Science, Social Science, Nature: Last of the Nonfiction Previews, Dec. 2020, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

James Patterson on John Lennon’s last days, scientist Camile Pang addressing her Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Ijeoma Oluo on the dangers to society of having always given white men a break.

Ash, Lamorna. Dark, Salt, Clear: The Life of a Fishing Town. Bloomsbury. Dec. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781635576153. $27. NATURE

Conaboy, Kelly. The Particulars of Peter: DNA Tests, Dance Lessons, and Other cover of Patterson & others The Last Days of John LennonExcuses To Hang Out with My Perfect Dog. Grand Central. Dec. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781538717868. $27. Downloadable. HUMOR/ANIMALS

Oluo, Ijeoma. Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America. Seal: Hachette. Dec. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781580059510. $28. Downloadable. SOCIAL SCIENCE/RACE RELATIONS

Pang, Camilla. An Outsider’s Guide to Humans: What Science Taught Me About What We Do and Who We Are. Viking. Dec. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781984881632. $27. Downloadable. SCIENCE

Patterson, James with Casey Sherman & Dave Wedge. The Last Days of John Lennon. Little, Brown. Dec. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9780316429061. $30. CD/downloadable. TRUE CRIME

Walker, Timothy D. & Pasi Sahlberg. In Teachers We Trust: The Finnish Way to World-Class Schools. Norton. Dec. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780393714005. $25.95. EDUCATION

In Dark, Salt, Clear, education worker and playwright Ash recounts leaping on a fishing vessel and learning the trade to chronicle the fate of a small Cornish village and a way of life that’s dying (30,000-copy first printing). A senior writer at New York magazine's “The Cut,” Conaboy had the work-at-home schedule that facilitated her cuddling up to perky, precious, pee-happy puppy Peter, a foster-turned-forever dog whose story is told in The Particulars of Peter (40,000-copy first printing). From Oluo, author of the New York Times best-selling So You Want To Talk About Race, Mediocre considers the long-term consequences not just to individuals but to society as a whole of granting status because of whiteness and maleness instead of accomplishment (75,000-copy first printing). In An Outsider’s Guide to Humans, postdoctoral scientist Pang offers the guidebook to life she wished she had when she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age eight, drawing on her discipline to explain things like making rational decisions and getting along with diverse groups. Blockbuster crime writer Patterson joins forces with New York Times best-selling authors Sherman and Wedge to chronicle The Last Days of John Lennon in what sounds like an unbeatable set-up (300,000-copy first printing). An American teacher abroad, Walker (Teach Like Finland) joins with Finnish educator Sahlberg to show us how to build a society that declares In Teachers We Trust.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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