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It’s June.

Time to find a quiet beach and something to read.


After a great college class about the history of religious movements in America, I’ve always been fascinated with the activity that grew out of the so-called “Burned-Over District.” And as a frequent volunteer at a Shaker Village I know there is a great deal to be learned by these unusual efforts. Written by a descendant of one of the original families, this book brings unprecedented perspective to the history of the movement.

from the publisher: Noyes’s belief in the perfectibility of human nature eventually inspired him to institute a program of eugenics, known as stirpiculture, that resulted in a new generation of Oneidans who, when the Community disbanded in 1880, sought to exorcise the ghost of their fathers’ disreputable sexual theories. Converted into a joint-stock company, Oneida Community, Limited, would go on to become one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of silverware, and their brand a coveted mark of middle-class respectability in pre- and post-WWII America.

Thank you to Picador for the advance copy.

ISBN: 9781250043085
ISBN10: 1250043085
6.42 x 9.64 inches, 320 pages
Includes one 16-page black-and-white photograph insert
$ 27.00


I absolutely loved Equilateral, Kalfus’ previous novel. Here, he brings a similar sense of unease to the short story format. The title novella was my least favorite in the collection, preferring instead his tighter tales. He also revisits the idea of questionable (read: mad) science in a story called “Laser.”

from the publisher: In “The Moment They Were Waiting For,” a murderer on death row casts a spell granting the inhabitants of his city the foreknowledge of the dates they will die. In “v. The Large Hadron Collider,” a judge distracted by the faint possibility of an adulterous affair must decide whether to throw out a nuisance lawsuit that raises the even fainter possibility that the entire Earth may be destroyed. “The Un-” is a nostalgic story of a young writer’s struggles as he tries to surmount the colossal, heavily guarded wall that apparently separates writers who have been published from those who have not.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for the advance copy.

Published: 05-17-2016
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 288
ISBN: 9781632863805
Imprint: Bloomsbury USA
Dimensions: 5 1/2″ x 8 1/4″
List price: $17.00

 y648Another collection of short stories takes Jane Eyre as its inspiration. In celebration of Charlotte Bronte’s 200th birthday, these female writers used a single sentence from that seminal work as their inspiration — and come up with wildly different answers. Francine Prose reimagines an episode within Jane Eyre, some have their characters glance upon it, while others create new worlds entirely.

from the publisher: A fixture in the literary canon, Charlotte Brontë is revered by readers all over the world. Her books featuring unforgettable, strong heroines still resonate with millions today. And who could forget one of literature’s best-known lines: “Reader, I married him” from her classic novel Jane Eyre?

 Thank you, HarperCollins, for the review copy.
ISBN: 9780062447098
ISBN 10: 0062447092
Imprint: William Morrow Paperbacks
On Sale: 03/22/2016
Trimsize: 5.313 in (w) x 8 in (h) x 0.685 in (d)
Pages: 304
List Price: 15.99 USD

Man of Genius

The novel is told from the point of view of a female author who wishes to be known for her work. She surrounds herself with other literary types but has difficulty maintaining her own presence among them. The style is dense and a bit difficult to wade through. Make sure you have time to devote to reading it slowly.

from the publisher: Ann, an author of cheap Gothic novels, becomes obsessed with Robert James, regarded by many, including himself, as a genius; she is captivated by his Romantic ideas, his talk, and his band of male followers. The pair leaves London for occupied Venice, where Ann tries to cope with the monstrous ego of her lover. The relationship grows tortuous as Robert descends into violence and near madness. Forced to flee with a stranger, she delves into her past, to be jolted by a series of revelations— about her lover, her parentage, the stranger and herself.

Thank you to Bitter Lemon Press for the review copy.
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press (April 12, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1908524596
ISBN-13: 978-1908524591
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches


If you want to dive into a complex and tense spy thriller, try this true story. More than simple procedural recounting a couple of missions, Blum uses recently available files to reveal the real life of Betty Pack, aka “Cynthia”, who worked with MI6, the OSS and Alan Turing.

from the publisher: This is the remarkable story of this “Mata Hari from Minnesota” (Time) and the passions that ruled her tempestuous life—a life filled with dangerous liaisons and death-defying missions vital to the Allied victory. She seduced diplomats and military attachés across the globe in exchange for ciphers and secrets; cracked embassy safes to steal codes; and obtained the Polish notebooks that proved key to Alan Turing’s success with Operation Ultra. Beneath Betty’s cool, professional determination, Blum reveals a troubled woman conflicted by the very traits that made her successful: her lack of deep emotional connections and her readiness to risk everything.

Thank you to HarperCollins for the advance copy.
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Harper (April 12, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062307673
ISBN-13: 978-0062307675
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches

5 thoughts on “Books for June”

    1. I recently reread it myself. It’s definitely one of those that takes on different meanings at different parts of your life.

  1. Oneida looks so interesting. I knew it had a cultish history but not the details. I’d like to read it since the first nice silverware set I bought was Oneida.

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