Spinster: Making A Life Of One’s Own by Kate Bolick. (Broadway) The author examines her lifelong quest for independence, weaving in the stories of female writers whose lives inspired her along the way. In their quests for solitude, Bolick and her heroines find pleasure in the alternatives to a familiar sequence: “You are born, you grow up, you become a wife.”
My Struggle: Book 4 by Karl Ove Knausgaard. Translated by Don Bartlett. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) The fourth volume of Knausgaard’s six-part autobiographical novel finds 18-year-old Karl Ove newly arrived in a remote Norwegian village to teach and hone his writing. The narrative follows him as he works toward adulthood, with digressive ruminations on his adolescence, hopes for a girlfriend and youthful ambition.
American Warlord: A True Story by Johnny Dwyer. (Vintage) Dwyer tells the story of Chucky Taylor, the son of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian leader whose legacy of violence still scars the country. Chucky was largely neglected by his parents during his childhood in Orlando, but after a visit to Liberia in the 1990s, he joined the cycle of violence and torture there, and killed for sport during the civil war.
The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus. (Picador/Farrar, Straus & Giroux) CeCe, the aging heir to a rubber fortune, is sent to a sanitarium by her son and enrolled in an experimental drug trial, leaving him free to pour the family’s wealth into a comically disastrous opera. For all the trappings of a familiar WASP story, CeCe’s unexpected generosity and wit give this debut novel “its remarkable maturity and heft,” Britt Peterson wrote in The Times.
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The Millionaire And The Bard: Henry Folger’s Obsessive Hunt For Shakespeare’s First Folio by Andrea E. Mays. (Simon & Schuster) Mays, a historian, traces one wealthy American’s impassioned quest to purchase as many copies of the First Folio, the crucial collection of Shakespeare’s plays published in 1623, as he could. Over his lifetime, Folger amassed a holding of more than twice the number of the copies known to exist in England.
Girl At War by Sara Novic. (Random House) Ana Juric, this novel’s protagonist, was 10 years old when the violent breakup of Yugoslavia reached her hometown, Croatia’s capital. The ensuing horrors, on both a national and personal level – Ana’s parents were killed, and she was conscripted as a child soldier – leave her as the “sole repository of family memory,” Anthony Marra wrote in The Times.
The Age Of Acquiescence: The Life And Death Of American Resistance To Organized Wealth And Power by Steve Fraser. (Basic Books) The current economic chasm in American society amounts to what Fraser sees as a reprisal of the Gilded Age, with a difference: 200 years ago, inequality mobilized citizens to protest, while today that impulse has stalled. Fraser investigates why.
New York Times