New Books of December 2012

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Oprah’s Book Club 2.0)
Ayana Mathis
In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

Shadow Creek
By Joy Fielding
Due to a last-minute change in plans, a group of unlikely traveling companions finds themselves on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. They include the soon-to-be-divorced Valerie; her oddball friends, Melissa and James; her moody teenage daughter, Brianne; and Val’s estranged husband’s fiancée, Jennifer. What Val and her companions don’t know is that a pair of crazed killers is wreaking havoc in the very same woods. When an elderly couple is found slaughtered and Brianne goes missing, Val finds herself in a nightmare much worse than anything she could have anticipated. She was half-expecting it to be the trip from hell, but what she never could have predicted was that this impromptu little excursion might be the last she ever takes.

A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts
By Sebastian Faulks
Five interconnected stories form the heart of this book. The links between Jones’ stories are subtle and curious; a name might re-appear in a different context, or a location will feature again, but at a different time or with different people. This novel journeys across continents and time to explore the chaos created by love, separation and missed opportunities. From the pain and drama of these highly particular lives emerges a mysterious consolation: the chance to feel your heart beat in someone else’s life. Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection – some key to understanding what makes us the people we become.

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See
Juliann Garey
Greyson Todd is a successful Hollywood studio executive who leaves his wife and young daughter and for a decade travels the world giving free reign to the bipolar disorder he’s been forced to keep hidden for almost 20 years. The novel intricately weaves together three timelines: the story of Greyson’s travels (Rome, Israel, Santiago, Thailand, Uganda); the progressive unraveling of his own father seen through Greyson’s eyes as a child; and the intimacies and estrangements of his marriage. The entire narrative unfolds in the time it takes him to undergo twelve 30-second electroshock treatments in a New York psychiatric ward.

Promises to Keep
by Malcolm Macdonald
Despite concerns on the national and international stage, life for the ambitious nine young families who live in the Dower House, including concentration camp survivor Felix Breit, his wife Angela and their four children, is good. But when a menacing figure from Angela’s past turns up – a former death camp guard who was especially brutal to her – it becomes clear that both Angela and Felix will have to face up to the truth of their German heritage if they are to embrace their English future.

Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids
By Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings wants to find out if mother and father always know best. Yes, all those years you were told not to sit too close to the television (you’ll hurt your eyes!) or swallow your gum (it stays in your stomach for seven years!) or crack your knuckles (arthritis!) are called into question by our country’s leading trivia guru. Jennings separates myth from fact to debunk a wide variety of parental edicts: no swimming after meals, sit up straight, don’t talk to strangers, and so on. Armed with medical case histories, scientific findings, and even the occasional experiment on himself (or his kids), Jennings exposes countless examples of parental wisdom run amok. Whether you’re a parent who wants to know what you can stop worrying about or a kid (of any age) looking to say, “I told you so,” this is the anti–helicopter parenting book you’ve been waiting for.

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