PositiveBooklistAn acute and wily satirist, Shriver handles a delicate subject with wry humor, reassuring sensitivity, and bracing realism.
PositiveBooklistIn describing the road conditions, towns, and people, including celebrities, Wilkins encountered on her four-thousand-mile journey, Letts creates a nostalgic travelogue and a vibrant history of life in 1950s America. Thanks to deeply sourced research and her own travels along Wilkins’ route, Letts vividly portrays an audacious woman whose optimism, courage, and good humor are to be marveled at and admired. Upbeat and touching, Wilkins’ story is the perfect pandemic escapist read.
RaveBooklistFlyn writes with the soul of a poet and the eye of a painter, evoking the beauty and the horror to be found in decimated places that, through abandonment, invited the most tenacious and patient forms of life to survive and revive.
PositiveBooklistRowley’s sensitive and witty exploration of grief and healing soothes with a delectable lightness and cunning charm.
RaveBooklistBoth buoyant and bittersweet, Garvin’s impressive first novel, a luscious paean to the bonds of friendship and limitations of family, is the kind of comforting yet thought-provoking tale that will appeal to fans of Anne Tyler and Sue Miller.
PositiveBooklistThoughtfully adding personal experiences as a female millennial of African descent to her discourse, Malik presents fierce opinions and cogent observations that deliver a deeply intelligent and powerfully provocative work that calls into question long-held beliefs of both the left and the right.
PositiveBooklistThe existential crises of the times—war, Watergate, the civil rights movement—take a back seat in Silver’s newest novel, behind the more immediate challenges of parenting and providing, caring for others versus caring for oneself ... Silver’s luminous exploration of foundational relationships catastrophically altered by a gut-wrenching accident reveals the poignancy and vulnerability that underlie so many human contracts. Whether writing in the precociously gleeful voices of two guileless children or the increasingly jaded tones of damaged adults, Silver achieves a powerful and gripping authenticity that captures the confusion and, yes, the mystery of both innocence and maturity.
RaveBooklistWith textured analysis and an instinct for salient details, Todd emulates her pioneering heroines to offer multidimensional examples of the revolutionary contributions women of this era made to journalism.
RaveBooklistThrough the lightly interwoven stories of impetuous flyer Marian Graves and flavor-of-the-month actress Hadley Baxter, Shipstead (Astonish Me, 2014) ponders the motivating forces behind acts of daring and defiance, self-fulfillment and self-destruction. Marian’s sprawling life story forms the bulk of this rolling, roiling epic ... An ambitious, soaring saga, Shipstead’s transcendent tale takes her characters to dizzying heights, drawing readers into lives of courage and mystery.
Katherine Forbes Riley
PositiveBooklistTeeming with lush imagery and mystical settings, and brimming with alluring magical realism, Riley’s tale is a beguiling journey of discovery and recovery.
RaveBooklistThroughout Bohjalian’s prolific career, he has rewarded readers with indelibly drawn female protagonists, and the formidable yet vulnerable Mary Deerfield is a worthy addition to the canon. Conjuring up specters of #MeToo recriminations and social media shaming, there are twenty-first-century parallels to Bohjalian’s atmospheric Puritan milieu, and his trademark extensive research pays off in this authentic portrait of courage in the face of society’s worst impulses.
Patrick Radden Keefe
RaveBooklistIndefatigable investigative journalist Keefe crafts a page-turning corporate biography and jaw-dropping condemnation of the Sacklers’ amoral disregard for anything save the acquisition of power, privilege, and influence. In Keefe’s expert hands, the Sackler family saga becomes an enraging exposé of what happens when utter devotion to the accumulation of wealth is paired with an unscrupulous disregard for human health.
RaveBooklist... it is as a Black man that Lemon brings a searing power and persuasiveness to his arguments and views. In his eloquence and candor, Lemon is a lyrical and ardent advocate for what is decent, just, and long overdue. His dismay and anguish are laid bare with a fervor that is authentic and hard-won. Lemon’s call-to-action is a soaring examination of the causes of racist violence and injustice past and present, and he expresses his commitment to asking tough questions and seeking demanding answers that he hopes will kindle the fire this time to constructively confront racism in all its forms.
RaveBooklist... knockout ... With a breezy candor that is, by turns, intimate and assertive, Duckworth offers an affecting account of a life of sacrifice, patriotism, valor, integrity, and grace.
PositiveBooklistTrue to her extraordinary cinematic chops, actor Stone launches her powerhouse memoir with the dramatic events surrounding the life-threatening stroke she suffered in September 2001 ... Stone recounts with her trademark flintiness and surprising tenderness ... Stone recounts her stressful childhood, her storied career, and her strained relationships with both verve and an unexpected vulnerability, evincing an abiding faith and fierce determination to regain the physical and emotional strength she needed to reenter the world on her own terms as artist and activist. Deeply compelling and redefining.
RaveBooklistThomas portrays three generations of women—anxious, resolute, uncertain—who emerge as indelible avatars for the human condition in times of crisis. Their regrets and recriminations, promises of improvement, and plans for atonement all play out within a finely wrought framework. Plumbing themes of intimacy, ambition, grief, and longing with a clarity that is both universal and precise, Thomas’ slim novel offers a rich source for book groups and all contemplative readers.
PositiveBooklistAcademically ambitious yet constrained by economics and thwarted by the sexism directed toward women scholars in the 1960s, Turkle nonetheless charted her own course, but always with an eye toward how her objectives would be interpreted by her family, received by colleagues, and supported by mentors. Turkle’s candor and transparency are totally in keeping with her personal and professional commitment to understanding human emotional motivation and our capacity for empathy, not only towards others but also towards ourselves.
RaveBooklistReminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s visceral The Road, an air of savage solitude infuses Arnott’s lyrically atmospheric postapocalyptic novel, where trauma and resilience are connected to memory and the loss of both self and surroundings.
RaveBooklistIn many respects, it can be argued that philanthropist and business leader Gates’ title is moot since the planet is already in the midst of a climate disaster. The strength of his argument for meaningful environmental action lies in the subtitle because solutions for mitigating this crisis do exist, and the innovative thinking required for implementing is an accessible resource ... While Gates’ positions and evidence can skew toward the intellectual at often granular levels, he nevertheless provides illuminating contexts for those perspectives and offers a treatise that is imperative, approachable, and useful.
RaveBooklistProlific essayist and blogger Oyler’s first foray into fiction seduces with its mesmerizing stream-of-consciousness and exploration of identity and authenticity, commitment and abandonment. Though not attaining the volume of cultural minutiae displayed in Lucy Ellman’s gargantuan Ducks, Newburyport (2019), Oyler’s similarly piercing examination of the paradoxically immersive superficiality of life lived in the thrall of social media is hefty in its own right, a case of both too much information and, ironically, not enough. Sure to resonate with the multitasking Millennials and Gen Z digerati.
PositiveBooklist\"With its adolescent characters who apply teenage logic to adult problem-solving, Mannion’s coming-of-age debut verges on being a YA novel. Probing, empathic and intense, the action capably mines the numerous uncertainties teens face when coping with situations that test their independence.\
Marjolijn van Heemstra, Trans. By Jonathan Reeder
PositiveBooklistIn this fictionalized account of her own family’s history, van Heemstra offers a taut cat-and-mouse mystery made deceptively poignant by a mother’s desire to offer her unborn child the best possible start in life.
PositiveBooklist... an exceptionally lyrical and expressive memoir ... In contrast to magical imagery paying homage to Ireland’s soulful and glorious traditions and history, Byrne’s intimate reflections on everything from the church to the theater also transport readers to impoverished places populated by the proud yet flawed men and women who influenced him in profound and sometimes perverse ways ... Bracingly revealing about his struggle with alcoholism, achingly passionate about the Ireland of his youth, and piercingly frank about his acting life, Byrne is a vivid, evocative, and sumptuously compelling memoirist.
Michael Eric Dyson
RaveBooklist... a series of profound and powerful letters written to Black martyrs to racial violence ... Dyson offers both homage and history, emotion and analysis ... At times speaking directly to white Americans who wobble on the precipice of understanding, Dyson evinces both empathy and bewilderment over the current state of disconnection between so many segments of society. From the contrast between the survival skills honed by enslaved people and the persistent reverence for the Confederacy, this nuanced interpretation of America’s egregious abuses of its Black population is at once broad and specific. Dyson’s eloquent, exacting, and consequential scrutiny of \'the racial calamity at the heart of our democracy\' is a catalyst for discussion and continued calls for justice, a work essential to the struggle to achieve insight, genuine change, and healing.
PositiveBooklist... as fast-paced and trivia-packed as the show itself ... anyone who has ever watched more than five episodes of the long-running quiz show has undoubtedly thought, \'I could do that.\' While McNear’s engaging expose may quell such ambitions, it still provides fascinating and entertaining reading for devoted Jeopardy! fans.
RaveBooklistIn his intense focus on Kennedy’s formative and transformative Senate career, Gabler provides blow-by-blow insights into some of the most consequential legislation of the 1970s, from civil rights to immigration to health care. The result of staggering research and expert analysis, Gabler’s discerning evaluation of the totality of influences upon one of the twentieth century’s most persuasive and popular statesmen is a triumphant achievement and essential reading for everyone fascinated by the Kennedys, politics, and governance.
PositiveBooklist[A] concise narrative that hits the highlights of Biden’s public service career and lands lightly on private touchstones, such as the family tragedies that comprise a large part of his biography ... Lacking the molecular depth of a full-fledged biography, Osnos’ finely honed depiction nevertheless devotes sufficient attention to the essential aspects of Biden’s personal and political philosophies to offer a solid foundation.
Emily Gray Tedrowe
PositiveBooklistBoth light-hearted and deeply conflicted, Tedrowe’s (Blue Stars, 2015) caper, with its Becky Sharp allusions, raises significant moral issues.
RaveBooklistThough Flynn is a new star in Johansen’s pantheon, her personification of familiar tropes of female strength, power, sexual attraction, and supernatural talents will make her an instant hit with Johansen ’s many loyal fans.
PositiveBooklistAs befitting a master editor, Downie’s memoir is both tight and revelatory; facts are well augmented with insider details, supporting a forthright professional critique of the newspaper’s standards for publishing nationally sensitive or controversial stories. At a time when the press is under relentless attack from the Trump administration, Downie’s engrossing memoir reminds readers of the personal sacrifices journalists make in pursuit of a story and the rigorous criteria they apply in delivering the news.
Bobbie Ann Mason
PositiveBooklistMason’s time-shifting narrative can be difficult to follow, but she vividly recreates those heady counterculture days as a poignant backdrop for the regrets one often faces when one follows one’s head instead of one’s heart.
PositiveBooklistLyons builds a certain and compassionate case for why her protagonist wants to go through vibrant flashbacks that reveal the depth of Eudora’s character and sources of despair. Teeming with curmudgeonly elders and precocious youngsters, Lyons’ touching tale of intergenerational friendship is reminiscent of Frederik Backman’s A Man Called Ove (2014). Despite the somber underlying subject, this is a thoroughly enchanting feel-good read.
PositiveBooklistWith poignant and sympathetic care, the always incisive and charming Backman gently examines garden-variety insecurities against a quaint pre-pandemic backdrop.
M. O. Walsh
RaveBooklistIt’s hard to believe that Walsh wrote this moving novel long before the COVID-19 pandemic, for there is eerie prescience in its soulful message that gratitude and grace are not to be taken for granted and that life can be upended in an instant.
RaveBooklistSweeping, seafaring coming-of-age novels about young men are standard fare. What makes Endicott’s contribution to the genre, which is based on a true story, so noteworthy is the grit, determination and charm of her young female adventurer. Endicott artfully combines a bracing world voyage and the equally transformative journey of a young woman discovering and honoring her genuine nature. With her passion for all the creatures and cultures she encounters, Kay shines as a timely embodiment of the solace of human connection across time and space.
PositiveBooklist... loyal Jeopardy! fans might well know enough answers about the beloved emcee to sweep the category. For everyone else, Rogak’s sprightly biography fills in the highlights ... Rogak’s heartfelt portrait acknowledges Trebek’s numerous contributions to the game show genre and masterfully illustrates how and why he remains a treasured entertainment icon.
PositiveBooklistReviving characters from previous novels, Sullivan...presents a fresh glimpse into small-town life, and gently but piercingly acknowledges the essential values of kindness and compassion that foster courage in the face of hardship.
RaveBooklistEvery character rings true; every observation and reaction feels real. Braiding three separate views of the same incident, Livesey weaves a masterful tapestry of emotion and action focused on the indelible impact of random events.
PositiveBooklistBoth thoughtful and thought-provoking, Hill unflinchingly takes responsibility for choices and actions that led to her political demise, while also offering sage advice for those fighting for women’s rights in this straightforward and candid memoir-cum-manifesto.
RaveBooklistLitt’s comprehensive study of what a democracy actually consists of casts a welcome, cleansing beam of light on a subject that has become increasingly murky and frustratingly confusing ... From voting rights disenfranchisement to the labyrinthine logic behind the Electoral College, Litt covers every aspect of American governance and politics at perspectives both granular and big-picture, analyzing what’s right and wrong with our democracy through historical and contemporary lenses ... A senior presidential speechwriter in the Obama administration, Litt has a breezy, often conversational tone, but that in no way diminishes the force of his argument. Politics has changed, and not in a good way. But there are ways American democracy can be fixed, and it is to Litt’s credit that he offers practical albeit challenging solutions to the problems confronting our system of governance.
Joyce Carol Oates
PositiveBooklistWhile Oates purposefully plumbs the depths of each family member’s agonizing loss, her perceptive study of Jessalyn’s widowhood stands out as an impressive and impassioned portrait of this distressing life journey.
RaveBooklistGessen’s is a clarion voice in the darkness, offering a sobering but sharp-witted analysis of how American society has changed under Trump and how democratic values and practices might yet survive. With the 2020 presidential election on the horizon, Gessen’s rallying cry is a vital and pressing reminder of what is at stake.
RaveBooklistEmotionally spry, smartly suspenseful, Allott’s arresting debut novel vibrates with Hitchcockian atmosphere as she dexterously deflects suspicion through multiple narratives that expose individual and societal vulnerabilities. Readers who enjoy subdued, yet intense stories will cheer Allott’s whipsaw parries as she sows doubt across the decades.
Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
PositiveBooklistAs elegantly cold and foreboding as the Icelandic landscape itself, Olafsdottir’s languid and melancholy portrait of a writer with a singular passion demonstrates the sacrifices women have always made for their art.
PositiveBooklistRichly symbolic and undeniably haunting, Waclawiak’s... atmospheric novel of emotional despair and existential dread is a dark and frankly depressing study of one woman’s hopelessness, and yet there is much to applaud in the manner in which her heroine honestly assesses her limitations and acknowledges her pain.
PositiveBooklistWhile there is nothing nuanced in Shriver’s...scathing excoriation of contemporary cultural clichés, from fitness fanaticism to workplace political correctness to religious zealotry, there is something surprisingly tender in Serenata’s vulnerability about the state of her marriage and her looming physical limitations. With verve, vehemence, and moral vigilance, Shriver’s archetypical characters thrum with self-righteous recrimination in this cheeky diatribe on a society determined to go to extremes.
PositiveBooklist... the title of this book should not be taken as alarmist hyperbole. Consummately professional in both tone and observation, the appeal of Mathews’ evaluation of these valuable conifer forests may skew slightly to the more scientifically minded reader, yet his deeply personal connection to the land and its majestic trees makes this equally suitable for any tree lover and everyone concerned about the state of the planet.
RaveBooklist... to read best-selling, award-winning Posner’s encyclopedic exposé of the pharmaceutical industry and the government’s role in its development and regulation is to peer into a Pandora’s box of malfeasance, perfidy, and corruption. Explosively, even addictively, readable, Posner’s meticulously documented investigation of the historical roots and contemporary state of Big Pharma examines everything from aspirin to Zantac ... Making Posner’s corporate history even more topical is its through line following the notoriously headline-grabbing Sackler family as they created and manipulated a medical juggernaut that revolutionized the way pharmaceuticals are developed, manufactured, and marketed. Their role in the current drug catastrophe is unmistakable and byzantine. As this and other drug-related stories continue to dominate the news, who better than a determined and prolific investigative journalist to provide the context necessary to understand and correct the crisis.
PositiveBooklistNidetch’s success in life, in business, and in weight loss motivated Meltzer to commit to the Weight Watchers program, and it inspired her to write a journalistic profile of the one celebrity who could help her most. Meltzer’s engaging history of Weight Watchers and candid account of her own dieting journey is a frank and affirming portrait of the ways women, in particular, have always coped with health and self-image.
PositiveBooklistIn this sprightly and engrossing memoir of her time in those fraught, gender-challenged trenches, Wine-Banks reveals tantalizing behind-the-scenes details that bring that pivotal time in the nation’s history back to life and relevancy ... A captivating and candid look back on a storied career.
PositiveBooklistWith searing imagery and memorable characters, Christie’s soaring multigenerational saga moves backward and forward in time, with stops in between 2038 and 1908, spinning a tale of greed, betrayal, destruction, and endurance that never wanes, told through the voices of men and women caught up in economic and environmental struggles they can never escape.
PositiveBooklistIn Wolfe’s imagined version, Meyer chronicles her life as an independent, adventurous woman in a secretive company town while also illuminating how her affair with the president transcended the physical and transitioned into the political. Wolfe gives poignant and poetic voice to this artistic woman, a free spirit and early feminist equally embraced and reviled by the insider Georgetown milieu in which she moved with ease if not confidence. What could easily have been salacious fluff capitalizing on JFK’s sexual proclivities is, instead, a compassionate and intricate portrait of a woman’s psyche. By placing Meyer at the nexus of one of the twentieth century’s definitive eras, Wolfe’s inspired study of a cryptic woman is credible and haunting.
PositiveBooklistFor all its Fawlty Towers froth, Rothschild’s...comedy of manners and manors belies a sobering tale of friendship and loyalty.
RaveBooklistIn this tightly drawn, steadily hair-raising thriller, Bohjalian...once again demonstrates his keen affinity for strong, capable female protagonists, while his masterful merging of setting and plot delivers a cerebral and dramatic dive into what happens when love turns to agony.
Ed. by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman
RaveBooklistChabon and Waldman have created a stunning collection of original and topical essays ... Geraldine Brooks, Yaa Gyasi, Timothy Egan, Aleksandar Hemon, Salman Rushdie, Marlon James, and an inspired host of other sharp and clarion minds vividly bring consequential court cases to life and recognize the essential work of the ACLU’s intrepid, principled lawyers and the sacrosanct rule of law.
PositiveBooklistSuccinctly recapping the many interconnected Trump scandals and instances of irresponsible and dangerous behavior, Nance methodically illuminates established facts and their consequences and offers new revelations and insights in an evidential fashion. The result is sobering, impactful, and urgent.
Sasha Marianna Salzmann, Trans. by Imogen Taylor
RaveBooklistWith ever-shifting points of view and evolving transitions in time and place, it will take careful reading to keep up with this intricate exploration of identity and family. This won’t be a problem for fans of Gone Girl (2012) and a novel to which Beside Myself will inevitably be compared for good reasons, The Girl on the Train (2015). Morgan’s stunning debut is a thrilling and thought-provoking psychological drama.
RaveBooklistWith an insatiable thirst for fact-finding and a gift for forging a gripping narrative, Murphy posits the answers to...challenging questions through the personal journeys of those who have been most affected by gun violence. Disarmingly honest, philosophically astute, emotionally passionate, and bracingly realistic, Murphy’s clear-eyed assessment of the nature of violence in America is destined to provoke meaningful, urgently needed discussions.
PositiveBooklistTold through flashbacks and episodes of magical realism where Chika makes herself known to the grieving author, Chika’s story of hope, faith, and unconditional love is simultaneously uplifting and tragic. Keep the tissues handy, for Albom bares his soul in this lustrous tribute to a short but impactful life.
PositiveBooklistBrokaw’s succinct retelling of events is bolstered by his fly-on-the-wall insider revelations ... ction from the controversy shrouding him at home. A lion in the field of broadcast journalism and a best-selling author, Brokaw remains one of the few remaining news professionals who experienced this defining moment in presidential history, a valued vantage point given the current political upheaval.
RaveBooklistKnown for her intense inquiries into complex subjects, Maddow brings her laser-like intuitiveness and keen and wily perception to Big Oil, that stalwart of global economics, and the shadowy nexus of commerce and politics. Maddow likes murky, the murkier the better, and her examination of the intricacies of off-shore drilling, transnational pipelines, and hydraulic fracking is as deep as the coveted wells themselves ... Maddow’s trademark snark is on display, as is her geeky fascination with the minutiae buried beneath these massive social injustices. Like trailblazing journalists before her, Maddow exposes both the slapdash and sinister practices underlying geopolitics and energy policies and revels in peeling back the layers of malfeasance to stoke righteous outrage.
PositiveBooklistRifkin delivers a passionate vision and practical narrative, based on his extensive experience implementing pioneering changes throughout the European Union and People’s Republic of China.
RaveBooklistKlein...brings her informed perspective to a series of probing essays and rousing speeches that trace the movement from climate concerns to an environmental emergency ... Her zeal and eloquence will inspire, engage, and motivate those who are concerned about the planet’s future to become even more involved in taking any and all possible steps to curb or reverse further disruption and destruction.
PositiveBooklistProlific biographer Ronald, whose previous profiles have included Nazi collaborator Florence Gould and Third Reich art thief Hildebrand Gurlitt, does an exceptional job of integrating the story of Nast’s personal fortunes and misfortunes with the lives of those he sought to refine and educate.
PositiveBooklistUltimately, Leonard’s intricately developed and extensively researched history of the Koch empire is a colossal corporate biography that sheds important light on this closely guarded enterprise while simultaneously scrutinizing the nefarious underpinnings of American economic policies and practices.
RaveBooklistWhile diving deeply into questions of identity, loyalty, and absolution within the bonds of family, Rowley...soars to satisfying heights in this deeply sensitive depiction of the symbiotic relationships at the heart of every good professional, and personal, partnership.
PositiveBooklist...shocking, bordering on scandalous, but, ultimately, surprisingly satisfying ... Jacobson is more than kind to his cantankerous heroine and circumspect hero. He imbues them with a pathos, a vibrancy, a joie de vivre that is delightful and enlightening. A charming romp.
PositiveBooklistPropelled by a muscular narrative and elaborate subplots, Johansen’s latest complex Eve Duncan thriller reliably pivots on the cerebral battle of wills among its robust characters.
PositiveBooklistHer pursuit of this kindred spirit takes her on a scientific, spiritual, and often solitary journey ... Throughout her odyssey, Steinke brings a fervent feminism and vibrant voice to a subject that has, for far too long, been talked about only in whispers.
PositiveBooklistFor his first stand-alone novel in 10 years, Russo has written a bewitching tale of male friendship with thriller elements, leading to a shift in tone and pacing that may startle his loyal readers. That Russo takes deeps philosophical dives, in the subtlest ways, into issues of fate and free will and loyalty and lies won’t surprise anyone. This is vintage Russo with a cunning twist.
PositiveBooklistFrom the well-documented incidents of intuitive animals aiding people with physical and emotional wounds to the buoyant camaraderie between rescued animals and their saviors, positive stories of interspecies associations abound. The flip side, however, is grim ... A word of warning about this important and illuminating work. For all the feel-good tales of animal empathy at its best, Akhtar also offers harrowing examples of extreme and graphic viciousness that will be tough going for sensitive readers.
Susan Richards Shreve
PositiveBooklistWith a keen sense of place and pacing, Shreve...weaves a subtle but unrelenting pattern of malevolence in this portrait of a woman burdened by the sins of her father and sustained by her unshakable belief in his innocence.
Joyce Carol Oates
PositiveBooklistOates’ frequent themes of exile, predators and their victims, racial conflicts, and gender violence coalesce in this psychologically and socially complex portrait of a young woman’s struggle as she loses her family but finds herself ... Though marked by sexual victimization, Violet\'s childhood as an outsider longing for acceptance will resonate with empathetic teens.
PositiveBooklistJournalist and public-policy professor Wheelan...draws deeply on his intimate knowledge of the world of governance and politics to create his first novel, an eminently credible tale of a worst-case scenario that one hopes never comes to pass.
PositiveBooklistAn indefatigable investigative journalist, Bullough has traveled the world, from Siberia to the Seychelles, to untangle this web of deceit, avarice, and amorality. The result is an eye-opening and stomach-churning exposé of financial transgressions on a global scale that threatens democracy and the institutions charged with its protection.
Jessica Francis Kane
RaveBooklistKane’s preternaturally self-aware heroine is an intriguing mix of frustrating curmudgeon and aging ingenue, and in her quest for self-improvement, she voices the doubts and dreams of any woman who has questioned what it means to be a true friend. Rich in subtexts and lush imagery, Kane’s novel is a sure bet for lively book discussions.
PositiveBooklist[Gates\'] is an ecumenical message made personal by the unexpectedly candid revelations she shares about her own life and marriage, motherhood and career. At a time when beneficial globalization is being threatened by nationalism, and women’s rights are in danger of being rolled back to nineteenth-century norms, Gates offers urgent reminders of why it’s necessary to help women everywhere achieve their full potential.
RaveBooklistLike Franzen or DeLillo, Alcott brings awe-inspiring exactitude and lyricism to her dive into three of America’s most iconic moments ... In her exquisite and poignant reimagining of historic events, Alcott dissects their impacts in a sweeping yet intimate saga that challenges assumptions and assesses the depths of human frustration.
PositiveBooklist\"Jarrett’s quiet determination, unparalleled work ethic, and deep commitment to a city rich with family roots won her respect at a time when, as a newly divorced single mother, she needed it most. Revisiting her illustrious career, from inner-city Chicago to the White House and beyond, Jarrett reveals the life-changing events that, though perilous at the time, enabled her to become a virtuoso corporate and philanthropic leader, and a valued presidential adviser.\
RaveBooklistCombining vast historical research, perceptive cultural interpretation, and a gift for keen, biographical storytelling, Abe’s study of one man’s passion for a singular plant species celebrates the beneficial impact such enthusiasts can have on the world at large.
PositiveBooklist...a hoot and a half ... In nearly two-dozen essays filled with belly laughs and bits of hard-won wisdom, Ellis’ self-deprecating wit and tongue-in-cheek charm provide the perfect antidote to bad-hair, or bad-news, days.
RaveBooklistThe openness of the Australian countryside is an apt setting for a complex exploration of grief, faith, and restoration, and in poignant, meditative, and stirring prose Hillman tells a heartrending and heartwarming tale of love and sacrifice.
PositiveBooklistAt a time when local newspapers are nearing extinction, and reporters are deemed enemies of the people, Landvik’s smart and lovely paean to journalists is a welcome reminder of the important role they play in the lives of those who depend on newspapers for more than just information.
PositiveBooklist\"Bowden returns to the story that catapulted his career with a horrific portrait of a sociopath and honors the dedicated officers who were determined to get justice for two innocent girls and their grieving family.\
RaveBooklistThroughout nearly two-dozen short, intense stories, Svoboda expresses a singular and powerful presence in settings ranging from toxic waste dumps to small-town parades, through characters’ voices hushed around kitchen tables or blasted through the fog of war. Relationships are both tangled and straightforward, and the intricacies of disappointments plaguing fathers and daughters, husbands and wives are offset by the abiding tenets of hardscrabble life in a great American desert that demands of its citizens a certain rectitude and courage. A remarkably evocative exploration of an iconic region and its denizens.
PositiveBooklistBright with anecdotes from his lengthy and illustrious career, Bharara’s razor-edge judgments about punishment, procedure, outcome, and outlook address issues of governance and moral grounding that form the crux of the nature of justice. Bharara speaks with a clear, firm, and engaging voice in this essential primer about the importance of a fair and open justice system.
PositiveBooklistA balanced portrait of this most influential of judges. What surprises is the unprecedented glimpse at the interpersonal, and often contentious, relationships that reverberate throughout the court.
PositiveBooklistManji brings a fresh voice to the interpretation of Islam. She’s an educator and philosopher, author and advocate, a Muslim and a lesbian ... Although Manji ponders such deeply divisive subjects as Black Lives Matter and homophobia through the slightly precious construct of talking to her deceased dog, Lily, it is nonetheless an apt device for the larger conversations she champions in the hope that society can evolve to bridge its divides and abandon its labels.
PositiveBooklistThe question of who gets to tell one’s own story lies at the heart of Lipman’s smart, sassy, and satisfying rom-com. Luckily for fans of contemporary women’s fiction, the answer is Lipman as she once again delivers a tightly woven, lightly rendered, but insightfully important novel of the pitfalls to be avoided and embraced on one’s path to self-discovery.
Joshua S Goldstein
PositiveBooklistAlthough their discourse borders on the polemic, Goldstein and Qvist offer food for thought, making this a viable resource in the arsenal of arguments for and against the best methods of staving off a global energy crisis.
Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson
PositiveBooklistExploring cultural imperatives from Kenya to Korea, social researcher Bricker and journalist Ibbitson delve into myriad conditions and examine the trends that could lead to a prediction that most established and many developing nations will see a reversal of overpopulation patterns ... Thanks to the authors’ painstaking fact-finding and cogent analysis, this treatise offers ample and persuasive arguments for a re-evaluation of conventional wisdom.
PositiveBooklistAn eye-opening account of what it takes to protect wildlife under improbable conditions. Dehgan’s zeal for conservation, passion for humanitarian outreach, and admiration for the Afghan people spring from every page.
PositiveBooklistRezaian’s candid and revelatory memoir of his incarceration is interlaced with touching tributes to his Iranian-born father, his journalistic mentor, Christopher Hitchens, and his beloved wife, Yeganeh. At a time when journalists find themselves increasingly under fire, both abroad and at home, Rezaian’s dedication to his craft is an inspiring homage to the fearlessness of these intrepid purveyors of truth.
RaveBooklistNever better than when she is detailing her personal professional crises when inherent conflicts between old and new media rattled Times management, Abramson offers an engrossing \'behind the curtains\' journey into the demanding business of modern media ... Abramson’s expert and frank assessment of the struggles of the press in the \'fake news\' era will attract avid attention.
PositiveBooklistAlthough the high-stakes race to thwart Huber provides the framework for Johansen’s latest thriller, the sexual cat-and-mouse dynamic between Jude and Rachel supplies an equally alluring narrative. Johansen’s loyal and never-before readers alike will want more of this newly introduced and provocative pair.
RaveBooklistWith lightning speed and relentless determination, Shapiro tracks down the sperm donor who was her biological father and navigates an emotional and ethical minefield to create a relationship. The notion of identity, once so defined, suddenly becomes amorphous and untrustworthy. Shapiro’s anguish over a flawed past is palpable; her anxiety regarding an indeterminate future is paralyzing. Page after page, Shapiro displays a disarming honesty and an acute desire to know the unknowable.
PositiveBooklistQuietly astute and surprisingly engrossing, Kennedy’s spare, old-fashioned fable about trust and faith, loyalty and love is a charming read with a hidden punch, providing a much-needed antidote to contemporary cynicism and doubt.
PositiveBooklistHudson’s rags-to-riches story is revealed by Griffin’s comprehensive overview of Hudson’s filmography as well as his frank but objective discussion of Hudson’s complicated personal life.
PositiveBooklistExtensively researched, Jarnow’s deep and accomplished portrait of these iconic musicians reverberates with a mastery that will appeal to both fans and everyone interested in the history of music.
PositiveBooklistGubar combs novels and poems, movies and plays to gain insight into the type of loving reflective of the bond she and Don enjoy ... Gubar confronts life’s most personal circumstances and her innermost fears and triumphs with wit, joy, sensitivity, and abundant honesty.
PositiveBooklistPlaintive, probing, and painfully honest, Beard’s reflective examination of loss and acceptance will bring beneficial insights to other grieving survivors.
RaveBooklist\"...The 1960s was a time of protests over race and war and gender, fueled by rage and sorrow over the assassinations of three now-iconic figures, President John F. Kennedy; his brother Robert, a presidential candidate; and Martin Luther King Jr. Journalist and southern historian Gaillard was a child of that era, and he now presents an intensely personal yet thoroughly vetted and factual account of one of history’s most tumultuous interludes, a detailed, chronological, and illuminating look at pivotal events and influential people. Anyone alive during that time will read this and recall with wonder all that transpired during those 10 years. Anyone born since will experience awe for the overwhelming changes that were wrought during a time as productive as it was destructive.
RaveBooklistShortly after her husband, Brendan, dies, Martha Cassidy steels herself to make the trip from their London apartment to his cottage on the remote west coast of Ireland. There she finds more sheep than people, while the humans she does encounter arouse her curiosity and provide sources of both comfort and contention ... Through the rugged and unforgiving beauty of the Irish countryside and the spare but heartfelt empathy of this place of wise souls, Martha navigates the hardest transition a wife and mother must ever face. For her keen and gracious insights into the relentless grieving process, for her transcendent evocation of the rough charm and enduring splendor of Ireland’s rural treasures, Hubbard deserves a place in the literary pantheon near Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, and William Trevor.
Therese Anne Fowler
RaveBooklistBeing called well-behaved would not necessarily have pleased Alma Smith, yet such a demeanor was vital for her success as the wife of one of Manhattan’s wealthiest and most respected men. Although born to wealth in Alabama, Alva found herself in greatly reduced circumstances when her father lost the family fortune. A fortuitous marriage was her only chance for salvation, so when her dear friend Consuelo played matchmaker, pairing her with William K. Vanderbilt, Alva followed her head instead of her heart into a loveless marriage ... With you-are-there immediacy fueled by assured attention to biographical detail and deft weaving of labyrinthine intrigue, Fowler creates a thoroughly credible imagining of the challenges and emotional turmoil facing this fiercely independent woman.
PositiveBooklist\"...If Bill Clinton, a young, small-state governor, was the unlikely choice to lead the Democrats back into power, then Newt Gingrich, a brash, come-from-nowhere Georgia congressman, was the equally improbable provocateur who would thwart him at every turn. As Clinton hoped to captain the country on a course of economic growth and social and cultural acceptance, Gingrich’s plan was to challenge every initiative with a scrappy, street-fighting demeanor not previously experienced in the once-genteel halls of government ... NBC/MSNBC political numbers cruncher Kornacki is known for his predictive ability to read electoral tea leaves and spot trends. Now his journalistic prowess is on display in this sharp narrative tracking the steps and missteps over the last quarter-century that brought us to today’s combative political stasis.
PositiveBooklistThe notion of voter fraud is itself a fraud perpetrated on the American voting public ... Anderson examines the treacherous machinations of a government actively working to exclude voters based on undisguised racial profiling. This a whiplash-inducing chronicle of how a nation that just a few short years ago elected its first black president now finds itself in the throes of a deceitful and craven effort to rip this most essential of American rights from millions of its citizens.
PositiveBooklistKerry’s astonishing level of recall of the resonant moments of his life both in and out of politics turns his memoir into a rich and revealing look at signature public events during the last seven decades. Gracious and dedicated, Kerry epitomizes the term statesman.
PositiveBooklistHers was one of the few female faces in her 1973 law-school class. And, like so many women of her generation coming-of-age during feminism’s second wave, Warren juggled often-conflicting roles of wife and mother while building dual careers as a lawyer and professor. Defying odds, she emerged victorious over the popular incumbent Scott Brown in her campaign for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts ... Felix deftly brings the backstory of this progressive icon to life in a detailed and revelatory look at one of the country’s most admired and outspoken leaders.
PositiveBooklistFor all the bleak desolation and underlying sadness that informs the Connors’ existence, there is a stronger sense of joy and wonder that infuses their magical thinking with a relentless assurance in the possibilities life can hold. Hooper follows her wise and delightful Etta and Otto and Russel and James (2015) with an equally charismatic and haunting fable about the transformative power of hope.
PositiveBooklistGekoski’s deceptively simple tale of a troubled marriage is elegantly crafted, and its deft portrait of 1950s constraints and values masterfully conjures a rich atmosphere reminiscent of Richard Yates and John Cheever.
RaveBooklist\"Pithy and profound, Fountain’s political observations fly off the page in a torrent of mantra-worthy quotes, while his historical analyses stun with their depth of research and relevance ... Fountain’s mix of salient lessons from the past and essential guideposts for the future is a must-have addition to the \'how did we get here\' canon of political scrutiny in and of the age of Trump.\
RaveBooklistGarden & Gun contributor Reed’s latest paean to southern culture is loving in the way of a parent indulging a capricious child. Yet the way she brings this same perspective to the greater human condition is shrewd and imaginative. One need not be of the South to appreciate her wisdom and wit, for Reed’s is an expressive and enthusiastic voice for humanity everywhere.
PositiveBooklist\"Through her protagonist, debut novelist Walker gives a plaintive yet powerful voice to anyone who has struggled with body image, feelings of marginalization, and sexual manipulation. Her robust satire also vibrantly redefines what it means to be a woman in contemporary society.\
PositiveBooklistAs he uncovered the labyrinthine and corrupt supply chain of human labor, he met Jeet\'s young widow, Kamala, whose life in an impoverished Nepali village became infinitely harder after Jeet’s death. Along with a team of intrepid human rights’ attorneys, Simpson battled one of the world’s most powerful corporations to gain justice for Jeet and compensation for his widow. The ensuing court battle and Kamala’s personal journey of redemption is a mind-boggling story that champions courage, perseverance, and resilience.
RaveBooklist OnlineGriswold’s (The Tenth Parallel, 2010) empathetic yet analytical account of Haney’s indefatigable role as advocate for justice is a thorough and thoroughly blood-pressure-raising account of the greed and fraud embedded in the environmentally ruinous natural-gas industry. As honest and unvarnished an account of the human cost of corporate corruption as one will find.
PositiveBooklistAs always, Weisberger’s timely social satire packs some bite along with the pop-culture froth. The return of characters from Weisberger’s most popular book will propel her latest to the top.
Seymour M. Hersh
RaveBooklist\"In this candid and revelatory memoir, Hersh chronicles his evolution as a reporter in both style and substance ... Hersh remains at the vanguard of tenacious and purposeful writers who speak truth to power, and surely he’s inspiring the best at work now. Journalism junkies will devour this insider’s account of a distinguished career.\
RaveBooklistCrime thriller authors have nothing on Carreyrou’s exquisite sense of suspenseful pacing and multifaceted character development in this riveting, read-in-one-sitting tour de force. Investigative journalists are perhaps the country’s last true protectors of truth and justice, and Carreyrou’s commitment to unraveling Holmes’ crimes has been literally of life-saving value.
RaveBooklist Online\"First loves, summer flings, mad crushes, and unrequited longings—set all these heady things against the backdrop of Llamalo, a rugged summer camp in the Colorado mountains and within the context of Reagan-era policies and a looming Gulf War, and the experience is a roller-coaster of high drama and shattered ideals ... Abel’s first novel is a finely textured exploration of committed individuals caught in the throes of an idealistic atmosphere.\
PositiveBooklistIn Eve’s world there is no such thing as coincidence; indeed, the brutal killer who murdered Darcy’s sister and attacked Cara is intent on destroying both girls’ families in a deranged quest for vengeance. Johansen is beloved for her strong female protagonists, and Cara and Darcy are worthy additions to this coterie of heroines.
RaveBooklistIn a series of self-revelatory essays, Russo lets his readers behind the curtain to divulge the myriad sources of his profound wisdom and boundless generosity as both writer and teacher. Scholarly yet accessible examinations of the works of both Twain and Dickens illustrate their abiding influence, while discussions on point of view are brief but brilliant master classes. For aspiring writers, Russo’s musings on the art and craft of the novel are a trove of knowledge and guidance. For adoring readers, they are a window into the imagination and inspiration for Russo’s beloved novels, screenplays, and short stories.
PositiveBooklist\"Along with providing insights into Eunice’s roles as wife, mother, sister, and daughter, McNamara uses her journalistic prowess to produce a complete and detailed portrait of this spirited and magnetic activist.\
RaveBooklistAn intimate yet wide-ranging chronicle of a life in the trenches and at the pinnacle of her profession, Richards’ enthralling memoir will provide rousing motivation for anyone passionate about social and political causes.
RaveBooklistWith America’s global standing now downgraded from \'full democracy to \'flawed democracy\' by the Economist Intelligence Unit, this is no time for complacency. Albright outlines the warning signs of fascism and offers concrete actions for restoring America’s values and reputation. There is priceless wisdom on every page.
RaveBooklist Online\"Ehrenreich, who holds a PhD in cellular immunology, offers a healthy dose of reformist philosophy combined with her trademark investigative journalism. In assessing our quest for a longer, healthier life, Ehrenreich provides a contemplative vision of an active, engaged health care that goes far beyond the physical restraints of the body and into the realm of metaphysical possibilities.\
RaveBooklist OnlineSure to appeal to architecture and political junkies alike, Rodota’s history provides a thorough and thoroughly engrossing insider account of this legendary Washington address.
PositiveBooklistThough she writes with a deceptive casualness about dashed dreams and squandered hopes, Quindlen’s quietly precise evaluation of intertwined lives evinces a keen understanding of and appreciation for universal human frailties. Complex themes and clever motifs make this eminently suitable for book groups.
RaveBooklist\"Sweeping yet intimate, Wolitzer’s timely saga places her characters at the heart of a new wave of feminism, one clinging to the old paradigms of protest while encompassing current politics of personal responsibility. In a complex web of friends, lovers, mentors, and rivals, Wolitzer compassionately and artfully discerns the subtle strengths at the core of these essential connections.\
RaveBooklist\"Rachman’s haunting addition to the list of novels about children overshadowed by famous parents is a momentous drama of a volatile relationship and the fundamental will to survive.\
RaveBooklistBohjalian is an unfaltering storyteller who crosses genres with fluidity, from historical fiction to literary thrillers. He is also that rare male writer who has mastered the female point of view with adroit credibility ... Bohjalian revisits the notion of what happens when an individual loses control of his or her environment in a read-in-one-sitting escapade that is as intellectually satisfying as it is emotionally entertaining.
RaveBooklistBased on a five-year stint as a television reporter in China, journalist and producer Lake presents an intimate yet wide-ranging examination of this economic and cultural phenomenon, a book that sparkles with personal revelations as well as important social and cultural details.
PositiveBooklist“Before there was a Carrie Bradshaw or a Mary Richards, a Bridget Jones or a Holly Golightly, there was Marjorie Hillis ... Scutts’ biography of this Depression-era feminist positions Hillis very much as a woman of her own time, and her thorough scholarship deftly illustrates how Hillis’ iconic views continue to make her a woman for all time.”
RaveBooklistSet against the backdrop of the final years of his vice presidency, Biden’s memoir of his son’s battle with cancer is a spare yet sturdy chronicle of how one family, one very public family, coped with the reality of a monumental health crisis as privately and seamlessly as possible ... Biden weaves the narrative of Beau’s decline with the global events that equally required his attention ... Given its dual focus on his political accomplishments, some may see this memoir as a preamble to a future presidential run ... Written without an ounce of self-pity, it serves instead as an homage to a man Biden admired above all others and offers a passionate ray of hope to those who have suffered the loss of a loved one with the reassuring message that there is, indeed, a way through their grief.
Jared Yates Sexton
RaveBooklistSexton’s first-person account is both candidly relatable and viscerally frightening. Self-deprecating scenes of drowning his sorrows at campaign-stop pubs juxtaposed against edge-of-darkness encounters with agitators sporting MAGA-logo garb create a you-are-there immediacy. Sexton’s seamless blending of his reporter’s objectivity with the personal evaluations of a voter who has skin in the game yields trenchant analysis. Although most of his ire is reserved for the mercurial and Machiavellian Trump organization, Sexton also takes a penetrating look at the other contentious campaigns—the fervency of the Bernie camp, the fecklessness of Clinton’s overconfident team, and even a foray into the Green Party hoopla—and counts himself among the myriad pundits who absolutely did not see the end result coming. Based upon its title, readers could be forgiven for thinking this is a tsunami survivor’s memoir. With the outrage, violence, and intolerance the 2016 campaign unleashed, it very nearly qualifies. But Sexton’s is a critical and important voice in helping readers understand the cultural and political sea change the election created.
RaveBooklistSalvaging this essential piece of American military history from certain obscurity, Mundy’s painstaking and dedicated research produces an eye-opening glimpse into a crucial aspect of U.S. military operations and pays overdue homage to neglected heroines of WWII. Fans of Hidden Figures (2016) and its exposé of unsung talent will revel in Mundy’s equally captivating portraits of women of sacrifice, initiative, and dedication.
RaveBooklistMcBride’s short stories joyfully abound with indelible characters whose personal philosophies are far wiser than their circumstances allow ... Whatever the situation, McBride’s protagonists encounter life’s foolishness and futility courtesy of their outlier status, yet their compassion and wisdom put them at the heart of the most salient and critical junctures confronting humanity. McBride brings the snappy satire that endeared him to fans of the National Book Award-winning The Good Lord Bird and the courage and pathos that shone in The Miracle at St. Anna to this stellar collection of short fiction.
RaveBooklistA worthy companion to Jane Mayer’s Dark Money (2017), MacLean’s intense and extensive examination of the right-wing’s rise to power is perhaps the best explanation to date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government.
RaveBooklistNg’s stunning second novel is a multilayered examination of how identities are forged and maintained, how families are formed and friendships tested, and how the notion of motherhood is far more fluid than bloodlines would suggest. Ng’s debut, Everything I Never Told You, was a book-group staple. Laden with themes of loyalty and betrayal, honesty and trust, her latest tour de force should prove no less popular.
RaveBooklistAt 59, Ove is a grumble Gus of the first degree. Rules are made to be followed, signs are meant to be obeyed, and don’t even get him started about computers and mobile phones … Though Ove’s dark mission mitigates any treacly upstaging by animals and small children, readers seeking feel-good tales with a message will rave about the rantings of this solitary old man with a singular outlook. If there was an award for ‘Most Charming Book of the Year,’ this first novel by a Swedish blogger-turned-overnight-sensation would win hands down.
PositiveBooklist\"The sentimentally savvy Backman takes a sobering and solemn look at the ways alienation and acceptance, ethics and emotions nearly destroy a small town ... Backman sagely taps into teen angst while portraying sensitive issues of identity, loyalty, and ambition.\
PositiveBooklistWriting with clarity, intelligence, and compassion, Hayes deftly illuminates the complex state of affairs that has evolved since the 1960s civil rights protests, and resulted in the current backlash.