08/30/2010 12:46 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

'True Prep,' 'Freedom,' And A Graphic Memoir: Book Review Roundup

"True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World," Lisa Birnbach with Chip Kidd
The New York Times

This new compendium moves beyond school days to address matters newly relevant for the core readership: how to remarry, how to dress for a funeral and how to deal with the collateral damage caused by decades' worth of the party-hearty behavior described in the first book.

"Freedom," Jonathan Franzen

The New York Times, Sunday Book Review

The family romance is as old as the English-language novel itself -- indeed is ontologically inseparable from it. But the family as microcosm or micro-history has become Franzen's particular subject, as it is no one else's today

"Drinking at the Movies: A Graphic Memoir," Julia Wertz
The Los Angeles Times

It is this that makes "Drinking at the Movies" such a quiet triumph, a portrait of the artist in the act of becoming, a story with heart and soul.

"The Nearest Exit," Olen Steinhauer
The Los Angeles Times

In the process, Steinhauer delivers another winner in "The Nearest Exit," a spy novel that asks deeper questions about the price we extract from individuals in the pursuit of the so-called greater good and the innocents who become collateral damage.

"Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend," Bill Russell with Alan Steinberg

Seattle PI

Russell's well written book takes readers through a series of incidents and conversations to illustrate his advice on what it takes to create long lasting, deeply meaningful relationships.

"The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration," Isabel Wilkerson

The New Yorker

To report that story, Wilkerson became something of a one-woman W.P.A. project. Her research took more than ten years, and is not unlike another chunk of work done by the Federal Writers' Project: documenting the history of slavery, before its memory faded altogether.

"The Oxford Book of Parodies," edited by John Gross
The Wall Street Journal

As he says: "There are mocking parodies and affectionate parodies, parodies which are exquisitely accurate, and parodies which are rough-edged but effective. There are light skits, boisterous send-ups, and savage lampoons." His anthology abounds with all of these and more.

"03," Jean-Christophe Valat
The New Yorker

"03" is a difficult book to categorize. It has elements of the traditional bildungsroman, but the book is narrated with such bitterness and ferocity that it is really a bildungsroman to nowhere.

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