New this week:
JUST MERCY By Bryan Stevenson. Read by the author. (Listening Library.) This version of Stevenson’s memoir of his years as a lawyer and social advocate has been adapted for a young adult audience. Most of Stevenson’s work has focused on people facing discrimination or falsely accused of crimes they never committed. He recounts stories from this battlefield. THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER TOLD By Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. Read by the authors. (Audible) A couple since 2000, Offerman and Mullally share the secret to the success of their long romance. Think of it as a jokey marriage manual for listeners with a patience for the tongue in cheek. AMERICAN LIKE ME Edited by America Ferrera with E. Cayce Dumont. Read by Ferrera and a full cast of contributors. (Simon & Schuster Audio.) The star of “Ugly Betty” has put together a book of essays by 31 prominent Americans who, like her, had the experience of growing up between cultures, immigrants or children of immigrants who call this country home. UNSTOPPABLE MOSES By Tyler James Smith. Read by Graham Halstead. (Macmillan Audio.) This young adult novel tells the story of a 17-year-old prankster who accidentally burns down a bowling alley. He gets a chance at redemption when he is given a community service job as a camp counselor for a week. Can he make the best of it? CONVERSATIONS WITH JOE Conversations between Joe Biden and various interviewers. (Audible.) Sit back and listen to the former vice president. These are edited highlights from Biden’s tour of American cities this past year, in which he spoke with a range of luminaries, from Melinda Gates to Stephen Colbert, about his triumphs and heartbreaks.
In which we ask colleagues at The Times what they’re reading now.
“Turns out that Inspector Jules Maigret, Georges Simenon’s gluttonous Parisian detective featured in dozens of novels, is an excellent gym trainer. MY FRIEND MAIGRET is a good example. The inspector is sent to Porquerolles, a Mediterranean island off southern France, to investigate the murder of a small-time criminal. The novel’s lean, tactile prose and Simenon’s masterly rendering of setting and atmosphere (the island’s ‘white and pink houses among the palm trees, the mimosas and the tamarisks’) obscure your cardio exertion from yourself. And this investigation bears a striking resemblance to an island vacation: Among Maigret’s first acts on the island is to sample the white wine — ‘cool, a little young, but a good strong one.’ Like other Maigret novels, ‘My Friend Maigret’ embeds the curious inspector in a closed community. By sharing the locals’ rituals, he slowly sniffs out the source of the crime. The novel is a great vehicle for passing the dead minutes of exercise by pondering, with Maigret, the challenges of order versus chaos, how to serve justice, if it needs serving — and an island filled with ‘nothing but phenomena.’”
— John Guida, opinion editor