Saturday, April 5, 2014

Weekend Picks For Book Lovers

by Jocelyn McClurg)

What should you read this weekend? USA TODAY's picks for book lovers include a new book about the Boston Marathon bombings, and historical fiction from the author of Room.

Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice by Scott Helman and Jenna Russell; Dutton, 352 pp.; non-fiction

Long Mile Home arrives just ahead of the April 15 anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Scott Helman and Jenna Russell, two of the Boston Globe's best reporters, rely heavily on their colleagues' outstanding coverage of the bombing and the aftermath in weaving a narrative around several principal characters.

There is Shana Cottone, a young Boston cop who is shaken to the core after helping save the life of a young woman who was grievously wounded.

Bill and Patty Campbell, the parents of one of the three victims who died in the bomb blasts on Boylston Street, grapple with the grief of losing their daughter and their uneasiness with the public embrace of their child as a symbol of the city's resurrection.

And perhaps most moving is the story of Heather Abbott, a carefree young woman who survived the bombing but must decide whether to have her leg amputated.

USA TODAY says *** out of four. "A riveting piece of journalism … a page-turner that takes the reader from race day to the remarkable recovery of the city."

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue; Little, Brown, 403 pp.; fiction

The author of Room returns with historical fiction set in 19th-century San Francisco, about the friendship of two young women, one of whom is murdered.

USA TODAY says ***. "With rich, well-researched details, Donoghue evokes a multicultural, rough-and-tumble San Francisco."

New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell; Random House, 164 pp.; non-fiction

In her latest memoir, Caldwell is "nearing 60, having suffered through the deaths of her best friend, her intrepid mother, her 'great oak tree' of a father, and her loyal Samoyed dog, Clementine, who brought 'sweetness and freedom to my life.' "

USA TODAY says ***. A "graceful and reflective memoir."

A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred by George F. Will; Crown Archetype, 223 pp.; non-fiction

As Wrigley Field turns 100 this year, George Will explains why even long-suffering Chicago Cubs fans love the place.

USA TODAY says *** out of four. "An intelligent, tough little book."

The Cairo Affair by Olen Steinhauer; Minotaur, 408 pp.; fiction

At a restaurant in Budapest, minutes after American diplomat Emmett Kohl confronts his wife Sophie about her affair with a CIA agent the year before when they were stationed in Cairo, he is point-blank gunned down by an Eastern European hit man.

USA TODAY says ***. "You could practically rip the plot of Olen Steinhauer's new spy novel from the front pages of yesterday's newspaper."

Contributing reviewers: Aamer Madhani, Martha T. Moore, Bob Minzesheimer, Kevin Nance, Don Oldenburg