PositiveBooklistWith saucy self-deprecation, robust glee, and touch of goofiness, Davis recounts behind-the-scenes anecdotes from her award-winning film and TV career.
PositiveBooklistMontillo’s deeply researched exposé of the untimely downfall of glittering icons haunted by fundamental insecurities and entrenched demons is a dishy true-crime, literary critique mash-up.
RaveBooklistIn a quiet way, line by line, Keegan invites the reader to pay attention, for the wonder is in the details, in which nothing occurs, but everything happens. A gem of a book, to be savored again and again.
John A. Farrell
RaveBooklistWith hundreds of books published about the Kennedy dynasty, it may seem that there is nothing new to be learned, yet Farrell’s focused and canny research produced a fresh, multifaceted portrait of a man conflicted by history, stalked by demons, and dedicated to ideals. Equitable and discerning, Farrell’s nuanced biography is a valuable addition to the Kennedy canon.
RaveBooklistLike creating an intricate origami puzzle, Shapiro folds together the events that define these lives over decades, focusing on specific interludes to divulge old secrets or bury new ones ... Shapiro delivers keen perceptions about family dynamics via fictional characters that exude a rare combination of substance and delicacy. Stunning in depth and breadth, this luminous examination of loss and acceptance, furtiveness and reliability, abandonment and friendship ultimately blazes with profound revelations.
RaveBooklistSharp, acerbic, often somber ... Fans looking for Hollywood gossip will not find it, while those who really want to know the man behind the image and the legend will be compelled by Newman’s raw, open, and principled self-portrait.
RaveBooklistDevotees of all things Kennedy may think they’ve seen every image of Jackie ever taken. They would be wrong ... Hill unearthed cartons and trunks brimming with Kennedy ephemera. Each uncovered diary, every unpacked sketchbook triggered poignant memories of his worldwide travels as one of Mrs. Kennedy’s closest aides ... In this essential addition to the Kennedy canon, Hill’s priceless anecdotes gently peel back the layers of privacy that time and circumstance so carefully put in place.
PositiveBooklistIn this densely researched portrait, Boynton vibrantly captures the mercurial nature of a spectacular, exuberant, insatiable, and committed adventurer, photographer, and artist.
PositiveBooklistMah’s exemplary mix of literary and journalistic skills pays off in this extensively researched novel about the woman who became America’s most iconic and enigmatic first lady.
RaveBooklistBounces from merely thought-provoking to certifiably mind-blowing ... Shriver not only defies labels, she despises them. What this collection illustrates above all else is that Shriver is a razor-sharp observer of contemporary life who brings an acutely personal viewpoint to global issues in ways that feel both intimate and universal.
RaveBooklistWhip-smart and wickedly acerbic, Lithwick shines a reassuring light on the essential interconnectivity between women and the law and champions the vital role women lawyers must continue to play if American democracy is to persevere.
RaveBooklistAll the angst of those early COVID-19 days crystallizes in Strout’s spare but consequential prose: the precariousness and paranoia, the disorientation and despair. Once again, Strout’s irrepressible heroine is as candid and self-aware as ever, her memories, regrets, and desires heightened by whatever improbable situation is at hand. In her certainty and delicacy, Strout has created the perfect pandemic novel, which is a strange sentiment, but true nonetheless.
RaveBooklistWith a cinematic made-for-TV sense of scene and pacing, gossipy insider revelations, and sharp analysis, Kirtzman vibrantly depicts the sad and tawdry unraveling of Giuliani’s reputation.
PositiveBooklistThanks to Charyn’s lifelong obsession with Welles’ Citizen Kane and fascination with Hayworth’s fragility, readers benefit from a probing analysis of their seminal films while being treated to an intimate, fly-on-the-wall look at a legendary, tumultuous romance.
Kristin Marguerite Doidge
PositiveBooklistAlthough often glossing over this glossiest of lives, Doidge’s biography will satisfy true Ephron admirers by revisiting favorite movies, dishing backstory details, and serving up insider peeks at her personal life...Those unfamiliar with Ephron’s oeuvre will be enticed to learn more as award-winning journalist Doidge hits the highlights of Ephron’s multifaceted career in a biography that is both breezy and substantial.
David R Montgomery
PositiveBooklistAs professor and MacArthur fellow Montgomery and biologist Bilké explain, crops should be grown for their nutritional values, paying attention to basic vitamins and minerals and less-considered properties such as flavonoids and phytochemicals...Experts in food science and soil biology, the authors examine ways in which both conventional and innovative farming practices help determine nutritional qualities...In analyzing everything from butter to beets, the authors reveal microscopic micronutrient deficiencies in fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats and profile farmers successfully implementing mindful practices, such as regenerative farming, to create richer growing environments... Although certainly helpful to health-conscious readers, the granularity of information provided will especially engage those versed in or curious about food science.
RaveBooklistWith the spirited Eliza at its heart, Pook’s evocative debut novel spins a tale of intrigue and deception with a deft combination of gripping pacing and emotional restraint. Travel writer and journalist Pook’s heightened observational skills are well employed in this lavish tableau showcasing Australia’s vast and exotic natural treasures and fraught history.
RaveBooklistThe world knows the story of the marriage of Jack and Jackie Kennedy, or at least a version of it. What is less scrutinized is their courtship, which Bayard so convincingly fictionalizes as an often fraught and frantic tap dance of missteps and missed signals, of confidences and secret ... Bayard pursued the First Friend/First Lady trope before in the much-acclaimed Courting Mr. Lincoln (2019). Here he brings a poignant empathy, persuasive intimacy, and nuanced imagination to his interpretation of a relatively unexamined chapter in Kennedy lore.
RaveBooklistTwo families reflect the yin and yang of the American dream, their ascendancy and decline writ large in minute details in paired tales...In \'Great Uncle Edward,\' the company of a patrician, old-school gentleman delights a young bride recently married into the family...The White family of \'Cleveland Auto Wrecking\' has no such renown to protect or defend...Sam White is a master of math and commerce, seeing riches in others’ trash...In style and substance, Shorr summons the works of Anne Tyler as she rejoices in her characters’ day-to-day experiences, dropping pearls of insight into crystalline vignettes...The novella format can be a thorny one to embrace, either too short or too long...In Shorr’s hands, it is just right.
PositiveBooklistIn this culturally savvy sequel to his enduring best-seller, Election (1998), and its wildly popular film adaptation starring Reese Witherspoon, Perrotta again tells a smart, entertaining story from multiple perspectives, oral-history style. The breeziness of the pacing provides tart counterpoint to weightier themes of adultery, ambition, atonement, and revenge which Perrotta handles with a deft but determined satiric touch.
RaveBooklistProlific journalist Kirchick chronicles the decades-long evolution of the LGBTQ administrative community, from subversive political extortion during the FDR years to groundbreaking if inadequate same-sex legislation under Bill Clinton. What emerges is a web of informants and blackmailers, often abetted by political operatives at the highest levels, all determined to expose what was considered \'deviant\' behavior that could topple administrations. While Kirchick’s analysis of political skulduggery throughout earlier presidencies is microscopic and keenly researched, the proffering of positive changes beginning with George H. W. Bush’s term is insubstantial by comparison. Still, Kirchick’s history is an inspiring and overdue tribute to the brave individuals who fought for acceptance in a city and government long pitted against them.
PositiveBooklistLeary’s richly rendered, tender tale of friendship and loyalty, based on her own family history, brings into sharp focus the horrors of such punitive institutions, which proliferated in early-twentieth-century America.
RaveBooklistThough his tone is more poignant than pointed, the essential Sedaris humor reassuringly endures. Amid the barbed quips, there is genuine sorrow, an empathy born of arduous experience and persistent aspiration.
PositiveBooklistDebut novelist Myers sets her activist novel in 1946, but the causes of workers’ and women’s rights are timeless.
RaveBooklistWalker’s take on the classic Gothic tale fairly shimmers, titillating with a heady concoction of terror and desire, frothy with fever-pitched emotions, and dark with smothering melancholy and macabre spectres.
Valerie Biden Owens
PositiveBooklistAdoring, almost worshipful in tone, Owens offers both triumphant and tragic memories in an easy and unpretentious manner that conveys the abiding influence of family, faith, and friendship in the Biden universe.
RaveBooklistEphron’s harrowing account of coping with multiple, agonizing courses of treatment rivals that of any against-all-odds, true-adventure memoir. Her endurance is nothing short of mind boggling, her survival to tell the tale even more miraculous. Simultaneously spiritually uplifting and emotionally draining, Ephron’s account of triumphing over life’s greatest challenges is itself a tour de force.
J. David McSwane
RaveBooklistUnlike many business exposés in which not every reader will have a vested interest, McSwane’s unravelling of corporate, government, and private shenanigans during the COVID-19 crisis packs a tremendous wallop because the pandemic has impacted everyone to various degrees. At a time when COVID-19 exhaustion is settling in, McSwane, an award-winning investigative journalist for the independent, nonprofit media outlet ProPublica, introduces the sketchy world of opportunists and their slippery network of connections, sparking fresh outrage over the time wasted and lives lost while greed and profit trumped public health and safety.
PositiveBooklistIn exploring her own background, Newton investigates current theories regarding DNA analysis, inherited trauma, and psychological profiling with Sherlockian verve and an academician’s tenacity. Genealogy sleuths often undertake such quests hoping to discover hidden gems buried deep in those census records, such as a direct link to aristocracy or a Founding Father. Newton is just looking for some peace of mind, and her approach may help others realize what a worthy goal that is.
PositiveBooklistAward-winning Indigenous writer and activist Birch has created a poignant novel that keenly demonstrates how the strength of family bonds can shatter societal biases.
RaveBooklistYovanovitch divulges in granular detail the situation on the ground in every country she served while illuminating the deft juggling act required when one is charged with bringing democracy to nations mired in totalitarianism or authoritarianism. Nowhere was that task more challenging than in her posting as ambassador to Ukraine during the Trump administration ... A superbly crafted and intimately revealing self-portrait of a true hero of American diplomacy.
RaveBooklistAs Flint native Ronan’s rich and unflinching saga sways through the twentieth and into the twenty-first century, it reveals a decaying city once at the heart of America’s industrial and cultural identity. The intimate histories in this stunning and masterful debut reveal universal truths of renewal and redemption at individual and societal levels.
Richard K. Rein
PositiveBooklistJournalist Rein’s comprehensive biography of this icon of the planning and preservation movement focuses on Whyte’s vision and legacy, offering an accessible and worthy source of inspiration for contemporary and future land-use challenges.
PositiveBooklist... [a] richly imagined twenty-first-century dystopian exploration of the immutable transformation of the physical world ... a bleak yet engrossing and suspenseful tale that simultaneously delivers a lyrical homage to motherhood and a piercing vision of the fragility of humankind’s relationship with the natural world.
RaveBooklistBy tapping into the Zoom-fueled zeitgeist, Kipnis brings an ironic perspective to this most intimate of subjects. Disarmingly honest, voyeuristically campy, Kipnis’ discussion of COVID-19-influenced coupledom is both witty and wise.
RaveBooklistHavrilesky knows that if love is anything, it is also tolerant and grateful, sexy and companionable. Most of all, it is a state not to be taken for granted. Newlyweds, nearlyweds, and golden-anniversary celebrants alike will find much that is familiar, inspiring, and comforting in Havrilesky’s clear-eyed paean to marital bliss and blunders.
RaveBooklistCoates is outraged. Currently a senior legal analyst for CNN, Coates reveals how motherhood and her experiences as an African American have deepened her sensitivity to issues of fairness and empathy, impartiality and legality. The result is a personal, heartfelt, eloquent, and sobering examination of the nexus of justice and humanity.
Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague
RaveBooklistRousing, infuriating, sobering, and instructive, this page-turning account of the election debacle exposes the legal, political, and, sadly, even physical attacks on those civic-minded individuals trusted with upholding democracy’s foundations and those committed to destroying that trust. A riveting must-read for all concerned about the future of American democracy.
RaveBooklistIn [the The Secret Garden], Burnett transforms surly young Mary Lennox from an abandoned and unloved outcast into an inquisitive and caring companion through her escapades in nature. McDowell does much the same for her subject, chronicling Burnett’s life, from an impoverished childhood in Tennessee to international renown and riches through her prolific career as an essayist and novelist ... With a sprightly tone, infectious enthusiasm, and a professor’s penchant for scholarly detail, McDowell brings keen insight and critical assessment to the life and works of this beloved author.
Steven V. Roberts
PositiveBooklist... [an] adoring tribute ... What also emerges is her feminism and humanity and a rare blend of tough and tender that won her legions of loyal fans and the love of friends who counted on her heartfelt guidance through any crisis ... Roberts’ portrait demonstrates most clearly both the painful loss and the rich and enduring legacy of this pioneering journalist and compassionate human being.
RaveBooklistMackrell adopts a you-are-there intimacy as she brings readers behind the front lines ... [A] dazzling, insightful, engrossing, and multifaceted group biography.
PositiveBooklist... a thoroughly researched and sweeping discourse on Britain’s pottery trade, placing it firmly within the rise of upper-class social demands and the transformative economics of the Industrial Revolution ... Hunt’s in-depth biography will pique the interest of readers fascinated by Wedgwood and the wide-ranging history of pottery.
Cassandra Leah Quave
PositiveBooklistQuave is a fierce combatant, exhibiting focused determination, admirable flexibility, and persuasive enthusiasm in this candidly personal narrative about overcoming physical and professional obstacles in her dedicated pursuit of innovative medical advancements.
RaveBooklistVenn and his fellow inspectors interview virtually every member of this insular, bucolic community in search of the killer in a wonderfully engrossing, by-the-book police procedural lush with Agatha Christie-esque atmosphere and intrigue.
PositiveBooklist... a stinging satire about the hollowness of the suburban dream. Each couple is glittering but damaged ... Withering in its barbed wit, Ball’s mordantly penetrating portrait of middle-class malaise teems with infidelity, inequity, mistrust, and disappointment.
RaveBooklistWriting with clarity and grace, best-selling Cash...is a gem of a storyteller, combining the solitary journey of a young mother’s grief and a community’s relentless battle against racial injustice. The result is a tightly crafted whodunit with true depth that readers will simultaneously want to speed through and savor.
PositiveBooklistHill takes an almost anthropological view of her time in the Trump White House, observing the behavior and attitudes of colleagues as if they were subjects in a social experiment. The result is a sobering analysis of the toxic environment Trump and his aides created and how it continues to threaten democracy’s very existence.
PositiveBooklistIn examining the indelible consequences of gender-based aggression, Hill assesses the political, economic, psychological, and social destruction such attitudes and behaviors inflict. Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women’s and Gender Studies at Brandeis University, and a dedicated advocate, Hill posits that the country is in a state of crisis, and issues a call for changes in the ways gender-based violence is viewed, debated, and legislated. The result is a sober analysis that confronts the severity of a tragically persistent problem ... Anita Hill’s expertise in systemic sexism and the profound harm it causes is an invaluable factor in the long battle for sexual equality and justice.
RaveBooklistRubin is uniquely situated to assess this political uprising and chronicle the role of women on the front lines in the war to claim gender equity and protect democratic values. The result is a keenly analytical appreciation for and deeply personal connection to the ways in which the modern American female electorate has been reawakened and reenergized to reimagine a more inclusive political landscape.
RaveBooklistLittle...is known about one of the country’s founding families ... Grenville fills the gap by imagining the discovery of a secret memoir chronicling Elizabeth’s passage from abandoned child to abused wife to unacknowledged businesswoman, using this cunning device to explore the rich, unlimited interplay between what is known and what can only be suspected. In her rich vision of an alternate life for Elizabeth, buoyed by quotes from Elizabeth’s actual writings, Grenville offers a potentially myth-busting version of a turbulent time.
PositiveBooklistInspired by the life of groundbreaking, Nobel Prize–winning geneticist Barbara McClintock, Pastan creates an equally indelible character in her heroine, Kate Croft ... Pastan’s Kate is feisty, principled, sensitive, and caring, a complex woman competing for recognition in complicated times. Untold-until-now tales of trailblazing women in the sciences capture the popular imagination, and Pastan’s novel about determined geneticist Kate Croft is a worthy addition to this compelling and inspiring trend.
RaveBooklistThrough a diligent yet sparkling, multifaceted biography, award-winning journalist Franklin evokes the charisma and commitment of this titan of both commercial and conservation realms.
PositiveBooklistBeginning with a hipster vibe that wickedly satirizes the frippery of Hollywood’s self-absorption, Kleeman’s dystopian tale heads inexorably into a dark, fatalistic exploration of the moral consequences of environmental destruction. With California’s ubiquitous wildfires raging in the background, Kleeman handles this existential crisis with verve and originality, displaying imagery that is stark and pulsating with a vibrancy fueled by a complexly rich imagination.
PositiveBooklistWith the light, frothy touch that her fans have come to expect from her witty comedies...Lipman dreamily integrates the tastelessly tawdry world of the Trump administration with the upbeat buoyancy of modern love in this timely political satire.
PositiveBooklistWhether she’s skewering the indignities of menopause or grappling with the allure of Botox, Ellis tackles these annoyances as she does whatever else life tosses her way, with a simmering sense of \'what the heck?\' tempered by a bubbly dose of \'why the heck not?\' ... With the ongoing pandemic, many are in need of a good laugh. Thankfully, Ellis’ essays deliver hilarity on every page, providing the perfect way to get one’s socially distanced jollies. A seasoned Manhattanite by way of Alabama, Ellis entertains with a spicy blend of good-ol’-gal snark and seasoned urban savvy, disarming folks with her tongue-in-cheek Southern belle charm and shocking the unsuspecting with her flinty, no-nonsense persona.
RaveBooklistWriting with an objective clarity and dishing like an insider-hipster, Etter offers a powerful indictment of both sides of the same corrupt coin, delivering an eye-opening account of an industry shamelessly gaslighting customers, employees, investors, and government regulators in pursuit of profits over principles. Encyclopedic in scope yet intimate in appeal, Etter’s timely exposé uncovers the Machiavellian intrigue, greed, and arrogance at the core of one of America’s most lethal industries.
RaveBooklistThe...compilation of contemplative essays is hard to categorize, a heady and poignant combination of self-help, memoir, and scholarly enlightenment. A popular Australian broadcaster, journalist, and author, Baird brings a shimmering intimacy to a universal condition, a beacon of light that both blazes with intensity and bathes with comforting reassurance.
Peter S. Canellos
PositiveBooklistIn this meticulously researched and acutely analytical biography, Canellos offers a nuanced portrait of the Supreme Court justice whose arguments in some of the most consequential cases in American jurisprudence earned him the titular sobriquet, \'The Great Dissenter\'.
PositiveBooklistFeminist historian and academic Cleghorn, herself a victim of medical misdiagnosis, brings first-hand knowledge of the gender bias endemic in the medical profession to this scholarly yet personal, specific yet comprehensive study of dangerously outdated medical practices and attitudes.
RaveBooklistThe survivor of extreme psychological and physical abuse, Diamond recounts her lifelong struggle to discover her true self in a beyond-harrowing memoir. Within the autobiographical subset of children-overcoming-adversity that was defined by Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle (2005) and Tara Westover’s Educated (2018), Diamond’s tale might just be the most mind-blowing of them all.
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.