Franzen, Lethem, Oates, & More | Barbara’s Picks, Nov. 2018

Franzen, Jonathan. The End of the End of the Earth: Essays. Farrar. Nov. 2018. 224p. ISBN 9780374147938. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374719289. CD. ESSAYS
Legend-in-his-time Franzen veers from fiction, here collecting essays and speeches written mostly in the past five years that examine themes contained in his novels. From his young adulthood in New York to the global seabird crisis, he takes a gimlet-eyed view of the world today, our place in it, and what role literature plays as we sort out key issues.

Lethem, Jonathan. The Feral Detective. Ecco. Nov. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780062859068. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062859082. lrg. prnt. MYSTERY
Billed as MacArthur Fellow Lethem’s first detective novel since Motherless Brooklyn but obviously much more, this work opens with Phoebe Siegler seeking out Charles Heist in the Los Angeles desert. Though close-mouthed and decidedly offbeat—he keeps a pet opossum—Charles has remarkable people-finding skills, which Phoebe needs. She’s looking for her friend’s missing daughter, caught somewhere between two opposing factions—the Rabbits and the Bears—living off the grid in inland California. With a 200,000-copy first printing.

McPhee, John. The Patch. Farrar. Nov. 2018. 256p. ISBN 978037422948. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780374717193. ESSAYS
This seventh collection of essays from the masterly McPhee, stitching together works not previously published in book form, is divided into two parts. “The Sporting Scene” takes us fly casting in New Hampshire and golfing at St. Andrews, while “An Album Quilt” contains reflections and reminiscences that range from visiting a Hershey chocolate factory to chatting with Oscar Hammerstein and Joan Baez. Condensed to find the passages of greatest interest to contemporary readers and serving as a quasi-memoir.

Norman, Philip. Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton. Little, Brown. Nov. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780316560436. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780316560450. lib. ebk. ISBN 9780316445191.CD/downloadable. BIOGRAPHY/MUSIC
The best-selling biographer of legendary musicians from Buddy Holly to Mick Jagger to Elton John and author of the classic Beatles biography SHOUT!, Norman now turns his attention to Eric Clapton, winner of 17 Grammys and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame’s only three-time inductee. An authorized work, based on interviews with Clapton’s family, friends, and associates; with a 150,000-copy first printing.

Oates, Joyce Carol. Hazards of Time Travel. Ecco. Nov. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9780062319593. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062319616. lrg. prnt. LITERARY FICTION
Before she discovers the hazards of time travel, Oates’s defiant heroine discovers the hazards of pushing the envelope in her restrictive future world—she’s sent back 80 years to Wainscotia, WI. She can’t keep herself from questioning constraints there, too, or falling in love with another exile, never mind that she’s supposed to be rehabilitating herself. Here Oates not unexpectedly pushes the envelope herself; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Oz, Amos. Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land. Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2018. 160p. tr. from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen. ISBN 9781328987006. $23; ebk. ISBN 9781328987563. POLITICAL SCIENCE
Celebrated Israeli novelist Oz writes nonfiction, too, including the three essays collected here, relevant to our polarized, populist world: they treat the nature of fanaticism, the Jewish roots of humanism (and the need for a secular appreciation of Israel), and Israel’s geopolitical standing. Oz says he wrote them for his grandchildren, but they’re good for us all.

Rose, Heather. The Museum of Modern Love.  Algonquin. Nov. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9781616208523. pap. $15.95. LITERARY FICTION
In a powerful work at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2010, performance artist Marina Abramović sat silently at a table, while visitors seated themselves opposite her for as long as they wished. In this Christina Stead and Stella Prize–winning book from Australian author Rose, her first adult novel published in the United States, one of those visitors is Arky Levin. Arky’s unexpected separation from his wife has left him without inspiration for the film scores he composes, and his experience at the museum is transformative for him and, one suspects, the reader.

Rusbridger, Alan. Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now. Farrar. Nov. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9780374279622. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780374717216. JOURNALISM
As the Guardian’s editor in chief from 1995 to 2015, presiding over big events from revelations of phone hacking by London tabloids to Edward Snowden’s release of National Security Agency files, Rusbridger knows news reporting. During that time, technology completely changed the landscape, with print news tumbling as the Internet facilitated the get-it-now publication of significant information and significant misinformation. Here, Rusbridger chronicles how journalism has changed, what the consequences are, and what it’s like to practice journalism today.

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Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @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.

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