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 24 through October 28 below, so that you can revisit the week’s best books.
Monday, October 24
Homesick for Another World, by Ottessa Moshfegh
Man Booker Prize finalist for Eileen (2015), Moshfegh now presents a collection of short stories exploring aspects of the human experience from which we usually avert our eyes, lives which we would rather not acknowledge. A barely functioning alcoholic teacher at an NYC Catholic school, a pimple-pinching violinist in a locked room, an old man trying to manipulate his young female neighbor, and a girl convinced that killing another person will take her to the better world she came from—these are among the evocatively drawn characters Moshfegh animates to provide glimpses of our collective human psyche.
Tuesday, October 25
Fannie Never Flinched, by Mary Cronk Farrell
The author may be addressing this stirring story of early union activist Fannie Sellins (1872–1919) to middle-schoolers, but the rigor of her approach yields a book with solid scholarly features: a noncondescending glossary, a time line for historical context, recommendations for further reading, and a helpful index. Fannie’s story, richly illustrated with vintage photographs and documents, fairly leaps off the page, driving home the message that the work she fought for is far from over.
Wednesday, October 26
99: Stories of the Game, by Wayne Gretzky and Kirstie McClellan Day
Gretzky is one of the half-dozen greatest hockey players of all time. He’s also a student of the game and its history. He believes that every young player who enters the NHL is suddenly in the presence, either as an opponent or a teammate, of at least one idol. The idols and the newcomers will share stories and pass along anecdotes of other players, games, and histories. It’s one of the game’s charms and exactly what Gretzky tries to do in this collection of memories of a life in hockey.
Thursday, October 27
Superficial, by Andy Cohen
As the host of Watch What Happens Live and the executive producer of the Real Housewives franchise, Cohen lives a life that’s definitely glam, hanging out with plenty of bold-faced names, but a great deal of his charm comes from the pleasure he gets hanging out with high-school pals and extended family. Much of the book is made up of musing about the future; the peripatetic Cohen, now in his late 40s, is feeling like he should be settling down. Will it happen?
Friday, October 28
The Fifth Petal, by Brunonia Barry
The superlative Barry (The Lace Reader, 2008; The Map of True Places, 2010) creates a vividly eerie, time-bending landscape that stretches back and forth between the Salem witch trials, the Goddess Murders, and the present-day mystery. Barry fans will welcome the return of beloved characters and the introduction of new ones into a contemporary Salem appropriately fraught with remnants and reminders of its dark and twisted history. This spooky, multilayered medley of mysteries is sure to be a bestseller.