‘Pinball’ by Patrick Shields
In Patrick Shields’s debut autobiographical novel, ‘Pinball,’ set in the early 1990s, we follow a senior at a North Philadelphia boarding academy as he reckons with his past, present, and future two weeks before graduation. Kirsten Bowen reviews.
‘I’m Not Holding Your Coat’ by Nancy Barile
A valentine to the pre-internet punk scene
Since the pandemic has left us longing for live music, Nancy Barile’s new punk-scene memoir, ‘I’m Not Holding Your Coat,’ is an especially welcome window on a bygone musical era. Chelsea Spear reviews.
‘Land of Big Numbers’ by Te-Ping Chen
Paths of purpose
Te-Ping Chen’s debut story collection, ‘Land of Big Numbers,’ casts a wide net to explore contemporary China and its diaspora. Kirsten Bowen reviews.
‘True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee’ by Abraham Riesman
Knocking down Marvel myths
Journalist Abraham Riesman has authored a definitive biography of the famed Marvel creator Stan Lee, uncovering truths that may make Lee's fans uncomfortable. Stephen Silver reviews.
‘Utopia PR’ by Adam Bender
Work/life balance, and other disasters
In Adam Bender’s near-future political satire, a crisis communications manager troubleshoots disasters for a callow reality-television star turned president while trying to maintain a semblance of work/life balance. Kirsten Bowen reviews.
‘A Cartography of Home’ by Hayden Saunier
When we were still a place
A new poetry collection from Hayden Saunier weaves Pennsylvania’s natural world with its mini-marts and hotels, exploring possibility, loss, compound perspectives, and calls to customer service. Anndee Hochman reviews.
‘The Defender,’ by Edward W. Madeira Jr. and Michael D. Schaffer
If you cannot afford an attorney…
‘The Defender: The Battle to Protect the Rights of the Accused in Philadelphia’ traces the history of Philly’s famous public defender office, and the challenges it still faces. Pamela Forsythe reviews.
‘Do Right By Me,’ by Valerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D’Angelo
Adoption in black and white
Two local educators use their friendship and their expertise to explore the sensitive topic of transracial adoption in ‘Do Right By Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces.’ Pamela Forsythe reviews.
‘The Health of the Commonwealth’ by James E. Higgins
Tales of epidemics past
‘The Health of the Commonwealth’ recounts 250 years of medical practice in Pennsylvania—a particularly relevant slice of history in the age of Covid-19. Pamela J. Forsythe reviews.