Off the Shelves – January 28


New items are available at the Hancock County Public Library.

The following items are available at the Hancock County Public Library, 900 W. McKenzie Road. For more information on the library’s collection or to reserve a title, visit


“The Past” by Teresa Hadley

“The Past” covers a dramatic family reunion among three sisters, a brother and their children who assemble at their country house, where simmering tensions and secrets come to a head during three hot summer weeks that might be their last time there. The upkeep of the property is prohibitive, and they could be forced to sell the beloved childhood home filled with memories. Yet beneath the idyllic pastoral surface, secrets and hostilities threaten to consume them.

Roland’s new wife (his third) arouses his sisters’ jealousies and insecurities. Kasim, the 20-year-old son of Alice’s ex-boyfriend, becomes enchanted with Molly, Roland’s 16-year-old daughter. Fran’s young children make an unsettling discovery in a dilapidated cottage in the woods that shatters their innocence. Passion erupts where it’s least expected, leveling the quiet self-possession of Harriet, the eldest sister. During the course of this summer holiday, the family’s stories and silences intertwine, small disturbances build into familial crises, and a way of life winds down to its inevitable end.


“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi

At 36, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day, he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined, evaporated. “When Breath Becomes Air” chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student pondering the question of what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon at Stanford and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Audio Book

“The Guest Room” by Chris Bohjalian

When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery, but she does not expect bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.

In the aftermath, their lives rapidly spiral into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, Richard’s investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with the dark-haired Alexandra in the guest room.

But Alexandra faces a much graver danger. She is free and running to escape the police, who will arrest her, and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat.