Fiction

“The Story of Arthur Truluv: A Novel," by Elizabeth Berg

Arthur, the title character of the latest from Berg (“Talk Before Sleep”), does not enjoy living alone. Since his wife’s death, the best part of his daily routine is visiting the cemetery to eat lunch at her grave. The only other constants in his life are taking care of his cat and keeping his distance from his nosy neighbor, Lucille. Then he meets Maddy, a troubled teen who is bullied at school and misunderstood by her father at home, and who has taken to hanging out at the cemetery to be by herself. The two form a bond, and when Maddy gets pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s baby, she seeks Arthur’s help. Together with Lucille, who has recently faced her own tragic loss, the three form something like a family. Berg’s novel is as comforting as Lucille’s fresh-baked cookies, with plenty of charm and memorable characters. Readers will be taken by this story about how friendship can defy any generation gap and how it’s never too late to find a new purpose in life.

— Publishers Weekly

“The Pearl that Broke Its Shell: A Novel," by Nadia Hashimi

Set in Afghanistan, this emotionally engaging first novel uses alternating chapters to weave together the story of nine-year-old Rahima and her sisters with that of their great-great-grandmother Shekiba. Both Rahima and Shekiba share the experience of participating in bacha posh, in which young girls are dressed as and treated as boys until puberty. And like Shekiba, Rahima and her two older sisters endure the difficult and often horrific experience of being married off as young girls as second, third, or fourth wives to much older men. Although decades separate the distinctive stories of these women as they move from girlhood to adulthood, the hardships suffered by women in the Afghan culture remain the chilling tie that binds them. Hashimi succeeds in crafting a novel that incorporates gripping stories of survival with passionate tales of motherhood and inner strength throughout. Filled with tragedy and triumph, this work is sure to be appreciated by readers who enjoy similarly told stories with strong protagonists by authors such as Lisa See and the Afghanistan-born Khaled Hosseini.

— Library Journal

Nonfiction

“Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis," by Timothy Egan

Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times journalist Egan (“The Worst Hard Time”) turns his attention to one of Seattle’s most remarkable—yet all but forgotten—residents. In the late 19th century, Edward Curtis was the era’s reigning portrait photographer, so well respected that President Theodore Roosevelt chose him to photograph his daughter’s wedding. Yet in 1900, at the height of his fame, Curtis gave it up to pursue what would become his life’s work—“a plan to photograph all the intact Native American tribes left in North America” before their ways of life disappeared. This idea received the backing of J.P. Morgan and culminated in a critically acclaimed 20-volume set, The North American Indian, which took Curtis 30 years to complete and left him divorced and destitute. Unfailingly sympathetic to his subject, Egan shadows Curtis as he travels from Roosevelt’s summer home at Sagamore Hill to the mesas and canyons of the Southwest tribes and to the rain forests of the Coastal Indians and the isolated tundra on Nunivak Island. Egan portrays the dwindling tribes, their sacred rites (such as the Hopi snake dance), customs, and daily lives, and captures a larger-than-life cast. With a reporter’s eye for detail, Egan delivers a gracefully written biography and adventure story.

— Publishers Weekly

“Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration," by Ed Catmull

“Finding Nemo.” “Toy Story.” “The Incredibles.” These wildly successful, award-winning films are all part of the outstanding canon Pixar Animation Studios has produced since its inception in 1986. Pixar co-founder and president Catmull takes us inside the company and its evolution from unprofitable hardware company to creative powerhouse. Along the way, he addresses the challenge of building an effective and enduring creative culture. Punctuated with surprising tales of how the company’s films were developed and the company’s financial struggles, Catmull shares insights about harnessing talent, creating teams, protecting the creative process, candid communications, organizational structures, alignment, and the importance of storytelling. His own storytelling power is evident as he narrates the company’s precarious journey to profitability. Written in an earnest and introspective tone, with the help of Wallace, the book will delight and inspire creative individuals and their managers, as well as anyone who wants to work “in an environment that fosters creativity and problem solving.” Catmull’s voice and choice of topics reveals him to be a caring, committed, philosophical leader who loves his work, respects his creative colleagues, and remains committed to the advancement of computer animation and great filmmaking.

— Publishers Weekly

Others

“Still Alice," by Lisa Genova (fiction)

“The Sea Runners," by Ivan Doig (fiction)

“Faraway Horses The Adventures and Wisdom of One of America's Most Renowned Horsemen," by Buck Brannaman with Bill Reynolds (nonfiction)

“Lawrence in Arabia War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East" by Scott Anderson (nonfiction)