Watch CBS News

The Book Report: Washington Post critic Ron Charles (March 13)

The Book Report: New fiction and nonfiction
The Book Report: New fiction and nonfiction 02:44

By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles

Spring is finally breaking out, and there's a bushel of great new titles to consider:


Anne Tyler, one of America's most beloved authors, has been writing about the mingled joys and sorrows of family life for more than half a century.

Her new novel, "French Braid," follows Mr. and Mrs. Garrett, a Baltimore couple, and their three children starting in the 1950s and skipping across the decades right up to the era of the COVID pandemic.

It's a story as familiar and reassuring as an old friend who can still surprise us. 

Read an excerpt from "French Braid"

"French Braid" by Anne Tyler (Knopf), in Hardcover, Large Print Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound


"Mercy Street," by Jennifer Haigh, explores the precarious status of legal abortion – and it may be the last novel about abortion that appears before the Supreme Court rules on several challenges to Roe v. Wade.

At the center of the story is Claudia, an experienced counselor at a reproductive health clinic in Boston. As she goes about helping women who are facing all kinds of challenges, the clinic is constantly surrounded by protesters – and, unbeknownst to Claudia, some of them are plotting a violent attack.

Read an excerpt from "Mercy Street"

"Mercy Street" by Jennifer Haigh (Ecco), in Hardcover, Large Print Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound

G. P. Putnam's Sons

When John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, he changed the direction of American history. But how did the well-known actor come to commit such a consequential act of violence?

In her dramatic historical novel, "Booth," Karen Joy Fowler re-imagines the life of Lincoln's killer. She introduces us to Booth's troubled father (once a famous actor himself), and Booth's siblings, who grow increasingly alarmed by their brother's behavior.

It's an epic story that captures the unstable passions that disrupt the Booth family and the disagreements that set the nation on fire.

Read an excerpt from "Booth"

"Booth" by Karen Joy Fowler (Putnam's), in Hardcover, Large Print Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound

Random House

In 1997, Britain handed control of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China. Karen Cheung was 4 years old when that transfer took place, and since then she's lived through Beijing's crackdown on the freedoms that Honk Kong once enjoyed.

In her new book, "The Impossible City," Cheung writes about the break-up of her family and her own struggle with depression at a time when her homeland was experiencing similarly wrenching challenges.

This is an intensely personal memoir that is also an astute record of social and political turmoil in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

Read an excerpt from "The Impossible City"

"The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir" by Karen Cheung (Random House), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound

For these and other suggestions about what to read this Spring, contact your librarians or local bookseller.

That's it for the Book Report. Until next time, read on!

For more info: 

Story produced by Robin Sanders, Roman Feeser and Juan Torres-Falcon.

For more reading recommendations check out these previous Book Report features from Ron Charles: 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.