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  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2019/01/03 Permalink
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    25 Books Hitting the Screen in 2019 

    As the year winds down, it’s natural to turn your thoughts toward the truly important issues, specifically what your screen-watching schedule is going to be in 2019. Hollywood, as usual, is turning to our favorite books, graphic novels, and other stories to get our butts into movie theater seats. We’ll allow it. Here are some of the highlights to watch out for.

    Battle Angel: Alita, by Yukito Kishiro (February)
    If you’re unfamiliar with the source manga, you might know this upcoming film as “the movie with the big-eyed girl who kicks all kinds of butt.” The story centers on a cyborg found in a garbage dump and revived by a scientist; she has no memory of her existence, but is revealed to be a deadly and skilled warrior gifted with lots of technologically advanced weaponry. The film was originally scheduled for release in summer of 2018, but additional effects work (if you’ve seen the trailer, you know it wasn’t wasted) pushed it back to February.

    The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness (March 1)
    Retitled Chaos Walking, the film version of Ness’s YA sci-fi story is set in a world where all living things experience each other’s thoughts and feelings in a phenomenon known as “noise,” and stars Tom “Spider Man Himself” Holland and Daisy “Rey from Star Wars” Ridley. The adaptation has been in development since 2011; filming wrapped in 2017 but reshoots pushed the release date back. The themes of information overload and lack of privacy that the books explore are sure to be carried over to the film, and here’s hoping it’s one of the series adaptations that results in filmed sequels.

    Captain Marvel, by Kelly Sue Deconnick (March 8)
    You already knew the Captain would be on this list, as new records for hype are being set by the film on an hourly basis. Portrayed by Oscar winner Brie Larson, Carol Danvers is the first female superhero in the current Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to get her own movie (just beating out Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, whose film is now in production). Borrowing storylines from several of the print comics, the film will be set in the 1990s and will definitely tie into the larger Avengers 4 plot (once that film’s arrival determines whether Thanos murdering half the population of the universe is going to stick).

    Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, by Maria Semple (March 22)
    If you’ve read this brilliant novel you’ll agree Cate Blanchett is the perfect choice for Bernadette, the smart, agoraphobic, and manic woman who abruptly abandons her family in a swirl of often hilarious chaos. The film was originally scheduled to be released in May 2018, a date that got pushed twice, but now its release is finally nigh. In addition to Blanchett, the brilliant cast includes Kristen Wiig, Laurence Fishburne, and Billy Crudup, among other, and we’re psyched to see Semple’s vision given new life on the silver screen.

    Pet Sematary, by Stephen King (April 5)
    We’re in the Age of Reboots, so it isn’t terribly surprising that thirty years after the first adaptation someone is taking another crack at one of Stephen King’s best. Whether they can improve on the creepy vibe of the first film remains to be seen, but you can’t go far wrong with a story this disturbing and unsettling; let’s face it, any horror story involving a resurrected cat that “comes back wrong” is going to be terrifying.

    After, by Anna Todd (April 12)
    If you haven’t heard of After, cast your mind back to 2013, when the band One Direction ruled the earth as our benevolent overlords. Anna Todd began writing Harry Styles fan fiction on her phone for fun, and posted the chapters to Wattpad, where it became the most read work on that site by a lot. A lot. A book deal followed, sequels came, and now there’s a film adaptation of the first book, wherein virginal nice girl Tessa goes off to college and meets ultimate British Bad Boy Harry in a story often described as a toned-down Fifty Shades. Discovering whether and how the film captures the delirious pleasures of the books is going to be very, very fun.

    Hellboy, by Mike Mignola (April 12)
    Mignola’s reboot of the film series is going to be a lot darker and more violent than the original films starring Ron Perlman. The titular demon working for a government agency will be portrayed this time around by Stranger Things‘ Sheriff Hopper himself, David Harbour, who has gotten seriously ripped for the role. Although Mignola was very involved with the proposed third Hellboy film being developed by original director Guillermo del Toro, he stepped back when the intention to reboot the series was announced—but the storyline is drawn from three of his comic storylines, so fans are sure to be satisfied with the new direction, and even casual fans should be excited that the filmmakers intend to embark on a deeper psychological exploration of Hellboy and the violent struggle he’s engaged in.

    Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer (August 9)
    Artemis Fowl, teenage genius, surly antihero, and criminal mastermind, is just the kind of literary character movies were invented to bring to vibrant life. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film adapts the first book in the series, in which Fowl seeks to restore his family’s dimming fortunes by kidnapping a fairy and holding her for ransom, bringing the wrath of the Lower Elements Police Recon (LEPrecon) down on his head. This is exactly the sort of live-action films Disney should be making, in our opinion, and the long wait to see one of the most interesting young characters of recent vintage finally hit the big screen is finally almost over. We can’t wait—at least there’s a trailer.

    It, by Stephen King (September 6)
    No surprises here: After the smash success of Part 1 in 2017, which covered the first half of King’s classic chiller, set during the Losers Club’s childhood, we all knew they were going to finish the story of Pennywise. The now-grown Losers realize they didn’t quite destroy Pennywise decades ago, and return to the town of Derry to finish the job or die trying. With a cast that includes Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and, of course, Bill Skarsgård as everyone’s least favorite clown, this is as close to a sure thing as you’re going to get at the movies in 2019.

    The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn (October 4)
    Finn’s fantastic Hitchcockian thriller is about a housebound agoraphobic dealing with her own loss who suspects she has witnessed something terrible in the house across the way. But to say she’s an unreliable narrator is the understatement of the year. As the twists come fast and furious, the sense of tension over what’s actually going on approaches epic levels. Will the film be able to capture that wonderful, heart-pounding excitement? Let’s hope so. With Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Anthony Mackie, and Gary Oldman working from a script by Tracy Letts, we gotta say we like the odds.

    The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt (October 11)
    Tartt’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel cemented her legacy as one of the smartest writers of the 21st century. The story of a young boy who survives a bomb explosion in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and impulsively steals the priceless titular painting in the aftermath is an emotionally complex life story with the bones of a mystery, and the film has its work cut out for it in re-creating the brainy, tragic mood of the book. The casting of Ansel Elgort as Theo guarantees the movie will get some heat, and will hopefully inspire a lot of people to check out what is truly a fantastic novel—but it’s Aneurin Barnard, cast as Boris, who has the biggest challenge. Boris was by far the runaway favorite character in the story, and the success or failure of the film may come down to whether we love him as much onscreen as we did on the page.

    Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, by T.S. Eliot (December 20)
    You might be more familiar with the much more efficient and pithy title of the Broadway adaptation of this book: Cats. A collection of poems exploring the world and lives of cats might not seem to jibe with the author who also wrote the dour, devastating The Wasteland or the gloomy, psychedelic The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, but these delightful poems inspired one of the longest-running musicals of all time, and now sports a powerhouse cast including Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, James Corden, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, and even Jason Derulo. If only to solve the riddle of whether actors like Dench and McKellan are actually going to be wearing those full-body catsuits on screen, it’s a must-see.

    Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (December 25)
    Little Women is one of those books that can be adapted over and over again, endlessly, no matter how good past versions have been. That’s because it’s also one of the most re-readable books of all time. You can pick up Little Women any time and enjoy the heck out of it, so why not see a few different film and TV versions? This one stars Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, and Meryl Streep (among a stacked cast) and has the big budget of a prestige operation—and, perhaps most importantly, it’s directed by Greta Gerwig, fresh off Lady Bird and one of the hottest directors in Hollywood right now. Put it all together and we’re in for another charming few hours with the Ladies March.

    The Call of the Wild, by Jack London (December 25)
    This is an ambitious live-action/CGI mix, with Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, and Karen Gillan heading up the cast. London’s classic story of a domesticated dog that finds itself kidnapped and then abandoned, slowly losing his civilized ways and becoming a dominant animal in the wilderness, is touching and packs a surprising emotional wallop—but has always posed obvious difficulties in adapting it to a visual medium. The cast and the technology available today give us hope that this adaptation will do the story justice—and hey, any story about dogs rising above challenges is by definition a good story.

    No Release Date Yet

    These three projects are definitely coming out in 2019, we’re just not 100% sure of the exact date.

    Catch-22, by Joseph Heller (2019)
    In a way, George Clooney was born to adapt Joseph Heller’s classic novel about the absurdity of war and military life. You’ve got to give credit to Clooney, who could have given himself any role he wished but chose to play the minor role of Scheisskopf, a parade-obsessed officer who rises inexplicably through the ranks, and whose name translates to something very unflattering in German. This ambitious miniseries is going to be on Hulu, and it’s one of those novels that likely needs to be a miniseries as opposed to a film, because it’s dense with subplots, details, and subtle jokes that will require hours to tease out.

    Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (2019)
    The second you hear that David “Doctor Who” Tennant and Michael Sheen will be playing Crowley the demon and Aziraphale the angel, teaming up to prevent Armageddon so they can keep enjoying the comforts of Earth, you’re in. When you hear that Gaiman wrote the role of Gabriel for Jon Hamm based on the never-finished sequel to the novel, you’re double in. When you realize the Angel Gabriel is probably the role Hamm was born to play, you’re triple in. And the fact that the series is written by Neil Himself? What we’re saying is, you’re in.

    Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem (2019)
    This is Edward Norton’s baby—he writes, directs, and stars in this adaptation of Lethem’s 1999 novel. He brings along Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis, Cherry Jones, and Leslie Mann among many others to tell the story of a private detective chasing down clues to the murder of his boss and mentor while trying to control his Tourette Syndrome outbursts. The novel layered a detective story with an exploration of the human condition, which seems like an ideal space for a filmmaker like Norton to explore.

    The Rook, by Daniel O’Malley (2019)
    O’Malley’s fun, inventive thriller about a woman who wakes up without any memory, surrounded by dead bodies, and discovers that she was once a member of the Checquy, an organization that fights supernatural threats that afflict London and the wider world, holding the elevated rank of Rook. Starring Emma Greenwell and Olivia Munn, this USA Network series should be a highlight of the year for urban fantasy fans—assuming they ever get around to officially announcing the release date.

    The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco (2019)
    Yes, the 1986 Sean Connery version holds up well, but this Sundance TV series starring John Turturro is a welcome addition to 2019’s TV viewing schedule. The novel somehow manages to combine erudite philosophical, historical, and literary allusions and investigation with a surprisingly gripping mystery, and is widely considered one of the greatest books of all time. That means that even if the series is only half as good, it will still be pretty darn awesome. And more Turturro is always welcome.

    No Guarantees

    These projects are all supposed to be out this year, but there’s reason to believe it might be 2020. (Or beyond.)

    Dune, by Frank Herbert (December 31, 2019)
    Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival) isn’t even starting filming on this project until January, so we’re dubious about the release date. Still, it would be a great way to end the year for sci-fi fans, who love David Lynch’s iconic (if incomprehensible) 1984 version but long to see an updated attempt at adapting Frank Herbert’s all-time great novel. We don’t know much about the production right now, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that Villeneuve pulls it off.

    The Professor and the Madman, by Simon Winchester (2019)
    A film adaptation of a novel about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary seems unlikely. A film adaptation about the OED starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn seems like a set up—but it’s happening. Gibson will play Sir James Murray, assigned the incredible task of creating the dictionary, and Penn will play W.C. Minor, who did a great deal of work for Murray while confined to an asylum.

    Killers of the Flower Moon, by David Grann (December 31)
    The moment you hear that Scorsese is adapting Grann’s book about the murders of wealthy Osage people following the discovery of oil on their land in Oklahoma, and how the investigation led to the formation of what is today the FBI, you know it’s going to be great. It’s exactly the kind of historical material Scorsese excels at bringing to life, combining the gritty violence and cerebral character work that the director has made his specialty. His most recent muse, Leonardo DiCaprio, is involved, and Robert DeNiro is rumored to be on board as well. Whether this is really coming out next year remains to be seen.

    The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis (December 31)
    After the first three books in Lewis’ Narnia series were adapted with decreasing budgets and ticket sales, all seemed lost, and an argument over filming the fourth book or jumping to the sixth book, The Magician’s Nephew, seemed to stall everything. New producers came into the picture, and The Silver Chair became a soft reboot of the series, with a whole new cast of actors. The fourth book was the last to follow the early pattern of the series that had the Pevensie children—and later, Eustace Scrubb, here with friend Jill Pole—transported to Narnia, and is the first that features no Pevensies at all, which means it’s probably ideal for a reboot.

    The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss (2019)
    With Lin-Manuel Miranda working on a prequel series set in Rothfuss’ epic fantasy world, Sam Raimi is supposedly working on getting a film adaptation of the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle into theaters in 2019, which would be huge news for the fans. This is a pretty big ask, though, as the book is long, complex, and well-loved. A lot of things could go wrong, and if things fall apart and the center cannot hold, it’s likely the project involving the red-hot Miranda is the one that would survive.

    1984, by George Orwell (2019)
    Grim, nightmarish, and still terrifyingly applicable, 1984 suddenly became hot again after the 2016 presidential election, for no reason whatsoever. Outside of an announced 2019 release, there’s precious little information about this project, so we suspect it’s going to turn out to be a 2020 project—if it ever happens at all.

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  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2019/01/03 Permalink
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    January’s Best Thrillers 

    Liar, Liar, by James Patterson and Candice Fox
    The third Harriet Blue book finds the detective marked as armed and dangerous, on the run from her peers, even as she races to chase down her brother’s killer, Regan Banks. Throwing aside her principles, Blue is determined to make Banks pay for all the people he’s killed before he kills her too—and in the process, she breaks just about every law she swore to uphold. Going from a respected officer to a fugitive, Blue is all in on finding justice, no matter the cost to her career or sense of self. Patterson and Fox deliver on the thrills with a gripping story of a woman willing to sacrifice everything for personal justice, including her own life.

    An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
    Hendricks and Greer, whose The Wife Between Us made a splash last year, return with a dark, twisty story about manipulation centered on 28-year old Jessica Farris. Reeling from a #MeToo experience that’s left her career in shambles, Jessica cheats her way into a paid ethics and morality study run by the impossibly cool Dr. Lydia Shields. Farris finds herself engaging in real-world role-playing directed by Dr. Shields, with the scenarios progressing from the uncomfortable to the outright disturbing. Farris’s paranoia spikes, and soon, Dr. Shields seems to be pulling strings in every part of her life. When Farris discovers the terrifying truth about the last woman to participate in Shields’ study, she realizes that it’s only paranoia if no one is out to get you.

    The Woman Inside, by E.G. Scott
    Rebecca is a pharmaceutical sales rep who leverages her career to feed her growing addiction to opiates. Her 20-year marriage to Paul is falling apart, and her career is crumbling under the weight of her drug use. She suspects Paul is having an affair with her boss’ wife Sasha, who happens to have been Paul’s high school sweetheart—or perhaps with their sexy neighbor, Sheila. When Sasha and then Sheila both go missing, the police close in. Naturally, this is a thriller, so nothing is as it seems. Scott trades off points of view, each offering a varying level of unreliability, slowly revealing secrets via one dizzying twists after another, guaranteeing you will keep those pages turning.

    48 Hours, by William R. Forstchen
    Forstchen takes us a few minutes into the future, after a solar storm has dropped many areas of the country into chaos, with power grids knocked out and martial law imposed. Dr. Richard Carrington and his team have detected a second, much more dangerous flare—nicknamed Sauron’s Eye—that could wipe out all life on the planet. As Dr. Carrington briefs the president, struggling to see the right way to handle the situation, a former cop named Darren Brooks struggles with his knowledge that the underground facility he works security for could offer a safe haven to thousands. Except the military has just taken over, and isn’t in the mood to share. Tense, smart, and fast-paced, this is a near-future thriller ready-made for the summer blockbuster treatment.

    Daughter of War, by Brad Taylor
    Taylor’s 13th Pike Logan novel follows Amena, a 13-year old Syrian refugee who helps her family survive in Monaco by stealing from the wealthy tourists. One day, Amena makes a great score, stealing an iPhone—and finds herself and her family in serious trouble: the phone belongs to a Syrian intelligence agent, and contains information about a deadly North Korean poison known as Red Mercury. The Syrians plan to use the poison against the United States,. As Amena goes on the run for her life, Logan and Taskforce get wind of the Red Mercury plot, and the race is on as Pike, ally Jennifer Cahill, the Russians, Syrians, and North Koreans all pursue Amena and the information she holds.

    The Rule of Law, by John Lescroart
    Dismas Hardy returns as part of a newly-formed law firm held together by long-suffering secretary Phyllis McGowan. McGowan’s behavior and unexplained absences have alarmed Hardy of late, and his fears appear to be well-founded when Phyllis is arrested on accessory to murder charges. The victim is Hector Valdez, a human trafficker, and Hardy discovers that Phyllis is involved in saving refugees from ICE, smuggling through a modern-day underground railroad. With a new District Attorney determined to make his name on the case while destroying Hardy and his new firm in the process, Hardy must solve the riddle quickly, or lose more than just his invaluable secretary.

    Judgment, by Joseph Finder
    Judge Juliana Brody is smart, experienced, and loves her work. While presiding over a high-profile, high-stakes sex discrimination case, she travels to a conference in Chicago, where the married judge has a rare moment of weakness and indulges in a one night stand with a stranger named Matias Sanchez, who claims to be in town from Buenos Aires on business. When she gets back to work in Boston, however, Juliana is shocked to discover that Sanchez is actually part of the defense team involved in the trial. Juliana is told to rule in the defense’s favor or her indiscretion will be revealed. Juliana finds herself embroiled in a ruthless conspiracy that threatens everything she loves, including her family. When Juliana decides to fight back, she goes up against a cabal of enemies who are as ruthless as they are smart—and she’ll need every scrap of her wits to survive with her sense of justice intact.

    Freefall, by Jessica Barry
    In Barry’s crackling debut, Maggie Carpenter learns that her estranged daughter Allison died when a plane piloted by her wealthy fiancé, pharmaceutical CEO Ben Gardner, crashed in the Rocky Mountains. Maggie, who had no idea her daughter was even engaged, can’t bring herself to believe the story everyone, including the police, is telling her, so she launches her own investigation. Plunging into a world of money, power, and deception, she learns her daughter was not the person she thought she was. To say too much more would spoil all the fun of this twisty, suspenseful thriller.

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  • Jeff Somers 3:58 pm on 2019/01/03 Permalink
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    January’s Best Mysteries 

    Arguably, January is your best month to dive into some juicy new mystery novels. The new year is upon us, after all, and is in itself a mystery. Who knows what the next twelve months will bring? No one—but we can sort of guarantee a steady supply of gripping mysteries to keep your little gray cells working overtime to spot clues, work out motives, and maybe solve a few murders along the way.

    The New Iberia Blues, by James Lee Burke
    Burke’s 22nd Dave Robicheaux book goes Hollywood, as Robicheaux finds his paths crossing once again with Desmond Cormier. Robicheaux first met Cormier twenty-five years earlier when Cormier was a skinny kid with big dreams. Now he’s an award-winning Hollywood director—whose embroiled in a gruesome murder. A woman had been crucified, wearing just a chain on her ankle, after being seen near Cormier’s estate. But Cormier isn’t talking, and Robicheaux finds himself going up against an array of new enemies and old demons as he delves into the mystery with only his longtime allies Clete Purcel and Alafair for backup.

    The Golden Tresses of the Dead, by Alan Bradley
    Flavia de Luce returns for a tenth go-round, the adorably precocious twelve-year old genius and expert in poisons irritated to bear witness to her sister Ophelia’s wedding. Cynical as always, Flavia intends to bring her detecting skills to the next level by going pro, setting up her office in the dilapidated mansion known as Buckshaw. She might not have to look too far for her first case, as Ophelia’s wedding cake turns out to have a nasty little surprise in the form of a severed human finger. With her trusted associate, gardener Dogger, and her unwanted cousin Undine in tow, Flavia puts her snarky intelligence and poisonous expertise to work.

    Out of the Dark, by Gregg Hurwitz
    Evan Smoak, formerly Orphan X and now the Nowhere Man, returns. Taken as a child and trained to be the ultimate deadly and deniable government asset, Smoak uses his training and skills to help the people who need it most. But now someone is shutting down the Orphan program—and trying to erase all evidence it ever existed in the first place, including the Orphans themselves and their trainers. When Smoak’s mentor is killed, he knows he cannot sit on the sidelines any longer—and he targets the man who launched the program, the man who is currently President of the United States of America. There’s only one problem: The president knows Smoak is after him, and activates the one asset that might be able to stop him—Orphan A, the very first recruit to the program, and the one person who has a chance against him.

    She Lies in Wait, by Gytha Lodge
    In 1983, Aurora Jackson was fourteen years old when she went camping in Brinken Wood with her older sister and five schoolmates. She was never seen again—until her body is discovered thirty years later. Detective Chief Jonah Sheens finds himself in the spotlight as he is forced to return to one of his very first investigations—one that strikes him close to home in all the wrong ways. Everything points to the killer being one of Aurora’s tightly-knit circle from her teenage years, and the story weaves between the present-day investigation and Aurora’s own POV on what would be her last day alive with masterful ease, spinning a dense, surprising, and thrilling tale that will keep you turning pages as everyone’s secrets are slowly teased out.

    Don’t worry; if you read all of this month’s books, we’ll be back next month with a fresh curated list. Happy New Year!

    Shop all mystery and crime >

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  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2019/01/02 Permalink
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    January’s Best History & Current Events Books 

    The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
    Uncovering a little-known subplot of American history, thriller author and TV host Meltzer and TV producer and historian Mensch explore the group of hand-picked bodyguards selected in 1776 to protect General George Washington at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Unbeknownst to Washington, several of those soldiers were involved in a treasonous plot to assassinate him—thus ending the war before it began in earnest, and changing the course of history. Meltzer and Mensch draw on impressively exhaustive research to introduce a rogue’s gallery of would-be traitors, telling the story of how Washington unmasked the conspiracy and defeated the plot—all while conducting the masterful direction of the war for American independence. This is truth as riveting as any piece of historical fiction.

    Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace, by Laurence Leamer
    Leamer links the story of Donald Trump’s transformation from New York real estate scion to president of the United States to the so-called “Winter White House” in Palm Beach, Florida, detailing battles with snobby residents and his creation of a property that doubles as a private fiefdom. Arguing that understanding Trump, the president, requires understanding Trump, the King of Palm Beach, Leamer follows the man from the time he managed to buy a property currently valued at half a billion dollars using just $3,000 of his own money, through his struggles against the old money residents that blackballed him, and reveals how Trump spearheaded an unlikely integration of the country club circuit for his own selfish reasons. As Trump continues to be the only president to have openly sold access to his office through a property, this is essential reading.

    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, by David Treuer
    While Dee Brown’s classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was powerfully transformative in how we view our tangled, bloody history with Native Americans, Treuer argues that the book pushed a false narrative that suggested Indian culture ended with the infamous massacre. Instead, Treuer details how Native American cultures and the people who live them has continued, albeit in new and often creative ways, as tribes adjusted and reacted to the prejudicial and often radically unfair policies inflicted on them. Instead of simply ending at Wounded Knee, Treuer argues that Native American culture went underground, but continued to be celebrated, passed on, and very much alive. If you are Native, of course, this is all known—but for many, it will be a book that will change how you view American history.

    Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House, by Cliff Sims
    Sims was a close adviser to President Trump, both before the election and in the White House in his official role as Special Assistant to the President—and he took notes. A lot of notes. Here, he offers a rare insider glimpse behind the scenes of the Trump White House, detailing what he sees as their triumphs and their disasters. It’s a fascinating peek into the modern mechanisms of power and politics, as Sims describes the famous and infamous personalities of the administration, including Steve Bannon, John Kelley, and Kellyanne Conway. With a refreshing ability to admit his own mistakes, Sims offers a frank account of what it’s actually like to work for and with President Donald Trump.

    Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff
    Now in paperback: the political must-read of 2018 offers an incendiary insider’s look at the Trump White House, and anyone who wants in on the national conversation has to put it on their TBR. Wolff, who was given unprecedented access to the West Wing and Trump’s administration, spills all the tea in the world as he details administrative dysfunction, political backbiting, and, of course, the larger-than-life personality of our 45th President. Controversial in both its content and Wolff’s methods, the book is packed with juicy gossip and eye-popping quotes—including the now-infamous utterances that saw Steve Bannon fall out of favor with Trump and the Alt-Right. Even a year later, it’s all solid gold for political junkies.

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  • Ross Johnson 5:00 pm on 2019/01/02 Permalink
    Tags: , gabrielle union, kamala harris,   

    The Best Biographies & Memoirs of January 2019 

    Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics, by Chris Christie
    Whatever your thoughts on our current political moment, it’s going to be a goldmine for saucy tell-alls. Here, former New Jersey governor and Trump insider tells his side of the story on his time in charge of the Garden State, Bridgegate, and his work on long-time friend Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. After navigating the minefield of conflicting personalities and agendas within Trump Tower (and nearly becoming the running mate), Christie found himself on the outside looking in within days of Trump’s surprise victory. The first draft of history is always the juiciest.

    The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, by Kamala Harris
    It’s an impressive life story: the daughter of an economist from Jamaica and an Indian cancer researcher became the chief law enforcement officer of California before becoming a United States Senator already shortlisted for a potential 2020 presidential run. Kamala Harris’s memoir isn’t a straight biography; instead, it distills her life and experience into a frank conversation about her data-driven approach to addressing the myriad problems facing Americans in the 21st century.

    We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True, by Gabrielle Union
    Gabrielle Union tells her story with wit and sensitivity, a tale that includes her struggles as one of a few black students in a predominantly white high school, a devastating rape at gunpoint that almost broke her, and her recovery and pursuit of a high-octane Hollywood career. The actress addresses topics like teen sexuality and the challenge of raising black kids in a culture often perceived as steeped in racism with disarming humor and perceptive insights, marking this as much more than the typical Hollywood vanity memoir. Working without much of a filter, Union comes across as a nuanced survivor who has managed to keep both her sense of humor and her ability to love intact despite experiences that could break anyone.

    A Serial Killer’s Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming, by Kerri Rawson
    It’s an unbelievable scenario that most of us will, fortunately, never face: Kerri Rawson’s loving father, who had also been a seemingly good husband, a Boy Scout leader, and church president, was revealed in 2005 to be the BTK killer, having committed a series of brutal murders over the course of three decades—or Kerri’s her entire life. Rawson shares her story here, confronting a past that no longer makes sense, and an uncertain future.

    Breaking and Entering: The Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called “Alien”, by Jeremy N. Smith
    Smith takes the story of high-end hacker Elizabeth Tessman and shapes it into a character piece, bringing a novelistic flair to cybersecurity. “Alien” began her career as an MIT undergrad breaking into off-limits areas of campus before running afoul of the law. She later joined a cybersecurity firm that tested its clients’ security using every means imaginable, whether that meant exploiting coding flaws or putting on disguises and sneaking in. Her story puts a human face on the sometimes thrilling, often alarming world of cyber-security.

    Whose story inspires you?

    The post The Best Biographies & Memoirs of January 2019 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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