Tom BeerTom Beer is the books editor at Newsday, and a former editor at Out magazine. He currently serves as the president of the NBCC board. He can be found on Twitter @TomBeerBooks.
RaveNewsday\"... astonishing ... Toews injects a wry humor into these pages, a reflection of her characters and their outlook on life, at once earnest and ironic ... the circumstances are so extraordinary and the dialogue so riveting, that you keep reading to see what the women decide and how they decide it ... You leave a novel about violence and misogyny lifted up by the women and strangely hopeful.\
RaveNewsdayYou can let down your guard and simply enjoy this unfashionable genre in the hands of a master writer. That\'s how I felt from the very first pages of Daniel Mason’s new novel, The Winter Soldier, a captivating story set in the Austro-Hungarian Empire during World War I ... early passages describing the hospital, its various characters and the education that Lucius receives there—both medical and romantic—are among the many marvels ... Mason, himself a physician...has a light touch with such dark subjects. Light, too, is the deployment of his thorough historical research. The archaic military terminology...establishes a rich sense of this bygone war but never distracts from the characters or story. The Winter Soldier is a novel that happens to draw on history, but it does what all the best novels do: Creates a world in which readers pleasurably lose themselves.
PositiveNewsdayBut few depictions of Jobs’ unkindness carry the emotional force of that by his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs in her new memoir, Small Fry ... Small Fry doesn’t read as a vindictive \'Daddy Dearest\'-style exposé ... Here is where the peculiar power of Small Fry exerts itself; it is not a complete portrait of Steve Jobs but the reckoning of a child with a parent’s oceanic influence.
PositiveNewsday\"The indie film actress frames her unsurprisingly quirky memoir as a chat with the reader — who happens to be her seatmate on a long flight. (Her \'emotional support dog,\' Gracie, is on her lap.) Posey has plenty to share about her films (Party Girl, Dazed and Confused, Best in Show) and her passions (pottery, Mysore yoga).\
RaveNewsday\"Life unfolds for Silber’s characters as a series of accidents, happy and otherwise, and any good fortune they do find is most likely provisional … You can feel...how tenderly Silber treats her large cast of men and women, how she deals out small moments of grace even as things go terribly wrong for them. This seems like a good place to bring up Silber’s voice: unshowy and intimate, precise and colloquial, she seems almost to be confiding the novel to us, a worldly wise aunt not unlike Kiki herself. She marshals great feeling in the course of Improvement without making it seem a big deal.\
RaveNewsdayAmericans will know Trevor Noah much better after reading his terrific new memoir ... Noah has a real tale to tell, and he tells it well ... Among the many virtues of Born a Crime is a frank and telling portrait of life in South Africa during the 1980s and ’90s ... Occasionally, the book’s loose structure works to its detriment, and some chapters feel more developed than others. Short explanatory passages between chapters feel unnecessary...But these are quibbles.
RaveNewsdayPatchett’s slyly knowing voice — full of wit and warmth — elevates every page of this novel — one that, through the alchemy of her writing, somehow feels more than the sum of its parts.
PositiveNewsdayWe never even learn their last name. But we come to know the family at the center of Adam Haslett’s powerful new novel, Imagine Me Gone, as intimately as if they were our own...Imagine Me Gone is slow to get started — we’re dropped into a plot in progress and must pick up the family’s story at a few different moments in its history. Stick with it. Once Haslett has you, you’re along for the ride with Margaret, John, Michael, Celia and Alec: as absorbed by — and powerless over — their fate as they are.
RaveNewsday“The Little Red Chairs is a capacious novel full of exquisitely rendered miniatures — the frightened taxi driver who has been hired by the thugs who threaten Fidelma, the garrulous man from Mozambique who hires cleaners at the office building, the eccentric neighbor girl whom Fidelma befriends in London. O’Brien has long been recognized as a gifted short story writer and here she employs her gift for closely observed moments in the service of a novel that is deeply intimate but global in its vision.