Have you recovered from last week's releases? Got everything read already? No? Well, scoot them all over a bit. Let's start another stack. Here is the second wave of fall books. Not quite a sneaker wave, but let's call it the after-wave. The one you weren't expecting so soon after the big wave.
Oh, look, a new Craig Johnson. Don't look so surprised. We warned you a few weeks ago. And here it is! Walt Longmire has returned from his adventures south of the border, where he discovers that all is not quiet and peaceful in Absaroka County. Surprise!
And speaking of surprises, Attica Locke drops by with Heaven, My Home, a sequel to last year's Bluebird, Bluebird, which won the 2018 Edgar Award for Best Novel. As before, Heaven, My Home stirs up memory and dust in east Texas as Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is called in to investigate the disappearance of a young boy, whose father happens to be a local power player in the Aryan Brotherhood—a brotherhood who Matthews has some unfinished business with.
Oh, and here's another surprise. A new Raina Telgemeier graphic novel. This one is called Guts, and it's about stomach bugs, germs, proximity bubbles, and dealing with those gross things called feelings. Telgemeier, who has been knocking it out of the park for awhile now (see Smile, Sisters, Drama, and Ghosts), has a way with laying bare the awkwardness and humanity of being a young person, and Guts is no exception. Get this one for those nervous ones in your household who need a little assurance that the rest of the world is just as freaked out as they are about other people.
And speaking of being freaked out, Edward Snowden's autobiography is out this week. As you may recall, back in 2013, Snowden went from CIA analyst to wanted whistleblower when he stepped outside the bevy of non-disclosure agreements that defined his relationship with the clandestine side of the US government. It turns out that the conspiracy theories about mass surveillance on a global scale by government agencies wasn't so crackpot a notion, after all. Snowden, of course, has been painted as a traitor, a patriot, and a radical freedom fighter (sometimes all three on the same day), and Permanent Record is his attempt to tell his side of the story.
There's been a movie already. Directed by Oliver Stone. It debuted against the eighty-fourth iteration of the Blair Witch franchise and Bridget Jone's Baby, taking in less than either of those two films during its opening weekend. Hopefully, Snowden's story is a more of a slow burn stay up all night reading sort of story.
And speaking of staying up all night sort of reading, Eric Foner wants to share with us some deep in the legal weeds notes about the "Reconstruction amendments." Foner, whose Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863 - 1877 is probably the seminal work on post-Civil War history, wants to talk about how the Civil War and Reconstruction impacted our Constitution. In The Second Founding, he walks us through the arguments and events surrounding the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the US Constitution, which dramatically altered the course of this nation. The Second Founding reminds us that many of these arguments are still simmering today.
And speaking of historical nods, Amy Stewart's indomitable Kopp Sisters are back this week with Kopp Sisters on the March. Stewart has been mining historical fact for her on-going tales of the clever Kopp sisters, who have gone from lady detectives to county sheriffs to matrons of military training camps for girls. Along the way, there is all sorts of historical hijinks and clever characters to keep the story moving along at a healthy clip.
And speaking of the influence of history, Jacqueline Woodson is back this week with Red at the Bone. Woodson, whose recent adult novel Another Brooklyn wowed folks back in 2016, delivers another stunning and complex novel about race, class, gentrification, unexpected parenthood, and religion. Told in a series of interwoven flashbacks during the coming-of-age party for 16-year-old Melody, Red at the Bone is one of this fall’s most eagerly anticipated contemporary fiction novels.
Meanwhile, Stuart Gibbs, who has been delighting us with the Spy School series, has a new series starting this week. This one is about Charlie Thorne—girl genius and action junkie—who is co-opted by the CIA (well, as much as one can be at twelve-years-old) to find a powerful equation supposedly developed by Albert Einstein. There’s lots of bullets flying, things blowing up, and high-speed physics calculations in Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation, along with some subtle notes about the responsibility that comes with power and knowledge.
And speaking of kids using technology, once you get done with the first adventure of Charlie Thorne, you can turn your kids on to actually doing cool science with Sean Connolly’s The Book of Terrifyingly Awesome Technology. Ably illustrated by Kristyna Baczynski, TBTAT contains twenty-seven experiments for young scientists. Projects ranging from making micro-satellites to creating artificial intelligences to . . . um, wait . . . isn’t this how SkyNet got started?
And finally, A Hero Born, the first volume of Jin Yong’s acclaimed wuxia series has been translated into English (by Anna Hollywood). Jin Yong, who recently died, spent much of his life as a journalist, but he still found time to pen a sprawling epic of 12-century China that has all the requisite ingredients: warring families, complicated bloodlines, epic battles, and lots and lots and lots of martial arts. It’s like a world where Zhang Yimou directed the epic eighty-hour version of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. You know you’d watch it.