Ron

Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen

This political and social satire set in Palm Beach stretches reality in a way perfectly suited to these mad times. An imbecilic President, entitled dowagers, invasive species and the perils of over-development, all feature in this comedic romp that includes a sort of guest appearance by fan favorite character, Skink. Written in the aftermath of the death of Hiaasen’s brother Rob, who was gunned down in a shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper where he was a columnist, I can’t help but reflect that story-telling and laughter present a better response to tragedy than tears. Certainly his portrayal of POTUS and the First Lady are more entertaining to read than any of the political science books that have been ubiquitous for the last four years.

Adult Fiction Hardcover pr5700787

 
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

How does a nation become fearless? Two weeks before the Dunkirk evacuation and on Churchill’s first day as Prime Minister, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Over the course of a year, 45,000 Britons died in a relentless bombing campaign, 30,000 of them Londoners. This is a story of leadership, as Churchill held the country together through its darkest year. Using recently declassified files, intelligence reports and personal diaries, Larson breathes fresh life into a story very often told in a brisk, entertaining fashion. This book will please both avid consumers of military history and general readers.

Adult Non-Fiction Hardcover pr5263649

Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald

A collection of short essays and meditations, mostly on the natural world, from the author of H is For Hawk. It’s impossible to write about nature these days without sounding cries of alarm (not to mention melancholy, bitterness, anger and regret) but Macdonald’s wonder and pleasure in the world of swifts, hares and boars is such that she’s more apt to inspire and send you out of doors than depress. It’s worth noting, given the prevalence of “COVID-brain” that the chapters here are mercifully brief, for those currently experiencing attention focusing issues.

Adult Non-Fiction Hardcover pr5627788

 
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

A look at regrets, lives not lived, and learning to appreciate and live the life you're in. Reminiscent of the British feel good movies that seemed to be everywhere around the turn of the century (The Full Monty, Calendar Girls) this is light, easily consumed reading without being inane or stupid. While you know where the story is likely going, it doesn't negatively impact one's enjoyment of it. A schmaltzy feel good story, perfect for these incredibly stressful and anxious times. Sure to be optioned for film in one form or another. Haig is the author of Reasons to Stay Alive and The Humans.

Adult Fiction Paperback pr5891288

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

John Cheever meets the apocalypse when a New York family goes to holiday in a remote corner of Long Island. Satire slowly gives way to mounting dread and horror, with such a light and subtle touch that as a reader, you might as well be a frog being slowly brought to boil. My favorite Goodreads review for this book puts this simply as “Prepare to be freaked the f*ck out!!!” Indeed.

Adult Fiction Hardcover pr5701255

 


I've Seen the Future and I'm Not Going by Peter McGough

McGough pens a dandy look back at growing up gay in Syracuse NY in the 1970s, followed by the escape offered by art school in New York and an eventually successful career as an artist, in collaboration with partner David McDermott. Life in the seedy East Village with contemporaries such as Julian Schnabel, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol are detailed in an unpretentious, mostly unreflective, breezy style that reads like diary entries.

Running throughout are the artists’ attempts to live a Victorian lifestyle (forgoing electricity, eschewing travel by air and all modern conveniences) which brings unusual hilarity to some darkly familiar themes and places, with the shadow of AIDS looming and then arriving with devastating consequences to the community.

A sort of gay, visual arts companion to Patti Smith’s Just Kids.

Adult Non-Fiction Hardcover pr3418209

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