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Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2022, Part Two

230 Books to Read Before 2023

DECEMBER

Jane Smiley, A Dangerous Business
Jane Smiley, A Dangerous Business
Knopf, December 6

The latest from Smiley, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Thousand Acres, is a murder mystery set in the Wild West—1851 California. As usual, it’s young women who start turning up dead (That titular dangerous business? It’s being a woman.), but—twist—this time the detectives are women too—two prostitutes who work at the local brothel. This is a Jane Smiley novel, so it should be loads of fun. –ET

 

Sam Lipsyte, No One Left to Come Looking for You
Sam Lipsyte, No One Left to Come Looking for You
Simon & Schuster, December 6

Sam Lipsyte’s latest is set in the early music scene in 1990s New York City (you know, when musicians with no nepotism working in their favor could still afford to live there). Jack S., the bass player in an up-and-coming band, has to track down the band’s lead singer, who goes missing along with Jack’s bass a few days before the band’s biggest gig. From there, the mystery unfolds, complete with real estate barons, hitmen, and  a “deranged if prophetic postwar novelist.” Sam Lipsyte’s work is reliably hilarious—I have an uncomfortable memory of laughing uncontrollably over Home Land on a plane—and perfectly dark. I can’t wait to embarrass myself in public with this one. –JG

 

Cormac McCarthy, Stella Maris

Cormac McCarthy, Stella Maris
Knopf, December 6

The second McCarthy of the year—after a sixteen year drought—is also his first to feature a female protagonist. That would be Alicia, graduate student of mathematics and sister of The Passenger‘s Bobby. Her book, which is about half as long, is set in 1972 and told as a transcript between her and her doctor, who has diagnosed her with paranoid schizophrenia. –ET

 

Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir, Animal Life
Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir, tr. Brian FitzGibbon, Animal Life
Black Cat, December 6

The latest from acclaimed Icelandic author Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (if you’re not already familiar with the poet, playwright, novelist, and pop lyricist whose work has been awarded both the Nordic Council Literature Prize and Icelandic Literature Prize, well, now’s the time to change that) is the story of a Reykjavik midwife from a long line of midwives who, as a winter storm races toward the city, discovers decades worth of letters and manuscripts hidden amongst her grandaunt’s clutter. –DS

 

Robin Coste Lewis, To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness
Robin Coste Lewis, To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness
Knopf, December 6

In 2015, Robin Coste Lewis won the National Book Award for her debut poetry collection, Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems; her newest book promises to be equally revolutionary. It began with a cache of family photographs that Lewis found under her grandmother’s bed, which she has now braided with poetry to create, as her publisher puts it, “a lyrical documentary about Black intimacy.” I’m always here for new literary ways of framing and exploring history and poetry, so I’m looking forward to diving in. –ET

 

Kevin Powell, Grocery Shopping with My Mother
Kevin Powell, Grocery Shopping with My Mother
Soft Skull, December 6

Kevin Powell’s forthcoming poetry collection started on social media and evolved into 32 new poems in conversation with Stevie Wonder, Sidney Poitier, bell hooks, and many more cultural icons. As he accompanies his elderly and ill mother on her weekly grocery trips in Jersey City, he hears her in a new way, and brings those stories to us in this innovative, poignant collection. –ES

 

Nino Strachey, Young Bloomsbury: The Generation That Redefined Love, Freedom, and Self-Expression in 1920s England

Nino Strachey, Young Bloomsbury: The Generation That Redefined Love, Freedom, and Self-Expression in 1920s England
Atria, December 6

As your resident Virginia Woolf stan, I love to read about the Bloomsbury Group—but I don’t know much about the second generation, which is what Strachey (yes, that kind of Strachey) explores here. Can’t wait to find out. –ET

 

Sabrina Imbler, How Far the Light Reaches: My Life in Ten Sea Creatures
Sabrina Imbler, How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures
Little, Brown, December 6

Each essay in science and conservation journalist Imbler’s debut collection tells the story of a sea creature, organisms living under some of the planet’s harshest conditions, and plaits that story together with one of their own, connecting one kind of hostile environment to another. Ed Yong called it “a miraculous, transcendental book,” and wrote that in these essays, “Imbler has choreographed a dance of metaphor between the wonders of the ocean’s creatures and the poignancy of human experience, each enriching the other in surprising and profound ways. To write with such grace, skill, and wisdom would be impressive enough; to have done so in their first major work is truly breathtaking.” –ET






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