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Books: A teen reviews '#Neveragain,' a World War II tragedy comes to life and more book news

Welcome to the Books newsletter! I’m books editor Carolyn Kellogg, writing my last newsletter from our Spring Street address — next Friday we’ll be packing up for our new digs in El Segundo.

THE BIG STORY

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When I saw that Parkland, Fla., shooting survivors David Hogg and his sister Lauren Hogg had written a book together about their experiences and activism, I wasn’t interested in hearing what an adult thought about it. So I asked a teenager. Emily Weinberg, a high school junior, has our review of “#Neveragain.” She writes, “what makes this part of the fight against gun violence different? I think it’s because the surviving students have spoken from their hearts, describing the pain and fear they endured and demanding that their friends don’t become yet another statistic.”

People near the front of the stage hours before the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C.
People near the front of the stage hours before the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. (Salwan Georges / The Washington Post)

THE LITERARY LIFE

Lambda Literary is the country’s leading nonprofit promoting LGBTQ books and supporting LGBTQ writers. This week, a new director took the reins. Writer Catherine Womack discovers how the organization got to where it is now, and looks at what’s coming next.

Sue Landers is the new executive director of Lambda Literary.
Sue Landers is the new executive director of Lambda Literary. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

BESTSELLERS

The No. 1 bestseller in fiction this week is “The President Is Missing” by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, now in its third week at the top of the list.

Climbing to No. 5 on the nonfiction list this week is “Barracoon: The Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo’ ” by Zora Neale Hurston. The previously unpublished book is based on interviews Hurston did in 1927 with elderly former slave Cudjo Lewis, who recalled his passage in captivity on a ship from Africa. Hurston, a novelist best known for “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” was also an oral historian with a gift for capturing the vernacular.

You can find all the books on our bestseller lists here.

More than five decades after her death, Zora Neale Hurston is climbing the bestseller list.
More than five decades after her death, Zora Neale Hurston is climbing the bestseller list. (Carl Van Vechten / Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

MORE IN BOOKS

In England, Deborah Levy is known for her novels — “Swimming Home” and “Hot Milk” were shortlisted for the Man Booker prize — but her nonfiction is also captivating, writes Heller McAlpin in her review of Levy’s memoir “The Cost of Living.”

Sure, July 4 is over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate America with books. Michael Schaub looks at 17 significant American works by immigrants — including John Muir and Alexander Hamilton.

In the waning days of World War II, the ship the Indianapolis set out on a secret mission. Then it was torpedoed and sank. What happened in the water afterward was a huge tragedy, write authors Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic in “Indianapolis,” but the history that followed the survivors ashore was almost as haunting. Tony Perry has our review.

If you already know Sara Gallardo’s work, you must be a fan of Argentine short fiction. For the first time, her sharp, gritty magic realism stories are being published in English in the new collection “Land of Smoke.” Scott Cheshire has our review.

Sara Gallardo
Sara Gallardo (Pushkin Press)

Thanks for reading!

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