Barbara’s Picks: August 2012, Pt. 4: Kitamura, Stedman, Grunwald, Marton

Kitamura, Katie. Gone to the Forest. Free Pr: S. & S. Aug. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9781451656640. pap. $15. LITERARY
Since his mother died, Tom and his father have dwelled together uneasily on their farm in an unnamed colonial country close to violence. Then a young woman named Carine enters their lives, forming a triangle and causing tensions to flare openly even as a volcanic eruption tips the country into revolution. A New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award finalist, Kitamura here follows up her highly regarded first novel, The Longshot, with something that sounds both smart and gripping for a wide range of readers. Note the reading group guide and the ebook/App promotion.

Stedman, ML. The Light Between Oceans. Scribner. Aug. 2012. NAp. ISBN 9781451681734. $25. HISTORICAL
After World War I, Tom Sherbourne takes a job as lighthouse keeper on isolated Janus Rock, off the coast of Australia, where the supply boat comes only four times a year. His spunky wife, Isabel, suffers two miscarriages and a still birth in three years, so it’s no surprise that when a boat washes up carrying a dead man and a live baby, Isabel persuades Tom not to report the incident and takes the baby as hers. That causes trouble, of course, when they eventually return to the mainland. Big in-house excitement for his first novel, which will be backed by NPR coverage and a reading group guide. Tops on my reading list.

Grunwald, Michael. The New New Deal. S. & S. Aug. 2012. 352p. ISBN 9781451642322. $27. CURRENT EVENTS
Listen up, voters: though Democrats don’t get it and Republicans hate it, Obama’s stimulus bill truly has been transformative, a broader-reaching program than even the New Deal. It not only short-circuited a looming depression and saved millions of jobs but is helping restructure America’s energy program, bringing healthcare into the Digital age, and changing everything from unemployment insurance to the government’s approach to homelessness. So argues Time senior correspondent Grunwald, winner of a George Polk Award, in a book that will surely prompt lots of discussion.

Marton, Kati. Paris: A Love Story. S. & S. Aug. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9781451691542. $24. MEMOIR
Paris is important to many of us, but it’s really important to journalist/author Marton (Enemies of the People). There she studied as a college student in the explosive year of 1968; researched her family’s escape to France from communist Hungary; served as ABC bureau chief in a career breakthrough; met her first husband, Peter Jennings; and then met her second husband, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, finally returning to Paris to mourn his death. A distinctive view of the City of Light.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.