We suspect a critical part of our brains has melted over the last few days. Perhaps you are feeing the same way. In light of this muddle, let's see if we can keep this week's list in the Oh No, I'd Rather Stay Home And Read, Thank You Very Much category.
How about Alex Trebek's memoir? We suspect the man who has been unflappably polite at the Jeopardy podium for over thirty years might have a few good stories to tell. No secret hints to Jeopardy strategies, though. You're still going to earn your way to the winner's circle by just learning lots of stuff. We know, we know. Why does it have to be so hard?
And speaking of celebrity memoirs, here's one by Oliver Stone. Stone has directed an impressive roster of films over the years (and probably has been a Jeopardy answer quite a few times), and Chasing the Light
covers the early stages of his career (Midnight Express, Salvador, Platoon, Scarface). Stone, as should be no surprise given his ability behind the camera, knows a little something about pacing and tone, and Chasing the Light
is, like Val Kilmer's recent memoir, much more engaging than it might appear at first glance.
And here's a name we haven't seen for awhile. Garth Stein is back. Say hello to James "Tuck" Tucker, who is a genetically modified human-goat person. He's one of the Cloven, and this graphic novel charts Tuck's initial adventures after escaping from the lab. Tuck finds others like him, wrestles with his identity, and well, prances about the Pacific Northwest. As if we needed another critter haunting our woods.
And speaking of satyrs dancing about in the moonlight, here's the latest Dungeons & Dragons campaign book, Mythic Odysseys of Theros
. Hey, guess what you can now play as? That's right: partial-goat person. Plus new subclasses, mythic monsters, and loads of artifacts to make your D & D part that much more . . . EPIC.
We know you're making that face because we pulled the rug out from under you. Well, we may have deserved it. Probably not.
Either way, here's Grumpycorn. You know you want it.
Speaking of great covers, our favorite cover this week is He Started It
by Samantha Downing. Oh, there's no doubt she's finishing it. He Started It
is a road novel, filled with pernicious backstabbing, terrible family secrets, and a serious throwdown in a Nevada desert. Not everyone lives.
Speaking of covers, here's one that gave us a little whiplash. This is a Brad Thor book, trying to pretend it's a literary novel. Isn't that precious? In Near Dark
, Thor's super spy Scot Harvath is, once again, betrayed by bunch of people and hunted by everyone else. If you're looking for something that trips all those explody switches in your head but doesn't require complex math to follow, well, here you go.
Look, Brad. Here's Maggie O'Farrell's new book, Hamnet
. You know what kind of book this is? That's right. It's a literary historical novel about Shakespeare, the plague, and the damned pursuit of love and passion. Oh, and grief. You know there's some grief in these pages. That's why you can't see that person's eyes on the cover. You're not ready to look into those eyes yet.
And speaking of covering your eyes, here's Josh Malerman's sequel to Bird Box
, which was both terrifying in print and on-screen. Malorie
picks up twelve years later, when things are still not good, and Malerman adroit cranks up the tension once again and delivers another frightening read.
And speaking of things that go bump in the night, Colin Dickey returns with The Unidentified: Mythical Monsters, Alien Encounters, and Our Obsessions with the Unexplained
. Dickey's first book, Ghostland
, was an exploration of haunted spaces and how we interact with them. He wasn't interested in debunking ghost stories; he was more interested in why we thought things were haunted. In The Unidentified
, he approaches cryptids and UFOs and other spooky monsters in a similar fashion. He doesn't care if Bigfoot or space aliens exist. He wants to delve into why we need these things in our psyches.
And finally, let's finish with Lindsay Ellis's Axiom's End
. It's a first contact novel, but it's also a conspiracy theory novel. Or an alternate history novel. Or—well, it may be something else entirely, but we do know that it's a book about what it is to be human. Ellis has been writing about pop culture for a long time now, and she's been studying us quite closely, which lends a great deal of depth to her discussions about culture and race and morality.