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The Heart's Invisible Furies: A Novel

Filled with tragedy and pathos as well as biting humor and social commentary, it sets the tone for the remaining 591 pages and does so brilliantly.


Best Day Ever

Best Day Ever is a great choice for doing just that.


The Portrait

So if you want to try Laurain, I wouldn’t start with this book, but it was, overlooking the disagreeable main character, a diverting short read.


Less: A Novel

It’s a book about a flawed human bumbling along but mostly doing fine. And even being happy here and there. A good read.


A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug

Lacy’s personality-driven reporting developed in a news world reinterpreting New Journalism for the blogosphere. Her writing style in this book is High Internet — gabby, attention-grabbing and very certain of itself.


The Doomsday Machine

Ellsberg isn’t optimistic that these things will happen — but he maintains that they must. “This is not a species to be trusted with nuclear weapons,” he says. “And that doesn’t just apply to ‘crazy’ third world leaders.”


Artemis: A Novel

With “Artemis,” it’s clear that Weir put a lot of effort into his research and world-building, but their application is far from seamless.


Logical Family

Much of “Logical Family” is wry and sharply drawn.


A Bold and Dangerous Family

It’s the most complete portrait we have in English of this extraordinary family fighting — each in his or her own way — the most pernicious ideology of the last century.


Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance

It is an elegy for a slower, saner Vermont — “the world’s rush was doing it in” — and dependable Yankee virtues, like neighborliness and self-reliance and financial prudence.


Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame

“Megafire” may be the more engaging of the two books, but I also found it to be the more downbeat — although unintentionally so.


Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches

The real hook of “Vacationland” is that it’s the first book in which Hodgman is playing it relatively straight, writing not as the professorially pompous hoot-owl “John Hodgman” character but as the actual fella with that name.


Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win

The book leaves the strong impression that there has been so much unsavoury activity between Trump, the Russians and the German bank, that a talented lawyer such as Mueller (who has hired a dozen of the toughest prosecutors in the US) is almost certain to make a federal case out of it.


Bloodstains with Bronte

This sequel to Arsenic with Austen (2016) is pleasant but predictable, with just enough intrigue to prevent it from becoming Zzzz’s with Zola.


Debriefing

Sontag’s stories, in contrast, speak loudly and lengthily in her own grand voice, which sounds bombastic and antique.


Birdcage Walk

In the end, though, Dunmore leaves behind an impressive legacy of wonderful novels, children’s books, poetry, and short-story collections that will surely be treasured for years to come.