‘Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.,’ Jill Wine-Banks’ memoir and 6 more books not to miss
Also: Colum McCann’s ‘Apeirogon,’ Mikki Kendall’s ‘Hood Feminism,’ Kathleen Kent’s ‘The Burn,’ Erik Larson’s ‘The Splendid and the Vile,’ Alexis Schaitkin’s ‘Saint X’ and Margarita Montimore’s ‘Oona Out of Order.’
Here’s the lowdown on eight books definitely worth a read.
‘Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr. by E. James West
University of Illinois Press, nonfiction, $24.95
What it’s about: This mix of biography and history documents the influence of the magazine founded in Chicago in 1945 by John H. Johnson and how that grew under executive editor Lerone Bennett Jr., who died in 2018.
The buzz: The book “illustrates how Ebony evolved from its 1945 launch as an aspirational celebrity magazine to become a chronicle for commentary on current events in the 1960s, such as the Black Power movement and MLK’s assassination,” Publishers Weekly writes. “Historian West expertly chronicles how Ebony magazine and its executive editor Lerone Bennett Jr. shaped cultural perception of African American history” and “shines a welcome light on a pioneering journalist.”
‘The Watergate Girl’ by Jill Wine-Banks
Henry Holt and Co., nonfiction, $27.99
What it’s about: After graduating from the old Niles East High School in Skokie, the University of Illinois and Columbia Law School, Jill Wine-Banks went to work for the Justice Department and was one of three Watergate assistant special prosecutors. In this memoir, the MSNBC legal analyst who lives in Chicago writes about taking on top Nixon White House aides and fighting sexism during her pioneering legal career and gives her take on similarities and differences between Watergate and President Donald Trump’s impeachment case. “Like Nixon, Trump is corrupt, amoral, vindictive, paranoid, ruthless and narcissistic,” she writes, but also more dangerous because he “puts in peril the fundamental principles on which our nation was founded.”
The buzz: “A penetrating, firsthand view of history,” Kirkus Reviews writes.
‘Apeirogon’ by Colum McCann
Random House, fiction, $28
What it’s about: The National Book Award-winning author of “Let the Great World Spin” returns with an ambitious, hopeful novel about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two men — one Israeli, the other Palestinian — are connected in grief by the loss of their daughters.
The buzz: “Imperfect but ultimately triumphant, McCann’s latest novel might be his finest yet,” Kirkus Reviews says.
‘Oona Out of Order’ by Margarita Montimore
Flatiron Books, fiction, $26.99
What it’s about: It’s New Year’s Eve 1982, and Oona Lockhart, about to turn 19 at midnight, faints, only to awaken 32 years in the future, now 51 years old. Thus begins a life lived out of order. At each passing year, Oona randomly leaps to another age.
The buzz: “Difficult to put down,” a USA Today review says, which reminds us “that life is very much in the present, made up of moments in the here and now and not in the moments that have passed us or the ones yet to come.”
‘The Burn’ by Kathleen Kent
Mulholland Books, fiction, $27
What it’s about: Dallas narcotics detective Betty Rhyzyk is back from last year’s “The Dime” and investigating a Sinaloa cartel assassin and her own partner in this modern noir crime novel.
The buzz: “Kathleen Kent brings those mean streets to life as excitingly as anybody has in years,” the Washington Post writes.
‘Hood Feminism’ by Mikki Kendall
Viking, nonfiction, $26
What it’s about: Mikki Kendall’s essay collection, subtitled “Notes from the Woman That a Movement Forgot,” offers a searing indictment of what she argues is the modern feminist movement’s failure to support marginalized women and integrate issues of race, class and sexual orientation.
The buzz: “This hard-hitting guide delivers crucial insights for those looking to build a more inclusive movement,” Publishers Weekly says.
‘The Splendid and the Vile’ by Erik Larson
Crown, nonfiction, $32
What it’s about: Erik Larson tells the story of Winston Churchill’s most heroic moment, when the British prime minister held off Adolf Hitler.
The buzz: “While the story of Churchill’s premiership and the Blitz have been told in greater historical depth, they’ve rarely been rendered so vividly,” Publishers Weekly says. “Readers will rejoice.” Larson has appearances at 7 p.m. Monday at Barnes & Noble at Old Orchard in Skokie, at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe St., and at 7 p.m. Wednesday at North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville.
‘Saint X’ by Alexis Schaitkin
Celadon Books, fiction, $26.99
What it’s about: Claire is only 7 when her teenage sister disappears and turns up dead during a family vacation at a Caribbean resort. Two resort employees are arrested and let go, and the unsolved mystery of her death becomes national news. Years later, Claire encounters one of those initial suspects and embarks on an obsessive search for the truth.
The buzz: “This killer debut is both a thriller with a vivid setting and an insightful study of race, class, and obsession,” Kirkus Reviews says
Read more at USA Today.