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    Check out the 25 new books out in paperback this month.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    October 30, 2023, 5:00am

    November is almost upon us, and, as the weather cools, you might find yourself wanting to reach for a new book to curl up with, perhaps even one you found yourself eying on the shelves earlier. If so, you’re in luck: you’ll find twenty-five books reprinted in paperback below, including novels and stories from Jane Smiley, John Edgar Wideman, Wendell Berry, Mariana Enriquez,  and Meghan Gillis; Chetna Maroo’s Booker nominee; nonfiction by Haruki Murakami and Shirley Hazzard; a new translation of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations; explorations of grief, Black American history, method acting, unsung art, and politics; and much, much more.

    If you missed them in hardcover, be sure to pick up one—or as many as you can fit in your possibly-already-tome-filled home—of these intriguing paperbacks this month!


    A Dangerous Business - Smiley, Jane

    Jane Smiley, A Dangerous Business

    “Now here’s something you don’t come across every day: a mash-up of a Western, a serial-killer mystery and a feminist-inflected tale of life in a bordello. But Jane Smiley’s A Dangerous Business is all that—and, amazingly, it works….Smiley smoothly melds three distinct narratives into one without breaking a sweat.”
    The Washington Post

    Western Lane - Maroo, Chetna

    Chetna Maroo, Western Lane

    “Profoundly resonant….A remarkable book in how it deals with that time, drifting forwards, backwards, sometimes superimposing different moments upon each other. To that end, it also contains some of the best sports writing I’ve read since Eimear Ryan’s Holding Her Breath….In the act of making books, writers make choices on every line, with every word. This is a debut in which Chetna Maroo gets every choice right.”
    The Irish Times

    Lungfish - Gilliss, Meghan

    Meghan Gilliss, Lungfish

    “A family lives illegally on a Maine island, barely surviving, while a father endures recovery; Gilliss imbues every page with the ache and uncertainty of trying to give a child small pockets of joy under near impossible circumstances. The story is told balletically, compulsively, in short spurts of image and sensation, while also managing to immerse the reader fully in the textures, tastes and sounds of the Maine coast.”
    –Lynn Steger Strong

    Novelist as a Vocation - Murakami, Haruki

    Haruki Murakami, Novelist as a Vocation (trans. Philip Gabriel and Ted Goosen)

    “Murakami has written fourteen acclaimed novels..Novelist is indeed his true vocation, and in this collection of eleven interconnected essays, he tells would-be fiction writers, struggling novelists, and his many devoted readers about the path he’s followed and the ideas and thoughts he’s had in the process…Although this is a concrete and practical guide, as Murakami intended, it is also a fascinating personal and professional memoir.”
    Library Journal

    Shirley Hazzard: A Writing Life - Olubas, Brigitta

    Brigitta Olubas, Shirley Hazzard: A Writing Life

    “An illuminating portrait….In this scrupulously researched biography, Olubas…charts the meandering course of Hazzard’s life and travels, drawing on events and impressions that would inform much of her writing….Throughout, Olubas offers a discerning, clear-eyed perspective of Hazzard’s complex character and a persuasive appraisal of what distinguishes her work. An absorbing, well-crafted profile of a supremely gifted writer.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Moonrise Over New Jessup - Minnicks, Jamila

    Jamila Minnicks, Moonrise Over New Jessup

    “No one who’s read Zora Neale Hurston ever forgets her Eatonville. So too will Jamila Minnicks’s New Jessup live on in the American imagination as both a place and an idea. Moonrise Over New Jessup is a staggeringly beautiful love letter to Blackness—particularly southern Blackness—that celebrates the joys, sadness, and multiplicity of existence outside the white gaze. An absolute triumph, Moonrise Over New Jessup confirms a major voice in Jamila Minnicks, a writer everyone should be watching.”
    –Dionne Irving

    Central Places - Cai, Delia

    Delia Cai, Central Places
    (Ballantine Books)

    “A meet-the-parents comedy of manners! A town-mouse-country-mouse premise! A well-observed study of a provincial Manhattanite! Central Places has it all. It brims with charm, zippy observations, and the troublesome task of squaring who you are with who you were and who you want to be.”

    Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories - Enriquez, Mariana

    Mariana Enriquez, Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories (trans. Megan McDowell)
    (Hogarth Press)

    “Enriquez’s stories are historically aware and class-conscious, but her characters never avail themselves of sentimentalism or comfort. She’s after a truth more profound, and more disturbing, than whatever the strict dictates of realism allow….[P]ropulsive and mesmerizing, laced with vivid descriptions of the grotesque…and the darkest humor.”
    The New York Times Book Review

    How It Went: Thirteen More Stories of the Port William Membership - Berry, Wendell

    Wendell Berry, How It Went: Thirteen More Stories of the Port William Membership

    “Lovingly written….Taken together, the thirteen chapters in Wendell Berry’s How It Went create a tale that gently unwinds and doubles back on itself, not so much like a river but more like a flowering vine….Berry’s prose…is imbued with compassion….A book full of such gentleness, wisdom and humility seems preposterous in this day and age. It’s also something of a miracle. We are lucky, in such times, to still have a writer like Wendell Berry.”

    Mothercare: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence - Tillman, Lynne

    Lynne Tillman, Mothercare: On Obligation, Love, Death, and Ambivalence
    (Soft Skull)

    “Tillman has in this slim memoir of the final years of her mother’s life zeroed in on an underrepresented facet of the universal contract: our queasy anxiety that the relationship might, in the end, be transactional….Mothercare is practical, not sentimental. It flirts with being analytical. It’s even useful, as Tillman runs through her and her sisters’ travails dealing with doctors and home care. Though it is memoir and not a novel, only Tillman the novelist could have produced it.”
    The New York Times Book Review

    Have I Told You This Already?: Stories I Don't Want to Forget to Remember - Graham, Lauren

    Lauren Graham, Have I Told You This Already?: Stories I Don’t Want to Forget to Remember

    “Lauren Graham’s fourth delicious book of musings is fast, furious, smart, and ridiculously funny. Apparently she’s not just our modern-day answer to Carole Lombard, but she has a generous dose of Dorothy Parker thrown in for good measure. It’s not particularly fair, actually. But then again, life never is.”
    –Amy Sherman-Palladino

    Requiem for the Massacre: A Black History on the Conflict, Hope, and Fallout of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre - Young, Rj

    RJ Young, Requiem for the Massacre: A Black History on the Conflict, Hope, and Fallout of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

    “In recent years the horrors of the destruction of Greenwood, a thriving Black Tulsa neighborhood, have been resurrected by several authors, filmmakers and showrunners. Young’s account not only relies on survivors’ eyewitness testimony but adds the layer of his own upbringing in Oklahoma. Whether discussing his mother’s support for Trump, the traumas of systemic racism or his early career as a sports journalist, Young reclaims the story of Tulsa’s aftermath from the outsiders.”
    Los Angeles Times

    Strega - Lykke Holm, Johanne

    Johanne Lykke Holm, Strega (trans. Saskia Vogel)

    “A work of mythic reinvention about the power of girls coming of age in a world hell-bent on containing their passions and imaginations….Strega left me breathless, angry, and then thrilled by the dare it leaves in the reader’s lap.”
    –Lidia Yuknavitch

    The Homewood Trilogy - Wideman, John Edgar

    John Edgar Wideman, The Homewood Trilogy

    “Long admired for its lyricism, Wideman’s work carries with it the rhythms and cadences of black vernacular and music. In his acclaimed Homewood trilogy—the novels Hiding Place(1981) and Sent for You Yesterday (1983), and the short-story collection Damballah (1981)—he evokes the spiritual and physical life of the working-class black community in Pittsburgh where he grew up.”
    The Paris Review

    A Quiet Life - Joella, Ethan

    Ethan Joella, A Quiet Life

    A Quiet Life is about the transformative power of connection if we are willing to risk opening our hearts. Joella’s characters help each other shoulder the burden of grief and unearth the shards of beauty to be found in the wreckage of loss. There is magic at the intersection of these stories, a rare and addicting alchemy of ordinary moments and choices that add up to whole, brave, flawed, joyful lives. This novel insists on our essential strength, resilience, and empathy in an age of isolation.”
    –Katie Runde

    Meditations - Aurelius, Marcus

    Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (trans. David V. Hicks and C. Scot Hicks)

    “This new, accessible translation by Scot and David Hicks of the emperor’s famous Stoic handbook reflects far better the flavor of Marcus Aurelius’s own style. Americans should read Marcus—and this new edition now makes it a joy.”
    –Victor Davis Hanson

    The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to ACT - Butler, Isaac

    Isaac Butler, The Method: How the Twentieth Century Learned to ACT

    “Butler accomplishes what the Method’s devotees sought to do in their performances, bringing color and dimension to figures who might have been boxed into archetypal roles (omniscient godhead or exploitative charlatan) and presenting them to us in all their brilliant, infuriating complexity.”

    The Lion House: The Coming of a King - Bellaigue, Christopher de

    Christopher de Bellaigue, The Lion House: The Coming of a King

    “A vivid, cinematic account of the rise of Suleyman the Magnificent….De Bellaigue follows with exhilarating clarity and suspense the era’s broader battles across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and the individual trajectories—grand ambitions, rivalries, betrayals—of these outsiders in Suleyman’s court, a place rife with intrigue and back-stabbing, rich with colorful characters.”

    Dick Cheney Shot Me in the Face - O'Leary, Tim

    Tim O’Leary, Dick Cheney Shot Me in the Face…and Other Tales of Men in Pain
    (Rare Bird Books)

    “In the opening and title story of his riveting collection, Timothy O’Leary returns fire, blasting the S.O.B. Cheney with true facts spun out by a fictional victim in a most entertaining way. As with all of the stories, O’Leary’s exuberant, fast-paced style bobs us down rivers of his savvy takes on the cultures, fun, fears, and realities of our time….Each story in this collection is a gem of thought, language and craft. Some are funny, some are darkly funny…and others are dramatic.  All are superbly entertaining.”
    –Jeff Merrick

    We Are the Light - Quick, Matthew

    Matthew Quick, We Are the Light
    (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster)

    “Filled with everyday guardian angels, this bittersweet, redemptive meditation on rebuilding after the unthinkable reminds readers that beauty can be found even among shattered pieces. We Are the Light is a perfect read for anyone in need of an insightful, optimistic view of humanity’s capacity for compassion and growth.”
    Shelf Awareness

    American Caliph: The True Story of a Muslim Mystic, a Hollywood Epic, and the 1977 Siege of Washington, DC - Mufti, Shahan

    Shahan Mufti, American Caliph: The True Story of a Muslim Mystic, a Hollywood Epic, and the 1977 Siege of Washington, DC

    “Mining thousands of documents from FBI files and Department of Justice records, trial transcripts, and interviews…journalist Mufti fashions a tense, often grisly account of the events leading up to the two-day standoff and the arrests, trial, and aftermath….[An] engrossing work of investigative journalism.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Just Passing Through: A Seven-Decade Roman Holiday: The Diaries and Photographs of Milton Gendel - Gendel, Milton

    Milton Gendel, Cullen Murphy (editor), Just Passing Through: A Seven-Decade Roman Holiday: The Diaries and Photographs of Milton Gendel

    “Milton Gendel was the soul of Rome, and for decades all roads truly did lead to him. He never stopped amazing us with his wit, his knowledge, and his social life (ranging from the local trattoria to Buckingham Palace, with people like Evelyn Waugh tossed in the mix). To fill the void left by his death in 2018, we have the surprise of this gorgeous book. What a gift he left with his diaries and photographs. As someone said to us all those years ago: ‘You don’t know Milton Gendel? You must meet him.'”
    –John Guare

    Kiki Man Ray: Art, Love, and Rivalry in 1920s Paris - Braude, Mark

    Mark Braude, Kiki Man Ray: Art, Love, and Rivalry in 1920s Paris

    Kiki Man Ray is a thoroughly researched and gracefully written life of the (until now) underestimated model, performer, painter, actress, and influencer known as Kiki de Montparnasse. Mark Braude’s biography brings her out of the wings and sets her firmly center stage in this evocative portrait of artistic life in the Paris of the 1920s.”
    –Carolyn Burke

    G-Man (Pulitzer Prize Winner): J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century - Gage, Beverly

    Beverly Gage, G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century

    “This is a monumental work about power, responsibility, and democracy itself. With deep research, an engaging voice, and penetrating insights, Beverly Gage has crafted a portrait of a man and a country in all its complexity and contradiction. To understand who we are, Gage argues, we need to understand the rise and reign of J. Edgar Hoover. And this book is now an indispensable element in the unending work of grasping the nature of our flawed nation.”
    –Jon Meacham

    The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden's White House - Whipple, Chris

    Chris Whipple, The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House

    “In this feat of a book, Whipple assesses the Biden presidency at the halfway point [and] has managed what seems to be a first: a two-year running conversation with a White House chief of staff. Whipple’s comprehensive approach adds dimension to the news stream and Whipple shines when he lets people talk….The Fight of His Life is a herculean effort. For any future writer eager to describe Biden’s first two years, this will be the book cited first and most often.”
    The New York Times Book Review

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