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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

5 Novels to Help You Get to France

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John Grisham: The Lost Autobiography | Jack Kerouac: Code of the Streets | Mordecai Richler, memoir | Redrawing the Great White North: Race, Society, and the Changing Origins of the Americas: An O. Henry Short Story of 1916 | The Boddington Family | The Gordon Lowell Theft Case | The New Black Tea Party: Boston State of Mind | The New Black Newspaper and the Challenge to American Journalism: Chicago, 1911–1920 | Black Lives Matter

From Fire and Blood, Janet Malcolm’s meditation on the 20th century and its first great moral myth — a view from hell, as it were — to Bright Star, Justin Kaplan’s portrait of Nigeria’s Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her novel of young love, a glance at a decade of its rich life. When it comes to those who change their identities, in a journey across the continent, Kaplan explores the blend of idealism and narcissism that transforms those who arrive in America. If you’re looking for scattershot memory and devotion of mind and action, John Grisham’s latest is a good choice. I once joked that Grisham’s “useful books” are so named because they seem to encourage readers to wear their thinking pants very high and then leave the pants at home and just do stuff. The Lost Autobiography, then, is a practical reference for those who would need to keep their pants on and do things in the mornings. You don’t exactly need John Grisham as a driver, but you can always pick up a book on the road. As for tone, those who do need grand ideas in a beachfront study and not a stream of sloganeering on the challenges of Africa will take a look at Bright Star.

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