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Nancy's Picks

After he donated his library to help create the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson bemoaned "I cannot live without books" and began anew to acquire volumes. I share that sentiment; working at Island Books feeds my passion. Smart people come in and we talk about books: what else would an old English major need?  And the best part is every week new books arrive!

A few of my life-long favorites: Thomas Pynchon, William Faulkner, Kate Atkinson, David Mitchell, Graham Swift. Of course, there are new favorites to discover with every new book. So many books, so little time...



The Vanishing Half: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525536291
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2020

In the 1960s in the American South twin sisters lead different lives: one hides her racial origin, the other celebrates it.  A beautiful story of the pull of family ties.

American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250209764
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - January 21st, 2020

A painstakingly detailed tale of a mother and child fleeing murderous drug traffickers, and their tortuous trek to freedom in America.


The Chestnut Man: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062895363
Published: Harper - September 3rd, 2019

Forget how neatly crimes are described & perpetrators caught in the episodes of CSI or Law & Order. This is a police procedural like no other: strongly detailed characters, personal conflicts that threaten to deep six the investigation into a serial killer's murderous spree. This is not for the faint of heart. If you can get past the (relatively short) first chapter, you're in for a treat - a feat of extraordinary story telling set in a gloomy, rainy Denmark,

Monogamy: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062969651
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 8th, 2020

I have admired Sue Miller's work ever since The Good Mother (2002). Her latest explores love, commitmemt, intimacy and betrayal in a 30 year-long marriage after the sudden death of a partner. Her characters are real and flawed. You might see yourself in each of them. A tender story of people who did the best they could for each other.

Apeirogon: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400069606
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - February 25th, 2020

In geometry, an apeirogon is an infinite polygon with a countably infinite number of sides (already an impossibility).  McCann takes the real lives of Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian, and Rami lhanan, an Israeli, both of whom lost children in the never-ending conflict in the Middle East, and creates an apeirogon of increasingly smaller chapters to tell their story of redemption and understanding. This is a powerful and hopeful book that moved me to tears.