[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers.]


Inside Scientology, by Janet Reitman. Reviewed by Kim Christensen (Los Angeles Times).

Personally, I find Scientology to be about the most batshit crazy belief system one can subscribe to. There was an excellent piece on it in The New Yorker a while back (subscription required after the first page). That essay was all about the backhanded secrecy and (alleged) hypocrisy of the “church.” This book purports to be an “objective modern history” of Scientology. Christensen doen’t really seem to buy that assertion; her review is worth a read for its wry, almost sardonic tone.

Get a copy of Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion at Powell’s.


Bright’s Passage, by Josh Ritter. Reviewed by Stephen King (New York Times).

This novel doesn’t sound all that great: comedic historical fiction concerning romance and an angel. Though I guess for a debut novel written by a singer/songwriter, it could sound a lot worse. Stephen King’s review is worth reading though, if only for lines such as “a crazy bonbon of hilarity with sadness at the center.”

Get a copy of Bright’s Passage from Powell’s.


21: The Story of Roberto Clemente, by Wilfred Santiago. Reviewed by Julia Keller (Chicago Tribune).

Our own Marc Velasquez reviewed this graphic novel biography of the Latino baseball great a few weeks back. Marc’s review was better, but after you’ve read that, Keller’s is worth a look too. It focuses more on Santiago, which makes for a nice angle. This seems like a really cool baseball book, and a unique graphic novel.

Get a copy of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente from Powell’s.


Other Stuff: a nice interview with children’s author Tomi Ungerer; an Independence Day reading list from the Chicago Tribune; and what’s the Shatner comma?


Bonus Book Trailer: What do you get when you mix pirates, crappy CGI, one bar of Dropkick Murphy’s on a repeating loop, sub-porn-quality acting, and cringeworthy dialogue so full of cliche a second grader would turn his nose? This.