Monthly Archives: August 2015

Which Came First, the Meme or the Media?

CNN Poll reprinted online in American Thinker

It is difficult to tell if people believe Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy and a liar because she really is or because the media repeats these epithets every day hundreds of times in a news cycle. They say they are giving poll results in which average citizens record their opinions of whether or not these two adjectives are Hillary’s main qualities and they are doing that. But there have been dozens of such polls which means that we get to hear people’s feeling recounted over and over again. But which came first, the media hype or the public opinion?

Did this mantra begin with the investigation into Whitewater? Most of us no longer know the details of Whitewater (was it some kind of real estate, investment or banking transaction which seemed not quite up to snuff). It was reported that Hillary was cleared of any wrongdoing. However, a shudder still goes through the public sphere whenever the word ‘Whitewater’ is invoked. We have been lead to believe that there were improprieties but they were skillfully done and could never be proven. As long as questions linger, the taint on the Clinton reputation remains.

Then there are Hillary’s reactions to her husband’s indiscretions which suggest that the marriage is purely for optics, purely a political bond. How could any woman overlook infidelity and not assume that a wandering husband was a criticism of her behavior, or her womanliness, or her lovability? Perhaps this is where the adjective cold comes in and the adjective calculating. Women should never be so emotionally strong that they can keep their eyes on the prize and refuse to be viewed as less because of the behavior of their spouse. The conclusions made from this line of reasoning are that Hillary has no human emotions but can sometimes pretend to have empathy for others and that she should be ridiculed rather than praised for letting her ambition be more important than her image as a wife and as a woman. But it seems possible to conclude that she is a true feminist, who will not give her husband’s inability to remain faithful power over her own self-respect or the world’s approbation. Again the media possibly has furthered this social meme and perhaps kept it alive in the guise of merely repeating a popular opinion.

Benghazi. One only has to say the word. It is extremely doubtful that any American citizen let alone a Secretary of State would deliberately deny support to an American Ambassador faced with a violent attack. Testimony has shown over and over again that there was no help available that could arrive in time to save Ambassador Stevens and his staff. So when the press invokes Benghazi, which they must because the Republicans keep the situation alive by investigating it ad infinitum, what is it that their American listeners hear? Do they believe in their hearts that Hillary could have done something to help but purposely did not? If so that would be a terrible indictment of Hillary (but it has been disproven). Do they believe she was so lightweight and frivolous that she did not give the pleas of the Ambassador professional attention? Is Hillary shallow? If she is, which I don’t believe, then she would probably not make a very good President (although I don’t know who could be shallower than Donald Trump).

Or were all Hillary’s sins committed after the event when she supposedly colluded with President Obama during his election campaign to make events look isolated and to make Americans believe that terrorists were not involved? Political expediency has often affected stories the public is told about world events I would guess, and yet, even so, the President did use the words ‘terrorist attack’ both in the Rose Garden and in his speech as the bodies came home to America. We may never know the truth about Benghazi because half of the people believe we already know the truth and half of the people believe that dire secrets are being kept. The media’s role in this is perhaps inescapable because the Benghazi questions are kept alive as news.

Now we have the emails and the press reporting everyday about what the polls have to say. Hillary is untrustworthy. Hillary is a liar. This is the actual message America is hearing even though the media is only reporting the results of polls and not actual facts about Hillary’s character. We don’t have a true test that will prove whether or not someone is untrustworthy, unless s/he is caught red-handed. We have never really caught Hillary out in a lie. Did the Hillary adjectives, cold, calculating, untrustworthy, liar, begin with the public or with the press? Are they kept alive by the public or by the press? Which came first? I watch a news station that supposedly leans left and still the words untrustworthy and liar are linked with the name Hillary Clinton on each new hourly news show throughout the day. That is a lot of mentions and this has been going on for months. Is the characterization true or is it a witch hunt? We can no longer tell. I guess if the FBI arrests Hillary and charges her with a felony that will make a lot of people very happy. But not me. Perhaps Hillary was trying to be cagey and thought that she had found a way to keep her tenure as Secretary of State under her control, but I am certain that she did not intend to break any laws or play fast and loose with any government secrets. Did she do this to cover up anything shady about Benghazi? Since she set up the server before the events at Benghazi (at least as far as I know she did) then this seems unlikely. This reminds me of when Martha Stewart went to jail for something that happens all the time in the old boys’ club.

The press should give this particular litany of Hillary faults a rest. Stop all the stories that whisper those very negative adjectives in the same breath with the name Hillary. Let things shake out without your incessant pretense that you are possessed of knowledge which you do not possess. Polls are only powerful when they are used as clubs to beat people over the head and beat a message into their brain. It is now impossible to discern whether people would have been as convinced of these particular Hillary character flaws if they had not heard them hundreds of times a week for months.

By Nancy Brisson

Ten Years After Hurricane Katrina

It is hard to believe that it is 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the gulf coast. It seems that it was not that long ago that we watched this enormous and frightening storm and the storm surge that followed. We watched people waiting on roof tops for a helicopter or a boat to carry them to safety. They must have been so scared. I would have been. Out there on your roof under the big sky worrying that your whole house could lose its moorings and float away, and no rescue in sight for many hours. I’m not even sure I could grab a ladder to climb up to a helicopter.

We watched the people stranded at the New Orleans Convention Center with no food. They were abandoned there while the various levels of government fought turf wars over who should take responsibility for providing for these people. It was like one of those disaster movies where we sit on the edge of our seats saying “get those people”, “you’re going to be too late.” Except this was not a movie; it was real. We saw all the school buses that could have evacuated all those people sitting in careful rows tire deep in water in a parking lot somewhere.

I never in my life saw a good sized American city wiped out in that way. I had never really wanted to visit New Orleans because I am a “party pooper”, I guess. When my sister said that she had made reservations on the gulf coast (in Gulfport, MS) and that she wanted to go to New Orleans for her birthday I was skeptical. I thought New Orleans would still be a shadow of its former self. And Katrina left her marks. On the Beach Road between Gulfport and New Orleans the battered live oaks (still so beautiful) were a testament to the ferocity of the storm. Almost every restaurant we went to near Gulfport had been rebuilt after Katrina and they had the pictures to prove it.

But I was wrong. New Orleans was a wonderful city once again and the gulf coast was alluring too although in a much less populated way. I would visit there again in a heartbeat (when someone makes teleporting real) (planes are too uncomfortable these days).

So today, I listened to our President’s excellent speech ten years after this shocking storm. Because it is the 10th Anniversary of the storm and because New Orleans and the whole gulf coast could benefit from having visitors, I will “treat” you once again to some pictures from the rebuilt gulf highway and the city of New Orleans. 

I saw New Orleans as a tourist sees New Orleans. If you want to see how the people who live in New Orleans see the changes since Katrina here is a link to a great video in the NYT this morning (8/28/2015).

By Nancy Brisson


My Mom Has Her 98th Birthday

My Mom is now officially 98. Yesterday was her big day. Twenty-one people mostly family helped her celebrate her big day. We had at least two cakes and a lemon pie so everyone got a sweet treat. It is much better not to plan a big party as Mom gets too nervous, so we just kind of let the day happen. I didn’t even count how many well wishes she got on Facebook, but it was impressive. She is a matriarch with at least 40 offspring in several generations. Have a very happy year Mom. You are excused from doing dishes (she will still do dishes, we can’t stop her). Send some good wishes on the breeze for her.

By Nancy Brisson

Young Babylon by Lu Nei – Book (Trans. by Poppy Toland)

Take a trip to modern China with Lu Xiaolu. It won’t be a fancy trip. This young “outlaw” is only nineteen and he is quite poor. He grew up in New Chemical Village near the chemical factory where his father worked. He did not push himself in high school, even though he would have chosen to be a shop assistant over a factory worker, probably because he did not have a studious or obedient disposition. His parents prepared him for his most probable destiny which would be a positon at the chemical factory. This factory is old, dingy, dreary, dirty, dangerous, and rat infested. Some of the chemicals are volatile and industrial accidents are common. But this novel is not all doom and gloom. Lu Xiaolu, while hardly always happy with his fate, is young, handsome, and his audacious behavior entertains some of his coworkers (and us) and enrages others.

Our peek into a 1990’s era Chinese factory is eye-opening. There are hierarchies within hierarchies; there are bosses and supervisors, department level people. There are cadres who often have clerical duties. There are the laboratory girls. There are the workers who sort themselves out by who is the biggest hard ass. In fact, Lu Xiaolu is apprenticed to a man called Old Bad-Ass. There are the aunties, some attractive, some scary and there are women who are tough but not at all attractive known as tigers.

Our boy gets the name Magic Head because when he hit his head against a broken water pump that he was trying to remove (because he was in the formaldehyde room and the fumes made him faint) the pump started working and all he got was a bump on his forehead. Our hero is young and not one to follow rules. He chafes against the idea that he will spend his entire life in the chemical factory and he gets punished often by frustrated supervisors.

For a while he is apprenticed to an electrician and gets to roam the factory changing light bulbs and chatting up the lab girls and Little Pouty Lips in personnel. Bai Lan, the young female doctor, starts out being amused by Lu Xiaolu’s rebellions and physical confrontations but is also unnerved by them. She becomes his solace.

Lu Nei, who wrote Young Babylon (which I am guessing is somewhat autobiographical) gave me a less-than-depressing experience of a life that might drive some to the edge of suicide. Any insight into China, as it is such a closed-off society is valuable, at least to me.

Babylon is a Biblical term for the bare lands that tribes of Israel were banished to by God and which has been used in literary circles to describe someone who lives an unruly life and suffers the consequences. Lu Nei is a talented literary voice from a vast and foreign land. However, if you read any other books by Chinese authors the people are familiar and quirky, real, and not so different from people I met in American factories when I worked there during summers home from college. Yes, yes, thank you Lu Nei. I really liked your book.

By Nancy Brisson

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Me Donald – Me Hulk – Me Save America

Thank you You Tube

Donald Trump promises to set things right in America (double meaning intended). About half of America wants a President who can turn into the Hulk. They want to be taken care of in that way. “Me Hulk – me mad – me smash all meanies – China, ISIS, Iran – (with American soldiers doing the actual smashing). Me rich, me brilliant business man – me make America rich again – get jobs again. Me white – me make America majority European again – me run foreigners out of country.”

One problem with this (among so many) is all those “me-s”. America is not supposed to wait for one person, even if s/he is our leader, to solve our problems. We live in a Democracy – a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

What I don’t see, if Donald Trump becomes President, is where we the people fit in. Do we just passively wait while Donald Trump rains down largesse on our heads? Do we kick back and enjoy the fruits of his power moves while hoping to fare well in the deals he makes? What is the people’s role in a Donald Trump Presidency? What about the 50% of people who don’t agree with his projected policies? Will he sell the American soldier and the American worker down the river if necessary to insure the overall prosperity of our nation? Will we share that prosperity or will we be the coal shoveled into the furnace, used, spent, discarded? Donald Trump eats people he perceives as inferior for lunch. “Hulk angry – stay away from Hulk.”

That old mojo we used to have is not gone, even though half of the nation seems to have lost so much faith in America that they will turn to a bipolar superhero to recapture an old snapshot of a transcendent America. Life is not a snapshot. A snapshot is the past. However nostalgic we might be to recreate that old snapshot we know we can’t. Life moves on. Life is a movie; it’s a video, on fast forward sometimes.

America is not dying. America is in transition. Either the world will coalesce as a global entity consisting of the world’s nations, but more open because economics will know no boundaries, or the nations, including us, will turn inward and wall themselves off into individual entities, and society will assume a more feudal structure with nations constantly sparring with each other (that sounds sort of like now, doesn’t it).

We will not be wise to elect a “savior”. What we need is a leader who straddles the past and the future and helps America legislate and build its way into having two feet solidly planted in a new future with common goals. There will still be things to fight about, there always are, but if we let World War III happen there may not be a recognizable world left. No one really could possibly think that starting World War III is a great idea. But mankind has gone to war often for some incredibly stupid reasons (and to settle some unavoidable battles, although rarely). If we try to rewrite the old King Arthur rule that “might makes right” and try turning it around so that “the mighty strive to do what is right” perhaps we can stop looking to the Hulk to save us and collectively govern wisely, more like the Federation from Star Trek.

By Nancy Brisson

Thinking Mr. Trump’s Immigration Plan Through

I often wonder when I am reading books about World War II and the Holocaust what I would have done if I lived in Europe in those years. When my neighbors, who I most likely knew were Jewish, but maybe not, put on a yellow star, how long would it have taken for me to start to avoid them. I doubt that I would have stepped up boldly to defend them. The German officers were brutal and deadly.

Would I have done something covert, such as take part in a human chain to hide someone and pass them on to safety or join a secret resistance movement? Often we have no idea how we will behave when faced with a choice that weighs our morality against our very life.

And while that might not be the exact circumstance we will face if Donald Trump becomes President, it will feel an awful lot like those terrible days. Eleven million plus people will be rounded up. Will they be forced to wear armbands or pins with the flag of their nation of origin until they can be shipped home? They won’t all be Mexicans. They will be Dominicans, Turks, Bhutanese, Sudanese, Nigerian, Argentinian, Columbian, etc. Will we round them up and pack them into buses? Will we send them to ports on trains? Will we use planes? Will we put troops with them in transit to make sure they don’t escape? Will they shoot to kill? How else would we process and move 11 million people?

We think we are unhappy the immigrants and refugees are here; we will be even more unhappy watching the deportation process unfold. The optics will be awful but the emotional impact will be worse. What will happen to citizens who try to interfere? What is the plan for that? I’m guessing all that military equipment the police bought will prove to be quite useful for this operation.

Sending Japanese Americans to Internment

We don’t want anyone to come into America and overstay their welcome. How will we track visas and the people who have them? Will we attach tracking devices that can’t be removed? I think the devices we have right now can be disabled. People being tracked will find ways to go “off the grid”. Do we stop granting visas altogether?

After we alienate every citizen of every country around the globe and become a giant island between oceans who will buy our products? Isn’t it possible that we might become even more unpopular than we are, basically putting the kibosh on us getting the trade balance to tip in our favor? After all actions have consequences.

So think carefully. Even if we could find the money and come up with a foolproof methodology to do this thing, should we? Can we live with the wrenching human upheaval of actually hunting embedded neighbors down and the heartlessness of shipping them to places that might be dangerous for them or places that offer them only poverty and an absence of hope?

If our human spirits can survive this inhumane process intact, will we get what we want? The old adage goes “don’t wish for what you don’t want because you might get it.” Sometimes this same old adage can be stated as “don’t wish for what you do want because you might get it”. If citizens are suffering because of illegal immigration then we really need to think about how we can accommodate those who are here, keep out those who are not and have enough resources to make everyone comfortable. Donald Trump’s plan may sound enticing until you examine it closely, but I think we need a better immigration plan, please. 

By Nancy Brisson

Iran Nuclear Deal

When we hear people say that either we do the Iran deal or we go to war we also hear other people saying that these are not the only two choices. I think that the people who say deal or war say that because Iran is so close to having a nuclear bomb without this agreement that if we want to stop Iran without the Iran deal the only way to do that will be to attack and distract. It may be Israel that makes the first strike, or perhaps it will be Israel and the US. Given Iran’s proximity to Israel and Netanyahu’s rhetoric, war may be inevitable without this deal, however flawed it may be.

Accepting the Iran deal falls in the category of “no brainer” as far as I can see, even with the new information released today about a key inspection that Iran will be allowed to conduct. If sanctions are going away (at least the other partners to the negotiations say that will happen) then we are better off with the deal than without it. If Iran is playing “bait and switch” we will soon find out and then all bets will be off anyways. Then we will say, “recalibrating.”

[I can forgive Chuck Schumer, one of the Senators from my state (and next in line to lead the Dems in the Senate) because although his heart belongs to us it also belongs to Israel. There are probably enough favorable votes that he can afford to abstain from appearing to favor an enemy of Israel. I won’t hold a ‘no’ vote on this matter against him.]

Again, if this is not an acceptable deal, one that postpones the development of a ‘nuke’ in Iran, we will know that soon enough. It is the only move that promises to take the threat of a nuclear bomb in a volatile corner of the world and move it at least a decade into the future.

By Nancy Brisson

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari – Book

If you want to have someone talk about something as serious as finding the one person who you will love forever when there are so many ways for this search to go awry get a comedian to write a book about it. If that book explores romantic disasters that range from the heartbreaking to the ridiculous, all the better. If that comedian does his due diligence and confers with experts who study dating, comparing dating options over several generations the deal gets even several notches better. We get graphs and jokes and an illumination of cultural trends in heterosexual pairing (not just in America but also in some interesting international locations).

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari reads almost like one of those ethnographies anthropologists used to write about various isolated tribes (á la Margaret Meade). Fortunately Aziz’s humor is not intrusive, is usually quite hip, and causes readers to chortle out loud on occasion. The author’s obvious love of good food and his continual gastronomic observations add to the fun and perhaps prove that ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’.

Technology changes so fast that there is always the danger that a book such as this will quickly turn into an ancient artifact. But right now it is au currant and you probably shouldn’t procrastinate about reading it, whether or not you are in the relationship marketplace, because of the sometimes interesting research, both informal and more academic that Ansari discusses.

Modern Romance ends with a discussion of whether a couple, after experiencing that magical attraction of the first year to year and a half of a great relationship should move into the less passionate, companionate phase that follows it, or if an individual should just go from person to person and peak to peak. Science makes a pretty good argument for growing up and moving into that second phase apparently. Aziz says “But we want more than love. We want a lifelong wingman/wingwoman who completes us and can handle the truth, to mix metaphors from three different Tom Cruise movies.”

If you don’t know what it means to swipe right or swipe left you should really find yourself a copy of Modern Romance and dive right in. If you know what this means this might be required reading.

By Nancy Brisson

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Is Hillary a Traitor?

I can’t believe we are falling for this Republican gambit again. The GOP knows how to create a scandal and how to keep it center stage for as long as it proves to be to their political advantage (which is about as long as the half-life of U-235).

I can understand the argument made by a constituent at the Iowa State Fair who felt that Hillary’s poor judgment in choosing to use a private server seems to argue against those who tout her as being politically savvy. And yet we learn from the media that a number of Cabinet members have used private servers including Colin Powell. The problem is, however, one of degree. Republicans have us thinking that she is practically a traitor. They say that what she did is worse than what General Petraeus did – really – Petraeus actually shared national secrets with his paramour. Hillary did not share secrets with anyone as far as we know. Joe Scarborough is once again engaging in waves of bombastic hyperbole on the subject any morning you choose to turn in to Morning Joe, a habit I may have to give up because I don’t like to get worked up quite so early in the morning.

It sounds like so far the FBI has retroactively classified 305 (2, 60, 301, expect the number to keep changing and expect the media to be aghast as each new number is announced) out of 50,000+ emails as at least qualifying for the label Confidential, although Hillary tells us that she did not receive, on her private server, any emails that were marked as Classified when she received them. Joe Scarborough, foaming at the mouth, may buy that Hillary planned for future cover-ups when she decided to opt for her personal server, but that would suggest that Hillary is a scheming woman who lies all the time because she thinks lies will serve her better than the truth. This merely points out how women are painted with a different brush than men because this is obviously a skill we already contribute to almost every man who is a politician, but we don’t call it scheming, we call it strategizing.

This is what Republicans do. They create scandals and they kick back and watch as the media, which knows the people love a good scandal, broadcasts the details over and over. If the meme starts to die out then the scandal mysteriously escalates a bit. If the party doles out the rumors and innuendoes carefully the story lives through can entire election cycle and perhaps beyond (much like the way the press merely has to say a code word like ‘Whitewater’ to cast unproven aspersions on someone).

It is entirely possible that there is nothing sinister at all in Hillary’s use of a private server as there was no rule against it at the time and others at her level of government did the same. Considering the number of hostile hacks against our government computers (IRS, etc.) in recent years and the exposure of secure data, it could look like it was actually a prescient move to use a private server. But Trey Gowdy, the media, and, apparently, the FBI will make sure that no one else in America believes that because that Benghazi drumbeat is still kept alive and damning in the back of our minds.

[When have we ever had a perfect person in public office, a person we could trust 100%. Given the flawed nature of all humans we would be deluded to put all our trust in any President. It is why a democracy is supposed to be strong, because the people keep an eye on our leaders and call them to account if necessary. If we have never had a male President who is perfect (sorry Republicans, even Ronald Reagan) then how can it be that we expect to find a female President with no flaws? This is why it is important to concentrate on policies rather than appearance or personalities and make policy considerations at least as important as more superficial attributes.]

This does not have to be a huge story on the news every day. The data is in the hands of the FBI. The investigation is launched. We must wait for the results. Get a grip!

By Nancy Brisson

August, 2015 Book List

Publisher’s Weekly

Incarnations by Susan Barker

The American Trail: An American Journey by Rinker Buck (NF)

A Cure for Suicide by Jesse Ball

The Flicker Man by Ted Kosmatka

The Other Son by Alexander Soderberg

Purity by Johnathan Franzen

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende (Nov.)

Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving (Nov.)

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (Sept.)

A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk trans. by Ekin Oklap

Rock, Paper, Scissors by Noja Marie Aidt

Collector of Secrets by Richard Goodfellow

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

Mystery and Thriller

The Girl in the Spider’s Web (continues Steig Larsson’s Millennium Series) by David Lagercrantz (Sept.)

Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz (Sept.)

Sci Fi/Fantasy/Horror

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin (Aug.)

Independent Booksellers

The Secret Place by Tana French

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Armada by Ernest Cline

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh

Dragonfish: A Novel by Vu Tran

The Watchmaker of Filigree St. by Natasha Pulley

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand

The Cartel by Don Winslow

The President’s Shadow by Brad Meltzer

Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont

Let Me Tell You by Shirley Jackson

The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera

Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville

The Novel Habits of Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith

In a dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware

Villa America by Lisa Klaussmann

Brush Back by Sara Paretsky

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Backman

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Naked Greed by Stuart Woods

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis De Bernieres

The Night Sister by Jennifer Mc Mahon

The Rocks by Peter Nichols


Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

Rising Strong by Brené Brown (NF)

Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother’s Story by David Payne (NF)

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim by Justin Gifford (NF)

Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey (NF) (Dolphins)

Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capé Crucet

The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward

In a dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

Biographies and Memoirs

You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day

Avenue of Spies by Alex Kershaw

Barefoot to Avalon: A Brother’s Story by David Payne (NF)

Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the woman who captivated CS Lewis by Abigail Santamaria

Street Poison: The Biography of Iceberg Slim by Justin Gifford (NF)

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peratta

Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s most controversial Statesman by Greg Grandin

The Orpheus Clock: The Search for My Family’s Art Treasures Stolen By the Nazi’s by Simon Goodman

Literature and Fiction

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal

Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

They Dying Grass: A Novel of the Nez Perce War by William T Vollman

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward

Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott

Days of Awe by Lauren Fox

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

Barbara the Slut and Other People by Lauren Holmes

How to be a Grown Up by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

The Girl Who Slept with God by Val Brelinski

No. 4 Imperial Lane by Jonathan Weisman

Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb

The Automobile Club of Egypt by Alaa Al Aswany and Russell Harris

Science Fiction and Fantasy

The End of All Things (Old Man’s War) by John Scalzi

Imperial Handbook: A Commander’s Guide by Daniel Wallace

Zeroes by Chuck Wendig

Mysteries and Thrillers

Badlands by CJ Box

In a dark, dark wood by Ruth Ware

Friction by Sandra Brown

Devil’s Bridge by Linda Fairstein

Black Eyed Susan: A Novel of Suspense by Julia Heaberlin

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

Last Words by Michael Koryta

Trust No One: A Thriller by Paul Cleave

Eileen: A Novel by Ottesa Moshfegh

The Eternal World by Christopher Farnsworth

The Blue by Lucy Clarke

Rubbernecker by Belinda Bauer

Darkness the Color of Snow by Thomas Cobb

To preorder

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham (10/20/2015)

NYT Book Newsletter

Eileen by Ottesa Moshfegh

Dragonfish by Vu Tran

Compiled by Nancy Brisson