By: Em Perper

Welcome back to Sneak Peek Sunday! Wander the halls of The Last Castle, find out who’s Hiding in the Bathroom, and remember, The Dead Go to Seattle. If you’re not intrigued, I’ve got nothin’. Look for the following books on Tuesday, September 26.

We’re excited to read The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home on the October Indie Next List, and we can’t wait to host author Denise Kiernan in Frederick. Kiernan is the author of the bestselling book The Girls of Atomic City, as well as a commentator on NPR and PBS. The Last Castle is about the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina—the largest home in America at 175,000 square feet. Kiernan delves into the mansion’s history, construction, and aesthetic, from its ornate landscaping by Frederick Law Olmstead to its priceless antique furnishings. Like the best narrative nonfiction, Kiernan also focuses on the people of the house, most notably George Vanderbilt and his wife, Edith Stuyvesant Dresser. Dresser’s story is fascinating: An orphan from a well-off family, she grew up to be a society darling and, eventually, the manager of the Biltmore estate—a huge undertaking. Meet Kiernan at C. Burr Artz Library on Wednesday, October 18 at 7 pm, where she’ll discuss her research and sign copies of The Last Castle. (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, $28)

Vivian Faith Prescott has, by far, the most interesting author biography I’ve ever read. She’s a fifth-generation Alaskan of the small island of Wrangell and an adopted member of the T’akdeintaan clan. She mentors Indigenous writers in Alaska and has a PhD in Cross Cultural Studies. Her book, The Dead Go to Seattle, is just as interesting as she is and was a hit with Curious Iguana’s Pre-Pub Book Club.  John Swanton is a time-traveling ethnologist who meets Tova Agard, a young woman with a rough home life, on Wrangell Island. Tova convinces John to collect the stories and myths of her island community, populated by shape-shifters, aliens, and more. Though the stories are fascinating, it’s Prescott’s poetic writing that will captivate you. Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, said, “You will not find your cruise ship tour stop here; this is the way Alaska is passed down from generation to generation… an enthralling, engaging, mind-bending, time-bending story collection that tells the old new and the new old.” (Boreal/IPS, $16.95)

Even though my job requires a center degree of extroversion, I am most decidedly an introvert; I require hours of solitude to recharge after work. Fellow introverts, rejoice, for Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home) by Morra Aarons-Mele is here. A podcaster, marketing guru, and Harvard Kennedy School grad, Aarons-Mele rejects the idea that the ideal employee is always “on,” ready to network at a moment’s notice. She discusses work/life balance and anxiety management tools and shares the stories of people who’ve blended their personalities and their careers successfully. Fans of Quiet by Susan Cain, The Confidence Code by Katherine Kay, and Weird in a World That’s Not by Jennifer Romolini will want to check out Hiding Out in the Bathroom. (Dey Street Books/HarperCollins, $25.99)

Fiction

  • Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck
  • Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, 75th Anniversary Illustrated Edition, ed. Edith Hamilton & illus. Jim Tierney
  • Sleeping Beauties by Owen & Stephen King
  • Provenance by Ann Leckie
  • Five-Carat Soul by James McBride
  • If My Father Loved Me by Rose Thomas
  • Complete Stories by Kurt Vonnegut

Poetry

  • The Best of Poetry in Motion: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years on Subways and Buses ed. Alice Quinn

Non-Fiction

  • What is Philosophy? by Giorgio Agamben
  • Light in the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process, ed. Joe Frasier
  • Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles by Taisia Kitaiskaia
  • Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want by Frances Moore Lappe and Adam Eichen
  • Gorilla and the Bird: A Memoir of Madness and a Mother’s Love by Zach McDermott
  • Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence