Robert Pinsky! Porochista Khakpour! Rufi Thorpe! 26 new books out today.


June 11, 2024, 4:58am

Dear Readers, it is once again Tuesday, and that means, as ever, that there are new things to read and rejoice in. And today is no exception, for there are many, many exciting new books to consider. I’ve compiled twenty-six for you below.

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You’ll find a number of established names, including the former United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, who has a new collection, Proverbs of Limbo; Porochista Khakpour, who has returned with a highly anticipated novel, Tehrangeles; Rufi Thorpe, who is back with a new, unabashedly wild novel; memoiristic and studies of Joni Mitchell, W. H. Auden, and Joan Didion; and many others. There’s also a slew of other fascinating offerings in fiction and nonfiction, including work by Camille Bordas; the actor and director Griffin Dunne; Jill Ciment with a nuanced exploration of memory and trauma and cultural impulses; and much, much more.

It’s an excellent day for new reads, and I hope you’ll add generously to your to-be-read piles with some of these.

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Tehrangeles - Khakpour, Porochista

Porochista Khakpour, Tehrangeles
(Pantheon Books)

“Like Little Women on an ayahuasca trip, Tehrangeles is delightfully twisted and heartfelt. If you set a TikTok mukbang at a Crazy Rich Persian wedding, you’d still have a long way to go to capture the extravagant eccentricities of the Milani sisters. Khakpour is a satirist extraordinaire who astutely captures the zeitgeist of a culture and a place where ‘reality’ is just something you livestream and truth is a billion times stranger than fiction.”
–Kevin Kwan

Margo's Got Money Troubles - Thorpe, Rufi

Rufi Thorpe, Margo’s Got Money Troubles
(William Morrow)

Margo’s Got Money Troubles is an audacious, wildly funny, completely unpredictable novel by a writer so singular that it’s hard to compare her to anyone else. Rufi Thorpe writes wildness so well, the messiness of the choices we make, the strange ways we bend and twist ourselves to accommodate those choices, and she does it with the rare qualities of tenderness and empathy. An absolutely brilliant book.”
–Kevin Wilson

The Material - Bordas, Camille

Camille Bordas, The Material
(Random House)

“What makes the book work, first and foremost, is that it’s funny—fast and fizzy and dangerous in the way the best stand-up feels improvisatory without ever actually being improv….But beneath the laughs and digressions lies a surprisingly profound book about the costs and consolations of art. Does doing comedy make these people’s lives better? The question is moot, pointless. The last word of that question falls away, has to; the material and the life are the same thing.”
Kirkus Reviews

This Thread of Gold: A Celebration of Black Womanhood - White, Catherine Joy

Catherine Joy White, This Thread of Gold: A Celebration of Black Womanhood
(Tiny Reparations Books)

“An essential and overdue meditation on Black womanhood. In offering us this beautifully written work―part memoir, part paean, part call to arms―Catherine Joy White has done herself and our ancestors justice. It manages to be poetic yet punchy, enraging yet uplifting, and it transforms our mechanisms for survival and resistance into high art.”
–Sara Collins

The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir - Dunne, Griffin

Griffin Dunne, The Friday Afternoon Club: A Family Memoir
(Penguin Press)

“Griffin Dunne has been entertaining people—both on-screen and off—all his life. And though you probably know him best as a gifted actor, make no mistake—Dunne is a real writer. The Friday Afternoon Club is a riveting and rollicking portrait of Dunne’s unconventional family as well as a deeply considered reckoning with the tragedy that exploded within it….He is alsolike the best entertainers—ridiculously funny. This is just a wonderful memoir.”
–Alexandra Styron

Consent: A Memoir - Ciment, Jill

Jill Ciment, Consent: A Memoir
(Pantheon Books)

“In her new memoir, Ciment revisits the scandalous romance that became the defining fact of her personal life–her passionate and enduring relationship with a man thirty years her senior, begun when she was a teenager. In her fiercely intelligent and imaginative style, Ciment interrogates her memories through a new lens, and in the process creates an indelible portrait not just of a marriage, but of the remembering mind, its revisions and revelations.”
–Jo Ann Beard

Proverbs of Limbo: Poems - Pinsky, Robert

Robert Pinsky, Proverbs of Limbo: Poems
(FSG)

“One of the achievements of Robert Pinsky’s work has always been the way in which he balances a realistic and therefore fateful sense of life with a vivacity of expression that reflects his unabashed pleasure in the vagaries of human nature, a sense of moral and aesthetic proportion that Proverbs of Limbo splendidly exemplifies.”
–David Woo

Gretel and the Great War - Sachs, Adam Ehrlich

Adam Ehrlich Sachs, Gretel and the Great War
(FSG Originals)

“Sachs lends a touch of the fantastical to Viennese life at the end of WWI in this inventive novel….[He] keenly captures the pulse of a city on the cusp of immense change. This spirited volume lingers long after the final page.”
Publishers Weekly

Ask Me Again - Sestanovich, Clare

Clare Sestanovich, Ask Me Again
(Knopf)

“This beautiful debut novel is wise about intellectual and erotic discovery, disenchantment and loneliness. It’s alert to the small moments of awkwardness and grace that make up the texture of common life; its quiet, tectonic power comes from an awareness of how easily common life can tilt toward catastrophe. Clare Sestanovich is a writer of disarming radiance.”
–Garth Greenwell

Beautiful Days: Stories - Williams, Zach

Zach Williams, Beautiful Days: Stories
(Doubleday)

Beautiful Days is a remarkable collection. These stories are full of irony and absurdity, but are never sleight, glib or waggish. Zach Williams paints us into every story with quick, deft strokes and then unfolds, with a scarily confident hand, the rest of the canvas, full of surprises and truths and stuff we never imagined.”
–Percival Everett

The Uptown Local: Joy, Death, and Joan Didion: A Memoir - Leadbeater, Cory

Cory Leadbeater, The Uptown Local: Joy, Death, and Joan Didion: A Memoir
(Ecco Press)

“Cory Leadbeater writes with beauty, precision and velocity and The Uptown Local is a memoir like no other. It’s the story of his relationship with a great American writer, but it’s also the saga of his family’s dark struggle with twenty-first-century American realities….[U]nderneath his calamities we also discover a young man from a tough town whose life was saved by literature, by art, by music, and by the mentorship of those who’d come this way before him….[R]emarkable.”
–Sam Lipsyte

Any Person Is the Only Self: Essays - Gabbert, Elisa

Elisa Gabbert, Any Person Is the Only Self: Essays
(FSG)

“Invigorating….[Gabbert’s] lively commentary offers fresh takes on classic literature….[She] is an original thinker, and the literary analysis is refreshingly unstuffy. Bookworms will appreciate these intelligent essays.”
Publishers Weekly

Kissing Girls on Shabbat: A Memoir - Glass, Sara

Sara Glass, Kissing Girls on Shabbat: A Memoir
(Atria / One Signal Publishers)

“Sara Glass’ heartfelt story of balancing motherhood, career aspirations, sexuality, and faith while breaking away from her Hasidic origins gives us a fascinating look at the complex tapestry of Jewish life in New York and beyond. Her honest, flaws-and-all self-examination, while coming from a very specific and unique place, reveals universal truths.”
–Stuart Rojstaczer

The Sons of El Rey - Espinoza, Alex

Alex Espinoza, The Sons of El Rey
(Simon & Schuster)

“Alex Espinoza writes with singular grace, humor and deep empathy for his characters who journey between Mexico and California to make new lives, to ache for the past even while tasting the future on their tongues. In The Sons of El Rey, he’s given us a powerful sweep of three generations of dreamers through the story of lucha libre as legend, historia and tradition. This family is unforgettable.”
–Susan Straight

Mouth: Stories - Ghosh, Puloma

Puloma Ghosh, Mouth: Stories
(Astra House)

“Sometimes surreal, sometimes horrifying, always startling…these stories will unsettle and fascinate in equal measure….Like K-Ming Chang’s carnal prose, Ghosh’s delights in even the grotesque sides of sex and rebirth….Mouth introduces readers to Puloma Ghosh’s unmatched ability to probe the visceral depths of female pain, desire, and grief.”
Shelf Awareness

The Dunning-Kruger Effect - Stoopendaal, Andrés

Andrés Stoopendaal, The Dunning-Kruger Effect (trans. Alex Fleming)
(Atria Books)

“As a millennial of the depicted demographic group….I feel pinpointed by [Stoopendaal’s] clear-eyed satire of a generation of ‘pretend adults’ with a pathological need to justify work that is neither obviously meaningful nor reflective of their desired identity…We have on our hands one of the sharpest portraits of this generation. Stoopendaal has a devilish eye for the laughable and cringe-inducing.”
Kristeligt Dagblad

Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell - Powers, Ann

Ann Powers, Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell
(Dey Street Books)

“A vibrant critical assessment of the eclectic and enigmatic folk/jazz/pop icon….Those simply looking for loving commentaries on Mitchell classics like Blue will find them, but Powers offers more than mere hagiography, positioning Mitchell as ‘an embodiment of freedom and singularity, of sorrow and of play.’ A top-notch music critic set loose on a worthy subject.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Island: War and Belonging in Auden's England - Jenkins, Nicholas

Nicholas Jenkins, The Island: War and Belonging in Auden’s England
(Belknap Press)

he Island is a Copernican Revolution in Auden studies, a revelatory and often exciting book that presents a new and convincing account of Auden’s early years. It explores, for the first time, the deep connections between the inner workings of his poems and the worlds of politics and economics. By bringing to light Auden’s ambition to be a national poet, Jenkins transforms our understanding of not only Auden himself but all of modernist literature.”
–Edward Mendelson

The Great River: The Making and Unmaking of the Mississippi - Upholt, Boyce

Boyce Upholt, The Great River: The Making and Unmaking of the Mississippi
(Norton)

“From mound-builders to levee-makers, Boyce Upholt gives us a Mississippi both wild and engineered, life-giving and furious—a river as full of contradictions as the country that has tried and failed to tame it. Impossible to stop reading, The Great River is a deeply felt meditation on the ways people have lived with nature’s changes, and how we might live differently in the future.”
–Bathsheba Demuth

All Friends Are Necessary - Moniz, Tomas

Tomas Moniz, All Friends Are Necessary
(Algonquin)

“Tomas Moniz returns with a beautiful, searching novel. All Friends Are Necessary combines the rugged tenderness of Denis Johnson, the poetic geographies of Jimmy Santiago Baca, the frank sexual desire of Garth Greenwell, and the playful joy of Sandra Cisneros into a novel equally heartbreaking and hopeful. This is one of the best books of the year.”
–Christian Kiefer

Tongueless - Yee-Wa, Lau

Lau Yee-Wa, Tongueless (trans. Jennifer Feeley)
(Feminist Press)

Tongueless is a riveting horror novel that explores the psychic depths of two desperate secondary school teachers struggling to navigate a merciless society. Set against the backdrop of post-1997 Hong Kong, amid shifting social norms and language politics, Lau’s striking debut novel compels readers to confront the voices of dissent….In Feeley’s brilliant translation, Hong Kong’s cultural and linguistic nuances are vividly brought to the fore.”
–Dorothy Tse

Getting to Know Death: A Meditation - Godwin, Gail

Gail Godwin, Getting to Know Death: A Meditation
(Bloomsbury)

“Gail Godwin and I met as students in Kurt Vonnegut’s writing class. With insightful reflection, as she prepares herself for the inevitable, Gail has recalled the loved ones she’s lost-in the same crystalline prose that distinguishes her fiction. This book makes me remember the loved ones I’ve lost, in all the good ways.”
–John Irving

What Are Children For?: On Ambivalence and Choice - Berg, Anastasia

Anastasia Berg, What Are Children For?: On Ambivalence and Choice
(St. Martin’s Press)

“A lucid and sophisticated treatment of a question we all share a stake in: Ought there be future generations? Carving out a conversation about parenthood and the future that’s undisturbed by the warping effects of the culture wars, the book ably addresses contemporary challenges to parenthood—both practical and political—while developing its own optimistic case for human life.”
The Atlantic

Hip-Hop Is History - Questlove

Questlove, Ben Greenman, Hip-Hop Is History
(Auwa)

“Questlove closely examines the social, political, and artistic factors contributing to hip-hop’s growth, many facets and styles, stars, controversies, innovations, and far-ranging influence. This is a must-read….Questlove’s illuminating and insightful survey is as personal as it is expert.”
Booklist

Accidental Astronomy: How Random Discoveries Shape the Science of Space - Lintott, Chris

Chris Lintott, Accidental Astronomy: How Random Discoveries Shape the Science of Space
(Basic Books)

“Lintott’s awe-inspiring reflections on the universe’s unknowable origin and development is fused with a distinctly human idea, that many of the most profound discoveries in astronomy were not made by ‘deliberate moves,’ but rather by ‘stumbling accidents.’”
Booklist

How the World Ran Out of Everything: Inside the Global Supply Chain - Goodman, Peter S.

Peter S. Goodman, How the World Ran Out of Everything: Inside the Global Supply Chain
(Mariner)

How the World Ran Out of Everything is a fascinating crash course in the global supply chain. Like Michael Lewis, Peter Goodman tells a business story in clear, lively prose. Here he shows how corporate America goosed its balance sheets with a system that minimized inventories and maximized stock prices, squeezing truck drivers and railroad workers and ultimately leaving consumers in the lurch when this fragile construct came crashing down.”
–Barbara Demick



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