Author: Book Store

There are some great covers in this week’s selection of anticipated reads. Not to mention connections with ancients, islands, and death. The cornerstones of many a philosophy.

 

Ben Anticipates

The Britannias by Alice Albinia

 

 

From Neolithic Orkney, Viking Shetland, and Druidical Anglesey to the joys and strangeness of modern Thanet, The Britannias explores the farthest reaches of Britain’s island topography, once known by the collective term “Britanniae” (the Britains). This expansive journey demonstrates how the smaller islands have wielded disproportionate influence on the mainland, becoming the fertile ground of political, cultural, and technological innovations that shaped history throughout the archipelago.

 

In an act of feminist inquiry, personal adventure, and literary quest, Alice Albinia embarks on a series of journeys that traverse Britain and reach beyond its contemporary borders—from Europe to the Caribbean, Ireland to Scandinavia. She walks the coastlines of Lindisfarne, sails through the Hebrides archipelago, and bikes into Westminster at dawn. As she takes us across extravagantly varied island topographies and surveys centuries of history, Albinia ranges between languages and genres, and through disparate island cultures. She talks to stubbornly independent islanders and searches for archaeological and linguistic traces of island identities, discovering distinct traditions and resistance to mainland control.

 

Trespassing into the past to understand the present, The Britannias uncovers an enduring and subversive mythology of islands ruled by women. Albinia finds female independence woven through Roman colonial reports and Welsh medieval poetry, Restoration utopias and island folk songs. These neglected epics offer fierce feminist countercurrents to mainstream narratives of British identity and shed new light on women’s status in the body politic today.

 

Release date: February 27th

pre-order a copy of Britannias from the webstore here

 

James by Percival Everett

 

 

When the enslaved Jim overhears that he is about to be sold to a man in New Orleans, separated from his wife and daughter forever, he decides to hide on nearby Jackson Island until he can formulate a plan. Meanwhile, Huck Finn has faked his own death to escape his violent father, recently returned to town. As all readers of American literature know, thus begins the dangerous and transcendent journey by raft down the Mississippi River toward the elusive and too-often-unreliable promise of the Free States and beyond.

 

While many narrative set pieces of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remain in place (floods and storms, stumbling across both unexpected death and unexpected treasure in the myriad stopping points along the river’s banks, encountering the scam artists posing as the Duke and Dauphin…), Jim’s agency, intelligence and compassion are shown in a radically new light.

 

Release date: March 19th

pre-order a copy of James from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Anticipates

The Ancient Art of Thinking for Yourself by Robin Reames

 

 

The discipline of rhetoric was the keystone of Western education for over two thousand years. Only recently has its perceived importance faded.

 

In this book, renowned rhetorical scholar Robin Reames argues that, in today’s polarized political climate, we should all care deeply about learning rhetoric. Drawing on examples ranging from the destructive ancient Greek demagogue Alcibiades to modern-day conspiracists like Alex Jones, Reames breaks down the major techniques of rhetoric, pulling back the curtain on how politicians, journalists, and “journalists” convince us to believe what we believe—and to talk, vote, and act accordingly. Understanding these techniques helps us avoid being manipulated by authority figures who don’t have our best interests at heart. It also grants us rare insight into the values that shape our own beliefs. Learning rhetoric, Reames argues, doesn’t teach us what to think but how to think—allowing us to understand our own and others’ ideological commitments in a completely new way.

 

Thoughtful, nuanced, and leavened with dry humor, The Ancient Art of Thinking for Yourself offers an antidote to our polarized, post-truth world. 

 

Release date: March 19th

pre-order a copy of The Ancient Art of Thinking for Yourself from the webstore here

 

Your Absence is Darkness by Jón Kalman Stefánsson, trans. Philip Roughton

 

 

A man comes to awareness in a cold church in the Icelandic countryside, not knowing who he is, why he’s there or how he arrived, with a stranger staring mockingly from a few pews back. Startled by the man’s cryptic questions, he leaves—and plunges into a history spanning centuries, a past pressed into his genes that sinks him closer to some knowledge of himself. A city girl is drawn to the fjords by the memory of a blue-eyed gaze, and a generation earlier, a farmer’s wife writes an essay about earthworms that changes the course of lives. A pastor who writes letters to dead poets falls in love with a faraway stranger, and a rock musician, plagued by cosmic loneliness, discovers that his past has been a lie. Faced with the violence of fate and the effects of choices, made and avoided, that cascade between them, each discovers the cost of following the magnetic needle of the heart.

 

Incandescent and elemental, hope-filled and humane, Your Absence Is Darkness is a comedy about mortality, music, and the strange salve of time, and a spellbinding saga of death, desire, and the perfect agony of star-crossed love.

 

Release date: March 5th

pre-order a copy of Your Absence is Darkness from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Anticipates

Change by Édouard Louis, trans. John Lambert

 

 

Édouard Louis longs for a life beyond the poverty, discrimination, and violence in his working-class hometown—so he sets out for school in Amiens, and, later, university in Paris. He sheds the provincial “Eddy” for an elegant new name, determined to eradicate every aspect of his past. He reads incessantly; he dines with aristocrats; he spends nights with millionaires and drug-dealers alike. Everything he does is motivated by a single obsession: to become someone else.

 

At once harrowing and profound, Change is not just a personal odyssey, a story of dreams and of “the beautiful violence of being torn away,” but a vividly rendered portrait of a society divided by class, power, and inequality.

 

Release date: March 5th

pre-order a copy of Change from the webstore here

 

My Heavenly Favorite by Lucas Rijneveld, trans. Michele Hutchison

 

 

A confession, a lament, a mad gush of grief and obsession, My Heavenly Favorite is the remarkable and chilling successor to Lucas Rijneveld’s international sensation, The Discomfort of Evening. It tells the story of a veterinarian who visits a farm in the Dutch countryside where he becomes enraptured by his “Favorite”—the farmer’s daughter. She hovers on the precipice of adolescence, and longs to have a boy’s body. The veterinarian seems to be a tantalizing possible path out from the constrictions of her conservative rural life.

 

Narrated after the veterinarian has been punished for his crimes, Rijneveld’s audacious, profane novel is powered by the paradoxical beauty of its prose, which holds the reader fast to the page. Rijneveld refracts the contours of the Lolita story with a kind of perverse glee, taking the reader into otherwise unimaginable spaces full of pop lyrics, horror novels, the Favorite’s fantasized conversations with Freud and Hitler, and her dreams of flight and destruction and transcendence.

 

An unflinching depiction of abjection and a pointed excavation of taboos and social norms, My Heavenly Favorite establishes Rijneveld as one of the most daring and brilliant writers on the world stage.

 

Release date: March 5th

pre-order a copy of My Heavenly Favorite from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Anticipates

No One Dies Yet by Kobby Ben Ben

 

 

It is 2019, The Year of Return. Ghana is inviting Black diasporans to return and get to know the land of their enslaved ancestors.

 

Elton, Vincent, and Scott arrive from America to explore Ghana’s colonial past, and to experience the country’s underground queer scene. Their visit and activities are narrated by two very different Ghanians: the exuberant and rebellious Kobby, who is their guide to Accra’s privileged and queer circles; and Nana, the voice of tradition and religious principle. Neither is very trustworthy and the tense relationship between them sets the tone for what turns into a gripping, energetically told, and often funny tale of murder reminiscent of the novels of Patricia Highsmith, Graham Greene, Chinua Achebe, and Alain Mabanckou.

 

Release date: February 23rd

pre-order a copy of No One Dies Yet from the webstore here

 

The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft

 

 

Eight translators arrive at a house in a primeval Polish forest on the border of Belarus. It belongs to the world-renowned author Irena Rey, and they are there to translate her magnum opus, Gray Eminence. But within days of their arrival, Irena disappears without a trace.

 

The translators, who hail from eight different countries but share the same reverence for their beloved author, begin to investigate where she may have gone while proceeding with work on her masterpiece. They explore this ancient wooded refuge with its intoxicating slime molds and lichens and study her exotic belongings and layered texts for clues. But doing so reveals secrets-and deceptions-of Irena Rey’s that they are utterly unprepared for. Forced to face their differences as they grow increasingly paranoid in this fever dream of isolation and obsession, soon the translators are tangled up in a web of rivalries and desire, threatening not only their work but the fate of their beloved author herself.

 

This hilarious, thought-provoking debut novel is a brilliant examination of art, celebrity, the natural world, and the power of language. It is an unforgettable, unputdownable adventure with a small but global cast of characters shaken by the shocks of love, destruction, and creation in one of Europe’s last great wildernesses.

 

Release date: March 5th


 

Patti Anticipates

Splinters by Leslie Jamison

 

 

Leslie Jamison has become one of our most beloved contemporary voices, a scribe of the real, the true, the complex. She has been compared to Joan Didion and Susan Sontag, acclaimed for her powerful thinking, deep feeling, and electric prose. But while Jamison has never shied away from challenging material—scouring her own psyche and digging into our most unanswerable questions across four books—Splinters enters a new realm.
 
In her first memoir, Jamison turns her unrivaled powers of perception on some of the most intimate relationships of her life: her consuming love for her young daughter, a ruptured marriage once swollen with hope, and the shaping legacy of her own parents’ complicated bond. In examining what it means for a woman to be many things at once—a mother, an artist, a teacher, a lover—Jamison places the magical and the mundane side by side in surprising ways. The result is a work of nonfiction like no other, an almost impossibly deep reckoning with the muchness of life and art, and a book that grieves the departure of one love even as it celebrates the arrival of another.
 
How do we move forward into joy when we are haunted by loss? How do we claim hope alongside the harm we’ve caused? A memoir for which the very term tour de force seems to have been coined, Splinters plumbs these and other pressing questions with writing that is revelatory to the last page, full of linguistic daring and emotional acuity. Jamison, a master of nonfiction, evinces once again her ability to “stitch together the intellectual and the emotional with the finesse of a crackerjack surgeon” (NPR).

 

Release date: February 20th

pre-order a copy of Splinters from the webstore here

 

The Other Profile by Irene Graziosi, trans. Rand Lucy

 

 

Once an ambitious and promising student at an elite university in Paris, Maia is now 26, living in Milan, and stuck in a dead-end job at a cafe and a dysfunctional relationship with an older man. Until one day her life seems to change: thanks to a friend’s recommendation, and despite not knowing anything about social media, she is hired to work for Gloria, an 18-year-old influencer with millions of followers.

 

Slowly, Maia understands that her disdain for the world of influencers is precisely why she was chosen for the job: as an outsider, Maia can keep Gloria grounded, tethered to reality—remind her that the image she projects online is only an illusion.

 

As the two women weave a complex and intense relationship, however, it is Maia’s life that starts to unravel. Exposed to the tricks and hypocrisy of social media, Maia is increasingly unable to avoid confronting the lies she’s been telling herself. The closer she gets to Gloria, the more porous the boundary between their feelings and identities becomes, in a dangerous game of mirrors that threatens Maia’s very sense of self.

 

Sharp, wry, and absorbing, The Other Profile is a revealing exploration of the light and dark of human relationships in the digital age.

 

Release date: March 1st

pre-order a copy of The Other Profile from the webstore here

 


 

We have five fiction and five non-fiction recommendations for your reading pleasure this month. Enjoy histories, both serious and irreverent, a few mysteries, and a heist!

 

Ben Recommends

You May Never See Us Again by Jane Martinson

 

 

You May Never See Us Again is the only definitive story of David and Frederick Barclay – commonly known as the Barclay brothers. Born poor, these enigmatic twins built one of the biggest fortunes in Britain together from scratch and spent six decades at the epicentre of British business, media and politics. Their empire, said to be worth £7bn at its height, included Littlewoods, the Ritz Hotel, The Daily Telegraph and the channel island of Brecqhou. They were major advocates for Brexit and well-connected with influential politicians including Margaret Thatcher, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.


And yet despite their fortune and influence, their fiercely guarded desire for privacy has meant that their story remained largely unknown – until a very public family dispute pitched Barclay against Barclay in the High Court.


Journalist Jane Martinson unravels the fascinating story of these once inseparable billionaire brothers. Through their lives she offers compelling insights into post-war Britain, from the conditions that enabled their way of doing business to thrive through to the tightly enmeshed webs of influence between capitalism, politics and the media that shape Britain today.

 

order a copy of You May Never See Us Again from the webstore here

 

The Mountain King by Anders de la Motte

 

 

Criminal inspector Leonore Asker seems to have the leading position at Malmö’s Major Crime Division within reach. But things go awry when, in the middle of a high-profile kidnapping case, management relegates her to the so-called Department of Lost Souls—the unit for odd, cold cases banished to the basement of the police station.

 

Despite the humiliation, Asker is drawn into one of the more peculiar cases. Someone is placing small ominous figures in town and one of them seems to represent the missing woman from the kidnapping case. As Asker’s investigation takes her to abandoned buildings, she reaches out to a local architecture expert and together they explore the sinister recesses of the city and discover that an unusual kind of evil lurks in the shadows.

order a copy of The Mountain King from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Recommends

The Book at War by Andrew Pettegree

 

 

We tend not to talk about books and war in the same breath—one ranks among humanity’s greatest inventions, the other among its most terrible. But as esteemed literary historian Andrew Pettegree demonstrates, the two are deeply intertwined. The Book at War explores the various roles that books have played in conflicts throughout the globe. Winston Churchill used a travel guide to plan the invasion of Norway, lonely families turned to libraries while their loved ones were fighting in the trenches, and during the Cold War both sides used books to spread their visions of how the world should be run. As solace or instruction manual, as critique or propaganda, books have shaped modern military history—for both good and ill. 

 

With precise historical analysis and sparkling prose, The Book at War accounts for the power—and the ambivalence—of words at war.

 

order a copy of The Book at War from the webstore here

 

The Wizard of the Kremlin by Giuliano da Empoli, trans. Willard Wood

 

 

Known as the “Wizard of the Kremlin,” the enigmatic Vadim Baranov was a TV producer before becoming a political advisor to Putin, aka “The Czar.” After his resignation from this position, legends about him multiply, with no one able to distinguish truth from fiction. Until one night, when he tells his story to the narrator of this book…

 

He immerses us in the heart of the Russian state, where sycophants and oligarchs have been engaging in open warfare, and where Vadim, now the regime’s main spin doctor, turns an entire country into an avant-garde political stage. Yet Vadim is not as ambitious as the others. Entangled in the increasingly dark secrets of the regime he has helped create, he will do anything to get out, guided by the memory of his grandfather, an eccentric aristocrat who survived the Revolution, and the mesmerizing, merciless Ksenia, whom he has fallen in love with.

 

Giuliano da Empoli, once a senior advisor to Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi, draws on his experience behind the scenes to create an authentic, compelling portrait of power and how it corrupts.

 

order a copy of The Wizard of the Kremlin from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Recommends

What Have You Left Behind? by Bushra al-Maqtari, trans. Sawad Hussain

 

 

In 2015, a year after it started, Bushra al-Maqtari decided to document the suffering of civilians in the Yemeni civil war, which has killed over 200,000 people according to the UN. Inspired by the work of Svetlana Alexievich, she spent two years visiting different parts of the country, putting her life at risk by speaking with her compatriots, and gathered over 400 testimonies, a selection of which appear in What Have You Left Behind?

 

Purposefully alternating between accounts from the victims of the Houthi militia and those of the Saudi-led coalition, al-Maqtari highlights the disillusionment and anguish felt by civilians trapped in a war outside of their own making. As difficult to read as it is to put down, Bushra al-Maqtari’s unvarnished chronicle of the conflict in Yemen serves as a vital reminder of the scale of the human tragedy behind the headlines, and offers a searing condemnation of the international community’s complicity in the war’s continuation.

order a copy of What Have You Left Behind? from the webstore here

 

Good Material by Dolly Alderton

 

 

Andy loves Jen. Jen loved Andy. And he can’t work out why she stopped.

Now he is . . .

Without a home

Waiting for his stand-up career to take off

Wondering why everyone else around him seems to have grown up while he wasn’t looking

Set adrift on the sea of heartbreak, Andy clings to the idea of solving the puzzle of his ruined relationship. Because if he can find the answer to that, then maybe Jen can find her way back to him. But Andy still has a lot to learn, not least his ex-girlfriend’s side of the story . . .

In this sharply funny and exquisitely relatable account of romantic disaster and friendship, Dolly Alderton offers up a love story with two endings, demonstrating once again why she is one of the most exciting writers today and the true voice of a generation.

 

order a copy of Good Material from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Recommends

Madness by Antonia Hylton

 

 

On a cold day in March of 1911, officials marched twelve Black men into the heart of a forest in Maryland. Under the supervision of a doctor, the men were forced to clear the land, pour cement, lay bricks, and harvest tobacco. When construction finished, they became the first twelve patients of the state’s Hospital for the Negro Insane. For centuries, Black patients have been absent from our history books. Madness transports readers behind the brick walls of a Jim Crow asylum.

 

In Madness, Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist Antonia Hylton tells the 93-year-old history of Crownsville Hospital, one of the last segregated asylums with surviving records and a campus that still stands to this day in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. She blends the intimate tales of patients and employees whose lives were shaped by Crownsville with a decade-worth of investigative research and archival documents. Madness chronicles the stories of Black families whose mental health suffered as they tried, and sometimes failed, to find safety and dignity. Hylton also grapples with her own family’s experiences with mental illness, and the secrecy and shame that it reproduced for generations.

 

As Crownsville Hospital grew from an antebellum-style work camp to a tiny city sitting on 1,500 acres, the institution became a microcosm of America’s evolving battles over slavery, racial integration, and civil rights. During its peak years, the hospital’s wards were overflowing with almost 2,700 patients. By the end of the 20th-century, the asylum faded from view as prisons and jails became America’s new focus.

 

In Madness, Hylton traces the legacy of slavery to the treatment of Black people’s bodies and minds in our current mental healthcare system. It is a captivating and heartbreaking meditation on how America decides who is sick or criminal, and who is worthy of our care or irredeemable.

order a copy of Madness from the webstore here

 

Airplane Mode by Shahnaz Habib

 

 

The conditions of travel have long been dictated by the color of passports and the color of skin.

 

The color of one’s skin and passport have long dictated the conditions of travel.  For Shahnaz Habib, travel and travel writing have always been complicated pleasures. Habib threads the history of travel with her personal story as a child on family vacations in India, an adult curious about the world, and an immigrant for whom roundtrips are an annual fact of life. Tracing the power dynamics that underlie tourism, this insightful debut parses who gets to travel, and who gets to write about the experience.

 

Threaded through the book are inviting and playful analyses of obvious and not-so-obvious travel artifacts: passports, carousels, bougainvilleas, guidebooks, trains, the idea of wanderlust itself. Together, they tell a subversive history of travel as a Euro-American mode of consumerism—but as any traveler knows, travel is more than that. As an immigrant whose loved ones live across continents, Habib takes a deeply curious and joyful look at a troubled and beloved activity.

 

order a copy of Airplane Mode from the webstore here

 


 

Patti Recommends

The Curse of Pietro Houdini by Derek B. Miller

 

 

August, 1943. Fourteen-year-old Massimo is all alone. Newly orphaned and fleeing from Rome after surviving the American bombing raid that killed his parents, Massimo is attacked by thugs and finds himself bloodied at the base of the Montecassino. It is there in the Benedictine abbey’s shadow that a charismatic and cryptic man calling himself Pietro Houdini, the self-proclaimed “Master Artist and confidante of the Vatican,” rescues Massimo and brings him up the mountain to serve as his assistant in preserving the treasures that lay within the monastery walls.

 

But can Massimo believe what Pietro is saying, particularly when Massimo has secrets too? Who is this extraordinary man? When it becomes evident that Montecassino will soon become the front line in the war, Pietro Houdini and Massimo execute a plan to smuggle three priceless Titian paintings to safety down the mountain. They are joined by a nurse concealing a nefarious past, a café owner turned murderer, a wounded but chipper German soldier, and a pair of lovers along with their injured mule, Ferrari. Together they will lie, cheat, steal, fight, kill, and sin their way through battlefields to survive, all while smuggling the Renaissance masterpieces and the bag full of ancient Greek gold they have rescued from the “safe keeping” of the Germans.

 

Heartfelt, powerfully engaging, and in the tradition of City of Thieves by David Benioff, The Curse of Pietro Houdini is a work of storytelling bravado: a thrilling action-packed adventure heist, an imaginative chronicle of forgotten history, and a philosophical coming-of-age epic where a child navigates one of the most enigmatic and morally complex fronts of World War II and lives to tell the tale.

 

order a copy of The Curse of Pietro Houdini from the webstore here

 

My Friends by Hisham Matar

 

 

One evening, as a young boy growing up in Benghazi, Khaled hears a bizarre short story read aloud on the radio and has the sense that his life has been changed forever. Obsessed by the power of those words—and by their enigmatic author, Hosam Zawa—Khaled eventually embarks on a journey that will take him far from home, to pursue a life of the mind at the University of Edinburgh.

 

There, thrust into an open society that is light years away from the world he knew in Libya, Khaled begins to change. He attends a protest against the Qaddafi regime in London, only to watch it explode in tragedy. In a flash, Khaled finds himself injured, clinging to life, an exile, unable to leave England. To even tell his mother and father back home what he has done, on tapped phone lines, would mark them for death.

 

When a chance encounter in a hotel brings Khaled face to face with Hosam Zawa, the author of the fateful short story, he is subsumed into the deepest friendship of his life. It is a friendship that not only sustains him, but eventually forces him, as the Arab Spring erupts, to confront agonizing tensions between revolution and safety, family and exile, and how to define his own sense of self against those closest to him.

 

A devastating meditation on friendship and family, and the ways in which time tests—and frays—those bonds, My Friends is an achingly beautiful work of literature by an author working at the peak of his powers.

 

order a copy of My Friends from the webstore here

 


 

Our first batch of anticipated books for 2024!  From waking dreams to human failings to cures for drowning, there’s a mix of light and dark, angels and devils in our selections. We hope you find something that keeps you captivated this chilly January.

 

Ben Anticipates

The Good Die Young eds. René Rojas, Bhaskar Sunkara, and Jonah Walters

 

 

If the American foreign policy establishment is a grand citadel, then Henry Kissinger is the ghoul haunting its hallways. For half a century, he was an omnipresent figure in war rooms and at press briefings, dutifully shepherding the American empire through successive rounds of growing pains. For multiple generations of anti-war activists, Kissinger personified the depravity of the American war machine.

 

The world Kissinger wrought is the world we live in, where ideal investment conditions are generated from the barrel of a gun. Today, global capitalism and United States hegemony are underwritten by the most powerful military ever devised. Any political vision worth fighting for must promise an end to the cycle of never-ending wars afflicting the world in the twenty-first century. And breaking that cycle means placing the twin evils of capitalism and imperialism in our crosshairs.

 

In this book, Jacobin follows Kissinger’s fiery trajectory around the world — not because he was evil incarnate, but because he, more than any other public figure, illustrates the links between capitalism, empire, and the feedback loop of endless war-making that still plagues us today.

 

Release date: January 23rd

pre-order a copy of The Good Die Young from the webstore here

 

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

 

 

Everyone knows the story of the Alperton Angels: the cult who brainwashed a teenage girl into believing her baby was the anti-Christ. When the girl came to her senses and called the police, the Angels committed suicide and mother and baby disappeared.

 

Now, true crime author Amanda Bailey is looking to revive her career by writing a book on the case. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen; finding them will be the scoop of the year. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and also on the baby’s trail.

 

As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realize that the truth about the Angels is much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined, and in pursuit of the story they risk becoming part of it.

 

Release date: January 23rd

pre-order a copy of The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Anticipates

The Holocaust: An Unfinished History by Dan Stone

 

 

The Holocaust is much discussed, much memorialized, and much portrayed. But there are major aspects of its history that have been overlooked.

 

Spanning the entirety of the Holocaust, this sweeping history deepens our understanding. Dan Stone—Director of the Holocaust Research Institute at Royal Holloway, University of London—reveals how the idea of “industrial murder” is incomplete: many were killed where they lived in the most brutal of ways. He outlines the depth of collaboration across Europe, arguing persuasively that we need to stop thinking of the Holocaust as an exclusively German project. He also considers the nature of trauma the Holocaust engendered, and why Jewish suffering has yet to be fully reckoned with. And he makes clear that the kernel to understanding Nazi thinking and action is genocidal ideology, providing a deep analysis of its origins.

 

Drawing on decades of research, The Holocaust: An Unfinished History upends much of what we think we know about the Holocaust. Stone draws on Nazi documents, but also on diaries, post-war testimonies, and even fiction, urging that, in our age of increasing nationalism and xenophobia, it is vital that we understand the true history of the Holocaust.

 

Release date: January 23rd

pre-order a copy of The Holocaust: An Unfinished History from the webstore here

 

The Cure for Drowning by Loghan Paylor

 

 

Born Kathleen to an immigrant Irish farming family in southern Ontario, Kit McNair has been a troublesome changeling since, at ten, they fell through the river ice and drowned—only to be nursed back to life by their mother’s Celtic magic. A daredevil in boy’s clothes, Kit chafes at every aspect of a farmgirl’s life, driving that same mother to distraction with worry about where Kit will ever fit in. When Rebekah Kromer, an elegant German-Canadian doctor’s daughter, moves to town with her parents in April 1939, Rebekah has no doubt as to who 19-year-old Kit is. Soon she and Kit, and Kit’s older brother, Landon, are drawn tight in a love triangle that will tear them and their families apart, and send each of them off on a separate path to war. 

 

Landon signs up for the Navy. Kit, now known as Christopher, joins the Royal Air Force, becoming a bomber navigator relied on for his luck and courage. Rebekah serves with naval intelligence in Halifax, until one more collision with Landon changes the course of her life and draws her back to the McNair farm—a place where she’d once known love. Fallen on even harder times, the McNairs welcome all the help she is able to give, and she believes she has found peace at last. Until, with the war over, Kit and Landon return home.

 

Told in the vivid, unforgettable voices of Kit and Rebekah, The Cure for Drowning is a powerfully engrossing novel that imagines a history that is truer than true.

Release date: January 30th

pre-order a copy of The Cure for Drowning from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Anticipates

Exploding Head by Cynthia Marie Hoffman

 

 

This collection of prose poems chronicles a woman’s childhood onset and adult journey through obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which manifests in fearful obsessions and counting compulsions that impact her relationship to motherhood, religion, and the larger world. Cynthia Marie Hoffman’s unsettling, image-rich poems chart the interior landscape of the obsessive mind. Along with an angel who haunts the poems’ speaker throughout her life, she navigates her fear of guns and accidents, fears for the safety of her child, and reckons with her own mortality, ultimately finding a path toward peace.

 

Release date: February 6th

pre-order a copy of Exploding Head from the webstore here

 

Love Novel by Ivana Sajko, trans. Mima Simić

 

He, an unemployed Dante scholar, trying to change the world and write a novel. She, once a passable actress with a vaguely rewarding theater job, now a stay-at-home mom. He is delirious with dreams of grandeur; she is on edge, a detonator bomb with a dirty laundry trigger. The rent is late, the neighbor caviling, the government astoundingly callous: with violence looming on all sides, husband and wife circle one another in a dizzying dance towards the abyss.

Intense and astutely ironic, devastating and darkly comic, Ivana Sajko’s Love Novel takes a scalpel to the heart of modern married life.

 

Release date: February 6th

pre-order a copy of Love Novel from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Anticipates

The Singularity by Balsam Karam, trans. Saskia Vogel

 

 

In an unnamed coastal city filled with refugees, the mother of a displaced family calls out her daughter’s name as she wanders the cliffside road where the child once worked. The mother searches and searches until, spent from grief, she throws herself into the sea, leaving her other children behind. Bearing witness to the suicide is another woman—on a business trip, with a swollen belly that later gives birth to a stillborn baby. In the wake of her pain, the second woman remembers other losses—of a language, a country, an identity—when once, her family fled a distant war.

 

Balsam Karam weaves between both narratives in this formally ambitious novel and offers a fresh approach to language and aesthetic as she decenters a white European gaze. Her English-language debut, The Singularity is a powerful exploration of loss, history, and memory.

 

Release date: January 24th

pre-order a copy of The Singularity from the webstore here

 

The Skin of Dreams by Raymond Queneau, trans. Chris Clarke

 

 

The Skin of Dreams is a novel of waking dreams. Even as he lives his life, Jacques L’Aumône, its hero, daydreams a hundred other possible lives. A few lines on a page, a chance encounter, a remark overheard in passing, any of these are enough to kick things into gear and send him off outside of himself to become a boxer, a general, a bishop, or a lord. He lives alongside his life with diligence and steadfastness; and the passage from real to dream is so natural for him that he no longer knows precisely which him he is. Eventually he becomes an actor in Hollywood, and the basis of countless dreams for others. This Jacques L’Aumône, like the characters who surround him, has the same sort of haunting and fluid consistency as someone that we might dream of in our beds at night. And reverie, here, is born through the tale’s humor, which is as gentle as it is cruel, as well as by way of a writing technique that is itself drawn from one of Queneau’s great loves, the cinema.

 

Release date: January 30th


 

Patti Anticipates

Ordinary Human Failings by Megan Nolan

 

 

It’s 1990 in London and Tom Hargreaves has it all: a burgeoning career as a reporter, fierce ambition and a brisk disregard for the “peasants” — ordinary people, his readers, easy tabloid fodder. His star seems set to rise when he stumbles across a sensational scoop: a dead child on a London estate, grieving parents beloved across the neighborhood, and the finger of suspicion pointing at one reclusive family of Irish immigrants and “bad apples”: the Greens.

 

At their heart sits Carmel: beautiful, otherworldly, broken, and once destined for a future beyond her circumstances until life – and love – got in her way. Crushed by failure and surrounded by disappointment, there’s nowhere for her to go and no chance of escape. Now, with the police closing in on a suspect and the tabloids hunting their monster, she must confront the secrets and silences that have trapped her family for so many generations.

 

Release date: February 6th

pre-order a copy of Ordinary Human Failings from the webstore here

 

Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvili

 

 

Saba is just a child when he flees the fighting in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia with his older brother, Sandro, and father, Irakli, for asylum in England. Two decades later, all three men are struggling to make peace with the past, haunted by the places and people they left behind.

 

When Irakli decides to return to Georgia, pulled back by memories of a lost wife and a decaying but still beautiful homeland, Saba and Sandro wait eagerly for news. But within weeks of his arrival, Irakli disappears, and the final message they receive from him causes a mystery to unfold before them: “I left a trail I can’t erase. Do not follow it.”

 

In a journey that will lead him to the very heart of a conflict that has marred generations and fractured his own family, Saba must retrace his father’s footsteps to discover what remains of their homeland and its people. By turns savage and tender, compassionate and harrowing, Hard by a Great Forest is a powerful and ultimately hopeful novel about the individual and collective trauma of war, and the indomitable spirit of a people determined not only to survive, but to remember those who did not.

 

Release date: January 30th

pre-order a copy of Hard by a Great Forest from the webstore here

 


 

Happy January everyone! Here are some of the titles we were reading over our winter break. There’s a little bit of music, a little bit of love, some existential contemplations, and a number of plagues.

 

Ben Recommends

The Lumumba Plot by Stuart A. Reid

 

 

It was supposed to be a moment of great optimism, a cause for jubilation. The Congo was at last being set free from Belgium—one of seventeen countries to gain independence in 1960 from ruling European powers. At the helm as prime minister was charismatic nationalist  Patrice Lumumba. Just days after the handover, however, the Congo’s new army mutinied, Belgian forces intervened, and Lumumba turned to the United Nations for help in saving his newborn nation from what the press was already calling “the Congo crisis.” Dag Hammarskjöld, the tidy Swede serving as UN secretary-general, quickly arranged the organization’s biggest peacekeeping mission in history. But chaos was still spreading. Frustrated with the fecklessness of the UN and spurned by the United States, Lumumba then approached the Soviets for help—an appeal that set off alarm bells at the CIA. To forestall the spread of Communism in Africa, the CIA sent word to its station chief in the Congo, Larry Devlin: Lumumba had to go.

 

Within a year, everything would unravel. The CIA plot to murder Lumumba would fizzle out, but he would be deposed in a CIA-backed coup, transferred to enemy territory in a CIA-approved operation, and shot dead by Congolese assassins. Hammarskjöld, too, would die, in a mysterious plane crash en route to negotiate a cease-fire with the Congo’s rebellious southeast. And a young, ambitious military officer named Joseph Mobutu, who had once sworn fealty to Lumumba, would seize power with U.S. help and misrule the country for more than three decades. For the Congolese people, the events of 1960–61 represented the opening chapter of a long horror story. For the U.S. government, however, they provided a playbook for future interventions.

 

order a copy of The Lumumba Plot from the webstore here

 

This Plague of Souls by Mike McCormack

 

 

Nealon returns from prison to his house in the West of Ireland to find it empty. No heat or light, no sign of his wife or child. It is as if the world has forgotten or erased him. Then he starts getting calls from a man who claims to know what’s happened to his family-a man who’ll tell Nealon all he needs to know in return for a single meeting.

 

In a hotel lobby, in the shadow of an unfolding terrorist attack, Nealon and the man embark on a conversation shot through with secrets and evasions, a verbal game of cat and mouse that leaps from Nealon’s past and childhood to the motives driving a series of international crimes launched against “a world so wretched it can only be redeemed by an act of revenge.” McCormack’s existential noir is a terse and brooding exploration of the connections between rural Ireland and the globalized cruelties of the twenty­first century. It is also an incisive portrait of a young and struggling family, and a ruthless interrogation of what we owe to those nearest to us, and to the world at large.

order a copy of This Plague of Souls from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Recommends

A Woman I Know by Suzanne Heywood

 

 

Independent filmmaker Mary Haverstick thought she’d stumbled onto the project of a lifetime—a biopic of aviation pioneer Jerrie Cobb, the key figure in a group of extraordinary women who in 1960 passed the same tests as the legendary male astronauts of the Mercury 7 but never went to space. Just as casting was set to begin, Haverstick received a mysterious warning from a government agent; soon she began to suspect that there was more to Jerrie’s story than what met the eye. As she dug deeper, she discovered that Jerrie’s life shadowed that of a mysterious CIA agent named June Cobb, whose espionage career traced an arc of intrigue from the jungles of South America to Fidel Castro’s Cuba, to the communist literary circles in Mexico City—and ultimately into the dark heart of the Kennedy assassination in Dallas.

 

Haverstick’s attempt to learn the truth directly from Jerrie would plunge her into a cat-and-mouse game that stretched across a decade, deep into a thicket of coded CIA files. As she uncovered a remarkable set of mostly unknown women whose high-stakes intelligence work left its only traces in redacted files, she also found shocking new clues about what really happened at Dealey Plaza in 1963. Offering fresh insight into the Kennedy assassination and a vivid picture of women in midcentury intelligence, A Woman I Know brings to life the astonishing duplicities of the Cold War intelligence game, a world where code names and hidden identities were the lifeblood of spies bent on seeking advantage by any means necessary.

 

order a copy of A Woman I Know from the webstore here

 

Orbital by Samantha Harvey

 

 

A slender novel of epic power, Orbital deftly snapshots one day in the lives of six women and men hurtling through space—not towards the moon or the vast unknown, but around our planet. Selected for one of the last space station missions of its kind before the program is dismantled, these astronauts and cosmonauts—from America, Russia, Italy, Britain, and Japan—have left their lives behind to travel at a speed of over seventeen thousand miles an hour as the earth reels below. We glimpse moments of their earthly lives through brief communications with family, their photos and talismans; we watch them whip up dehydrated meals, float in gravity-free sleep, and exercise in regimented routines to prevent atrophying muscles; we witness them form bonds that will stand between them and utter solitude. Most of all, we are with them as they behold and record their silent blue planet. Their experiences of sixteen sunrises and sunsets and the bright, blinking constellations of the galaxy are at once breathtakingly awesome and surprisingly intimate. So are the marks of civilization far below, encrusted on the planet on which we live. 

 

Profound, contemplative and gorgeous, Orbital is an eloquent meditation on space and a moving elegy to our humanity, environment, and planet.

 

order a copy of Orbital from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Recommends

Nick Drake: The Life by Richard Morton Jack

 

 

In 1968, Nick Drake had everything to live for. The product of a loving, creative family and a privileged background, he was not only a handsome and popular Cambridge undergraduate, but also a new signing to the UK’s hippest record label, Island.
 
Three years later, however—having made three well reviewed but low-selling albums—Nick had been overwhelmed by a mysterious mental illness. He returned to live in his family home in rural Warwickshire in 1971, and died in obscurity in 1974, aged just 26.
 
In the decades since, Nick has become the subject of ever-growing fascination and speculation. Combined sales of his records now stand in the millions, his songs are frequently heard on TV and in films, and he has become one of the most widely known and admired singer-songwriters of his generation.
 
Nick Drake: The Life is the only biography of Nick to be written with the blessing and involvement of his sister and estate. Drawing on copious original research and new interviews with his family, friends, and musical collaborators, as well as deeply personal archive material unavailable to previous writers—including his father’s diaries, his essays, and private correspondence—this is the most comprehensive and authoritative account possible of Nick’s short and enigmatic life.

order a copy of Nick Drake: The Life from the webstore here

 

Soldier Sailor by Claire Kilroy

 

 

In one of the most acclaimed novels of the year, her first in over a decade, Claire Kilroy takes us deep into the mind of her unforgettable heroine.

Exploring the clash of fierce love for a new life with a seismic change in identity, she vividly realises the tumultuous emotions of a new mother. As her marriage strains and she struggles with questions of love, autonomy creativity and the passing of time, an old friend makes a welcome return – but can he really offer a lifeline to the woman she used to be?

 

order a copy of Soldier Sailor from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Recommends

Pathogenesis by Jonathan Kennedy

 

 

According to the accepted narrative of progress, humans have thrived thanks to their brains and brawn, to actions undertaken individually and collectively that have changed the arc of history. In this revelatory book, sociologist and public health professor Jonathan Kennedy argues that the peddlers of the exceptionalism myth massively overestimate the role that reason plays in social change. Instead, it is the humble microbe that wins wars and topples empires.
Drawing on the latest research in genetics, economics, sociology, and anthropology, Pathogenesis explores eight outbreaks of infectious disease that made the modern world. Take the rise of Christianity. When a wave of deadly pandemics swept through the Roman Empire in the third century, there were only a small number of Christian communities—but they did a much better job tending to the sick. Their more communal approach saved thousands of lives, and helped turn this tiny, obscure sect into one of the world’s great religions. Bacteria and viruses were also responsible for the demise of the Neanderthals, the growth of Islam, the transition from feudalism to capitalism, the devastation wrought by European colonialism, and the rise of the United States from an imperial backwater to a global superpower.
By centering disease in his wide-ranging, spectacularly illustrated history of humankind, Kennedy challenges our most fundamental assumptions about our collective past—and urges us to view our current moment as another disease-driven inflection point that could change the course of history. Provocative and brimming with insight, Pathogenesis transforms our understanding of the human story.

order a copy of Pathogenesis from the webstore here

 

Over My Dead Body by Greg Melville

 

 

The summer before his senior year in college, Greg Melville worked at the cemetery in his hometown, and thanks to hour upon hour of pushing a mower over the grassy acres, he came to realize what a rich story the place told of his town and its history. Thus was born Melville’s lifelong curiosity with how, where, and why we bury and commemorate our dead.

 

Melville’s Over My Dead Body is a lively (pun intended) and wide-ranging history of cemeteries, places that have mirrored the passing eras in history but also have shaped it. Cemeteries have given birth to landscape architecture and famous parks, as well as influenced architectural styles. They’ve inspired and motivated some of our greatest poets and authors—Emerson, Whitman, Dickinson. They’ve been used as political tools to shift the country’s discourse and as important symbols of the United States’ ambition and reach.

 

But they are changing and fading. Embalming and burial is incredibly toxic, and while cremations have just recently surpassed burials in popularity, they’re not great for the environment either. Over My Dead Body explores everything about cemeteries—history, sustainability, land use, and more—and what it really means to memorialize.

 

order a copy of Over My Dead Body from the webstore here

 


 

Patti Recommends

Kids Run the Show by Delphine de Vigan, trans. Alison Anderson

 

 

The first time that Mélanie met Clara, she was stunned by Clara’s sense of authority, and for her part, Clara was struck by Mélanie’s pink, glittery nails, which shimmered in the dark. “She looks like a child,” thought the first. “She looks like a doll,” pondered the second.

 

These two women, both of the same generation and exposed to the same forms of media throughout their lives, could not be more different in adulthood. Mélanie is a social media superstar, broadcasting her children’s daily lives on a family YouTube channel. Clara is a young police officer, assigned to the case after Mélanie’s daughter Kimmy is abducted.

 

Traversing the Big Brother generation, the social media influencer generation, and right up to the 2030s, Delphine de Vigan offers a bone-chilling exposé of a world where everything is broadcasted and monetized, even family happiness.

 

order a copy of Kids Run the Show from the webstore here

 

Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido

 

 

Stylish, suburban Katherine is just eighteen years old when she is introduced to Professor Jacob Goldman, his rambling home and his large eccentric family, but she is quickly enveloped into their chaotic life. The professor’s wife, Jane, becomes Katherine’s spiritual mother, but it is his older sons, and particularly the beautiful, sulky Roger, who breaks her heart and sets her on a new path. Fleeing to Rome, Katherine remakes herself, but ten years later, she must return, older and wiser, to face the Goldmans once more.

 

In this funny and heartwarming novel, Barbara Trapido introduces an unforgettable main character and debuts the witty, compelling voice that authors from Elizabeth Gilbert to Maria Semple and Lauren Groff rave about.

 

order a copy of Brother of the More Famous Jack from the webstore here

 


 

This month we anticipate Claire Keegan and Nita Prose’s latest gems. Also, some dark academia, imaginary cities, and volcanoes. This will be our last batch of anticipated titles for 2023 – keep an eye on our website, newsletter, and socials for details on our end of year 45 in 45 and Top 5 roundups!

 

Ben Anticipates

The Money Kings by Daniel Schulman

 

 

Joseph Seligman arrived in the United States in 1837, with the equivalent of $100 sewn into the lining of his pants. Then came the Lehman brothers, who would open a general store in Montgomery, Alabama. Not far behind were Solomon Loeb and Marcus Goldman, among the “Forty-Eighters” fleeing a Germany that had relegated Jews to an underclass.

 

These industrious immigrants would soon go from peddling trinkets and buying up shopkeepers’ IOUs to forming what would become some of the largest investment banks in the world—Goldman Sachs, Kuhn Loeb, Lehman Brothers, J. & W. Seligman & Co. They would clash and collaborate with J. P. Morgan, E. H. Harriman, Jay Gould, and other famed tycoons of the era. And their firms would help to transform the United States from a debtor nation into a financial superpower, capitalizing American industry and underwriting some of the twentieth century’s quintessential companies, like General Motors, Macy’s, and Sears. Along the way, they would shape the destiny not just of American finance but of the millions of Eastern European Jews who spilled off steamships in New York Harbor in the early 1900s, including Daniel Schulman’s paternal grandparents.

 

In The Money Kings, Schulman unspools a sweeping narrative that traces the interconnected origin stories of these financial dynasties. He chronicles their paths to Wall Street dominance, as they navigated the deeply antisemitic upper class of the Gilded Age, and the complexities of the Civil War, World War I, and the Zionist movement that tested both their burgeoning empires and their identities as Americans, Germans, and Jews.

 

Release date: November 14th

pre-order a copy of The Money Kings from the webstore here

 

The Mystery Guest by Nita Prose

 

 

Molly Gray is not like anyone else. With her flair for cleaning and proper etiquette, she has risen through the ranks of the glorious five-star Regency Grand Hotel to become the esteemed Head Maid. But just as her life reaches a pinnacle state of perfection, her world is turned upside down when J.D. Grimthorpe, the world-renowned mystery author, drops dead—very dead—on the hotel’s tea room floor.

 

When Detective Stark, Molly’s old foe, investigates the author’s unexpected demise, it becomes clear that this death was murder most foul. Suspects abound, and everyone wants to know: Who killed J.D. Grimthorpe? Was it Lily, the new Maid-in-Training? Or was it Serena, the author’s secretary? Could Mr. Preston, the hotel’s beloved doorman, be hiding something? And is Molly really as innocent as she seems?

 

As the case threatens the hotel’s pristine reputation, Molly knows that she alone holds the key to unlocking the killer’s identity. But that key is buried deep in her past—because long ago, she knew J.D. Grimthorpe. Molly must comb her memory for clues, and revisit her childhood and the mysterious Grimthorpe mansion where her dearly departed Gran once worked. With Molly and her colleagues under investigation, she knows she must solve the mystery post-haste. And if there’s one thing she knows for sure, it’s that dirty secrets don’t stay buried forever…

 

Release date: November 28th

pre-order a copy of The Mystery Guest from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Anticipates

The Chapter by Nicholas Dames

 

 

Why do books have chapters? With this seemingly simple question, Nicholas Dames embarks on a literary journey spanning two millennia, revealing how an ancient editorial technique became a universally recognized component of narrative art and a means to register the sensation of time.

 

Dames begins with the textual compilations of the Roman world, where chapters evolved as a tool to organize information. He goes on to discuss the earliest divisional systems of the Gospels and the segmentation of medieval romances, describing how the chapter took on new purpose when applied to narrative texts and how narrative segmentation gave rise to a host of aesthetic techniques. Dames shares engaging and in-depth readings of influential figures, from Sterne, Goethe, Tolstoy, and Dickens to George Eliot, Machado de Assis, B. S. Johnson, Agnès Varda, Uwe Johnson, Jennifer Egan, and László Krasznahorkai. He illuminates the sometimes tacit, sometimes dramatic ways in which the chapter became a kind of reckoning with time and a quiet but persistent feature of modernity.

 

Ranging from ancient tablets and scrolls to contemporary fiction and film, The Chapter provides a compelling, elegantly written history of a familiar compositional mode that readers often take for granted and offers a new theory of how this versatile means of dividing narrative sculpts our experience of time.

 

Release date: November 7th

pre-order a copy of The Chapter from the webstore here

 

Atlas of Imagined Cities by Matt Brown & Rhys B. Davies

 

 

Did you know that James Bond and George Smiley were practically neighbors, or that girls-about-town Holly Golightly, Annie Hall, and Carrie Bradshaw all lived a couple of blocks from one another?

 

Fourteen of the most stunning city maps show exactly where your characters lived, loved, worked, and played. Find out where to enjoy a coffee from Central Perk (Friends), a butterbeer in the Leaky Cauldron (Harry Potter), or a revolutionary tipple in the Defarge Wine Shop (A Tale of Two Cities). Navigate round London’s fictional tube network, from Walford East (EastEnders) to Hobbs End (Quatermass). Or fly between cities on one of a dozen fictional airlines (mapped to their home airports). Characters’ homes, bars, clubs, metro stations, and skyscrapers that you’ve seen or read about are all plotted in beautiful vintage-style city maps.

 

The maps draw from the movies, TV, novels, video games, and more, all painstakingly tracked down, mapped, annotated, and wittily divulged by the authors. Let them show you how to get to Sesame Street, and thousands of other places, in this indispensable guidebook to all those places you always wanted to visit…if only they were real.

 

Release date: November 14th

pre-order a copy of Atlas of Imagined Cities from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Anticipates

The Favorites by Rosemary Hennigan

 

 

From the moment she discovered her sister’s secret relationship with charismatic professor Jay Crane, Jessie Mooney has been convinced that he’s to blame for the events leading to her death. Haunted by their last email exchange—You know what you did—she enrolls in graduate school and competes her way into Crane’s famous “Law and Literature” class, setting into motion a plan to get close to him so she can expose who he really is.

 

Jessie will cross any line to hold Crane accountable. But when she finally earns his trust and the coveted position as one of his “favorites,” attracting the other students’ envy and suspicion, the truth becomes darkly twisted. Is it justice Jessie craves, or revenge? And what does she stand to lose if she gets her way?

 

Shimmering with tension, The Favorites explores the ways that love, desire, and anger reveal the best, and worst, of us.

 

Release date: November 7th

pre-order a copy of The Favorites from the webstore here

 

Wrong Way by Joanne McNeil

 

For years, Teresa has passed from one job to the next, settling into long stretches of time, struggling to build her career in any field or unstick herself from an endless cycle of labor. The dreaded move from one gig to another is starting to feel unbearable. When a recruiter connects her with a contract position at AllOver, it appears to check all her prerequisites for a “good” job. It’s a fintech corporation with progressive hiring policies and a social justice-minded mission statement. Their new service for premium members: a functional fleet of driverless cars. The future of transportation. As her new-hire orientation reveals, the distance between AllOver’s claims and its actions is wide, but the lure of financial stability and a flexible schedule is enough to keep Teresa driving forward.

 

Joanne McNeil, who often reports on how the human experience intersects with labor and technology brings blazing compassion and criticism to Wrong Way, examining the treacherous gaps between the working and middle classes wrought by the age of AI. Within these divides, McNeil turns the unsaid into the unignorable, and captures the existential perils imposed by a nonstop, full-service gig economy.

 

Release date: November 14th

pre-order a copy of Wrong Way from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Anticipates

Critical Hits eds. J. Robert Lennon & Carmen Maria Machado

 

 

From the earliest computers to the smartphones in our pockets, video games have been on our screens and part of our lives for over fifty years. Critical Hits celebrates this sophisticated medium and considers its lasting impact on our culture and ourselves.

 

This collection of stylish, passionate, and searching essays opens with an introduction by Carmen Maria Machado, who edited the anthology alongside J. Robert Lennon. In these pages, writer-gamers find solace from illness and grief, test ideas about language, bodies, power, race, and technology, and see their experiences and identities reflected in—or complicated by—the interactive virtual worlds they inhabit. Elissa Washuta immerses herself in The Last of Us during the first summer of the pandemic. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah describes his last goodbye to his father with the help of Disco Elysium. Jamil Jan Kochai remembers being an Afghan American teenager killing Afghan insurgents in Call of Duty. Also included are a comic by MariNaomi about her time as a video game producer; a deep dive into “portal fantasy” movies about video games by Charlie Jane Anders; and new work by Alexander Chee, Hanif Abdurraqib, Larissa Pham, and many more.

 

Release date: November 21st

pre-order a copy of Critical Hits from the webstore here

 

Volcanic by John Brewer

 

 

Vesuvius is best known for its disastrous eruption of 79CE. But only after 1738, in the age of Enlightenment, did the excavations of Herculaneum and Pompeii reveal its full extent. In an era of groundbreaking scientific endeavour and violent revolution, Vesuvius became a focal point of strong emotions and political aspirations, an object of geological enquiry, and a powerful symbol of the Romantic obsession with nature.

 

John Brewer charts the changing seismic and social dynamics of the mountain, and the meanings attached by travellers to their sublime confrontation with nature. The pyrotechnics of revolution and global warfare made volcanic activity the perfect political metaphor, fuelling revolutionary enthusiasm and conservative trepidation. From Swiss mercenaries to English entrepreneurs, French geologists to local Neapolitan guides, German painters to Scottish doctors, Vesuvius bubbled and seethed not just with lava, but with people whose passions, interests, and aims were as disparate as their origins.

 

Release date: November 14th


 

Patti Anticipates

So Late in the Day by Claire Keegan

 

 

Celebrated for her powerful short fiction, considered “among the form’s most masterful practitioners” (New York Times), Claire Keegan now gifts us three exquisite stories, newly revised and expanded, together forming a brilliant examination of gender dynamics and an arc from Keegan’s earliest to her most recent work.

 

In So Late in the Day, Cathal faces a long weekend as his mind agitates over a woman with whom he could have spent his life, had he behaved differently; in The Long and Painful Death, a writer’s arrival at the seaside home of Heinrich Böll for a residency is disrupted by an academic who imposes his presence and opinions; and in Antarctica, a married woman travels out of town to see what it’s like to sleep with another man and ends up in the grip of a possessive stranger.

 

Each story probes the dynamics that corrupt what could be between women and men: a lack of generosity, the weight of expectation, the looming threat of violence. Potent, charged, and breathtakingly insightful, these three essential tales will linger with readers long after the book is closed.

 

Release date: November 24th

pre-order a copy of So Late in the Day from the webstore here

 

Baumgartner by Paul Auster

 

 

Paul Auster’s brilliant eighteenth novel opens with a scorched pot of water, which Sy Baumgartner — phenomenologist, noted author, and soon-to-be retired philosophy professor – has just forgotten on the stove.

 

Baumgartner’s life had been defined by his deep, abiding love for his wife, Anna, who was killed in a swimming accident nine years earlier. Now 71, Baumgartner continues to struggle to live in her absence as the novel sinuously unfolds into spirals of memory and reminiscence, delineated in episodes spanning from 1968, when Sy and Anna meet as broke students working and writing in New York, through their passionate relationship over the next forty years, and back to Baumgartner’s youth in Newark and his Polish-born father’s life as a dress-shop owner and failed revolutionary.

 

Rich with compassion, wit, and Auster’s keen eye for beauty in the smallest, most transient moments of ordinary life, Baumgartner asks: Why do we remember certain moments, and forget others? In one of his most luminous works and his first novel since the Booker-shortlisted tour-de-force 4 3 2 1, Paul Auster captures several lifetimes.

 

Release date: November 17th

pre-order a copy of Baumgartner from the webstore here

 

Some interesting memoirs in the mix this month – some deeply personal, one political, one scientific. There’s the usual fiction fare as well. You’re bound to find something interesting to curl up with as the Fall chill approaches.

 

Ben Recommends

How Not to Be a Politician by Rory Stewart

 

 

Rory Stewart was an unlikely politician. He was best known for his two-year walk across Asia—in which he crossed Afghanistan, essentially solo, in the months after 9/11—and for his service, as a diplomat in Iraq, and Afghanistan. But in 2009, he abandoned his chair at Harvard University to stand for a seat in Parliament, representing the communities and farms of the Lake District and the Scottish border—one of the most isolated and beautiful districts in England. He ran as a Conservative, though he had no prior connection to the politics and there was much about the party that he disagreed with.


How Not to Be a Politician
 is a candid and penetrating examination of life on the ground as a politician in an age of shallow populism, when every hard problem has a solution that’s simple, appealing, and wrong. While undauntedly optimistic about what a public servant can accomplish in the lives of his constituents, the book is also a pitiless insider’s exposé of the game of politics at the highest level, often shocking in its displays of rampant cynicism, ignorance, glibness, and sheer incompetence. Stewart witnesses Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and its descent into political civil war, compounded by the bad faith of his party’s leaders—David Cameron, Boris Johnson, and Liz Truss.

 

Finally, after nine years of service and six ministerial roles, and shocked by his party’s lurch to the populist right, Stewart ran for prime minister. Stewart’s campaign took him into the lead in the opinion polls, head-to-head against Boris Johnson. How Not to Be a Politician is his effort to make sense of it all, including what has happened to politics in Britain and the world and how we can fix it. The view into democracy’s dark heart is troubling, but at every turn Stewart also finds allies and ways to make a difference. A bracing, invigorating mix of irony and love infuses How Not to Be a Politician. This is one of the most revealing memoirs written by a politician in living memory.

 

order a copy of How Not to Be a Politician from the webstore here

 

The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng

 

 

The year is 1921. Lesley Hamlyn and her husband, Robert, a lawyer and war veteran, are living at Cassowary House on the Straits Settlement of Penang. When “Willie” Somerset Maugham, a famed writer and old friend of Robert’s, arrives for an extended visit with his secretary Gerald, the pair threatens a rift that could alter more lives than one.

 

Maugham, one of the great novelists of his day, is beleaguered: Having long hidden his homosexuality, his unhappy and expensive marriage of convenience becomes unbearable after he loses his savings-and the freedom to travel with Gerald. His career deflating, his health failing, Maugham arrives at Cassowary House in desperate need of a subject for his next book. Lesley, too, is enduring a marriage more duplicitous than it first appears. Maugham suspects an affair, and, learning of Lesley’s past connection to the Chinese revolutionary, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, decides to probe deeper. But as their friendship grows and Lesley confides in him about life in the Straits, Maugham discovers a far more surprising tale than he imagined, one that involves not only war and scandal but the trial of an Englishwoman charged with murder. It is, to Maugham, a story worthy of fiction.

 

A mesmerizingly beautiful novel based on real events, The House of Doors traces the fault lines of race, gender, sexuality, and power under empire, and dives deep into the complicated nature of love and friendship in its shadow.

 

order a copy of The House of Doors from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Recommends

Wavewalker by Suzanne Heywood

 

 

Aged just seven, Suzanne Heywood set sail with her parents and brother on a three-year voyage around the world. What followed turned instead into a decade-long way of life, through storms, shipwrecks, reefs and isolation, with little formal schooling. No one else knew where they were most of the time and no state showed any interest in what was happening to the children.

 

Suzanne fought her parents, longing to return to England and to education and stability. This memoir covers her astonishing upbringing, a survival story of a child deprived of safety, friendships, schooling and occasionally drinking water… At seventeen Suzanne earned an interview at Oxford University and returned to the UK.

 

From the bestselling author of What Does Jeremy Think?, Wavewalker is the incredible true story of how the adventure of a lifetime became one child’s worst nightmare – and how her determination to educate herself enabled her to escape.

 

order a copy of Wavewalker from the webstore here

 

The Glutton by A.K. Blakemore

 

 

1798, France. Nuns move along the dark corridors of a Versailles hospital where the young Sister Perpetué has been tasked with sitting with the patient who must always be watched. The man, gaunt, with his sallow skin and distended belly, is dying: they say he ate a golden fork, and that it’s killing him from the inside. But that’s not all—he is rumored to have done monstrous things in his attempts to sate an insatiable appetite…an appetite they say tortures him still.

 

Born in an impoverished village to a widowed young mother, Tarare was once overflowing with quiet affection: for the Baby Jesus and the many Saints, for his mother, for the plants and little creatures in the woods and fields around their house. He spends his days alone, observing the delicate charms of the countryside. But his world is not a gentle one—and soon, life as he knew it is violently upended. Tarare is pitched down a chaotic path through revolutionary France, left to the mercy of strangers, and increasingly, bottomlessly, ravenous.

 

This exhilarating, disquieting novel paints a richly imagined life for The Great Tarare, The Glutton of Lyon in 18th-century France: a world of desire, hunger and poverty; hope, chaos and survival. As in her cult hit The Manningtree Witches, Blakemore showcases her stunning lyricism and deep compassion for characters pushed to the edge of society in The Glutton, her most unputdownable work yet.

 

order a copy of The Glutton from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Recommends

The Loneliness Files by Athena Dixon

 

 

What does it mean to be a body behind a screen, lost in the hustle of an online world? In our age of digital hyper-connection, Athena Dixon invites us to consider this question with depth, heart, and ferocity, investigating the gaps that technology cannot fill and confronting a lifetime of loneliness.

 

Living alone as a middle-aged woman without children or pets and working forty hours a week from home, more than three hundred fifty miles from her family and friends, Dixon begins watching mystery videos on YouTube, listening to true crime podcasts, and playing video game walk-throughs just to hear another human voice. She discovers the story of Joyce Carol Vincent, a woman who died alone, her body remaining in front of a glowing television set for three years before the world finally noticed. Searching for connection, Dixon plumbs the depths of communal loneliness, asking essential questions of herself and all of us: How have her past decisions left her so alone? Are we, as humans, linked by a shared loneliness? How do we see the world and our place in it? And finally, how do we find our way back to each other?

 

Searing and searching, The Loneliness Files is a groundbreaking memoir in essays that ultimately brings us together in its piercing, revelatory examination of how and why it is that we break apart.

 

order a copy of The Loneliness Files from the webstore here

 

Wild Geese by Soula Emmanuel

 

 

Phoebe Forde has a new home, a new name, and is newly thirty. An Irish transplant and PhD candidate, she’s overeducated and underpaid, but finally settling into her new life in Copenhagen. Almost three years into her gender transition, Phoebe has learned to move through the world carefully, savoring small moments of joy. After all, a woman without a past can be anyone she wants. But an unexpected visit from her ex-girlfriend Grace brings back memories of Dublin and the life she thought she’d left behind. Over the course of a weekend, their romance rekindles into something sweet and radically unfamiliar as Grace helps Phoebe navigate the jagged edges of nostalgia and hope.

Written with wit and warmth, Wild Geese is a tale of dislocations and relocations, encounters, and accidents: a novel of past lives, messy feelings, and the desire to start afresh.

 

order a copy of Wild Geese from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Recommends

Breaking Through by Katalin Karikó

 

 

Katalin Karikó has had an unlikely journey. The daughter of a butcher in postwar communist Hungary, Karikó grew up in an adobe home that lacked running water, and her family grew their own vegetables. She saw the wonders of nature all around her and was determined to become a scientist. That determination eventually brought her to the United States, where she arrived as a postdoctoral fellow in 1985 with $1,200 sewn into her toddler’s teddy bear and a dream to remake medicine.

 

Karikó worked in obscurity, battled cockroaches in a windowless lab, and faced outright derision and even deportation threats from her bosses and colleagues. She balked as prestigious research institutions increasingly conflated science and money. Despite setbacks, she never wavered in her belief that an ephemeral and underappreciated molecule called messenger RNA could change the world. Karikó believed that someday mRNA would transform ordinary cells into tiny factories capable of producing their own medicines on demand. She sacrificed nearly everything for this dream, but the obstacles she faced only motivated her, and eventually she succeeded.

 

Karikó’s three-decade-long investigation into mRNA would lead to a staggering achievement: vaccines that protected millions of people from the most dire consequences of COVID-19. These vaccines are just the beginning of mRNA’s potential. Today, the medical community eagerly awaits more mRNA vaccines—for the flu, HIV, and other emerging infectious diseases.


Breaking Through
isn’t just the story of an extraordinary woman. It’s an indictment of closed-minded thinking and a testament to one woman’s commitment to laboring intensely in obscurity—knowing she might never be recognized in a culture that is driven by prestige, power, and privilege—because she believed her work would save lives.

 

order a copy of Breaking Through from the webstore here

 

Woman Running in the Mountains by Yūko Tsushima, trans. Geraldine Harcourt

 

 

Alone at dawn, in the heat of midsummer, a young woman named Takiko Odaka departs on foot for the hospital to give birth to a baby boy. Her pregnancy, the result of a brief affair with a married man, is a source of sorrow and shame to her abusive parents. For Takiko, however, it is a cause for reverie. Her baby, she imagines, will be hers and hers alone, a challenge that she also hopes will free her. Takiko’s first year as a mother is filled with the intense bodily pleasures and pains that come from caring for a newborn. At first she seeks refuge in the company of other women—in the hospital, in her son’s nursery—but as the baby grows, her life becomes less circumscribed as she explores Tokyo, then ventures beyond the city into the countryside, toward a mountain that captures her imagination and desire for a wilder freedom.

 

order a copy of Woman Running in the Mountains from the webstore here

 


 

Patti Recommends

Lazy City by Rachel Connolly

 

 

Back home after abruptly leaving graduate school in London, Erin numbly teeters through the shock of losing her best friend to an accident she doesn’t want to talk about—especially with her mother. But it’s easy to slip into the rhythms of Belfast, the lazy city; she takes an au pair job and bookends her days with early morning runs along the Lagan and hazy afters at a bar her old friend tends. In quick succession, she meets an American man who is looking to get lost, and falls back in with the local boy who both comforts and confounds her. But it is her unlikely, secretive relationship with faith that offers a different kind of sanctuary. Wandering into empty churches, gazing with mascara-smudged eyes at the stained-glass windows, Erin finally, gingerly, confronts herself.

 

order a copy of Lazy City from the webstore here

 

The Premonition by Banana Yoshimoto, trans. Asa Yoneda

 

 

Yayoi, a 19-year-old woman from a seemingly loving middle-class family, has lately been haunted by the feeling that she has forgotten something important from her childhood. Her premonition grows stronger day by day and, as if led by it, she decides to move in with her mysterious aunt, Yukino.

 

No one understands her aunt’s unusual lifestyle. For as long as Yayoi can remember, Yukino has lived alone in an old gloomy single-family home, quietly, almost as though asleep. When she is not working, Yukino spends all day in her pajamas, clipping her nails and trimming her split ends. She eats only when she feels like it, and she often falls asleep lying on her side in the hallway. She sometimes wakes Yayoi at 2:00 a.m to be her drinking companion, sometimes serves flan in a huge mixing bowl for dinner, and watches Friday the 13th over and over to comfort herself. A child study desk, old stuffed animals—things Yukino wants to forget—are piled up in her backyard like a graveyard of her memories.

 

An instant bestseller in Japan when first published in 1988, The Premonition is finally available in English, translated by the celebrated Asa Yoneda.

 

order a copy of The Premonition from the webstore here

 


 

Ben’s throwing a curveball this week with an illustrated fable… I don’t think we’ve ever had one of those on our anticipated list before! Otherwise it’s your standard fare: Canadian history, somewhat surreal fiction, an international thriller, and a marine marvel.

 

Ben Anticipates

The Mysteries by Bill Watterson and John Kascht

 

 

In a fable for grown-ups by cartoonist Bill Watterson, a long-ago kingdom is afflicted with unexplainable calamities. Hoping to end the torment, the king dispatches his knights to discover the source of the mysterious events. Years later, a single battered knight returns.

 

For the book’s illustrations, Watterson and caricaturist John Kascht worked together for several years in unusually close collaboration. Both artists abandoned their past ways of working, inventing images together that neither could anticipate—a mysterious process in its own right.

 

Release date: October 10th

pre-order a copy of The Mysteries from the webstore here

 

Dartmouth Park by Rupert Thomson

 

 

It’s February 2019. Philip Notman, an acclaimed historian with a German wife and a troubled nineteen-year-old son, is on his way back from a conference in Norway when he has an unexpected and disturbing experience that completely alters his view of the life that he has been living and the world that surrounds him. 

 

Believing that Inés, an attractive Spanish sociologist whom he met at the conference, can shed light on what he is feeling, he travels to Cádiz to see her. But his journey doesn’t end there. Is he thinking of leaving his wife, whom he still loves, or is he trying to change a reality that he appears to find unbearable? Is he on a quest for a simpler and more authentic existence or is he utterly self-deluded? And if he is in denial about what he is doing, how far will he go to avoid facing the truth?

 

In this highly original and unsettling novel, one of the UK’s most celebrated writers portrays an ordinary man in an extraordinary dilemma, a dilemma that will push him to the very edge of annihilation and disaster.

 

Release date: October 24th

pre-order a copy of Dartmouth Park from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Anticipates

The Globemakers by Peter Bellerby

 

 

Many of us encounter a globe as children. We find a grown-up and ask, “Where are we?” They spin the globe and point to a minuscule dot amidst a massive expanse of sea and land. Thousands of questions follow. A profound convergence of art and science, a globe is the ultimate visualization of our place in our galaxy and universe. To be a globemaker requires a knowledge of geography, skilled engineering, drawing, and painting, and only a few people in history have ever really mastered the craft.

 

When Peter Bellerby set out to make a globe for his father’s eightieth birthday, after failing to find a suitable one to purchase, he had no idea where the process would lead. He went on to establish Bellerby & Co, one of the only artisan globemakers in the world. The Globemakers brings us inside Bellerby’s gorgeous studio to learn how he and his team of cartographers and artists bring these stunning celestial, terrestrial, and planetary objects to life. Along the way he tells stories of his adventure and the luck along the way that shaped the company.

 

A full-color photographic portrait of a lost art, The Globemakers is an enlightening exploration of globes, or “earth apples,” as they were first known, and their ability to show us ourselves and our place in an infinite universe.

 

Release date: October 17th

pre-order a copy of The Globemakers from the webstore here

 

Dominion by Stephen R. Bown

 

 

In the late 19th century, demand for fur was in sharp decline. This could have spelled economic disaster for the venerable Hudson’s Bay Company. But an idea emerged in political and business circles in Ottawa and Montreal to connect the disparate British colonies into a single entity that would stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific. With over 3,000 kilometers of track, much of it driven through wildly inhospitable terrain, the CPR would be the longest railway in the world and the most difficult to build. Its construction was the defining event of its era and a catalyst for powerful global forces.

 

The times were marked by greed, hubris, blatant empire building, oppression, corruption and theft. They were good for some, hard for most, disastrous for others. The CPR enabled a new country, but it came at a terrible price.

 

In recent years Canadian history has been given a rude awakening from the comforts of its myths. In Dominion, Stephen Bown again widens our view of the past to include the adventures and hardships of explorers and surveyors, the resistance of Indigenous peoples, and the terrific and horrific work of many thousands of labourers. His vivid portrayal of the powerful forces that were molding the world in the late 19th century provides a revelatory new picture of modern Canada’s creation as an independent state.

 

Release date: October 10th

pre-order a copy of Dominion from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Anticipates

There Is No Blue by Martha Baillie

 

 

Three essays, three deaths. The first is the death of the author’s mother, a protracted disappearance, leaving space for thoughtfulness and ritual: the washing of her body, the making of a death mask. The second considers Baillie’s father, his remoteness, his charm, a lacuna at the center of the family even before his death, earlier than her mother’s. And then, third, shockingly, the author’s sister, a visual artist and writer living with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, who writes three reasons to die on her bedroom wall and then takes her life, just before the book the sisters co-authored is due to come out.

 

In this close observation of a family, few absolutes hold, as experiences of reality diverge. A memoir of cascading grief and survival from the author of The Incident Report.

 

Release date: October 3rd

pre-order a copy of There Is No Blue from the webstore here

 

Death Valley by Melissa Broder

 

 

In Melissa Broder’s astounding new novel, a woman arrives alone at a Best Western seeking respite from an emptiness that plagues her. She has fled to the California high desert to escape a cloud of sorrow—for both her father in the ICU and a husband whose illness is worsening. What the motel provides, however, is not peace but a path, thanks to a receptionist who recommends a nearby hike.

 

Out on the sun-scorched trail, the woman encounters a towering cactus whose size and shape mean it should not exist in California. Yet the cactus is there, with a gash through its side that beckons like a familiar door. So she enters it. What awaits her inside this mystical succulent sets her on a journey at once desolate and rich, hilarious and poignant.

 

This is Melissa Broder at her most imaginative, most universal, and finest. This is Death Valley.

 

Release date: October 3rd

pre-order a copy of Death Valley from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Anticipates

The Curious World of Seahorses by Till Hein

 

 

“When God created the seahorse,” says one marine biologist, “he may have had one too many.”

 

Of all the creatures in the ocean, there are none more charming and magical—or more strange—than the seahorses. Masters of disguise, graceful dancers, and romantic lovers, seahorses are found not only in the seagrass meadows and mangroves of the world, but also throughout the annals of human history and culture—surfacing everywhere from chess and Greek mythology to Disney movies like The Little Mermaid and Pokémon games.

 

Equipped with a pouch like a kangaroo, a long snout like an anteater, and complete with a crown unique as a human fingerprint, the seahorse defies easy categorization. The only fish to swim in an upright position, seahorses are terrible swimmers, but they make up for it with an incredible talent for holding onto seagrass or coral. They have no stomach or teeth—only intestines. Most seahorses are monogamous, and meet with their life partner every few weeks to perform a dance that can last up to nine hours. The most unique aspect of the seahorse is their reproductive cycle, as it is the male of the species who becomes pregnant.

 

In this entertaining and informative book, science writer Till Hein shares the most tantalizing findings from the world of seahorses, and the role they have played in human culture. He reveals their secrets, from their intriguing biological features and hunting strategy to their use in medicine throughout history, their appearances in Greek and Celtic mythology, and even the medieval belief that they descended from dragons.

 

Endlessly fascinating and charmingly approachable, The Curious World of Seahorses will captivate any reader looking to learn more about one of the most incredible creatures on Earth.

 

Release date: October 24th

pre-order a copy of The Curious World of Seahorses from the webstore here

 

Pay As You Go by Eskor David Johnson

 

 

New to town and delusionally confident, Slide imagined himself living in a glossy building with doormen and sweeping views of the skyline. Instead he’s landed in a creaking, stuffy apartment with two roommates: a loping giant who hardly leaves his room, and a weight-obsessed neurotic who keeps no fewer than forty-seven lamps throughout the house, blazing at all hours.

 

Unwilling to accept this fate, Slide—a barber with an opaque past—embarks on a quest for the perfect apartment, pinballing through the sprawling, madcap city of Polis and its endless procession of neighborhoods. As he bounces from foldout couch to disaster-relief tent, falling in with some tough types, Slide begins to realize that he’s going to have to scratch and claw just to claim a place for himself in this world—let alone a place with in-unit laundry.

 

An exuberant, fantastical odyssey, Pay As You Go wonders if what we’re searching for is ever really out there. Its pages—surreal, biting, and teeming with life—announce the startling talents of Eskor David Johnson, who knows that all any of us really want is a place to rest our head.

 

Release date: October 24th


 

Patti Anticipates

The City of the Living by Nicola Lagioia

 

 

In March 2016, in a nondescript apartment on the outskirts of Rome, Manuel Foffo and Marco Prato, two “ordinary” young men from good families, brutally murdered twenty-three year old Luca Varani. News of the seemingly inexplicable crime sent shockwaves through Rome and beyond. What motivated such extreme violence? Were the killers evil or in the grip of societal evils? Did they know what they were doing? Or were they possessed? And if the latter, possessed by what?

 

Based on months of interviews, court documentation, and correspondence with the killers themselves, The City of the Living is not only a fast-paced, revelatory thriller in the style of Lisa Taddeo’s Animal, it is also a descent into the dark heart of Rome—a city that is unlivable and yet teeming with life, overrun by rats and wild animals, and plagued by corruption, drugs, and violence. Yet, the Eternal City is also a place that, more than any other in the world, seems to inspire a sense of absolute freedom in its inhabitants.

 

Proceeding in concentric circles, Nicola Lagioia leads us through a maze of betrayed expectations, sexual confusion, inability to grow up, economic grievances, crises of identity—progressively tightening the focus of the analysis to locate the breaking point after which anything is possible. As hypnotic as Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City, an heir to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and destined to cast on spell on fans of the Morbid podcast, The City of the Living is Nicola Lagioia’s most gripping, bestselling, and critically acclaimed novel to-date. Razor-sharp, unputdownable, devastating, it is the story not only of a crime but of human nature itself; of the tension between responsibility and guilt, between the drive to oppress and the desire to be free; of who we are and who we can become.

 

Release date: October 13th

pre-order a copy of The City of the Living from the webstore here

 

Bournville by Jonathan Coe

 

 

Bournville is a quiet village in the heart of England famous for its chocolate. For eleven-year-old Mary, it is the center of her world, the place where most of her family’s friends and neighbors have worked for decades and where the streets smell faintly of chocolate. 

 

During the next three-quarters of a century, Mary will have children and grandchildren and great-children. She will live through the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the 1966 World Cup final (the last time England won), royal weddings and royal funerals, Brexit and Covid-19. Parts of the chocolate factory will be transformed into a theme park, and Bournville itself will gradually disappear into the sprawl of the growing city of Birmingham.

 

As we travel through seventy-five years of social change, from James Bond to Princess Diana, and from wartime nostalgia to the World Wide Web, one pressing question starts to emerge: will these changing times bring Mary’s family—and their country—closer together, or leave them more adrift and divided than ever before?

 

Bournville is a rich and poignant new novel from the bestselling, Costa award-winning author of Middle England. It is the story of a woman, of a nation’s love affair with chocolate, of Britain itself.

 

Release date: October 27th

pre-order a copy of Bournville from the webstore here

 


 

Circles and Squares, Daughters and Doppelgangers, Rivers and Roads. Just a small selection of the great books released recently.

 

Ben Recommends

Two Roads Home by Daniel Finkelstein

 

 

In Two Roads Home beloved British journalist Daniel Finkelstein tells the extraordinary story of the years before his mother met his father—years of war and trials they barely survived.

 

Daniel Finkelstein’s grandfather was a German Jewish intellectual leader who tolled an early warning of the impending Holocaust and became an archivist of Nazi crimes. He relocated his family to safety in Amsterdam, where they knew Anne Frank. But in those years safety was an illusion: Anne Frank famously went into hiding and Daniel’s mother, Mirjam, also still a child, was sent to Bergen-Belsen with her mother and sisters.

 

Finkelstein’s father, Ludwik, grew up in a prosperous Jewish family in Poland where his father, Dolu was a patriotic hero of the Great War. But when Stalin took control, Dolu, was deported to Siberia and Ludwik and his mother were sentenced to forced labor in Kazakhstan, starved and housed in a stable in freezing conditions.

 

Two Roads Home is a page-turning account of the narrow escapes, forged passports, ingenuity, bravery, and luck that allowed Mirjam and Ludwik to survive the war and find each other. Using their personal testimony, letters sent to Siberia, a diary written in Belsen, and years of historical research, Daniel Finkelstein tells what happened to two families, one the victim of the Nazis, the other of the Soviets. A tale of deliverance and triumph over evil, Two Roads Home will profoundly touch all who read it.

 

order a copy of Two Roads Home from the webstore here

 

The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

 

 

Cornwall, 1730: A young girl known only as Red travels with her father making a living predicting fortunes using the ancient Cornish method of the Square of Sevens. Shortly before he dies, her father entrusts Red’s care to a gentleman scholar, along with a document containing the secret of the Square of Sevens technique.

 

Raised as a lady amidst the Georgian splendor of Bath, Red’s fortune-telling delights in high society. But she cannot ignore the questions that gnaw at her soul: who was her mother? How did she die? And who are the mysterious enemies her father was always terrified would find him?

 

The pursuit of these mysteries takes her from Cornwall and Bath to London and Devon, from the rough ribaldry of the Bartholomew Fair to the grand houses of two of the most powerful families in England. And while Red’s quest brings her the possibility of great reward, it also leads to grave danger.

 

Laura Shepherd-Robinson, “the queen of modern Georgian literature” (Susan Stokes-Chapman, author of Pandora), has written a dazzling and Dickensian story of mystery and intrigue, with audacious twists and turns.

 

order a copy of The Square of Sevens from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Recommends

The Sullivanians by Alexander Stille

 

 

In the middle of the Ozzie and Harriet 1950s, the birth control pill was introduced and a maverick psychoanalytic institute, the Sullivan Institute for Research in Psychoanalysis, opened its doors in New York City. Its founders, Saul Newton and Jane Pearce, wanted to start a revolution, one grounded in ideals of creative expression, sexual liberation, and freedom from the expectations of society, and the revolution, they felt, needed to begin at home. Dismantling the nuclear family—and monogamous marriage—would free people from the repressive forces of their parents. In its first two decades, the movement attracted many brilliant, creative people as patients: the painter Jackson Pollock and a swarm of other abstract expressionist artists, the famed art critic Clement Greenberg, the singer Judy Collins, and the dancer Lucinda Childs. In the 1960s, the group evolved into an urban commune of three or four hundred people, with patients living with other patients, leading creative, polyamorous lives.

 

But by the mid-1970s, under the leadership of Saul Newton, the Institute had devolved from a radical communal experiment into an insular cult, with therapists controlling virtually every aspect of their patients’ lives, from where they lived and the work they did to how often they saw their sexual partners and their children. Although the group was highly secretive during its lifetime and even after its dissolution in 1991, the noted journalist Alexander Stille has succeeded in reconstructing the inner life of a parallel world hidden in plain sight in the middle of Manhattan. Through countless interviews and personal papers, The Sullivanians reveals the nearly unbelievable story of a fallen utopia.

 

order a copy of The Sullivanians from the webstore here

 

Juliet by Sophie Duncan

 

 

Romeo and Juliet may be the greatest love story ever told, but who is Juliet? Demure ingénue? Or dangerous Mediterranean madwoman? From tearstained copies of the First Folio to Civil War-era fanfiction, Shakespeare’s star-crossed heroine has long captured our collective imagination. 

 

Juliet is her story, traced across continents through four centuries of history, theatre, and film. As Oxford Shakespeare scholar Sophie Duncan reveals, Juliet’s legacy stretches beyond her literary lifespan into a cultural afterlife ranging from enslaved African girls in the British Caribbean to the real-life Juliets of sectarian violence in Bosnia and Belfast. She argues that our dangerous obsession with the beautiful dead teenager and Juliet’s meteoric rise as a defiant sexual icon have come to define the Western ideal of romance. 

 

Wry and inventive, Juliet is a tribute to fiction’s most famous teenage girl who died young, but who lives forever.

 

order a copy of Juliet from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Recommends

Doppelganger by Naomi Klein

 

 

Over the past twenty-five years, Naomi Klein has charted and documented our politics and culture with a series of trenchant bestselling books laying bare the effects of branding, austerity, and climate profiteering on our societies and souls.

 

With Doppelganger, Klein takes a more personal turn, braiding together elements of tragicomic memoir, chilling political reportage, and cobweb-clearing cultural analysis, as she dives deep into what she calls the Mirror World—our destabilized present rife with doubles and confusion, where far right movements playact solidarity with the working class, AI-generated content blurs the line between genuine and spurious, New Age wellness entrepreneurs turned anti-vaxxers further scramble our familiar political allegiances, and so many of us project our own carefully curated digital doubles out into the social media sphere. 

 

Klein begins this richly nuanced intellectual adventure story by grappling with her own doppelganger—a fellow author and public intellectual whose views are antithetical to Klein’s own, but whose name and public persona are sufficiently similar that many people have confused the two over the years. From there, she turns her gaze both inward to our psychic landscapes—drawing on the work of Sigmund Freud, Jordan Peele, Alfred Hitchcock, and bell hooks, to name a few—and outward, to our intersecting economic, environmental, medical, and political crises. Ultimately seeking to escape the Mirror World and chart a path beyond confusion and despair, Klein delivers a revelatory treatment of the way many of us think and feel now.

 

order a copy of Doppelganger from the webstore here

 

Daughter by Claudia Dey

 

 

To be loved by your father is to be loved by God.

 

So says Mona Dean–playwright, actress and daughter to a man famous for one great novel, and in fruitless pursuit of the next, whose needs and insecurities exert an inescapable pull and exact an immeasurable toll on the women of his family: Mona, her sister, her half-sister, their mothers. His infidelity destroyed Mona’s childhood, setting her in opposition to a cold, cruel stepmother who, though equally damaged, disdains her for being broken. Then, just as Mona is settling into her life as an adult and fledgling artist, he begins a new affair and takes her into his confidence. Mona delights–painfully, parasitically–in his attention. When he inevitably confesses to his wife, Mona is cast as the agent of disruption, punished for her father’s crimes and ejected from the family.

 

Mona’s tenuous stability is thrown into chaos. Only when she suffers an incalculable loss—one far deeper and more defining than family entanglements—can she begin supplanting absent love with real love. Pushed to the precipice, she must decide how she wants to live, what she most needs to say, and the risks she will take to say it.

 

Claudia Dey chronicles our most intimate lives with penetrating insight and devilish humour. A novel as volatile and far-reaching as its title, Daughter is an obsessive, blazing examination of the forces that drive us to become, to create and to break free.

 

order a copy of Daughter from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Recommends

River Mumma by Zalika Reid-Benta

 

 

Alicia has been out of grad school for months. She has no career prospects and lives with her mom, who won’t stop texting her macabre news stories and reminders to pick up items from the grocery store.

 

Then, one evening, the Jamaican water deity, River Mumma, appears to Alicia, telling her that she has twenty-four hours to scour the city for her missing comb.

 

Alicia doesn’t understand why River Mumma would choose her. She can’t remember all the legends her relatives told her, unlike her retail co-worker Heaven, who can reel off Jamaican folklore by heart. She doesn’t know if her childhood visions have returned, or why she feels a strange connection to her other co-worker Mars. But when the trio are chased down by malevolent spirits called duppies, they realize their tenuous bonds to each other may be their only lifelines. With the clock ticking, Alicia’s quest through the city broadens into a journey through time—to find herself and what the river carries.

 

River Mumma is a powerful portrayal of diasporic identities and a vital examination into ancestral ties. It is a homage to Jamaican storytelling by one of the most invigorating voices in Canadian literature.

 

order a copy of River Mumma from the webstore here

 

Elsewhere by Yan Ge

 

 

In twenty years, Yan Ge has authored thirteen books written in Chinese, working across an impressive range of genres and subjects. Now, Yan Ge transposes her dynamic storytelling onto another linguistic landscape. The result is a collection humming with her trademark wit and style—and with the electricity of a seasoned artist flexing her virtuosity with a new medium.

A young woman bonds with an encampment of poets after a devastating earthquake. Against her better judgment, a college student begins to fall for an acquaintance who might be dead. And a Confucian disciple returns to the Master bearing a jar full of grisly remains. Weaving between reality and dreamy surreality, these nine stories wend toward elsewhere, a comforting, frustrating, just-out-of-reach place familiar to anyone who has ever experienced longing. Through it all Yan Ge’s protagonists peer thoughtfully at their own feelings of displacement—physical or emotional, the result of travel, emigration, or exile. Brilliant and irresistibly readable, Elsewhere explores the utility (or not) of art in the face of lonesomeness, quotidian, and spectacular.

 

This highly anticipated collection is further proof that Yan Ge is a generational literary talent, to be watched closely for decades to come.

 

order a copy of Elsewhere from the webstore here

 


 

Patti Recommends

North Woods by Daniel Mason

 

 

When two young lovers abscond from a Puritan colony, little do they know that their humble cabin in the woods will become the home of an extraordinary succession of human and nonhuman characters alike. An English soldier, destined for glory, abandons the battlefields of the New World to devote himself to growing apples. A pair of spinster twins navigate war and famine, envy and desire. A crime reporter unearths an ancient mass grave—only to discover that the earth refuse to give up their secrets. A lovelorn painter, a sinister con man, a stalking panther, a lusty beetle: As the inhabitants confront the wonder and mystery around them, they begin to realize that the dark, raucous, beautiful past is very much alive.

 

This magisterial and highly inventive novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist Daniel Mason brims with love and madness, humor and hope. Following the cycles of history, nature, and even language, North Woods shows the myriad, magical ways in which we’re connected to our environment, to history, and to one another. It is not just an unforgettable novel about secrets and destinies, but a way of looking at the world that asks the timeless question: How do we live on, even after we’re gone?

 

order a copy of North Woods from the webstore here

 

The Circle by Katherena Vermette

 

 

The concept was simple. You sit a bunch of people in a circle—everyone who hurt, everyone who got hurt, all affected—and let them share. Some people, it helped them heal, for sure. Others went in angry and left a different kind of angry. Learned how the blame belonged on the system, the history, the colonizer, the big things that were harder to change than one bad person.

 

The day that Cedar Sage Stranger has been both dreading and longing for has finally come: her sister Phoenix is getting out of prison.

 

The effect of Phoenix’s release cascades through the community. M, the young girl whom she assaulted, is triggered by the news. Her mother, Paulina, is worried and her cousin is angry—all feel the threat of Phoenix’s release. When Phoenix is seen lingering outside the school to catch a glimpse of her son, Sparrow, the police get a call to file a report—but the next thing they know, she has disappeared.

 

Amid accusations and plots for revenge, past grievances become a poor guide in a moment of danger, and the clumsy armature of law enforcement is no match for the community. Cedar and her and Phoenix’s mother, Elsie, continue down different paths of healing, while everyone in their lives form a circle around the chaos, the calm within the storm, and the beauty in the darkness.

 

Fierce, heartbreaking, and profound, Vermette’s The Circle is the third and final companion novel to her bestsellers The Break and The Strangers. Told from various perspectives, with an unforgettable voice for each chapter, the novel is masterfully structured as a Restorative Justice Circle where all gather—both the victimized and the accused—to take account of a crime that has altered the course of their lives. It considers what it means to be abandoned by the very systems that claim to offer support, how it feels to gain a sense of belonging, and the unanticipated cost of protecting those you love most.

 

order a copy of The Circle from the webstore here

 


 

If you look through this month’s set of books, what will you find? Love, intrigue, and fictional literature to start! But, you’ll also be led down paths to seek hidden truths, explore class, contemplate family, and to decide what it means to find resolution. Enjoy!

 

Ben Anticipates

Love in a Time of Hate by Florian Illies, trans. Simon Pare

 

 

As the Roaring Twenties wind down, Jean-Paul Sartre waits in a Paris café for a first date with Simone de Beauvoir, who never shows. Marlene Dietrich slips away from a loveless marriage to cruise the dive bars of Berlin. The fledgling writer Vladimir Nabokov places a freshly netted butterfly at the end of his wife’s bed. Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Zelda and Scott, Dalí and Gala, Picasso and his many muses, Henry and June and Anaïs Nin, the entire extended family of Thomas Mann, and a host of other fascinating and famous figures make art and love, write and row, bed and wed and betray. They do not yet know that they, along with millions of others, will soon be forced to contemplate flight—or fight—as the world careens from one global conflict to the next.

 

Release date: September 19th

pre-order a copy of Love in a Time of Hate from the webstore here

 

The Most Secret Memory of Men by Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, trans. Lara Vergnaud

 

 

Paris, 2018. Diégane Latyr Faye, a young Senegalese writer, discovers a legendary book published in 1938 titled The Maze of Inhumanity. No one knows what happened to the author, T.C. Elimane, once referred to as the “Black Rimbaud.” After he was accused of plagiarism, his reputation was destroyed by the critics. He subsequently disappeared without a trace.

 

Curiosity turns to obsession, and Faye embarks on a quest to uncover the fate of the mysterious T.C. Elimane. His search weaves past and present, countries and continents, following the author’s labyrinthine trail from Senegal to Argentina and France and confronting the great tragedies of history.

 

Alongside his investigation, Faye becomes part of a group of young African writers in Paris. They talk, drink, make love, and philosophize about the role of exile in artistic creation. He becomes particularly close to two women: the seductive Siga, keeper of secrets, and the fleeting photojournalist Aïda.

 

But throughout, a question persists: will he get to the truth at the center of the maze?

 

A gripping detective novel without a detective and a masterpiece of perpetual reinvention, The Most Secret Memory of Men confronts the impact of colonialism and neo-colonialism, the holocaust in Europe, dictatorships in South America and the Caribbean, genocide in Africa, and collaboration and resistance everywhere. Above all, it is a love song to literature and its timeless power.

 

Release date: September 26th

pre-order a copy of The Most Secret Memory of Men from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Anticipates

They Flew by Carlos Eire

 

 

Accounts of seemingly impossible phenomena abounded in the early modern era—tales of levitation, bilocation, and witchcraft—even as skepticism, atheism, and empirical science were starting to supplant religious belief in the paranormal. In this book, Carlos Eire explores how a culture increasingly devoted to scientific thinking grappled with events deemed impossible by its leading intellectuals.
 
Eire observes how levitating saints and flying witches were as essential a component of early modern life as the religious turmoil of the age, and as much a part of history as Newton’s scientific discoveries. Relying on an array of firsthand accounts, and focusing on exceptionally impossible cases involving levitation, bilocation, witchcraft, and demonic possession, Eire challenges established assumptions about the redrawing of boundaries between the natural and supernatural that marked the transition to modernity.
 
Using as his case studies stories about St. Teresa of Avila, St. Joseph of Cupertino, the Venerable María de Ágreda, and three disgraced nuns, Eire challenges readers to imagine a world animated by a different understanding of reality and of the supernatural’s relationship with the natural world. The questions he explores—such as why and how “impossibility” is determined by cultural contexts, and whether there is more to reality than meets the eye or can be observed by science—have resonance and lessons for our time.

 

Release date: September 26th

pre-order a copy of They Flew from the webstore here

 

How to Be by Adam Nicolson

 

 

Before the Greeks, the idea of the world was dominated by god-kings and their priests, in a life ruled by imagined metaphysical monsters. 2,500 years ago, in a succession of small eastern Mediterranean harbour-cities, that way of thinking began to change. Men (and some women) decided to cast off mental subservience and apply their own worrying and thinking minds to the conundrums of life.

 

These great innovators shaped the beginnings of philosophy. Through the questioning voyager Odysseus, Homer explored how we might navigate our way through the world. Heraclitus in Ephesus was the first to consider the interrelatedness of things. Xenophanes of Colophon was the first champion of civility. In Lesbos, the Aegean island of Sappho and Alcaeus, the early lyric poets asked themselves ‘How can I be true to myself?’ In Samos, Pythagoras imagined an everlasting soul and took his ideas to Italy where they flowered again in surprising and radical forms.

 

Prize-winning and bestselling writer Adam Nicolson travels through this transforming world and asks what light these ancient thinkers can throw on our deepest preconceptions. Sparkling with maps, photographs and artwork, How to Be is a journey into the origins of Western thought.

 

Hugely formative ideas emerged in these harbour-cities: fluidity of mind, the search for coherence, a need for the just city, a recognition of the mutability of things, a belief in the reality of the ideal — all became the Greeks’ legacy to the world.

 

Born out of a rough, dynamic—and often cruel— moment in human history, it was the dawn of enquiry, where these fundamental questions about self, city and cosmos, asked for the first time, became, as they remain, the unlikely bedrock of understanding.

 

Release date: September 5th

pre-order a copy of How to Be from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Anticipates

Creep by Myriam Gurba

 

 

A creep can be a singular figure, a villain who makes things go bump in the night. Yet creep is also what the fog does—it lurks into place to do its dirty work, muffling screams, obscuring the truth, and providing cover for those prowling within it.

 

Creep is Myriam Gurba’s informal sociology of creeps, a deep dive into the dark recesses of the toxic traditions that plague the United States and create the abusers who haunt our books, schools, and homes. Through cultural criticism disguised as personal essay, Gurba studies the ways in which oppression is collectively enacted, sustaining ecosystems that unfairly distribute suffering and premature death to our most vulnerable. Yet identifying individual creeps, creepy social groups, and creepy cultures is only half of this book’s project—the other half is examining how we as individuals, communities, and institutions can challenge creeps and rid ourselves of the fog that seeks to blind us.

 

With her ruthless mind, wry humor, and adventurous style, Gurba implicates everyone from Joan Didion to her former abuser, everything from Mexican stereotypes to the carceral state. Braiding her own history and identity throughout, she argues for a new way of conceptualizing oppression, and she does it with her signature blend of bravado and humility.

 

Release date: September 5th

pre-order a copy of Creep from the webstore here

 

The Fraud by Zadie Smith

 

 

It is 1873. Mrs. Eliza Touchet is the Scottish housekeeper—and cousin by marriage—of a once famous novelist, now in decline, William Ainsworth, with whom she has lived for thirty years. Mrs. Touchet is a woman of many interests: literature, justice, abolitionism, class, her cousin, his wives, this life, and the next. But she is also sceptical. She suspects her cousin of having no talent; his successful friend, Mr. Charles Dickens, of being a bully and a moralist; and England of being a land of facades, in which nothing is quite what it seems. 

 

Andrew Bogle meanwhile grew up enslaved on the Hope Plantation, Jamaica. He knows every lump of sugar comes at a human cost. He knows that the rich deceive the poor. And that people are more easily manipulated than they realize. When Bogle finds himself in London, star witness in a celebrated case of imposture, he knows his future depends on telling the right story.

 

The “Tichborne Trial”—wherein a lower-class butcher from Australia claimed he was in fact the rightful heir of a sizable estate and title—captivates Mrs. Touchet and all of England. Is Sir Roger Tichborne really who he says he is? Or is he a fraud? Mrs. Touchet is a woman of the world. Mr. Bogle is no fool. But in a world of hypocrisy and self-deception, deciding what is real proves a complicated task…

 

Based on real historical events, The Fraud is a dazzling novel about truth and fiction, Jamaica and Britain, fraudulence and authenticity, and the mystery of “other people.”

 

Release date: September 5th

pre-order a copy of The Fraud from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Anticipates

Beyond the Door of No Return by David Diop, trans. Sam Taylor

 

 

Paris, 1806. The renowned botanist Michel Adanson lies on his deathbed, the masterwork to which he dedicated his life still incomplete. As he expires, the last word to escape his lips is a woman’s name: Maram.

 

The key to this mysterious woman’s identity is Adanson’s unpublished memoir of the years he spent in Senegal, concealed in a secret compartment in a chest of drawers. Therein lies a story as fantastical as it is tragic: Maram, it turns out, is none other than the fabled revenant. A young woman of noble birth from the kingdom of Waalo, Maram was sold into slavery but managed to escape from the Island of Gorée—a major embarkation point of the transatlantic slave trade—to a small village hidden in the forest. While on a research expedition in West Africa as a young man, Adanson hears the story of the revenant and becomes obsessed with finding her. Accompanied by his guide, he ventures deep into the Senegalese bush on a journey that reveals not only the savagery of the French colonial occupation but also the unlikely transports of the human heart.

 

Written with sensitivity and narrative flair, David Diop’s Beyond the Door of No Return is a love story like few others. Drawing on the richness and lyricism of Senegal’s oral traditions, Diop has constructed a historical epic of the highest order.

 

Release date: September 19th

pre-order a copy of Beyond the Door of No Return from the webstore here

 

Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang

 

 

A smog has spread. Food crops are rapidly disappearing. A chef escapes her dying career in a dreary city to take a job at a decadent mountaintop colony seemingly free of the world’s troubles.

 

There, the sky is clear again. Rare ingredients abound. Her enigmatic employer and his visionary daughter have built a lush new life for the global elite, one that reawakens the chef to the pleasures of taste, touch, and her own body.

 

In this atmosphere of hidden wonders and cool, seductive violence, the chef’s boundaries undergo a thrilling erosion. Soon she is pushed to the center of a startling attempt to reshape the world far beyond the plate.

 

Sensuous and surprising, joyous and bitingly sharp, told in language as alluring as it is original, Land of Milk and Honey lays provocatively bare the ethics of seeking pleasure in a dying world. It is a daringly imaginative exploration of desire and deception, privilege and faith, and the roles we play to survive. Most of all, it is a love letter to food, to wild delight, and to the transformative power of a woman embracing her own appetite.

 

Release date: September 26th


 

Patti Anticipates

The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright

 

 

Nell—funny, brave and so much loved—is a young woman with adventure on her mind. As she sets out into the world, she finds her family history hard to escape. For her mother, Carmel, Nell’s leaving home opens a space in her heart, where the turmoil of a lifetime begins to churn. And across the generations falls the long shadow of Carmel’s famous father, an Irish poet of beautiful words and brutal actions.

 

This is a meditation on love: spiritual, romantic, darkly sexual or genetic. A generational saga that traces the inheritance not just of trauma but also of wonder, it is a testament to the glorious resilience of women in the face of promises false and true. Above all, it is an exploration of the love between mother and daughter – sometimes fierce, often painful, but always transcendent.

 

Release date: September 12th

pre-order a copy of The Wren, The Wren from the webstore here

 

Pearl by Siân Hughes

 

 

Marianne is eight years old when her mother goes missing.

 

Left behind with her baby brother and grieving father in a ramshackle house on the edge of a small village, she clings to the fragmented memories of her mother’s love; the smell of fresh herbs, the games they played, and the songs and stories of her childhood.

 

As time passes, Marianne struggles to adjust, fixated on her mother’s disappearance and the secrets she’s sure her father is keeping from her. Discovering a medieval poem called Pearl and trusting in its promise of consolation, Marianne sets out to make a visual illustration of it, a task that she returns to over and over but somehow never manages to complete.

 

Tormented by an unmarked gravestone in an abandoned chapel and the tidal pull of the river, her childhood home begins to crumble as the past leads her down a path of self-destruction. But can art heal Marianne? And will her own future as a mother help her find peace?

 

Release date: September 19th

pre-order a copy of Pearl from the webstore here

 


 

Venice, 1459. London, 1953. The Republic of the Congo, 1964. Harlem, 1976. Travel through time with these titles and then tell us your thoughts. Enjoy classics and contemporary fiction. Also…Space!

 

Ben Recommends

Widowland by C.J. Carey

 

 

LONDON, 1953. Thirteen years have passed since England surrendered to the Nazis and formed a Grand Alliance with Germany. It was forced to adopt many of its oppressive ideologies, one of which was the strict classification of women into hierarchical groups based on the perceived value they brought to society.

 

Rose Ransom, a member of the privileged Geli class, remembers life from before the war but knows better than to let it show. She works for the Ministry of Culture, rewriting the classics of English literature to ensure there are no subversive thoughts that will give women any ideas.

 

Outbreaks of insurgency have been seen across the country with graffiti made up of seditious lines from forbidden works by women painted on public buildings. Suspicion has fallen on Widowland, the run-down slums where childless women over fifty have been banished. Rose is given the dangerous task of infiltrating Widowland to find the source of the rebellion before the Leader arrives in England for the Coronation ceremony of King Edward VIII and Queen Wallis.

 

Will Rose follow her instructions and uncover the criminals? Or will she fight for what she knows in her heart is right?

 

order a copy of Widowland from the webstore here

 

Breaking and Entering by Don Gillmor

 

 

Forty-nine and sweating through the hottest summer on record, Beatrice Billings is rudderless: her marriage is stale, her son communicates solely through cryptic text messages, her mother has dementia, and she conducts endless arguments with her older sister in her head. Toronto feels like an inadequately air-conditioned museum of its former self, and the same could be said of her life. She dreams of the past, her days as a newlywed, a new mom, a new homeowner gutting the kitchen—now the only novel experience that looms is the threat of divorce.

 

Everything changes when she googles “escape” and discovers the world of amateur lock-picking. Breaking into houses is thrilling: she’s subtle and discreet, never greedy, but as her curiosity about other people’s lives becomes a dangerous compulsion and the entire city feels a few degrees from boiling over, she realizes she must turn her guilty analysis on herself. A searingly insightful rendering of midlife among the anxieties of the early twenty-first century, Breaking and Entering is an exacting look at the fragility of all the things we take on faith.

 

order a copy of Breaking and Entering from the webstore here

 


 

Rupert Recommends

Here Begins the Dark Sea by Meredith F. Small

 

 

In 1459 a Venetian monk named Fra Mauro completed an astonishing map of the world.  Seven feet in diameter, Fra Mauro’s mappamundi is the oldest and most complete Medieval map to survive into modernity. And in its time, this groundbreaking mappamundi provided the most detailed description of the known world, incorporating accurate observation, and geographic reality, urging viewers to see water and land as they really existed. Fra Mauro’s map was the first in history to show that a ship could circumnavigate Africa, and that the Indian “Sea” was in fact an ocean, enabling international trade to expand across the globe. Acclaimed anthropologist Meredith F. Small reveals how Fra Mauro’s mappamundi made cartography into a science rather than a practice based on religion and ancient myths.

 

Here Begins the Dark Sea brings Fra Mauro’s masterpiece to life as a work of art and a window into Venetian society and culture. In telling the story of this cornerstone of modern cartography, Small takes the reader on a fascinating journey as she explores the human urge to find our way.  Here Begins the Dark Sea is a riveting testament to the undeniable impact Fra Mauro and his mappamundi have had over the past five centuries and still holds relevance today.

 

order a copy of Here Begins the Dark Sea from the webstore here

 

Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead

 

 

It’s 1971. Trash piles up on the streets, crime is at an all-time high, the city is careening towards bankruptcy, and a shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. Amidst this collective nervous breakdown furniture store owner and ex-fence Ray Carney tries to keep his head down and his business thriving. His days moving stolen goods around the city are over. It’s strictly the straight-and-narrow for him–until he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter May and he decides to hit up his old police contact Munson, fixer extraordinaire. But Munson has his own favors to ask of Carney and staying out of the game gets a lot more complicated–and deadly.

 

1973. The counter-culture has created a new generation, the old ways are being overthrown, but there is one constant, Pepper, Carney’s endearingly violent partner in crime. It’s getting harder to put together a reliable crew for hijackings, heists and assorted felonies, so Pepper takes on a side gig doing security on a Blaxploitation shoot in Harlem. He finds himself in a freaky world of Hollywood stars, up-and-coming comedians, and celebrity drug dealers, in addition to the usual cast of hustlers, mobsters and hit men. These adversaries underestimate the seasoned crook–to their regret.

 

1976. Harlem is burning, block by block, while the whole county is gearing up for Bicentennial celebrations. Carney is trying to come up with a July 4th ad he can live with. (“Two Hundred Years of Getting Away with It!”), while his wife Elizabeth is campaigning for her childhood friend, the former assistant D.A. and rising politician Alexander Oakes. When a fire severely injures one of Carney’s tenants, he enlists Pepper to look into who may be behind it. Our crooked duo have to battle their way through a crumbling metropolis run by the shady, the violent and the utterly corrupted.

 

Crook Manifesto is a darkly funny tale of a city under siege, but also a sneakily searching portrait of the meaning of family. Colson Whitehead’s kaleidoscopic portrait of Harlem is sure to stand as one of the all-time great evocations of a place and a time.

 

order a copy of Crook Manifesto from the webstore here

 


 

Danielle Recommends

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, trans. Thomas Teal

 

 

In The Summer Book Tove Jansson distills the essence of the summer—its sunlight and storms—into twenty-two crystalline vignettes. This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.” In The Summer Book, Jansson creates her own complete world, full of the varied joys and sorrows of life.

 

Tove Jansson, whose Moomintroll comic strip and books brought her international acclaim, lived for much of her life on an island like the one described in The Summer Book, and the work can be enjoyed as her closely observed journal of the sounds, sights, and feel of a summer spent in intimate contact with the natural world.

 

order a copy of The Summer Book from the webstore here

 

Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker

 

 

Cassandra Edwards is a graduate student at Berkeley: gay, brilliant, nerve-racked, miserable. At the beginning of this novel, she drives back to her family ranch in the foothills of the Sierras to attend the wedding of her identical twin, Judith, to a nice young doctor from Connecticut. Cassandra, however, is hell-bent on sabotaging the wedding.
 
Dorothy Baker’s entrancing tragicomic novella follows an unpredictable course of events in which her heroine appears variously as conniving, self-aware, pitiful, frenzied, absurd, and heartbroken—at once utterly impossible and tremendously sympathetic. As she struggles to come to terms with the only life she has, Cassandra reckons with her complicated feelings about the sister who she feels owes it to her to be her alter ego; with her father, a brandy-soaked retired professor of philosophy; and with the ghost of her dead mother.
 
First published in 1962, Cassandra at the Wedding is a book of enduring freshness, insight, and verve. Like the fiction of Jeffrey Eugenides and Jhumpa Lahiri, it is the work of a master stylist with a profound understanding of the complexities of the heart and mind.

 

order a copy of Cassandra at the Wedding from the webstore here

 


 

Olivia Recommends

The Little Book of Exoplanets by Joshua Winn

 

 

For centuries, people have speculated about the possibility of planets orbiting distant stars, but only since the 1990s has technology allowed astronomers to detect them. At this point, more than five thousand such exoplanets have been identified, with the pace of discovery accelerating after the launch of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the Webb Space Telescope. In The Little Book of Exoplanets, Princeton astrophysicist Joshua Winn offers a brief and engaging introduction to the search for exoplanets and the cutting-edge science behind recent findings. In doing so, he chronicles the dawn of a new age of discovery—one that has rapidly transformed astronomy and our broader understanding of the universe.

 

Scientists now know that many Sun-like stars host their own systems of planets, some of which may resemble our solar system and include planets similar to the Earth. But, Winn tells us, the most remarkable discoveries so far have been of planets with unexpected and decidedly un-Earth-like properties, which have upended what we thought we knew about the origins of planetary systems. Winn provides an inside view of the sophisticated detective work astronomers perform as they find and study exoplanets and describes the surprising—sometimes downright bizarre—planets and systems they have found. He explains how these discoveries are revolutionizing astronomy, and he explores the current status and possible future of the search for another Earth. Finally, drawing on his own and other scientists’ work, he considers how the discovery of exoplanets and their faraway solar systems changes our perspectives on the universe and our place in it.

 

order a copy of The Little Book of Exoplanets from the webstore here

 

Austral by Carlos Fonseca, trans. Megan McDowell

 

 

Julio is a disillusioned professor of literature, a per­petual wanderer who has spent years away from his home, teaching in the United States. He receives a posthumous summons from an old friend, the writer Aliza Abravanel, to uncover the mysteries within her final novel. Aliza had raced to finish her work as her mind deteriorated. In her man­uscript is a series of interconnected accounts of loss, tales that set Julio hurtling on a journey to uncover their true meaning. Austral tracks Julio’s trip from Aliza’s home in an Argentine artists’ colony to a forgotten city in Guatemala, to the Peruvian Amazon, and through Nueva Germania, the anti­semitic commune in Paraguay founded by Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche.

 

A story of mourning and return-to one’s na­tive country, to one’s darkest memories, to oneself­ Carlos Fonseca’s Austral interrogates the obsessions and upheavals faced by survivors of a rapidly glob­alizing world. A treasure map of intertwined ex­periences, each cleaving its own path through time, the novel is a fascinating investigation into the disappearance of culture and memory and a chart­ing of the furthest limits of what language can do. With this remarkable exploration of the traces we leave behind, chose we erase, and how we seek to rebuild, Carlos Fonseca confirms his status as one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Latin American literature.

 

order a copy of Austral from the webstore here

 


 

Patti Recommends

First Blood by Amélie Nothomb, trans. Alison Anderson

 

 

The Republic of the Congo, 1964. A young man faces a firing squad, preparing for his last moment on Earth. He is known as a complex and complicated man whose childhood left him hungry for affection and attention and who transformed his emotional wounds into a brilliant career as a diplomat and a negotiator. Now he finds himself negotiating for his own life, together with the lives of 1,500 Congolese citizens.

 

Inspired by the life of her father and by her lifelong effort to understand him, Amélie Nothomb’s new novel is about life-and-death decisions, about reckoning with one’s past, reconciling with one’s parents, and about the hard, often humorous work of determining one’s own path.

order a copy of First Blood from the webstore here

 

How to Love Your Daughter by Hila Blum, trans. Daniella Zamir

 

 

Thousands of miles from home, a woman stands on a dark street, peeking through well-lit windows at two little girls. They are the grandchildren she’s never met, daughters of the daughter she has not seen in years.

 

At the center of this mesmerizing story is the woman’s quest to understand how a relationship that began in bliss—a mother besotted with her only child—arrived at a point of such unfathomable distance. Weaving back and forth in time, she unravels memories and long-buried feelings, retracing the infinite acts of parental care, each so mundane and apparently benign, that in ensemble may have undermined what she most treasured. With exquisite psychological precision, Blum traces the seemingly insignificant missteps and deceptions of family life, where it’s possible to cross the line between protectiveness and possession without even seeing it—and uncertain whether, or how, we can find our way back.

 

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