This Week's Best New Books

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The Wolf and the Woodsman

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The Wolf and the Woodsman

by Ava Reid

The Wolf and the Woodsman

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Ava Reid's debut novel, The Wolf and the Woodsman, is a captivating story about a young woman named Évike and her quest to survive in the tyrannical kingdom of Szarvasvár. Every year, the king sends his Woodsmen, a devout religious order of the Patrifaith, to the pagan village of Keszi to take a young woman, a wolf girl, back to the capital; Évike's mother was taken when Évike was a young girl and she has lived a life of scorn, abuse and unacceptance ever since. But this ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 24
Surviving Katyń: Stalin's Polish Massacre and the Search for Truth

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Surviving Katyń: Stalin's Polish Massacre and the Search for Truth

by Jane Rogoyska

Surviving Katyń: Stalin's Polish Massacre and the Search for Truth

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Jane Rogoyska's Surviving Katyń investigates a tragedy that continues to haunt Poland and poison Russo-Polish relations almost a century after it occurred. Rogoyska is a historian, biographer and the author of a novel, Kozlowski, born from her research into the Katyń massacre in 1940, when 22,000 Polish prisoners of war were murdered and buried in secret by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD. Though millions died in World War II, the massacre is notable because the murdered prisoners, largely ... [ Read More » ]

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Saint X

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Saint X

by Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X

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In this riveting debut novel, Alexis Schaitkin delves into the ripple effects of a tragedy on two individuals from seemingly polar-opposite walks of life. Claire Thomas is seven when her 18-year-old sister, Alison, goes missing during a family trip to the Caribbean island of Saint X. After Alison's body is discovered, an investigation results in the arrest of two resort employees with whom she was last seen: Edwin Hastie and Clive Richardson. But with only circumstantial evidence, the men are soon ... [ Read More » ]

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A Rogue's Company

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A Rogue's Company

by Allison Montclair

A Rogue's Company

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A Rogue's Company, the third entry in Allison Montclair's Sparks & Bainbridge series, is a historical romp through postwar London. The Right Sort Marriage Bureau is doing remarkably well, and Iris Sparks and Gwen Bainbridge are quite pleased with how their matchmaking venture is going. If only their personal lives weren't so complicated: Iris, who goes by "Sparks," is having flashbacks to her time spying for Great Britain during the war, and juggling a relationship with an unsavory bloke, and ... [ Read More » ]

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Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir

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Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir

by Brian Broome

Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir

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In his thoroughly electric debut, Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir, Brian Broome will shatter your heart. Then make you laugh, sweat and cringe. And--all while eviscerating stereotypes and expanding notions of Black masculinity and queer identity--he'll shatter your heart again, then carefully, exquisitely, piece it back together.

Broome structures his multidimensional memoir around two through-lines: Gwendolyn Brooks's seminal poem "We Real Cool" and a thread detailing a bus ride during which Broome ... [ Read More » ]

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Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous

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Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous

by Suzanne Park

Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous

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A Los Angeles Korean American lifestyle influencer, forced to detox from social media, finds a new way to connect while at a Midwestern farm in this thoughtful and funny novel.

Seventeen-year-old L.A.-born Korean American Sun-Hee "Sunny" Song was thrust into Internet fame as a toddler when a video of her went viral. Now a teen, she's amassed nearly 100K followers on YouTube, but her parents and her school's headmaster aren't impressed. When a cooking livestream gets unintentionally racy, it elicits ... [ Read More » ]

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Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms

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Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms

by Mackenzi Lee

Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms

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Warrior sisters with a fraught history attempt to steal the heart of a planet in Gamora and Nebula: Sisters in Arms, a richly imagined Marvel Universe science-fiction novel by Mackenzie Lee (Loki: Where Mischief Lies; The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue).

Gamora and Nebula, the adopted daughters of the Mad Titan Thanos, are trained warriors. But Thanos glorifies Gamora and shames Nebula, sowing distrust between the two and making them bitter rivals. When Gamora is tasked to retrieve the heart ... [ Read More » ]

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Pizazz

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Pizazz

by Sophy Henn

Pizazz

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A scoffing superhero finds it easier to defeat villains than to make new friends in Sophy Henn's delightfully cynical graphic novel series starter, Pizazz.

Pizazz, 9¼, hails from a proud line of superheroes, complete with obligatory cape and costume, much to her chagrin. Pizazz is mortified by her name, convinced she is saddled with "the least cool of all the super powers" and (eye roll) "not particularly thrilled with being SUPER."

Making matters worse, her family has recently moved. Pizazz's ... [ Read More » ]

9 of 24
Home Made: A Story of Grief, Groceries, Showing Up--and What We Make When We Make Dinner

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Home Made: A Story of Grief, Groceries, Showing Up--and What We Make When We Make Dinner

by Liz Hauck

Home Made: A Story of Grief, Groceries, Showing Up--and What We Make When We Make Dinner

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As a 20-something, Liz Hauck hatched a plan with her dad, Charlie, to start a cooking program for teenage boys in state care at the agency where he worked. But when Charlie died unexpectedly, Liz decided to press on alone. Home Made is Hauck's moving memoir of the three years she spent shopping, cooking, washing dishes and building a tenuous bond with a rotating cast of boys facing all kinds of trauma and challenges.

Hauck writes with deep compassion, not only for the boys but for her grieving, idealistic ... [ Read More » ]

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From the Ashes: My Story of Being Indigenous, Homeless and Finding My Way

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From the Ashes: My Story of Being Indigenous, Homeless and Finding My Way

by Jesse Thistle

From the Ashes: My Story of Being Indigenous, Homeless and Finding My Way

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Winner of the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Nonfiction as well as the 2020 Indigenous Voices Award, this harrowing yet hopeful memoir from Métis-Cree professor and homelessness advocate Jesse Thistle is already a runaway sensation in his native Canada. In plainspoken prose and original poetry, Thistle tells a jaw-dropping story of trauma, struggle and healing.

When Thistle was a preschooler, his mother gave him and his brothers to their father, a drug addict. Neglected and starved, the boys ... [ Read More » ]

11 of 24
Diary of a Young Naturalist

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Diary of a Young Naturalist

by Dara McAnulty

Diary of a Young Naturalist

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Dara McAnulty notices things other people don't--a hen harrier in the trees, a forgotten feather on a trail, a butterfly's wings fluttering against his chest. This knack for observation makes him an excellent recorder of changes in the natural world in his insightful and heartfelt book, Diary of a Young Naturalist. Over the course of a year, McAnulty keeps a journal as he and his family explore various landscapes near their Northern Ireland home. Only 16 years old, McAnulty writes with the wisdom ... [ Read More » ]

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Destination Wedding

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Destination Wedding

by Diksha Basu

Destination Wedding

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Seemingly light reading featuring a New York family and friends headed to an Indian wedding morphs into a spectacularly entertaining examination of race, privilege, hybrid identity, family dysfunction and maybe even a love story (or five).

Tina Das, still single at 32, has plateaued at her television producing job. While she waits to board her flight to her cousin's almost week-long nuptial celebration, she's with her BFF-since-Yale-days Marianne, her divorced parents Neel and Radha, and her mother's ... [ Read More » ]

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Unwell Women: Misdiagnosis and Myth in a Man-Made World

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Unwell Women: Misdiagnosis and Myth in a Man-Made World

by Elinor Cleghorn

Unwell Women: Misdiagnosis and Myth in a Man-Made World

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Elinor Cleghorn offers an epic yet approachable social, cultural and scientific history of women's health in Unwell Women, tracing the sexism and racism seen in modern Western medicine from ancient times through the present day.

"We are taught that medicine is the art of solving our body's mysteries," Cleghorn writes in the introduction. "And we expect medicine, as a science, to uphold the principles of evidence and impartiality." But, as she shows over the following chapters, medicine is anything ... [ Read More » ]

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Sinatra and Me: In the Wee Small Hours

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Sinatra and Me: In the Wee Small Hours

by Tony Oppedisano, Mary Jane Ross

Sinatra and Me: In the Wee Small Hours

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Tony Oppedisano was Frank Sinatra's road manager, boy Friday, minder, mentee, surrogate son and best friend. Two decades after Sinatra's death, Oppedisano has another role: he's "one of the last living experts" on the mythic singer, which makes his lovely remembrance, Sinatra and Me: In the Wee Small Hours, an invaluable record.

The author, who was born in Brooklyn in 1951, was thunderstruck upon meeting the singer in 1972: Oppedisano was a Sinatra fan and a musician devoted to the American songbook. ... [ Read More » ]

15 of 24
Should We Stay or Should We Go

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Should We Stay or Should We Go

by Lionel Shriver

Should We Stay or Should We Go

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"Even before agreeing to leave this world hand-in-hand on 29 March 2020, Kay and Cyril Wilkinson had long embraced the commonplace romance that if one of them died, the other would soon follow." Kay and Cyril committed to this "modest proposal" in October 1991: to guarantee they die with dignity, they will commit suicide on Kay's 80th birthday.

In her 15th book, Lionel Shriver (The Motion of the Body Through Space) repeats the literary structure of her 2007 The Post-Birthday World, here writing 12 ... [ Read More » ]

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One Two Three

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One Two Three

by Laurie Frankel

One Two Three

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"One, Two, Three" are the "triplet shorthand" names Mab, Monday and Mirabel Mitchell call each other in Laurie Frankel's (This Is How It Always Is) heartbreaking yet heartwarming novel of a town destroyed by chemical pollution and its fight for justice, led by an unforgettable family of heroines.

The 16-year-old Mitchell sisters were born to a newly widowed mother in the wake of Bison Chemical's poisoning of the town's water supply. "Everyone here has survived what happened here," Mirabel explains ... [ Read More » ]

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The Milk Hours

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The Milk Hours

by John James

The Milk Hours

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The 30 poems of John James included in The Milk Hours are haunted in one way or another; they carefully and soberly take account of what it means to be aware of the natural world, and the inherent cost of that knowledge. It's no wonder "Le Moribond" nods to French songwriter Jacques Brel--both James and Brel write works that are given over to death and the decay that follows it. However, James never treats death as something to be longed for, or as a sick joke. The language he uses to describe the ... [ Read More » ]

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Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir

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Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir

by Natasha Trethewey

Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir

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Natasha Trethewey, two-term United States Poet Laureate, forges a serious, poignant work of remembrance with Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir. Trethewey's mother, Gwen, is the focus of this book: the daughter's memories and what she's forgotten, and, pointedly, the mother's murder at the hands of her second ex-husband. The murder took place just off Memorial Drive in Atlanta, Ga.; the aptly named thoroughfare runs from downtown to Stone Mountain, monument to the Confederacy, "a lasting metaphor ... [ Read More » ]

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The Listening House

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The Listening House

by Mabel Seeley

The Listening House

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Mystery lovers will likely have two persistent questions as they read this reissue of Mabel Seeley's lost treasure The Listening House, first published in 1938: 1) "Who's the killer?" and 2) "Why can't all fictional sleuths be as wonderful as Gwynne Dacres?"

Twenty-six-year-old divorcée Gwynne is between copywriting jobs when she moves into Mrs. Garr's lodging house in fictional Gilling City. On Gwynne's first night at the house, she awakens to the sensation "not of my own ears hearing sounds, ... [ Read More » ]

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The Dirt Book: Poems about Animals that Live Beneath Our Feet

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The Dirt Book: Poems about Animals that Live Beneath Our Feet

by David L. Harrison, illus. by Kate Cosgrove

The Dirt Book: Poems about Animals that Live Beneath Our Feet

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Author David L. Harrison and illustrator Kate Cosgrove join forces again (And the Bullfrogs Sing) to celebrate dirt in this lyrical nonfiction picture book. Cheerful images bursting with color accompany 15 playful poems that explore the mysterious activities happening "below the roots where green grass grows,/ .../ where boulders rest and tree roots drink."

Harrison invites his audience to imagine riding a magic elevator down below the surface--an elevator Cosgrove ingeniously depicts as a tree, ... [ Read More » ]

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Every Body Shines: Sixteen Stories about Living Fabulously Fat

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Every Body Shines: Sixteen Stories about Living Fabulously Fat

by Cassandra Newbould, editor

Every Body Shines: Sixteen Stories about Living Fabulously Fat

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Sixteen writers share candid, earnest stories about body diversity that celebrate people who are fat, who may also be queer, straight, cis or nonbinary, not to mention anxious, proud, rebellious, uncertain or joyous. In short: young human beings. Well, mostly. There's also a murderous mermaid in the mix.

Fat characters are placed front and center in Every Body Shines. They do things any human does: walk on the beach ("Letting Go" by Renée Watson); play softball ("Outside Pitch" by Kelly deVos); ... [ Read More » ]

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Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

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Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

by Rivka Galchen

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

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As she demonstrated in her 2014 short story collection, American Innovations, Rivka Galchen has a taste for the fantastic. She puts that talent to good use in her second adult novel, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch, a vibrant, provocative story based on real events that astutely holds up life in a small town in 17th-century Europe as a mirror for the present day.

Galchen's novel is set in the duchy of Württemburg, then part of the Holy Roman Empire, just as the Thirty Years War ... [ Read More » ]

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All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

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All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

by Tiya Miles

All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake

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Tiya Miles (The Dawn of Detroit; Ties that Bind), a professor of history at Harvard University, does a difficult task incomparably well in All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake. With gentleness and historical acumen, Miles explores the history of this sack, and why it is important in larger terms as part of African American history.

In 1921, Ruth Middleton embroidered a sack that had belonged to her grandmother Ashley, listing what the sack originally contained. ... [ Read More » ]

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Kin: A Memoir

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Kin: A Memoir

by Shawna Kay Rodenberg

Kin: A Memoir

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Shawna Kay Rodenberg's harrowing memoir Kin leads the reader backward and forward in time and across an American landscape of trauma and healing. With a persistent focus on family and home, Rodenberg documents a process of learning and personal growth that is both unique and universal.

Kin opens in 2017, as the author guides CBS reporters though her native eastern Kentucky. They seek to crack open what they see as Trump country, and Rodenberg hopes to complicate that story. The backdrop is "my family's
... [ Read More » ]

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