February 1, 2017 Booklist 5 www.booklistonline.com
thor, a historian, brings an analytical eye and a
keen sense of skepticism to the story, dredging
through the sparse historical record (which
includes contemporaneous newspaper and
police reports, as well as some speculation by
true-crime writers years after the events took
place) to try to bring some sense of coherence
to the case. And that is no small task: the story
of the Axeman is a story of false leads, bad assumptions, sloppy police work, racial hatred,
and even outright deceit on the part of some
of the alleged victims (one women knowingly
fingered an innocent man as her attacker and
almost sent him to the gallows). A riveting
story of a serial-killer investigation in a time
long before modern-day investigative techniques, even before the term “serial killer” was
invented. —David Pitt
The Mother of All Questions.
By Rebecca Solnit.
Mar. 2017. 180p. Haymarket, paper, $14.95
In 2010, the term mansplaining was one of
the New York Times’ words of the year; it was
coined during the conversation surrounding
an essay Solnit wrote in 2008 about gendered
communication styles, which eventually became the title essay in Men Explain Things
to Me (2014). Solnit’s newest book of essays
serves as a companion and follow-up to that
collection, moving beyond the mansplain
into a keen and timely commentary on gender and feminism. Though the topics vary
wildly—Solnit touches on everything from
the language of public-health guidelines to
the unexpected feminism of an early Elizabeth Taylor film—each essay echoes the ways
it can feel impossible simply to be a woman
or, indeed, the ways traditional views of gender fail us all. Solnit writes, “There is no good
answer to how to be a woman; the art may
instead lie in how we refuse the question.”
Solnit’s voice is calm, clear, and unapologetic;
each essay balances a warm wit with confident, thoughtful analysis, resulting in a
collection that is as enjoyable and accessible
as it is incisive. —Amanda Winterroth
No Friends but the Mountains:
Dispatches from the World’s
By Judith Matloff.
Mar. 2017. 272p. Basic, $28 (9780465097883). 355.009.
Matloff’s impressive and necessary work is-
sues a moral imperative: pay attention to the
mountain communities of
the world, because they are
in danger, which “like water,
flows downhill.” This book
examines the seeming causal-
ity between mountains and
violence. A seasoned combat
journalist, Matloff (Home
Girl, 2008) visits a moun-
tain range in each chapter, providing both the
historical context for conflict there and a per-
sonal narrative. Ingredients that create brutal
conditions for mountain people include pov-
erty, government callousness, minority ethnic
groups, a sacred attachment to the land, and
contested water resources. In the Dinaric Alps
of Albania, these factors combine with an an-
cestral tradition of blood feuds to oppress. In
the Mexican Sierra Madres, a lack of resources
and isolationism support a cycle of resistance
and repression. The mountain people of Kash-
mir endure such deprivation and violence that
they require psychological and soulful healing.
Matloff approaches her topic with a magic
combination of wisdom and empathy, and
it is impossible to not be moved. In the final
chapters, Vermont, Norway, and Switzerland
offer models to improve the violent plight of
mountain people and, by extension, improve
us all. —Emily Dziuban
The Rules Do Not Apply.
By Ariel Levy.
Mar. 2017. 224p. Random, $27 (9780812996937).
Levy (Female Chauvinist Pigs, 2005) won a
National Magazine Award in 2014 for her
essay “Thanksgiving in Mongolia,” pub-
lished in the New Yorker (where she’s a staff
writer), and this memoir is a sweeping, life-
spanning extension of that piece. In her late
thirties, Levy suffered a traumatic end to
a much-wanted pregnancy. Her marriage,
with a woman she adored, was simultane-
ously falling apart at the seams, stretched
thin by addiction and past infidelity. Levy
tells many stories here: of her upbringing in
suburban New York; of her ferocious, dove-
tailing pursuits of a career in journalism and
a life of adventure; of her parents, friends,
and lovers. Levy writes of the sudden panic
over her fertility (“One day you are very
young and then suddenly you are thirty-five
and it is Time”), the golden solution found
in a male friend who wanted to father and
also provide for Levy and her wife’s child,
and the bottomless depths of the resulting
loss. Levy’s generous portrait of modern
feminism—at turns bleak, heartrending,
inspired, and hopeful—speaks strongly and
directly to readers. —Annie Bostrom
Highly anticipated fiction, shocking true crime, and a sports memoir from one of the greats are on the horizon. —Annie Bostrom
Anything Is Possible. By Elizabeth Strout. Random, $27 (9780812389403). May.
The next book from Pulitzer Prize–winning Strout will explore the lives of the web of people surrounding the title character of her smash success, My Name Is Lucy Barton (2016).
Beartown. By Fredrik Backman. Atria, $26.99 (9781501160769); e-book (9781501160783). Apr.
Swedish author Backman, a best-seller-list mainstay with hits A Man Called Ove (2014),
now a film, and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry (2015), returns with
the story of a down-and-out town and its hopeful young hockey team.
Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship on and off the Court. By Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and David Fisher. Grand Central, $29 (9781455542277). June.
Basketball Hall of Famer and best-selling author Abdul-Jabbar tells of his life- and
record-changing friendship with John Wooden, the coach he met as a freshman at UCLA.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the American FBI. By
David Grann. Doubleday, $28.95 (9780385534246). Apr.
The one-by-one murders of members of the Osage Indian nation, in Oklahoma in
the 1920s, form the basis of Grann’s work of narrative nonfiction. The film version is
already in production.
One Perfect Lie. By Lisa Scottoline. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (9781250099563); e-book
Best-selling Scottoline’s suburban thriller tells the tale of a stranger posing as a high-school teacher who hijacks the lives of three star student athletes and their mothers.
Since We Fell. By Dennis Lehane. Harper, $27.99 (9780062129383); e-book
Lehane, whose books and their film versions (Live by Night, starring Ben Affleck, is out
now) earn him fans at an exponential rate, returns with a thriller concerning a former journalist whose life unravels as she’s dragged into a conspiracy.
There Your Heart Lies. By Mary Gordon. Pantheon, $25.95 (9780307907943). May.
Beloved novelist and memoirist Gordon’s forthcoming novel concerns an American
woman who, in her nineties, is compelled to finally share the long-held secret of her ex-
perience as a volunteer during the Spanish Civil War.
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