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    25 new paperbacks on shelves this May.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    May 1, 2023, 4:55am

    It’s a new month, and that means, amongst other things, that a lot of wonderful, exciting, thought-provoking titles are finally being released in paperback. The titles below span a wide range, including authors old and new, established and promising. I hope you’ll find a few to add to your lists!


    Where the Light Falls: Selected Stories - Hale, Nancy

    Nancy Hale, Where the Light Falls: Selected Stories
    (Library of America)

    “Skillfully introduced and selected by Lauren Groff, this excellent collection of 25 short stories by Hale reintroduces an overlooked master of the genre. Hale explores the borderland between inner truth and outer obligation, otherness and conformity….Extensively published in The New Yorker and the winner of 10 O. Henry Awards, Hale’s insightful, artfully constructed stories remain irresistible—and relevant—today.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Either/Or - Batuman, Elif

    Elif Batuman, Either/Or

    “Batuman has produced another page-turning delight, a morsel of Ivy League realism….Perhaps Batuman’s genius lies in her eagerness to endow the small dramas of campus life with the same importance as the big existential questions.”
    Harvard Review

    Neruda on the Park - Natera, Cleyvis

    Cleyvis Natera, Neruda on the Park
    (Ballantine Books)

    “Cleyvis Natera had me in her thrall from beginning to end. Neruda on the Park speaks to so many of our current challenges with moral imagination, grace, and wickedly good, page-turning storytelling.”
    –Julia Alvarez

    The Midnight Library - Haig, Matt

    Matt Haig, The Midnight Library

    “An absorbing but comfortable read…a vision of limitless possibility, of new roads taken, of new lives lived, of a whole different world available to us somehow, somewhere, might be exactly what’s wanted in these troubled and troubling times.”
    The New York Times

    Meditations: A New Translation (Revised) - Aurelius, Marcus

    Marcus Aurelius, Meditations: A New Translation (Revised) (trans. Gregory Hays)(
    Modern Library)

    “Here, for our age, is [Marcus’s] great work presented in its entirety, strongly introduced and freshly, elegantly translated.”
    –Robert Fagles

    When Women Were Dragons - Barnhill, Kelly

    Kelly Barnhill, When Women Were Dragons
    (Anchor Books)

    “[A] riveting historical fantasy….What’s surprising about Barnhill’s rare foray into adult fiction is its subversiveness and feminist rage. It’s a powerful, searing novel that feels deeply true, despite its magical premise.”

    The Prodigal Women: A Novel - Hale, Nancy

    Nancy Hale, The Prodigal Woman
    (Library of America)

    “Nancy Hale’s prose is controlled, her sense of place precise and vivid. She had the gift of making places resonate behind her characters, and become a part of them.”
    –Mary Lee Settle

    Darling Girl by Liz Michalski

    Liz Michalski, Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan

    “Michalski’s writing moves light as a specter between moments of pain and action, keeping readers breathless in an enchanted race to find out who will receive the true gift: ordinary mortal existence.”
    The Washington Post

    The Force of Such Beauty by Barbara Bourland

    Barbara Bourland, The Force of Such Beauty

    “With trademark style and sophistication Bourland plays with the tropes of the princess tales, true and not, that we know as well as our own names….Despite danger everywhere, Caroline is the captivating narrator of her own story: a domestic drama, sparkling fairy tale, cautionary fable, and suspenseful mystery all laced into one.”

    Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on Health in America - Villarosa, Linda

    Linda Villarosa, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on Health in America
    (Anchor Books)

    “It’s no secret that Black people are subject to the cumulative effects of systemic racism. But Linda Villarosa’s Under the Skin walks us through the inevitable consequences of living in a racist country on our bodies, our environments, and our healthcare system….This is journalism at its finest. If you read one book this year, let it be this one.”
    –Claudia Rankine

    Greenland - Donaldson, David Santos

    David Santos Donaldson, Greenland
    (Armistad Press)

    “This is a book with respect for neither the margins of the page nor those that confine us in the real world. Donaldson sustains a plot that ends with ecstasy, action and reconciliation, satisfyingly concluding a novel of ideas that is also about one queer Black man finding his true north.”
    Los Angeles Times

    Paradise Falls: A Deadly Secret, a Cover-Up, and the Women Who Forged the Modern Environmental Movement - O'Brien, Keith

    Keith O’Brien, Paradise Falls: A Deadly Secret, A Cover-Up, and the Women Who Forged the Modern Environmental Movement

    “Meticulously researched…gripping….This authoritative book deserves a wide audience and should provoke reflection on just how much we have progressed in the 45 years since the Love Canal disaster.”
    Library Journal

    The Cherry Robbers - Walker, Sarai

    Sarai Walker, The Cherry Robbers
    (Harper Perennial)

    “Walker’s take on the classic Gothic tale fairly shimmers, titillating with a heady concoction of terror and desire, frothy with fever-pitched emotions, and dark with smothering melancholy and macabre spectres.”

    Bad Gays: A Homosexual History - Lemmey, Huw

    Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller, Bad Gays: A Homosexual History

    Bad Gays manages to bring something new to the table by insisting on focusing not on how a certain identity can coexist with its evil antithesis of oppressive actions, but rather on how queer sensibilities interweave with power relations and the choices people make regarding their power. That is the thesis at the core of the book. To understand the ‘bad gays’ of history is to understand how to choose a contemporary queer movement that stands as all-inclusive and in solidarity with its counterparts.”
    Foreword Reviews

    A Previous Life: Another Posthumous Novel - White, Edmund

    Edmund White, A Previous Life: Another Posthumous Novel

    “Humorous and nearly always irreverent….An erotically charged literary romp facing the loss of physical beauty and the inevitable passage of time.”

    Delphi - Pollard, Clare

    Clare Pollard, Delphi
    (Avid Reader Press/Simon and Schuster)

    “Finally, a brilliantly funny and sad look into the heart of the pandemic lockdown… [that] manages to avoid cliches and tired complaints while being reassuringly familiar at the same time….Its intimacy reminded me of Sally Rooney and its subtle, sly humor of Miriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows…a reassuring reflection in the darkness.”
    San Francisco Chronicle

    Sister Stardust (First Time Trade) - Green, Jane

    Jane Green, Sister Stardust
    (Hanover Square Press)

    “Chock-full of vibrant historical details about London and Morocco in the 1960s, Green’s first foray into historical fiction does not disappoint…. A provocative story about youth culture during the 1960s, overflowing with sex, drugs, and rock and roll.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    We Had to Remove This Post - Bervoets, Hanna

    Hanna Bervoets, We Had to Remove This Post
    (Harper Perennial)

    “The dank underside of social media, its cruelty and delusions, have become, our shared affliction. It needed an accomplished novelist to explore humanely the damage. Hanna Bervoets has richly obliged in this superbly poised, psychologically astute and subtle novel of mental unravelling.”
    –Ian McEwan

    Animal Liberation Now: The Definitive Classic Renewed - Singer, Peter

    Peter Singer, Animal Liberation Now: The Definitive Classic Renewed
    (Harper Perennial)

    “In its first incarnation, Animal Liberation became the indispensable foundational text for the movement whose name it bore. In its new, updated, and wholly rewritten form, Animal Liberation Now provides not only a survey…of what goes on today in the factory farms and research laboratories of the world, but also a guide, written with the honesty and philosophical depth characteristic of all of Peter Singer’s work, through the complexities of the modern debate on animal rights.”
    –J.M. Coetzee

    Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments - Watkins, D.

    D. Watkins, Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments
    (Legacy Lit)

    “In Black Boy Smile, D. Watkins is a masterful memoirist. No lie, I could read accounts from his life for eons. He writes with so much style and verve; so much wit, humor, candor; so much cultural acuity and earned wisdom. Watkins miraculous personal story is a universal testimony of survival, love, and hard-won evolution.”
    –Mitchell S. Jackson

    Managing Expectations: A Memoir in Essays - Driver, Minnie

    Minnie Driver, Managing Expectation: A Memoir in Essays

    “…latest in a long list of essay collections by celebrities that have been published over the past decade or so. It’s also one of the best….Driver establishes her distinct literary voice: warm but unsentimental, emotionally insightful, with a strong sense of the absurd.”
    Irish Times

    The Other Mother - Harper, Rachel M.

    Rachel M. Harper, The Other Mother

    “A gripping multigenerational family story…. This emotionally complex and deftly told story centers Black queer women whose choices come from a place of love and agency.”

    All the Things We Don't Talk about - Feltman, Amy

    Amy Feltman, All the Things We Don’t Talk About
    (Grand Central Publishing)

    “[A] nuanced portrait of a nonbinary teen’s coming-of-age amid intense family dynamics….Feltman brings empathy and moments of grace to her characters.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Patience Is a Subtle Thief - Ishola-Ayodeji, Abi

    Abi Ishola-Ayodeji, Patience Is a Subtle Thief

    “Ishola-Ayodeji is deft, shrewd, sometimes witty, and always observant about the social, economic, and political obstacles to Nigerians wishing only to live honorably and decently. A poignant, revealing, and rueful tale of how much the political can affect the personal.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    The Girls in Queens - Kandic Torres, Christine

    Christine Kandic Torres, The Girls in Queens

    “Christine Kandic Torres calls her debut novel, The Girls in Queens, ‘the Nuyorican My Brilliant Friend,’ and it delivers on that comparison.”

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