By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles
With summer on the horizon, you may be looking for a new book to savor over vacation. Here are just a few you might enjoy:
“Gold Diggers” (Penguin), a debut novel by Sanjena Sathian, has already been picked up by Mindy Kaling for an upcoming TV series. This effervescent social satire is about the children of Indian immigrants who are determined to succeed in America while honoring their parents’ culture.
The narrator is a high school boy who discovers that the Indian American girl next door has figured out a magical way to melt down gold jewelry and drink it to ingest all the dreams and hopes invested in that shiny bling.
Witty and tender, this is a work of 24-karat genius.
Maggie Shipstead’s “Great Circle” (Knopf) contains two intertwined stories: One is a soaring historical tale about a young woman in the early 20th century who dreams of flying airplanes. Decades later, a disgraced actress is making a movie about this legendary female pilot when she discovers a surprising secret.
With allusions to the life of Amelia Earhart, this exciting novel contains shipwrecks and plane crashes, soldiers and gangsters – and at the center of it all is a woman who will sacrifice everything to reach the clouds.
Soon after Richard Wright published his classic novel, “Native Son,” in 1940, he wrote another book called “The Man Who Lived Underground” (Library of America). It begins when a Black man is stopped by White policemen and accused of murder. They beat a false confession out of him, but he escapes into the sewer system where he watches the city from underground.
Wright’s publisher rejected the novel, but a few years ago the full manuscript was discovered, and now this lost masterpiece is finally available – and just as relevant as ever.
If you love a great story and great music, check out the audiobook version of Brandi Carlile’s new memoir, “Broken Horses” (Random House Audio). It tells the story of an immensely talented young woman rising from a tough childhood to discover her voice, her sexuality, and her audience.
The winner of six Grammy Awards, Carlile narrates this audiobook herself, and what’s best, every chapter ends with her singing solo versions of her own songs, or songs by Dolly Parton, Elton John, Joni Mitchell and others – more than 30 pieces in all.
Listen to an excerpt of Brandi Carlile reading from “Broken Horses”:
Meanwhile, the political climate is getting hot for giants like Google and Facebook. Senators on both sides of the aisle – Democrat Amy Klobuchar (“Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power From the Gilded Age to the Digital Age”) and Republican Josh Hawley (“The Tyranny of Big Tech”) – have each just published books warning about the dangers posed by Big Tech monopolies.
Until next time, read on!
For more info:
- Ron Charles, The Washington Post
- Ron Charles’ Totally Hip Video Book Review
- indiebound.org (for ordering from independent booksellers)
Story produced by Robin Sanders, Roman Feeser and Charis Satchell.