What should you read this weekend? USA TODAY’s picks for book lovers include a new novel about women set in the historic Grand Central Terminal art school, and a novel about the dating phenomenon known as "ghosting."
“The Masterpiece” by Fiona Davis; Dutton, 347 pp.; fiction
Davis continues a winning formula that showcases the stories behind New York City landmarks, as in her best-selling “The Dollhouse” (The Barbizon Hotel for Women) and “The Address” (The Dakota).
In “The Masterpiece,” it’s Grand Central Terminal and the school of art it housed in the 1920s.
Her heroines hark from different eras: Illustrator Clara Darden is the only woman teaching at the art school in 1928. But her status there reflects how women were treated then, and too often, now. She patches together a living teaching by day and producing magazine illustrations at night. During a faculty art show she hopes will expose her art to editors at Vogue, her work is relegated to an out-of-the-way office.
In 1974, divorcee Virginia Clay stumbles into the shuttered art school while seeking a job at the terminal to support herself and her daughter. She winds up in the information booth, and befriends a lawyer who is working to tear down the aging terminal and replace it with a skyscraper.
USA TODAY says ★★★½ out of four. A “zippy read … a hard-to-resist and a timely reminder that for far too long the work done by women has been dismissed and disrespected.”
“Ghosted” by Rosie Walsh; Pamela Dorman/Viking, 352 pp.; fiction
Sarah Mackey’s new boyfriend has gone AWOL; but they shared such a powerful connection, she refuses to believe she’s simply been ghosted.
USA TODAY says ★★★★. “Terrific … drama, mystery, humor, romance; you name it, it’s here.”
“If You Leave Me” by Crystal Hana Kim; William Morrow, 432 pp.; fiction
An intergenerational saga about the Korean War of the 1950s and the lives caught in it.
USA TODAY says ★★★★. “A stunning feat of lyricism, an enthralling, tragic novel.”
"Astroball: The New Way to Win It All" by Ben Reiter; Crown Archetype, 272 pp.; nonfiction
A Sports Illustrated writer looks at how the Houston Astros went from worst team in baseball to World Series champs by combining analytics with scouting data on players’ personalities.
USA TODAY says ★★★. “Colorful … explores how a team nicknamed the Disastros could turn things around so quickly.”
"First in Line: Presidents, Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power" by Kate Andersen Brower; Harper, 295 pp.; nonfiction
The author of “First Women” now looks at U.S. vice presidents, particularly modern VPs, and finds that for many, their time as No. 2 is filled with loneliness and humiliation.
USA TODAY says ★★★½. “Engrossing … a readable, insightful account of how the vice presidency has evolved.”
Contributing reviewers: Patty Rhule, Hannah Yasharoff, Grace Z. Li, Matthew Wilson, Chris Woodyard, Ray Locker
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