Maureen Corrigan, Deacon King Kong, National Book Award discussed on Fresh Air

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It plays a drummer confronting his new world of silence after he abruptly loses his hearing, also starring Olivia Cooke, now streaming on prime video. And from little passports, offering activity kids to keep kids engaged and expand their minds. They'll explore France and Brazil and build a volcano in submarine from their kitchen table. Little passports dot com. This is fresh air. Our book critic Maureen Corrigan says Even she sometimes has trouble focusing on reading this year, but not with these books. Here's Maureen's list of 10 top books for 2020. There's an underlying quality of solitude about this pandemic experience sealed into our little zoom boxes masked when we're in contact with others, many of us feel separated from the world by split second time delays and a thin layer of lint. Books breakthrough They entered directly into our heads. Occasionally, our hearts here are 10 of the books that broke through for me during this tough year. Rumen alarms leave the world behind is an extraordinary shape shifting novel that begins as so many stories do with a journey. Ah White family is driving out to an Airbnb in the Hamptons on Long Island for vacation. What begins as a domestic tail soon morphs into a comedy of manners about race when the black couple who owns the Airbnb unexpectedly turns up Slowly. That comedy of manners sours into a vision of global disaster that Ah Lem's characters and readers alike will keep denying Sound familiar. James McBride is such a buoyant poet of a novelist that he could write a book about paper clips, and I'd read it. Fortunately, his novel Deacon King Kong is about so much more. Set in a Brooklyn housing project in the 19 sixties and focused on the apparently random murder of a neighborhood drug dealer. The novel captures the rough edged communal life of a vanished New York Too vivid historical novels carried me away this year. Just Walter, who's one of my favorite novelists brought out the cold Million's about free speech demonstrations that erupted in Spokane, Washington, in 1910 and 1911. Hitting police against transient workers, many of whom identified as Wobblies. Walter's story is reminiscent of sweeping novels by the likes of Herrmann woke and Howard fast. Tellers of big tales about the for gotten foot soldiers of the past. Pull of the Stars by Emma Donahue is set in a Dublin maternity ward in 1918 City, hollowed out by the Spanish flu, the first World War and the 1916 Irish uprising. She gives us a city scape of empty schools and cafes and the ubiquity of masks here, quaintly described as bluntly pointed, like the beaks of unfamiliar birds. This is an engrossing and inadvertently topical story about health care workers inside small rooms fighting to preserve life. Interior Chinatown By Charles You, which just won. The National Book Award is also a story set in small rooms, as well as an inventive satire about racial stereotyping, particularly of Asian Americans. His main character, Willis Woo, lives in a rooming house and has a big part in a TV cop show called Black and White about his career and show business. Willis tells us that First you have to work your way up. Starting from the bottom. It goes background Oriental male Dead Asian man all the way up to the pinnacle Kung fu guy. Casey Peabody, the 31 year old main character of Lilly, King's novel writers and lovers also aspires to something more. Casey wants to be a novelist. In this story. King captures the chronic low level panic of taking a leap into the artsy, unknown and the cost of sticking with the same dream for perhaps too long. Mysteries, as always kept me sane ish this year, and the best one I read was ton of French is standalone suspense tale the searcher. Chicago police detective moves to the rural west of Ireland and finds that evil follows wherever he goes. The beautiful and menacing landscape of the searcher may make you feel better about spending more time indoors. Onto nonfiction. Passed by Isabel Wilkerson is deservedly one of this year's big books to ruminate over and argue about Wilkerson's central Insight. That possibility in America is largely predetermined by a racial caste system is dramatized through what's become her signature style of argumentation. Through vivid anecdotes and charged metaphors. We keep the dead close is the title of Becky Cooper's meticulously researched account of the murder of a female grad student that took place at Harvard in 1969 and remained unsolved until two years ago. In Cooper's narrative, the sexism and elitism of academia are the culprits that still remain at large. Violent death. That poet Natasha Trade Away, writes about in her harrowing memoir, Memorial Drive is that of her own mother, who was murdered by her stepfather. Breath away was 19 at the time. Memorial Drive is about memory race and the phantom aches that can't be laid to rest. Of all the books I read this year, This one was emotionally the hardest and the one that felt most crucial to.

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