Starred Review

Three Simple Lines: A Writer's Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku

by Natalie Goldberg

Each book Natalie Goldberg writes builds on the one before. Writing Down the Bones, her first, gave amateurs--those writing for the love of it--ample leeway to doodle, explore and dream on the page. In that book's chapter "A Sensation of Space," Goldberg cites haiku from Shiki, Issa, Buson and Basho. Those four send her on the title pilgrimage of Three Simple Lines.

While each of her books stands alone, Goldberg's fans will be astonished at how Three Simple Lines brings her body of work full circle--her Zen

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Featherhood: A Memoir of Two Fathers and a Magpie

by Charlie Gilmour

In Featherhood, Charlie Gilmour's relationship with an unintentionally domesticated magpie becomes the lens through which he examines his relationships with his biological father and his stepfather--and his own impending role as a father himself.

Gilmour's biological father, Heathcote Williams, was an eccentric "squatter, writer, actor, alcoholic, poet, anarchist, magician, revolutionary, and Old Etonian." Add to that list serial abandoner of families, and one starts to get a sense of the stranger-than-fiction

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Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood

by Gary Paulsen

In a memoir that reads like the fiction that has made him famous, Gary Paulsen leads his audience through the rugged terrain of his childhood, a period that profoundly inspired his Newbery Honor-winning classic wilderness and survival stories The Winter Room, Hatchet and Dogsong. In Gone to the Woods, the beloved author candidly lays bare the details of his tumultuous youth.

Paulsen detaches from his narrative, using a third-person perspective and referring to himself always as "the boy." This approach pulls

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Shelf Discovery

The Prophets

by Robert Jones, Jr.

The Prophets is a lyrical and formidable revisiting of American slavery and the forbidden love between two young enslaved men.

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People Like Her

by Ellery Lloyd

A clever, caustic, fast-paced thriller, People Like Her provides a suspenseful and deeply critical look at popular culture and influencers. 

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A Crooked Tree

by Una Mannion

A family, already struggling, is further threatened when 12-year-old Ellen is picked up hitchhiking by a disturbing man while after a family argument, setting in motion destructive forces.

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Picnic in the Ruins

by Todd Robert Petersen

Competing interests over Native American artifacts and National Park land result in murder, mayhem and all-around insanity in this action thriller set in Utah and Arizona.

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The Other Mother

by Matthew Dicks

Beset with secrets and stress, a teen believes an identical duplicate has replaced his mother in Dicks's tender coming-of-age story.

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Moose, Goose, and Mouse

by Mordicai Gerstein, illus. by Mordicai Gerstein, Jeff Mack

Mordicai Gerstein's final picture book, centered on three animal housemates in search of a new home, is a giddy runaway-train story powered by rhymes and daffiness.

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I Just Wanted to Save My Family: A Memoir

by Stéphan Pélissier, Cécile-Agnès Champart, trans. by Adriana Hunter

I Just Wanted to Save My Family becomes both a personal goal and legal defense in a Frenchman's odyssey--as absurd as it is harrowing--to help his Syrian wife's family reach safety.

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Media Heat

Thursday, January 14, 2021

KCRW's Bookworm: Alan Felsenthal and Peter Cole discuss Take Arms Against a Sea of Troubles: The Power of the Reader’s Mind over a Universe of Death by Harold Bloom (Yale University Press, $35, 9780300247282).

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Fresh Air: Kerri Greenidge, author of Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter (Liveright, $19.95, 9781631498756).

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Fresh Air: Adam Jentleson, author of Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy (Liveright, $26.95, 9781631497773).

Good Morning America: Bevy Smith, author of Bevelations: Lessons from a Mutha, Auntie, Bestie (Andy Cohen Books, $24.99, 9781250311788).

Today Show: James Comey, author of Saving Justice: Truth, Transparency, and Trust (Flatiron, $29.99, 9781250799128).

Monday, January 11, 2021

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar, authors of You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism (Grand Central, $28, 9781538719367).

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Good Morning America: Rachel Cruze, author of Know Yourself, Know Your Money (Ramsey Press, $24.99, 9781942121312).
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