By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles
Temperatures are rising, but whether you can travel or not this summer, you can always fly away with a good book.
"All Adults Here" by Emma Straub (Riverhead Books) is a rich comic novel that starts with tragedy: When 68-year-old Astrid sees a woman struck and killed by a school bus, she realizes it's time to take stock of what sort of person she really is, and what sort of mother she was.
But will her adult children be ready for that much honesty? Would you be?
Here's a curious thought experiment: What if Hillary had never married Bill Clinton? Would Bill have reached the White House without Hillary at his side? Would a certain real estate developer ever have become president? Would Hillary have won the election?
Curtis Sittenfeld answers all these questions and more in her alternative history called "Rodham: A Novel" (Random House), which is also a compelling examination of sexism in America's politics.
For another fascinating reassessment of American history, try the new novel by C. Pam Zhang. "How Much of These Hills Is Gold" (Riverhead Books) tells the story of the Old West from the point of view of Chinese Americans, who have been written out of that history for far too long.
As the novel begins, two orphaned children must find a place to bury their father – a quest that takes them across a strange territory swept up in the Gold Rush. This is myth and history melded together in an unforgettable tale.
During the quarantine, a lot of us have been walking more, and hearing more birds. Whether you're an experienced birder or somebody who doesn't know a robin from an eagle, you'll enjoy this new book from the world's most popular ornithologist, David Allen Sibley.
It's called "What It's Like to Be a Bird" (Knopf). It's a beautifully illustrated handbook about our feathered friends – how they nest, what they eat, what they're doing, and why!
If your Dad is like mine, this book has got Father's Day written all over it.
"What It's Like to Be a Bird: From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing – What Birds Are Doing, and Why" by David Sibley (Knopf), in Hardcover and eBook formats, available via Amazon
And finally, with quarantine regulations loosening in many parts of the country, independent booksellers are taking steps to reopen. So, why not give your local bookstore a call; see if they're offering curbside pickup or limited shopping hours. They'll be happy to help you pick out one of these books, or find something else you might enjoy.
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Story produced by Robin Sanders. Editor: Roman Feeser.