Some wonderful books available now

My review of Charles Frazier’s superb new novel Varina was published yesterday by the Washington Post.

And it has been my pleasure to read and blurb three other novels so far this year.

Madeline Miller’s Circe is a reimagining of the story of Odysseus, told by the minor goddess Circe, who loves him in her way.  “Written with power and grace, this is an enchanting, startling, gripping story that casts a spell as strong and magical as any created by the sorceress Circe.”

“Reading David Sosnowski’s Happy Doomsday is like watching an Olympic gymnast soar into air, do six impossible things, and stick the landing with a glorious grin.” Hilarious but moving, told with extraordinary insight, and displaying the perfect logic of his earlier books Rapture and Vamped, David’s new one is an end-of-the-world story where all at once, for no known reason, everyone dies except three depressed teenagers. I reread it instantly, just to see how he did it.

And my friend Susan Petrone’s second book, Super Ladies, is the origin story of a different kind of superhero: menopausal women exposed to a chemical explosion that bestows superpowers they use to fight crime without stupid capes and spandex. Big fun for book club discussions.

All of these are, in my opinion, the best work yet of four terrific writers. Enjoy!

5 thoughts on “Some wonderful books available now”

  1. Just thought you’d want to know. I read your review of Varina in this morning’s Washington Post, Saturday April 7. I was afraid I’d missed it. Sounds great.

  2. Very good review of Varina, as I would have expected. However, I still don’t feel an urge to read Frazier’s latest, because of the subject matter. On the other hand, I can’t wait to get my mitts on Circe.
    How does the book review process work? Is the book section editor in command of finding reviewers? Do agents / publicists lobby for “their” authors to be on a short list of potential reviewers? Is it just magic? And do reviewers get paid for their work? This is all pretty opaque to me, and I am, somehow, really curious all of a sudden.

  3. Reviewers for the Washington Post have to affirm that they have no association with the author or the book’s publisher. Blurbs, OTOH, are properly requested by the publisher on behalf of the author. Many writers are told to seek blurbs themselves, but I personally refuse to consider those requests. It’s just too hard for me to say, “Sorry, but no” directly to a hopeful writer who’s sweat blood over a manuscript I can’t endorse.

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