In My Hands Today…

We Walked the Sky – Lisa Fiedler

In 1965 seventeen-year-old Victoria, having just escaped an unstable home, flees to the ultimate place for dreamers and runaways–the circus. Specifically, the VanDrexel Family Circus where, among the lion tamers, roustabouts, and trapeze artists, Victoria hopes to start a better life.

Fifty years later, Victoria’s sixteen-year-old granddaughter Callie is thriving. A gifted and focused tightrope walker with dreams of being a VanDrexel high wire legend just like her grandmother, Callie can’t imagine herself anywhere but the circus. But when Callie’s mother accepts her dream job at an animal sanctuary in Florida just months after Victoria’s death, Callie is forced to leave her lifelong home behind.

Feeling unmoored and out of her element, Callie pores over memorabilia from her family’s days on the road, including a box that belonged to Victoria when she was Callie’s age. In the box, Callie finds notes that Victoria wrote to herself with tips and tricks for navigating her new world. Inspired by this piece of her grandmother’s life, Callie decides to use Victoria’s circus prowess to navigate the uncharted waters of public high school.

Across generations, Victoria and Callie embrace the challenges of starting over, letting go, and finding new families in unexpected places.

In My Hands Today…

Take Me With You – Brad Newsham

‘Someday, when I am rich, I am going to invite someone from my travels to visit me in America.’

Brad Newsham was a twenty-two-year-old travelling through Afghanistan when he wrote this in his journal. Fourteen years later, he’s a Yellow Taxi driver working in San Francisco. He’s not rich, but he has never forgotten his vow.

Take Me With You is the compelling account of his journey through the Philippines, India, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa as he searches for the right person – someone who couldn’t afford to leave their own country, let alone holiday in the West.

Newsham’s story will change the way you think about your life and the lives of those you meet when you travel.

In My Hands Today…

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

  1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
  2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
  3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

In My Hands Today…

The Book Hunters of Katpadi: A Bibliomystery – Pradeep Sebastian

Neelambari Adigal and her young associate, Kayal, together run Biblio, a one-of-a-kind store of rare books in Chennai, specializing in modern Indian first editions. The lives of these passionate bookwomen revolve around curious browsers, eccentric book collectors, private-press printers and the occasional thrill of unexpected discoveries of the antiquarian kind.

On a book-collecting trip to Ooty, Kayal stumbles upon an incendiary manuscript, long thought to be a myth, purportedly authored by explorer and translator Sir Richard Francis Burton. Almost simultaneously, a cache of priceless editions that looks like it could be from the 300-year-old library of one of the greatest book collectors the world has ever known, turns up at the bookshop. When it falls upon the two women to authenticate their finds, Neela and Kayal discover, quite suddenly, that their lives are more full of bibliographic intrigue than they could ever have imagined.

In My Hands Today…

Reading Behind Bars: A True Story of Literature, Law, and Life as a Prison Librarian – Jill Grunenwald

In December 2008, twentysomething Jill Grunenwald graduated with her master’s degree in library science, ready to start living her dream of becoming a librarian. But the economy had a different idea. As the Great Recession reared its ugly head, jobs were scarce. After some searching, however, Jill was lucky enough to snag one of the few librarian gigs left in her home state of Ohio. The catch? The job was behind bars as the prison librarian at a men’s minimum-security prison. Talk about baptism by fire.

As an untested twentysomething woman, to say that the job was out of Jill’s comfort zone was an understatement. She was forced to adapt on the spot, speedily learning to take the metal detectors, hulking security guards, and colorful inmates in stride. Over the course of a little less than two years, Jill came to see past the bleak surroundings and the orange jumpsuits and recognize the humanity of the men stuck behind bars. They were just like every other library patron—persons who simply wanted to read, to be educated and entertained through the written word. By helping these inmates, Jill simultaneously began to recognize the humanity in everyone and to discover inner strength that she never knew she had.

In My Hands Today…

The Library at the Edge of the World – Felicity Hayes-McCoy

Local librarian Hanna Casey is wondering where it all went wrong … Driving her mobile library van through Finfarran’s farms and villages, she tries not to think of the sophisticated London life she abandoned when she left her cheating husband. Or that she’s now stuck in her crotchety mum’s spare bedroom.

With her daughter Jazz travelling the world and her relationship with her mother growing increasingly fraught, Hanna decides to reclaim her independence. Then, when the threatened closure of her library puts her plans in jeopardy, she finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the fragmented community. Will she also find the new life she’s been searching for?