• The Hub

    News, Notes, Talk

    Leslie Jamison! Michiko Kakutani! The wildness of Old English! 23 new books out today.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    February 20, 2024, 4:46am

    It’s another Tuesday, and that means that a bevy of beautiful new books are out. And it’s a brilliant bevy indeed: below, you’ll find twenty-three new titles to consider that span an incredible range, including a raw new memoir from Leslie Jamison on motherhood and the self; the esteemed Times critic Michiko Kakutani on the social and technological forces leading to contemporary violence; a new book for Anglophiles and logophiles alike from Hana Videen, the author of The Wordhord; Miriam Darlington on understanding life and home by spending time with otters; Lyz Lenz on coming to terms with the world after divorce; powerful novels from Phillip B. Williams, Amanda Churchill, Valerie Martin, the British poet-turned-novelist Keiran Goddard, and many others; and much, much more.

    Article continues below


    Ours - Williams, Phillip B

    Phillip B. Williams, Ours

    “Phillip Williams’ Ours is a radical re-creation of our pasts. With a keen eye to historical detail and the expansive imagination of a poet, Williams has constructed a jewel of a novel, a deeply felt exploration of the strengthening ties and broken cords of kith and kin under the weight of complicated histories. In the uncertain future that awaits us, Ours illuminates a greater understanding of what it means to be human and the complex, tangled lives and afterlives of enslavement.”
    –Kaitlyn Greenidge

    Article continues below

    Mrs. Gulliver by Valerie Martin

    Valerie Martin, Mrs. Gulliver

    “Martin’s (I Give It to You, 2020) surprisingly playful latest observes two strong-willed women as they make the best of their initially unfortunate lives….[I]t’s a pleasure to get to know both of her intelligent and resourceful heroines.”

    The Turtle House - Churchill, Amanda

    Amanda Churchill, The Turtle House

    Article continues below

    “An impressively wrought series of settings, from prewar provincial Japan, to wartime housing on a U.S. Army base, to small-town postwar America….In each of these places, Churchill highlights the challenges faced by girls and women, from oppressive cultural norms to domestic violence and sexual harassment. She deftly manages a very large cast of characters and a complicated plot. This lovingly illuminated double portrait asks us to think about what has changed and what has not, and at what cost.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    The Great Wave: The Era of Radical Disruption and the Rise of the Outsider - Kakutani, Michiko

    Michiko Kakutani, The Great Wave: The Era of Radical Disruption and the Rise of the Outsider
    (Crown Publishing Group)

    “In this dazzling and brilliant book, Michiko Kakutani provides a sweeping look at the historical and social and technological forces that have crested to create the destructive wave of volatility that is disrupting our times. Drawing lessons from the Middle Ages to the Gilded Age, she explains the cascading chaos of our era and points to ways that we can regain some stability.”
    –Walter Isaacson

    The Bloodied Nightgown and Other Essays - Acocella, Joan

    Article continues below

    Joan Acocella, The Bloodied Nightgown and Other Essays

    “From Gilgamesh and Beowulf to Elmore Leonard and Richard Pryor, a brilliant critic unpacks centuries of artists and their works….[Acocella’s ] wit and insight make anything worth reading about….A top-notch collection full of information, elegance, and humor.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story - Jamison, Leslie

    Leslie Jamison, Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story
    (Little Brown)

    “Christ Almighty this book is good. It’s a masterpiece. No one else I’ve read has captured motherhood—the painful overabundance of it, the extreme delight, the cascading fears—the way Leslie Jamison does in Splinters. No one else I’ve read has evoked so powerfully what it feels like to be pulled by too many competing tethers until you’re half a mother, half a writer, barely a wife, hardly a real person….In Splinters, Jamison offers us an emotionally rich odyssey on the terrors and triumph of becoming whole.”
    –Heather Havrilesky

    Article continues below

    I See Buildings Fall Like Lightning - Goddard, Keiran

    Keiran Goddard, I See Buildings Fall Like Lightning
    (Europa Editions)

    “This second novel by a British poet gets inside the heads of five lifelong friends navigating different paths as they attempt to transcend the crumbling conditions of the unnamed town that has profoundly shaped them….The alternating perspectives of the five narrators make the novel’s construction feel like a high-wire act—a delicate balance of memory, narration, confession, and projection that mainly reads like people talking to themselves….Some extraordinary writing about ordinary people.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop - Bo-Reum, Hwang

    Hwang Bo-Reum, Welcome to the Hyunam-Dong Bookshop (trans. Shanna Tan)

    “A former high-flying corporate employee quits her job, leaves her marriage, and opens a neighborhood bookstore and cafe outside Seoul. Yeongju doesn’t know how to run a bookstore, but she feels compelled to answer her internal call to do just that, trying to find solace in books as she did as a child….Together, Yeongju and her friends and colleagues spend much time discussing the meaning of life, whether or not work has value, and the aftereffects of burnout. A snapshot of life in a quiet corner of Seoul.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    Monkey Grip - Garner, Helen

    Helen Garner, Monkey Grip (foreword by Lauren Groff)

    Monkey Grip is Garner’s first book, released in 1977…a watershed moment for our culture….Readers loved Monkey Grip—it sold and sold—but critics were divided and often vicious….She was excoriated for her frankness about sex, drugs and bodies….The fact that a woman was writing about these things, without shame, directly from the centre of her own experience, was shocking….We love her for how, in seeing and naming our endlessly fallible human conduct with such exactitude, she somehow steps through shame and self-justification into truth.”
    The Guardian

    This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life - Lenz, Lyz

    Lyz Lenz, This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life
    (Crown Publishing Group)

    This American Ex-Wife is a bomb, a bouquet (but not a wedding bouquet), a memoir, a manifesto, and a total joy to read.”
    –Rebecca Solnit

    Otter Country: An Unexpected Adventure in the Natural World - Darlington, Miriam

    Miriam Darlington, Otter Country: An Unexpected Adventure in the Natural World
    (Tin House)

    Otter Country, a beautifully written, intimate exposé of all things otter, in which Miriam Darlington carefully explains what it is like to be an otter and how they must adapt to, and fight for, survival in an increasingly human world…a must read for anyone who wants to know more about these fascinating and mysterious animals with whom we share our magnificent planet.”
    –Marc Bekoff

    Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class - Henderson, Rob

    Rob Henderson, Troubled: A Memoir of Foster Care, Family, and Social Class
    (Gallery Books)

    “Rob Henderson had an incredibly challenging upbringing—raised as a foster kid in circumstances most children (thankfully) never know. His educational achievements are extraordinary. What’s more extraordinary is that he’s a keen observer of both the world he came from and the world he now inhabits. He has learned the importance of family despite never having one of his own, and he delivers that message in a gripping way. Read this book. It will challenge both your heart and mind. A rare feat.”
    –J.D. Vance

    The Variations - Langley, Patrick

    Patrick Langley, The Variations
    (New York Review of Books)

    “If Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black were written by John Banville channelling M. John Harrison, the result would look something like this. And yet Langley has made something new and unexpected about how the present is, necessarily and always, an echo corridor of the past. Beautifully written, powered by a wonderfully intelligent conceptual dynamo, and deftly sprung with surprises, The Variations is an utterly original book about haunting. It is strange, resonant, and, yes, haunting.”
    –Neel Mukherjee

    After Camus - Neugeboren, Jay

    Jay Neugeboren, After Camus
    (Madville Publishing)

    “You need real courage to write Albert Camus as a fictional character. Jay Neugeboren, one of the best American writers of the twentieth century and doing even better work in the twenty-first, has what it takes and more.”
    –Madison Smart Bell

    Where They Lie - Coughlan, Claire

    Claire Coughlan, Where They Lie
    (Harper Perennial)

    “A thrillingly dark and atmospheric tale, richly evocative of its time, especially for those of us old enough to remember [Dublin in] 1968.”
    –John Banville

    The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary - Videen, Hana

    Hana Videen, The Deorhord: An Old English Bestiary
    (Princeton University Press)

    “If you love words, the weird and the wild, I guarantee you’ll crouch over this book like a dragon over gold.”
    –Meg Clothier

    Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World - Joyce, Patrick

    Patrick Joyce, Remembering Peasants: A Personal History of a Vanished World

    “A dozen pages in I realized that I had been waiting for much of my life to read this extraordinary book….On almost every page the reader gets a jolt, a palpable sensation of immersion in the disappeared world of peasantry. A central part of the book is Joyce’s own family’s peasant past….Because the time of the peasants is still palpable there are clues and messages here for every fortunate reader who picks up this book.”
    –Annie Proulx

    But You Don't Look Arab: And Other Tales of Unbelonging - Gorani, Hala

    Hala Gorani, But You Don’t Look Arab: And Other Tales of Unbelonging

    “An Emmy Award–winning journalist reflects on her upbringing and career as the daughter of Syrian immigrants….In addition to chronicling her journalism career, the author examines her life as the blond-haired, blue-eyed daughter of Syrian immigrants. Born in the U.S. but raised primarily in France, Gorani’s sense of self—or what she calls her ‘assorted patchwork of identities’—is a complex, mercurial, and ever-shifting entity….a sharp, well-written book.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    A Fire So Wild - Ruiz-Grossman, Sarah

    Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, A Fire So Wild

    “A complex dissection of the impacts of climate change, with an array of characters who feel true and affecting, A Fire So Wild tackles not only a terrifying natural disaster, but the scorching inequality of the aftermath, and demands that we don’t look away.”
    –Charlotte McConaghy

    How to Find a Four-Leaf Clover: What Autism Can Teach Us about Difference, Connection, and Belonging - Rodgers, Jodi

    Jodi Rodgers, How to Find a Four-Leaf Clover: What Autism Can Teach Us about Difference, Connection, and Belonging
    (Little, Brown Spark)

    “We all know Jodi Rodgers from the fabulous TV show Love on the Spectrum. As a psychologist myself, I have been able to see on TV what an excellent clinician she is. It is no mystery why her autistic patients place their trust in her. They recognize that she is not just ‘assessing’ them; she is genuinely interested in them. In this marvelous book, Rodgers makes it clear that neurodivergent and neurotypical people all want the same things: love, security, and to be free of loneliness.”
    –Cathy Gildiner

    Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements - Breitman, George

    Malcolm X, George Breitman (editor), Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements (introduction by Ibram X. Kendi)
    (Grove Press)

    “Fascinating and provocative . . .[Malcolm X] must in the end receive what every important historical figure deserves: a comprehensive examination of both word and deed. To do less would be to fail ourselves, and the history Malcolm X so boldly helped to create.”
    –Michael Eric Dyson

    Stranger in the Desert: A Family Story - Salama, Jordan

    Jordan Salama, Stranger in the Desert: A Family Story

    Stranger in the Desert is a beautiful, soulful story ranging across continents and languages, topographies and etymologies, time and space. Through a pastiche of maps, diaries, and archival materials, Jordan Salama attempts to piece together a lost family history, and the result is both delightfully idiosyncratic yet somehow still universal, revealing a great deal about the elusive concepts of identity and home, and what it means to find one’s place in the world by following one’s roots.”
    –Jennifer Senior

    Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection - Duhigg, Charles

    Charles Duhigg, Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection
    (Random House)

    “Certain people seem to have a gift for conversation, for understanding others and making themselves understood…they have much to teach the rest of us, especially when our society seems to be increasingly polarized and confrontational. Duhigg, a New York Times reporter and author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better…delves deeply into the nature and structure of conversations, combining his own careful observations of ‘supercommunicators’ with relevant research.”
    Kirkus Reviews

  • Become a Lit Hub Supporting Member: Because Books Matter

    For the past decade, Literary Hub has brought you the best of the book world for free—no paywall. But our future relies on you. In return for a donation, you’ll get an ad-free reading experience, exclusive editors’ picks, book giveaways, and our coveted Joan Didion Lit Hub tote bag. Most importantly, you’ll keep independent book coverage alive and thriving on the internet.