Thanksgiving is almost here, and there's no better way to escape the family drama (or kill an hour or two on a flight) then delving into a great read. These 7 books take you from the gritty streets of Toronto to 19th-century England to present-day Silicon Valley.
Victoria The Queen, Julia Baird
History readers will devour journalist Julia Baird’s fascinating new biography on the 19th-century English royal, Queen Victoria. Characterizing her subject as an indefatigable leader who was thrust onto the world stage from an early age, Baird draws on previously unpublished papers to argue that the revered monarch, though immortalized as pensive and straitlaced, was in fact a passionate woman who “loved sex and delighted in power.” She achieves this by plumbing the Queen’s lustful marriage to her cousin, Albert, with whom she had nine children, as well as her controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown— one of the many breakthroughs in the engrossing biography.
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Moonglow, Michael Chabon
In Pulitzer Price-winning author Michael Chabon’s newest novel, a dying grandfather recounts his life story in a weeklong confession to his grandson—an incident inspired by the recollections Chabon’s own terminally ill grandfather shared with him on his deathbed in 1989. The dreamlike week of revelations serves as the point of departure for the ambitious narrative, which spans the Jewish slums of pre-war Philadelphia, the front lines of WWII in Germany, and a retirement community in Florida. Exploring the intersections of war, sex and family in mid-century America, the novel is a heartfelt work, and one of Chabon’s most personal to date.
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I’ll Take you There, Wally Lamb
This month, fans of Wally Lamb will have their loyalty tested with the release of the best-selling author’s new novel, "I’ll Take You There," which will publish first as an enhanced Metabook (available exclusively in the Apple app store). For readers undeterred by this new kind of publishing, the work promises an exciting array of possibilities for reader interaction, including an original soundtrack, audio narration, a documentary about Lamb, in addition to the written text of the novel. Which is not to say that the written story can't stand for itself. A tale about a middle-aged professor who, haunted by a deceased silent movie star, reflects on the women who’ve profoundly impacted his life, the novel is a fascinating (albeit spooky) exploration of a character’s psyche—and just in time for Halloween.
Testimony, Robbie Robertson
In 1978, Martin Scorsese directed the classic concert film, The Last Waltz. It was one of history’s most famous farewell concerts, marking the dissolution of the classic rock group The Band and signaling the end of an era. Now, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of that legendary concert, Robbie Robertson, The Band’s famed songwriter and guitarist, is releasing his memoir, "Testimony." Striking a conversational and poetic tone, the musician traces his early years from his childhood on a Six Nations Indian Reserve to his time on the gritty streets of Toronto and his wild experiences on the road with legends Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks and Bob Dylan. Buy it for the rock ‘n roll fan in your life.
The Spy, Paolo Coelho
From Paulo Coelho, the bestselling author of "The Alchemist," comes "The Spy," a gripping novel based on the life of Dutch dancer and courtesan, Mata Hari, who was convicted of international espionage during the Great War and ultimately executed by a firing squad. In researching Hari’s life, Coelho came across the letters she wrote during her last days in a French prison. It’s these documents that inspired the format of the novel, told in the epistolary form and written one week before her execution. The result is an empowering, feminist account of a woman who was persecuted for living a free and unconventional life during a time when traditions prevailed.
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Judas, Amos Oz
Widely considered Isreal’s greatest living writer, Amos Oz takes on the subject of betrayal in his latest novel, “Judas.” The narrative follows Shmuel Ash, a young religious scholar in Jerusalem who is forced to take a live-in job as a caretaker when disaster strikes his family, leaving him broke and dejected. As Ash develops a complicated relationship with the elderly man, a brilliant member of the literati, and the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader, the house in which the three of them live —a place “haunted by tragic history”—begins to reveal its secret.
The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, David Sax
Did you know that Silicon Valley digerati’s use Moleskine notebooks to sketch their latest ideas? Or that vinyl records Sales have grown more then ten times over the past decade? These are among the anachronisms author David Sax cites as he charts the resurgence of analog technology in his latest book, “The Revenge of Analogy: Real Things And Why They Matter.” Blending human psychology and first-rate reporting, Sax argues that there’s real and considerable cultural value to analog media (think: board games, film cameras, paper products) beyond its nostalgic appeal. To substantiate his case, he travels across North America and Europe to visit businesses that continue to use analog technology, even in the face of sweeping technologization. But far from a treatise against all-things digital, the book instead seeks to upend the notion that the technological evolution is absolute, its progress and inevitability a foregone conclusion.