See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.
As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.
Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
Or did she?
The Driver by Hart Hanson
Michael Skellig is a limo driver waiting for his client in the alley behind an upscale hotel. He’s spent the last twenty-eight hours ferrying around Bismark Avila, a celebrity skateboard mogul who isn’t going home any time soon. Suddenly the wind begins to speak to Skellig in the guttural accent of the Chechen torturer he shot through the eye in Yemen a decade ago: troubletroubletrouble. Skellig has heard these warnings before—he’s an Army special forces sergeant whose limo company is staffed by an eccentric band of veterans, including his Afghan interpreter—and he knows to listen carefully.
Skellig runs inside just in time to save Alvila from two gunmen, but too late for one of Alvila’s bodyguards—and wakes up hours later in the hospital, the only person of interest in custody for the murder. Complicating matters further is the appearance of Detective Delilah Groopman of the LAPD, gorgeous and brash, for whom Skellig has always held a candle. As for Alvila? He’s willing to help clear Skellig’s name under one condition—that he become Alvila’s personal chauffeur. A cushy gig for any driver, except for the fact that someone is clearly trying to kill Alvila, and there is most certainly more to the story than he is letting on…
Class Mom by Laurie Gelman
Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom—or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (probably) musicians, and it’s her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max—this time with a husband and father by her side. Though her best friend and PTA President sees her as the “wisest” candidate for the job (or oldest), not all of the other parents agree.
From recording parents’ response times to her emails about helping in the classroom, to requesting contributions of “special” brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen’s methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from Jen’s past, a hyper-sensitive “allergy mom,” a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife-wannabe, causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.
Relatable, irreverent, and hilarious in the spirit of Maria Semple this is a fresh, welcome voice in fiction—the kind of novel that real moms clamor for, and a vicarious thrill-read for all mothers, who will be laughing as they are liberated by Gelman’s acerbic truths.
If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss
In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She’s been married to Roy Tupkin for fifteen days, and she knows now that she should have listened to the folks who said he was trouble. But when a stranger sweeps in and knocks the world off-kilter for everyone in town, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife.
As stark and magnificent as Appalachia itself, If the Creek Don’t Rise is a bold and beautifully layered debut about a dusty, desperate town finding the inner strength it needs to outrun its demons. The folks of Baines Creek will take you deep into the mountains with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.
Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist by Richard Dawkins
From the evolutionary biologist, provocateur and bestselling author, a timely, passionate defense of rational, scientific thinking in this career-spanning collection—including twenty pieces published in the US for the first time.
In 1976 Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene caused a seismic shift in our understanding of biology by proffering the gene-centered view of evolution and was called “The best work of popular science ever written” by the New York Review of Books. Then in 2006, Dawkins wrote The God Delusion, transforming the world’s cultural and intellectual landscape once again with this takedown of religious faith.
In this carefully curated collection of forty-two pieces of his shorter work, Dawkins focuses on what science is and how it is done, the inexhaustible wonders of nature, the importance of critical thinking, and the great minds who have changed his life—including Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan, and Christopher Hitchens. The clarity of thought, felicity of expression, serious engagement and sober confidence in rationality that have made so many of his books bestsellers are on full display in these essays, showing Dawkins, again, to be an ingenious maker of connections and the fearless assassin of sacred cows.
Hot Reads August
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt