Hut's Place
 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

October 4, 2020

Two Families Deal with Race and Class Amidst Looming Threat, and Retired Cop Can't Stay off the Job 
Leave The World Behind by Rumann Alam. Two sets of families - strangers to each other - are thrown together and must contend with a weekend gone horribly wrong in this ominous and often riveting novel that explores issues of race and class in the midst of a crisis. It begins when a middle-class White family head out to a remote corner of Long Island for a quiet reprieve from life in New York City and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they've rented for the week. But a late-night arrival changes everything. An older, wealthy Black couple are at the door - it's their house, and they've arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area - with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service - it's hard to know what to believe. Can this couple be trusted, and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one other? What begins with mutual apprehension about each other evolves into a collective front, facing an unknown outside threat.   
The novel is an October Indie Next pick. Here's the bookseller review chosen to represent indies' enthusiasm: "Eerie and timely, Leave the World Behind will be the next book to talk about. Rumaan Alam is now solidified as a must-read author for me. He lures the reader in with excellent character development as well as family drama when the book takes a sudden turn. Slowly and masterfully, he starts building tension and suspense while teasing the reader with ominous threats in the background. Before you know it, you've stayed up half the night racing to the end of the book. It's a fast read but a powerful book asking important questions."  
- Katerina Argyres, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA

The Searcher by Tana French. She made her reputation with her gritty
Dublin Murder Squad police procedurals, but French's last two books have been stand-alone mysteries that underscore her range as a crime writer. In The Searcher, her protagonist is indeed a cop, but he's retiring from 25 years on the Chicago police force and escaping the remains of a painful divorce.

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. He just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets. So much for retirement.
Reporting from the Front Lines of Climate Change
The Fragile Earth: Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder. This illuminating, powerful, and prescient collection is filled with some of the best writing on climate change from the last 30 years, all first published in The New Yorker. The volume leads off with Bill McKibben's seminal 1989 article, "The End of Nature," and includes writings by Elizabeth Kolbert, Jonathan Franzen, Ian Frazier, and many more.
The assembled body of work covers a wide range of climate and global warming issues, including shrinking glaciers in the Indian Himalayas; how the acidification of the world's oceans threatens marine life; and the unprecedented scale of wildfires in Australia, California, and the Great Plains. As the Library Journal put it in its review, "Reading three decades of essays on this important and urgent topic, one is appalled that we know so much and have repeatedly done so little with that knowledge, as well as simultaneously hopeful and skeptical that technological solutions can save us now."  

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Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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