A profound and dazzlingly entertaining novel from the writer Louis Menand calls “Jane Austen with a Russian soul.” In her warm, absorbing and keenly observed new novel, Still Here, Lara Vapnyar follows the intertwined lives of four immigrants in New York City as they grapple with love and tumult, the challenges of a new home, and the absurdities of the digital age. It was featured in The Millions’ The Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
My Life, My Love, My Legacy is the life story of Coretta Scott King–wife of Martin Luther King Jr., founder of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center), and singular twentieth-century American civil and human rights activist–as told fully for the first time, toward the end of her life, to Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds. Coretta’s is a love story, a family saga, and the memoir of an extraordinary black woman in twentieth-century America, a brave leader who, in the face of terrorism and violent hatred, stood committed, proud, forgiving, nonviolent, and hopeful every day of her life.
The Signal Flame by Andrew Krivak is the second novel from National Book Award finalist Andrew Krivak–a heartbreaking, captivating story about a family awaiting the return of their youngest son from the Vietnam War. Beginning shortly after Easter in 1972 and ending on Christmas Eve this ambitious novel beautifully evokes ordinary time, a period of living and working while waiting and watching and expecting. You can read reviews here and here.
A Life in Parts is a memoir by Bryan Cranston, star of Breaking Bad and Malcolm in the Middle. He maps his zigzag journey from abandoned son to beloved star by recalling the many odd parts he’s played in real life–paperboy, farmhand, security guard, dating consultant, murder suspect, dock loader, lover, husband, father. Cranston also chronicles his evolution on camera, from soap opera player trying to master the rules of show business to legendary character actor turning in classic performances as Seinfeld dentist Tim Whatley, “a sadist with newer magazines,” and Malcolm in the Middle dad Hal Wilkerson, a lovable bumbler in tighty-whities. He has much to say about creativity, devotion, and craft, as well as innate talent and its challenges and benefits and proper maintenance.
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life is by Helen Czerski, a a physicist and oceanographer at University College London. She provides the tools to alter the way we see everything around us by linking ordinary objects and occurrences, like popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, or innovative medical testing. She guides us through the principles of gases, gravity, size, and time. You can read reviews here and here.