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WORD recommends these books this August:
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Fiction We Love:

      

Tigerman by Nick Harkaway (ebook available)
I could not possibly have been more excited for Tigerman, Nick Harkaway's third book. Expectations: met and then some. This is about family, environmental apocalypse, government bureaucracy, international intrigue, and oh yeah, REAL LIFE SUPER HEROES and how far you’d go for someone you love. It’s a real shift from The Gone-Away World and Angelmaker; Harkaway’s humor is in full force, but in many ways this is a far more realistic — and therefore more terrifying — story. And here’s where I run out of words and start to ramble and babble and so I will just say: buy it. Buy it now. (Jenn)

Wittgenstein Jr. by Lars Iyer (available September 2nd)
Ah, Cambridge University, where the brightest posh boys wrestle with the philosophy of logic, try to kiss girls, and ingest copious drugs -- all this, of course, while also trying to impress that most enigmatic of professors, Wittgenstein Jr. He's the one that cares, the one the boys trust, the one they would follow to the ends of the earth. But graduation is approaching, and to make matters even worse, Cambridge is threatening to cast their beloved professor out -- and what's a professional logician to do in the illogical real world? From the writer that brought you the Spurious trilogy, as well as a literary anti-manifesto called "Nude In Your Hot Tub, Facing the Abyss," comes Wittgenstein Jr., a novel of irony, wit, philosophy, jokes about philosophy, and hope. This is Dead Poets Society face-down in a shallow pool of beer. This is John Williams's Stoner on horse tranquilizers. (Chad)


The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (available September 2nd) (ebook available)
Set in Amsterdam in the late 1600s, this expansive novel has magic and history, illicit affairs and complicated relationships. Based loosely on real characters, the story follows young Nella as she arrives in the big city as a young bride to a wealthy but mysterious merchant. The reason behind his cold demeanor slowly comes to light. Burton expertly unravels each mystery right before your eyes. A book that I couldn't put down and one that will haunt me for a while. (Katelyn)

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl (ebook available)
No misleading title here -- Reichl’s debut novel Delicious! is indeed, delicious. It’s no wonder that the famously delightful food writer could create such a palatable book. Delicious! tells the story of a young writer with a knack for all things culinary as she moves to New York and begins a job at a renowned food magazine. As life presents its challenges she learns to tackle them with the help of her new foodie friends. This book is food writing meets beach read, and like a good meal, leaves you happy and satisfied. (Kelly)

  

It Never Happened Again by Sam Alden
Sam Alden is one of the rising stars in comics right now, and his new book, It Never Happened Again, elegantly demonstrates why. Alden's ostensibly unrefined pencil sketches conceal an artistic genius generally reserved for epic full-color graphic endeavors. The rough lines provide a raw intimacy that beautifully captures the mood of the two stories contained in the book. Alden deftly relates the promise and pain of adolescence and young adulthood, while letting the reader linger in the silent moments. (Kim)


Echo of the Boom by Maxwell Neely-Cohen (ebook available)
Echo of the Boom follows four teenagers with very different backgrounds as they grapple with the state of their little worlds, the world at large, and all of the possible points of convergence. One is a social media empress who dreams of the end of the world every night. One is a Katniss-like figure raised by survivalists. One gets kicked out of so many schools that he creates an index where other students can predict how long he'll last at the next school. And one travels the world and learns about his father's CIA past. Great characters, great voice, great book design. For fans of DFW and Don DeLillo and anyone who has a sinking suspicion that the apocalypse is upon us.  (Emily)

The Woman Destroyed by Simone de Beauvoir (ebook available)
The Woman Destroyed comprises a triptych of unrest, animating the ruthless onslaught of age and the personal disintegration that befalls a body in time. Although the tone of my praise sounds like an overly earnest college entrance exam, the facts of this book are far from that context of experience. Each section uses a different form -- narrative, monologue, and diary -- to achieve a singular, perennial fact: human love, familial or romantic, is conditional. But there's more to life than other people. Maybe. (Jaye)

Fables Volume 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham
I've always been a huge fan of fairy tales so I really enjoyed Bill Willingham's Fables. Forced out of their homelands by The Adversary, characters from favorite fairy and folk tales formed Fabletown, a secret community within New York City. The first in the series is beautifully drawn and contains an interesting murder mystery. Really looking forward to starting volume two. (Nancy)

Nonfiction We Love:

  

The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl by Arthur Allen (ebook availalable)
During the Nazi occupation of Riga, Dr. Rudolf Weigl was able to develop a vaccine for typhus at a laboratory that became the intellectual hub of the city. Against tremendous odds, he then helped smuggle vials of the vaccine into the Jewish Ghetto and prison camps while sending dilute samples to the Germans. A great story, well told, about a man who never achieved the fame he deserved. (Kerry)

What We See When We Read by Peter Mendelsund (ebook available)
If you are a reader (which you are, because you are reading this right now, HI THERE) then you must must must pick up What We See When We Read. Mendelsund is a much-lauded art director and cover designer (for good reason; have you seen the Kafka redesigns?), and he brings the knowledge and experience that inform his work to every page of this discussion on how we turn words into pictures. The fonts vary in size and positioning, images integrate themselves throughout, and each page is a work of art designed to make you stop and think. Can you picture Anna Karenina clearly? How much does it matter if you can’t? How good is your sense-memory of smell? How important are adjectives? And what is the point of describing a river, anyway? This is the Reading About Reading book I didn’t know I wanted, and will now chase everyone around with. (Jenn)

The Universe by John Brockman (ebook available)

If you loved A Brief History of Time, you will love this book, which brings together top scientists and journalists to explain what we know about the universe. If you tried to read Brief History but couldn't, you will love this book even more because the articles are short, clear, and written by some of the top scientists in the field: Brian Greene, Lawrence Krauss, Benoit Mandelbrot, Sean Carroll, and more. (Kerry)


   

The Bar Book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler (ebook available)
I know just enough about cocktails to be dangerous (in a good way -- or so I like to think). Much of that is due to the influence of Jeffrey Morgenthaler, who used to tend bar at my hometown local. This isn't your typical recipe book (though there are a few recipes), but an exploration of techniques that will class up your homemade libations. When anyone this good behind the bar shares his considerable knowledge, it's a treat. (Molly)

What the Living Do: Poems by Marie Howe (ebook available)
Two common concerns among potential poetry readers are that one is somehow missing something in the work, and that somehow one isn’t getting the poems. This collection of Howe’s poems lays such reservations to rest and pulls no punches. Her broader answer to the titular question is that we comfort and conceal, suffer and transcend, separate and rejoin, and through it all emerge with our voices intact. A sometimes harrowing but always inspiring and powerful book. (Zach)


Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier (ebook available)
Published in 1999, this book presents a view of the gentrification of Manhattan through the lens of a group of street-side booksellers on 6th Ave. The booksellers, some more than others, define themselves as public intellectuals and face poverty, with all the issues that go with it. The author immerses himself for years and gives a thoughtful and conscientious telling. (Pete)

Books for Teens, Tweens, and Littles:

 
 

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (ebook available)
If you're squeamish or easily spooked, maybe you should keep the lights on; this book will make you shiver. In her debut graphic short story collection, Carroll melds art, fairy tales, and fear into the perfect witching hour read. If Kate Beaton and Edgar Allen Poe had a kid, it might create a book as thrilling and lovely as Emily Carroll's, but probably not. With a color scheme heavy on the black, white, and red; stories of monsters and spirits only the protagonist perceives; and a monster seemingly made up of red tentacles and teeth, Carroll has created an intensely beautiful and delightfully horrific book that is utterly unique. (Emma)

Frostborn by Lou Anders (ebook available)

Frostborn stars two protagonists: Karn, a smart and cunning human boy, and Thianna, a confident and fearless half-giant girl. The flavor and background, based on Norse mythology, is very refreshing and the vocabulary will challenge kids (and adults) to read words like “Ymirian” and “Norronir”. Also, Thrones & Bones, the chess-like strategy board game that Karn loves to play, is an actual game that Lou Anders created that you can play with the help of the rules at the end of the book. This is the most fun I’ve had since the Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Jasper)

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (ebook available
Two young women meet while under fire at a British airfield during WWII, and their lives are forever changed. One is a pilot, and the other is a spy, and when Maddie flies Julie into occupied France and their plane crashes, the worst happens. Ultimately, this brutal but hopeful epistolary novel is about the power of friendship, which will carry them into and out of the darkest places imaginable. You'll find this shelved under YA, but these women are adults, and it's one of those novels that could go anywhere. (Nikki)
 

 

Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon
It's fall in Antarctica, and Salina Yoon's adorable penguins are back and wondering what fall looks like without any ice. Penguin and his friends set off for the farm to see the fall leaves, but baby brother Pumpkin has to stay home -- so Penguin brings fall to him. It's perfect autumn story of adventure and imagination. With its clean illustrations and sweet, simple language, Penguin and Pumpkin is the perfect picture book for young readers -- especially siblings. (Emma)

Planes: Complete History by R.G. Grant 
This model-making book is great for anyone interested in flight. Each page highlights a different plane from history, starting with the 1903 Wright Flyer and ending with the 2009 Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The models come with step-by-step directions and are beautifully illustrated. I love the included historical photographs and appreciate the mix of history and craft. (Alyssa)

The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School by Deborah Diesen (ebook available)
The Pout-Pout Fish is back, and this time he's got a problem: He's just started school, but all the other kids seem to know everything already. He can't write his name, he can't do any math, and he can't draw any shapes. How will he ever fit in? But then his teacher brings him to the beginner's class, where all the brand new students can learn together. They discover that they can learn to do all the things the older kids can do! An adorably reassuring look at starting school and the fear and uncertainty that go with it. (Arielle)

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