Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: February 2022

Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller (February 2022)

By Nadia Wassef

February 21, 2022

The streets of Cairo make strange music.  The echoing calls to prayer; the raging insults hurled between drivers; the steady crescendo of horns honking; the shouts of street vendors and radios blaring from every sidewalk.  Nadia Wassef knows this song by heart.

In 2002, with her sister, Hind, and their friend, Nihal, she founded Diwan, a fiercely independent bookstore.  They were three young women with no business degrees, no formal training, and nothing to lose.  At the time, nothing like Diwan existed in Egypt.  Culture was languishing under government mismanagement, and books were considered a luxury, not a necessity.  Ten years later, Diwan became a rousing success, with ten locations, 150 employees, and a fervent fan base.

Frank, fresh and very funny, Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller is a portrait of a country hurtling toward a revolution, a feminist rallying cry, and an unapologetic crash course in running a business under the law of entropy.  Above all, it is a celebration of the power of words to bring us home.

The Raffles Affair (February 2022)

By Vicki Virtue

February 21, 2022

The Classic whodunnit gets a modern makeover.

Fresh from a gruelling three-month assignment in East Africa, beautiful former MI6 agent Victoria West arrives at Raffles Hotel in Singapore to attend her friend’s wedding.  But Victoria’s plans for a relaxing break end abruptly with news that the groom has been kidnapped.  Warned not to contact the police, Victoria sets out to find him.  But in this glamorous setting, nothing is quite what it seems.

As the deadline to pay the ransom draws near, events take a deadly turn.  Victoria suspects murder.  But which of the wedding guests did it?  They all have a motive … and a talent for lying.  With time fast running out, Victoria must untangle the web of domestic squabbles, red herrings and false alibis before it is too late.

The Lincoln Highway (February 2022)

By Amor Towles

February 21, 2022

In June 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served fifteen months for the only mistake he’s ever made.

With his mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed by the bank, Emmett plans to pick up his eight-year-old brother Billy and head to California to start a new life.

But when the warden drives off, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm had been stowed away in the truck of the warden’s car.  They have a very different plan for Emmett and Billy’s future, one that will take the four of them on a fateful journey in the opposite direction – to New York City.

The Magician (February 2022)

By Colm Toibin

February 21, 2022

When the Great War breaks out in 1914 Thomas Mann, like so many of his fellow countrymen, is fired up with patriotism.  He imagines the Germany of great literature and music, which had drawn him away from the stifling, conservative town of his childhood, might be a source of pride once again.  But his flawed vision will form the beginning of a dark and complex relationship with his homeland, and see the start of great conflict within his own brilliant and troubled family.

Colm Toibin’s epic novel is the story of a man of intense contradictions.  Although Thomas Mann becomes famous and admired, his inner life is hesitant, fearful and secretive.  His blindness to impending disaster in the Great War will force him to rethink his relationship with Germany as Hitler comes to power.  He has six children with his clever and fascinating wife, Katia, while his own secret desires appear threaded through his writing.  He and Katia deal with exile bravely, doing everything possible to keep the family safe, yet they also suffer the terrible ravages of suicide among Thomas’s siblings and their own children.

In The Magician, Colm Toibin captures the profound personal conflict of a very public life, and through this life creates an intimate portrait of the twentieth century.

False Witness (February 2022)

By Karin Slaughter

February 21, 2022

They thought they’d got away with it.  They were wrong.

Leigh and her sister Callie are not bad people – but one night, more than two decades ago, they did something terrible.  And the result was a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, devastated by violence.

Years later, Leigh has pushed that night from her mind and become a successful lawyer – but when she is forced to take a new client against her will, her world begins to spiral out of control.

Because the client knows the truth about what happened twenty-three years ago.  He knows what Leigh and Callie did.  And unless they stop him, he’s going to tear their lives apart …

Just because you didn’t see the witness doesn’t mean he wasn’t there.

State of Terror (February 2022)

By Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton

February 21, 2022

Take a ringside seat in the high-stakes world of international politics …

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in.  Secretary of State Ellen Adams, is determined to do her duty for her country.  But she is about to face a horrifying international threat …

A young foreign service officer has received a baffling text from an anonymous source.  Too late, she realizes it was a hastily coded warning.  Then a series of bus bombs devastate Europe, heralding the rise of a new rogue terrorist organization who will stop a nothing in their efforts to develop their own nuclear arsenal.

As Ellen unravels the damaging effects of the former presidency on international politics, she must also contemplate the unthinkable: that the last president of the United States was more than just an ineffectual leader.  Was he also a traitor to his country?

Such a Fun Age (February 2022)

By Kiley Reid

February 21, 2022

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, her employer Alix resolves to make things right.  So begins a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.

The Judge’s List (February 2022)

By John Grisham

February 21, 2022

In The Whistler, Lacy Stoltz investigated a corrupt judge who was taking millions in bribes from a crime syndicate.  She put the criminals away, but only after being attacked and nearly killed.  Three years later, and approaching forty, she is tired of her work for the Florida Board on Judicial Conduct and ready for a change.

Then she meets a mysterious woman who is so frightened she uses a number of aliases.  Jeri Crosby’s father was murdered twenty years earlier in a case that remains unsolved and that has grown stone cold.  But Jeri has s suspect whom she has become obsessed with and has stalked for two decades.  Along the way, she has discovered other victims.

Suspicions are easy enough, but proof seems impossible.  The man is brilliant, patient, and always one step ahead of law enforcement.  He is the most cunning of all serial killers.  He knows forensics, police procedure, and most important: he knows the law.

He is a judge, in Florida – under Lacy’s jurisdiction.

He has a list, with the names of his victims and targets, all unsuspecting people unlucky enough to have crossed his path and wronged him in some way.  How can Lacy pursue him, without becoming the next name on his list?

The Judge’s List is by any measure John Grisham’s mot surprising, chilling novel yet.

Mazarine (February 2022) Athenaeum Book Club 2022

By Charlotte Grimshaw

February 21, 2022

When her daughter vanishes during a heatwave in Europe, writer Frances Sinclair embarks on a hunt that takes her across continents and into her own past.  What clues can Frances find in her own history, and who is the mysterious Mazarine?  Following the narrative thread left by her daughter, she travels through cities touched by terrorism and surveillance, where ways of relating are subtly changed, and a startling new fiction seems to be constructing itself.

Sharpe’s Assassin (February 2022)

By Bernard Cornwell

February 21, 2022

If any man can do the impossible it’s Richard Sharpe ..

Lieutenant-Colonel Sharpe is a man with a reputation.  Born in the gutter, raised a foundling, he joined the army twenty-one years ago, and it’s been his home ever since.  He’s a loose cannon, but his unconventional methods make him a valuable weapon.

So when, the dust still settling after the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington needs a favour, he turns to Sharpe.  For Wellington knows that the end of one war is only the beginning of another.  Napoleon’s army may be defeated, but another enemy lies waiting in the shadows – a secretive group of fanatical revolutionaries hell-bent on revenge.

Sharpe is dispatched to a new battleground: the maze of Paris streets where lines blue between friend and foe.  And in search of a spy, he will have to defeat a lethal assassin determined to kill his target or die trying …

See All Books »

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required