Best New Books: Week of 2/14/2023

“Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.” – Roshani Chokshi, The Gilded Wolves

All the Beauty in the World: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Me by Patrick Bringley

nonfiction / memoir / art.

All the Beauty in the WorldMillions of people climb the grand marble staircase to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art every year. But only a select few have unrestricted access to every nook and cranny. They’re the guards who roam unobtrusively in dark blue suits, keeping a watchful eye on the two million square foot treasure house. Caught up in his glamorous fledgling career at The New Yorker, Patrick Bringley never thought he’d be one of them. Then his older brother was diagnosed with fatal cancer and he found himself needing to escape the mundane clamor of daily life. So he quit The New Yorker and sought solace in the most beautiful place he knew.

To his surprise and the reader’s delight, this temporary refuge becomes Bringley’s home away from home for a decade. We follow him as he guards delicate treasures from Egypt to Rome, strolls the labyrinths beneath the galleries, wears out nine pairs of company shoes, and marvels at the beautiful works in his care. Bringley enters the museum as a ghost, silent and almost invisible, but soon finds his voice and his tribe: the artworks and their creators and the lively subculture of museum guards—a gorgeous mosaic of artists, musicians, blue-collar stalwarts, immigrants, cutups, and dreamers. As his bonds with his colleagues and the art grow, he comes to understand how fortunate he is to be walled off in this little world, and how much it resembles the best aspects of the larger world to which he gradually, gratefully returns.

In the tradition of classic workplace memoirs like Lab Girl and Working Stiff, All The Beauty in the World is a surprising, inspiring portrait of a great museum, its hidden treasures, and the people who make it tick, by one of its most intimate observers.

“[It] is a beautiful tale about beauty. It is also a tale about grief, balancing solitude and comradeship, and finding joy in both the exalted and the mundane.” – Mary Jo Murphy, Washington Post

All the Beauty in the World is an empathic chronicle of one museum, the works collected there and the people who keep it running — all recounted by an especially patient observer.” – Tobias Carroll, New York Times

“[O]ne can’t help but be moved by connections he makes between the works over which he stood guard, and the childlike simplicity of the prose suits his sense of wonder… An emotionally cathartic stroll through the hallowed halls of a beloved institution.” – Kirkus Reviews

The Applicant by Nazli Koca


The ApplicantIt’s 2017 and Leyla, a Turkish twenty-something living in Berlin is scrubbing toilets at an Alice in Wonderland-themed hostel after failing her thesis, losing her student visa, and suing her German university in a Kafkaesque attempt to reverse her failure.

Increasingly distant from what used to be at arm’s reach—writerly ambitions, tight knit friendships, a place to call home—Leyla attempts to find solace in the techno beats of Berlin’s nightlife, with little success. Right as the clock winds down on the hold on her visa, Leyla meets a conservative Swedish tourist and—against her political convictions and better judgment—begins to fall in love, or something like it. Will she accept an IKEA life with the Volvo salesman and relinquish her creative dreams, or return to Turkey to her mother and sister, codependent and enmeshed, her father’s ghost still haunting their lives?

While she waits for the German court’s verdict on her future, in the pages of her diary, Leyla begins to parse her unresolved past and untenable present. An indelible character at once precocious and imperiled, Leyla gives voice to the working-class and immigrant struggle to find safety, self-expression, and happiness. The Applicant is an extraordinary dissection of a liminal life between borders and identities, an original and darkly funny debut.

“Sometimes you encounter a character in a book who you genuinely want to hang out with. We could be friends in real life, you think. Reader, meet Leyla… a protagonist to root for.” – Katie Yee, Literary Hub

“Excellently written, this first work presents Leyla as an authentic individual who will not easily be forgotten, and exquisitely explores the frustrations and insights of an inquiring mind sorting out past history, boyfriends and lovers, dreams and reality.” – Lisa Rohrbaugh, Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

“Leyla is a witty, acutely observant, and deeply sympathetic character who manages to tell the details of her life—both the transcendent epiphanies and the debauched aftermaths—with an honesty that disavows patronizing pity. This is a book about some of the largest issues of our time—ethnic identity, national belonging, the psychological traumas of patriarchy and White supremacy, sexual ownership, feminist reckoning—but it is also, and perhaps primarily, a book about the intimacy between a character and a reader as one agrees to talk and the other agrees to listen. A powerful debut that heralds a voice intent on being heard.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

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The Cliff’s Edge by Charles Todd

fiction / mystery / historical fiction.

The Cliff's EdgeRestless and uncertain of her future in the wake of World War I, former battlefield nurse Bess Crawford agrees to travel to Yorkshire to help a friend of her cousin Melinda through surgery. But circumstances change suddenly when news of a terrible accident reaches them. Bess agrees to go to isolated Scarfdale and the Neville family, where one man has been killed and another gravely injured. The police are asking questions, and Bess is quickly drawn into the fray as two once close families take sides, even as they are forced to remain in the same house until the inquest is completed.

When another tragedy strikes, the police are ready to make an arrest. Bess struggles to keep order as tensions rise and shots are fired. What dark truth is behind these deaths? And what about the tale of an older murder–one that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Nevilles? Bess is unaware that when she passes the story on to Cousin Melinda, she will set in motion a revelation with the potential to change the lives of those she loves most–her parents, and her dearest friend, Simon Brandon…

“…stellar… Todd has few peers at both keeping readers turning pages for the reveal and making every character on those pages feel real. Those seeking emotional depth in their mysteries will be richly rewarded.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

“As usual in this elegiac series, the heroine’s detective work is less important than the sad secrets it discloses.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Another good, suspenseful novel in the series. These Bess Crawford books are always great, and fans will love this one. This is the final Bess Crawford book from the mother/son writing team of Charles Todd, as Caroline passed away in 2021. I have loved all of their books over the years, and hopefully Charles will continue to write this series, and the Ian Rutledge novels. If not, thanks for all the great novels…” – Red Carpet Crash

The Climate Book: The Facts and the Solutions by Greta Thunberg

nonfiction / science / current events.

The Climate BookWe still have time to change the world. From Greta Thunberg, the world’s leading climate activist, comes the essential handbook for making it happen.

You might think it’s an impossible task: secure a safe future for life on Earth, at a scale and speed never seen, against all the odds. There is hope – but only if we listen to the science before it’s too late.

In The Climate Book, Greta Thunberg has gathered the wisdom of over one hundred experts – geophysicists, oceanographers and meteorologists; engineers, economists and mathematicians; historians, philosophers and indigenous leaders – to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster. Alongside them, she shares her own stories of demonstrating and uncovering greenwashing around the world, revealing how much we have been kept in the dark. This is one of our biggest challenges, she shows, but also our greatest source of hope. Once we are given the full picture, how can we not act? And if a schoolchild’s strike could ignite a global protest, what could we do collectively if we tried?

We are alive at the most decisive time in the history of humanity. Together, we can do the seemingly impossible. But it has to be us, and it has to be now.

“Impassioned… Thunberg gathers essays from scientists, journalists, and activists, starting with lucid and accessible explanations of the science of global warming and its possible effects… A comprehensive and articulate shock to the system.” – Publishers Weekly

“An urgent collection of writing by leaders in the fields of science, engineering, history, philosophy, and activism… Brilliant and alarming… Vital reading for anyone who cares about the planet.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“[A] sweeping compendium of essays contributed by more than 100 academicians, authors, environmentalists, and journalists whose specific professional expertise or profound humanitarian concern amplifies the existing science surrounding this crisis of sustainability and ecology. Yet among this esteemed roster of recognized voices, it is Thunberg’s own eloquence that elevates the collection with introductory essays for each section that convey a sense of urgency that is genuine, grounded, and unimpeachable.” – Carol Haggas, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“[Her] new book is not for the faint-hearted. Even a reader well informed on the climate and biodiversity crises will find themselves more painfully aware of the nightmare into which we have been sleepwalking for decades, and from which we still show so little sign of awakening. You will drive your car, eat your sirloin, light your fire — or watch your neighbours do these things, if you’ve given them up — even less comfortably after reading it… Her book is an admirable and monumental effort to inform [climate] conversations with good evidence… [It is] proof, if further proof were needed, that she is a truly exceptional figure, fluent way beyond her years in grasping and communicating the complexity and connectedness of these crises. Not to mention an ethical sensibility that puts most of us to shame.” – Paddy Woodworth, Irish Times

Death of a Traitor by M.C. Beaton with R.W. Green

fiction / mystery.

Death of a TraitorKate Hibbert is all too eager to lend a hand to her neighbors. Although she has been a resident of the sleepy village of Lochdubh for only a year, in that time Kate has alienated one too many of its residents with her interfering—and not entirely well-intentioned—ways. When Kate’s neighbor sees her lugging a heavy suitcase to the bus stop, he hopes that the prying woman is leaving for good. But two weeks later, Kate’s cousin arrives in town with the news that Kate has gone missing—and she demands that the local police step in.

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is called in to investigate the disappearance, and soon he is befuddled by a storm of lies, intrigue, and scandal… and the sneaking suspicion that Kate was someone much more sinister than she claimed. Torn between loyalty to Lochdubh and his job, Hamish begins threading his way through a maze of deceit, quickly finding himself on the trail of a ruthless, treacherous murderer. If he catches the killer, peace can return to the village. If he fails, he will lose everything: his job, his home, and the life he so loves in Lochdubh.

“Another pitch-perfect entry in the long-running Hamish Macbeth series… capturing Beaton’s deft plotting, shrewd characterizations, and loving depictions of the Scottish Highlands… The plot builds and twists nicely… Raise a glass of Hamish’s favored Famous Grouse to this new addition in a worthy series.” – Connie Fletcher, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

End of Story by Kylie Scott

fiction / romance.

End of StoryWhen Susie Bowen inherits a charming fixer-upper from her aunt, she’s excited to start living her best HGTV life. But when she opens the door to find that her contractor is none other than her ex’s best friend, Lars—the same man who witnessed their humiliating public breakup six months ago—she isn’t exactly eager to have anyone around whose alliance is with the enemy. But beggars can’t be choosers, and the sooner the repairs are done, the sooner she can get back to embracing singledom.

Things go from awkward to unbelievable when Lars discovers a divorce certificate hidden in a wall and dated ten years in the future—with both their names on it. It couldn’t possibly be real… could it? As Susie and Lars work to unravel the document’s origins, the impossibility of a spark between them suddenly doesn’t seem so far-fetched. But would a relationship between them be doomed before it’s even begun?

“[A] sexy, smart and unconventional opposites-attract love story…” – Elise Dumpleton, The Nerd Daily

“Scott’s unique voice and engrossing story are perfect for fans of Sarah Hogle and Tessa Bailey.” – Ashli Wells, Library Journal

“[A] fun and raucous rom-com… Scott nails the pacing and delivers some delightful comedic moments, but it’s her masterfully crafted characters that really set this apart. Both Susie and Lars feel like mature, fully realized people who bring their entire selves and past experiences to their relationship, and the book’s focus on how they sort through their differences elevates it to the next level. This strikingly fresh romance is sure to win fans.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

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Essex Dogs by Dan Jones

fiction / historical fiction / action.

Essex DogsJuly 1346. Ten men land on the beaches of Normandy. They call themselves the Essex Dogs: an unruly platoon of archers and men-at-arms led by a battle-scarred captain whose best days are behind him. The fight for the throne of the largest kingdom in Western Europe has begun.

Heading ever deeper into enemy territory toward Crécy, this band of brothers knows they are off to fight a battle that will forge nations, and shape the very fabric of human lives. But first they must survive a bloody war in which rules are abandoned and chivalry itself is slaughtered.

Rooted in historical accuracy and told through an unforgettable cast, Essex Dogs delivers the stark reality of medieval war on the ground – and shines a light on the fighters and ordinary people caught in the storm.

“[Reconceives] medieval military history as a swashbuckling Hollywood movie.” – Ian McGuire, New York Times

“Historian Jones’s first foray into fiction is battle-bloody, brutal and perfectly pitched… Meticulously researched and vibrantly told… It’s a slaughterous, sweary, swaggering debut.” – Eithne Farry, The Daily Mail

“An impeccably researched ‘you are there’ novel with a real-time approach, Jones’ entertaining fiction debut moves episodically from encounter to life-threatening encounter… the book hums with black humor… An enjoyable romp through the darkest of ages.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Hourglass by Keiran Goddard


HourglassThe second time you came, we went from bar to bar to bar. It made the city feel smaller. Like a map we were folding to the size of a stamp. We were good at that. We could have fit an entire universe inside a matchbox.

Love builds up little by little and that’s why it makes people reach for words like root and sediment and other words to do with rocks and trees. But what about the dismantling? Does it happen that way too? Because it feels like it is happening much, much faster. And I am reaching for words like landslide and like wave and like storm…

Exquisitely crafted, wildly imaginative and as darkly funny as it is moving, Hourglass is a revolutionary love story. It turns time upside down, combs the intimate wreckage of heartbreak for something universal, and asks what it means to lose what you love.

“…bracing and intimate… Like a distinctly revealing internet thread, this will capture readers’ attention.” – Publishers Weekly

“An arresting, exquisitely told love story… full of flair and dark wit, never straying into sentimentality… It is remarkable to read a love story so universal that still articulates something illuminating about love itself. Goddard has found new ways to express the achingly familiar without ever recycling cliched representations… Goddard has hit a nerve with this devastatingly funny, intimate portrait of a modern man in a contemporary love story. If ever a book could be read as a pilgrimage to discover what the heart finds sacred, this is it.” – Helen Cullen, Irish Times

“…captivatingly described… This interesting take on novel writing creates a world of studied introspection, mixed with social commentary, that will appeal to lovers of language and patient readers of incisive ennui; recommended for fans of the author and of all things literary.” – Henry Bankhead, Library Journal

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The Last Orphan by Gregg Hurwitz

fiction / ACTION / suspense / mystery.

The Last OrphanAs a child, Evan Smoak was plucked out of a group home, raised and trained as an off-the-books assassin for the government as part of the Orphan program. When he broke with the program and went deep underground, he left with a lot of secrets in his head that the government would do anything to make sure never got out.

When he remade himself as The Nowhere Man, dedicated to helping the most desperate in their times of trouble, Evan found himself slowly back on the government’s radar. Having eliminated most of the Orphans in the program, the government will stop at nothing to eliminate the threat they see in Evan. But Orphan X has always been several steps ahead of his pursuers.

Until he makes one little mistake…

Now the President has him in her control and offers Evan a deal – eliminate a rich, powerful man she says is too dangerous to live and, in turn, she’ll let Evan survive. But when Evan left the Program he swore to only use his skills against those who really deserve it. Now he has to decide what’s more important – his principles or his life.

“Hurwitz was always a fine storyteller, but he really found his groove with the Orphan X novels. He’s clearly having a lot of fun with this series: the writing is crisp, the action scenes are both clever and cinematic, the dialogue is pitch perfect, and the villains are deliciously detestable. First-class.” – David Pitt, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

“Hurwitz shrewdly paints in primary colors and keeps the action moving… long on gritty action and crackerjack dialogue… The short, punchy chapters’ piquant titles add another tongue-in-cheek layer to the proceedings… A popular series ends, or not, with a bang and a healthy dose of wry humor.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…wild… Fans of Robert Ludlum’s action-packed novels featuring another skilled killer protagonist looking to do the right thing, Jason Bourne, are most likely to be satisfied.” – Publishers Weekly

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

fiction / fantasy / horror / romance / mystery.

The Last Tale of the Flower BrideOnce upon a time, a man who believed in fairy tales married a beautiful, mysterious woman named Indigo Maxwell-Casteñada. He was a scholar of myths. She was heiress to a fortune. They exchanged gifts and stories and believed they would live happily ever after–and in exchange for her love, Indigo extracted a promise: that her bridegroom would never pry into her past.

But when Indigo learns that her estranged aunt is dying and the couple is forced to return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, the bridegroom will soon find himself unable to resist. For within the crumbling manor’s extravagant rooms and musty halls, there lurks the shadow of another girl: Azure, Indigo’s dearest childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. As the house slowly reveals his wife’s secrets, the bridegroom will be forced to choose between reality and fantasy, even if doing so threatens to destroy their marriage… or their lives.

Combining the lush, haunting atmosphere of Mexican Gothic with the dreamy enchantment of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride is a spellbinding and darkly romantic page-turner about love and lies, secrets and betrayal, and the stories we tell ourselves to survive.

“An exquisitely painted fairy tale filled with dark enchantment and an exploration of the monsters within.” – Rachel Strolle, BuzzFeed

“I don’t know how otherwise to explain this—The Last Tale of the Flower Bride is a Scorpio of a book. It is lush and extremely sensual from the very beginning, full of dark secrets and elegance that will sweep you off your feet… An absolutely gorgeous read, with prose like expensive perfume and pearls. You won’t want it to ever end.” – Christina Orlando,

“Chokshi’s novel is a true fairy tale, both in its poetic, fantastical imagery and its thematic interest in the price people pay for freedom and love… as in the best folktales, the issues at the crux of the otherworldly struggles here are simply, and painfully, human. A singular, unforgettable tale of love and magic.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

Maroons by Adrienne Maree Brown

fiction / science fiction.

MaroonsThe pandemic of Syndrome H-8 continues to ravage the city of Detroit and everyone in Dune’s life. In Maroons, she must learn what community and connection mean in the lonely wake of a fatal virus. Emerging from grief to follow the subtle path of small pleasures through an abandoned urban landscape, she begins finding other unlikely survivors with little in common but the will to live. This second installment of the Grievers trilogy is a tale of survival, of moving beyond seemingly insurmountable devastation toward, if not hope itself, then the road to hope.

“…sensational… Grief, loneliness, connection, and a little bit of magic all work together to create a powerful metaphor for grassroots activism. Equally thrilling and thought-provoking, this will put readers in mind of speculative greats like Octavia Butler and Samuel R. Delaney.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

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A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allen Poe by Mark Dawidziak

nonfiction / biography / history / mystery.

A Mystery of MysteriesIt is a moment shrouded in horror and mystery. Edgar Allan Poe died on October 7, 1849, at just forty, in a painful, utterly bizarre manner that would not have been out of place in one of his own tales of terror. What was the cause of his untimely death, and what happened to him during the three missing days before he was found, delirious and “in great distress” on the streets of Baltimore, wearing ill-fitting clothes that were not his own?

Mystery and horror. Poe, who remains one of the most iconic of American writers, died under haunting circumstances that reflect the two literary genres he took to new heights. Over the years, there has been a staggering amount of speculation about the cause of death, from rabies and syphilis to suicide, alcoholism, and even murder. But many of these theories are formed on the basis of the caricature we have come to associate with Poe: the gloomy-eyed grandfather of Goth, hunched over a writing desk with a raven perched on one shoulder, drunkenly scribbling his chilling masterpieces. By debunking the myths of how he lived, we come closer to understanding the real Poe—and uncovering the truth behind his mysterious death, as a new theory emerges that could prove the cause of Poe’s death was haunting him all his life.

In a compelling dual-timeline narrative alternating between Poe’s increasingly desperate last months and his brief but impactful life, Mark Dawidziak sheds new light on the enigmatic master of macabre.

“Even those familiar with Poe’s story will find plenty of surprises here, while those who know him only by reputation will get a better-rounded view of a man who was far more than an author of a few scary stories.”  – Margaret Quamme, Columbus Dispatch

“Excellent… Dawidziak’s biography reaches beyond the myth of Poe to reveal the actual man and writer, all while painting a vivid picture of the era in which he lived.” – Deborah Hopkinson, BookPage, STARRED REVIEW

“In this intrigue-filled offering, Dawidziak achieves the difficult feat of delivering a fresh biography of Edgar Allan Poe… this has revelations to spare.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Palo Alto: A History of California, Capitalism, and the World by Malcolm Harris

nonfiction / history / technology / business.

Palo AltoPalo Alto is nice. The weather is temperate, the people are educated, rich, healthy, enterprising. Remnants of a hippie counterculture have synthesized with high technology and big finance to produce the spiritually and materially ambitious heart of Silicon Valley, whose products are changing how we do everything from driving around to eating food. It is also a haunted toxic waste dump built on stolen Indian burial grounds, and an integral part of the capitalist world system.

In Palo Alto, the first comprehensive, global history of Silicon Valley, Malcolm Harris examines how and why Northern California evolved in the particular, consequential way it did, tracing the ideologies, technologies, and policies that have been engineered there over the course of 150 years of Anglo settler colonialism, from IQ tests to the “tragedy of the commons,” racial genetics, and “broken windows” theory. The Internet and computers, too. It’s a story about how a small American suburb became a powerful engine for economic growth and war, and how it came to lead the world into a surprisingly disastrous 21st century. Palo Alto is an urgent and visionary history of the way we live now, one that ends with a clear-eyed, radical proposition for how we might begin to change course.

“Engaging and unsettling.” – Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times

“A monumental work of research and imagination, Palo Alto is destined to sit on a high shelf next to other unforgettable works of national history.” – Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire

“A searching history of California and its role in predatory, extractive capitalism… [Harris] proposes a program of divestiture and restitution, including ‘the forfeit of Stanford’s vast accumulated wealth,’ that is breathtaking in its audacity… highly readable, sharply argued and well researched.” – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

“[Harris] retains a keen eye for the cultural and economic hallmarks and exports of his famous hometown… [Palo Alto] feels like the culmination of his upbringing and career. It’s a stunning, Technicolor anvil of a book… [It] manages to tell a story that is grand in its scope, startling in its specifics, and ingenious in the connections it draws.” – Scott W. Stern, The New Republic

Sweetlust: Stories by Asja Bakić; translated by Jennifer Zoble

fiction / science fiction.

SweetlustThe eleven stories in Sweetlust interweave feminist critique, intertextuality, and science fiction tropes in an irreverent portrait of our past, present, and future.

In a dystopian world with no men, women are “rehabilitated” at an erotic amusement park. Climate change has caused massive flooding and warming in the Balkans, where one programmer builds a time machine. And a devious reimagining of The Sorrows of Young Werther refocuses to center a sexually adventurous Charlotte.

Asja Bakić deploys the speculative and weird to playfully interrogate conversations around artificial intelligence, gender fluidity, and environmental degradation. Once again Bakić upends her characters’ convictions and identities—as she did in her acclaimed debut Mars—and infuses each disorienting universe with sly humor and off-kilter eroticism. Both visceral and otherworldly, Sweetlust takes apart human desire and fragility, repeatedly framing pleasure as both inviting and perilous.

“Occasionally disturbing and always intoxicating, Sweetlust is well worth the read, and difficult to put down.” – Zoë Lourey-Christianson, Bust

“These stories find Bakić exploring everything from climate change to society and gender, making for a provocative and emotionally engaging read.” – Tobias Carroll,

“…daring, imaginative… Throughout this wide-ranging collection, sly humor accents the penetrating observations. The dystopian stories collected in Sweetlust raise piercing, inventive questions that transcend place and time, leading to reflections on contemporary experiences. Here, intelligent, resourceful heroines learn to endure and even rise above their grim circumstances—whether or not survival is enough.” – Kristen Rabe, Foreword Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

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Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy by James B. Stewart & Rachel Abrams

nonfiction / business / history.

UnscriptedIn 2016, the fate of Paramount – the media empire that includes Viacom, CBS, and Simon & Schuster – hung precariously in the balance. Its founder and head, 93 year old Sumner Redstone, was facing a very public lawsuit brought by a former romantic companion, Manuela Herzer–a lawsuit that brought Sumner’s deteriorating health and questionable judgement to light. His daughter Shari, whose relationship with Sumner had been less than warm, took control of her father’s business, to the frustration of the board and management who for decades had heard Sumner bemoan his daughter’s ideas. Les Moonves, the popular CEO of CBS, was particularly incensed; scheming with his allies on the board, he worked to strip Shari of power. But while he publicly battled Shari, news began to leak that Moonves was being investigated for several instances of sexual assault; fearing for his job, Moonves began working behind the scenes to try to make the stories disappear.

Unscripted is an explosive and unvarnished look at the usually-secret inner workings of two public companies, their boards of directors, and a wealthy family in the throes of seismic changes. Through the microcosm of this company, whose once victorious business model of cable fees and ticket sales is crumbling under the assault of technological advances, and whose workplace is undergoing radical change in the wake of #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and a distaste for the old guard, New York Times reporters James B. Stewart and Rachel Abrams lay bare the battle for power at any price–and the carnage that ensued.

“Addicted to Succession? Well, here’s the real thing.” – Seth Abramovitch, Hollywood Reporter

Unscripted is a model of how gracefully to tell the most grotesque of stories: that of the final years of Sumner Redstone… The writing is elegant and the story so weird and compelling — I lost some sleep unable to put this book down — that the reader may be the only witness to this spectacle who never feels manipulated… Redstone is as odious a character as I have encountered in fact or fiction. Iago, Charles Foster Kane and Logan Roy have nothing on him… For those predisposed to curiosity about the machinations of wealth and power, it will be a delicious treat. But I also found it a crucial cautionary tale at a time when too many people equate wealth with some sort of generalized mastery. In this story, money has the opposite effect. It distorts everything it touches, rendering otherwise sane and capable people unable to make good and ethical decisions. Instead, they make choices that hurt all those around them, even themselves.” – Adam Davidson, New York Times

“A business book that makes Hollywood tales of debauchery look tame… brings remarkable detail and fresh insight to a C-suite fight… Mixing tight financial reporting with soap-operatic twists and turns, Unscripted makes the amped-up historical fiction of Babylon feel downright chaste by comparison… the antics of these ancient media men — squabbling over the spoils of decades of movie theater and television riches — feel like the last hurrah of Old Hollywood.” – Matthew Belloni, Washington Post

Varina Palladino’s Jersey Italian Love Story by Terri-Lynne DeFino

fiction / romance.

Varina Palladino's Jersey Italian Love StoryLively widow Varina Palladino has lived in the same house in Wyldale, New Jersey, her entire life. The town might be slightly stuck in the 1960s, when small businesses thrived and most residents were Italian, but its population is getting younger and the Palladinos are embracing the change. What Varina’s not embracing, much to her ninety-two-year-old mother’s dismay, is dating. Running Palladino’s Italian Specialties grocery, caring for her mother, and keeping her large, loud Jersey Italian family from killing one another takes up all of Varina’s energy anyway.

Sylvia Spini worries about her daughter Varina being left all alone when she dies. Sylvia knows what it is to be old and alone, so when her granddaughter, Donatella, comes to her with an ill-conceived plan to find Varina a man, Sylvia dives in. The three men of the family—Dante, Tommy, and Paulie—are each secretly plotting their own big life changes, which will throw everyone for a loop.

Three generations of Palladinos butt heads and break one another’s hearts as they wrestle with their own Jersey Italian love stories in this hilarious and life-affirming ode to love and family.

“A bighearted story of a suburban Jersey Italian family… Readers will be glad to immerse themselves in the Palladinos’ exuberant world.” – Publishers Weekly

“There are a lot of laughs despite the mayhem and drama, and of course, many family dinners (with recipes!), but it is love that permeates and elevates this terrific Italian family saga.” – Stacy Alesi, Library Journal

“DeFino’s zesty homage to the northern New Jersey microcosm delights with its universality and specificity.” – Carol Haggas, Booklist, STARRED REVIEW


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