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    The Velvet Underground! Anthony Veasna So! Queer Sci-Fi! 21 new books out today.

    Gabrielle Bellot

    December 5, 2023, 4:44am

    The wheel of the year always keeps turning, and, no matter how unreasonably fast or glacially slow it seems to do so, it always, eventually, reaches December, that beginning of an end. But it’s also the beginning, looked at another way, of new beginnings, a symbol as much of a year gone by as one to come. And one of the beautiful constants you can rely on is that no matter how frustratingly time seems to move, there are always new books to hold onto along the way.

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    Today is no exception. Below, you’ll find a bevy of brilliant fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, including eye-opening science-fiction from Gabrielle Korn, Samantha Harvey, and Debbie Urbanski; an awaited essay collection from the late Anthony Veasna So; formally inventive poems by Olatunde Osinaike in a collection selected by Camille Rankine; an irreverent and incisive history of travel from Shahnaz Habib; and much, much more. As the weather cools and 2024 begins to loom, I hope you’ll choose some of these exciting selections below to keep at your side.

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    Yours for the Taking - Korn, Gabrielle

    Gabrielle Korn, Yours for the Taking
    (St. Martin’s Press)

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    “A tender, thrilling, thoughtful examination of queer survival. Gabrielle Korn’s storytelling is engrossing as she paints a damning, clever portrait of the effects of exclusionary politics. Her debut novel is both a penetrating reflection of the anxiety modern generations face and a lesbian love story for the end of the world.”
    –Jill Gutowitz

    Orbital - Harvey, Samantha

    Samantha Harvey, Orbital
    (Grove Atlantic)

    “Samantha Harvey is a beautiful stylist; in Orbital a group of astronauts look down on our fragile Earth. It’s a slim, profound study of intimate human fears set against epic vistas of swirling weather patterns and rolling continents.”
    The Guardian

    The Frozen River - Lawhon, Ariel

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    Ariel Lawhon, The Frozen River
    (Doubleday)

    “Magnificent….Lawhon carries us into the heart of the French resistance [and] into the mind of a badass heroine with uncanny instincts who takes on the Nazis and men’s arrogant sexism with uncommon bravado….Even long after the last page is turned, this astonishing story of Wake’s accomplishments will hold readers in its grip.”
    Booklist

    Everywhere an Oink Oink: An Embittered, Dyspeptic, and Accurate Report of Forty Years in Hollywood - Mamet, David

    David Mamet, Everywhere an Oink Oink: An Embittered, Dyspeptic, and Accurate Report of Forty Years in Hollywood
    (Simon & Schuster)

    “Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Mamet (Recessional) documents his four decades working ‘bit by bit, much like a Missionary among cannibals’ in Hollywood in this acerbic and entertaining series of anecdotes and sketches accentuated by his bitingly witty cartoons…. The in-depth commentary on the nuts and bolts of screenwriting are among the most insightful (and least cynical) parts of the book…. Cineastes will find this irresistible.”
    Publishers Weekly

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    Songs on Endless Repeat: Essays and Outtakes - So, Anthony Veasna

    Anthony Veasna So, Songs on Endless Repeat: Essays and Outtakes
    (Ecco Press)

    “Before his death in 2020 at twenty-eight, Cambodian American writer So was poised for greatness on a number of fronts: He was an irreverent writer about immigrant enclaves, queer life and the Bay Area’s nether reaches. [Songs on Endless Repeat]…demonstrate[s] he was also a stellar cultural critic in the making.”
    Los Angeles Times

    Dirtbag: Essays - Frost, Amber A'Lee

    Amber A’Lee Frost, Dirtbag: Essays
    (St. Martin’s Press)

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    “Insightful, critical, but also loving, Frost writes in the best tradition of American satire and hard-boiled noirish realism. Dirtbag lays a literary and historical marker for posterity…giving us Leftist dreamers the collective hope that a different world was ours for the making. It provides important lessons about defeat and loss, while also offering us a strong antidote to the toxic culture wars that are always waged in times of political reaction and self-deception.”
    –Catherine Liu

    Tender Headed - Osinaike, Olatunde

    Olatunde Osinaike, Tender Headed
    (Akashic Books)

    “The push-and-pull of form in this debut from Osinaike is such an impressive balance, spanning from reverent prose pieces to something like the interesting construction of Etymology of Simp….Selected by Camille Rankine for the National Poetry Series, this collection simmers thoughtfully through considerations of Black masculinity and boyhood, introspective and precise in its critical eye—but always tender, always earnest.”
    The Millions

    Unfinished Woman: A Memoir - Davidson, Robyn

    Robyn Davidson, Unfinished Woman: A Memoir
    (Bloomsbury)

    “Immersive and profound, Robyn Davidson’s Unfinished Woman is a portal to understanding a daughter’s grief. ‘We take our mothers into us; that is where they live,’ she writes. So much of her mother’s life may remain unknown, but through memoir, Davidson completes what she considers an impossible task: crafting a moving portrait of her mother. This book will stay with me.”
    –Jeannie Vanasco

    The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac: Stories - Kennedy, Louise

    Louise Kennedy, The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac
    (Riverhead)

    “Incisive stories [of] women at precipitous turning points in their lives….Each story reverberates with a sense of the far-reaching effect of choices made or imposed. It adds up to a remarkable and cohesive collection.”
    Publishers Weekly

    All the Little Bird-Hearts - Lloyd-Barlow, Viktoria

    Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow, All the Little Bird-Hearts
    (Algonquin)

    “A novel both delicate and strong, illuminating the disturbing and the extraordinary to be found in the every day. Sunday is a beguiling and beguiled narrator, and her story an examination of the disjunction between humans’ private and public selves. I loved it.”
    –Maggie O’Farrell

    The Wildest Sun - Lemmie, Asha

    Asha Lemmie, The Wildest Sun
    (Dutton)

    The Wildest Sun is a gripping portrait of the artist as a young woman that lays bare the complexities of family trauma, fraught inheritance, and creative ambition. While chasing the famous father whom she views as a lodestar across oceans and time in the post-WWII years, the protagonist…must ultimately learn that she, too, shines….The Wildest Sun shows how even amid personal loss and political tumult, art can be a life companion, loyal to the end.”
    –Tiya Miles

    Airplane Mode: An Irreverent History of Travel - Habib, Shahnaz

    Shahnaz Habib, Airplane Mode: An Irreverent History of Travel
    (Catapult)

    “Shahnaz Habib has written a travel book like few others, weaving her strong opinions about tourism’s consumerism, environmental degradation and condescension into a memoir of her own travels. Alternately jolting and insightful, Airplane Mode raises many critical questions about how and why we travel.”
    –Elizabeth Becker

    Zero at the Bone: Fifty Entries Against Despair - Wiman, Christian

    Christian Wiman, Zero at the Bone: Fifty Entries Against Despair
    (FSG)

    “Wiman weaves together poetry, essay, and memoir in this dazzling, multivocal examination of and refusal to accept existential despair….Wiman’s knowledge is vast, and his evocative imagery lingers in the mind….[Zero at the Bone is] a gorgeous ode to the power of poetry to grapple with life’s most anguished moments.”
    Publishers Weekly

    Loaded: The Life (and Afterlife) of the Velvet Underground - Jones, Dylan

    Dylan Jones, Loaded: The Life (and Afterlife) of the Velvet Underground
    (Grand Central Publishing)

    “You might understandably think you already know this story, but in Loaded, the masterful Dylan Jones assembles a raucous symphony of voices to convince you that you don’t. Smart, funny, and insightful, this spellbinding oral history guides you through the evolving meanings of the music and the lives of the Velvet Underground from the Sixties to the present day. I found it riveting from start to finish.”
    –Anthony DeCurtis

    Flores and Miss Paula - Rivero, Melissa

    Melissa Rivero, Flores and Miss Paula
    (Ecco Press)

    “Deeply compassionate and tender, Melissa Rivero’s new novel paints a striking portrait of the mother-daughter bond with wisdom and empathy. In alternating chapters, we see an immigrant mother and millennial daughter unfold and evolve—with stunning depth. Melissa is a phenomenal talent who combines authenticity and a bold, fresh voice to deliver raw, unforgettable women/characters. Not to be missed!”
    –Etaf Rum

    After World - Urbanski, Debbie

    Debbie Urbanski, After World
    (Simon & Schuster)

    “Urbanski’s debut imagines what the future of humanity and the planet might be….The reader will soon discover that Sen is not really our narrator but more the vehicle of the storytelling—this is a genius element of this book….Fans of sf, cli-fi, and apocalyptic novels will enjoy this fresh take on familiar genres.”
    –Emily Whitmore

    Rebecca, Not Becky - Platt, Christine

    Christine Platt, Catherine Wigginton Greene, Rebecca, Not Becky
    (Amistad Press)

    “Platt and Wigginton Greene have gifted us with a story that is beautiful, honest, funny, and unapologetic. Exploring the complexities of motherhood, interracial friendships, and community, Rebecca, Not Becky pushes readers to examine their biases and lean into discomfort. Y’all this is the book we need to read if we want to grow and cultivate a deeper understanding that everyone can work towards racial justice and it’s best when we do it together!”
    –Tiffany Jewell

    A History of Fake Things on the Internet - Scheirer, Walter

    Walter J. Scheirer, A History of Fake Things on the Internet
    (Stanford University Press)

    “The Internet is awash in disinformation and conspiracy theories, with AI-generated ‘deepfakes’ looming on the horizon. A History of Fake Things on the Internet explains how fakes of all kinds have been a central part of Internet history and culture from the beginning. It is essential reading for understanding how we got here and where we are headed.”
    –Sean Lawson

    The Book at War: How Reading Shaped Conflict and Conflict Shaped Reading - Pettegree, Andrew

    Andrew Pettegree, The Book at War: How Reading Shaped Conflict and Conflict Shaped Reading
    (Basic Books)

    “In modern warfare, books provide poignant witness statements as well as admonitory propaganda. They are weapons of war, composed by soldiers, studied by civilians, but also thrown into the fire. In his own impressive book, Andrew Pettegree shows how words could be blood-curdling and texts blood-spattered. Read on in order to turn the pages of war and peace.”
    –Peter Fritzsche

    The Squad: Aoc and the Hope of a Political Revolution - Grim, Ryan

    Ryan Grimm, The Squad: AOC and the Hope of a Political Revolution
    (Henry Holt)

    “Political reporter Grim, D.C. bureau chief for the Intercept, examines the rise, challenges, and influence of…Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar, branded by the media as The Squad, and the two representatives who joined them in 2021, Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush….Drawing on his own on-the-ground reporting, Grim creates a detailed account of seven tumultuous years. An insider’s often dismaying picture of national politics.”
    Kirkus Reviews

    The Archive of Feelings - Stamm, Peter

    Peter Stamm, The Archive of Feelings (trans. Michael Hofmann)
    (Other Press NY)

    “Stamm writes with the seemingly effortless precision of an artist….[His] prose is remarkable, exerting a hypnotic draw that may catch readers unaware but will surprise them with its force.”
    Shelf Awareness

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