5 Most Popular Posts: June 2022

  • July 5, 2022

We love every piece we run. There are no winners or losers. But all kidding aside, here are June’s winners.

5 Most Popular Posts: June 2022

  1. Elizabeth J. Moore’s review of Watergate’s Forgotten Hero: Frank Wills, Night Watchman by Adam Henig (McFarland & Company). “Through no fault of the author’s, Watergate’s Forgotten Hero also suffers from the overshadowing of Wills’ story by recent events. After all, the interpretation of ‘hero’ and ‘saving democracy’ was bound to change drastically after the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. How can the simple placing of a phone call, however significant, now stack up against the actions of the U.S. Capitol Police, who faced down a dangerous mob, paid with physical and mental trauma (or their lives), and well and truly ‘saved democracy’ by protecting the certification of the Electoral College vote?”

  2. Mariko Hewer’s review of Book of Night by Holly Black (Tor Books). “Holly Black’s first foray into adult books won’t take you long to get through. The story is compulsively readable, and the characters, despite their significant flaws and failings — or perhaps because of them — are generally people you want to root for. Some editing deficiencies aside, Book of Night is a shining example of innovative fantasy writing.”

  3. Kitty Kelley’s review of The Summer Friend: A Memoir by Charles McGrath (Knopf). “The Summer Friend celebrates a seasonal bond between two men, both nicknamed ‘Chip,’ who favor khaki pants and meet every summer to share their passion for fishing and sailing and golf. Still, the title puzzles. Why ‘the’ instead of ‘my’ friend? Is it because ‘the’ imposes a certain emotional distance, as if the author is referring to a casual acquaintance, whereas ‘my’ speaks to a closer relationship promising something more intimate? In this case, ‘the’ seems to represent the surface level of many male friendships compared to the deeper bonds that women establish. The Summer Friend peeks inside the psyche of one such male friendship between not-quite bros forever but seasonal pals. As such, this memoir is pitch-perfect for outdoorsy dads, sons, brothers, uncles, nephews, and the like.”

  4. Andrea M. Pawley’s review of Sea of Tranquility: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf). “Bestselling author Emily St. John Mandel wrote and published Sea of Tranquility during a pandemic, so the novel must be about pandemics, right? Well, unseen, ubiquitous doom is its overall feeling. Incomprehensible danger suffuses settings that should be beautiful. Fear, confusion, and longing distort the passage of time, especially for the character Olive, who is on a book tour to support her blockbuster novel Marienbad. That book is about a fictional pandemic. It follows, then, that Sea of Tranquility seeks to capture how people feel during pandemics, right? Not so fast.”

  5. Carrie Callaghan’s review of Take My Hand: A Novel by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Berkley). “This heartbreaking story fictionalizes a real historical case, one link in a chain of the shameful history of state-sanctioned abuses to the health and reproductive rights of Black Americans and other people of color — a legacy that continues, legally, today. As with her previous novels, Perkins-Valdez is concerned with the autonomy and independence of Black women, though this first foray into the 20th century feels more explicitly drawn from the headlines and, strangely, a little less intimate than her prior work. Perhaps it’s simply the limitations of a first-person point of view, which allows Civil to speak for herself but restricts our knowledge of India and Erica to Civil’s observations.”

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