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Tayari Jones

An American Marriage

Algonquin Books

An American Marriage was a recent Book of the Month Club selection, as well as an Oprah’s Book Club pick. This story is about the relationship between Atlanta newlyweds Celestial and Roy during the time period when Roy is incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. You would think from the one-sentence plot summary that this would be an “issues” book—similar to how The Hate U Give is kind of known as the book on the Black Lives Matter movement—but you would be wrong. This riveting and beautifully written story is all about the characters and how they grow and change as a result of the situations they find themselves in. I finished this one in just a few days and can’t stop thinking about it.

– Marilu Morgan

Antony Sher

Year of the Mad King: The Lear Diaries

Nick Hern Books

British actor Antony Sher is probably much better known on stage than in movies. Year of the Mad King is his third “diary” book, in which he chronicles his progress on and off stage while preparing a major Shakespearean role (previous diaries dealt with Richard III and Falstaff). King Lear is generally considered Shakespeare’s most challenging role, and the play his most enigmatic and “modern.” A modest and introspective man, Sher combines a description of the nuts and bolts of preparation with unsparing comments on how his health (a threat of deafness) and family illness and death affected his portrayal.

– Bruce Collier

 

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