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The Booklist Review of the Day, posted to the top of the Booklist Online home page each day of the week, spotlights exceptional upcoming titles that are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, in high demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight.
The Reviews of the Week, posted each Monday, offers a comprehensive look at the previous week’s awardees—while also piquing interest for the week ahead. Catch up on the week of June 6 below, then dive into the week at hand with today’s Review of the Day, Marcel’s Masterpiece: How a Toilet Shaped the History of Art, written and illustrated by Jeff Mack. For more Reviews of the Week and other exciting lists, check out the always freely available Booklist Blog.
Monday, October 31
★ Cursed, by Marissa Meyer
Retaining all the magic woven into Gilded (2021), this duology ender picks up Meyer’s labyrinthine take on “Rumpelstiltskin” right where the first volume left off. At Adalheid Castle, Serilda currently resides with five ghosts, whom she cares for deeply and wants to protect. She is also grappling with anxiety over her upcoming (and unwanted) wedding to the Erlking (the Alder King). It’s clear that he wants to use her for his own gain, but the sinister depth of his plan isn’t revealed until after the ceremony. As the story progresses, readers see how desperately Serilda wants to break the curse tying her to the Erlking so that she can finally save Gild, the forgotten prince who will play a pivotal role in the proceedings.
Tuesday, November 1
★ The Philosophy of Modern Song, by Bob Dylan
Nobel laureate Bob Dylan is known for his eclectic tastes as well as his deep, encyclopedic knowledge of popular music. He puts that expertise to the test in this widely entertaining romp through popular-music history. Even if readers aren’t familiar with a song under discussion, they will still enjoy and appreciate his take on it. Starting with Bobby Bare’s “Detroit City” and ending with Dion & the Belmonts’ “Where or When,” Dylan runs through 66 songs, explaining why, in his opinion, these particular compositions work. Throughout, he shares his views on songwriting. “Knowing a singer’s life story doesn’t particularly help your understanding of a song,” he offers. “It’s what a song makes you feel about your own life that’s important.”
Wednesday, November 2
★ The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs, by Chana Stiefel and illustrated by Susan Gal
Yaffa had an idyllic childhood in Eishyshok, a Jewish shtetl in modern-day Lithuania with centuries-old roots and a close-knit community. Her grandma Alte, in possession of a rare camera, documented everyday life. When the rumble of occupying Nazi tanks changed life in an instant for the Jewish inhabitants, Yaffa’s family miraculously escaped death by fleeing to the countryside, but not before Yaffa stuffed a pile of photographs into her shoes. She treasured the reminders of home as she traveled the world as a refugee, eventually landing in the U.S. and becoming a professor of history and a Holocaust expert.
Thursday, November 3
★ The Shards, by Bret Easton Ellis
Ellis continues to indulge his penchant for metafiction in this Brobdingnagian novel, whose conceit is that it is Ellis’ memoir of his seventeenth year, when, in 1981, he and a clutch of his rich, beautiful, entitled friends are seniors in L.A.’s tony Buckley School. Into their lives comes Robert Mallory, a new student who has just moved to L.A. Rich and drop-dead gorgeous, he quickly becomes part of the group, even though, as Bret (the character standing in for Ellis) observes, “I suspected there was something wrong with Robert Mallory almost as soon as I met him.” This is the same year that a serial killer dubbed the Trawler is terrorizing the San Fernando Valley, murdering young women and mutilating their bodies.
Friday, November 4
★ Giantess, written by JC Deveney and illustrated by Nuria Tamarit
Found in the forest by a woodcutter and raised as a sister to his six sons, Celeste, 60 feet taller than everyone else, is furious when her father refuses to let her leave the farm, not because she’s different but because she’s a girl. Lured away by a traveling peddler who promises to have her home before nightfall, Celeste makes her visit to town, and it ends in disaster. Running for her life, the giantess first encounters a noble knight, then a witch, a troupe of actors, and a prince, each either teaching her about freedom or causing it to be taken from her. Told in the style of a fable, the story tackles religion, abortion, education, social norms, and other ways women are often not in control of their own lives.
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