This week, powerhouse releases from two very different but fiercely popular authors, Toni Morrison and Cassandra Clare, urban histories from journalist David Talbot and cartoonist Harvey Pekar, Mark Kurlansky on the life of a frozen foods pioneer, more fun with Thomas Cromwell from Hilary Mantel, a geopolitical barn-burner from Larry Bond, pop economics with Arlie Russell Hochschild and psycho-biology with Jordan Smoller. Plus: Augusten Burroughs solves your most persistent problems.
Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man by Mark Kurlansky (Doubleday, $25.95; ISBN 978-0-385-52705-7).
Kurlansky "skillfully weaves… products, packaging, and marketing into this rags-to-riches portrait of the man whose ingenuity brought revolutionary changes to 20th-century life.”
Exit Plan by Larry Bond (Forge, $26.99; ISBN 978-0-7653-3146-5).
This killer thriller “shows once again [Bond’s] absolute mastery of the military action novel.” See our Q&A.
Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love by David Talbot (Free Press, $28; ISBN 978-1-4391-0821-5).
Salon founder David Talbot “clears the rainbow mist and brings San Francisco into sharp focus.”Check out our interiew with Talbot.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Holt, $28; ISBN 978-0-8050-9003-1).
Following the court intrigue with returning anti-hero Thomas Cromwell "is pure pleasure.”
Home by Toni Morrison (Knopf, $24; ISBN 978-0-307-59416-7).
The Pulitzer- and Nobel-winning author delivers another “immaculate" novel full of "beautiful, brutal” and "perfect" prose.
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (Margaret K. McElderry, $19.99; ISBN 978-142416864).
Book 5 of Clare’s compulsively readable Mortal Instruments series.
The Outsourced Self: Intimate Life in Market Times by Arlie Russell Hochschild (Metropolitan, $27; ISBN 978-0-8050-8889-2).
A look at the commodification and marketing of our private lives that's “incisive, proactive, and downright entertaining.”
The Other Side of Normal: How Biology Is Providing the Clues to Unlock the Secrets of Normal and Abnormal Behavior by Jordan Smoller (Morrow, $27.99; ISBN 978-0-06-149219-8).
A "simple" but "provocative" setup—looking at normal psychology in order to shed insight on the abnormal—makes this an "exciting" pop psychology read.
Happiness is a Chemical in the Brain: Stories by Lucia Perillo (Norton, $23.95; ISBN 978-0-393-08353-8).
Pulitzer-nominated poet Perillo reveals “a genius for plot and metaphor" in her first collection of short stories.
This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude and More, for Young and Old Alike by Augusten Burroughs (St. Martin's, $24.99; ISBN 978-0-312-56355-4).
Burroughs turns his wicked wit on the self-help genre, and proves "energetically forthright about living and loving," in this “hilarious and searingly straightforward" new memoir. Have a problem? Burroughs thinks he can fix it.
Harvey Pekar's Cleveland by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant (Top Shelf/Zip, $21.99; ISBN 978-1-60309-091-9).
Cleveland history from Pekar's POV, along with Remnant's resonant art, makes this “a must-have volume in Pekar’s body of work.” See for yourself in this week's Art Check.