your life, the one who is staring back at you in the mirror: Yourself.

How much room are you giving to shame, to regret, to being against yourself? Whatever it is, it’s too much. Life is too short for you to live bitter and discouraged, letting your circumstances hold you back. Every morning you have to empty out anything negative from the day before and put on a fresh new attitude. Power up and get your mind going in the right direction, and you’ll step into all the new things God has in store for you.

Summer Isn’t Over Just Yet: Check out these end of summer fiction reads on the Libby App

They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together for some much needed adult time. But when the women go out for drinks on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong. One of the babies is taken from his crib. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find the baby boy, during which secrets are exposed, and friendships are destroyed.

This is the story of a love affair that begins on the coast of Italy in 1962 when a young innkeeper meets an American starlet, who he soon learns is dying. The story begins again when an elderly Italian man shows up on the set of a movie studio searching for a mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier. From the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to the back lots of contemporary Hollywood, this is a dazzling, yet deeply human roller coaster of a novel.

A terrible constructions site accident takes Edgar Freemantle’s right arm and scrambles his memory and his mind, leaving him with little but rage as he begins the ordeal of rehabilitation. Trying to get away, Edgar leaves his home and rents a house on Duma Key, off the coast of Florida. He draws and paints feverishly, but it isn’t until he meets elderly woman, Elizabeth, that he realizes the power that his paintings have, and the damage they are truly capable of.

Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorhome that he father won in a poker game. She’s failing out of school, and left fending for herself in a town where she’s never felt at home. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and ends up in Ithaca. She finds a kindred sense of belonging, and as April moves through the world, meeting people who make her feel at home, she discovers that where she came from doesn’t dictate who she has to be.

Two truths and a lie. Emma and her friends played it all the time at Camp Nightingale. But the games ended the night that Emma watched the others sneak out into the darkness. That was the last time they were seen. Fifteen years later, Emma is a rising painting star, and the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale asks Emma to return as a painting instructor. Emma agrees, and tries to find out what happened to her friends, but her closure could come at a deadly price.

Adrift in a raft after a deadly ship explosion, ten people struggle for survival at sea. Three days pass. Short on water, food and hope, they spot a man floating in the waves. They pull him in. “Thank the Lord we found you,” a passenger says. “I am the Lord,” the man whispers. Is this man who he claims to be? It falls to the island’s chief inspector to solve the mystery of what happened when the empty life raft, and a notebook, washes up on the island of Montserrat.

Roya finds literary oasis in Mr. Fakhri’s stationary shop. With a keen instinct for budding romance, Mr. Fakhri introduces Roya to Bahman. Their romance blossoms, but on the eve of their marriage, Roya is left waiting in the town square for Bahman. Roya tries desperately to contact Bahman, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart she moves on, but more than sixty years later, fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him questions that have haunted her for more than half a century.

Harmony Resort promises hope for struggling marriages. Johanna and Ben have a marriage that looks perfect on the surface, but in reality they don’t know each other at all. Shell and Colin fight constantly, but what has really torn them apart is too devastating to talk about. When both couples begin Harmony’s intensive program, it becomes clear that Harmony is not all it seems. As a deadly storm descends the coast, not one person will remain unchanged by what follows.

One December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister, Summer, walks to the roof of their home and is never seen again. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing woman, Autumn must pursue answers on her own, all while grieving her mother’s recent death. Autumn pretends to hold up through the crisis, but after starting an affair with Summer’s boyfriend, she begins to unravel, becoming obsessed with murdered women and the men who kill them.

Get Ready to Laugh at these Comedies Lost in the Stacks

Inside an apartment open house, a failed bank robber has taken a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple, a wealthy bank director, a young couple, an eighty-seven-year-old woman, a real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them—the bank robber included—desperately crave some sort of rescue.

Finding inspiration in questions from the nature of perfection to the icing on carrot cake, One More Thing has at its heart the most human of phenomena: love, fear, hope, ambition, and the inner stirring for the one elusive element just that might make a person complete. Across a dazzling range of subjects, themes, tones, and narrative voices, the many pieces in this collection are like nothing else, but they have one thing in common: they share the playful humor.

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. Yet, despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers a secret about his mother.

Whether Samantha Irby is talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets; explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette; detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes; or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies; she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing emotional truths.

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her mother calls for her aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.

Me Talk Pretty One Day narrates David Sedaris’ move to Paris from New York with hysterical stories about his struggle to learn French, along with ridiculous passages about his crazy family members like his brother, who speaks in constant hip-hop slang to his clueless father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails.

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in her life, and we are all better for it. For every intellectual misfit who through they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a look at all the dark, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

When Kate Campbell’s life in Manhattan suddenly implodes, she is forced to return to Sea Point, where she grew up. Meanwhile, Miles Hoffman has also returned home to prove to his mother that he’s capable of taking over the family business. Kate and Miles converge in Sea Point as the town faces an identity crisis. Full of heart and humor-and laced with biting wit, Rock the Boat proves that even when you know all the back roads, there aren’t any shortcuts to growing up.

When Mackenzie, Sunna, and Maude move into a rental house, they are strangers with only one thing in common–important people in their lives have “ghosted” them. Mackenzie’s sister, Sunna’s best friend, and Maude’s fiancé–all gone with no explanation. But the more they learn about each other, the more questions they begin to have. And creepy sounds and strange happenings on the property suggest that the ghosts from their pasts might not be all that’s haunting them.

Nebraska Stories Lost in the Stacks

At the age of 17, Randall Hunsacker shoots his mother’s boyfriend, steals a car and comes close to killing himself. His second chance lies in a small Nebraska farm town, where the landmarks include McKibben’s Mobil Station, Frmka’s Superette, and a sign that says The Wages of Sin is Hell. This is Goodnight, a place so ingrown and provincial that Randall calls it “Sludgeville”-until he starts thinking of it as home.

After the death of his parents, Jim Burden is sent to live with his grandparents on the Nebraska plains. On that same train is Ántonia, his soon to be neighbor and lifelong friend. Her family has emigrated from Bohemia to start a new life but soon lose their money and must work hard just to survive. Through it all, Ántonia retains her natural pride and free spirit. In My Ántonia, Willa Cather paints a rich picture of life on the prairie at the beginning of the twentieth century.

In 1973 the small southwest Nebraska railroad town of McCook became the unlikely scene of a grisly murder. More than forty years later, author James W. Hewitt returns to the scene and unearths new details about what happened. Hewitt takes readers through the evidence, including salacious details of sex and intrigue between the Hoyts and the Nokeses, and draws new conclusions about what really happened between the two families on that fateful September night.

Burt and Vicky, a couple trying to save their marriage, are driving to California for a vacation and to visit Vicky’s brother. Driving through the cornfields in rural Nebraska, they accidentally run over a young boy—only to discover that he was already hurt and they may not be responsible for his death. They decide to report the incident to the police and go to the nearest two to look for help. Out in the corn, something is watching them, and help is nowhere to be found.

During the war, American soldiers rolled through North Platte on troop trains. The town transformed its railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen –a place where soldiers could enjoy coffee, music, and home-cooked food. In this heartwarming eyewitness history, based on interviews with North Platte residents and the GIs who passed through, Bob Greene unearths and reveals a classic American story of a grateful country honoring its brave and dedicated sons.

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt called for the largest arms buildup in our nation’s history. A shortage of steel, however, quickly slowed the program’s momentum, and arms production fell dangerously behind schedule. Henry Doorly, publisher of the Omaha World-Herald, had the solution. Prairie Forge tells the story of the great Nebraska scrap drive of 1942—a campaign that swept the nation and yielded five million tons of scrap metal.

Ten years after the Seventh Cavalry massacred more than two hundred Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, J.B. Bennett, a white rancher, and Star, a young Native American woman, are murdered in a remote meadow on J.B.’s land. The deaths bring together the scattered members of the Bennett family and as the mystery of these twin deaths unfolds, the history of the dysfunctional Bennetts and their damning secrets is revealed.

Matthew Worth is a mess. Somewhere between a good cop and a bad screwup, he botched a marriage and a career. Busted to night patrol at a robbery-prone Omaha supermarket, Worth is doing time, wearing his uniform and asking shoppers if they want paper or plastic. If that isn’t enough, he suspects he might be falling for Gwen, the shy checkout girl who may be an even bigger mess than he is. It couldn’t get any worse. Until it does.

In June, 1954, Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska from the work farmwhere he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, and the family farm foreclosed upon, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his brother and start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden in the trunk of the car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.

A Man’s Best Friend: Stories about our Furry Friends Lost in the Stacks

Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained dogs. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar’s paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles’ once peaceful home. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three dogs who follow him.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul, he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to his master, Denny Swift, a race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

Off the Leash is a group portrait of dog people, specifically the strange, wonderful, neurotic, and eccentric dog people who gather at Amory Park, overlooking Boston near Fenway Park. And it’s about author Matthew Gilbert’s transformation, after much fear and loathing of dogs and social groups, into one of those dog people with fur on their jackets, squeaky toys in their hands, and biscuits in their pockets.

In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen ran up to them. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. The Levins were unable to resist Oogy’s charms, and decided to take him home.

Ted Kerasote met and adopted Merle, a Laborador mix, while he was on a camping trip. Merle had been living in the wild, and after taking the dog home with him, Kerasote soon realized that Merle could not adjust to inhabiting in the human world. So he put a door in his house to let Merle live both outside and in. Merle showed Kerasote how dogs might live were they free; Kerasote suggests how they should be allowed to live, and the doors that should always remain open to them.

From a top secret government laboratory come two genetically altered life forms. One is a magnificent dog of astonishing intelligence. The other, a hybrid monster of a brutally violent nature. And both are on the loose. Bestselling author Dean Koontz presents his most terrifying, dramatic and moving novel: The explosive story of a man and a woman, caught in a relentless storm of mankind’s darkest creation.

My name’s Griz. My childhood wasn’t like yours. I’ve never had friends, and in my whole life I’ve not met enough people to play a game of football. My parents told me how crowded the world used to be, but we were never lonely on our remote island. We had each other, and our dogs. Then the thief came. There may be no law left except what you make of it. But if you steal my dog, you can at least expect me to come after you.

Adam March has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends, until one day when it all comes crashing down. He loses his job. He loses his wife. He loses the life he’s worked so hard to achieve. Adam thinks he’s lost it all, but this is when he meets Chance, a mixed breed Pit Bull. What transpires is the story of one man, one dog, and how they save each other—in ways they never could have expected.

Leigh Brill finally decided to stop pretending she was just fine when she admitted to the service dog interviewer, “I have cerebral palsy. My hands shake, too. And if I drop stuff, sometimes it’s hard to just bend down and get it.” So began her journey toward independence and confidence, all thanks to a trained companion dog named Slugger. The struggling college student and the Labrador became an instant team.

Classics You May Not Have Read Yet But Should

Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, the novel brakes the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery.

The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolan’s are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness.

Adam Trask came to California from the East to farm and raise his family on the new, rich land. But the birth of his twins, Cal and Aron, brings his wife to the brink of madness, and Adam is left alone to raise his boys to manhood. One boy thrives, nurtured by the love of all those around him; the other grows up in loneliness, enveloped by a mysterious darkness.

Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in mental hospital with a strict routine, unopposed by her patients. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy – the fun-loving trickster who resolves to oppose her rules. His struggle is seen through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute patient who understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them imprisoned.

Carrie White may be picked on by her classmates, but she has a gift. She can move things with her mind. Doors lock. Candles fall. This is her power and her problem. Then, an act of kindness, as spontaneous as the vicious taunts of her classmates, offers Carrie a chance to be a normal…until an unexpected cruelty turns her gift into a weapon of horror and destruction that no one will ever forget.

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the town’s most vicious racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household.

This is the story of Louis of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside.

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with the tiger, Richard Parker, for 227 days while lost at sea.

Books with a Twist that you won’t see coming

First, there were ten–a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal–and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. He has eight days, and eight different incarnations, but every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. But he will soon learn that there are two other people competing to find out the murderer and only one person can win.

Things have been wrong with Mr. and Mrs. Wright for a long time but when they win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all-a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately falls on the parents. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

Shortly after her 25th birthday, Libby Jones learns that she has inherited an abandoned London mansion from her biological parents. Adopted as a baby, Libby is excited to learn about her birth family. But her family history is much more than she anticipates when she finds out her parents committed suicide as part of a cult, and her siblings vanished. As scary as that is, the truth is even darker. 

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. The longer she sits in the passenger seat, however, the more Charlie notices there’s something suspicious about Josh. Trapped in a terrifying game of cat and mouse played out on pitch-black roads and in neon-lit parking lots, Charlie knows the only way to live is to survive the night.

“I need you.” Those three words send Isa Wilde running to her friend’s side. At boarding school as a teenager, Isa befriended Fatima, Thea, and Kate in a year that would change their lives. The three were inseparable and reckless, playing a game of their own making where they lied to everyone around them but not to each other. When a bone is found in the marsh, their childhood lies come back to haunt them.

During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson escapes to her childhood tree house and spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm. She watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. Fifty years later, Laurel, now a successful London actress, returns to the farm and is overwhelmed by family secrets she had not thought of in decades.

Working as a lady’s maid in Monte Carlo, the narrator is swept off her feet by the handsome widower Maxim de Winter. After a rushed courtship and impulsive marriage, she returns as his wife to his beautiful estate, Manderley. Yet, she quickly learns she is not the true mistress of the estate, as the household will not let her forget the memory of Rebecca, de Winter’s first wife who drowned the year before.