BOLO – Week of December 18, 2016

From The Booking Desk:

It’s a big holiday week, with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all falling within the next seven days. So needless to say, publishing has screeched to a halt. Rather than let the week go by with no suggestions, I thought I would highlight a few of the year’s must-read non-crime fiction books perfect for last-minute gift-giving.

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Jodi Picoult – Small Great Things (Ballantine, Hardcover, $28.99, 10/11/2016)

BOLO Books Comments:

Jodi Picoult and topical issues goes hand-in-glove. Always willing to take risks in her writing and subject matters, here Picoult addresses Race (with a capital R) and the issues surrounding it in our current world. Some are saying this is Picoult’s best ever – high praise for an author with some stellar work behind her.

Jacket Copy (Publisher’s Description):
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

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Zadie Smith – Swing Time (Penguin, Hardcover, $27.00, 11/15/2016)

BOLO Books Comments:

Zadie Smith is one of our most important contemporary writers, so any book by her is reason to celebrate. Here she ties race, music, and dance together to tell a wide-reaching tale of our time.

Jacket Copy (Publisher’s Description):

An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty

Two brown girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live.

But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey—the same twists, the same shakes—and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time.

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Ann Patchett – Bel Canto

BOLO Books Comments:

This is not a 2016 book, but I wanted to remind everyone that I’ll be leading an online book discussion of Bel Canto with the ladies of Jungle Red Writers in late January. Read along – we’d love to have you join us!

Jacket Copy (Publisher’s Description):

Ann Pratchett’s award winning, New York Times bestselling Bel Canto balances themes of love and crisis as disparate characters learn that music is their only common language. As in Patchett’s other novels, including Truth & Beauty and The Magician’s Assistant, the author’s lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance.

2 thoughts on “BOLO – Week of December 18, 2016

  1. I haven’t read Jodi Picoult in a few years, but this one makes me think I need to start reading her again. And, I’m most excited about the Bel Canto book discussion. I usually take January to catch up on a couple of series, but I want to fit in Bel Canto, too, as it’s one of my favorite books.

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