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The Book Report: Recommendations from Washington Post critic Ron Charles (November 28)

The Book Report: New fiction and nonfiction
The Book Report: New fiction and nonfiction 02:38

By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles

With supply chain problems still playing havoc with retailers, it's not too early to start planning for the holidays. And remember: no matter whom you're shopping for, a good book always fits!


Pulitzer Prize-winner Louise Erdrich has published a novel called "The Sentence" (HarperCollins), set in a small Minneapolis bookstore – just like the one she owns in real life.

The narrator is a convicted body snatcher who gets released early from prison and finds a job at the bookstore. Everything's going great until the store's most annoying customer dies … and then comes back as a ghost!

The way this novel blends zany comedy with the COVID-19 lockdown, the Black Lives Matter protests, and the redemptive power of books, is nothing short of magical.

Read an excerpt from "The Sentence"

"The Sentence" by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound


Throughout her career, the Turkish writer Elif Shafak has defended the victims of war and oppression. Her new book is a hauntingly beautiful novel called "The Island of Missing Trees" (Bloomsbury), which takes us to the troubled nation of Cyprus.

The story follows two young lovers – one Turkish, one Greek – who are separated by the Turkish invasion of 1974. The lovers don't know if they'll ever see each other again, but a surprisingly talkative fig tree (surely this year's most unusual narrator!) knows everything.  

Read an excerpt from "The Island of Missing Trees"

"The Island of Missing Trees" by Elif Shafak (Bloomsbury), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound

Simon & Schuster

The New Yorker magazine writer Susan Orlean has been fascinated by animals for years. Her new book, called "On Animals" (Simon & Schuster, a division of ViacomCBS), collects some of her most beloved essays about all creatures great and small, from her own chickens to Willy the Whale.

In these delightful, insightful stories, you'll meet lions and tigers and mules, oh my! – and explore our complicated relationship with the animals who co-exist with us on this crowded planet.

Read an excerpt from "On Animals"

"On Animals" by Susan Orlean (Avid Reader/Simon & Schuster), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound


Money can't buy me love, but it can buy me "The Lyrics" (Liveright), which may be the next best thing.

This handsome, two-volume set contains 154 songs that Paul McCartney wrote or co-wrote from 1956 to the present. Edited and introduced by the poet Paul Muldoon, this unique memoir-through-song is packed full of McCartney's reminiscences about his life and his inspiration.

At almost 1,000 pages long – with countless photographs, posters and handwritten notes – "The Lyrics" will be music to the eyes of any rock 'n' roll fan.

Read an excerpt from "The Lyrics"

"The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present" by Paul McCartney, edited by Paul Muldoon (Liveright), in Hardcover and eBook formats, available via Amazon and Indiebound

For these and other great gift ideas, contact your 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: 

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