The Book Report: Washington Post critic Ron Charles (February 18)


By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles

Snow and ice kept me trapped inside for weeks last month, but I didn’t mind, because I had great new books to read, like these:

Random House

Forty years ago, a demonstration took place outside the Libyan Embassy in London. As students shouted protests against Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi, suddenly, from the embassy’s windows, shots were fired into the crowd. A British police officer was killed, and 10 demonstrators were wounded.

In his quietly powerful new novel, “My Friends” (Random House), Pulitzer Prize-winner Hisham Matar imagines the life of one of those wounded students: a young Libyan man who finds himself permanently separated from his family and exiled from his country.

Read an excerpt: “My Friends” by Hisham Matar

“My Friends” by Hisham Matar (Random House), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and

Hisham Matar on Twitter/X



As winter grinds on, “True North” by Andrew J. Graff (Ecco/HarperCollins) sounds like a warmhearted vacation. It’s a family drama about a schoolteacher who suspects he’s about to lose his job, his wife and his family.

To save his finances and his marriage, he concocts an unlikely scheme to buy a run-down rafting company in Wisconsin. Everything that could go wrong does – and then there’s a cataclysmic flood.

But this is a sweet novel that never loses hope in the power of love and family.

Read an excerpt: “True North” by Andrew J. Graff

“True North” by Andrew J. Graff (Ecco/HarperCollins), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and


G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Kiley Reid, author of the 2019 bestseller “Such a Fun Age,” is back with a smart, wry novel about young women at the University of Arkansas.

“Come and Get It” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) features Millie, a hardworking African American student serving as a resident advisor in her dorm. She’s well-liked and respected.

But then, a visiting professor asks Millie to help gather data on students’ values and attitudes. That harmless-seeming agreement soon gets tangled up in all kinds of romantic and ethical complications that wreak havoc in the dorm … and beyond.

Read an excerpt: “Come and Get It” by Kiley Reid

“Come and Get It” by Kiley Reid (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) in Hardcover, Large Print Trade Paperback, eBook and Audio formats, available via AmazonBarnes & Noble and


Yale University Press

John Lewis, the legendary civil rights leader, rose from desperate poverty to endure threats and beatings in the struggle for equality, and then served in the House of Representatives for more than 30 years.

Now, less than four years after his death, we have the first full-length biography of this remarkable citizen.

“John Lewis: In Search of the Beloved Community” by Raymond Arsenault (Yale University Press) tells the story of Lewis’ tireless work as a Freedom Rider, as an ally to oppressed people in every corner of America, as a defender for voting rights, and as the “conscience of Congress.”

“John Lewis: In Search of the Beloved Community” by Raymond Arsenault (Yale University Press), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and

Raymond Arsenault, University of South Florida

For more suggestions on what to read, contact your librarian or local bookseller. 

That’s it for the Book Report. I’m Ron Charles. Until next time, read on!

For more info: 

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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