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To a book lover, there is nothing like ringing in a new year with a long list of books to look forward to reading over the coming months. Here are but a few of mine.

 

Happy New Year and Happy Reading,

 

Star Lowe

Lost and Found

A Memoir by Kathryn Schulz, Random House, Jan. 22.

 

Eighteen months before Kathryn Schulz’s beloved father died, she met the woman she would marry. In Lost & Found, she weaves the stories of those relationships into a brilliant exploration of how all our lives are shaped by loss and discovery.

Three very different American families form the heart of Lost & Found: the one that made Schulz’s father, a charming, brilliant, absentminded Jewish refugee; the one that made her partner, an equally brilliant farmer’s daughter and devout Christian; and the one she herself makes through marriage. Schulz, a staff writer at THE NEW YORKER and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, writes with curiosity, tenderness, erudition, and wit about our finite yet infinitely complicated lives. Her meditations on how private happiness and coexist with global catastrophe and how we get irritated with those we love are cathartic. Equal parts memoir and guidebook, Lost & Found addresses living in a world that is simultaneously full of wonder and joy and wretchedness and suffering - - a world that always demands both our gratitude and our grief.

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South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

by Imani Perry, Ecco Press, Jan. 22

 

Imani Perry, a professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, returned to her hometown in Alabama seeking to challenge what we think we know about the South. In South to America, Perry divulges that the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much the country tends to acknowledge.

This is a story of a Black woman and native Alabaman coming back to a region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Perry’s journey home shows readers that there is no one archetype of the American South, as she considers everything from immigrant communities to the legacy of slavery to her own ancestral roots. Perry sets forth that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole.

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Very Cold People

by Sarah Manguso, Hogarth, Feb. 22

 

For Ruthie, the frozen town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, is all she has ever known. Once the home of the country’s oldest and most illustrious family, the “first, best people,” by the end of the twentieth century, it’s now an unforgiving place awash with secrets.

As Ruthie grows older, she learns the deep and dark history concealed by the town’s prim facade, and how silence often masks a legacy of harm she would be lucky to survive.

Manguso has written, with characteristic precision, a masterwork on growing up in and out of the suffocating constraints of a very old, and very cold, small town.

Anyone from small town America will recognize the contours in this quietly beautiful novel about what it feels like to grow up an outsider. It’s an exploration of the darkness that lies underneath a lily-white community with an emotional resonance that sneaks up on you.

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The Fell

by Sarah Moss, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, March 22

 

Fans of Ghost Wall and Summerwater rejoice! Moss’s The Fell is a riveting novel of mutual responsibility, personal freedom, and the ever-nearness of disaster that seems as timely as ever.

At dusk on an autumn eve, Kate slips out of her garden gate and turns up the hill. In the middle of a two-week quarantine period, the temptation to go out of doors is too strong. The moors are deserted just now, and no one would know if she ventured out for a quick walk. But somehow Kate falls. Now injured and unable to move, will her furtive walk become a mountain rescue or a missing persons case.

Suspenseful, witty, and wise, The Fell asks probing questions about who we are in the world, who we are as neighbors, and who we are when the world demands we shut ourselves away.

Checkout 19

by Claire-Louis Bennett, Riverhead Books, March 22

 

Pond author Claire-Louise Bennett’s sophomore novel is a coming of age story about a young, hyper-observant writer in a working-class town in a county west of London.

It all began with scribbled stories in the back pages of her exercise book. She is intoxicated by the first sparks of her imagination, and as she grows, everything and everyone becomes fuel for the burning genius. Then a large Russian man in the ancient maroon car who careens around the grocery store where she works slips her a copy of Beyond Good and Evil. The heap of other books grows as do the opportunities they offer her to lose and find herself. The thrill of learning to conjure characters and scenarios in her head is matched by the exhilaration of forging her own way in the world, the two kinds of ingenuity kindling to a brilliant conflagration.

Bomb Shelter: Love, Time, and Other Explosives

by Mary Laura Philpott, Atria Books, April 2022.

 

Following her bestseller I Miss You When I Blink, Philpott delivers again with a poignant and powerful new memoir-in-essays that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with the humor and hope her fans have come to anticipate. Her distinctive voice explores our protective instincts, the ways we continue to grow up long after we’re grown, and the limits, both tragic and hilarious, of the human body and mind.

This self-proclaimed lifelong worrier with a sunny spirit will have you laughing and crying on the same page. Parents will instantly relate: ‘ I felt the universe had entrusted me with so much more than I could possibly keep safe.’ However tempting it might be to recede into a protective shell, Philpott plots forward and affirms in essay after essay, that the love that makes us vulnerable is the force that makes us stronger. Philpott, a genius at giving voice to the indescribable, will have readers saying,  ‘YES!’ in solidarity, and reveling at the wit and honesty of her declarations.

There Are Places In The World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness: And Other Thoughts on Physics, Philosophy and the World

by Carlo Rovelli, Riverhead Books, May 2022

 

New from physicist and fearless free spirit, Carlo Rovelli, this new collection of essays reveals a curious intellect always on the move. He invites readers on an accessible and enlightening voyage through science, literature, philosophy, and politics.

Rovelli writes with his usual wit and clarity and this journey ranges widely across time and space: from Newton’s alchemy to Einstein’s mistakes, from Nabokov’s lepidopterology to Dante’s cosmology, from mind-altering psychedelic substances to the meaning of atheism, from the future of physics to the power of uncertainty. Charming, pithy, and elegant, this book is a great gateway to the universe, a delightfully intellectual feast.

Horse

by Geraldine Brooks, Viking, June 22

Pulitzer Prize-winning Geraldine Brooks takes a discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history and renders a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history. Brooks weaves together the mid-19th century racing world, an enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal; the 1950s New York City art scene, a gallery owner Martha Jackson known for favoring edgy contemporary painters and the nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting she becomes obsessed with; and  present-day D.C., where a Smithsonian scientist, Jess, and a Nigerian-American art historian, Theo, connect through a horse and its unsung Black horsemen.

Based on the true story of a record-breaking thoroughbred, Lexington, who became America’s greatest stud sire, Horse is a gripping, multi-layered reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America. 

 

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