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    Check out 24 excellent new books out today.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    October 17, 2023, 5:00am

    It’s the middle of October already, and, if time shows no sign of slowing, the same is true for the pace of new books coming out this month. No matter what you’ve been doing—planning a costume, consuming Halloween candy before the trick-or-treaters can get it, engaging in the many grand rituals associated with the month, pondering how best to view the legendary Great Pumpkin, or something else—you can be sure that, if nothing else, there will be a bevy of new books to keep you company. Below, you’ll find novels and story collections from long-time luminaries, prize-winners, and new authors alike; highly anticipated poetry; and nonfiction tackling obscenity laws, the charms of cats, deafness, dictionaries, women’s snowboarding, and much, much more. If you’re in the mood for exciting new literature along with your hotly contested bowl of candy corns, you’re in luck, and I hope you find something below to check out (with or without those contested candies)!


    The House of Doors - Eng, Tan Twan

    Tan Twan Eng, The House of Doors

    “Exquisite….Tan takes on a behemoth task here: combining sensational fact and intimate fiction in a British colonial Asian setting complicated by white privilege, politics, social hypocrisy, gender inequity, racism, homophobia, and more….[He] succeeds in delivering another intricate literary gift.”

    Tremor - Cole, Teju

    Teju Cole, Tremor
    (Random House)

    “A master class in the morality of art…a novel of ideas but also of voices, of different perspectives claiming the first-person narrative I. The precision of detail stresses the importance of seeing, but identity, perspective, and context determine who is seeing what….A provocative and profound meditation on art and life in a world of terror.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    House Gone Quiet: Stories - Norris, Kelsey

    Kelsey Norris, House Gone Quiet: Stories

    “The windows in the House Gone Quiet offer a glimpse into communities drawn together in strange times…Norris presents a wide cast of characters in their own worlds, each overflowing with a sense of eeriness and surrealism…With its moments of dark humor, this genre-defying debut is perfect for readers of Margaret Atwood and Carmen Maria Machado.”

    Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison - Naji, Ahmed

    Ahmed Naji, Rotten Evidence: Reading and Writing in an Egyptian Prison (trans. Katharine Halls)

    “In this searing memoir, Egyptian journalist and novelist Naji…shares his experiences in prison after his writings were deemed offensive to public morality. In 2014, an Egyptian literary magazine published a section of Naji’s second novel, Using Life, which led to a complaint…and charges that Naji’s writings were a ‘malicious violation of the sanctity of morals’….In lucid prose undergirded by righteous anger, he delivers a moving testament to the power of free expression.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Great Falls, MT: Fast Times, Post-Punk Weirdos, and a Tale of Coming Home Again - Watts, Reggie

    Reggie Watts, Great Falls, MT: Fast Times, Post-Punk Weirdos, and a Tale of Coming Home Again
    (Tiny Reparations)

    “Reminiscent of experimental meta-memoirs like A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering GeniusGreat Falls, MT is earnest, optimistic, and future-forward but also nostalgic for (and critical of) times gone by, particularly the ’90s grunge boom and that greater Pacific Northwest-based cultural moment.”

    Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country - Evangelista, Patricia

    Patricia Evangelista, Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country
    (Random House)

    “In this blindingly ambitious, unfathomably brave, fiercely reported book, Patricia Evangelista exposes the evil in her country…with an insightfulness that I have not encountered since the work of Hannah Arendt. This is an account of a dark chapter in the Philippines, an examination of how murder was conflated with salvation in a violent society….You may think you are inured to shock, but this book is an exploding bomb that will damage you anew, making you wiser as it does so.”
    –Andrew Solomon

    Sweet Movie: Poems - Dietzman, Alisha

    Alisha Dietzman, Sweet Movie: Poems
    (Beacon Press)

    “Alisha Dietzman is a love poet for the twenty-first century, a fierce, devoted sensualist who feeds on aesthetic experience….Sweet Movie [is] a book on the run—from men, from religion, from family, from legacies of violence against women—and it wants you along for the ride. And it’s thrilling.”
    –Katie Peterson

    The Many Hundreds of the Scent: Poems - McCrae, Shane

    Shane McCrae, The Many Hundreds of the Scent: Poems

    “As the whole world asked, ‘Can anyone explain this strange feeling,’  a poet raised his hand….McCrae shows us how we need new music and new ears and eyes.”
    –Debbra Palmer

    Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind - McGhee, Molly

    Molly McGhee, Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind
    (Astra House)

    “[Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind] is a brutal examination of the psychological pressures and ethical complexity required to survive under late capitalism, [but] McGhee’s wry humor, tenderness, and razor-sharp writing keep it from veering into nihilism and infuse it with a real, if melancholy, kind of hope. Upton Sinclair meets modern workplace satire—with a lot of heart.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    The Future Future - Thirlwell, Adam

    Adam Thirlwell, The Future Future

    “A deeply contemporary story about a woman using the limited forms of power at her disposal to hollow out a space of agency in a violently patriarchal world….Thirlwell’s prose is hypnotic and coolly beautiful. The writing is full of dreamlike leaps, not just at the level of plot, but in its sentences, too . . . The Future Future is a strange and evasive novel…[with] a beauty and a mysterious power that reflect its enigmatic protagonist.”
    The Guardian

    The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of the Bondwoman's Narrative - Hecimovich, Gregg

    Gregg Hecimovich, The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of the Bondwoman’s Narrative
    (Ecco Press)

    “Decades of sleuthing in the archives yielded the astonishing finds that lie behind The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts, Gregg Hecimovich’s spellbinding new biography. At once a mystery, a thriller, and an elegy, this book is a riveting reconstruction of the life—and literary influences—of the author of The Bondwoman’s Narrative (1858), the first novel written by a Black woman in the United States.”
    –Jill Lepore

    Touch the Future: A Manifesto in Essays - Clark, John Lee

    Jonathan Lee Clark, Touch the Future: A Manifesto in Essays

    “John Lee Clark writes against the grain with intellectual ferocity and dry wit; with linguistic playfulness and unsparing precision; and above all, with an expansive, curious, tireless compassion. Society may ignore and isolate DeafBlind people, but as Clark shows us again and again, it is the sighted and hearing world that is marginalized by its failure to understand DeafBlind life, and never the other way around.”
    –Andrew LeLand

    The Dictionary People: The Unsung Heroes Who Created the Oxford English Dictionary - Ogilvie, Sarah

    Sarah Ogilvie, The Dictionary People: The Unsung Heroes Who Created the Oxford English Dictionary

    “As is true of so many of the most important things in an everyday life (the earth, for instance) we take for granted, we never pause a moment to wonder: How did this get made? The Oxford English Dictionary is, especially in my life, such a wonder. In The Dictionary People—a lively, funny book, full of eccentrics—Sarah Ogilvie finds all the magical characters who contributed to making the Dictionary. This is an exquisitely written book.”
    –Jamaica Kincaid

    Vengeance Is Mine - Ndiaye, Marie

    Marie NDiaye, Vengeance Is Mine (trans. Jordan Stump)

    “In this disquieting, quietly beautiful novel, Marie NDiaye writes about an unimaginable crime placing around it a world of confusion, trauma, and memories of a past that cannot be trusted. There’s more questions than answers in this fiercely intelligent story: everyone is complex and full of shadows, as life is.”
    –Mariana Enríquez

    Straw Dogs of the Universe - Chun, Ye

    Ye Chun, Straw Dogs of the Universe

    “Ye Chun writes with depth and precision about the power of the human spirit–its resilience, tenderness, darkness, and yearning—even under the harshest of circumstances. Straw Dogs of the Universe is a luminous, unforgettable story about the terror and beauty of life for Chinese immigrants in the early American West. It will leave you aching by its end.”
    –Alexandra Chang

    Let the Dead Bury the Dead - Epstein, Allison

    Allison Epstein, Let the Dead Bury the Dead

    “Allison Epstein pulls readers effortlessly into a world of tsars, revolutionaries, and ancient magic in this triumphant work of historical imagination. Woven from the threads of both the country’s history and its haunting folklore, Let the Dead Bury the Dead is atmospheric and propulsively suspenseful, a brilliantly crafted alternate vision of a Russia on the edge of revolution. Readers will find themselves breathless.”
    –Molly Greeley

    Gray Areas: How the Way We Work Perpetuates Racism and What We Can Do to Fix It - Wingfield, Adia Harvey

    Adia Harvey Wingfield, Gray Areas: How the Way We Work Perpetuates Racism and What We Can Do to Fix It
    (Amistad Press)

    “Sociologist Wingfield (Flatlining) delivers an authoritative study of racial inequality in the workplace. Drawing from more than a decade’s worth of interviews with seven Black workers in various fields—including academia, medicine, and film—Wingfield demonstrates how the customs and practices entrenched in corporate culture perpetuate institutional racism….[A] vital and accessible study.”
    Publishers Weekly

    The Hidden Language of Cats: How They Have Us at Meow - Brown, Sarah

    Sarah Brown, The Hidden Language of Cats: How They Have Us at Meow
    (Dutton Penguin Random House)

    “Purrs, hisses, meows, scents, scratches, ear tilts, tail flicks, and head butts. Cats are wonderfully expressive across a variety of modalities, even if their meaning isn’t always clear to us. Sarah Brown’s delightful book will help you better understand what our feline friends are trying to say, while appreciating how much remains mysterious.”
    –Sean Carroll

    Unforgiving: Lessons from the Fall - Jacobellis, Lindsey

    Lindsey Jacobellis, Unforgiving: Lessons from the Fall

    “Highly recommended for fans of winter and Olympic sports. Also essential for women’s sports history collections. Winter and extreme sports fans will find this Olympic champion’s resiliency, ability to overcome disappointment, and relationship with her family inspiring.”

    The Last Language - DuBois, Jennifer

    Jennifer DuBois, The Last Language

    “A thematic companion to Zoë Heller’s Notes on a Scandal and Francine Prose’s Blue Angel, author duBois (The Spectators, 2019) tackles questions of communication, consent, and humanity head-on….Tautly paced, tackling both grandiose theories of linguistics and the everyday realities of caretaking, The Last Language is hard to put down.”

    Artificial: A Love Story - Kurzweil, Amy

    Amy Kurzweil, Artificial: A Love Story

    “[Kurzweil] reconstructs archival materials in graphic form, including her grandfather’s correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and memories. This gives the work a collage effect, which works beautifully….Kurzweil’s highly recommended memoir is unlike any other. It will leave readers with much to contemplate.”
    Library Journal

    One Woman Show - Coulson, Christine

    Christine Coulson, One Woman Show
    (Avid Reader Press)

    “Coulson’s language is perfection. One Woman Show is heartbreaking and funny and comes together like a ballad. I love the pages of voices, like voices in the galleries, and so many moments made me laugh. Truly masterful and patient and insane, in the best way.”
    –Leanne Shapton

    The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA - Mundy, Liza

    Liza Mundy, The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA
    (Crown Publishing Group)

    “With painstaking research, an award-winning journalist reveals the crucial roles undertaken by women in the intelligence arena….The result is a vivid, compelling, and important book. Another winner from Mundy, who tells a story that deserves to be told about women who deserve to be remembered.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    I Love Russia: Reporting from a Lost Country - Kostyuchenko, Elena

    Elena Kostyuchenko, I Love Russia: Reporting from a Lost Country (trans. Bela Shayevich, Ilona Yazhbin Chavasse)

    “Would you like to know where Putin comes from? What the Russians are like today? And why? Read this book. For years, the author has been keeping a diary of the soul of her people, with love and with hate….The author goes to homes and schools, sits at weddings and celebrations, asking about love and hate, children and parents. We get to see the rise of the monster that now leaves its footprints in Kyiv, Bucha, and Irpin—and how it forces the whole world to fear the future.”
    –Svetlana Alexievich

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