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New York Times Bestsellers
Week of October 24, 2021
FICTION
#1  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
State Of Terror
Book Jacket   Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781982173678 What do you do when you've had a long, strong run in the political and public service arenas and decide you want something different? Write a book, of course, and especially a juicy thriller. Here, former presidential candidate/secretary of state/senator Clinton joins forces with top-notch mystery writer Penny to craft a story featuring a woman politician who joins a rival's administration as—you guessed it—secretary of state in a world undermined by the previous administration's bumbling. Terrorist attacks are breaking out everywhere, and the new secretary of state must put together a team to ferret out a conspiracy aimed directly at the U.S. government. With a one-million-copy first printing.
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#2  (Last Week: 2 • Weeks on List: 3)  
The Wish
Book Jacket   Nicholas Sparks
 
#3  (Last Week: 1 • Weeks on List: 2)  
The Lincoln Highway
 Amor Towles
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780735222359 Newly released from a work farm in 1950s Kansas, where he served 18 months for involuntary manslaughter, 18-year-old Emmett Watson hits the road with his little brother, Billy, following the death of their father and the foreclosure of their Nebraska farm. They leave to escape angry townspeople who believe Emmett got off easy, having caused the fatal fall of a taunting local boy by punching him in the nose. The whip-smart Billy, who exhibits OCD–like symptoms, convinces Emmett to drive them to San Francisco to reunite with their mother, who left town eight years ago. He insists she's there, based on postcards she sent before completely disappearing from their lives. But when Emmett's prized red Studebaker is "borrowed" by two rambunctious, New York–bound escapees from the juvie facility he just left, Emmett takes after them via freight train with Billy in tow. Billy befriends a Black veteran named Ulysses who's been riding the rails nonstop since returning home from World War II to find his wife and baby boy gone. A modern picaresque with a host of characters, competing points of view, wandering narratives, and teasing chapter endings, Towles' third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). You can quibble with one or two plot turns, but there's no resisting moments such as Billy's encounter, high up in the Empire State Building in the middle of the night, with professor Abacus Abernathe, whose Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers, and Other Intrepid Travelers he's read 24 times. A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, Towles' novel is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780735222359 Massive but light on its feet, this playfully thought-provoking novel from Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow, 2016) follows a young man newly released from a juvenile work camp through 10 eventful days in 1954. Convicted of accidentally killing a classmate who was taunting him, 18-year-old Emmett Watson has been released a few months early because of his father’s death, and is transported home to Nebraska by the camp’s warden, who unknowingly brings along two work-camp stowaways in the trunk of his car. Just as Emmett is about to head west along the transcontinental Lincoln Highway with his solemn eight-year-old brother, Billy, stowaways Duchess and Woolly take off toward New York with Emmett’s prized baby-blue Studebaker, in which Emmett has hidden all the money he has in the world. Emmett and Billy hop a boxcar in pursuit, in a convoluted chase that involves a vagabond named Ulysses, Emmett’s neighbor Sally, a circus, the author of Billy’s favorite book, and an Adirondack hunting lodge. Towles, paying more than a passing nod to Huckleberry Finn, juggles the pieces of his plot deftly, shifting from voice to voice, skirting sentimentality and quirkiness with a touch of wistful regret, and leading up to an ending that is bound to provoke discussion. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The millions of readers Towles reached with the mega-selling A Gentleman in Moscow will be thrilled to see something new from the author.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780735222359 In June 1954, when 18-year-old Emmett Watson is dropped back home by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he has just served 15 months for involuntary manslaughter, he expects simply to grab his little brother and skedaddle to California. His mother is long gone, his father recently dead, and the farm foreclosed. Then he spots two friends from the farm who surreptitiously hitched a ride on the warden's truck and plan to steer him toward New York instead. Clearly, the author of the New York Times best sellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow aims never to write the same book twice.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Newly released from a work farm in 1950s Kansas, where he served 18 months for involuntary manslaughter, 18-year-old Emmett Watson hits the road with his little brother, Billy, following the death of their father and the foreclosure of their Nebraska farm.They leave to escape angry townspeople who believe Emmett got off easy, having caused the fatal fall of a taunting local boy by punching him in the nose. The whip-smart Billy, who exhibits OCDlike symptoms, convinces Emmett to drive them to San Francisco to reunite with their mother, who left town eight years ago. He insists she's there, based on postcards she sent before completely disappearing from their lives. But when Emmett's prized red Studebaker is "borrowed" by two rambunctious, New Yorkbound escapees from the juvie facility he just left, Emmett takes after them via freight train with Billy in tow. Billy befriends a Black veteran named Ulysses who's been riding the rails nonstop since returning home from World War II to find his wife and baby boy gone. A modern picaresque with a host of characters, competing points of view, wandering narratives, and teasing chapter endings, Towles' third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). You can quibble with one or two plot turns, but there's no resisting moments such as Billy's encounter, high up in the Empire State Building in the middle of the night, with professor Abacus Abernathe, whose Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers, and Other Intrepid Travelers he's read 24 times. A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, Towles' novel is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history.An exhilarating ride through Americana. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780735222359 Towles’s magnificent comic road novel (after A Gentleman in Moscow) follows the rowdy escapades of four boys in the 1950s and doubles as an old-fashioned narrative about farms, families, and accidental friendships. In June 1954, 18-year-old Emmett Watson returns to his childhood farm in Morgen, Neb., from a juvenile detention camp. Emmett has been released early from his sentencing for fighting because his father has died and his homestead has been foreclosed. His precocious eight-year-old brother, Billy, greets him, anxious to light out for San Francisco in hopes of finding their mother, who abandoned them. Plans immediately go awry when two escaped inmates from Emmett’s camp, Duchess and Woolly, appear in the Watsons’ barn. Woolly says his grandfather has stashed $150,000 in the family’s Adirondack Mountains cabin, which he offers to split evenly between the three older boys. But Duchess and Woolly take off with Emmett’s Studebaker, leaving the brothers in pursuit as boxcar boys. On the long and winding railway journey, the brothers encounter characters like the scabrous Pastor John and an endearing WWII vet named Ulysses, and Billy’s constant companion, a book titled Professor Abacus Abernathe’s Compendium of Heroes, Adventures, and Other Intrepid Travelers, provides parallel story lines of epic events and heroic adventures. Woolly has a mind for stories, too, comparing his monotonous time in detention to that of Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo and hoping eventually to experience a “one-of-a-kind kind of day.” Towles is a supreme storyteller, and this one-of-a-kind kind of novel isn’t to be missed. (Oct.)Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the name of the Ulysses character.
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  Book Jacket
#4  (Last Week: 3 • Weeks on List: 3)  
Cloud Cuckoo Land
 Anthony Doerr
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781982168438 Pulitzer winner Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See) returns with a deeply affecting epic of a long-lost book from ancient Greece. In the mid-22nd century, Konstance, 14, copies an English translation of Cloud Cuckoo Land by Antonius Diogenes with her food printer’s Nourish powder while aboard the Argos, an ark-like spaceship destined for a habitable planet. She found the book in the Argos’s library, and was already familiar with Diogenes’s story of a shepherd named Aethon and his search for a book that told of all the world’s unknown lands, because her father told it to her while they tended the Argos’s farm. Her father’s connection to the Diogenes book is gradually revealed, but first Doerr takes the reader farther back in time. In chapters set in and around Constantinople leading up to the 1453 siege, two 13-year-old children, Anna and Omeir, converge while fleeing the city, and Omeir helps Anna protect a codex of Cloud Cuckoo Land she discovered in a monastery. Then, in 2020 Lakeport, Idaho, translator Zeno Ninis collaborates with a group of young children on a stage production of Cloud Cuckoo Land at the library, where a teenage ecoterrorist has planted a bomb meant to target the neighboring real estate office. Doerr seamlessly shuffles each of these narratives in vignettes that keep the action in full flow and the reader turning the pages. The descriptions of Constantinople, Idaho, and the Argos are each distinct and fully realized, and the protagonists of each are united by a determination to survive and a hunger for stories, which in Doerr’s universe provide the greatest nourishment. This is a marvel. (Sept.)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781982168438 Doerr's first book since his Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, and even grander in conception and delivery, takes its name from an imagined realm referenced in Aristophanes's play The Birds. In present-day Idaho, Korean War veteran Zeno directs five energetic fifth graders in the production of a play called Cloud Cuckoo Land, which he reconstructed from an ancient Greek novel that he'd translated, even as activist teenager Seymour plans an attack centered on the public library where they rehearse. The play is connected to a young orphan named Anna dwelling in Constantinople as it falls to the Ottomans; a Balkans village boy named Omeir who supports the sultan's attack with his team of oxen; and Konstance, who decades in the future travels on an interstellar spacecraft headed for exoplanet Beta Oph2. Decidedly outsiders and mostly young people (even Zeno's plot is partly backstory of his difficult early years), these characters are deftly maneuvered by the capable Doerr. What results is a glorious golden mesh of stories that limns the transformative power of literature and our need both to dream big and to arrive back home in a world that will eventually flow on without us. VERDICT Highly recommended.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781982168438 Doerr, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for All the Light We Cannot See (2014), returns with this masterful novel that spans centuries as it brilliantly examines the lives of five young people. Though seemingly disparate, their lives prove to have in common the mysterious presence of a comic novel from classical antiquity telling of a simpleminded shepherd, Aethon, who embarks on a quest to find Cloud Cuckoo Land, a fabled city in the clouds. As for the five children, who all come of age over the course of the novel, they are Anna and Omeir, who live in the fifteenth century during the siege of Constantinople; Zeno and Seymour, both outsiders, who live in Lakeport, Idaho, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and Konstance, who lives aboard an interstellar spaceship sometime in the distant future. Doerr demonstrates a singular gift for bringing these complex, fully realized characters to empathetic life in this brilliantly imagined story, which moves backward and forward in time. Interspersed among the five children’s evolving stories is the saga of Aethon’s quest. One of the joys of reading Cloud Cuckoo Land is discovering the threads that link the five characters’ lives, which ultimately cohere in ways that are simply unforgettable, as is this amazing gift of a novel.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Doerr's many ardent fans cannot wait to immerse themselves in his newest imaginative tale.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781982168438 Doerr, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction for All the Light We Cannot See (2014), returns with this masterful novel that spans centuries as it brilliantly examines the lives of five young people. Though seemingly disparate, their lives prove to have in common the mysterious presence of a comic novel from classical antiquity telling of a simpleminded shepherd, Aethon, who embarks on a quest to find Cloud Cuckoo Land, a fabled city in the clouds. As for the five children, who all come of age over the course of the novel, they are Anna and Omeir, who live in the fifteenth century during the siege of Constantinople; Zeno and Seymour, both outsiders, who live in Lakeport, Idaho, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and Konstance, who lives aboard an interstellar spaceship sometime in the distant future. Doerr demonstrates a singular gift for bringing these complex, fully realized characters to empathetic life in this brilliantly imagined story, which moves backward and forward in time. Interspersed among the five children’s evolving stories is the saga of Aethon’s quest. One of the joys of reading Cloud Cuckoo Land is discovering the threads that link the five characters’ lives, which ultimately cohere in ways that are simply unforgettable, as is this amazing gift of a novel.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Doerr's many ardent fans cannot wait to immerse themselves in his newest imaginative tale.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. An ancient Greek manuscript connects humanity's past, present, and future.Stranger, whoever you are, open this to learn what will amaze you wrote Antonius Diogenes at the end of the first century C.E.and millennia later, Pulitzer Prize winner Doerr is his fitting heir. Around Diogenes' manuscript, "Cloud Cuckoo Land"the author did exist, but the text is inventedDoerr builds a community of readers and nature lovers that transcends the boundaries of time and space. The protagonist of the original story is Aethon, a shepherd whose dream of escaping to a paradise in the sky leads to a wild series of adventures in the bodies of beast, fish, and fowl. Aethon's story is first found by Anna in 15th-century Constantinople; though a failure as an apprentice seamstress, she's learned ancient Greek from an elderly scholar. Omeir, a country boy of the same period, is rejected by the world for his cleft lipbut forms the deepest of connections with his beautiful oxen, Moonlight and Tree. In the 1950s, Zeno Ninis, a troubled exGI in Lakeport, Idaho, finds peace in working on a translation of Diogenes' recently recovered manuscript. In 2020, 86-year-old Zeno helps a group of youngsters put the story on as a play at the Lakeport Public Libraryunaware that an eco-terrorist is planting a bomb in the building during dress rehearsal. (This happens in the first pages of the book and continues ticking away throughout.) On a spaceship called the Argos bound for Beta Oph2 in Mission Year 65, a teenage girl named Konstance is sequestered in a sealed room with a computer named Sybil. How could she possibly encounter Zeno's translation? This is just one of the many narrative miracles worked by the author as he brings a first-century story to its conclusion in 2146.As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781982168438 An ancient Greek manuscript connects humanity's past, present, and future. “Stranger, whoever you are, open this to learn what will amaze you” wrote Antonius Diogenes at the end of the first century C.E.—and millennia later, Pulitzer Prize winner Doerr is his fitting heir. Around Diogenes' manuscript, "Cloud Cuckoo Land"—the author did exist, but the text is invented—Doerr builds a community of readers and nature lovers that transcends the boundaries of time and space. The protagonist of the original story is Aethon, a shepherd whose dream of escaping to a paradise in the sky leads to a wild series of adventures in the bodies of beast, fish, and fowl. Aethon's story is first found by Anna in 15th-century Constantinople; though a failure as an apprentice seamstress, she's learned ancient Greek from an elderly scholar. Omeir, a country boy of the same period, is rejected by the world for his cleft lip—but forms the deepest of connections with his beautiful oxen, Moonlight and Tree. In the 1950s, Zeno Ninis, a troubled ex–GI in Lakeport, Idaho, finds peace in working on a translation of Diogenes' recently recovered manuscript. In 2020, 86-year-old Zeno helps a group of youngsters put the story on as a play at the Lakeport Public Library—unaware that an eco-terrorist is planting a bomb in the building during dress rehearsal. (This happens in the first pages of the book and continues ticking away throughout.) On a spaceship called the Argos bound for Beta Oph2 in Mission Year 65, a teenage girl named Konstance is sequestered in a sealed room with a computer named Sybil. How could she possibly encounter Zeno's translation? This is just one of the many narrative miracles worked by the author as he brings a first-century story to its conclusion in 2146. As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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  Book Jacket
 
#5  (Last Week: 5 • Weeks on List: 5)  
Apples Never Fall
Book Jacket   Liane Moriarty
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781250220257 Australian novelist Moriarty combines domestic realism and noirish mystery in this story about the events surrounding a 69-year-old Sydney woman’s disappearance. Joy and Stan Delaney met as champion tennis players more than 50 years ago and ran a well-regarded tennis academy until their recent retirement. Their long, complicated marriage has been filled with perhaps as much passion for the game of tennis as for each other or their children. When Joy disappears on Feb. 14, 2020 (note the date), the last text she sends to her now-grown kids—bohemian Amy, passive Logan, flashy Troy, and migraine-suffering Brooke—is too garbled by autocorrect to decipher and stubborn Stan refuses to accept that there might be a problem. But days pass and Joy remains missing and uncharacteristically silent. As worrisome details come to light, the police become involved. The structure follows the pattern of Big Little Lies (2014) by setting up a mystery and then jumping months into the past to unravel it. Here, Moriarty returns to the day a stranger named Savannah turned up bleeding on the Delaneys’ doorstep and Joy welcomed her to stay for an extended visit. Who is Savannah? Whether she’s innocent, scamming, or something else remains unclear on many levels. Moriarty is a master of ambiguity and also of the small, telling detail like a tossed tennis racket or the repeated appearance of apple crumble. Starting with the abandoned bike that's found by a passing motorist on the first page, the evidence that accumulates around what happened to Joy constantly challenges the reader both to notice which minor details (and characters) matter and to distinguish between red herrings and buried clues. The ultimate reveal is satisfying, if troubling. But Moriarty’s main focus, which she approaches from countless familiar and unexpected angles, is the mystery of family and what it means to be a parent, child, or sibling in the Delaney family—or in any family, for that matter. Funny, sad, astute, occasionally creepy, and slyly irresistible. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250220257 The Delaneys are a nice family. Stan and Joy sold their tennis school and retired, and they have good relationships with their adult children, Amy, Troy, Logan, and Brooke. But one Valentine's Day, Joy goes missing. The narrative flashes between the investigation into her disappearance and the previous September, when Savannah, a young victim of domestic abuse, shows up on the Delaneys' doorstep. Though Savannah cooks and cleans, the Delaney children are suspicious of how comfortable she is in their parents' home. Meanwhile, as evidence mounts against Stan, cracks in their lives start to show. Logan was dumped, and Brooke is separated and divorced. Troy is facing a dilemma with his ex-wife. Throughout the novel, there is tennis. Stan was a patient coach but less so with his own gifted children. Joy felt unappreciated as both a tennis player and as the glue that held the family together. Moriarty is at her best in the suburbs, and here the alternating points of view give a full picture and a gentle skewering of the pain points of suburban living. As the two time lines converge, and a happy ending is reached, no clue is left abandoned, not even in the chilling final chapter.HIGH DEMAND BACKSTORY: Moriarty is a perennial bestseller, and her previous books have received prestigious TV adaptations, so expect lots of well-deserved interest.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250220257 The Delaneys are a nice family. Stan and Joy sold their tennis school and retired, and they have good relationships with their adult children, Amy, Troy, Logan, and Brooke. But one Valentine's Day, Joy goes missing. The narrative flashes between the investigation into her disappearance and the previous September, when Savannah, a young victim of domestic abuse, shows up on the Delaneys' doorstep. Though Savannah cooks and cleans, the Delaney children are suspicious of how comfortable she is in their parents' home. Meanwhile, as evidence mounts against Stan, cracks in their lives start to show. Logan was dumped, and Brooke is separated and divorced. Troy is facing a dilemma with his ex-wife. Throughout the novel, there is tennis. Stan was a patient coach but less so with his own gifted children. Joy felt unappreciated as both a tennis player and as the glue that held the family together. Moriarty is at her best in the suburbs, and here the alternating points of view give a full picture and a gentle skewering of the pain points of suburban living. As the two time lines converge, and a happy ending is reached, no clue is left abandoned, not even in the chilling final chapter.HIGH DEMAND BACKSTORY: Moriarty is a perennial bestseller, and her previous books have received prestigious TV adaptations, so expect lots of well-deserved interest.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250220257 Set in Sydney, Australia, this engrossing psychological thriller from bestseller Moriarty (Nine Perfect Strangers) centers on Joy and Stan Delaney, who have been married for 50 years and are discontented in their retirement. Joy often fantasizes about their four grown children giving them grandchildren to help them out of their rut. One night, a young woman appears at the Delaneys’ door. Introducing herself as Savannah, she claims she’s a victim of domestic abuse and has the injuries to show for it. The couple welcome Savannah into their home, where she soon becomes a permanent guest. Eventually, the Delaney children notice oddities in Savannah’s behavior and suggest it may be time for her to leave. Tension builds between Joy and Stan, and suddenly she vanishes. The police and two of the Delaney children believe Stan is responsible for her disappearance as he won’t talk about it. Moriarty expertly delves into the innermost thoughts of each of the children, exposing secrets unbeknownst to each other; artfully balances the present-day plot with revealing backstory; and offers several different possibilities for what happened to Joy. Only the overlong conclusion disappoints. Moriarty’s superb storytelling continues to shine. (Sept.)
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#6  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
Silverview
Book Jacket   John Le Carré
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780593490594 Le Carré, who died last December, offers his many fans one final gift: a short novel begun soon after A Delicate Truth (2013) and completed years ago but unpublished till now. Julian Lawndsley, a City trader retired to East Anglia to open a bookshop, is entranced when Edward Avon, a Polish-born customer who was a schoolmate of Julian’s father, quietly but persuasively suggests that the two of them work together to open an annex called “the Republic of Literature” that will stock hundreds of classic titles. He’d be even more surprised if he knew that Edward is being investigated by Stewart Proctor, the Head of Domestic Security, who’s revisiting the heroic work Edward did during the Bosnian War, when, under the code name Florian, this convert from a communist upbringing zealously toiled for Her Majesty’s government until a mysterious debacle abruptly sent him into his own retirement. Proctor’s been tipped off by an unlikely source: Edward’s wife, Deborah, formerly a top Mideast intelligence analyst, has sent him a long letter from her deathbed. Le Carré plays out revelations about Edward slowly and teasingly, and, in the end, they’re as damning as you could wish. The real drama, however, is in the present, where all the characters are hopelessly intertwined and compromised by their loves and loyalties, none of them innocent. The result, as the author’s son, Nick Cornwell, says in a brief afterword, “shows a service fragmented”—and not just the Secret Intelligence Service, but the whole domestic society that depends on it. The author’s last few novels have been increasingly valedictory, but this one is truly haunted by intimations of mortality. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780593490594 First-rate prose and a fascinating plot distinguish the final novel from MWA Grand Master le Carré (1931–2020). Two months after leaving a banking job in London, 33-year-old Julian Lawndsley gets a visit from an eccentric customer, Edward Avon, just before closing time at the bookshop Julian now runs in East Anglia. When Julian asks the man what he does, he replies, “Let us say I am a British mongrel, retired, a former academic of no merit and one of life’s odd-job men.” The next morning, Julian runs into Edward at the local café, where Edward claims he knew Julian’s late father at Oxford. Julian later learns that Edward, a Polish emigré, was recruited into the Service years before. Julian senses something is off, as does the head of Domestic Security for the Service, who’s investigating Edward’s wife, an Arabist and outstanding Service intelligence analyst. While laying out the Avons’ intriguing backstories and their current activities, le Carré highlights the evils spies and governments have perpetrated on the world. Many readers will think the book is unfinished—it ends abruptly—but few will find it unsatisfying. This is a fitting coda to a remarkable career. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Oct.)
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#7  (Last Week: 8 • Weeks on List: 24)  
The Last Thing He Told Me
 Laura Dave
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781501171345 When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him. Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. She’s also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that she’s not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying “Protect her” and can’t reach Owen by phone. Then there’s the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shop’s CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isn’t a suspect. Hannah doesn’t know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannah’s narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Bailey’s relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic. Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. When a devoted husband and father disappears, his wife and daughter set out to find him.Hannah Hall is deeply in love with her husband of one year, Owen Michaels. Shes also determined to win over his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, who has made it very clear that shes not thrilled with her new stepmother. Despite the drama, the family is mostly a happy one. They live in a lovely houseboat in Sausalito; Hannah is a woodturner whose handmade furniture brings in high-dollar clientele; and Owen works for The Shop, a successful tech firm. Their lives are shattered, however, when Hannah receives a note saying Protect her and cant reach Owen by phone. Then theres the bag full of cash Bailey finds in her school locker and the shocking news that The Shops CEO has been taken into custody. Hannah learns that the FBI has been investigating the firm for about a year regarding some hot new software they took to market before it was fully functional, falsifying their financial statements. Hannah refuses to believe her husband is involved in the fraud, and a U.S. marshal assigned to the case claims Owen isnt a suspect. Hannah doesnt know whom to trust, though, and she and Bailey resolve to root out the clues that might lead to Owen. They must also learn to trust one another. Hannahs narrative alternates past and present, detailing her early days with Owen alongside her current hunt for him, and author Dave throws in a touch of danger and a few surprises. But what really drives the story is the evolving nature of Hannah and Baileys relationship, which is by turns poignant and frustrating but always realistic.Light on suspense but still a solid page-turner. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781501171345 Owen Michaels has disappeared, and all he left his wife Hannah is a note that says “protect her.” That, and a duffel bag containing over half a million dollars in cash. Could his disappearance have to do with his company’s recent financial-fraud scandal? Hannah seems to think so, especially when a US Marshal shows up on her doorstep. But why is a Texas-based US Marshal investigating a purported crime committed in Sausalito, California? This question convinces Hannah to go to Austin, along with her 16 year-old stepdaughter Bailey, to see if that city holds the answer to Owen’s disappearance, and maybe even Owen himself. What Hannah discovers is nothing she could have ever imagined, and she is soon forced to choose between finding her husband and keeping Bailey safe. Bestselling author Dave’s latest (after Hello, Sunshine, 2017) is a well-written story, and though readers may have trouble connecting with the characters, the plot is strong enough that the mystery will keep them hooked.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781501171345 Hannah's husband of two years, Owen, disappears amidst a work scandal; the only things he leaves her are a duffel bag full of money and a cryptic note that says "protect her," referring to his teenage daughter Bailey. When investigators reveal that Owen is not who he says he is, the mystery deepens, and Dave (Hello, Sunshine) heightens the stakes with the dynamic between Hannah and stepdaughter Bailey. Will Bailey come to trust her? Will Hannah be able to protect her as Owen asked? Dave focuses the action by filtering it through only Hannah's perspective, which keeps the plot tight where it could have been complicated, as Hannah chases leads to figure out who her husband used to be and meets people from his past. The first-person, present-tense point of view makes the pace quick; readers will be hooked from the start. Skillfully woven into the present mystery are flashbacks of scenes between Hannah and Owen, showing their tender relationship and Owen's behavior that hints at his past. VERDICT For readers who like a resilient, resourceful heroine and a compelling domestic suspense story.—Sonia Reppe, Stickney-Forest View P.L., IL
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781501171345 In Dave’s suspenseful latest (after Hello Sunshine), a Bay Area woman copes with her husband’s sudden disappearance. Owen Michaels, a coder for a prominent tech company, vanishes just before his boss is arrested for corruption, leaving his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey, over half a million dollars in cash. Bailey and her stepmother, Hannah Hall, aren’t close, but they work together to uncover what made Owen flee, convinced he is innocent. Still, Hannah remains uncertain, and after she remembers how a man claimed to have recognized Owen from high school in Austin, Tex., despite Owen having said he’s from the East Coast, Hannah and Bailey travel there in hopes of triggering Bailey’s early childhood memories. Bailey does remember Texas, though her memories don’t track with what Owen had told both of them. Meanwhile, a U.S. Marshal who’s familiar with Owen’s past encourages Hannah to cooperate as Hannah and Bailey find themselves in danger. The first two-thirds are riveting, with mysteries unspooled at a steady pace and believable stepfamily angst, but unfortunately the final act slips into some loopy turns. The author’s fans, though, won’t have a hard time forgiving the flaws. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, WME. (May)
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#8  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
The Book Of Magic
 Alice Hoffman
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780778311225 In Sisters of the Great War, Missouri Review Editors' Prize winner Feldman crafts the story of ambitious young American Ruth Duncan—she wants to be a doctor—and her shy sister, Elise, who volunteer their services in war-torn 1914 Europe and discover love, nurse Ruth with an Englishman in the medical corps and Elise with another woman in the ambulance corps (50,000-copy first printing). In The Book of Magic, which concludes Hoffman's "Practical Magic" series, three generations of Owens women and a long-lost brother attempt to break the curse that has bound their family since Maria Owens practiced the Unnamed Art centuries ago (200,000-copy first printing). Launched with lots of in-house love, multi-AP-award-winning Miller's The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven features a young man who seeks adventure by moving to an Arctic archipelago in 1916, then withdraws further to an isolated fjord, where he's sustained by a loyal dog and letters from home until the arrival of an unexpected visitor (50,000-copy first printing). In a follow-up to Morris's multi-million-best-selling The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka's Journey, Three Sisters—Livia, Magda, and Cibi—survive Auschwitz and escape the Germans during the 1945 death march from the camp (500,000-copy first printing). In Saab's debut, Polish resistance fighter Maria is imprisoned in Auschwitz and forced by brutal camp deputy Fritzsch to play chess for his entertainment—and her life; the war's approaching resolution brings Maria closer to The Last Checkmate and a chance to avenge the deaths of her family (150,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). Following up The Wicked Redhead with The Wicked Widow, Williams zigzags between 1925 New York, where brassy, flashy flapper Geneva "Gin" Kelly happily settles into a high-society marriage to (of all things) a Prohibition agent, and 1998, with troubled Ella Dommerich relying on Gin's ghostly help when her aunt pushes her to discover anything nasty she can about an old family enemy running for president (75,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing).
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In the conclusion to Hoffmans Practical Magic series, a present-day family of witches and healers wages a final battle against the curse that has plagued them since 1680.Thanks to an ancestors bitter curse, anyone who's been in love with and/or been loved by an Owens family member for the last 300 years has met death and tragedy (with rare exceptions involving risks and personal sacrifice). Hoffmans prequel, Magic Lessons(2020), detailed the origin of the curse. In this series finale, Hoffman brings the three most recent generations together: sisters Sally and Gillian, whose youthful adventures introduced the series in Practical Magic (1995); their beloved elderly aunts, Jet and Franny, and long-lost uncle Vincent, children themselves in 1960s Manhattan in Rules of Magic(2017); and Sallys daughters, Kylie and Antonia, whom shes shielded from knowledge of their unusual heritage and its curse. The novel opens with Jet about to die, aware she has no time to use the knowledge shes recently gained to end the curse herself. Instead, she leaves clues that send her survivors on a circuitous path involving a mysterious book filled with magic that could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Then an accident makes the need to break the curse acute. What follows is a novel overripe with plot twists, lofty romances, and some ugly violence along with detailed magic recipes, enjoyably sly literary references, and somewhat repetitive memories of key moments from the previous volumes. While centered in the Massachusetts town where the Owens family moved in the 17th century, the novel travels to current-day England (briefly detouring to France) and becomes a battle of good versus evil. The Owens womens greatest challenge is knowing whom to trustor love. Hoffman strongly hints that the danger arising when someone chooses incorrectly is less a matter of magic than psychology and morality. Ultimately, for better or worse, each Owens woman must face her fear of love. For all the talk of magic, the message here is that personal courage and the capacity to love are the deepest sources of an individuals power.An overly rich treacle tart, sweet and flavorful but hard to get through. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9781982151485 In the conclusion to Hoffman’s Practical Magic series, a present-day family of witches and healers wages a final battle against the curse that has plagued them since 1680. Thanks to an ancestor’s bitter curse, anyone who's been in love with and/or been loved by an Owens family member for the last 300 years has met death and tragedy (with rare exceptions involving risks and personal sacrifice). Hoffman’s prequel, Magic Lessons (2020), detailed the origin of the curse. In this series finale, Hoffman brings the three most recent generations together: sisters Sally and Gillian, whose youthful adventures introduced the series in Practical Magic (1995); their beloved elderly aunts, Jet and Franny, and long-lost uncle Vincent, children themselves in 1960s Manhattan in Rules of Magic (2017); and Sally’s daughters, Kylie and Antonia, whom she’s shielded from knowledge of their unusual heritage and its curse. The novel opens with Jet about to die, aware she has no time to use the knowledge she’s recently gained to end the curse herself. Instead, she leaves clues that send her survivors on a circuitous path involving a mysterious book filled with magic that could be dangerous in the wrong hands. Then an accident makes the need to break the curse acute. What follows is a novel overripe with plot twists, lofty romances, and some ugly violence along with detailed magic recipes, enjoyably sly literary references, and somewhat repetitive memories of key moments from the previous volumes. While centered in the Massachusetts town where the Owens family moved in the 17th century, the novel travels to current-day England (briefly detouring to France) and becomes a battle of good versus evil. The Owens women’s greatest challenge is knowing whom to trust—or love. Hoffman strongly hints that the danger arising when someone chooses incorrectly is less a matter of magic than psychology and morality. Ultimately, for better or worse, each Owens woman must face her fear of love. For all the talk of magic, the message here is that personal courage and the capacity to love are the deepest sources of an individual’s power. An overly rich treacle tart, sweet and flavorful but hard to get through. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781982151485 With witches in their bloodline for generations, the Owens family is cursed in love. They must live by harsh rules: never declare your love and never marry. That's the only way an Owens can, perhaps, escape the curse. Kylie and Antonia, children of twice-widowed Sally, are kept ignorant of their ancestry in a vain attempt to provide a normal life. But everything unravels when Kylie’s soulmate teeters on the verge of death. Armed with The Book of the Raven and newly realized powers, Kylie resorts to the dark arts, not realizing that a terrible price will be exacted. Hoffman's previous novel, Magic Lessons (2020), was a prequel about how Maria Owens, in love with the wrong man, seeded the family curse during the 1600s. Here Hoffman brings the Owens family full circle in a tale of finely wrought female relationships, magic, and love. The generations reflect a societal refrain: the younger ones are headstrong and heedless; the elders are stoic and self-sacrificing, their characters and characterization stronger. The result is a magical realist tale rich in fresh Owens clan lore, providing a hopeful and satisfying conclusion to Hoffman's beloved Practical Magic series.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Readers will be eager for Hoffman's concluding title in the long-cherished Practical Magic series.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781982151485 With witches in their bloodline for generations, the Owens family is cursed in love. They must live by harsh rules: never declare your love and never marry. That's the only way an Owens can, perhaps, escape the curse. Kylie and Antonia, children of twice-widowed Sally, are kept ignorant of their ancestry in a vain attempt to provide a normal life. But everything unravels when Kylie’s soulmate teeters on the verge of death. Armed with The Book of the Raven and newly realized powers, Kylie resorts to the dark arts, not realizing that a terrible price will be exacted. Hoffman's previous novel, Magic Lessons (2020), was a prequel about how Maria Owens, in love with the wrong man, seeded the family curse during the 1600s. Here Hoffman brings the Owens family full circle in a tale of finely wrought female relationships, magic, and love. The generations reflect a societal refrain: the younger ones are headstrong and heedless; the elders are stoic and self-sacrificing, their characters and characterization stronger. The result is a magical realist tale rich in fresh Owens clan lore, providing a hopeful and satisfying conclusion to Hoffman's beloved Practical Magic series.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Readers will be eager for Hoffman's concluding title in the long-cherished Practical Magic series.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781982151485 Hoffman concludes her Practical Magic series about the Owens family women, cursed by 17th-century ancestor Maria, with an illuminating story of their inherited witchcraft. In present-day Massachusetts, octogenarian Jet Owens sees the death watch beetle, a sign that she has seven days to live. She pulls The Book of the Raven from her library—a “dark spell-book” that had corrupted Maria’s daughter, Faith. The book contains the secret for how to end the family curse, which has caused the men they fall in love with to die, and its discovery sets off a series of cataclysmic events. Hoffman focuses primarily on Jet’s niece, Sally, who quashed her magical powers, and Sally’s daughters Kylie and Antonia, from whom Sally hid the family’s unusual heritage. After Kylie’s fiancée, Gideon, has a life-threatening car accident, she learns about the curse and travels to London where the book was made, in search of answers that could save Gideon. Meanwhile, Antonia, a lesbian, is pregnant and plans to raise the baby with a gay couple, one of whom is the father. Hoffman runs through the Owens family history over the centuries, and though the accounts of bloodlines and varied relationships can be confusing, the story brims with bewitching encounters and suspenseful conflicts revolving around good magic versus bad magic. Hoffman brings satisfying closure to the Owens saga. (Oct.)
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#9  (Last Week: 6 • Weeks on List: 5)  
Harlem Shuffle
Book Jacket   Colson Whitehead
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780385545136 Two-time Pulitzer winner Whitehead (The Nickel Boys) returns with a sizzling heist novel set in civil rights–era Harlem. It’s 1959 and Ray Carney has built an “unlikely kingdom” selling used furniture. A husband, a father, and the son of a man who once worked as muscle for a local crime boss, Carney is “only slightly bent when it to being crooked.” But when his cousin Freddie—whose stolen goods Carney occasionally fences through his furniture store—decides to rob the historic Hotel Theresa, a lethal cast of underworld figures enter Carney’s life, among them the mobster Chink Montague, “known for his facility with a straight razor”; WWII veteran Pepper; and the murderous, purple-suited Miami Joe, Whitehead’s answer to No Country for Old Men’s Anton Chigurh. These and other characters force Carney to decide just how bent he wants to be. It’s a superlative story, but the most impressive achievement is Whitehead’s loving depiction of a Harlem 60 years gone—“that rustling, keening thing of people and concrete”—which lands as detailed and vivid as Joyce’s Dublin. Don’t be surprised if this one wins Whitehead another major award. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi, Inc. (Sept.)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780385545136 Whitehead adds another genre to an ever-diversifying portfolio with his first crime novel, and it's a corker. Ray Carney owns a furniture store in Harlem. When the novel begins in 1959, he's selling mostly used furniture, struggling to escape the legacy of his criminal father. "Living taught you," Ray believes, "that you didn't have to live the way you'd been taught." Almost. Ray's ne'er-do-well cousin, Freddie, who's been luring Ray into hot water since childhood ("I didn't mean to get you in trouble," is Freddie's constant refrain) regularly brings Ray the odd piece of jewelry, provenance unknown, which Ray peddles to a dealer downtown, building a stake to invest in his business. "There was a natural flow of goods in and out and through people's lives . . . a churn of property, and Ray facilitated that churn." It works until Freddie suggests Ray as a fence for a jewel heist at the Hotel Theresa ("the Waldorf of Harlem"), and suddenly the churn produces a potentially disastrous backwash. Following Ray as his business grows and he delicately balances the crooked and straight sides of his life, Whitehead delivers a portrait of Harlem in the early ’60s, culminating with the Harlem Riot of 1964, that is brushed with lovingly etched detail and features a wonderful panoply of characters who spring to full-bodied life, blending joy, humor, and tragedy. A triumph on every level.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Twice a Pulitzer winner, Whitehead seems destined for more honors with his first crime novel.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780385545136 Two-time Pulitzer winner Whitehead (The Underground Railroad; The Nickel Boys) has fun and shows off his literary dexterity with this rollicking crime novel set in 1960s Harlem. Ray Carney, a self-made Black man, sells new and used furniture at affordable prices (with generous payment plans) in a store that bears his name on historic 125th Street. He's caught between his haughty in-laws who are unhappy that their daughter lives in a dingy apartment near the train, and his wayward cousin Freddie, the devil on Ray's shoulder since they were kids. The "slightly bent" storekeeper sometimes fences stolen jewelry too. Ray gets talked into a lucrative heist with seedy coconspirators, which leads to more dangerous capers, until he is forced to balance his loyalty to his business and his family with his loyalty to Freddie. As a writer, Whitehead is in full command, seamlessly populating his story with lovingly recounted period details. The stakes here aren't as high, or the subject matter as heavy, as in his two recent masterworks, but Whitehead's mystery explores the intersections of Black class mobility, civil unrest, and New York City in an entertaining way. VERDICT Another can't-miss from the versatile Whitehead, for readers who loved James McBride's Deacon King Kong.—Michael Pucci, South Orange P.L., NJ
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780385545136 Whitehead adds another genre to an ever-diversifying portfolio with his first crime novel, and it's a corker. Ray Carney owns a furniture store in Harlem. When the novel begins in 1959, he's selling mostly used furniture, struggling to escape the legacy of his criminal father. "Living taught you," Ray believes, "that you didn't have to live the way you'd been taught." Almost. Ray's ne'er-do-well cousin, Freddie, who's been luring Ray into hot water since childhood ("I didn't mean to get you in trouble," is Freddie's constant refrain) regularly brings Ray the odd piece of jewelry, provenance unknown, which Ray peddles to a dealer downtown, building a stake to invest in his business. "There was a natural flow of goods in and out and through people's lives . . . a churn of property, and Ray facilitated that churn." It works until Freddie suggests Ray as a fence for a jewel heist at the Hotel Theresa ("the Waldorf of Harlem"), and suddenly the churn produces a potentially disastrous backwash. Following Ray as his business grows and he delicately balances the crooked and straight sides of his life, Whitehead delivers a portrait of Harlem in the early ’60s, culminating with the Harlem Riot of 1964, that is brushed with lovingly etched detail and features a wonderful panoply of characters who spring to full-bodied life, blending joy, humor, and tragedy. A triumph on every level.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Twice a Pulitzer winner, Whitehead seems destined for more honors with his first crime novel.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780385545136 After winning back-to-back Pulitzer Prizes for his previous two books, Whitehead lets fly with a typically crafty change-up: a crime novel set in mid-20th-century Harlem. The twin triumphs of The Underground Railroad (2016) and The Nickel Boys (2019) may have led Whitehead’s fans to believe he would lean even harder on social justice themes in his next novel. But by now, it should be clear that this most eclectic of contemporary masters never repeats himself, and his new novel is as audacious, ingenious, and spellbinding as any of his previous period pieces. Its unlikely and appealing protagonist is Ray Carney, who, when the story begins in 1959, is expecting a second child with his wife, Elizabeth, while selling used furniture and appliances on Harlem’s storied, ever bustling 125th Street. Ray’s difficult childhood as a hoodlum’s son forced to all but raise himself makes him an exemplar of the self-made man to everybody but his upper-middle-class in-laws, aghast that their daughter and grandchildren live in a small apartment within earshot of the subway tracks. Try as he might, however, Ray can’t quite wrest free of his criminal roots. To help make ends meet as he struggles to grow his business, Ray takes covert trips downtown to sell lost or stolen jewelry, some of it coming through the dubious means of Ray’s ne’er-do-well cousin, Freddie, who’s been getting Ray into hot messes since they were kids. Freddie’s now involved in a scheme to rob the Hotel Theresa, the fabled “Waldorf of Harlem," and he wants his cousin to fence whatever he and his unsavory, volatile cohorts take in. This caper, which goes wrong in several perilous ways, is only the first in a series of strenuous tests of character and resources Ray endures from the back end of the 1950s to the Harlem riots of 1964. Throughout, readers will be captivated by a Dickensian array of colorful, idiosyncratic characters, from itchy-fingered gangsters to working-class women with a low threshold for male folly. What’s even more impressive is Whitehead’s densely layered, intricately woven rendering of New York City in the Kennedy era, a time filled with both the bright promise of greater economic opportunity and looming despair due to the growing heroin plague. It's a city in which, as one character observes, “everybody’s kicking back or kicking up. Unless you’re on top.” As one of Whitehead’s characters might say of their creator, When you’re hot, you’re hot. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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#10  (Last Week: 7 • Weeks on List: 2)  
The Butler
Book Jacket   Danielle Steel
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781984821522 Raised by a devoted German mother in Buenos Aires, Joachim has left his twin brother behind and is training to be a butler in Paris, where he accepts a job to help Olivia White set up an apartment. Olivia, whose magazine has failed, is in the City of Light to reinvent herself and discovers that she and Joachim work well together. Then Joachim learns some dark family secrets: his grandfather died in prison, his rich father abandoned him, and his brother is now a dangerous criminal.
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NONFICTION
#1  (Last Week: 1 • Weeks on List: 2)  
The Storyteller
 Dave Grohl
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780063076099 The Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman shares anecdotes from his (mostly) charmed life in rock ’n’ roll. Grohl’s memoir is thick with name-drops, but not for the sake of gossip or even revelatory detail. (Fans likely won’t learn anything about Kurt Cobain they didn’t already know, except perhaps his choice for cheap sustenance in the band’s pre-fame days, a canned-tuna-on-toast concoction dubbed “shit on a shingle.”) Rather, Grohl’s name-drops are of the “can you believe I get to do this for a living” variety: backing Tom Petty and Iggy Pop, meeting musical heroes from Little Richard to Joan Jett, singing “Blackbird” at the Oscars, performing at the White House, and filling arenas all over the world. As the book’s entertaining early pages reveal, Grohl was an unlikely candidate for global stardom. An accident-prone kid and unschooled drummer raised in a middle-class suburb of Washington, D.C., he caught the punk bug at a Naked Raygun show in Chicago, later dropping out of high school to join Scream. Though Scream was only moderately popular, Grohl thought he'd reached the mountaintop, so Nirvana’s massive fame, followed by Cobain’s suicide, was seriously disorienting. Still, the author is upbeat even when talking about lean or tense moments, like when his body finally pushed back against his five-pot-a-day coffee habit. Grohl is good company, but the gee-whiz tone as well as the clichés (hanging out with the members of metal band Pantera is “not for the faint of heart”) make the book feel like a missed opportunity. Grohl survived a massive band’s collapse and leads another hugely successful act in a genre that’s no longer dominant. Rather than exploring that, he’s largely content to celebrate his good fortune. Perhaps when he finally hangs it up, he will dig more deeply into his unique career. A high-spirited yet surface-level glimpse into the life of one of the planet’s last rock stars. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780063076099 Sixteen-time Grammy-winner Grohl cranks the story of his life to full volume in this exciting debut chronicling his rock ’n’ roll career. Growing up in the 1970s in the suburbs of Springfield, Va.—a “Wonder Bread existence”—Grohl followed the sound of drumming all the way to the stage, from jamming with friends in high school to playing in the D.C. hardcore punk band Scream, joining Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana in 1990, and eventually fronting his band, the Foo Fighters. Grohl’s uninterested in regaling readers with tales of backstage debauchery; instead, he candidly shares his reverence for the enduring power of music. As a teenager, he writes, it became his religion, “the rock stars my saints, and their songs my hymns.” By the time he turned 22, he was traveling the world with Nirvana. After the shock of Cobain’s 1994 suicide subsided, Grohl focused on the Foo Fighters and began touring internationally again, while raising three girls with his wife (“music and family intertwined”). Reflecting on his fame, Grohl writes, “I have never taken a single moment of it for granted.” Paired with his sparkling wit, this humility is what makes Grohl’s soulful story a cut above typical rock memoirs. There isn’t a dull moment here. Agent: Eve Atterman, WME. (Oct.)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780063076099 Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Grohl joyfully recounts his life in this memoir. Growing up in Virginia, Grohl taught himself to play drums by ear. He left school to tour with the group Scream, then joined Nirvana and struggled with its monumental success. The lifelong nonconformist found himself adored by Nirvana's mainstream audiences while dealing the band's "awkward dysfunction." After Nirvana's breakup, Grohl started the Foo Fighters, then formed the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. In nostalgic, often humorous anecdotes, he recalls meeting the musicians who inspired him: jamming with Iggy Pop, drumming for Tom Petty on Saturday Night Live, sharing bedtime story duties with Joan Jett. Grohl seems most proud of his role as father, and his loving stories of parenthood are sprinkled throughout the book. VERDICT Grohl bares his soul and shares his passion in this must-read memoir, which will resonate with music lovers and his fans.—Lisa Henry, Kirkwood P.L., MO
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#2  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
To Rescue The Republic
 Bret Baier with Catherine Whitney
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780063039544 Fox News anchor Baier (Three Days at the Brink) paints a flattering portrait of Ulysses S. Grant in this breezy revisionist history. Drawing analogies to today’s partisan discord, Baier focuses on “Grant’s resolve and heroism in times of unparalleled turmoil,” including his command of the Union Army during the Civil War; his two-term presidency (1868–1876), which encompassed the most hard-fought years of Reconstruction; and his controversial brokering of a “grand bargain” in the contested 1876 election between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden. Baier claims that “we are so accustomed to dwelling on the failures of Reconstruction that we often overlook its successes,” including the 15th Amendment, which Grant helped push through in 1870, the election of the first Black U.S. senators, and the passage of the Enforcement Act, which Grant argued was necessary to curb racist violence in the South. Baier also refutes critics who fault Grant for supporting the withdrawal of federal troops from the South by claiming that Democrats and Republicans “were ready to give the Southern states a chance to do the right thing on their own,” and that “it’s unclear what more could have been done... short of permanent military occupation.” Though many readers will disagree with that assessment, Baier succeeds in humanizing Grant and clarifying the complex factors behind his decision-making. This is an accessible and nuanced introduction to an oft-misunderstood figure American history. (Oct.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780063039544 The latest book of pop history from the chief political anchor for Fox News. The Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which Baier witnessed in his capacity as a political reporter and anchor, gave new meaning to the turmoil surrounding the 1876 presidential election. In this conventional biography of Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) designed for general readers who have not studied the era, the election occupies only 50 pages near the end. A mediocre West Point cadet, Grant achieved little glory in the Mexican-American War, resigned his commission, and struggled to earn a living. The beginning of the Civil War found him clerking in a leather goods shop and farming. The only West Point graduate in the area, he was chosen to lead local units; after six months of intense activity against minor Confederate posts and lobbying by his congressman, a friend of Lincoln, Grant became a general. He turned out to be the most aggressive and imaginative Union commander. A national idol after Appomattox in 1865, he easily won presidential elections in 1868 and 1872. Recent historians have upgraded his performance in office, but Baier holds the traditional view that Grant was an honorable man but a poor politician surrounded by scoundrels. Scandals occurred regularly, and his final months in office were preoccupied by the mess following the 1876 election, which saw a closely contested battle that the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, barely won. As in his previous books on FDR, Eisenhower, and Reagan, Baier relies heavily on other biographies, including Ron Chernow’s superior Grant (2017), and Grant’s own memoirs, a straightforward and plainspoken history. Throughout, the author can’t resist the use of invented dialogue and conjectures of historical figures’ inner thoughts, but he gets the facts right. Better Grant biographies are not in short supply; readers should seek them out instead of this one. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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#3  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
The Boys
Book Jacket   Ron Howard and Clint Howard
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780063065246 Brotherly coming-of-age reflections from a storied life in show business. The glowing foreword, by Bryce Dallas Howard, sets the tone for this forthright memoir from her father, Ron, and his younger brother, Clint. Both were primed for the entertainment industry from a young age by beloved Oklahoman parents Rance Howard and Jean Speegle, self-proclaimed “sophisticated hicks” who relocated to New York City in their youth and embarked on a “rich and strange” journey to realize their own showbiz aspirations. Written in alternating segments, the brothers offer crisp, mostly interesting insights into their separate trajectories into the entertainment business. Ron writes about being diligently prepped for screen tests near his fourth birthday by his father, who taught both sons to “understand a scene in an emotional language,” while Clint notes that both were spared becoming “Hollywood casualties” due to the values their parents instilled in them. The authors chronicle the ups and downs of lifetimes in acting—early on, Ron in the Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, and Clint in an episode of Star Trek before Gentle Ben—as well as belonging to a household fully ensconced in the entertainment industry. Despite a competitive edge between them—which still remains, as Clint acts in many of Ron’s directorial productions—as they struggled up the Hollywood ladder, their familial bond remained strong. Both brothers add some behind-the-scenes snippets; for example, Ron discusses his newfound adulthood appreciation for Andy Griffith while he shot isolated scenes for Return to Mayberry. For the most part, the binary autobiographical approach works, with the alternating commentaries and interpreted memories from each author offering divergent yet complementary perspectives. A treat for movie and TV buffs, this dual memoir is wholesome and satisfying. Fans of the Howards will revel in the details of their young ascents into the Hollywood spotlight. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780063065246 Actors and brothers Ron and Clint Howard reflect on growing up in Hollywood in this fascinating dual autobiography. Born in the 1950s to actors Rance Howard and Jean Speegle, the two were groomed for the big screen as soon as they could walk, with Ron landing his first role at age 4. Like his older brother, Clint also found a home in the “world of lights, cameras, and boom mics.” Both starred in popular 1960s TV shows—Ron as Opie in The Andy Griffith Show and Clint as Mark in Gentle Ben—and in lighthearted prose, they fondly recall the years they spent in friendly competition (“I love Ron, but I friggin’ wanted Gentle Ben to top the charts,” writes Clint), as well as the differences that led Ron, “the kid always on the straight and narrow,” and Clint, “the mischievous little guy,” down their own paths. As a teen, Ron began making short films on his 8mm camera, eventually leading him to attend film school at the University of Southern California. While the memoir focuses on the brothers’ coming-of-age—and the close relationship that saw them through the joys and challenges of stardom—it also offers glimpses into their later work, especially Ron’s career as a successful director. Candid, humorous, and entertaining, this intimate account will be a hit with the brothers’ fans. (Oct.)
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#4  (Last Week: 2 • Weeks on List: 4)  
Peril
Book Jacket   Bob Woodward and Robert Costa
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781982182915 In his third book about the Trump presidency (following Fear and Rage), Woodward joins forces with his Washington Post colleague Costa to offer a harrowing if familiar chronicle of the lead-up to and fallout from the 2020 election. The authors open with the dramatic revelation that Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, twice reassured his Chinese counterparts that President Trump wouldn't launch a surprise attack to improve his chances of staying in office, and that if Trump tried to do so, the Chinese would be warned. According to the authors, Milley also limited Trump's ability to launch nuclear weapons. Drawing on anonymous interviews with "more than 200 firsthand participants and witnesses," Woodward and Costa also document how Trump's remarks about the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville motivated Biden to run for president, and offer fly-on-the-wall accounts of Republican in-fighting over claims that the election was rigged, Vice President Mike Pence's waffling over whether he should overturn the electoral results, and negotiations over President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Unfortunately, none of these reveals match the drama of those pertaining to Milley, and readers hoping for new insights into the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol will be disappointed. This well-sourced recap feels more rote than revelatory. (Sept.)
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#5  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
Midnight In Washington
 Adam Schiff
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#6  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
The Beatles: Get Back
 the Beatles
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#7  (Last Week: 3 • Weeks on List: 2)  
Taste
Book Jacket   Stanley Tucci
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781982168018 Since he's the winner of two Golden Globes and two Emmys, plus claimant to Academy Award and Tony nominations, you would think Tucci would tell his life through film. But no, he's chosen food—not so surprising as he's the author of two cookbooks and learned his love of eating early from his Italian American family. With a 150,000-copy first printing.
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#8  (Last Week: 5 • Weeks on List: 4)  
Vanderbilt
Book Jacket   Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780062964618 The TV anchor and scion of the dynasty examines his family’s checkered past. There’s an old saying to the effect that the first generation makes the money, the second expands the fortune, and the third squanders it. So it was with the Vanderbilts, with Cooper’s mother, Gloria, one of the descendants for whom the fabulous fortune of 19th-century patriarch Cornelius was mostly a distant memory. In a country devoted to anti-royalist principles, he became the nearest thing there was to nobility only a few years after the Revolution. However, notes Cooper, writing with historical novelist Howe, “their empire would last for less than a hundred years before collapsing under its own weight, destroying itself with its own pathology.” Some of that pathology was the usual sort: overspending on lavish material possessions; showering money on bad investments and mistresses; and building mighty monuments to self, such as a splendid mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, “nearly three times as big as the White House,” that turned out to be a money sink. Cornelius Vanderbilt II had spent the modern equivalent of $200 million to build it in 1895, and less than a century later his descendants would be forced to sell it for a little more than 1% of that figure. Cooper turns up some family secrets, especially their connections to the Confederacy (which explains why there’s a Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee), and he explodes the long-held notion that Cornelius Vanderbilt was a wholly self-made man (he borrowed money from his mother to buy his first boat). Suicides, affairs, bad business deals, fierce rivalries, and occasionally an outburst of good sense (as when Billy Vanderbilt doubled his inheritance in just eight years, amassing $230 million) mark these pages along with moments of tragedy, such as the loss of one ancestor in the sinking of the Lusitania. A sturdy family history that also serves as a pointed lesson in how to lose a fortune. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The TV anchor and scion of the dynasty examines his familys checkered past.Theres an old saying to the effect that the first generation makes the money, the second expands the fortune, and the third squanders it. So it was with the Vanderbilts, with Coopers mother, Gloria, one of the descendants for whom the fabulous fortune of 19th-century patriarch Cornelius was mostly a distant memory. In a country devoted to anti-royalist principles, he became the nearest thing there was to nobility only a few years after the Revolution. However, notes Cooper, writing with historical novelist Howe, their empire would last for less than a hundred years before collapsing under its own weight, destroying itself with its own pathology. Some of that pathology was the usual sort: overspending on lavish material possessions; showering money on bad investments and mistresses; and building mighty monuments to self, such as a splendid mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, nearly three times as big as the White House, that turned out to be a money sink. Cornelius Vanderbilt II had spent the modern equivalent of $200 million to build it in 1895, and less than a century later his descendants would be forced to sell it for a little more than 1% of that figure. Cooper turns up some family secrets, especially their connections to the Confederacy (which explains why theres a Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee), and he explodes the long-held notion that Cornelius Vanderbilt was a wholly self-made man (he borrowed money from his mother to buy his first boat). Suicides, affairs, bad business deals, fierce rivalries, and occasionally an outburst of good sense (as when Billy Vanderbilt doubled his inheritance in just eight years, amassing $230 million) mark these pages along with moments of tragedy, such as the loss of one ancestor in the sinking of the Lusitania.A sturdy family history that also serves as a pointed lesson in how to lose a fortune. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062964618 ldquo;This is the story of the greatest American fortune ever squandered,” a dramatic tale expertly told of rapacious ambition, decadent excess, and covert and overt tyranny and trauma. Distinguished CNN anchor Cooper identified with the down-to-earth Mississippian heritage of his father, Wyatt Cooper, only exploring his Vanderbilt side as he and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, collaborated on The Rainbow Comes and Goes (2016). Here he and historian and novelist Howe (The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs, 2019) vividly portray key figures, beginning with the first Dutch descendant on Staten Island and the gritty ascent of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who amassed the dynasty's gargantuan wealth, institutionalized his wife when he was weary of her, and drove his namesake son to suicide. With resplendent detail, the authors capture the gasp-eliciting extravagance of the Vanderbilt Gilded Age mansions and lifestyles, which rarely made them happy. As most people struggled to survive, New York’s elite Four Hundred goaded “brilliant, witty, cunning, and utterly ruthless” socialite and future suffragist Alva Vanderbilt, who married, then daringly divorced Cornelius' grandson and heir, to maniacal heights of social competitiveness. The authors track the pitfalls of twentieth-century celebrity as the Vanderbilts coped with a dwindling fortune, until resilient Gloria became the last to truly experience “a Vanderbilt life.” With its intrinsic empathy and in-depth profiles of women, this is a distinctly intimate, insightful, and engrossing chronicle of an archetypal, self-consuming American dynasty.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cooper's magnetism, Howe's fan base, and an irresistible subject add up to a nonfiction blockbuster.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062964618 CNN anchor Cooper (The Rainbow Comes and Goes) and novelist Howe (The Daughters of Temperance Hobbes) tell the story of “the greatest American fortune ever squandered” in this juicy portrait of Cooper’s forebears, the Vanderbilts. Tracing the family’s American origins to a Dutch indentured servant who arrived in New Amsterdam (present-day New York City) in 1650, the authors showcase the Vanderbilts as a study in “our country’s mythos,” the belief that anyone can become wealthy if “they have enough gumption, have enough grit, or ruthlessness.” In the 19th century, 18-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt made money ferrying supplies to the British military during the war of 1812, and went on to build railroads, leaving behind a $100 million inheritance to his son William, who was the only Vanderbilt to ever add to the family fortune. William’s daughter-in-law, Alva, transformed from a society doyenne to a key leader of the women’s suffrage movement, while her son, Harold, became a champion yachtsman. In the book’s most moving section, Cooper recounts his mother Gloria’s traumatic childhood, which involved a “sort-of-kidnapping” and a drawn-out custody battle, and her out-of-control spending and dysfunctional relationships as an adult. Marked by meticulous research and deep emotional insight, this is a memorable chronicle of American royalty. (Sept.)
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#9  (Last Week: 6 • Weeks on List: 14)  
American Marxism
 Mark R. Levin
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#10  (Last Week: - • Weeks on List: 1)  
It's Better To Be Feared
 Seth Wickersham
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781631498237 The last 20 years of pro football history have been dominated by the thorny dynasty of the New England Patriots, headed by the triumvirate of owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady. This history of the team is based on two decades of interviews and research conducted by ESPN.com journalist Wickersham. The author contracted to publish this book whenever Brady or Belichick left the Patriots; in the meantime, he wrote it as a summation of the team and an era. Wickersham strives to reveal the essence of each of the main characters. (Brady, Belichick, and Kraft declined to be interviewed.) Though Brady is the major focus, the book also delves into Kraft's desire for recognition and Belichick's systematic devotion to hard work and hard coaching. Wickersham presents Brady as the ultimate team leader, whose rigorous training regimen put strain on his family, and who grew tired of being underappreciated by his coach. This book covers the era's major events and finds fresh perspectives that make the lengthy volume a joy to read. VERDICT A skilled journalist analyzes the success of the NFL's premier team over the last two decades, in both its laudable and unsavory aspects; will be of interest to all sports fans.—John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ.-Camden Lib., NJ
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