An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago

by Alex Kotlowitz                 www.alexkotlowitz.com

The numbers are staggering: over the past twenty years in Chicago, 14,033 people have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What does that do to the spirit of individuals and community? Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing about individuals who have emerged from the violence and whose stories capture the capacity--and the breaking point--of the human heart and soul. The result is a spellbinding collection of deeply intimate profiles that upend what we think we know about gun violence in America. Among others, we meet a man who as a teenager killed a rival gang member and twenty years later is still trying to come to terms with what he's done; a devoted school social worker struggling with her favorite student, who refuses to give evidence in the shooting death of his best friend; the witness to a wrongful police shooting who can't shake what he has seen; and an aging former gang leader who builds a place of refuge for himself and his friends.

The Boat Runner: A Novel

by Devin Murphy       www.devinmurphyauthor.com

Beginning in the summer of 1939, fourteen-year-old Jacob Koopman and his older brother, Edwin, enjoy lives of prosperity and quiet contentment. Many of the residents in their small Dutch town have some connection to the Koopman lightbulb factory, and the locals hold the family in high esteem.  On days when they aren’t playing with friends, Jacob and Edwin help their Uncle Martin on his fishing boat in the North Sea, where German ships have become a common sight. But conflict still seems unthinkable, even as the boys’ father naively sends his sons to a Hitler Youth Camp in an effort to secure German business for the factory. When war breaks out, Jacob’s world is thrown into chaos. The Boat Runner follows Jacob over the course of four years, through the forests of France, the stormy beaches of England, and deep within the secret missions of the German Navy, where he is confronted with the moral dilemma that will change his life—and his life’s mission—forever. 

Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland

by Shauna Sever           www.shaunasever.com

When it comes to defining what we know as all-American baking, everything from Bundt cakes to brownies have roots that can be traced to the great Midwest. German, Scandinavian, Polish, French, and Italian immigrant families baked their way to the American Midwest, instilling in it pies, breads, cookies, and pastries that manage to feel distinctly home-grown.  After more than a decade of living in California, author Shauna Sever rediscovered the storied, simple pleasures of home baking in her Midwestern kitchen. This unique collection of more than 125 recipes includes refreshed favorites and new treats.


Monument: Poems New and Selected
by Natasha Trethewey

Layering joy and urgent defiance—against physical and cultural erasure, against white supremacy whether intangible or graven in stone—Trethewey’s work gives pedestal and witness to unsung icons. Monument, Trethewey’s first retrospective, draws together verse that delineates the stories of working class African American women, a mixed-race prostitute, one of the first black Civil War regiments, mestizo and mulatto figures in Casta paintings, Gulf coast victims of Katrina. Through the collection, inlaid and inextricable, winds the poet’s own family history of trauma and loss, resilience and love.  In this setting, each section, each poem drawn from an “opus of classics both elegant and necessary,”* weaves and interlocks with those that come before and those that follow. As a whole, Monument casts new light on the trauma of our national wounds, our shared history. This is a poet’s remarkable labor to source evidence, persistence, and strength from the past in order to change the very foundation of the vocabulary we use to speak about race, gender, and our collective future.

Radio Flyer: 100 Years of America’s Little Red
Wagon

by Robert Pasin

A visual history of one of childhood’s most beloved icons—the Little Red Wagon—told through a rich collection of photos and stories that highlight its unique place in American culture. For generations, the Radio Flyer—the fire engine red wagon with the distinctive white logo emblazoned on its side—has fueled the imaginative adventures of children, transforming them into astronauts on a rocket ship to the moon, racecar drivers in the Indy 500, and pioneers traveling into the badlands of the Wild West. The Radio Flyer is the story of childhood—a story of wondrous journeys often accompanied by someone important: a parent, a sibling, a friend, a pet. Since 1917, the family-owned business Radio Flyer Inc. has created this cherished wagon, building a legacy of high quality, timeless, and innovative toys that spark children’s imaginations and inspire active play outdoors.

The Vanishing Man: A Charles Lenox Mystery

by Charles Finch

London, 1853: Having earned some renown by solving a case that baffled Scotland Yard, young Charles Lenox is called upon by the Duke of Dorset, one of England’s most revered noblemen, for help. A painting of the Duke’s great-grandfather has been stolen from his private study. But the Duke’s concern is not for his ancestor’s portrait; hiding in plain sight nearby is another painting of infinitely more value, one that holds the key to one of the country’s most famous and best-kept secrets. Dorset believes the thieves took the wrong painting and may return when they realize their error—and when his fears result in murder, Lenox must act quickly to unravel the mystery behind both paintings before tragedy can strike again. As the Dorset family closes ranks to protect its reputation, Lenox uncovers a dark secret that could expose them to unimaginable scandal—and reveals the existence of an artifact, priceless beyond measure, for which the family is willing to risk anything to keep hidden. In this intricately plotted prequel to the Charles Lenox mysteries, the young detective risks his potential career—and his reputation in high society—as he hunts for a criminal mastermind.