Searbookers Are Reading

To see the 2019 list of books, click here.

Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II
by Thomas Childers
On April 21, 1945, the twelve-member crew of the Black Cat set off on one of the last air missions in the European theater of World War II. Ten never came back. This is the story of that crew—where they came from, how they trained, what it was like to fly a B-24 through enemy flak, and who was waiting for them to come home. (1995, 276 pgs; Nonfiction)

Night Boat to Tangier
by Kevin Barry
From the acclaimed author of the international sensations City of Bohane and Beatlebone, a striking and gorgeous new novel of two aging criminals at the butt ends of their damage-filled careers. (2019, 255 pgs; Fiction)

The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age
by David E. Sanger
This is the startling inside story of how the rise of cyberweapons transformed geopolitics like nothing since the invention of the atomic bomb. Cheap to acquire, easy to deny, and usable for a variety of malicious purposes—from crippling infrastructure to sowing discord and doubt—cyber is now the weapon of choice for democracies, dictators, and terrorists. (2018, 384 pgs; Nonfiction)

The American Story: Conversations with Master Historians
by David M. Rubenstein
Philanthropist and TV host Rubenstein debuts with a collection of 16 interviews he’s conducted as part of the Congressional Dialogues, a series of dinners held at the Library of Congress in which historians and biographers discuss their subjects in front of an audience of lawmakers. The interviews include such heavy hitters as Ron Chernow on Alexander Hamilton, Robert Caro on Lyndon B. Johnson, Doris Kearns Goodwin on Abraham Lincoln, and Taylor Branch on Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. (2019, 396 pgs; Nonfiction)

My Notorious Life
by Kate Manning
Inspired by the true history of an infamous female physician, this is a mystery, a family saga, a love story, and an exquisitely detailed portrait of nineteenth-century America. Axie Muldoon’s inimitable voice brings the past alive, and her story haunts and enlightens the present. (2013, 438 pgs; Fiction)

American Duchess
by Karen Harper
Reimagines the life of American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt as the reluctant and bullied bride of the Duke of Marlborough before she finds the inner strength to fight for women’s equality. (2019, 350 pgs; Fiction)

The Boy Between Worlds
by Annajet van der Zijl
When they fell in love in 1928, Rika and Waldemar could not have been more different. She was a thirty-seven-year-old Dutch-born mother. He was her immigrant boarder and a wealthy Surinamese descendant of slaves. The child they have together brings the couple great joy yet raises some eyebrows… until the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands explodes their promising life. (2019, 272 pgs; Nonfiction)

A Well-Behaved Woman
by Therese Fowler
Marrying into the newly rich but socially scorned Vanderbilt clan, Alva navigates society snubs and dark undercurrents in the lives of her in-laws and friends while testing the limits of her ambitious rule-breaking. (2018, 392 pgs; Fiction)

Lady Clementine
by Marie Benedict
This historical tale inspired by the life of Clementine Churchill traces her unflinching role in protecting the life and wartime agendas of her husband, Winston Churchill. (2020, 322 pgs; Fiction)

The Dry
by Jane Harper
Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his old hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood best friend, Luke. Falk teams up with a local detective and tries to uncover the truth behind Luke’s sudden mysterious death, only to find more questions than answers. (2017, 328 pgs; Fiction)

A Very Stable Genius
by Daniel Rucker
Washington Post reporters Rucker and Leonnig deliver a granular critique of the Trump presidency, from Michael Flynn’s ill-fated tenure as national security advisor to the release of the Mueller Report. (2020, 465 pgs; Nonfiction)

The Perfect Horse
by Elizabeth Letts
In the chaotic last days of World War II, a small troop of American soldiers captures a German spy and learns that on a secret farm behind enemy lines, Hitler has stockpiled the world’s finest purebred horses in order to breed the perfect military machine–an equine master race. But with the starving Russian army closing in, the animals are in imminent danger of being slaughtered for food. With only hours to spare, one of the U.S. Army’s last great cavalrymen, Colonel Hank Reed, makes a bold decision–with General George Patton’s blessing–to mount a covert rescue operation. (2016, 369 pgs; Nonfiction)

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
by Patrick Radden Keefe
From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe comes a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions. (2019, 441 pgs; Nonfiction)

The Yellow Envelope
by Kim Dinan
Plagued by anxiety and a persistent feeling that there was more to life than paychecks and mortgages, Kim and her husband decide to uproot their lives and travel around the world. Just before their departure, they’re given an unexpected gift that will shape their adventures: a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away to those they encounter on their journey. (2017, 346 pgs; Nonfiction)

The Splendid and the Vile
by Erik Larson
Larson delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally-and willing to fight to the end. (2020, 585 pgs; Nonfiction)

The Rise and Fall of the House of Windsor
by A.N. Wilson
1992 was the year the roof fell in on the storybook existence of the British royal family, the Windsors, and Queen Elizabeth referred to it as the “annus horribilis.” The British press could barely keep up with the succession of scandals that undermined popular support of the monarchy. Readers with an interest in history will be fascinated by Wilson’s tracing of the misery of the Windsors to the quarrels and eccentricities of elder generations, and perhaps to an even more ancient family curse. (1993, 211 pgs; Nonfiction)

Summer of ‘69
by Elin Hilderbrand
Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a summer when everything changed in Hilderbrand’s first historical novel set in Nantucket not far from Martha’s Vineyard. (2019, 425 pgs; Fiction)

Toward the Midnight Sun
by Eoin Dempsey
From the bestselling author of White Rose, Black Forest comes a page-turning epic of adventure, suspense, and romance set against the rich and ruthless backdrop of the Klondike gold rush. (2020, 266 pgs; Fiction)

The Heart’s Invisible Furies
by John Boyne
Adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple who reminds him that he is not a real member of their family, Cyril embarks on a journey to find himself and where he came from, discovering his identity, a home, a country, and much more throughout a long lifetime. (2017, 580 pgs; Fiction)

The Gifted School
by Bruce Holsinger
Crystal, Colorado, is an affluent community where a new gifted magnet school for grades six through 12 will soon open. With limited spaces available, the competition among parents to get their offspring into the school, called the “Stuyvesant of the Rockies,” turns ruthless. (2019, 452 pgs; Fiction)

Becoming Nicole
by Amy Ellis Nutt
This poignant account of a transgender girl’s transition offers a heartfelt snapshot of a family whose only objective is to protect their daughter. Tackling the subject from a biological, social, and psychological viewpoint, Pulitzer-winning reporter Nutt weaves complex elements of what being transgender means into a compelling narrative about a young woman who has identified as female since early childhood. (2015, 279 pgs; Nonfiction)

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn
Featuring a timeline split between a woman desperately seeking her cousin in 1947 postwar France and the doings of the “Alice Network” of female spies during World War I, this fast-paced story offers courageous heroines, villains you love to hate, and dramatic life-or-death stakes. (2017, 503 pgs; Fiction)

The Library Book
by Susan Orlean
New Yorker staff writer Orlean doubles as an investigative reporter and an institutional historian in this sprawling account of the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Central Public Library. (2018, 317 pgs; Nonfiction)

Women Rowing North
by Mary Pipher
Pipher offers a timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. (2019, 262 pgs; Nonfiction)

The Gift of Rain
Tan, Twan Eng
Set during the tumult of World War II, on the lush Malayan island of Penang, this novel tells a riveting and poignant tale about a young man caught in the tangle of wartime loyalties and deceits. (2008, 435 pgs; Fiction)

One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow
by Libbie Hawker
Set in 1876 Wyoming, Hawker spins an enchanting, suspenseful female-survivor story that fully captures the hardscrabble life on the American frontier. (2019, 479 pgs; Fiction)

The Dearly Beloved
by Cara Wall
Set in the years 1950-1970 in a changing America and London, the story follows two married couples – ministers and academics – whose intricate bonds of faith and friendship, jealousy and understanding, are tested by the birth of an autistic child. (2019, 342 pgs; Fiction)

When Breath Becomes Air
by Paul Kalinithi
One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from medical student into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. (2016, 228 pgs; Nonfiction)

In a Dark, Dark Wood
by Ruth Ware
What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn. (2015, 310pgs; Fiction)

The Glass Hotel
by Emily St. John Mandel
Mandel’s novel follows a brother and sister as they navigate heartache, loneliness, wealth, corruption, drugs, ghosts, and guilt. Settings include British Columbia’s coastal wilderness, New York City’s fashionable neighborhoods and corporate headquarters, a container ship in international waters, and a South Carolina prison. (2020, 320 pgs; Fiction)

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line
by Deepa Anappara
Enamored of police reality shows, nine-year-old Jai decides to become a detective himself when a classmate goes missing from his impoverished urban Indian settlement. Hoping to solve the case, he enlists the aid of his two best friends, Faiz and Pari. Their mettle is tested when other children begin disappearing, and the corrupt local police ignore the situation. (2020, 347 pgs; Fiction)

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors. (2007, 552 pgs; Fiction)

The Rain Watcher
by Tatiana de Rosnay
This powerful family drama is set in Paris as the Malegarde family gathers to celebrate the father’s 70th birthday. Their hidden fears and secrets are slowly unraveled as the City of Light undergoes a stunning natural disaster. Seen through the eyes of charismatic photographer Linden Malegarde, the youngest son, all members of the family will have to fight to keep their unity against tragic circumstances. Audiobook narrated by Simon Vance. (2018, 229 pgs; Fiction)

Year One
by Nora Roberts.
Year One, book one of the series Chronicles of the One,  is an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives. Audiobook narrated by Julia Whelan. (2017, 419 pgs; Fiction)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
by Rachel Joyce
Harold Fry is convinced that he must deliver a letter to an old love in order to save her, meeting various characters along the way and reminiscing about the events of his past and people he has known, as he tries to find peace and acceptance. (2012, 320 pgs; Fiction)

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune
by Bill Dedman
This nonfiction account of wealth and loss, complete with copper barons, Gilded Age opulence, and backdoor politics has at its heart a reclusive 104-year-old heiress named Huguette Clark. It is a touching story of an eccentric, a last jewel of the Gilded Age, who lived life on her own terms. (2013, 470 pgs; Nonfiction)

Tangerine
by Christine Mangan
This debut novel–a chilling portrait of a female friendship set in the 1950s– follows two young women, Alice and Lucy. After a mysterious accident at college, Alice impetuously marries John and they move to Tangier where Lucy unexpectedly appears. Then Alice’s husband goes missing and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind. (2018, 388 pgs; Fiction)

Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America
by Michael Ruhlman
Ruhlman dives into the mysterious world of supermarkets and the ways in which we produce, consume, and distribute food. He examines how rapidly supermarkets–and our food and culture–have changed since the days of your friendly neighborhood grocer. But rather than waxing nostalgic for the age of mom-and-pop shops, the author seeks to understand how our food needs have shifted since the mid-twentieth century, and how these needs mirror our cultural ones. (102, 307 pgs; Nonfiction)

Dimestore: A Writer’s Life
by Lee Smith
Candid and unsentimental, Smith’s book sheds light on her beginnings as a writer while revealing her resilience and personal transformations over the course of a remarkable life. (2016, 202 pgs; Memoir)

A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
A curmudgeon hides a terrible personal loss beneath a cranky and short-tempered exterior while clashing with new neighbors, a boisterous family whose chattiness and habits lead to unexpected friendship. (2014, 337 pgs; Fiction)

The Bookseller
by Mark Pryor
Hugo Marston buys an ancient book from his friend Max, at the old bookseller’s stall beside the River Seine.  Moments later, Max is kidnapped. Hugo must now connect the old man’s bizarre history with the ancient book, and solve the mysterious disappearance of other booksellers. This book is the first of a currently 9 book series set in Paris. The author is a prosecutor who resides in Austin, TX. (2012, 303 pgs; Fiction)

Code Name Helen
by Ariel Lawhon
Lawhon’s novel is based on the real-life story of socialite spy Nancy Wake, the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII. (2020; 464 pgs; Fiction)

The Book of Longings
by Sue Monk Kidd
This audacious novel centers on Ana, the fictitious Galilean wife of Jesus and sister of the infamous disciple Judas. Ana is able to read and write, unusual for Jewish women of the time. Her powerful desire to record the stories of women who would otherwise be forgotten drives the first-person narrative. (2020, 432 pgs; Fiction)