by Tove Ditlevsen The problem of happinessGary Indiana fire seasonand Sascha Rothchild blood sugar all are among the highest rated books of the week.

Featured by Book Marks, “Rotten Tomatoes for books” by Lit Hub.

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Fiction

Sascha Rothchild_Blood Sugar Cover

1. blood sugar by Sascha Rothchild
(Son of GP Putnam)

3 Rave • 2 Positive • 1 Mixed
Read an interview with Sascha Rothchild here

“A Promising young woman meets Dexter thriller both full of suspense and strangely stimulating… [Rothchild’s] This debut thriller successfully executes all the elements of a crackling mystery: page-turning plot beats, snappy dialogue…and sharply-featured characters. Readers will support Ruby’s acts of vigilante justice toward toxic male characters while questioning her reliability as a narrator. For those who enjoy a fascinating and complicated female lead with more than one ax to grind, blood sugar is an absolute must.

–Lauren Emily Whelan (BookPage)

Research_Michelle Huneven

2. Research by Michelle Hunven
(PenguinPress)

1 Rave • 5 Positives

“.. follows a surprisingly amusing account of church politics in the age of ‘complaining’ and, to a lesser extent, Dana’s own pursuit of spiritual and personal fulfillment…At the end of the book, Huneven, a James Beard Award-winning food writer, serves up some of the recipes the group enjoyed. It’s as appetizing an experience as reading Martin Walker. Bruno, enigmas of the chief of police, in which Bruno concocts French classics in the Dordogne… Dana’s own observations are spiced with wit… altogether a novel whose humor works because it is so plausible. Although filled with satirical moments, it’s not quite satire, as Huneven has too much respect for all of his seekers. She stops short of reducing them to stereotypes and takes their research as serious, despite all the bruised egos, dead ends and outright stupidity. Even the fierce cadre of youngsters is watched with as much affection as ridicule.

–Dan Cryer (The Los Angeles Times)

The Problem of Happiness: and Other Stories_Tove Ditlevsen

3. The problem of happiness by Tove Ditlevsen
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

1 Rave • 4 Positives
Read a story of The problem of happiness here

“… [a] collection of silent and devastating vignettes… The stories are simple; ordinary and immensely human characters. Their motivations are mysterious and subtle, and Ditlevsen is extremely sensitive to how normal life can wear on their hearts. Readers will recognize the themes of anger, disappointment and frustration that recur throughout the author’s universe. Alongside this discomfort, however, is the opportunity for profound transformation. Already renowned for her memoirs, Ditlevsen is now poised to be acclaimed as a master of short fiction.

–Publisher Weekly

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nonfiction

Gary Indiana_Fire Season: Selected Trials 1984-2021 Cover

1. Fire Season: Selected Essays 1984-2021 by Gary Indiana
(Seven Story Press)

5 Rave

“Few writers are as sensitive to absurdity or write with such a sharp pen as Gary Indiana, whose new collection of essays, fire season, spans nearly forty years of stellar reviews…His interests are broad…When I was in college in the mid-80s and launched into the world soon after, Indiana’s sensibility , and indeed its canon, have been formative for my cohort, and it’s enormously enjoyable to see its brilliant wit again… Perhaps the central feature of Indiana’s writing remains its elegant, astringent wit. Sometimes it can look like meanness; but just as the difference between the erotic and the pornographic is said to be that the latter is gratuitous, so is a strong critique distinct from mere nastiness by being intentional… Indiana also turns its scathing clarity on live subjects … Some plays may read differently now than when they were first published, as the urgency of the avant-garde has been subsumed by the inescapability of mass media. And it’s true that Indiana’s work may not feel entirely contemporary, in that it refuses to be beautiful. This, thank God, ensures its timelessness.

–Claire Messud (Harper’s)

Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became the Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast_Joan DeJean

2. Mutinous Women: How French Convicts Became the Founding Mothers of the Gulf Coast by Joan DeJean
(Basic books)

3 Rave • 3 Positive

“Gripping from its opening scene… Through astounding research into French and Louisiana archives, including police records of the arrests and trials of the women, Ms. DeJean, a professor of French literature at the University of Pennsylvania , reconstructs the lives of almost each of them largely unknown women… Ms. DeJean uses her knowledge as a scholar of modern France to great effect Paris comes alive as a place where women and men have lived and died, trying to take care of themselves and their families… Discovering these poor women of the colonial past, Mutinous women conveys a fascinating story and serves as a reminder that all kinds of people helped build what has become the United States.

– Kathleen Duval (The Wall Street Journal)

The Right: The Hundred Years War for American Conservatism_Matthew Continetti

3. The Right: The Hundred Years War for American Conservatism by Matthew Continetti
(Basic books)

2 Rave • 3 Positive • 1 Mixed

“Continetti seems less interested in the numbers of politics than in his ideas, and the tension between them is the engine of The right … Continetti revisits [William F.] Buckley’s greatest successes: how he pushed back against the fringe elements of mid-century conservatism; how he helped usher in “fusionism,” the blend of economic and cultural conservatism that Frank Meyer articulated in National Review; and how he “integrated” American conservatism… Yet, to his credit, Continetti does not canonize Buckley… [Continetti and another conservative author] not just writing history; they find comfort there. Their works can shed light on the way forward for the party and the movement, but only up to a point. Their works can shed light on the way forward for the party and the movement, but only up to a point. History, after all, is not an interested party. But it can be interesting. »

–Carlos Lozada (The Washington Post)