It’s not all blood curdling screams around the bookstore this time of year. That is, unless one of our most anticipated reads makes it to the store in its final form. In which case, it’s been nothing but blood curdling screams at the moment (haha).
Bookseller favorites Bryan Washington and Martin Amis are hitting the shelves in the fiction aisles, while David Byrne and a biography of Sylvia Plath grace the nonfiction stacks. Read on for more and shop the full list of new releases here!
Memorial by Bryan Washington
From Tomoko: “Bryan Washington’s writing is absolutely incredible; I love the way his sentences sit on the page, each line feeding rhythmically into the next, pulling me along with it. It feels like poetry. Memorial is quiet, with humor like a wry smile; introspectively attending to and elevating all the mundane things that populate daily life. So specific to his characters, a street Benson lived on, a dish Mike cooked, but so familiar. And so close; the anxieties and tensions of wants unknown and words unsaid float in the space between the lines, caught in inaction–wondering if there’s a time or circumstance when love moves on, lets go; how close is too close; and can damaged people even love anyway? As much as Memorial is about love (and sex, and wondering when/how the two became so disconnected), it’s an exploration of family, history and trying to understand what the hell you want or need from both. It’s Houston and Osaka, here and not there, exploring some of the flawed, ugly, hopeful, human ways we lose and gain people in our lives. And, as always, delicious food runs like a vein through Washington’s writing.”
From Uriel: “Should anyone be surprised that Memorial, Bryan Washington’s latest, delivers on the promise of Lot a dozen times over and is, in more ways than one, the pitch perfect novel of the year? I certainly am not. Much like Lot, Memorial is an acerbic, page-turner brimming with so much life you can’t help but be touched by it. The pages are graced with language so precise and descriptive clarity, one begins to wonder why real life can’t be as rich. There is much to say, but to put it simply: Memorial sets the standard for literary fiction this decade and beyond. This bountiful treatise on love, life, (plenty of food!), and queerness must be read, shared, and held close upon completion.”
From Christine: “I read it in one sitting, unable to put it down until there were no more words. Quite simply, Memorial is a strong contender for the National Book Award, if not the winner. This novel stands as an exemplar of literary fiction: strong, sparse, and authentic prose telling a compelling story. In this case, that of two emotionally-detached gay men–Benson and Mike, whose relationship is floundering. Memorial broke my heart in little ways and in big ways, especially as I wondered about a gay friend, and then mended it anew. Hope doesn’t have to be packaged dripping with over-sentimentality. Washington’s book is all about seeing each other and ourselves as “fully realized human beings” complete with all the imperfections. Plus, I love the line about how to get good customer service in Houston!”
From Eugenia: “‘Slowly, slowly, and then all at once.’ That is how Memorial pulled me in and stomped on my goddamn heart. By the end, I was clutching my chest and sighing, in hopes of more pages, more time with Benson, Mike, and Mitsuko (officially one of my favorite literary moms– is that a thing?). Bryan Washington writes like no one else, and I want so badly to live inside his sentences. There are these moments he creates where there is so much life happening between the lines, in the smallest gestures of his characters. Memorial is about love and family, grief and desire, intimacy and loneliness; about the way we build and destroy memory, and life itself. (Oh, and of course there’s food. There’s so much food.)”
We’ll be celebrating the release of this bookseller favorite with a virtual event featuring author Bryan Washington and Jaqueline Woodson tomorrow at 7PM CDT! Tickets are available now and book tickets will come with signed copies! Don’t miss out!
Inside Story by Martin Amis
From one of the most highly acclaimed writers at work today: his most intimate and epic work yet–an autobiographical novel of sex and love, family and friendship.
This novel had its birth in the death of Martin Amis’s closest friend, the incomparable Christopher Hitchens, and it is within that profound and sprawling friendship that Inside Story unfurls. From their early days as young magazine staffers in London, reviewing romantic entanglements and the latest literary gossip (not to mention ideas, books, and where to lunch), Hitch was Amis’s wingman and adviser, especially in the matter of the alluringly amoral Phoebe Phelps–an obsession Amis must somehow put behind him if he is ever to find love, marriage, a plausible run at happiness. Other significant figures competing as Amis’s main influencers are his father, Kingsley; his hero Saul Bellow; the weirdly self-finessing poet Philip Larkin; and significant literary women from Iris Murdoch to Elizabeth Jane Howard. Moving among these greats to set his own path, Amis’s quest is a tender, witty exploration of the hardest questions: how to live, how to grieve, and how to die. In search of his answers, he surveys the horrors of the twentieth century, and the still-unfolding impact of the 9/11 attacks on the twenty-first–and considers what all of this has taught him about how to be a writer. The result is a love letter to life–and to the people in his life–that achieves a new level of confidentiality with his readers, giving us the previously unseen portrait of his extraordinary world.
Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark
The highly anticipated new biography of Sylvia Plath that focuses on her remarkable literary and intellectual achievements, while restoring the woman behind the long-held myths about her life and art.
With a wealth of never-before-accessed materials–including unpublished letters and manuscripts; court, police, and psychiatric records; and new interviews—Heather Clark brings to life the brilliant daughter of Wellesley, Massachusetts who had poetic ambition from a very young age and was an accomplished, published writer of poems and stories even before she became a star English student at Smith College in the early 1950s.
Determined not to read Plath’s work as if her every act, from childhood on, was a harbinger of her tragic fate, Clark evokes a culture in transition, in the shadow of the atom bomb and the Holocaust, as she explores Plath’s world: her early relationships and determination not to become a conventional woman and wife; her conflicted ties to her well-meaning, widowed mother; her troubles at the hands of an unenlightened mental-health industry; her Cambridge years and thunderclap meeting with Ted Hughes, a marriage of true minds that would change the course of poetry in English; and much more.
Clark’s clear-eyed portraits of Hughes, his lover Assia Wevill, and other demonized players in the arena of Plath’s suicide promotes a deeper understanding of her final days, with their outpouring of first-rate poems. Along with illuminating readings of the poems themselves, Clark’s meticulous, compassionate research brings us closer than ever to the spirited woman and visionary artist who blazed a trail that still lights the way for women poets the world over.
American Utopia by David Byrne, Maira Kalman
From former Talking Heads frontman and multimedia visionary David Byrne and revered bestselling author, illustrator, and artist Maira Kalman—an inspiring celebration in words and art of the connections between us all.
Don’t miss the Spike Lee film of the Broadway hit American Utopia–on HBO.
A joyful collaboration between old friends David Byrne and Maira Kalman, American Utopia offers readers an antidote to cynicism, bursting with pathos, humanism, and hope–featuring his words and lyrics brought to life with more than 150 of her colorful paintings.
The text is drawn from David Byrne’s American Utopia, which has become a hit Broadway show and is soon to be a documentary from Spike Lee. The four-color artwork, by Maira Kalman, which she created for the Broadway show’s curtain, is composed of small moments, expressions, gestures, and interactions that together offer a portrait of daily life and coexistence.
With their creative talents combined, American Utopia is a salvo for kindness and a call for jubilation, a reminder to sing, dance, and waste not a moment. Beautifully designed and edited by Alex Kalman, American Utopia is a balm for the soul from two of the world’s most extraordinary artists.
Sapiens: A Graphic History (The Birth of Humankind, Vol. I) by Yuval Noah Harari
The first volume, in a hardcover edition for libraries, of the graphic adaptation of Yuval Noah Harari’s smash #1 New York Times and international bestseller recommended by President Barack Obama and Bill Gates, with gorgeous full-color illustrations and concise, easy to comprehend text for readers of all ages.
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
In this first volume of the full-color illustrated adaptation of his groundbreaking book, renowned historian Yuval Harari tells the story of humankind’s creation and evolution, exploring the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens challenges us to reconsider accepted beliefs, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and view specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Featuring 256 pages of full-color illustrations and easy-to-understand text covering the first part of the full-length original edition, this adaptation of the mind-expanding book furthers the ongoing conversation as it introduces Harari’s ideas to a wide new readership.
Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now by Evan Osnos
A concise, brilliant, and trenchant examination of Democratic Nominee Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s lifelong quest for the presidency by National Book Award winner Evan Osnos, adapted from nearly a decade of his reporting for The New Yorker.
Former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr. has been called both the luckiest man and the unluckiest—fortunate to have sustained a fifty-year political career that reached the White House, but also marked by deep personal losses and disappointments that he has suffered.
Yet even as Biden’s life has been shaped by drama, it has also been powered by a willingness, rare at the top ranks of politics, to confront his shortcomings, errors, and reversals of fortune. As he says, “Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.” His trials have forged in him a deep empathy for others in hardship—an essential quality as he addresses Americans in the nation’s most dire hour in decades.
Blending up-close journalism and broader context, Evan Osnos, who won the National Book Award in 2014, draws on his work for The New Yorker to capture the characters and meaning of an extraordinary presidential election. It is based on lengthy interviews with Biden and on revealing conversations with more than a hundred others, including President Barack Obama, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and a range of progressive activists, advisers, opponents, and Biden family members.
This portrayal illuminates Biden’s long and eventful career in the Senate, his eight years as Obama’s vice president, his sojourn in the political wilderness after being passed over for Hillary Clinton in 2016, his decision to challenge Donald Trump for the presidency, and his choice of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.
Osnos ponders the difficulties Biden will face if elected and weighs how political circumstances, and changes in the candidate’s thinking, have altered his positions. In this nuanced portrait, Biden emerges as flawed, yet resolute, and tempered by the flame of tragedy—a man who just may be uncannily suited for his moment in history.
The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food: A Cookbook by Marcus Samuelsson, Osayi Endolyn, and Yewande Komolafe
An Eater Best Cookbook of Fall 2020 • This groundbreaking new cookbook from chef, bestselling author, and TV star Marcus Samuelsson celebrates contemporary Black cooking in 150 extraordinarily delicious recipes.
It is long past time to recognize Black excellence in the culinary world the same way it has been celebrated in the worlds of music, sports, literature, film, and the arts. Black cooks and creators have led American culture forward with indelible contributions of artistry and ingenuity from the start, but Black authorship has been consistently erased from the story of American food.
Now, in The Rise, chef, author, and television star Marcus Samuelsson gathers together an unforgettable feast of food, culture, and history to highlight the diverse deliciousness of Black cooking today. Driven by a desire to fight against bias, reclaim Black culinary traditions, and energize a new generation of cooks, Marcus shares his own journey alongside 150 recipes in honor of dozens of top chefs, writers, and activists—with stories exploring their creativity and influence.
Black cooking has always been more than “soul food,” with flavors tracing to the African continent, to the Caribbean, all over the United States, and beyond. Featuring a mix of everyday food and celebration cooking, this book also includes an introduction to the pantry of the African diaspora, alongside recipes such as:
- Chilled corn and tomato soup in honor of chef Mashama Bailey
- Grilled short ribs with a piri-piri marinade and saffron tapioca pudding in homage to authors Michael Twitty and Jessica B. Harris
- Crab curry with yams and mustard greens for Nyesha Arrington
- Spiced catfish with pumpkin leche de tigre to celebrate Edouardo Jordan
- Island jollof rice with a shout-out to Eric Adjepong
- Steak frites with plantain chips and green vinaigrette in tribute to Eric Gestel
- Tigernut custard tart with cinnamon poached pears in praise of Toni Tipton-Martin
A stunning work of breadth and beauty, The Rise is more than a cookbook. It’s the celebration of a movement.
Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South by Rick Bragg
From the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All Over but the Shoutin’ and The Best Cook in the World, a collection of his irresistible columns from Southern Living and Garden & Gun
A collection of wide-ranging and endearingly personal columns by the celebrated author, newspaper columnist, and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, culled from his best-loved pieces in Southern Living and Garden & Gun.
From his love of Tupperware (“My Affair with Tupperware”) to the decline of country music, from the legacy of Harper Lee to the metamorphosis of the pickup truck, the best way to kill fire ants, the unbridled excess of Fat Tuesday, and why any self-respecting southern man worth his salt should carry a good knife, Where I Come From is an ode to the stories and the history of the Deep South, written with tenderness, wit, and deep affection–a book that will be treasured by fans old and new.
Now in Paperback
Me by Elton John
Grace Year by Kim Liggett
These titles and more are available for purchase in-store or online from BookPeople today.