BOOK NOTES: More book news, August 23, 2014

Compiled by Mary Louise Ruehr, Books Editor Published:

BOOK SALES

• The Friends of Reed Memorial Library in Ravenna will have a short sale of paperback books from 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 22 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 23. The sale is made up entirely of good quality paperbacks that Tom Monroe sent to the troops on a monthly basis before he passed away recently. His wife is giving the books back to the Friends to sell in his name, the money generated to be given to the library along with funds already given in his memory to the Friends.

 Tom Monroe was a longtime member of the Friends. He was especially active working in the Local History Room indexing local obituaries for the general public to use.

• The Books Are Fun Book Fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 25, 26 and 27 in the Medical Arts Building Atrium, sponsored by the Auxiliary of Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna. This sale will have many books and gifts available at low prices. Cash,checks, credit cards and payroll deduction are available. Open to the public.

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BOOK CLUBS

• Kid Lit for Grown-Ups: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11, Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St. — “Under the Egg” by Laura Marx Fitzgerald and “Noggin” by John Corey Whaley. Copies available. Information: 330-673-4414 or kflinfo@kentfreelibrary.org.

• Read the Classics Book Club: 7 p.m. Sept. 16, Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St. — “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. No registration required. Copies available. Information: 330-673-4414 or kflinfo@kentfreelibrary.org.

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Best Sellers

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

The Associated Press

Week ending 8/17/2014

HARDCOVER FICTION

1. “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami (Knopf)

2. “Love Letters” by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine)

3. “The 6th Extinction” by James Rollins (William Morrow)

4. “A Perfect Life” by Danielle Steel (Delacorte)

5. “Tom Clancy Support and Defend” by Mark Greaney (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

6. “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty (Putnam/Amy Einhorn)

7. “The Heist” by Daniel Silva (Harper)

8. “The Lost Island” by Douglas J. Preston (Grand Central Publishing)

9. “Invisible” by Patterson/Ellis (Little, Brown)

10. “The Goldfinch” Donna Tartt (Little, Brown)

11. “The Book of Life” by Deborah Harkness (Viking)

12. “Top Secret” by Griffin/Butterworth (Putnam)

13. “Top Secret Twenty-One” by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

14. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)

15. “Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King (Scribner)

HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. “America” by Dinesh D’Souza (Regnery)

2. “One Nation” by Ben Carson (Penguin/Sentinel)

3. “My Drunk Kitchen” by Hannah Hart (Dey Street)

4. “In the Kingdom of Ice” by Hampton Sides (Doubleday)

5. “The First Family Detail” by Ronald Kessler (Crown)

6. “Hard Choices” by Hillary Rodham Clinton (Simon & Schuster)

7. “Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. The Obamas” by Edward Klein (Regnery)

8. “Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Little Golden Book” by Diane Muldrow (Golden Books)

9. “David and Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown)

10. “A Spy Among Friends” by Ben Macintyre (Crown)

11. “Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter (Little, Brown)

12. “Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso (Penguin/Portfolio)

13. “Instinct” by T.D. Jakes (Hachette/FaithWords)

14. “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai (Little, Brown)

15. “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey (Thomas Nelson)

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS

1. “W Is for Wasted” by Sue Grafton (Berkley)

2. “King and Maxwell” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

3. “Deserves to Die” by Lisa Jackson (Kensington/Zebra)

4. “Concealed in Death” by J.D. Robb (Berkley)

5. “Rose Harbor in Bloom” by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine)

6. “Ready for Romance” by Debbie Macomber (Harlequin)

7. “Dark Wolf” by Christine Feehan (Jove)

8. “Something New” by Nora Roberts (Silhouette)

9. “Deadline” by Sandra Brown (Vision)

10. “Beautiful Day” by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown)

11. “Bleeding Texas” by William W. Johnstone (Pinnacle)

12. “Takedown Twenty” by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

13. “Inferno” by Dan Brown (Anchor)

14. “The Hexed” by Heather Graham (Mira)

15. “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon (Dell)

TRADE PAPERBACKS

1. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House)

2. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (Broadway Books)

3. “The Best Yes” by Lysa TerKeurst (Thomas Nelson)

4. “Business Adventures’ by John Brooks (Open Road Media)

5. “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown (Penguin)

6. “Heaven Is for Real (movie tie-in)” by Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson)

7. “Swan Point” by Sherryl Woods (Mira)

8. “How to Read Literature Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster (Harper Perennial)

9. “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion” by Fannie Flagg (Random House)

10. “The Valley of Amazement” by Amy Tan (Ecco)

11. “Private L.A.” by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan (Grand Central Publishing)

12. “10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse” by JJ Smith (Atria)

13. “Taking It All” by Maya Banks (Berkley)

14. “An Event in Autumn” by Henning Mankell (Vintage)

15. “The Healing Quilt” by Wanda E. Brunstetter (Shiloh Run Press)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. 

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WALL STREET JOURNAL-BEST SELLERS

The Associated Press

Best-Selling Books Week Ended August 16

FICTION

1. “Four: A Divergent Collection” by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books)

2. “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books)

3. “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami (Knopf)

4. “Allegiant” by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books)

5. “Love Letters” by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine)

6. “Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus” by Tom Angleberger (Amulet)

7. “The 6th Extinction” by James Rollins (William Morrow)

8. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers)

9. “A Perfect Life” by Danielle Steel (Delacorte)

10. “Frozen” by Victoria Saxon (Random House Disney)

NONFICTION

1. “Minecraft: Redstone Handbook” by Scholastic (Scholastic)

2. “Minecraft: Essential Handbook” by Scholastic (Scholastic)

3. “America: Imagine a World Without Her” by Dinesh D’Souza (Regenry Publishing)

4. “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath (Gallup Press)

5. “Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence” by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson)

6. “One Nation: What We Can All Do” by Ben Carson (Sentinel)

7. “My Drunk Kitchen” by Hannah Hart (Dey Street)

8. “In the Kingdom of Ice” by Hampton Sides (Doubleday)

9. “I Am a Church Member” by Thom S. Rainer (B&H Publishing)

10. “The First Family Detail” by Ronald Kessler (Crown Forum)’

FICTION E-BOOKS

1. “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman (Penguin)

2. “Love Letters” by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine)

3. “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon (Random House)

4. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

5. “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty (Penguin)

6. “The 6th Extinction” by James Rollins (William Morrow)

7. “Taken by Tuesday” by Catherine Bybee (Montlake Romance)

8. “Where She Went” by Gayle Forman (Penguin)

9. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (Penguin)

10. “Not a Drill” by Lee Child (Random House)

NONFICTION E-BOOKS

1. “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown (Viking Press)

2. “The Path Between the Seas” by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster)

3. “Unbroken: A World War II Story” by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House)

4. “The Longest Day” by Cornelius Ryan (Simon & Schuster)

5. “Cooking Light Fresh Food” by Editors of Cooking Light Magazine (Oxmoor House)

6. “Rich Food Poor Food” by Jayson Calton and Mira Calton (Primal Nutrition)

7. “Vera” by Stacy Schiff (Random House)

8. “In the Kingdom of Ice” by Hampton Sides (Knopf Doubleday)

9. “The Kennedy Brothers” by Richard D. Mahoney (Arcade Publishing)

10. “Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools” by Victoria Twead (Victoria Twead)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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USA TODAY BEST-SELLERS

The Associated Press

1. “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman (Speak)

2. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry (Laurel Leaf)

3. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green (Dutton Children’s)

4. “Love Letters” by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine)

5. “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon (Dell)

6. “Divergent” by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books)

7. “Four: A Divergent Collection” by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books)

8. “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam)

9. “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)

10. “The 6th Extinction” by James Rollins (William Morrow)

11. “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books)

12. “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House)

13. “Where She Went” by Gayle Forman (Speak)

14. “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn (Broadway Books)

15. “Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage” by Haruki Murakami (Knopf)

16. “Allegiant” by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books)

17. “W Is for Wasted” by Sue Grafton (Berkley)

18. “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James (Vintage)

19. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee (Grand Central Publishing)

20. “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline (William Morrow Paperbacks)

21. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt (Little by Brown)

22. “Minecraft: Redstone Handbook: An Official Mojang Book” by Scholastic (Scholastic)

23. “King and Maxwell” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

24. “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent (Thomas Nelson)

25. “Deserves to Die” by Lisa Jackson (Pinnacle)

For the extended, interactive and searchable version of this list, visit http://books.usatoday.com/list/index

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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Fade to black: Leonard Maltin ending movie guides 

NEW YORK (AP) — The closing credits are rolling for Leonard Maltin’s movie guides.

Plume, an imprint of Penguin Random House, says “Leonard Maltin’s 2015 Movie Guide” will be the 36th and final edition. In an introduction for the 2015 guide, which comes out next week, Maltin wrote that access to reviews online had led to an “alarming decline” in readership.

Plume spokeswoman Milena L. Brown said Thursday that the Maltin guides began in 1969 and have sold more than 7 million copies. The 2015 edition contains more than 16,000 entries, double the original amount.

Maltin oversees the guides with the help of a team of 11 reviewers and managing editor Darwyn Carson.

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Ebola outbreak revives interest in ‘The Hot Zone’

NEW YORK (AP) — The current Ebola outbreak has revived interest in a 1994 book about the deadly virus: Richard Preston’s “The Hot Zone.”

Preston’s million-selling book is No. 7 on The New York Times’ nonfiction list of combined print and e-books sellers that comes out Sunday.

“The Hot Zone” is subtitled “a terrifying true story.” Its admirers have included Stephen King, who called the first chapter “one of the most horrifying things” that he had ever read.

Preston’s book features an account of how Ebola nearly spread to the Washington, D.C., area in the late 1980s. Anchor Books, a paperback imprint of Penguin Random House, has had 70,000 new copies printed over the past month.

Hundreds have died from the latest outbreak, which has been reported in Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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The Romance Reader: ‘Cavanaugh Strong’

By Lezlie Patterson

McClatchy News Service (MCT) 

“Cavanaugh Strong” by Marie Ferrarella; Harlequin (288 pages, $.99 e-book)

It’s easy to poke fun at this series, which keeps finding large previously unknown branches of the family who all happen to be police officers.

But fans of the series are glad that veteran author Marie Ferrarella is willing to keep finding these long-lost relatives, because it means more books.

The continuity of the series, and the familiar, likeable characters make it an enjoyable read, especially if you’re in the mood for something easy and quick that won’t use too many of your brain cells.

If you’re looking for depth, go elsewhere.

If you can get past the unlikelihood of dozens of relatives finding each other after discovering first a branch of family uncovered after learning babies were switched at birth decades earlier and then, another branch (once all those siblings had found soul mates) that had been “lost” due to a dispute many years earlier …well, there are still a couple of things that might still make you roll your eyes.

First of all, the police drama portion of the book. The villain is fairly obvious, but it takes the entire book for detectives Duncan Cavanaugh and Noelle to figure it out. Even when the evidence was fairly flung right at them. Worst detectives ever.

Secondly, the romance. While there was a bit of flirting and suppressed attraction from the beginning, it wasn’t until the second half of the story that the romance actually began. And there was really no easing into it. So maybe readers shouldn’t be surprised when, with no dates, no romancing, they decide to marry. And Noelle’s tragic romantic past was never satisfactorily explained.

But, it remains a likeable series. There aren’t as many appearances from other Cavanaughs as in other books, but there are a few glimpses — and one Andrew party.

HOW IT STACKS UP

Overall rating: 3-minus of 5. The good points: It won’t take you long at all to read, it’s well-written, the characters are likeable, it’s fairly interesting. The bad points: The plot is thin, the romance is thinner and it’s fairly interesting. But it’s available electronically now for 99 cents. It’s definitely worth getting at that price.

Hunk appeal: 10. Duncan is such a charming and charismatic guy; it’s easy to forgive him for missing the obvious.

Steamy scene grade: XXXX. Not thin here.

Happily ever after: OK. It was a bit cute and funny, but rushed and it happened too quick. Hopefully, more details will be revealed in the next Cavanaugh story.

ALSO THIS WEEK

“The Last Victim” by Karen Robards (2012 paperback), 3 of 5 hearts. Dr. Charlotte Stone will be returning in Robards’ newest book next week, “Her Last Whisperer,” so readers may want to refresh their memories about how this different sort of series actually started. Charlotte (Charlie) is a psychiatrist who studies serial killers. Here, she meets Michael Garland. A ghost, and possibly a serial killer. After dying in prison, his ghost haunts Charlotte (Charlie), who is working with the FBI on trying to catch one.

Garland says that he has done bad things, but killing the women that tagged him a serial killer wasn’t among those deeds. Charlie wants to believe him, but keeps reminding herself that psychopathic serial killers never admit guilt and are good at convincing folks of their lies.

Still, you’ll want to believe him — you have to believe him to accept him as any sort of hero.

Then you have to get past the ghost thing.

Lezlie Patterson is a former columnist for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. Readers may send her email at lezlie.patterson@gmail.com. To read more of her romance reviews go to http://lezlie-romance.blogspot.com.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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This week’s McClatchy-Tribune reviews:

“The Invisible Soldiers: How America Outsourced Our Security” by Ann Hagedorn; Simon and Schuster (293 pages, $28)

Soldiers for hire have long existed. But the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan accelerated the transformation of mercenaries “from covert and infamous to acceptable and indispensable,” Hagedorn writes. The best known of the private military and security companies is Blackwater, now renamed after a spate of bad publicity, but there are others, seemingly thousands of them, with contracts from the U.S. worth billions of dollars. Many are based in the U.S., others are foreign owned and have an international approach, finding clients wherever possible.

Largely outside of public view, these private, for-profit companies perform the security, logistics, intelligence and other duties that a uniformed military force might be expected to provide. Half of the 16,000 personnel working for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad since the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops are contractors, Hagedorn reports.

The strength of “Invisible Soldiers” is the depth of Hagedorn’s reporting: copious interviews, generous use of sources and a narrative that focuses on people caught in the crossfire, notably Kadhim Alkanani, an Iraqi immigrant who joined the U.S. Special Forces and returned to Iraq to show his loyalty to his new country, only to be mistakenly shot by a U.S. contractor.

If the problems of having large numbers of armed contractors outside the military chain of command are so large and the media scrutiny and political concern so intense, why have the firms proliferated? Hagedorn, in a straightforward, journalistic style, offers a reason: lack of leadership from the White House. None of the wartime presidents in recent decades, she notes, has made a priority out of curbing the growth of military and security contractors.

The second part of Hagedorn’s thesis is a tougher sell: that the reliance on the private companies has become a driver of U.S. foreign policy, encouraging the U.S. to intervene in foreign hot spots that it might otherwise avoid. Still, she deftly explains instances in which the conduct of contractors in Iraq made the U.S. mission more perilous.

“Invisible Soldiers” also reports on the people behind these private companies, some of whom are seemingly the stuff of fiction.

As a final warning, Hagedorn delves into the evolving relationship between the private firms and the drones that are a favorite way of waging war for the U.S. administration. “Once again,” she writes, “the [private military and security contractors] were entering and locking into markets faster than safeguards and oversight could be established.”

—Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

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“How the World Was: A California Childhood” by Emmanuel Guibert, translated by Kathryn M. Pulver; First Second (160 pages, $19.99)

The Parisian artist Emmanuel Guibert creates nonfiction graphic novels that have the emotional weight and patient observation of great prose fiction. Many of his books are based on long interviews with real subjects. “Alan’s War,” the memoir of a California GI’s service in World War II, was an epic that followed an earnest, food-obsessed and libido-driven troop of young men.

“How the World Was: A California Childhood” serves as a kind of prequel to “Alan’s War.” Like that earlier and critically acclaimed work, Guibert’s new book is the product of the French artist’s friendship with the late Alan Ingram Cope.

Before he was drafted into the Army in the wake of Pearl Harbor, Cope was a boy growing up in the San Gabriel Valley. “How the World Was” tells the story of Cope’s youth in the less crowded, more hopeful Southern California. It was a land of wool swimming suits, where a road might take you past rows of oil derricks or hillsides filled with the scent of orange blossoms.

Cope, who died in 1999, was an ordinary man with a special gift for storytelling. In “Alan’s War” his tales contained little of the gallantry and bloodshed one might expect in a wartime memoir. Instead, drawing on a prodigious memory, Cope spun memorable tales from mundane training incidents and absurd and wondrous encounters in battle-scarred European towns.

“How the World Was” hews to the same Proustian storytelling rhythms. Above all, it celebrates the wondrous and odd details of everyday life in working-class California during the Great Depression. The emphasis here is not on conflict nor melodrama — there is need and austerity, but not a single bread line.

Guibert’s drawings give Cope’s California stories a dreamlike texture. His illustrations are almost entirely in black and white and are crafted with a delicate, lyrical touch that recalls the “clear line” style employed by Belgian artist Herge in the “Tintin” series.

As in a novel, it’s Cope’s understanding of character that truly brings his tale to life.

There are stories of class discrimination too, and family histories that inevitably begin outside California, as with the grandfather who served in the Civil War.

But it’s the California landscape, and the Cope family’s communion with it, that steals the show.

“How the World Was” ends with a story of profound loss. But tragedy isn’t its focal point. “There’s a strange kind of beauty in the way that fate can change a person’s life,” Cope says.

—Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

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“Your Face in Mine: A Novel” by Jess Row; Riverhead (372 pages, $27.95)

“Your Face in Mine” is Jess Row’s first novel after two well-regarded collections of stories, and it deals with the essence of identity. Narrated by a lapsed scholar of Chinese named Kelly Thorndike, it is to some extent a portrait of someone trying to return from the lost after a car crash kills his wife and young daughter.

Row, however, seeks to raise the stakes by building his narrative around Kelly’s growing re-involvement with an old friend, Martin — the first recipient of a radical racial reassignment treatment that has altered him from white to black. Think John Howard Griffin’s “Black Like Me” on steroids, and you get a sense of what Row’s intentions are: essentially, to frame (or reframe) the conflicts of race, ethnicity and heritage from the inside.

In his view, racial reassignment exists on a continuum that begins with cosmetics and includes plastic surgery and gender reassignment, the expression of a brave new world. Still, Row’s too smart to be satisfied with that; he wants us to consider what it means in existential terms — identity not as a function of who we are so much as of who we want to be.

“Your Face in Mine” is at its best when it takes on these issues, which come up mainly as Kelly wrestles with himself. He is an astonishing character, tormented, compromised but self-aware enough to know it, cynical but without self-deceit. His life has been bound by loss, not only that of his family but also of his and Martin’s high school bandmate Alan.

The idea of racial reassignment may be controversial, but the real challenge has to do less with his characters’ relationship to the outside world than their relationship to themselves. “The most important thing, frankly, is the narrative,” Martin explains. “You have to have it down. You have to believe who you are. Or else there’s a risk of a certain schizoid feeling.”

Partly the problem is that Martin isn’t nearly as compelling as Kelly; partly that, despite his claims, we never understand why he chose to make the change. But more to the point, as the book progresses, its ideas evaporate before the movement of its narrative.

This is inevitable, I suppose; fiction is a narrative art. But it is in the interstices of the action, in the darkness and confusion of Kelly’s conflicted consciousness, that Row finds his most radical honesty and insight.

—David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times

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“All Our Names” by Dinaw Mengestu; Knopf (256 pages, $25.95)

At first glance, “All Our Names” seems to be a straightforward immigrant story. A young man, carrying the name of Isaac on his passport, has come from Uganda to Laurel, a small Midwestern town. His case is assigned to Helen, with Lutheran Relief Services. Chapters segue between those in Uganda narrated by Isaac, and those in America, narrated by Helen.

The novel partially takes place in Uganda in the early 1970s. This is a time of Pan-African idealism, and also ruthless power struggles, corruption and oppression.

Isaac arrives in a town that only a decade earlier had desegregated its public bathrooms, schools and buses. Helen isn’t to be so much his social worker as his guide through heartland America.

Isaac raises doubts in Helen — his single-page case file that reveals nothing about him, his abrupt trips, his spotless apartment — but they embark on a secretive love affair in a place where appearing in public together raises not only eyebrows but hackles. Helen, living with her mother, is a restrained person who harbors a rebellious side.

“All Our Names” is an emotionally wrenching novel about exile and loss, and its greatest power emerges less from the Helen-Isaac romance than from Isaac’s relationships in Africa.

Mengestu left Ethiopia as a young child and was raised in Illinois. He received a “5 under 35” Award from the National Book Foundation and a “20 under 40” Award from The New Yorker, and received a MacArthur Foundation genius grant in 2012. With “All Our Names,” his third novel, he has fulfilled that early promise with this novel about idealism and violence, identity and loneliness, and most important, friendship.

—Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune

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“Remember Me Like This: A Novel” by Bret Anthony Johnston; Random House (384 pages, $26)

Just a couple of chapters into “Remember Me Like This,” I cared enough about the family to live in this novel until Johnston delivered the final word. Like the best contemporary American authors, he abstains from sermonizing and builds his story with description and the accumulation of telling details.

The story begins with what other novels would offer as a happy ending: almost-16-year-old kidnapping survivor Justin is returned to his family after four years. By the time he returns home, Justin’s parents, Eric and Laura, are disfigured by grief, shame, fear, anger — the whole gamut of emotions associated with losing a child. They have been diminished by the “pitiful and sadistic glances” of sympathetic neighbors, and from feeling defined by Justin’s absence. Neighbors notice the grieving Eric looks slackened after years of trying to keep the faith, of working with the police and continuing to post missing-child fliers everywhere. “Each week there seemed a little less of him.”

Justin’s family initially revels in the renewal and elation of having Justin back. Laura seems reincarnated after an emotional death and returns to her role at the heart of the family. All of them, including younger brother Griff, are reanimated by Justin’s return and are somewhat in awe of him.

Inevitably, however, the family is re-traumatized when some of their fears about how Justin was treated by his captor are slowly confirmed. Laura studies up on Stockholm syndrome. Eric stakes out the kidnapper’s family. A trial looms. Justin confides in Griff, and the sometimes gritty process of the brothers renewing their bond feels painfully real.

In Johnston’s hands, the happy ending of a son returned home is the beginning of a story that evokes reflections on what it means to be lost. Johnston illustrates that only the lucky few get a chance to learn firsthand that pain is associated with being found. Only the lucky few learn to be grateful for everything — grateful even for the tears that flow when we more fully understand the folly of taking family for granted.

—Martha Sherida, Dallas Morning News

© 2014, McClatchy-Tribune

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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