Hot Reads

05.26.11

Marcia Clark, Jim Axelrod, and Other Hot Reads

This week: a moving novel of love and war, CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod reassesses his life with a marathon, a stunning debut about a man escaping India, prosecutor Marcia Clark delivers a gripping legal thriller, and the international hunt for stolen art.

Twice Born
by Margaret Mazzantini

Mazzantini’s international bestseller is a remarkable story of one woman’s ability to love and overcome loss.

In this emotional tale, Gemma embarks on a haunting trip from her native Rome to postwar Sarajevo with her 16-year-old son, Pietro, to teach him about the city where he was born and about Diego, his deceased father. Upon their arrival, Sarajevo evokes conflicting memories for Gemma of a devastating four-year war but also of her late husband, whom she met in the city before moving to Italy to marry and have a child. Switching from the present to the past, Gemma recalls the painful period 10 years after their move: heartbroken that she had not yet conceived a child, Gemma and Diego were forced to cope with personal struggles amid political fears, as the violent Bosnian war besieged Yugoslavia. Beautifully rendered, Twice Born is a testament to love’s power over hate and the promise of new beginnings. 

In the Long Run: A Father, a Son, and Unintentional Lessons in Happiness

by Jim Axelrod

CBS News national correspondent Jim Axelrod delivers a poignant memoir about the nature of ambition and finding true happiness.

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In The Long Run: A Father, a Son, and Unintentional Lessons in Happiness By Jim Axelrod 304 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $26. ()

In 2003, Jim Axelrod was one of the most celebrated news correspondents covering the war in Iraq. Five years later, he was an overweight alcoholic reporting on the 2008 race for the Democratic presidential nomination. At 45 he had lost his luster, his zest for work, life, and family. The only thing that got him back on track was the discovery of his late father’s achievement—a 3:29:58 finish time in a New York City marathon, which he ran at the age of 46. So begins Axelrod’s transformative quest as he strives to beat his father’s record and regain his sense of self-worth. Sports Illustrated called In the Long Run “an uncommonly rich and layered book about the mad pace of modern life and the secret pleasures of the ten-minute mile.”

The Sly Company of People Who Care

by Rahul Bhattacharya

Bhattacharya’s debut novel chronicles a young man’s voyage from urban India to the forgotten world of Guyana.

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The Sly Company of People Who Care By Rahul Bhattacharya 286 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $26. ()

On the surface, The Sly Company of People Who Care is a classic tale of a young journalist who quits his job to search for life’s meaning in a foreign land. But with his singular voice, near-tangible narrative descriptions, and apt rendering of the nature of wanderlust, Bhattacharya transforms an ordinary travel tale into an epic journey. Leaving behind the comforts of his native Bombay for the forgotten colonial society of Guyana, he immerses himself in the rich history and culture of a country where impoverished descendants of enslaved Indians and Africans have carved out a new lost world. The atmosphere is heady, the air is thick with humidity, and the landscape is beautifully untouched by the modern world. Ultimately, Bhattacharya deftly captures youth’s angst and the poignant ironies of running away on a journey of self-discovery. 

Guilt by Association
by Marcia Clark

From famous prosecutor Marcia Clark, a debut legal thriller that is more gripping and compelling than an episode of Law & Order.

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Guilt by Association By Marcia Clark 368 pages. Mulholland Books. $25.99 ()

Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor on the O. J. Simpson murder case, takes us inside the legal world of Los Angeles in her exciting first novel. D.A. Rachel Knight is a member of the Special Trials Unit, a group of prosecutors who handle the toughest and most celebrated cases in the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. Her world is turned upside down when Jake, her friend and fellow prosecutor, is murdered, and she takes on his case: a mysterious assault on the daughter of a powerful L.A. family. As she starts her own investigation into Jake’s killing, Rachel will have to risk everything, even her life, to find the truth. Combining great storytelling with her expert knowledge of the Los Angeles legal system, Clark crafts a thrilling debut.

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum
by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino

The inside story of the art scandal that rocked the Getty Museum and sent a museum curator to trial in Italy.

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Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum By Jason Felch & Ralph Frammolino 384 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ()

America’s leading art museums have been voluntarily returning classical art to the governments of Greece and Italy—pieces estimated at more than half a billion dollars. Why? Because of revelations that the Getty Museum had allegedly been knowingly buying looted art for decades. The scandal sparked an international controversy and caused the departure of several senior staff members, one of whom, Marion True, stood trial in Italy. Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, the Pulitzer Prize–nominated Los Angeles Times reporters who broke the story, now go deeper into the scandal than ever before. Drawing on confidential documents and exclusive interviews, they write an incredible account, with so many outlandish characters and events that it reads like a novel.