Do you want to be on the forefront of literature? Read the books right of the press, the ink still wet on the page? We handpick the best of the best of the newest of the newest books for you every week. Books that seem interesting to us and that you might like as well.
We have an eclectic collection of books this week, starting with the latest by Hanya Yanagihara, who you know from People in the Trees. Then we have a collection of essays by Kent Russel, which is supposed to be a pretty depressing read. Shadow Scale has been eagerly awaited by many people on Goodreads, so that can’t be missed and finally we have Cranky Ladies of History, just because it sounds amazing.
Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light.
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.
In rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.
From one of the most ferociously brilliant young voices in literary non fiction: a debut of extraordinary force that interrogates a particular paradigm of American masculinity, capturing with discomforting intimacy and precision the landscape of the misfit.
Kent Russell’s essays take us to society’s ragged edges, the junctures between savagery and civilization, where solitary, philosophical, troubled men yearn for a more heightened form of existence. We meet a self-immunizer in small-town Wisconsin who has conditioned his body to withstand the bites of the most venomous snakes; NHL enforcers who build their careers on violence and intimidation; a former mogul who has retreated to a crocodile-infested island off the Australian coast; the fans at a three-day music festival ominously called the Gathering; Amish baseball players who push the limits of their cultural restraints; and, perhaps most memorably, Russell’s own oddball, inimitable forebears. I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son, at once blistering and deeply personal, records Russell’s quest to understand, through his journalistic subjects, his own appetites and urges, his childhood demons and persistent alienation, and, above all, his knotty, volatile, vital relationship with his father.
Combining the fierce intellect and humane wit of John Jeremiah Sullivan and David Foster Wallace with a dark, unfettered sensibility all his own, Russell gives us a haunting and unforgettable portrait of America.
Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.
The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.
As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?
Warriors, pirates, murderers and queens…
Throughout history, women from all walks of life have had good reason to be cranky. Some of our most memorable historical figures were outspoken, dramatic, brave, feisty, rebellious and downright ornery.
Cranky Ladies of History is a celebration of 22 women who challenged conventional wisdom about appropriate female behaviour, from the ancient world all the way through to the twentieth century. Some of our protagonists are infamous and iconic, while others have been all but forgotten under the heavy weight of history. Sometimes you have to break the rules before the rules break you.
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