In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases. All books are on sale Tuesday.
1. “All About Me!: My Remarkable Life in Show Business,” by Mel Brooks (Ballantine, nonfiction)
What it’s about: At 95, the comedy legend looks back on his epic career, sharing never-before-told anecdotes and remembrances from the making of his films (“The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles”) and his close personal relationships with Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn and his late wife, Anne Bancroft.
The buzz: “Studded with snickering asides and rapid-fire jokes, Brooks’s account of making it in show biz is just as sidesplitting as his movies,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
2. “Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult,” by Faith Jones (William Morrow, nonfiction)
What it’s about: Raised in the Children of God cult to be part of a religious army preparing for the apocalypse, Jones recounts her time in the oppressive group and her story of liberation.
The buzz:Kirkus Reviews calls it a “powerful and disturbing memoir.”
3. “Small Things Like These,” by Claire Keegan (Grove, fiction)
What it’s about: In a small Irish town in 1985 in the weeks leading up to Christmas, local merchant Bill Furlong makes a disturbing discovery at a convent and training school for girls that draws on the history of the notorious Magdalene laundries.
The buzz: “A stunning feat of storytelling and moral clarity,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.
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4. “The Postmistress of Paris,” by Meg Waite Clayton (Harper, fiction)
What it’s about: The WWII novel revisits the early days of the German occupation of France, telling the story of young American heiress Naneé, who joins the resistance and helps artists hunted by Nazis escape.
The buzz: “Clayton’s lyrical, thought-provoking prose breathes life into her characters. This sterling portrait of a complex woman stands head and shoulders above most contemporary WWII fiction,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
5. “Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience,” by Brené Brown (Random House, nonfiction)
What it’s about: Brown takes readers on a researched journey through more than 80 emotions and experiences that define what it is to be human, drawing a map of the skills necessary for meaningful connection to one another.
The buzz: “I want this book to be an atlas for all of us because I believe that with an adventurous heart and the right maps, we can travel anywhere and never fear losing ourselves,” says Brown.”