What a blur the year has been. Just like that, the calendar turned and we’re just over halfway through 2020. The new releases have, as always, surprised us, shocked us, delighted us, and everything in between. Upstart writers and literary luminaries have shown out, but there’s still plenty more to come and this week is a testament to that. This week we get to introduce you to a few titles by names you’re used to seeing on the silver screen; a new adventure for teens written by a titan in sci-fi; and a compendium of honest conversation by an American great. Read on to find out more!
Alice Knott by Blake Butler
From the ingenious mind of a language master: a wildly inventive novel about art, surveillance, our age of viral violence—and one woman’s psychic survival
A troubled, reclusive heiress, Alice Knott lives alone, haunted by memories of her deceased parents and mysterious, near-identical brother. Much of her fortune has been spent on a world-class collection of artwork, which she stores in a vault in her lonely, cavernous house. One day, she awakens to find several of her most prized artworks destroyed, the act of vandalism captured in a viral video that soon triggers a rash of copycat incidents. As more videos follow, and an astonishing legacy of international art hangs in the balance, Alice finds that she has become the chief suspect in an international conspiracy—even as her psyche becomes a shadowed landscape of childhood demons and cognitive disorder.
Hallucinatory, unsettling, almost physically immersive, Alice Knott is a mind-bending rabbit hole of a narrative: a virtuoso exploration of the meaning of art, the corporatization of culture, and the lasting afterlife of trauma, as well a deeply humane portrait of a woman whose struggles feel both fantastically apocalyptic and dangerously, universally real.
True Love by Sarah Gerard
One of today’s most provocative literary writers—the author of the critically acclaimed Sunshine State and the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award finalist Binary Star—captures the confused state of modern romance and the egos that inflate it in a dark comedy about a woman’s search for acceptance, identity, and financial security in the rise of Trump.
Nina is a struggling writer, a college drop-out, a liar, and a cheater. More than anything she wants love. She deserves it.
From the burned-out suburbs of Florida to the anonymous squalor of New York City, she eats through an incestuous cast of characters in search of it: her mother, a narcissistic lesbian living in a nudist polycule; Odessa, a single mom with even worse taste in men than Nina; Seth, an artist whose latest show is comprised of three Tupperware containers full of trash; Brian, whose roller-coaster affair with Nina is the most stable “relationship” in his life; and Aaron, an aspiring filmmaker living at home with his parents, with whom Nina begins to write her magnum opus.
Nina’s quest for fulfillment is at once darkly comedic, acerbically acute, and painfully human—a scathing critique of contemporary society, and a tender examination of our anguished yearning for connection in an era defined by detachment.
Becoming Duchess Goldblatt by Anonymous
Part memoir and part joyful romp through the fields of imagination, the story behind a beloved pseudonymous Twitter account reveals how a writer deep in grief rebuilt a life worth living.
Becoming Duchess Goldblatt is two stories: that of the reclusive real-life writer who created a fictional character out of loneliness and thin air, and that of the magical Duchess Goldblatt herself, a bright light in the darkness of social media. Fans around the world are drawn to Her Grace’s voice, her wit, her life-affirming love for all humanity, and the fun and friendship of the community that’s sprung up around her.
Don’t miss your opportunity to virtually commiserate with “Duchess” herself on Tuesday, July 21st at 7PM CDT on Zoom! She’ll be joined on the BookPeople stage with country music legend Lyle Lovett. Wild, huh? Tickets are absolutely free—register here!
Toni Morrison: The Last Interview and Other Conversations
Melville House’s Last Interview series is a bookseller favorite! And we’re thrilled that the next installment focuses on acclaimed American write and Nobel Prize winner, Toni Morrison. This title presents a wide-ranging collection of talks with the beloved author finds her refreshingly candid about her books and her life, race and misogyny, and more.
In this generous collection of thought-provoking interviews—including her first and last—the author Barack Obama called a “national treasure” talks with a wide variety of people, from Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Bill Moyers to obscure bloggers. She details not only her writing life and her influences, but also her other careers as a teacher, and as a publisher, as well as the gripping story of her family.
The Bright Lands by John Fram
This stunning debut combines Texas high school football with small town secrets and throws in an element of the supernatural that will have you racing to its chilling conclusion. Joel Whitley thinks he’s left his conservative home town for good after being humiliated in high school, and has made a comfortable life for himself as a gay man in NY City. But when his troubled younger brother calls for help, he’s drawn back into a dark web of secrets that some will kill to protect.
A Peculiar Peril by Jeff Vandermeer
A Peculiar Peril is the first book in a new YA fantasy duology from the bestselling genre-expanding master behind The Southern Reach Trilogy and countless genre anthologies. It follows a teenager who embarks on a quest to protect the world from an alternate universe where magic abounds and history has been rewritten.
After Jonathan Lambshead’s elusive grandfather dies, the recently orphaned teenager inherits the family mansion—and its contents. Jonathan soon discovers that the mansion’s basement holds more than just oddities: three doors serve as portals, with one leading to an alt-Earth called Aurora, where magic abounds, history has been re-written, and an occult dictator called Aleister Crowley leads an army pillaging alt-Europe. Jonathan learns of his destiny as a member of The Order, a secret society devoted to keeping our world separate from Aurora, and embarks on an epic quest to protect Earth from Crowley’s dark magic.
Over the course of the duology, Jonathan uncovers more of the worlds outside of our own, the magic that permeates them, his own destiny, and the secrets buried in his family history.
Antkind by Charlie Kaufman
Antkind is the bold and boundlessly original debut novel from the Oscar®-winning screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Synecdoche, New York.
B. Rosenberger Rosenberg, neurotic and underappreciated film critic (failed academic, filmmaker, paramour, shoe salesman who sleeps in a sock drawer), stumbles upon a hitherto unseen film by an enigmatic outsider—a film he’s convinced will change his career trajectory and rock the world of cinema to its core. His hands on what is possibly the greatest movie ever made, a three-month-long stop-motion masterpiece that took its reclusive auteur ninety years to complete, B. knows that it is his mission to show it to the rest of humanity. The only problem: The film is destroyed, leaving him the sole witness to its inadvertently ephemeral genius.
All that’s left of this work of art is a single frame from which B. must somehow attempt to recall the film that just might be the last great hope of civilization. Thus begins a mind-boggling journey through the hilarious nightmarescape of a psyche as lushly Kafkaesque as it is atrophied by the relentless spew of Twitter. Desperate to impose order on an increasingly nonsensical existence, trapped in a self-imposed prison of aspirational victimhood and degeneratively inclusive language, B. scrambles to re-create the lost masterwork while attempting to keep pace with an ever-fracturing culture of “likes” and arbitrary denunciations that are simultaneously his bête noire and his raison d’être.
A searing indictment of the modern world, Antkind is a richly layered meditation on art, time, memory, identity, comedy, and the very nature of existence itself—the grain of truth at the heart of every joke.
The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper
An emergency room physician explores how a life of service to others taught her how to heal herself.
Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, D.C., in a complicated family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman.
In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process.
The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky. How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.
Memoirs & Misinformation by Jim Carrrey & Dana Vachon
It’s been a long and winding road to to pub day for this one, but Carrey’s literary debut is finally here! Read more about the wacky novel below…
“Meet Jim Carrey. Sure, he’s an insanely successful and beloved movie star drowning in wealth and privilege—but he’s also lonely. Maybe past his prime. Maybe even…getting fat? He’s tried diets, gurus, and cuddling with his military-grade Israeli guard dogs, but nothing seems to lift the cloud of emptiness and ennui. Even the sage advice of his best friend, actor and dinosaur skull collector Nicolas Cage, isn’t enough to pull Carrey out of his slump.
But then Jim meets Georgie: ruthless ingénue, love of his life. And with the help of auteur screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, he has a role to play in a boundary-pushing new picture that may help him uncover a whole new side to himself—finally, his Oscar vehicle! Things are looking up!
But the universe has other plans.
Memoirs and Misinformation is a fearless semi-autobiographical novel, a deconstruction of persona. In it, Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon have fashioned a story about acting, Hollywood, agents, celebrity, privilege, friendship, romance, addiction to relevance, fear of personal erasure, our ‘one big soul,’ Canada, and a cataclysmic ending of the world—apocalypses within and without.”
The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
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