Over the months we made sure our readers received quality reading recommendations. In our issues so far, these titles made the cut above all else, making for an exciting blend of memorable fiction, moving poetry collections, and urgent nonfiction.
Maria Popova's FIGURING
Connecting the lives of several historical figures (mostly women) across four centuries, FIGURING is a generous and informed exploration of love and legacy. Popova addresses the notable questions in life as she investigates feminism, religion, music, poetry, and the environmental movement.
Genre: Nonfiction (Philosophical essays)
578 pages, Hardcover. Published on February 5, 2019 by Pantheon Books
Nora Ephron's I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK
Peppered with seasoned advice and laugh-out-loud moments, Nora Ephron (Sleepless In Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail) hilariously comments on the unforgiving and relentless nature of aging and parenting while passionately looking forward to life at a certain age.
Genre: Nonfiction (Biographical essays)
137 pages, Hardcover. Published on August 1, 2006 by Knopf Publishing Group
Patti Smith's M TRAIN
Arranging her despair alongside reason, Smith submits a meditative chronicle on traveling, literature and small rituals of her everyday life that beget consideration. Her keen reflections on a writer's craft and artistic creation, and her many losses, color the memories of her life that are blanketed in optimism and consolation.
Genre: Nonfiction (Poetry)
256 pages, Hardcover. Published on October 6, 2015 by Knopf
Ali Smith's SUMMER
The last in Smith's seasonal quartet, SUMMER is at once a political commentary on the current state of affairs in the world and a family's struggle with time, change, chaos, and perceptions. Carrying a distinct narrational style, Smith ends her beloved series with an ache for stability and reason.
Genre: Literary Fiction
384 pages, Hardcover. Published on August 2, 2020 by Hamish Hamilton
Farah Bashir's RUMOURS OF SPRING: A GIRLHOOD IN KASHMIR
Bashir recounts her adolescence in Srinagar in the 1990s when the city was being torn apart in the conflict between the Indian troops and the state militants. Her tender portrayal of her anxious, younger self blooming in the shadow of violence is sincere and heartbreaking.
Genre: Nonfiction (Memoir)
240 pages, Hardcover. Published on April 23, 2021 by Harper Collins.
Sally Rooney's CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS
Rooney's debut was a sizable dent in her routine handling of modern-day Irish twenty-somethings battling the complexities of love, sex, relationships, and their changing identities in the world. Witty dialogues and honest desires flavor her unique take on youth and its dangers.
Genre: Literary Fiction (Romance)
304 pages, Paperback. Published on July 11, 2017 by Hogarth House
Jean Hanff Korelitz's THE PLOT
When a frustrated, has-been writer steals the plot of his arrogant but now deceased student, he becomes a literary sensation overnight, amassing everything he once dreamt. But soon enough, anonymous and terrifying warnings flood in, threatening to upend all that he understands and holds dear.
Genre: Fiction (Mystery Thriller)
336 pages, Hardcover. Published on May 11, 2021 by Celadon Books
Amir Khusrau's IN THE BAZAAR OF LOVE
Translators Paul Losensky and Sunil Sharma synthesize the genius of the greatest Sufi poet of all times, Amir Khusrau. Khusrau's romantic poems are a delightful cross between Persian and Hindavi languages, a potent bridge between Hindu and Muslim cultures.
Genre: Nonfiction (Poetry)
224 pages, Paperback. First published March 10, 2011 by Penguin India
Jhumpa Lahiri's WHEREABOUTS
Originally written in Italian and later translated to English, Lahiri's latest examines the lonely and unsettling details of a quiet life, its non-events, its prominent highlights, giving way to an enlightening discourse on what constitutes meaningful living and necessary beginnings for a middle-aged, single woman in Rome.
Genre: Literary Fiction
160 pages, Hardcover. Published on April 27, 2021 by Knopf
Simone de Beauvior's LETTERS TO SARTRE
French author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir's letters to Sartre, one of the world's most renowned philosophers, are a testament to their passionate, obsessive relationship and the gripping ideological exchanges between them that informed their literature and worldview.
531 pages, Paperback. First published on January 1, 1991
Jing -Jing Lee's HOW WE DISAPPEARED
Braiding together two timelines, Lee's debut is a moving portrayal of women who fell casualties to the terrifying cruelties of a little-known time in history. Written with heart, depth, and seething effectiveness, the novel champions unyielding human resilience above all else.
Genre: Historical Fiction
350 pages, Hardcover. First published on April 4, 2019 by Hanover Square Press
Jeanette Escudero's THE APOLOGY PROJECT
After her epic fortieth-birthday-party failure, a prominent Chicago litigator sets out to make amends with all those she had wronged and deserve a second chance in her life - old friends, long-lost lovers ... you name it. A perfect comfort read for rainy, uneventful days.
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
332 pages, Paperback. First published on August 1, 2021 by by Lake Union Publishing
Durian Sukegawa's SWEET BEAN PASTE
Tokue is a failed writer with a criminal record and drinking issues. He works at a confectionary store where he befriends an elderly woman who adores his sweet bean paste recipe. In this life-affirming and moving tale of friendship and redemption, Sukegawa's prose shines and stuns.
Genre: Contemporary Japanese Fiction
213 pages, Paperback. Published on October 5, 2017 by Oneworld Publications