Trying to choose which new releases to dive into in a world swimming with incredible books published weekly can sometimes feel overwhelming. But have no fear, there’s no need to fret; I am here to save the day. The last thing you need is one more stressful decision to make so feel free to take a respite. I’ve rounded up the three new releases you should get your hands on this week!
All The Answers: A Graphic Memoir by Michael Kupperman
In this moving graphic memoir, Eisner Award-winning writer and artist Michael Kupperman traces the life of his reclusive father—the once-world-famous Joel Kupperman, Quiz Kid. That his father is slipping into dementia—seems to embrace it, really—means that the past he would never talk about might be erased forever.
Joel Kupperman became one of the most famous children in America during World War II as one of the young geniuses on the series Quiz Kids. With the uncanny ability to perform complex math problems in his head, Joel endeared himself to audiences across the country and became a national obsession. Following a childhood spent in the public eye, only to then fall victim to the same public’s derision, Joel deliberately spent the remainder of his life removed from the world at large.
With wit and heart, Michael Kupperman presents a fascinating account of mid-century radio and early television history, the pro-Jewish propaganda entertainment used to counteract anti-Semitism, and the early age of modern celebrity culture.
All the Answers is both a powerful father-son story and an engaging portrayal of what identity came to mean at this turning point in American history, and shows how the biggest stages in the world can overcome even the greatest of players. (via Amazon)
Why read this one?
This memoir is an introspective look at someone trying to understand his father’s history before dementia steals his mind further and everything is lost. You watch the author grasp to understand how his father could go from being the most famous child celebrity during WWII to being a quiet, small-mannered teacher, without ever sharing the slightest detail of his glory days with his son. You also watch his father as he continues to struggle with the weight his children being removed from the normalcy of childhood and thrust into the spotlight are forced to carry. The cruelties of celebrity, fame, and the corrupt Game Show industry from the 40’s and 50’s left Michael Kupperman’s father, Joel Kupperman, with scars he still yearns to heal.
This memoir is captivating, informative, and heartbreaking all at once. Admittedly, I’m not someone who has really delved into the world of graphic works, but this book has awoken that part of me. The artwork is unique, interesting, beautifully detailed, and really helps the reader to feel they are truly a part of something incredible.
Last Stories by William Trevor
With a career that spanned more than half a century, William Trevor is regarded as one of the best writers of short stories in the English language. Now, in Last Stories, the master storyteller delivers ten exquisitely rendered tales—nine of which have never been published in book form–that illuminate the human condition and will surely linger in the reader’s mind long after closing the book. Subtle yet powerful, Trevor gives us insights into the lives of ordinary people. We encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil’s theft in exchange for his beautiful music. This final and special collection is a gift to lovers of literature and Trevor’s many admirers, and affirms his place as one of the world’s greatest storytellers. (via Amazon)
Why read this one?
William Trevor is one of the most prolific authors in history and in his final collection he gifts us with stories of honesty, vulnerability, and hope. These stories outline what it is to be human. As Publisher’s Weekly stated, “The stories are sharp and concise, containing whole lives in the span of just a few pages . . . Readers familiar with Trevor, who died in 2016, will find satisfying closure, and those new to his work will find reason to go back and explore his previous books.”
This collection is well written with sharp-yet-prophetic lyrical prose; the language itself is addicting enough to keep any reader hooked. I would recommend this one last look at the insights of William Trevor’s mind to any and everyone.
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
Austin Channing Brown’s first encounter with a racialized America came at age 7, when she discovered her parents named her Austin to deceive future employers into thinking she was a white man. Growing up in majority-white schools, organizations, and churches, Austin writes, “I had to learn what it means to love blackness,” a journey that led to a lifetime spent navigating America’s racial divide as a writer, speaker and expert who helps organizations practice genuine inclusion.
In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.
For readers who have engaged with America’s legacy on race through the writing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I’m Still Here is an illuminating look at how white, middle-class, Evangelicalism has participated in an era of rising racial hostility, inviting the reader to confront apathy, recognize God’s ongoing work in the world, and discover how blackness–if we let it–can save us all. (via Amazon)
Why read this one?
The power behind this book has left me speechless: I’m not really sure what words I can use to do Austin Channing Brown the justice she deserves. This will captivate you, leave you shaking with anger and tears, and make you want to stand up and fight for resistance and revolution against the blatant racial inequality still ruling over America today.
Brown is brutally vulnerable and honest. Her words blaze on with a trail of smoke. This book is a necessity. This book should be taught in classrooms. Her strength, intelligence, bravery, and power make this a must-read.
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