It's quality of books over quantity of titles this week: Though there's a little bit of a lull in the number of new releases, there's a wide variety of subjects and genres headed for the bookstore shelves…
Ten Days in the Hills by Jane Smiley
Jane Smiley is nothing if not audacious, winning a name for herself and a Pulitzer Prize with 1991’s A Thousand Acres, in which she recast King Lear as a dirty old man and transplanted him to 1970s Iowa (a location that, as Smiley was an English professor at Iowa State University, surely inspired 1995’s Moo, a biting lampoon of academia). Now, with Ten Days in the Hills, Smiley updates Boccaccio's Decameron, setting it in Hollywood following the 2003 Academy Awards at the house of soon-to-be has-been writer/director Max as he hosts a party for his Iraq-obsessed girlfriend, Elena, and other Tinseltown types. Soon enough, however, tensions and page-turning mounts as the cast of characters watch films, share their stories of Hollywood history, gossip by the swimming pool, and bedroom-hop to their heart’s content — or discontent, as the case might be.
The Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
Sisters by Danielle Steel
Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan
The award-winning author and University of Toronto history professor explores a Cold War milestone, Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to Beijing to open relations with Communist China. In addition to such accounts as the Great Wall pilgrimages and the behind-the-scenes negotiations, MacMillan provides — for a far-reaching portrait — perceptive biographical details, the reasoning behind Nixon’s decision to go, and a history of Sino-American relations.
The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War by Leonard L. Richards
Teresa of Ávila: The Book of My Life by St. Teresa of Avila, Tessa Bielecki, Mirabai Starr (Translator), Foreword by Tessa Bielecki
When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better And/Or Worse by Ben Yagoda