The Great Nadar: The Man Behind the Camera
Tim Duggan Books
I first encountered Felix Nadar as a character in a historical novel. I knew he was a real person, but he’s not nearly as well known here as he is in France. Adam Begley’s short, entertaining biography fleshes out the man who pioneered photography as an art, created celebrities (including himself), founded several aeronautical societies, wrote books on art and politics, risked his life as an aerial observer during the Franco‑Prussian War, and served as inspiration for the hero of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon. Plenty of photos of Paris and Nadar’s wide circle of famous friends.
‑ Bruce Collier
The Almost Sisters
The Almost Sisters is about how Leia, a 38‑year‑old white comic book artist from an old Alabama family, “falls pregnant” after a drunken one night stand with a black Batman at ComicCon. It also tells the story of Leia’s grandmother’s dementia and dark family secrets that are revealed as a result. But that’s not all—the novel also explores the complicated relationship between the main character, her stepsister Rachel, and Rachel’s husband. The book is so packed with intersecting storylines, it’s impossible to get bored. There are also “Easter eggs” sprinkled throughout that are delightful to discover (Dr. Who and Buffy references, a parallel to a biblical tale). Jackson is a masterful writer, and here she has constructed an emotional and honest story about race in the south. One of the best books I’ve read this year.
‑ Marilu Morgan