February 23 @ 6:00 pm
Eminent children’s historian Leonard Marcus’ Golden Legacy chronicles the fascinating story of the creation, marketing, and worldwide impact of Little Golden Books, the most popular children’s books of all time. Launched during the dark days of WWII, Golden Books such as The Poky Little Puppy were an instant sensation. Hallmarked by their superlative quality yet affordable, they changed the cultural landscape and mirrored our changing postwar culture: the powerful influence of television, the post-Sputnik renaissance in American science education, and the birth of the civil rights movement. Lavishly illustrated with the iconic Golden Book covers and colorful artwork generations of children have pored over, Golden Legacy is a compelling tale of mavericks, innovators, and renowned authors and illustrators. . . a stirring celebration of the humble books in which we scrawled our names, with the cardboard cover and the shiny gold-foil spine.
March 7 @ 6:00 pm
Daniel Barbarisi quits his job as the New York Yankees beat writer for The Wall Street Journal and begins a quest: to join the top one percent of Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”) players, the so-called “sharks,” and figure out whether DFS is on the level—while maybe cashing in along the way.
DFS is fantasy sports on steroids. It’s the domain of bitter rivals FanDuel and DraftKings, online juggernauts who turned a legal loophole into a billion-dollar industry by allowing sports fans bet piles of cash constructing fantasy teams.
Yet as Barbarisi quickly realized, what should have been a fun companion to casual sports viewing was instead a ferocious environment infested with sharks, a top tier of pros wielding complex algorithms, drafting hundreds of lineups, and wagering six figures daily as they bludgeon unsuspecting amateur “fish.” Barbarisi embeds himself inside the world of DFS, befriending and joining its rogue’s gallery as he tries to beat them at their own game.
In a work equal parts adventure and rigorously reported investigation, Barbarisi wades into this chaotic industry at the very moment its existence is threatened by lawmakers sick of its Wild West atmosphere and pushy advertising. All their money made FanDuel and DraftKings seem invincible; but, as Barbarisi reports, they made plenty of dubious—perhaps even scandalous—moves as they vied for market supremacy.
March 9 @ 6:00 pm
With Orbit, prize-winning author Cynthia Zarin confirms her place as an indispensable American poet of our time.
In this, her fifth collection, Zarin turns her lyric lens on the worlds within worlds we inhabit and how we navigate our shared predicament—the tables of our lives on which the news of the day is strewn: the president speaking to parishioners in Charleston, the ricochet of violence, near and far. Whether writing about hairpin turns in the stair of childhood, the cat’s claw of anxiety, on the impending loss of a young friend, or how “love endures, give or take,” here is the poet who, in the title poem, “bartered forty summers for black pearls” and whose work is full of such wagers, embodied in playing cards, treble notes, snow globes, and balancing acts. Zarin reminds us that the atmosphere created by our experiences shapes and defines the orbit we move through. Along the way, she is both witness and, often indirectly, subject—“I do not know how to hold the beauty and sorrow of my life,” she writes. This book is an attempt at an answer.
March 15 @ 6:00 pm
An engaging, funny, and tender memoir from a man of ninety years: of growing up poor in a Brooklyn and Ireland that now exist only in memory, and of serving in the China/Burma/India theater during World War II as a member of an elite U.S. Navy commando unit
John Freely’s voice is still astonishingly youthful, full of wonder, humor, and gratitude, as he remembers his fully lived life. Born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrants, he went to Ireland with his mother when he was five, where he spent his young childhood on his grandfather’s farm. Western Ireland was impoverished by the times, but rich in beauty and intriguing people, and it opened in him a lifelong desire to see the world and its inhabitants. When he was seven, he returned to Brooklyn, and the antics of a coming-of-age boy played out on streets filled with character and characters. He took whatever jobs he could when times got tough, always shaking off his losses and moving on, hungry to see and experience what was next. He joined the U.S. Navy at seventeen to “see the world,” and did just that. In wartime, while bringing supplies and ammunition over the Stilwell-Burma Road to Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese guerrilla forces, Freely served alongside them during the last weeks of World War II in the Tibetan borderlands of China, a Shangri-la that war had turned into hell on earth.
March 21 @ 6:00 pm
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wrong Man and Eyes on You comes a harrowing new psychological thriller about a successful self-help author who suddenly finds her life spiraling dangerously out of control.
What would you do if you realized that your new husband, a man you adore, is keeping secrets from you—secrets with terrifying consequences?
Bryn Harper, an accomplished self-help author, already has plenty to deal with. She’s still recovering from a devastating car accident that has left her haunted by recurring, smoke-filled nightmares. Worse still, she can’t shake the ominous feeling her dreams contain a warning. In the beginning, Bryn’s husband Guy couldn’t have been more supportive. But after moving into a new house together, disturbing incidents occur and Guy grows evasive, secretive. What the hell is going on, she wonders? Then, a woman hired to cater their dinner party is brutally murdered. As Bryn’s world unravels—and yet another woman in town is slain —she must summon her old strength to find answers and protect her own life. Her nightmares may in fact hold the key to unlocking the truth and unmasking the murderer. With unexpected, riveting twists, The Secrets You Keep is an utterly compelling psychological thriller that once again showcases Kate White’s extraordinary storytelling talent.
April 3 @ 6:00 pm
Sofia lost her mother eight months ago, and her friends were 100% there for her. Now it’s a new year and they’re ready for Sofia to move on.
Problem is, Sofia can’t bounce back, can’t recharge like a cellphone. She decides to write Dear Kate, an advice columnist for Fifteen Magazine, and is surprised to receive a fast reply. Soon the two are exchanging emails, and Sofia opens up and spills all, including a few worries that are totally embarrassing. Turns out even advice columnists don’t have all the answers, and one day Sofia learns a secret that flips her world upside down.
Speed of Life is the heartbreaking, heartwarming story of a girl who thinks her life is over when really it’s just beginning. It’s a novel about love, family, grief, and growing up.
“A wonderful book that takes us from loss to laughter.” —Richard Peck, author of The Best Man
April 4 @ 6:00 pm
April 5 @ 6:00 pm
A captivating, beautifully illustrated, one-of-a-kind color compendium of the flowers, fruits, herbs, trees, seeds, and grasses cited in the works of the world’s greatest playwright, William Shakespeare, accompanied by their companion quotes from all of his plays and poems. With a foreword by Dame Helen Mirren—the first foreword she has ever contributed.
In this striking compilation, Shakespeare historian Gerit Quealy and respected Japanese artist Sumié Hasegawa combine their knowledge and skill in this first and only book that examines every plant that appears in the works of Shakespeare.
Botanical Shakespeare opens with a brief look at the Bard’s relationship to the plants mentioned in his works—a diversity that illuminates his knowledge of the science of botany, as well as the colloquy, revealing his unmatched skill for creating metaphorical connections and interweaving substantive philosophy. At the heart of the book are “portraits” of the over 170 flowers, fruits, grains, grasses, trees, herbs, seeds and vegetables that Shakespeare mentions in his plays and poems. Botanical Shakespeare features a gorgeous color illustration of each, giving a “face” to the name, alongside the specific text in which it appears and the character(s) who utter the lines in which it is mentioned.
This fascinating visual compendium also includes a dictionary describing each plant—such as Eglantine, a wild rose with a slight prickle, cherished for its singular scent, superior to any other rose; and the difference between apples and apple-john—along with indices listing the botanical by play/poem, by character, and genus for easy reference, ideal for gardeners and thoughtful birthday gift-giving.
This breathtaking, incomparable collection of exquisite artwork and companion quotes offers unique depth and insight into Shakespeare and his timeless work through the unusual perspective of the plants themselves.
April 6 @ 6:00 pm
This groundbreaking book from Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Frances Fitzgerald is the first to tell the powerful, dramatic story of the Evangelical movement in America—from the Puritan era to the 2016 presidential election.
The evangelical movement began in the revivals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, known in America as the Great Awakenings. A populist rebellion against the established churches, it became the dominant religious force in the country. During the nineteenth century white evangelicals split apart dramatically, first North versus South, and then at the end of the century, modernist versus fundamentalist. After World War II, Billy Graham, the revivalist preacher, attracted enormous crowds and tried to gather all Protestants under his big tent, but the civil rights movement and the social revolution of the sixties drove them apart again. By the 1980s Jerry Falwell and other southern televangelists, such as Pat Robertson, had formed the Christian right. Protesting abortion and gay rights, they led the South into the Republican Party, and for thirty-five years they were the sole voice of evangelicals to be heard nationally. Eventually a younger generation of leaders protested the Christian right’s close ties with the Republican Party and proposed a broader agenda of issues, such as climate change, gender equality, and immigration reform.
Evangelicals have in many ways defined the nation. They have shaped our culture and our politics. Frances Fitzgerald’s narrative of this distinctively American movement is a major work of history, piecing together the centuries-long story for the first time. Evangelicals now constitute twenty-five percent of the American population, but they are no longer monolithic in their politics. They range from Tea Party supporters to social reformers. Still, with the decline of religious faith generally, Fitzgerald suggests that evangelical churches must embrace ethnic minorities if they are to survive.
April 12 @ 6:00 pm
Short, elegant, sexy, and provocative, Bethany Ball’s debut What to Do About the Solomons weaves contemporary Jewish history through a distinctly modern, propulsive, and savvy tale of family life.
Meet Marc Solomon, an Israeli ex-navy commando now living in L.A., who is falsely accused of money laundering through his asset management firm. As the Solomons’ Santa Monica home is raided, Marc’s American wife, Carolyn—concealing her own dark past—makes hopeless attempts to hold their family of five together. But news of the scandal makes its way from America to the rest of the Solomon clan on the kibbutz in the Jordan River Valley. There we encounter various members of the family and the community—from Marc’s self-absorbed movie actress sister, Shira, and her forgotten son, Joseph; to his rich and powerful construction magnate father, Yakov; to his former star-crossed love, Maya; and his brother-in-law, Guy Gever, a local ranger turned “artist.” As the secrets and rumors of the kibbutz are revealed through various memories and tales, we witness the things that keep the Solomons together and those that tear them apart.