Margaret Renkl’s essays confront the tired, flat stereotypes of a homogenous, conservative, redneck South, while acknowledging the kernels of truth from which they arise.
In this slender, academic little book — full of the statistics, graphs, opaque terms and circuitous, often repetitive language that only professional political scientists find interesting, or can even fully grasp — may lie answers to the questions native Southerners have been asking for years.
In characterizing this coming-of-age novel as “a perfect summer read,” the publisher underestimates its potential. Surely, it would be a satisfying book to enjoy in the bronzing sun and briny air; however, there is enough meat in its pages for a literary feast during the Christmas holidays or any other time of the year.
Ray Carney, Whitehead’s lovable protagonist, is “treading water in the shoals between his old ways and his new.” The jacket copy warns us that Carney’s “façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it.”
DIRTY WORK: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America. By Eyal Press. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 320 pages. $28.
You don’t need to know technical jargon or even care about aircraft to love Tom Clavin’s “Lightning Down: A World War II Story of Survival.” Though, if you are interested in the specs, rest assured Clavin scratches that itch.
Jonathan Franzen dreams big. His newest novel, “Crossroads,” arrives with an audible thud on readers’ doorsteps and will easily hold those doors open at 580 pages. The themes are monumental — from the existence of God to our obligations to family to the morality of war. It’s also the first of a trilogy called, aspirationally, “The Key to All Mythologies.”
Elizabeth Strout has written another voice-driven novel, the third in a series of books about the fictional writer Lucy Barton and the people she grew up with in a small town in rural Illinois.
“What was it like growing up on TV?” That’s the question, along with the death of their father in 2017, that prompted Ron Howard and his brother, Clint, to co-write a memoir of their childhood.
Jordan Salama, beginning his explorations as a student and bringing them to fruition in his stirring memoir, “Every Day the River Changes,” offers readers a different reality. It is one defined by endurance, self-sufficiency, resilience and a certain nobility of spirit.
Anita Hill didn’t care if President Joe Biden apologized or not, but she found his aversion to doing so rather dramatic. This is one anecdote from her new book, “Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence.”
How Eileen and her best friend Alice make the move from unfortunate babies to inhabitants of a beautiful world is the story of the novel, Rooney’s third. The change Eileen marvels at is in the direction away from millennial fear and toward the sturdy old standbys: love, marriage, parenthood, a terraced house with crayon on the wallpaper and Lego bricks on the floor.
The particular brilliance of Kate Bowler is what you’d hope for from any professor, any speaker — and, as she proves in her new book “No Cure for Being Human,” any writer. Bowler is utterly relatable, wise, hilarious, and real.
By turns rigorous and whimsical, Aliya Whiteley’s “The Secret Life of Fungi” is a useful and more detailed companion to the recent spate of documentary films on the subject. If her grasp is impeccable, her enthusiasm and sense of wonder are infectious.
The real mystery is why author Wyatt Williams, a former restaurant critic who has spent years contemplating food and eating, invested so much time and ink pursuing a phantom.
South Carolina author Marjorie Boafo Appiah, using the pen name Marjy Marj, has published “The Young Shimmigrant Children’s Series,” three titles about a young immigrant girl from Ghana.
Mungin spent decades in New York City, involved in the Black Arts Movement, and driving subway trains. He returned to South Carolina after he retired and became a regular participant of the Black In book festival.
Blue Bicycle Books is hosting a courtyard reception and book talk at 4 p.m. on Oct. 3 featuring three Charleston-born authors.
THADDEUS STEVENS: Civil War Revolutionary, Fighter for Racial Justice. By Bruce Levine. Simon and Schuster. 320 pages. $28.
If the knockout cover — a zappy zebra tiramisu of hot pink, red and blue — doesn’t grab you, Katie Crouch’s opening pages will.
Mount Pleasant resident Vickie Monroe Guerry has published "365 Days of Grief and Love," a memoir written during the 2020 COVID pandemic.
With the return of familiar characters facing an engaging new case, two-time Edgar Award-winning author Nancy Springer deftly restores her plucky protagonist to the page, welcoming readers newly introduced to Enola via the 2020 hit Netflix film adaptation and rewarding readers familiar with the earlier six novels.
South Carolina author Allison Ward, a Navy reservist and helicopter pilot, has released a children’s book called “A Twist of Magic,” part of her “World Explorers” series. The book, illustrated by Rahmawati Yayu Ningsih, is meant for young children 3 to 8 years old.
THE GREAT DISSENTER: The Story of John Marshall Harlan, America’s Judicial Hero. By Peter S. Canellos. Simon and Schuster. 624 pages. $32.50.
Like “Fun Home,” Alison Bechdel’s magnificent graphic memoir, her new work also uses a familiar scaffolding to build a book that seems brand-new and slightly unfamiliar. “The Secret of Superhuman Strength” is a highly crafted literary work. Following its graphic predecessors, “Superhuman Strength” gets its mojo from Bechdel’s blend of low-cult form and high-cult subject matter.
The essays collected in “Let Me Tell You What I Mean” did not make it into the “Collected Essays” of 2018. Still, second-best Didion is worth anyone’s while. Bring on the B-sides!
"Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court" considers not just the legal doctrines advanced by the high court, but the historical significance of the institution in advancing, or inhibiting, the advance of civil rights.
In “How Beautiful We Were,” Cameroonian writer Imbolo Mbue follows up her debut novel “Behold the Dreamers,” about Cameroonian immigrants during the Great Recession in the United States, with a sweeping, multi-generational elegy for an unnamed West African country.
Vera is captivating from page one, a narrator of singular voice and just enough mystery to keep the reader intrigued.
All of Cusk’s work is set in the fragile space that opens up as an old, broken story gives way to a new one. Her characters are desperate to play more than a provisional role in the rearranged world and to sort the true from the false.
MY PLACE AT THE TABLE: A Recipe for a Delicious Life in Paris. By Alexander Lobrano. Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 256 pages. $27.