We’re grateful to our wonderful bookshop family: our customers, our neighbors, our friends, and all of the beautiful books we’ve read this year and plan to read in the next year. We hope you have a peaceful, joyous, delicious holiday. And that you’re able to take a moment to spend with a good book.
Here are a few particularly delectable ones that are new on our shelves:
The Paris Review’s Unprofessionals Anthology. We love the brilliant kind of unclassifiable “weird essay” writing celebrated in this collection, which celebrates voice, interiority, and short forms. Weird essay stars like Ben Lerner, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and Zadie Smith comprise this collection, along with many emerging voices.
In this Guardian piece on To Hell and Back, the reviewer argues that Ian Kershaw “has achieved the remarkable feat of drawing together and comparing the histories of the entire continent, during its most turbulent years, into one highly readable volume. His thoughtful and comprehensive history is likely to become a classic.”
In this fourth book by acclaimed Irish novelist Kevin Barry, Beatlebone, we’re presented with a “magical mystery tour” of alternate reality. It’s 1978, and John Lennon’s left New York City to look for an Irish estate he bought years ago. The Irish Times says, “Beatlebone is a novel of necessary invention: profound, funny, hard to pin down. The demanding spirit of Dermot Healy is abroad in these pages, but the execution is all Barry’s own.”
Hubris, by esteemed historian Alistair Horne, compares several moments in history, from the 1905 Battle of Tsushima in the Russo-Japanese War, to the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, in order to unpack that excessive human pride that is so very destructive. Kirkus calls it a “thoughtful illustration of the stupidity of war.”
Speaking of hubris, should your dinnertime conversation take an infelicitous turn for the heated, instead of burrowing inside the Turducken or pouring more wine, hold up your copy of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, one of last year’s National Book Award Finalists in Poetry. Here’s what the judges had to say about Rankine’s timely, genre-blending work:
Marrying prose, poetry, and the visual image, Citizen investigates the ways in which racism pervades daily American social and cultural life, rendering certain of its citizens politically invisible. Rankine’s formally inventive book challenges our notion that citizenship is only a legal designation that the state determines by expanding that definition to include a larger understanding of civic belonging and identity, built out of cross-racial empathy, communal responsibility, and a deeply shared commitment to equality.—National Book Award Judges’ Citation
We couldn’t agree more. Peace, love, and pie for all.