And speaking of exactly how we feel about the length of the day, this week showcases the release of Michael Connelly's The Dark Hours, the fourth book to feature both Renée Ballard and that old police dog, Harry Bosch.
Connelly, known for his meticulous attention to police procedure, plays things close to his chest on this one, and The Dark Hours is a riveting read that is going to keep you busy while you wait for that turducken monstrosity to explode in the garage.
And with that, we are done with the fall season. From here on out, it's all books about eggnog and how to wrap your presents so people don't think you are giving them books. Nothing to read here but—
Oh, wait. Mark Manson has a new book out. His previous book, that gloriously indifferent (but only on the outside) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, has been sitting over there on the shelf (when we can keep it in stock) in hardback for forever and a day. Just giving you the cold shoulder about dropping into paperback. Nope. Not gonna. You want to know? You pay the price. And clearly it's been working for him, so why bother with a new book, right? Especially one with some other dude's face on the cover.
Oh, hang on. That's Will Smith's face. Well, it turns out that when Mr. Smith decided he needed to get on the celebrity memoir wagon, he thought it might be good to have a wingman. Someone who knew their way around telling a long-form story with lots of tiny type. As Mark tells it, Smith realized that while he was very good at some things, there were people out there who were very good at other things, and he was doing a disservice to the world by not hiring them to do their thing. In short: Be your best, and give others opportunities to be their best.
Which is how we ended up with Will Smith's bio being co-written by Mark Do-Not-Give-A-F*ck-Unless-It-Is-Worth-Giving-A-F*ck-And-Then-Give-All-The-F*cks Manson.
It's the holiday season. It's all about the inspirational story.
And speaking of inspirational reads, here is David Graeber's and David Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity. In The Dawn of Everything, Graeber, a former professor of anthropology at London School of Economics, and Wengrow, a professor of comparative archaeology at Unversity College London, take umbrage with the idea that human civilization started with the advent of agriculture and the ownership of property. Thus begins hierarchies and class struggles, and these two gents would like to back off from this idea and consider the evidence from other cultures which suggests that, eh, maybe this view of human history is a tad . . . property-centric? It's a book that will definitely spice up those holiday dinner conversations, so get started on it now!
Hello, and welcome to A Good Book's newsletter, where everything is shifted a bit because we didn't toggle the cancelation option on the whole Daylight Savings Time feature and it auto-renewed. Again. Hold tight. Get out your galoshes. Find the candles. It'll all be okay in a few months when the days get longer. In the meantime, here are some books to keep you company.
We've hit peak pop occulture this week with the Disney Villains Tarot Deck. We'll have it on the shelves next to the Unofficial Disney Parks Drink Recipe Book.
Oh, look! The Tiny Book of Grogu!
Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes, talking about books. Here's a lovely book on the topic. Andrew Pettegree's and Arthur Der Weduwen's The Library: A Fragile History. Now, this one isn't as musty as it might seem. While libraries were originally private collections, the authors recognize that the future of libraries is more than merely collecting all the books. It's a deep dive into the evolution of ideas, in many ways, but it's also commentary on the proliferation of knowledge across our world-wide community.
Meanwhile, here's Friday, a new collaboration between Ed Brubaker and Marcos Martin. It's a graphic novel about a young woman who used to hang out with the local Encyclopedia Brown sort of kid. And she was sort of a Nancy Drew sort of girl. Either way, she grew up and went to school and that might have been that, except she came back and everything suddenly became like it was—back in the day—except now, there are real monsters out in the woods . . . It's marvelously well-written and illustrated with a ton of verve. Highly recommended.
And speaking of high recommendations, Louise Erdrich first post-Pulitzer Prize book is The Sentence, a finely-tuned and richly constructed story about a bookstore. Well, it's about the people who work in the bookstore, as well as the people who frequent the bookstore. Oh, and also the people who live in the surrounding town, as well also those who have recently departed, some more heartbreakingly than others. But mostly it's about books and the power of story. And ghosts.
Whatever. She won the Pulitzer last year. You can't get much better of a recommendation than that.
Meanwhile, Ken Follett has returned to this century with Never, a tautly constructed all-too-plausible thriller. It's about political leaders, national machinations and domestic troubles, spun through with Follett's rich command of language and character. On the one hand, it's nice to have a plot that doesn't require an advanced degree in Medieval Studies to follow; on the other, it's on the nose enough to keep you up all night, caught up in the hair-raising stakes.
Meanwhile, in the category of "Out in Paperback For the Holidays," we have Ernest Cline's Ready Player Two. Much like the first one, but with trickier puzzles and more pop culture references.
Also, Natalie Haynes's A Thousand Ships, which is a retelling of that fateful war between those guys and the other guys, but hey, we're only going to tell the story from the viewpoint of the ladies who were involved, one of whom that bit about "the thousand ships" was written about. If you've enjoyed Madeline Miller's Circe or Pat Barker's The Silence of Girls, well, we've got something else for you!
And speaking of books with intriguing protagonists, check out Catherynne M. Valente's Comfort Me With Apples, a lush and evocative story about a perfect woman, living in a perfect world, where everything is perfectly as prescribed by the local Home Owner's Association. It's all so perfectly perfect that—oh, of course, things go horribly awry. And when the door gets unlocked—when the secrets come out—well, it's all very much something else entirely, isn't it? Comfort Me With Apples is a delicious descent in the darkness beneath dutiful domesticity. Dare you?
And with that, we shall turn, descend the stair, and eat a peach, as the old poem goes. Don't forget to visit us regularly, but order early for the holidays. And speaking of ordering and the holidays, as of next weekend, we will be, once again, suspending the intake of used books through the beginning of next year. Plan accordingly.