Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For June, we’re looking at a reworking of the myth of Circe, an ultimately triumphant memoir about a difficult Idaho childhood, and a literary-tinged Victorian cookbook.
Madeline Miller’s Circe (2018)
If you’re a fan of Greek mythology, you probably are most familiar with Circe within the context of the story of Odysseus, wherein she represents an obstacle, one of many on his journey home. But in Madeline Miller’s enchanting novel, Circe gets to tell her own story. Miller’s work has received a lot of praise for her mix of engaging plots, fascinating characters, and rich prose.
Recommended for those who enjoyed Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad.
Tara Westover’s Educated (2018)
Tara Westover is a Cambridge graduate, with a Ph.D. in history. Her path to a career in academia was far from ordinary, though. Raised in the rural mountains of Idaho by fundamentalist survivalists, she was poorly educated and raised mainly in her family’s junkyard. Severe medical emergencies were treated at home, and her father’s paranoia and a brother’s violence dominated the atmosphere. Westover’s story is one of profound family dysfunction but also of breaking free and finding her own way.
Recommended for those who enjoyed Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle.
Pen Vogler’s Dinner with Dickens (2017)
Oliver Twist rather famously asked for more gruel—you won’t have to because you can make your own, though you can also make yourself tastier fare with this new book about author Charles Dickens and food. Equal parts social history and cookbook, Dinner with Dickens examines everything from food for the poor to Victorian Christmas menus to teatime. What’s more, it even includes recipes from Charles’s own wife, Catherine.
Recommended for anyone interested in Dickens, Victorian England, or food history.
P.S. If you’re a Hamilton fan or your food history interests are a little more in tune with the American Revolution, we also have Laura Kumin’s The Hamilton Cookbook.
What’s your favorite new-ish books? What books are you buzzing about these days? Have you read any of these books? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information about any of these items.