Each week Entertainment Weekly reviews a small selection of popular new books. Titles available for the Kindle reviewed in the March 16th and March 23rd issues include:
The Expats by Chris Pavone. Crown, 2012. Print Length: 338 p. EW's slant: "After a slow start, Expats eventually reaches its full, bombshell-a-minute pace. And Pavone creates a fascinating, complicated hero in Kate Moore." - Stephan Lee. Amazon customer rating: 4 stars (58 reviews). Kindle edition $12.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage...and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew. She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done - playdates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and never-ending laundry. Meanwhile, her husband works incessantly, at a job Kate has never understood, for a banking client she’s not allowed to know. He’s becoming distant and evasive; she’s getting lonely and bored. Then another American couple arrives. Kate soon becomes suspicious that these people are not who they say they are, and she’s terrified that her own past is catching up to her..." - Publisher.
Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster, by Kristen Johnston. Gallery Books, 2012. Print length: 288 p. MEMOIR. EW's slant: "In 2006, former 3rd Rock From the Sun star Kristen Johnston's stomach exploded after years of drug and alcohol abuse. Now the 44-year-old actress relives that nightmare in her fascinating memoir, Guts." - Clark Collis. Amazon customer rating: 4 1/2 stars (18 reviews). Kindle edition: $11.99. Text-to-Speech: Disabled.
"A stage actress whose most famous role was as Sally Solomon in TV’s 3rd Rock from the Sun, Johnston offers a brash, loud, expletive-peppered, unapologetic account of her manic drug-and-alcohol-infused career. Hailing from a wealthy suburb of Milwaukee, Wis., and growing to be six feet tall by the time she was 12, Johnston felt like a 'freak' at her Catholic grade school, learning early on that being funny was the way to deflect nasty criticism by other kids. She took naturally to the stage, studying theater at NYU under the benevolent influence of a certain gay stage actor she refers to only as 'David'... Fame suddenly struck with 3rd Rock, starring John Lithgow, along with heavy painkillers and alcohol abuse, and yo-yoing weight gain; in 2006, while doing a play in London, acute peritonitis caused extended hospitalization, surgery, and deep self-examination. In her sarcastic, self-deprecating manner..., Johnston re-creates her desperate hospital episode and subsequent rehab." - Publishers Weekly.
The Vanishers, by Heidi Julavits. Doubleday, 2012. Print length: 306 p. NOVEL. EW's slant: "...an absorbing meditation on female competition with Hitchcockian twists." - Melissa Maerz. Amazon customer rating: 4 stars (5 reviews). Kindle edition: $13.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"Julia Severn is a student at an elite institute for psychics. Her mentor, the legendary Madame Ackermann, afflicted by jealousy, refuses to pass the torch to her young disciple. Instead, she subjects Julia to the humiliation of reliving her mother's suicide when Julia was an infant. As the two lock horns, and Julia gains power, Madame Ackermann launches a desperate psychic attack that leaves Julia the victim of a crippling ailment. Julia retreats to a faceless job in Manhattan. But others have noted Julia's emerging gifts, and soon she's recruited to track down an elusive missing person - a controversial artist who might have a connection to her mother..." - Publisher.
Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion, by Alain De Botton. Pantheon, 2012. Print length: 320 p. This title has complex layouts and has been optimized for reading on devices with larger screens. NONFICTION. EW's slant: "...a slightly precious, upper-middle-brow tract with ideas both reasonable and ridiculous." - Jeff Giles. Amazon customer rating: 3 stars (21 reviews). Kindle edition $13.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"Atheism is a form of faith. The convinced atheist believes that there is no god and no supernatural, and that religion is nothing but superstitious bunk. The atheist is therefore unlikely to see that there is a lot that is useful and good in religion. De Botton (How Proust Can Change Your Life), a convinced atheist but a Jew by birth, shows how much of religion is indeed very good and worth keeping, even in a society tending (at least in Europe) toward atheism. There is strong community, for instance, and high art, especially in architecture, painting, sculpture, and music. De Botton discusses these and many other benefits, while rejecting religious doctrine and ritual. He demonstrates his usual urbane, intelligent, and witty prose, always entertaining and worth reading..." - James F. DeRoche for Library Journal.
Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good, by Kevin Smith. Gotham Books, 2012. Print length: 272 p. MEMOIR. Amazon customer rating: 4 stars (5 reviews). Kindle edition: $11.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"Take one look at Kevin Smith: He's a balding fatty who wears a size XXL hockey jersey, shorts, and slippers year-round. Not a likely source for life advice. But take a second look at Kevin Smith: He changed filmmaking forever when he was twenty-four with the release of Clerks, and since then has gone on to make nine more profitable movies, runs his own production company, wrote a bestselling graphic novel, and has a beautiful wife and kids. So he must be doing something right. As Kevin's millions of Twitter followers and millions of podcast listeners know, he's the first one to admit his flaws and the last one to care about them. In early 2011, he began using his platform to answer big questions from fans - like 'What should I do with my life?' - and he discovered that he had a lot to say. Tough Sh*t distills his four decades of breaking all the rules down to direct and brutally honest advice..." - Publisher.
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E L James. Vintage, 2011. Print length: 372 p. NOVEL. EW's slant: "...steamy female-centric erotica out of what began as Twilight fan fiction." - Lisa Schwarzbaum. Amazon customer rating: 4 stars (597 reviews). Kindle edition $9.99. Text-to-Speech: Enabled.
"When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too - but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success - his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family - Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires." - Publisher.
Arcadia, by Lauren Groff. Voice, 2012. Print Length: 304 p. NOVEL. Amazon customer rating: 4 stars (9 reviews). People's slant: "...a moving look at the value of human connection in a scary, chaotic world" - Lauren Groff. Kindle edition: $10.39. Text-to-Speech: Enabled. This edition includes a Reading Group Guide and a Q&A with the author.
"In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding what would become a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic, rollicking, and tragic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday and after. Arcadia’s inhabitants include Handy, a musician and the group’s charismatic leader; Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah’s only child, the book’s protagonist, Bit, who is born soon after the commune is created." - Publisher.
Please note: The book prices quoted here are the Amazon.com prices in effect at the time of the blog posting. Please follow the links to the individual book to check the current price.