A laugh-out-loud funny book that will delight longtime Kinsella fans and those looking for a cozy holiday story.

CHRISTMAS SHOPAHOLIC

Kinsella’s (I Owe You One, 2019, etc.) much-loved Shopaholic is back—and this time, it’s Christmas.

Becky Brandon is looking forward to spending Christmas with her husband and daughter at her parents’ house, just like always. It’s cozy and warm and, other than her favorite Christmas tradition (shopping), Becky doesn’t have to do much of anything. But then her parents drop a huge surprise—they’re moving to an apartment in the superhip London neighborhood of Shoreditch. Now, instead of Christmas sweaters and carols, they’re into unicycles and avocado toast. Her parents’ transformation into hipsters means that Becky has to host Christmas at her home in Letherby. Becky has no idea how to host a holiday dinner for her entire family and extended network of family friends, but she’s never met a problem she couldn’t shop her way out of. As usual, however, Becky finds herself stuck with a ton of problems. First, she needs to find the perfect gift for her husband, Luke, but in order to get it she just might have to petition an all-male billiards club to accept female members (Becky, of course, doesn’t play billiards). She might be in trouble with the entire country of Norway after creating her own (fictional) version of hygge, “sprygge.” Her environmentally conscious sister wants Becky to decorate a broom instead of a Christmas tree and have a vegan turkey on the table. And then there’s her musician ex-boyfriend who unexpectedly shows up in town with his new girlfriend. With everything on Becky’s plate, will she be able to create the picture-perfect Christmas she dreams of? Becky is still a hardworking, eminently lovable character who just wants to do the right thing, even if she usually screws everything up and finds herself in hilariously awful situations (like, for example, storing 30 pounds of smoked salmon on her front lawn under a duvet).

A laugh-out-loud funny book that will delight longtime Kinsella fans and those looking for a cozy holiday story.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-13282-1

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Dial Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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