What should you read next? Here are the top reviewed books of the week ‹ Literary Hub – 71Bait

Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner heat 2David Maraniss’ Track lit by lightningand Mark Braudes Kiki ManRay all are among the top rated books of the week.

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fiction

heat 2

1. heat 2 by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner
(William Morrow and company)

5 enthusiastic • 1 positive • 1 mixed
Read an essay about how Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner made heat 2 here

“It’s a meaty, sprawling crime novel that feels like a play on Mann’s filmography, from its hyper-competent, ambitious characters to the intricately detailed underworlds they operate in… At times, Mann and Gardiner use the prequel portion of the book to explore the.” Origins to be directly explained from iconic moments from the film, but even these instances feel more motivated by the story than like cheap tricks to get readers to do the Leo pointing meme…part of the fun heat 2 lies in watching his writers pull ideas and minute details from Mann’s entire filmography… heat 2however, paints full portraits of his characters to allow you to envision them separately from the stars who played them, making a film adaptation with new actors easier to envision.”

– Chris Stanton (vulture)

The women could Fly_Megan Giddings

2. The women could fly by Megan Giddings
(Amistad)

4 enthusiastic • 1 positive • 1 mixed
Read Megan Giddings on going to the movies to incite anger here

“…a gentle boil of violence against women’s bodies, sure – but above all a simmering of the mind. She builds and deconstructs complex themes without haste, and mostly revolves around what it can mean to be a woman in patriarchal societies on the hunt for “devils” who might be you… Giddings has an incredible overview of the American family, uber religious nationalism and how it affects everyone. She writes with wisdom, grace, and a dexterous hand; Her work is seamless across the page, particularly on issues of identity and all sorts of diversity that might feel didactic in lesser hands… Partly because of the depth of her characters; they are not archetypes, but real people in unreal circumstances… The arcs that Giddings draws through Josie’s core relationships – with Preston, with Angie, with her parents – shimmer with intelligence and humanity, and they determine her destiny… When all this reads like raw material feels like a binge-worthy television show, not because this novel needs to be adapted, but because it feels flexible and transcends familiar forms. And yet it succeeds exquisitely as what it is. Like a woman without a partner, Giddings’ second novel is already finished.”

-Natascha Deón (The Los Angeles Times)

Emi Yagi_Diary of a Void Cover

3. Journal of a Void by Emily Yagi
(Vikings)

3 enthusiastic • 2 positive

“The speculative conceit reigns in contemporary publishing, where few novels live up to their promise of insightful commentary on society. But a particularly good one can still tempt even the most cynical reader… If occasionally stubborn… Yagi has a knack for the endless ironies made possible by her premise. There’s humor… As the lie begins to get surreal, palpable abdominal cramps and a seemingly legitimate sonogram briefly lead the reader to think our narrator was either tricking us or herself the entire time. The ending of the novel is fortunately less snotty: in the end there is nothing left but emptiness, ‘just big enough for one person.’”

– Lauren Oyler (New York Times book review)

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nonfiction

Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoir of Mary Rodgers_Mary Rodgers

1. Shy: The Alarmingly Outspoken Memoir of Mary Rodgers by Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

6 enthusiastic • 1 positive

“I’ve never read a more entertaining (and insightful) book than Mary Rodgers Shy. Her voice moves between intimate, smug, self-confessed, funny. The book is pure enjoyment – except when it’s hilariously shocking… two of the most vividly (if frighteningly) rendered parents I’ve ever met… “Daddy” is the first word in the book, and it provokes the first of Green’s many enlightening footnotes that enrich the pages Shy like butter on a steak… Dick and Dorothy are present, at least implicitly, throughout Shy,and Mary’s views of them are alternately horrible and hilarious… But it’s the showbiz world they all lived in that elevates the book into the pantheon of Broadway tales… The chronology is imperfect when a life like Mary’s is of one mind how Marys is rendered; One of the book’s alternate titles, Green said, was “Where Was I?” She jumps back and forth between her many decades, the digression dangling from an anecdote, which in turn is hanging on a page. Sometimes you’re left in a slightly disconcerting (if amusing) suspense… Would I have preferred a more direct narrative? Not a chance, because that could have dampened her invigorating openness.”

–Daniel Okrent (New York Times book review)

Path Light by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe_David Maraniss

2. Path Light by Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe by David Maraniss
(Simon & Schuster)

3 enthusiastic • 4 positive

“… goes beyond myth and into the guts of Thorpe’s life, using extensive research, historical nuance and bittersweet honesty to tell the story of a gifted and complicated man… Maraniss’ account of the dizzying atmosphere of the Swedish Olympics, where European royalty bestowed wreaths of flowers and silver trophies on winners who partied all night is a journey back in time to a simpler era… The rest of Thorpe’s life was a constant tussle for money and jobs. One of Maraniss’ challenges is maintaining narrative momentum during this time. For the most part he succeeds, although Thorpe’s pattern – starting strong, then flaring up and then walking away – feels unbearably sad, the waste of so much potential and experience. But Maraniss refuses to portray him as a failure or a martyr… Maraniss’ biography does justice to the struggles and triumphs of a truly great man.”

—Mary Ann Gwin (The Los Angeles Times)

Kiki Man Ray: Art, Love and Rivalry in 1920s Paris Cover

3. Kiki Man Ray: Art, Love and Rivalry in 1920s Paris by MarkBraude
(WW Norton & Company)

2 enthusiastic • 4 positive
Read Mark Braude about how Kiki de Montparnasse made her life a work of art here

“Braude draws heavily on Kiki’s and Man Ray’s memoirs; His writing is occasionally sloppy, and his handling of art history can be perfunctory… But that doesn’t matter when you’re under Kiki’s spell, and he’s written a biography worthy of it, full of anecdotes and incidents… You’ll just be so glad about that she knew – at least I did, having stupidly considered her appendages of other artists… She was a marvel, and her triumph feels so far-fetched, the space she opened up for herself as a poor woman in a rich city: “Like in this violent, money-hungry world that doesn’t leave room for their kikis,” as Braude puts it in a beautiful passage, “their kikis have always found a way to make themselves at home.”

-Charles Finch (The Boston Globe)

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