Spring 2019 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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The Museum of Modern Love

Author: Read by: Laurel Lefkow Genre: Literary Fiction Publisher: Algonquin Books Release Year: 2018 Length: 288 pages / 8h 1m

Our hero, Arky Levin, has reached a creative dead end. An unexpected separation from his wife was meant to leave him with the space he needs to work composing film scores, but it has provided none of the peace of mind he needs to create. Guilty and restless, almost by chance he stumbles upon an art exhibit that will change his life. Based on a real piece of performance art that took place in 2010, the installation that the fictional Arky Levin discovers is inexplicably powerful. Visitors to the Museum of Modern Art sit across a table from the performance artist Marina Abramović, for as short or long a period of time as they choose. Although some go in skeptical, almost all leave moved. And the participants are not the only ones to find themselves changed by this unusual experience: Arky finds himself returning daily to watch others with Abramović. As the performance unfolds over the course of 75 days, so too does Arky. As he bonds with other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do. This is a book about art, but it is also about success and failure, illness and happiness. It's about what it means to find connection in a modern world. And most of all, it is about love, with its limitations and its transcendence.

"Framing a love story around a long-durational performance work, where the passage of time is essential, is a profoundly original idea. I loved this book."

Marina Abramović

"Rose has woven a rich tapestry of plot and characters . . . The result is an unusual and lively work of fiction."

Newsday

Winter 2019 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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The Orphan's Tale

Author: Read by: Various Readers Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: MIRA Books Release Year: 2017 Length: 400 pages / 12h 52m

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival.

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep. When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another-or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

"Christina Baker Kline's Orphan Train has collided with the circus caravan from Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants… Jenoff has written a tribute to the human spirit that soars in the midst of epic despair."

| NPR

"Secrets, lies, treachery, and passion... I read this novel in a headlong rush."

Christina Baker Kline | #1 New York Times bestselling author

Fall 2018 Book Club Spotlight Selection

Everything Is Horrible And Wonderful preview image

Everything Is Horrible And Wonderful

Author: Read by: Stephanie Wittels Wachs Genre: Memoir Publisher: Sourcebooks Release Year: 2018 Length: 288 pages / 6h 53m

A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love and Loss

The space between life and death is a moment. But it will remain alive in me for hundreds of thousands of future moments. One phone call. That's all it took to change Stephanie Wittels Wachs's life forever . . . Her younger brother Harris, a star in the comedy world known for his work on shows like Parks and Recreation, had died of a heroin overdose. How do you make sense of such a tragic end to a life of so much hilarious brilliance? In beautiful, unsentimental, and surprisingly funny prose, Stephanie Wittels Wachs alternates between her brother's struggle with addiction, which she learned about three days before her wedding, and the first year after his death, in all its emotional devastation. This compelling portrait of a comedic genius and a profound exploration of the love between siblings is The Year of Magical Thinking for a new generation of listeners. A heartbreaking but hopeful memoir of addiction, grief, and family, Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful will make you laugh, cry, and wonder if that possum on the fence is really your brother's spirit animal.

"In unflinching detail and with remarkable openness, Wachs describes the ugly and complicated nature of mourning someone who was not only a brother and best friend, but also an addict, a public figure, and a comedic genius...a powerful debut that will resonate especially with readers who have loved and lost someone to addiction."

| Kirkus Reviews

"Every minute more of us know the unique pain of helplessly watching someone we care about descend into the pit of addiction. Stephanie Wittels Wachs has been there, and she emerges with her wit, wisdom, and spirit intact. This remarkable and movingly told story will break and mend hearts."

David Sheff | author of Beautiful Boy and Clean

Summer 2018 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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Tangerine

Author: Read by: Barrie Kreinik, Erin Mallon Genre: Literary Suspense Publisher: HarperCollins Release Year: 2018 Length: 320 pages / 9h 29m

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.

But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Tangerine is a sharp dagger of a book—a debut so tightly wound, so replete with exotic imagery and charm, so full of precise details and extraordinary craftsmanship, it will leave you absolutely breathless. 

Optioned for film by George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures, with Scarlett Johansson to star.

"As if Donna Tartt, Gillian Flynn, and Patricia Highsmith had collaborated on a screenplay to be filmed by Hitchcock—suspenseful and atmospheric."

Joyce Carol Oates, author of The Book of American Martyrs

"The reader’s sympathy switches back and forth between Lucy and Alice as their Moroccan reunion moves inexorably toward another fatal crossroads. But caveat lector: Tangerine, like its namesake fruit, can be both bracing and bitter."

Wall Street Journal

Spring 2018 Book Club Spotlight Selection

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The Leavers

Author: Read by: Emily Woo Zeller Genre: Fiction Publisher: Algonquin Books Release Year: 2017 Length: 352 pages / 14h 54m

An emotionally harrowing debut novel that explores assimilation and loss, immigration and homeland, independence and connection. One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate.

Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It's the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he's loved has been taken away--and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past. This powerful debut is the winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for fiction and a National Book Award finalist.

"Here is imperative reading: a vivid fictional exploration of what it means to belong and what it feels like when you don't . . . Ko gives us an unsparing portrait of the resilience and grit it takes to risk everything to break free of tradition and start over in a foreign land."

| O, The Oprah Magazine

"Ambitious . . . Lisa Ko has taken the headlines and has reminded us that beyond them lie messy, brave, extraordinary, ordinary lives."

| New York Times Book Review