by Kathryn Brooks, Sarah Robertson and Kimberly Webster
With the holidays behind us, we welcome January. Getting back to a normal routine allows us some breathing room. Why not plan some R & R time and settle in with one of these page-turners.
Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
As a person who stands between west and east, writing in Turkish and English, living in Istanbul and London, Elif Shafak engages with some of the most pressing political and personal themes of our times. Her new novel is no exception. The main character is a woman in her mid-30s. Almost the first thing that happens is she is robbed and sexually assaulted on the streets, yet she overcomes her attacker and continues on to a scheduled dinner where she tries to pretend that nothing at all has gone wrong.
The Spy of the First Person by Sam Shepard
The final work from the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer, actor and musician, are drawn from his transformative last days. Sam Shepard’s narrative tells the story of an unnamed narrator who traces his memories of work, adventure and travel as he undergoes medical tests and treatments for a condition that is causing him to be more and more dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him.The book is an unflinching expression of the vulnerabilities that make us human and a celebration of family and life.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
In her second novel, Chloe Benjamin constructs an imaginative and satisfying family saga. In 1969, the four rambunctious Gold children, Simon, Klara, Daniel, and Varya, visit a psychic on Manhattan’s Lower East Side who predicts the date each of them will die.The author has written a cleverly structured novel steeped in Jewish lore and the history of four decades of American life.The siblings are wonderful creations, and in Benjamin’s expert hands their story becomes a moving meditation on fate, faith, and the family ties that alternately hurt and heal.
The Vanishing Princess by Jenny Diski
Published in the U.K. in 1995 and now being released in the United States,The Vanishing Princess or The Origin of Cubism opens with an obligatory princess in a tower. But Diski’s version, like all of her stories, makes no bones about confronting what it means to be female. It satirizes the idea that only men can save women. This princess lacks curiosity, sense of time or even a sense of herself until men arrive to tell her that she should want certain things. Her rescuers give her hope, a mirror and a calendar, but they promptly prey upon her disappointment and trust.
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Since her debut novel almost two decades ago, Zadie Smith has established herself as one of the world’s most preeminent fiction writers as well as a brilliant and singular essayist. Her soon-to-be released Feel Free, offers a survey of recent events in culture, politics and Smith’s own life. Equally at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is wry, heartfelt, indignant and incisive.
Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini
Jennifer Chiaverini illuminates the fascinating life of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace—Lord Byron’s only legitimate child— the world’s first computer programmer and a woman whose exceptional contributions to science and technology have gone unrecognized. The author unveils the passions, dreams and insatiable thirst for knowledge of this pioneer in computing—a young woman who stepped out of her father’s shadow to achieve her own laurels and champion the new technology that would shape the future.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
In this breakout book, Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, the author answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.
Where the Past Begins by Amy Tan
Bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement, Amy Tan is at her most intimate in revealing the truths and inspirations that underlie her extraordinary fiction. By delving into vivid memories of her traumatic childhood, confessions of self-doubt in her journals and heartbreaking letters to and from her mother, she gives evidence to all that made it both unlikely and inevitable that she would become a writer. Through spontaneous storytelling, she shows how a fluid fictional state of mind unleashed near-forgotten memories that became the emotional core of her novels.