Note to Shelf: August 2023

Created on August 8, 2023, 12:32 pm

Last Updated August 21, 2023, 10:00 pm

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Diane shares that "The Senator's Wife by Liv Constantine, is a gripping whodunit that weaves political intrigue with domestic drama. When a D.C. philanthropist and a U.S. Senator lose their spouses in an apparent murder/suicide, they find solace and new love in each other. Now known as Senator Whit and Sloane Montgomery, they navigate the corridors of power in Congress and the White House while their relationship faces scrutiny from friends and family. As Sloane's mysterious illness and dubious caregiver come into focus, the novel captures a contemporaneous political scandal with unique perspective. This brilliant and thrilling tale unravels secrets, ambition, and the quest for truth."
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Kathleen declares that, "Some of my favorite people are the dysfunctional families I meet in a novel. This is the case with Little Monsters by Adrian Brodeur. The Gardener family comes together for Adam Gardner’s 70th birthday. Abby, his daughter, is a talented artist who is unexpectantly pregnant, and her brother Ken has many problems as well as political aspirations. His wife, Jenny, plays the role of the perfect wife but simmers beneath the surface. Steph, the cop, discovers her biological Dad is not the gentleman who raised her. And there is much more! Secrets from the past and mental health issues that break the charismatic patriarch. You will want to come along for the sand and surf. Did I mention whales?"
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Virginia shares, "Banyan Moon by Thao Thai is a remarkable debut that captures the nuances of love, family, and redemption across three generations of Vietnamese American women. It starts with the death of the beloved grandmother, Minh, a first-generation immigrant who has been hiding long buried secrets about her life in Vietnam. For estranged mother and daughter, Huong and Ann, this is a chance to rebuild their relationship as they work together to unravel Minh’s secrets while trying to save her beloved home, Banyan House. The story spans decades and is told through each of the women’s voices, traveling from the shores of Vietnam to the everglades of Florida. Throughout the book, Thai skillfully navigates the complexities of human relationships, and the emotional depth of the characters keeps readers invested in the unfolding events. I would highly recommend for fans of Pachinko, Dust Child, and Black Cake."
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Mary-Beth shares that "If you are serious about cutting back on your screen time, she wholeheartedly recommends Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport. Cal outlines a 30-day reset method to minimize technology and refocus on you. Digital minimalism is a philosophy of using technology for a small amount of carefully chosen and optimized activities that support your values. The engineered addictive properties of newer technology give profit to the tech giants while we lose a very precious resource, our time. Sadly, hyperconnected folks generally have increased anxiety and solitude deprivation. Less is more, even with technology. Decide which tech tools you want and for what use. Reclaim meaningful conversations and activities in the real world and rediscover the joy of being fully present through this thoughtful approach."
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Sarah exclaims that "This Isn’t Going to End Well: The True Story of a Man I Thought I Knew by Daniel Wallace is a compelling read that needs to be shared. Daniel Wallace first met William Nealy at age twelve and was instantly transfixed by his devil-may-care demeanor. The two inseparable men became family when Nealy married Wallace’s sister. An accomplished carpenter, outdoorsman, and cartoonist, Nealy enchanted nearly everyone. When he died by suicide at forty-eight, it was a shock to the people who thought they knew him best. Flattened by grief, Wallace read his friend's journals and discovered his captivating outer persona hid deep emotional pain. This book courageously recounts how the author’s initial despair became abiding love, and honors Nealy’s memory while imploring readers to “tell us your secrets, show us who you are.” This propulsive read is a reminder that no one need to fight their demons alone."
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