Hummingbirds: a novel by Joshua Gaylord
A wonderfully compelling debut novel about the intertwiningand darkly surprisingrelationships between the teachers and students at an all-girls prep school Spend a year at the Carmine-Casey School for Girls, an elite prep school on Manhattan's Upper East Side: the year when the intimate private school community becomes tempestuous and dangerously incestuous as the rivalries and secrets of teachers and students intersect and eventually collide.
In the world of students, popular and coquettish Dixie Doyle, with her ironic pigtails, battles to wrest attention away from the smart and disdainful Liz Warren, who spends her time writing and directing plays based on the Oresteia. In the world of teachers, the adored Leo Binhammer struggles to share his territory with Ted Hughes, the charming new English teacher who threatens to usurp Binhammer's status as the department's only male teacher and owner of the girls' hearts. When a secret is revealed between them, Binhammer grows increasingly fascinated by the man he has determined is out to get him.
As seasons change and tensions mount, the girls long for entry into the adult world, toying with their premature powers of flirtation. Meanwhile, the deceptive innocence of the adolescent world-complete with plaid skirts and scented highlighters-becomes a trap into which the flailing teachers fall. By the end of the year the line between maturity and youth begins to blur, and the question on the final exam is: Who are the adults and who are the children?
From HarperCollins Publishers.
36 Arguments For the Existence of God by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
After Cass Seltzer's book becomes a surprise best seller, he's dubbed "the atheist with a soul" and becomes a celebrity. He wins over the stunning Lucinda Mandelbaum, "the goddess of game theory," and loses himself in a spiritually expansive infatuation. A former girlfriend appears: an anthropologist who invites him to join in her quest for immortality through biochemistry. And he is haunted by reminders of the two people who ignited his passion to understand religion: his mentor and professor-a renowned literary scholar with a suspicious obsession with messianism-and an angelic six-year-old mathematical genius who is heir to the leadership of a Hasidic sect. Each encounter reinforces Cass's theory that the religious impulse spills over into life at large.
36 Arguments for the Existence of God plunges into the great debate of our day: the clash between faith and reason. World events are being shaped by fervent believers at home and abroad, while a new atheism is asserting itself in the public sphere. On purely intellectual grounds the skeptics would seem to have everything on their side. Yet people refuse to accept their seemingly irrefutable arguments and continue to embrace faith in God as their source of meaning, purpose, and comfort.
Through the enchantment of fiction, award-winning novelist and MacArthur Fellow Rebecca Newberger Goldstein shows that the tension between religion and doubt cannot be understood through rational argument alone. It also must be explored from the point of view of individual people caught in the raptures and torments of religious experience in all their variety.
Using her gifts in fiction and philosophy, Goldstein has produced a true crossover novel, complete with a nail-biting debate ("Resolved: God Exists") and a stand-alone appendix with the thirty-six arguments (and responses) that propelled Seltzer to stardom.
From Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah
After her magazine career craters, Isabelle Lee, the narrator of Mah's super sharp debut, leaves New York to reconnect with her family roots in China. Her familiarity with the language and culture limited to "kitchen Chinese," Isabelle lands a job at a magazine for the expatriate community in Beijing and finds a circle of friends. However, her relationship with her big-shot attorney sister, Claire, who's lived in China for a while, gets off to a rocky start, with the two not knowing quite what to make of each other. Isabelle's Beijing immersion, coupled with her chick lit arc, provides a refreshing and fun narrative, helped along by a fantastic heroine whose insights into modern China and the expatriate experience will intrigue readers. It's a great start for a writer with much promise. From Publishers Weekly.
Wormwood, Nevada by David Oppegaard
Tyler and Anna Mayfield have just relocated from Nebraska to the sun scorched desert town of Wormwood, Nevada. They find themselves in a strange new landscape populated with old school cowboys, alien cultists, meth dealers, and doomsday prophets. Loneliness and desperation pervade Wormwood, and when a meteorite lands in the center of town, its fragile existence begins to unravel as many believe the end of the world is near, while others simply seek a reason to believe in anything at all. From St. Martin's Press.
The Short Novels of John Steinbeck by John Steinbeck
Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck's most widely read and beloved novels-Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Moon Is Down, Cannery Row, and The Pearl. From Steinbeck's tale of commitment, loneliness, and hope in Of Mice and Men, to his tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl's examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck created stories that were realistic, rugged, and imbued with energy and resilience. From Penguin Group, USA.