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PREMIUM

A Whole World: Letters from James Merrill

This sumptuously produced collection of letters will appeal mostly to literary enthusiasts.
PREMIUM

Philip Roth: The Biography

For an author like Roth, who put so much of his own life into his books, this biography is an essential companion to his novels, enabling readers to discover the true-life inspirations for many of his memorable characters and scenes. Recommended for readers who have read and enjoyed Philip Roth’s fiction.
PREMIUM

William Shakespeare: Facts and Fictions

An ideal ready-reference guide to understanding one of the greatest—and most popular
PREMIUM

The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with Recipes)

A genre-blending work that will intrigue readers of literary nonfiction, personal essays, or food history.
PREMIUM

Girlhood

A thought-provoking collection that will appeal to fans of fierce feminist prose. The inclusion of occasional poetry is a bonus.
PREMIUM

Hearing Homer’s Song: The Brief Life and Big Idea of Milman Parry

An engaging, thoroughly researched biography of a fascinating figure. Though some of the details surrounding Parry’s documentation techniques can feel a bit tedious at times, Kanigel has given readers a thoughtful look at a man whose theories have helped us to better understand the ancient world.
PREMIUM

Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay

McKay’s life remains in shadow; her legacy awaits a comparative assessment of the contributions of her contemporaries to Black feminist studies and African American literature.
PREMIUM

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life

Recommended for readers as well as writers interested in how short fiction works and why it is relevant in turbulent times.

Hungry Hearts: Essays on Courage, Desire, and Belonging

This collection of stories will make readers laugh, cry, and come back for more; readers will enjoy the book as a whole, as it is impossible to pick a favorite story.

North by Shakespeare: A Rogue Scholar’s Quest for the Truth Behind the Bard’s Work

Bardolators will want to read this book; for others, it’s an optional read.

PREMIUM

The Life She Wished to Live: A Biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Author of The Yearling

A comprehensive, well-researched portrait of the life of Rawlings and her creative struggles that will engage a variety of readers.

Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections, and Illustrations

This poetic, humorous, and heartfelt collection will have readers nodding along, laughing, and maybe even crying, but more than anything they will be engrossed and craving more. Similar to Sun’s previous work, this is another standout.
PREMIUM

Sybille Bedford: A Life

This comprehensive Bedford biography will most appeal to readers who are familiar with either her work or mid-century Western literature in general. More casual readers might find the cast of characters dizzying, but the book does a fine job of capturing the spirit and challenges of the time.

Lolita in the Afterlife: On Beauty, Risk, and Reckoning with the Most Indelible and Shocking Novel of the Twentieth Century

The superb essays found in this book demonstrate the enduring impact of this novel. Highly recommended for readers interested in Lolita and Nabokov.

Wonderworks: The 25 Most Powerful Inventions in the History of Literature

Wonderworks is for those readers who like to consider the history of literature, yes, but also those who like to think about the technical aspects of literary devices used across that history.

A History of Scars

Though the writing sometimes appears to be unpolished, Lee offers some interesting commentary on life. These essays may appeal to readers interested in writing and mental health.

PREMIUM

Let Me Tell You What I Mean

This volume could be read in one sitting or one vignette at a time, as Didion’s perceptive voice connects the essays beautifully, but each one can stand equally well on its own terms. For both fans of Didion and those new to her work entirely, this collection is an essential investment.

The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene

Greene’s life story is both interesting and fascinating, and this balanced account offers the best reading of how his personal life infused and enriched his work.
PREMIUM

In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece

Tillet writes a necessary account of how Walker’s centering the lives of Black women has transformed literature. Accessibly written, this book will engage both longtime fans and those new to Walker’s writing.

The Queens’ English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases

A must for better understanding queer culture, especially the contributions of Black and Latinx trans people to pop culture at large.
PREMIUM

Of Human Kindness: What Shakespeare Teaches Us about Empathy

First and foremost, this book is for anyone who has ever taught Shakespeare to young students. It’s too short, but perhaps that makes it more likely to be read.

Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath

A masterful biography that will especially interest literary scholars.

PREMIUM

A Measure of Belonging: Twenty-One Writers of Color on the New American South

A wonderful, thought-provoking collection of essays that highlight the various experiences of immigrants, people of color, and women in the American South. Recommended for public and academic libraries.

Tom Stoppard: A Life

A major biography of a major, and appealing, literary figure, this study will jump off the shelves.

Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz: The Rebellion of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton

Deliriously fast-paced and erudite, this is highly recommended for all literature, poetry, and women’s studies collections.

Best World Literature of 2020

Best Literary Fiction of 2020

PREMIUM

The Fall of America Journals, 1965–1971

Ably edited by Schumacher, this book provides a wealth of source material for researchers on Ginsberg’s life and work during this period.

The Power of Adrienne Rich: A Biography

Exceptionally well-researched and detailed, this is a definitive portrait of Rich that will be welcomed by aspiring writers and poets, Rich scholars, and devotees of 20th-century American poetry.
PREMIUM

The Best of Brevity: Twenty Groundbreaking Years of Flash Nonfiction

There is something for everybody here, and since the writings are short, it is a perfect companion for moments of waiting. Because all of Brevity’s essays, and some additional resources, are free online, the anthology makes a useful tool for both teaching flash nonfiction and learning how to write it.
PREMIUM

Where I Come From: Stories from the Deep South

A notable volume from a widely appreciated author recommended for all humor, journalism, and Southern literature collections.

The Glorious American Essay: One Hundred Essays from Colonial Times to the Present

Two forthcoming collections is this series focusing on the postwar era (1945–2000) and essays of the 21st century will ensure this is the most comprehensive set of American essay writing to date. For readers fascinated by the sheer scope, variety, and art of the essay.

A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia Butler

Filled with Butler’s voice, photos of lists, notebooks, and other ephemera, this volume outlines a life map, a model, a vision of possibilities that is sure to inspire budding writers to, as Butler did, imagine a world that is different and make a place for themselves in it. Also a must-read for Butler fans.
PREMIUM

The Writer’s Library: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives

Recommended for bibliophiles and readers curious about the works and authors behind the books they love.

Pushcart Prize XLV: Best of the Small Presses 2021 Edition

This fascinating anthology is a must for all collections.

PREMIUM

The Language of Thieves: My Family’s Obsession with a Secret Code the Nazis Tried To Eliminate

A puzzling family mystery uncovers a forgotten language and its ties to Nazi Germany in this probing literary history that will attract linguistics enthusiasts.

PREMIUM

Suppose a Sentence

Dillon’s riffs on his chosen sentences are often impressionistic, meandering, and thin, resulting in a text riddled with misconceptions, albeit from an especially energetic, literary mind.

PREMIUM

The Best of Me

This collection of favorite and beloved writings by an author with legions of fans is warm, witty, and guaranteed to please longtime and new readers alike.

PREMIUM

Lot Six: A Memoir

Highly recommended; this revealing memoir takes us beyond the facts of Adjmi’s life to probe his quest for identity and his rise as a prominent playwright and author.

Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19

Among the first anthologies of its kind, this thoughtful and engaging compilation is recommended for readers seeking understanding and connection and a more empathetic and less materialistic post–­COVID-19 world.

PREMIUM

Who We’re Reading When We’re Reading Murakami

Readers not obsessed with Murakami or translating may find themselves periodically overwhelmed by the minutiae, but anyone who cares about the process of translating and the variables involved will be richly rewarded. Recommend for academic and public libraries with robust Japanese literature collections

Like Streams to the Ocean: Notes on Ego, Love, and the Things That Make Us Who We Are

Jenkins is a sincere writer, and his ability to make it feel as if he is talking to you directly will both attract longtime fans and engage new readers.

PREMIUM

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway. Vol. 5: 1932–1934

A worthy addition to the ongoing effort to publish all of Hemingway’s letters, this volume will be welcomed by scholars, students, and general readers with a more than casual interest in the man and his work.

Intimations: Six Essays

Smith demonstrates once again that she is a powerful albeit quiet voice for our challenging times. Highly Recommended.
PREMIUM

The Happily Ever After: A Memoir of an Unlikely Romance Novelist

With a journalist’s perspective and a penchant for wit and storytelling, Steinberg crafts a compelling narrative of his quest to find love and to write postdivorce.

Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction by Groundbreaking Female Writers 1852–1923

A feast of entertaining (and often scary) reads. Highly recommended for those interested in literature of the horror and supernatural variety.

A Place of Exodus: Home, Memory, and Texas

Highly recommended for Texas history and poetry collections, and for all memoir readers.

The Mystery of Charles Dickens

Wilson is the perfect choice to write about this complicated soul, showing how reading Dickens, one emerges with a new appreciation of the people one encounters. Even 150 years after his death, Dickens’s life and works continue to fascinate.

PREMIUM

From Slave Cabins to the White House: Homemade Citizenship in African American Culture

An essential, scholarly volume for academic and larger public library collections devoted to the literary traditions and history of African American women throughout U.S. history.

Borges and Me: An Encounter

Essential for Borges’s legions of fans, as well as those who enjoy literary memoirs by experimental writers whose works play a bit more loosely with the facts.
PREMIUM

The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War

Faulkner once famously said, “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past,” and this exceptional study by Gorra lends credence to these words. A worthy addition to Faulkner studies, and for larger Southern literature and Civil War collections.
PREMIUM

Tomboyland

Readers of all kinds will wish to sit down with this tomboy, not just those interested in issues of androgyny. Recommended.

Just Us: An American Conversation

“How does one say/ what if/ without reproach?” asks Rankine, and proceeds to show us. In the end it is “just us” wanting “justice,” which will require whiteness to be visible and interrogated. A must-read to add to the conversation on racism, antiracism, and white fragility.
PREMIUM

Austen Years: A Memoir in 5 Novels

A successful reminder of how time-honored literature evokes insight into our present reality and why the classics should be read more and often.
PREMIUM

Notable African American Writers

Comprehensive and useful for a variety of audiences.

Jane Austen: Writing, Society, Politics

Highly recommended.

The Blessing and the Curse: The Jewish People and Their Books in the Twentieth Century

The focus throughout this illuminating and invaluable study is on secular modern Jewish writers from Central and Eastern Europe and their descendants. For all Jewish literature collections, and for informed general readers interested in modern Jewish secular literary culture.

Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Essential for biography and literary collections; a sheer joy to read for its portrayal of the amazing life of the first “poet of the people.” [See Prepub Alert, 12/9/19.]

Austen Is Always a Good Idea | Wyatt's World

PREMIUM

Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why: Essays

These writings will appeal to a broad range of readers and even stand up (pun intended) against the most well-fortified sensibilities. Men possessing low tolerance to alienation, however, are warned.

Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth

Like Roth, Taylor is a terrific raconteur, and readers are likely to be as entertained by his opinions as those of the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. An eloquent and touching account that should appeal to all who appreciate the value of true friendship.

PREMIUM

Places I’ve Taken My Body: Essays

Anyone who has faced physical challenges is sure to find wisdom in Brown’s words as well as the universal truths she shares.
PREMIUM

Critical Insights: Conspiracies

Recommended only for large literary criticism collections.

The Essential Clarence Major: Prose & Poetry

Recommended for all libraries with substantial collections of African American and contemporary American literature.

PREMIUM

Dante’s Bones: How a Poet Invented Italy

Pulling together many threads of the Dante’s story, Raffa offers an engaging, informative, and original account of the material culture of the poet’s epic body of work. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

Au Revoir, Tristesse: Lessons in Happiness from French Literature

A lighthearted read for all fans of French literature.

Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity

Emotions of sorrow, anger, and anxiety loom large in Khakpour’s inner and outer experiences in America, but the humor in her reflections keep this book immune from wallowing. A triumphant entry in the personal essay canon.
PREMIUM

One Last Lunch: A Final Meal with Those Who Meant So Much to Us

A thought-provoking, albeit uneven, compilation with varied insights into grief, mourning, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Recommended where literary anthologies are popular.

PREMIUM

Hemingway and Ho Chi Minh in Paris

An interesting look at how two remarkable men, who came of age in Paris during the 1920s, developed a sympathy for the common man and a hatred of injustice. Recommended for general readers.

PREMIUM

My Life as a Villainess: Essays

Fans of Lippman’s novels (The Lady in the Lake) and her Twitter followers will gobble up this short collection and beg for more nonfiction from this gifted storyteller. [See Prepub Alert, 11/11/19.]
PREMIUM

The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s

Doherty’s overall galvanizing look at a little-explored conjunction of critical feminist voices should incite provocative historical context to current-day discussions around the need for more support of women’s intellectual work.
PREMIUM

Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars

Literary historians, as well as general readers up on the major events in recent British history, will be well served by this valiant debut about bold women whose struggles continue to resonate today.

The Beauty of Living: E.E. Cummings in the Great War

Placing Cummings in the context of the “War Poets,” Rosenblitt breathes new life back into poems too often anthologized and too little read. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World

As a succinct introduction to women nature writers, this elegant compilation should have a broad reach and inspire readers to seek out more about the authors featured.
PREMIUM

An Apartment on Uranus: Chronicles on the Crossing

Preciado engages complex ideas from a number of ancient and modern-day philosophers and theorists, which might challenge the uninitiated, but the dreamlike quality of the work is sure to resonate with readers of the great French writers Jean Genet and Albert Camus. Highly recommended.

Mark Twain, the World, and Me: Following the Equator, Then and Now

A can’t-miss title for those interested in Twain’s life and especially his views on religion and imperialism.
PREMIUM

Aesop’s Fables: The Cruelty of the Gods

While there’s little comfort to be found in these tales that ruthlessly dissect human nature, this anthology is not without its charms, especially as found in the whimsical illustrations and witty, honest prose.

Wow, No Thank You: Essays

A sheer delight for Irby’s legions of fans. For those new to her work, or who enjoy Jenny Lawson, Roxane Gay, Jenny Slate, or Nora Ephron, this should be obtained immediately.
PREMIUM

This Is Shakespeare

Smith wears her learning lightly and writes in an accessible, conversational style, making this an excellent work for those eager to brush up their Shakespeare, forsooth.
PREMIUM

African American Literature: An Encyclopedia for Students

Overall, a useful option for its target audience: students. The entries will be accessible to high schoolers, and possibly younger students, as well as college-level readers, who will learn much from the coverage of varied genres, from mystery, romance, and horror, influenced by African American writers.
PREMIUM

Private Investigations: Mystery Writers on the Secrets, Riddles, and Wonders in Their Lives

Genre fans are sure to be curious about this rare window into the lives of their favorite authors, as will anyone who enjoys compelling, candid tales.

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

Toss out your old editions, this is the one you’ll want to own.

Detectives in the Shadows: A Hard-Boiled History

One can say many things about crime fiction, and throughout this thoughtful, well-crafted piece of literary history, Lee succeeds in telling the story straight.

PREMIUM

Kerouac: The Last Quarter Century

Nicosia provides a detailed, well-documented account of what is loosely referred to in Kerouac circles as “The Kerouac Estate Controversy.” While a fascinating read, this will not win everyone over to Nicosia’s viewpoint. Sampas’s death in 2017 perhaps offered some hope that the controversy would smolder, but this publication promises to fan the flames.

PREMIUM

The Life of William Faulkner: Vol. 1: The Past Is Never Dead 1897–1934

Rollyson’s astute analysis makes not only for a good story but also a welcome addition to Faulkner studies.
PREMIUM

The Dolphin Letters, 1970–1979: Elizabeth Hardwick, Robert Lowell, and Their Circle

Replete with editor Hamilton’s masterly and well-researched footnotes, this will be an indispensable gloss to the reading and interpretation of The Dolphin.

Ferrante Fever | Literature, Feb. 2020

PREMIUM

The Ferrante Letters: An Experiment in Collective Criticism

A truly innovative approach to understanding the author-reader connection made all the more compelling for having one of the 20th century’s ­greatest literary works at its core.­
PREMIUM

Thinking Inside the Box: Adventures with Crosswords and the Puzzling People Who Can’t Live Without Them

Raphel’s approach is reminiscent of Mary Roach’s work, and even cruciverbalists well versed in their hobby’s history will discover something illuminating here. Nonpuzzling readers may discover a new hobby.
PREMIUM

Mastering the Process: From Idea to Novel

This practical guide to technique and intimate look into George’s writing life wisely reminds readers and students that writing is a job and should be scheduled as such. The anecdotal material and reading lists offer penetrating looks into the author’s sensibilities.
PREMIUM

What Is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life

Despite its flaws, this important and very personal take on Whitman’s lasting influence as “America’s Poet” should be a worthwhile addition to libraries with strong poetry or LGBTQ collections.
PREMIUM

Incidental Inventions

In prose that provokes and transforms, evoking wonder and tension in the most gratifying sense, these fragments of Ferrante ultimately cohere into a full, absorbing portrait of an enduring author.
PREMIUM

Child of Light: A Biography of Robert Stone

For anyone who appreciates great literature (especially the wonderful fiction of Stone), this is required reading.
PREMIUM

Why Women Read Fiction: The Stories of Our Lives

Though long overdue, this satisfying offering comes at a time when women are working harder than ever to secure their rightful place in the literary canon. Recommended enthusiasts of lit crit, feminist studies, and publishing.
PREMIUM

Elena Ferrante’s Key Words

An exceptional companion to the source material, particularly for the lit-crit crowd looking to affirm Ferrante’s reinvention of the future of the novel. [Note: Beginning in Feb. 2020, HBO continues its popular miniseries adapting the “Neapolitan Novels,” now in its second season.
PREMIUM

A Is for Archive: Warhol’s World from A to Z

For archivists, students, and fans of Warhol’s life and art.
PREMIUM

Serious Noticing: Selected Essays 1997–2019

Recommended for nonscholarly but informed readers who appreciate the discovery of authors worth knowing. For all public library collections.

PREMIUM

Why I Write: The Early Prose from 1945 to 1952

While the translation is intermittently turgid and labored, this nonetheless mostly fluid and serviceable volume from a writer little known to American readers is sure to enhance collections of Eastern European literature.

Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything Was Different

Palahniuk readers--and writers at any career level--likely will devour this vivid and instructive behind-the-scenes tour.

The Criminal Child: Selected Essays

Essential for followers of Genet, inquisitive general readers, and enthusiasts of 20th-century avant-garde French writing.
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