Monday, February 29, 2016

Book Review: The Defense: A Novel by Steve Cavanagh

I like a good legal thriller, but I am picky. I like Scott Turow and Richard North Patterson, but not John Grisham. I like my legal thrillers to be cerebral, and to involve more time in the courtroom than running around with guns. The Defense mostly met my demands.

Eddie Flynn used to be a con artists. But after he was arrested, a judge saw something special in him--and the way he argued and won his case--and Eddie ended up going to law school and becoming a lawyer. But he quit practicing last year when he finally tried to quit drinking after his wife left him. And now his law partner has left him holding the bag on a big case, defending the head of the New York Russian mob in a murder trial.

The book went rollicking along and the pacing was spot-on with every chapter ending on a cliffhanger and the reader never really getting a chance to catch their breath. I usually read right before bed when when I tried that with this book, I found it was too thrilling and it wasn't good for bedtime reading. But stuck in an airport all day? Perfect.

I do wish that Cavanagh would have used fewer of the usual tropes. Did his wife, who he still really loved, have to recently divorce him? And he had a drinking problem? And his innocent daughter in trouble? I really started to feel like I was rereading The Lincoln Lawyer with some of this set-up. More originality would have been appreciated. That said, the case itself was interesting, even if there were a couple of spots where things happened that were a tad hard to believe. One thing I was impressed with was the language and the New York City setting--considering the author is Irish. It all rang true for me (but without any exaggerated accents, thank you!) This is a great book for legal thriller fans, with enough threat and danger to keep you on the edge of your seat, but within the realm of believability.

I got this ARC for free at Winter Institute. It was provided by the publisher.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Book Review: One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

Years ago my book club read this book, but I was out of town for the meeting so I skipped it. It is probably the only book I skipped for book club that I tracked down later to read, mostly due to other members talking about it afterward (and obviously they were talking about it at meetings where it wasn't the discussion book since I missed that meeting.)

It is a pretty fascinating concept: a Cheyenne leader asked President Grant if Grant would give the Cheyenne 1000 white women (in exchange for 1000 horses), and because their tribe is matrilineal, those children would be considered white, hence bringing the Cheyenne into the white world. That part of the story is true. But in real life, Grant said no. In this novel, he said yes. And May Dodd, our narrator, is one of those women.

The book is written as a found series of journals with accompanying notes from the descendant who found them and also a short narration from another character involved (but all of the book is 100% fiction, although the author says it's amazing how many people believe it is true.) May has been locked up in an insane asylum by her family, for the crazyness of being "promiscuous." In fact, she doesn't believe in marriage (that's what is really crazy in the 1870s) and instead has had two children by her live-in boyfriend. Happens all the time nowadays without anyone batting an eye, but 145 years ago, it was insanity. Because Grant wants these women to go voluntarily to the Cheyenne, they have a hard time drumming them up, and so they go to prisons and asylums (with caveats, the women have to be deemed acceptable by doctors and other inspectors first). May wants desperately to be free, hoping that one day she'll be able to return to her children. But she gets completely on board with the project and goes into it with an ope and enthusiastic mind, ready to be the wife of a Cheyenne, have children with him, and be a part of that culture. This book covers the first year of the experiment.

As one could expect, many of the participants volunteered for reasons less than simply for the good of the country, and in fact, the ones running away from their lives are the ones with the most vested interest in making their new lives work out, so funnily enough, the ones with bad pasts work out well, as opposed to the one who wanted to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. There is an artists, a fallen Southern Belle, a former escaped slave, con artists from prison, and various women who felt that they weren't attractive or appealing enough to find a husband in the traditional manner and to whom being a wife and mother is paramount. I particularly liked the tough Austrian woman (not German!) who acknowledged her lack of beauty but more than made up for it with her work ethic. It was funny how many of the women's spouses seemed like not who they would have chosen (the Austrian's husband was very lazy) but still perhaps were husbands who would be a good counter-balance to them. May's husband turns out to be the Sweet Medicine Chief. Which means their child will be very important in the Cheyenne society.

The book is very exciting with a lot of twists and turns, even though you might think that not much would happen on the open prairies. But there are raids and wars, there are the white American soldiers who are not fans of the plan, there is the fat minister with them who might not be what he seems, and there are all the various women and their reasons for coming, their difficulties with adjusting, and their pregnancies. The style works very well for the story as we're completely in May's mind in her journals, although she does understand she is writing them hopefully for her children, so she does explain a lot of things that she might not otherwise explain. The author clearly has done extensive research and the voice rings true. May is a compelling main character, as she manages to be both stubborn and outspoken, and yet also open and accepting. If you like strong female characters, the American West, stories about Native Americans, or even just exciting tales of discovery and adventure, this book has it all. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I bought this book at a used bookstore.

Book Beginnings: One Thousand White Women

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

"As a child growing up in Chicago, I used to scare my kid brother, Jimmy, silly at night telling him stories about our mad ancestor, May Dodd, who lived in an insane asylum and ran off to live with Indians--at least that was the fertile, if somewhat vague, raw material of secret family legend."

As an adult, "Will," this "author," finds out the story about his ancestor is true and tracks down her journals from that time period, which make up the rest of this novel. This prefacing material helps to ground the story and give is context, but it also is likely the cause of all the readers who mistakenly believe this book is nonfiction. (Hence my use of quotes above.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

“Waiting On”: The Immortal Irishman

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan

Synopsis from Goodreads:
From the National Book Award–winning and best-selling author Timothy Egan comes the epic story of one of the most fascinating and colorful Irishman in nineteenth-century America.

The Irish-American story, with all its twists and triumphs, is told through the improbable life of one man. A dashing young orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s, in which a million of his Irish countrymen died, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony. He escaped and six months later was heralded in the streets of New York — the revolutionary hero, back from the dead, at the dawn of the great Irish immigration to America. Meagher’s rebirth in America included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade from New York in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War — Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg. Twice shot from his horse while leading charges, left for dead in the Virginia mud, Meagher’s dream was that Irish-American troops, seasoned by war, would return to Ireland and liberate their homeland from British rule. The hero's last chapter, as territorial governor of Montana, was a romantic quest for a true home in the far frontier. His death has long been a mystery to which Egan brings haunting, colorful new evidence.

Publishing March 1, 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review: The Richest Woman in America: The Life and Times of Hetty Green by Janet Wallach

I don't know where I first heard of Hetty Green, but if you've read anything about the Gilded Age, she does come up, although mostly as a footnote. Probably because while she participated in the financial side of the Gilded Age in a big way, she didn't in the Gilded part. She was the rare wealthy person in the age of the Robber Barons, to not flaunt her wealth in the slightest. In fact, she lived a nearly miserly life.

Hetty grew up in a whaling town in Massachusetts. Her parents really didn't want her; they wanted a boy. When her younger brother was born, and shortly thereafter died, her parents sent Hetty away to live with an invalid aunt, rejecting her. In her youth, she found the only time her parents (her father in particular) showed any interest in her was when she made money. The family was Quaker, so they lived simply and did not flaunt their money at all, but they had plenty of it. That said, when Hetty's mother died, her father kept the part of her money that should have gone to Hetty, for her own good, because she was a girl and shouldn't be bothered with things like money. When her father died, most of the estate that went to her was tied up in a trust that she wasn't allowed to manage, even though at that point, Hetty had already been making big bucks on Wall Street for years. When her aunt died, her doctor had convinced her to change her will (conveniently, leaving most of her money to him) even though in an earlier will she'd written that no later wills would be valid. Hetty sued. This lawsuit, while not successful, is still studied in law schools today as it was influential.

Stung by these multiple rejections of her, Hetty threw herself into making money. That was the only thing her family valued, but then they gave her as little of it as possible, so she'd make her own, thank you. She had married in the meantime and while her husband did have money, he was much more risky and occasionally gambled and sometimes he would lose all of his money. Before she married him, her father did ensure that he wouldn't inherit any of Hetty's family's estate money. But they seemed to get along quite well despite their different views on money. But  mainly that was because Hetty insisted on keeping everything separate and keeping control of her own finances. She was such an independent on these matters that it's notable that she was referred to as "Mrs. Hetty Green" and not "Mrs. Edward Green" as women were called at that time. Eventually, they did divorce, over mostly financial issues, but they stayed such close friends that they often would live in the same building and eat dinner together.

Meanwhile, she bankrolled a bank and set herself up in an office there, where she bought and traded real estate and bonds and stocks, mostly railroads. Like Warren Buffet a century later, she'd revel in the market falling as that's when she'd buy--when everyone else was getting out. There were quite a few depressions/panics/recessions in that era, before FDIC insurance, and more than once Hetty bailed out banks and even the city of New York with loans. When the whole market threatened to crash and Carnegie and Frick and Rockefeller stepped in to save the day--some of the money was also Hetty's.

Now, while I find her a groundbreaking feminist, she did have her boundaries, such as that she didn't believe in women's suffrage. Also her daughter eventually was married to an Astor in a fancy, Gilded Age wedding. But I appreciate that she went her own way, did her own thing, and didn't let anyone's disapproval lure her from her path. She was most definitely the richest woman in America, in her own right, but she was also pretty much as rich as the wealthiest of the men you've heard of. The main reason you've not heard of her is that unlike Carnegie and Frick, she didn't set up an endowment of foundation, and so while her descendants did support a lot of charities, they spread her money around too thin, so her name wasn't associated with one thing in particular, and it eventually fell out of use. She's not the most likable person but she's still admirable. This biography was very readable and well-researched. I wished for more and better pictures than were in the insert, as most of them were simply pictures of the era, while photos and paintings were referenced in the text that sadly don't appear. But that's a minor complaint on an otherwise excellent biography.

I think I bought this book but I'm not sure. It's a hardcover, not an ARC, and I've owned it for several years. 

Book Beginnings: The Richest Woman in America

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

The Richest Woman in America: The Life and Times of Hetty Green by Janet Wallach
 "A pack of reporters swarmed around the woman who emerged from the heavy doors of the courthouse."

Of course reporters swarmed around her--she was the richest woman in the country and was suing people, and the same things we see in tabloids today weren't unfamiliar to tabloids in 1896.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“Waiting On”: Pandemic

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond by Sonia Shah

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Scientists agree that a pathogen is likely to cause a global pandemic in the near future. But which one? And how?

Over the past fifty years, more than three hundred infectious diseases have either newly emerged or reemerged, appearing in territories where they’ve never been seen before. Ninety percent of epidemiologists expect that one of them will cause a deadly pandemic sometime in the next two generations. It could be Ebola, avian flu, a drug-resistant superbug, or something completely new. While we can’t know which pathogen will cause the next pandemic, by unraveling the story of how pathogens have caused pandemics in the past, we can make predictions about the future. In Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond, the prizewinning journalist Sonia Shah—whose book on malaria, The Fever, was called a “tour-de-force history” (The New York Times) and “revelatory” (The New Republic)—interweaves history, original reportage, and personal narrative to explore the origins of contagions, drawing parallels between cholera, one of history’s most deadly and disruptive pandemic-causing pathogens, and the new diseases that stalk humankind today.

To reveal how a new pandemic might develop, Sonia Shah tracks each stage of cholera’s dramatic journey, from its emergence in the South Asian hinterlands as a harmless microbe to its rapid dispersal across the nineteenth-century world, all the way to its latest beachhead in Haiti. Along the way she reports on the pathogens now following in cholera’s footsteps, from the MRSA bacterium that besieges her own family to the never-before-seen killers coming out of China’s wet markets, the surgical wards of New Delhi, and the suburban backyards of the East Coast.

By delving into the convoluted science, strange politics, and checkered history of one of the world’s deadliest diseases, Pandemic reveals what the next global contagion might look like— and what we can do to prevent it.

Publishing February 23, 2016 by Sarah Crichton Books .

Monday, February 15, 2016

Book Review: First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Now business books aren't my usual cup of tea, but a while back this one was recommended on the excellent Ask A Manager blog and it intrigued me as it's actually based on a huge survey and real scientific correlation and on thousands of interviews, like an academic study would be, as opposed to just one person's thoughts on management, which I don't like. The book is a little older (1998) although most of it holds up and doesn't feel dated. This giant study was performed by the Gallup Organization (and they certainly do know how to survey people!) Of tens of thousands of managers, correlating different management issues with costs and profits, to find the traits and techniques that stay consistent over thousands of companies and fields.

Thanks to all the anecdotes, the book read easily and kept my interest. It also was helpful to see the management points in action. I also really liked the list of important questions that determine employees' happiness at work, and then the book broke down what management could do in regards to most of them (one of them is "I have a best friend at work" and obviously, a manager can't impact that.) One major point that is both common sense but often overlooked is that your manager is the number one (and really only) thing that determines if you like your job or not. If you have a great manager at a shitty company, you can be happy, and if you work at a great company in a job you love but with a shitty manager, you can be miserable. The book purports to be for managers to explain how they can make employees productive and happy, but it's also a great insight for lower-level employees to understand what questions are most important to ask when interviewing, to know what to look for in a manger, and also of course to prepare for the eventual day when they too will be managers. Overall, a readable, useful, and interesting business book. Who knew it was possible? Now I'll be even more disappointed in other business books.

I bought this book at my local used bookstore.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Book Review: The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson

I have now officially read all of Mr. Bryson's books (aside from his longer dictionary. I have though read the entire shorter dictionary.) I was introduced to him by my father back in 1998 who said he thought Mr. Bryson wrote in a style similar to how I'd write, if I wrote. After seeing how snarky and sarcastic he was, I wasn't sure that my father meant that as a compliment, but he's probably right, as I do love his books and I thoroughly enjoy the snark and sarcasm.

That said, I think Mr. Bryson is getting a little mellower in his later years. He can still be very infuriated by difficult, stupid people and those who almost seem to go out of their way to make others' lives difficult. However, in the whole, he found his latest trip around England very satisfying and nice. I was jealous about all the walking paths everywhere and I also want to visit many of the random little museums. He starts at the bottom of England (although he also hits Wales again towards the end) and works his way north. He walks and takes the train whenever possible. He starts by deliminating a "Bryson Line" from the Southernmost point to the Northernmost (that can still be in a line and not go to sea) but it serves merely as a starting point and ending point.

I spent a fair amount of time in Great Britain when I was 13, half of a summer (mostly in Leeds) and I thought I never really needed to spend much time there again, except maybe to actually be awake in London, but this book has renewed my interest in England which I now very much want to visit for an extended period. I'm not holding my breath for the near future, but one never knows. Meanwhile, Mr. Bryson is always a funny traveling companion.

I checked this book out of the library.

Book Beginnings: The Road to Little Dribbling

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson

"One of the things that happens when you get older is that you discover lots of new ways to hurt yourself."

He was bashed in the head by a parking barrier in France. He really should have been able to avoid it as he stepped forward to be directly under it and THEN stopped to think of where he should go. After the bash in the head, he found himself thinking about what he still wanted to do in his life as life is short, and he also found himself thinking about what English town is right across the channel from that French town and if it was going to be sad and depressed, unlike the cheerful and relaxing French town. He then sets out to visit pretty much every part of England that he missed when he wrote Notes From a Small Island twenty years ago.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

“Waiting On” Wednesday: Flight of Dreams

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Synopsis from Goodreads:
With everyone onboard harboring dark secrets and at least one person determined to make sure the airship doesn't make the return trip, Flight of Dreams gives an utterly suspenseful, heart-wrenching explanation for one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century.

On the evening of May 3, 1937, Emilie Imhof boards the Hindenburg. As the only female crewmember, Emilie has access to the entire airship, from the lavish dining rooms and passenger suites to the gritty engine cars and control room. She hears everything, but with rumors circulating about bomb threats, Emilie's focus is on maintaining a professional air . . . and keeping her own plans under wraps.

What Emilie can't see is that everyone—from the dynamic vaudeville acrobat to the high-standing German officer—seems to be hiding something.

Giving free rein to countless theories of sabotage, charade, and mishap, Flight of Dreams takes us on the thrilling three-day transatlantic flight through the alternating perspectives of Emilie; Max, the ship's navigator who is sweet on her; Gertrud, a bold female journalist who's been blacklisted in her native Germany; Werner, a thirteen-year-old cabin boy with a bad habit of sneaking up on people; and a brash American who's never without a drink in his hand. Everyone knows more than they initially let on, and as the novel moves inexorably toward its tragic climax, the question of which of the passengers will survive the trip infuses every scene with a deliciously unbearable tension.

With enthralling atmospheric details that immediately transport and spellbinding plotting that would make Agatha Christie proud, Flight of Dreams will keep you guessing till the last page. And, as The New York Times Book Review said of her last novel, "This book is more meticulously choreographed than a chorus line. It all pays off."

Publishing February 16,

2016 by Doubleday.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

I do love sweeping historical sagas and while I wasn't expecting that with this book, that's what I got, as it covers about 80 years. Malka is a little girl (about 5) when her family decides to emigrate from Russia to South Africa. While her mother and sisters are quarantined with an illness, her father talks Malka into going to America instead, and she lets him have the money sewn into the armpit of her coat. Her mother never forgives her. In the East Village tenements of the first decade of 1900, her family barely scrapes by. While Malka and Flora, her next-youngest sister, dance and sing for pennies to contribute to the household, Malka is run over by a horse, permanently disabling her. The Italian ices peddler responsible takes Malka in and there, she finds her future: ice cream.

The story is being told to us by a much-older Malka (now Lillian) in the 1980s as she is on trial for some horrible incident that happened to a child on Lillian's TV show, so obviously, we know she's come to great success at some point, but still has some personal problems. Most of the story is flashbacks but occasionally we are treated to the "now" storyline where she spends time with her punk grandson in her fancy but empty house, reminiscing on how she got to where she is from her less-than-humble beginnings. Her voice is very distinctive and while she could be an unreliable narrator, you get the feeling that she is so hard on herself that if anything, she might be making a lot of things out to be worse than they are, such as how ugly she thinks she is and how horrifying her disability is to others. With a mother who never loved her and a family who abandoned her when she was hurt, it's easy to see why she'd have a pretty low self-image. I don't want to get into more but it really is a rags-to-riches story covering 1900-1980 and is quite entertaining.

My book club read this and it was quite a juicy read, with lots to discuss. Some of the Northerners told their own stories of going to Carvel as children (the inspiration behind the story although apparently the Carvel family and other ice cream families were rather nice and didn't have any personal dirt.) I was intrigued by the opening of Long Island beaches and coasts to Manhattanites in the 1930s which I knew was due to Robert Moses, as I read his biography a couple of years ago. Other members talked about how the story of the immigrant really spoke to them; everyone seemed to have something salient to grab onto and identify with. While the author said she was trying to create an unlikable character in Malka/Lillian a la Scarlett O'Hara, I liked her. (I also like Scarlett O'Hara and also Jane Austen's Emma who was also created to be unlikable.) She had gumption, she never gave up, and while she might not always have behaved 100% appropriately, who among us has? At least she was honest about it.

It's a little long but that's just right for a saga and it was a fast, easy read. Perfect for a long snowy day, or with all the images of ice cream, for reading by the pool or at the beach. I am so glad I read this book.

I bought this book at Target.

Book Beginnings: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading.

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

"We'd been in America just three months when the horse ran over me."

Well that's an intriguing first line! Later (on the same page, no spoilers) we find out the horse did cripple her, and it was pulling an ice cart, which she found was ironic given how things turned out for her (the titular Ice Cream Queen.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

“Waiting On” Wednesday: My Father, the Pornographer

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication “can't-wait-to-read” selection is:

My Father, the Pornographer by Chris Offutt

Synopsis from Goodreads:
After inheriting 400 novels of pornography written by his father in the 1970s and ‘80s, critically acclaimed author Chris Offutt sets out to make sense of a complicated father-son relationship in this carefully observed, beautifully written memoir.

“Clearing Dad’s office felt like prospecting within his brain. As I sorted, like an archaeologist, backward through time, I saw a remarkable mind at work, a life lived on its own terms.”

When Andrew Offutt died, his son, Chris, inherited a desk, a rifle, and 1800 pounds of porn. Andrew had been considered the “king of twentieth century smut,” a career that began as a strategy to pay for his son’s orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the ‘70s when the commercial popularity of the erotic novel was at its height.

With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion he wrote 400 novels, ranging from pirate porn and ghost porn, to historical porn and time travel porn, to secret agent porn and zombie porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became, and the more difficult it was for his children to penetrate his world.

Over one long summer in his hometown, helping his mother move out of the house, Chris began to examine his deceased father’s possessions and realized he finally had an opportunity to come to grips with the mercurial man he always feared but never understood. Offutt takes us on the journey with him, showing us how only in his father’s absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy. This riveting, evocatively told memoir of a deeply complex father-son relationship proves again why the New York Times Book Review said, “Offut’s obvious kin are Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, and Ernest Hemingway.”

Publishing February 9, 2016 by Atria Books.

Monday, February 1, 2016

My month in review: January

The Month in Review meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. For me January was a big churn month, where I got rid of a lot, and acquired a lot.

Books completed this month: 
Living and Dying in Brick City by Sampson Davis (audio)
Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell
Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport by Matthew Algeo
Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter by Nina MacLaughlin
Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950s by Jennifer Worth
The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman

Books I am currently reading/listening to:
The Richest Woman in America: The Life and Times of Hetty Green by Janet Wallach
First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham, and Curt Coffman

What I acquired this month: 
Sex and the City by Candace Bushnell
First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
Son of a Gun: A Memoir by Justin St. Germain
The Forgers by Bradford Morrow
What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman
Unforgettable: A Son, a Mother, and the Lessons of a Lifetime by Scott Simon
Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore
A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders
Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell
Yes, I am supposed to be buying fewer books but this above list was all from the used bookstores, and I sold them a lot more than 9 books. And thanks to all my credit and also that they were having a Buy One Get One Half Price sale, I paid only about $2 per book. The best thing is that 8 of these 9 books were actually on my Need To Buy list which is highly unusual at a used bookstore.

And the January WNBA-Charlotte event was our annual book swap. My goal is to only bring home the same number of books as the number of tote bags I brought there, and I was successful this year. I brought three bags of books and brought home three books:
While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax
The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York by Alex Palmer
The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia SanmartĂ­n Fenollera

Then I went to Winter Institute 11 in Denver. I got two used books at Tattered Cover:
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
The Removers: A Memoir by Andrew Meredith

And the ARCs and galleys and finished books I got from the publishers just arrived! Here they are:
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy
The Red Parts: A Memoir by Maggie Nelson
The Defense: A Novel by Steve Cavanagh
The Decent Proposal by Kemper Donovan
The Widow by Fiona Barton
Shrill: Women Are Funny, It's Okay to Be Fat, and Feminists Don't Have to Be Nice by Lindy West
Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud by David Dayen
Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir by Lisa Smith
Paper: Paging Through History by Mark Kurlansky
Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld
Origins of the Universe and What It All Means: A Memoir by Carole Firstman
Yuki Chan in Brontë Country by Mick Jackson
Invincible Summer by Alice Adams
The Hope in Leaving: A Memoir by Barbara Williams
The Book That Matters Most: A Novel by Ann Hood
They May Not Mean To, but They Do: A Novel by Cathleen Schine
Garth Williams, American Illustrator: A Life by Elizabeth K. Wallace and James D. Wallace
Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
Behave by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Ice Diaries: An Antarctic Memoir by Jean McNeil
The One That Got Away: A Novel by Leigh Himes
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
The Summer Guest by Alison Anderson
The Railwayman's Wife by Ashley Hay
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones
Vexation Lullaby: A Novel by Justin Tussing
The Children by Ann Leary
The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
Soft in the Head by Marie-Sabine Roger
A Well-Made Bed by Abby Frucht and Laurie Alberts
Sticking It Out: Chronicles of a Percussionist from Juilliard to the Orchestra Pit by Patti Niemi
As Good as Gone by Larry Watson
Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes
I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around by Ann Wertz Garvin
On the Shores of Darkness, There Is Light: A Novel by Cordelia Strube
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
The Honeymoon: A Novel About George Eliot by Dinitia Smith
The Wedding Heard ’Round the World: America’s First Gay Marriage by Michael McConnell, with Jack Baker
The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
Bottomland: A Novel by Michelle Hoover
All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker
Leave Me by Gayle Forman
The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel by Elizabeth J. Church
The Muse by Jessie Burton
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick
The Girls by Emma Cline
Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America by Kali Nicole Gross

These new acquisitions mostly mitigate the big cull that I did earlier this month, sigh. However, it is good that at least I think I ended up at net zero, and didn't add to the problem. And I was pretty selective, although some of these will likely get given to my interns. I'm not one of those people who just grabs everything because it's free. (And I did have to pay to ship it all back so it wasn't completely free.) Whew. I'd better read a lot in February!