[This feature is a brief monthly summary of interesting books coming out this month. Follow it here. Click the pictures or the title links to find these books at Powell's.]
Orner’s second novel follows three generations of the Jewish Popper family, centering around Alexander and Kat, and then branching back to follow the lives of both sets of their parents. I started it last week and it’s quite good. It jumps around among perspectives and time periods and illuminates the perilous lives of its subjects in quite excellent prose. Tune in next week for my full review—in the meantime, here’s more about Orner and how you’ve never heard of him.
McRaney’s thesis is that our lives and our sense of ourselves are almost entirely fictional, confabulated by our unconscious minds. To demonstrate this, he cites and analyzes dozens of studies with alarming findings—e.g., that wine experts are so completely brainwashed by the presentation (price, name, color, etc) of wine that, without those external cues, they can’t tell whether a wine is good or bad, or even red or white. Good stuff.
I quite liked Grant Jerkins’s first crime novel, so this one deserves a look, even if its trailer and premise aren’t exactly… riveting. It’s about a young boy, a car crash, some secrets, and “genuine evil.” This isn’t the kind of simple premise that sells books these days, but Jerkins’s writing is nuanced and precise, and I’m willing to bet this book is more compelling than the flap copy implies.
The House of Silk, by Anthony Horowitz (out now)
I featured a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories last month, but this novel is the first officially sanctioned Sherlock Holmes novel in decades. Early reviews indicate that this installment is in the spirit of, but not quite as good as, the originals.
Pilgrimage, by Annie Leibovitz (out now)
Leibovitz’s latest book of photos is a personal project largely photographed with a small digital camera, which is a departure for Leibovitz, who’s almost as famous for her elaborate photo shoots as she is for her iconic magazine covers. If this sounds interesting, also check out Henry Rollins’s Occupants.
Assassin of Secrets, by Q.R. Markham (out now)
Probably nothing special, but a book hinging on “a rogue cabal of assassins” is worth a peek.
[This book got "cut" because much of it was evidently plagiarized from other books. The publisher didn't realize until yesterday. Whoops.]
The Prague Cemetery, by Umberto Eco (out now)