It’s that time of year again! To make your holiday shopping just a little bit easier, we’re glad to offer some suggestions, books that’ll make great gifts for every kind of reader on your holiday list!
Jump right to books:
- For the thrill-seeker
- For the constant learner
- For the history buff
- For the fresh fiction lover
- For the short story lover
- For the miniaturist
- For the stolen-moments reader
- For those who’ve always got a new paperback
- For the Grove classicist
- For the socially engaged
- For the forger of new traditions
For the Thrill-Seeker
Let’s kick things off with some recommended reads for the thrill-seekers in your life — lovers of suspense, crime, and anything that gets the pulse pounding!
Reptile Memoirs by Silje Ulstein, translated by Alison McCullough
A bestselling Norwegian debut already sold in thirteen territories, Reptile Memoirs is a brilliantly twisty and unusual literary thriller for fans of Gillian Flynn, Jo Nesbø, Kate Atkinson, and Tana French, that asks the question: Can you ever really shed your skin?
“Part fairy tale, part psychological thriller, this tale follows a missing child, a damaged young woman with a pet Burmese python and other inhabitants of a Norwegian coastal town.”—New York Times
Welcome to the Game by Craig Henderson
From a brilliant new voice, a gripping thriller that races through Motor City at heart-stopping pace as its protagonists swerve to avoid danger at every turn.
“The action rarely stops… The first-time novelist brings a fresh, hardscrabble voice to Elmore Leonard land, albeit with more sentimentality. A corrosive debut that makes you look forward to a sequel.”—Kirkus
1989 by Val McDermid
A Deadly Pleasures Best of 2022!
In the new installment to her historical crime series that began with 1979, internationally bestselling author Val McDermid delivers a propulsive new thriller that finds journalist Allie Burns promoted to an editor, and as the Cold War and AIDS crisis deliver a nonstop tide of news, most of it bad, a story falls into her lap. And then there’s a murder.
“Sharp characterizations and startling revelations mark this outstanding work, which is by turns a murder mystery and a chilling tale of historical retribution.”—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
Shifty’s Boys by Chris Offutt
A Deadly Pleasures Best of 2022!
Army-CID-officer-cum-unofficial-PI Mick Hardin is up against unforeseen forces who will stop at nothing in this vividly atmospheric thriller from acclaimed novelist Chris Offutt.
“The writing is top-notch, shot through with menace and melancholy.”—Sarah Weinman, New York Times Book Review
Ocean State by Stewart O’Nan
Set in a working-class town on the Rhode Island coast, O’Nan’s latest is a crushing, beautifully written, and profoundly compelling novel about sisters, mothers, and daughters, and the terrible things love makes us do.
“Interesting and enduring… Whereas thrillers tend to use murders as a prurient jumping-off point, the entryway to the reader’s pleasure — that chance to play Columbo or Kinsey Millhone in our heads — O’Nan takes his time, humanizing this story to make the hole where the victim was suitably substantial.”—New York Times
The Murder Book by Mark Billingham
This thriller from internationally bestselling author Mark Billingham finds Tom Thorne settling into a newly content existence, when a spate of brutal murders sets him off on an investigation that may just shatter every happiness he has built.
“Billingham is a masterful plotter, and here he supplies a few alarming teasers before delivering one of his most amazing endings ever.”—Booklist (starred)
The Dark Flood by Deon Meyer, translated by K.L. Seegers
From internationally acclaimed crime writer Deon Meyer, an exhilarating thriller featuring superstar detectives Benny Griessel and Vaughn Cupido in the wake of their impulsive pursuit of state corruption that has left their reputations hanging in the balance.
“Is Deon Meyer the most accomplished South African crime novelist in the genre’s history? The Dark Flood is further evidence of that assertion… Every word earns its place, and there’s no stinting on the usual critique of South African politics.”—Barry Forshaw, Financial Times
Give Unto Others by Donna Leon
A New York Times best seller!
In the 31st installment of Donna Leon’s internationally beloved, bestselling series, Commissario Guido Brunetti is forced to confront the price of loyalty, to his past and in his work, as a seemingly innocent request leads him into troubling waters.
“The cultivated Commissario, seeking the truth behind [a] strange imbroglio, reads the heart all the way back to Greek tragedy’s bitter truths.”—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
Yesterday’s Spy by Tom Bradby
From British journalist and bestselling author Tom Bradby, Yesterday’s Spy is a brilliantly plotted historical espionage novel about a father searching for his disappeared son against the backdrop of the 1953 coup in Tehran.
“Crisp… [Bradby’s] story gathers momentum and becomes hard to put down.”—Library Journal
Redemption by Mike Lawson
Convicted of insider trading, Jamison Maddox reluctantly accepts a mysterious job that soon takes an ominous twist, sending him on the run from powerful and deadly forces in this edge-of-your-seat thriller from Barry Award and Edgar Award finalist Mike Lawson.
“Mike Lawson is really quite a talent… I noticed shadows of John Grisham’s The Firm in my reading of Redemption. I hope that this standalone has even just a fraction of the success of that novel. It deserves it.”—Deadly Pleasures
For the Constant Learner
Some outstanding nonfiction for the Jeopardy-watchers, cocktail-party-fact-gatherers, and insatiably curious intellects on your list.
Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo
The bestselling and Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other combines a memoir of her own life and writing with her manifesto on unstoppability, creativity, and activism.
“The sturdy, exuberant memoir of a writer who, in pushing herself, also pushed an entire field… Manifesto offers an irresistibly paradoxical invitation to writers: Create a literature of those left behind, by letting your heart run free.”—Quiara Alegría Hudes, New York Times Book Review
The Price of Time by Edward Chancellor
A comprehensive and profoundly relevant history of interest from one of the world’s leading financial writers, The Price of Time explains our current global financial position and how we got here.
“[A] brilliant chronicle of the most important prices in capitalism. You must read it. It is a masterpiece of history, analysis—and properly understated outrage.”—James Grant, editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer
If Walls Could Speak by Moshe Safdie
One of the world’s greatest and most thoughtful architects recounts his extraordinary career and the iconic structures he has built—from Habitat in Montreal to Marina Bay Sands in Singapore—and offers a manifesto for the role architecture should play in society.
“The renowned architect reflects on his life designing famous structures such as Montreal’s Habitat ’67 and Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and argues for an architectural philosophy that focuses not only on truth and beauty but also on social engagement.”—New York Times Book Review
Also A Poet by Ada Calhoun
A Best Book of 2022 for the New York Times, Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, BookPage, Audible, and Hudson News!
A staggering memoir from New York Times-bestselling author Ada Calhoun tracing her fraught relationship with her father, acclaimed art critic Peter Schjeldahl, and their shared obsession with the poet Frank O’Hara.
“A grand slam… It’s a big valentine to New York City past and present, and a contribution to literary scholarship, molten with soul.”—New York Times Book Review
Anatomy of 55 More Songs by Marc Myers
Listen to the Spotify playlist!
Following his 2016 smash hit Anatomy of a Song, acclaimed music journalist Marc Myers collects fifty-five new oral histories of iconic songs from his popular Wall Street Journal column.
“Myers has a knack for capturing the artistry of songwriting and easily shows why these tracks are ‘iconic but not tired.’ This melodic collection will strike a chord with music fans.”—Publishers Weekly
Slenderman by Kathleen Hale
The first full account of the Slenderman stabbing — a true crime narrative of mental illness, the American judicial system, the trials of adolescence, and the power of the internet.
“The lesson of Slenderman is not about tracking your kids’ internet usage, evolving friendships, or enthusiasms and aversions. It’s that serious mental illness can manifest in people who seem far too young to have such adult problems.”—New York Times Book Review
For the History Buff
It’s said that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat. Those who love learning from the past will get a thrill from these marvelous reads!
The Commanders by Lloyd Clark
From an acclaimed military historian, the interlocking lives of three of the most important and consequential generals in World War II: George Patton, Bernard Montgomery, and Erwin Rommel.
“Mr. Clark fixes his focus on the intersection of personality and military leadership through the prism of three individualists. Details such as teaching styles, sense of theater and interactions with soldiers create wonderful three-dimensional models of the war’s iconic leaders.”—Wall Street Journal
The Indispensables by Patrick K. O’Donnell
Recipient of the Bette Hunt Award from the Marblehead Museum in Marblehead, Massachusetts!
An important new chronicle of the American Revolution heralding the heroic actions of the Marbleheaders from Massachusetts.
“Those seeking a detailed, reliable account of the War for American Independence’s earliest years—one that embraces its nautical dimensions—will find it here.”—Wall Street Journal
Crown & Sceptre by Tracy Borman
First published on the eve of Queen Elizabeth II’s historic 70th anniversary on the throne — and just six months before her passing away — Tracy Borman’s sweeping narrative of the British monarchy illuminates one of history’s most iconic and enduring legacies.
“Engaging and perceptive…Ms. Borman offers deft and thoughtful assessments of every reign… enriched by details that help to humanize her subjects.”—Stephen Brumwell, Wall Street Journal
The Evolution of Charles Darwin by Diana Preston
Named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews
From Los Angeles Times Book Prize-winning historian Diana Preston comes the colorful, dramatic story of Charles Darwin’s journey on HMS Beagle that inspired the revolutionary theories in his path-breaking books On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man.
“Fascinating… A beautifully told coming-of-age story… Offer[s] new and exciting ideas.”—Wall Street Journal
For the Fresh Fiction Lover
If you’re looking for what to give a reader who’s always up to date on the hottest new fiction, here are some of the past few years’ most unmissable literary titles!
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart
Named a Best Book of 2022 by the Washington Post, NPR, TIME, Kirkus Reviews, Amazon, BookPage, and BookBrowse!
A story of queer love and working-class families, Young Mungo is the brilliant second novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain.
“Young Mungo seals it: Douglas Stuart is a genius… The raw poetry of Stuart’s prose is perfect to catch the open spirit of this handsome boy.”—Washington Post
Brother Alive by Zain Khalid
From a New York Times Writer to Watch, an astonishing debut novel about family, sexuality, and capitalist systems of control, following three adopted brothers who live above a mosque in Staten Island with their imam father.
“A nervy, episodic read… Brother Alive is Rushdie with none of the ceremony, a searing collage of the profound and the mundane.”—New York Times Book Review
The Hundred Waters by Lauren Acampora
Celebrated by the Boston Globe as “a brilliant anthropologist of the suburbs,” the deliciously weird and darkly offbeat Lauren Acampora looks to the secret lives of a polished Connecticut haven, and jolts us with the sparks that fly when those lives collide.
“Questions of the pursuit of art, stagnation, youth and aging, and how to exist on a planet that is, increasingly, made up solely of emergencies, are grounded in the richness (no pun intended) of [the] characters.”—Lit Hub
Here Lies by Olivia Clare Friedman
Olivia Clare Friedman’s acclaimed debut novel is a visceral and portentous look at mourning, memory, and motherhood in an alternate Louisiana ravaged by climate change.
“[The reader] becomes immersed in Friedman’s layered and luscious prose, the vibrant colors of Alma’s world, the flowers so real ‘you could smell their rankness, the air brimming with sweet, candied stink.’”—New York Times Book Review
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize!
From one of Britain’s most celebrated writers of color, a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity among an interconnected group of Black British women.
“A breathtaking symphony of black women’s voices, a clear-eyed survey of contemporary challenges that’s nevertheless wonderfully life-affirming… Godlike in its scope and insight.”—Washington Post
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35, as well as a winner of the British Book Award for Debut Fiction and the Costa first novel award!
A stunning first novel about two young Black artists in London falling in and out of love by a new literary virtuoso.
Caleb Azumah Nelson explores the power of being truly seen by another, in a world that often refuses to recognize you at all. An exhilarating new voice.”—Vogue UK
Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Faladé
A compelling and important historical novel that takes us back to an extraordinary moment when enslaved men and women were shedding their bonds and embracing freedom.
“This book is a straight-up page-turner. There are no braided points of view here, no too-pretty words, no splintered syntax… This is a classic war story told simply and well, its meanings not forced but allowed to bubble up.”—New York Times
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction!
A startling debut featuring one of the most remarkable narrators of recent fiction: a conflicted subversive and idealist working as a double agent in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
“A layered immigrant tale told in the wry, confessional voice of a ‘man of two minds’—and two countries, Vietnam and the United States.”—Pulitzer Prize Citation
The Committed by Viet Thanh Nguyen
This sequel to The Sympathizer tells the story of “the man of two minds” as he comes as a refugee to France and turns his hand to capitalism.
“Nguyen’s nameless narrator is a singular literary creation, a complete original. Fortunately for us, this tormented double agent is back for another serving of ghostcolonial discontent in Nguyen’s showstopper sequel… If this incandescent novel teaches us anything, it is that forgiveness is a joy of the living, not the burden of the dead.”—New York Times Book Review
For the Short Story Lover
For those who love contemporary fiction and prefer sips to gulps, here are some of the most acclaimed and exhilarating short story collections we’ve had the pleasure of publishing recently.
Homesickness by Colin Barrett
The second book from the “exact and poetic” (New York Times) author of critical smash Young Skins, Homesickness is an emotionally resonant and wonderfully wry collection that follows the lives of outcasts, misfits, and malcontents from Ireland’s County Mayo to Canada.
“With dark humor and lyrical expansiveness, Barrett’s second collection of stories captures the weirdness and beauty of seemingly ordinary lives.”—New Yorker
Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King
The first-ever short story collection from Lily King, Lily one of the most “brilliant” (New York Times Book Review), “wildly talented” (Chicago Tribune), and treasured authors of contemporary fiction.
“In our time of anxiety and isolation, King writes stories to curl up in, by which I mean they afford us something rarely celebrated in literature: comfort.“—New York Times Book Review
Cat Brushing by Jane Campbell
A rousing and original debut story collection that probes the erotic, emotional, and intellectual lives of elder women, by an arresting, 80-year-old debut voice.
“A no-holds-barred collection of 13 dirty, doughty and often wickedly funny stories… Jane Campbell’s commanding voice — and wise insights about female empowerment, about embracing one’s twilight years and about feeling seen no matter how old you are — is one damn well worth listening to.”—San Francisco Chronicle
Life Ceremony by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
The long-awaited first short story-collection by the author of the cult sensation Convenience Store Woman, featuring tales of weird love, heartfelt friendships, and the unsettling nature of human existence.
“Murata’s prose is deadpan, as clear as cellophane… Murata is interested in how disgust drives ethics, in why some things repel us but not others… So cool you could chill a bottle of wine in it.”—New York Times
For the Miniaturist
Whether they’ve got big travel plans or are just always on the go, for those who value portability, consider these little books that pack a big wallop.
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize!
The ferociously admired Claire Keegan’s landmark novel of one man’s courage — a remarkable portrait of love and family.
“At the opening of Small Things Like These, one immediately senses that Keegan is breathing something vital into the season’s most cherished tales, until, as gently as snow falling, her little book accrues the unmistakable aura of a classic… A profoundly moving and universal story.”—Washington Post
Foster by Claire Keegan
A Best Book of the Year from NPR and the New York Public Library
This piercing contemporary classic is a heartbreaking story of childhood, loss, and love.
“Beautiful… No less likely to move you than any heaping 400-page tome… Keegan makes us complicit in what her characters want, setting us up for utter heartbreak when they don’t get it.”—New York Times
Tides by Sara Freeman
A TIME Magazine Best Book of 2022!
Henfield prize-winner Sara Freeman debuts with an intoxicating, compact novel about a woman who walks out of her life and washes up in a seaside town.
“Sara Freeman constructs a portrait of a woman broken by loss to reveal an aching and emotional narrative, told in clear and piercing prose.”—TIME’s Best Books of 2022
Sugar Street by Jonathan Dee
A New York Times Editors’ Choice!
Pulitzer Prize finalist and celebrated author of seven novels Jonathan Dee delivers a daring, tense, ticking time bomb of a novel about an anonymous white man on the run from his own identity.
“An energetic character study of a white man determined to escape from his life… Dee’s work grapples intriguingly with the narrator’s liberal myopia. It stands as a showcase of Dee’s masterly prose.”—Publishers Weekly
For the Stolen-Moments Reader
Unbeatable gifts for anyone who’s always nosing into a book in scattered moments, whenever they can.
A Ballet of Lepers by Leonard Cohen
A never-before-published early novel and stories by the legendary musician, songwriter, and poet Leonard Cohen.
“Offer[s] nascent glimmers of [Cohen’s] inimitable artistic vision: intimate yet aloof, trembling with weakness even as it aches toward wisdom.”—New York Times
Pathetic Literature edited by Eileen Myles
An award-winning poet’s global anthology, ranging from lesser-known classics by luminaries like Franz Kafka and Gwendolyn Brooks to up-and-coming unpublished writers, that examines pathos and feeling, giving a well-timed rehab to the word “pathetic.”
“Take[s] us someplace unexpected, beyond the individual and into the realm of a collective, a tapestry of words that add up to a way of being in the world.”—L.A. Times
The Search for the Genuine by Jim Harrison
The first general nonfiction title in thirty years from a giant of American letters, The Search for the Genuine is a sparkling, definitive collection of Jim Harrison’s essays and journalism—some never before published.
“Bursts with insight, adventure, and well-lived experiences… Forthright, perpetually curious, and compassionate, Harrison remains wholly compelling and readers will be grateful that this buoyant, observant, and caring writer took time away from his sublime poetry to create these enriching essays.”—Booklist
The Funny Stuff by P.J. O’Rourke
A compendium of quotes and riffs from more than four decades of writing by P.J. O’Rourke on subjects ranging from government (“Giving money and power to politicians is like giving car keys and whiskey to teenage boys”) to fishing (“a sport invented by insects and you are the bait”) to apps (“we need a no-app app—let’s call it a nap”).
“This title is recommended for all O’Rourke fans and anyone looking for something fun and clever.”—Library Journal
For Those Who’ve Always Got a New Paperback
If you’re trading gifts with a dyed-in-the-wool paperback lover, here are some of the hottest books recently released between soft covers.
Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park, translated by Anton Hur
Longlisted for the International Booker Prize!
The funny, transporting, surprising, and poignant story of a young gay man searching for happiness in the lonely city of Seoul.
“What a joy it is to see such a profound exploration of contemporary queer life — its traumas and its ecstasies throbbing in harmony… A shimmering addition to the recent genre of novels chronicling queer millennial malaise… Dazzling.”—New York Times Book Review
Things I Have Withheld by Kei Miller
Acclaimed Forward Prize winner, novelist, and poet Kei Miller’s linked collection of essays blends memoir and literary commentary to explore the silences that exist in our conversations about race, sex, and gender.
“Dynamic… examines personal and professional moments in which silence revealed a truth about race and oppression.”—New Yorker
The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine
Winner of the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction!
National Book Award and National Book Critics’ Circle Award finalist Rabih Alameddine’s transporting latest novel, about an Arab American trans woman’s journey among Syrian refugees on Lesbos.
“Spectacular… Alameddine’s irreverent prose evokes the old master storytellers from my own Middle Eastern home, their observations toothy and full of wit, returning always to human absurdity.”—New York Times Book Review
Father of the Rain by Lily King
This novel, from the admired and beloved Lily King, spans three decades in a riveting psychological portrait of a wildly charismatic patriarch as seen through the eyes of his daughter.
“King is brilliant when writing from the eyes of a tween, all self-conscious curiosity but bright and hopeful as a starry sky. And as Daley grows up and learns how to trust and to love in spite of herself, King cuts a fine, fluid line to the melancholy truth: Even when we’re grown and on our own—wives, mothers, CEOs—we still long to be someone’s daughter.”—Elle
The English Teacher by Lily King
For her second novel, Lily King brought superb craftsmanship, effortlessly suspenseful pacing, and tenderly observed insight into marriage, motherhood, and family to expertly limn the life of an independent single mother and her fifteen-year-old son, who is on a circuitous path toward a truth she has long concealed from him.
“Beautifully written and carefully observed… King is a wildly talented writer.”—Chicago Tribune
For the Grove Classicist
We’ve been around a while. For fans of some of the books and authors we’ve made history with, here are some titles we published in decades past that have stayed news.
City of Night by John Rechy
When John Rechy’s bold and inventinve first novel appeared in 1963, it gave voice to a subculture that had never before been revealed with such acuity. Bold and inventive in style, Rechy is unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “youngman” and his search for self-knowledge within the neon-lit world of hustlers, drag queens, and the denizens of their world.
“One of the major books to be published since World War II.”—Washington Post
A Visitation of Spirits by Randall Kenan
Weaving the mythos and the hard realities of rural Black life and easily gliding between past and present, A Visitation of Spirits is a classic novel of growing up from a literary giant, one of the few writers to bring the southern Black, gay experience into literature.
“Continues James Baldwin’s legendary tradition of ‘telling it on the mountain.’”—San Francisco Chronicle
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize!
Filled with unforgettable characters and unbelievable plot twists, shimmering with intelligence, and dazzling in its originality, A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece that keeps getting better year after year.
“A masterwork… [that] astonishes with its inventiveness… Nothing less than a grand comic fugue.”—The New York Times Book Review
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Ruthven Todd, Henry Reed, and Hellen Temple
The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the gargantuan powers of imagination, intelligence, and style of one of the greatest writers to walk the earth. To enter its worlds is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.
“Without Borges, the modern Latin American novel simply would not exist.”—Carlos Fuentes
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Winner of the National Book Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize!
This extraordinary story of a soldier’s perilous journey back to his beloved at the end of the Civil War is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished land, a place where savagery coexists with splendor and human beings contend with the inhuman solitude of the wilderness.
“A Whitmanesque foray into America: into its hugeness, its freshness, its scope and its soul.”—New York Times Book Review
The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Desmond Vesey and Eric Bentley
Bertolt Brecht’s classic play, with its trenchant socialist critique of capitalist society, in an edition with Brecht’s notes and an introduction by the great actress and chanteuse Lotte Lenya.
“I think The Threepenny Opera and Mother Courage are the great plays of our time.”—Lillian Hellman
Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
An extraordinary debut novel that received unanimous international praise on its release and is now required reading in contemporary literature, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a funny, poignant exploration of a young girl’s quirky adolescence.
“A daring, unconventional comic novel… By employing quirky anecdotes, which are told with romping humor, and by splicing various parables into the narrative, Winterson allows herself the dangerous luxury of writing a novel that refuses to rely on rousing plot devices.”—Chicago Tribune
The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac
Written over the course of three days and three nights, The Subterraneans centers on the break-up of two denizens of the 1950s San Francisco underground, a tale of dark alleys and smoky rooms, of artists, visionaries, and adventurers existing outside mainstream America’s field of vision.
“A book of raw power and awesome beauty.”—San Francisco Examiner
Nadja by André Breton, translated by Richard Howard
Nadja, originally published in France in 1928, is the first and perhaps best Surrealist romance ever written, a book that defined that movement’s attitude toward everyday life.
“Nadja is so wonderfully free from all regard for appearance that she scorns reason and law alike.”—Simone de Beauvoir
The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat, translated by D.P. Costello
A masterpiece of Persian literature—a tale of obsession and madness that chillingly re-creates the labyrinthine movements of a deranged mind.
“[Hedayat] conveys more vividly than Kafka or Poe the state of madness… [The Blind Owl is] a terrifying whorl of incidents that turns and twists upon itself to recreate the labyrinthine movements of an insane mind.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Destroy, She Said by Marguerite Duras, translated by Barbara Bray
In this classic, cinema-inflected novel by one of the twentieth century’s most legendary artistic intellects, erotic intrigue masks a chillingly deceptive form of madness.
“I trust Marguerite Duras’s seeing and her listening.”—Maxine Hong Kingston
Blood and Guts in High School by Kathy Acker
The novel that made a cult icon of Kathy Acker, whose work is “like reading William S. Burroughs while watching an avant-garde theater group perform to the sounds of a punk band” (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times).
“Acker is a landmark writer.” —Jeanette Winterson
The Selected Works of Samuel Beckett by Samuel Beckett
Winner of the Nobel Prize!
Samuel Beckett was among the most influential figures of twentieth-century writing, one who changed literature forever. Here in a four-volume paperback box set are Beckett’s major works in prose, drama, poetry, and criticism edited by Paul Auster.
“Beckett’s writings constitute probably the most significant body of work produced by a twentieth-century author, in that they’re taken to signify the greatest number of things.”—New Yorker
The Thief’s Journal by Jean Genet, translated by Bernard Frechtman, intro by Patti Smith
Jean Genet’s most authentically biographical novel, personifying his quest for spiritual glory through the pursuit of evil. Writing in the intensely lyrical prose style that is his trademark, Genet reconstructs his early adult years—time he spent as a petty criminal and vagabond across Europe.
“The most beautiful book that Genet has written.”—Jean-Paul Sartre
For the Socially Engaged
For the rabble-rousers and activists in your life, or anyone who’s deeply invested in the struggle to make a better world, here are some politically engaged titles no freedom fighter should be without.
Beyond Innocence by Phoebe Zerwick
A deeply reported, gripping narrative of injustice, exoneration, and the lifelong impact of incarceration, Beyond Innocence is the poignant saga of one remarkable life that sheds vitally important light on the realities of the American justice system at every level.
“[A] reminder of how the United States’ prison-industrial complex has ruined so many men in so many ways, especially Black men… Zerwick’s research is exemplary, and the story is a strong one.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Steal by Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague
Two veteran journalists offer a week-by-week, state-by-state account of the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
“A gripping ground-level narrative…a marvel of reporting.”—Washington Post
“A lean, fast-paced and important account of the chaotic final weeks.”—New York Times
The Forever Prisoner by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy
Some argued it would save the U.S. after 9/11. Instead, the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program came to be defined as American torture. The Forever Prisoner, a primary source for the recent HBO Max film, exposes the full story behind the most divisive CIA operation in living memory.
“Comprehensive… Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy… interweave the stories of captive and interrogator, showing how fatally unprepared they were to understand each other… Impressively thorough.”—New York Times Book Review
Solitary by Albert Woodfox
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award!
The extraordinary saga of a man who, despite spending four decades in solitary confinement for a crime of which he was innocent, inspired fellow prisoners, and now all of us, with his humanity.
“A profound book about friendship… If the ending of this book does not leave you with tears pooling down in your clavicles, you are a stronger person than I am.”—New York Times
The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon, translated by Richard Philcox, introduction by Cornel West
A masterful interrogation of race, colonialism, psychological trauma, and revolutionary struggle, and a continuing influence on movements from Black Lives Matter to decolonization.
“One measure of Fanon’s clairvoyance—and the glacial pace of progress—is that, in its sixtieth year, The Wretched of the Earth remains a vital guide both to the tenacity of white supremacy in the West and to the moral and intellectual failures of the ‘darker nations.’”—New Yorker
For the Forger of New Traditions
For the reader whose collection of classic literature is already complete enough, here are some more recent titles that are already claiming their place alongside the more venerable masterworks of generations past.
Is There Still Sex in the City? by Candace Bushnell
This novel, from the pioneering, New York Times bestselling author who brought us Sex and the City, offers a wry, witty, and wise look at sex, dating and friendship in New York City after fifty.
“[The book is] brimming with the snappy rhetorical questions and taxonomic acronyms that became Bushnell’s signature back in the stiletto days… While Carrie was a bright-eyed anthropologist, Candace and her friends are survivalists; even beyond the City, it’s a jungle out there.”—Vogue
Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz
A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35!
“A gorgeous debut” (Lauren Groff) short story collection from one of the most exciting discoveries in today’s literary landscape.
“Electric… a tapestry of intimate moments punctuated by Moniz’s tight, uncompromising prose.”—TIME
Monkey Boy by Francisco Goldman
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize!
The tale of Francisco Goldberg, a middle-aged writer who grapples with the challenges of family and love, legacies of violence and war, and growing up Guatemalan and Jewish in America.
“Brilliantly constructed… Unpacks some of America’s senseless racial politics and deconstructs one family’s volatile, cross cultural history… A family portrait that is funny, loving and fierce, all at the same time.”—NPR
The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
Winner of the National Book Award!
A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East.
“Part oral history, part urban history, part celebration of a bygone way of life… A full indictment of the greed, discrimination, indifference and poor city planning that led her family’s home to be wiped off the map.”—New York Times Book Review
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
A powerhouse collection of stories from the New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay, Difficult Women provides a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.
“The characters who inhabit Difficult Women… aren’t just characters. They are our mothers, sisters and partners. They are human. They are us.” —USA Today
Leopoldstadt by Tom Stoppard
Winner of the PEN/Mike Nichols Award!
Tom Stoppard’s humane and heartbreaking Olivier Award-winning play of love, family, and endurance, which has, after years of Covid-related delays, finally had its Broadway debut.
“[Stoppard’s] most personal work ever, one which uses a slow excavation of his own Jewish history to create an epic family saga, examining—among many other themes—what it means to be Jewish… A summation of sorts.”—Vogue
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
A big, powerful saga of men in combat, written over the course of thirty-five years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran.
“It’s not a book so much as a deployment, and you will not return unaltered… One of the most profound and devastating novels ever to come out of Vietnam—or any war.”—New York Times Book Review
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
A New York Times Best Book of 2015
Heart-wrenching and humorous, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement and a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, combining obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history in a distinctive blend of nature writing and memoir.
“Captivating and beautifully written, it’s a meditation on the bond between beasts and humans and the pain and beauty of being alive.” —People