The Book Report: Washington Post critic Ron Charles (November 13)

The Book Report: Washington Post critic Ron Charles (November 13)

By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles

As the cold weather moves in and the holidays approach, you may be looking for good books to curl up with, or to give away to family and friends. Here are a few new titles to check out:



My favorite novel this year is “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s the story about a little boy who no one wants but readers will love. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking.

It’s based on Charles Dickens’ classic novel “David Copperfield,” but Kingsolver has moved the action to the mountains of southwest Virginia in the late 20th century. Demon is orphaned and bounces from one foster home after another.

This is a hard-hitting story about poverty and drug addiction in the richest nation on Earth.

READ AN EXCERPT: “Demon Copperhead”

“Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver (HarperCollins), in Hardcover, Large Print, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound


Graywolf Press

Percival Everett has been writing witty, challenging novels for almost 40 years. His latest is called “Dr. No,” and it leaves the thrillers of James Bond shaken, not stirred.

The narrator, a math professor, specializes in the study and analysis of nothingness. He knows more than anyone that nothing is important. His work is noticed by a supervillain, who wants to exploit the professor’s knowledge in order to break into Fort Knox.

Nothing makes sense. This is actually the most funny thing I’ve ever seen. Everett has a knack for making things funny, as usual.


“Dr. No” by Percival Everett (Graywolf Press), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound


W.W. Norton

“The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida,” by Shehan Karunatilaka, recently won the Booker Prize, England’s highest literary honor, and now it’s finally available in the United States. This story is absurd and it works.

It’s a comic novel with a dark commentary about political corruption in Sri Lanka. The ghost of a war photographer is the narrator. He has seven days to find out who killed him and expose military atrocities. This is unlike anything you’ve ever read.

READ AN EXCERPT: “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida”

“The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” by Shehan Karunatilaka (W.W. Norton), in Trade Paperback and eBook formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound

Shehan Karunatilaka (


Hachette Books

And finally, roll over, Beethoven: This month brings a big, new biography of Chuck Berry by R.J. Smith. The father of rock ‘n’ roll, who died in 2017, left behind a string of unforgettable songs and troubling behavior. But he wowed audiences and influenced other musicians for decades – and he was still performing into his 80s.

“Chuck Berry: An American Life” draws on more than a hundred interviews and years of research to explore what Smith calls “the often triumphant, sometimes anguished details” of Berry’s career and personal life.

READ AN EXCERPT: “Chuck Berry: An American Life”

“Chuck Berry: An American Life” by R.J. Smith (Hachette Books), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound

For these and other suggestions about what to read this fall, contact your librarian or local bookseller.

That’s all for the Book Report. Ron Charles is my name. You can read the rest of this article.

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For more reading recommendations, check out these previous Book Report features from Ron Charles:

Produced by Robin Sanders and Roman Feeser.

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