It took eight-and-a-half years for Ko to write and edit her book. Meanwhile, she juggled all kinds of jobs, from freelancing as an editor to adjunct teaching and full-time office work, writing when she could. Her persistence has paid off. The book launches in Manhattan on May 2, followed by a national book tour in May and June.
"It takes a lot of extreme stubbornness and failure," she said. "Like failing over and over again and getting rejected over and over again, and still really believing in the work and wanting to get it done more than wanting to give up."
This is partly why she has written the new book, to reclaim the word feminism from its abusers and misusers, a category within which she would include certain other progressives, and to lay down in plain, elegant English her beliefs about child-raising.
The Hate U Give arrives with the kind of frenzied hype—more than a dozen publishing houses battled for the manuscript; the film rights have already been sold—that can easily sink a first-time novelist. But Thomas delivers with supreme style and self-assurance, cannily balancing pointed examinations of gun violence, racial profiling, and political activism with the everyday concerns of ordinary teendom (boys, clothes, the profound embarrassment of watching your parents make out).
Li hits the mark more often than not, though, and she finishes strong. The book’s last essay is about her admiration for William Trevor, the great Irish writer who died in November. Trevor’s fiction, she says, provided her with a sense of sanctuary and fueled her decision to quit science and write full time. Through his stories, she came to realize that “to write is to find a new way to see the world.” I’ll bet Li’s work has a similar impact on some of her readers.
Readers with conservative tastes may (foolishly) be put off by the novel’s form — it is a kind of oral history, a collage built from a series of testimonies consisting of one line or three lines or a page and a half, some delivered by the novel’s characters, some drawn from historical sources. The narrator is a curator, arranging disparate sources to assemble a linear story. It may take a few pages to get your footing, depending. The more limber won’t be bothered.
In fiction we seek a paradox, the familiar in the foreign, new realities that only this one particular author can give us. Pachinko, the sophomore novel by the gifted Korean-born Min Jin Lee, is the kind of book that can open your eyes and fill them with tears at the same time.
There is no triumphant conclusion to this book, which Marnell began writing on the day it was originally due. It is the memoir of an addiction still going on, being negotiated everyday. There is, however, a noble Afterword in which Marnell shares the progress she’s made and slyly admonishes those who revel in and exploit the cool Manhattan party stories but disregard the pain that accompanies them.
Wilson broke out with his 2011 debut novel, The Family Fang, about two married, avant-garde artists who deploy their children as props in their performance pieces. That novel was ingenious — a whirlwind of screwball comedy, art and sad realizations about the limitations of family.
Wilson is still thinking hard about the idea of family in Perfect Little World. This is in some ways a calmer, less quirky novel, but what Perfect Little World loses in eccentricity, it gains in emotional depth.
This book is distinctly Coretta’s story. While there is nothing to radically challenge the impression of her as carefully restrained, what makes “My Life” particularly absorbing is its quiet account of a brutal historical era, as experienced by a very particular kind of African-American woman: well educated, cautious, a prototypically 1950s-style wife and mother. The book’s cover features a picture of King, young and smiling, but still radiating that unmistakable aura of church-lady reserve.
Nightmare imagery, mind-bending plot twists, and a kaleidoscopic storytelling style lend Axat’s tale a vertiginous air, but at the core of this literary fever dream lies an elegantly crafted and emotionally resonant mystery that astonishes, devastates, and satisfies in equal measure.
Exploring the origins of consciousness, cephalopod and human, with Peter Godfrey-Smith in 'Other Minds'
Here, he delivers philosophy wrapped even more firmly in the glittering cloak of popular science. The result is an incredibly insightful and enjoyable book that draws on thinkers like Hume, John Dewey and the lesser-known Soviet-era psychologist Lev Vygotsky, as well as research from the fossil record, evolutionary biology and a wide range of animal cognition studies without ever falling into some of the more lamentable pitfalls of the popular science genre — condescending to the reader or oversimplifying the science.
It’s a thoroughly enchanting story about the circuitous path that a life follows, about the accidents that redirect it, and about the secrets that can be felt but never seen, like the dark matter at the center of every family’s cosmos.
With Swing Time, Zadie Smith identifies the impossible contradiction all adults are asked to maintain — be true to yourself, and still contain multitudes; be proud of your heritage, but don't be defined by it. She frays the cords that keep us tied to our ideas of who we are, to our careful self-mythologies. Some writers name, organize, and contain; Smith lets contradictions bloom, in all their frightening, uneasy splendor.
“Thus Bad Begins” is a book for Marías lovers, a secretive novel, chock-full of fear and betrayal, but the stakes do only go so high. Classic Marías novels revolve around death, murder and violence, and perhaps it’s for that reason I found myself sometimes comparing it to his others. And perhaps it’s also for that reason I found myself most loving the book for its pages, brilliant observations, its musings and its suspenseful elegant voice, rather than the overarching story. And I could not put it down.
For Thomson’s generation, growing up in an anxious world after 1945, television served as a communal pacifier. It was a domestic appliance, which assured us that we’d be safe at home. Sitcoms about suburban bliss devised spurious problems that could be solved within half an hour; laugh tracks coaxed us into agreement, while every few minutes commercials touted the brands of deodorant or detergent that would sanitise and sanctify our happy, affluent lives.
Lethem, who lives part time in Maine, moves his men around the board of his story like a backgammon master. Things get curiouser and curiouser before Lethem’s unexpected end game. “A Gambler’s Anatomy” is a complex unfolding of character that revolves around games of all manner and dimensions. Ultimately, the heart of the story lies not in any moral imperative, but in the question of who plays whom — and who gets played.
After a breakup, 30-year-old writer Emily Witt tried just about everything the Internet age has to offer. And learned about herself along the way.
Although Witt didn't set out with the intention of tracing this particular plot — "It wasn't contrived that I have this catharsis that changed the book," she said — her own personal journey informs the tone of the Future Sex, which arrives in the end where it started, only with more clarity and hopefulness. In the future, the act of sex won't change; only the ways in which we think about it will.
Nicotine is Zink’s third book (fourth if you count Private Novelist, coming out in tandem in the US, a rather complicated metafictional project I don’t have enough space to explain, all I’ll say is if you’re a fan of her unique brand of zany, it’s worth getting hold of a copy), and it confirms her preoccupation with marginalised people living off-the-grid in one way or another.
Critic Franklin (A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction, 2010) ably captures both the life and art of Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) in this sharp biography. Franklin presents her as the classic square peg: a woman who didn’t easily fit in to midcentury America and a writer who can’t be neatly categorized.
.) As he was doing his research, Mr. Phillips, who grew up in Forsyth County, realized how uncomfortably abstract this purge had become, even to him. Misinformation and distortions about it were part of the soundtrack of his childhood. They masked prodigious bigotry and made a whitewash of history.Abel Meeropol originally a poem by Billie Holiday song “Strange Fruit,”“Blood at the Root” is a compendium of horrors and a catalog of shame. (The title comes from the
At times, Mullen’s unflinching description in exploring the bigotry and hatred the rookie officers experience make “Darktown” an upsetting read. Yet this authenticity adds to the realism and relevance of “Darktown,” bringing to mind 2016 confrontations between police and blacks.
Levitin (The Organized Mind) equips readers with tools to combat misinformation—bad data, false facts, distortions, and their ilk—in this useful primer on the importance of critical thinking in daily life.
Houston, who has written a history of punctuation (Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks, 2013), returns with a text that is erudite, playful, and illuminating. His massive research informs his discussion—research he has absorbed so well that it seems to flow effortlessly from his pen.
This novel weaves together a brilliant sense of voice, a classic comedic touch that’s as potent as it is gentle, and a group of characters that could just as easily exist in a “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” sketch as they could in a P.G. Wodehouse novel.
Although less formally experimental than “Brown Girl Dreaming,” “Another Brooklyn” still presents its own distinctive structure: Every paragraph is set off by blank lines, which emphasizes the poetic style of Woodson’s prose. That structure also effectively slows the narrative down and contributes to its dream-like tone. Time is fluid in this story, as August recalls events that impressed her — and events that she repressed, reaching back to moments in Tennessee and forward to relationships later in life. “Death didn’t frighten me. Not now. Not anymore. But Brooklyn felt like a stone in my throat,” she says. “I know now that what is tragic isn’t the moment. It is the memory.”