Jenny Lyons

(Harper) The adolescent brain is a marvel of biology, and understanding the pace of its growth is how this book begins to unravel why teens are “wired for risk.” Numerous studies have been done, not with actual teens (but with rats!) about the effects and consequences of substance use and abuse on brain development and it’s possible, actually probable, that Jessica Lahey has read them all (citing and notating them in her comprehensive notes and bibliography at the end of the book). Luckily for us, Charlotte, Vt., author and educator Lahey is a master explainer. She has the ability to...
(Algonquin Books) In their free Black community, rooted in still-rural Brooklyn in the days of Reconstruction following the Civil War, Libertie’s mother was a person of high regard, a Black female doctor, though with light skin; she was revered, respected and relied upon. In her position, she was frequently called upon to administer aid and give shelter to passengers on the Underground Railroad who had fared poorly on their journey. Libertie, surely her mother’s daughter by measure of intellect, bore the dark skin of her father, and growing up as the daughter of a physician, she ached for...
(Scribner Book Company) Subtitled “Three Friends Who Fought for Abolition and Women’s Rights,” and written by author, journalist and current executive editor of the New Yorker, Dorothy Wickenden’s, “The Agitators” recounts the individual and shared life stories of three allies, abolitionists and suffragists, united in their condemnation of slavery and in their fierce determination to secure liberation for enslaved people and women: Harriet Tubman, abolitionist and political activist, who rescued approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends; Martha Wright, activist, Quaker,...
(Forever) If you like cooking competitions and romantic comedy, you will love Farah Heron’s new romance. Reena Manji’s parents have done it again; they’ve arranged her marriage to her father’s newest hire, a “Good Muslim,” but the Nadim who moves in across the hall from Reena is rakishly good-looking, enjoys craft beer (taboo), reveals an impossibly cute dimple when he smiles, and Reena is instantly smitten, that is, until she discovers that Nadim is her future husband. Vowing never to wed, the two enter a cooking show competition (rules require two contestants who are “in a relationship”)...
(Avid Reader Press) The story of Elena and Mauro, Colombians by birth and allegiance, and their family, children born in both Bogotá and the United States, is the story of emigration and immigration, of belonging and not belonging, of longing and loss. As a young couple, after their first daughter is born, they flee the relentless devastation wrought by a decades-long civil conflict and the insecurity of their existence in their home country, a majestic country, rich with myths and impossible tall mountains. When they arrive in the United States, they are on visas, when they stay, they become...
(Scribner Book Company) Meet Vera, the oldest living survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake — one of the worst and deadliest earthquakes in the history of the United States — who, having managed to escape her collapsed home with her sister, witnessed so much of her city destroyed, by the quake and by the resulting devastating fires. With a lens crystallized by crisis, the days immediately following the quake are chronicled here, and Vera, headstrong with a sharp tongue, found herself more alive after the quake than at any previous time in her life, and vowed, in her scrappy, ambitious...
(Atlantic Monthly Press) “Endpapers,” a historical and literary narrative/memoir, written by Cornwall-based journalist Alexander Wolff, opens with an illustrated family tree and contains a liberally-distributed trove of family and archival photographs, but that is just the beginning. In order to deeply investigate this story — of his exiled German grandfather, Kurt Wolff, an influential book publisher, and his father, Niko Wolff, a Wehrmacht soldier who emigrated to the United States — Wolff uprooted his family and moved them to Berlin for over a year to avail himself of all the research...
(Viking Books for Young Readers) In David Arnold’s new young adult (that adults will also enjoy) post-apocalyptic survival story, a young woman and her dog set out on a quest, “roaming hillsides and ruined cities, foraging for supplies, operating on the fringes, trying to put their little piece of the world back together again.” Swarms of flies, infected with a deadly flu, have decimated the planet, leaving behind small bands of survivors who are trying — each in their own way — to live, to survive, to grow their own food, to build communities in the shadow of the destruction wrought by the...
(Crown Publishing Group) Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book may have you shaking your head and chuckling, albeit grimly and under your breath. In the groundbreaking Silent Spring, Rachel Carson denounced the idea of the “control of nature,” unfortunately, this convenient approach to our environment continued, helping to create a new era, the Anthropocene, a period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. And now, as Kolbert explores, we are faced with attempting to wrest control of the control of nature, an “effort...
(Doubleday Books) Mallory, three years into a “temporary” internship at Swansby’s, the smaller, disgruntled and forgotten tome akin to the Oxford English Dictionary, mainly fields vaguely threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. David Swansby, heir apparent who indulges his online chess addiction for most hours of the working day, then tasks her with ferreting out mountweazels (n.), deliberately constructed but bogus entries, of which, he has just discovered, Swansby’s is overrun. Meanwhile, in 1899, Swansby’s labors to bring out the first British encyclopedic dictionary, before the...

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