OK, I'll say it: Curtis Sittenfeld gets a kick.
The novelist ( entitled American Wife Prep ) is a keen observer of human nature and human relationships – especially male / female diversity – and she is a joke, an appealing combination in my book.
These qualities are in You Think It, I'm Say It a collection of 10 short stories, their first.
Sittenfeld is a middle-west, and many of these stories take place in the "heartland". Her characters, however, would be exactly in a Brooklyn dinner party: they are mostly middle, upper middle class, bright, headstrong and often quite clueless when it comes down to it.
Undoubtedly, Sittenfeld with her razor-sharp, often hilarious Zingern, is an impressive dinner party guest herself. Here's the funny way she begins "Gender Studies," the opening story: "Nell and Henry always said that they did would wait until marriage is legal for all in America, and now that's the case – it's August 2015 – but earlier in the week, Henry blew through with his graduate student Bridget. "
USA TODAY says ★★★ ½ of four. "A funny, airy, zeitgeistige collection … have fun."
Paul Simon: Life by Robert Hilburn; Simon & Schuster, 448 pages; Nonfiction
When Paul Simon, singer and songwriter, embarks on a farewell tour this month, former Los Angeles Times pop critic Robert Hilburn gives a timely biography.
USA TODAY says ★★ ★★. "A Purposeful Tour de Force. … Hilburn Brings Comprehensiveness to This American Prophet and Popstar."
Love and Ruin by Paula McLain; Ballantines, 376 pages; Fiction
The Bestselling Author The Parisian Wife returns to Ernest Hemingway as a theme in this historical novel examining the author's turbulent marriage with his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, the War Correspondent. USA TODAY says ★★★. McLain "captures the passion that Gellhorn and Hemingway feel for each other."
The Recovering: Intoxication and its Consequences by Leslie Jamison; Little, Brown, 534 pp .; Nonfiction
Jamison ( The Empathy Exams ) jumps between her own story of sobriety and the stories of others who have fought alcohol and mental illnesses in this unusual "memory story".
USA TODAY says ★★★ ½. "Quite original … at the end of this wonderful book, we discover that the author has indeed become a different person: she is sober, successful and happy."
West Winging It by Pat Cunnane; Gallery books, 310 pages; Nonfiction
Cunnane, a senior writer in the Obama administration, remembers halcyon days at the White House, which hang more like the writer's room at The Simpsons or Late Night With David Letterman .
USA TODAY says ★★★. "Has the snappy, sunny atmosphere of a time that ended less than two years ago, but seems like another century."
Contributing Reviewers: Jocelyn McClurg, Matt Damsker, Matt McCarthy, Ray Locker
Read or Share This Story: https://usat.ly/2rCVSd7