Murakami & Rice, Frederick Douglass & Valley Forge | Barbara's Picks, Oct. 2018

Barry, Dave. Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog. S. & S. Oct. 2018. 208p. ISBN 9781501161155. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501161179. CD. HUMOR Barry, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and one of America’s favorite humorists, gives us advice on aging gracefully by looking at the creature he knows who’s done it the best: his beloved dog, Lucy. “Make New Friends,” “Don’t Stop Having Fun”—I got that advice from my best girl, too.

Blight, David W. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. S. & S. Oct. 2018. 896p. ISBN 9781416590316. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781416593881. BIOGRAPHY Winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others, Yale historian Blight has been studying Frederick Douglass for most of his life. Here he offers a major study—reportedly the first in a quarter century. With a seven-city tour.

Castro, Julian. An Unlikely Journey. Little, Brown. Oct. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780316419888. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316252140. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316365925. CD/Downloadable. Castro, Julian. Un Viaje Improbable. Back Bay. Oct. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9780316252171. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780316365949. MEMOIR Born with twin brother Joaquin to unmarried parents, Castro tells an American-dream-come-true story of his rise from poverty to become mayor of San Antonio, keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic Convention, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in President Barack Obama's administration.

Drury, Bob & Tom Clavin. Valley Forge. S. & S. Oct. 2018. 464p. ISBN 9781501152719. $30; ebk .ISBN 9781501152733. CD. HISTORY The No. 1 New York Times best-selling authors of The Heart of Everything That Is rely on new and barely studied documents to portray events at Valley Forge, the Continental Army's small winter encampment 23 miles northwest of British-occupied Philadelphia, starting in December 1777. The army was at a low point then but after rigorous training came out roaring.

Dubus, Andre III. Gone So Long. Norton. Oct. 2018. 480p. ISBN 9780393244106. $27.95. ebk. ISBN 9780393244113.  LITERARY FICTION Author of the No. 1 New York Times best seller and Oprah Book Club selection The House of Sand and Fog, Dubus returns with the story of Susan Dunn, a hapless adjunct professor who cannot complete her novel or return her husband’s love. Her father’s having murdered her mother when Susan was young may have something to do with her malaise, and now, released from prison and dying, he wants to meet.

Grande, Reyna. A Dream Called Home: A Memoir. Atria. Oct. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9781501171420. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501171444. Grande, Reyna. En búsqueda de un sueño. Atria. Oct. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9781501172076. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781501172083. MEMOIR A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and national best seller, The Distance Between Us explained how a nine-year-old Grande immigrated to this country alone to find her parents and grew up enduring their indifference and that of the U.S. school system. Here she explains how she earned a college degree and, in a journey as arduous as that first one, became a writer.Grande will appear at Day of Dialog.

Greenspan, Alan & Adrian Wooldridge. Capitalism in America: A History. Penguin Pr. Oct. 2018. 512p. ISBN 9780735222441. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780735222458. lrg. prnt. Downloadable. ECONOMIC HISTORY Greenspan, former chair of the Federal Reserve Board, joins with Economist political editor Wooldridge to explain how a bunch of contentious colonies rose to become a powerhouse of wealth and innovation. With a special focus on Greenspan’s big interest, productivity growth.

Johnson, Lacy M. The Reckonings: Essays. Scribner. Oct. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781501159008. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501159022. ESSAYS A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, the Edgar Award in Best Fact Crime, and more, Johnson’s The Other Side made us felt the weight of her kidnapping and rape. The essays here, drawing on philosophy, art, literature, anthropology, and more, were written in response to the question, What would she like to have happen to her rapist?

Lamott, Anne. Almost Everything: Notes on Hope. Riverhead. Oct. 2018. 192p. ISBN 9780525537441. $20; ebk. ISBN 9780525537571. Downloadable. PERSONAL GROWTH Maybe we’re “doomed, stunned, exhausted, and over-caffeinated” in these tumultuous times, as Lamott concedes. But she insists that things will change, joy is possible, and we can find life’s sweet treasures if we keep looking. From the Hallelujah Anyway author of numerous best sellers.

Mohr, Tim. Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Algonquin. Sept. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9781616208431. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781616208844. CD. HISTORY/MUSIC Award-winning translator Mohr, who once made his living as a club DJ in Berlin, explains how a group of East Berlin teens became enamored of punk after hearing the Sex Pistols on British military radio broadcasts. Security forces weren’t impressed—fans were spied on and forced from jobs and school—but punk resistance contributed to the fall of the Wall. Mohr will appear at Day of Dialog.

Murakami, Haruki. Killing Commendatore. Knopf. Oct. 2018. 608p. tr. from Japanese by Philip Gabriel & Ted Goossen. ISBN 9780525520047. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780525520054. Downloadable. LITERARY FICTION Acclaimed Japanese author Murakami’s fans will not be surprised that his new novel ranges from love and war to art and isolation, but they might raise their eyebrows upon learning that it’s an homage to The Great Gatsby. Lots of buzz; Murakami is no mere succès d'estime, Knopf having sold more than 4.2 million copies of his 19 books across formats. With a 250,000-copy first printing.

Norwich, John Julius. A History of France.  Atlantic Monthly. Oct. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9780802128904. $30. HISTORY Star historian Norwich (Four Princes, A History of Venice) returns to a place especially close to his heart to write a history he has long wanted to write. His history of France starts with Julius Caesar’s conquest of Gaul in the first century BCE and is obviously concise as well as personable; check out the page count.

Osborn, John Jay. Listen to the Marriage. Farrar. Oct. 2018. 208p. ISBN 9780374192020. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780374718787. CD. LITERARY Best known for The Paper Chase, which chronicles the conflict between a Harvard Law student and his imperious professor, Osborn returns with another feuding twosome: Gretchen and Steve, long married, recently separated, with two children and high-stress jobs, attending counseling in sessions detailed here. Big promotion; a Macmillan Reading Group Selection.

Pope Francis. God Is Young. Random. Oct. 2018. 144p. ISBN 9781984801401. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781984801418. Downloadable. RELIGION In this published interview, Pope Francis addresses the role of millennials in the Catholic Church, which he argues needs their energy and hunger for change; as the Pope says, “God is young, He is always new.” A nice wrap-up, as 2018 has been declared the Year of Youth by the Church.

Rice, Anne. Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat . Knopf. Oct. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781524732646. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524732653. CD/downloadable. OCCULT FICTION Fans of the "Vampire Chronicles," here’s the book you’ve likely been waiting for: Lestat explains how the Blood Communion was formed, how he became prince of vampires, and how he’s had to battle some pretty dark forces as he sought to find a place for the undead in the wide, wide world. With a 250,000-copy first printing.

Yang, Wesley. The Souls of Yellow Folk: Essays. Norton. Oct. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780393241747. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393652659. SOCIAL SCIENCE National Magazine Award winner Yang makes a much-anticipated debut with his best essays on race and gender, its title echoing W.E.B. DuBois’s classic The Souls of Black Folk. Included here: Yang’s much-discussed New York cover story “Paper Tigers,” examining Asian values and the American Dream.  

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