Yoko Tawada! Taffy Brodesser-Akner! Reimagining Sylvia Plath! Deals with the Devil! 27 new books out today.

July 9, 2024, 3:00am

Ah, another Tuesday! For my American readers, it’s the weekend after Independence Day, and—whether or not you grilled things, took place in a corybantic hot-dog-eating contest, watched legal and illegal fireworks compete instead, fell into a food coma, protested the ever-questionable flags flying outside of Justice Alito’s home, or just had fun on a day off—the end of all that, sadly, is upon us as a new, normal week unfolds.

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But there’s much to rejoice about, as well, for there are many, many new books out today to consider picking up, all of which are apposite, in their own ways, for recovering from whatever state the 4th left you in. You’ll find no less than twenty-seven new ones below in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, by celebrated and new authors alike.

There are new poetry collections by Faylita Hicks, who explores the personal, political, and profane as a nonbinary femme writer; and the Greek poet Phoebe Giannisi, whose new book explores past and present, mundane and marvelous. You’ll find exciting fiction by Yoko Tawada, Taffy-Brodesser-Akner, August Thompson, Kevin Barry, and many, many others; today is a particularly rich day for new fiction. And then, of course, there’s a plethora of nonfiction, including Emily Van Duyne’s reimagining of Sylvia Plath’s last years, which attempts to both put Plath to task for her bigotries and to reclaim her as a writer in her own right rather than in relation to Ted Hughes; Sable Yong on the complexity of the beauty industry; Emma Specter’s exploration of food, hunger, weight, and unfair societal pressures; Ed Simon on the history of Faustian bargains with the Devil; and much, much more.

Good stuff, I’d say. You should indulge. Just a bit. Or a lot. This is no Mephistophelian temptation, I swear. Just good old-fashioned temptation by tomes. If nothing else, if you were in a food coma last weekend, moseying a few blocks to a bookstore might just be the thing you need. Read deeply—and, dare I say, a bit devilishly.


Anyone's Ghost - Thompson, August

August Thompson, Anyone’s Ghost
(Penguin Press)

Anyone’s Ghost is about so very many things: the pains of growing up, friendship and pining, drugs, sex, the frustrations of masculinity, and the thrill of testing death itself. But more than any of that, it is an overwhelmingly beautiful love story. This book will make you cry.”
–Jonathan Safran Foer

This Great Hemisphere - Askaripour, Mateo

Mateo Askaripour, This Great Hemisphere

This Great Hemisphere is a tense, urgent exploration of power in all its forms and how it corrupts. It’s a story of America and subjugation and hope and all the things some may choose not to see. An allegory reminiscent of Colson Whitehead’s Intuitionist and Zone One, this one will keep your brain churning long after you’ve finished it.”
–Yume Kitasei

Paul Celan and the Trans-Tibetan Angel - Tawada, Yoko

Yoko Tawada, Paul Celan and the Trans-Tibetan Angel (trans. Susan Bernofsky)
(New Directions Publishing)

“Japanese novelist Tawada, who lives in Berlin, observes a scholar’s obsession with a poet. When does an interest become an obsession? A pathology? For the central character of Tawada’s Covid-19-era novella, problems come to light after his interest becomes a job….What results is an inventive homage to modernist literature, wrapped up in an unexpectedly personal depiction of illness….A dark but charming portrait of a man unmoored by his love of an artist.”
Kirkus Reviews

Loving Sylvia Plath: A Reclamation - Van Duyne, Emily

Emily Van Duyne, Loving Sylvia Plath: A Reclamation

“This disquieting debut from Van Duyne…examines how Ted Hughes’s physical and psychological abuse of his wife, Sylvia Plath, shaped her life, work, and legacy….[Loving Sylvia Plath is] an incriminating account exposing the depths of Hughes’s cruelty [and the book] is sure to reignite debate in literary circles.”
Publishers Weekly

Die Hot with a Vengeance: Essays on Vanity - Yong, Sable

Sable Yong, Die Hot with a Vengeance
(Dey Street Books)

“A must-read for anyone who has felt the tension between the beauty industry’s ability to simultaneously exploit and empower, Die Hot With a Vengeance eviscerates the manipulative aspects of Big Beauty without shaming those who love what beauty practices can offer. With this comprehensive collection…Yong demystifies the beauty industry while illuminating a path toward self-liberation in which we can enjoy beauty while extricating ourselves from ideals that don’t serve us.”
–Ling Ling Huang

More, Please: On Food, Fat, Bingeing, Longing, and the Lust for Enough - Specter, Emma

Emma Specter, More, Please: On Food, Fat, Bingeing, Longing, and the Lust for “Enough”

“Few topics are as viciously knotted together as food, health, weight, pleasure, and the crushing social pressure to be a certain size. Emma Specter slices through all of it, probing our obsession with ‘wellness’ with a voice that’s tender, funny, angry, and sharp as hell. This is an essential book for anyone with a body, anyone with a heart.”
–Helen Rosner

A Map of My Want - Hicks, Faylita

Faylita Hicks, A Map of My Want

A Map of My Want is an essential collection that burns with resilience, eroticism, and the pursuit of freedom on every page.”
–Ruben Quesada

Chimera - Giannisi, Phoebe

Phoebe Giannisi, Chimera (trans. Brian Sneeden)
(New Directions)

“Giannisi turns the quotidian into the magical in poems that push against the shifting present moment.”
Publishers Weekly

Whoever You Are, Honey - Gatwood, Olivia

Olivia Gatwood, Whoever You Are, Honey
(Dial Press)

Whoever You Are, Honey is built on simmering tensions at the precipice of boiling over….The twin themes of women’s loneliness and desire are the timeless beating hearts of Olivia Gatwood’s debut novel, propped up by of-the-moment ruminations on queerness and artificial intelligence.”

The Heart in Winter - Barry, Kevin

Kevin Barry, The Heart in Winter

“A dazzling tale of lovers on the run in Montana….Barry has written us a love story that never seems false or cheap, and an adventure where the violence is never gloating or desensitized. It’s a wedding of Cormac McCarthy with Flann O’Brien; a western but also the most Irish of novels; a tragedy written as farce…inspiring joy with every incident, every concept, every sentence.”
The Guardian

Tell It to Me Singing - Ramirez, Tita

Tita Ramírez, Tell It to Me Singing
(S & S/Marysue Rucci Books)

“The concept alone is brilliant—telenovela meets novel. The result is a book so fantastic and funny, so full of life, and so full of genuine heart that, like your favorite binge-worthy show, you’ll have trouble pulling yourself away.”
–Cristina Henríquez

Devil's Contract: The History of the Faustian Bargain - Simon, Ed

Ed Simon, Devil’s Contract: The History of the Faustian Bargain
(Melville House)

“I truly admire the hell out of this book. It’s thrilling yet erudite investigation into the long history of a Faustian bargain with the devil. It uncovers the way the sinister transaction, however mythic, has been incorporated into literature, culture–and contemporary human nature. Eye-opening and pleasurable reading that is also cause for self-reflection.”
–Ron Rosenbaum

The Long Run: A Creative Inquiry - D'Erasmo, Stacey

Stacey D’Erasmo, The Long Run: A Creative Inquiry

“D’Erasmo explores not just what it means to have a long career in the arts, but what it means to be an artist, to be queer, and to be a citizen of the Earth, making this book a unique contribution to the canon of work about the life of an artist. Artists of all kinds will find inspiration and good company within these thoughtful essays.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Color of Everything: A Journey to Quiet the Chaos Within - Richards, Cory

Cory Richards, The Color of Everything: A Journey to Quiet the Chaos Within
(Random House)

“You might recall the look in Cory Richards’s eyes from the selfie he snapped after climbing out of an avalanche in the Himalayas at 26,000 feet, or…from a very public panic attack he suffered on Everest…or you know him as a record-setting, world-class mountaineer. But you might not know that Richards is also a beautiful writer and thinker, with a complicated makeup and an abiding love for life. This book will make you laugh, will make you gasp, and…make you happy in indescribable ways.”
–Matthew Klam

The Anthropologists - Savas, Aysegül

Ayşegül Savaş, The Anthropologists

“Like Walter Benjamin, Aysegül Savas uncovers trapdoors to bewilderment everywhere in everyday life; like Henry James, she sees marriage as a mystery, unsoundably deep. The Anthropologists is mesmerizing; I felt I read it in a single breath.”
–Garth Greenwell

The History of Sound: Stories - Shattuck, Ben

Ben Shattuck, The History of Sound: Stories

“Ben Shattuck’s stories are stunning: enthralling, suspenseful, and haunting; often witty and always deeply moving. Like Alice Munro and Andrea Barrett, he has a keen eye for the mysterious intersections of human nature with nature itself–and a knack for capturing the span of an entire life in a single tale, each resonating with others to create a book about history, destiny, and the way we live now. At the end, I longed for more.”
–Julia Glass

Quickly, While They Still Have Horses: Stories - Carson, Jan

Jan Carson, Quickly, While They Still Have Horses

“A collection of sixteen darkly comic short stories that move fluidly between decades and genres….Carson’s blend of dark humor and unwavering compassion for her characters will appeal to fans of Louise Kennedy and Rebecca Miller.”

Other Rivers: A Chinese Education - Hessler, Peter

Peter Hessler, Other Rivers: A Chinese Education
(Penguin Press)

“Peter Hessler has written a wryly observed, deeply empathetic portrait of modern China, told through the lives of his Chinese students and his own daughters’ experiences at a local school. Hessler avoids sweeping conclusions, trusting that the country’s real story emerges from microhistories, everyday conversations and amusing glimpses into daily life. This is journalism at its most humane.”
–Pamela Druckerman

Black Pill: How I Witnessed the Darkest Corners of the Internet Come to Life, Poison Society, and Capture American Politics - Reeve, Elle

Elle Reeve, Black Pill: How I Witnessed the Darkest Corners of the Internet Come to Life, Poison Society, and Capture American Politics
(Atria Books)

“A reporter takes a gimlet-eyed look at the dangerous worlds of the deluded who gave us QAnon, right-wing extremism, and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. The black pill of CNN correspondent Reeve’s title is a trope borrowed from the Matrix film franchise to describe ‘a dark but gleeful nihilism: the system is corrupt, and its collapse is inevitable’….A sharp exposé that does much to explain a strange, dangerous underground movement steadily emerging into daylight.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Secret Lives of Numbers: A Hidden History of Math's Unsung Trailblazers - Revell, Timothy

Kate Kitagawa, Timothy Revell, The Secret Lives of Numbers: A Hidden History of Math’s Unsung Trailblazers
(William Morrow)

“A fine history of mathematics that seeks to decouple it from its traditional Eurocentric focus….A solid corrective to a host of misunderstandings about math.”
Kirkus Reviews

Long Island Compromise - Brodesser-Akner, Taffy

Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Long Island Compromise
(Random House)

“Another tale of modern neuroses, told with bombastic appeal….Brodesser-Akner’s sweep and verve is masterful; there are echoes of Philip Roth here in her examination of American Jewish identity, the promise of America, the thrill of reinvention, the prison of privilege. I can’t think of another living writer better at crafting tales of acute and searing pathos, all while pleasing readers in the process.”

A Thousand Times Before - Thanki, Asha

Asha Thanki, A Thousand Times Before

“In expertly crafted prose, Thanki reinvents generational memory, conjuring inheritance as a tapestry of love, trauma, and choices that echo through blood. The memories within wormed their way under my skin and made me reflect about the collective of past lives that reside within all of us. A profoundly tender and complex debut that I didn’t want to put down.”
–Sequoia Nagamatsu

Toward Eternity - Hur, Anton

Anton Hur, Toward Eternity

“[A] moving, philosophical exploration of what it means to be alive. Hur asks whether the self can exist beyond biology and memory, whether souls can be made rather than born, and whether the most enduring part of humanity might be as ethereal a concept as love….Hur’s thought-provoking novel will appeal to readers who love gripping metaphysical science fiction, such as Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Memory or Robert J. Sawyer’s Calculating God.”
Library Journal

Capitalism: A Horror Story: Gothic Marxism and the Dark Side of the Radical Imagination - Greenaway, Jon

Jon Greenaway, Capitalism: A Horror Story: Gothic Marxism and the Dark Side of the Radical Imagination

“This wonderful book uncovers the revolutionary complexities at the heart of some of our most famous pop-cultural monsters, allowing them to speak to us anew. We would be wise to listen.”
–Matt Colquhoun

My Parents' Marriage - Brew-Hammond, Nana Ekua

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, My Parents’ Marriage
(Amistad Press)

“The marital realities of patriarchy, class, reproduction, culture, and finances are minutely and exquisitely observed in breathlessly tense exchanges I couldn’t look away from. Brew-Hammond has crafted an arrestingly evocative story, which, like Dominicana and Brown Girl, Brownstones, dismantles immigrant cliches and delivers powerfully vulnerable moments that show what we can mean to each other. [A] thought-provoking and intense novel.”
–Vanessa Walters

Daughters of Chaos - Fawkes, Jen

Jen Fawkes, Daughters of Chaos
(Overlook Press)

Daughters of Chaos is a deeply feminist story that weaves together Greek mythology, Civil War history, sisterhood, fire, sex, and love. Fawkes…layers found text, journal entries and letters, narrative and playwriting, resulting in a lush and immersive novel. From Ephesus to Nashville and beyond, Fawkes’s wide perspective allows her to shine light on women lost to time while embracing surprising parallels that will delight any fan of the classics.”
–Elizabeth Gonzalez James

All This and More - Shepherd, Peng

Peng Shepherd, All This and More
(William Morrow)

“In Shepherd’s imaginative latest (after The Cartographers), a middle-aged woman wins the chance to star in a mind-bending reality TV show built around a new technology called The Bubble, which allows contestants to choose different lives for themselves and adjusts their memories to match….[Shepherd] playfully mines nostalgia for Choose Your Own Adventure series (‘If Ren didn’t break up with Marsh last night: Turn the page’)….[A] tantalizing and well-knit story.”
Publishers Weekly

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