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Reviews of the Week, with Emily Fridlund, Hilary Reyl, Anne Fadiman, 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 August 28 through September 1 so that you can revisit the week’s best books.

 

September 25More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

 More Than We Can tell, by Brigid Kemmerer

Ten years after his adoption, Rev Fletcher receives a letter from his abusive fire-and-brimstone father, causing memories of the severe physical traumas of his childhood to burn deeper than ever. Meanwhile, Emma Blue is on top of the world, having created an online game, OtherLANDS, that has already developed a community. But her parents’ fights and mother’s constant criticism take a backseat to one player’s constant harassment and vile threats. Mature topics, including foster parenting and divorce, creativity and autonomy, religion gone awry, the politics of trust, and facing one’s most intimate fears, make this an absorbing, emotional roller coaster of a read.

 

September 26Catapult by Emily Fridlund

 Catapult, by Emily Fridlund

Fridlund’s focus in Catapult can be characterized by “the deceptive nature of appearances.” Fridlund tells stories of an eccentric family seeking to survive, a teenage couple endeavoring to veil their raw desires with words, two siblings who have completely different perceptions of the same reality, and the loneliness within the friendship of two women, among others. She unpacks these situations with thoughtful diction and complex characters, and her subdued and controlled language sets what is unsaid at the fore, unveiling hope, despair, and the paradoxes that are often ignored in such close relationships.

 

September 27Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl

 Kids Like Us, by Hilary Reyl

Martin, 16, has high-functioning autism, and he is leaving the comfort zone of his small school in Los Angeles to accompany his mother and older sister to France for the summer. Martin brings with him his well-read copy of Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, which informs just about every aspect of his life. His best friend from home warns him about people trying to befriend him to get closer to his famous mother, but Martin gradually learns how to manage those relationships in a way that plays to his strengths. Reyl movingly captures the point of view of a person who sees the world in a completely different way. Charming, thoughtful Martin is easy to root for, and readers will cheer as he triumphs over obstacles.

 

September 28The Taste of Empire by Lizzie Collingham

 Taste of Empire: How Britain’s Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World

by Lizzie Collingham

Historian Collingham writes about the British Empire from a unique perspective, tracing how food provoked imperial expansion and transformed both conquerors and subjected peoples. The history of West Indian sugar, African slavery, and American colonization is an oft-told tale, but Collingham takes mere mercantilism and expands and deepens its consequences. This unique approach to British history holds appeal for both professional historians and everyday buffs and includes a comprehensive bibliography and a few historical recipes

 

September 29The Wine Lover's Daughter by Anne Fadiman

 The Wine Lover’s Daughterby Anne Fadiman

Fadiman remembers her father, Clifton Fadiman, a famous wit, editor, quiz-show host, and all-around man of culture who ardently loved language, literature, and wine. In this crisp, scintillating, amusing, and affecting memoir, Anne incisively and lovingly portrays her brilliant and vital father and brings into fresh focus the dynamic world of twentieth-century books and America’s discovery of wine. Although she inherited her father’s literary skills and ardor and was schooled in viticulture from birth, Anne does not find wine delectable. Perhaps she’ll write about her mother next as “the milkshake lover’s daughter.”

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eessien@ala.org'

About the Author:

Enobong Essien is Booklist's first international intern, coming all the way from across the pond. Her favorite 'procrastinate from studying' activities include: reading, writing, crocheting and taking note of all the ways Americans are different than Brits.

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