Books I can't wait to read in 2019: Winter releases

From the publisher: "The gripping true story of the only women to fly in combat in World War II—from Elizabeth Wein, award-winning author of Code Name Verity. In the early years of World War II, Josef Stalin issued an order that made the Soviet Union the first country in the world to allow female pilots to fly in combat. This is the story of Raskova’s three regiments, women who enlisted and were deployed on the front lines of battle as navigators, pilots, and mechanics. It is the story of a thousand young women who wanted to take flight to defend their country, and the woman who brought them together in the sky. Packed with black-and-white photographs, fascinating sidebars, and thoroughly researched details, A Thousand Sisters is the inspiring true story of a group of women who set out to change the world, and the sisterhood they formed even amid the destruction of war."
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From the publisher: "One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, Grace Healey finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station. Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a network of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances."
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From the publisher: "This is the highly anticipated second novel by Angie Thomas, the author of the award-winning The Hate U Give. Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri's got massive shoes to fill. But it's hard to get your come up when you're labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons. Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn't just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn't always free."
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From the publisher: "More than ever, politics seems driven by conflict and anger. People sitting together in pews every Sunday have started to feel like strangers, loved ones at the dinner table like enemies. Toxic political dialogue, hate-filled rants on social media, and agenda-driven news stories have become the new norm. Two working moms from opposite ends of the political spectrum contend that there is a better way. Sarah from the left and Beth from the right invite those looking for something better than the status quo to pull up a chair and listen to the principles, insights, and practical tools they have learned hosting their fast-growing podcast Pantsuit Politics. They believe that we can choose to recognize that issues are nuanced and can’t be reduced to political talking points and choose to listen in order to understand. People from opposing political perspectives truly can have calm, grace-­filled conversations with one another—by putting relationship before policy and understanding before argument."
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From the publisher: "The bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives. Common sense tips, like turning off notifications, or occasional rituals like observing a digital sabbath, don't go far enough in helping us take back control of our technological lives, and attempts to unplug completely are complicated by the demands of family, friends and work. Drawing on a diverse array of real-life examples, from Amish farmers to harried parents to Silicon Valley programmers, Newport identifies the common practices of digital minimalists and the ideas that underpin them. He then shares strategies for integrating these practices into your life. Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you."
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From the publisher: "Research finds that the number of girls who said that they often felt nervous, worried, or fearful jumped 55 percent from 2009 to 2014. In the engaging, anecdotal style and reassuring tone that won over thousands of readers of her first book, Untangled, Damour starts by addressing the facts about psychological pressure. She explains the surprising and underappreciated value of stress and anxiety: that stress can helpfully stretch us beyond our comfort zones, and anxiety can play a key role in keeping girls safe. When we emphasize the benefits of stress and anxiety, we can help our daughters take them in stride. But Damour then turns to the many facets of girls’ lives where tension takes hold: their interactions at home, pressures at school, social anxiety among other girls and among boys, and their lives online."
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This contemporary Pride & Prejudice update is set in Pakistan, 2001, and features a modern-day version of the family you know and love: the Binat family includes a sharp-witted father, marriage-obsessed mother, and five daughters. Despite the difference of centuries, it’s clear how women’s concerns are similar between Austen’s time and Kamal’s. Alysba teaches English, and in a fun opening scene she challenges her teenage students to reinterpret Austen's famous opening line. Kamal uses her heroine's profession—and accompanying love of reading—to explore themes of colonialism and identity; she also despite these weighty themes she keeps her tone light and sometimes irreverent. (Just wait till you hear how the Bingleys make their money!) This is, above all, a rom com—and it's a fun one.
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The Alice Network author Quinn also takes on the aftermath of WWII in her latest historical release. Inspired by a true story she stumbled upon in the historical archives (which would totally spoil the big reveal—you’re going to have to read the Author’s Note to learn all!), Quinn weaves together three perspectives to tell a gripping story: Jordan is a Boston teenager who works in her father’s Boston antiques store, Ian is a British journalist determined to bring his brother’s killer—known as “the Huntress”—to justice, and Nina is a Russian fighter pilot and the only woman alive who can identify the Huntress. There’s no weak link in the story; each thread is fascinating—and when they began to come together I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. A mesmerizing tale of war crimes, coming of age, love and fidelity, and the pursuit of justice, with stirring implications for today.
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From the publisher: "A heart-breaking story about a Nigerian poultry farmer who sacrifices everything to win the woman he loves, by Man Booker Finalist and author of The Fishermen. Spanning continents, traversing the earth and cosmic spaces, and told by a narrator who has lived for hundreds of years, the novel is a contemporary twist of Homer's Odyssey. Written in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about destiny and determination. An Orchestra of Minorities tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to express the severity of such a fall."
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Gretchen Rubin's fans include Daniel H. Pink, Charles Duhigg, Anne Lamott, Brene Brown, and Susan Cain. From the publisher: "For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. And for most of us, a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution doesn't work. The fact is, when we tailor our approach to suit our own particular challenges and habits, we're then able to create the order that will make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative. Gretchen Rubin has found that getting control of our stuff makes us feel more in control of our lives. By getting rid of things we don't use, don't need, or don't love, we free our minds (and our shelves) for what we truly value. With a sense of fun, and a clear idea of what's realistic for most people, Gretchen Rubin suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment—one that helps us to create the lives we want."
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From the publisher: "The new and exciting historical thriller by Lyndsay Faye, author of Jane Steele. The year is 1921, and 'Nobody' Alice James is on a cross-country train, carrying a bullet wound and fleeing for her life following an illicit drug and liquor deal gone horribly wrong. Desperate to get as far away as possible from New York City and those who want her dead, she has her sights set on Oregon: a distant frontier that seems the end of the line. She befriends Max, a black Pullman porter who reminds her achingly of Harlem, who leads Alice to the Paragon Hotel upon arrival in Portland. The Ku Klux Klan has arrived in Portland in fearful numbers—burning crosses, inciting violence, electing officials, and brutalizing blacks. And only Alice, along with her new 'family' of Paragon residents, are willing to search for a missing mulatto child who has mysteriously vanished into the Oregon woods."
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From the publisher: "When Prosecco‑loving Auntie Poldi retired to Sicily from Germany, she never dreamed her tranquil days would be interrupted by murder. But Sicily had other plans, and Poldi found herself honor‑bound to solve the disappearance of her beloved (and cute) handyman. Now she’s finally ready for some peace and quiet—interrupted by romantic encounters with handsome Chief Inspector Montana, of course—when the water supply to her neighborhood is cut off and a dear friend’s dog is poisoned, telltale signs that a certain familial organization is flexing its muscles. Poldi knows there will be no resolution without her help. She soon finds a body in a vineyard, tangles with the Mafia, and yet again makes herself unpopular in the pursuit of justice. But once wine and murder mix, how could she possibly stay away?"
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This is Shapiro's story about how at age 54, she discovered a life-changing, identity-threatening secret about her family, and how Shapiro chooses to move forward. At the moment of discovery, Shapiro has no idea what to do. "I couldn't imagine what might come next,” she writes. “It turns out that it is possible to live an entire life — even an examined life, to the degree that I had relentlessly examined mine — and still not know the truth of oneself." If you have any inclination to pick this up, I recommend you avoid the spoiler-laden reviews (that specify what that family secret is) and dive right in. Inheritance reads like a twisty mystery, full of false starts and dead ends, but with a lot of help, some from unlikely places, she solves her case in the end.
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From the publisher: "One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn't wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, Mei finds herself thrust together with an eccentric classmate as panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster. Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?"
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