Reviews of the Week: Zadie Smith, Madeleine Thien, Steve Jenkins, 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 October 3 through October 7 below, so that you can revisit the week’s best books.


animalsMonday, October 3

 Animals by the Numbers,
by Steve Jenkins

Caldecott Honor–winner Jenkins is well-known for his paper collage artwork and for deploying fascinating animal facts in easily digestible picture book formats. This volume, composed of a series of captivating infographics, ups the ante.


do-not-sayTuesday, October 4

 Do Not Say We Have Nothing, by Madeleine Thien

Thien’s new novel, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, begins in a blur of confusion and death. The story opens up from a child’s fragmentary understanding of her immediate and painful surroundings to an omniscient and riveting account of an extended family’s joys and struggles under Chairman Mao.


well-manneredWednesday, October 5

 A Well-Mannered Young Wolf
by Matthieu Maudet

Sometimes good manners can backfire, as a young wolf discovers when he goes hunting alone in the forest for the first time. He quickly catches a rabbit, but the polite wolf grants him a “last wish.” The rabbit wants a story. Does the wolf happen to have a book with him?



swing-timeThursday, October 6

 Swing Time, by Zadie Smith

The unnamed narrator in Smith’s agile and discerning bildungsroman is entranced and provoked by a Fred Astaire dance number in the movie Swing Time. “Swing time” is also a feat her narrator performs as she pivots from the disastrous present back to the past.


historyFriday, October 7

 History Is All You Left Me,
by Adam Silvera

After Griffin and Theo break up, after Theo moves to California for college, and even after Theo finds a new boyfriend in Jackson, Griffin continues to believe that they’ll end up together. Then Theo drowns, and all that’s left for Griffin is their fugitive history together.




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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