Spinecrackers reads books of all types. Meetings are held the 1st Friday of the month at 10 am at our main library on Harnish Dr.

Spinecrackers (08/02/2024): The Mitford Affair
Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (08/02/2024): The Mitford Affair

From New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict comes an explosive novel of history’s most notorious sisters, one of whom will have to choose: her country or her family?

Between the World Wars, the six Mitford sisters—each more beautiful, brilliant, and eccentric than the next—dominate the English political, literary, and social scenes. Though they’ve weathered scandals before, the family falls into disarray when Diana divorces her wealthy husband to marry a fascist leader and Unity follows her sister’s lead all the way to Munich, inciting rumors that she’s become Hitler’s mistress.

As the Nazis rise in power, novelist Nancy Mitford grows suspicious of her sisters’ constant visits to Germany and the high-ranking fascist company they keep. When she overhears alarming conversations and uncovers disquieting documents, Nancy must make excruciating choices as Great Britain goes to war with Germany.

Probing the torrid political climate in the lead-up to World War II and the ways that seemingly sensible people can be sucked into radical action, The Mitford Affair follows Nancy’s valiant efforts to stop the Nazis from taking over Great Britain, and the complicated choices she must make between the personal and the political. […]

Spinecrackers (07/05/2024): Fair Rosaline
Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (07/05/2024): Fair Rosaline

The most exciting historical retelling of 2023: a subversive, powerful untelling of Romeo and Juliet by New York Times bestselling author Natasha Solomons

Was the greatest ever love story a lie?

The first time Romeo Montague sees young Rosaline Capulet he falls instantly in love. Rosaline, headstrong and independent, is unsure of Romeo’s attentions but with her father determined that she join a convent, this handsome and charming stranger offers her the chance of a different life.

Soon though, Rosaline begins to doubt all that Romeo has told her. She breaks off the match, only for Romeo’s gaze to turn towards her cousin, thirteen-year-old Juliet. Gradually Rosaline realizes that it is not only Juliet’s reputation at stake, but her life .With only hours remaining before she will be banished behind the nunnery walls, will Rosaline save Juliet from her Romeo? Or can this story only ever end one way?

Shattering everything we thought we knew about Romeo and Juliet, Fair Rosaline is the spellbinding prequel to Shakespeare’s best known tale, which exposes Romeo as a predator with a long history of pursuing much younger girls. Bold, lyrical, and chillingly relevant, Fair Rosaline reveals the dark subtext of the timeless story of star-crossed lovers: it’s a feminist revision that will enthrall readers of bestselling literary retellings such as Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese. […]

Spinecrackers (06/07/2024): By Her Own Design: A Novel of Ann Lowe, Fashion Designer to the Social Register
Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (06/07/2024): By Her Own Design: A Novel of Ann Lowe, Fashion Designer to the Social Register

The incredible untold story of how Ann Lowe, a Black woman and granddaughter of slaves, rose above personal struggles and racial prejudice to design and create one of America’s most famous wedding dresses of all time for Jackie Kennedy.

1953, New York City

Less than a week before the society wedding of the year where Jacqueline Bouvier will marry John F. Kennedy, a pipe bursts at Ann Lowe’s dress shop and ruins eleven dresses, including the expensive wedding dress, a dress that will be judged by thousands. A Black designer who has fought every step of the way, Ann knows this is only one struggle after a lifetime of them. She and her seamstresses will find the way to re-create the dresses. It may take all day and all night for the next week to accomplish the task, but they will do it.

1918, Tampa

Raised in Jim Crow Alabama, Ann learned the art of sewing from her mother and her grandmother, a former slave, who are the most talented seamstresses in the state. After Ann elopes at twelve with an older man who soon proves himself to be an abusive alcoholic, her dreams of becoming a celebrated designer seem to be put on hold. But then a wealthy Tampa socialite sees Ann’s talent and offers her an amazing opportunity—the chance to sew and design clothing for Florida’s society elite. Taking her young son in the middle of the night, Ann escapes her husband and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

Based on the true story of one of the most famous designers of the twenties through the sixties who has since been unjustly forgotten, By Her Own Design is an unforgettable novel of determination despite countless obstacles and a triumph celebrated by the world. […]

Spinecrackers (05/03/2024): Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers
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Spinecrackers (05/03/2024): Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

A lonely shopkeeper takes it upon herself to solve a murder in the most peculiar way in this captivating mystery by Jesse Q. Sutanto, bestselling author of Dial A for Aunties.
Vera Wong is a lonely little old lady—ah, lady of a certain age—who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Despite living alone, Vera is not needy, oh no. She likes nothing more than sipping on a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy detective work on the Internet about what her Gen-Z son is up to.
Then one morning, Vera trudges downstairs to find a curious thing—a dead man in the middle of her tea shop. In his outstretched hand, a flash drive. Vera doesn’t know what comes over her, but after calling the cops like any good citizen would, she sort of . . . swipes the flash drive from the body and tucks it safely into the pocket of her apron. Why? Because Vera is sure she would do a better job than the police possibly could, because nobody sniffs out a wrongdoing quite like a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands. Vera knows the killer will be back for the flash drive; all she has to do is watch the increasing number of customers at her shop and figure out which one among them is the killer.
What Vera does not expect is to form friendships with her customers and start to care for each and every one of them. As a protective mother hen, will she end up having to give one of her newfound chicks to the police? […]

Spinecrackers (04/05/2024): Secret Book of Flora Lea
Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (04/05/2024): Secret Book of Flora Lea

When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone—a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.

But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister’s disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.

Twenty years later, Hazel is in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore to a career at Sotheby’s. With a charming boyfriend and her elegantly timeworn Bloomsbury flat, Hazel’s future seems determined. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing an illustrated book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the imaginary world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora’s disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years?

As Hazel embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely opening wounds from her past, her career and future hang in the balance. An astonishing twist ultimately reveals the truth in this transporting and refreshingly original novel about the bond between sisters, the complications of conflicted love, and the enduring magic of storytelling. […]

Spinecrackers (03/01/2024): Hang the Moon
Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (03/01/2024): Hang the Moon

Sallie Kincaid is the daughter of the biggest man in a small town, the charismatic Duke Kincaid. Born at the turn of the 20th century into a life of comfort and privilege, Sallie remembers little about her mother who died in a violent argument with the Duke. By the time she is just eight years old, the Duke has remarried and had a son, Eddie. While Sallie is her father’s daughter, sharp-witted and resourceful, Eddie is his mother’s son, timid and cerebral. When Sallie tries to teach young Eddie to be more like their father, her daredevil coaching leads to an accident, and Sallie is cast out.

Nine years later, she returns, determined to reclaim her place in the family. That’s a lot more complicated than Sallie expected, and she enters a world of conflict and lawlessness. Sallie confronts the secrets and scandals that hide in the shadows of the Big House, navigates the factions in the family and town, and finally comes into her own as a bold, sometimes reckless bootlegger.

“You’ll fall in love with Sallie on the very first page and keep rooting for her all the way through to the last” (Good Housekeeping) in this thrilling read that “goes down easy…like the forbidden whisky that defines the life of Sallie Kincaid” (Associated Press). […]

Spinecrackers (02/02/2024): The Collected Regrets of Clover
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Spinecrackers (02/02/2024): The Collected Regrets of Clover

What’s the point of giving someone a beautiful death if you can’t give yourself a beautiful life?
From the day she watched her kindergarten teacher drop dead during a dramatic telling of Peter Rabbit, Clover Brooks has felt a stronger connection with the dying than she has with the living. After the beloved grandfather who raised her dies alone while she is traveling, Clover becomes a death doula in New York City, dedicating her life to ushering people peacefully through their end-of-life process.
Clover spends so much time with the dying that she has no life of her own, until the final wishes of a feisty old woman send Clover on a trip across the country to uncover a forgotten love story––and perhaps, her own happy ending. As she finds herself struggling to navigate the uncharted roads of romance and friendship, Clover is forced to examine what she really wants, and whether she’ll have the courage to go after it.
Probing, clever, and hopeful, The Collected Regrets of Clover is perfect for readers of The Midnight Library and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine as it turns the normally taboo subject of death into a reason to celebrate life. […]

Spinecrackers (01/05/2024): The Blackout Book Club
Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (01/05/2024): The Blackout Book Club

An impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European Front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn’t be more different–a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.

At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they share more in common with each other than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost. […]

Spinecrackers (12/01/2023): The Catch
Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (12/01/2023): The Catch

Twentysomething Ellie thought she was her father’s favorite child; she was sure he would leave her his most prized possession, a baseball with which they played catch, and which sat on his desk, as a kind of inspiration: her poet father’s most famous poem was called “The Catch.” But when her father’s will is read, his children, including from other marriages, each receive a meaningful object, except Ellie, who receives a glow-in-the-dark tie rack that she has never seen before. The baseball that inspired her father’s work is left to someone with initials no one recognizes, L.M. In her grief, Ellie wonders: Who could have meant more to her father than Ellie? Determined to try to understand her father’s life and to overcome her sense of abandonment, Ellie sets out to track down L.M. In her quest she discovers many startling things about who her father really was and comes to realize the deeper meaning of that baseball, that poem “The Catch,” and the many ways life catches us unawares. […]

Spinecrackers (11/03/2023): Our Missing Hearts
Book Clubs

Spinecrackers (11/03/2023): Our Missing Hearts

Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. His mother Margaret, a Chinese American poet, left without a trace when he was nine years old. He doesn’t know what happened to her—only that her books have been banned—and he resents that she cared more about her work than about him.
Then one day, Bird receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, and soon he is pulled into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of heroic librarians, and finally to New York City, where he will finally learn the truth about what happened to his mother, and what the future holds for them both.
Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s about the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and the power of art to create change. […]