Jon Foro: There is probably no animal that exemplifies the perpetual tensions over the management of Western lands than the big, bad Canis lupus, otherwise known as the Gray Wolf (among many common names). For ranchers, it’s a threat to their animals and livelihood, a bloodthirsty pestilence mostly eradicated from the landscape and best left that way. To environmentalists, it’s a noble symbol of natural treasures nearly squandered, an opportunity to right a grievous wrong through reintroduction into their historical habitats. But what about the wolves themselves? In American Wolf, Nate Blakeslee tells the story O-Six (named for her birth-year), a Yellowstone alpha female beloved by wolf watchers – notably park ranger Rick McIntyre - pursued by hunters, and strangely famous on social media. How much you like the way this story ends will depend on where you fall between both sides of the argument, but it promises to be illuminating for all.
Erin Kodicek: I'm checking out an upcoming fall release by beloved author Isabel Allende, In the Midst of Winter. It opens with endearingly oblivious academic Richard Bowmaster, who is rattled after taking his cat to the vet and ends up in a fateful fender bender. Turns out the driver of the other car is an undocumented immigrant, it's her boss's vehicle, she didn't have permission to take it, and he's not the sort of person you want to cross...I'm not far into it, but the pacing and dialog reminds me of a stage play, and the tone is a sort of zany mix of rom-com involving Bowmaster's longtime colleague and neighbor, and something more ominous...I like that the romance in the book centers on characters who are on the older side, which isn't something you see very often (a notable exception is last year's Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf, now being made into a movie starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford). If the title sounds a bit familiar, it's a nod to the famous Albert Camus quote: "In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer." Camus went on to say: "That makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” I'm just going to leave that right there.
Adrian Liang: With hurricanes bearing down on and beating up chunks of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the U.S., it’s hard to focus on books to read this weekend. Instead I’m going to mix up a few Painkillers in homage to the Soggy Dollar Bar (which invented the delicious drink) on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, which has suffered terrible damage at the hands of Irma. Those who’ve followed Richard Branson’s adventures riding out the storm in the wine cellar of his Necker Island estate might be interested in his upcoming autobiography, Finding My Virginity, which tackles everything he’s done in the 20 years since he wrote Losing My Virginity.
Seira Wilson: I’m in the mood for a good thriller this weekend so I’ve got my sights on Ali Land’s Good Me Bad Me. This debut novel tells the story of Milly, a girl who turns in her serial killer mother to the police and is given the chance at a new life for herself. As the trial comes closer, things start to unravel in Milly’s mind and I’ve heard the ending is a stunner. Can’t wait!
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