City of Blows by Tim Blake Nelson

Those who know Tim Blake Nelson’s stellar work as an actor (O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Minority Report; The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) and playwright (Eye of God, Socrates) will not be surprised that his first novel is trenchant, cutting, and utterly engrossing. City of Blows offers a devastating portrait of Hollywood and how pictures get both made and upended, and if its moral applies to the larger world as well, then we live in dark times indeed.

In the Garden of the Righteous: The Heroes Who Risked Their Lives to Save Jews During the Holocaust by Richard Hurowitz

Oskar Schindler is justly famous for saving many Jews from the Holocaust, but, as Richard Hurowitz points out, there were many others, now forgotten, who also risked their lives to rescue those who were otherwise destined to die at Hitler’s hand. His skill in bringing so many of these heroes to life on the page is unparalleled, enlightening us about those who, when confronted by evil, responded with courage and kindness. May we never forget.

Miles to Go: An African Family in Search of America Along Route 66 by Brennen Matthews

What a joy it is to read this book, the saga of the author and his African family as they travel along famed Route 66. Traveling the route from Chicago to Santa Monica, Brennen Matthews discovers anew what small-town America is like, and it is as entertaining for him as it is instructive about the places and characters that populate the roadway. It is nostalgic, to be sure, complete with wonderful photographs, but it is also shockingly modern in its telling of the hopes and struggles the family encounters along the way.

City of Blows, In the Garden of the Righteous, and Miles to Go are available at your local independent bookstore, on Bookshop, and on Amazon