Avid Reader: A Life - Robert Gottlieb

Staff Pick

For more than six decades, Robert Gottlieb stood at the helm of three premier publishing institutions: Simon & Schuster, Alfred A. Knopf, and The New Yorker magazine. A book omnivore, he grew up in a family where reading took the place of dinner-table conversation: “only later did it occur to me this was not normal,” he writes in his engrossing memoir, Avid Reader (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28). Gottlieb’s love of reading segued into an illustrious career in which he edited some of the biggest names in literature, including Toni Morrison, John Le Carré, Robert Caro, and Doris Lessing. Sharing insights into his editing philosophy, he notes that “the most damaging thing an editor can do to a writer is to try to change a book into something other than what it is, rather than to try to make it a better version of what it is already.” This memoir brims with amusing insider anecdotes, such as the mini-crisis that ensued when, nearing the publication date of a book called Catch-18, by a writer named Joseph Heller, Gottlieb and his team learned that a book called Mila 18 was about to be released. This life in words is also an endearing meditation on family and close friendships forged over the years, and it’s seasoned with enough literary gossip to keep the pages turning.

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone - Scott Shane

As a journalist covering post-9/11 terrorism, Scott Shane, a National Security reporter for The New York Times, wanted a deeper understanding of the disturbing arc of recent history, and one of the questions he set out to answer was how President Obama came to embrace so aggressively the targeted killing of suspected terrorists. The result of his inquiry is Objective Troy (Tim Duggan, $28), a gripping and illuminating book that opens with a tightly paced scene that could be straight from a thriller, describing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab—aka the “underwear bomber”—and his failed attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound aircraft per the instructions of his mentor, Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki. What follows is a fascinating portrait of American-born al-Awlaki (for whom the military’s code name was Troy) and his transformation to an Al-Qaeda leader in the Arabian Peninsula. Shane also highlights some of the biographical parallels between Barack Obama and the man who would become a high priority target of his administration: both men were born in the U.S. to secular Muslim fathers and both spent parts of their childhoods overseas. The personal details lend a human touch to this narrative of the controversial extra-judicial killing of a United States citizen.

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804140294
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Tim Duggan Books - September 15th, 2015

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804140317
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tim Duggan Books - September 13th, 2016

Louisa Meets Bear - Lisa Gornick

Each of these exquisitely crafted stories is a stand-along gem; read together, characters interlock in ways that continuously surprise. Gornick infuses this narrative of love, loss, and yearning with a nuanced complexity that perhaps only a former psychotherapist could bring to her writing. The lifelong tension that binds Louisa and Bear, lovers who first meet in college but have chosen different paths resolves—or does not resolve at all—in such a quietly affecting manner that one may need a moment of quiet reflection—or a box of Kleenex—after turning the final page.

Louisa Meets Bear: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250094704
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Picador - July 12th, 2016