May books

The Arts

May 1, 2020



Notable new releases

compiled by Sally Brewster

The New One: Painfully True Stories from a Reluctant Dad, by Mike Birbiglia

In 2016, comedian Mike Birbiglia and poet Jennifer Hope Stein took their 14-month-old daughter, Oona, to the Nantucket Film Festival. When the festival director picked them up at the airport, she asked Mike if he would perform at storytelling night. “The theme of the stories is jealousy,” she said. Jen quipped, “You’re jealous of Oona. You should talk about that.” And so Mike began sharing some of his darkest and funniest thoughts about the decision to have a child. Jen and Mike revealed to each other their sides of what had gone down during Jen’s pregnancy and that first year with their child. Over the next couple years, these stories evolved into a Broadway show, and the more Mike performed it, the more he heard how it resonated — not just with parents but also people who resist all kinds of change. So he pored over his journals, dug deeper and created this book.

All Adults Here, by Emma Straub

All Adults Here is a warm, funny and perceptive novel about the life cycle of one family.  Kids become parents, grandchildren become teenagers, and a matriarch confronts the legacy of her mistakes. When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three now-grown children. Her youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence and has no partner to help raise her child. Her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid’s 13-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most.

The Last Trial, by Scott Turow

At 85 years old, Alejandro “Sandy” Stern, a brilliant defense lawyer with his health failing but his spirit intact, is on the brink of retirement. But when his old friend Kiril Pafko, a former Nobel Prize winner in medicine, is faced with charges of insider trading, fraud and murder, his entire life’s work is put in jeopardy, and Stern decides to take on one last trial. In a case that will be the defining coda to both men’s accomplished lives, Stern probes beneath the surface of his friend’s dazzling veneer as a distinguished cancer researcher. As the trial progresses, he will question everything he thought he knew about his friend. Despite Pafko’s many failings, is he innocent of the terrible charges laid against him? How far will Stern go to save his friend, and — no matter the trial’s outcome — will he ever know the truth? Stern’s duty to defend his client and his belief in the power of the judicial system both face a final, terrible test in the courtroom, where the evidence and reality are sometimes worlds apart.

Hello, Summer, by Mary Kay Andrews

Conley Hawkins left her family’s small town newspaper, The Silver Bay Beacon, in the rearview mirror years ago. Now a star reporter for a big-city paper, Conley is exactly where she wants to be and is about to take a fancy new position in Washington, D.C. — or so she thinks. When the new job goes up in smoke, Conley finds herself right back where she started, working for her sister, who is trying to keep The Beacon afloat — and she doesn’t exactly have warm feelings for Conley. Soon, she is given the unenviable task of overseeing the local gossip column, “Hello, Summer.” Then Conley witnesses an accident that ends in the death of a local congressman — a beloved war hero with a shady past. The more she digs into the story, the more dangerous it gets. As an old heartbreaker causes trouble and a new flame ignites, it soon looks like their sleepy beach town is the most scandalous hot spot of the summer.  SP

Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, located at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com

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