Books: A Benjamin Netanyahu biography, novelist Rachel Kushner returns and more
Hi, I’m books editor Carolyn Kellogg. Thanks to everyone who came to the book festival last weekend! I hope you got to see all the writers you wanted. I got to talk about publishing with a panel of smart publishing insiders and then talked to Patton Oswalt on stage about “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark,” the book his wife Michelle McNamara was working on when she died. She was an amateur sleuth obsessed with the cold case of a serial rapist and killer whose crimes were connected after the dawn of DNA testing. Authorities called him, clumsily, EAR/ONS — it was McNamara who dubbed him the Golden State Killer, a name that captured the scope and severity of his crimes. As you may have heard, after going unknown for decades, a suspect was arrested this week: his name is Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. It’s impossible to read McNamara’s book without feeling invested in the case. It gives a real sense of how impossible an arrest had has seemed, to so many victims and members of law enforcement, for so long. It’s a great read.
And now, here’s what’s happening in books this week.
THE BIG STORY
Benjamin Netanyahu is the subject of a major new biography, “Bibi,” penned by Haaretz’s Anshel Pfeffer. The biggest surprise “is his emergence from these pages as a man of unbending principle,” writes Noga Tarnopolsky in our review. “This does not conform to the Netanyahu we think we know, the master manipulator of Israel’s political sphere, the man trailed by criminal investigations whose own fans admiringly claim him as a bully.”
A DEVASTATING NOVEL
Rachel Kushner has twice been a National Book Award finalist for the style of her prose and the power of her ideas. Her work shows a restlessness, moving its setting, time, place and contexts. In “The Mars Room,” she shifts her gaze to a fictional women’s prison in California, where her protagonist, a former stripper, has been sent after a sexual assault and an act of violence. It is “a novel of great urgency and devastation,” writes Idra Novey in our review.
Moving from nonfiction to fiction on our bestseller list is the children’s book “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.” (It was originally categorized as nonfiction by booksellers.) Written by Jill Twiss, a staff writer on John Oliver’s HBO show, it tells the imagined tale of Vice President Mike Pence’s family rabbit falling in love with another male bunny. It hasn’t happened in real life — yet.
You can find all the books on our bestseller lists here.
MORE IN BOOKS
Jamel Brinkley’s collection of short stories, “A Lucky Man,” publishes Tuesday. Although the book is written traditionally, in text, our review is by author and artist Kristen Radtke, in graphic novel form.
In “Artificial Unintelligence,” published by MIT Press, professor and former software engineer Meredith Broussard looks at how the promise of computer solutions isn’t always as smart as it seems. She talks to Christine Zhang about the coined she’s termed to describe our misplaced trust: “technochauvinism.”
In its first week on sale, former FBI director James Comey’s book “A Higher Loyalty” has outsold both Hillary Clinton’s memoir of the 2016 campaign, “What Happened,” and Michael Wolff’s look inside Donald Trump’s first year in the White House, “Fire and FuryFury,” beating their first week’s sales numbers.
Thanks for reading!
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