The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden


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The children of a family living in a small Russian village love listening to fairytales. As the youngest daughter Vasya grows up, she is drawn into real magic that threatens her family and community. Book 1 of the Winternight Trilogy.

“Stunning . . . will enchant readers from the first page. . . . with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Utterly bewitching . . . a lush narrative . . . an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family.”Booklist (starred review)

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The Awkward Age by Francesca Segal


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A widowed mother and divorced father navigate the tricky process of combining families when they move in together with their teenage children. The novel takes place in London (with a brief visit to Boston!), and is a thoughtful social comedy.

“Prize-winning author Segal offers no easy answers in this compassionate novel that surprises until the very end.” —Library Journal (starred review)\

“A very smart, soulful, compelling, elegantly written domestic novel about a wedged-together family, and what can go wrong when teenage children decide they have minds (and hormones) of their own.” Nick Hornby for The Guardian

“A smart and droll domestic drama reminiscent of the work of those two magical Lauries, Laurie Colwin and Lorrie Moore.” Fresh Air, NPR

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Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans


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I’m not sure I’ve ever read a funny World War II book before, until this one. Noel is a 10-year old orphan assigned to live with Vera, a single mother living outside London. Noel is very smart, Vera is very desperate to earn money, and together they make an unlikely duo. This book has a lot of humor, great characters, and just the right amount of emotion.

“I try not to say, ‘If there’s one novel you should read this summer..’ but Crooked Heart tempts me to say it.” (Scott Simon, NPR)

Crooked Heart explores the Blitz during World War II from two utterly inventive perspectives…. A charming, slanted counterpoint to Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.” (Library Journal, starred review)

“In ‘Crooked Heart,’ Lissa Evans’s absorbing and atmospheric comic novel, another quietly heroic orphan joins the canon….This is a wonderfully old-fashioned Dickensian novel, with satisfying plot twists….Both darkly funny and deeply touching….It’s a crooked journey, straight to the heart.” (New York Times Book Review)

“The most purely charming read of the summer…. The novel’s heart may be crooked, but it is completely in the right place. And if wanting a happy ending for this offbeat pair is wrong, I can’t imagine a reader on earth who would want to be right.” (Christian Science Monitor)

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The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan


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This book is recommended by a Weston library patron.

“World War II in an English village seen through the eyes of the most delicious cast of characters you’ll ever meet—The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a masterpiece of secrets, misdirection, village gossip, and gleeful disregard for anything but the main chance, as the Home Front learns to carry on. Seldom do you find a writer with such a deft touch—Jennifer Ryan sweeps the reader along to the very last page in a remarkable debut. “
— Charles Todd, New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge series

“There’s so much happening in Chilbury: intrigue, romance and an unforgettable cast of characters who aren’t always as they appear. The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir is a charming slice of English wartime life that warms the soul like a hot toddy.”
— Martha Hall Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls

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Bobby Kennedy : a Raging Spirit by Chris Matthews


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This book is recommended by a Weston library patron.

“Matthews is skilled at weaving tension and conflict throughout the book. One doesn’t just read the words, but experiences the tension and emotions….The depth of Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit provides insight into this man’s spirit and what drove him to greatness. Matthews does an excellent job of pulling Bobby out from behind any family shadows to give us an in-depth portrait of what could have been.”  –New York Journal of Books

“If you love reading about politics, if you ever loved the Kennedys or were fascinated by them, if you love biographical history or if you just like a good yarn about a brooding soul who turns into an uplifting, magnetic force—Chris Matthews’ “Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit” Should be your next read. It’s well-researched, dramatically told. It brings those times—Camelot and after—back to life.” –Lesley Stahl, Correspondent for 60 Minutes

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Birds of a Feather : a True Story of Hope and the Healing Power of Animals by Lorin Lindner


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This book is recommended by a Weston library patron.

Birds of a Feather is the story of one woman’s life long love of wounded, traumatised parrots, and wounded, traumatised people. It left me smiling, full of hope, and wishing there were more Lorin Linders out there. Turns out, Veterans with PTSD and traumatised birds have much in common, and can help each other in surprisingly beautiful ways. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Buy it, read it, share it. It’s an important love story for our time.” ―Mary Gauthier

“Compelling…an uplifting book for animal lovers who care about changing the world.” ―Booklist

“Lindner’s book poignantly entwines three narratives: Stories of humans ravaged by their experiences of war, stories of parrots (and later canids) ravaged by maltreatment, and her own story―how she finds a way to help these humans and nonhumans simultaneously and synergistically.” ―Irene M. Pepperberg, PhD; Research Associate, Harvard University, author of New York Times bestseller Alex & Me

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Circe: a novel by Madeline Miller


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In the vein of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad and Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia, Miller reframes a Greek epic from the point of view of an ancillary female character – the (minor) goddess and witch, Circe.  Her telling is full of atmosphere and empathy, a deep dive into the motivations of a character who got short shrift from Homer.  A good pick for readers of all types, but especially for grown-ups who went through a Greek gods phase as kids.

“Miller’s lush, gold-lit novel – told from the perspective of the witch whose name in Greek has echoes of a hawk and a weaver’s shuttle – paints another picture: of a fierce goddess who, yes, turns men into pigs, but only because they deserve it.”―

“A retelling of ancient Greek lore gives exhilarating voice to a witch… [Circe is] a sly, petulant, and finally commanding voice that narrates the entirety of Miller’s dazzling second novel….Readers will relish following the puzzle of this unpromising daughter of the sun god Helios and his wife, Perse, who had negligible use for their child….Expect Miller’s readership to mushroom like one of Circe’s spells. Miller makes Homer pertinent to women facing 21st-century monsters.”―Kirkus, Starred Review

“The goddess of magic is excavated from ‘The Odyssey’ and given an epic of her own.”―Wall Street Journal

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I Am, I Am, I Am : Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell


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A writer examines her life through a series of “near death” experiences, including a childhood illness, almost getting attacked, and giving birth. While the premise sounds bleak, the book is ultimately hopeful and beautifully written.

“I Am I Am I Am is a gripping and glorious investigation of death that leaves the reader feeling breathless, grateful, and fully alive. Maggie O’Farrell is a miracle in every sense. I will never forget this book.”—Ann Patchett

“Her stories are harrowing, but the purpose of these essays is not to frighten. It is to affirm. She did not die; she lived through all of these experiences and now recounts each one in vivid, fully alive detail — remembering the feeling of the wind in her hair, the roughness of the grass, the jolt of the plane, the sharpness of the machete.”
—Minneapolis-Star Tribune

“Astounding…awe-inspiring…a tour de force”  —Booklist, starred review

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A Crime in the Neighborhood: a Novel by Suzanne Berne


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Another Weston Mystery Book Club choice and also a New York Times Notable Book. Set in the Washington, D.C., suburbs during the summer of the Watergate break-ins, Berne’s assured, skillful first novel is about what can happen when a child’s accusation is the only lead in a case of sexual assault and murder.

“A remarkable first novel…that captures the history of child-parent relations for the last quarter of a century.”–The New York Times Book Review “Like Alice McDermott’s That Night and in the tradition of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Suzanne Berne has crafted a child’s disillusionment that mirrors a greater disaffection.”–Newsday

“The ethical issues that unfold as a result are at least as absorbing as Marsha’s own guilt and fascination over her act of false accusation. Berne’s skill with language and her talent for evoking believable, all-too-human characters add to this fascinating story of evil and fear, and the unexpected consequences they engender.” — Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates

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Educated: a Memoir by Tara Westover


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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University

I was enthralled and moved by this powerful memoir. The author grew up in a survivalist family in Idaho, the youngest child. She was not homeschooled—instead, she simply didn’t go to school at all, due to her father’s mistrust of public schools. Her family didn’t believe in modern medicine. Instead, her mother was an herbalist and midwife. The memoir becomes a story of her internal struggle—to believe her own version of her life and to have the strength to break away from her past.

“The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Incredibly thought-provoking . . . so much more than a memoir about a woman who graduated college without a formal education. It is about a woman who must learn how to learn.”The Harvard Crimson

“At its heart, her memoir is a family history: not just a tale of overcoming but an uncertain elegy to the life that she ultimately rejected. Westover manages both tenderness and a savage honesty that spares no one, not even herself.”Booklist

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