The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson by Frances Brent
A Holocaust survivor brings his music to America.
In The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson, Frances Brent tells the story of a renowned, German-born musician who is confined to the Riga, Latvia, ghetto during the Holocaust. Aronson’s prized cellos are stripped from him, and he is forced into a new life without music. After the war, Aronson marries a dancer and moves to America—and regains his old life in the process. He becomes the principal cellist for the Dallas symphony, and, through his music, Aronson transmits his European culture to the United States. Lost Cellos is a moving work about what was lost—and what was preserved—during the Holocaust. According to Elie Wiesel, “Frances Brent’s wonderful book movingly allows Lev Aronson’s Lost Cellos to sing again of dark times and profound yearning.”
When the Time Comesby Paula Span
Coping with aging parents gracefully.
We’ve all read books about aging—how to do it gracefully, how to pretend like it’s not happening—but sometimes, it’s the hardest part that we know nothing about: how to deal with aging parents. In When the Time Comes, Washington Post writer Paula Span spent two years exploring how adult children help their parents navigate old age. She pairs the stories of families with the opinions of experts, but while this may be useful for a reader who’s helping an aging parent, Span is clear about one thing: When the Time Comes isn’t a how-to manual. Instead, she has said of the book, it’s a “support group in print.”
Zero at the Boneby John Heidenry
A Capote-worthy tale of a playboy and a brutal kidnapping.
Zero at the Bone is the true story of a kidnapping, but it reads like a haunting crime novel instead. Bobby Greenlease—6-year-old son of a wealthy car magnate, Robert Greenlease—was kidnapped by Carl Austin Hall, an unlucky playboy, and Bonnie Heady, a former prostitute in 1953. Heady, pretending that she was Bobby’s aunt, picked him up from school and told teachers that his mother had had a heart attack. But once they had him alone, Heady and Hall shot Bobby to death, and then botched the $600,000 ransom—then the largest ever in U.S. history. In this fast-paced account, John Heidenry offers crime reporting at its best, which resembles Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. In fact, Heady had relatives named Clutter, whose killing provided the basis of Capote’s book. According to The New York Times’ Janet Maslin, Zero at the Bone is a “gripping chiller of a book, written straightforwardly yet cloaked with the trappings of pulp fiction.”
The Best of Times by Penny Vincenzi
A highway accident sets off a chain of life-changing events.
Penny Vincenzi’s The Best of Times offers Butterfly Effect at its best. Rush-hour traffic on a hot Friday afternoon is at a standstill—until a truck driver loses control of the wheel and causes a massive, multi-car pileup. The accident dramatically changes the lives of unrelated individuals, and sets off a series of unexpected events. The guilt-ridden truck driver, his victim who flees the scene, a best man and a groom late for the wedding, and a young emergency-room doctor all collide in a detailed and complex plot. Vincenzi’s book is an intricate tale that demonstrates how a single action can set off a series of life-changing events—but reaches a tight, satisfying conclusion in the end.
The New York Times’ Book of New YorkEdited by James Barron
From Central Park polar bears to the 9/11 attacks, New York at its New Yorkest.
New Yorkers all have stories—and now, many of them are under one cover. This indexed book of New York Times articles, edited by James Barron, includes stories by Gay Talese, Frank Rich, and Ada Louise Huxtable. Pulitzer Prize-winning Anna Quindlen penned the introduction, which is a moving tribute to the city. "New York City is everything people say it is, and everything they persist in believing it is not,” she writes. “From the shores of State Island to the northernmost reaches of the Bronx, it's more or less everything, sometimes all on the same block.” Browsing the book gives the feeling of wandering into strange corners of the city: depressed zoo-bound polar bears, subway heroes, penny-pinching glamour girls. The articles are slightly trimmed and edited, and span events from the revitalization of Little Italy in the 1970s to the events of September 11, 2001. The articles are divided into categories, such as: Robberies, Central Park, and Blackouts—but all contribute to a book that is quintessentially New York.