5 books not to miss
Looking for something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh explores the shelves for this week’s hottest new books. All books are on sale Tuesday.
1. “Perplexity”, by Richard Powers (Fiction, Norton)
What is it about : Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Overstory,” tells a heart-wrenching story about astrobiologist Theo Byrne, who seeks life in the cosmos while raising his unusual, bright, kind but also troubled 9-year-old son Robin , after the death of his wife.
The buzzing: “A touching novel that offers a vital message with extraordinary sympathy and intelligence,” says a star-studded review by Kirkus Avis. Additionally, the novel has previously been nominated for the National Book Award and the Booker Prize.
2. “Vanderbilt”, by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe (Harper, documentary)
What is it about : CNN anchor Cooper teams up with historian Howe to chronicle the rise and fall of a legendary American dynasty, the Vanderbilts – his mother’s family, who built their enormous wealth in empires maritime and railways in the 19th century.
The buzzing: “A strong family history that also serves as a sharp lesson on how to lose a fortune”, Kirkus Reviews said.
3. “The book of form and emptiness” by Ruth Ozeki (Viking, fiction)
What is it about : A year after his father’s death, 13-year-old Benny Oh hears voices, often troubled, from inanimate objects – but then finds peace in the voices of the books.
The buzzing: “This novel’s meditative pace is perfectly suited to its open-hearted contemplation,” says one ★★★★ (out of four) review for USA TODAY.
4. “When the ghosts come home”, by Wiley Cash (William Morrow, fiction)
What is it about : Sheriff Winston Barnes begins a murder investigation into a plane that crashed without a pilot or cargo and a downed man nearby. Everyone is suspect, even the dead man, and the investigation will change the course of Barnes’ life.
The buzzing: “A captivating mystery with characters who will stay in the minds of readers long after they have turned the last page” Kirkus Reviews said.
5. “To you cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of Darkness”, by Cassandra Peterson (Hachette, documentary)
What is it about : Raven-haired horror bombshell aka Dark Mistress Elvira shares her full story, starting with a childhood in the Midwest and an accident that left much of her body in third-degree burns, through a career rich in history which crowned her queen of Halloween.
The buzzing: “A villainous page turner filled with hilarity and heartbreak – a life full of crazy stories and insane revelations,” says musician and filmmaker Rob Zombie.