Best New Books: Week of 6/2/2020

“One can never have too many librarian friends.” – Jennifer Chiaverini, The Wedding Quilt


The Vanishing Half by  Brit Bennett ★

vanishing halfThe Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passingLooking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.

Description from Goodreads.

“This is sure to be one of 2020’s best and boldest… A tale of family, identity, race, history, and perception, Bennett’s next masterpiece is a triumph of character-driven narrative.” – Elle

“Reflecting and refracting her story via the four related women—sisters, cousins, mothers, daughters—at its heart, and with an irresistible narrative voice, Bennett writes an intergenerational epic of race and reinvention, love and inheritance, divisions made and crossed, binding trauma, and the ever-present past.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Here, in her sensitive, elegant prose, [Bennett] evokes both the strife of racism, and what it does to a person even if they can evade some of its elements.” – Vogue

“Assured and magnetic… Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism… calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book’s 50-year-old antecedent… [a] rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEWS

Available Formats:

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A Burning by  Megha Majumdar ★

burningJivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism. An extraordinary debut.

Description from Goodreads.

“In weaving their voices alongside interludes from marginal characters, Majumdar creates a vivid portrait of India as a polyphonic crowd, a patchwork of differences. All the characters are subject to the nationalist forces pulsing through the country, but in the face of corruption, persecution and powerlessness, they manage to hold on to their dreams and humor.” – TIME

“…powerful… Megha Majumdar carefully crafts her debut novel… as a gripping thriller with compassionate social commentary… This novel rightfully commands attention.” – USA Today

“Weaving together these story lines, the author offers fresh, brisk, striking language while remaining relentless in her depiction of Jivan’s fate and of the kind of rampant suspicion and finally hatred that burns us all.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Kolkata-born and Harvard- and Johns Hopkins–educated book editor Majumdar presents an electrifying debut that serves as a barometer measuring the seeming triviality of human life and the fragility of human connections.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

Exciting Times by  Naoise Dolan ★

exciting timesAva moved to Hong Kong to find happiness, but so far, it isn’t working out. Since she left Dublin, she’s been spending her days teaching English to rich children—she’s been assigned the grammar classes because she lacks warmth—and her nights avoiding petulant roommates in her cramped apartment.

When Ava befriends Julian, a witty British banker, he offers a shortcut into a lavish life her meager salary could never allow. Ignoring her feminist leanings and her better instincts, Ava finds herself moving into Julian’s apartment, letting him buy her clothes, and, eventually, striking up a sexual relationship with him. When Julian’s job takes him back to London, she stays put, unsure where their relationship stands.

Enter Edith. A Hong Kong–born lawyer, striking and ambitious, Edith takes Ava to the theater and leaves her tulips in the hallway. Ava wants to be her—and wants her. Ava has been carefully pretending that Julian is nothing more than an absentee roommate, so when Julian announces that he’s returning to Hong Kong, she faces a fork in the road. Should she return to the easy compatibility of her life with Julian or take a leap into the unknown with Edith?

Politically alert, heartbreakingly raw, and dryly funny, Exciting Times is thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love. In stylish, uncluttered prose, Naoise Dolan dissects the personal and financial transactions that make up a life—and announces herself as a singular new voice.

Description from Goodreads.

“This debut novel about an Irish expat millennial teaching English and finding romance in Hong Kong is half Sally Rooney love triangle, half glitzy Crazy Rich Asians high living—and guaranteed to please.” – Vogue

“Very funny… Extremely sharp—both cutting and tart… A bracing, refreshing first novel.” – Observer

Exciting Times is an impressive, cerebral debut written with brio and humour… a debut that is as intricate as it is brash, with a style that is charmingly belligerent from start to finish… The observations are keen, heartfelt and delivered in a brutally nonchalant style… For a novel that spends most of its time inside the protagonist’s head, it is a surprisingly exciting read, heralding for sure a new star in Irish writing.” – Irish Times

“Overall, this surprising novel is believable and piercingly written, with many hilarious lines, such as when Ava wonders if a nasty English character is ‘a real person or three Mitford sisters in a long coat.’ For fans of Rachel Khong’s Goodbye, Vitamin.” – Library Journal

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

Parakeet by  Marie-Helene Bertino ★

parakeetThe week of her wedding, The Bride is visited by a bird she recognizes as her dead grandmother because of the cornflower blue line beneath her eyes, her dubious expression, and the way she asks: What is the Internet?

Her grandmother is a parakeet. She says not to get married. She says: Go and find your brother.

In the days that follow, The Bride’s march to the altar becomes a wild and increasingly fragmented, unstable journey that bends toward the surreal and forces her to confront matters long buried.

A novel that does justice to the hectic confusion of becoming a woman today, Parakeet asks and begins to answer the essential questions. How do our memories make, cage, and free us? How do we honor our experiences and still become our strongest, truest selves? Who are we responsible for, what do we owe them, and how do we allow them to change?

Urgent, strange, warm-hearted, and sly, Parakeet is ribboned with joy, fear, and an inextricable thread of real love. It is a startling, unforgettable, life-embracing exploration of self and connection.

Description from Goodreads.

“What is Parakeet about? It’s about an ambivalent bride. It’s about PTSD, grief, forgiveness, bad mothers, womanhood, monogamy and the nature of time itself. It’s about being a woman trapped by her subconscious and social conventions. It’s a Homeric quest to reclaim control over the heroine’s own life and sanity… Deeply funny… disquieting and darkly comic and vulnerable and true… Bertino’s writing is lyrical and sharp.” – New York Times Book Review

“Mournful, witty, and heartbreakingly honest.” – Entertainment Weekly

Parakeet contains so much more than the typical wedding narrative: it’s a surrealist rendering of an ambivalent bride and the traumas she can’t outrun no matter the occasion… As more of the bride’s memories are unfurled and dissected, her forays into other dimensions become both rational and revelatory.” – Vulture

“The voice is madcap, mythic, and exact―a tender, potent tragicomedy written with unapologetic panache… This is a book with a rare and brave hunger for feelings. Chaos and mystery are not something done to its people. The magic rises from who they are. To read Parakeet is to walk through the Bride’s memory, trauma, grief, pain, fear, and joy, antechamber after antechamber.” – Electric Literature

Available Formats:


The Second Home by  Christina Clancy

second homeAfter a disastrous summer spent at her family’s summer home on Cape Cod, seventeen year old Ann Gordon is left harboring a secret that changes her life forever, and creates a rift between her sister, Poppy, and their adopted brother, Michael.

Now, fifteen years later, her parents have died, and Ann and her sister Poppy are left to decide the fate of the old Wellfleet home that’s been in the Gordon family for generations. While they both love the house, they decide to sell it and move forward. But then Michael re-enters their lives with a legitimate claim to a third of the estate. He wants the house. But more than that, he wants to set the record straight about that long ago summer.

Reunited after years apart, these very different siblings are forced to decide if they can continue to be a family–and in the process, they’ll discover that the house might be the glue that holds them together.

Description from Goodreads.

Warm, absorbing and thought-provoking…” – Shelf Awareness

“A riveting family saga that fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Cristina Alger, and Maria de los Santos will devour, Clancy’s debut novel is a delight. With nostalgia as thick as the scent of coconut-scented sunscreen, The Second Home explores the consequences of emotional decisions and the strength needed to set things right.” – Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

Transporting… Clancy’s beach-ready debut is sure to be a favorite with book clubs.” – Publisher’s Weekly

Available Formats:

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The Summer of Kim Novak by  Håkan Nesser

summer of kim novakSweden in the ’60s. Erik and his friend Edmund spend their vacation by a forest lake daydreaming about Ewa, a young substitute teacher with an uncanny resemblance to the actress Kim Novak. The boys are having the time of their lives until a shocking discovery disrupts their world.

Twenty-five years later, Erik comes across a newspaper article about unsolved crimes and is overwhelmed by memories and questions from that summer of his youth. What actually happened back then?

The Summer of Kim Novak has all the tension and mystery of Nesser’s world-famous thrillers, combined with a coming-of-age tale of remarkable psychological precision.

Description from Goodreads.

“Nesser sensitively probes the agonies and ecstasies of adolescence, making this an exquisite example of Nordic noir’s ability to reveal the darkest emotional depths beneath a cloudless summer sky.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Not all Scandinavian crime fiction is gory and gloomy; it can also be lyrical and delicate, soaked in sunshine and surrounded by beautiful welcoming nature, yet with a touch of suspense gently simmering underneath the idyllic surface. Especially when it’s written by Håkan Nesser, one of the Swedish masters of Nordic Noir.” – Crime Review

“Nesser captures the awkwardness of adolescence beautifully.” – A Life in Books

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


Clean Hands by  Patrick Hoffman ★

clean handsCorporate lawyer Elizabeth Carlyle is under a lot of pressure. Her prestigious New York law firm is working on their most high-stakes case in company history, defending a prominent bank that’s been accused of fraud. When Elizabeth gets the news that one of her junior associates has lost his phone–and the secret documents that were on it–she needs help. Badly. Enter ex-CIA officer Valencia Walker, a high-priced fixer who gets called in when rich corporations, people and governments need their problems solved discretely. But things get complicated when the missing phone is retrieved: somebody has already copied the documents, and now they’re blackmailing the firm. The situation gets murkier still when stories about the documents start appearing in the press and a tragic suicide appears staged, hinting that darker forces may be churning below the surface. With billions of dollars on the line, Elizabeth and Valencia must maneuver and outmaneuver whomever is behind this, and, most importantly, keep their hands clean.

This is a world of private security, private diplomacy, and private justice. A sharply drawn cast of characters–dirty lawyers, black-market traders, Russian criminals, and extra-judicial actors, all take part in this breakneck tour through New York. Authentic, tense, and impossible to put down, Clean Hands gives a vivid look at the connections between corporations, government, and the underworld.

Description from Goodreads.

“…riveting… The impressive plot twists are a reminder that Hoffman remains a writer to watch.” – Publishers Weekly

“…a skillfully orchestrated effort that achieves its most outlandish effects with nifty understatement. It is a book of constantly moving parts and constantly moving vehicles, as characters race across New York City to avert disaster… Crime fiction that gives chaos an entertaining ride.” – Kirkus Reviews

“It feels particularly timely in the city’s moment of crisis, as Hoffman’s crooks and conspirators fan out across an intricately, lovingly-drawn grid with as deep a roster of hustlers as any Elmore Leonard ever conceived.” – CrimeReads

“This is a dark and nuanced novel that dissects financial crime at the highest levels.” – Literary Hub

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

They Did Bad Things by  Lauren A. Forry

they did bad thingsIn 1995, six university students moved into the house at 215 Caldwell Street. Months later, one of them was found dead on the sofa the morning after their end-of-year party. His death was ruled an accident by the police. The remaining five all knew it wasn’t, and though they went on with their lives, the truth of what happened to their sixth housemate couldn’t stay buried forever.

Twenty years later, all five of them arrive—lured separately under various pretenses—at Wolfheather House, a crumbling, secluded mansion on the Scottish isle of Doon. Trapped inside with no way out and no signal to the outside world, the now forty-somethings fight each other—and the unknown mastermind behind their gathering—as they confront the role they played in their housemate’s death. They are given one choice: confess to their crimes or die.

They Did Bad Things is a deviously clever psychological thriller about the banality of evil and the human capacity for committing horror.

Description from Goodreads.

“A superior riff on And Then There Were None… Forry expertly maintains the nail-biting suspense while fully developing her characters. Agatha Christie fans won’t want to miss this one.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“Forry keeps readers on edge… The solution to the past and present mysteries involves a well-executed twist. This is one for fans of Lucy Foley’s The Hunting Party.” – Booklist

“Lauren A. Forry… is obviously well-versed in nightmares.” – The Skinny

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook


The Guest List by  Lucy Foley

guest listThe bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

Description from Goodreads.

“Evok[es] the great Agatha Christie classics… Pay close attention to seemingly throwaway details about the characters’ pasts. They are all clues.” – New York Times Book Review

“Foley… outdoes herself again with this page-turning thriller; it’s like experiencing Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express and And Then There Were None rolled into one… Only a handful of thriller writers can accomplish what Foley does here: weave a complex plot from the perspectives of eight characters plus an omniscient narrator without causing confusion or reader exhaustion when the plot bounces from one person to the next. Fans of Christie, Louise Penny, and Ruth Rendell will absolutely love this book, which doesn’t reveal its secrets until the very last page.” – Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] delicious blend of classic crime setup and wicked, sometimes truly nasty characters with a dramatic bent… Much of this story is shiny, over-the-top glamour, but there are moments of real sorrow interwoven among the revelry. This is by no means a deeply twisted or disturbing book; it is hugely entertaining and a ton of fun to devour, a ‘popcorn read’ in every sense of the word.” – Crime By the Book

Available Formats:

Print Book | eBook | eAudiobook

Remain Silent by  Susie Steiner

remain silentNewly married and navigating life with a toddler as well as her adopted adolescent son, Manon Bradshaw is happy to be working part-time in the cold cases department of the Cambridgeshire police force, a job which allows her to “potter in, coffee in hand and log on for a spot of internet shopping–precisely what she had in mind when she thought of work-life balance.” But beneath the surface Manon is struggling with the day-to-day realities of what she assumed would be domestic bliss: fights about whose turn it is to clean the kitchen, the bewildering fatigue of having a young child in her forties, and the fact that she is going to couple’s counseling alone because her husband feels it would just be her complaining.

But when Manon is on a walk with her two-year-old son in a peaceful suburban neighborhood and discovers the body of a Lithuanian immigrant hanging from a tree with a mysterious note attached, she knows her life is about to change. Suddenly, she is back on the job, full-force, trying to solve the suicide–or is it a murder–in what may be the most dangerous and demanding case of her life.

Description from Goodreads.

“With Remain Silent… Susie Steiner flexes her authorial muscles… She eloquently captures the savage, ravaging fear that underlies everything from xenophobia and sexism, to plain old, soul-destroying bitterness. But there’s a softer light shining here too in Bradshaw’s musings on middle age, the gentle teasing that goes on between her and her colleagues, and even a dose of the tough love that’s sometimes required when it comes to lasting friendship. I read this book in a single sitting, pushed to both tears and laughter.” – Seattle Review of Books

­“Readers will be buoyed by the brilliance of Steiner’s dark humor and the power of her narrative. Recommend this to fans of Kate Atkinson, Tana French, and, of course, Val McDermid.” – Booklist
“Savvy, sharp, and smart.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available Formats:

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Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters by  Jennifer Chiaverini

mrs lincolns sistersIn May 1875, Elizabeth Todd Edwards reels from news that her younger sister Mary, former First Lady and widow of President Abraham Lincoln, has attempted suicide.

Mary’s shocking act followed legal proceedings arranged by her eldest and only surviving son that declared her legally insane. Although they have long been estranged, Elizabeth knows Mary’s tenuous mental health has deteriorated through decades of trauma and loss. Yet is her suicide attempt truly the impulse of a deranged mind, or the desperate act of a sane woman terrified to be committed to an asylum? And—if her sisters can put past grievances aside—is their love powerful enough to save her?

Maternal Elizabeth, peacemaker Frances, envious Ann, and much adored Emilie had always turned to one another in times of joy and heartache, first as children, and later as young wives and mothers. But when Civil War erupted, the conflict that divided a nation shattered their family. The Todd sisters’s fates were bound to their husbands’ choices as some joined the Lincoln administration, others the Confederate Army.

Now, though discord and tragedy have strained their bonds, Elizabeth knows they must come together as sisters to help Mary in her most desperate hour.

Description from Goodreads.

“Through meticulously researched historical detail and sympathetic portrayal of each character, including Mary herself, Chiaverini provides a fascinating glimpse into the women of an influential family on the front lines of some of the most important moments of that indelible time.” – Booklist

“An engaging glimpse of women’s privilege and anguish during the Civil War era.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A well researched and written book that is perfect for summer.” – Red Carpet Crash

Available Formats:

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Conventionally Yours by  Annabeth Albert

conventionally yoursCharming, charismatic, and effortlessly popular, Conrad Stewart seems to have it all… but in reality, he’s scrambling to keep his life from tumbling out of control.

Brilliant, guarded, and endlessly driven, Alden Roth may as well be the poster boy for perfection… but even he can’t help but feel a little broken inside.

When these mortal enemies are stuck together on a cross-country road trip to the biggest fan convention of their lives, their infamous rivalry takes a backseat as an unexpected connection is forged. Yet each has a reason why they have to win the upcoming Odyssey gaming tournament and neither is willing to let emotion get in the way―even if it means giving up their one chance at something truly magical.

Description from Goodreads.

“This captivating, nerdy romance delivers a satisfying happily ever after.” – Library Journal

“A well-crafted romance for fans of the smash hit Red, White & Royal Blue.” – Kirkus Reviews

“The descriptions of Odyssey play are inventive and fun, but Albert wisely focuses more on how the game helps build the characters’ confidence. This sweet… romance will have crossover YA appeal.” – Publishers Weekly

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook

The Summer Deal by  Jill Shalvis

summer dealBrynn Turner desperately wishes she had it together, but her personal life is like a ping-pong match that’s left her scared and hurt after so many attempts to get it right. In search of a place to lick her wounds and get a fresh start, she heads back home to Wildstone.

And then there’s Kinsey Davis, who after battling serious health issues her entire twenty-nine years of life, is tired of hoping for… well, anything. She’s fierce, tough, and pretty much the opposite of Brynn except for one thing: they’re half-sisters. Kinsey is keeping this bombshell, and a few others as well. Long time frenemies from summer camp, there’s no way she’s going to tell Brynn they’re related.

But then Brynn runs into Kinsey’s lifelong best friend, Eli, renewing a childhood crush. He’s still easy-going and funny and sexy as hell. When he gets her to agree to a summer-time deal to trust him to do right by her, no matter what, she never dreams it’ll result in finding a piece of herself she didn’t even know was missing. She could have a sister, love, and a future―if she can only learn to let go of the past.

As the long days of summer wind down, the three of them must discover if forgiveness is enough to grasp the unconditional love that’s right in front of them.

Description from Goodreads.

“[A] sweet, summery romance… Readers will find it easy to root for Shalvis’s stubborn, vulnerable heroines to recognize both the decency and compassion of the sexy men who love them and their own worthiness to be loved. This heartfelt tale is thoroughly satisfying.” – Publishers Weekly

The Summer Deal is a perfect summer read: light and fun with just the right amount of melodrama and heat, so shake out your beach towel (beach optional, of course), slip on your sunnies, and get ready to enjoy this breezy book.” – Girly Book Club

“Jill Shalvis always writes fun, interesting novels and this one is no exception.” – Red Carpet Crash

Available Formats:

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The Dragons, The Giant, the Women: A Memoir by  Wayétu Moore ★

dragons the giant the womenWhen Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York. Before she gets the reunion her father promised her, war breaks out in Liberia. The family is forced to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks until they arrive in the village of Lai. Finally, a rebel soldier smuggles them across the border to Sierra Leone, reuniting the family and setting them off on yet another journey, this time to the United States.

Spanning this harrowing journey in Moore’s early childhood, her years adjusting to life in Texas as a black woman and an immigrant, and her eventual return to Liberia, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is a deeply moving story of the search for home in the midst of upheaval. Moore has a novelist’s eye for suspense and emotional depth, and this unforgettable memoir is full of imaginative, lyrical flights and lush prose. In capturing both the hazy magic and the stark realities of what is becoming an increasingly pervasive experience, Moore shines a light on the great political and personal forces that continue to affect many migrants around the world, and calls us all to acknowledge the tenacious power of love and family.

Description from Goodreads.

“Building to a thrumming crescendo, the pages almost fly past. Readers will be both enraptured and heartbroken by Moore’s intimate yet epic story of love for family and home.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“…exhilarating… This memoir adds an essential voice to the genre of migrant literature, challenging false popular narratives that migration is optional, permanent and always results in a better life… The book, jumping confidently across decades and continents and even narrative perspectives, closes with a section of such masterful danger and suspense that the reader is afraid for Moore’s life…” – New York Times

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is a beautifully written book about the experience of migrating―a story, particularly in this moment, that can never be told enough.” – Bitch Media

“Formally dazzling yet coolly reflective prose makes for a refined memoir.” – Kirkus Reviews

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Dolls! Dolls! Dolls!: Deep Inside Valley of the Dolls, the Most Beloved Bad Book and Movie of All Time by  Stephen Rebello

dolls dolls dollsSince its publication in 1966, Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls has reigned as one of the most influential and beloved pieces of commercial fiction. Selling over thirty-one million copies worldwide, it revolutionized overnight the way books got sold, thanks to the tireless and canny self-promoting Susann. It also generated endless speculation about the author’s real-life models for its larger-than-life characters. Turned in 1967 into an international box-office sensation and morphing into a much-beloved cult film, its influence endures today in everything from films and TV shows to fashion and cosmetics tributes and tie-ins. Susann’s compulsively readable exposé of three female friends finding success in New York City and Hollywood was a scandalous eye-opener for its candid treatment of sex, naked ambition, ageism, and pill-popping, and the big screen version was one of the most-seen and talked-about movies of the time.

Dolls! Dolls! Dolls! digs deep into the creation of that hugely successful film–a journey nearly as cut-throat, sexually-charged, tragic, and revelatory as Susann’s novel itself–and uncovers how the movie has become a cherished, widely imitated camp classic, thanks to its over-the-top performances, endlessly quotable absurd dialogue, outré costumes and hairdos, despite the high aspirations, money, and talent lavished on it. Screenwriter-journalist-film historian Stephen Rebello has conducted archival research and new interviews to draw back the velvet curtain on the behind-the-scenes intrigue, feuds and machinations that marked the film’s production. In doing so, he unveils a rich, detailed history of fast-changing, late 1960s Hollywood, on screen and off.

Description from Goodreads.

“A blissful treasure trove of gossipy insider details that Dolls fans will swiftly devour… Written with a cinematic excitement and giddiness bordering on satire, this is an indulgent treat for Dolls fans… Memorable reading for die-hard devotees and those seeking to relive all the breathless histrionics.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Through extensive research and interviews, Rebello draws back the curtain on Susann’s soapy saga, offering insight into the behind-the-scenes secrets in bringing the book to the big screen.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“With great detail and heavy research, the book is as heady and colorful as the pulsating Pucci prints Susann so famously wore. It’s everything you could have ever possibly wanted to know about the book history loved to hate.” – Vogue

Available Formats:

Hoopla eAudiobook

Magnetized: Conversations with a Serial Killer by  Carlos Busqued

magnetizedOver the course of one ghostly week in September 1982, the bodies of four taxi drivers were found in Buenos Aires, each murder carried out with the same cold precision. The assailant: a nineteen-year-old boy, odd and taciturn, who gave the impression of being completely sane. But the crimes themselves were not: four murders, as exact as they were senseless.

More than thirty years later, Argentine author Carlos Busqued began visiting Ricardo Melogno, the serial killer, in prison. Their conversations return to the nebulous era of the crimes and a story full of missing pieces. The result is a book at once hypnotic and unnerving, constructed from forensic documents, newspaper clippings, and interviews with Melogno himself. Without imposing judgment, Busqued allows for the killer to describe his way of retreating from the world and to explain his crimes as best he can. In his own words, Melogno recalls a visit from Pope Francis, grim depictions of daily life in prison, and childhood remembrances of an unloving mother who drove her son to Brazil to study witchcraft. As these conversations progress, the focus slowly shifts from the crimes themselves, to Melogno’s mistreatment and mis-diagnosis while in prison, to his current fate: incarcerated in perpetuity despite having served his full sentence.

Magnetized is a riveting psychological portrait—a captivating story about one man’s crimes, but also about a way to inhabit the world, or to become absent from it.

Description from Goodreads.

“Busqued unnerves and entertains readers with this forensic tale synthesized from more than 90 hours of dialogue with a serial killer. The author’s interviews with Ricardo Melogno detail not only his crimes, which took place during one week in 1982, but also his motivations―or lack thereof―and the killer’s fascinating, disturbing psyche… Artfully rendered… The narrative is perfect for anyone fascinated by the criminal mind, the distinctions between mental illness and possession, or the concept of predestined evil. A truly visceral read that will not let readers look away.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“A true-crime book that pulls no punches in covering a killer, but doesn’t skimp on humanity, either. A solid effort not to be missed.” – Booklist

“What makes Busqued worth reading, and why we should be grateful that Catapult has decided to translate and publish him, is that his murder-writing shifts noir into pleasantly unexpected terrain… Previously invisible patterns form ominously―in conversations, in the cracks in prison cell walls, between this particular murder case and a thousand other cases you’ve seen fictionalized on trashy television―and just as unpredictably disappear… He’s one of the best living Argentine writers translated into English today.” – Splice Today

Available Formats:

Hoopla eBook | Hoopla eAudiobook

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