In this week's edition, Seira Wilson revisits the latest from the author of The Silence of the Lambs, Sarah Gelman gets serious about spring cleaning, and Adrian Liang and I finish two gut-wrenching but extraordinary memoirs.
This weekend I'm in Miami on vacation and I'm doing something I rarely do: re-reading. I read an advanced copy of Thomas Harris's upcoming new thriller, Cari Mora, when I first got my hands on it a couple months ago, but now I'm here where it all takes place and I couldn't resist a second look. A dark thriller about a hunt for Pablo Escobar's buried treasure, Cari Mora (May 20) has a female protagonist with an unexpected past and serious badass skills, and a man who has plans for her that only Harris could dream up. It's been over a decade since Harris's last book and this one, with lots of surprises and a fantastic setting, is worth the wait. —Seira Wilson
Sometime in the first week of January I was browsing the Amazon Books store in Seattle and saw a young woman holding a huge pile of books. As is often the case when I see someone getting ready for a reading binge, I was excited, jealous, curious—all the things. I peeked at her stack and saw the perfect mix of self-help books. Yes! This is what January is for! So I laughed to myself this weekend while at the same bookstore and paying for two books inspired by all things spring cleaning, organization and—yes—“Kondo-ing” (or what my husband keeps referring to as Kwondo-ing). The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals and Elements of Family Style: Elegant Spaces for Everyday Life both include pictures of what I want my home to look like—orderly, uncluttered, flatteringly lit. A place for everything and everything in its place. One day my home will look like this and my friends will come to me for home organization advice and not just advice on what to read next. In this fantasy I will also no longer be someone who stuffs used tissues into their purse. A girl can dream. —Sarah Gelman
They say that in the face of unimaginable tragedy, the only way out is through. That’s exactly what Jayson Greene learns when his daughter dies from a freak act of nature. His emotional memoir, Once More We Saw Stars (May 13), shines a beacon of light in the darkest of places. I'm going to polish off my third box of Kleenex and finish it this weekend. —Erin Kodicek
Military memoirs—the excellent ones, at least—straddle a challenging line between exposing the bizarre and ofttimes horrible things done in war while still retaining the reader’s empathy so she’ll keep turning the pages even during the darkest moments. Ryan Dostie’s Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line (June 3) opens with one of those dark moments, when, shortly before deployment to Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom, she is raped by a fellow army soldier. While some believe Dostie, most don’t believe it was rape or don’t care, and it’s hard to settle on which of those standpoint is the most infuriating. Dostie’s spare and powerful recounting of her recruitment into the army with the almost-promise that she’d be able to continue to study Japanese, the highs and lows of war games, and the never-ending machismo of the military reminds me of both Tara Westover’s Educated and Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead—two strong, trying-to-be-clear-eyed memoirs that are not afraid to stare into the soul’s deepest shadows. I can’t wait to finish Formation this weekend. —Adrian Liang
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