Tribune News Service

Book Budget for Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Updated at 4:30 a.m. EDT (0830 UTC).


^Simon & Schuster publisher talks race, Trump and the pandemic<

^BOOK-SIMON-SCHUSTER:BLO—<Bob Woodward's "Rage," Mary Trump's "Too Much and Never Enough" and John Bolton's "The Room Where It Happened," three of the biggest books of Donald Trump's presidency, arrived just as Dana Canedy was settling into her new role as senior vice president and publisher of Simon & Schuster's namesake imprint. She is the first Black person to hold this position in the publishing powerhouse's 96 years. Canedy spent 20 years at the New York Times, writing about terrorism, law enforcement, business and finance. She was part of a team that won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for a series on race.

In 2017, Canedy, 55, was named administrator of the Pulitzers, assessing the best of journalism, letters and the arts. That is until Simon & Schuster called earlier this year. The publisher releases more than 2,000 titles annually and its imprints have won 56 Pulitzers, numerous National Book Awards and many other prizes. Among the other books it published this year are Sean Hannity's "Live Free or Die," Brian Stelter's "Hoax" and Susan Rice's "Tough Love."

1150 by Karen Toulon. MOVED


^Fred Guttenberg, Parkland dad, writes uplifting book about coping after tragedy<

^BOOK-GUTTENBERG-FIND-HELPERS:FL—<Countless acts of generosity and support helped Fred Guttenberg survive the unbearable loss of his only daughter in Parkland's high school massacre in 2018.

A who's who of political heavyweights contacted him: the Democratic presidential candidate, the speaker of the House, a congressman from Florida, the governors of Ohio and New Jersey. But the kindness of friends and strangers also propelled him through his darkest days, including a famous Hollywood actor who pledged his support, and a group of Broward fire cadets who went to the funeral.

These helpers are part of Guttenberg's uplifting story, which he's sharing in his new autobiographical book, "Find the Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope."

"I have come to find greatness in people who do unexpectedly generous things in the moment — people who never intended to become heroes," he writes.

1150 by Lisa J. Huriash in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^Mohsin Hamid discusses 'Exit West' <

^BOOK-HAMID-EXIT-WEST:TB—<In Mohsin Hamid's moving novel, "Exit West," a series of mysterious doors appear around the world, immediate portals into distant lands. The novel follows a pair of lovers who first attempt to navigate their own city, racked by violence, before ultimately deciding to test their luck through the doors.

When the novel debuted in 2017, it was published coincidentally in the midst of controversy surrounding President Donald Trump's travel ban affecting majority-Muslim countries. The book went on to critical acclaim — The New Yorker proclaimed it "a novel about immigrants that feels instantly canonical" — and the Booker Prize shortlist. The United States went on to witness further immigration upheaval, not to mention racial strife and a pandemic.

We spoke with Hamid to get his take on how his novel will be read now.

1750 by Jennifer Day. MOVED


^Margaret Atwood talks about 'The Testaments,' 'The Handmaid's Tale,' politics and more<

^BOOK-ATWOOD:SE—<In 1985, Canadian author Margaret Atwood published an instant classic: "The Handmaid's Tale," a chilling work of speculative fiction told from the point of view of a young woman trapped in an oppressive American regime called Gilead, where she was forced to bear children for the state. Over the years, it never left public consciousness, becoming a feature film, a television series, an opera, a ballet — but for several decades, its writer thought she was finished with that world.

Long an activist for climate change awareness, Atwood wrote a trilogy of speculative fiction novels exploring environmental themes — "Oryx and Crake," "The Year of the Flood," "MaddAddam" — during the early part of the new century. "And then the politics turned around and started going back towards very polarized factions, as it had been in the 1930s," she said. "That's when I thought, OK, we're going back into an age of dictatorships or attempted dictatorships, and this does not look happy. Then I thought, we've seen them come and go, we've seen how they arise, but how did they crumble? I was interested in the crumbling part."

1050 by Moira Macdonald. MOVED



^In a crowded field of Trump expos s, only Michael Cohen's shows how he corrupts souls<

^BOOK-DISLOYAL-REVIEW:LA—<Decades before Michael Cohen rose to fame as Donald Trump's lawyer-fixer, he spent summers working for his uncle Morty at the El Caribe, a lively Brooklyn social club frequented by New York mobsters.

It was there, on a "glorious" sunny afternoon in 1980, as Cohen recounts in "Disloyal" — his mea culpa memoir of his relationship with Trump — that he witnessed a drunk patron skinny-dipping in the crowded pool get shot in the rump by a local hood.

"I had been an eyewitness to the whole scene," he writes. "I had seen the shooter and could identify him, of course." But after a hard look from another gangster, Cohen got wise and told the police nothing. His reward was $500, slipped to him in an envelope.

It was a formative moment for the young Cohen, helping explain his later cultlike fascination with Trump: If you were tough enough and flashed enough cash you could get away with shooting somebody in broad daylight — or in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

1350 by David S. Cloud. MOVED


^Politics is stranger than fiction<

^BOOK-RODHAM-REVIEW:MS—<In her new novel "Rodham," Minneapolis-based fiction writer Curtis Sittenfeld offers up a tantalizing premise: What would the past couple of decades of American politics have looked like if a young Hillary Rodham had turned down Bill Clinton's marriage proposal in the early 1970s?

It's the kind of irresistible "what if?" scenario that's been known to fuel many a freewheeling, late-night conversation among political junkies.

450 by Patrick Condon. MOVED


^Review: 'I Saw Him Die,' by Andrew Wilson<

^BOOK-SAW-HIM-DIE-REVIEW:MS—<In the great tradition of Agatha Christie, Andrew Wilson's "I Saw Him Die" features a cast of upper-crust British gathered at a remote estate on the Isle of Skye in 1930. The host is murdered, the guests are forbidden to leave, and the mystery is on.

At the heart of this book is Christie herself, also a character in three previous novels by Wilson, who is a noted biographer and journalist as well as novelist. "I Saw Him Die" is great fun, with Christie summoned to the house along with her friend John Davison, a member of the Secret Intelligence Service. Their mission was to prevent the murder of the host but, failing that, to solve his murder. Instead, another murder takes place, and then another, and Christie finds herself among the suspects.

250 by Laurie Hertzel. MOVED


^Review: Soldier's story is fresh and original in debut 'Without Sanction'<

^BOOK-WITHOUT-SANCTION-REVIEW:FL—<It's become a familiar trope of authors writing about veterans — a damaged soldier haunted by the war as he tries to live as a civilian. Don Bentley latches onto that background in his debut, but succeeds in making "Without Sanction" an original and fresh story that inspires empathy for his characters and plot.

250 by Oline H. Cogdill. MOVED


^Review: 'Shadowplay,' by Joseph O'Connor<

^BOOK-SHADOWPLAY-REVIEW:MS—<In description, "Shadowplay" sounds like it's all about plot but, in reality, it's all about sentences so lush you could wrap them around you like a cloak. Joseph O'Connor's novel involves (possibly gay?) Bram Stoker writing "Dracula," Jack the Ripper striking repeatedly, Stoker and real-life acting legends Henry Irving and Ellen Terry trying to hold a Victorian-era theater together and several relationships unraveling.

150 by Chris Hewitt. MOVED



^The myth of the Greatest Chicago Fire, or, how disaster books make good reading right now<

^BOOK-ROUNDUP-DISASTER:TB—<John Updike was visiting family in Brooklyn on September 11, 2001. He wrote later about watching Manhattan explode and crumble that day as if it were episodic TV, a perfect day with perfect reception, though every time he tuned in, hoping for the finale, "The nightmare is still on." That returned to me this summer as I read an unnatural amount about natural disasters, and manmade disasters, plagues, infernos, dust storms, earthquakes and climate-led extinctions. I would read Octavia Butler's "Parable of the Sower," her 1993 novel set in a United States dissolving into anarchy then turn to TikTok to watch the Beirut explosion from countless camera angles. I would dig into Stephen King's "The Stand," finding myself moved by the "Our Town"-like vignettes that check in on random Americans, finding lonesomeness and regret as a killer virus rages.

But when a tornado spun through Rogers Park, my window offered less than YouTube.

I binged on depictions of disaster, even as the real thing, and a real virus, unfolded outside.

Which sounds pathological.

Until you read "Chicago's Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City" by Northwestern University historian Carl Smith, a fascinating new history billed as nothing less than the first accessible, "carefully researched" popular accounting of the fire.

1350 by Christopher Borrelli in Chicago. MOVED




^BOOK-BEST:MCT—<Bestselling books from Publishers Weekly. (Moving Thursday afternoon)


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