Paul Bunyan teaming up with John Henry! Hanif Abdurraqib on sports! Freud, reexamined! 23 new books out today.

Gabrielle Bellot

March 26, 2024, 4:28am

The end of March is almost upon us, which, at least to me, feels a little crazy, as if the wheel of the year is spinning faster than ever. But if you, like me, want to slow time down for a bit, opening a new book is usually a fine solution. And we’ve got twenty-three new ones to consider below. You’ll find buzzed-about novels from Ursula Villarreal-Moura, Alexandra Tanner, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Mark Cecil—who takes the delightfully anarchic step of pairing up Paul Bunyan and John Henry for a romp through America’s most pressing issues today—and many others.

And readers in search of stirring new nonfiction are especially in luck, as we have a bevy of powerful, poignant, and provocative offerings below: Hanif Abdurraqib on basketball, place, and life; Kristine S. Ervine with a brutal memoir about violence, mother-daughter relationships, and a quest to find the man who upended the lives of both; Elizabeth Kolbert with a striking, playfully structured work on climate change; Frank Tallis with a balanced reevaluation of the inescapably complex and generally inescapable figure of Freud; and much, much more, some charming, some illuminating in their darkness.

I hope you’ll finish off the month usher in the next with one, or as many as you can carry, of these fascinating new books. Read and dream well.


Like Happiness - Villarreal-Moura, Ursula

Ursula Villarreal-Moura, Like Happiness
(Celadon Books)

“[P]erfect….The retrospective confession of San Antonio-native Tatum about her thorny relationship with a prominent Nuyorican writer intertwines desire, destiny, and a love for art and literature in what feels like a transformative conversation with an old friend. Expertly written with striking intimacy and heartbreaking clarity, Like Happiness accomplishes a profound emotional electrocution that will leave you floating lighter for days.”
–Xochitl Gonzalez

Worry - Tanner, Alexandra

Alexandra Tanner, Worry

Worry is exacting and hilarious, the startling, familiar shock of seeing your own slightly warped face reflected back to you when your iPhone dies from hours of scrolling. It feels both like an anthropological time capsule of turn-of-the-decade culture and a prescient crystal ball of our current, utterly droll hell….But at its core, Worry is a novel about sisters and the love they share despite being given access to each other’s emotional nuclear codes.”

Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny - Cecil, Mark

Mark Cecil, Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny

“With Bunyan and Henry, Mark Cecil has reinvented and reinvigorated two of America’s greatest mythic heroes, setting them loose in a thrilling romp through the pressing concerns of their time and of ours. There’s so much heartfelt joy and wonder here, so much true wisdom and pleasure too. A fantastic read.”
–Matt Bell

Rabbit Heart: A Mother's Murder, a Daughter's Story - Ervin, Kristine S.

Kristine S. Ervin, Rabbit Heart: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Story

“There are some books that are written to avoid the brutality of the world and other books that capture with an uncanny clarity the inescapable truth. Kristine S. Ervin froze me in my tracks from the first page of her startling and transfixing memoir, a work fueled by a daughter’s undying love for her mother and a refusal to stay silent about violence. Rabbit Heart will stay with me forever.”
–Michele Filgate

H Is for Hope: Climate Change from A to Z - Kolbert, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Kolbert, H Is for Hope: Climate Change from A to Z
(Ten Speed Press)

“Illustrated throughout with vivid pen-and-ink-style drawings by graphic artist Allsbrook, the book both informs and disturbs us about the climate uncertainties facing humankind, but never without offering glimmers of hope. Its accessibility, readability, and thoughtfulness will undoubtedly appeal to a wide audience….An intelligently provocative and well-presented look at the world’s most pressing issue.”
Kirkus Reviews

Glorious Exploits - Lennon, Ferdia

Ferdia Lennon, Glorious Exploits

“An entertaining and impressive debut…Exploring themes of friendship, loyalty, and the toll of war, Lennon evokes a time when it was common to relish and revere the art of Homer’s poetry and Euripides’ drama. Those with that appetite today are fortunate to have Madeline Miller, Emily Wilson, Pat Barker, and recently James Hynes’ Sparrow. And Lennon.”
Kirkus Reviews

Silver Repetition - Wang, Lily

Lily Wang, Silver Repetition
(New Press)

“Fiercely poetic and luminous with surrealist imagery, Silver Repetition is a deeply moving and humane exploration of fractured self, deep longing, lost memory, diaspora, and aching family ties. Here is a gorgeous book that reads like a luxurious dreamscape from beginning to end. Wang is a thrilling and captivating new voice in contemporary fiction.”
–Lindsay Wong

A Great Country - Gowda, Shilpi Somaya

Shilpi Somaya Gowda, A Great Country

“In A Great Country, Shilpi Somaya Gowda has crafted a moving story of an immigrant family’s challenges in the wake of their son’s troubling arrest. Each character and situation is drawn with heart and nuance, resulting in a masterful portrayal of the pressures on and prejudices of well-meaning people. Right and wrong, good and bad: if only life were so simple. This is a thought-provoking, truly worthwhile book.”
–Therese Ann Fowler

Thieving Sun - Datta, Monica

Monica Datta, Thieving Sun
(Astra House)

Thieving Sun is a highly intelligent, staggeringly inventive novel structured by music scales indicating time, but it’s more than that: emotionally powerful, sad, whimsical, and beautiful, this book is a dizzying delight. Monica Datta is a startlingly inventive writer who has written a moving story of love and loss. Absolutely brilliant.”
–Brandon Hobson

On the Move: The Overheating Earth and the Uprooting of America - Lustgarten, Abrahm

Abraham Lustgarten, On the Move: The Overheating Earth and the Uprooting of America

“Abrahm Lustgarten has written a thoughtful, heartfelt account of how Americans will be—and, in fact, already are being—displaced by climate change. On the Move explains how we got here and where we’re headed. It’s crucial guide to the world we are creating.”
–Elizabeth Kolbert

Chasing Beauty: The Life of Isabella Stewart Gardner - Dykstra, Natalie

Natalie Dykstra, Chasing Beauty: The Life of Isabella Stewart Gardner

“Natalie Dykstra has written an absorbing, deeply researched biography that is also a travelogue, Edwardian period drama, and art history primer, with a supporting cast that includes Henry James, John Singer Sargent, Edith Wharton, and Henry Adams. In these pages, Isabella Stewart Gardner comes to life as a feminist pathbreaker finally given her due—and an artist in her own right.”
–Heather Clark

Mortal Secrets: Freud, Vienna, and the Discovery of the Modern Mind - Tallis, Frank

Frank Tallis, Mortal Secrets: Freud, Vienna, and the Discovery of the Modern Mind
(St. Martin’s Press)

“Prolific novelist and clinical psychologist Tallis…declares that few major thinkers have been more vilified than Sigmund Freud….However, writes the author, ‘extreme Freud bashing’ is offset by equally ‘unhelpful,’ overly reverent followers. An admirer but definitely not a worshipper, Tallis provides an expert portrait of a brilliant, obsessive, ruthless figure….Convincingly critical and convincingly admiring—among the best of innumerable Freud bios.”
Kirkus Reviews

All the World Beside - Conley, Garrard

Garrard Conley, All the World Beside

“A gorgeous, spellbinding work of historical fiction that conjures up a society wrestling with faith, love, and a sense of belonging. It is a heartbreaking account of forbidden passions and lost innocence told with intimate, lyrical beauty. It is truly sublime. I loved it.”
–Douglas Stuart

Monsters We Have Made - Starck, Lindsay

Lindsay Starck, Monsters We Have Made

“Starck (Noah’s Wife) terrifies and captivates in this profound meditation on the power of stories that doubles as a twisty and possibly supernatural mystery….Starck’s prose is by turns gorgeous and unsettling, creating a dreamlike tale that slides effortlessly between fantasy and reality as it interrogates such themes as forgiveness, generational trauma, and the responsibilities and burdens of motherhood. This is sure to resonate.”
Publishers Weekly

You'd Look Better as a Ghost - Wallace, Joanna

Joanna Wallace, You’d Look Better as a Ghost

“The female serial killer as antihero is a growing subgenre (see Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer, 2018), and Wallace’s sociopathic protagonist is a mordantly amusing addition….Dexter meets Killing Eve.”
Kirkus Reviews

Long Live Queer Nightlife: How the Closing of Gay Bars Sparked a Revolution - Ghaziani, Amin

Amin Ghaziani, Long Live Queer Nightlife: How the Closing of Gay Bars Sparked a Revolution
(Princeton University Press)

“Thoughtful and well researched, Ghaziani’s book looks beyond the binaries and prejudices within LGBTQ+ communities to celebrate a more inclusive space of queerness that actively identifies and accepts difference in all its forms. A wonderfully lively and open-minded intellectual inquiry.”

There's Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension - Abdurraqib, Hanif

Hanif Abdurraqib, There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension
(Random House)

“Hanif Abdurraqib writes: You are, in part, who loves you. I’ve never read a book more full of love—heartbreaking, poetic, rapturous—than There’s Always This Year. He loves basketball, his court, his block, his city, but most of all, his people, and he beautifully shares it in this indelible and mesmerizing book. Abdurraqib has written not only the most original sports book I’ve ever read but one of the most moving books I’ve ever read, period….Utterly transcendent.”
–Steve James

Charlie Hustle: The Rise and Fall of Pete Rose, and the Last Glory Days of Baseball - O'Brien, Keith

Keith O’Brien, Charlie Hustle: The Rise and Fall of Pete Rose, and the Last Glory Days of Baseball

“Baseball biography at its best. With Charlie Hustle, Pete Rose finally gets the book he deserves, and baseball fans get the book we’ve been craving, a hard-hitting, beautifully-written tale that will stand for years to come as the definitive account of one of the most fascinating figures in American sports history.”
–Jonathan Eig

Day One - Dean, Abigail

Abigail Dean, Day One

“A gripping examination of a community devastated by a school shooting and the ‘truthers’ who deny it ever happened. Within that story is a girl who’s hiding what she knows about what happened that day. A chilling, thought-provoking read. Brilliant.”
–Shari Lapena

On Gold Hill: A Personal History of Wheat, Farming, and Family, from Punjab to California - Moyer, Jaclyn

Jaclyn Moyer, On Gold Hill: A Personal History of Wheat, Farming, and Family, from Punjab to California
(Beacon Press)

On Gold Hill is clear-eyed and beautifully written, capturing the sincerity of the local and organic food movement even as it refuses, with good reason, to romanticize it. Moyer explores a series of connected histories—the evolution of wheat, the rise of the organic farming movement, and the displacement and migration of her own family—with insight and intelligence. This is, without question, the best memoir of farm and family I have ever encountered.”
–Claire Boyles

Death Row Welcomes You: Visiting Hours in the Shadow of the Execution Chamber - Hale, Steven

Steven Hale, Death Row Welcomes You: Visiting Hours in the Shadow of the Execution Chamber
(Melville House)

“Death Row Welcomes You is a gutting journey into dark places that most people never see. Deeply researched, Steven Hale’s book weaves together years of immersive reporting into a narrative that stands as a testament to the value of dogged journalists who can document hidden worlds. The stories he tells will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading.”
–Keri Blakinger

Takeover: Hitler's Final Rise to Power - Ryback, Timothy W.

Timothy W. Ryback, Takeover: Hitler’s Final Rise to Power

“Timothy Ryback has written an engrossing clock-ticker of a narrative about the behind-the-scenes machinations and open politicking that vaulted Hitler and the Nazi party to power. Nothing was inevitable about their triumph, and plenty of contemporary observers were caught off-guard by it, as Ryback shows to chilling effect. The relevance to authoritarianism today is urgent and unmistakable.Takeover is a vital read for anyone who cares about the future of democracy.”
–Margaret Talbot

Wonderstruck: How Wonder and Awe Shape the Way We Think - de Cruz, Helen

Helen De Cruz, Wonderstruck: How Wonder and Awe Shape the Way We Think
(Princeton University Press)

“In Helen De Cruz’s extraordinarily rich and deep dive into awe and wonder, you will learn of their philosophical treatments, their role in magic and religion, their place in evolution, and how we can reclaim these two states so vital to our imagination and adaptation in the twenty-first century. This elegant book is filled with wonder-inspiring insights, awe-filled observations and cultural histories, and beauty. Read this book and you will look at the world around you with more wonder and awe.”
–Dacher Keltner

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