Featured books will be available for the public today. To place them on hold, call the Walla Walla Public Library at 527-4550 or go to wallawallapubliclibrary.org.

Fiction

“This Is How You Lose the Time War,” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

I

n this exquisitely crafted tale, two special agents from competing factions forge an unexpected relationship through messages left behind as they wage a secret war across space and time. Red, who represents a society dominated by technology and artificial intelligences, and Blue, the product of a biological mass consciousness, must never—can never—meet, even as they work to secure the future for their masters. Instead, they communicate in hundreds of different ways, their words hidden beneath layers of subtlety and deception, in direct defiance of every rule they’ve ever followed. As taunts and challenges gradually give way to endearments and secrets, the two women must determine their true roles in the unending time war. Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay. El-Mohtar (“The Honey Month”) and Gladstone (the Craft Sequence) pack their narrative full of fanciful ideas and poignant moments, weaving a tapestry stretching across the millennia and through multiple realities that’s anchored with raw emotion and a genuine sense of wonder. 

— Publishers Weekly

“The Lager Queen of Minnesota,” by J. Ryan Stradal

A

 family inheritance tears two Minnesota sisters apart—but years later, they might get a chance to reunite.

Edith Magnusson never expected to be famous for anything, let alone her pies. But the pies she makes at her humble nursing-home job put the place on the map, and soon people are traveling from all over to try a slice. At 64 years old, it seems she’s starting a new life…but Edith doesn’t know what’s in store for her future. Although she remains a talented baker, the years to come leave her widowed, underemployed, and taking care of her teenage granddaughter, Diana. The two of them manage to barely scrape by, but Edith often wonders how her life would have been different if she’d received her portion of the inheritance from her family’s farm after her father died. Instead, Edith’s younger sister, Helen, convinced their father to give her the entire inheritance so she could build a successful brewery with her husband. Helen made good on her promise, turning Blotz beer into one of the country’s most prominent brands, but it comes at a cost. Edith stops speaking to Helen, and Helen doesn’t reach out to fix the rift. Many years later, by coincidence, Diana ends up working in a brewery. She shows both an interest and skill in making beer, and soon she’s a rising star in the world of brewing. As Diana’s career takes off, she needs all the help from her family she can get—which just might mean a chance for Edith and Helen to reconnect. Stradal’s (“Kitchens of the Great Midwest,” 2015) writing is sharp and funny while still managing to treat each character with warmth and respect. His women are complicated and interesting people who find fulfillment in hard work—and, perhaps most refreshingly, he never mocks the career hopes of older women. Although the characters’ lives are full of loss—Edith of her husband, Diana of her parents, all of them of various unfulfilled dreams—the story doesn’t wallow in grief or indulge in despair. Instead, this is an ultimately hopeful and heartwarming story that never feels sentimental or trite. Readers will love watching these truly original characters overcome their challenges and take care of each other.

An absolutely delightful read, perfect for a summer day with a good beer and a piece of pie.

— Kirkus Reviews

Nonfiction

“How to Forget: A Daughter’s Memoir,” by Kate Mulgrew

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n this candid and intimate memoir, Mulgrew (“Born with Teeth”), an actress on “Star Trek: Voyager”, chronicles her father’s death at 83 from lung cancer, as well as her artist mother’s decline from Alzheimer’s disease. Mulgrew, one of eight children, was doing a live show in Florida when she learned of her father’s cancer diagnosis. She returned home to take on “a principal role in a real-life drama” and oversaw his final days, while also taking care of her mother. Back in Dubuque County, Iowa, on the 40-acre estate her father purchased to raise his large Irish Catholic family, Mulgrew delves into her past and her complicated relationship with the uncommunicative father she adores. She recalls how he drove her three hours to Milwaukee for her first audition even though—unlike her mother—he didn’t support her dream of acting. The book also has lighter moments (the author and her brother delight in watching their mother, even in the throes of Alzheimer’s, knock off eight whiskeys at a New York City bar). In an intensely intimate moment, Mulgrew bathes her comatose father; two years later, she holds vigil at her dying mother’s bedside. This is a detailed and searing portrait of a family facing the inevitability of death.

— Publishers Weekly

“No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us,” by Rachel Louise Snyder

A

 powerful exploration of the sinister, insidious nature of domestic violence in America.

As an international reporter for more than two decades, Snyder (Literature/American Univ.; “What We’ve Lost Is Nothing,” 2014, etc.) encountered regular acts of violence against women adjacent to the issues she covered. The grim statistics about and the prevalence of unreported incidents both startled and motivated her to begin chronicling the universality of an issue that “is too often hidden.” Through a graphically portrayed series of in-depth profiles, the author discusses how domestic violence has reached epidemic levels while efforts to curb the trend have been historically underfunded and ineffective. She elucidates this point in stories spotlighting both victims and assailants alongside the investigators and family members who’ve become all-consumed with sleuthing the crimes that have torn their relationships apart. She also tackles the complex conundrum facing victims of familial violence who choose to remain in abusive households. Intriguingly, Snyder probes the chilling territory of the perpetrators, sketching them from the inside out. Especially memorable is the author’s incisive coverage of the communities responsible for creating change through victim advocacy, rehabilitative jail programs, batterer intervention groups, and transitional housing. In one scene, Snyder describes a state prison’s group therapy session in which former abusers discuss “their own incidents of violence, times they…denied any wrongdoing, moments they manipulated or verbally threatened partners [and] instances of trivializing their own violent events. They begin to see, some of them for the first time ever, the effect their violence may have had on their victims.” As these stories and perspectives evolve and deepen, the author contributes her own profound introspection on the nature of empathy and relatability, weaving in themes of enduring emotional trauma, the resilience of “deep stereotypes,” and the many manifestations of physical and emotional violence.

— Kirkus Reviews

Others

“A Girl Returned,” by Donatella Di Pietrantonio (fiction)

“No Ocean Too Wide: A Novel,” by Carrie Turansky (fiction)

“Are We There Yet?: The American Automobile Past, Present, and Driverless,” by Dan Albert (nonfiction)

“Assad, or We Burn the Country: How One Family’s Lust for Power Destroyed Syria,” by Sam Dagher (nonfiction

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