This week's most anticipated titles include the latest from Pulitzer-winner Elizabeth Strout, music critic Kelefa Sanneh's take on pop music, and actor Billy Porter's memoir.
Elizabeth Strout (Random House)
One of the Washington Post
's 10 books to read in October
and CNN's 22 of the most anticipated new books to read this month
, Strout's new novel marks the third entry in her bestselling Amgash series. Here, the central character of the trilogy, Lucy Barton, is mourning the death of her second husband, while navigating a complex relationship with her first, William. The latter, who is remarried, remains a close friend to Lucy, who has now become a successful writer. Noting that the book shows how Lucy, like Strout, aims "to understand people, even if she can't stand them," our reviewer said this "illuminating" novel reminds us why "Strout has been compared to Hemingway."
A Line to Kill
Anthony Horowitz (Harper)
Former detective inspector Daniel Hawthorne and a fictionalized version of the author himself, Anthony Horowitz, return in this mystery, which we called "superior." The third book featuring this duo see the pair at a British literary festival where, after attending a party hosted by a wealthy tech magnate, one of the attendees winds up dead. We said the "often prickly relationship between the Watson-like Horowitz and the Holmes-like Hawthorne complements the intricate detective work worthy of a classic golden age whodunit."
Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres
Kelefa Sanneh (Penguin Press)
In New Yorker
writer Sanneh's entertaining and illuminating survey of popular music, he examines the past 50 years of the commercial art form through the lens of the seven genres that have shaped it. (For him that means country, R&B, rock, punk, hip-hop, pop, and dance music.) Arguing for the relevance and usefulness of genres, categories (and classifications) that musicians often rail against, Sanneh details how many artists were shaped by the genres that defined them. Our critic called this one a "remarkable achievement [that] will be a joy to music lovers, no matter what they prefer to listen to."
The Days of Afrekete
Asali Solomon (FSG)
Two middle age women--and Bryn Mawr alumna--reconnect on a whim in this entertaining and enlightening novel. Liselle Belmont is prepping for a dinner party in her upscale Philly home when she's struck by a memory that encourages her to call Selena Octave, her old college friend, and former lover. Flashing back to their time at college--they met in the school's first Black literature course--the novel, we noted, "digs into the nuances of campus lesbianism and racial politics." While their paths have diverged their eventual reconnection, our reviewer noted, "is unexpected and powerful," and the book "brings wit and incisive commentary to this pristine take on two characters’ fascinating and painful lives."
Ghost Stories Are Best Told Aloud…
New from the bestselling author Erik Larson, comes a terrifying tale of suspense, underpinned with actual people and events.
A pioneering psychologist leads an expedition to a remote isle in search of answers after a family vanishes. Was the cause rooted in the physical world . . . or were there forces more paranormal at work?
Unprotected: A Memoir
Billy Porter (Abrams)
Porter, who's best known for his roles on Broadway (Kinky Boots
) and TV (Pose
), delves into his traumatic childhood in this moving memoir. Detailing his experiences as a gay man growing up in the 1970s, Porter talks about living through the AIDS epidemic, as well as the fear he felt during the Trump presidency. Our reviewer said his fans will delight with the "insider look" he provides into his entertainment projects, while they will "marvel at the tribulations Porter overcame to get there." We called this a "haunting" work that stands as "both a powerful indictment of the lasting harms of bigotry and an immensely moving account of moving forward."
Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora
Edited by Bryant Terry (4 Color)
Intended as a culinary version of the 1974 compendium of African American history coedited by Toni Morrison, The Black Book
, this collection calls on numerous contributors to create a deep look at, and celebration of, Black culture through food. Featuring recipes, photos, essays, poetry, and art, the book, our reviewer said, offers "a broad mosaic of Black society [that] is as powerful as it is flavorful."