Reviews of the Week: with Susan Tan, Tanya Lee Stone, Christopher McGrath, 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 February 6 through 10 so that you can revisit the week’s best books.

cilla lee-jenkins: future author extraordinaire - susan tanMonday, February 6

 Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire, by Susan Tan

Occasional black-and-white illustrations enhance the text, and Cilla’s empathy, candor, and skill at turning a phrase indicate that her claim to be a future author extraordinaire is completely justified. As she says, “My book is over, but my writing isn’t.” Anyone who spends time with Cilla Lee-Jenkins will look forward to reading her in the future.

 

 

pretend i'm not here: how i worked with three newspaper icons, one powerful first lady, and still managed to dig myself out of the washington swamp - barbara feinman toddTuesday, February 7

Pretend I’m Not Here: How I Worked with Three Newspaper Icons, One Powerful First Lady, and Still Managed to Dig Myself out of the Washington Swampby Barbara Feinman Todd

It’s likely Todd sold this book when a Clinton presidency seemed on the horizon, but, nevertheless, it makes for a gossipy read and does a grand job of shaming Woodward in the finest revenge-is-best-served-cold tradition. Todd, now a journalism professor at Georgetown, finally gets to tell her story.

 

girl rising: changing the world one girl at a time - tanya lee stoneWednesday, February 8

 Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time, by Tanya Lee Stone

Much more than a companion volume to the 2013 semidocumentary of the same title, which portrayed nine girls around the globe overcoming daunting barriers to obtain an education, this vibrant book stands on its own as a source of inspiration. Going into greater detail than is possible in a cinematic format, the author tells the girls’ backstories with empathy and grace; she also provides heartening updates and illuminates the context of the struggle.

 

mr. darley's arabian: high life, low life, sporting life: a history of racing in 25 horses - chrisopher mcgrathThursday, February 9

 Mr. Darley’s Arabian: High Life, Low Life, Sporting Life: A History of Racing in 25 Horsesby Christopher McGrath

This fascinating equine, social, and political history by one of the UK’s foremost horse-racing journalists takes as its starting point the fact that 95 percent of all Thoroughbreds are descended from one of just three stallions. But this isn’t just a book about horse lineage. The wonder of it is how McGrath manages to use the bloodline to trace so much else. Racing has brought and continues to bring together the whole panoply of British society. A stunner of a book, deserving of an audience much beyond horse-racing fans.

 

boat of dreams - rogerio coelhoFriday, February 10

 Boat of Dreamsby Rogério Coelho

This wordless, 80-page picture book opens with an elderly man waking up. The action then shifts to a city, where a small boy finds an envelope at his doorstep. This strange story is drawn in gorgeous, full-bleed, sepia-toned, sharp-angled Expressionist style. But what does it mean? Some readers may postulate that the boy and man are the same person, separated only by age. Others may interpret it as simply an evocative dream. Whatever it is, it’s a wonderful invitation to imagine.

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About the Author:

Charlotte Chadwick is currently an intern for Booklist. A senior at Lake Forest College, she is studying creative writing and print and digital publishing. When she isn't writing short stories, there's nothing she enjoys more than drinking coffee and dodging questions about her post-grad plans.

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