January 2020 Book List

January 2020 Book List

Book lists around Christmas and the New Year are not always typical in terms of content with regard to book lists from the rest of the year. This month you should look for the book lists that offer up the Best Books of 2019. Every site that reviews books usually has such a list. When you look over the offerings from the NYT you will find the suggestions at the beginning of December were quite lengthy. Since books make wonderful gifts for many readers the list is rounded out with appealing suggestions for books as presents. It is now past Christmas but it’s never to late to give a great book to a book lover and you will find some books for art lovers and those who love the dance world

.Amazon

Literature and Fiction

The Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel by Isabel Allende

Small Days and Nights: A Novel by Tishani Doshi

Show Them a Good Time by Nicole Flattery

Dear Edward: A Novel by Ann Napolitano

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Little Gods: A Novel by Meng Jin

Topics of Conversation: A Novel by Miranda Popkey

The Black Cathedral: A Novel by Marcial Gala and Anna Kushner

Processed Cheese: A Novel by Stephen Wright

Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick by Zora Neale Hurston

Mysteries and Thrillers

The Vanishing (Fogg Lake) by Jayne Ann Krantz

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg

The Missing American (An Emma Djan Investigation) by Kwei Quartey

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

No Fixed Lines (22) (A Kate Shugak Investigation) by Dana Stabenow

Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg

The Rabbit Hunter by Lars Kepler

House on Fire: A Novel by Joseph Finder

The Wife and the Widow by Christian White

First Cut: A Novel by Judy Melinek, MD, TJ Mitchell

Biographies and Memoirs

Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything was Different by Chuck Palahniuk

Race of Aces: WW II’s Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become Masters of the Sky by John R. Bruning

Father of Lions: One Man’s Remarkable Quest to Save the Mosul Zoo by Louise Callaghan

Will: A Memoir by Will Self

Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Fremont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War by Steven Inskeep

Building a Life Worth Living: A Memoir by Marsha M Linehan

We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland by Steve Beaven

Uncanny Valley: A Memoir by Anna Wiener

The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir by E J Koh

Nonfiction

Hill Women: Finding a Family and a Way Forward in the Appalachian Mountains by Cassidy Chambers

Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual Jocko Willink

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything by B J Fogg, PhD

The Third Rainbow: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia by Emma Copley Eisenberg

The Passion Economy: The New Rules for Thriving in the Twenty-first Century by Peggy Orenstein

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl Wu Dunn

Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife by Ada Calhoun

Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World by Matt Parker

History

999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam and Caroline Moorehead

Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry that Unraveled Culture, Religion, and a Collective Memory in the Middle East by Kim Grattas

Overground Railroad: The Green Book and Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy Taylor

Wilmington’s Lies: The Murderous Coup of 1898 by David Zucchino

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe by Kathy Peiss

Mengele: Unmasking the “Angel of Death” by David G Marwell

Transcendence: How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time by Gaia Vince

Science Fiction

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Secret Chapter (The Invisible Library Novel) by Genevieve Cogman

NYT Book Update

12/9/2019

Fiction

Mary Toft: or The Rabbit Queen by Dexter Palmer

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris

10 Best Crime Books of 2019

The Bird Boys by Lisa Landlin

The Chestnut Man by Soren Sviestrup

Conviction by Denise Mina

The Good Detective by John McCain

Heaven My Home by Attica Locke

The Never Game by James Deaver

The New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

The Old Success by Martha Grimes

Sarah Jane by James Sallis

Nonfiction

Still Here by Alexander Jacobs (Bio of Elaine Stritch)

Listening for America by Rob Kapilow

Life Isn’t Everything: Mike Nichols, as Remembered by 150 of His Closest Friends by Ash Carter and Sam Kashner

A Month in Siena by Hisham Matar (Art)

Art Books

Climbing Rock By Francois Lebeau

Silent Kingdom by Christian Vizl

Light Break – Photos of Ray DeCarava

The Sound I Saw – Photos of Ray Cavara (Harlem Photographer

Nonfiction

Novel Houses by Christina Hardyment

The Seine: The River that Made Paris by Elaine Sciolino

Art Books

The Lost Books of Jane Austen by Janine Barchas

Nonfiction

The Europeans by Orlando Figes

The Life and Loves of E. Nesbit by Eleanor Fitzsimons

It’s Gary Shandling’s Book edited by Judd Apatow

Irving Berlin by James Kaplan

Texas Flood by Alan Paul and Andy Aledort (Stevie Rae Vaughn)

A Pilgrimage to Eternity by Timothy Egan

I Used to Be Charming: The Rest of Eve Babitz, Ed. By Sara J Kramer

Vanity Fair’s Women on Women, Ed. By Radhika Jones with David Friend

Parisian Lives by Deirdre Bair (Beckett and Beauvoir)

Disney’s Island by Richard Snow

Art Book

Rihanna (Memoir)

Nonfiction

Infused: Adventures in Tea by Henrietta Lovell

Life in a Cold Climate by Laura Thompson (Nancy Mitford)

Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren

Horror Stories by Liz Phair

Out Loud by Mark Morris

Dance

Love, Icebox: Letters from John Cage to Merce Cunningham by Laura Kuhn

Ballerina Project by Dane Shitogi

The Style of Movement: Fashion and Dance by Ken Brower and Deborah Ory

12/13/2019

Fiction

On Swift Horses by Shannon Pufahl

Find Me by André Aciman

The Shortlist

Walking on the Ceiling: A Novel by Aysegul Savas

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grimes (family saga)

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

Nonfiction

The Man Who Solved the Market by George Zuckerman

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister by Jung Chang

Battling Bella by Leandra Ruth Zarnow (Bella Abzug)

Return to the Reich by Eric Lichtblau

The Shadow of Vesuvius by Daisy Dunn (Bio of Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger)

12/20/2019

Crime

Just Watch Me by Jeff Lindsay

A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

Shatter the Night by Emily Littlejohn

Bryant and May: The Lonely Hour by Christopher Towles

Fiction

The Sacrament by Olaf Olafson

They Will Drown in their Mother’s Tears by Johannes Anyuru

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeeks

Nietzsche and the Burbs by Lars Iyer

The Mutations by Jorge Comensal

Nonfiction

97,196 Words by Emmanuel Carere (essays)

User Friendly by Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant

Busted in New York by Darryl Pinckney (essays)

Essays One by Lydia Davis

They Don’t Represent Us by Lawrence Lessig

The Great Democracy by Ganesh Sitaraman

Of Morsels and Marvels by Maryse Condé

Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey through the Twentieth Century by Sarah Abrevaya Stein

The Cartiers: The Untold Story Behind the Jewelry Empire by Francesca Carter Brickell

12/27/2019

Nonfiction

The Selected Letters of Ralph Ellison, Ed by John F Callahan and Marc C Conner

Genius and Anxiety by Norman Lebrecht

The Confounding Island by Orlando Patterson

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (Memoir)

The Depositions by Thomas Lynch

One Long River of Song by Brian Doyle

Great Society: A New History by Amity Shlaes

1/2/2020

Crime

A Small Town by Thomas Perry

Naked Came the Florida Man by Tim Dorsey

The Playground by Jane Shemilt

Fiction

The Heap by Sean Adams

10 Minutes, 38 Seconds, in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

The Corner that Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Medieval Bodies by Jack Hartnell

The Revisionaries by A R Moxon

The Heart is a Full-Wild Beast by John L’Heureux

The Bishop’s Bedroom by Piero Chiara

Science Fiction

Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender

Homesick by Nino Cipri (Short stories)

Nonfiction

Uncanny Valley By Anna Wiener (Memoir)

Trump and His Generals by Peter Bergen

A Bookshop in Berlin by Francoise Frenkel

The Shortlist

The Sea Journals: Seafarers Sketchbooks by Huw Lewis-Jones

An Underground Guide to Sewers: Or: Down, Through and Out in Paris, London, New York &c by Stephen Halliday

Expeditions Unpacked: What Great Explorers Took Into the Unknown by Ed Stafford

New and Noteworthy

Crossing the Rubicon: Caesar’s Decision and the Fate of Rome by Luca Fezzi

Yellow Earth by John Sayles

The American People, Volume 2: The Brutality of Fact by Larry Kramer

Once More to the Rodeo: A Memoir by Calvin Hennick

Publisher’s Weekly

12/13/2019

I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know by W. Lee Warren, MD – NF

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley – F

Naked Came the Florida Man by Tim Dorsey – F

Cesare by Jerome Charyn – F

One of Us is Next by Karen M McManus – F

A Collective Bargain: Unions, Organizing, and the Fight for Democracy by Jane McAlevey – NF

Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich – F

The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry – F

Kill Reply All: A Modern Guide to Online Etiquette by Victoria Turk – NF

The Black Cathedral by Marcial Gala – F

Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything was Different by Chuck Palahniuk – Memoirs

All The Days Past by Mildred D. Taylor – F

Spitfire: A Livy Nash Mystery by M. L. Huie – F

Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino – NF

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin W. Pearson – F

That’s all of the PW Tip sheets that I found in my files this month. You can look for the online.

Trump and the Fundamentalists

After you finish a book as meaty, as full of detail and attribution, as Shadow Network by Anne Nelson, it requires more than one take on the author’s revelations to do justice to the contents. I have not talked about the juiciest bits of this book, (which makes them sound like they are gossip, but they are real). These are the places in the book where the author talks about the fundamentalists and the moment when Donald Trump entered the campaign, and furthermore, the bits where the fundamentalists see that he will most likely win the nomination.

The Council for National Policy had its roots back in the 70’s. It began as a small group of religious leaders and pastors who were worried that the decision to end school prayer (1962) was responsible for a moral nosedive in America. This Council grew in influence and many Republicans and religious leaders have been members and past presidents, although they are not all household names. The CNP inspired many similar organizations of conservative fundamentalists and these groups began to formulate a “wish list” of laws to pass and laws to overturn and courts to stuff. They added a Leadership training program that was very effective and a long list of related groups. Once they knew what they wanted, they decided to analyze fundamentalist voters. They began to devise ways to reach out to fundamentalists and other Christians who would become “Values voters,” to make sure they registered to vote and went to the polls and voted for the candidates the fundamentalists backed.

In the 2016 elections evangelicals (fundamentalists) backed candidates like Ted Cruz and Ben Carson. They certainly did not favor Donald Trump. Anne Nelson tells us that “a group of female conservatives…had sent an ‘anyone but Trump’ letter to Iowa voters, stating, “as women, we are disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women in particular.” (pg.191)

She goes on to say, “as far as the movement’s key issues were concerned, Trump’s loose-cannon rhetoric had been all over the place; he was on record saying he didn’t care to challenge same-sex marriage, and he was wobbly on abortion. His religious credentials were spotty, to put it mildly.” For a coalition that depended on getting out the fundamentalist vote, these were poor optics indeed, says Nelson.

But George Barna, who had done the get-out-the-vote groundwork, an enormous investment of time and organizational strategy, technique and networking, Nelson says, could sense the “taste of victory was turning to ashes. Barna claimed his efforts were more successful for taking place, quite unintentionally, off the national radar.”

“If fundamentalists/Republicans won the presidency and kept the Senate in 2016, they would hold the power to reshape the American judiciary and real change would unfold. They could roll back abortion rights, gay marriage and gun laws, revoke environmental regulations, abolish entire federal agencies, assail the IRS restrictions on the tax free status of churches, make decisions on gerrymandering, and redistricting to set the scale for many elections to come.”

She goes on to say, “[b]ut Trump broke through, riding on his uncanny charisma, the caché of celebrity, and a powerful backlash against political business as usual…but with the disadvantages of a seat-of-the-pants organization, lack of donors and infrastructure, or any ground game.” (pg.192)

Nelson tells us that, “[i]n May, soon after Ted Cruz acknowledged defeat, Time magazine’s Elizabeth Dias reported that Tony Perkins (CNP), Ben Carson, and Bill Dallas had begun organizing a closed-door meeting for Trump and fundamentalist leaders.” (pg. 193)

She describes Trump’s speech in January, 2016 at Liberty University (founded by Jerry Falwell) sprinkled with the words ‘hell’ and ‘damn’, so “shocking to young fundamentalist ears”. This was the Two Corinthians moment, she reminds us. Nelson sums it up, “Fundamentalists measured a man’s worth by his church attendance, marital fidelity, and knowledge of the Bible, Trump came up short on every count.”

Nelson tells us that conservatives and fundamentalists did not trust Trump’s business sense either and that Charles Koch even considered voting for Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Barna, the fundamentalist vote-technician, refused to see all his hard work go to waste. He called in a fundamentalist named Ralph Reed, who had been cultivating Trump for years as revealed by Elizabeth Dias of Time magazine. Reed scheduled a dress rehearsal for Trump at a June, 2016 Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. at which “Trump praised the right people and listed the correct goals.” (pg. 195)

Then they hosted the big event on June 21, 2016, “A Conversation About America’s Future with Donald Trump and Ben Carson” at which over 1,000 fundamentalist leaders came from all over the country to the ballroom of the NY Marriott Marquis. Ben Carson said, “this is like a chess match and God is the great grand master, sometimes he uses a pawn.” Nelson also recounts ‘Franklin Graham’s back-handed support – Was Trump a sinner? Well, Graham reminded his audience, the God of the Old Testament worked through lots of sinners, Abraham lied, Moses disobeyed God. David committed adultery and had a man killed.”

And then Trump said: “this election is about the Supreme Court. The next president will appoint 2, 3, 4, or possibly 5 life-term Justices…He said all his judges would be vetted by the Federalist Society.”

In the end, Nelson tells us about a man, James Robison in these words, “The movement had come full circle. Robison had brought Reagan to Dallas, and now he delivered the fundamentalist war council to Trump. This was a man who made history yet few Americans outside fundamentalist circles had ever heard of him. (pg. 227)

She finishes this tale about the ultimate acts of rationalization on the part of the fundamentalists and how they came to support this particular American president that, it could be argued, they bequeathed us, by saying,

“As of 2017, Republicans held all the cards, they controlled the White House, both houses of Congress, and thirty-three state legislatures. Furthermore their ranks were filled with fresh blood; the average age of the Democratic House leadership was seventy-two and the Republican was 48.”

“Now with the Republican Senate behind him and the Federalist Society nominations in hand, Trump prepared to fill the vacancies in the courts in record time.”

The Koch brothers wrote a paper called, “Advancing Principled Public Policy” which is essentially a victory lap, “the new administration had overturned the Bureau of Land Management’s Stream Protection Rule, rescinded the fracking ban on federal and Indian lands, and initiated the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate agreement. Justice Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court.”

From the Koch point of view “it was ultimately about money, in the form of the Republican tax bill.” (pg. 228) The “victories” Republicans won as a result of agreeing to back Trump have been worth all their compromises in their eyes, but Nelson’s book tells us of the less transparent role fundamentalists played in Trump’s election, and while he may be an affliction to some us, he has not been perceived that way in religious circles to our everlasting astonishment. It’s lucky for these folks, I guess, that now the world is operating under New Testament rules.

See, I told you the story has a lot of juicy bits. All these righteous men being yanked around by want and greed. I did not want you to think that Anne Nelson neglected to write about Trump or neglected to expose hypocrisy in her book, Shadow Network: Media, Money and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right Wing.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – The New Republic

Shadow Network: Media, Money and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right Wing by Anne Nelson – Book

I was attracted to the book Shadow Network: Media, Money and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right by Anne Nelson because I already knew that Evangelicals (white evangelicals in particular) shared Republican ideology, and liked this ideology better as it got more extreme. What I did not know is that Evangelicals, also called Fundamentalists, were prime movers in turning Republican politics into a well-oiled voter turnout machine.

Anne Nelson is on the faculty at the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. She acknowledges the help of colleagues and students in the end notes. Although I have written on these subjects many times Anne Nelson had access to resources I did not. Her work is important to me because it offers proof that my “cheap seats” interpretations of recent events in our government have merit. It would be more satisfying if the truths did not back up the facts that the church has been meddling in our federal government and that they grew from scratch into a very effective organization, using tools both legal and possibly illegal to get Republicans elected.

Southern Baptists were not leaving the church the way other Americans were. The advent of church-on-TV had given birth to the megachurch phenomenon. Pastors with large numbers of followers became almost religious rock stars. For decades there had been a strong church presence on the radio, especially across the South and Midwest. Stardom can go to your head, at least that seems to be what happened. At first churches met, “convocated,” held conventions, and church leaders talked about the moral decline which they linked to the decline in religious observance in many parts of America. They felt that religion would cure our moral “slippage.” They were angered that it was no longer legal to pray in school. They began to understand that their numbers and their media network gave them power to change the things they did not like about America. Their natural allies were the Republican Party, even more so with the advent of the Tea Party.

Evangelicals began to found a series of social organizations which were ostensibly formed to deal with aspects of America’s slippage, things like the disintegration of the nuclear family, abortion, contraception, the exclusion of religious teachings from school, the increasing concentration of power at the federal level when it could benefit the church’s ability to thrive if power was concentrated instead at the state level (small government).

Evangelicals came to see that if they could get Republican voters to the polls they could get everything they wanted because the Republican agenda matched the Evangelical wish list. They eventually went digital and collected data on a house-by-house basis in places that leaned right.

One problem with this (among many) is that these groups are classified as 501 c3 (nonprofits for religious reasons) and 501 c4 (nonprofits for social welfare reasons). These groups, in order to keep their tax exempt status, are not supposed to be partisan or participate in getting members of any particular party elected. These groups, in an incestuous relationship with the Republican Party and rich Republican donors like the Koch brothers and the DeVos family, were violating their tax exempt status, not to mention colluding to have an outsized effect on our national, state, and local politics. This story is essentially a political thriller, except its real.

Anne Nelson’s very interesting book may not be to everyone’s taste but should be read by anyone who believes that we should participate in our democracy/republic.

NB: This is even more relevant given that an article in Christianity Today backed removing Trump from office.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/december-web-only/trump-should-be-removed-from-office.html

 

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts – Book

Although I found fault with the adolescent atmospherics in the second book in Nora Roberts most recent trilogy which began with Year One and continued with Of Blood and Bone, I decided that I enjoyed the first two books enough to want to read The Rise of Magicks, the last volume in the trilogy. (It could just be that, like Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory, I am unable to leave something unfinished.) I liked this last volume almost as much as I liked the first volume. Although I don’t believe in magic or even ‘magicks’, there was enough universal cultural commentary relevant to the times to keep me hooked. And I will confess that one of my guilty pleasures when it comes to reading was a love of the romance genre, especially the Regency romances of Barbara Cartland and Amanda Quick. I blame this on (or credit this to) my sister who loved these books so much. Although I rarely crave this particular genre these days, I’m guessing that particular endorphin pathway is still neurologically strong. Nora Roberts trilogy has enough romance to reengage those particular neurons and she does it with all the delicacy some of those Regency romances entailed.

When the seal that holds magick away from humans is broken in Scotland and both good and evil magic are loosed on the world they come in the form of a virus. Many die from this virus, millions, and the world is thrown into chaos. Some humans begin to learn that they have morphed into magical beings and some other humans, who have no magic are horrified by these magical humans and see them as abominations. They capture them and put them in containment centers where they devise experiments with various deviant purposes. So we have a culture that is dealing with the ‘others’, aliens, and it is not a proud moment in fictional human history, but which has some parallels in the real world.

Lana and Max, the first generation heroes, are witches who are being hunted by a group called the Purity Warriors, and by magical people who chose the dark side, the Dark Uncanny. They decide to halt their desperate escape at a small town which they, along with other first generation virus survivors, will turn into a community called New Hope. But this final book is the story of Lana and Max’s daughter, Fallon Swift, known far and wide as The One. And she is a refreshingly down-to-earth female heroine even though she is trained by her own Merlin and her path to power resembles the Arthurian legends (but this Arthur is a girl/woman). This final book in the trilogy, The Rise of Magicks is full of war and of love. This time Duncan and Fallon are grown-ups, no longer teens, and if you were frustrated that they each went their own way at the end of Book 2, then you will find it was worth the wait. While these are not the great American novel(s) they are an entertaining and addictive read delivered by a really talented, and very prolific, writer.

December 2019 Book List

December 2019 Book List

I decided not to put together a book list for December, although I may do that later when life slows down. But here are links to lists of the best books of 2019.

New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/books/notable-books.html

Amazon

https://smile.amazon.com/article/twib/best-books-2019.html

Publisher’s Weekly

https://best-books.publishersweekly.com/pw/best-books/2019

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – Book

As it had been many years since I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, I wanted to read it again before I read her new sequel, The Testaments. The Handmaid’s Tale was written in times when women’s reproductive rights were a hot topic, although not at the height of the women’s consciousness movement. The birth control pill was greeted by women with relief and sighs for the freedom it gave women to avoid unwanted pregnancies. It also seemed to offer women the same sexual freedom that men exercised, although that freedom proved to be somewhat more illusory than women thought for a number of reasons, some having to do with the fact that we still live in a male-dominated society, some having to do with sexually transmitted diseases, and some having to do with social disapproval and the need to maintain a “good” reputation. The pill was greeted very differently by the church, especially the Catholic Church and the Pope. In 1973 the Supreme Court allowed for legal abortions in the United States in the now famous/infamous Roe v Wade decision and the reactions of women and the church were pretty much a repeat of the reactions to the birth control pill. I know – all this history – what a way to make a really good story really boring. The actual history is important, however, to any deep understanding of this very original tale. These women’s rights were always controversial although The Handmaid’s Tale was written in 1985, when these new rights for women were less startling.

I like science fiction and The Handmaid’s Tale is, in a way science fiction and it is certainly dystopian. It predicts a time in near-future America when men of religious faith decide that the new freedoms for women are not what God intended. Women are not meant to be equal to men. They are meant to be wives and mothers and submissive to their husbands. These men stage a revolution against the United States of America. They manage to kill the president, scatter Congress and nullify the US Constitution. They win enough territory in the middle of America and most southern states, except Maine, California, Florida and Texas, to form a new nation, the nation of Gilead.

Offred is a handmaid in the new nation of Gilead. She used to be a free American woman who was having an affair with Luke, a married man, who later divorced his first wife and married her (I tried to find her original name but did not find it). They had two children. Venereal disease and a viral weapon against mumps had rendered many men sterile and women often had problems conceiving or delivering healthy offspring. Population was declining. Women who had borne healthy babies were very desirable to the new nation of Gilead. They would suspend women’s ID cards and credit cards and make them unemployable and then they would kidnap them and reeducate them to be Handmaids in Gilead. It is not easy to turn a woman who has experienced freedom into what is basically a sex slave in a distinctive red habit hemmed in by about a million rules and almost as many Eyes (spies). Offred is not a happy camper.

Of course you may have watched the TV series which I have not seen yet, but you really ought to read the book. It’s a classic. Choosing a name that would have fit right into Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was not an accident. Here we are, almost 50 years after the Supreme Court made it legal to have an abortion, woman’s choice, and we still find concerted efforts, trickier but less militant, to overturn women’s rights to make important decisions about their own reproduction. We find many states passing laws that force clinics to comply with regulations that large hospitals can barely afford to comply with and when the clinics cannot meet the new requirements the clinics must close (TRAP laws), We find Evangelical churches that argue that even contraception is against God’s law. Federal courts are being stuffed with Conservative judges using as bait the overturning of Roe v Wade, and now marriage freedom. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood has never been more relevant.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Secret Safe Books

November 2019 Book List

November 2019 Book List

I have a recurring dream. I am escorted to a well-appointed studio apartment with all the new books for the month piled on every available surface. I am given a key, a valet robot who can cook and clean, and an AI virtual presence to handle my business and social interactions. I can read as long as I like but I can’t take any books out of the apartment and if I leave I can’t come back in. Am I obsessed? Actually this is a dream that could turn into a nightmare. However if you could take books out into the world with you and if you could come and go as you please, it might just be perfect.

Amazon

Literature and Fiction

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern  F*

This is Pleasure: A Story by Mary Gaitskill F

On Swift Horses: A Novel by Shannon Pufahl F

Girl, Woman, other: A Novel by Berndine Evaristo F*

The Innocents: A Novel by Michael Crummay F

Find Me: A Novel by André Aciman F

The Revisioners: A Novel by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton F

The Confession Club: A Novel (Mason) by Elizabeth Berg F*

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson  F*

Mary Toft: or The Rabbit Queen: A Novel by Dexter Pullman  F*

Mysteries and Thrillers

The Lost Causes of Beale Creek: A Novel by Rhett McLaughlin, Link Neal

Broken Glass (A Nik Pohl Thriller) by Alexander Hartung and Fiona Beaton

A Christmas Gathering by Anne Perry

Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens

The Family Upstairs: A Novel by Lisa Jewell

Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry: A Novel by Mary Higgins Clark

The Siberian Dilemma 9 (The Arkady Renko Novels) by Martin Cruz Smith

An Equal Justice (David Adams) by Chad Zunker

A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci

36 Righteous Men by Steven Pressfield

Nonfiction

Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign that Broke the Confederacy by Donald L Miller

Valley Forge by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin

Acid for the Children: A Memoir by Flea, Patti Smith *

When the Earth Had Two Moons: Cannibal Planets, Icy Giants, Dirty Comets, Dreadful Orbits, and the Origins of the Night Sky by Erik Asphang

Our Wild Calling: How Connecting with Animals can Transform our Lives and Save Theirs by Richard Louv

The Beautiful Ones by Prince

Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Years of the American Civil War by S. C. Gwynne

Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Iain McGregor *

Canyon Dreams: A Basketball Season on the Navajo Nation by Michael Powell

The Great Pretender – The Undercover Mission that Changed our Understanding of Madness by Susannah Cahalan *

The Witches Are Coming by Lindy West

User Unfriendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design are Changing the Way We Live, Work and Play by Cliff Kuang with Robert Fabricant

Why Are We Yelling: The Art of Productive Disagreement by
Buster Benson

Don’t Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed its Founding Principles – and all of us by Rana Foroohar

Volume Central: Hearing in a Deafening World by David Owen.

Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Deep by Rivers Solomon and Daveed Diggs

The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North

Call Down the Hawk (The Dreamer Trilogy, Bk. 1 by Maggie Stiefvater

Star Wars – Resistance Reborn: The Rise of Skywalker by Rebecca Roanhorse

Made Things by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Fate of the Fallen (Shroud of Prophecy) by Kel Kade

New York Times Book Update

Oct. 4 th

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner F

Sarah Jane by James Sallis – Crime

Bloody Genius by John Sanford – Crime

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards – Crime

The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin – Crime

Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis F

Akin by Emma Donoghue *

Growing Things by Paul Tremblay – Short stories – Horror

The Cabin at the End of the Lane by Paul Tremblay – Horror

Sealed by Naomi Booth – Horror

Nonfiction

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

A State at Any Cost: The Life of David Ben-Gurion by Tom Segev

What was Liberalism? The Past, Present, and Promise of a Noble Idea by James Traub

The Stakes – 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy by Robert Kuttner

The Accusation by Edward Berenson

Scarred by Sarah Edmondson – Nxivm

Super Pumped by Mike Isaac (Uber)

The Anarchy by William Dalrymple

Oct. 11 th

Fiction

The Shadow King by Namwali Serpell

The Sweetest Fruits by Moneque Truong

A Pure Heart by Rajia Hassib

The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman

A Man in Love by Martin Walser (Göethe)

The Shortlist – Love and War in European Fiction

Country by Michael Hughes

Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth

The Girl at the Door by Veronica Raimo

Nonfiction

Transaction Man by Nicholas Lemann

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

The Second Founding by Eric Foner

Beaten Down, Worked Up by Steven Greenhouse

Homesick by Jennifer Croft (Memoir)

Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas

We are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer

Syria Secret Library by Mike Thompson

A Polar Affair by Lloyd Spencer Davis (promiscuous penguins)

New York Times does Halloween but I don’t.

Nov. 1 st

The Old Success by Martha Grimes – Crime

Death in Focus by Anne Perry – Crime

Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay – Crime

The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney – Crime

Grand Union by Zadie Smith – Short Stories

The World Doesn’t Require You by Rion Amilcar Scott

Fiction

Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

Girl by Edna O’Brien

Call Upon the Water by Stella Tillyard

Lampedusa by Steven Price

Nonfiction

Edison by Edmund Morris – Bio.

To Build a Better World by Condoleezza Rice and Philip Zelikow

Sontag by Benjamin Moser – Bio.

Who is an Evangelical? by Thomas S. Kidd

The Immoral Majesty by Ben Howe

The Problem with Everything by Meghan Daum

The Economist’s Hour by  Binyamin Appelbaum

The Marginal Revolutionaries by Janek Wasserman

The Shortlist – 3 Memoirs by Famous Women

Inside Out by Demi Moore

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews with Emma Walton Hamilton

Touched by the Sun: My Friendship with Jackie by Carly Simon

Publisher’s Weekly

Oct. 7 th

Salt Show by Julia Armfield

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grimes

Older Brother by Mahir Guven, trans. from French by Tina Kover Europa

American Radicals: How Nineteenth Century Protest Shaped the Nation by Holly Jackson

How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones

Passing: A Memoir of Love and Death by Michael Korda

Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation by Andrew Marantz

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

Cosmosknights: Book One by Hannah Templer

Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame by Erin Williams

Oct. 14

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi trans. from Arabic by Marilyn Booth (Oman) F

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson NF

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha F – based on true case

Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox Memoir

Music: A Subversive History by Ted Gioia History

One Hundred Autobiographies: A Memoir by David Lehman Memoir

The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, MD by Nicholas Meyer F

The First Cell: And the Human Cost of Pursuing Cancer to the Last by Azra Razer NF

Salvaged by Madeleine Roux Science Fiction Thriller

It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo trans. from Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer (Caracas, Venezuela) F

Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

Oct. 21

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg F *

The Peanut Papers: Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the Gang, and the Meaning of Life – Edited by Andrew Blauner (Essays, Poems, Cartoons) (Valentines to Charles M. Schultz)

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly F

The Deserter by Nelson DeMille and Alex DeMille Thriller *

Initiated: Memory of a Witch by Amanda Yates Memoir

Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren Biography *

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell Thriller

Edison by Edmund Morris Biography

The Promise by Silvina Ocampo trans. from Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine and Jessica Powell F

The Fragility of Bodies by Sergio Olguin, trans. from Spanish by Miranda France, Bitter Lemon Crime

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (Franco, Madrid) F

Famous in Cedarville by Erica Wright F

Oct. 28

Blue Moon: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child F

The Lives of Lucien Freud: The Restless Years, 1922-1968 by William Feaver Biography

Overview: A New Perspective of Earth by Benjamin Grant Photos

Blood: A Memoir by Allison Moorer Memoir

Shadow Network: Media, Money and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right by Anne Nelson NF*

The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada, trans from Japanese by David Boyd F

The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna by Mira Ptacin NF

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson (humor) F

Nov. 4

The Movie Musical! by Jeanine Bassinger NF

The History of Philosophy by A. C. Grayling NF

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (“a contemporary page-turning winner”) F

In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Mava Machado (same sex domestic abuse) Memoir

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern F

The Book of Lost Saints by Daniel Jose Older F

The Arab of the Future 4: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1987-1992 by Riad Sattouf, trans. from Frenchy by Sam Taylor Autobiography *

The Siberian Dilemma by Martin Cruz Smith (Arkady Renko #9) by Thriller

Love Unknown: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop by Thomas Travisano Biography and Literary Study

 

 

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – Book

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett is a study of a family, an American family. It is a story told by the second child, a boy named Danny. It’s a story about a clueless father and husband who buys his wife a house, a famous house, built with much attention to detail by a wealthy family, the VanHoebeeks,. The ceiling in the dining room is a work of art, literally. The house has a ballroom and a conservatory. Since the sale was an estate sale, all the VanHoebeek’s belongings are still in the house, including portraits of husband and wife over the mantle in the drawing room. Despite all the architectural glories the house has a very small kitchen because the staff would use it, not the family. There is also a pool.

Into this ritzy house Cyril Conroy brings his wife. He bought the house for her as a surprise. At the time they had one child, their daughter Maeve. The house was a source of pride for the husband who was a real estate investor and property manager. But his wife, was appalled by the expensive details. She yearned to dedicate her life to helping the poor. Clive found Elna just as she was preparing to enter a convent, not yet a nun. He whisked her away and married her. We often see our partners in life through cloudy mirrors. We make assumptions that if they love us they must be like us. The Dutch House is a story about misplaced love and misunderstood love. Maeve shoulders all the responsibilities of these selfish parents when the family falls apart. Some people should never have children. She yearns for what they lost, the family and the house and the hired women who took care of them, Fluffy, Sandy, and Jocelyn. Maeve is obsessed and cannot move on with her own life.

Although this is a story of a family, and of loss and reunion, even more it is a story of a house. If you have ever given a home and your heart to cats you know that some cats fall in love with people, but some cats fall in love with houses. How do Maeve and her brother lose The Dutch House and then get it back? Although nothing earthshaking happens, there are plenty of repercussions. What stories are more interesting than stories about families? Take your pick, but I will usually enjoy a good family saga by any writer as skilled as Ann Patchett. This book will probably be made into a movie, but doesn’t even have to be made into a movie because it already creates one in your mind.

Photo Credit: Goodreads.com

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Book

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Book

For me, it’s official, Mr. Coates can write. In The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates proves he can write fiction that is just as deep and accessible as his nonfiction. In The Water Dancer he writes about slavery (which he calls the Task) and abolitionists and the Underground, a subject that has had some good authorial attention in recent years. But, although the movement is present in the story, for Coates it is the people affected by slavery, the families torn apart, the histories lost, that matter. It is the inspirational struggles to create new family ties and to hold on to traditions, even if they had to be formed anew in a strange and terrible land.

Virginia is the state where the Lockless plantation tries to maintain an idle lifestyle, maintain a genteel veneer which rests on the shoulders of those who are tasked to do anything that might even vaguely be considered work. Every white person even has a personal maid or valet, a slave, who bathes them, grooms them, and dresses them.

These white plantation owners were supposed to be farmers but they were so greedy and so tied to the payouts from their tobacco crops that they refused to believe that the crops they depended on were depleting the land they were planted in. Some of those who “tasked” on the land understood what was happening but either no one listened or, as the land produced less income, those who understood the land and the crops were sold away south and west – to Natchez and beyond. Slaves really were sold away to Natchez but Coates also uses Natchez as a symbol for family separation, for sorrow, for harsher conditions, for loss.

Plantation owners, slave owners, sold off the most valuable “taskers” first so the family members who remained were left without the strongest among them, perhaps the most characterful, and the older slaves who kept the stories of celebrations and family ties alive. Sorrow that is never given time to abate collects and turns “the task” into a sadder, even more burdensome duty to preserve a failing white lifestyle even as the “taskers” see the community of their own, that they have been able to create in their captivity, disintegrate daily into grief and tearful good-byes.

Hiram Walker is a mixed-race son of Howell Walker, who also has a son by his white wife. Hiram who finds a home on the Street where the “tasked” live, a home with Thena, a women he is not related to, is a child with an excellent memory. He remembers every detail of what he sees and hears. But he cannot remember his mama. He knows her name is Rose. He knows she was a water dancer. He has seen her dancing in a vision on a bridge. A water dancer can dance joyfully and gracefully with an earthenware jar full of water on her head and not spill a drop. He knows his mother was a beauty, and he knows she had a sister, Emma – also a water dancer – because his “adopted” people have told him so. But where his own memories of his mother should be there is a hole.

Hiram also has a special talent. He can conduct himself across distances without being seen. In a land where no slave can walk off the land of his/her “master” without a pass, and where running away can be punished by near death (slaves are valuable property and so are rarely killed outright), someone who can “conduct” himself unseen has a very great gift indeed. But Hiram cannot control his talent and this is somehow related to what he does not remember about his mother. His love for another Lockless slave, Sophia, has grown over the years and it allows him to also accept and love her mixed-race child. Hiram needs to learn how to control his talent so that he can take the two women he loves and the child to freedom in the North.

Whether or not Hiram learns to control “conduction” and how he uses it is at the heart of this story but for me toil and survival, family and heritage; anger and sorrow and the mistaken idea that one person can “own” another – these things are the true heart and soul of this story. Conduction is part of an almost-lost origin story which never died even though the people the story belonged to were kidnapped, abused and held without freedom (in a land that supposedly treasured freedom).

I happen to be reading the Frederick Douglass biography by David Blight at the same time as I am reading Coates’ novel. These two book pair very well and one book seems to riff on the other. If white folks ever hope to understand not just why slavery was wrong but how the repercussions of this aberrant human behavior will echo forever in the souls and families of our fellow Americans of African Descent then The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates should add depth to your quest for understanding. I cannot speak to how black and brown people experience Coates’ novel but I hope to get exposure to some of their reactions.

October 2019 Book List

Here’s my October 2019 Book List compiled from the Amazon front page for books, NYT Books, and Publisher’s Weekly Tip Sheet. Fiction and political nonfiction are probably the winning categories on this list with the most contenders for our attention. If you like crime books NYT always gives good crime. And there are plenty of thrillers. I imagine myself sitting in a chair surrounded by stacks of books. As soon as I am done with one the next one is close at hand. Of course the needs of the human body must still be met but I do so reluctantly and wish for a robot to at least bring me foodstuffs to graze on. Hint: Don’t give in to a fantasy like this. Our bodies deteriorate if we sit all the time. You still need fresh air and walks in the park. This is what books read aloud for our listening pleasure are for.

Amazon

Literature and Fiction

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg *

The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy *

Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson *

The Topeka School: A Novel by Ben Lerner *

Cilka’s Journey: A Novel by Heather Moss *

Sarah Jane by James Sallis *

Olive Again: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout

Metropolitan Stories by Christine Coulson *

Divide Me By Zero by Lara Vapnyer *

Mysteries and Thrillers

The Guardians: A Novel by John Grisham

Empire of Lies by Raymond Khoury

The Deserter: A Novel by Nelson DeMille

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly

The Butterfly Girl: A Novel by Rene Denfeld

Agent Running in the Field: A Novel by John le Carré

Ninth  House by Leigh Burdugo

Blue Moon: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child

Sarah Jane by James Sallis

Nonfiction

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

Dreams of El Dorado: A History of the American West by H. W. Brands

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

The End is Always Near: Apocalyptic Moments, from Bronze Age Collapse to Nuclear Near Misses by Dan Carlin

Civilized to Death: The Price of Progress by Christopher Ryan *

On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey by Paul Theroux

Movies and Other Things by Shea Serrano, Arturo Torres

Letters from an Astrophysicist by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero by Christopher McDougall

Biographies and Memoirs

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones

Face It by Debbie Harry

Horror Stories: A Memoir by Liz Mair

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me by Adrienne Brodeur *

Homework: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton

Me: Elton John: Official Autobiography by Elton John

Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA by Amaryllis Fox

I Will Never See the World Again: The Memoir of an Imprisoned Writer by Ahmet Altan

Edison by Edmund Morris

Beautiful on the Outside: A Memoir by Adam Rippon

Things We Didn’t Talk About When I was a Girl by Jeannie Vanasco

Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper *

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Supernova Era by Cixin Liu, Joel Martinsen

The Girl With No Face: The Daoshi Chronicles by M. H. Boroson

Ormeshadow by Priya Sharma

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Salvaged by Madeline Roux

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Steel Craw Saga by Paul Keueger

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse – Book One of the Thorne Chronicles by K. Eason

New York Times Book

Sept. 6

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie F – see my review on goodreads.com

Overthrow by Caleb Crain F

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa F

If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais F

The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan F

Travel Light, Move Fast by Alexandra Fuller Memoir

The Optimist’s Telescope by Bina Venkataraman NF

Audience of One by Gene Shteyngart NF

Learning from the Germans by Susan Neiman NF

Floating Coast by Bathsheba Demuth NF

Silver, Sword, and Stone by Marie Arana NF

First You Write a Sentence by Joe Moran NF

Karl Marx: Prophet of the Present by Shlomo Avineri Biography

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith Memoir

4 Books about CIA

Black Site: The CIA in Post-9/ll World by Philip Mudd NF

The Targeter: My Life in the CIA, Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White House by Nada Bakos with David Coburn NF

The Moscow Rules: The Secret CIA Tactics that Helped America Win the Cold War by Antonio J. Mendez and Jonna Mendez with Matt Baglio NF

Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary, Armies, Operators, and Assassins by Annie Jacobsen NF

All the Powers of Earth: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 3 by Sidney Blumenthal NF

The Nature of Life and Death: Every Body Leaves a Trace by Patricia Wiltshire Autobiography

Our Dog: Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond by Alexandra Horowitz NF

Defending Israel: The Story of My Relationship with My Most Challenging Client by Alan M Dershowitz NF

Editor’s Choice

Human Relationships and Other Difficulties: Essays by Mary-Kay Wilmers Essays

Faber and Faber: The Untold Story by Tony Faber NF

The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine F

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk F

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe F

The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing and Coming Out by William Dameron NF

And How Are You. Dr. Sacks? A Biographical Memoir of Oliver Sacks by Lawrence Weschler Biographical Memoir

Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects by Ann Sverchup-Thygerson, trans. by Lucy Moffatt NF

Sept. 13

The Institute by Stephen King

Crime (4)

Heaven My Home by Attica Locke F

What Rose Forgot by Nevada Barr F

Missing Person by Sarah Lotz F

Three Hours by Anders Roslund and Gorge Hellstrom, trans. by Elizabeth Clark Wessel F

We the Survivors by Tash Aw F

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman F

The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina NF

Inconspicuous Consumption by Tatiana Schlossberg NF

The Many Lives of Michael Bloomberg by Eleanor Randolph NF

Savage Appetites by Rachel Monroe NF

Love Falls on Us by Robbie Cory-Boulet NF

A Good Provider is One Who Leaves by Jason De Parle NF

Maoism: A Global History by Julia Lovell NF *

New Dystopian Novels

The Diver’s Game by Jesse Ball F *

The Warehouse by Rob Hart F *

The Nobody People by Bob Proehl *

Sept. 20

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood F *

Dominicana by Angie Cruz F *

A Door in the Earth by Alice Waldman F

Hard Mouth by Amanda Goldblatt F

Coventry by Rachel Cusk Essays

She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey NF

The Education of Brett Kavanaugh by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly NF

Gender and Our Brains by Gina Rippon NF

See Jane Win by Caitlin Moscatello NF

Nobody’s Victim by Carrie Goldberg NF

Consent by Donna Freitas NF

YA Crossover

Who Put This Song On? By Morgan Parker

Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

American Royals by Katharine McGee

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Sept. 27

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett F

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson F

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free by Andrew Miller F

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry F

Cold Storage by David Koepp F

Bottle Grove by Daniel Handler F

How to Be An Antiracist by Ibhram X Kendi NF

The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power NF

How the Other Half Learns by Robert Rondiscio NF

The Years that Matter Most by Paul Tough NF

The Geography of Risk by Gilbert Gaul NF

How to Fight Anti-Semitism by Bari Weiss NF

On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal by Naomi Klein NF

The Green New Deal: Why Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028, and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life On Earth by Jeremy Rifkin NF *

Oct. 4

The Topeka School by Ben Lerner F

How to Fight Anti-Semitism by Bari Weiss NF

Crime (4)

Sarah Jane by James Sallis

Bloody Genius by John Sanford

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards

The Bird Boys by Lisa Sandlin

Cantoras by Carolina DeRobertis F

Akin by Emma Donoghue F *

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell NF

A State at Any Cost: The Life David Ben-Gurion by Tom Seger NF

What was Liberalism? The Past, Present and Promise of a Noble Idea by James Traub NF *

The Stakes: 2020 and the Survival of American Democracy by Robert Kuttner NF *

The Accusation by Edward Berenson NF

Scarred by Sarah Edmondson NF

Super Pumped by Mike Isaac NF

The Anarchy by William Dalrymple NF

Publisher’s Weekly

Sept. 6

Clear My Name by Paula Daly – Thriller

Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, trans. from French by Frank Wynne – F

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman “challenging but undoubtably brilliant”, 750 Pages, Short-listed for Man Booker Prize F *

The Institute by Stephen King F *

Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann NF *

Don’t Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane – rom com

Guest House for Young Widows: The Women of ISIS by Asadeh Moaveni NF *

Tinfoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton (horror) F *

A Season on Earth by Gerald Mumane F *

A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker F *

The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir by Samantha Power NF

Ruby and Roland by Faith Sullivan F *

Sept. 13

A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie – Thriller

Gamechanger by C. X. Beckett – Science Fiction

The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness by Anne Boyer – Memoir

Opioid Indiana by Brian Allen Carr F

Gallows Court by Martin Edwards – Mystery

Think Black: A Memoir by Clyde W. Ford – NF *

The Paris Orphan by Natasha Lester (based on a real story) F *

Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke (Aryan Brotherhood storyline) – Mystery

Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals by Barbara Natterson Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prscott (Women in the CIA) – F *

Pittsburgh by Frank Santoro – Memoir

Snowflake, AZ by Marcus Sedgwick – YA 14+

Imagined Life: A Speculative Journey Among the Exoplanets in Search of Intelligent Aliens, Ice Creatures, and Super Gravity Animals by James Trefil and Michael Summers NF

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson “this is a wise, powerful, and compassionate novel” F *

Sept. 20

Mycroft and Sherlock: The Empty Birdcage by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse F

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (currently reading) F *

Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming by Lászió Krasznahorkai, trans. from Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet F *

The Shadow King by Manza Mengiste (“a slice of Ethiopian history”) F

The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz Science Fiction

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett F

The Fool and Other Moral Tales by Ann Serre, trans. from French by Mark Hutchinson – Short stories

Exile from Eden by Andrew Smith – Dystopian F – YA

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith – Memoir

Rusty Brown, Part 1 by Chris Ware – Graphic Novel

Sept. 30

I Will Never See the World Again: The Memoir of an Imprisoned Writer by Ahamet Altan, trans. from Turkish by Yasemin Congar NF

A Tall History of Sugar by Curdella Forbes (Jamaica) F

The Shape of Night by Tees Gerritsen – Thriller

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith – Fantasy

Qualifications: A Graphic Memoir in Twelve Steps by David Heatley (addicted to rehab) Memoir

Dry Country by Jake Hinkson F

Whisper of Shadow and Flame by L. Penelope – Fantasy

Sarah Jane by James Sallis F

Frankissstein by Jeanetter Winterson F *

Oct. 6

Salt Slow by Julia Armfield – Short stories

Ninth House by Leigh Burdugo – Fantasy

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grimes – Memoir in verse

Older Brother by Mahir Guven, trans. from French by Tina Kover F

American Radicals: How Nineteenth Century Protest Shaped the Nation by Holly Jackson NF *

Fake Bingo by Jac Jemc – Short Stories

How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir by Saeed Jones – Memoir

Passing: A Memoir of Love and Death by Michael Korda (wife with brain cancer) NF *

Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation by Andrew Marantz NF *

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia F *

Grand Union by Zadie Smith – Short stories

Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame by Erin Williams – Memoir