Shea Serrano’s ‘Movies (and Other Things)’ and 5 other new books not to miss

Other good bets to read include Chicago writer Raymond Benson’s ‘Blues in the Dark,’ Jojo Moyes’ ‘The Giver of Stars’ and Saeed Jones’ ‘How We Fight for Our Lives.’

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Shea Serrano at a screening earlier this month for “Hip Hop: Songs that Shook America” Screening/Event at The Apollo Theater in New York.

Shea Serrano at a screening earlier this month for “Hip Hop: Songs that Shook America” Screening/Event at The Apollo Theater in New York.

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Here’s a rundown on some of the hottest new books:

‘Movies (and Other Things)’by Shea Serrano

(Twelve, nonfiction, $25)

What it’s about:The author of “The Rap Year Book” and “Basketball (and Other Things)” turns his attention to movies. Funny, colorful and beautifully illustrated, the book celebrates modern films and pop culture, posing such questions as “Who gets it the worst in ‘Kill Bill’?” and “Were the ‘Jurassic Park’ raptors just misunderstood?”

The buzz:“I want to treat things with respect, even when they’re silly,” Serrano told the Houston Chronicle, which praised his “smart, funny and off-center observations.”

“Movies (and other things” by Shea Serrano.


‘Blues in the Dark’by Raymond Benson

(Arcade Books, fiction, $25.99)

What it’s about:A movie producer who moves to Los Angeles and stumbles onto a story sparks northwest suburban writer Raymond Benson’s look at a turbulent Hollywood of the 1940s with ramifications in the present. Benson outlines a world in which women who wanted to become stars were expected to sleep with producers and studio executives.

The buzz:“Benson has crafted a noir film inside the pages of a book, and the cast of characters in the present and past come vividly to life,” The Associated Press writes. “He also makes the reader question what is morally just in the midst of a well-written crime drama.” Benson will discuss the book at 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore, 7419 Madison Ave., Forest Park.

Raymond Benson’s “Blues in the Dark.”

Arcade Books

‘The Giver of Stars’by Jojo Moyes

(Pamela Dorman Books, fiction, $28)

What it’s about:The best-selling author of “Me Before You” sets this in Depression-era Kentucky, where five women deliver books to people who have never had any as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s traveling library.

The buzz:“Moyes celebrates the power of reading in a terrific book,” a USA Today review says.

“The Giver of Stars” by Jojo Moyes.

Pamela Dorman Books

‘How We Fight for Our Lives’ by Saeed Jones

(Simon & Schuster, nonfiction, $26)

What it’s about:The poet bares his soul in this haunting coming-of-age memoir, which recounts the author’s sexual awakening as a young, gay black man in Texas.

The buzz:“A memoir of coming to terms that’s written with masterful control of both style and material,” Kirkus Reviews says.

“How We Fight for Our Lives” by Saeed Jones.

Simon & Schuster

‘Grand Union’ by Zadie Smith

(Penguin Press, fiction, $27)

What it’s about:The celebrated author publishes her first collection of short stories — suffused with Smith’s powers of observation and literary prowess.

The buzz:“Smart and bewitching,” Publishers Weekly says.

“Grand Union” by Zadie Smith.

Penguin Press

‘Ninth House’ by Leigh Bardugo

(Flatiron, fiction, $27.99)

What it’s about:Leigh Bardugo’s first fantasy novel for adults is set at Yale, where burnout Galaxy “Alex” Stern has been offered a free ride — due to her magical ability to see ghosts. In the hallowed hall of the Ivy League, Alex must confront the evils swirling beneath the deceiving surface of tradition.

The buzz:Publishers Weekly says, “Fantasy readers, particularly those who love ghosts, will hungrily devour this novel.”

“Ninth House” by Leigh Bardugo.


Read more at USA Today.

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