A Pulitzer-winning Frederick Douglass biography and 5 more paperbacks for the new year

A Pulitzer-winning Frederick Douglass biography and 5 more paperbacks for the new year

  • 0
"Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom" by David W. Blight.

"Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom" by David W. Blight. (Simon & Schuster/TNS)

A new book might just help with the post-holiday blues, no? Here are six freshly released paperbacks, all highly recommended.

"Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom" by David W. Blight (Simon & Schuster, $22). Winner of numerous awards, including the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in history, this thick volume explores the remarkable life of Douglass, from his early days as a fugitive slave to his fame as an orator, abolitionist and political theorist. The book is "cinematic and deeply engaging," wrote a New York Times reviewer, calling it "a tour de force of storytelling and analysis."

"The New Iberia Blues" by James Lee Burke (Simon & Schuster, $16.99). The 22nd book in Burke's popular mystery series featuring Louisiana sheriff's deputy Dave Robicheaux involves an escaped murderer, a visiting Hollywood director and a washed-up corpse nailed to a cross. In a starred Kirkus Review, the reviewer noted: "Many of the character types, plot devices, and oracular sentiments are familiar from Burke's earlier books. But the sentences are brand-new, and the powerful emotional charge they carry feels piercingly new as well."

"Working" by Robert Caro (Vintage, $16). Speaking of Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies, Caro is a two-time winner of the award, for his work documenting the lives of Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert Moses. This slender book, a bestseller, is a collection of essays by Caro, now in his 80s, about interviewing, researching and writing. An NPR reviewer of "Working" called the book "an inspiring - and reading it as a journalist, honestly sometimes shame-inducing - window into the seemingly superhuman reporting, researching, writing, patience, and above all, willpower that have powered his reinvention of the political biography and history genre."

"The Night Tiger" by Yangsze Choo (Flatiron, $17.99). A bestseller (thanks to Reese Witherspoon's book club, which chose it as a selection last spring), Choo's second novel takes place in 1930s Malaya (now Malaysia), where a child is given a mysterious mission by a dying man. A starred Kirkus Review called it a" sumptuous garden maze of a novel that immerses readers in a complex, vanished world."

"The Last Romantics" by Tara Conklin (HarperCollins, $17.99). Reading Seattle author Conklin's second novel last year, I thought of Ann Patchett's "Commonwealth," Angela Flournoy's "The Turner House" and Chloe Benjamin's "The Immortalists" - all books that irresistibly pull the reader into a family. "The Last Romantics" is an elegant page-turner focusing on a group of siblings making their separate ways through decades but bound by an invisible, twisting cord. It's a haunting story about leavings, or about how things and people shift to fill an empty space - or don't.

"The Lost Man," by Jane Harper (Flatiron, $16.99). Unlike Australian author Harper's two previous novels featuring police investigator Aaron Falk ("The Dry" and "Force of Nature," both terrific), this one's a stand-alone set not in the city of Melbourne, but in the remote outback, where "next-door neighbors" live three hours apart. It's an eerie, mesmerizing setting for a story about a mysterious death in an isolated family; I remember the pages flying by.

Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Even before Jeanine Cummins' "American Dirt" was published on Tuesday, a cloud of controversy was swirling around the author and her book. In recent days, Twitter has exploded with Latino and Latina writers accusing the author of everything from cultural appropriation to pandering to the tastes of a white audience to indulging in harmful stereotypes. And yet, "American Dirt" has been embraced ...

"Murder, Inc.: The CIA Under John F. Kennedy" by James H. Johnston; Potomac Books (343 pages, $32.95) ___ Many books touching on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy have an agenda, jumping through a series of conspiratorial hoops to bolster a conclusion already arrived at. James Johnston's "Murder, Inc.," is different: He dispassionately sifts through the evidence regarding the ...

"Naked Came the Florida Man" by Tim Dorsey; Morrow (336 pages, $26.99) ___ The Florida Man (or woman) is known far and wide for his (or her) restraint, on-point behavior and mental acuity. OK, just kidding. The antics of Florida Man (or woman) are well known, so it's amazing that Tim Dorsey whose novels are tailor-made for this creature has never used the term in a title before. Each of ...

Rankings for hardcover books sold in Southern California, as reported by selected bookstores: ___ Fiction 1. "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous," by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press: $26) A son in his late 20s writes a letter to his mother, who cannot read, unearthing a family's history rooted in Vietnam. 2. "Such a Fun Age," by Reid Kiley (G.P Putnam's Sons: $26) A young black babysitter, her ...

Cold weather lends itself to bus or train commutes. Instead of white-knuckling your way along an icy freeway, you are in a warm place with plenty of time to read. So here is an array of books, new in paperback, to tuck into your backpack for your daily journey. Don't dread the commute - enjoy it. And don't forget to thank your bus driver. "The House of Mirth," by Edith Wharton. (Scribner, ...

"Hope & Heartbreak: Beyond the Numbers of the Opioid Epidemic" by Scott Brown; Red Mark Publishing (220 pages, $16.95) ___ The drugs - pills, heroin, fentanyl - are pretty similar wherever you go, but each region seems to have its own particular opioid narrative. Sam Quinones captured Ohio's opioid economy in full throttle in 2015's "Dreamland." Beth Macy's "Dopesick," published last year, ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News