PositivePublishers Weekly[An] enthralling, deeply researched dual biography ... Cozzens’s cinematic narrative is steeped in Native American culture and laced with vivid battle scenes and character sketches. American history buffs will gain a new appreciation for what these resistance leaders accomplished.
PositiveKirkus...comprehensive ... Blending historical fact with solid storytelling, Cozzens delivers a nuanced study of the great warrior and his times.
MixedKirkusThe author clearly admires his subject, though he oddly begins his account of the man who would be the oldest president in U.S. history with the aneurysm Biden suffered in 1988 ... Mostly drawn from the author’s New Yorker pieces, the text retains the feel of the originals, which occasionally detracts from the cohesion of the narrative. This book may age fast, but if you need a rapid and readable Biden briefing, it’s for you.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJournalist Osnos (Age of Ambition) draws on vivid reportage from his New Yorker profiles of Biden to paint him as an unprepossessing but effective politician who is good at connecting with voters and wrangling with congressional leaders and foreign potentates ... a portrait of the candidate that’s smart and evocative, but not immune to wishful thinking.
PositivePublishers Weekly... this contemplative fourth collection deploys his trademark philosophical mode with less sharply defined edges, and more room for interruptions and diversion ... These poems movingly capture the feeling of being suspended in a moment, as well as in a culturally mandated experience ... Fans of Seshadri will find the thoughtfulness, humor, and lyric precision they have come to expect from the poet.
Benjamin Carter Hett
PositiveKirkusIn addition to a collection of minibiographies of these pivotal figures, the text is a sometimes-dry, sometimes-gripping, always authoritative story of the 1930s and ’40s and the close parallels that exist with today’s world ... The 12-page cast of characters, divided by nation, is highly useful. An excellent read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of the thinking behind World War II.
Benjamin Carter Hett
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this crisp and well-researched account...Hett wisely introduces each chapter with vivid sketches of historical figures, including R.J. Mitchell, designer of the Spitfire fighter plane, and American journalist Dorothy Thompson, humanizing his analysis of political and military developments. This history makes a solid contribution to the understanding of the driving forces behind WWII.
RavePublishers Weekly... impeccably researched ... Scholarly yet accessible, this fine-grained account sheds new light on an era and a worldview too often obscured by gauzy patriotism.
RavePublishers Weekly... stellar ... The deep and sensitive characterization of the two protagonists, coupled with rich description and tonally spot-on humor, make this a novel to remember. Spotswood is definitely a writer to watch.
MixedKirkusSpotswood supplies scattershot period detail, mild wisecracks, an anticlimactic solution to that locked-room puzzle, and a Chinese box of denouements: If your chosen suspect isn’t pronounced guilty, just wait a few pages ... The most striking feature is the provocative gender-flipping of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.
RaveKirkus... meticulously thorough ... includes extensive original reporting and fleshing-out of a foundation of published work and previous interviews ... Including 45 pages of footnotes and an exhaustive index, the granular detail of this history makes it a gift to posterity—and to news junkies—but any reader who does not support Trump will find plenty of useful material. Sets a standard for political storytelling with impeccable research and lively writing.
RavePublishers Weekly... dense but brilliant ... Dickinson weaves a byzantine tapestry of political intrigue, economic manipulation, and underhanded diplomacy. The narrative oscillates between past and present and alternates between numerous perspectives to create a harrowing picture of social conflict on a monumental scale. This staggering installment pushes the series to new heights and expands the fascinating fantasy world.
MixedKirkusAs before, the storytelling is intense, deftly handled, ingenious, and often absorbing. Dickinson is, however, a writer blessed with an exceptionally fertile imagination who can\'t resist packing in everything—to the point where needless overcomplication all but sinks a narrative heavy with plot threads, timelines, gore, torture, conspiracies, violence, intrigue, and war. Less would have been far more digestible. The book does work impressively well as an allegory about modern politics, economics, and global power projection (mark the eerie though entirely coincidental thread about the Kettling). Yet the final confrontation, building through three enormously long, dense, involved books, doesn\'t actually come off—as drama or as catharsis ... Those attuned to the author\'s singular methods will rejoice. Otherwise, this is demanding and ultimately overwhelming.
T. Jefferson Parker
RavePublishers Weekly... outstanding ... The plot is as well crafted as it is thought provoking. Parker writes with confidence, insight, and real humanity.
T. Jefferson Parker
PositiveKirkusParker’s incisive character portraits and smooth, confident prose make his latest thriller taut and engaging.
PositiveKirkusNovelist Freeman nails the Ludlum style in the latest Jason Bourne adventure ... The showdown between Bourne and Miss Shirley is one for the ages. Freeman’s first Jason Bourne thriller is a treat for fans of the late Robert Ludlum.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis assured contribution to the Jason Bourne franchise from Thriller Award–winner Freeman (Thief River Falls) opens with a 2019 newspaper account of a sniper shooting in Las Vegas, Nev., that killed dozens a year earlier, but it’s the 2020 assassination in New York City of Congresswoman Sofia Ortiz, as recounted through a series of live tweets, that triggers the main action. ... Freeman has a firm grasp of Bourne’s tangled background, plus the skills to keep the action front and center. Bourne fans will hope for an encore from this talented author.
PositiveKirkusA blend of memoir and manifesto by Black Lives Matter leader King ... a book that shares the spirit of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. The institutions that ostensibly protect all citizens are crumbling, gradually overcome by a creeping fascism that has risen slowly and stealthily over decades ... King advises instead getting out and becoming involved in grassroots movements ... A vigorous complement to other primers in political activism and social justice.
PositivePublishers WeeklyKing, a journalist and Black Lives Matter activist, debuts with an impassioned guide to becoming an \'effective change agent\' in a time of \'deep systematic widespread suffering and oppression.\' Drawing on the work of 19th-century German historian Leopold von Ranke, King contends that human history \'alternate[s] back and forth between improvement and regression,\' and describes the current political moment ... In the book’s most effective sections, King offers directives ... Readers familiar with King from his prolific social media presence will appreciate the book’s autobiographical details, while those new to his work may wish for a tighter focus on the nuts and bolts of organizing for change. Nevertheless, this fervent exhortation succeeds in making the case that the time for progressives to act is now.
MixedPublishers Weekly... [a] provocative yet muddled debut ... DeBoer hedges against the risk of racial bias by insisting that he’s talking about \'individual differences, not group differences\' when it comes to intelligence levels, but his analysis of the supporting evidence is shallow, and his policy suggestions, including universal health care and free college, have more to do with \'remak[ing] society from top to bottom\' than fixing the specific problem of how to teach to varying cognitive abilities. Still, this passionate plea to reconsider \'what it means to be a worthwhile person\' gives policymakers and educators much to think about.
RaveKirkusMaking extensive use of primary documents, including letters written by immigrants to family in the old country, the author captures the mingled hope and fear experienced as people entered the massive main building, equipped with modern accoutrements few had seen in their ancestral villages, and faced numerous bureaucratic barriers. Quotes from John Weber, the first Commissioner of Immigration at the Port of New York, and his successors make palpable the massive logistical effort required to process all these people ... Szejnert reveals countless intriguing historical tidbits ... The author also evokes the island’s ghostly atmosphere after it was abandoned in 1954 and the determined efforts that led to its triumphant 1990 reopening as a museum, visited by 2 million people each year. Warmly human and extremely moving—a welcome addition to the Ellis Island literature.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a kaleidoscopic history ... Szejnert humanizes the immigrant experience in late 19th- and early 20th-century America. Genealogy buffs and history fans will celebrate this engrossing portrait.
PositiveKirkusRefreshingly, Wilkinson dedicates a chapter to two women: Lucie Duff Gordon and Amelia Edwards ... The author also includes images, maps, and a timeline. A lively survey by an eminence in the field.
RavePublishers WeeklyWilkinson marshals a wealth of detail into a cohesive and entertaining narrative. The result is an essential portrait of how the rediscovery of \'[Egypt’s] ancient past paved the way for its modern rebirth.\'
MixedPublishers Weekly[Bowen] falls short of her usual high standard ... This explicit homage to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca unfolds along predictable lines, and Bowen’s continued neglect of Georgie’s delightfully inept servant, Queenie, eliminates the comic relief that was a memorable aspect of earlier series entries.
RaveKirkusEileen, as a nearly-80-year-old woman who’s allowed to have hopes, dreams, and a vibrant sex life, truly shines. She never gives up on helping others or finding her own happily-ever-after, proving that it’s never too late to start over. A cozy, hopeful escape that will make readers laugh, cry, and feel inspired.
Rebecca Wragg Sykes
PositiveKirkusWragg Sykes has made a career studying Neanderthals, and she skillfully lays out a massive amount of information, much of which has turned up over the past few decades ... Many chapters, including 35 pages on the Neanderthal diet, reveal almost too much, but Wragg Sykes clearly loves her subject, so educated readers will have no trouble absorbing the spectacular revelations of modern anthropology.
Rebecca Wragg Sykes
PositivePublishers Weekly... [a] fine debut ... Throughout, Sykes makes the case that Neanderthals were not all that different from Homo sapiens, biologically and behaviorally, and asks the provocative question of \'why we are here and not them.\' While she has no conclusive answer to provide, she brings the history of this long-extinct species to life in assured fashion.
RavePublishers Weekly... a brilliant essay collection that, informed by semiotics, proposes a way of thinking about the human face that views each person’s countenance as possessed of culturally and individually constructed meaning that can change radically according to the beholder ... Serpell’s vital treatise is one readers will find themselves returning to again and again.
PositiveKirkusSerpell is one of our brightest new fiction writers and essayists ... isn’t the easiest place to get to know her, but it’s rich with thoughtful considerations of the human face and how we look at it ... doesn’t add up to a cohesive thesis on faces. Serpell writes that she wishes to “shatter” conventional interpretations of the face, but she isn’t moved to assemble a new one from the pieces. Her discussion of fetishes drifts into academic jargon, and she is, by her own admission, overly obsessed with the role of a mop in Hitchcock’s classic. But in recasting the Elephant Man’s face as a thing of beauty (or at least one with its own aesthetics) and studying digital avatars for multitudes of expression (including blackface), she’s broken ground for further commentary ... A scholarly but engrossing meditation that challenges what we see in portraits—and in our mirrors.
RaveKirkusA welcome life of the noted photographer Richard Avedon (1923-2004), locating him in a broad cultural and artistic context ... Gefter sets Avedon among a hyperactive cultural milieu: As someone who started off with the intention of becoming a poet, he was well at home in the midcentury literary and cultural world of Manhattan ... Most important, though, Avedon was a brilliant if sometimes controversial artist, and Gefter does much to prove his essential role in raising photographic portraiture to a lofty level. Revealing, fluent, and very well written—an exemplary biography of an underappreciated artist.
P. Djèlí Clark
RaveKirkusWhat if White supremacy was not only a monstrous philosophy, but was enabled by actual horrific monsters? Clark\'s feverishly inventive period adventure imagines this scenario in blunt and grisly detail ... Clark’s novel is at once rousing, boisterous, and clever. He channels the kitschy motifs of early-20th-century pulp horror into a narrative that both spoofs and exalts that flamboyant tradition. In the process, he cunningly and pithily weaves in African folklore, American history, and sociopolitical tropes that resonate with our present-day racial upheaval. Devotees of Lovecraft Country, Get Out, and other horror adventures with African American themes: Take note.Thrills, chills, macabre humor, and engaging heroines to root for: What more could a reader want?
PositivePublishers WeeklyCappello opens with a defense of the lecture \'as a form of art,\' rather than as a dull classroom ritual, and moves on to the alternate forms it might take, in order to become more rewarding and engaging for both the lecturer and the lectured-to ... In a gorgeous examination of poet Louise Bogan’s notes for a planned 1962 lecture at Bennington (with photographs included), Cappello explains that good lectures should show evidence of how to \'think with rather than of\' ideas. After reading this eloquent book, anyone will agree that, even with the ever-increasing rise of student-directed learning and online education, the lecture is not archaic, but rather waiting for a vital new mode.
RaveSmart Bitches Trashy BooksI was not exaggerating when I said that this collection made me laugh until I was crying ... My favourite jokes in the whole collection were about movies that I don’t like, because who doesn’t love dunking on a movie that you hate? ... My other favourite thing about Shit, Actually is that it is as sharp as it is funny. If a movie has a problem, that problem is named and discussed in a way that invites us to think about it and join in on the frustration ... Something that is to its credit, but might mean Shit, Actually doesn’t age well, is that it’s firmly grounded in 2020 ... This book is a perfect balm for how hard and scary and awful it can feel to be a human this year ... We may not be able to have movie nights together, but we can all enjoy this book.
PositiveKirkusRevisiting her early career as an acid-tongued film critic, New York Times columnist West deconstructs 22 blockbusters in this nostalgic, laugh-out-loud romp ... Like catching up with a dear and funny friend, this insightful and irreverent book is a soothing balm for turbulent times.
PositivePublishers Weekly...powerful if uneven ... her meticulous prose convincingly captures the daily realities—sometimes beautiful, sometimes cruel—of agricultural life, and offers insight into the ways calamity fractures family bonds. Patient readers will be rewarded.
PositiveKirkusWeiner’s challenge in these chapters is to give a sufficient overview of his subject while maintaining a brisk pace and distilling useful instruction. Such a globe-trotting tour of philosophy can only be as good as its guide, and Weiner proves to be a curious, sincere, and generous companion. His good cheer alone serves as a model for how to live, and many readers will appreciate his method of taking what’s useful for him and leaving what’s not (Plato, Kant, Sartre, to name a few). Each reader will cotton to certain of Weiner’s philosophers more than others; the author’s example teaches us that this is as it should be.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJournalist Weiner...makes a convincing and winningly presented case for the practical applications of philosophy to everyday existence in the 21st century. With humor and thoughtfulness, he distills the wisdom of thinkers from throughout history ... His book offers an appealing way to cope with the din of modern life and look at the world with attentive eyes and ears.
MixedKirkusPosner certainly turned over a lot of stones in his quest to come up with fresh stories about the great songwriter and poet ... Though Posner touches on Cohen\'s love-hate relationship with his mother, his insecurities as a singer, and his brushes with LSD, Scientology, Bob Dylan, depression, and guns, the author seems most interested in keeping score of the number of women this prolific romancer bedded—and then documented in his songs ... A voluminous account of Leonard Cohen as pained artist and superseducer. For die-hard fans only.
PanKirkusFamiliar Brooks strengths—courage, perseverance, loyalty, and so forth—are prominent, yet it\'s hard to ignore the underlying exhaustion. Things happen randomly, so the narrative strands never quite cohere into a single satisfying package; events readers might have anticipated from the previous volumes fail to materialize. Brooks\' style is easy and undemanding. His characters often resemble fantasy archetypes yet possess just enough individuality to avoid skepticism; plots seldom stray far from boilerplate. His greatest appeal has been to youth, and recent attempts to inject mature themes such as sexual violence have not been a success. As he has pretty much throughout the entire Shannara cosmos, Brooks takes his departure with the contention that science and magic are flip sides of the same coin. They\'re not. Science works for anybody. Magic works only if you have the gift ... Like a weary yet exultant marathon runner: wraps itself in a flag, totters across the finish line, and crumples in a heap.
PanPublishers WeeklyThe noble Tarsha and villainous Clizia are thinly developed genre clichés and similar laziness in world-building too often makes this a slog. The story’s bare bones will strike many readers as too close to the framework of the Star Wars movies for comfort: a young woman with mystical powers, who has been mentored by an older wizard, must confront another magic user who has turned to the dark side and so betrayed her mystical order. Even longtime fans will likely be happy that Brooks is moving on to a completely new imagined world.
RavePublishers Weekly... a thrilling page-turner ... Wiedeman meticulously recounts what happened between WeWork’s 2010 launch and disastrous 2019 IPO ... Wiedeman creates a palpable sense of suspense ... What lifts this book to excellence is Wiedeman’s ease at presenting a complex business saga both understandably and entertainingly. Readers will feel like they are in the room with Neumann and his beleaguered colleagues during every twist and turn of this fascinating corporate train wreck.
MixedKirkus... [an] uneven memoir that overstretches parallels to Nabokov’s tale ... Wood tells her tale swiftly and suspensefully, but the writing can be wooden...and novelistically purple ... At heart, this is a potboiler with a gloss of literary street cred, and Wood may suspect it: \'Sometimes I worry that the whole Lolita intertextuality is just a conceit, a clever way to elevate what happened to me, to raise it above the tawdry.\' Many readers will also suspect it, but others will be turning the pages too fast to care. An absorbing but flawed memoir of a male teacher’s abuse of a young female student.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a[n] a unflinching account ... Wood’s potent memoir doubles as a cautionary tale that indicts literary and social tropes of irresistible, sexualized youths. It’s an impressive, provocative outing.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
RavePublishers Weekly... stellar ... The breathlessly energetic plot touches on corporate intrigue, journalism ethics, revenge, and the corrosive nature of lies. Ryan could win a sixth Agatha with this one.
RavePublishers Weekly...triumphant ... Krauss’s style is marked by a willingness to digress into seemingly superfluous details, yet the minutiae helps the author conjure a series of realistic environments, allowing each story feel lived in. This is a spectacular book.
PositiveKirkusIt might seem like a relatively dull subject, but the author’s prose is consistently engaging ... Fascinating character sketches further the story, among them vibrant portraits of Samuel Pepys, John Locke, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but we should all hail librarians as the unsung heroes of this history ... For readers who love language or armchair historians interested in the evolution of linguistics, this is catnip. For the mildly curious, it’s accessible, narratively adventurous, and surprisingly insightful about how the alphabet marks us all in some way ... A rich cultural and linguistic history.
RaveKirkusOverstuffed without being claustrophobic ... Warren shows that, while not a giant like so many of his friends, Jacob was more central to France’s early-20th-century artistic and literary history than he has been given credit for ... An exemplary work of biography and intellectual history; essential reading for students of literary and artistic modernism.
PositivePublishers Weekly... exhaustive ... Drawing on over three decades of archival research, [Warren] carefully traces Jacob’s journey ... Warren paints Jacob’s life and times in vibrant colors, providing expansive views into this too-little-known writer who exerted a large force in creating modern French literature and art.
PositivePublishers Weekly... fascinating and sober-minded ... Rosenbloom’s conversational tone and obvious excitement at the thrill of the chase counterbalances the macabre nature of her subject ... This unique and well-researched account shines an intriguing light on a hidden corner of the rare books world.
Writers of the Atlantic
RaveKirkusIn keeping with the Atlantic\'s goal of \'debating and illuminating America’s meaning and purpose,\' editor at large Murphy gathers 40 incisive essays from an impressive roster of contributors ... Contributors consider issues such as racial inequality, cultural divides and polarization, climate change, voter suppression, the plight of undocumented immigrants, and evangelical Christians ... Among many unsettling pieces are profiles of Newt Gingrich, Paul Manafort, Ivanka Trump, and, most disturbingly, conspiracy theorists enraptured with QAnon. Other top-notch contributors include Anne Applebaum, George Packer, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ibram X. Kendi, and Yuval Noah Harari. An illuminating collection of perceptive, well-argued, and compelling essays.
Wolfgang Koeppen, trans. Michael Hofmann
RaveKirkusA kaleidoscopic narrative that follows a disparate cast of characters whose lives accidentally intersect during a single day in Munich, Germany, in 1948. First published in 1951 and now available in an inspired new translation, this deeply sardonic, profoundly compassionate novel takes the reader onto the ruined postwar streets of Munich and inside the minds of the city’s inhabitants, their heads \"still confused by hunger and explosions.\' ... Stories and lives overlap at an accelerating pace yet each protagonist is clearly defined, just as each is at the mercy of fate ... This portrait of despair and endurance amid postwar ruin is nothing less than a miniature masterpiece.
Wolfgang Koeppen, trans. Michael Hofmann
RavePublishers WeeklySet in Munich in 1948, German writer Koeppen’s wrenching novel, first published in 1951, portrays a society coping with the aftermath of WWII. The panoramic narrative cuts back and forth across the intersecting lives and experiences of characters struggling to navigate “a lost world” with dignity and decorum ... Koeppen (1906–1996) alternates between humor and tense drama in poetic passages and run-on sentences, and he endows his characters with classical attributes ... Hofmann’s brilliant translation, meanwhile, finds pathos in the characters’ quest for meaning and significance in a world of randomness and chance. Koeppen’s masterwork soars.
RaveKirkusA wonderfully meticulous look at Louis XIV (1638-1715) from a leading historian of France ... Throughout, the narrative is dense but readable, and the 110-page notes and bibliography section attests to Mansel’s prodigious research. An impressive, comprehensive biography of the Sun King—a must-add to any Francophile’s library.
RavePublishers Weekly... an ebullient celebration of books and reading ... Each selection is accompanied by a brief, elegant essay explaining her connection to the work ... Kakutani’s recommendations and her \'sense of the shared joys and losses of human experience\' are revelations.
PositiveKirkusIn the introduction, Kakutani rehearses predictable assertions about the benefits of reading ... The essays themselves are more perceptive, offering fresh, inspired assessments of a wide range of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry: memoir, biography, and history; social, political, environmental, and cultural analysis; nature writing; children’s books (she responds to six Dr. Seuss stories with her own, unfortunate, doggerel), and young adult fiction ... A spirited, heartfelt homage to reading.
Jonathan Daniel Wells
PositivePublishers Weekly... richly detailed ... Lively prose and vivid scenes of New York street life complement the meticulous research. The result is a revealing look at a little-known chapter in the history of racial injustice.
Jonathan Daniel Wells
PositiveKirkusThe author populates his pages with characters who are little known to history ... The narrative suffers from a certain sluggishness and needless rhetorical flourishes, but it’s a story that deserves to be told ... A convincing demonstration of the close links between capitalism and the unconscionable trade in human beings.
PositivePublishers Weekly...chilling ... Doctorow lays the tech-talk on a bit thick, which may overwhelm a casual reader, but the high stakes and believable world keep the pages turning. Doctorow’s fans will be pleased.
PositiveKirkusButler reveals NYC as a microcosm of the nation’s religious life, teeming with energy and vitality even in the midst of cultural secularization and urban troubles. The author deftly tracks how broad social changes and demographic trends came together to shape the role of faith in NYC ... An intriguing study of urban faith in the modern age.
RavePublishers Weekly...illuminating ... This eye-opening history is sure to enlighten anyone interested in cultural histories of New York City.
John O' Brennan
PositiveKirkus[A] fly-on-the-wall view of life in Langley as well as a host of global hot spots ... ably narrated ... Not likely to sway established opinions about Trump but offers plenty of damning evidence.
RaveKirkusA delightful takedown of our unreasonable worship of numbers ... Enthralling evidence that there is less to numbers than meets the eye.
PositivePublishers WeeklyStone distills a wealth of thinking about statistics and their psychological and social foundations into lucid, engaging prose, illustrated with piquant graphics and cartoons ... this is a stimulating layperson’s guide to the pseudo-mathematical rationalizations behind so much of what governments do.
RavePublishers Weekly...ambitious, character-driven ... Selfon fully fleshes out the major characters’ backstories, dreams, and disappointments, and even the minor characters get their moment in the sun. Superior prose is a plus ... Fans of literary crime fiction will be enthralled.
PositiveKirkusA seasoned legal investigator, Selfon has firsthand knowledge of laundering schemes and the people who devise them. More importantly, he is attuned to questions of identity and belonging ... A sharp, surprisingly affecting debut.
Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong'o
PositivePublishers Weekly[An] engaging if slight lyrical epic ... Thiong’o’s fans will appreciate this, even if it doesn’t rise to the heights of his most accomplished work.
RaveKirkusThe collection [...] serves as much as a display of Mantel’s shrewd eye and stylish prose as a testimony to her long, fruitful association with the LRB. Her reviews are capacious, erudite, well informed, and exacting ... A captivating collection.
PositiveKirkusLeela and Hunt’s amorous scenes are page-turners, but it’s Quincy’s extraordinary ability to convey complex emotions that sets the book apart. Quincy’s own background as a first-generation Arab American also allows her to bring indispensable detail to the story, which is enriched by details of Leela’s journey to learn about, and come to appreciate, her \'Levantine\' heritage—a welcome addition to the overwhelmingly White ranks of Regency romance. An exciting start to a new Regency romance series which promises to highlight new voices from the era.
RavePublishers WeeklyMutual pining is the driving force behind the sensual, unputdownable Regency romance that launches Quincy’s Clandestine Affairs series ... Elliot needs a respectable wife to restore his family’s reputation, while Delilah lives a life of far-flung travels that she has no plans of giving up. Their longing for but mutual avoidance of each other provides delicious torture throughout. Sexy, romantic, and unexpectedly contemporary in its approach, this is sure to win over readers with its spitfire heroine and humble hero.
PositiveKirkusA scathing indictment of white-collar crime and its unpunished practitioners ... In this steely-eyed examination of these brazen criminals, Taub holds that this lack of effective punishment merely encourages the wealthy to prey on the rest of society. Though it would be impossible and even undesirable to prosecute every one of them, \'we do need to make an example of those who are the worst offenders\'—especially when a \'lying, cheating, megalomaniac American president\' is available to issue pardons like so many doses of Oxycontin. A significant manifesto for judicial reform that aims at cracking the cabal of big-money grifters at the top.
MixedPublishers WeeklyMartin, who has taught literature and languages at King’s College London and CUNY Graduate Center, debuts with a clunky look at Lee Child’s transformation from laid-off British television worker to mega-bestselling author of the Jack Reacher books ... While Martin is at pains to quote admiring testimonials to Child’s niceness and humility, Child doesn’t emerge as a particularly appealing figure ... Unsourced and improbable claims—such as that in 2019 almost 50 Reacher books were shoplifted in Manhattan every day—don’t help. Nor does Martin’s hyperbolic estimation of the author, whom she compares at one point to both John Donne and Dylan Thomas. The most devoted Reacher fans may be able to struggle through, but general thriller and mystery fans need not apply.
MixedKirkusIn her first biography, based on personal correspondence with Child, Martin offers a variety of intriguing stories about her subject. However, the narrative is so crowded with extraneous material (the author profiles seemingly anyone who ever knew Child) and so prone to redundancies and head-scratching allusions—e.g., the lasting impact of tennis great Chris Evert\'s \"glow\"—the reading experience becomes a chore ... As for Child\'s exceptional style as a novelist, the fawning Martin offers little critical analysis beyond comparing him to Camus and Borges ... An exhaustive and exhausting account for only the most committed fans.
Connor Towne O'Neill
PositiveKirkusA personal examination of one of the great divides in our country today ... In his first book, the author widens his inquiry into race and violence with an urgent and eye-opening look at Confederate monuments in the South ... O’Neill brings us right into the historically significant action ... Essential reading for how we got from \'Appomattox to Charlottesville—and where we might go next.\'
Connor Towne O'Neill
PositivePublishers WeeklyWhite Lies podcast producer O’Neill debuts with an eloquent and provocative examination of the links between protests over Confederate monuments in the South and the resurgence of white supremacy ... [O\'Neill] movingly documents recent acts of racist violence, including the 2015 Charleston church shooting and the 2017 killing of a woman protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. O’Neill writes with grace and genuine curiosity, allowing people on all sides of the issue to speak for themselves. This inquiry into the legacy of American slavery is equally distressing and illuminating.
PositivePublishers Weekly... lovely, mournful ... Drawing on themes of community, redemption, pain, and healing, the story has a lovely slice-of-life feel, but the unresolved ending will leave some readers unsatisfied. Still, the narrative voice is captivating, with the rich, conversational tone of a storyteller sitting at a fireside. The contemplative style, low stakes, and small cast is reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle and is worthy of the association.
George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus
MixedPublishers Weekly... long-winded ... Throughout, the zombie threat is granted its own, second-person perspective ... In this innovation alone Romero paints a fresher picture of the zombie apocalypse, following the zombie’s perspective 15 years into the future to examine the lifespan and evolution of the creatures. Otherwise, this doorstopper reads like an extended cut of Romero’s horror films. This belabored amalgamation of zombie tropes is epic but familiar.
George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus
RaveKirkus... harrowing survival stories are marked by cinematic spectacles...but Kraus injects a dramatic dose of human pathos into the mix as characters bond, fight for survival, and frequently die so that others may live. By the time these disparate characters converge in the last act after a significant time jump, readers will know them so well that each loss takes on more emotional weight. Less soapy than The Walking Dead and less inventive than Max Brooks’ World War Z, it’s still a spectacular horror epic laden with Romero’s signature shocks and censures of societal ills. A blockbuster portrayal of the zombie apocalypse and a fitting tribute to the genre’s imaginative progenitor.
RaveKirkusAmong the several biographies of Cary Grant (1904-1986), prolific film historian Eyman’s version garners top billing. Replete with meticulous research, perceptive observations, and sharp critiques, this account of the actor’s life consistently engages and illuminates ... The author’s vivid profiles of Grant’s co-workers—designer Orry-Kelly, director Leo McCarey, writer Clifford Odets, and many others—create a colorful mural of Hollywood during its golden age ... Top-shelf film history.
MixedPublishers Weekly... enjoyable if overstuffed ... The book is at its best when depicting Grant’s early years as an acrobat and vaudevillian, which took him to America ... The back-lot gossip will most likely entertain casual fans more than the intricate box office and budget details. The longtime speculation about Grant’s bisexuality comes up often, but would benefit from more nuanced consideration ... Though overlong and burdened by extraneous detail, this showbiz chronicle creates an insightful portrait of a man at war with himself.
RavePublishers Weekly... excellent ... As the two plots converge, the various credible, complex backstories coalesce into a highly satisfying and unified whole. This fresh entry boasts the kind of storytelling that made Rankin famous.
Aoko Matsuda, Trans. by Polly Barton
PositivePublishers Weekly... groundbreaking ... turns traditional Japanese ghost and yōkai stories on their heads by championing wild, complex women ... Not all of Matsuda’s stories captivate. Team Sarashina is about a group of women who are assigned to various departments in their company and offer their support to flailing coworkers, but it’s too obtuse to get a handle on. Most of Matsuda’s stories, though, hit their mark, particularly her queer, feminist fables ... Matsuda’s subversive revisionist tales are consistently exciting.
Aoko Matsuda, Trans. by Polly Barton
PositiveKirkus... conversational in tone but not without wisdom and insight about human nature, mortality, and the ways in which family and society repress the spirit ... many of the stories connect through characters, time, and dimensions, and the way Matsuda executes these links is a highlight. The author has a light but lasting touch ... A delightful, daring collection.
RaveKirkusThis erudite book is packed with extensive, expansive discussions about Nolan’s films, all written or co-written by the director; insights into what he was trying to accomplish with each film; methodologies; and the movies, directors, books, art, architecture, and music that influenced him ... Fans of Nolan’s films will find this revealing book invaluable.
PositivePublishers WeeklyShone provides thoughtful context for Nolan’s commentary, but readers will most value Nolan’s own words about his work.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe stunning fifth book from McCrae...is steeped in the truths of witness and imagination ... poems that wrestle, doubt, and syntactically and rhythmically double-back on themselves ... These poems see the white world as it chooses not to be seen, and illuminate the contradictions, disappointments, and loneliness that comes with paying true witness ... each poem transcends with feeling, particularity, and honesty. This newest collection continues McCrae’s powerful examination into race, forgiveness, and meaning in America, making it an essential contribution to contemporary poetry.
PositiveKirkusGoodman offers a detailed, abundantly illustrated picture of the ways coal changed daily life for all classes throughout Great Britain, drawing from a prodigious number of sources, including property inventories, house expenditures, town records, housekeeping manuals, and recipe books. In addition, she recounts her own experiences in facsimile houses, cooking and heating with different kinds of fuel and confronting the \'nonstop cleaning\' of the filth resulting from burning coal ... An engaging history of social transformation.
PositivePublishers Weekly... immersive ... A consistently witty and knowledgeable narrator, Goodman reveals in this highly informative study how small decisions made by ordinary people can change history.
Eduardo C. Corral
RavePublishers WeeklyThe devastating and electrifying second book from Corral...features an imagined multivoiced narrative at the U.S.-Mexican border and its surrounding deserts. The speakers are desperate, thirsty, bleeding, their plights depicted with urgent, stream-of-consciousness fragments blending English and Spanish. Bleak circumstances are rendered hauntingly melodic ... Shot through with the dark realities of human tragedy, Corral’s latest is a virtuosic compendium of grief.
MixedKirkusThe ultimate obsessive’s guide to all things olfactory ... Although the text is rigorous and likely too scholarly for some readers, McGee has a genial way with words that makes the hard science accessible to motivated general readers. Unfortunately, in his effort to be inviting, he makes excessive use of exclamation points (more than 200) ... It’s difficult to say how many readers McGee will transform into bona fide \'smell explorers,\' but you have to give him credit: This is a unique project executed meticulously from beginning to end. The book’s ability to reach beyond a niche audience, however, remains uncertain ... Equips readers with all the science necessary for a life of heightened smell perception.
Ed. by Mary Pilon and Louisa Thomas
PositivePublishers Weekly... [a] toughtful anthology ... This is a stirring tribute to losing, one of life’s greatest teachers, the editors conclude.
Ed. by Mary Pilon and Louisa Thomas
PositiveKirkusA few of the bylines are well known ... Refreshingly, though, most of the contributors are less well known to general readers, and their subjects range from obscure to famous ... As a collection, the book holds together well even for non–sports fans, though some readers may wish for value-added material such as postscripts or updates ... Pilon and Thomas...deliver.
Lisa Selin Davis
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this thorough and engrossing investigation...Davis’s persuasive and deeply personal argument for moving beyond the gender binary will resonate with those curious about child rearing free of normative expectations.
Lisa Selin Davis
PositiveKirkus... [a] meandering journey through the history and current state of \'tomboyism\' ... There is still much to learn, and though Davis could have gone more in-depth in some areas, readers will find this a good place to start their education. An informative jumping-off point for further investigation.
RaveKirkusThe fact that the same author has written books as wildly different and all as transporting as The Zero (2006), The Financial Lives of the Poets (2009), Beautiful Ruins (2012), and now this latest tour de force is testimony to Walter’s protean storytelling power and astounding ability to set a scene, any scene ... We have heard that Jess Walter writes nonstop: Seven days a week, 365 days a year. Please, never stop.
RavePublishers Weekly...superb ... a splendid postmodern rendition of the social realist novels of the 1930s by Henry Roth, John Steinbeck, and John Dos Passos, updated with strong female characters and executed with pristine prose. This could well be Walter’s best work yet.
PositiveKirkusHer contributors—from the arts, media, and political landscapes—closely examine the essential qualities of AOC’s broad appeal ... Enlightening and engaging perspectives on a remarkable political ascent.
Les Payne and Tamara Payne
RaveKirkusComprehensive, timely ... A superb biography and an essential addition to the library of African American political engagement.
Les Payne and Tamara Payne
RavePublishers WeeklyCompleted by his daughter and researcher, Payne’s richly detailed account is based on hundreds of interviews with Malcolm X’s family members, childhood friends, cellmates, allies, and enemies, and meticulously tracks his journey ... an extraordinary and essential portrait of the man behind the icon.
PositiveSmart Bitches Trashy BooksI read the first chapter of Spoiler Alert and was sucked into a compulsive reading vortex, becoming annoyed when work or sleep tried to distract me from gobbling up the book. It’s a delightful celebrity romance that treats writing sexy fanfiction as a worthy creative pursuit. It also has a classic falling for your penpal storyline, without the slow burn over correspondence that tends to annoy me ... The sweetness of this cozy romance, and the thoughtful fat representation, kept me from caring about the fandom in-jokes that went over my head ... This was a low-tension read ... if you need characters with stellar emotional problem-solving from page one, this is not your book. I was in the mood for realistic relationship development, so this worked for me. I wanted to cheer when these two learned to set firm boundaries with their parents ... My main issue with this book is the structure ... Readers more steeped in fan culture might enjoy drabbles about a fictional tv series more than I, but it didn’t keep me from loving the book ... tropey wish fulfillment, but at its heart, it’s is a quiet contemporary with a #couplegoals relationship where both characters offer comfort, create beautiful art, and help each other overcome insecurities. I never questioned whether the relationship made sense, and these two are adorable even when they’re not being completely honest with themselves (and each other). Spoiler Alert is also a love letter to fandoms, that will make you want to chase your romance novel with a shot of fanfiction.
RavePublishers WeeklyThis clever, creative love story from Dade explodes preconceptions about what a modern romance heroine should look like ... Dade handles both the fun and toxic dynamics of fandom and social media with insight and compassion. Given equal weight are Marcus and April’s difficult family histories, as both work through the damage inflicted by parents who judged them to be \'flawed.\' The result is nuanced, unflinching, and deeply romantic. Dade’s fans and new readers alike will fall in love.
PositiveKirkusReaders (and viewers) of Game of Thrones will undoubtedly catch the parallels, giving a healthy dose of fan service with a quasi fix-it feell ... While this is a sweet romance that unfolds partially through tweets and direct messages and fanfic storytelling, it’s also about the way the main characters learn to love themselves. The journey to self-acceptance is never easy, and Dade doesn’t shy away from that, but she makes it just as beautiful and gentle as the love that blooms between Marcus and April. One note is that the book is fandom heavy. If you’re entrenched in the community, you will feel right at home. If not, there’s a terminology learning curve ... Geek out with this romantic homage to fan culture.
emily m. danforth
RavePublishers Weekly...sumptuous ... Danforth creates a fantastic sense of dread and champions queer female relationships throughout ... Even readers who aren’t fans of horror will appreciate this bighearted story.
RavePublishers WeeklyExhibiting Wong’s trademark blend of the subtle and the absurd, the riotous second installment to the Zoey Ashe series (after 2016’s Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits) catapults readers back into lawless, futuristic Tabula Ra$a, Utah ... This is a brilliant modern parable disguised as pop fiction.
RaveKirkusEngaging travels through a Chinese countryside in which high technology meets the old ways ... Wang’s whirlwind discussion, smart and well argued, turns to many other topics as well, from racism in high tech to microlending, trade wars, risk tolerance, and a rapidly changing rural China, with delicious recipes as a lagniappe. Technology writing with flair looking to a future that’s fast upon us, with China playing a leading role.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] thought-provoking if inconclusive inquiry into how technology is transforming rural China ... without a clear central argument, the narrative occasionally drags ... Still, this is a unique and detailed survey of an underexplored aspect of Chinese innovation.
C. L. Polk
RaveSmart Bitches Trashy BooksThe Midnight Bargain reminded me why I love fantasy novels, and then wrecked me with its social commentary about a Regency-inspired world ... I loved the book’s drawing room politics, djinn-inspired magic, chosen family, and the way the story didn’t shy away from the heroine’s ambition, and her reluctance to be a wife and mother. I have rarely been quite this satisfied by the resolution of the classic love vs. freedom quandary for women in a restrictive society ... The taut dynamic between Beatrice, Ysbeta, and Ianthe was delicious to read ... The taut dynamic between Beatrice, Ysbeta, and Ianthe was delicious to read ... I appreciated the depiction of class dynamics that gave wealth and social power to a few women, while offering the ability to work (magic) to working class women with less social power. Perhaps my favorite part was how the book’s magical restrictions on women made me think about contemporary social restrictions to \'protect\' women ... Which brings me to The Midnight Bargain’s main flaw; not punishing Beatrice’s dad enough for my bloodthirsty little heart ... loved the sisterhood of sorcery in this book, and how the romantic conflict kept me guessing without overshadowing the friendships. Readers who like cultural worldbuilding with a feminist lens, and don’t mind a quick romantic connection that takes most of the book to resolve, might like The Midnight Bargain.
C. L. Polk
RaveKirkusThe author’s penetrating social critique and deeply felt depiction of one woman’s struggle for self-determination are balanced by her charming take on classic Regency romance. The tropes of the story are such that we have a reasonable expectation that Beatrice will somehow find a way to realize her dreams, however paradoxical they seem in her milieu, but the author does a nice job of ratcheting up the tension and places enough obstacles in her protagonist’s way that the reader might almost believe that failure is possible. The resolution therefore feels well earned and is pleasingly served with a righteous blow at the smugly complacent preservers of the status quo ... An expertly concocted mélange of sweet romance and sharp social commentary.
C. L. Polk
RavePublishers WeeklyPolk delivers sharp social commentary in this excellent Regency-flavored fantasy ... Polk expertly balances propulsive pacing, a rich multicultural world, and a vivid and subversive cast of characters. Readers will be swept away by this powerful and passionate fantasy.
RaveKirkus... affecting ... Salter gives a highly readable, blow-by-blow account ... One of the best fly-on-the-wall political memoirs in recent memory. Highly recommended.
PositivePublishers Weekly... an intimate and inspirational portrait ... Salter renders the physical and mental torture McCain endured in vivid detail, making McCain’s decision to refuse an offer of early release seem all the more heroic ... Though Salter’s critiques aren’t exactly hard-hitting, they give the book credibility. Political history buffs will savor this well-rounded account.
Alonso Cueto, Trans. by Frank Wynne and Jessie Mendez Sayer
RavePublishers Weekly... staggering ... Cueto imbues every page and character with the brutal consequences of war in his compulsively readable story of a man’s reckoning with a history of violence. Wynne and Mendez’s splendid translation brings readers an essential work of Peruvian literature.
PositiveKirkusLind tackles her subject with precision, on-the-ground reporting, and theoretical rigor ... Although Lind occasionally slides into the hazy territory of \'paradigm shifts\' and a \'brave new world,\' she mostly works from steady ground ... Not every reader will be enthusiastic about the concept of communal-style co-living arrangements (a tiny house may be more amenable), but the author delivers consistently solid arguments in favor of extended-family housing and other options outside the single-family paradigm ... A vibrant case for a host of viable alternatives to the single-family home.
PositivePublishers Weekly... detailed and optimistic ... A congenial and well-informed tour guide, Lind balances her hopeful outlook with a sincere acknowledgement of how deeply racial and class inequalities affect these matters. Urban planners, policymakers, affordable housing advocates, and real estate developers will want to take a look.
PositiveKirkusThe author, a smooth storyteller, traces the arc of medical advancement targeted at that vulnerable population, suggesting that no segment of society was exempt. However, it was also clear that the poor, immigrants, Indigenous peoples, and African Americans would suffer the most ... With steady narrative momentum, the author follows the long road that led to germ theory and the growing belief that it was \'not just a parental obligation to prevent [childhood death] but a social responsibility.\' Klass also chronicles the egregious missteps: eugenics, social Darwinism, and the racist, classist beliefs that hampered treatment for the poor and people of color. The author completes the picture with a range of subjects, including the dangers of childbirth; ethical issues in the neonatal unit; parents who don’t believe in vaccinations; psychosocial problems, including the shaming of \'refrigerator mothers\'; and the scourges of measles, chickenpox, polio, and tuberculosis ... A powerful story of the right of children to live and thrive from birth.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe result of Klass’s erudition and nuance is a fascinating look at a seldom-sung but profound change in the human condition.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this delightful literary ramble, Dillon (Essayism), a creative writing professor at Queen Mary University of London, expounds upon remarkable sentences from a variety of voices in literature, past and present. Explaining he has 45 notebooks filled with favorite sentences, Dillon focuses each of the book’s 27 essays on a different one ... The well-chosen sentences themselves are worth the price of admission, but Dillon’s encyclopedic erudition and infectious joy in a skillful piece of writing are what stamp this as a treat for literary buffs.
PositiveKirkusThankfully, Brosh’s storytelling is so distinctive and compelling it’s like suddenly running in to a friend you feared was lost forever ... The existential kaleidoscope occasionally gets trippy, but the majority of the book is nourishing and warmly satisfying. For Brosh’s millions of fans, this is well worth the wait.
RaveKirkusDrawing on interviews, oral histories, and archival sources from the Louis Armstrong House Museum, where he is Director of Research Collections, Riccardi creates a vibrant portrait of Armstrong (1901-1971) focused on his career from 1929 to 1947, when he had a decisive impact on both jazz and popular music ... Riccardi details Armstrong’s relationships with his many agents and wives; his recordings, movie appearances, and performances throughout the U.S. (in 1931, on a Southern tour, he hired a bodyguard) and, beginning with a much-anticipated appearance in London in 1932, throughout Europe ... Riccardi, whose previous book covered Armstrong’s later years, brings the same erudition and enthusiasm to his latest. An appreciative, deeply informed biography.
RaveKirkusA sober and detailed critical biography of one of the 20th century’s greatest and most misunderstood poets ... the author meticulously explores Plath’s omnivorous literary interests and busy social life ... The author’s attention to specifics serves her very well ... A major biography that redeems Plath from the condescension of easy interpretation.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] page-turning, meticulously researched biography of Sylvia Plath ... Clark’s in-depth scholarship and fine writing result in a superb work that will deliver fresh revelations to Plath’s many devoted fans.
PositiveThe Economist (UK)A historian at Edinburgh University, Mr Jeffreys-Jones draws the reader in with thrilling, but initially disparate, tales of German espionage ... This is an entertaining tale that doubles as an important work of scholarship. From its first days in power, Mr Jeffreys-Jones shows, the Nazi party strove to undermine American democracy. Along with recent work by other historians, his suggests that Nazi hostility to America—with its bill of rights, balanced constitution and thriving Jewish community—equalled or even exceeded its hatred of the Soviet Union.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHistorian Jeffreys-Jones (We Know All About You) delivers a solid rundown of the unmasking of a German espionage network in the U.S. prior to WWII ... Alerted by MI5, American authorities launched an investigation headed by FBI agent Leon Turrou, who had previously helped to crack the Lindbergh kidnapping case ... Jeffreys-Jones, however, credits him with helping to awaken the American public to the Nazi threat and with galvanizing support for U.S. military and intelligence services. Though his prose rarely soars, Jeffreys-Jones packs the narrative with fine-grained details and memorable character sketches. Espionage buffs will want to take a look.
PositivePublishers Weekly[An] alarming investigation into online extremism ... Lavin shares plenty of disturbing rhetoric and reveals eye-opening statistics on just how popular some of these communities are, but her analysis of the factors behind their appeal, and what can be done to stop online intolerance, doesn’t break much new ground. Still, this is a bracing and wide-ranging look at the internet as a breeding ground for racism and misogyny.
RaveKirkusA master of \'social engineering\' probes into the deepest recesses of White supremacism ... Righteous indignation meets techie magic to shine light on one of America’s most malignant warts.
MixedPublishers WeeklyDeLuca follows Well Met with this cute but shallow rom-com that sets a Cyrano de Bergerac–style plot against the backdrop of a Renaissance fair ... The laughs are frequent and the plot charms, but Stacey’s myopic self-pity detracts from the story. Still, the fresh setting and unusual twist make this well worth the time of any rom-com fan.
PositiveHarlequin JunkieWell Played by Jen DeLuca is the delightful second story in her Well Met series. The first in the series, also called Well Met, has a well deserved place on my best of 2019 list, so I have been eagerly awaiting this sequel. It’s another enjoyable romantic comedy that cements this author’s place on my auto-buy list ... The author writes for the reader of today, where social media is an ever present part of daily life and selfies with one’s pet (cue Stacey’s cat Benedick) are the norm. The epilogue does a great job of tying everything together, making Daniel and Stacey’s relationship believable as it moves forward. I’m already excited for whatever comes next in the series, and hoping it’s not too long a wait!
RavePublishers WeeklyThese well-chosen vignettes aptly illuminate the Beatles’ personalities along with the cultural chord they struck, and Brown knits them into an interpretation that’s both perceptive and hilariously pithy ... a fresh and captivating pointillist portrait of the band and its indelible vibe.
Emily Gray Tedrowe
RavePublishers Weekly...zany, perfectly executed ... Tedrowe does a spectacular job of demonstrating the mindset of a character who justifies her criminal activity while believing she’s ultimately good ... The unusual plot and Tedrowe’s spirited execution of it make this one sing.
PositiveKirkusNonstop thrills, especially for readers who want one last glimpse of New York’s landmarks before they’re incinerated.
RavePublishers WeeklyPage stands out as a highly unusual lead in a crowded genre, and Pobi combines a razor sharp sense of humor with surgical use of political and social commentary throughout. This is a must for fans of sophisticated crime fiction.
PositiveKirkusCollins nimbly orchestrates Fern’s growing sense of terror as she slowly sifts in echoes of long-repressed sounds and sights. Discovering who kidnapped Astrid and how Fern is connected makes for a tricky mystery. Even in the final pages, Collins avoids any expected resolution, leaving the reader deliciously unsettled and disturbed. A dark psychological thriller riddled with twisted family dynamics.
MixedPublishers Weekly... [a] harrowing if credulity stretching psychological thriller ... Though Collins plays her cards carefully to maximize suspense, with a couple of jokers thrown in, the plot builds to an unsurprising resolution. Genre veterans will find nothing new.
Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this masterful anthology, Nieto and Michel bring together 42 chilling works of flash fiction that capture terrors both supernatural and mundane ... In fewer than 1,500 words, each of these vivid, visceral tales engages with horrors with striking immediacy. This carefully crafted and genuinely scary collection is sure to impress.
Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
RaveKirkus...guaranteed to inspire nightmares ... These are achingly brief but exquisitely crafted fragments of horror, some real, some imagined, and some incomplete ... There\'s quite a lot of body horror, too, so squeamish readers are forewarned, but fans of innovative horror films like Get Out and Us will have a blast. Sick and twisted and troubling: Reading it is like stumbling on an old horror movie on TV in the middle of the night.
PositiveKirkusAs a scholar in love with words and language, Puchner gives these priority, so his attention wanders, but the digressions are never less than intriguing. He cannot resist exploring the secret languages used by vagrants and criminals ... A compelling mixture of memoir and philology.
RavePublishers Weekly[Puchner] brilliantly integrates the personal and the professional in this intriguing account of his quest to learn as much as possible about Rotwelsch ... Rich with insight and vivid character sketches, this moving and well-informed cultural history deserves a wide readership.
RaveKirkusIf Gross’ debut novel is not an unambiguously happy story—not only the Holocaust, but the random cruelty of fate and the general stupidity of humankind have fingers in the pie—it is great fun, packed with warmth, humor, and delightful Yiddish expressions ... Yankel is an unlikely but endearing hero, and his adventures in the world of smartphones and underarm deodorant unfold in unexpected, entertaining, and sometimes very sad ways ... Imaginative and philosophical, funny and sad, old and new—mazel tov, Mr. Gross.
RavePublishers Weekly...lively and imaginative ... Gross’s entertaining, sometimes disquieting tale delivers laugh-out-loud moments and deep insight on human foolishness, resilience, and faith.
RaveThe Nerd DailyBlack Sun is an epic fantasy lover’s dream come true ... With a narrative so enchanting that putting down the book halfway through feels like the hardest thing ever, Black Sun was intense from the get-go; and through the entirety of the book, the pace never let up. Roanhorse’s prose is delightful and atmospheric ... If a historically and politically heavy epic fantasy sounds like your thing, I’ll urge you to pick Black Sun up.
RaveKirkusRoanhorse’s fantasy world based on pre-Columbian cultures is rich, detailed, and expertly constructed ... A beautifully crafted setting with complex character dynamics and layers of political intrigue? Perfection. Mark your calendars, this is the next big thing.
RavePublishers WeeklyAll three formidable characters are on a collision course that keeps the pages flying. Roanhorse (the Sixth World series) strikes a perfect balance between powerful worldbuilding and rich thematic exploration as the protagonists struggle against their fates. Fantasy fans will be wowed.
Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, tr. Iona MacIntyre and Fiona Macintosh
PositivePublishers WeeklyCabezón Cámara’s prose beautifully traces her protagonist’s curiosity ... Cabezón Cámara’s exciting LGBTQ look at pioneers of the pampas makes for a rewarding and subversive treat.
PanPublishers Weekly\"...[a] disappointing third outing for attorney Jake Brigance ... The high-profile murder trial that follows, however, doesn’t live up to the promise of the book’s harrowing opening: the prosecuting attorney proves a weak opponent for Brigance, and the tepid courtroom proceedings fail to engage. This one’s for Grisham diehards only.\
PositiveKirkusAs ever, Grisham capably covers the mores of his native turf, from gun racks to the casual use of the N-word. As well, he examines Bible Belt attitudes toward abortion and capital punishment as well as the inner workings of the courtroom ... The story runs on a touch long, as Grisham yarns tend to do, and it gets a bit gory at times, but the level of tension is satisfyingly high all the way to the oddly inconclusive end ... Grisham fans will be pleased, graphic details of evil behavior and all.
RaveKirkus\"...a small book, precise in its calibration, about what happens when the world we\'ve constructed, with all its technological interventions, goes dark ... this brief, disturbing story gets the sudden breakdown of society exactly right ... The writing is spare and almost playlike, especially in the second section, which concludes with a series of monologues. This is a small but vivid book, and in its evocation of people in the throes of social crisis, it feels deeply resonant.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"In the end, readers gain the timely insight that some were born ready for disaster while others remain unequipped. While the work stands out among DeLillo’s short fiction, it feels underpowered when compared to his novels.\
RaveBronzeville Bee... riveting and haunting ... So often we talk about ‘life-altering experiences’ – reading this book can be that, but I think foremost it is a mind-altering experience. Be prepared to see the world differently; through the eyes of someone that has straddled the lines between countries, races and customs, someone who may never have danced in a powwow but can throw shade with the precision of an expert marksman ... There are powerful insights, there are truths that hit you with the force of a battering ram, there are pains that claw at your heart, the prose is superb ... Buy it. Read it. Absorb it. And then buy a copy for a friend.
RaveKirkus... [a] powerful set of essays ... Elliott evokes both fear and considerable melancholy as she chronicles the hardships of life at Six Nations ... Elliott writes with honesty and empathy of her life and the lives of family, constantly reckoning with institutional racism and less intentional private prejudices ... her larger views on the treatment of Indigenous peoples by the Canadian and American governments and critiques of racism, sexism, and other such offenses are well thought through and elegantly argued. An impressive debut from a welcome new voice in Native letters.
PositiveKirkusMarkoe\'s bold, sometimes absurdist drawings and the often chiding conversations she imagines between her mature and adolescent selves enhance the comedy at the heart of this thought-provoking story about what happens when the wisdom of age confronts the follies and foibles of youth ... A memoir that is both relatable and subversive.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a spiky coming-of-age memoir ... Markoe’s wit is hampered by her uneven, ugly-cute drawings. They have the sardonic edge of alternative cartoonists like MK Reed, but Markoe has trouble assembling them into layouts, as images fight text for page space and word balloons sprout awkwardly. Even so, Markoe’s knack for anecdotes and perfect turns of phrase is worth the price of admission. Fans of Roz Chast and Mimi Pond will want to take a look.
PositivePublishers Weekly... incisive, sweeping ... The density of plotlines can be overwhelming, but the author captures Reshawn’s frustration and Miles’s conflicted desires in sharp prose. Sobel’s fervent, literary treatment of sexuality and masculinity perfectly captures the messy world of college sports.
PositiveKirkusSobel, who attended Duke on a football scholarship, writes engrossingly about football\'s punishing physical and psychological rituals. And though his characterizations are solid, too, the book\'s style and tensions are so straightforward that it reads more like a YA novel. A subplot involving Reshawn’s research on a well-educated freed slave feels forced and underdeveloped, as do Sobel’s late efforts to work in riffs on Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener (The latter trope reinforces the sense that the book is a gridiron reprise of The Art of Fielding.) Still, the core crises that Miles and Reshawn face feel authentic, and Sobel smoothly persuades the reader to witness their many bruises ... A promising debut, albeit with some familiar conflicts.
Martin J. Sherwin
RaveKirkusSherwin’s detailed, opinionated scholarship makes it clear how national leaders bumbled through the crisis, avoiding nuclear Armageddon through modest amounts of wisdom mixed with plenty of machismo, delusions, and serendipity. Future crises are inevitable, and the author clearly demonstrates how there are no guarantees they will turn out so well ... A fearfully convincing case that avoiding nuclear war \'is contingent on the world’s dwindling reservoir of good luck.\'
Martin J. Sherwin
RavePublishers Weekly... captivating ... Sherwin relates in nerve-jangling detail how presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy grappled with their Soviet counterparts, Stalin and Khrushchev ... Intricately detailed, vividly written, and nearly Tolstoyan in scope, Sherwin’s account reveals just how close the Cold War came to boiling over. History buffs will be enthralled.
PositiveKirkus... this is clearly a scholarly book that will appeal most to specialists and policymakers. Amid the obviously deeply researched scholarship, Keyssar, a professor of history and social policy at Harvard, clearly explains the numerous objections to the Electoral College and the reasons those objections have never gained enough traction for reform to occur ... The author, who also offers cogent discussions of the role that race has played over the decades, believes the only way to parse the enduring illogic of a flawed system is the close study of historical forces. General readers may skim some sections, but the book contains solid, useful information to learn before the 2020 election.
RaveKirkusZoellner wonders how an increasingly fractured nation of such disparate lands and peoples remains united, however tenuously, in a consensus informed by the Constitution. The author’s diverse, penetrating essays, some previously published, can only answer that question in part, but his effort is valiant, deeply moral, and often moving, based on observations gleaned from 30 years of crisscrossing the country, frequently by car. Zoellner grasps all the touchstones and knows all too well the challenges and depredations, be they cultural or ecological ... Zoellner exposes naiveté, foolishness, and malfeasance with equal clarity, but he is evenhanded and sometimes produces a piece of sardonic humor, haunting beauty, or melancholy that pulsates on the page. He is both a first-rate reporter with years of newspaper and magazine work behind him and a skilled stylist who makes you want to come back for more ... Highly recommended. Zoellner will acquaint you with byways, and mores, you never knew existed.
PositivePublishers Weekly... eloquent essays ... Zoellner laces this rambling yet incisive account with perceptive character sketches and astute observations. The result is a poignant reminder that in America, \'constant change is our blotchy and beautiful inheritance.\'
RavePublishers WeeklyThe unputdownable final space opera of White’s Salvagers trilogy (following A Bad Deal for the Whole Galaxy) launches the scrappy crew of the Capricious into a deadly, all-or-nothing battle against a magic-wielding genocidal maniac who plans to obliterate life across the galaxy ... White’s tale of justice and vengeance sends the series out on a high note with electrifying action sequences, depth, and darkness. This thrilling finale will have readers on the edges of their seats.
RavePublishers WeeklyNPR correspondent Fessler’s polished and compassionate debut examines the history of Hansen’s disease (the modern name for leprosy) in America through the story of the Louisiana Leper Home in Carville, La ... Her well-researched and articulate account humanizes sufferers and caregivers alike, and offers hope in the medical field’s ability to halt the spread of contagious illness. Readers will be enlightened and encouraged.
RaveKirkusIn this fine history, by turns heartbreaking and infuriating, NPR correspondent Fessler begins with the ramshackle sugar plantation that was chosen to house the nation’s leprotic population and then moves on to the nature and progress of the disease—in particular, the societal perception of leprosy, which hasn’t changed much from its biblical depiction ... stigma has always clung to those with the disease, and it has been used as a convenient justification for prejudice against immigrants ... Without descending into melodrama, Fessler paints a clear picture of a class of people who were confined at Carville typically for life ... A caustic story told with empathy and a sharp eye for society’s intolerances.
PositivePublishers Weekly... scorching ... Amiel decries culture wars and identity politics, skewers herself, and ferociously attacks enemies, including with accusations of anti-Semitism ... This arch, over-the-top lambasting will captivate political junkies and society watchers alike.
MixedKirkus... observant and unforgiving ... This half is packed with enough memorable characters, household moves, dinner parties, and jewelry shopping excursions to fill at least three typical memoirs. The second half, a tough slog, is devoted almost entirely to Black\'s legal problems ... Even Amiel\'s most enthusiastic admirers will grow weary of the massive amount of attention devoted to this relentless onslaught ... A celebrity memoir with an uncompromising kick that could stand to shed at least 200 pages.
RavePublishers Weekly... enthralling ... While the enemies-to-lovers romance is irresistible, it’s the sincere, well-developed characters and heart-tugging family dynamics that make this fulfilling love story stand out. This is a winner.
Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett
RaveKirkusA top-notch addition to the why-America-is-in-such-a-mess genre ... The narrative is brilliantly argued throughout, although the traditional how-to-fix-it conclusion could use a more specific action plan ... A tour de force exploration of why America got better and then went into reverse.
Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett
PositivePublishers Weekly... sweeping and persuasive ... Putnam and Garrett tell this story in lucid prose illustrated with fascinating data ... While the authors explore possible causes for community unraveling—government policy, conservative backlash, do-your-own-thing liberalism, globalization—they eschew reductionist explanations. Less satisfyingly, they present no solutions besides vaguely reprising the 20th-century Progressive era’s mix of idealism and pragmatism. Still, this fresh, ambitious take on America’s fraying social fabric will provoke much discussion.
RavePublishers Weekly... sprawling and meditative ... Full of long digressions—nature walks, family history—and rumination, this baggy work is sometimes overwrought in comparing modern corporate executives and Nazis ... Still, Gretton offers a lucid, powerfully written indictment of historical outrages, posing painful moral questions that remain relevant today.
RaveKirkusA massively detailed account of the good bureaucrats who follow orders and thereby kill millions ... too long by half and wildly diffuse, with digressions into philosophy, the psychology of storytelling, and the like. However, the subject is tremendously important in a time grown ever darker—and ever more reminiscent of the darkest days in modern world history. For philosophically inclined—and patient—readers with a bent for resisting institutional evil.
RaveKirkusAn authoritative account ... Levenstein’s discussion of the multifaceted battle over welfare is especially revealing while her miniprofiles and her conversations with activists allow readers to see them growing into their roles and trying to figure out the best direction for their future actions. The author shows how feminism greatly expanded its realm of influence and makes clear how the internet provided necessary tools—e.g., Twitter, Facebook—for groups to connect with others, arouse public interest in an issue, change opinions, and raise funds. Levenstein successfully combines well-documented research with personal observations and interviews to create an accessible and informative narrative. Required reading for classes in women’s studies.
PositivePublishers Weekly... focused and persuasive ... Contemporary feminists will be enlightened, while those who entered the movement in the ’90s will feel vindicated.
Thomas A. Schwartz
PositiveKirkusThe author downplays some of the more \'thundering moral pronouncements of condemnations\' leveled at Kissinger over the years ... the author provides a useful political biography for those interested in modern American history. An elucidating, stick-to-the-record study for students of foreign policy.
Thomas A. Schwartz
MixedPublishers WeeklySchwartz provides succinct explanations of key strategies such as \'triangular diplomacy,\' but the book’s comprehensive coverage of all the international conflicts Kissinger dealt with doesn’t allow for too much deep analysis. Schwartz also treats controversies, such as allegations that Kissinger leaked privileged information about peace talks with North Vietnam to Nixon’s camp during the 1968 election, rather lightly. Still, this exhaustive yet accessible account serves as a worthwhile introduction to Kissinger and the geopolitics of the 1960s and ’70s.
RaveNB Magazine... a gripping history that combined deep scholarship with readability ... enjoyable and accessible ... an epic history. Very much in the vein of the Tom Holland histories of empire, enjoyable and informative but also gripping.
RaveKirkusSuperb ... Countless books have covered the lives of Alexander the Great and his energetic father, Philip of Macedon, but this dual biography, one of the first for a popular audience, not only gives them equal weight, but emphasizes that \'both men were able, and Alexander won the war planned and prepared by Philip\' ... Despite the plethora of accounts of Alexander’s campaign, readers will still enjoy this riveting one ... An outstandingly fresh look at well-trodden ground.
PositivePublishers Weekly... impressive ... Goldsworthy expertly mines ancient sources to parse fact from legend, but admits that both Philip and Alexander remain elusive figures, better known for their battlefield accomplishments than for their personalities, about which less is known. Still, this is a fascinating and richly detailed look at two men who \'changed the course of history.\'
PositivePublishers Weekly... searing ... Never mind the contrived setup and several characters lacking depth. Fargo shocks and entertains while delivering a scathing take-down of campus rape culture. Fans of Chelsea Cain will appreciate this fiercely feminist twist on serial killer fiction.
PanKirkusIn this novel, everything is black or white: Male behavior is always predatory while female response is always justified. While author Fargo may have intended her vigilante to be the embodiment of independent, enlightened womanhood, a hero for the #MeToo era, it’s clear that Scarlett is actually a sociopath. Those who deem themselves an arm of justice often have to live in the gray area, but there\'s little evidence that Scarlett feels guilt or inner conflict, as the most compelling vigilante heroes in literature usually do. Instead, the argument that murder is always justified, and even admirable, might make for a good thriller, but it rejects the opportunity to explore accountability and inspire true cultural change ... Disarms its own argument for woman power by simply equating revenge to justice.
PositivePublishers Weekly... droll, thoughtful ... Each story demonstrates Bissell’s talent for smooth, sparkling prose, arresting descriptions and vivid characterization. Desperate, downtrodden, and self-absorbed, the protagonists are thoroughly human, and Bissell consistently transforms the reader’s voyeuristic pleasure into unexpected sympathy.
PositiveKirkusBissell is a deeply precise writer, and his sense of the emotional disorientation his characters face is literally gut-level ... Bissell’s background in detail-oriented journalism comes in handy both in terms of language and form ... The stories’ endings sometimes lack the crispness of their setups, but Bissell is trading in anxiety, not resolution ... A witty, wide-ranging exploration of complex emotions.
PositivePublishers Weekly... engrossing ... Gwen’s ache is palpable on the page ... Evers’s narrative strategy often asks readers to recalibrate and fill in the gaps—divorces and other pivotal events happen off-page—but the effort is worthwhile. With its slow burn, Evers’s vivid, perceptive chronicle of secrets and desperation satisfies.
PanKirkusFrom the cultural upheaval of the 1960s through Thatcher-era austerity to the disruption of Brexit, Britain undergoes wrenching economic, political, and social change, but little of that appears to touch the lives of these characters in any significant way ... Despite a handful of emotionally affecting scenes and some well-drawn characters, the novel feels overlong given its dearth of narrative momentum ... The lack of palpable drama makes this multigenerational saga a disappointment.
PositivePublishers WeeklyKingfisher neatly combines modern elements into a combined folktale and horror story that is rich in atmosphere and characterization ... Mouse is a down-to-earth character with a quick wit that never wavers, even when her circumstances are disturbing. This occult thriller with heart boasts genuine scares.
PositiveKirkusThere are no cheap scares here, and while a few are Lovecraft-ian in flavor, they’re entirely of the author’s wonderfully twisted and endlessly fertile imagination, and readers will have no trouble rooting for the instantly likable Kara, who narrates, and the delightfully offbeat Simon ... The perfect tale for fans of horror with heart.
RavePublishers Weekly...moving and evocative ... These intimate, contemplative and probing essays reveal Messud’s rich inner life and generosity of spirit.
RaveKirkusMessud sets the tone in her impassioned introduction, proclaiming the importance of literature \'in a period which can feel like the dawn of a new Dark Ages\' ... The critical pieces in the second and third parts discuss individual works by literary and visual artists as varied as Albert Camus, Jane Bowles, Saul Friedlander, Alice Neel, and Marlene Dumas; the author discerns a common thread in their ability to convey their personal experiences and connect them to larger issues in the world ... Powerful and inspirational: Messud is as fine a critic as she is a novelist.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLeavitt gleefully skewers his characters and those in their orbit ... [He] nearly pulls off a surprise ending, which, though out of left field, adds to the amusement. This irresistible, laugh-out-loud romp is a winner.
RaveKirkusNone of the main characters gets a pass in this dark comedy, and it’s a lot of fun: Democrats, Republicans, writers, and even one magazine editor who binges on sugar-dusted sticks of butter—Leavitt skewers them all in this delectable novel. A humane, knowing comedy perfect for a moment when no one in America seems to like one another.
PositiveKirkusLife-affirming, thoughtful, and thoroughly delightful, this book celebrates self-acceptance and the joy of living an unexpected life. An uplifting memoir for birders and nature enthusiasts.
Screen reader support enabled.To enable screen reader support, press ⌘+Option+Z To learn about keyboard shortcuts, press ⌘slash
Life-affirming, thoughtful, and thoroughly delightful, this book celebrates self-acceptance and the joy of living an unexpected life. An uplifting memoir for birders and nature enthusiasts.
PanKirkusThe themes of sexual assault and incel culture are only marginally developed despite the key part each plays in the story. As such, even with these subjects, Jewell\'s latest is not nearly as dark as her earlier novels. This might be a welcome change if the characters had emotional depth or unique narrative voices, but they too are only superficially realized. A lackluster and underdeveloped story.
MixedPublishers WeeklyFacile plotting, underdeveloped characters, and unconvincing stakes mar this disappointing domestic thriller ... Though Jewell neatly entwines her protagonists’ story lines, a too-pat conclusion fails to gratify. Fans will hope for a future return to form.
PositiveSmart Bitches Trashy Books... a sex-positive, contemporary romance debut that has given me something I’ve been searching for: romantic leads who are involved in sex work (minus all of the shame and slut-shaming). I’m happy to say that The Roommate delivered on that front, and the romance was rather cute, too, despite being slightly different than what I was expecting ... it’s not where I thought the book was going and while I fully support Josh and Clara’s ultimate goal, the blackmail plot wasn’t my favorite. I would have much preferred focusing on Clara’s shedding of the shame and shackles of her upbringing, where reputation and appearances are prized and emphasized ... When it comes to The Roommate, the biggest question is whether it lives up to the hype and I think it really depends on what you think you’re getting into. Is it a story that focuses on the heroine’s sexual self-exploration? Not enough for my tastes: the blackmail plot against Josh and Clara’s worries about social fallout that never materializes overshadow that part of the story, which was the part I most enjoyed.
RavePublishers WeeklyDanan makes this novel premise work with a charming, believable heroine; an offbeat hero with a heart of gold; and snappy, laugh-out-loud prose. Romance fans will especially appreciate that the steamy erotic scenes are used to further character development, rather than just for cheap thrills. This delectable rom-com is both red-hot and fiercely feminist.
PositiveKirkusClara and Josh are likable characters trying to make the world a better place. Danan’s debut is a staunch rejection of societal shame about sex and pleasure—one that will speak to romance readers young and old. A deliciously fresh romance with strong characters and feminist themes.
PositivePublishers Weekly... an exhaustive, sometimes exhausting analysis ... Kenny’s exacting attention to aspects of the production both big and small continues as he examines the soundtrack choices (from Bobby Darin to Sid Vicious) and even the Liotta character’s recipe for ziti. Readers who are only casual admirers of Scorsese may find Kenny’s level of detail tedious, but the director’s most devoted fans will adore this.
Charles A Kupchan
PositivePublishers Weekly... erudite and evenhanded ... [Kupchan] marshals a wealth of evidence to support his arguments and ranges confidently across more than 200 years of American history. Policy makers and foreign affairs scholars will want to take note.
Charles A Kupchan
PositiveKirkusHistories of ideas are often boring, but Kupchan writes well and only occasionally falls into the academic mode, mostly when he delivers an opinion and then follows it with a quote from another scholar who backs him up ... Astute political history.
PositiveKirkusFortunately, the roads taken by these authors are anything but rehearsed ... Across the collection, the writers push against the limits of what we think we know about the South ... A sweet Southern sampling of a new generation of talented writers.
PositivePublishers Weekly... [a] splendid assembly ... Life in America for writers of color is not confined to race and ethnicity, the essays remind the reader ... Totally engaging, this informing, thought-provoking collection is valuable for its vision of a South that is not monolithic.
RavePublishers Weekly... excellent ... Kirsch smoothly places the unprecedented events of the last century in a broad literary context that will help readers deepen understanding of them. Kirsch’s wide, trenchant reading of Jewish writings provides insight for lay readers and scholars alike.
RaveKirkus... impressive ... At the beginning, the author admits that any such study has its limitations, but the works he chooses are representative of the geographic, ideological, theological, and gender diversity of modern Jewish thought. They also focus the reader’s attention on a century of monumental change for global Judaism, marked by mass immigration, brilliant philosophical movements, the horrors of the Holocaust, the creation of Israel as a sovereign state, and unprecedented secularism ... Kirsch’s work serves as an engrossing overview and introduction to a wide variety of writers, making it especially useful to general readers ... Well-crafted, expertly balanced, and deeply humane.
PositiveKirkusAn argument that blends demography, economics, and politics to suggest a way to maintain America’s great-power status in the 21st century ... It’s enough to make a zero population growth advocate faint ... [Yglesias] offers a well-deliberated critique of housing policies that he does not hesitate to call racist, policies that forbid the construction of multiple-family dwellings in suburban and exurban areas ... He sees nothing but economic good in population growth ... The thesis is eminently arguable, but the book is packed full of provocative ideas well worth considering.
Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz
PositiveKirkus[A] comprehensive account ... Readers will find some grounding in linguistics to be helpful, as the authors discuss phonetics, phonemics, morphemics, and other technical matters ... Knowledgeable fans of Egyptology, cryptography, and languages will enjoy this exploration of the ancient past.
PositiveKirkusGood-natured account of a New Hampshire town where living free and the possibility of dying go hand in hand. Magazine journalist Hongoltz-Hetling opens his narrative with a firefighter who holds government in contempt even if he draws a salary from it. The firefighter put out the word that the little burg in which he lived, \'a flyspeck town buried in the woods of New Hampshire’s western fringe,\' could be a paradise for libertarians, if only enough of them would move there and take control of—yes, the government ... An entertaining sendup of idealistic politics and the fatal flaws of overweening self-interest.
RavePublishers WeeklyJournalist Hongoltz-Hetling chronicles the libertarian takeover of Grafton, N.H., in his witty and precisely observed debut ... Hongoltz-Hetling skillfully probes shortcomings and ironies in the libertarian philosophy of \'unfettered personal and property rights,\' and colorfully sketches Grafton residents including a former factory worker who purchased the town’s church and hears messages directly from God. The result is an entertaining and incisive portrait of political ideology run amok.
RaveKirkusA deep exploration of why Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by violence and what can be done about it ... Criminologist Currie documents our \'national failure\' to take action and address the root causes of the violence in Black communities ... Currie’s book paints a heartbreaking picture, but it also makes an urgent case for bold measures to turn the tide in Black communities. A damning examination of violence in Black America and a call for intervention that is long overdue.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCriminologist Currie (The Roots of Danger) laments the lack of attention paid to disproportionately high rates of violent death and injury among African Americans in this disturbing evidence-based account ... Though sincere and persuasive in his efforts to document and explain the challenges faced by urban Black Americans, Currie’s suggestions for reform, including stricter gun control and a rethinking of incarceration, are well-worn. Still, this is an informative and well-intentioned overview of an ongoing crisis in America.
PositiveKirkus... ambitiously structured ... high concept ... From his childhood to his life as a college student and writer, the book skims over a lifetime; feelings of intimacy and emotional intensity are variable even as the elliptical voice is unique. Black-and-white reproductions of Gansworth’s paintings and family photographs enhance and extend the text in a work originally conceived of as a visual arts project ... A rare and special read.
PositiveKirkus... a raw, layered story about love and loss of community, culture, and place. Family photos, black-and-white reproductions of the author’s paintings, and project \'liner notes\' round out the telling.
PositivePublishers Weekly... lively, if somewhat speculative ... Piecing together the increasingly convoluted and elaborate scheme through newspaper accounts, archival records, letters, and biographies, Carr contends that it failed because of a lack of funds and disagreements among Cossack leaders, though he admits some pieces of the puzzle are still missing, including whether the plotters were behind Fanny Kaplan’s attempted assassination of Lenin in summer of 1918. Fluidly written and impressively researched, this espionage tale delights.
PositiveKirkusDeep dive into an episode of history that is little known but deserves more exposure ... Some reads like history, some like a spy novel, and it’s always eye-opening ... A well-crafted exposé that suggests that the Cold War began half a century earlier than we’ve been told.
RavePublishers Weekly... harrowing, dexterous ... O’Connor moves nimbly among points of view and shuffles back and forth in time, allowing the reader to piece the story together, only to zoom out and reveal that Jess’s relationship with the seekers is more complicated than it intially seemed. With a noir tone and a rich assortment of characters whose lives unfold in chapters pared down to their essentials, the novel transforms a would-be abstract meditation on the influence of art into a vital, deeply engaging work. Writing with verve and precision, O’Connor serves up a thoughtful, original thriller.
MixedKirkusWhile each character’s narrative should compel readers to invest in the backstory and tragedy of the lethal intersection between life and art, the novel never finds its footing, succeeding only in revealing a completed puzzle and asking readers to pick apart the pieces ... A novel about experiential art based in light and space loses focus along the way.
MixedPublishers Weekly... intriguing if flawed ... Sharp turns out to be quite resourceful, physically and mentally, and thrilling action scenes keep the pages turning, but readers should be prepared for too much exposition and paint-by-numbers characterizations. Johnston’s obvious talent suggests he can do better in the sequel.
Sarah McCraw Crow
PositivePublishers Weekly... entrancing ... The choice to present the characters’ desperate actions in shades of gray makes for engrossing reading. McCraw Crow’s smart and thoughtful story will ring true to those who witnessed the social upheavals of the ’70s.
PositivePublishers Weekly... appealing ... [Meade] does a skillful job taking readers through the blow-by-blow of the campaign, including the process of writing the actual text of the referendum, and makes a persuasive case that restoring the civil rights of ex-felons will lower rates of recidivism. Throughout, Meade interweaves moving personal anecdotes, including the moment, talking to a younger man after a drug treatment therapy session, when he found his calling to help other people. This poignant account soars.
PositiveKirkusBecause Canadian historian MacMillan specializes in the 20th century, the scope of her latest is a stretch, and she is also entering a crowded field that includes plenty of excellent overviews. Despite the competition, however, MacMillan acquits herself well ... nine thoughtful chapters ... With only a nod to politics and technology, MacMillan tackles broad issues such as the reasons nations go to war, the cult of the warrior, the effect of war on civilians and on women, efforts (barely two centuries old) to make laws for war, and its influence on art, literature, and national memories ... An insightful and disturbing study of war as an aspect of culture.
PositivePublishers Weekly... brisk and lucid ... [MacMillan] laces her account with fascinating observations and examples, and provides an extensive and well-sourced bibliography for further reading. Military history buffs will be riveted.
PositivePublishers Weekly... cheese has always provided a healthy environment for low comedy, and Berkowitz cannot resist flavoring his authoritative knowledge with playful turns of phrase ... Ripe with fresh perspectives, this well-molded collection is a delight.
RaveKirkusThe novel is sure-footed, its puzzle the most tightly structured and enjoyable of the whodunits in Thomas’ series about the gender-swapped sleuth. As the group questions witnesses and ferrets out motives of potential suspects, the narrative changes rapidly from scene to scene around wintry London and from memory to memory. The telling shifts of speakers’ bodies punctuate conversations, distilling emotions and speech into physicality. The novel also amplifies the series’ theme of the assaults and challenges women face in a world that disadvantages them personally and professionally. More notably, it foregrounds the actions of numerous women to do so. Each is richly drawn, with her own way of resisting societal limitations regarding sex, ethnicity, and class. Holmes herself is as adept at crime-solving as ever, but when it comes to erotic love, she is still considering the ramifications of getting what she has desired for years ... With an increasingly beloved detective crew, this Victorian mystery offers thrills and sharp insights into human behavior.
MixedPublishers Weekly... entertaining if implausible ... Developments in Charlotte’s love life complement the sleuthing. This may appeal more to fans of lighter Victorian mysteries than to Sherlockians.
PositiveKirkusA murder investigation hits close to home for an experienced police officer in the north of England. Taking a wrong turn in a snowstorm, Inspector Vera Stanhope finds a car with only a baby inside. With no cellphone service, she drives to the nearest house, which just happens to belong to her estranged relatives ... Fans will enjoy matching wits with Cleeves’ eccentric sleuth right up to the dangerous surprise in her denouement.
RavePublishers WeeklyCWA Diamond Dagger Award winner Cleeves’s superb ninth novel featuring astute, irascible Det. Insp. Vera Stanhope (after 2017’s The Seagull) finds Vera driving home late one night through rural Northumberland in a blizzard when she comes upon a car that’s slewed off the road ... This fair-play mystery brims with fully developed suspects and motives that are hidden in plain sight. Skillful misdirection masks the killer’s identity. This page-turner is must reading for fans as well as newcomers.
RavePublishers Weekly... intense, artfully woven ... Bianca’s repeated meditations on bodies of water as a source of life (\'Rivers take, yes, but rivers bring back\') and the echoes of lines from Cisneros add rich lyrical layers to the fast-paced plot. Givhan rewards readers with a fiery story.
Kim Stanley Robinson
RavePublishers WeeklyBestseller Robinson (Forty Signs of Rain) again tackles climate change head-on in this gutsy, humane view of a near-future Earth careening toward collapse ... Robinson masterfully integrates the practical details of environmental crises and geoengineering projects into a sweeping, optimistic portrait of humanity’s ability to cooperate in the face of disaster ... a must-read for anyone worried about the future of the planet.
Kim Stanley Robinson
MixedKirkus...detail-heavy ... [A] dry and snarky infodump essays and brief, punchy accounts from people, inanimate objects, and metaphorical forces. Perhaps the author is angry that though he\'s spent years writing novels exploring the dire results of climate change, the message doesn’t seem to have gotten through ... High-minded, well-intentioned, and in love with what Earth’s future could be but somewhat lacking in narrative drive.
PositiveKirkusA literary survey of the wreckage that is the Trump administration ... A nimble overview of the library of Trumpiana, which is likely to grow no matter what the outcome of the 2020 election.
PositivePublishers Weekly[An] incisive survey of the 150 nonfiction books he’s read \'on the Trump era\' ... Readers will appreciate this useful guide to a bookshelf that grows more crowded by the minute.
RaveKirkus... a pithy roundup of some of the inevitable global changes that will follow the current pandemic ... Examining issues both obvious and subtler, Zakaria sets out how and why the world has changed forever ... A cleareyed, concise look at current and future affairs offering pertinent points to reflect and debate.
PanPublishers Weekly... [a] scattershot treatise ... In the book’s strongest sections, Zakaria argues that America needs a less fragmented and gridlocked government bureaucracy to cope with health threats, and he calls for more honesty and empathy from scientists, and foresees accelerated migration of work and life onto the internet. Other points seem tangential to the virus (the rise of robots and artificial intelligence to displace humans), or rehash Zakaria’s already well-articulated stances (he spends many pages defending globalization and multilateralism against Trumpian nationalism) ... He anthropomorphizes Covid-19 as \'nature’s revenge\' for overpopulation and human environmental encroachments, and suggests that \'promoting healthier diets\' will help to prevent the next pandemic. Zakaria also disparages America’s Covid-19 response by cherry-picking the statistic that by July 2020 \'per-capita daily death rates in the United States were ten times higher than in Europe,\' without noting that the continent’s outbreak peaked earlier, with similarly high death rates in multiple countries. This less-than-cogent analysis of the coronavirus pandemic leaves much to be desired.
RaveKirkusIn this survey of polymaths, Burke offers \'an approach to the social and cultural history of knowledge.\' ... Burke provides well-rounded pictures of the polymaths, and his precisely observed anecdotes aptly range across disciplines, approaches, and contributions ... An absorbing group portrait and intellectual history.
RavePublishers Weekly... this erudite and dryly witty collection will help readers to make sense of the current age of discontent.
V. E. Schwab
RavePublishers WeeklySchwab crafts the tale of one woman’s desperate drive to be remembered into a triumphant exploration of love and loss ... The first half of the book––as Addie learns the limits and loneliness of her curse––is as devastating as it is prescient in these self-isolating times. Which makes Addie’s eventual meeting with Henry, the first person to remember her in some 300 years, all the more joyous. This sweeping fantasy is as much a love story as it is a tribute to storytelling, art, and inspiration. Schwab’s diverse cast is beautifully rendered, and the view of human connection on offer is biting and bitter, yet introspective and sweet. This ambitious and hopeful work is a knockout.
V. E. Schwab
RaveKirkusThis is the kind of book you stay up all night reading—rich and satisfying and strange and impeccably crafted ... Spanning centuries and continents, this is a darkly romantic and suspenseful tale by a writer at the top of her game.
RaveKirkus... comprehensive ... The accomplishments of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) were widespread and substantial, and her trailblazing actions in support of social justice and global peace resonate powerfully in our current moment ... In the most expansive one-volume portrait to date, Michaelis offers a fresh perspective on some well-worn territory ... The author paints a compelling portrait of Eleanor’s life as an evolving journey of transformation, lingering on the significant episodes to shed nuance on her circumstances and the players involved ... As in his acclaimed biography of Charles Schulz, Michaelis displays his nimble storytelling skills, smoothly tracking Eleanor’s ascension from wife and mother to her powerfully influential and controversial role as first lady and continued leadership and activist efforts beyond. Throughout, the author lucidly illuminates the essence of her thinking and objectives ... A well-documented and enlightened portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt for our times.
RavePublishers Weekly... a compulsively readable and exhaustively researched portrait of one of the most admired women of the 20th century ... Michaelis’s clear-eyed but sympathetic portrayal, enhanced by a crisp writing style, brings Roosevelt’s personality and achievements into sharp focus. This jam-packed biography is a must-read for 20th-century history buffs.
RaveKirkusThe author of the groundbreaking article, \'America, Your Food Is So Gay,\' turns a sharp but sympathetic eye on the carefully closeted food writer who celebrated the glories of homegrown ingredients and down-home cooking decades before they were fashionable ... A thoughtful appreciation of a central figure in the story of American food culture.
RavePublishers WeeklyFood writer and cookbook author Birdsall (Hawker Fare) styles Beard the Walt Whitman of 20th-century cooking: he championed fresh, local, seasonal fare against processed and frozen foods, and pioneered New American cuisine by applying French cooking methods to simple American classics ... In Birdsall’s colorful portrait, Beard is a larger-than-life figure ... a rich, entertaining account of an essential tastemaker.
RaveKirkusTurton brings a pointed social conscience to bear in his commentary on the ill treatment of women and the exploitation of the lower class...With all its characters, hidden identities, and backstories, this epic sometimes sags ... But Turton has a colorful tale to tell and does so in highly entertaining fashion ... A devilish sea saga that never runs out of cutthroat conspiracies.
RavePublishers Weekly... outstanding ... As Turton ratchets up the tension en route to the brilliant resolution of the plot, he keeps readers in doubt as to whether a rational explanation is possible. Fans of impossible crime fiction won’t want to miss this one.
Sean B. Carroll
RaveKirkusReaders will learn numerous fascinating tales ... An amusing coda featuring an invented conversation between dead geniuses and living comedians reinforces the necessity of science even when millions eschew it in favor of a belief that things happen for a reason ... A short, sweet, and scientifically solid view of life.
RavePublishers WeeklyTender, funny, and heartbreaking, this tale of family, food...and growing apart feels intimate and expansive at the same time ... [Washington] comfortably expands his range into the setting of Osaka, applying nuance in equal measure to his characters and the places they’re tied to.
RaveKirkus...vividly written ... Washington’s novel is richly layered and thrives in the quiet moments between lovers and family members ... There is passion in this novel—fight scenes, sex scenes, screaming matches, and tears—but it reaches a deep poetic realism when Washington explores the space between characters ... A subtle and moving exploration of love, family, race, and the long, frustrating search for home.
Hiroko Oyamada, tr. David Boyd
RavePublishers Weekly...eerie ... her efforts lead only to more questions, which build to a neat, satisfying ending. Oyamada’s atmospheric literary thriller puts a fresh, gripping spin on the bored housewife set-up.
Hiroko Oyamada, tr. David Boyd
PositiveKirkus...taught, surreal ... Throughout the novel, Oyamada memorably conveys Asa’s dislocation. The prose frequently transforms everyday scenes into something menacing ... memorable.
Romy Hausmann, Trans. by Jamie Bulloch
RaveCrime Fiction LoverHow do authors make their books stand out with hundreds of psychological thrillers published every year? The German author Romy Hausmann has managed it ... This is the kind of book you are best not knowing too much about before reading. However, Dear Child is much more than the sum of its parts as outlined above. The characters, especially Lena and Matthias, are very well observed and compelled me to read on, even though this is a dark, dark book. Those twists I refer to, are not artificial, but feel almost inevitable as the story unfolds, and shed light and give depth to the novel’s characters, as well as making for an increasingly tense read. An unfussy translation, by Jamie Bulloch, rounds off a consistently excellent novel.
Romy Hausmann, Trans. by Jamie Bulloch
RavePublishers Weekly... outstanding ... The multiple points of view and numerous plot twists sustain the breakneck pacing, but the book’s real power lies in the author’s insightful and sensitive portrayal of the characters involved in the tragedy. This darkly disturbing thriller definitely marks Hausmann as a writer to watch.
Romy Hausmann, Trans. by Jamie Bulloch
MixedKirkus... the author has failed to make the central characters seem like real people, and the supporting ones are barely outlined. For this reason, the reveals in the latter part of the book are less exciting than they should be ... The plot is sufficiently creepy and twisty, but without well-developed characters, the reader\'s buy-in will be limited.
RavePublishers WeeklyEvocatively rendered and emotionally resonant, this literary crime novel is the real deal. Morrow’s gothic tale bears comparison with Poe’s own work.
RaveKirkus\"The veteran historian maintains his high standards in this study of two of 19th-century America’s most significant figures ... Brands delivers a gripping account of his 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry but succeeds no more than colleagues in explaining its utter incompetence ... An outstanding dual biography.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"...an entertaining and insightful dual biography of revolutionary abolitionist ... Though much of Brands’s material is familiar, he provides essential historical context and intriguing insights into both men’s characters and decision-making. American history fans will be thrilled.\
PositivePublishers Weekly[An] inspired debut ... Beatty’s novel has echoes of Matthew Sharpe’s Jamestown and Hugh Nissenson’s The Tree of Life, employing language that thrusts the reader fully into the tumult of life on the American frontier. Like Big Son himself, this novel is an American original.
RaveKirkusA rambling, shaggy dog tale ... a narrative that constantly threatens to spin out of control but that Beatty guides to a satisfying, surprising end ... An improbable, downright preposterous yarn ably spun and a great entertainment for a time in need of laughter.
RaveKirkus... strong enough to hook you and keep you hooked.
RavePublishers Weekly\"McDermid expertly balances the book’s multiple mysteries, giving none short shrift. Vividly sketched characters, a colorful narrative, and myriad twists keep the pages turning, despite a somewhat leisurely pace. McDermid continues her reign as queen of the police procedural.\
RavePublishers Weekly...a laugh-out-loud volume ... This sharply observed, life-in-gags treasure trove offers essential reading for comedy fans, from a master of the form.
PositiveKirkus...affable ... Fans of Seinfeld will eat this up, and aspiring comics will want to study how he shapes his seemingly effortless humor.
RaveKirkusA fascinating look at the narrow but wild world of tarpon fishing ... Burke constructs the rise and fall of this unique fishing tale with impressive narrative control and an obvious reverence for its vivid characters. Ably captures the swagger, attitudes, and angling derring-do of a golden age of fishing history.
RavePublisher\'s WeeklyBurke’s writing is vivid and lyrical ... Told with an angler’s eye for detail, even the glossaries of fishing terminology and fly-fishing techniques will engage readers ... Fly-fishing fans will be hooked.
MixedPublishers Weekly\"Affecting prose and depth of characterization largely compensate for the predictable plot of this whodunit ... Strafford’s inquiry follows standard lines, and the various reveals won’t surprise genre fans. This is not one of Banville’s best.\
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough he doesn’t offer much in the way of specific solutions, Snyder draws valuable context and insight out of his harrowing personal experience. The result is a troubling portrait of a system in which the patient is the last priority.
PositiveKirkusSnyder delivers a scathing critique ... The author meticulously documents the health problems he suffered ... An impassioned indictment of a broken system and its enablers and necessary reading as the pandemic intensifies.
RaveKirkusAction-packed ... nimbly constructed ... Smart, engaging sportswriting—good reading for organization builders as well as Pats fans.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a fascinating horror novel ... Pyper does a good job of haunting the White House but is less successful at incorporating the real historical horrors of slavery and the looming Civil War. History buffs might take issue with some of the minutiae, but this eerie ghost story is sure to please horror fans.
RavePublishers Weekly... a thought-provoking look at how human fascination with the night sky has influenced beliefs throughout history ... The book’s broad scope is made manageable by punchy storytelling ... Integrating science, history, philosophy, and religion, Marchant’s epic account is one for readers to savor.
PositiveKirkusChronicling the history of the Hill of Tara (present-day Ireland), built long before the Great Pyramids, Marchant, who has a doctorate in genetics and medical microbiology, notes the work of a scientist who tried to work out how the ancient monument was oriented toward the sky. Readers will share his sense of wonder ... Readers interested in the cognitive aspects of cosmology will enjoy Marchant’s explorations.
PositiveKirkusFrench is deploying a well-worn trope here—in fact, she’s deploying a few ... Cal is a complex enough character, though, and it turns out that the mystery he’s trying to solve is less shocking than what he ultimately discovers. French\'s latest is neither fast-paced nor action-packed, and it has as much to do with Cal’s inner life as it does with finding Brendan. Much of what mystery readers are looking for in terms of action is squeezed into the last third of the novel, and the morally ambiguous ending may be unsatisfying for some. But French’s fans have surely come to expect imperfect allegiance to genre conventions, and the author does, ultimately, deliver plenty of twists, shocking revelations, and truly chilling moments. Slow moving and richly layered.
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] superb standalone ... The more Hooper digs, the more he finds that his new community conceals dark secrets. Insightful characterizations, even of minor figures, and a devastating reveal help make this a standout. Crime fiction fans won’t want to miss this one.
PositivePublishers Weekly... striking ... As Maria’s story takes her from England to Massachusetts and New York, Hoffman offers an eye-opening account of how single women were treated in the 17th century, particularly when their knowledge or intelligence was deemed threatening. While the musings on \'enchantments and remedies\' grow repetitive, Maria’s page-turning adventure is thoroughly enjoyable. Hoffman’s redemptive story of a fiercely independent woman adds an engrossing, worthwhile chapter to the series.
MixedKirkusMaster storyteller Hoffman’s tale pours like cream but is too thick with plot redundancies and long-winded history lessons.
PositiveKirkusAlter demonstrates [Carter\'s strengths], meticulously unfolding proof of Carter’s many accomplishments while just as carefully showing his missteps ... his achievements, both during his presidency and after, are significant, as Alter capably demonstrates ... Students of recent presidential and world history will find Alter’s anecdotally rich narrative immensely rewarding.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a sweeping, meticulously-researched biography ... Alter’s fluidly written account adds depth and nuance to the popular understanding of Carter’s presidency, yet his post–White House career gets short shrift. Still, this is an illuminating and persuasive reevaluation of Carter’s legacy.
PositiveKirkus... an audaciously allegorical novella about sleep deprivation in an age of sensory overload ... Russell seems to be having some fun here ... Those who appreciate Russell’s literary alchemy might find this a little too close to science fiction, but it serves as a parable on a number of levels for a world that is recognizably our own. More of a detour than a natural progression for the author, whose fans will nevertheless find this as engaging as it is provocative.
MixedPublishers WeeklyNarrated by Trish, the book succeeds in conveying her internal conflict, but the short length leaves a number of questions unexplored, including the motives and background of the supporting characters. As a whole, the story fails to shed much light on the world around Trish, making this novella somewhat hollow.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe wildly over-the-top characters and plot race toward a fittingly extravagant conclusion. Johansen’s fans will be in heaven.
RaveKirkusInstead of sweating the details of plotting or characterization, Johansen sets this modern swashbuckler in an alternative reality ... Everything and everybody is larger than life yet somehow smaller than life as well.
Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck
RavePublishers Weekly... Hope and Scheck marshal their research into a page-turning narrative that persuasively casts MBS as a grave danger to the region. This detailed exposé rings true.
Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck
RaveKirkusHope and Scheck diligently chart the rapid rise—and recent faltering—of MBS ... An excellent work of impressive research on a dangerous world leader.
Roberto Saviano, tr. Antony Shugaar
PanPublishers Weekly...disappointing ... Nothing here feels remotely fresh, and Saviano fails to facilitate any empathy for his psychopathic antihero ... Awkward translated prose ... Admirers of Saviano’s journalism will hope he sticks to nonfiction.
Elissa R. Sloan
RaveThe Nerd Daily[A} book that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, mostly because of the peculiar way the author keeps the intrigue element during the whole book ... Though it has many characters (something that doesn’t come as a surprise, being a book about the world of fame), they’re all very well-constructed and have a crucial part in how the story unravels. The author made a great job at placing everyone in the right place at the right time ... a perfect reflection on what real life situations similar to this one might be like. The author ends the book on a mysterious note and I kind of felt as if I was left hanging, and though in many cases that’s not good, this time it was brilliant.
Elissa R. Sloan
RavePublishers WeeklySloan takes on the fraught topic of mental illness coupled with the pressure of fame in her sensational debut ... The dark side of fame is evident throughout this spirited and expertly plotted story ... unforgettable ... Sloan\'s debut will leave readers eagerly awaiting her next outing.
MixedPublishers Weekly...poignant if uneven ... While discussion of the narrator’s PhD work is fascinating, the tidy ending feels discordant with her lingering questions. Though elegantly written, this love story fails to convince.
RaveKirkusModeled after Roland Barthes\' structuralist masterpiece, also titled A Lover’s Discourse, Guo’s latest meditation on the nature of belonging asks many of the same questions as her earlier works—Can language create identity? Can love create a home? ... A fiercely intelligent book whose exploration of the philosophy of identity is trenchant and moving.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPerry expertly blends character development with plot surprises. This prolific author shows no sign of losing steam.
PanKirkusReaders who share Perry’s comfortable 20/20 historical hindsight won’t be surprised by a thing.
Wolf Wondratschek, Trans. by Marshall Yarbrough
PositiveKirkusPensive, philosophically charged novel of old age and loss ... Wondratschek’s layered narrative reflects on language, art, politics, and history, and though nothing much happens in it, there is plenty to think about. Wondratschek even sneaks in a few jokes ... Readers with a bent for Thomas Mann and Elias Canetti will find this book a pleasure, if a somber one.
Wolf Wondratschek, Trans. by Marshall Yarbrough
RavePublishers Weekly... a tender character study ... The author writes about music with intimacy and tenderness, and peppers his narrative with delightful anecdotes of the foibles of high-art celebrities. Wondratschek’s deeply felt meditation on the joys and sorrows of a life in music delivers the goods.
RavePublishers WeeklyAbdoh...delivers a superb pressure cooker of a novel ... In chapters that shuffle Saleh around Syria and Iraq, Abdoh vibrantly illustrates the futilities and dangers of proxy conflict ... Abdoh brilliantly fuses the confusions of combat and modern life to produce an unforgettable novel. This is one of the best works of literature on the war against ISIS to date.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis riveting history of Andrew Wakefield’s career as an advocate for the discredited link between the measles vaccine and autism serves as a stirring demonstration of the process and power of investigative journalism ... Readers who love a good debunking will find Deer’s narrative logical, exciting, and enraging.
MixedPublishers WeeklyJournalist Chen probes the nuances of asexuality in her well-intentioned yet muddled debut ... Though Chen succeeds in exploring the full range of asexuality, her stated desire to transcend labels is undermined by a hyper-focus on categorical minutiae, and her analogies (such as a comparison between sex and eating crackers) often miss the mark. Aces will appreciate seeing themselves reflected in Chen’s sensitive portrayals.
Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager
RavePublishers WeeklyPearl, a librarian and critic, and Schwager, a journalist and playwright, bring boundless enthusiasm and curiosity to this eclectic and probing book of interviews ... All of the interviewees muse intently on what they value about touchstone writer ... Readers of this delightful compendium will relish the chance to find many of those shared loves, as well as discover new ones.
Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager
PositiveKirkusGently probing interviews elicited thoughtful responses about books that informed each writer’s literary sensibility and professional aspirations ... A spirited collection offering intimate insights into the writing life.
Cristina Rivera Garza, tr. Sarah Booker
PositiveKirkusAs Rivera Garza ably demonstrates, so much of the responsibility for the violence can be attributed to the failure of the state ... A compelling work of social criticism that speaks to a desperate time.
Marie Ndiaye, tr. Jordan Stump
RavePublishers Weekly...a blistering critique of bourgeois French society ... eerie ... Ndiaye pulls off a fascinating group portrait of the town, capturing the shifts in behavior of each character in relation to the power they hold or are beholden to ... a powerful chronicle of the failure of one man’s will.
Marie Ndiaye, tr. Jordan Stump
RaveKirkusUtterly compelling in tone, plot, and style, this slim, sleek story has a veneer of sly sophistication that belies the horror of malignancy within the village and Herman himself ... Part ghost story, part satiric horror, this gorgeously eerie book will keep you holding your breath even past the end.
PositiveKirkusThis book isn\'t heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable ... A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.
PositivePublishers Weekly... charming if sometimes laborious ... While the formula grows repetitive, the set changes provide novelty, as Haig whisks Nora from Australian beaches to a South American rock concert tour to an Arctic encounter with a polar bear. Haig’s agreeable narrative voice and imagination will reward readers who take this book off the shelf.
RavePublishers WeeklyNovik puts a refreshingly dark, adult spin on the magical boarding school setting ... Readers will delight in the push-and-pull of El and Orion’s relationship, the fantastically detailed world, the clever magic system, and the matter-of-fact diversity of the student body. This is a must-read for fantasy fans.
MixedKirkusEl\'s bad attitude and her incessant info-dumping make Novik\'s protagonist hard to like, and the lack of chemistry between the two main characters leaves the central romantic pairing feeling forced. Although the conclusion makes space for a promising sequel, getting there requires readers to give El more grace than they may be willing to part with ... A perilous, magic-school adventure that falls short of its potential.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this affectionate and astute cultural study, Smarsh...shines a light on Dolly Parton’s struggles and path to becoming the queen of country music ... It’s a sharp narrative...as Smarsh illustrates that even when Parton conquered the man’s world in the mid-1980s, she was still treated as less capable than men in the industry ... Smarsh’s luminescent prose and briskly tempered storytelling make for an illuminating take on a one-of-a-kind artist.
PositiveKirkusThis book...explores Parton\'s musical and cultural contributions. It also tells stories about the women so often at the heart of Parton\'s songs ... A highly readable treat for music and feminist scholars as well as Parton\'s legion of fans.
RaveKirkusThe challenge before any serious war novelist is to bring order to chaos without succumbing to a tidy narrative. It’s to Klay’s credit that he creates ambiguity not through atmospheric language or irony but through careful psychological portraits that reveal how readily relationships grow complicated and how even good intentions come undone in the face of humanity’s urge to violence. That means plotlines get convoluted in the late stages, but the dispiriting conclusion is crystal clear: It’s not just that war is hell, but that war brings hellishness to everything ... An unflinching and engrossing exploration of violence’s agonizing persistence.
MixedPublishers Weekly... ambitious ... While the novel suffers from a surfeit of tedious subplots and can feel overwhelmed by Klay’s exhaustive research, the prose is consistently staggering, whether in the characters’ moments of self-reflection or unflinching descriptions of brutality ... Even though the whole thing doesn’t quite tie together, it’s quite a ride.
PositiveKirkusHazzard, who died in 2016, is best known as the author of two magnificent, intricate novels, >em>The Transit of Venus ...and The Great Fire...The stories collected here offer a perfect introduction to her astringent sensibility ... Hazzard’s characters are yearning for intimacy and perfect understanding and are not quite resigned to their inevitable disappointment ... The stories set at the U.N. are tartly satirical as Hazzard buries her bureaucrats, no matter how idealistic, under a blizzard of papers such as the \'Provisional Report of the Working Group on Unforeseeable Contingencies\' and checklists \'painstakingly devised to avoid anything resembling a personal opinion.\' They feel like an up-to-the-minute investigation of the failures of White saviorism in the form of a time capsule from the Mad Men era ... Sharply intelligent, nuanced, precise, and subtly hilarious.
MixedPublishers Weekly...makes for an outmoded collection, propelled by themes of mid-century bourgeois disillusionment—affairs, arguments, disappointing relationships, time spent at country houses, and trips to Europe. Despite the heavy emotional atmosphere, Hazzard’s prose has the restraint and polish of glossy magazine writing, offering crisp, easy descriptions of her desperate characters. Unfortunately, the stories never quite achieve the depth they seemingly aim for, especially in those about the staff of an international peacekeeping organization from People in Glass Houses ... These stories feel like quaint antiques from a bygone time.
PositivePublishers Weekly... sweet and super-spicy ... Wes’s swaggering, often expletive-filled flirtations, and Bethany’s insecure internal monologue paint clear pictures of both characters, but sometimes slow the plot. Though Wes and Bethany are solidly drawn, it’s adorable Laura who sparks the most authentic and evocative moments. Chick-lit lovers will flip for this sexy, heartwarming story.
MixedKirkusAlthough Bailey creates likable characters and writes snappy dialogue, the subplots about the TV show and Wes’ guardianship of his niece interferes with Bethany and Wes’ emotional development as partners and lovers. The two are conquering their own demons on separate journeys, and their unevenly paced romance only flares to life in the final third of the book ... A romance between charming characters is sidelined by weighty subplots.
Catherine Grace Katz
RavePublishers Weekly... vivid and revealing ... Gleaning a treasure trove of details from memoirs, diaries, and letters, Katz documents poor sanitary conditions (too few bathrooms, too many bed bugs) at the ransacked summer palaces where the delegations stayed, analyzes diplomatic maneuverings, and shares plenty of spicy gossip, including Averell Harriman’s affair with Winston Churchill’s much younger daughter-in-law. This sparkling account offers a fresh take on a decisive moment in the history of WWII and the Cold War.
Catherine Grace Katz
RaveKirkus... a substantive debut work of first-rate scholarship ... Through letters home and dispatches written by the three young women, Katz efficiently relays this fly-on-the-wall account of how the three sprawling delegations managed to get any business accomplished ... Katz effectively shows how these three often overlooked women proved to be indispensable in a variety of ways ... Engaging, multilayered history of the best kind, grounded in telling detail and marvelous personalities.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a snappy look at the pressures of romantic and familial obligation among immigrant communities in modern-day Toronto ... Though Azere’s passivity may frustrate some readers, Igharo brings a great deal of heart to Azere’s internal conflict as she navigates two cultures. This emotional debut marks Igharo as a writer to watch.
PanKirkusIgharo’s debut has some evocative passages on the heroine’s memories of Nigeria and on Edo culture. The sections on Azere’s experiences as an immigrant tween and the novel’s depiction of the strains on biracial relationships are also valuable for representing a reality that many never know. But the story of an immigrant who is expected to marry within her community is narrated with more melodrama than fresh perspective. The demonization and eventual repentance of Azere’s conservative mom is wince-inducing, and Rafael’s secret, which is easy to guess, is a needless complication of an overwrought plot. Azere’s character could also have used some revision: She lacks emotional intelligence and conceals her inner life from everyone, which could be attributed to being 25 but can’t be squared with her job as a high-powered creative director leading a large team in a major ad agency. Igharo\'s writing is still in a developmental stage, with more telling than showing and characters repeatedly asking Azere if she’s OK, presumably because she’s staring into space during an inner monologue. This is symptomatic of a wider weakness with the dialogue, which is frequently brief and stilted. The first sex scene is off-page, which is unusual in a contemporary romance, and the plot’s excessive reliance on romantic movie references plus tropes from category romance suggests a lack of confidence rather than metatextual deftness ... With insights on the immigrant experience but not on love, this is hardly a romance to remember.
PositiveKirkus3A revealing look at the world of the private detective, which isn’t quite as Raymond Chandler imagined it ... Maroney deglamorizes the world of private investigators while limning their sometimes essential, sometimes damaging work.
MixedPublishers WeeklyMaroney, cofounder of a PI firm, does an adequate job of illustrating in his debut the areas where modern private investigators provide value ... Maroney notes that he’s changed some details about the cases he recounts, without explaining his methodology for doing so, and leaves unanswered questions, such as why he rarely records witness interviews. While he accuses other writers of cherry-picking instances of bad actors to smear his profession, Maroney demonstrates only in part that he and his colleagues are a force for good. Readers interested in the scope and power of the modern PI may be skeptical of this volume’s upbeat spin from someone whose livelihood is linked to a positive view of his profession.
PositivePublishers WeeklySharpton interweaves memoir and progressive polemic in this impassioned survey of contemporary American politics ... Lacing his analysis with anecdotes about his interactions with James Brown, Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, and other luminaries, Sharpton makes a persuasive case that America has reached \'a historical turning point that’s testing our moral character and endangering all we have fought to gain.\' Liberals will be inspired by this well-informed call to action.
PositiveKirkus... an impassioned call for activism ... Sharpton unapologetically portrays himself as a showman who uses his personality as \'a lightning bolt for good\' ... A fervent message in hard times.
Judith Schalansky, trans. By Jackie Smith
RaveKirkus... a collection of beautifully constructed stories about objects that have not survived the test of time ... Tying the stories together are Schalansky’s evocative, precise descriptions and the sense of wonder in confronting the sheer immensity of what has been lost ... Schalansky’s meticulously researched stories are poignant reminders of the extent of our impact on the natural world and a call to honor the animals, objects, and places that, due to our own negligence, have ceased to exist ... An exploration of extinct animals and objects told through dazzling stories that question the bounds of memory and myth.
Judith Schalansky, trans. By Jackie Smith
RavePublishers Weekly... inspired ... melds history, memoir, and fiction into something new and extraordinary: a museum of the extinct, the missing, and the forgotten ... the narratives are distinct, memorable, and, at their best, spellbinding. Some are highly researched, meticulously reconstructing historical places such as the the Villa Sacchetti at Castelfusano in Rome and figures such as 18th-century British explorer James Cook ... Other tales take on the flavor of impressionistic, contemporary memoirs, rooted in the narrative of a Schalansky-like writer-researcher as she explores the topic at hand. Still others have the feel of speculative fiction, so detailed in their histories that they feel like memories ... With this collection of illuminating meditations on fact and fiction, Schalansky cements her reputation as a peerless chronicler of the fabulous, the faraway, and the forgotten.
RaveKirkus... penetrating ... Baker and Glasser bring political acumen and thorough research to their absorbing biography ... Drawing on prodigious sources, including more than 210 interviews (70 hours with Baker), the authors offer a balanced view of a man praised for being pragmatic, scrupulously organized, and authoritative, and derided as manipulative, self-aggrandizing, and cynical ... With Baker as their focus, the authors afford a sharp, insightful view into Washington dealmaking ... An engrossing biography that is highly relevant in today’s America.
RavePublishers WeeklyA bygone era of bipartisan pragmatism and statesmanship is elegized in this sprawling biography ... There’s plenty of West Wing backstabbing, situational ethics, and profane tirades in the authors’ vibrant narrative ... The contrast with the current White House is pointed, resulting in an engrossing study of a kind of government leadership that readers may conclude is both obsolete and sorely needed.
RavePublishers Weekly... thoughtful, well-observed ... Readers will wonder about Hap’s connection to the other characters, and where the story is going, though Dana knows the answer, and her revelations will upend everything. As the pieces come together, little is as it seems—on first, or even second, sight. The splendid prose and orchestrated maneuvering will keep readers turning the pages and send them back to the beginning, to read it all over again.
PositiveKirkusClegg dives deep into the inner life of each, exploring the ways our traumas shape our lives. His unhurried, lyrical sentences often make connections between the characters\' states of mind and the natural world ... This book is sad, but compared to Clegg’s highly acclaimed first novel, Did You Ever Have a Family, it\'s a Fourth of July picnic, albeit one that ruins a few characters\' lives ... A moody, atmospheric domestic drama with a mystery novel somewhere in its family tree.
David S. Reynolds
RavePublishers Weekly... magisterial and authoritative ... Close readings of Lincoln\'s own writings bring insights into his character and thinking, and Reynolds\'s analysis of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address offer a deeper understanding of those near-sacred political texts, noting, for instance, allusions to the Bible and Euclidean geometry in the Gettysburg speech. With a knack for drawing unexpected but persuasive conclusions, and impressive command of his source material, Reynolds provides a portrait rich in texture and context, not only of Lincoln but of the America he inhabited and helped redefine. The result is a must-read addition to the canon of Lincoln biographies.
David S. Reynolds
RaveKirkusReynolds offers a different take, one that is consistently fun to read ... The author moves fluidly through the eras of Lincoln\'s life, providing countless telling details that help readers understand how his surroundings shaped his extraordinary character ... According to Reynolds, whose research is staggering, Lincoln was an intellectual sponge, and he made use of his broad knowledge and experiences to help his law clients ... Long but never boring. A fine cultural history and biography that is accessible to all readers, especially students.
RaveKirkusExcellent ... This book is not a self-congratulatory recitation of accomplishments ... A thoughtful and inspiring exhortation to do better by a much-missed leader.
RavePublishers WeeklySportswriter Pearlman excites with this enjoyable, exhaustively reported, and unsparing portrait of the early 2000s Los Angeles Lakers ... Pearlman’s ability to uncover juicy anecdotes illuminates how egos and immaturity were the Lakers’ fatal opponents. This will be a three-pointer for hoops fans.
PositiveKirkusEverything you wanted to know about the Los Angeles Lakers in the Kobe and Shaq days ... Pearlman entertainingly chronicles the success of the early-2000s Lakers ... In the process, the author wades into the collective psyche of modern professional sports, showing the manifestation of monetized idolatry. He demonstrates the belief of many fans that some stars have too much money and self-importance and too little self-awareness; this is reflected most clearly in the narrative via Pearlman’s minibiography of Bryant. More nuanced than the homages following his tragic death earlier this year—which credited his singular focus but often said less about the costs of that focus—Bryant comes off here, in the early years of his career, as less of a spoiled star (though that element is present) than as someone who understandably struggled with becoming a multimillionaire idol as a teenager ... Throughout, the author uses a wide frame, giving more than cursory backstory for even minor players. Though he commits a few personal fouls in the form of hyperbole, he deftly illuminates the many dramatic twists and turns of a unique team. The book is not short, but it’s never a slog ... Easy reading that will appeal to all fans—and likely raise the ire of a few apologists.
PositiveKirkusA heavily credentialed and well-traveled sportswriter spins yarns about the old ballgames ... Fans of the author will recognize the meandering yet readable storytelling style and some of the same characters from The Bases Were Loaded (And So Was I) ... A young Callahan commiserated with an elder Red Smith; at their best, these pieces recall that legend of the press box’s outside-the-lines approach, if not exactly his unassuming mien on the page. Certainly, this part-memoir, part-profile compilation reflects a time before social media, when athletes needed sportswriters. The underside of close, personal access is that writers who ingratiate themselves with sources sometimes cut deals about what makes it into print, which could raise questions about motive and veracity. The narrative spell is also periodically broken when Callahan includes long, sometimes-tinny quotes from athletes. Still, just as the best sportswriters put a topcoat on memory, allowing us to appreciate the plays and players more than when we first saw them, the author’s skill at showing public figures in private moments is evident, and he spares readers the usual arguments about who was the greatest to lace up a pair of sneakers. Particularly intriguing are Callahan’s portraits of Bill Walsh and Tiger Woods ... Sports fans will find a smooth and pleasant ride on this trip back in time.
PositivePublishers WeeklySportswriter Callahan recalls the most memorable moments from his career with grace and humanity in this resonant memoir ... Rather than focus on individual games, Callahan homes in on anecdotes that reveal the inner lives of the men and women who played them ... Callahan’s seamless mixture of tales from his own career and wisdom gleaned from the athletes he covered makes for a strong offering all-around. The book works as both a paean to sportswriting’s glory days and a lyrical reminder that athletes have rich lives away from the stadium lights.
Stephen Graham Jones
RavePublishers WeeklyJones expertly expresses Sawyer’s teenage attitudes and anxieties while skillfully tipping readers off to the chilling understanding that Sawyer is not the most reliable of narrators. Balancing horror and humor, this novella puts a clever modern twist on a classic monster story.
RaveKirkus... unnervingly insightful ... Weiner’s uncomfortably convincing opinion is that the U.S. screwed up royally, rubbing Russia’s nose in their failures and proclaiming that democracy had demonstrated its superiority ... Weiner then delivers a dismaying account of the avalanche of hacking, disinformation, and social media manipulation that began in 2014 with the object of sowing dissention. The author astutely observes that this strategy involves keeping Trump in office, and there’s no doubt of Trump’s fervent and frightening subservience to the Russian leader. A gripping history of 75 years of Russian-American conflict with the dismal conclusion that we seem outmatched.
RavePublishers Weekly... colorful and richly detailed ... Weiner briskly relates a treasure trove of declassified material from the Cold War and draws on insider accounts to present a plausible portrait of the current state of affairs. Newshounds and espionage fans will be enthralled.
PositiveKirkusA powerful account of sexual assault and decades of lingering trauma ... A thoughtfully told story that may inspire others to find healing in the wake of savage crime.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this intense debut memoir, Harding writes of the aftermath of a traumatic experience as a teenager ... This moving story of grit and resilience will resonate with readers long after the final page is turned.
K. S. Villoso
PositivePublishers WeeklyVilloso crafts believable, complex characters and spices up the politics with dragons and magic. Fantasy readers will enjoy this intricate epic and be pleased by the broadening scope of the series.
RaveKirkus... superb ... Crisscrossing the globe to interview survivors, the author makes it abundantly clear that the devastating effects of rape transcend borders ... To tell some of these stories, Lamb clearly has put herself in peril, and it’s difficult to overpraise her courage or a book that—for the breadth and moral force of its arguments—is perhaps the most important work of nonfiction about rape since Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will (1975) ... A searing, absolutely necessary exposé of the uses of rape in recent wars and of global injustices to the survivors.
PositivePublishers Weekly... heart-wrenching ... This harrowing account bears powerful witness to a worldwide tragedy.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe dual-life construct can be confusing, and readers may find it not sufficiently explained, but Dawn’s story offers keen insight on the limits of love. Picoult’s fans will appreciate this multifaceted, high-concept work.
PanKirkusThe chronology can be confusing—and, in the case of the prologue, deliberately misleading, it seems ... Whether on death and dying, archaeology, or quantum physics, Picoult’s erudition overload far exceeds the interests of verisimilitude or theme. Do lectures on multiverses bring us any closer to parsing Dawn’s epiphanous epigram—\'We don’t make decisions. Our decisions make us\'? This much is clear: The characters’ professions are far better defined than their motivations ... A midlife crisis story stifled by enough material for several TED talks.
PositiveKirkusA sophisticated critique of the age of social media ... Some of the author’s arguments seem a little obvious, and some of the best bits are borrowed (with attribution) from critics of technology such as Jaron Lanier, who observes that the technology capitalists \'don’t have to persuade us when they can directly manipulate our experience of the world.\' However, Seymour dives deep to show just how that manipulation works, making us addicts of the machine—though, as he notes, the standard psychiatric diagnostic manual does not yet have a category for internet addiction—who crave the likes that a post or photo might bring ... houghtful reading for technologists and technology’s discontents alike.
PositiveKirkusThe string of onrushing questions is typical of Jensen’s rhetorical stance, which is urgent and occasionally scattershot. When she lands on a target, she does so effectively ... Mostly on point and sure to interest those opposed to a world of angry men and their guns, bulldozers, and writs.
MixedKirkusLemmie’s sweeping historical backdrop, from the post–World War II decline of minor royalty through the expanding liberations of the 1960s, is breathtaking. Unfortunately, Nori’s own metamorphosis into a strong young woman is inconsistent and a bit confusing. Again and again, just when we think she has found a deep internal strength to endure or even overcome adversity, Nori lapses into a shrill childish tantrum ... A bold historical portrait of a woman overcoming oppression marred by inconsistent character development.
PositivePublisher\'s Weekly[An] epic, twisty debut ... Lemmie makes a few bewildering narrative choices...but she keeps the reader guessing and ends with a staggering gut punch ... Lemmie’s heartbreaking story of familial obligations packs an emotional wallop.
MixedPublishers Weekly... elegantly drawn but moribund ... Their collaboration is nicely composed in cheery urban detail, the tie-wearing cartoonists smoking, gabbing, and nibbling on tapas. But the backdrop of Franco-era oppression is only lightly sketched and the central drama is almost over before it begins ... Roca has a gift for conveying personalities and camaraderie, and while this will appeal to independent-minded artists invested in intellectual property issues, there just is not enough at stake in either the characters or the slim story line to sustain the attention of a broader readership. This snappy tale of creativity under pressure aims to inspire but is too thinly plotted to leave an impression.
PositiveKirkus... a brisk, gossipy history ... Drawing on letters, memoirs, and biographies, Herman considers not just the men, but also their wives’ sometimes puzzling responses, and she offers a quick overview of Europeans’ attitudes to adultery ... A racy, revealing look at illicit sex involving the country’s highest office.
MixedPublishers Weekly... gossip-fueled ... Packed with colorful character sketches and bawdy puns, Herman’s mélange of facts, rumors, and innuendo is more salacious than scrupulous. Still, this ribald and richly detailed history entertains.
Anja Kampmann, Trans. Anne Posten
PositiveKirkus... quiet but powerful ... This is a highly interior novel, with Kampmann laser-focused on Waclaw’s grief, which is portrayed with compassion and honesty ... Kampmann’s characters are memorable; her dialogue spare but realistic. Her prose, ably translated by Posten, isn’t showy, but it’s quite pretty and, at times, gorgeous. It can be a difficult novel to read with its insistent quietness and emotional heaviness, but readers who prefer their fiction reflective and not plot-heavy will likely find much to admire in its pages. It’s a thoughtful, unsparing look at loss ... A promising fiction debut with understated but beautiful writing.
Anja Kampmann, Trans. Anne Posten
PositivePublishers Weekly... beautiful ... As Waclaw digs up memories of his drilling throughout the world—in Morocco, Mexico, and Brazil—he ruminates on generations of workers who must eke out a living by exploiting the earth and its resources. Kampmann captures the visceral uneasiness that arises from second guessing one’s past.
Sayaka Murata, tr. Ginny Tapley Takemori
PositivePublishers WeeklyMurata’s unsettling, madcap 11th novel...chronicles the nightmarish discontent of one girl amid the deadening conformity of modern Japanese society ... The author’s flat, deadpan prose makes the child Natsuki’s narration strangely and instantly believable and later serves to reflect her relationship to Japan’s societal anxiety. This eye-opening, grotesque outing isn’t to be missed.
Sayaka Murata, tr. Ginny Tapley Takemori
MixedKirkusA dark coming-of-age story ... The sense of whimsy Murata creates is quickly crushed beneath the weight of the depravity Natsuki endures and the very unpleasant places her escape into fantasy takes her. Like Convenience Store Woman, this new novel is a critique of cultural expectations that limit what women can be and what they can do ... Like many an author before her, Murata uses surrealism and the tropes of horror and science fiction to explore real-world problems. But, here, she writes without subtlety or depth. Shocking scenes follow one after the other in a way that ultimately feels more pornographic than enlightening ... Simultaneously too much and not enough.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe radiant 10th collection from Cole...draws from the natural world, placing human life alongside the sublime ... Cole’s political commentary is restrained and skillfully orchestrated ... Many of the poems in this section are set in the 1980s, during which the poet was coming of age as a young gay man amid the AIDS epidemic. Readers of this collection will find that Cole’s joie de vivre is a balm for the soul.
RavePublishers Weekly...Alam’s spectacular and ominous latest...a family’s idyllic summer retreat coincides with global catastrophe ... This illuminating social novel offers piercing commentary on race, class and the luxurious mirage of safety, adding up to an all-too-plausible apocalyptic vision.
RaveKirkusAlam’s story unfolds like a dystopian fever dream cloaked in the trappings of a dream vacation ... Alam shows an impressive facility for getting into his characters’ heads and an enviable empathy for their moral shortcomings, emotional limitations, and failures of imagination. The result is a riveting novel that thrums with suspense yet ultimately offers no easy answers—disappointing those who crave them even as it fittingly reflects our time ... Addressing race, risk, retreat, and the ripple effects of a national emergency, Alam\'s novel is just in time for this moment.
John Luther Adams
RaveBooklistComposer Adams, winner of the Pulitzer Prize...has crafted a joyous paean to friendship and Alaska in this radiant memoir ... Witty and boisterous, yet also profoundly heartfelt and poignant, Adams’ memoir is a record of great creativity and determined work that is bolstered by deep love of the wilderness. A singular title that should inspire and enchant in equal measure.
John Luther Adams
PositivePublishers WeeklyPulitzer Prize–winning composer Adams...delivers a colorful memoir of finding his artistic voice ... Classical music aficionados will most appreciate Adams’s thoughtful recollections.
Anne Helen Petersen
PositiveThe New RepublicBurnout is a one-word descriptor that Petersen argues is capacious enough to encapsulate an entire generation’s crisis—even if it affects individuals and groups in wildly different ways ... Over the course of nine bleak chapters, Petersen seeks to show, basically, how much worse things are for millennials than even they might realize ... Although Petersen’s synthesis of the existing literature is cogent and clear, and although her anecdotal reporting nicely complements the studies she cites, little of what she writes is new or surprising. What is new is her argument that all of this—the need to work constantly, which began for millennials in childhood and never stopped—can be summed up with a diagnosis of \'burnout.\' Our generational affliction is more than poverty or precarity; it is endless fatigue. Can’t Even is convincingly argued, but it raises a question: Is a psychological diagnosis really appropriate for such a varied, and fundamentally economic, affliction? ... Does the pressure a BuzzFeed writer feels to constantly post on social media and Slack really stem from the same condition that makes so many fast-food workers so tired and harried that 79 percent literally burn themselves, according to one 2015 study cited by Petersen? ... In spite of these critiques, Can’t Even is a powerful book. Petersen ably blends scholarship and reportage, but her most important intervention is her relentless empathy.
Anne Helen Petersen
PositivePublishers WeeklyThough older generations mischaracterize America’s largest demographic group as lazy and selfish, millennials are actually working multiple jobs to pay bills in the modern gig economy as they watch the American dream slip away, Petersen contends. She weaves together personal reflections, profiles of other millennials, and a plethora of demographic information to addresses issues such as parenting, social media, college debt, and health care ... By turns exasperated, indignant, and empathetic, she supports her claims with strong evidence and calls on millennials to be a force for widespread social change. The result is an incisive portrait of a generation primed for revolt.
MixedKirkus…recalls the work of Angela Carter but lacks her black humor and stringency … Hunter’s taut, intentional prose is strong on physical descriptions … but she studs her narrative with philosophical assertions that are perplexing at best … A shimmery prose style cannot save this slim, simplistic, and pretentious tale.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAn unquenchable thirst for revenge drives Lucy, a wife and mother, to the brink of madness in Hunter’s sleek, supernatural thriller … Lucy’s narration is irresistible, though the harpy sections, which suggest Lucy is physically transforming, are underdeveloped by comparison. Hunter maintains suspense until the final act of her satisfactory tale.
RavePublishers Weekly… consistently intelligent and compulsively readable … There is much…on offer: critical aperçus and insightful digressions on Austen, Conrad, Nabokov, and other writers; an elegant gloss on the history of the modern novel; and opinions on Hitler, the Soviet Union, 9/11, the refugee crisis, and President … Amis again proves himself to be as savvy a thinker as he is a writer as he applies his insight and curiosity as a novelist to this stylish and genuine account of his development as a writer. The result reaches the heights of his finest work.
PositiveKirkusAmis writes with admiration and affection of encounters with Bellow, including the onset and deepening of the older writer\'s dementia. The material on Larkin, an intimate of Kingsley Amis’, delights in the poetry without ignoring the man\'s complex and sometimes unpleasant personal life. The remaining principal, Hitchens, is a constant presence and comes to dominate the book after he\'s diagnosed with cancer. The eloquence Amis displays here, the understated play of the two men\'s attachment, makes it possible to forgive the boys-clubbiness that often colors scenes with his closest friend. The book is almost everywhere wonderfully readable, rich in the familiar Amis pleasures of wit, insight, and well-formed anecdotes. As for how much those pleasures derive from real life or fiction, let’s award the benefit of the doubt to the artist behind both … An intriguing, often brilliant addition to a storied career.
PositiveKirkusEminent classicist Cartledge examines the history, mythical and proven, of an ancient Greek city that is often overlooked in standard texts ... A welcome addition to any philhellenic library by a reliable, readable interpreter of the ancient past.
PositivePublishers WeeklyDiving deep into centuries’ worth of scholarship, Cartledge manages to make the ancient world accessible to modern readers. This deeply informed and richly detailed chronicle restores Thebes to its rightful place in history.
PositivePublishers Weekly... [a] tropey, entertaining sci-fi adventure that’s both outrageously bizarre and utterly convincing ... Lee and Julian’s intricate story lines crisscross, building steady momentum and layered suspense ... Edifying and entertaining evolutionary histories of alternate versions of Earth are interspersed throughout, granting the reader insight into the multiverse as the cracks between dimensions widen. Thrilling action punctuates the intrigue on the way to an ending that, though convoluted, satisfies. Sci-fi readers will be pleased.
PositivePublishers Weekly... superb ... With a lead who would be at home in the pages of a Raymond Chandler or James Ellory novel and a nicely twisty plot, this installment makes a strong case for Arnold’s series to enjoy a long run.
Rachel Howzell Hall
RavePublishers Weekly... smart, razor-sharp ... Full of wry, dark humor, this nuanced tale of two extraordinary women is un-put-downable.
Smith Henderson and Jon Marc Smith
RaveKirkusThere’s plenty of violence and sharp shards of Spanish-language profanity ... The story has great lines like \'he was as fit as an orchestra of fiddles\' and \'her whole body was smiling.\' Whether or not Hardball’s body still smiles at the end of her journey is for the reader to discover. Either way, she is one tough mujer ... Plenty of flaws in the main character but few in this satisfying thriller.
Smith Henderson and Jon Marc Smith
RavePublishers Weekly... intelligent, propulsive ... Flawed, flesh-and-blood characters provide nuance and depth, and the authors’ grasp of global politics is on full display. Fans of Don Winslow and T. Jefferson Parker will be enthralled.
RaveKirkus... a fascinating primer in detection as British TV personality Osman allows the members to use their diverse skills to solve a series of interconnected crimes ... A top-class cozy infused with dry wit and charming characters who draw you in and leave you wanting more, please.
RavePublishers Weekly... exceptional ... Osman’s witty prose is a highlight. Fans of Lynne Truss’s Constable Twitten mysteries will be tickled.
PositiveKirkusAlong the way, the author carefully explains the supporting work of many other journalists and researchers and a wealth of right-wing lingo. Engaging, horrifying, and informative—Darby offers an important, fresh angle on the problems tearing our country apart.
PositivePublishers Weekly... accessible ... Though readers well-versed in the era won’t learn much new, Cheney selects anecdotes wisely and writes gracefully. The result is an informative introduction to four of America’s most important founding fathers.
MixedKirkus... edifying ... general readers will learn plenty from the text. However, the author breaks no new ground for those already familiar with the history of her principals, and her account suffers from supposition and odd repetition ... A flawed yet informative history of the early years of the Republic.
PositivePublishers Weekly... brisk and incisive ... Hughes enriches her wide-ranging analysis with images of archaeological findings and artworks by Botticelli, Rubens, and Titian, as well as references to Shakespeare’s plays, Sappho’s poems, and Lady Gaga’s songs. Among many interesting tidbits, readers will learn that the female sex symbol derives from a combination of Aphrodite’s mirror and the Christian cross, and that prostitutes were once called Venuses. This informative and entertaining history deserves a wide readership.
RaveKirkusThough much has been written about Watergate, Downie, who oversaw much of the Watergate coverage as deputy metropolitan editor, has his own story to tell ... Throughout, the author provides a compelling up-close perspective of running a news organization and intriguing details about the coverage surrounding each event. While he doesn’t shy away from highlighting his leadership accomplishments, he eagerly acknowledges the efforts of his hardworking reporters. He also candidly admits to personality and leadership differences between he and the more gregarious Bradlee, comfortably remaining somewhat apart from the celebrated spotlight ... An absorbing career memoir and an illuminating history of the Post’s news coverage during the last 50 years.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a colorful account full of behind-the-scenes office politics and sharply eyed character sketches, but Downie’s overriding theme is the contrast between his tenure during journalism’s golden age and a present-day mediascape where news reporting often degenerates into shallow clickbait and vitriolic opining ... Downie’s justifications of journalism past aren’t always convincing—he defends, for instance, the media uproar over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, a milestone on the way to today’s salaciously politicized news cycles—but he delivers a penetrating and thought-provoking take on the press at the peak of its influence. At a time when the news media itself is increasingly becoming part of the story, this insider take on newsroom culture resonates.
RavePublishers Weekly... outstanding ... The plot takes multiple unexpected turns before a neat solution that pays homage to Christie’s own best fiction. Golden age fans will hope for more.
RavePublishers WeeklyAfro-Latina Univision news anchor Calderon takes on racism in this fascinating memoir ... Calderon stresses the importance of confronting racism head on, using her platform to report on and expose injustice. Calderon’s powerful story will resonate with readers.
RaveKirkus... a moving and timely memoir ... much of her memoir bears witness to oppression and discrimination ... A candid memoir that sends an urgent message.
Erin K. Wagner
MixedPublishers WeeklyStories about the rights of artificial life, especially those convicted of crimes, have a long history in speculative fiction, and while Wagner raises fascinating questions about what it means to be human, they’re questions that have been asked before. Though Aiya is a rich and thoughtfully crafted character, 812-3 never comes across as a full presence in his own right, undermining the story’s themes. Fans of AI-centric sci-fi will make quick work of this, but wish for a fresher angle on a familiar idea.
MixedThe Herald (UK)... a brisk and efficient accounting of a brief life ... Norman, with the proper responsibility of the assiduous biographer, goes over the fateful day and talks of the \'what ifs\' and the \'maybes.\' But there was a weary inevitability to the death of the guitarist ... The major flaw of the Hendrix book, however, is that his investigations do not include a judicious or informed examination of the Hendrix psychology. This was a damaged human being ... There are moments of genuine interest and, indeed, intrigue in Norman’s biography ... but there was a darkness and Norman seems reluctant to step towards it.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this rollicking biography, Norman...combines colorful, energetic picaresque...with lush evocations of Hendrix’s sound ... Norman’s entertaining, psychedelically tinged portrait shows why Hendrix made such a deep impression on rock ’n’ roll.
PositiveKirkusNorman does a fine job recounting the...whirlwind years of his subject’s life ... An intimate, accomplished biography of a peerless musician.
PositiveKirkusAfter wading through a barrel of red herrings, Rowling—beg pardon, Galbraith—delivers the real killer, the least obvious of the lot, and it’s a masterful, perfectly thought-through revelation. Too long by a couple of hundred pages but still skillfully told, with a constantly gleeful interest in human awfulness.
RaveKirkusTomlinson’s meticulous distillation of a voluminous number of parish records, drawings, notes, and letters is impressive, and her knowledge of and passion for Goya continually shine through in her writing, making for a fascinating and insightful reading experience. A top-notch biography.
RavePublishers WeeklyThe stories in Bhatt’s rich debut collection mine the complicated experiences of Indians and immigrants ... Bhatt is skilled at locating her characters’ suffering and desires, and her blunt prose captures their matter-of-fact worldviews. These stories are memorable on their own, and they add up to a powerful expression of the hunger for success on ones own terms.
RaveKirkusA slim debut full of nuanced, cleareyed tales of unvarnished humanity ... Creating a rich array of Indian immigrants, students abroad, repatriates, and people who have never left their villages, Bhatt skillfully probes the fault lines where desire shears against limitation, revealing the complex mix of luck, history, circumstance, and grit that determines which side will dominate ... as in most collections, not every story stands at the same level, there are more than enough gems of polish and depth to satisfy. A formally diverse collection with exquisitely crafted stories about longing, striving, and learning what we can control.
RavePublishers Weekly... exemplary ... Chapters from Molly’s perspective that reveal her present whereabouts heighten the tension. Distinctive, well-developed characters complement the skillfully paced plot. This moving look at the bond between a mother and her children reinforces Walker’s place at the top of the genre.
PositivePublishers Weekly... comprehensive and ultimately reassuring ... Anxious parents and students will be buoyed by this richly detailed and lucidly written guide.
RaveKirkusIn this meticulously researched and evenhanded book, the author provides a unique mix of in-depth reporting, insight, and advice that may save readers needless frustration and thousands of dollars ... One of the best books on college admissions in recent memory.
Michael J. Sandel
PositiveKirkus... a cogent, penetrating critique of meritocracy, which, he argues persuasively, has trammeled our sense of community and mutual respect ... Sandel’s proposals for change are less convincing than his deeply considered analysis ... A stimulating examination of a divisive social and political problem.
Michael J. Sandel
PositivePublishers Weekly... [a] bracing sociopolitical treatise ... tart prose ... the book’s centerpiece is a stinging attack on universities as temples of meritocracy that nevertheless reinforce upper-class privilege rather than helping the disadvantaged. Sandel, however, only makes a few concrete suggestions for dethroning meritocracy, including college admissions by lottery. Still, he offers a rich, incisive analysis of how the meritocratic ideal contributes to contemporary political crises.
Meryem Alaoui, Trans. By Emma Ramadan
RavePublishers Weekly... mesmerizing ... Jmiaa’s Casablanca is full of corrupt cops and exploitative men who take advantage of the prostitutes’ vulnerability, but it is also full of friendship, laughter, and triumph ... Alaoui’s shimmering prose is funny and original ... Alaoui’s tale is one to savor for its language and its verve.
Meryem Alaoui, Trans. By Emma Ramadan
MixedKirkusAlaoui depicts Jmiaa’s character with humanity and grace. While certainly not avoiding sex, Alaoui makes the noteworthy choice of decentering this element of Jmiaa’s life. Instead, by digging into her difficult relationship with her mother, the fierce loyalty of her cherished friend Samira, and her fish-out-of water experience working with Chadlia, Alaoui emphasizes that Jmiaa’s work with clients is simply one part of her story. Throughout, Jmiaa’s narration adds levity and showcases her bold and irreverent nature. At the same time, it is her fiery independence that makes the later chapters—centered on her work in film—feel disingenuous. Following a typical savior narrative, Chadlia swoops in with funding to offer the possibility of a more socially acceptable, glamorous life, and thus the story begins to plunge into the tired trope of the American dream ... A refreshing character study loses steam in a worn-out plot.
RavePublishers Weekly... entertaining ... Both art aficionados and novices will find something to appreciate in this offbeat and informative outing.
PositiveKirkusPaolini makes his adult debut in another genre that welcomes long page counts. This one clocks in at close to 900 pages, but the rollicking pace, rapidly developing stakes, and Paolini’s confident worldbuilding make them fly by. Perhaps not the most impressive prose, but a worthwhile adventure story ... A fun, fast-paced epic that science fiction fans will gobble up.
RaveKirkusMcGuire’s taut, intricately woven novel captures the aura of a dark, violent world riddled with terrorism and revenge, where a \'man’s life on its own is nothing much to talk about.\' This well-told, suspenseful tale will appeal to fans of Deadwood and Cormac McCarthy.
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] taut, atmospheric tale ... McGuire demonstrates a mastery of classic realism, building the characters through their reactions to unflinching scenes of brutality ... Manchester in particular is evoked with keen impressionistic detail ... McGuire’s crackling work is one to savor.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] passionate memoir ... Tannen’s readers will appreciate this tender-hearted paean to her father.
PositiveKirkusDrawing on abundant sources, sociolinguist Tannen creates a loving biography of her father, Eli Samuel Tannen, who indelibly shaped her life ... Her brilliant, resolute father, Tannen amply shows, was worthy of her undying admiration. A generous and empathetic portrait.
RaveKirkusAn expert chronicle of the CIA through the actions of its directors ... readers will not regret time spent on this readable journalistic account, which relies heavily on interviews with living directors and a surprisingly large number of surviving spouses, children, and associates. This lively, opinionated history makes it clear that presidents and CIA directors sometimes deserve each other.
PositivePublishers Weekly[A] well-documented look at the job of the CIA director ... Whipple makes excellent use of insider accounts and provides enough color to keep readers turning the pages. This well-written and accessible survey illuminates a neglected role in American history.
RaveKirkus... [a] rousing tale ... In his latest entertaining nonfiction spy thriller, Macintyre tracks Sonya’s numerous audacious exploits during her prolific career. Drawing from her diaries, correspondences, and extensive interviews with her two adult sons, the author crafts a narrative that serves as both an engrossing historical tale and a compassionate portrait of Sonya as a complex woman with distinctly modern sensibilities for her time ... An absorbing study of a remarkably accomplished 20th-century spy.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMacintyre’s richly detailed account, though a bit ponderous at times, shines a new light on two of WWII’s most notorious spy rings. Espionage fans will be thrilled.
PositiveKirkusThe author steers readers to the enriching wisdom that can be discovered through voices from the past, referencing a broad assortment of writers and philosophers ... A persuasive, if sometimes overly academic, case for exploring writers from the past.
MixedPublishers Weekly... a humanities professor at Baylor University, tackles a promising subject matter with uneven results ... Jacobs’s ideas sometimes feel rehashed rather than enlarged from chapter to chapter, and his language unnecessarily academic ... Nevertheless, the ideas are stimulating, and his somewhat unsatisfactory book will still give thoughtful readers a jumping-off point for further reflection.
PositivePublishers Weekly... darkly poetic ... The author maintains a strong voice with vibrant lyrical imagery, but the shuffled structure and murky chronology can puzzle more than enlighten. Still, Addonia casts a consistent spell on the reader.
PositiveKirkusAddonia’s greatest strength is the arresting image, imbued with symbolism—as when a man tears a newspaper into pieces and the crowd scatters \'in different directions with broken sentences\' or when a girl is sentenced to physically carry the man she allegedly seduced on her back through the camp as punishment—while the novel’s vignette structure underscores the fragmentary, hallucinatory quality of trauma and memory. A memorable chronicle about \'the bitterness of exile\' and the endurance of the spirit.
John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge
MixedKirkusThought-provoking, somewhat wonky reading for those looking beyond the current plague toward future geopolitical trends.
John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge
MixedPublishers Weekly... thought-provoking yet flawed ... The gimmicky imagining of a fantasy leader who is both a progressive \'social reformer\' and a conservative \'small government man\' allows the authors to skirt the considerable roadblocks standing in the way of their goals, which include somehow making America a \'race blind society.\' Nevertheless, this is a succinct and credible assessment of Western government dysfunctions.
RaveKirkusLepore knows how to spin out a winning historical study ... A fascinating, expertly guided exploration of a little-known corner of the recent past.
MixedPublishers Weekly... colorful yet disjointed ... Though Lepore vividly describes Simulmatics’s key players and the politics of the era, she doesn’t fully distinguish between the company’s self-produced hype and its actual accomplishments, and the book’s chronology is confusing. This sporadically entertaining chronicle doesn’t quite live up to its potential.
RaveKirkus... masterful ... A searching, vigorously written history of an unsettled time too little known to American readers.
RavePublishers Weekly... richly detailed ... Nasaw skillfully and movingly relates a multilayered story with implications for contemporary refugee crises. This meticulously researched history is a must-read.
PositivePublishers Weekly... alluring ... Colin’s lyrical depictions of early-20th-century India and Scotland provide an immersive view of the characters’ experiences, particularly in Cicely’s view of damp, dank Glasgow after arriving from India, and family secrets add to the intrigue over the inheritance of Balmarra. Colin’s final work is a fine achievement.
Jonathan M. Berman
PositiveKirkusBerman acknowledges the difficulty in changing the mind of an anti-vaxxer, and he stresses that much more can be accomplished through building trust in scientific research and community-based activism than mocking on Facebook ... Berman dispels anti-vax fears and subterfuges with straight, scientific evidence.
PositiveKirkusA historian painstakingly reconstructs the crime that gave rise to the pop-psychological term Stockholm syndrome ... In a suspenseful, chronological narrative, the author shows how missteps by the police, the media, and Prime Minister Olof Palme, combined with small acts of kindness by the hostage-takers, drew the group together ... A true-crime page-turner about one of the more notorious bank heists of the past half century.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHistorian King...delivers an entertaining, minute-by-minute account of the 1973 Swedish bank robbery and hostage crisis that gave rise to the term \'Stockholm syndrome.\' ... Drawing on newspaper accounts and interviews, King brings readers into the stifling bank vault where Olsson and Olofsson hunker with their captives, documents debates among police and politicians over how to handle the crisis, follows journalists as they report on the story, and notes that one of the hostages had a brief affair with Olofsson after the ordeal was over ... True crime fans will love this engrossing and exhaustive account.
Jared Yates Sexton
PositiveKirkusA contrarian history of the U.S. dismissing notions of exceptionalism and triumphalism ... A \'chronicle of oppression\' that makes a rousing counter to the usual celebratory narratives of the American past.
Jared Yates Sexton
PositivePublishers WeeklySexton...a professor of creative writing at Georgia Southern University, exposes the myth of American exceptionalism in this searing account ... Sexton’s survey of American political history is taut and tart, but his prescriptions for recapturing the better angels of the American spirit and renewing faith in science and reason gloss over the heavy lifting involved. Still, this is an unflinching and well-crafted takedown of the nationalist rhetoric that fueled Trump’s rise.
PositivePublishers Weekly...[an] ambitious and fascinating book ... This meaty book is ready-made for involved discussions.
RaveKirkusThere are all kinds of wrinkles to this engrossing story, which Henrich illustrates with graphs and charts ... Throughout, the author dives deep, even correlating the willingness to donate blood to the extension of kin altruism to those who aren’t related to us ... A fascinating, vigorously argued work that probes deeply into the way \'WEIRD people\' think.
RaveKirkusThe latest on global energy geopolitics from the pen of an expert ... bad news often makes for entertaining reading, and Yergin delivers a fascinating and meticulously researched page-turner ... The author views Trump with the same mild disapproval he applies to Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, and he chastises environmentalists for getting certain facts wrong. Yergin accepts that humans have dramatically affected the climate, but he doubts the practicality of proposed solutions ... Required reading. Another winner from a master.
PositivePublishers WeeklyYergin provides a lucid, judicious overview of global energy and its discontents, with colorful though not always relevant historical background. But there’s not much new, and the basic picture is of a world where energy is abundant, cheap, widely available, and therefore not a coveted prize. The result is a well-informed yet surprisingly ho-hum rundown of how energy issues affect world affairs.
RavePublishers Weekly... a defiant memoir that probes family lore, public policy, and mainstream media bias ... a powerful memoir that doubles as an essential immigration primer.
PositiveKirkus... [a] vivid, often gruesome account ... Most readers will quail at the casual cruelty that Freeberg describes and that Victorians took for granted ... A successful effort to make a splendid American crusader better known.
PositivePublishers Weekly...an evocative biography ... Freeberg marshals a wealth of detail in tracking Bergh’s campaigns and paints a vivid picture of Gilded Age America. Animal lovers and history buffs will savor this immersive account.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMusic critic Hajdu...dissembles with tongue firmly in cheek in his inventive debut novel ... After the oral accounts catch up to the height of Geffel’s success in the mid-’80s, they turn to her disappearance at the age of 26 and gain greater poignancy. The author establishes Geffel’s impact on American popular culture from the very beginning ...which makes the various accounts of her credible and engaging all the way to the end. Hajdu’s vigorous send-up of the late-20th-century music scene sings.
PositiveKirkusIn truth, though, Geffel is something of a MacGuffin, a way for Hajdu to satirize the kinds of people who can’t appreciate genius when it’s right in front of them or who wish to exploit it: the critics, the Oliver Sacks–like neurologist, the sketchy self-declared manager, the record-label executive. It’s funny stuff, even if the targets are easy, though more of Geffel’s presence would’ve been welcome. Writing fiction whose central character is a cipher presents a challenge to even the most accomplished novelists ...and Geffel’s own voice would’ve bolstered Hajdu’s mythmaking ... An entertaining satire about a musical genre not typically known for its humor.
PositiveThe Texarkana GazettePhilpott is a veteran reporter for Mother Jones magazine and he has himself been a farmer, so he knows the language of agriculture ... the evidence Philpott and others before him present is clear: Not only must we significantly alter our farming practices but we also must address the causes of climate change if we are to avoid ruining our farm land and turning from a nation of vast agricultural bounty to a land unable to produce enough food for its people.
PositiveKirkusThe author is deeply invested in—and knowledgeable about—all the ins and outs of the virtual oligarchy that controls American agriculture, from the seeds to the market destinations ... Philpott is especially good in his explanations of alternative agricultural modes of production, which, for the most part, involve increasing diversity, mixing it up, and spreading it out. The author also explores the unique problems facing midsized farmers—too small for the national chains and too big for local farmers markets—and the complete overhaul of production required to break the monoculture mindset ... A solid, keenly drawn critique of American agricultural circumstances and consequences.
PositivePublishers Weekly... illuminating and distressing ... Lucidly written, well-researched, and laced with profiles of farmers and communities fighting against the odds, this is a persuasive call for sweeping changes to the American food system.
RavePublishers WeeklyHart...establishes herself as a versatile talent with this exceptional standalone set in 1703 London ... Hart is bound to become a household name for readers who love clever and fair whodunits.
PositiveKirkusThe solution is complex, but Cecily is determined to find it in this series debut from the author of the trio of Li Du mysteries ... Hart’s juicy character portraits and graceful prose make for a delightful period whodunit.
MixedPublishers WeeklyThough Cabot’s prose is characteristically lively in her second Little Bridge Island novel ...the cookie-cutter characters and anticlimactic mystery make this a rare stumble ... Cabot’s characters are winsome but predictable, and the hasty plot leaves little room for either satisfying mystery or romantic depth. Still, the charming small-town setting and cheerful tone will please Cabot’s die-hard fans.
RaveKirkus...[a] beautifully written memoir ... While readers may not be surprised to learn that science is a male-dominated field, the stories the author recounts from her decades of experience as a researcher, educator, society president, and entrepreneur are shocking in their scope ... In deliberate and often captivating prose, she describes time after time when she created opportunities for herself and for her female peers and students ... Colwell’s grit and brilliance shine through on every page of the book, which is as much a call to arms as it is autobiography. An unforgettable tell-all that’s rife with details of insurrection, scientific breakthrough, and overcoming the odds.
MixedPublishers WeeklyColwell...first female director of the National Science Foundation, delivers a well-intentioned but disappointing career memoir ... Some of her experiences make for potentially enjoyable stories, such as the research she conducted into cholera transmission at a remote research station in Bangladesh ... Unfortunately, these and other triumphs are rendered in a stilted writing style, and Colwell’s undeniably impressive track record is marred by excess self-praise. Young women considering careers in science may profit from reading about her experiences, but other readers need not apply.
L. Annette Binder
PositiveKirkusBinder provides a family’s-eye view of the terror and trauma, offering readers a unique perspective on the war. The narration closely follows Etta and Georg in turns, delivering the details of privation and fear as well as surprising moments of kinship and generosity with an unforgettable grace ... A masterful story of war, horror, and love.
L. Annette Binder
PositivePublishers WeeklyBinder, who left Germany for the U.S. as a child, based her book partly on her father’s experiences in the Hitler Youth organization and on her paternal grandfather’s journals from between the wars, and describes the war’s toll on German soldiers and civilians while lingering on an eerie, subtle irony in descriptions of Jews, Roma, gays, and people with mental illnesses, whose dire circumstances their neighbors were blissfully unaware of. This provides a fresh take on the madness of war.
RaveKirkusThe slyly soulful Kenan takes his time between books. Now he rewards readers who have waited almost three decades for a return to his fictional Tims Creek, North Carolina ... A 58-year-old plumber from Tims Creek explores midtown and is improbably swept up into Billy Idol’s entourage. Ed Phelps finds the music silly but the day full, and as he drifts off to sleep, he hears his grandfather’s voice singing. This pitch-perfect ending is evocative of the thin, beckoning veil between the seen and unseen, the quotidian and the preposterous, that Kenan hangs throughout his fiction. Yet appetite—carnal and gustatory—also fuels these stories ... In the complex, mesmerizing \'Resurrection Hardware\' or, Lard & Promises,\' the speaker shares the author’s first name inside a tale of ghosts, strivers, and roasted goose, \'succulent, flavorful, the fat a thing of pure joy.\' It is a feast ... Ten artful stories conjure contemporary North Carolina, mouthwatering and matter-of-factly haunted.
Yeong-Shin Ma, trans. by Janet Hong
PositivePublishers WeeklyDrawn in a bare-bones style reminiscent of a manhwa-ized Chester Brown, this deadpan ensemble dramedy follows a group of middle-aged Korean women who toil at menial jobs while texting, trysting, and fussing over their shiftless lovers with the energetic abandon normally associated with people their own grown children’s age ...
RaveKirkus... wide-ranging, erudite ... a capacious, fascinating history of Western culture ... A deeply informed history as vigorous as Wagner’s music.
RavePublishers Weekly... sweeping ... Ross manages to tame the sprawl with incisive analysis and elegant prose that casts Wagner’s music as \'an aesthetic war zone in which the Western world struggled with its raging contradictions, its longing for creation and destruction, its inclinations toward beauty and violence.\' The result is a fascinating study of the impact that emotionally intense music and drama can have on the human mind.
Max Allan Collins
RaveKirkusA sharp history of crusading detective Eliot Ness ... The cat-and-mouse game that ensued makes for a careening read that’s full of surprises, especially once the killer decided that he ought to take the opportunity to taunt his pursuer. Collins and Schwartz deliver a nimble, taut tale. More importantly, they offer a portrait of a complex crime fighter who believed in science and reason at a time when most officers smacked suspects around with a blackjack, a portrait set against a backdrop of ethnic and class collisions, labor unrest, and political intrigue ... Catnip for true-crime buffs.
Max Allan Collins
MixedPublishers Weekly... [a] meticulously researched but often gloomy account of the life and times of Eliot Ness ... focuses on the legendary lawman’s career starting at the end of Prohibition when he became Cleveland’s Safety Director ... The rest is less true crime than a catalogue of Ness’s far less dramatic endeavors as a bureaucrat: his destruction of Cleveland’s shantytown, which displaced thousands of homeless people; labor racketeering probes that detoured into bingo and pinball gaming; and even crackdowns on traffic congestion and jaywalking. Ness’s move into the private sector in 1945 begins a chain of foolish decisions that eventually cost him his reputation, his sobriety, and his solvency. Readers will wish that the authors had consigned Ness’s post–Mad Butcher career to an epilogue.
Debora L. Spar
PositivePublishers WeeklyHarvard Business School professor Spar...probes the historical links between gender, family, technology, and work to understand their implications for the future in this thought-provoking and cautiously optimistic account ... Though the book lands somewhat awkwardly between futurist think piece, gender study, and historical survey, Spar’s explanations of how specific technologies developed are lucid and insightful. Readers will take comfort in this clear-eyed assessment of humanity’s ability to adapt to technological change.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe life and work of movie director Stanley Kubrick...are briefly glossed in this compact, informative work from literature scholar Mikics ... There are welcome insights into Kubrick’s career, from his unrealized desire to make a film about the Holocaust to his decision to leave the eroticism out of his 1962 adaptation of Lolita ... Kubrick fans will enjoy this brisk but thorough biography of a consummate filmmaker.
PanKirkusAuslander has always written like he’s courting a strike from a lightning bolt ... Here, he pushes the envelope in labored and often tasteless fashion to satirize identity politics in general and religious ceremonies in particular ... the prevailing mood is so embittered that the satire is hard to enjoy much ... this reads like an effort to burn the genre of identity-focused fiction to the ground. But replace it with what? Sarcastic fiction about squabbling siblings and parental viscera larded with sour jokes about assimilation? Tough to stomach.
PositivePublishers WeeklyAuslander...turns his taboo-shattering satiric gaze to cannibalism in this outrageous, salty take on contemporary culture ... The bilious narrative trips along its grotesque way ... While Auslander harps a bit more than necessary on the alternately constricting and comforting \'boxes\' of identity, and Seventh’s misanthropic epiphany about human nature is a tad facile, more effective is the riotous dissection of cultural formation and a community’s hunger for meaning. Auslander soars in enough places to make this worth the price of admission.
RaveKirkusIn this exceptionally timely and well-reasoned debut, the author makes a powerful case that seeds of the recent resurgence of far-right nationalism in Europe were sown first by the denial and rationalizations of millions of people like her grandparents and then by postwar mythmaking that preempted the \'memory work\' needed to correct faulty recollections of Nazism ... History doesn’t repeat itself, but \'sociological and psychological mechanisms do,\' and this book, a deserving winner of the European Book Prize, shows clearly how a willful amnesia can poison nations that have sworn never to forget the Holocaust ... The granddaughter of a Nazi Party member makes a powerful, convincing moral case for resisting toxic nationalism.
PositivePublishers WeeklyIn this astute debut, German-French journalist Schwarz, granddaughter of a Nazi Party member, examines how the denials and excuses of people like her German grandparents helped create the current revival of alt-right nationalism ... This timely memoir also serves as a perceptive look at the current rise of far-right nationalism throughout Europe and the U.S.
RavePublishers WeeklyDavis stocks his lively narrative with piquant characters, dramatic historical set pieces, and lyrical nature writing ... The result is a rich, fascinating study of how nature and a people shape each other.
RaveKirkusDavis is a natural, engaging storyteller, and while he makes his way through Colombia’s history ... the book is also an affecting account of on-the-ground exploration. The author skillfully weaves in accounts by academics, who have studied the vicissitudes of the river, and by the people who have lived and toiled along its shores ... An elegant narrative masterfully combining fine reporting and a moving personal journey.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBritish author Moran...takes on the fraught topic of being a modern woman in this realistic, sometimes funny, and occasionally heartbreaking essay collection. With an empathetic and supportive tone, Moran covers a variety of subjects, including housework, married sex, aging, body acceptance, parenting teenagers, and overcoming rough spots in marriage (even when that means leaving). While some of Moran’s essays are downright funny...many others focus on tough topics ... Readers will find comfort and humor in Moran’s heartfelt and deeply honest musings
PositivePublishers Weekly... another alarming and deeply reported account of turmoil, dysfunction, and recklessness within the Trump administration ... Woodward provides helpful fact-checks to Trump\'s distortions, big...and small...and tries, in vain, to get Trump to articulate a coherent strategy of governing ... This devastating report will leave a lasting mark.
PositivePublishers Weekly... bleak and wry ... Ellinor’s ennui is enlivened, in Barslund’s sharp translation, by Hjorth’s candid prose and concise paragraphs, a style that allows Ellinor to pivot between dry musings and sardonic narration. The effect is entertaining in small doses but tends to drag in the long term. Still, Hjorth’s substantive and witty novel of personal growth delivers on multiple levels.
MixedKirkus... quirky, unsettling ... Unfortunately for the reader, unhinged Ellinor is far more fascinating than the Ellinor who exults in the intricacies of letter delivery and the details of converting people to the union cause. Just when it seems that Ellinor may be able to lift herself out of the depths of trying to make sense of her old diaries and focus on the people around her, including a newly pregnant sister and a newish boyfriend with a son from an earlier relationship, she becomes obsessed with the postal union. Her friends and family, insufficiently developed as characters, fall to the narrative wayside, and the reader is left trying to work up some interest in arcane matters. Though it\'s tempting to suspect that Hjorth is taking a nuanced view of Ellinor\'s obsession, ultimately it seems that we\'re supposed to conclude that it\'s straightforwardly noble, and it grows increasingly hard to care about either Ellinor or her redemption ... An unconvincing account of willed self-transformation.
Scholastique Mukasonga, Trans. by Jordan Stump
RavePublishers Weekly... superb ... Mukasonga carefully attends to how individuals’ attempts to negotiate unspeakable tragedy can lead to sad, odd, and even grimly funny situations ... Mukasonga’s collection is full of deeply human moments like this. Taken as a whole, it’s an impressive and affecting work of art.
Scholastique Mukasonga, Trans. by Jordan Stump
PositiveKirkusReminiscent at times of Iris Origo, Mukasonga writes with world-weary matter-of-factness, her stories understated testimonials to the worst of times ... Elegant and elegiac stories that speak to loss, redemption, and endless sorrow.
RavePublishers Weekly... engrossing ... Róisín’s portrayal of Taylia’s surrogate family offers a life-giving chronicle of Taylia’s emergence from pain into a new life. Well-paced and hopeful, this stirring work will resonate with those interested in stories of young women breaking free of oppression and trauma.
MixedKirkusThe novel has many plot threads and characters, not all of whom are equally developed. In particular, Taylia\'s parents are seriously underwritten, especially given the important role they play. Long conversations and coincidences drive much of the action, especially in the last third of the novel ... A young woman\'s struggles will resonate with many readers despite the novel\'s pat resolution.
RaveKirkusThere are plenty of other colorful people in this richly told, complex story ... They are attractive and sympathetic protagonists, and more’s the pity they’re stuck in the 11th century. Readers may guess the ending well before Page 900—yes, it’s that long—but Follett is a powerful storyteller who will hold their attention anyway ... Follett\'s fans will enjoy this jaunt through the days before England was merry.
MixedPublishers Weekly... lackluster ... The structure will feel familiar to series devotees ... The prose is often stilted and overwrought, and the plot elements are derivative of Follett’s past work, adding up to an epic full of romance tropes rather than a reimagined time and place. This is only for series completists.
PositivePublishers Weekly... sly ... Arbus brilliantly describes the caretaker’s distorted sense of the museum as a living, breathing organism and flirts just enough with gothic tropes to dramatize his existential dilemma. Taking cues from tales by Kafka and Robert Walser, Arbus pulls off an unnerving feat of contemporary postmodernism.
PanKirkusThe story unfolds slowly, without much incident ... All of this unfurls in long sentences laden with unilluminating details and trailing unnecessary clauses. Possibly this is deliberate: Arbus may be making a point about the accretion of meaning through the accumulation of apparently meaningless fragments, and she may be drawing a parallel to the museum itself and its collections. But while it’s easy to imagine some other writer—Dickens, Melville, Isak Dinesen, Nicholson Baker—spinning this premise into thrilling fiction, Arbus’ caretaker and his museum never assemble the details into a moving story ... A depressed protagonist prevents the novel from achieving depth by keeping fellow characters and readers at a distance.
RaveKirkusIntriguing updates from the protean worlds of food, companionship, death, and beyond ... The author is a focused and charming tour guide, with the kind of breezy writing skills that make each section immensely intriguing ... Behind Kleeman’s profiles and research lies the belief that life can be vastly enriched with the aid of technology and without discomfort, inconvenience, or sacrifice even as these modernizations remain in development. Fans of Mary Roach will be pleased. Provocative, exuberant perspectives on the \'disrupting technologies\' primed to enhance the human experience.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a funny yet disturbing report on the science, technology, and marketing strategies reshaping some of the most basic human urges and drives ... Readers will be fascinated by this preview of the possible future of sex, birth, and food.
Cass R. Sunstein
PositiveKirkusDespite the use of jargon such as \'hedonic loss\' and \'availability heuristics,\' the narrative is clear and relatable. Sunstein even delivers a few zingers ... An accessible treatise on the need to ensure that information improves citizens’ well-being.
Cass R. Sunstein
PositivePublishers WeeklyReaders with a background in the social sciences and moral philosophy will have an easier time engaging than generalists, though Sunstein writes in clear, accessible language throughout. This balanced and well-informed take illuminates an obscure but significant corner of government policy making.
PositiveKirkusA lively account of the many people involved in bringing Haruki Murakami’s writings to English-speaking readers ... readers interested in Murakami will enjoy learning about the challenges and trade-offs involved in translation, from the different styles of his translators to his philosophical acceptance of the changes the New Yorker made to his work because that publication \'has a large number of readers and they also pay really well.\' A fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of publishing.
RavePublishers WeeklyKarashima, a Japanese novelist, makes his English-language debut with this illuminating look at the \'Murakami phenomenon\' ... Murakami fans will particularly revel in Karashima’s comprehensive coverage, but anyone curious about the alchemy and sheer amount of work that goes into making a single author’s success will be entranced by this fascinating work.
Jim McCloskey with Philip Lerman
RaveKirkusA heartfelt and heart-rending story ... eye-opening, sometimes inspiring reading ... The author’s writing is conversational, forthright, and brusque, and his subject matter is humane, uncomfortable, and often raw ... Compassionate tales from a dedicated warrior for justice.
Jim McCloskey with Philip Lerman
PositivePublishers WeeklyMcCloskey’s engaging memoir depicts his transformation from a spiritually unfulfilled business consultant to a minister working to free wrongfully accused prisoners ... McCloskey’s inspiring stories form a moving collective profile.
Charles J. Hanley
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this sweeping and well-sourced history, Associated Press reporter Hanley...captures the devastating human toll of the Korean War ... Hanley paints an extraordinary portrait of the war’s complexity and devastation. This is an essential account of America’s \'forgotten war.\'
Charles J. Hanley
RaveKirkusA Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist forges a masterly new history of the Korean War ... his journalistic talents are on full display in his latest book. He also demonstrates a novelist’s touch and a wonderful ear for dialogue and detail ... The accretion of astounding detail makes for a vivid, multilayered look at a deeply complicated war in which few emerged as heroic. A top-notch addition to the literature on the Korean War.
RavePublishers Weekly... self-effacing, heart-on-sleeve ... Chang writes about the sweaty tension of his manic episodes and his dark depression, and there are stories of kitchen screaming fits, reflections on being in the \'cool chefs club,\' and particularly affecting passages about Chang’s late friend, Anthony Bourdain. In the book’s most heartfelt section, Chang rhapsodizes about the egalitarian Asian dining ethos he wanted to import to the West and even allows himself a rare pat on the back for his influence. Foodies and chefs alike will dig into Chang’s searing memoir.
PositiveKirkusIt would be unfair to label Chang’s book as the Korean American Kitchen Confidential, but the similarities in tone and attitude certainly invoke the late Anthony Bourdain. The author, probably best known for his now-global Momofuku culinary brand, is no slouch as a writer, with a style that features a refreshingly defiant attitude and some of the best inessential footnotes since A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius ... Chang’s memoir eventually becomes a smorgasbord of random recall, covering everything from contemplating the ideal volume of the music in his restaurants to his extended bouts with depression and anxieties about his open-ended future in food ... An entertaining, admirably candid self-assessment of life in the foodie fast lane.
PositivePublishers WeeklyMix[es] remembrance and popular science into a pleasing memoir ... Candidly reflecting on Hawking’s paralysis, he muses that his collaborator’s experience with contradictions in his own life, as a man \'both powerful and powerless,\' fed into one of his greatest gifts as a scientist, a knack for “\'econciling contradictory theories and ideas\' ... This memorable book allows readers to see the human side of a figure who might otherwise seem intimidatingly remote.
PositiveKirkus... insightful ... Mlodinow doesn’t delve deeply enough into Hawking’s unique brilliance, but he provides an illuminating portrait of perseverance and determination ... A valuable account of an extraordinary man, although most readers will have to accept Hawking’s genius on faith.
PositiveKirkus... an intricate web of mysteries ... A witty, steadily absorbing procedural marked by Lovesey’s customary inventiveness and an unguessable solution.
RavePublishers Weekly... masterly ... The tension rises as Diamond chases the Finisher into the underground labyrinthine quarries near the route of the marathon. Lovesey neatly ties together all the disparate threads as the plot twists and turns to its taut conclusion. On the 50th anniversary of the publication of his first novel, Lovesey is still going strong.
Onno Blom, tr. Beverly Jackson
RaveKirkusDrawing on the significant resources of the Rembrandt Research Project, Rembrandt Documents Project, and the multivolume Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings as well as histories and archival material, Blom offers an assured, discerning biography ... Blom details the nitty-gritty of making art, such as the complicated, time-consuming process of grinding pigments and improvising paint tubes from knotted pig bladders ... A fresh, well-researched, nuanced portrait.
Onno Blom, tr. Beverly Jackson
RavePublishers WeeklyArt critic Blom (The Scar of Death) employs Rembrandt’s early works and the history of his hometown of Leiden, Netherlands, to trace the Dutch painter’s artistic evolution from student to legendary master in this thoughtful, illuminating work ... This portrait will delight both casual art fans and connoisseurs alike.
RaveKirkusThis complex story spans years, travels to every corner of a richly imagined fantasy world, and even dips into the minds of elephants, bees, and rivers ... This book’s lyrical language and unsparing vision make it a mind-expanding must-read.
RavePublishers WeeklyHairston...dazzles with this complex epic fantasy ... In stirring prose...Hairston weaves a rich tapestry of folklore and adventure, inviting readers into a well-developed, non-Western fantasy world, while navigating pressing issues of climate change and personal responsibility. This is an urgent, gorgeous work.
Jenny Erpenbeck, Trans. by Kurt Beals
PositiveKirkusA memoir from one of Europe’s most original and accomplished writers ... In the last section, Erpenbeck the activist is front and center. \'Blind Spots,\' a keynote speech, powerfully addresses borders, refugees...and the \'concept of freedom.\' An ideal introduction to the life and work of an exceptional artist.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Illustrated by Fumi Nakamura
RaveKirkusA poet celebrates the wonders of nature in a collection of essays that could almost serve as a coming-of-age memoir ... frequently enchanting essays ... Nezhukumatathil’s investigations, enhanced by Nakamura’s vividly rendered full-color illustrations, range across the world, from a rapturous rendering of monsoon season in her father’s native India to her formative years in Iowa, Kansas, and Arizona, where she learned from the native flora and fauna that it was common to be different ... Nezhukumatathil isn’t only interested in nature as metaphor. She once devoted most of a year’s sabbatical to the study of whale sharks, and she humanizes her experience of natural splendor to the point where observation and memory merge, where she can’t see or smell something without remembering the details of her environment when she first encountered it. Among other fascinating species, the author enlightens readers on the vampire squid, the bonnet macaque, and the red-spotted newt ... The writing dazzles with the marvel of being fully alive.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Illustrated by Fumi Nakamura
PositivePublishers WeeklyNezhukumatathil applies her skill as a poet to a scintillating series of short essays on nature ... Throughout, she vividly describes sounds, smells, and color—the myriad hues of a \'sea of saris\' from India—and folds in touches of poetry. Fumi Nakamura’s lush illustrations add to the book’s appeal. Readers of Terry Tempest Williams and Annie Dillard will appreciate Nezhukumatathil’s lyrical look at nature.
Lee Vinsel and Andrew L. Russell
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] resounding call for sane business growth ... Readers will come away from Vinsel and Russell’s urgent and illuminating primer with a new perspective on the importance of maintenance as well as innovation in business.
Lee Vinsel and Andrew L. Russell
RaveKirkus... vibrant, sure-footed ... The authors guide readers with clear and contemporary examples of when deferred maintenance led to either slow or fast disaster, both of which are dangerous ... The authors also thoroughly expose the unjust hierarchy that leaves maintenance workers at the bottom of the pay scale. We need a systematic approach, they argue, to monitoring and caring for our resources, encouraging sustainability and shared skill sets. Maintenance sustains success, and an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure ... A refreshing, cogently argued book that will hopefully make the rounds at Facebook, Google, Apple et al.
Yishai Sarid, Trans by Yardenne Greenspan
RaveKirkus... a slim but powerful novel, rendered beautifully in English by translator Greenspan ... Propelled by the narrator’s distinctive voice, the novel is an original variation on one of the most essential themes of post-Holocaust literature: While countless writers have asked the question of where, or if, humanity can be found within the profoundly inhumane, Sarid incisively shows how preoccupation and obsession with the inhumane can take a toll on one’s own humanity ... Sarid does not shy away from the aspects of these questions that cause many to avert their eyes. For instance, he limns the devastatingly simple cycle that leads the traumatized to inflict trauma upon others, his narrator recounting the sometimes ugly effects of the macho survivor mentality on Zionism ... Nevertheless, the novel is anything but moralistic; it is, if not an indictment of Holocaust memorialization, a nuanced and trenchant consideration of its layered politics. Ultimately, Sarid both refuses to apologize for Jewish rage and condemns the nefarious forms it sometimes takes ... A bold, masterful exploration of the banality of evil and the nature of revenge, controversial no matter how it is read.
Yishai Sarid, Trans by Yardenne Greenspan
PositivePublishers Weekly... scathing, ruminative ... Sarid’s unrelenting examination of how narratives of the Holocaust are shaped makes for much more than the average confessional tale.
Bobbie Ann Mason
RaveKirkus...a deeply moving meditation on one woman’s life choices and the road she didn’t take ... Mason vividly evokes the exhilaration and excitement of being young during such tumultuous cultural and political changes ... A beautifully written homage to the 1960s by a mature writer at the top of her literary power.
Bobbie Ann Mason
PanPublishers WeeklyReality and fantasy clash in the flawed latest from Mason ... The characters, however, suffer from a lack of emotional depth, and Ann, Albert, and Jimmy come across as stand-ins for stereotypes of the era ... The time-jumping setup, meanwhile, is clunkily handled. This convoluted tale will leave many readers feeling as if they’ve missed a crucial piece of the story.
Todd D. Snyder
MixedKirkusThe narrative runs long and sometimes uneasily blends the academic with the popular ... Though the text is generally accessible, it doesn’t stand up to the standards of Plimpton Liebling ... A well-intentioned, overdue, and overcooked treatment of a complex figure in the boxing world, best suited to completists.
Todd D. Snyder
PositivePublishers WeeklySnyder...delivers an excellent account of the life of Drew \'Bundini\' Brown ... Boxing fans will delight in Bundini’s comic antics in motivating the two greats, providing just the right spark to beat their opponents ... The trainer’s roller-coaster career...was hampered by his drinking, emotional miscues in his marriage, and alleged theft of Ali’s championship belt. But overall this is an effective tribute to Ali’s controversial confidant, who sacrificed himself in service of the sport.
MixedPublishers Weekly...[an] elegant if uneven psychological thriller ... After a powerful first half in which the relationship between the two dances largely in the realm of possibility, the plot becomes less convincingly messy. Nonetheless, credit Briscoe with provocatively plumbing a pair of complex women ready to risk all to feel electrically alive.
PositiveKirkusThe fans Hornby has won with his comely backlist...might not change their favorite but they won’t be disappointed ... Hornby is as charming as ever in this nimble, optimistic take on the social novel.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHornby...lives up to his reputation as bard of the everyday in this thoughtful romance that crosses lines of race, age, and class ... Hornby is good company on the page and offers insights on his characters with aplomb, demonstrating an investment in each of their voices and an interest in the forces that draw people to one another. This is great fun.
PositiveKirkusLyons’ characters are unique and wonderful, portrayed with a depth that allows readers to understand their motivations and empathize with them. Her childhood promise directed most of Eudora’s choices in life except for one that haunts her. Quirky, insightful Rose is bullied and thus gravitates to her kindly older friends. Stanley recently lost his wife and struggles to regain his footing. And yet the trio\'s unlikely camaraderie has the power to rejuvenate them all, showing that good friendship makes life worth living ... A sensitive examination of human connections that can both damage and heal.
PositivePublishers Weekly... witty, endearing ... Lyons strikes a winning balance, reaching deep feelings while avoiding the traps of sentimentality.
Brittany K. Barnett
RavePublishers Weekly... passionate ... An engrossing legal drama complete with wrenching reversals and redemptions, this account richly humanizes defendants while incisively analyzing deep flaws in America’s justice system.
Brittany K. Barnett
RaveKirkusA welcome new addition to the groaning shelves of books about the critically flawed U.S. legal system ... The author poignantly writes about how she was able to identify with families torn apart by such heavy-handed sentences ... Considering her youthfulness, Barnett has accomplished more reform than most individuals could accomplish in two lifetimes.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders
PanKirkus... colorless, unnecessary ... The news here has already been thoroughly aired ... For compulsive collectors of Trumpiana only.
RaveKirkusWith her second novel, Clarke invokes tropes that have fueled a century of surrealist and fantasy fiction as well as movies, television series, and even video games. At the foundation of this story is an idea at least as old as Chaucer: Our world was once filled with magic, but the magic has drained away. Clarke imagines where all that magic goes when it leaves our world and what it would be like to be trapped in that place. Piranesi is a naif, and there’s much that readers understand before he does. But readers who accompany him as he learns to understand himself will see magic returning to our world ... Weird and haunting and excellent.
RavePublishers WeeklyClarke wraps a twisty mystery inside a metaphysical fantasy in her extraordinary new novel, her first since 2004’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. ... With great subtlety, Clarke gradually elaborates an explanatory backstory to her tale’s events and reveals sinister occult machinations that build to a crescendo of genuine horror. This superbly told tale is sure to be recognized as one of the year’s most inventive novels
PositiveLos Angeles Review of Books... the mystery plot unfolds at a brisk pace ... a philosophical work. At times it becomes a meditation of sorts on epistemology ... a work of intellectual intensity wrapped in a mystery plot, culminating with a cinematic denouement that includes—as it must—a loaded gun. Like a kaleidoscope, Piranesi rewards the reader when turned over in the mind, but also rewards the reader who simply wants to know who Piranesi is, where he came from, and how he came to be a prisoner in that magnificent labyrinth, populated with mythic statues, periodically flooded with tides from nowhere.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe young John F. Kennedy was no callow playboy but a serious and self-directed man, according to this sweeping first installment in a planned two-volume biography ... Logevall writes vividly of the hothouse Kennedy family culture, but also widens his lens to take in the forces of war, politics, and television that shaped JFK’s worldview and career. This richly detailed portrait sometimes feels romanticized in its evocations of Kennedy’s charisma, but Logevall helpfully reminds readers of the considerable substance beneath the glamour. Political history buffs will be enthralled.
PositiveKirkusA comprehensive life of John F. Kennedy...the first of two volumes ... More critical than the reminiscences of early aide Theodore Sorenson but appreciative of Kennedy’s complex, thoughtful view of politics, this study casts the \'playboy president\' in a largely positive light ... Highly revealing, particularly for post-Camelot readers who wonder at the esteem in which JFK is held.
MixedKirkusPalahniuk dives deep into Hollywood noir with a grotesque and outrageous stand-alone that marries the sexual deviance of Snuff...with the late-stage sadism of Bret Easton Ellis ... Palahniuk thrusts us into the demented world of one Mitzi Ives, a pill-popping, masochistic, borderline psychotic woman whose specialty in her profession as a freelance Foley artist is capturing the screams of people in the worst agony of their lives ... You have to give Palahniuk credit, because there’s just nobody like him when it comes to skeeving out readers, but as in many of his nihilist fancies, there’s nobody to root for here ... Palahniuk is an acquired taste, and fans will appreciate the story that scrapes like fingernails on a chalkboard and the familiar post-capitalism end-of-the-world vibe, but it might be a little too close for comfort for less amenable readers ... A Hollywood fantasy that’s all about hurt until the very end, which is so much worse.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPalahniuk ...puts a wickedly playful spin on the mechanics of horror filmmaking in this genre-bending novel .. This dark, humorous tale sparkles with inventive details—including a scream powerful enough to crumble buildings—and provocative insights on \'the commodification of pain\' and what it means to turn \'people’s basic humanity into something that could be bought and sold.\' The result is a wry, devilish delight.
Philippe Djian, trans. by Mark Polizzotti
PositivePublishers WeeklyTwo 30-something veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen grapple with assimilating back into civilian life in this abrasive novel from French writer Djian ... Djian’s disjointed style results in several jolting shocks and hazy situations, which form a piercing psychological group portrait. Readers who appreciate messy interpersonal dynamics will enjoy piecing together this shadowy story.
Philippe Djian, trans. by Mark Polizzotti
MixedKirkusThe characters in Djian’s novel could have stepped straight from the pages of the most melancholy Raymond Carver short story ... The novel begins in shades of gray and slides toward black as incidents of petty crime, physical violence, and sexual betrayal mount. Djian situates the relationships of all five of these unsympathetic characters in a cul-de-sac from which it’s obvious early in the novel they lack the ability, or even the will, to escape ... what’s lacking is any truly tragic sense beyond an obvious regret at the senseless loss of human life. That shortcoming results from Djian’s choice to spend more time creating a moody portrait of working-class despair than he does plumbing his characters’ inner lives in any meaningful way ... A grim tale of infidelity and family dysfunction.
James a Morone
RaveKirkusMorone closes this wide-ranging and readable history by venturing some suggestions on how the \'tribal\' breakdown of politics might be further reconfigured so that Trumpist ideas are shed for the \'big tent\' notions of old in the Republican Party. At a more practical level, he urges that voting rights be made automatic and easy: \'Register every American when they turn eighteen. No caveats. No paperwork. No convoluted residency tests.\' ... A brilliant exposé of the uglier undercurrents of American political history.
James a Morone
PositivePublishers WeeklyPolitical scientist Morone...surveys more than 200 years of partisan discord in this incisive and well-researched history ... Monroe marshals a vast amount of information into a brisk, accessible narrative, and draws illuminating contrasts between past and present, spotlighting, for instance, stark differences between the politics of Democratic presidential candidates Harry Truman and Hillary Clinton. This nuanced and richly detailed account offers essential perspective ahead of the 2020 election.
RaveKirkusLorde’s poems, urgent and intimate, focus on the ordinary and the extraordinary, a range of subjects including love, death and dying, and police killings of black people with impunity. That the author’s masterful work is as relevant and necessary today as it was in the last century is both a tribute to her and a condemnation of a society that continues to oppress and marginalize black women ... An essential anthology that challenges our 21st-century social and political consciousness.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis well-chosen selection of work by feminist author Lorde...features incisive prose pieces and poems from nine collections published between 1968 and 1993 ... The prose portion also features selections from Lorde’s intense and deeply affecting journals written over the years she battled cancer. The sublime choices of Lorde’s poetry include the haunting \'Martha,\' written during a former lover’s recuperation after a car accident, and \'Father Son and Holy Ghost,\' which beautifully records a childhood memory of her father returning from work, \'Misty from the worlds business/ Massive and silent as the whole day’s wish.\' Readers new to Lorde’s work couldn’t ask for a better introduction, and those already familiar will find this an ideal collection of her greatest hits.
RavePublishers WeeklyJohnson’s world-hopping debut uses science fictional tools and an exciting plot to address urgent questions of privilege and position ... Johnson employs Cara’s situation to forthrightly examine questions of privilege, trauma, assimilation, colonialism, and upbringing. While the story takes time to get going and certain aspects of the setting feel derivative, the characters, voice, and twists all demand readers’ attention ... A compelling stand-alone debut that will leave readers thrilled, thoughtful, and anticipating the author’s next book.
PositiveKirkusJohnson bursts onto the scene with this thought-provoking, high-concept sci-fi debut that impresses with exceptional worldbuilding and a distinctive protagonist, but suffers under the strain of too much plot ... Though the ambitious plotting becomes difficult to untangle as the timelines, characters, and versions of Earth multiply, Johnson’s meditations on privilege and inequality ring true. Despite occasional melodramatics and some hazy political structures, this immersive, original adventure is sure to please readers looking for smart, diverse science fiction. Johnson is a writer to watch.
RavePublishersWhere does history stop and invention begin? That’s the question guiding Valerie Martin’s splendidly wily new novel ... Martin’s prose, while effortlessly readable, can take deliciously unexpected turns ... As enticing as the Salviati family’s history is, it’s the sense of a game being played on multiple levels that lends I Give It to You its deepest powers of seduction ... Jan’s authorly powers seem well suited to the stories that Beatrice drops in her lap. But as the book circles toward the death of Uncle Salvio in the Villa Chiara’s driveway, its suspense has less to do with specific events disclosed than with the uncertainty as to how the story will land. After all, when you give someone a gift — think of a model offering to sit for a portraitist — certain expectations may come with it ... Martin makes the most of those expectations.
PositivePublishers WeeklyEnemies turn to lovers in YA author Park’s punchy adult debut set in the world of video game design ... Park...makes tough topics go down easy by couching them in wry humor and lighthearted romance, and her fierce, snarky heroine is irresistible. This smart rom-com is a winner.
RaveKirkusEach section is packed with vivid, entertaining tales, whether Raffles is discussing the enigmatic objects, obscure rites, the Scandinavian occupation of the Orkney Islands, or the geopoetics of megaliths. Throughout, the author is \'alive to the deeply archaic currents moving through and around me.” The text shimmers with rangy curiosity, precise pictorial descriptions, well-narrated history, a sympathetic eye for the natural world, and a deft, light scholarly touch. The mood is as unpredictable as next week’s weather, as Raffles remains keenly attuned to the politics and personalities that move the action along ... As panoptic and sparkling as the crystals contained in many of the author’s objects of study.
MixedKirkusWriting the story entirely from Sylv.ie’s first-person point of view is a risky choice, resulting in a protagonist who never seems fully identifiable. Sylv.ie disassociates from her inner and outer conflicts, as do we. The prime directive against harming humans is a rule made to be broken, but not here. Despite the tension between Sylv.ie’s increasing enlightenment and her prescribed passivity, no dramatic confrontations erupt ... Echoes of Brave New World, I, Robot, and other books, but there\'s little to distinguish this debut from its antecedents.
PositivePublishers WeeklyNarrated by a sentient sex robot, Anderson’s fascinating but uneven debut raises more questions than it’s equipped to answer ... Anderson gracefully executes the process of Sylv.ie’s self-discovery, making her feel real and deeply sympathetic ... But Anderson teases big ideas about the future of society and its interaction with technology that go under explored ... Readers will be drawn in by Sylv.ie’s emotional story, even if the dystopian world she inhabits remains frustratingly murky.
RaveKirkusCass Neary is a tough, self-destructive character who still exudes compassion, courage, and love for the beauty and the pain of life—even more so because she recognizes its impermanence ... Part The Club Dumas, part The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, all punk attitude and beautiful ache.
PositivePublishers Weekly... enjoyable if at times overplotted ... The action hurtles toward an exciting climax on an island off the Swedish coast. That this adventure ends for once on a positive note for Cass, who so far has been living on an addict’s ragged edge, will please series fans. Newcomers will find this a good entry point.
Natalie Zina Walschots
RaveKirkusEvocative prose, acerbic wit, and patient yet propulsive pacing complement Walschots’ sophisticated plot, which juxtaposes philosophic profundity with brutal, meticulously choreographed action. Boldly drawn characters of sundry ethnicities, sexualities, and gender identities engage in realistically complex relationships that evolve (and devolve) over the course of the tale, illustrating the relativity of good and evil, the corrupting influence of power, and the necrotic nature of revenge ... A fiendishly clever novel that fizzes with moxie and malice.
Natalie Zina Walschots
RavePublishers WeeklyWalschots gleefully blurs the line between heroes and villains in this hilarious peek behind the scenes of supervillains’ lairs ... Walschots playfully pokes at both office politics and comic book absurdity while offering gripping action and gut-wrenching body horror. The inventive premise, accessible heroine, and biting wit will have readers eager for more from this talented author.
Natalie Zina Walschots
RaveSmart Bitches Trashy BooksAnna is smart, and desperate, and I loved being in her head. I highlighted so much of this book I’m sure the file size is larger than when I started ... There’s also a subtle exploration of morality, collective and individual, that I found endlessly fascinating ... I couldn’t put it down. If you start it and you’re thinking that it’s a little plodding, keep at it ... Hench is delicious in its anger and ferocity, chilling in its deadpan snark and arctic clarity of analysis and assessment, and meticulous in its nuance. It’s a villainously wonderful good time.
PositivePublishers Weekly... intriguing ... At the exciting climax, Walt coolly estimates the number of stitches in his scalp he’s going to need after being shot by the surprising culprit he’s closing in on. Vietnam War vet Walt shows few signs of age in this consistently entertaining series.
MixedKirkusThis is good stuff, if a little discursive, and helps redress a historical imbalance. However, the measured tone and leisurely exploration give way to accelerating action and a somewhat fragmented plot. Some characters believe the painting still exists, and one, Count von Lehman, a slightly absurd caricature of art dealers, believes he paid a substantial amount to acquire it. Then von Lehman disappears, apparently murdered, and the niceties of civilized competition drop away. All\'s revealed in the end, of course. Some of the characters are richly drawn and, in the case of Standing Bear, warmly familiar, and the antics of Lee\'s Veterans\' Home cronies are a sweet tribute to America\'s better angels, but the villains are disappointing, and while it\'s more a caper than a gritty tale, mortal crimes are committed, lives are changed or curtailed, and the plotting seems somehow less than the sum of its parts ... Not Johnson\'s best work but a pleasant composition demonstrating deft brushwork.
PositivePublishers Weekly... dark, inspired ... The buildup digs into the why as much as the how, allowing Nemerever to chart an enthralling exploration of what drives these young men to violence. Fans of Patricia Highsmith will definitely want to take note of this promising writer.
PositivePublishers WeeklyCommunication and trust are matters of life and death in Ellis’s thoughtful, fast-paced debut ... Though a too-quick ending is somewhat unsatisfying, the powerful connection that grows between Cora and Ampersand as they teach each other about their respective cultures is masterfully done. Lovers of character-focused sci-fi will find plenty to enjoy in this gripping alternate history.
MixedKirkusEllis doesn’t break new ground here, and her prose is uneven. The injections of quirky humor feel particularly strained. But this hits all the necessary notes for a first contact narrative, and this trope might be fresh for at least a portion of Ellis’ fan base. This is a solid, if not especially imaginative or polished, science fiction debut.
RaveKirkus\"... [a] sharp psychological thriller ... Downing subtly ratchets up the tension while perfectly capturing the complex dynamics between the siblings, including all the little betrayals and slights and plenty of old wounds left to fester over the years. The droll, slyly funny Beth is a captivating (unreliable?) narrator, and the parallels that she draws between the past and present make for compelling reading, as do their visits to out-of-the way tourist traps, all of which take on a sort of dark meaning. Will everyone make it to the end? Readers will be turning the pages to find out. Buckle up and settle in for one diabolically fun road trip.
RavePublishers WeeklyBeth Morgan’s wryly humorous narration belies the high-stakes skullduggery that awaits her and her two estranged adult siblings on the cross-country road trip they’re forced into taking with their grandfather’s ashes in order to claim slices of his fortune, in this deliciously devious psycho thriller from Downing ... The journey ends in a shocking, if head-spinning, showdown in the Nevada desert. Those with a taste for suspense with a wicked kick will be rewarded.
RavePublishers WeeklyHannah displays her superior ability to devise mind-blowing setups in her fourth authorized continuation of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series ... Hannah provides logical and reasonable answers to every oddity. Fans of classic fair-play puzzle mysteries will clamor for more.
RavePublishers WeeklyAbramsky...documents in this engrossing page turner the inspiring life of forgotten sports phenomenon Lottie Dod ... This astute history is a must read for sports fans and women’s studies’ students.
PositiveKirkusTo provide valuable context, Abramsky includes major events that occurred during Dod’s lifetime ... Fortunately for sports fans and students of women\'s studies, Dod won’t be overlooked thanks to Abramsky’s thorough biography. The author\'s historical portrait helps readers appreciate Dod\'s amazing feats long before Title IX was ever conceived. A welcome resurrection of a true pioneer.
RaveKirkus\"... a collection of luminous stories populated by deeply moving and multifaceted characters ... No saints exist in these pages, just full-throated, flesh-and-blood women who embrace and redefine love, and their own selves, in powerfully imperfect renditions. Tender, fierce, proudly Black and beautiful, these stories will sneak inside you and take root.
RavePublishers Weekly... [a] triumphant debut collection ... While Philyaw occasionally gets ahead of herself...for the most part she soars ... Philyaw’s stories inform and build on one another, turning her characters’ private struggles into a beautiful chorus.
PositiveKirkusThe observer/narrator is winding and given to tangents and, in early moments, might distract a bit too much from the strongly drawn characters. But the story gains energy and sureness as it develops, resulting in moments of insight and connection between its numerous amiable characters ... A story with both comedy and heartbreak sure to please Backman fans.
PositivePublishers Weekly... witty, lighthearted ... While the prose is chockablock with odd metaphors and a plot twist leans on societal assumptions, Backman charms with his empathetic description of the robber, who gradually earns sympathy from the hostages. This amusing send-up of contemporary Swedish society is worth a look.
Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer
PositivePublishers Weekly... riveting ... Sharing this kind of dramatic evolution requires a dense and info-packed book, but the authors break up the text with helpful end-of-chapter synopses to sum up the takeaways and boxed excerpts from employee interviews. Aspiring tech moguls should flock to Hastings and Meyer’s energetic and fascinating account.
Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer
PositiveKirkusThe book is conversational, packed with sidebars, asides, graphs, and charts, and illuminating, sometimes self-satisfied anecdotes. Netflix-like cultures of \'freedom and responsibility\' are most effective in \'creative\' companies that depend on \'innovation, speed, and flexibility.\' Firms focused on error prevention generally opt for stricter policies ... A self-congratulatory but fascinating story of a counterintuitive approach that apparently works—at least for Netflix.
Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz
PositiveLibrary Journal... a fast-paced account of the massive college admissions scam devised by Rick Singer ... This indictment of contemporary American culture offers an in-depth look at the families who were willing to break the law and ignore ethical principles to provide higher education for their children, though the work would have been stronger had it analyzed the causes of this shameful scandal ... A well-researched and detailed picture of a crime emerging in an American culture corrupted by wealth and celebrity.
Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz
PositiveKirkusKorn and Levitz dig deep ... The authors’ highly readable exposé goes well beyond the tabloid level, though, in exposing malfeasance throughout the higher-education system in the chase for ever scarcer dollars. A capable examination of the seamy intersection of ambition, money, and higher education.
RaveKirkusThis luminous narrative, in which the tales of each of Mendelsohn’s three chosen exiled writers appealingly intertwine, is about many things—memory, literature, family, immigration, and religion—and it ends where it began, with a \'wanderer\' entering \'an unknown city after a long voyage\' ... This slender, exquisite book rewards on many levels.
PositivePublishers WeeklyBringing together memoir, history, and literary analysis, critic Mendelsohn delivers a fine study of digression, exile, and circularity ... Mendelsohn’s talent with descriptive detail brings his work alive, such as repeated descriptions of Auerbach, while exiled in Istanbul, gazing through a palace window over the turquoise Sea of Marmara. Mendelsohn never fails to entertain as he takes the reader across thousands of years’ worth of literature and lives.
RaveKirkus... revealing ... fascinating and often gruesome ... Smoothly switching gears, Conant devotes the final third of her book to the early efforts, which were dogged by controversy and disappointment but began achieving permanent cures by the 1960s ... An impressive dual history of a military disaster and a scientific breakthrough.
PositivePublishers Weekly... well-researched and engrossing ... Though lay readers may find some descriptions of medical breakthroughs overly technical, Conant documents the many twists and turns of this little-known story with verve and precision. WWII aficionados and medical history fans will be fascinated by this illuminating chronicle.
M. O. Walsh
RavePublishers Weekly... playful and touching ... Walsh follows these characters with humor and compassion, leading them to an ending readers will find surprising and satisfying. The novel transcends its quirky premise, offering many insights on the mysteries of the human heart.
M. O. Walsh
PositiveKirkus\"There’s something a little strange about Walsh’s follow-up to his remarkable first novel. On one hand, it has a warm, folksy, Fannie Flagg–type feeling, complete with John Prine references galore (the title is one) and a goofy touch of magic. On the other hand, like the author’s debut, it addresses very serious and disturbing issues...Both aspects are well handled, but do they really go together? When you get a bereaved dad dressed up in a ludicrous cowboy outfit intervening to rescue his son from being gunned down by the police you have to wonder ... An eccentric, well-written small-town novel jam-packed with appealing characters and their dreams.
RavePublishers Weekly... a vivid and persuasive chronicle ... Even readers who have never visited the Crescent City will be moved by this incisive account.
RaveKirkus... incisive ... As he convincingly demonstrates, Hurricane Katrina, and the response to destruction, highlighted the complex forces that led to disaster: \'canal building, coastal erosion, climate change, metropolitan subsidence, failed levees, mandatory evacuation, and decades of local, state, and federal housing policy\' ... An eye-opening environmental history.
PositiveKirkusThe stories in this inventive collection take familiar premises from fantasy—a king\'s precocious son gets into trouble, immortal beings pine for prior centuries and invigorate them with elements of black and African American cultures: The king rocks multicolored kente robes, and the undying crack up at BET\'s ComicView. The result is a refreshing take on favorite tropes, and the stories are fun and full of humor ... Additional, tiny details accumulate like breadcrumbs, making an unexpected turn to the otherworldly totally surprising and yet absolutely fitting ... Fun, inventive fiction that refreshes the fantasy genre with elements of black heritage and culture.
RavePublishers WeeklyCotman...wields biting wit, powerful emotion, and magic large and small throughout these six superlative stories ... Cotman utilizes genre conventions to examine racism, sexism, power imbalances, and hypocrisy ... The title story is the strongest, imagining a group of immortals with the ability to extend their lives by growing and consuming fruit, in prose that ranges from humorous...to lyrical ... Readers will be blown away by this standout tale, which grapples with the responsibility of holding power, and whether that power can, or should, be shared. Cotman’s bold and timely speculative fiction marks him as a writer to watch.
RavePublishers WeeklyMiller...delivers a robust, character-driven examination of the inner workings of a lengthy marriage ... The novel takes on various configurations, swelling with recovered memories of childhood experiences and crackling with revelations of seductive temptations at an artist’s colony ... The novel is grounded by vibrant prose, vividly portrayed secondary characters, and the resiliency of everlasting love. Miller’s fans will devour this spectacular, powerful return.
PositiveKirkusThis death happens fairly early in the book, but since the reader knows about the affair and Annie does not, the first two-thirds of Miller’s 13th novel are infused with a merry narrative tension. That energy dissipates somewhat when Annie eventually finds out about Graham\'s infidelity. At this point the novel becomes more meditative, sticking close to Annie as she deals with the disorienting feeling that she never really knew the man she deeply loved ... Miller’s skill at depicting the intricacies of marriage, parenting, and domestic life, the atmosphere of the independent bookstore, and the pleasures of flowers, wine, and food...makes this book charming and inviting in a way that is somewhat at odds with its sorrowful impetus ... A thoughtful and realistic portrait of those golden people who seem to have such enviable lives.
PositiveKirkus\"A sometimes tender, sometimes fraught story of interracial love in a time of trouble ... Robinson’s storytelling relies heavily on dialogue, moreso than her other work, and involves only a few scene changes, as if first sketched out as a play. The story flows swiftly—and without a hint of inevitability ... An elegantly written proof of the thesis that love conquers all—but not without considerable pain.
RavePublishers Weekly... stellar, revelatory ... Robinson’s masterly prose and musings on faith are on display as usual, and the dialogue is keen and indelible ... This is a beautiful, superbly crafted meditation on the redemption and transcendence that love affords.
RaveKirkus... a range of memorable characters ... One comes to this book not for the pleasures of conventional narrative fiction (though Akhtar certainly can spin a tale); this is a novel of restless exploration that finds no pat answers about what it means to be a Muslim American today. A profound and provocative inquiry into an artist’s complex American identity.
RavePublishers Weekly... wrenching ... Akhtar’s work is a provocative and urgent examination of the political and economic conditions that shape personal identity, especially for immigrants and communities of color. With an audacious channeling of Philip Roth’s warts-and-all approach to the story of an American writer and his family, this tragicomedy is a revelation.
RaveEntertainment Weekly... A searing entrant in the burgeoning field of popular auto-fiction ... Homeland Elegies is as elastic in shape as it is dazzling in execution ... Akhtar’s forceful, direct prose conveys a poetic sense of anguish ... So maybe this is more than a novel. It’s a document — furious, unwieldy, tragic — of our time.
PositiveKirkus... an epic journey ... The author’s animated report of his trip of more than 53,000 miles—and the crossing of \'102 international borders\'—highlights perils and drama ... A brisk, panoramic view of peoples and lands.
francine j. harris
RavePublishers WeeklyWith poems that pant, keen, and rumble, harris...offers a fresh and dazzling third collection. The poet’s subjects are difficult and necessary ... These are poems of solitude and full-throated coupling, of nonhuman and extraterrestrial phenomena ... But no list of topics or themes can capture the erotic heat, imaginative breadth, and syntactical daring of this poet’s voice. These are litmus poems, testing the reader’s readiness to be doubted, doubled, called out, and rubbed raw ... In this formidable book, poems resist the intelligence successfully, as the poet opts instead \'to live above the intelligence. the flash.\'
Madeline Gins, Ed. by Lucy Ives
PositivePublishers WeeklyThis wide-ranging, energetic anthology of poetry and experimental fiction, with an authoritative introduction by Ives...shows how Gins (1941–2014) explored the possibilities of literary form and its relationship to content ... Gins’s playfulness emerges in unattributed quotes from modernist literature (Beckett, Woolf) along with graphic design elements, such as a thumb protruding from the side of a page. At one point, Gins writes, \'Words are moving over me.\' A long section of imperatives—by turns ominous, hilarious, trivial—appears in all caps separated by white space. Stimulating and consistently surprising, this is a treat for those interested in interdisciplinary artists such as John Cage.
PositivePublishers WeeklyLiz and Erin share the narrative, which Ware rapidly cycles to accelerate pace and amplify suspense. A somewhat contrived denouement does little to diminish the thrill of this claustrophobic, adrenaline-fueled cat-and-mouse game. Agatha Christie fans take note.
RaveKirkusWare does what she does best: Gives us a familiar locked-door mystery setup and lets the tension and suspicion marinate until they reach fever pitch. Another win for Ware and her adaptations of classic mystery traditions ... The solution is maddeningly simple but the construction, simply masterful.
RaveKirkusKreitner effectively cleans the window that stands between us and our history ... Throughout, the author does an admirable job suppressing his own political views—until near the end ... Richly researched, revelatory, disturbing, and essential to those wandering in the mists of American myth.
PositivePublishers Weekly... an eye-opening chronicle ... Briskly documenting centuries of conflict, Kreitner makes a strong case that the impulse to dissolve the union will always resonate in such a vast and diverse nation. How much this actually matters, given the country’s long history of sticking together, is left up to the reader to decide. Still, this entertaining history provides plenty of food for thought
RavePublishers Weekly...smart, darkly funny ... Rapoport’s prose crackles with wit...and erotic heat ... Suffused with deep feeling, Rapoport’s narrative boldly faces the darkness that can fuel sisterly rivalry.
MixedKirkusRapoport’s tightly structured novel uses the seven-day Jewish mourning ritual to delve claustrophobically into Eve’s psychology and the family history that shaped it ... Was Tam as perfect as she seemed? Who envied whom? Can Eve make better choices? These questions, both familiar and overworked, will all resolve themselves neatly as suggestions of moral lapses are excused by extenuating circumstances, and a couple of surprises help other issues melt away ... The scenario is sympathetic but the conceptual bones poke too visibly through this novel’s narrative skin.
RaveKirkusMeacham concisely chronicles his subject’s highs and lows and, most importantly, his personal sacrifices—not least of them being severely beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965 while leading a protest march. Given his remarkable accomplishments, Lewis is that rare historical figure who deserves his lionization. Refreshingly, Meacham offers a distinctly human portrait of a man who struggled with anxieties, fears, and occasionally despair, a leader who dug deep to find the courage to keep going in the face of nearly insurmountable cultural resistance. From his humble beginnings to his recent death, the author clearly demonstrates Lewis’ bravery and survivor’s instinct ... As always, the author is a fluid writer, and the book benefits from his inclusion of commentary from such contemporaries as Harry Belafonte. An added bonus is a heartfelt epilogue by Lewis himself ... An elegant, moving portrait of a giant of post-1950 American history.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA profile in courage and faith under fire emerges from this vivid portrait of Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis ... Meacham sometimes goes overboard in his adulation ... Still, this gripping work is deeply relevant to America’s current turmoil over racial injustice.
RavePublishers WeeklyWeinberger delivers a charming meditation on the nature of angels and saints, illustrated with gorgeous reproductions of the works of ninth century German Benedictine monk Hrabanus Maurus ... Weinberger concludes his consideration with a beautifully laid out \'angelology,\' naming various angels and their powers ... The reproductions, scattered throughout the book, are full-color and invite the reader to contemplation. Academic and lay readers interested in Christian thought will enjoy Weinberger’s eclectic homage to angels and saints.
PositiveKirkus... eclectic ... Dispensing with any sort of introduction, Weinberger delves into the subject of angels by discussing how many might exist, according to bygone Christian and Jewish sources. This disarming beginning prepares readers for an entire book of intriguing material that seems to go nowhere in particular. Combining a historian’s level of scholarship with a mystic’s sense of ambiguity, the author crafts a fascinatingly quirky work about the beings of heaven and those humans who are closest to them ... There is no order or apparent overarching purpose, and readers will wonder why the author chose the stories of the saints that he did. The thought-provoking artwork of ninth-century Frankish monk Hrabanus Maurus enhances the text, and the book also includes a guide to the illustrations written by scholar Mary Wellesley ... Most readers will be charmed by this exploration of the divine, which is read best as an escape rather than a study tool.
RavePublishers Weekly... coruscating ... a setup that allows Volckmer to display her mastery of dark comedy ... The narration successfully walks a tightrope of incendiary subject matter via German-Jewish humor and literary touchstones; Volckmer’s inversion of Portnoy’s Complaint is a revelation.
MixedKirkus... startling ... Volckmer’s prose has a fluid lyricism even—or especially—when it is laced with profanity, which it often is. But her insights often fail to move beyond shock value to achieve real depth. Volckmer’s narrator, it turns out, grew up in Germany, though she now lives in London; Dr. Seligman is Jewish. The narrator turns repeatedly to the subject of the Second World War. She even ends the book by revealing where that family inheritance came from. Unfortunately, that ending, like much else in this intriguing novel, ultimately feels unearned ... Aiming for shock value over profundity, Volckmer glides past the subjects that might have made her novel truly unsettling.
RaveKirkusAnderson delivers a complex, massively scaled narrative, balancing prodigious research with riveting storytelling skills ... Though all four men began their careers with the strong desire to defend American freedom, the author engagingly demonstrates how their efforts were undermined by politically motivated power grabs within the U.S. government; poorly planned covert operations; and duplicitous scheming by the likes of J. Edgar Hoover and Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who were espousing anti-communist rhetoric to advance their own careers ... Over the course of the narrative, the author amply shows how the CIA was increasingly pushed to function as an instrument of politically charged ambitions ... An engrossing history of the early days of the CIA.
RavePublishers Weekly... fascinating ... Laced with vivid character sketches and vital insights into 20th-century geopolitics, this stand-out chronicle helps to make sense of the world today.
RaveThe New York Times Style MagazineWho, really, can resist New York City in the 1970s — the elongated yellow taxis, shop signs and hot-dog vendors, the World Trade Center rising? Mayer captured the Big Apple before the gloss, before Starbucks and bank branches colonized the streets and artists and writers fled, first for the other boroughs, then for other cities entirely. But Memory is first and foremost a deeply personal exercise in observation, its pages filled with shopping lists, friends, interiors of diners, evidence of trips upstate, breakfasts, trees, a shaggy-haired lover. (There’s even an analog selfie.) Seen in another light, the project seems to anticipate the way we think about representing life today, whether we’re sharing snippets of our days on Instagram or unpolished fragments of thought on Twitter. Mayer...was a rebel of form who refused to see life as a continuous, unspooling narrative filled with straightforward meanings. In her thoughts and images, we find an immersion in quotidian minutiae, synecdoche for a lost era that feels almost eerily contemporary.
RavePublishers Weekly...exceptional ... The tension rises as Gamache tries to investigate both crimes in a jurisdiction where he has no authority, and vital secrets about his family come to light, changing relationships forever. Penny’s nuanced exploration of the human spirit continues to distinguish this brilliant series.
RaveKirkusPenny has always been a master of pacing on a serieswide level, moving between the overarching corruption story and more local mysteries and also occasionally taking a break from Three Pines, the beloved, unmappable Quebec village that is the main setting ... As always, Penny\'s mystery is meticulously constructed and reveals hard truths about the hidden workings of the world—as well as the workings of the Gamache family. But there\'s plenty of local color ... If you\'re new to Penny\'s world, this would be a great place to jump in. Then go back and start the series from the beginning.
RavePublishers Weekly...excellent ... Gordon nails period details and vividly describes her characters’ worlds, whether they are restoring a work of art or raising a daughter. This mesmerizing novel hits hard.
PanKirkusFrom the title out, Gordon’s 20th book aspires to be a snappy, plot-driven novel with a premise based on reality TV—a socially current, Jodi Picoult–ish type of book ... Hung on the scaffolding of this silly plot is another sort of book entirely, a deep and dilatory character study ... Despite all Gordon\'s detailed fleshing-out of the ruminative Agnes, the villainous Heidi is completely nuance-free, with a backstory of Grimm Brothers–style grimness ... unsatisfying ... The marriage of shallow suspense plot and deep character study creates the wrong kind of page-turner.
Sarah Maslin Nir
PositiveKirkusThis thoughtful, well-researched book offers a charming portrait of horses in America as well as of a woman who found self-acceptance in their graceful company ... A bighearted debut book sure to please horse lovers.
Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
RavePublishers Weekly...sparkling, transcendent ... Each story is delicate and dazzling in its own way—this is the rare collection where each entry is as good as the one that came before it ... The stories hum with thrilling detail and are touched here and there by small hints of magic ... With the exuberance of the best Elizabeth McCracken stories and the insights of Tessa Hadley, these tales are at once gorgeously rendered and empathetic. This has the feel of an instant classic.
Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
RaveKirkusBynum\'s characters struggle to determine who they are, how they are, and how they were, in a distant time before smartphones and cyber-media ... As clean prose dissects messy lives, these stories combine an empathetic heart with acute understanding.
PositiveKirkus[A] memorable indictment of the civil war in Central America that drove a wave of migration to the U.S. ... A provocative, revealing work of journalism that explains gang behavior but does not idealize it.
PositivePublishers WeeklySalvadoran-American journalist Lovato recounts in this anguished memoir his 2015 trip to El Salvador to investigate the country’s horrific gang wars ... Lovato delivers an intimate, gripping portrait of El Salvador’s agony.
RaveKirkus... brief, potent essays ... Biss prescribes no solutions except perhaps to encourage more candor about the problem ... A typically thoughtful set of Biss essays: searching, serious, and determined to go beyond the surface.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a stylish, meditative inquiry into the function and meaning of 21st-century capitalism ... Biss doesn’t shy away from acknowledging her own privilege, and laces her reflections with unexpected insights and a sharp yet ingratiating sense of humor, though she doesn’t push too hard for change, either in her own life or her readers’. Still, this eloquent, well-informed account recasts the everyday world in a sharp new light.
RaveThe Associated Press... enthralling ... Her allusive blend of autobiography and criticism may remind some of The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, a friend whose name pops up in the text alongside those of other artists and intellectuals who have influenced her work. And yet, line for line, her epigrammatic style perhaps most recalls that of Emily Dickinson in its radical compression of images and ideas into a few chiseled lines ... Biss wears her erudition lightly ... she’s really funny, with a barbed but understated wit ... Keenly aware of her privilege as a white, well-educated woman who has benefited from a wide network of family and friends, Biss has written a book that is, in effect, the opposite of capitalism in its willingness to acknowledge that everything she’s accomplished rests on the labor of others.
Peace Adzo Medie
RaveKirkus... delightful ... Medie subtly develops Afi’s character as she—mentored by her brother-in-law’s mistress, who lives down the hall—goes from being an innocent, awestruck village girl to a sophisticated, confident woman, accustomed to privilege and luxury, set on a creative career...and mad as hell ... A Crazy Rich Asians for West Africa, with a healthy splash of feminism.
Peace Adzo Medie
PositivePublishers Weekly... busy ... Afi’s narration is driven by a series of episodes, from Afi insisting on learning to drive to selling her designs to the country’s first lady, and while the relentless pacing leaves little room for reflection on her emotional turmoil, Medie succeeds at channeling Afi’s desires and desperation. This stirring tale sings when Afi learns to flex her limited power.
PositiveKirkusAs Ashna\'s story unravels alongside her mother\'s, the novel deftly unpacks some of the ways in which Indian women\'s experiences of oppression have changed with time, though Dev details Shoban\'s crusade against patriarchy with much more empathy and insight than her daughter\'s. The second installment in the Raje Family series...is ripe with an insider\'s understanding of Indian, specifically Maharashtrian, culture: luscious references to traditional food and attire jostle with bitter reminders of several deeply entrenched social and religious biases. As Dev swaps Austen\'s Regency England for aristocratic India, she credibly builds a world in which social privilege insulates upper-class and upper-caste men from the consequences of their actions ... An endearing romance that sensitively depicts the poignancy of loss and reconciliation.
RavePublishers WeeklyDev continues the story of the Raje family...with this nuanced and powerful second chance romance, a loose riff on Jane Austen’s Persuasion ... The fast-paced world of reality TV makes for a fun backdrop as Ashna and Rico grapple with their feelings ... Dev balances the toe-curling romance with high-octane family drama, fleshing out Ashna’s strained relationship with her mother with touching flashbacks to her parents’ past. Dev’s candor and sensitivity in both story lines set this family-centric romance apart. Readers are sure to be impressed.
PositiveKirkusCarter, whose knowledge of Chinese history and culture is abundantly clear, moves fluidly back and forth between the historical perspective and the bitter moments when Japanese occupation would eclipse the city\'s once flamboyant heyday ... A satisfying juggling act of academic research and engaging popular history.
RavePublishers Weekly...superb ... Loskutoff’s harrowing tale offers a heroine to root for. This one hits hard.
RaveKirkusThe mundane and the extraordinary converge ... the arc of this novel is anything but predictable. Its conclusion represents a bold and potentially divisive decision on Loskutoff’s part—but ultimately a powerful and evocative one that casts a number of earlier scenes in sharp relief. With resonant characters and a great sense of place, this novel rarely goes where you’d expect, and is stronger for it.
PositivePublishers WeeklyNunez’s deceptively casual and ultimately fierce work (after the National Book Award-winning The Friend) ambles through a range of digressions toward a plot involving euthanasia ... Much of the novel’s action is internal, as the attention of its judgmental, withholding narrator flicks from books to movies to sharp-edged thoughts about the people she encounters, offering plenty of surprises. Those willing to jump along with her should be tantalized by the provocative questions she raises.
RaveKirkus...short, sharp, and quietly brutal ... The novel is concerned with the biggest possible questions and confronts them so bluntly it is sometimes jarring: How should we live in the face of so much suffering? Dryly funny and deeply tender; draining and worth it.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] vibrant collection of 17 luminous stories ... A fresh commentary on diversity and racial equality ... Each entry is a testament to Mosley’s enduring literary power.
RaveKirkusA grandmaster of the hard-boiled crime genre shifts gears to spin bittersweet and, at times, bizarre tales about bruised, sensitive souls in love and trouble ... eponymous awkward Black men examined with dry wit and deep empathy by the versatile and prolific Mosley, who takes one of his occasional departures from detective fiction to illuminate the many ways Black men confound society’s expectations and even perplex themselves ... The tough-minded and tenderly observant Mosley style remains constant throughout these stories even as they display varied approaches from the gothic to the surreal ... The range and virtuosity of these stories make this Mosley’s most adventurous and, maybe, best book.
Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, trans. by Flora Thomson-DeVeaux
PositiveKirkusPerhaps the greatest novel by the multifaced Brazilian writer receives a fresh, lively translation ... Machado’s pages are punctuated by nicely philosophical apothegms...and fables, one of which explains the unceasing battle between reason and folly. Such passages read as if from classic texts, while his here-and-now reminiscences of lost loves and other missteps could have been written yesterday. All are highly entertaining ... Machado deserves wider familiarity among English readers, and this is a fine place to start reading him.
Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis, trans. by Flora Thomson-DeVeaux
RavePublishers WeeklyMachado de Assis’s brilliantly idiosyncratic 19th-century Brazilian classic stands alongside Don Quixote and Tristram Shandy as it follows the travails of self-described wastrel and mediocrity Brás Cubas, whose lone achievement in life has been as inventor of an antihypochondriacal miracle cure ... Thomson-DeVeaux’s limpid translation captures the charm and immediacy of de Assis...who seduces with short bursts of playful autobiography and bursts of exclamation ... His masterpiece reads like the best of dreams.
RavePublishers Weekly[A] unique and powerful meditation on the challenges of communicating across the racial divide in America ... an incisive, anguished, and very frank call for Americans of all races to cultivate their \'empathetic imagination\' in order to build a better future.
RaveKirkusRankine writes with disarming intimacy and searing honesty about pointed exchanges with White friends and colleagues, fissures within her marriage, and encounters with White strangers who assume some sort of superiority of rank ... potent ... A work that should move, challenge, and transform every reader who encounters it.
RavePublishers Weekly...outstanding ... This stellar and unflinching look at racism and greed will have readers hooked til the end.
Nancy Jooyoun Kim
MixedPublishers Weekly[An] uneven debut ... Mina’s immigration story poignantly mingles optimism with the heartbreak of exploitation. The more contemporary portions of the narrative, however, lack both emotional pull and narrative conviction. Margot’s characterization feels flat ... As a personal immigration narrative Kim’s novel largely succeeds, but as a mystery novel or a mother-daughter drama it fails to connect.
PositiveKirkusGoodman’s writing can be dry, but he confidently handles arcane historical details and a volatile subject ... A well-researched historical discussion with clear current relevance.
PositivePublishers WeeklyA few women at the shelter have stories that feel clichéd, like the Pakistani woman who’s threatened with an honor killing, but overall Elias does a good job of conveying a painful reality. This is for anyone who doesn’t mind their heroes acting in the gray areas to see justice done.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJournalist Lende...delivers a detailed and amiable chronicle of her three-year term as assemblywoman in Haines Borough, Alaska, a municipality of roughly 2,500 people in the state’s southern panhandle ... Lende successfully balances the dry facts of assembly reports with humorous character sketches and lyrical odes to the natural beauty of Alaska. The result is an honest and inspirational investigation into why \'it’s easy to say what’s wrong with government; it’s harder to fix it, and progress can be very slow.\'
PositiveKirkusWelcome back to Haines, Alaska, population 1,600. The cast of characters and places Lende wrote about in her three previous books return in this homespun foray into local politics ... Written in her usual sprightly, witty, humble, effervescent style, this one will please the author’s fans.
PositiveKirkusWong, the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, makes it clear that she never intended the book to serve as a \'best of\' work or a quasi-academic syllabus for \'Disability 101.\' As she writes, \'I want to center the wisdom of disabled people and welcome others in, rather than asking for permission or acknowledgment\' ... Readers will recognize relatively common scenes, such as Haben Girma’s navigating with a guide dog ...while other contributions ably demonstrate that not all disabilities are apparent ... Wong\'s discerning selections, bolstered by the activism that shines through, will educate and inspire readers.
Volker Ullrich, Trans. By Jefferson Chase
RaveKirkus... comprehensive ... Ullrich has numerous concerns in this significant project, which, like the first installment, remains readable across its 800-plus pages ... An endlessly revealing look at the Nazi regime that touches on large issues and small details alike.
PositiveKirkusThe author losely examines the many contradictory accounts of Toussaint’s dealings before and after this key date, as he served as a mediating force between the slaves and the White masters ... Though not entirely accessible to general readers, the book is evenhanded in its treatment of Toussaint and will be a useful addition to library collections ... A knowledgeable biography that carefully considers the nuances of Toussaint’s character and the legends that surround him.
PositiveKirkusMuch like Kunzru’s excellent White Tears (2017), this novel features a lead character stumbling into confrontations about race and society he’s ill-prepared to handle ... Plotwise, the novel is clunky, slow to establish the narrator’s character and awkwardly introducing Anton into the narrative; a lengthy section featuring a Deuter Center housecleaner’s experience being manipulated by the Stasi is razor-sharp in itself but effectively a sidebar to the main story. Yet as an allegory about how well-meaning liberals have been blindsided by pseudo-intellectual bigots with substantial platforms, it’s bleak but compelling.\
PositivePublishers Weekly\"A subplot narrated by a cleaning woman who lives with memories of being controlled by the Stasi doesn’t quite tie together with the rest of the goings-on, but Kunzru does an excellent job of layering the atmosphere with fear and disquietude at every turning point. This nightmarish allegory leaves the reader with much to chew on about literature’s role in the battleground of ideas.\
MixedThe Times Literary Supplement (UK)Red Pill is less a novel about right-wing trolling...than about liberal vertigo: it shows how progressives have been blindsided by the rhetorical pageantry of pseudo-intellectual bigots ... The mounting horror of Red Pill is Cassandra’s curse: watching the future—our present—spool out exactly as it already has. As the electoral college tallies its votes, the narrator’s madness transmutes into a terrible form of sanity. Kunzru is at his best in such moments, exposing the creeping malignancy of good intentions ... But for a novel that shares its title with a euphemism for far-right radicalization – in particular, a grotesque form of misogyny—Red Pill does not so much tumble down the rabbit hole as skitter around its dark edge. Kunzru largely evades the embittered machinations of the Manosphere ... As for the grandiose conspiracies of the red pill universe—they may be lurking in Red Pill, if you know where and how to look. Kunzru interrogates conspiracy thinking by mimicking it, throwing out ideas and airily encouraging us to join the dots ... Red Pill is a novel designed for us to parse, to scour for clues like a QAnon disciple ... As the narrator binge-watches Blue Lives, he wonders whether Anton’s metaphysical titbits are significant, or whether they’re some elaborate joke—a performative and empty cleverness. Kunzru’s sixth novel provokes the same maddening doubts
PositivePublishers Weekly... brisk and insightful ... Though his analysis doesn’t break much new ground, Buruma writes fluidly and paints vivid sketches of key figures and moments. Political history buffs will be fascinated.
PositiveKirkusA smart, lively political history that illuminates the changing relations of two decidedly unequal partners.
Ian W. Toll
RaveKirkusThere is no shortage of accounts of the brutal island-hopping invasions, but Toll’s take second place to none ... Toll’s account of the coup de grace, the atomic bomb, barely mentions the debate over its use because that began after the war. At the time, a few administration figures protested but did not make a big fuss, and it turned out to require two bombs and the Soviet invasion before Japan decided to surrender ... A conventional but richly rewarding history of the last war that turned out well for the U.S.
Ian W. Toll
RavePublishers WeeklyToll brings his Pacific War trilogy to a dramatic conclusion in this expertly told account of the final year of WWII ... intriguing ... paints a poignant picture of the surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri. Written with flair and chock-full of stories both familiar and fresh, this monumental history fires on all cylinders. WWII aficionados will be enthralled.
RaveLibrary Journal... capture the pain everyone is experiencing. Yet underneath the devastation lies a current of interconnectedness and hope. In a time when even getting out of bed takes a conscious effort, positive messages can be transformative ... Among the first anthologies of its kind, this thoughtful and engaging compilation is recommended for readers seeking understanding and connection and a more empathetic and less materialistic post–COVID-19 world.
PositiveKirkusOf course, there are plenty of mournful pieces concerning illness and death in pandemic isolation, but importantly, there’s a sense that life goes on, reinforcing the spirit of interconnectedness as so many of us remain apart ... Many of the essays find some consolation in the feelings of grace and emotions of tenderness we experience now that we’re no longer living in what Luis Alberto Urrea describes as \'our continual tantrum of consumption and aggression\' ... The collection is diverse in age, race, and ethnicity, and gender perspective is a focus of many of the pieces, which offer informed speculation on the many ways that things will never be the same. In addition to some voices that may not be widely known, the book includes a smorgasbord of big names: Kwame Alexander, Nikki Giovanni, David Sheff, Lidia Yuknavitch, Dani Shapiro, Garth Stein, Andre Dubus III, Dinty Moore, and Ada Limón ... A heartening gathering of writers joining forces for community support.
PositivePublishers Weekly... remarkable ... addresses the lockdown from a range of experiences, perspectives, and formats, including poems, essays, and interviews, with some writers considering how to retain a sense of control over one’s own life, and others how to maintain a feeling of connection to others ... Anyone who has weathered the past few months will find something in here that speaks to them.
PositiveKirkusSteeped in grief and teeming with ghosts ... With a restrained (but sustained) rage, Wyld explores the physical violence, emotional abuse, misogyny, and other harder to define aggressions women experience at the hands of men. The novel’s ambitious structure—which falters a bit during interspersed thematic vignettes—offers a kaleidoscopic portrayal of women’s suffering; certain themes, visuals, and feelings echo throughout the generations, which creates a sense of collective trauma. Wyld is particularly adept at describing the physical anticipation of danger; a sense of foreboding hangs over the novel like a shroud ... Time and time again, Wyld artfully proves the female body knows (even if the mind won’t accept) the dangers lurking all around ... A haunting survival tale that lingers long after the last page.
PositivePublishers Weekly... tragic and engrossing ... Abulhawa demonstrates the effect of trauma and helplessness on Nahr and others, leading them to violence. The detailed explorations of a woman’s pain and desperate measures make this lush story stand out.
PositiveKirkusThe author and her brothers learned to be tough at a young age, but she doesn’t relate her circumstances in anything less than a matter-of-fact, frequently enthusiastic voice, making the narrative move along in a highly engrossing manner ... With earnest, effective storytelling, Frey demonstrates her character: \'impatient, driven, restless, and at time obsessive\'—and highly successful ... A heart-gladdening memoir of a rare triumph over poverty.
PositivePublishers Weekly... passionate, though humble ... Frey’s energetic, inspiring memoir will appeal to small business owners and anyone who likes a bootstrapping success story.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a charming story ... Marion’s interactions with royalty, whose routine is often scripted and unfolds \'like a play,\' range from intimidating through enlightening to amusing ... Holden grounds the story of Marion’s attempt to help the princesses understand all classes of English society with rich historical details, and develops Marion’s character as she navigates her true calling amid staggering privilege. This lively historical tale will please fans of the English royal family.
PositivePublishers WeeklyUsing stark imagery and evocative prose, Woods paints an unflinching portrait of small-town brutality and despair. Tension climbs as the cops close in, but the deeply unsympathetic cast leaves readers uncertain for whom to root. Fans of Appalachian noir will be well satisfied.
RavePublishers Weekly...arresting ... The tender, exquisite prose brilliantly captures the feelings and fault lines in the girls’ friendship. This is a discerning look at secret infatuation and racial prejudice.
RavePublishers WeeklyEdgar finalist Doiron artfully blends a whodunit plot with superior characterizations in his top-notch 11th mystery featuring Mike Bowditch ... Doiron vividly portrays the Maine woods setting while maintaining taut suspense. This entry reinforces the author’s position in the front rank of regional thriller writers.
RaveKirkusParetsky effortlessly masters Dr. Watson’s voice in an adventure that shows Sherlock Holmes bested by an upstart American ... The deftly plotted \'Acid Test\' shows an apostle of nonviolence arrested for bombing a neighbor’s scientific institute. The charming \'Miss Bianca\' turns on a 10-year-old girl’s solicitude for a lab mouse. The dystopian fantasy \'Safety First; and \'Trial by Fire\' ...show off Paretsky’s willingness to take risks ...The well-wrought plots and densely imagined worlds make this the most distinguished mystery collection so far this year.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe 14 stories in this welcome collection from MWA Grand Master Paretsky (the V.I. Warshawksi PI series) are loosely tied together by the theme of people who kill for love in all its permutations ... The love that really comes through in each story is the love and empathy Paretsky has for her all-too-human characters.
RaveKirkusEndicott depicts her characters with great delicacy and sympathy. Kay, especially, is a wonder to behold: She’s barely a teenager when the novel begins, and to witness her first encounters with the world, as she quietly unravels her own feelings and beliefs about what she sees, is simply marvelous. The novel’s second half shifts in time and mood in a way that feels both surprising and exactly right. There is so much in this book to linger over, from Kay and Thea’s relationship with each other to the strength and autonomy of Kay’s mind to Endicott’s lyrical descriptions of the sea and the ship. It’s a novel to return to again and again ... Endicott’s latest novel is a quiet, elegant triumph with no easy answers.
Yaffa S Santos
MixedKirkus...though Julien ejects a customer who deigns to ask for ketchup and fires a cook who ruins some expensive dried meat, Santos never fully captures either his bark or his bite. And although Lumi is a more fully realized character, she still suffers from lack of a strong plot to support her ... Most disappointing, the romance between Lumi and Julien is completely unearned. The two spend a minimal amount of time together before falling head over heels, so when both claim an intense and life-altering attraction, there is little evidence to support it. Several underdeveloped and unnecessary side plots ...take needed time away from cultivating a real romantic connection between the main characters. It’s clear that Santos is as proud of her Dominican heritage as she is passionate about food—when she shares the beauty of her culture...and lushly describes Lumi’s culinary creations, the passages shine. But these brief moments are not enough to save the uneven writing and thin plot.
Yaffa S Santos
MixedPublishers WeeklySanto cooks up a disappointingly bland debut romance between chefs ... plods along toward its happy ending with few surprises for the protagonists and little to no character development for Santos’s supporting cast of largely indistinguishable colleagues and friends. Santos’s creativity and humor, however, shine through occasionally in the recipes that accompany many chapters ... Unfortunately, her recipe for romance is not equally inspired.
David Heska Wanbli Weiden
RavePublishers Weekly... gorgeous ... The novel twists delicately around various personal conflicts while artfully addressing issues related to the politics of the reservation. Weiden combines funny, complex, and unforgettable characters with strong, poetic prose. This is crime fiction at its best.
RavePublishers Weekly... a sprawling work of astonishing depth and scope ... Veselka blends fascinating details of seamanship, cab driving, and boot camp with intimate, spot-on descriptions of contemporary American poverty, such as Cheyenne being shuttled to the couch to make room for Airbnb guests when she’s late on rent and selling plasma. This gritty and unsentimental work is compassionate, funny, and deeply human.
PositiveKirkusVeselka takes a kitchen-sink approach to the novel: Points of view shift kaleidoscopically, passages of history and politics are woven into the questlike narratives of the characters. The result is a fiery and occasionally luminous chaos that feels true to the experiences of those for whom each day is lived at the edges of mainstream society ... An energetic, if messy, examination of the push and pull between freedom and belonging.
PositivePublishers Weekly... damning if somewhat uneven ... There\'s plenty of gossip ... But close observers of the news will be familiar with Stelter\'s larger points, and he doesn\'t offer much insight into why Fox News viewers are so devoted to the network. Still, this is a copious and alarming catalogue of the damage the \'Trump-Fox merger\' has done to American journalism and politics.
Edward O. Wilson
PositivePublishers Weekly...an illuminating work filled with insights into his specialty subject: ants ... Wilson’s passion for his subject, for the scientific method, and for the natural world comes through clearly in this enjoyable survey.
Edward O. Wilson
RaveKirkusThe world-renowned ant expert cleans out his desk, which—no surprise—contains many gems ... Though infectiously enthusiastic about ants, Wilson is no sentimentalist; he warns that nothing about an ant’s life provides moral uplift ... Though somewhat disorganized, the content and quality of the writing is consistently top-notch.
PositivePublishers Weekly...vivid, fabulist .. The narrative arc meanders through the characters’ various relationships, but the prose is full of imagery. Chang’s wild story of a family’s tenuous grasp on belonging in the U.S. stands out with a deep commitment to exploring discomfort with the body and its transformations.
RaveKirkusFrom the beginning, the story is one of internalized violence ... the daughter navigates both the demands of her American community to assimilate and the need of her immigrant family to preserve the cultural memories of a place she has never known. The magic of these origin myths is very much present ... A visceral book that promises a major new literary voice.
Tara Isabella Burton
MixedPublishers Weekly...[an] engaging if limited study. Burton’s approach mixes reportage and personal encounters to illuminate what’s happening with those looking for \'knowing, for belonging, and for meaning\' in places readers might at first find unlikely ... Burton’s smart book, contrary to its subtitle, has a frustratingly narrow focus, centering primarily on analysis of religious hybridity in America. Nonetheless, this is a revelatory survey of the increasingly transfigured American spiritual landscape.
PositiveKirkusThough some readers may be overwhelmed by the amount of information presented, the majority of it is fascinating and well worth pondering ... A sharp, eye-opening assessment of urgent architectural needs being fulfilled.
PositivePublishers WeeklyJournalist Anthes...explores cutting-edge innovations in architecture and interior design in her enjoyable and educational work of pop science ... Some of the most intriguing chapters pertain to improving the lives of vulnerable or marginalized individuals, as with housing developments built specifically for adults with autism, who often have certain sensory or socialization issues, or just need extra help to live on their own ... Though far from a rigorous scientific study, this thoughtful work will prompt readers to more carefully consider the spaces they commonly inhabit but may rarely think about.
RavePublishers WeeklyIn this powerful investigative memoir, book critic Arsenault examines her relationship with Mexico, Maine, her now-downtrodden hometown ... Arsenault paints a soul-crushing portrait of a place that’s suffered \'the smell of death and suffering\' almost since its creation. This moving and insightful memoir reminds readers that returning home—\'the heart of human identity\'—is capable of causing great joy and profound disappointment.
RaveKirkusShe writes poignantly of growing up in a large nuclear family surrounded by the town’s dense forestlands ... In this masterful debut, the author creates a crisp, eloquent hybrid of atmospheric memoir and searing exposé. She writes urgently ... a heartfelt, unflinching, striking narrative combination.
PositiveKirkusA sad story, an immorally moral tale, perhaps only a memento (Diane Johnson is the novelist) with the Biographer as demure imitator and commentator who has artfully synchronized the contemporary materials of all these LESSER LIVES. They will include of course Meredith\'s Modern Love celebrating the disharmonious \'union of this ever-diverse pair\' and Mary Ellen\'s Commonplace Book wherein you will find that \'the wicked are in earnest and the good are lukewarm.\' A restorative, charming pastiche.
PositiveBookPageSet in mysterious and witchy woods, The Daughters of Foxcote Manor is the perfect read for mystery lovers who prefer thrills without gore and violence. Author Eve Chase embarks on a deep character study of two women ... draws its intensity from the secrets of its main characters, and as the summer of 1971 draws to a close, Chase builds a frenetic momentum. The slightly gothic atmosphere of Foxcote Manor and the surrounding woods adds an element of fear to an already fraught environment. While all the violence happens off-page, the galloping pace and dangers faced by both Rita and Sylvie keep this mystery from ever feeling cozy.
PositiveKirkusToggling back and forth between the events of 1971 and present-day London, Chase deftly constructs a shadowy puzzle born of multiple daughters with tangled connections to the titular Foxcote Manor, lurking in the dense forest ... A delicious mystery full of dark labyrinthine curves.
PositivePublishers WeeklyThe book’s narrative alternates between past and present, with sharply drawn point-of-view characters Rita, Hera, and Sylvie each revealing fragments of the tragic tale that connects them. Too-neat plotting strains credulity, but ample foreboding and evocative prose propel things to a gratifying close. Gothic suspense fans will be delighted.
Mario Alejandro Ariza
PositiveKirkusMiami-based journalist Ariza, who grew up in his native Santo Domingo and Miami, makes a compelling book debut with an urgent analysis of Miami’s vulnerability to climate change ... Miami’s problems, and the nation’s, require leaders \'willing to tear down icons, bust norms, and shift debates rapidly toward recognizing the increasingly dire scientific reality.\' ... A forceful depiction of a global crisis viewed through the lens of one of the world’s most vulnerable cities.
Sophie Van Llewyn
RaveKirkusThis short debut novel, by a Romanian writer who lives in Germany, is narrated in even shorter chapters that skip around in time and point of view. The chapters are as brief and intense as flashes of lightning in a storm. So is van Llewyn’s prose ... For the most part, van Llewyn’s experiments with the novel’s form work well. The only moments where she falters are when she dips toward a magical realism that winds up feeling, because it occurs so scarcely, like an afterthought, and not an entirely necessary one. Read as a whole, though, the novel is a strikingly original work ... Taut, searing, and sharp, van Llewyn’s novel is a lyrical jewel.
PositiveKirkusTales from the emergency room, told with no-nonsense brevity, clarity, and compassion ... Huyler returns with more interesting, largely stand-alone stories from his work in an ER in Albuquerque ... Huyler enriches the text with sketches of his colleagues and of some of the patients who are ER regulars as well as anecdotes from a life growing up in foreign cities with his teacher parents. Throughout, the author pleasingly describes the various settings ... The title aptly describes the illumination Huyler brings to patient care—and to writing about it.
PositivePublishers WeeklyHuyler...shares dramatic and often intimate glimpses into his life as an ER physician in this haunting collection of 16 essays ... Huyler’s compassionate perspective and gripping stories result in a memorable account of the life he leads and the patients he sees, and sometimes saves.
Linden A Lewis
PositivePublishers WeeklyDespite a bit of clunky exposition early on, Lewis skillfully handles the tale’s many moving pieces, maintaining pace, nuance, and clarity throughout. Lewis’s lush prose creates an immersive, richly textured world with complex social dynamics and solid LGBTQ and multicultural representation. Though the political through line will put readers in mind of many other SF offerings, including James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, the familiar beats are well executed. This fast, fun military thriller will satisfy genre fans.
PositiveKirkusMathematician and first-time novelist Pavesi creates a metamystery that could as easily go in a bookstore’s puzzle section as on the crime shelves ... The book abounds with complications and twists, and puzzle lovers will have fun predicting the endings of the stories ... A satisfying mystery for the casual reader, even more so for the careful one.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPavesi’s cerebral debut blends a mystery with an academic discussion of the mystery genre ... Pavesi clearly knows his classic murder mysteries, as shown by a story that evokes Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and all his plot tricks will please readers with a similar passion. Some may be put off by the lack of emotional depth and an overly long denouement that serves chiefly to illustrate the author’s cleverness. Whatever one’s take on this ingenious if schematic novel, Pavesi is a writer to watch.
RavePublishers WeeklyBlaisdell, an editor of Dover prose and poetry collections, offers a riveting account of Tolstoy’s composition of Anna Karenina. Blaisdell’s primary strength lies in going granular ... Most of all, however, Tolstoy comes to life as a complex individual defying easy classification. Tolstoy’s fans will relish learning from, and, occasionally, arguing with Blaisdell’s opinions. This passionate book is almost impossible to put down.
PositiveKirkus...affords an intimate look at Tolstoy\'s life ...Besides producing a meticulous close reading of the novel—summaries of chapters as they appeared in serial form, his responses as a reader, and his speculations about how Tolstoy’s contemporaries might have responded—Blaisdell draws on letters, memoirs, drafts, proofs, and Tolstoy’s various other writings to offer a detailed examination of the context of Tolstoy’s life during the four years of the novel’s creation ... While some general readers may find the exegesis of the novel to be overkill, the author makes it personal and interesting enough to overcome that minor flaw ... A revelatory portrait of a towering writer.
Maria Dahvana Headley
RaveKirkusThe language may keep Headley’s version from high school curricula, but the sentiment is exactly right: Grendel is an outcast and monster through no fault of his own while the men who array themselves against him are concerned with attaining fame and keeping the reputation of being good for eternity while having a nice flagon of mead at the end of a day of hacking away. Headley’s language and pacing keep perfect track with the events she describes ... and if phrases like \'Everybody’s gotta learn sometime\' and \'His guys tried\' seem a touch too contemporary, they give the 3,182-line text immediacy without surrendering a bit of its grand poetry ... Some purists may object to the small liberties Headley has taken with the text, but her version is altogether brilliant.
RavePublishers Weekly... [an] exceptional thriller ... After a devastating twist halfway through, the intense plot builds to an emotional finale. Heaberlin sensitively addresses issues of survival and vulnerability in this heart-wrenching gothic tale.
PositiveKirkusHints of past trauma haunt this book, which does an excellent job of dealing with what real life looks like for an amputee, as Odette has lost her leg and the teenager has lost an eye. What isn’t so clear is what Heaberlin, a former journalist, wants to say about the idea of the lost girl in crime fiction, especially with the twist the novel takes halfway through. While there are nuggets of fresh ideas, the themes get a bit muddled. There are, however, interesting twists and turns in the narrative that will carry the reader along. The destination might not be wholly satisfying, but the ride is fun. An exciting though flawed thriller of lost girls and buried trauma in small-town Texas.
PositiveKirkusA frothy blend of murder mystery and political satire ... One mystery leads to another, and delightful subplots multiply as the sprightly narrative follows the intersecting adventures of Angie, the novel’s irresistible heroine; the first lady; bumbling villains; sardonic lawmen; loathsome politicians; and, inevitably, an Everglades-dwelling, LSD–imbibing eco-avenger—who is incubating an iguana egg in his one empty eye socket. So, yes, the humor gets wild and the satire a little outlandish. But this airy novel, taking pratfalls in stride, never loses its buoyancy thanks to Hiaasen’s deftly drawn characters and zingy dialogue ... This exuberant elegy for Florida\'s paved-over paradise performs the near miracle of making us laugh even as we despair.
PositivePublishers Weekly... scathing, engrossing ... Wilson’s observations are often sharp-witted, extracting humor from sources like video game addiction, cryptocurrency, and herd mentality. Wilson undercooks some of his attempts at crafting futuristic products (swag for immersive videogame Shamerica), yet as Michael and Wendy’s marriage fractures, the author carefully braids their individual narratives to a satisfying, if inevitable, crescendo. This feels all too real.
MixedKirkusThe narrative is dripping with drama, not least due to Wendy’s unapologetic seizure of her own fate in the wake of Michael’s recklessness. Wilson creates a deft juxtaposition of contemporary American classes on par with Richard Price\'s Lush Life, but whether readers approach it as a flawed crime drama or a satire of American inequality, they may find that implausible plot threads and unanswered questions leave them dissatisfied with the experience. An ambitious but erratic portrayal of a society gone wrong with no resolution in sight.
Gerald F. Seib
PositivePublishers Weekly... a judicious and approachable chronicle of the evolution of the Republican Party from the Reagan revolution in the 1980s to the rise of Trumpism. Rather than focusing on demographics and statistics, Seib tells a more human story of the individuals and grassroots infrastructure that drove the evolution of the conservative movement ... Avoiding wonkishness while making such policy elements as supply-side economics and the Reagan-era tax cuts comprehensible, Seib draws on his insider perspective to deliver an incisive assessment of \'the most important political story of the millennium.\' Political junkies will savor this evenhanded, anecdote-rich account.
Gerald F. Seib
MixedKirkusThe author also has numerous kind things to say about George W. Bush (\'an instantly likable man with a quick mind and an air of self-assurance\'), words that will no doubt surprise some readers. Seib calls the Iraq War a \'misadventure\' and argues that the primary problem for Bush regarding Hurricane Katrina was that \'the optics were bad\' ... Although the author mentions race as a factor a few times, he does not pursue it thoroughly ... Generously conceived, thoroughly researched, and guaranteed to please no one at the political extremes.
PositiveLibrary Journal... [a] meticulous works panning literary critisicm and history ... Faulkner once famously said, \'The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past,\' and this exceptional study by Gorra lends credence to these words. A worthy addition to Faulkner studies, and for larger Southern literature and Civil War collections.
RaveKirkusGorra’s shifts among biography, Civil War history, and literary analysis can make readers feel whipsawed, but they’re always engaging and purposeful ... Much as Malcolm Cowley’s Portable Faulkner (1946) demystified the complexities of Yoknapatawpha County for Americans still willing to ignore Jim Crow, this book looks at Faulkner in an era in which Confederate statues are at long last getting pulled down. Faulkner had his flaws, Gorra writes, but he \'gets the big things right\' ... A magisterial, multidisciplinary study of Faulkner that shakes the dust off his canonization.
PositiveKirkus... [an] ambitious overview ... Because the empire over which the Habsburgs reigned was enormous, nonacademic readers may find it difficult to keep track of all the names and dates. Nevertheless, Rady valiantly attempts to give the principals some distinct accomplishments and traits ... A comprehensive and, at times, lively chronicle, but not for casual readers with no prior knowledge of European history.
PositivePublishers Weekly... a granular yet accessible survey of the Habsburg Empire’s central role in the transformation of Western civilization from the Middle Ages into the modern world ... Packed with names, dates, and accounts of little-known wars, Rady’s prose is more easily digested in standalone chapters than as a linear narrative. This comprehensive account provides an insightful overview of seven centuries of European history.
PositiveKirkusDiamond is interested in demographics but not exclusively. As the narrative progresses, the author becomes increasingly eloquent about such things as pop music, literature as written by the likes of Dave Eggers and Jonathan Lethem, and film such as, yes, John Hughes’ oeuvre and Sofia Coppola’s interpretation of The Virgin Suicides. Clearly, Diamond has given a lot of thought to the \'faux-pastoral\' nature of the suburbs and their tendency to resist the formation of true communities. If the cultural aspects of his narrative tend to be a touch repetitive, the point is well taken, as is his thought that now-dying shopping malls across North America might well be converted to community centers, \'making the ones that remain into places that serve a greater purpose\' .. A literate meditation on clipped-lawn places easily taken for granted but that well deserve such reflection.
PositivePublishers Weekly... insightful ... Though Diamond occasionally strays into repetition with his personal reflections—such as repeated observations that he now lives in New York City and views the suburbs as an outsider—his cultural criticism is consistently astute. This is a smart, enjoyable study that will be particularly appreciated by other suburban expats.
MixedPublishers Weekly... challenging ... Lyons raises stakes to a fever pitch while providing an overabundance of character backstory and worldbuilding history. The view of the climactic battle is eye-catching, but the casual reader might get lost on the way there as the byzantine plot is filled with switchbacks and turnarounds. Series fans will enjoy revisiting Lyons’s complex world.
PositiveKirkusThe author offers an easy-to-understand guide to common water pollutants, including chromium 6, chloramines, and lead, and she shares stories of citizen activists in places like Martin County, Kentucky; Tonganoxie, Kansas; and Flint, Michigan ... Her book is filled with righteous anger directed toward corporations who \'lie, cheat, sue, intimidate, falsify documents, and outright bully\' and anyone who stands up to them. While Brockovich’s stories about her activism and condemnation of corporate greed are both interesting, the narrative’s real power comes from her clarion calls to regular citizens to get involved in the fight for safe water ... The author doesn’t just traffic in platitudes; she offers several concrete suggestions for how people can gauge the safety of their own drinking water and stand up to corporations and politicians. Brockovich describes herself as \'a foul-mouthed, short-skirted blonde woman from Kansas,\' and her book showcases her authenticity, rough edges and all. While the prose could use some polishing, it serves adequately, explaining why the current water crisis threatens us all and how concerned people might go about changing it ... A convincing call to arms about the global water crisis from a sharp, plainspoken activist.
Sandra B. Tooze
PositivePublishers WeeklyTooze keeps a steady beat in a straightforward chronicle of the life of Band musician Levon Helm ... Tooze methodically traces the rapid rise to fame of the Band through perceptive and judicious summaries of each of the group’s albums ... Tooze’s well-paced history serves as a solid companion to Helm’s memoir.
Sandra B. Tooze
PositiveKirkusTooze, previously a biographer of Helm’s hero, Muddy Waters, spins a story that is well known thanks to Helm’s own memoir This Wheel’s on Fire (1993) and band mate Robbie Robertson’s Testimony (2016). Tooze’s musical vocabulary is solid and her reconstruction of The Band’s chronology is accurate ... Tooze breaks little new ground, but the book is a reliable, readable life of an influential musician.
Jonas Hassen Khemiri, trans by Alice Menzies
PositivePublishers Weekly... surprisingly satisfying ... The novel’s wordiness and gymnastically vague details will likely wear on readers, but Khemiri succeeds at creating an infectious sense of melancholia as the poisonous patriarch is forced to reckon with the truth. In a slow build of quotidian moments, Khemiri constructs a familiarly flawed universe that lays bare what it means to be human.
Jonas Hassen Khemiri, trans by Alice Menzies
MixedKirkusKhemiri’s shifting perspectives across characters (including, at one point, that of a ghost) effectively conjure up a mood of dread, which intensifies as we learn more about the grandfather’s third child and the circumstances of her death. But the novel’s climactic plot turns are mild in comparison to the foreboding tone that precedes them; the concluding feeling is less of things coming to a head than a general muddling through ... An original and psychologically rich tale in need of a bit of some drama to match.
Edward D Melillo
PositiveKirkus... [a] succinct, colorful contribution to entomological literature ... Melillo draws a captivating picture of China’s 5,000-year-old sericulture industry and the extraordinary structural qualities of the silk thread. The cultural significance of the color red makes for especially good reading about the cochineal insect, the rare source of a peerless red pigment. The author also tells entertaining tales of the role of fruit flies in biomedical research; bees, pollination, and colony collapse disorder; and the future of entomophagy, \'the eating of insects\' ... A taut, vibrant story of awesome creatures and how humans have found countless ingenious uses for them.
Edward D Melillo
PositivePublishers Weekly... intriguing and comprehensive ... Melillo’s fascinating survey makes a persuasive argument that some of the world’s smallest animals are also \'bottomless reservoirs of possibility.\'
PositiveKirkus... a lively, impressively well-grounded view of the relationships of 19 presidents with the journalists who covered them ... Holzer astutely examines how several presidents made use of new technologies to disseminate their messages: FDR on radio, JFK on television, Obama on social media—and, of course, Trump on Twitter. Trump’s successor, Holzer asserts, will face a press emboldened to reassert its power ... A shrewd history of the fight to convey and repress objective truth.
MixedPublishers Weekly... colorful but underwhelming ... Holzer provides vivid historical vignettes, but little analysis of how the current moment compares to 18th- and 19th-century precedents. Readers will be more entertained than enlightened.
RaveKirkus... fresh ... [an] elegantly conceived, constantly surprising narrative ... With clarity and verve, Price examines various aspects of Viking society, including the place of women and transgender people on the battlefield and other venues of warrior society; the structure of warrior cults such as the berserkers; what Viking mass burials tell us about the people thus interred; and, especially, the structure of the Viking economy, which was enriched by the widespread application of slavery. The author also considers the last generations of Vikings as pirates whose society, though founded on violence, was also definitively democratic ... An exemplary history that gives a nuanced view of a society long reduced to a few clichés.
PositivePublishers WeeklyPrice leaves no stone unturned in this exhaustive chronicle of the ancient Scandinavian peoples collectively known as the Vikings ... Price pushes back against romanticized notions of Viking culture that originated during the Enlightenment. He focuses instead on more material concerns, delivering extended discussions on jewelry found in graves, shipbuilding, alcohol consumption, and gender roles, including an unexpected queer reading of Viking relationships. The infamous Viking funeral (not nearly as prevalent as popular culture imagines, according to Price) is described in horrifying detail, as are raids on the English and Irish coasts that left monasteries and villages devastated ... Though the writing occasionally falters under the weight of accumulated archaeological minutiae, the breadth and thoroughness of Price’s research impresses. Readers interested in Viking culture should consider this monumental history a must-read.
RavePublishers WeeklySet in 2003, O’Brien’s impressive debut charts a soldier’s dogged search for the truth about his estranged wife’s death ... The revelation in the first chapter that Katherine was struck by a car in which an Albanian drug dealer was riding, along with a person he believed cheated him and had just abducted, heightens the suspense as Cooper relies on his professional skills to find out what happened. Fans of Nick Petrie’s Peter Ash novels will be pleased.
RavePublishers WeeklyWatson experiments with line breaks, repetition, and columns to express the unnamed narrator’s frenetic consciousness over a single day in this inventive, immersive debut ... Watson’s clever convention and set pieces are not simply flourishes but integral to the plot and themes. There’s much relatable humor in the heroine’s everyday snafus, such as her struggle for coherence while speaking with a male colleague, and a tedious task with a glue stick, the low point of her workday ... the last third of the novel becomes genuinely harrowing and unsettling. Watson’s haunting, virtuosic performance is well worth a look.
PositiveKirkus... an unusual reading experience which relates both the mundane (every drip of the narrator\'s morning shower, every step of her commute) and the revelatory ... the outrages of the everyday—a dissonant now that cannot be silenced or slowed. A daring book whose innovations are balanced by the sad familiarity of its pain.