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Concord Reads Rides Again! Check out a copy of "Unlikely Animals" Today

Concord Community Invited to Participate in 2024 “Concord Reads” Program, March through May


The Concord (NH) Public Library (CPL) and Concord Public Library Foundation (CPLF) are thrilled to announce that Unlikely Animals by Annie Hartnett is the 2024 selection for Concord Reads. Concord Reads is a citywide literary event encouraging community members to read and discuss the same book. We invite everyone in greater Concord to join us in celebrating the written word – and the power of books to create a stronger community!


Named one of the best books of 2022 by the Washington Post, Unlikely Animals follows Emma Starling, a natural-born healer and med school dropout, who has returned to her hometown of Everton, New Hampshire, to care for her father who is dying from a mysterious brain disease. Clive Starling has been hallucinating small animals, as well as visions of the ghost of a long-dead naturalist, Ernest Harold Baynes, once known for letting wild animals live in his house. Emma arrives home knowing she must face her dad’s illness, her mom’s judgement, and her younger brother’s recent stint in rehab, but she’s unprepared to find that her former best friend from high school is missing, with no one bothering to look for her. The police say they don’t spend much time looking for drug addicts. Emma’s dad is the only one convinced the young woman might still be alive, and Emma is hopeful he could be right. Someone should look for her, at least. Emma isn’t really trying to be a hero—but somehow, she and her father set in motion just the kind of miracle the town needs.


The Concord Reads program, sponsored by Concord Public Library Foundation and produced in partnership with Concord Public Library, is free of charge and open to all. Copies of Unlikely Animals are available to borrow from Concord Public Library, or to purchase from a local bookstore. The library is hosting a series of related programs for readers of all ages; watch CPL’s and CPLF’s websites and social media for dates and details. Unlikely Animals author Annie Hartnett will visit on Tuesday, May 14, for a special event with guest host Laura Knoy at Bank NH Stage in downtown Concord.


About the Author

Annie Hartnett is the author of novels Unlikely Animals (Ballantine/Random House, 2022), Rabbit Cake (Tin House Books, 2017), and the forthcoming The Road to Tender Hearts (Ballantine/ RandomHouse, 2025). Unlikely Animals was listed as one of the best books of 2022 by the Washington Post and BookRiot. It was the winner of the 2023 Julia Ward Howe prize for fiction, and was longlisted for the Joyce Carol Oates Prize. Annie has been awarded fellowships and residencies from the MacDowell Colony, Sewanee Writers' Conference, and the Associates of the Boston Public Library. She co-hosts Good Moms on Paper, a podcast about parenting and writing, and, along with the writer Tessa Fontaine, she runs Accountability Workshops for writers, helping writers commit to routines and embrace the long, slow, joyful, terrible process of doing the work. She lives in Lakeville, Massachusetts with her husband, young daughter, and their extremely perfect dog.

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