Book Report: Washington Post Critic Ron Charles (19 March)


By Ron Charles, book critic for The Washington Post

When looking for your next book to read this spring, consider a few titles I’ve enjoyed recently.

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random house

New novel by Curtis Sittenfeld “Love comedy” (Random House) – Surprise! – Romantic comedy.

It’s about a woman named Sally who writes sketches for TV shows like “Saturday Night Live.” She decides never to fall in love with anyone in the studio again, but then a good-looking pop star arrives to host the show and Sally doesn’t know if this is real or a punch line.

Read Excerpt: Curtis Sittenfeld’s “Romantic Comedy”

“Love comedy” By Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House), in hardcover, large print, eBook and audio format, starting April 4 Amazon, Barnes & Noble and indiebound



Rebecca Mackay’s new novel makes you think about how stories of murdered women turn into ludicrous entertainment.

“I have some questions for you.” (Vikings) begins when a popular podcaster is invited to teach at her old prep school. Back on her campus, she begins to remember the death of her high school roommate and the sloppy investigation that sent a black man to prison.

Now, more than 20 years later, will reinvestigating the case bring justice or just add to the mystery?

Read excerpt: “I have a few questions for you” by Rebecca Mackay

“I have some questions for you.” By Rebecca Makkai (Viking), in hardcover, eBook, and audio format. Amazon, Barnes & Noble and indiebound

Barnum Wood Farrar Strauss and Jiro.jpg

Farrar, Strauss, Giroud

“Barnum Wood” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) is the first novel by Eleanor Catton, who won the Booker Prize in 2013 for The Luminaries.

This time, Catton delivered a thriller that swirls around the land of New Zealand. Some radical environmentalists want to use this land for free vegetable gardens, but an American billionaire is stealing minerals of enormous value nearby.

Both parties think they can take advantage and deceive the other, but the result is a deadly disaster.

Read excerpt: “Birnam Wood” by Eleanor Catton

“Barnum Wood” By Eleanor Catton (Farrar, Straus, Giroux), in hardcover, large print, eBook and audio formats, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and indiebound

Spoken language knopf.jpg


Poets have always narrated their poems aloud, but about 50 years ago a collective of voices emerged, a vibrant new expression of expression, celebration and resistance that has attracted millions of fans. A form, spoken word poetry, was born.

Joshua Bennett, one of the genre’s most inspiring and knowledgeable authors, offers a broad cultural history in this format in his new book. “spoken language” (Knopp). President Obama’s White is a story that takes him from his house to Broadway to street corners and cafes across the country to hear the songs of America.

Read excerpt: “Spoken Word: A Cultural History” by Joshua Bennett

“Spoken Language: Cultural History” By Joshua Bennett (Knopf), in hardcover, large print, eBook and audio formats, from 28 March Amazon, Barnes & Noble and indiebound

If you need further suggestions on what to read, ask your librarian or local bookstore.

That’s it for the book report. I’m Ron Charles. Until next time, read on!

For more information:

For more reading recommendations, check out the previous Book Report feature by Ron Charles.

Produced by Robin Sanders and Roman Feeser.


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Written by Natalia Chi

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