Every weekday we feature a different review on Booklist Online. These reviews are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, or high-demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from August 3–7 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Monday, August 3rd
Speaking in Bones, by Kathy Reichs
Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan has a tough decision to make. Andrew Ryan, the cop who’s occasionally her crime-solving partner, and who was once her lover, has come back into her life and, out of the blue, proposed marriage. Will she, or won’t she? Well, she’s not sure, and it’s hard to concentrate on that potentially life-altering decision when her new case, which is sparked by a visit from an amateur sleuth claiming she’s identified some remains that have been in Brennan’s lab for a few years, turns unexpectedly complicated.
Tuesday, August 4th
Symphony for the City of the Dead, by M. T. Anderson
Dmitri Shostakovich was witness to an almost overwhelming number of changes and transformations in his native Russia. From the rise of Communism under Lenin to Stalin’s Great Terror and, perhaps most monumentally, the Siege of Leningrad, the Russian composer was there, often drawn dangerously close to the clutches of Stalin’s seemingly random rage.
Wednesday, August 5th
George, by Alex Gino
Ten-year-old George has a secret. Everyone thinks she is a boy, but inside she knows that she is really a girl named Melissa. When her fourth-grade class prepares to mount a dramatic production of Charlotte’s Web, George knows that more than anything in the world, she wants to play the part of Charlotte. After all, who cares if she plays a girl’s part?
Thursday, August 6th
The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, by Lillian Faderman
A Lambda Literary and Stonewall Book Award–winning author, scholar, and retired college professor, Faderman has crafted an epic yet remarkably intimate work that belongs among the most definitive civil rights titles, LGBTQ-specific or otherwise. Based on more than 150 interviews and the author’s exhaustive research, The Gay Revolution begins by recalling the government’s gay witch hunts of the 1950s and spans the next six and a half decades of the ongoing struggle for legal and societal equality.
Friday, August 7th
Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal, by Jay Parini
From the outset of this major life story of American novelist and essayist Gore Vidal, Parini, highly regarded novelist, poet, and biographer (John Steinbeck, 1995; Robert Frost, 1999), does not hide his friendship with the great and greatly provocative and ever-difficult Vidal. That means, too, that he does not disguise his exasperation and even annoyance with Vidal while at the same time appreciating his writerly accomplishments.