Reviews of the Week: Ann Patchett, Katharine McGee, Jeffrey Toobin, and More!

Every weekday, we feature a different review on Booklist Online that highlights starred reviews, high-demand titles, and / or titles especially relevant to our current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from July 18 through July 22 below so that you can revisit the week’s best books.

CommonwealthMonday, July 18

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Patchett’s seventh novel (This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, 2013) begins with the opening of a door. Fix Keating expected all the guests, including many fellow cops, who are crowded into his modest Los Angeles home to celebrate his younger daughter Franny’s christening, but why is deputy district attorney Bert Cousins, a near-stranger, standing at the threshold clutching a big bottle of gin?

 

Word of MouseTuesday, July 20

Word of Mouse by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Children’s literature offers a long tradition of clever mice who accomplish amazing feats—as in Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971), Avi’s Poppy(1995), and Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux (2003)—and Patterson and Grabenstein’s Isaiah seems destined to join them. An educated, genetically engineered blue mouse from the Lamina Lab, Isaiah becomes separated from his family during a botched escape and ends up alone and on the run.

 

The Voyeur's MotelWednesday, July 21

The Voyeur’s Motel by Gay Talese

The controversy surrounding The Voyeur’s Motel centers on Gay Talese’s complicity in the wrongdoings of his subject, voyeur Gerald Foos—namely, Foos’ watching of visitors to his Colorado motel engage in all sorts of very private activity, including but not limited to various sexual acts, crimes against personal hygiene, and at least one murder.

 

The Thousandth FloorThursday, July 22

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

In 2118 Manhattan, high society is literally sky-high—on the thousandth floor of the Tower, where the Fuller family has its penthouse. Avery Fuller, a genetically engineered queen bee high-school student, lives there with her parents and adopted brother, Atlas. Her circle of high-dwelling friends includes Leda (who’s fighting drug addiction) and Eris (who’s just learned she’s the product of her mother’s affair).

 

American HeiressFriday, July 23

American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

On February 4, 1974, two women and one man burst into the Berkeley, California, apartment that Patricia Hearst, heir to the fortune of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, shared with her fiancé, Steven Weed. They clubbed Weed and dragged a thrashing, screaming, 19-year-old Hearst into the trunk of their car. This was the start of a prolonged, violent, and sometimes absurd cross-country odyssey.

 

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About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist. She worked in bookstores for twelve years, reviews books for The Boston Globe, and writes about books, culture, and politics for several other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Genie.

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