January Picks - Award Winners

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American dirt

American dirt

Cummins, Jeanine, author
2020

Lydia Quixano Perez runs a bookstore in Acapulco. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier, the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city, is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia-trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't extend.

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Girl, woman, other

Girl, woman, other

Evaristo, Bernardine, 1959- author
2019

Teeming with life and crackling with energy - a love song to modern Britain, to black womanhood. Follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

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Hamnet & Judith

Hamnet & Judith

O'Farrell, Maggie, 1972- author
2020

England, 1580. A young Latin tutor--penniless, bullied by a violent father--falls in love with an eccentric young woman: a wild creature who walks her family's estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles on the Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband. His gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when their beloved twins, Hamnet and Judith, are afflicted with the bubonic plague, and, devastatingly, one of them succumbs to the illness.

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How to pronounce knife : stories

How to pronounce knife : stories

Thammavongsa, Souvankham, 1978- author
2020

In her stunning debut, Souvankham Thammavongsa captures the day-to-day lives of immigrants and refugees in a nameless city, illuminating hopes, disappointments, love affairs, and above all, the pursuit of a place to belong. An ex-boxer turned nail salon worker falls for a pair of immaculate hands; a mother and daughter harvest earthworms in the middle of the night; a country music-obsessed housewife abandons her family for fantasy; and a young girl's love for her father transcends language. Uncannily and intimately observed, written with prose of exceptional precision, the stories in How to Pronounce Knife speak of modern location and dislocation, revealing lives lived in the embrace of isolation and severed history - but not without joy, humour, resilience, and constant wonder at the workings of the world.

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Long bright river

Long bright river

Moore, Liz, 1983- author
2020

In a Philadelphia neighbourhood rocked by the opioid crisis, two once-inseparable sisters find themselves at odds. One, Kacey, lives on the streets in the vise of addiction. The other, Mickey, walks those same blocks on her police beat. Then Kacey disappears, suddenly, at the same time that a mysterious string of murders begins in Mickey's district, and Mickey becomes dangerously obsessed with finding the culprit - and her sister - before it's too late.

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Make it stick : the science of successful learning

Make it stick : the science of successful learning

Brown, Peter C., author
2014

To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. 'Make It Stick' turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

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A memory called empire

A memory called empire

Martine, Arkady, author
2019

During a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court, Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident--or that Mahit might be next to die. Now Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion--all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret--one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life--or rescue it from annihilation.

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Milkman

Milkman

Burns, Anna, 1962- author
2018


The nickel boys : a novel

The nickel boys : a novel

Whitehead, Colson, 1969- author
2019

The story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

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Salt slow : stories

Salt slow : stories

Armfield, Julia, author.
2019

"From White Review Short Story Prize winner Julia Armfield, a brilliant, provocative debut story collection for fans of Carmen Maria Machado and Kelly Link. In her electrifying debut, Julia Armfield explores women's experiences in contemporary society, mapped through their bodies. As urban dwellers' sleeps become disassociated from them, like Peter Pan's shadow, a city turns insomniac. A teenager entering puberty finds her body transforming in ways very different than her classmates'. As a popular band gathers momentum, the fangirls following their tour turn into something monstrous. After their parents remarry, two step-sisters, one a girl and one a wolf, develop a dangerously close bond. And in an apocalyptic landscape, a pregnant woman begins to realize that the creature in her belly is not what she expected. Blending elements of horror, science fiction, mythology, and feminism, salt slow is an utterly original collection of short stories that are sure to dazzle and shock, heralding the arrival of a daring new voice"-- Provided by publisher.

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The secret lives of church ladies

The secret lives of church ladies

Philyaw, Deesha, author
2020

"The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions."-- Provided by publisher.

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Shuggie Bain : a novel

Shuggie Bain : a novel

Stuart, Douglas, 1976- author
2020


Station eleven

Station eleven

Mandel, Emily St. John, 1979- author
2014


The stranger diaries

The stranger diaries

Griffiths, Elly, author
2019

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. A high school English teacher specializing in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a course on it every year. But when one of Clare's colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from R.M. Holland's most famous story, "The Stranger," left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature. To make matters worse, the police suspect the killer is someone Clare knows. Unsure whom to trust, she turns to her closest confidant, her diary, the only outlet she has for her darkest suspicions and fears about the case. Then one day she notices something odd. Writing that isn't hers, left on the page of an old diary : Hallo Clare. You don't know me. Clare becomes more certain than ever: "The Stranger" has come to terrifying life.

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Two trees make a forest : in search of my family's past among Taiwan's mountains and coasts

Two trees make a forest : in search of my family's past among Taiwan's mountains and coasts

Lee, Jessica J., 1986- author
2020

Jessica J. Lee embarks on a journey to discover her family's forgotten history and to connect with the island they once called home. After unearthing a hidden memoir of her grandfather's life, Lee seeks to piece together the fragments of her family's history as they moved from China to Taiwan, and then on to Canada. But as she navigates the tumultuous terrain of Taiwan, Lee finds herself having to traverse fissures in language, memory, and history, as she searches for the pieces of her family left behind.

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