Next week holds many riches: Michael Lewis‘s follow up to The Big Short, Susan Orlean‘s much anticipated Rin Tin Tin bio, a new novel from Michael Ondaatje that’s said to be his most engaging since The English Patient, and Jose Saramago‘s final work, plus a new novel from Booker Prize-winner Anne Enright.
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Norton, Thorndike Large Print) is the story of an ill-fated affair that leads to the collapse of two marriages, set in Ireland as the Celtic Tiger wanes into recession. It follows Gathering, Enright’s Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller (for more than five months). Kirkus says Enright “once again brings melancholy lyricism to a domestic scenario and lifts it into another dimension.” It was also a pick on our own Galley Chat.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin; Highbridge Audio; Large Type, Thorndike, 9781410445063) is a dystopian take on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, in which Hannah Payne wakes up after having been injected with a virus to turn her skin red, punishment for aborting her unborn child. Library Journal says, “Jordan offers no middle ground: she insists that readers question their own assumptions regarding freedom, religion, and risk. Christian fundamentalists may shun this novel, but book clubs will devour it.” It was a GalleyChat Pick of ALA, in which one reader called it a “brilliant, disturbing, unexpected turn. Much more than 1984 meets The Scarlet Letter.”
The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf; Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the author’s “best novel since his Booker Prizewinning The English Patient,” according to Publishers Weekly. It starts with an 11 year-old boy’s voyage from Ceylon to London to live with his divorced mother, getting up to all sorts of mischief with two other children on the ship, in adventures that color his life for years to come.
Night Strangers by Christopher Bohjalian (Crown; Random House Audio; Books on Tape; Random House Large Print) is the story of a traumatized pilot – one of nine plane crash survivors – who retreates with his family to a New Hampshire town, but doesn’t find much peace. Library Journal calls it a “genre-defying novel, both a compelling story of a family in trauma and a psychological thriller that is truly frightening. The story’s more gothic elements are introduced gradually, so the reader is only slightly ahead of the characters in discerning, with growing horror, what is going on.” It was also got some enthusiastic mentions on GalleyChat last July.
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (Scribner) is historical fiction centering on four powerful women, set during the Roman siege of the Judean fortress on Masada. It’s a librarian favorite.
by Jose Saramago
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Center Point Large Prin
t) is the Nobel Prize-winner’s final novel, following his death in 2010, in which he reimagines the characters and narratives of the Bible through the story of Cain, who wanders forever through time and space after he kills Abel. Booklist
says, “an iconoclastic, imaginative roller-coaster ride as Cain whisks about through all the time levels of the Old Testament, witnessing the major events in those books of the Bible, from the fall of Sodom to the Flood, through his own perspective of God as cruel and vengeful.”
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series.
The Lost Stories (Ranger’s Apprentice Series #11) by John Flanagan (Philomel/Penguin) is a collection of “lost” tales that fill in the gaps between Ranger’s Apprentice novels, written in response to questions his fans have asked over the years.
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (S & S Books for Young Readers) is the conclusion to the Hush Hush saga, in which Patch and Nora, armed with nothing but their absolute faith in each other, enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything.
(Virgil Flowers Series #5
) by John Sandford
(Putnam; Penguin Audio
; Center Point Large Print
) finds Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agent Virgil Flowers tracking a bomber who attacks big box chain Pyemart, after local merchants and environmentalists in a Minnesota town join forces to oppose the construction of a new mega-store. Kirkus
says, “the tale drags at times, but the mystification and detection are authentic and the solution surprisingly clever.”
Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis (Norton; S&S Audio) is a follow up to The Big Short, in which the bestselling author visits societies like Iceland, which transformed themselves when credit was easy between 2002 and 2008, and are paying the price. As we’ve mentioned, Michiko Kakutani has already given the book a glowing review in the New York Times, which caused the book to rise to #17 on Amazon’s sales rankings. Lewis will appear on NPR, CBS radio and TV, and on MSNBC.
Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres (Grand Central; Hachette Audio) is a collection of humorous musings by the afternoon talk show host, that comes eight years after her last bestseller. Kirkus says, “though DeGeneres doesn’t provide many laugh-out-loud moments, her trademark wit and openness shine through.”
The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins (Free Press; S&S Audio) finds the master science writer and author of The God Delusion teaming up with a master of the graphic novel to create a new genre: the graphic science book that considers the universe in all its glory, magical without creator or deity. Kirkus says, “watch for this to be mooted and bruited in school board meetings to come. And score points for Dawkins, who does a fine job of explaining earthquakes and rainbows in the midst of baiting the pious.”
The Price of Civilization by Jeffrey Sachs (Random House; Random House Audio; Books on Tape) is the blueprint for America’s economic recovery by the well-known economist, who argues that we must restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Kirkus says, “A lucid writer, the author is refreshingly direct—tax cuts for the wealthy are ‘immoral and counterproductive'; stimulus funding and budget cutting are ‘gimmicks’—and he offers recommendations for serious reform.” He will appear on NPR’s Morning Edition and on several TV news shows.
The Descendants: A Novel (Random House Trade Paperback) ties into the movie starring George Clooney, which opens 11/18. A dark comedy about a dysfunctional family in Hawaii, it received raves at the Toronto Film Festival (Variety: “one of those satisfying, emotionally rich films that works on multiple levels.”) By director Alexander Payne, whose earlier movie Sideways increased tourism to Napa Valley, this may do the same for Hawaii; it is also a good opportunity to reintroduce readers to the book, the first novel by Hawaiian Kaui Hart Hemmings, which came out to strong reviews in 2007 (as exemplified by this one in the NYT Book Review). Trailer here.
The Rum Diary: A Novel by Hunter S. Thompson (S&S) is the tie-in to the film adaptation of the only published novel by the gonzo journalist, starring Johnny Depp (who played Thompson in the poorly received Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). The movie, opening Oct 21, has a strong cast, but it’s based on one of Thompson’s weakest works, so it may do more for rum sales than for the book. Trailer here,