The Book Report: Reviews from Washington Post critic Ron Charles

The Book Report: Reviews by Washington Post critic Ron Charles
The Book Report: Reviews by Washington Post c... 02:17

By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles


Lily King's new novel, "Writers & Lovers" (Grove Press), is one of the most delightful books I've read in a long time.

It's about a young woman in Boston who refuses to give up her dream of being a writer, and finding someone to share her life.

But just when she feels like she'll never find success, or love, she lands in a romantic plot involving two very different men. 

William Morrow

The sun never sets on the American Western. Paulette Jiles wrote one of our favorite novels in 2016 called "News of the World," and now she's back with a companion novel called "Simon the Fiddler" (William Morrow).

The story takes place in Texas just as the Civil War is winding down. 

A talented, young musician named Simon is trying to keep from getting roped into the fighting when he spots the woman he knows is the love of his life.

Now all he has to do to convince her. 


In 2007, Ishmael Beah published an unforgettable memoir titled "A Long Way Gone" about his horrific experience as a child soldier in the Sierra Leone civil war.

His new novel, "Little Family" (Riverhead), is gentler but still eye-opening: It's about five homeless orphans on the edge of a city. 

They're utterly devoted to each other as they go about the struggle each day of finding enough to eat. But complications arise when two of them attract the attention of very wealthy, powerful people. 


"Hidden Valley Road" (Doubleday), by investigative journalist Robert Kolker, is a searing examination of an American family dealing with mental illness.

With 12 children, Don and Mimi Galvin had what looked like a big, happy family. But six of their children suffered psychotic breakdowns and were diagnosed with schizophrenia.

They eventually became subjects of a major study at the National Institute for Mental Health.

Kolker takes us deep into the lives of these family members, and through the whole fascinating history of how mental illness is treated. 

Finally, remember that even though your local library is closed, librarians are still hard at work. Go to your library's website and there you'll find people ready and willing to help you download music, movies, and books without ever leaving your home! 

For more info: 

Story produced by Robin Sanders. Editor: Roman Feeser.