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Publishers Weekly Best-Sellers

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Publishers Weekly best-sellers for week ending August 02:


HARDCOVER FICTION

1. “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee (HarperCollins)

2. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead)

3. “Circling the Sun” by Paula McLain (Ballantine)

4. “The English Spy” by Daniel Silva (Harper)

5. “Code of Conduct” by Brad Thor (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)

6. “Badlands” by C.J. Box (Minotaur)

7. “Truth or Die” by Patterson/Roughan (Little, Brown)

8. “Nemesis” by Catherine Coulter (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

9. “Finders Keepers” by Stephen King (Scribner)

10. “The Bourbon Kings” by J.R. Ward (Penguin)

11. “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s)

12. “Naked Greed” by Stuart Woods (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

13. “The Melody Lingers On” by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster)

14. “The Rumor” by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown)

15. “Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll (Simon & Schuster)


HARDCOVER NONFICTION

1. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo (Ten Speed)

2. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Spiegel & Grau)

3. “Selp-Helf” by Miranda Sings (Gallery Books)

4. “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster)

5. “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari (Penguin Press)

6. “A Full Life” by Jimmy Carter (Simon & Schuster)

7. “Down the Rabbit Hole” by Holly Madison (Morrow/Dey Street)

8. “The Conservative Heart” by Arthur C. Brooks (HarperCollins/Broadside)

9. “A Time for Truth” by Ted Cruz (HarperCollins/Broadside)

10. “The Whole 30″ by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

11. “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande (Metropolitan)

12. “Dead Wake” by Erik Larson (Crown Publishing)

13. “Adios, America” by Ann Coulter (Regenry Publishing)

14. “The Oregon Trail” by Rinker Buck (Simon & Schuster)

15. “Sick in the Head” by Judd Apatow (Random)


MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS

1. “Mean Streak” by Sandra Brown (Grand Central)

2. “Love Letters” by Debbie Macomber (Ballantine)

3. “Thrill Me” by Susan Mallery (Harlequin)

4. “Never Die Alone” by Lisa Jackson (Kensington/Zebra)

5. “Unlucky 13″ by Patterson/Paetro (Hachette/Vision)

6. “Lauren” by Sherryl Woods (Mira)

7. “Siren’s Call” by Jayne Castle (Jove)

8. “Flesh and Blood” by Patricia Cornwell (Morrow)

9. “A Perfect Life” by Danielle Steel (Dell)

10. “The Forgotten” by Heather Graham (Mira)

11. “Zoo” (TV Tie-in) by Patterson/Ledwidge (Grand Central)

12. “The Highlander Takes a Bride” by Lynsay Sands (Avon)

13. “Power Play” by Catherine Coulter (Jove)

14. “A New Hope” by Robyn Carr (Mira)

15. “NYPD Red 2″ by Patterson/Karp (Grand Central)


TRADE PAPERBACKS

1. “Grey” by E.L. James (Vintage)

2. “The Martian” by Andy Weir (Crown Publishing)

3. “Private Vegas” by Patterson/Paetro (Grand Central)

4. “Creative Cats Coloring Book” by Marjorie Sarnat (Dover)

5. “I Am Malala” by Malala Yousafzai (LB/Back Bay)

6. “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman (Moody/Northfield)

7. “Stress Relieving Patterns” (Blue Star)

8. “Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult (Ballantine)

9. “The Official SAT Study Guide(2016) (College Board)

10. “Owls Coloring Book” by Marjorie Sarnat (Dover)

11. “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)

12. “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel (Vintage)

13. “The Vacationers” by Emma Straub (Riverhead)

14. “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt (LB/Back Bay)

15. “Animal Kingdom” by Millie Mrotta (Sterling/Lark)

Movie Review: ‘The End of the Tour’

On the most superficial level, “The End of the Tour” is about David Foster Wallace, who electrified the literary world in 1996 with the publication of his epic breakout novel “Infinite Jest,” and who took his own life in 2008.

As Wallace, Jason Segel (best known for his comedic work on “How I Met Your Mother” and as a member of Judd Apatow’s repertory company) delivers a sweet, shambolic performance, affecting a doughy softness and the author’s signature wire-rim glasses and bandanna. But to appraise “The End of the Tour” as a portrait of a tortured genius too fine for this world is to risk missing the point of the film. In the hands of screenwriter Donald Margulies and director James Ponsoldt, Wallace becomes a character in his own right: a brilliant, compulsively engaging player in a pas de deux that touches on everything from creativity, ambivalence and competition to the unspoken rules that govern celebrity reporting at its most transactional.

“The End of the Tour” is an adaptation of “Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself,” the 2010 book written by journalist David Lipsky. As Wallace was finishing his 1996 book tour for “Infinite Jest,” Lipsky was assigned to write a profile of him for Rolling Stone. Although his piece was never published in the magazine, Lipsky decided to transcribe their five-day encounter after Wallace died.

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It bears noting that Wallace’s family and estate have strongly objected to the movie version, insisting that Wallace would have been mortified to be reduced — and inevitably distorted — to a cinematic construction. It also bears noting that “The End of the Tour” accomplishes what the best fact-based dramas aspire to, occupying a space between truth and fiction that illuminates otherwise obscure corners of what it means to be human. Part love story, part road trip, part elegy to a bygone, pre-9/11 age, “The End of the Tour” brims with compassion and sharply honed insight. Even at its funniest and most testy, this brief bromance aches with tenderness and a wistful sense of loss. / A24 FilmsBased on a true story, “The End of the Tour” tells the tale of the 5-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and novelist David Foster Wallace following the release of his acclaimed novel “Infinite Jest.“

Segel’s opposite number is Jesse Eisenberg, who brings his usual rabbity recessiveness to the character of Lipsky, who when he trudges out to Bloomington, Ill. — where Wallace is teaching — has just published his own novel. Arriving at Wallace’s unprepossessing ranch home, he’s prepared to meet the heroic author and burgeoning literary rock star that he has conjured in his most resentful speculations. Instead, Wallace turns out to be as ungainly and endearing as his two sloppily affectionate black Labs.

He’s also a tongue-tied, reluctant subject. But once Lipsky turns on his tape recorder, and conversation begins, it doesn’t end for nearly a week. Bonding over candy and junk food in the bleak snowscape; flying to Minneapolis for a reading and a reunion with two pretty acquaintances of Wallace’s; smoking cigarettes late into the night; listening to R.E.M. — the two Davids often resemble doppelgangers, one coming to terms with being on the verge of greatness, the other simultaneously mesmerized and threatened by the fact that it’s someone else and not him.

Margulies, a playwright, was just the right choice to write the script. Filmed like a chamber piece, “The End of the Tour” begins with Wallace dazzling Lipsky with his off-handed exegeses of pop culture, his command of moral subtleties and his surpassing humility. Eventually — inevitably — it curdles into a coded, passive-aggressive fight for control. In a telling gesture, Lipsky brings along a copy of his book when he embarks on his journey to meet Wallace. Just as pointedly, Wallace never asks to see it.


All of this sounds talky. (It is about a couple of guys sitting around talking, after all.) But Ponsoldt, who directed “The Spectacular Now” and “Smashed,” creates a wonderfully dynamic space for the words to flow, packing in an enormous amount of visual information just in how Wallace decorates his house or the way a waitress says, “I’ll be right back with your pop,” when he orders a Diet Rite. The narrative dynamics pick up a bit when Wallace and Lipsky arrive in Minneapolis: Joan Cusack perfectly captures the chirpy volunteer escort who drives them around town, and Mamie Gummer and Mickey Sumner are just as vividly effective as female friends of Wallace’s who spark a freighted encounter between the two men.

Improbably, “The End of the Tour” doesn’t just sustain the audience’s interest in Wallace and Lipsky’s exchanges, arguments and moments of bonding, but invites us to care deeply about the men. By rights, the defenses, disclosures, confessions and manipulations of two little people shouldn’t amount to a hill of beans. But by collaborating to create their own intimate encounter, Wallace and Lipsky become avatars of higher things, each trying to reconcile art and ambition, ego and moral character, pleasure and meaninglessness. At its simplest, “The End of the Tour” obeys the cynical tenets honored by celebrity journalists since the beginning of the form: Fall in love with the subject when you report, break up when you write. In the sensitive hands of Ponsoldt, Segel and Eisenberg, what begins as a grand seduction winds up being a thoughtful, moving testament to genuine connection.

★ ★ ★ ★ out of ★ ★ ★ ★

R. Contains coarse language, including some sexual references. 106 minutes.

Wonderful West Virginia Magazine Wins National Award

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV – Wonderful West Virginia magazine, published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, received a national communications award from the Association for Conservation Information at the organization’s annual conference July 16 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Wonderful West Virginia earned first-place honors in the category of “Magazine Article: Wildlife.” The winning article was from the July 2014 issue and was titled “Stealth Hunters.” Written and with photographs by Eric R. Eaton, the premise of the article was that bees, moths and butterflies often are prey to stealth hunters. Prowling amid foliage and flowers, and even around front porch lights, are some suspicious-looking characters that will suck the life out of unsuspecting insects in the mere “squeak of a beak.“ The article describes the little-known and infrequently seen Reduviidae, or assassin bugs, which are an important part of the ecology and are helpful in the control of garden, forest and agricultural pests.

“We are honored to receive national recognition of our magazine’s efforts to inform and entertain our readers,” said Bryan Hoffman, DNR executive secretary and publisher of the magazine. “For many decades, Wonderful West Virginia has been the premier publication about the great people and places in our state, and we are proud that the judges at ACI recognize its quality as well.”

Wonderful West Virginia is published monthly by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. It is available at newsstands for $3 a copy, or by subscription by calling 1.800.225.5982 or online at www.wonderfulwv.com.

A one-year subscription to the print version is $18 or two years for $36. It also is available for the iPad at an annual rate of $12 for 12 issues. Combined subscriptions for both print and iPad versions are available for $20 for 12 issues. Gift subscriptions also are available.

Movie Review: ‘Ricki and the Flash’

‘Ricki and the Flash” so carefully cultivates its air of gritty authenticity that it comes as a shock when it rings so gratingly false.

The inviting, yet ultimately too-tame dramedy about a hard-bitten wannabe rock star has much to recommend it — chiefly an earthy, pleasingly musical turn by Meryl Streep in the title role. As Ricki Rendazzo, the actress channels Bonnie Raitt with just a smidge of Lucinda Williams, singing and playing guitar while fronting a scruffy Boomer-era cover band in a no-name bar in the San Fernando Valley. From the moment “Ricki and the Flash” opens — with Streep belting out an energetic, full-throated version of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” — at least two of the big questions about the film are definitively answered: Yes, Streep can sing. (Didn’t we put that to rest with “A Prairie Home Companion”?) And yes, she proves startlingly convincing as a smoky voiced good-timin’ gal who’s as road-weary as she is game for one more gig.

Streep learned to play guitar for “Ricki and the Flash,” and it shows, holding her own against a backup band that includes real-life musicians Bernie Worrell, Joe Vitale, Rick Springfield and the late, legendary bassist Rick Rosas. The film’s efforts to keep it real extend all the way to the Midwest, where Ricki is called to tend to Julie, the most troubled and estranged of her three kids. And who better to fill that juicy role than Streep’s real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer?

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As Julie, Gummer comes in hot and only gradually lets up, not so much entering the scene as descending like a haggard, spiky ball of rage and hurt. The character is a rat-haired mess who’s been dumped by her husband and who will never forgive her mother for abandoning the family to follow her cockeyed dreams of stardom. Ricki’s ex-husband — who still knows her as “Linda” — is played by Kevin Kline, who has his own off-screen history with Streep, going back to “Sophie’s Choice.” Kline’s facial expressions alone span pained embarrassment, supreme discomfort and furtive, sad-eyed longing, suggesting a wealth of unresolved issues that could have propelled the story forward.

Sadly, those enticing complications elude screenwriter Diablo Cody, who is content for “Ricki and the Flash” to play even the most awkward, angry outbursts for maximum glibness and minimum probing. Ricki’s trajectory as a feckless commitment-phobe obeys roughly the same saved-by-a-nice-guy guidelines as “Trainwreck.” But what might have been a funny and observant glimpse of identity, self-deceit and the meaning of family instead plays like a sanitized version of a messier, more interesting tale. Like Julie’s lightning-fast spa-day makeover and conveniently timed emotional switch-ups, the entire movie feels eager to please and too pat, as if the filmmakers don’t trust the audience with thornier nuances. The need to spoon-feed might explain why redundant on-screen titles keep popping up to explain perfectly obvious locations. When Ricki yells, “Good evening, Tarzana,” for instance, we pretty much get that we’re in Tarzana.


These missteps are all the more surprising, given that director Jonathan Demme knows his way around not just music (“Stop Making Sense”) but family dysfunction (“Rachel Getting Married”). There’s no doubt that “Ricki and the Flash” benefits from his judgment and taste, from the casting of Springfield — who delivers an understated, utterly sincere performance as Ricki’s lead guitarist and love interest — to the filmmaker’s ease in staging the band’s live performances in front of their rapidly graying fans.

Those shows primarily comprise heavy-rotation rock classics, with one or two songs by Lady Gaga or Pink thrown in for the kids. There’s only one original song in “Ricki and the Flash” — a lovely ballad written by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice — which gives the musical numbers a lame, karaoke feel, a cheesiness that isn’t helped by flash-mobby choreography or Ricki’s anti-Obama aside to Worrell, the only African American in the group.

“Ricki and the Flash” is spiked with moments of genuine connection, usually between Streep, Gummer and Kline, but also when Audra McDonald shows up as Julie’s quietly devoted stepmother. And it’s undeniably entertaining to watch Streep strum and strut her way through “Wooly Bully” and “Drift Away,” with Springfield soulfully backing her up. Although sweet and likable, “Ricki and the Flash” pulls too many punches to qualify as cathartic or even memorable. Instead, it’s a crowd-pleaser every bit as calculated and earnestly defanged as a Golden Oldies bus-and-truck tour. It’s fun while it lasts, even if the Bic lighters stay safely pocketed at the end of the show.

★ ★ ½  out of ★ ★ ★ ★

PG-13. Contains mature thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality and obscenity. 100 minutes.

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