The Bookmark February – a monthly look at hot books and cool reads



Julia Claiborne Johnson

Be Frank with Me                  

This charming debut novel will delight those who love quirky characters getting into wacky situations. (Did you like Where’d You Go, Bernadette? You might love this.) Alice Whitley, New York publishing assistant, is sent to the Bel Air mansion of eccentric literary legend Mimi Banning to monitor her progress on a much-anticipated novel. There, Alice meets Mimi’s 9-year-old son, Frank, an old soul with strange habits, and becomes fascinated with this unusual household. Who is Frank’s father? Why doesn’t Mimi leave the house? And will that book ever get finished? Read, find out, and enjoy.


While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent Into


Eli Sanders

Eli Sanders, the associate editor of Seattle’s weekly newspaper The Stranger, won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the horrific events of one summer night in 2009 when 23-year-old Isaiah Kalebu broke into the home of Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper. As Sanders explores in his account of what happened next and all that came before and after, Kalebu’s behavior fit a growing pattern of instability and violence, all of which slid through the cracks of the mental health and justice system. You won’t be able to put the book down, and when you finally do, you’ll still be thinking about it.


The High Mountains of Portugal       


Yann Martel

The author of the bestselling, Booker Prize-winning Life of Pi is back with another entrancing novel. As before, there’s a fable-like quality to the storytelling here: It begins in 1904 Lisbon, where a young man discovers an old journal with writings about an extraordinary artifact. Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist with a fondness for murder mysteries picks up the quest. Fifty years after that, a Canadian senator returns to his family home in Portugal to mourn the loss of his wife, and the story that began decades earlier continues. Don’t miss this sweet, surprising, memorable tale.


Free Men                    


Katy Simpson Smith

In 1788, in the wooded land of what is now Alabama, the paths of an escaped slave, a white orphan, and a Creek Indian cross. In the few days the men spend together, they commit a murder and become fugitives from the law. A French tracker named Le Clerc is sent to bring them in, and as he follows their trail, Smith digs into the backstories of these disparate characters. Back when this part of the South was a mix of European, American, and Native forces, people grappled with questions of power, race, forgiveness, and freedom—all of which are just as relevant today. Free Men is our First Editions Club selection for February, and Smith will be here on Thursday, February 25!



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