The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood, by Roger Rosenblatt. (Ecco/HarperCollins) In this beautifully evocative essay – at once a memoir and a meditation on the form itself – Rosenblatt roams the Manhattan of his childhood, where as a boy he imagined himself a private eye in pursuit of criminals. Contemplating landmarks and the lives of writers who came before him, Rosenblatt “walks the streets like a poetic stray, embracing chance and accident,” Pete Hamill wrote in the New York Times.
Collected Poems, by Jack Gilbert. (Knopf) This essential tome comprises 50 years of writing, ranging from a Yale Younger Poets prize-winning volume to hard-won late poems and previously uncollected work. In orderly free-verse constructions, Gilbert, who died in 2012 at age 87, deals plainly with grief, love, marriage, betrayal and lust.
Year Zero: A History of 1945, by Ian Buruma. (Penguin) It was the Good War, fought by the Greatest Generation, who stopped Hitler, restored democracy to a grateful Europe and brought it to a feudal Japan. But Buruma’s poignant global history looks squarely at the turmoil that ensued after World War II came to an end: the harsh, wide-scale revenge; uprooted and starving populations; and the vicious power struggles that would shape the Cold War.
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse, by Sebastian Faulks. (St. Martin’s Griffin) Bertie Wooster and his redoubtable gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves, return in this novel of smitten hearts, misunderstandings and role reversals. “This Faulks certainly knows his stuff when it comes to homaging,” New York Times reviewer Christopher Buckley said of the first Jeeves and Wooster novel in nearly 40 years. “Dashed if most of the time I didn’t think I was reading the echt thing.”
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The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis, by Julie Kavanagh. (Vintage) Duplessis (1824-47), the celebrated French courtesan, found enduring fame in the work of a former conquest, Alexandre Dumas fils, “La Dame aux Camélias,” as well as in Verdi’s opera “La Traviata.” Kavanagh’s colorful biography exposes the cold-eyed reality behind her heroine’s short, intense and passionate life.
You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz. (Grand Central) Grace Reinhart Sachs, the New York therapist-heroine of Korelitz’s deviously plotted thriller, is living the only life she’s ever wanted – devoted to her family and about to publish a book that exhorts women to stop making excuses for the flawed men in their lives. But a chasm opens in Grace’s own life when her husband, a pediatric oncologist, becomes the prime suspect in a horrible crime.
Drama High: The Incredible True Story of a Brilliant Teacher, a Struggling Town, and the Magic of Theate,r by Michael Sokolove. (Riverhead) Sokolove pays tribute to the flourishing drama program at a high school in Levittown, Pa., and its galvanizing teacher who, for more than 40 years, showed students how to strive for excellence and enlarge their notions of who they might become.
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