7 Best-Reviewed Books in November 2018

  • December 5, 2018

We came, we read, we gushed. Here’s a recap of the titles that left us especially warm and swoony last month.

7 Best-Reviewed Books in November 2018

The Library Book by Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster). Reviewed by Kitty Kelley. “The Library Book is not simply an investigation into a fire that burned for seven-and-a-half hours and left 400,000 books in ashes and 700,000 more covered in soot and slime from the over 3 million gallons of water sprayed to extinguish the flames. In addition to the mystery of who or what started the inferno, the book becomes a fascinating mix of crime and history and biography and investigative journalism, all told by a superb storyteller who holds you in thrall to the pathology of arson, a subject you might not realize you care about until you pick up this book, which the publisher has generously bound in red paper-over-board and embossed in gold.”

Warlight: A Novel by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf). Reviewed by David A. Taylor. “Warlight moves with the same sinuous language as those earlier books. Here, the author shines inky light on the dark, complicated nature of family in what can sometimes be depicted as a bland and square world of postwar England. Ondaatje lived in London during his teens in the 1950s and channels that experience, along with the city’s Dickensian character.”

Love Is Blind: A Novel by William Boyd (Knopf). Reviewed by Lloyd I. Sederer, MD. “William Boyd is a beautiful writer, capturing settings, characters, and the turn-of-the-century world in elegant and spare prose. He weaves a plot as ancient as it is modern, with family, love, intrigue, betrayal, debilitating illness, and the triste of loss.”

A Light of Her Own: A Novel by Carrie Callaghan (Amberjack Publishing). Reviewed by Sarah Shoemaker. “Though most of Leyster’s life beyond her painting has been lost to history, Carrie Callaghan, in her debut novel, A Light of Her Own, has brilliantly re-imagined this woman who dared to believe herself the equal of her male Artists’ Guild co-members.”

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen (Simon & Schuster). Reviewed by Jennifer Bort Yacovissi. “Quammen is the master of deconstructing complex, obscure scientific concepts and reconstituting them into coherent, understandable, and illuminating narratives. In The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, he does this primarily by focusing on the people behind the science who, in a very short period of time — whether working with or against each other — have changed much of what we thought we knew about evolution, heredity, and, yes, the origin (and definition) of species.”

Training School for Negro Girls by Camille Acker (The Feminist Press at CUNY). Reviewed by Alice Stephens. “By reading this moving, eye-opening collection of stories, I feel as if I have heard and understood the author’s important and very personal revelations. Please, Camille Acker, don’t stop. I want to hear everything you have to say.”

Sadie by Courtney Summers (Wednesday Books). Reviewed by Austin S. Camacho. “As a story, Sadie is many things. First, it is a fascinating mystery rooted in the protagonist’s search for her sister’s killer. Our heroine, Sadie Hunter, is a runaway herself. As one journalist tries to track her down, we follow the clues Sadie leaves behind. We also follow the clues Sadie finds trying to chase down a killer. As in any good mystery, she meets surprises and twists along the way.”

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