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The Wager: A tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann

In The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder, Grann picks up a tale set in the 1740s, a decade when Spain and England—vying to subject native peoples, control the world’s mineral riches and bank the wealth produced by enslaved laborers—sent shiploads of men to square off on the high seas. Those imperial encounters boiled over when a Spanish officer boarded a British brig, accused the captain of smuggling sugar and cut off his ear, launching the conflict known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear. Bad weather and bad decisions chased the ships around Cape Horn, and the Wager wrecked on an island off the coast of Chile in May 1741. Everyone assumed the men and their boat were lost. But almost nine months later, a remnant of the crew staggered ashore in Brazil. Several months after that, more of the crew appeared in Chile. Those survivors had stories to tell—and to sell.


Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt  (Fiction)

After Tova Sullivan's husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she's been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.
Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn't dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors--until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.
Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova's son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it's too late. (Amazon)


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The Living Great Lakes by Jerry Dennis  (Non-Fiction)

This is the definitive book about the history, nature, and science of the remarkable Great Lakes. From the geological forces that formed the lakes and the industrial atrocities that nearly destroyed them, to the greatest environmental success stories of our time, the Great lakes are portrayed in all their complexity. A Michigan native, Jerry Dennis also shares his memories of a lifetime on or near the lakes, including a six-week voyage as a crewmember on a tall-masted schooner. On his travels, he collected more stories of the lakes through the eyes of biologists, fishermen, sailors, and others. Dennis explores the five Great Lakes in all seasons and moods and discovers that they and their connecting waters―including the Erie Canal, the Hudson River, and the East Coast from New York to Maine―offer a surprising and bountiful view of America. The result is a meditation on nature and our place in the world, a discussion and cautionary tale about the future of water resources, and a celebration of a place that is both fragile and robust, diverse, rich in history and wildlife, often misunderstood, and worthy of our attention. (


Winter Study by Nevada Barr  (Fiction) 

Anna Pigeon is edgier than ever in Winter Study, a character-driven mystery set on Isle Royale in the dark days of January when the island is inhabited only by the wolves, the moose and the researchers who are there to study them. Soon after Anna Pigeon joins the famed wolf study team of Isle Royale National Park in the middle of Lake Superior, the wolf packs begin to behave in peculiar ways. Giant wolf prints are found, and Anna spies the form of a great wolf from a surveillance plane. When a female member of the team is savaged, Anna is convinced they are being stalked, and what was once a beautiful, idyllic refuge becomes a place of unnatural occurrences and danger beyond the ordinary. ( and

MAY 15

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Being Mortal by Atul Gawande  (Non-Fiction)

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable. But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should do. Through eye-opening research and gripping stories of his own patients and family, Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced. Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make. Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients' anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them. Atul Gawande examines the ultimate limitations and failures in his own practices as well as others' as life draws to a close. Riveting, honest, and humane, Being Mortal shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death but a good life―all the way to the very end. (


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Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham  (Fiction)

This novel follows the maturation of a young man named Philip Carey as he grows up in England at the very end of the 19th century. The novel incorporates elements of both realism and modernism and has been interpreted as having some autobiographical inspiration drawn from the author’s own life. By describing events from Philip’s life, Maugham develops themes related to social class, loneliness, and the search for purpose and meaning in one’s life. (



The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson  (Non-Fiction)

When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she sped through the pages, becoming enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she became a scientist and worked with her collaborators to develop an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions. The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code. Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? And what about preventing depression? Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids? (


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The March King's Daughter By Karen Dionne   (Fiction)

Helena Pelletier has a loving husband, two beautiful daughters, and a business that fills her days. But she also has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature, and despite her father’s sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him too, until she learned precisely how savage he could be. More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marsh. The police begin a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. She knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King—because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter. (


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The Big Short by Michael Lewis  (Non-Fiction)

The real story of the 2008 crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking. Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a handful of unlikely heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our time. (


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Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee  (Fiction)

Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch—“Scout”—returns home to Maycomb, Alabama from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, this book perfectly captures a young woman and a world in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past—a journey that can only be guided by one’s own conscience. (