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Lions by Bonnie Nadzam

51t7Akd-aeLBonnie Nadzam—author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning debut, Lamb—returns with this scorching, haunting portrait of a rural community in a “living ghost town” on the brink of collapse, and the individuals who are confronted with either chasing their dreams or—against all reason—staying where they are.

Lions is set on the high plains of Colorado, a nearly deserted place, steeped in local legends and sparse in population. Built to be a glorious western city upon a hill, it was never fit for farming, mining, trading, or any of the illusory sources of wealth its pioneers imagined. The Walkers have been settled on its barren terrain for generations—a simple family in a town otherwise still taken in by stories of bigger, better, brighter.

When a traveling stranger appears one day, his unsettling presence sets off a chain reaction that will change the fates of everyone he encounters. It begins with the patriarch John Walker as he succumbs to a heart attack. His devastated son Gordon is forced to choose between leaving for college with his girlfriend, Leigh, and staying with his family to look after their flailing welding shop and, it is believed, to continue carrying out a mysterious task bequeathed to all Walker men. While Leigh is desperate to make a better life in the world beyond the desolation of Lions, Gordon is strangely hesitant to leave it behind. As more families abandon the town, he is faced with what seem to be their reasonable choices and the burden of betraying his own heart.

A story of awakening, Lions is an exquisite novel that explores ambition and an American obsession with self-improvement, the responsibilities we have to ourselves and each other, as well as the everyday illusions that pass for a life worth living.

Classical Literature: An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond by Richard Jenkyns

61FJYjDahnLThe writings of the Greeks and Romans form the bedrock of Western culture. Inventing the molds for histories, tragedies, and philosophies, while pioneering radical new forms of epic and poetry, the Greeks and Romans created the literary world we still inhabit today. Writing with verve and insight, distinguished classicist Richard Jenkyns explores a thousand years of classical civilization, carrying readers from the depths of the Greek dark ages through the glittering heights of Rome’s empire.

Jenkyns begins with Homer and the birth of epic poetry before exploring the hypnotic poetry of Pindar, Sappho, and others from the Greek dark ages. Later, in Athens’s classical age, Jenkyns shows the radical nature of Sophocles’s choice to portray Ajax as a psychologically wounded warrior, how Aeschylus developed tragedy, and how Herodotus, in “inventing history,” brought to narrative an epic and tragic quality. We meet the strikingly modern figure of Virgil, struggling to mirror epic art in an age of empire, and experience the love poems of Catullus, who imbued verse with obsessive passion as never before. Even St. Paul and other early Christian writers are artfully grounded here in their classical literary context.

A dynamic and comprehensive introduction to Greek and Roman literature, Jenkyns’s Classical Literature is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the classics—and the extraordinary origins of Western culture.

A Necessary Kill by James P. Sumner

510N2xDdwnL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_The world has just experienced the most devastating nuclear terrorist attack in history. Having discovered proof of the U.S. president’s involvement, legendary assassin Adrian Hell finds himself facing an enemy too powerful to overcome alone. With no friends by his side and his loved ones in danger, Adrian must find new allies to combat the unprecedented threat, and he gathers the few he can – an over-the-hill small-time mob hitman, a female assassin who’s so crazy that Adrian has to  break her out of an insane asylum, and an illegal arms dealer who’s not used to working in the field. While they start out taking the job for the money, they soon come to realize that their actions have much farther reaching impacts. But the nuclear attack was only the beginning. The horrifying conspiracy runs deeper than even Adrian knows, and time is running out to save the world from a war no one knows is coming.

Lacey Eye by Jessica Treadway

51lZSzE+qnLA haunting, evocative novel about a woman who might have to face the disturbing truth about her own daughter.

Hanna and Joe send their awkward daughter Dawn off to college hoping that she will finally “come into her own.” When she brings her new boyfriend, Rud, to her sister’s wedding, her parents try to suppress their troubling impressions of him for Dawn’s sake. Not long after, Hanna and Joe suffer a savage attack at home, resulting in Joe’s death and Hanna’s severe injury and memory loss.

Rud is convicted of the crime, and the community speculates that Dawn may also have been involved. When Rud wins an appeal and Dawn returns to live in the family home, Hanna resolves to recall that traumatic night so she can testify in the retrial, exonerate her daughter, and keep her husband’s murderer in jail.

But as those memories resurface, Hanna faces the question of whether she knows her own daughter-and whether she ever did.

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