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 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

July 12, 2020

New Paperbacks Examine Women's Sexual Desires and Modern-Day Marriage Trials
 
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. The groundbreaking work that New York magazine called "the most in-depth look at the female sex drive that's been published in decades" is now out in softcover. Based on nearly a decade of research and reporting by the author , this is a compelling true story about desire and the sex lives of three real American women. And they're all very different, which adds to the book's readability - Maggie in North Dakota, who falls in love with and is cruelly discarded by her high school teacher; Lina in Indiana, a depressed wife and mother who enters into an affair with a former teenage boyfriend; and Sloane in Rhode Island, an upper-class restaurant owner whose husband enjoys watching her have sex with other people. Taddeo immersed herself in these women's lives and offers up three unvarnished, descriptive, and non-judgemental portraits of erotic longing and desire.  
   
The book was the #1 Indie Next pick last July and received a slew of great reviews. In one, NPR's Kate Tuttle said, "The protagonists in Lisa Taddeo's new book, Three Women, are not unusual in their complicated sexual histories; what makes their stories revolutionary is the exquisite candor with which Taddeo gives them voice. . . . Taddeo spent years with the subjects of Three Women, and the investment pays off. . . . She seamlessly weaves together everyday details and startlingly intimate moments into narratives that feel as real, as vital, as the pulse in your wrist."   
 
 
Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. This shrewd comic debut novel about modern day relationships was longlisted for the National Book Award. At its center is hepatologist Toby Fleishman, who has split with his wife Rachel after 15 years of marriage but is feeling OK about it - weekends and every other h oliday with the kids, some residual bitterness, tense co-parenting negotiations, but on the whole manageable. On top of that, he's discovered online dating and newfound popularity with women. Then one day Rachel just drops their children off at his place and disappears, leaving Toby confused and his life askew. He tries to figure out what happened and what it means, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, unforeseen and never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popular ity. But it's a tough task for someone unwilling to ask hard questions about himself and his marriage. 
 
 Reviewing the book last year, The New York Times Book Review wrote in part, " In her witty and well-observed debut, Taffy Brodesser-Akner updates the miserable-matrimony novel, dropping it squarely in our times....  Brodesser-Akner has written a potent, upsetting and satisfying novel, illustrating how the marital pledge--build our life together--overlooks a key fact: There are two lives."
Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
 
 Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary Trump. The President's niece becomes the latest to pen a Trump tell-all, but this memoir is not about questioning   presidential moves and motives. Instead , Mary Trump, a trained clinical psychologist, examines the family dynamics that she believes helped define Donald Trump's character. It's not a pretty picture, but it's pretty compelling as a portrait of familial dysfunction. And although Donald is a featured player, the author puts most of the blame on her grandfather, Fred Trump (whom she calls "a high-functioning sociopath"). His harsh treatment of Mary's father Freddie contributed, in her mind, to the latter's death at age 42 after years of alcohol abuse. She asserts that Fred's abuse of his oldest son had a significant impact on Donald, who learned to hide insecurities and present himself to the world with swagger and bullying righteousness that has served him throughout his business and political career.
   
   
The book has some juicy details, but it's not likely to change anyone's mind about their feelings toward President Trump. Mary Trump clearly has family issues, and she'll certainly profit from the book's sales, which should be substantial. That said, for those alarmed (or appalled) by his leadership, this is a cautionary tale that should provide further impetus for anyone anxious for a regime change in November.   
 
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WHY THE COLUMN?
Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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