We can judge autobiography strictly for its ability to penetrate and portray the stuff of life. We can also assess its capture of a single human story, especially if the author’s life fascinates us. The best succeed at both, but also illuminate the historical moment in which the author lived. That rare autobiography becomes the most compelling kind of history and reveals an era while it absorbs us with a human voice. Lewis M. Steel’s “The Butler’s Child” is such a book.
On the heels of her inaugural novel, Raleigh’s Shonette Charles is back with the second in her “Breaking Into the Black Elite” series. Set in the fictional North Carolina town of Fairchester, “Game On” (Seamare Press) follows Sahara and Noah Kyle as they try to join an exclusive social club, and delves into the world of social climbing, double-crossing and dangerous secrets.
Last June, I had an amazing serendipity. At lunch I told a friend, “I really want to help kids write books that give them a voice.” Afterward, I strolled through Frank Gallery in Chapel Hill and overheard gallery manager Torey Mishoe say, “I don’t know how they’re going to make a children’s book.”
Here are the best-sellers for the week that ended Sunday, July 17, compiled from data from independent and chain bookstores, book wholesalers and independent distributors nationwide, powered by Nielsen BookScan (c) 2016, The Nielsen Co.
Beyond Words: What Animals Think And Feel by Carl Safina. (Picador) Humans have been far too anthropocentric when trying to understand the mental experiences of other animals, Safina, a marine conservationist, argues here. His observations on grieving elephants in Kenya, endangered wolves in Yellowstone National Park and a harmonious whale society in the Pacific Northwest build the case that other species are capable of nuanced thought and emotion.
I am not one to wish away the summer, but between the release of the beach blockbusters and the fall literary season, there's a bit of a drought in the fresh-reads category. I'm going to fast-forward the calendar and tell you about 11 fall books I'm looking forward to. Between Bruce Springsteen's new memoir and Maria Semple's latest Seattle sendup, it's going to be hard to wait:
Fifty Shades of Grey and the Bible rank in the top 10 of the latest list of books most objected to at public schools and libraries. Here are the books on the American Library Association’s “State of Libraries Report.”
American Library Association
Banning books: Top 10 most challenged books
The Bachelorette star's love life is now an open book