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    Julia Alvarez! Maggie Nelson! Wrestlemania! 26 new books out today.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    April 2, 2024, 4:04am

    It’s quite a day for new books. If you’ve been on the search for something different, dynamic, daring, devastating, or deviously funny, you’re in luck: I’ve compiled a list of no less than twenty-six options for you to consider.

    You’ll find beloved names, like Julia Alvarez, who has a magical new novel focused on storytelling itself; Maggie Nelson, who is here with a career-spanning collection of essays and conversations; Crystal Hana Kim with a haunting new novel; Amor Towles with inventive stories; and, of course, a plethora of exciting debut novels from Marissa Higgins, Sheila Sundar, and others.

    You’ll also find poetry from April Gibson and Victoria Chang; memoirs spanning a range of worlds and lives, including Patric Gagne on destigmatizing sociopathy; Claire Wills on family histories; and Annabelle Tometich on Filipino life in Florida (and felonies); and a cornucopia of nonfiction, including former fact-checker Brad Balukjian on Wrestlemania; essays on excess from Becca Rothfield; a new history of jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton; and more.

    My to-be-read pile continues to grow, and I suggest yours does, too, with some of these fine entries below.

    *

    The Cemetery of Untold Stories - Alvarez, Julia

    Julia Alvarez, The Cemetery of Untold Stories
    (Algonquin)

    “Julia Alvarez delivers yet another glorious novel, this time about a very unique kind of love—the love of storytelling. Scheherazade-like, Alvarez keeps us hooked with surprising plot twists and revelations, and characters so captivating that we want to get lost in the corridors of their tales. Simply stated, this book is magical.”
    –Rigoberto González

    Table for Two: Fictions - Towles, Amor

    Amor Towles, Table for Two: Fictions
    (Viking)

    “Towles excels with this collection. Readers unfamiliar with his novels will love these examples of his shorter fiction and they will be pure catnip to his legions of fans. Highly recommended.”
    Library Journal

    The Stone Home - Kim, Crystal Hana

    Crystal Hana Kim, The Stone Home
    (William Morrow)

    “I read the entirety of The Stone Home during a recent flight to Seoul, unable to put it down, often crying….The novel’s portrayals of caretaking, mothering, and tenderness inside and despite the reformatory’s walls are richly layered and intensely moving.”
    –R. O. Kwon

    Like Love: Essays and Conversations - Nelson, Maggie

    Maggie Nelson, Like Love: Essays and Conversations
    (Graywolf)

    “Drawn from nearly twenty years of genre-defying author Maggie Nelson’s work, Like Love offers incisive commentary on topics ranging from music and literature to feminism and queerness to motherhood and love.”
    Time

    All Things Are Too Small: Essays in Praise of Excess - Rothfeld, Becca

    Becca Rothfield, All Things Are Too Small: Essays in Praise of Excess
    (Metropolitan Books)

    “In this brilliant debut, Becca Rothfeld dismantles our assumptions about politics and culture, urging us to embrace restorative excess in place of a meagre (and mistaken, in her view) puritanical asceticism. All Things Are Too Small is a riveting book from one of our subtlest critics.”
    –Meghan O’Rourke

    Missing Persons: Or, My Grandmother's Secrets - Wills, Clair

    Clair Wills, Missing Persons: Or, My Grandmother’s Secrets
    (FSG)

    Missing Persons is as close to perfect as a memoir can be; the richness of its subject honed to a poised and discerning brevity, written in unexpectedly lambent prose. It is the sum of Wills’s life: both the family history she carries with and within her, but also the four decades of research and analysis that have been her intellectual existence. Only she could have written it, but it will speak to and about the lives of many.”
    –Lucy Scholes

    The Span of a Small Forever: Poems - Gibson, April

    April Gibson, The Span of a Small Forever: Poems
    (Amistad Press)

    “[T]he unpretentious feat of a writer with a crystalline vision. Gibson’s dexterous music underscores her stories of black girlhood and womanhood from escaping church to teen pregnancy and triumph despite the medical industrial complex’s failures. This collection of poems centers self-love, reclamation of this woman’s power, and the highs and lows of motherhood hollered from the Southside of Chicago despite the ravages of Crohn’s disease, racism, and naysayers.”
    –Maya Marshall

    With My Back to the World: Poems - Chang, Victoria

    Victoria Chang, With My Back to the World: Poems
    (FSG)

    “In Agnes Martin’s grid paintings, each pale rectangle can feel like an hour, a day, or a year. The effect of all these small variations seen at once approximates the overwhelming fact of other lives. With My Back to the World gives Victoria Chang that same kind of quiet, intimate, constrained but infinite room to work in. This book is the record of an artful, attentive mind, full of startling insights…a testament to care, integrity, and persistence.”
    –Elisa Gabbert

    Clear - Davies, Carys

    Carys Davies, Clear
    (Scribner)

    “[A] gripping novel from Welsh novelist Carys Davis, Clear…feels a bit like a thriller set against a history lesson rendered fantastically vivid…raising questions of belonging, ownership, and how we forge the bonds between people and place that are really durable.”
    Vogue

    The Husbands - Gramazio, Holly

    Holly Gramazio, The Husbands
    (Doubleday)

    “Richly characterized, philosophical, and funny. I enjoyed all the husbands, even (especially?) the terrible ones. A time-bending gem about the way we live now.”
    –Gabrielle Zevin

    Someone Birthed Them Broken: Stories - Diaka, Ama Asantewa

    Ama Asantewa Diaka, Someone Birthed Them Broken: Stories
    (Amistad Press)

    “The thirteen entwined stories in Someone Birthed Them Broken, are a confirmation of the impressive range of Ama Asantewa Diaka’s artistry. Diaka allows us to feel the pulse of today’s Ghana as she deftly captures both its vitality and dysfunction. This collection stands out for its rhythmic prose, spirited characters, and unflinching portrayal of human nature.”
    –Chimeka Garricks

    The Mango Tree: A Memoir of Fruit, Florida, and Felony - Tometich, Annabelle

    Annabelle Tometich, The Mango Tree: A Memoir of Fruit, Florida, and Felony
    (Little Brown)

    The Mango Tree introduces us to a debut author ready to bend our understanding of Florida, Filipino American life, and motherhood. Witty, humorous, and heartfelt, Annabelle Tometich’s unflinching memoir is a welcome and necessary addition to contemporary Asian-American literature….[S]o readable, so nuanced in its storytelling, and so forgiving in its portrayal of an overburdened, culturally isolated immigrant mother making a life for herself and children.”
    –Cinelle Barnes

    Sociopath: A Memoir - Gagne, Patric

    Patric Gagne, Sociopath: A Memoir
    (Simon & Schuster)

    “Sociopaths are modern-day boogeymen, and the word ‘sociopath’ is casually tossed around to describe the worst, most amoral among us. But they are not boogeymen; they are real people and, according to Patric Gagne, widely misunderstood. Gagne wrote Sociopath, her buzzy forthcoming memoir, to try to correct some of those misunderstandings and provide a fuller picture of sociopathy.”
    The New York Times

    Hell Put to Shame: The 1921 Murder Farm Massacre and the Horror of America's Second Slavery - Swift, Earl

    Earl Swift, Hell Put to Shame: The 1921 Murder Farm Massacre and the Horror of America’s Second Slavery
    (Mariner Books)

    “Here is a 1920s tale of a serial murderer whose long record of civil rights cruelties and grotesque crimes was matched only by the steadfast bravery of a few individuals who peered into the depths and could take no more. If Killers of the Flower Moon could somehow be fused with The Devil in the White City and Django Unchained, you might get some idea of the scope of the evil that Earl Swift has so carefully documented in chilling and enraging detail.”
    –Hampton Sides

    Women! In! Peril! - Marshall, Jessie Ren

    Jessie Ren Marshall, Women! In! Peril!
    (Bloomsbury)

    “Genre-bending…wickedly smart….Women! In! Peril! reflects on the ever-evolving complexities of being a woman, especially when intertwined with LGBTQ and Asian American experiences. This unflinching lens gives power to this collection, with Marshall’s delightful sense of humor sparkling throughout. An amusing but poignant collection for those who enjoy strange women in even stranger circumstances.”
    Booklist

    A Good Happy Girl - Higgins, Marissa

    Marissa Higgins, A Good Happy Girl
    (Catapult)

    “Combining the bleak New England edge of Ottessa Moshfegh’s Eileen with the sapphic psychodrama of Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, Marissa Higgins’s A Good Happy Girl is fearless, twisted, and shockingly tender. A fantastic and moving debut.”
    –Anna Dorn

    Habitations - Sundar, Sheila

    Sheila Sundar, Habitations
    (Simon & Schuster)

    “Masterful storytelling. A sweeping, immersive and utterly perfect debut of a new talent and a fresh perspective on the Indian diaspora. In its multilayered, nuanced way, this novel will teach you about the strength of family, the force of love, the power of hope and the resilience of spirit. In other words, Habitations will take you fearlessly by the hand and remind you of the purpose of living.”
    –Weike Wang

    Jelly Roll Blues: Censored Songs and Hidden Histories - Wald, Elijah

    Elijah Wald, Jelly Roll Blues: Censored Songs and Hidden Histories
    (Hachette)

    “Both a compelling study of blues pioneer and musical genius Jelly Roll Morton’s roots and song craft as well as a meticulously researched history of early twentieth-century, ostensibly ‘taboo’ popular music culture, Jelly Roll Blues offers a clear-eyed exploration of Black modernist era vernacular music that pushed the boundaries of social propriety….A deft archival historian, Wald continues to challenge and expand what we know as well as what we think we know.”
    –Daphne Brooks

    The Six Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Wrestlemania - Balukjian, Brad

    Brad Balukjian, The Six Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Wrestlemania
    (Hachette)

    “Brad Balukjian is both the least likely and the absolute best person to write this book. His humility, intelligence, and devotion to fact serve a work that is revelatory, emotionally on point, and addictively readable….[T]his is less an exposé than a love letter–to the strutting monsters of Balukjian’s youth and to the men they ultimately became: surprisingly reflective, sometimes broken, always fascinating. What an achievement this book is.”
    –Mary Roach

    A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks - Gibbins, David

    David Gibbin, A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks
    (St. Martin’s Press)

    “A real-life Indiana Jones takes readers on a dive through these underwater museums, revealing the sunken secrets of the past….Prepare to be flabbergasted by the treasures Gibbins uncovers and by the stories they represent.”
    The Times (U. K.)

    The Audacity - Chapman, Ryan

    Ryan Chapman, The Audacity
    (Soho Press)

    “Almost exactly a hundred years later, this is The Great Gatsby, updated. This is the art of the affluent we want. The excesses of the lives of the idealistic or deluded or avaricious super-rich might all be false but what is certainly real is the energy on each page of this novel. The only way to blurb this book is simply quote from it. Martin Amis’s Money for really late, late capitalism.”
    –Amitava Kumar

    The Titanic Survivors Book Club - Schaffert, Timothy

    Timothy Schaffert, The Titanic Survivors Book Club
    (Doubleday)

    “In The Titanic Survivors Book Club, Timothy Schaffert takes the iconic tragic event of the Titanic and turns it into a story of chance encounters, entanglements, romance, and engagement with books. Set against the backdrop of the first world war, this is an ambitious novel that is as engaging and fast-paced as it is intellectually stimulating—like something written by Iris Murdoch.”
    –Chigozie Obioma

    The Black Girl Survives in This One: Horror Stories - Evans, Desiree S.

    Desiree S. Evans (editor), Saraciea J. Fennell (editor), The Black Girl Survives in This One: Horror Stories
    (Flatiron Books)

    “Defying the genre’s preference for centering white heroines, this collection features Black girls who are fighters and survivors, breakers of generational curses and slayers of evil….This collection provides much-needed representation of Black girls who refuse to be martyrs, sassy sidekicks, or casualties on the path to a white character’s inevitable triumph. An engaging volume that breathes necessary life into the horror genre, showcasing the best of what goes bump in the night.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Before It's Gone: Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change in Small-Town America - Vigliotti, Jonathan

    Jonathan Vigliotti, Before It’s Gone: Stories from the Front Lines of Climate Change in Small-Town America
    (One Signal/Atria)

    “With urgency and empathy, Jonathan Vigliotti documents the disastrous consequences of climate change in rural America and the hard work of those determined to hold their communities together. An energetic—and energizing—report from an often-overlooked front line in the climate crisis.”
    –Michelle Nijhuis

    Total Garbage: How We Can Fix Our Waste and Heal Our World - Humes, Edward

    Edward Humes, Total Garbage: How We Can Fix Our Waste and Heal Our World
    (Avery Publishing)

    “Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Humes, author of Garbology, documents various initiatives to reduce, recycle, and reengineer harmful products, from food containers to gas-fired building furnaces. ‘We have unwittingly become,’ he asserts, ‘the most wasteful civilization in history,’ with the average American responsible for 1.5 tons of garbage each year….An engrossing, practical guide to living healthier, less improvident lives and benefiting the planet by doing so.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Victory Parade - Corman, Leela

    Leela Corman, Victory Parade
    (Schocken Books)

    “The latest from graphic novelist Corman is a macabre meditation on cruelty and camaraderie, cycling through a cast of mostly Jewish characters amid the horrors of World War II in New York City, Berlin, and a liberated concentration camp….It is a brutal catharsis in a bloody, desperate, and haunted world. Corman’s figures are striking….Vivid watercolors enhance the uncanny atmosphere, hues spilling and pooling into visceral shapes and strata. Savage and soulful.”
    Kirkus Reviews

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