Starred Review

Less Is Lost

by Andrew Sean Greer

In Less Is Lost--the follow-up novel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Less, written by Andrew Sean Greer (The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells)--Arthur Less is on the road again. This time he travels the U.S. instead of overseas. Narrator Freddy Pelu, Less's lover, returns. Freddy, who is approaching 40, and 50ish "Minor American Novelist" Less live together in a San Francisco bungalow they call the Shack, previously owned by Less's former lover, poet Robert Brownburn. After Robert dies, Less learns he owes a

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Bliss Montage

by Ling Ma

Six of the eight stories in Ling Ma's debut short story collection, Bliss Montage, have already appeared in the usual prestigious publications (the New Yorker, Granta, the Atlantic). "They can just read them for free somewhere else?" a skeptical mother remarks to her about-to-be-published daughter over lunch in "Peking Duck," arguably the collection's standout story. But the bliss for fortunate audiences is to discover these gems gathered in a brilliant montage that begins with a story about Adam and concludes

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I'm the Girl

by Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers (The Project) is known for pushing boundaries and exposing the cruel realities young women face. I'm the Girl, her eighth YA novel, is no exception. This part murder mystery, part thriller, part queer romance is a brutal, raw account of truths behind power and privilege.

Sixteen-year-old Georgia "George" Avis finds the body of 13-year-old Ashley James, who was raped and murdered. When Ashley's 17-year-old sister, Nora, shows up at George's house wanting to be told everything, George is pulled

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A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding

by Amanda Svensson, trans. by Nichola Smalley

Sebastian, Clara and Matilda are triplets in their mid-20s and already familiar with how life can batter, a truth compounded by the revelation of a family secret that upends everything they thought was true. Amanda Svensson's brilliant A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding, translated from the Swedish by Nichola Smalley, is a sprawling family epic exploring complex questions about the power of one's mind and the impact of one's choices.

After recounting the details of the triplets' dramatic birth (one infant--no

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Magnolia Flower

by Zora Neale Hurston, Ibram X. Kendi, illus. by Loveis Wise

Freedom forges a path to love in National Book Award-winner Ibram X. Kendi's lyrical picture book adaptation of Magnolia Flower, a short story by Zora Neale Hurston first published in 1925.

The Brook is desperate for a story and the Mighty River, knowing "brooks must be humored," tells one. "Long ago," the Mighty River begins, strong Bentley fled enslavement. "Soon a whole village of runaways" grew around him and he married "Swift Deer,/ a Cherokee woman who had fled/ her own trail of tears." They named their

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The Unbalancing

by R.B. Lemberg

Accolades for Birdverse, the diverse, inclusive fantasy series from R.B. Lemberg (The Four Profound Weaves), include Hugo and Nebula nominations for short fiction. In The Unbalancing, the urgent, bittersweet first novel of the series, a charismatic starkeeper and a shy poet confront the past in hopes of saving their home and their people.

Erígra Lilún has no desire to serve as starkeeper to the unquiet Star of the Tides, one of 12 magical stars the goddess Bird bestowed upon humanity. The star

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Painting Beyond Walls

by David Rhodes

David Rhodes returns to the setting of Driftless and Jewelweed, as well as many of his fans' favorite characters, in Painting Beyond Walls, his probing and moving sixth novel. Through his 30-year-old hero, August Helm, Rhodes explores tension between economic classes, the tradeoffs of progress, love and sex.  

It's 2027, and the Driftless area, dominated by hills and valleys more suited to family farms than industrial ones, has remained largely untouched by the larger technology-driven society. August

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Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less

by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, Roy Schwartz

This book will change the way you write. Whether it's e-mails, memos, fiction, tweets or newsletters, Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less gives readers simple directives from the personal experiences of Jim Vandehei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, co-authors and co-founders of Axios

Here are a few "Tips & Tricks": subject lines should be no longer than 60 characters; one-syllable words are better than two-syllable words, two-syllable words are better than three-syllable; "active verbs

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Beatrice Likes the Dark

by April Genevieve Tucholke, illus. by Khoa Le

In this deeply whimsical and dazzlingly illustrated picture book, two sisters with opposite interests love each other despite their different personalities.

White-blonde Beatrice enjoys "scurry[ing] into dark corners" like the spiders in the attic, while her straw-blonde sister, Roo, "likes sunshine and birthday parties and smashing crashing blasting noises." For Beatrice, Roo's love of "wearing pink and red and purple" is confounding, and Roo doesn't understand the "black clothes with little bats on them"

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Learn more about Shelf Awareness.

Shelf Discovery


by Scott Turow

Male police officers seeking promotions from their female police captain claim they were first forced to have sex with her in Suspect, Scott Turow's legal thriller.

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The Old Place

by Bobby Finger

An irritable retiree in a small Texas town stars in this sweet, poignant story about community, secrets and all the ways to love.

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Bone Weaver

by Aden Polydoros

This deeply immersive and visceral YA fantasy follows a ragtag group's perilous journey across war-torn lands to stop the crazed revolutionary Koschei from unlocking the secret to immortality.

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Bambi: Or, Life in the Forest

by Felix Salten, trans. by Damion Searls

This fresh translation of Bambi is suitable for young readers but would also be appreciated by adults, especially those drawn to stories in which human notions and ideals are peripheral to nature.

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The Rising Tide

by Ann Cleeves

Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope returns to investigate the murder of a TV journalist who dies during a reunion of friends who have gathered for 50 years.

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The Matchmaker's Gift

by Lynda Cohen Loigman

In this warm, insightful novel, a divorce attorney uncovers the story of her grandmother's matchmaking career and has some important epiphanies about her own life.

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It's So Magic

by Lynda Barry

It's So Magic shows off comics artist Lynda Barry's great gift: to make readers laugh and to make them think, all at the same time.

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by Josh Malerman

A master of strange horror stories, Josh Malerman turns a twisted urban legend upon a high school basketball team.

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Holiday House: Middle School Bites by Steven Banks, illustrated by Mark Fearing; Pixel+ink: The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves by Tom Phillips

Media Heat

Monday, September 26, 2022

CBS Mornings: Chloe Gong, author of Foul Lady Fortune (S&S/McElderry, $21.99, 9781665905589).

Good Morning America: Melanie Chisholm, author of The Sporty One: My Life as a Spice Girl (Grand Central, $29, 9781538740293). She will also appear tomorrow on the View.

Also on GMA: Jenny Mollen, author of Dictator Lunches: Inspired Meals That Will Compel Even the Toughest of (Tyrants) Children (Harvest, $27.99, 9780063242647).

Today Show: Josh Flagg, author of The Deal: Secrets for Mastering the Art of Negotiation (HarperCollins, $27.99, 9781400230433).

Fresh Air: John Vercher, author of After the Lights Go Out (Soho Press, $26, 9781641293310).

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

CBS Mornings: Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Starry Messenger: Cosmic Perspectives on Civilization (Holt, $28.99, 9781250861504). He also appeared on the View.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Fresh Air: Geoffrey Berman, author of Holding the Line: Inside the Nation's Preeminent U.S. Attorney's Office and Its Battle with the Trump Justice Department (Penguin Press, $30, 9780593300299).
Good Morning America: Nicholas Sparks, author of Dreamland: A Novel (Random House, $28.99, 9780593449554).

CBS Mornings: Dr. Ken Duckworth, author of You Are Not Alone: The NAMI Guide to Navigating Mental Health--With Advice from Experts and Wisdom from Real People and Families (Zando, $28.95, 9781638930006).

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Fresh Air: Buzz Bissinger, author of The Mosquito Bowl: A Game of Life and Death in World War II (Harper, $32.50, 9780062879929).

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Fresh Air: Nina Totenberg, author of Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781982188085).

NPR's Here & Now: Ian McEwan, author of Lessons: A Novel (Knopf, $30, 9780593535202).
Good Morning America: Serena Williams, author of The Adventures of Qai Qai (Feiwel & Friends, $18.99, 9781250831408).

Today Show: David Milch, author of Life's Work: A Memoir (Random House, $28, 9780525510741).

Tamron Hall: Jon Sternfeld, co-author, with Michael K. Williams, of Scenes from My Life: A Memoir (Crown, $28.99, 9780593240373).
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