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SWEETNESS IN THE BELLY

An evocative and richly imagined story of a British Muslim woman’s search for love and belonging in two very different worlds.

When Lilly is eight years old, her pot-smoking hippy British parents leave her at a Sufi shrine in Morocco and inform her they will be back to collect her in three days. Three weeks later, she learns they’ve been murdered. Lilly fills that haunted hollow in her life with the intense study and memorization of the Qur’an under the patient care of the Sufi saint’s disciple she was entrusted to. Years later, her journey from Morocco to Harar,

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THE PHANTOM LIMBS OF THE ROLLOW SISTERS

 Renowned author Timothy Schaffert’s celebrated debut novel chronicles two sisters on the cusp of womanhood as they struggle to understand their father’s suicide as well their mother’s abandonment of them many years earlier. On graduating from high school, the sisters are once again set adrift, this time by their grandmother who leaves them for Florida. In order to survive, and perhaps even thrive, on their path to adulthood, they must learn to reconcile their pasts and discover how to depend upon themselves as well as on each other.

In a story that rises out of the spare Nebraska landscape,

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SAVE YOUR OWN

 Gillian Cormier-Brandenburg is a virginal, narcoleptic, atheistic Harvard Divinity School student about to complete her Ph.D. When the faculty deems her dissertation unsuitable and threatens to revoke her fellowship funding, Gillian—determined to defend her topic—sets out to gather research. She takes a job at a halfway house for recovering addicts and struggles to shed her skin as an anxious and socially inept graduate student in order to become an unlikely figure of authority. The women at Responsibility House—including the motorcycle-obsessed Janet, former prostitute Florine, and house martyr Stacy—challenge Gillian at every step, and eventually inspire her to confront her limitations and find her place in the world.

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CROSSED

Venice, 1202. Tens of thousands of crusaders set sail for Jerusalem to liberate the great city from Muslim rule. Among them is a British vagabond grudgingly taken under the wing of a pious knight who believes that the mission is truly blessed by God. Before leaving, the vagabond rescues a woman pretending to be an Arab princess, hoping that under the protection of his benefactor knight, he can smuggle the young woman back to the Holy Land. However, this “holy” campaign sinks into tragic moral turpitude – first in an attack on the Adriatic port city of Zara, and ultimately in the dramatic,

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STILL LIFE WITH CHICKENS

 In this lovely, unconventional, and often funny memoir, Catherine Goldhammer wakes in middle age to find herself stunned, newly separated, and several tax brackets poorer, forced by circumstance to move from the affluent New England suburb of her daughter’s childhood into a new, more rustic life by the sea. Against all logic, partly to please her daughter and partly for reasons not clear to her at the time, she begins this yars of transition by purchasing six baby chickens—whose job, she comes to suspect, is to pull her and her daughter forward, out of one life and into another.

As she gradually transforms her new home—with its tawdry exterior but radiant soul—tile by tile,

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THE KNITTING CIRCLE

 In the spirit of How to Make an American Quilt and The Joy Luck Club, a novel about friendship and redemption. After the sudden loss of her only child, Stella, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle in Providence, Rhode Island, as a way to fill the empty hours and lonely days, not knowing that it will change her life. Alice, Scarlet, Lulu, Beth, Harriet, and Ellen welcome Mary into their circle despite her reluctance to open her heart to them. Each woman teaches Mary a new knitting technique, and, as they do, they reveal to her their own personal stories of loss,

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