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Weekly Book News

February 8th, 2017

the Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer was one of the most widely and highly praised novels of 2015, the winner not only of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but also the Center for Fiction Debut Novel Prize, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the ALA Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the California Book Award for First Fiction. Nguyen's next fiction book, I'd Love You to Want Me, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family.

With the coruscating gaze that informed The Sympathizer, in I'd Love You to Want Me Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters, I'd Love You to Want Me is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives. Buy Now

the Book Thieves by Anders Rydell

For readers of The Monuments Men and The Hare with Amber Eyes, the story of the Nazis' systematic pillaging of Europe's libraries, and the present-day efforts of a few heroic librarians to return the stolen books to their rightful owners.

While the world condemned the Nazi party for burning books, they were already in the middle of perpetrating an even greater literary crime. Through extensive new research that included records saved by the Monuments Men themselves—Anders Rydell tells the untold story of Nazi book theft, as he himself joins the effort to return the stolen books. As the Nazis ransacked Europe’s libraries and bookshops, large and small, the vast majority of books they stole were either sold or entered into the public library system. But they had a more insidious plan for the libraries of synagogues and dissident political organizations. These collections were studied at length, their contents scoured for anything that could be distorted into evidence of the crimes the Nazis alleged that their victims were planning. Through this program, some of the most highly prized collections of Jewish and leftist cultural institutions were turned into Nazi propaganda.

Now, Rydell finds himself in the possession of one of these stolen volumes, tasked with returning it to its rightful owners. It was given to him by the small team of heroic librarians charged with the monumental task of combing through Berlin’s public libraries to identify the looted books and reunite them with the families of their original owners. For the families who lost relatives in the Holocaust, these books are often the only remaining possession they have of their relatives. As Rydell travels to return the book he was given, he shows just how much a single book can mean to those who own it.

Buy Now

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS THE LIFE YOU’RE “SUPPOSED” TO HAVE

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary.

Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.

But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.

All Our Wrong Todays is about the versions of ourselves that we shed and grow into over time. It is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms. Filled with humor and heart, and saturated with insight and intelligence and a mind-bending talent for invention, this novel signals the arrival of a major talent. Buy Now

Now in Paperback

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