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Off the Record: Great new reads

I recently enjoyed these new releases and think you might, too! Let’s start with fiction.

The Altmans are having a rough week: Dan is struggling to find inspiration in his third year as a writer on a hit TV show, Jen can’t admit to herself that she has a problem with alcohol, seventeen-year-old Chloe is worried about her college-admissions essay, and fifteen-year-old Max is stewing over a recent altercation with a classmate. To top it off the apocalypse has started, in the form of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that has wiped out electricity and electronics, from their car starters to JUULs to cell phones. As tensions and tempers rise in suburban New Jersey, can the Altmans keep it together and keep themselves alive? Geoff Rodkey’s “Lights Out in Lincolnwood” is darkly funny and the Altmans’ reaction to the apocalypse has me wondering how our self-obsessed society would really function with the loss of the internet and all of our modern conveniences.

Charlie has decided to leave college two months after her roommate was murdered by the Campus Killer, a serial killer who has murdered four young women in the past four years. She meets Josh at the campus ride board and they decide to carpool to Ohio from New Jersey. But as Charlie gets to know Josh during the drive, she begins to suspect that he may be the Campus Killer and it was no coincidence that he picked her as his road trip companion. “Survive the Night” by Riley Sager was easy to read in one sitting!

Nora Spangler feels like she’s drowning. She’s three months pregnant, has a four year old daughter, and is trying to make partner at her law office. She and her husband, Hayden, are still very much in love, but she wishes he would help her more with managing their tiny household. When she sees an ad for a beautiful house in a suburban neighborhood they can afford, she immediately makes an appointment to see it. As she meets more and more of the high-powered women who live in this potential new neighborhood, she is astonished at how seamlessly their lives run. Nora feels like she never has the mental and physical capacity to keep up with everything that needs to be done, but these women make it look easy. And their husbands seem to be the secret. The men keep each of their households running like clockwork, leaving their wives with time and energy to be successful in their careers and have an active and fulfilling social life. Everything seems perfect until one of the neighborhood homes burns down with one of the husbands trapped inside. Nora takes the personal injury case at the request of the widow. As she investigates she finds that the neighborhood might not be as picture perfect as it looks from the outside. Author Chandler Baker, a lawyer, wife, and mother herself, creates characters that feel real and takes a nuanced look at the challenges that modern women face in “The Husbands.” Baker says in her dedication, “women can do anything, but they can’t do everything.”

I also enjoyed these non-fiction new releases.

Helen Ellis is back with her signature brand of southern lady wit in “Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light.” In this latest collection of essays, she focuses on adult female friendships, making peace with middle age, and how to become friends with the right people at the airport. Charming, touching, and hilarious!

Adam Stern was selected to train as a psychiatry resident at Harvard’s prestigious program. In “Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training,” Stern shows how intense, tiring, frustrating, and rewarding psychiatry can be for its practitioners. Stern is down-to-earth and shares a very human perspective on an ever-evolving field that is often misunderstood.

If you’d like to request any of these books, visit www.newulmlibrary.org and click on Library Catalog or give us a call at 507-359-8331. We’d be happy to place these or any other books on hold for you.

The library is located at 17 N. Broadway and is open to the public Monday to Thursdays 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. and Friday and Saturdays 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

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