Notable new releases
compiled by Sally Brewster
Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See
According to Confucius, “an educated woman is a worthless woman,” but Tan Yunxian — born into an elite family, yet haunted by death, separations and loneliness — is being raised by her grandparents to be of use. Her grandmother is one of only a handful of female doctors in China, and she teaches Yunxian the pillars of Chinese medicine, the Four Examinations — looking, listening, touching and asking — something a man can never do with a female patient. From a young age, Yunxian learns about women’s illnesses, many of which relate to childbearing, alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. The two girls find fast friendship and a mutual purpose, and they vow to be forever friends, sharing in each other’s joys and struggles. But when Yunxian is sent into an arranged marriage, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing Meiling and from helping the women and girls in the household. Yunxian is to act like a proper wife — to embroider bound-foot slippers, pluck instruments, recite poetry, give birth to sons, and stay forever within the walls of the family compound. How might a woman like Yunxian break free of these traditions, go on to treat women and girls from every level of society, and lead a life of such importance that many of her remedies are still used five centuries later? Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a captivating story of women helping other women.
The Say So by Julia Franks
Edie Carrigan didn’t plan to “get herself” pregnant, much less end up in a home for unwed mothers. In 1950s Charlotte, illegitimate pregnancy is kept secret, wayward women require psychiatric cures, and adoption is always the best solution. Not even Edie’s closest friend, Luce Waddell, understands what Edie truly wants: to keep and raise the baby. Twenty-five years later, Luce is a successful lawyer, and her daughter Meera now faces the same decision Edie once did. Like Luce, Meera is fiercely independent and plans to handle her unexpected pregnancy herself. Along the way, Meera finds startling secrets about her mother’s past, including the long-ago friendship with Edie. As the three women’s lives intertwine, the story circles age-old questions about female awakening, reproductive choice, motherhood, adoption, sex and missed connections.
All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby
After years of working as an FBI agent, Titus Crown returns home to Charon County, land of moonshine and cornbread, fist fights and honeysuckle. Seeing his hometown struggling with a bigoted police force inspires him to run for sheriff. Winning the election, he becomes the first Black sheriff in the history of the county. Then a year to the day after his election, a young Black man is fatally shot by Titus’ deputies. Titus pledges to follow the truth wherever it leads. But no one expected he would unearth a serial killer who has been hiding in plain sight, haunting the dirt lanes and woodland clearings of Charon. Now, Titus must pull off the impossible: stay true to his instincts, prevent outright panic and investigate a shocking crime in a small town where everyone knows everyone yet secrets flourish.
100 Places to See After You Die: A Travel Guide to the Afterlife by Ken Jennings
Ever wonder which circles of Dante’s Inferno have the nicest accommodations? Where’s the best place to grab a bite to eat in the ancient Egyptian underworld? How does one dress like a local in the heavenly palace of Hinduism’s Lord Vishnu, or avoid the flesh-eating river serpents in the Klingon afterlife? What hidden treasures can be found off the beaten path in Hades, Valhalla or NBC’s The Good Place? From the bestselling author and Jeopardy! champion and host, 100 Places to See After You Die is written in the style of iconic bestselling travel guides. But instead of recommending must-see destinations in Mexico, Thailand or Rome, Jennings outlines journeys through the afterlife, as dreamed up over 5,000 years of human history by our greatest prophets, poets, mystics, artists and TV showrunners. This comprehensive index of 100 different afterlife destinations was meticulously researched from sources ranging from the Epic of Gilgamesh to modern-day pop songs, video games and Simpsons episodes.
Translation State by Ann Leckie
Qven was created to be a Presger translator. The pride of their Clade, they always had a clear path before them: learn human ways and, eventually, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presger and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something else isn’t “optimal behavior” — it’s the type of behavior that results in elimination. But Qven rebels. And in doing so, their path collides with those of two others. Enae, a reluctant diplomat whose dead grandmaman has left hir an impossible task as an inheritance: hunting down a fugitive who has been missing for over 200 years. And Reet, an adopted mechanic who is increasingly desperate to learn about his genetic roots — or anything that might explain why he operates so differently from those around him. As a Conclave of the various species approaches — and the longstanding treaty between the humans and the Presger is on the line — the decisions of all three will have ripple effects across the stars. SP
Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books. 4139 Park Rd., parkroadbooks.com.