7 Best-Reviewed Books in April 2019

  • May 3, 2019

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

7 Best-Reviewed Books in April 2019

Finder by Suzanne Palmer (DAW). Reviewed by Andrea M. Pawley. “In short order, Mother Vahn acquaints Fergus with the scope of tragedy possible in Cernekan: cracked sunshields, punctured human habitats, messy sewage bots, non-healing suit breaches, and the corrosive effects of the light substitute she smears onto Fergus' hands in the moments after their cable car is attacked. All that in chapter one. It's wonderful.”

Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry (Simon & Schuster). Reviewed by Michael McCarthy. “Lucy lives for the moment and the human sitting in front of her; Barry constantly checks his phone for Twitter refreshes and texts. All of these old-man-versus-old-dog contrasts anchor chapters that tout lessons like paying attention to the people you love and relying less on material possessions. Granted, these are foundational golden rules for adulthood. And that’s Barry’s point: The rules are obvious, and yet many of us skip them.”

The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks (Random House). Reviewed by Talmage Boston. “Brooks could well have titled his new book The Road to Joy, though that would lack the mysterious imagery of the chosen title. What’s the Second Mountain? That begins with knowing what the First Mountain is. Daily living on life’s First Mountain entails always keeping score (i.e., making comparisons to others) in the never-ending pursuit of money, power, success, and Instagram happiness.”

Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen by Mary Norris (W.W. Norton & Company). Reviewed by Susan Storer Clark. “She even loves the Greek alphabet. If you don’t think a tour of the ABCs can be entertaining, go with Norris. She traces the alphabet we use from its Phoenician origins as a means of keeping traders’ records, through the Greek development of an alphabet to tell stories. The Greeks also changed writing from right-to-left to left-to-right and, in the process, changed the orientation of some of the letters.”

Miracle Creek: A Novel by Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books). Reviewed by Drew Gallagher. “In the end, Miracle Creek proves to be not so much a whodunit as an existential reflection on the choices people make — or don’t make — and the ripples those choices send through others’ lives to miraculous, often devastating effect.”

Courting Mr. Lincoln: A Novel by Louis Bayard (Algonquin Books). Reviewed by David O. Stewart. “So, yeah, it turns out that we needed another book about Lincoln. This one. In Courting Mr. Lincoln, Louis Bayard, an accomplished historical novelist, breathes life into the massive cultural icon whom we know so well, but really don’t have much of a clue about. This Lincoln is insecure about growing up dirt poor and ignorant. He can be funny, but he’s sad a lot more. He uses silence and his great size as tools and relentlessly strains to improve himself, to haul himself up in the world. He can be cold and ruthless. He has to get ahead. Has to. He wants love without feeling worthy of it.”

Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing by Robert A. Caro (Knopf). Reviewed by Joseph A. Esposito. “The book is a compilation of previously published articles and new essays. We are given glimpses of a writer whose work as a journalist and author employs the best skills of a detective. An early mentor gave him a guiding principle: ‘Turn every page. Never assume anything.’ For decades, Caro has used that admonition to press a little harder, to find the people and documents which tell as complete a story as possible.”

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