New Books Newsletter Best Overlooked Titles of 2019
Fulton County Librarians have once again combed our catalogs for twelve titles that may have been overlooked by Atlanta readers in the past year. If you take a look at the best-of book lists offered elsewhere online (by NPR, the New York Times, or Goodreads, for example), you'll notice ours is quite different! That's because the New Books Newsletter is dedicated to our patrons at Fulton County Libraries in particular, and the librarians making recommendations know what fabulous works published in 2019 that Atlanta area readers might have missed.

The list below is in no particular order, and contains a variety of genres. Read below and see if you recognize any of your own favorites of the past year - or the name of one of your favorite Fulton County Library employees!

Recommended by Erin Parks, Alpharetta Branch Youth Services Librarian
When Alexandra Witt joins the faculty at Stonebridge Academy, she's hoping to put a painful past behind her. Then one of her creative writing assignments generates some disturbing responses from students. Before long, Alex is immersed in an investigation of the students atop the school's social hierarchy--and their connection to something called the Darkroom. She soon inspires the girls who've started to question the school's "boys will be boys" attitude and incites a resistance. But just as the movement is gaining momentum, Alex attracts the attention of an unknown enemy who knows a little too much about her--and what brought her to Stonebridge in the first place.

Lisa Lutz's blistering, timely tale of revenge and disruption shows us what can happen when silence wins out over decency for too long--and why the scariest threat of all might be the idea that sooner or later, girls will be girls.

Recommended by Andaiye Reeves, Kirkwood Branch Manager
Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—is unapologetically "thick": deemed "thick where I should have been thin, more where I should have been less," McMillan Cottom refuses to shy away from blending the personal with the political, from bringing her full self and voice to the fore of her analytical work.

Thick "transforms narrative moments into analyses of whiteness, black misogyny, and status-signaling as means of survival for black women" (Los Angeles Review of Books) with "writing that is as deft as it is amusing" (Darnell L. Moore). This "transgressive, provocative, and brilliant" (Roxane Gay) collection cements McMillan Cottom's position as a public thinker capable of shedding new light on what the personal essay can do.

Fulton County Library readers can enjoy Thick and Other Essays in hardcover or ebook format. As soon as this title becomes available for libraries to purchase in audio format, we'll be sure to add it to our collection.

Recommended by Marcia Divack, Branch Group Administrator
When a woman moves her family from Atlanta to its wealthy suburbs, she discovers that neither the times nor the people have changed since her childhood in a small Southern town. Despite the intervening decades, she's met with the same questions: Where are you from? No, where are you really from? The American-born daughter of Bengali immigrants, she finds that her answer--Here--is never enough.

The Atlas of Reds and Blues grapples with the second-generation American experience, what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace, and a sister, a wife, and a mother to daughters in today's America. Drawing inspiration from the author's own experience of a raid on her home, Devi S. Laskar's debut novel explores an alternate reality that might have been.

This debut novel is a perfect fit for our readers, featuring a local setting and a unique new voice. If you missed this book earlier in the year, reserve a copy today in hardcover, ebook, or mp3 audiobook format.

Recommended by Brazos Price, Technical Services Administrator
The acclaimed fantasy trilogy featuring warrior nuns that started with Red Sister wrapped up in 2019 with this stunning conclusion.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor's armies are in retreat. 

Nona Grey faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. Though it seems unlikely that she and her friends will have time to earn a nun's habit before war is on their doorstep. 

Reserve Holy Sister in hardcover or ebook to read well-written fantasy battles in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned. When this series becomes available to libraries for purchase in audio format, we'll be happy to add it to our collection.

Recommended by Ellen Baxter, Northeast/Spruill Oaks Branch Adult Services Librarian
Billie James' inheritance isn't much: a little money and a shack in the Mississippi Delta. The house once belonged to her father, a renowned black poet who died unexpectedly when Billie was four years old. Though Billie was there when the accident happened, she has no memory of that day--and she hasn't been back to the South since.

Thirty years later, Billie returns but her father's home is unnervingly secluded: her only neighbors are the McGees, the family whose history has been entangled with hers since the days of slavery. As Billie encounters the locals, she hears a strange rumor: that she herself went missing on the day her father died. As the mystery intensifies, she finds out that this forgotten piece of her past could put her in danger.

Recommended by Elizabeth Keathley, Electronic Services Librarian
Her battleground is the courtroom; her crusade is to transform clients from victims into warriors. One of the nation's leading lawyers against internet harassment brought us a fascinating look at her work in 2019.

In gripping detail, Carrie Goldberg shares the diabolical ways her clients are attacked and how she, through her unique combination of advocacy, relentlessness, risk-taking, and, pursues justice for them all.

While her clients are a diverse group--from every gender, sexual orientation, age, class, race, religion, occupation, and background--the offenders are not. They are highly predictable. In this book, Carrie offers a taxonomy of the four types of offenders she encounters most often at her firm: assholes, psychos, pervs, and trolls. "If we recognize the patterns of these perpetrators," Goldberg explains, "we know how to fight back."

Recommended by Anne Vagts, Ponce de Leon Branch Manager
An anthology featuring nineteen pieces of short fiction, Growing Things is an exciting glimpse into Paul Tremblay's fantastically fertile imagination.

In "The Teacher," a Bram Stoker Award nominee for best short story, a student is forced to watch a disturbing video that will haunt and torment her and her classmates' lives. Other stories in this collection are equally haunting and funny by turns, providing horror fans with short stories they'll want to read again and again.

The metafictional novella "Notes from the Dog Walkers" deconstructs horror and publishing, possibly bringing in a character from A Head Full of Ghosts, all while serving as a prequel to Disappearance at Devil's Rock. Two other stories follow characters from A Head Full of Ghosts as well, but those new to Tremblay's writing don't need to read those books first to enjoy them! Click here to reserve Growing Things in hardcover or as an ebook. When this volume is available to libraries in an audio format, we'll be happy to add it to our collection.
Following their breakout from Normandy in late June 1944, the Allies swept across northern France in pursuit of the German army. The Allies intended to bypass Paris and cross the Rhine into Germany, ending the war before winter set in. But as they advanced, local forces in Paris began their own liberation, defying the occupying German troops.

Charles de Gaulle, the leading figure of the Free French government, urged General Dwight Eisenhower to divert forces to liberate Paris. Eisenhower's advisers recommended otherwise, but Ike wanted to help position de Gaulle to lead France after the war. And both men were concerned about partisan conflict in Paris that could leave the communists in control of the city and the national government.

Read the thrilling and uplifting true story of The Liberation of Paris in hardcover, ebook, or mp3 audiobook.

Recommended by Ginny Collier, Collection Manager
In Maureen Johnson's second novel in the Truly Devious series, there are more twists and turns than Stevie Bell can imagine. No answer is given freely, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

The Truly Devious case--an unsolved kidnapping and triple murder that rocked Ellingham Academy in 1936--has consumed Stevie for years. It's the very reason she came to the academy. But then her classmate was murdered, and her parents quickly pull her out of school.

Stevie's willing to do anything to get back to Ellingham, be back with her friends, and solve the Truly Devious case. Even if it means making a deal with the despicable Senator Edward King. Give yourself a holiday treat by jumping in to this new mystery series in hardcover, ebook, or mp3 audiobook download.

Recommended by Haley Sheehy, Kirkwood Branch Librarian
Following up her memoir focused on her career as a working musician in M Train, Patti Smith gifts readers with a rumination on change.

After a run of New Year's concerts at San Francisco's legendary Fillmore, Patti Smith finds herself tramping the coast of Santa Cruz, about to embark on a year of solitary wandering. Unfettered by logic or time, she draws us into her private wonderland with no design. In a stranger's words, "Anything is possible: after all, it's the Year of the Monkey." For Smith--inveterately curious, always exploring, tracking thoughts, writing--the year evolves as one of reckoning with the changes in life's gyre: with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America.

Riveting, elegant, often humorous, illustrated by Smith's signature Polaroids, Year of the Monkey is a moving and original work available to our readers in hardcover, ebook, or mp3 audiobook.

Recommended by Marcia Divack, Branch Group Administrator
In this exploration of women, violence, and obsession, Rachel Monroe interrogates the appeal of true crime through four narratives of fixation. In the 1940s, a frustrated heiress began creating dollhouse crime scenes depicting murders, suicides, and accidental deaths. In the aftermath of the Manson Family murders, a young woman moved into Sharon Tate's guesthouse and, over the next two decades, entwined herself with the Tate family. In the mid-nineties, a landscape architect in Brooklyn fell in love with a convicted murderer, the supposed ringleader of the West Memphis Three, through an intense series of letters. And in 2015, a teenager deeply involved in the online fandom for the Columbine killers planned a mass shooting of her own.

Each woman, Monroe argues, represents and identifies with a particular archetype that provides an entryway into true crime. Through these four cases, she traces the history of American crime through the growth of forensic science, the evolving role of victims, the Satanic Panic, the rise of online detectives, and the long shadow of the Columbine shooting.

Explore the phenomenon of murderinos in this carefully researched work in hardcover, ebook, or downloadable mp3 audiobook.

Reccomended by Carolyn Bean, Alpharetta Branch Librarian
The Wayward Children series has delighted and mesmerized readers since the first entry, Every Heart a Doorway. This fourth entry in the series, In An Absent Dream, tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her.

When Lundy finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

Escape into Seanan McGuire's magical world by reserving In An Absent Dream in hardcover, ebook, or mp3 audiobook.
Our weekly giveaway will be back next week, just in time for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Yule!

Missing out on that rush you get every week from entering our contest by email? Why not spread the love around this holiday season by forwarding this email to a friend - or help them sign up for the New Books Newsletter in person!

All our previous newsletters are archived on the Fulton County Library website, so if anyone you know is looking for something new to read, you can pass on this resource full of first time authors and selections of the newest titles the library has to offer.
Fulton County Library System |