The Book Report: Washington Post critic Ron Charles (April 28)

By Washington Post book critic Ron Charles

Here are four new books to check out this spring.



In 2016, the world fell in love with an immensely charming novel by Amor Towles, called “A Gentleman in Moscow.” And now, with the adaptation starring Ewan McGregor streaming on Showtime, anticipation is running high for Towles’ next book.

Step this way: “Table for Two” is an irresistible collection of short stories and a novella split between New York and Los Angeles. Flavored with wit, intrigue, and a dash of bitter fate, “Table for Two” demonstrates that Towles is just as masterful at preparing a full literary meal as he is a tart little dessert.

Read an excerpt: “Table for Two”

“Table for Two” by Amor Towles (Viking), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and

Amor Towles on “A Gentleman in Moscow” (“Sunday Morning”)

Book excerpt: “A Gentleman in Moscow”

Book excerpt: “The Lincoln Highway”


Grove Press

Leif Enger’s debut novel, “Peace Like a River” was released more than 20 years ago, but I’ve never forgotten its buoyant optimism. Well, things are heating up in Enger’s dystopian new novel, “I Cheerfully Refuse.”

It’s about a man on Lake Superior who’s happy and hopeful, even though the government and the climate are wrecked. When violence hits home, though, he’s forced to flee, sailing around the Great Lake looking for a place to dock in a world that’s burning up and going mad. How he manages to do that is just one of several miracles in this strange, alluring novel.

Read an excerpt: “I Cheerfully Refuse”

“I Cheerfully Refuse” by Leif Enger (Grove Press), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and



So far, American readers have not paid enough attention to Sunjeev Sahota, but in England he’s been nominate for the Booker Prize twice.

His brilliant new novel, “The Spoiled Heart,” is about an ambitious, well-liked man named Nayan who’s running to be the leader of his labor union. He’s widely expected to win the election, but then a young woman announces her candidacy, and devastating secrets from Nayan’s past begin to arise and cracks appear in his campaign – until he finds himself at odds with the culture he once championed.

Read an excerpt: “The Spoiled Heart”

“The Spoiled Heart” by Sunjeev Sahota (Viking), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and



Judi Dench, master of film, TV and stage, has been bringing Shakespeare’s plays alive for more than 60 years.

And now, at the age of 89, Dench steals the show again with a delightful new memoir, called “Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent.”

Compiled from conversations with her friend, the actor Brendan O’Hea, this is a treasure trove of wit and wisdom about a unique relationship between an incomparable actress and the immortal playwright who still sets her heart ablaze.

Read an excerpt: “Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent”

“Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent” by Judi Dench and Brendan O’Hea (Macmillan), in Hardcover, eBook and Audio formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and

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!

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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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