Local History Closings

The Local History Room will have different hours the week of June 17th:

  • Monday, June 17th: normal hours 
  • Tuesday, June 18th: Closed
  • Wednesday, June 19th: Closed
  • Thursday, June 20th: 10 am-12 pm
  • Friday, June 21st: 10 am-12 pm

Regular hours will resume the following week. 

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The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store

James McBride

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“A murder mystery locked inside a Great American Novel . . . Charming, smart, heart-blistering, and heart-healing.” —Danez Smith, The New York Times Book Review

“We all need—we all deserve—this vibrant, love-affirming novel that bounds over any difference that claims to separate us.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

From James McBride, author of the bestselling Oprah’s Book Club pick Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep them


In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.

As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.

Bringing his masterly storytelling skills and his deep faith in humanity to The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride has written a novel as compassionate as Deacon King Kong and as inventive as The Good Lord Bird.

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The Vaster Wilds

Lauren Groff

 

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Lauren Groff just reinvented the adventure novel."—Los Angeles Times

"Glorious…surroundings come alive in prose that lives and breathes upon the page." —Boston Globe

I know of few other writers whose sentences are so beautiful and so propulsive." —New York Times Book Review


A taut and electrifying novel from celebrated bestselling author Lauren Groff, about one spirited girl alone in the wilderness, trying to survive

A servant girl escapes from a colonial settlement in the wilderness. She carries nothing with her but her wits, a few possessions, and the spark of god that burns hot within her. What she finds in this terra incognita is beyond the limits of her imagination and will bend her belief in everything that her own civilization has taught her.

Lauren Groff’s new novel is at once a thrilling adventure story and a penetrating fable about trying to find a new way of living in a world succumbing to the churn of colonialism. The Vaster Wilds is a work of raw and prophetic power that tells the story of America in miniature, through one girl at a hinge point in history, to ask how—and if—we can adapt quickly enough to save ourselves.

 

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Birding While Indian

Thomas C. Gannon

"A fascinating search for personal and cultural identity." --Kirkus



Thomas C. Gannon's Birding While Indian spans more than fifty years of childhood walks and adult road trips to deliver, via a compendium of birds recorded and revered, the author's life as a part-Lakota inhabitant of the Great Plains. Great Horned Owl, Sandhill Crane, Dickcissel: such species form a kind of rosary, a corrective to the rosaries that evoke Gannon's traumatic time in an Indian boarding school in South Dakota, his mother's devastation at racist bullying from coworkers, and the violent erasure colonialism demanded of the people and other animals indigenous to the United States.



Birding has always been Gannon's escape and solace. He later found similar solace in literature, particularly by Native authors. He draws on both throughout this expansive, hilarious, and humane memoir. An acerbic observer--of birds, the environment, the aftershocks of history, and human nature--Gannon navigates his obsession with the ostensibly objective avocation of birding and his own mixed-blood subjectivity, searching for that elusive Snowy Owl and his own identity. The result is a rich reflection not only on one man's life but on the transformative power of building a deeper relationship with the natural world.


 

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Hang the Moon

Alexandria Bellefleur

In a delightful follow-up to Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur delivers another queer rom-com about a hopeless romantic who vows to show his childhood crush that romance isn't dead by recreating iconic dates from his favorite films...

Brendon Lowell loves love. It's why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he's convinced "the one" is out there, even if he hasn't met her yet. Or... has he? When his sister's best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He's crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.

Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She's not looking for love, especially with her best friend's brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie... wants him? Oh yes.

Getting involved would be a terrible idea--her stay is temporary and he wants forever--but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he's determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron's playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie's time in Seattle, and Brendon's starting to realize romance isn't just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn't need to be as perfect as the movies... as long as you think your partner hung the moon.

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The Fraud

Zadie Smith

The instant New York Times bestseller.

Named a Best Book of 2023 by Publishers Weekly

From acclaimed and bestselling novelist Zadie Smith, a kaleidoscopic work of historical fiction set against the legal trial that divided Victorian England, about who gets to tell their story—and who gets to be believed


It is 1873. Mrs. Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper—and cousin by marriage—of a once-famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years.

Mrs. Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her cousin, his wives, this life and the next. But she is also sceptical. She suspects her cousin of having no talent; his successful friend, Mr. Charles Dickens, of being a bully and a moralist; and England of being a land of facades, in which nothing is quite what it seems.

Andrew Bogle, meanwhile, grew up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica. He knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. That the rich deceive the poor. And that people are more easily manipulated than they realize. When Bogle finds himself in London, star witness in a celebrated case of imposture, he knows his future depends on telling the right story.

The “Tichborne Trial”—wherein a lower-class butcher from Australia claimed he was in fact the rightful heir of a sizable estate and titlecaptivates Mrs. Touchet and all of England. Is Sir Roger Tichborne really who he says he is? Or is he a fraud? Mrs. Touchet is a woman of the world. Mr. Bogle is no fool. But in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what is real proves a complicated task. . . .

Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britain, fraudulence and authenticity and the mystery of “other people.”

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Pockets

Hannah Carlson

"Who knew the humble pocket could hold so much history? In this enthralling and always surprising account, Hannah Carlson turns the pocket inside out and out tumble pocket watches, coins, pistols, and a riveting centuries-long social and political history." Jill Lepore, author of These Truths: A History of the United States

Pockets "showcases the best features of cultural history: a lively combination of visual, literary and documentary evidence. As sumptuously illustrated as it is learned ... this highly inventive and original book demands a pocket sequel." Jane Kamensky, Wall Street Journal

Who gets pockets, and why?

It's a subject that stirs up plenty of passion: Why do men's clothes have so many pockets and women's so few? And why are the pockets on women's clothes often too small to fit phones, if they even open at all? In her captivating book, Hannah Carlson, a lecturer in dress history at the Rhode Island School of Design, reveals the issues of gender politics, security, sexuality, power, and privilege tucked inside our pockets.

Throughout the medieval era in Europe, the purse was an almost universal dress feature. But when tailors stitched the first pockets into men's trousers five hundred years ago, it ignited controversy and introduced a range of social issues that we continue to wrestle with today, from concealed pistols to gender inequality. See: #GiveMePocketsOrGiveMeDeath.

Filled with incredible images, this microhistory of the humble pocket uncovers what pockets tell us about ourselves: How is it that putting your hands in your pockets can be seen as a sign of laziness, arrogance, confidence, or perversion? Walt Whitman's author photograph, hand in pocket, for Leaves of Grass seemed like an affront to middle-class respectability. When W.E.B. Du Bois posed for a portrait, his pocketed hands signaled defiant coolness.

And what else might be hiding in the history of our pockets? (There's a reason that the contents of Abraham Lincoln's pockets are the most popular exhibit at the Library of Congress.) Thinking about the future, Carlson asks whether we will still want pockets when our clothes contain "smart" textiles that incorporate our IDs and credit cards.

Pockets is for the legions of people obsessed with pockets and their absence, and for anyone interested in how our clothes influence the way we navigate the world.

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The Country of the Blind

Andrew Leland

Named one of the Top 10 Best Books of 2023 by Publishers Weekly

A witty, winning, and revelatory personal narrative of the author’s transition from sightedness to blindness and his quest to learn about blindness as a rich culture all its own

The Country of the Blind is about seeing—but also about marriage and family and the moral and emotional challenge of accommodating the parts of ourselves that scare us. A warm, profound, and unforgettable meditation on how we adjust to new ways of being in the world.” —Rachel Aviv, author of Strangers to Ourselves


We meet Andrew Leland as he’s suspended in the liminal state of the soon-to-be blind: he’s midway through his life with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that ushers those who live with it from sightedness to blindness over years, even decades. He grew up with full vision, but starting in his teenage years, his sight began to degrade from the outside in, such that he now sees the world as if through a narrow tube. Soon—but without knowing exactly when—he will likely have no vision left.

Full of apprehension but also dogged curiosity, Leland embarks on a sweeping exploration of the state of being that awaits him: not only the physical experience of blindness but also its language, politics, and customs. He negotiates his changing relationships with his wife and son, and with his own sense of self, as he moves from his mainstream, “typical” life to one with a disability. Part memoir, part historical and cultural investigation, The Country of the Blind represents Leland’s determination not to merely survive this transition but to grow from it—to seek out and revel in that which makes blindness enlightening.

Thought-provoking and brimming with warmth and humor, The Country of the Blind is a deeply personal and intellectually exhilarating tour of a way of being that most of us have never paused to consider—and from which we have much to learn.

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Silent City

Sarah Davis-Goff

“The definition of a single session read.” —Eoin Colfer, bestselling author of Artemis Fowl
For fans of Station Eleven and The Last of Us, an apocalyptic tale of a young woman fighting for life and justice in the tyrannical Phoenix City—the only place in Ireland yet to be overrun by the flesh-eating skrake


Outside the walls of Phoenix City, where the plague has overrun Ireland, one bite from the savage skrake means death or infection. Inside, Orpen and the other survivors of the plague gather in meager numbers. They are protected from disease and death, but the city is by no means a refuge.

Phoenix City is ruled with an oppressive hand, with even the best of the leadership power hungry and ruthless. Orpen and the banshees—a fierce, all-women force of fighters—keep the peace, or shatter it, depending on their orders. But when two women are publicly executed, Orpen knows she must make a choice between guaranteed survival within a cruel society or treacherous freedom beyond the walls.

A story of friendship, justice, and belonging, Silent City is a feminist, voice-driven take on leadership in dire times.

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Menewood

Nicola Griffith

In the much anticipated sequel to Hild, Nicola Griffith’s Menewood transports readers back to seventh-century Britain, a land of rival kings and religions poised for epochal change.

Making a much-anticipated return to the world of Hild, Nicola Griffith’s Menewood transports readers back to seventh-century Britain, a land of rival kings and religions poised for epochal change. Hild is no longer the bright child who made a place in Edwin Overking’s court with her seemingly supernatural insight. She is eighteen, honed and tested, the formidable lady of Elmet, now building her personal stronghold in the valley of Menewood.

But old alliances are fraying. Younger rivals are snapping at Edwin’s heels. War is brewing—bitter war, winter war. Not knowing whom to trust, Edwin becomes volatile and recalls his young advisor to court. There Hild begins to understand the true extent of the chaos ahead—and realizes she must find a way to navigate the turbulence and fight to protect both the kingdom and her own people.

She will face the losses and devastation of total war, and then must summon the determination to forge a radically different path for herself and her people. In the valley, her last redoubt, Hild draws strength from the fierce joy she finds in the natural world, as, slowly, her community takes root. She trains herself and her unexpected allies in new ways of thinking, learning what it means to gather and wield true power. And she prepares for one last wager: risking all on a single throw for a better future.
In the last decade, Hild has become a beloved classic of epic storytelling. Menewood exceeds it in every way.

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The Books of Jacob

Olga Tokarczuk

A NEW YORKER ESSENTIAL READ

“Just as awe-inspiring as the Nobel judges claimed.” – The Washington Post


“Olga Tokarczuk is one of our greatest living fiction writers. . . This could well be a decade-defining book akin to Bolaño’s 2666.” –AV Club

“Sophisticated and ribald and brimming with folk wit. . . The comedy in this novel blends, as it does in life, with genuine tragedy.” –Dwight Garner, The New York Times

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, TIME, THE NEW YORKER, AND NPR

The Nobel Prize–winner’s richest, most sweeping and ambitious novel yet follows the comet-like rise and fall of a mysterious, messianic religious leader as he blazes his way across eighteenth-century Europe.


In the mid-eighteenth century, as new ideas—and a new unrest—begin to sweep the Continent, a young Jew of mysterious origins arrives in a village in Poland. Before long, he has changed not only his name but his persona; visited by what seem to be ecstatic experiences, Jacob Frank casts a charismatic spell that attracts an increasingly fervent following. In the decade to come, Frank will traverse the Hapsburg and Ottoman empires with throngs of disciples in his thrall as he reinvents himself again and again, converts to Islam and then Catholicism, is pilloried as a heretic and revered as the Messiah, and wreaks havoc on the conventional order, Jewish and Christian alike, with scandalous rumors of his sect’s secret rituals and the spread of his increasingly iconoclastic beliefs. The story of Frank—a real historical figure around whom mystery and controversy swirl to this day—is the perfect canvas for the genius and unparalleled reach of Olga Tokarczuk. Narrated through the perspectives of his contemporaries—those who revere him, those who revile him, the friend who betrays him, the lone woman who sees him for what he is—The Books of Jacob captures a world on the cusp of precipitous change, searching for certainty and longing for transcendence.

In a nod to books written in Hebrew, The Books of Jacob is paginated in reverse, beginning on p. 955 and ending on p. 1 – but read traditionally, front cover to back.

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