Starred Review

Bartleby and Me: Reflections of an Old Scrivener

by Gay Talese

Gay Talese (High Notes), a pioneer of literary journalism, has long been beguiled by character, as he has proven across decades of writing. Bartleby and Me: Reflections of an Old Scrivener is a three-part this-and-that victory lap showcasing Talese's worthwhile specialty: writing about unsung people. The book's title is a reference to "Bartleby, the Scrivener," what he calls Herman Melville's "great short story about a nobody," and Talese borrows Melville's subtitle, "A Story of Wall Street," for the first

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Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery's Borderland

by Scott Shane

In Flee North: A Forgotten Hero and the Fight for Freedom in Slavery's Borderland, Scott Shane (Objective Troy; Dismantling Utopia) tells the story of the man who led hundreds along the underground railroad and the first--in a letter published in 1842--to call it by that name in print. (The letter "marked a signal moment in the history of both the American battle against slavery and the American language.") Thomas Smallwood, born into slavery in Maryland, was in the rare position of being able to purchase

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Those Pink Mountain Nights

by Jen Ferguson

Three teens fight the capitalist agenda, grieve a missing Indigenous girl, and navigate friendship while slinging jokes and pizzas in the incisive, intimately told Those Pink Mountain Nights by Jen Ferguson (The Summer of Bitter and Sweet).

While working at Pink Mountain Pizza (PMP) in Alberta, Canada, Métis 17-year-old Berlin ("Bee") Chambers thinks she spots Kiki Cheyanne Sound, a missing Cree schoolmate. But Bee, usually "firing on all cylinders," isn't sure; she hasn't been sleeping, hasn't been

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by Nathan Hill

It's been seven years since the publication of Nathan Hill's first novel, The Nix, and anyone who loved that book will be delighted he's returned with equally expansive, audacious, and bighearted style in Wellness. In a novel that's both emotionally astute and deeply attuned to the 21st-century American zeitgeist, Hill also remains true to the imperative to tell a good story.

When photographer and artist Jack Baker and Elizabeth Augustine, who's committed to "studying the whole human condition,"

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North Woods

by Daniel Mason

In his deliciously imaginative North Woods, Daniel Mason (A Registry of My Passage upon the EarthThe Piano Tuner) demonstrates that the story of a single plot of land and the people who inhabit it is a tale that's capable of containing multitudes.

Spanning a period from the middle of the 18th century to an indeterminate future when climate change has irrevocably altered the earth, North Woods focuses on a section of several hundred acres in rural Western Massachusetts first cultivated

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Bright Young Women

by Jessica Knoll

"We were twenty-one-year-old sorority girls; we screamed not because something was heinously, improbably wrong but because we had everything to be excited about." So muses Pamela, one of two narrators, in an opening chapter of Jessica Knoll's third novel, Bright Young Women, right before everything, indeed, goes wrong.

Why does the public often remember the names of criminals, but not their victims? Knoll shines a light on that injustice in this electrifying thriller, which deftly and compassionately gives

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The Artivist

by Nikkolas Smith

Activist and artist Nikkolas Smith (The 1619 Project illustrator) tells an approximation of his own story through a child narrator in the motivating, moving, and passionately illustrated The Artivist.

A child with natural hair and skin shaded in browns and golds is Smith's picture-book proxy. The child loves to paint (artist) and help their community (activist), "But sometimes the world that I see is not the world that I wish to see." The protagonist decides to combine both parts of their identity "to take

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Learn more about Shelf Awareness.

Shelf Discovery

Zoo World

by Mary Quade

A collection of 15 thoughtful nature and travel essays explores the interconnectedness of life and exemplifies compassion for other people and, particularly, non-human animals.

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The Wolves of Eternity

by Karl Ove Knausgaard, trans. by Martin Aitken

The Wolves of Eternity, a gripping, thought-provoking, and stirring novel, poses no lesser existential questions than the meaning of life and death.

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Starter Villain

by John Scalzi

A new supervillain finds himself dumped straight into the deep end of the business in John Scalzi's lighthearted romp through the spy-adventure genre.

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Murder at Midnight

by Katharine Schellman

In her fourth adventure, wealthy English widow Lily Adler solves a case involving murder, blackmail, and other secrets at a snowbound house party.

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Dim Sum Palace

by X. Fang

In X. Fang's delicious Dim Sum Palace, brave Liddy gets rolled into a royal dumpling, but easily survives to savor dim sum treats that "tasted better than in her wildest dreams."

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Hex Education

by Maureen Kilmer

In her entertaining second novel, Maureen Kilmer spins a witchy, wacky narrative of magic (and friendship) gone wrong.

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The Book Club Hotel

by Sarah Morgan

This heartwarming Christmas novel tells the stories of three middle-aged friends whose lives are forever changed after meeting a young hotel owner.

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The Wren, the Wren

by Anne Enright

Anne Enright's eighth novel is an astute, compassionate portrait of three generations of an Irish family--the daughter and granddaughter of a famous poet--and their complicated relationships.

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Murder and Mamon

by Mia P. Manansala

Mia P. Manansala's zesty fourth novel combines a new laundromat, local gossip, delectable baked goods, and a well-plotted mystery.

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The Golden Gate

by Amy Chua

A well-plotted and clever whodunit from the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother pits a tough-guy detective against one of San Francisco's wealthiest families.

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W. W. Norton & Company: The Iliad by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson

Media Heat

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Fresh Air: Leslie Jones, author of Leslie F*cking Jones (Grand Central, $30, 9781538706497).
CBS Mornings: Joe Posnanski, author of Why We Love Baseball: A History in 50 Moments (Dutton, $29, 9780593472675).

Good Morning America: Dale Earnhardt Jr., author of Buster Gets Back on Track (Tommy Nelson, $18.99, 9781400233373).

The View: José Andrés, author of The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593579077).

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

CBS Mornings: José Andrés, author of The World Central Kitchen Cookbook: Feeding Humanity, Feeding Hope (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593579077).

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Fresh Air: Aparna Nancherla, author of Unreliable Narrator: Me, Myself, and Impostor Syndrome (Viking, $28, 9781984879806).

Good Morning America: Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, authors of The Home Edit: Stay Organized: The Ultimate Guide to Making Systems Stick (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9780593581698).

Also on GMA: Matt Gutman, author of No Time to Panic: How I Curbed My Anxiety and Conquered a Lifetime of Panic Attacks (Doubleday, $28, 9780385549059).

Monday, September 18, 2023

CBS Mornings: Max Greenfield, author of I Don't Want to Read This Book Aloud (Putnam, $18.99, 9780593616581).

Also on CBS Mornings: Sheila Johnson, author of Walk Through Fire: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781668007136).

Good Morning America: Leslie Jones, author of Leslie F*cking Jones (Grand Central, $30, 9781538706497).

Also on GMA: Gina Homolka, co-author of Skinnytaste Simple: Easy, Healthy Recipes with 7 Ingredients or Fewer (Clarkson Potter, $35, 9780593235614).

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Fresh Air: Franklin Foer, author of The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden's White House and the Struggle for America's Future (Penguin Press, $30, 9781101981146).
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