As our kids and students mature in reading ability, we often recommend they read the classics. Treasure Island and The Swiss Family Robinson are a couple that teachers and librarians would suggest, yet the language of those classics is archaic and can be difficult for emerging readers, much as they might like the stories. Author Cylin Busby has written a historical novel that can bridge the gap between readiness and understanding.
Prominent NPR talk show host Diane Rehm’s memoir, On My Own, is a plainspoken but passionate account of the death from Parkinson’s disease of her husband of 54 years and of her journey through the first year of widowhood.
In her deeply personal new book, In Other Words, acclaimed novelist Jhumpa Lahiri notes that “writing in another language represents an act of demolition, a new beginning.” It’s a neat summing-up of what takes place in this brief, meditative memoir—Lahiri’s first work of nonfiction—as she shares the story of her passion for Italian and how she set out to master it.
At the beginning of the German invasion of Poland during World War II, a young girl matures and crafts a life out of the madness of war.
Crime novelist Elmore Leonard once said writers should “try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” That’s advice Scott Frank clearly takes to heart in his debut novel, Shaker. Frank captures the underbelly of Los Angeles’ streets to perfection with sharply written prose and biting dialogue. There are no wasted words here, as right from the start things take an unexpected turn and the complications begin to multiply for main character Roy Cooper.
No relationship is more fraught than the one between father and son; the son is always trying to please his father, and the father is feeling guilty about whether he loves his son enough. Now imagine that your dad is a gonzo journalist who has famously hung out with Hell’s Angels and loved his booze, drugs and guns. In Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson, Juan F. Thompson lucidly and longingly tells us just what it was like being the only child of the notorious writer.
A lasting impression after reading Custer’s Trials is that George Armstrong Custer was a man who always seemed to be in the right place at the right time—until he died being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Kady barely has time to register how awful her breakup with Ezra feels—these things still hurt, even in year 2575—when, later that same day, her home planet is attacked. Kady and Ezra fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, but they’re separated onto two different ships in the process. With the enemy on their tails, bad turns to worse for the survivors: A plague on one of the ships is leading to quarantines, and the artificial intelligence known as AIDAN is becoming increasingly difficult to trust.
Golden Age, the third and final volume of Jane Smiley’s splendid The Last Hundred Years trilogy, opens during a 1987 family reunion at the Langdon family farm in Iowa. Gathered are the surviving children and a number of grandchildren of Walter and Rosanna Langdon, the progenitors and subject of the trilogy’s first volume, Some Luck, which began in 1923.
Few debut novels get the kind of attention—and the multi-million dollar advance—that Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire has. But to say that this book deserves the buzz understates what is hardly an understated accomplishment.