Soldier Girls (Simon & Schuster, $28), Helen Thorpe’s meticulously reported book about three women who join the Indiana National Guard in the decade before 9/11, brilliantly illuminates the human costs of America’s forays into far-off wars. Through her subjects, Thorpe, also the author of Just Like Us, explores the realities of a volunteer military, the modern role of the National Guard, and most importantly, what America’s most recent engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq have meant to the lives of women who, in growing numbers, are being deployed to help wage America’s war on terror. Thorpe interviewed her subjects over several years and had access to a trove of personal documents, from emails to therapists’ notes. Soldier Girls is a journalistic tour de force.

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781451668100
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Scribner - August 5th, 2014

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781451668117
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - July 7th, 2015

In addition to her Cromwell novels, both of which focus on the same protagonist, Hilary Mantel’s work shows off a range of styles and a rich diversity of subjects. Consistent throughout, however, is a commitment to quality. Her new collection of short fiction, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher (Holt, $27), is as dazzling as her previous work. The opening story, “Sorry to Disturb,” is a complex sketch of an English woman living in Saudi Arabia. She is frustrated and bored by the strictures of Saudi customs and the complications that arise when simple courtesy encourages unwanted advances. The story “How Shall I Know You?” recounts the overnight adventure of an author who agrees to speak before a neighborhood literary society; Mantel describes how expectations crash into reality with very funny results. These fictions are rich in predicament and flawless in execution.

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781627792103
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - September 30th, 2014

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250074720
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - September 1st, 2015

Stone Mattress (Nan A. Talese, $25.95) began as a kind of game: while on a cruise, Margaret Atwood and her fellow passengers speculated about whether someone could commit a murder on board such a ship and get away with it. Atwood’s character, Verna, in a belated act of revenge, took up the challenge. But to answer the initial question, readers need to look back to Bluebeard. With the buried treasure of a rewritten literary classic in each one, these nine tales, the natural habitat of the wonderful and the strange, are serious fun. A woman who writes a popular science-fiction series turns literature into witchcraft, keeping some men out of her invented world while imprisoning others within it; her late husband doesn’t stop haunting her until she calls him “dead.” Words matter; storytelling has high stakes. A con artist who poses as an antiques dealer meets a woman storing her dead fiancé in a storage unit; when he hears her explanation, he recognizes a liar after his own heart. While Atwood’s characters are mostly past middle-age, little about these characters marks them as retirees, and from a muse finagling royalties on the novel she inspired to an academic researching her subject’s work at his funeral, these lively figures are right at home in Atwood’s delightfully wicked plots and zesty prose.

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780385539128
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Nan A. Talese - September 16th, 2014

Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780804173506
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - June 23rd, 2015

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