“A Legacy of Spies” by John le Carré (Viking). OK, this is a slight cheat, as it has been out a week, but a le Carré novel featuring George Smiley is something of which we would be remiss in not taking notice. Le Carré is 86 years old and this is a startlingly good read.
“Last Girl Standing” by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics). Trina Robbins is an amazing human being, straight up. One of the very few women in the first wave of the underground comix scene, Robbins was also pals withthe Doors and the Byrds -- she was a “Lady of the Canyon,” for Pete’s sake, per Joni Mitchel’s song. (“Trina wears her wampum beads/ She fills her drawing book with line/ Sewing lace on widows' weeds/ And filigree on leaf and vine”). Her resume is bonker-awesome. This memoir is heavily illustrated by Robbins.
“Devotion” by Patti Smith (Yale University Press). A small book about Smith’s relationship with writing. Her last two books, “Just Kids” and “M Train,” are essential reading. (Sept. 12View full experience