What should you read next? Here are the best reviewed books of the week ‹ Literary Hub

by Douglas Stuart Young MungoJennifer Egan’s The candy houseEmily St. John Mandel’s sea ​​of ​​tranquilityby Richard Overy Blood and ruinsby Elizabeth Alexander The Trayvon Generationand Ben McGrath Riverman all are among the highest rated books of the week.

Presented by Bookmarks“Rotten Tomatoes for Books” by Lit Hub.



Blanket Douglas Stuart_Young Mungo

Douglas Stuart, Young Mungo
(grove press)
16 Rave • 3 Positive • 2 Mixed

“Stuart writes like an angel…masterful…while Stuart didn’t stray far from the scaffolding of his first novel, he managed to produce a story with a very different form and pace…The raw poetry of the prose of Stuart is perfect for taking this handsome boy’s mind wide, with his strange facial tics… The way Stuart sculpts this oasis amidst a rising tide of homophobia infuses these scenes with an almost unbearable intensity… Stuart reveals himself quickly an extraordinarily effective thriller writer. He is able to excruciatingly pull the strings of suspense while sensitively exploring the confused mind of this sweet teenager trying to make sense of his sexuality… The result is a novel that simultaneously heads towards two crises: what happened spent with James in Glasgow and what might happen. arrive at Mungo in the Scottish wilderness. One is an anticipated calamity of which we can only intuit; the other a coming horror that we can only dread. But even as Stuart pulls those timelines together like a pair of scissors, he creates a little space for Mungo’s future, a little mercy for this spirited young man.

–Ron Charles (The Washington Post)

Cover Jennifer Egan_The Candy House

Jennifer Egan, The candy house

13 Rave • 5 Positives • 3 Mixed • 2 Casseroles

“A lot of the characters are in difficult and ethically murky lines of work alongside technology…It’s Egan’s great gift that these stories nonetheless feel deeply human. The absurd sci-fi elements kind of serve as a backdrop to poignant affairs of the heart… Boredom, lost love, feeling too late, bitterness, jealousy… The candy house. Technology infuses the themes with new and distinct angles, but they remain fundamental to how Egan sketches out his fictional world…At the heart of the novel are questions about collectivity…Some of those same questions animate A visit from the Goon Squad too… But they become more explicit and loaded with The candy house, which stages an anthology of the same characters and those who are vaguely linked to them… Egan remains a master of the form, that of the stories linked together but not always linked, which allow glimpses of lives that are both brief and profound. She weaves them together in a way that isn’t obvious.

–Sophie Haigney (Air mail)

sea ​​of ​​tranquility

Emily St. John Mandel, sea ​​of ​​tranquility

10 Rave • 1 Positive • 1 Mixed

“In sea ​​of ​​tranquility, Mandel delivers one of his finest novels and one of his most satisfying forays into the arena of speculative fiction to date, but it is his ability to convincingly inhabit the ordinary and his ability to project an enduring recognition of the beauty that sets the novel apart. As in Ishiguro, this wasn’t born out of some cheap, made-for-TV, fake-emotional gimmick or mechanism, but out of empathy and a hard-won understanding, beautifully embedded in the language… It’s is this aspect of sea ​​of ​​tranquility, Mandel’s finely rendered and understated descriptions of the ancient forests his characters traverse, the domed lunar colonies some of them call home, the robotic fields they watch, or the sound of airship take-off they hear even in their dreams, which will be, for this reader at least, the longest.

–Laird Hunt (The New York Times book review)


Blood and Ruins: The Last Imperial War_Richard Overy

Richard Overy, Blood and ruins

8 Rave • 1 Positive

“…praise the prodigious achievement of Overy. Anyone interested in the why and how of unbounded violence in the 20th century should make room for Blood and ruins on his shelf. It will help you capture and revisit the carnage of 1931-45 as the greatest event in human history. No continent, no ocean has been spared, and Overy deftly weaves every subplot into a planetary tapestry of ruthless ideology and industrialized extermination. This book is not Eurocentric, but truly geocentric… Blood and ruins dissects the sinews of war with the sharpest of scalpels. With myriad facts, it’s not for the nightstand, where it has to compete with Netflix. But this is history at its finest, down to the finest points culled from a dozen archives around the world… While watching the talking heads on CNN, keep this masterful work by your side.

–Josef Joffe (The New York Times book review)

The Trayvon Generation_Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander, The Trayvon Generation
(Large central)
7 Rave

“[In] Elizabeth Alexander’s beautiful and relevant book, The Trayvon generation, the poet redefines the closeness of black identity to loss as an opportunity to create new rituals and a new paradigm…Alexander focuses on both memory, the recalling of parts of ourselves and the psyche, and also about repair and reconstruction through a shift in perspective, aided along by beautiful art from a range of artists including Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson and Kara Walker. The work of black artists in these pages elevates the conversation to the heart of the book… Like a prose poem, The Trayvon Generation is deceptively succinct even as it humanizes our needless dead, the incarcerated, the many survivors of instantiations of black inferiority. The book offers wisdom, reflection and reporting with crystal-clear precision infused with a powerful and elegant empathy… It is a dazzling and beautiful aspect of The Trayvon Generation; joy as an act of resistance.

– Joshunda Sander (The Boston Globeand)

Cover of Ben McGrath_Riverman: An American Odyssey

Ben McGrath, Riverman
4 Rave • 3 Positive • 1 Mixed

“If the element of the missing person provides the current that sweeps Riverman before, the book represents much more: a portrait of forgotten American roads and the eccentric characters who populate them, a superficial history of river travel in America, and, above all, an effort to solve the riddle of Conant himself – not just his comings and goings but also its elusive and irresistible nature. As a chronicle of perseverance and unfinished quests, this quietly profound book belongs on the shelf next to Jon Krakauer’s. In nature … A second book sinks under the surface of Riverman as an undercurrent, and alludes to why McGrath is so drawn to Conant’s story. In an age where everything is endlessly online and the real world is increasingly mediated by screens, Conant and his canoe represent something slower and quieter, closer to nature… McGrath spells it all out in a calm and elegant, almost circumspect prose… In a sense McGrath never solves the mystery that opens his book: he does not recover the body. But it does something at least as impressive from a journalistic point of view: it takes the person back, and it brings them back to life on the page.

–Gregory Cowles (The New York Times book review)

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