This past weekend, Collection Development Librarian Kirby Lee trucked out to Connecticut for storied bookstore RJ Julia’s Books by the Sea weekend, where she spent the weekend discussing books with fellow book-lovers. Authors, publishing reps and RJ Julia staff gathered to offer their picks for best reads. Below are some of the top recommendations discussed this weekend. All titles are available to borrow through the Newport Public Library!
The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer
Based on a true WWII story– Varian Fry traveled to Marseille carrying $3000 and a list of artists and writers he hoped to help escape within a few weeks. Instead, he stayed more than a year, working to procure false documents, amass emergency funds, and arrange journeys across Spain and Portugal, where the refugees would embark for safer ports. The race against time to save them is a tale of forbidden love, high-stakes adventure, and unimaginable courage.
Atlas Obscura: the second edition by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras & Ella Morton
Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura is a phenomenon of a travel book that takes readers to curious and unusual destinations.
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
This powerful novel brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.
Life Undercover by Amaryllis Fox
Amaryllis Fox’s riveting memoir tells the story of her ten years in the most elite clandestine ops unit of the CIA, hunting the world’s most dangerous terrorists in sixteen countries while marrying and giving birth to a daughter.
Marley by Jon Clinch
“Marley was dead, to begin with,” Charles Dickens tells us at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. But in Clinch’s ingenious novel, Jacob Marley, business partner to Ebenezer Scrooge, is very much alive: a rapacious and cunning boy who grows up to be a forger, a scoundrel, and the man who will be both the making and the undoing of Scrooge.
The Moth Presents OCCASIONAL MAGIC by Catherine Burns
Storytellers from around the world share times when, in the face of seemingly impossible situations, they found moments of beauty, wonder, and clarity that shed light on their lives and helped them find a path forward.
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice–inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.
If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut was a celebrated commencement address giver. Though he never graduated from college, his words to any class of graduating seniors always carried the delight, and gentle irony, of someone savoring an achievement he himself had not had occasion to savor on his own behalf. In each of these short essays, Vonnegut takes pains to find the few things worth saying and a conversational voice to say them in that’s funny and serious and joyful even if sometimes without seeming so.
Made To Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice.Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas—and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
How To: absurd scientific advice for common real-world problems by Randall Munroe
For any task you might want to do, there’s a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It’s full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.
Treasured Lands by QT Luong
The most complete photography book about all the 61 US National Parks, and the only one with location notes for each photograph. Winner of 6 national book awards.