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 October 26–30 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Monday, October 26
Beside Myself, by Ann Morgan
Identical twins Helen and Ellie have significant differences detectable by those who care to see. Helen is the favored one: pretty, obedient, smart; Ellie is dull, slow, shunned. After their father commits suicide and their mother remarries, mean-spirited Helen proposes a malicious prank: she and Ellie will swap personalities to get the adults’ attention. Her gambit, however, works all too well, and when Ellie begins flourishing under all the adulation normally given her sister, she refused to switch back.
Tuesday, October 27
In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware and read by Imogen Church
Church’s mesmerizing reading ensnares listeners in this disturbing, twisty novel. Crime-writer Leonora Shaw reluctantly agrees to attend a hen party for her erstwhile best friend, a woman she hasn’t spoken to in a decade. The novel is told from her point of view, but, as is clear from the prologue, she has no memory of the disastrous events that led to murder. Can she be trusted? That the party takes place in an isolated country house adds to the claustrophobic suspense. The women are being manipulated, but by whom? And why?
Wednesday, October 28
Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life, edited by A. Alyce Claerbaut and David Schlesinger
Billy Strayhorn was so smart, his classmates called him “Dictionary.” A prodigy, he wrote one of the world’s greatest torch songs, “Lush Life,” while still in high school. The centenary of the birth of this brilliant pianist, composer, and lyricist is grandly celebrated in this large, jazzily illustrated book vibrant with photographs, musical scores, and a chorus of voices, past and present, sharing stories, insights, and appreciation of Strayhorn, who wrote more than 400 compositions, among them “Take the A Train” and “Something to Live For.”
Thursday, October 29
Some Things I’ve Lost, by Cybele Young
This little stunner of a book is not so much about art as it is a way to showcase Young’s exquisite, intricate paper sculptures outside the confines of a gallery. Beginning with a short poem about lost things, the following pages reveal paper sculptures of a variety of ordinary objects, along with a line indicating where they were last seen. The sculptures appear minuscule against their crisp white backgrounds, and lifting a gatefold on the right-hand page shows why.
Friday, October 30
Equal parts fan girl and femme fatale, Douglas is both an actor’s actor and an adoring admirer of the craft. Since she was the granddaughter of veteran character actor Melvyn Douglas, one would assume she grew up with instantaneous access to the behind-the-scenes world of stage and screen. One would be wrong. Although she inherently knew she wanted to be an actress, circumstances forced her to pursue that dream with the same fervor as any fresh-faced Kansas farm girl.