In The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet (Penguin, $16), Reif Larsen leads us on a grand rail adventure that would have made Kerouac jealous. T.S., a brilliant child who focuses his energy on cartography of the most bizarre and unique kind, is coping with the recent death of his older brother when he wins a prize that requires him to travel from Montana to D.C. T.S. sneaks onto a train and hopes for the best. Along the way, he discovers the truth about his mother, becomes involved with multiple underground societies, and redefines the word “precocious.” Larsen has created a fantastically detailed version of a reality that is quite beguiling. Enjoy the ride.
John McPhee has long been known for taking very specific topics and sussing out everything that makes them interesting. With his 28th book, McPhee widens the filter and turns his gaze on himself. Silk Parachute (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25) sheds light on where the ideas for previous books have come from: McPhee’s experience with canoes as a child, his year at Deerfield Academy, his first glimpse of Bill Bradley playing basketball at Princeton. This book is like a perfect copy of The New Yorker where every story is captivating and every word is worth reading.
...that sounds like a challenge. Game on!