The Readers’ Almanac | Books To Know in 2024

Turn the page into 2024 and explore the books filling the year. Across fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, here are titles, authors, and subjects to note, from future best sellers, to gems readers will treasure, to works destined for award attention.

Illustration by Lulu Dubreuil

Personal Odysseys

Reassessing: In Jane Smiley’s Lucky (Knopf, Apr.), shining-star folk singer Jodie Rattler realizes that her life lacks something, while Hari Kunzru’s Blue Ruin (Knopf, May) features an artist manqué waylaid by his past. See also Charles Baxter’s Blood Test (Pantheon, Nov.) about a heartlands insurance salesman undone by medical news; Sister Souljah’s Love After Midnight (Emily Bestler: Atria, Oct.), with thirtysomething Winter forcefully recouping her life after imprisonment; Ploughshares Emerging Writer Ruby Todd’s Bright Objects (S. & S., Jul.), a young widow’s life redirected by a streaking comet; award-winning French author Colombe Schneck’s Swimming in Paris (Penguin Pr., May; tr. from French by Lauren Elkin & Natasha Lehrer), a middle-aged woman mastering sex, love, friendship, and swimming; Lottie Hazell’s big-print-run debut Piglet (Holt, Feb.), a betrayed bride-to-be getting really, really hungry; Granta Best American Author Halle Butler’s Banal Nightmare (Random, Jul.), retreating from looming midlife to a Midwestern hometown; and, from distinguished poet Kaveh Akbar, the debut Martyr! (Knopf, Jan.), a young addict wrestling with meaning in life. Reviewing: Willy Vlautin’s The Horse (Harper, Jul.), a washed-up musician visited by a possibly fantastical blind horse; Leif Enger’s I Cheerfully Refuse (Atlantic Monthly, Apr.), a musician sailing Lake Superior in search of his deceased wife; PEN/Faulkner-longlisted Claire Oshetsky’s Poor Deer (Ecco, Jan.), a girl struggling to acknowledge her role in tragic loss; Chelsea Bieker’s Madwoman (Little, Brown, Sept.), a contentedly refashioned Clove failing to escape the violent past; and Abi Daré’s And So I Roar (Dutton, Aug.), a Nigerian woman plumbing her mother’s secrets. Remaking: Ruth Reichl’s The Paris Novel (Random, Apr.), with Stella receiving a plane ticket to Paris from her estranged mother; Jo Piazza’s The Sicilian Inheritance (Dutton, Apr.), with Sara travelling to Sicily with help from Great-Aunt Rosie; Matt Haig’s The Life Impossible (Viking, Sept.), with the widowed Grace inheriting a house on Ibiza from a friend; Miranda July’s All Fours (Riverhead, May), an artist hiding out to rethink her life; Peng Shepherd’s All This and More (Morrow, Jul.), a woman graced with the opportunity to redo past mistakes; Siân Hughes’s Booker-longlisted Pearl (Knopf, Aug.), a girl whose mother has vanished resetting her life; and Jennine Capó Crucet’s Say Hello to My Little Friend (S. & S., Mar.), a young man’s phantasmagoric odyssey in Miami, with orca.


Siblings: In Netherland author Joseph O’Neill’s Godwin (Pantheon, Jun.), two half brothers journey worldwide to find an African soccer prodigy. See also Amanda Eyre Ward’s Lovers and Liars (Ballantine, May), three uneasy sisters converging when one remarries; Amanda Lee Koe’s Sister Snake (Ecco, Aug.), two sisters who were snakes during China’s Tang Dynasty; and debut novelist Betsy Lerner’s Shred Sisters (Grove, Oct.), with wild Ollie and golden-girl sister Amy in escalating crisis. Hardship: Anna Quindlen’s After Annie (Random, Feb.), coping with a wife and mother’s death; Jami Attenberg’s A Reason To See You Again (Ecco, Sept.), longtime tensions between a troubled mother and her two daughters; Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s Long Island Compromise (Random, Jul.), a family traumatized over decades by a violent kidnapping; playwright/fiction debuter Adam Rapp’s Wolf at the Table (Little, Brown, Mar.), a family shattered by the neighborhood’s triple homicide; multi-award-winning author Jean-Baptiste Del Amo’s The Son of Man (Grove, Jul.; tr. from French by Frank Wynne), a man forcing his wife and son into wilderness isolation; Booker-longlisted Mike McCormack’s This Plague of Souls (Soho, Jan.), a man fresh from prison finding his family missing; Nell Freudenberger’s The Limits (Knopf, Apr.), a teenager caught between physically distant parents rebels; Raft of Stars author Andrew Graff’s True North (Ecco, Jan.), a family struggling to resettle in Wisconsin’s Northwoods; Cat Brushing author Jane Campbell’s Interpretations of Love (Grove, Aug.), with family secrets spilling at a wedding; and Someday, Maybe author Onyi Nwabineli’s Allow Me To Introduce Myself (Graydon House, May), about a woman protecting her younger sister from a controlling stepmother. Interlinked: Colm Tóibín’s Long Island (Scribner, May), with Brooklyn’s Eilis Lacey faced with raising her husband’s child by another woman; Andrew O’Hagan’s Caledonian Road (Norton, Jun.), five interconnected families illuminating class issues in Britain; J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Cliffs (Knopf, Jul.), investigating a beloved house’s history; and Armistead Maupin’s Mona of the Manor (Harper, Mar.), a widow becoming the lady of a grand Cotswolds estate after a marriage of convenience.


Gabriel García Márquez’s recently discovered Until August (Knopf, Mar.; tr. from Spanish by Anne McLean) features pleasantly married Ana Magdalena Bach, who travels each August to the island where her mother is buried and takes a lover for the night. See also R.O. Kwon’s Exhibit (Riverhead, May), featuring an intense relationship between two women—a photographer and a ballerina; The Essex Serpent author Sarah Perry’s Enlightenment (Mariner, Jun.), about the enduring and disruptive friendship between Thomas Hart and Grace Macaulay; Clare Sestanovich’s Ask Me Again (Knopf, Jun.), featuring middle-class Eva and upper-crust Jamie, radically redefining himself; Rainbow Rowell’s Slow Dance (Morrow, Jul.), the possibility of love with a high school friend 10 years later; Lisa Ko’s Memory Piece (Riverhead, Mar.), three teenage friends looking for something different; debuter Amanda Churchill’s The Turtle House (Harper, Feb.), a Japanese war bride recalling a love left behind; debuter August Thompson’s Anyone’s Ghost (Penguin Pr., Jul.), love and friendship between two teenage boys in rural New England; Rebecca Serle’s Expiration Dates (Atria, Mar.), whose heroine suddenly isn’t mysteriously receiving notice of how long a new relationship will last; Cameroonian-born, UK-based Musih Tedji Xaviere’s These Letters End in Tears (Catapult, Mar.), forbidden love between two girls, one Christian and one Muslim; Kiley Reid’s Come and Get It (Putnam, Jan.), complications between a Black resident assistant and a visiting white professor; Sophie Cousens’s Is She Really Going Out with Him? (Putnam, Nov.), children matchmaking for their divorced mother; Kevin Kwan’s Lies and Weddings (Doubleday, May), with Rufus Leung Gresham, the future Earl of Greshambury, seeking a rich bride; and Weike Wang’s Rental House (Riverhead, Nov.), with family vacations highlighting cultural differences. Plus, Jean Meltzer’s Magical Meet Cute (Mira: Harlequin, Aug.); Beth Kander’s I Made It Out of Clay (Mira: Harlequin, Dec.), romance with a golem; and two novels from Yōko Tawada, Paul Celan and theTrans-Tibetan Angel (New Directions, Jul.; tr. from German by Susan Bernofsky), a literary researcher drawn in by a stranger, and Suggested in the Stars (New Directions, Oct.), continuing the National Book Award finalist Scattered All Over the Earth.


Artist Tove starts hearing voices, architect Helge suddenly feels overwhelming guilt, and no one has died since the appearance of a strange, blazing star in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s The Third Realm (Penguin Pr., Oct.). In Rachel Cusk’s enigmatic Parade (Farrar, Jun.), painter G leaves her home, artist G begins painting disturbing images of his wife, and an attacker views his victim as a work of art. See also Russell Banks’s American Spirits (Knopf, Mar.), interlaced stories of rural New York; Adelle Waldman’s Help Wanted (Norton, Mar.), early-shift workers uniting at a big-box store; multi-award-winning short story author Colin Barrett’s Wild Houses (Grove, Mar.), a debut novel featuring small-town Irish outsiders; debuter Jennifer Croft’s The Extinction of Irena Rey (Bloomsbury, Mar.), a group of translators in search of their missing author; Elin Hilderbrand & Shelby Cunningham’s The Academy (Little, Brown, Oct.), a private school thrown by its sudden No. 1 status; Costa Award–winning Francesca Segal’s Welcome to Glorious Tuga (Ecco, Jul.), a newly minted British veterinarian on a South Atlantic island; Yvonne Battle-Felton’s Curdle Creek (Holt, Oct.), a small town with some disturbing traditions; Michelle Lindo-Rice’s The Bookshop Sisterhood (Mira: Harlequin, Jul.), with four Black women friends opening a bookstore; and Sheila Roberts’s The Best Life Book Club (Mira: Harlequin, May), a newly single mom finding connection at a small publishing house.


Reimagining: Real-life figures reimagined in fiction include a young George Orwell (Paul Theroux’s Burma Sahib, Mariner, Feb.), Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning (Laura McNeal’s The Swan’s Nest, Algonquin, Mar.), Thomas Gainsborough’s family (Emily Howes’s The Painter’s Daughters, S. & S., Feb.), Hattie McDaniel (ReShonda Tate’s The Queen of Sugar Hill, Morrow Paperbacks, Jan.), Maria Callas (Daisy Goodwin’s Diva, St. Martin’s, Jan.), Ella Fitzgerald (Diane Richards’s Ella, Amistad, May), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Dawn Tripp’s Jackie, Random, Jun.), venal Hungarian aristocrat Erzsébet Báthory (Sonia Velton’s The Nightingale’s Castle: A Novel of Erzsébet Báthory, the Blood Countess, Harper Perennial, Jul.), violin prodigy and Vivaldi muse Anna Maria della Pietà (Harriet Constable’s The Instrumentalist, S. & S. Aug.), and Xi Shi, one of the Four Great Beauties of ancient China (Ann Liang’s A Song To Drown Rivers, St. Martin’s, Oct.). Retelling: Percival Everett’s James (Doubleday, Mar.), Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the perspective of the enslaved Jim; Mark Cecil’s Bunyan and Henry; Or, the Beautiful Destiny (Pantheon, Mar.), featuring Paul Bunyan and John Henry; Lev Grossman’s The Bright Sword (Viking, Jul.), rethinking King Arthur; T. Kingfisher’s A Sorceress Comes To Call (Tor, Aug.), revisiting the Grimms’ “Goose Girl” tale; Joel H. Morris’s All Our Yesterdays (Putnam, Mar.), the story of Lady Macbeth; Claire North’s The Last Song of Penelope (Redhook, Jun.), about Odysseus’s wife; Jennifer Saint’s Hera (Flatiron, Jul.); and three retellings of Persephone: Rachel Lyon’s contemporary-set Fruit of the Dead (Scribner, Mar.), O.O. Sangoyomi’s Masquerade (Forge, Jul.), set in 15th-century West Africa, and Crystal King’s In the Garden of Monsters (Mira: Harlequin, Sept.), featuring an artist’s model for Dalí.


In Hisham Matar’s My Friends (Random, Jan.) a Libyan student in Edinburgh finds solace by connecting with a beloved author, while Téa Obreht’s The Morningside (Random, Mar.) features a mother and daughter dispelled from their homeland in a chaotic near-future and settling in the half-flooded Island City. See also Dinaw Mengestu’s Someone Like Us (Knopf, Jul.), with the son of Ethiopian immigrants delving into family history; Christy Lefteri’s The Book of Fire (Ballantine, Jan.), a family torn apart by a Greek forest fire; Thuân’s Elevator in Saigon (New Directions, Jul.; tr. from Vietnamese by Nguyen An Lý), banned in Vietnam and featuring a woman returning to Saigon for her mother’s funeral; debuter Ledia Xhoga’s Misinterpretation (Tin House, Fall), a struggling Albanian interpreter in New York City; Yuri Herrera’s Season of the Swamp (Graywolf, Oct.; tr. from Spanish by Lisa Dillman), young exile Benito Juárez encountering 19th-century New Orleans; and Maya Arad’s The Hebrew Teacher (New Vessel, Mar.; tr. from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen), three Israeli women in the United States.

History in the Making

In the Americas: Tommy Orange’s Wandering Stars (Knopf, Mar.) moves from a young survivor of 1864’s Sand Creek Massacre to Opal Viola of the Pulitzer Prize finalist There There, while Kevin Barry’s The Heart in Winter (Doubleday, Jul.), the Irish author’s first U.S.-set novel, features young lovers on the run in 1890s Montana. See also Cristina Henríquez’s The Great Divide (Ecco, Mar.), with multiple characters involved in the construction of the Panama Canal; Joyce Carol Oates’s Butcher (Knopf, May), portraying Dr. Silas Weir, who in the 1800s brutalized patients at the New Jersey Asylum for Female Lunatics; Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s The Seventh Veil of Salome (Del Rey: Ballantine, Jul.), in which two timelines—one in 1950s Hollywood, the other in ancient Judea—plumb the subject of the princess; Elizabeth Gonzalez James’s The Bullet Swallower (S. & S., Jan.), Mexican Jaime Sonoro finds a book of his family’s misdeeds, including the legendary bandido El Tragabalas; and Phillip B. Williams’s Ours (Viking, Feb.), a fierce woman named Saint sweeps through 1800s Arkansas, rescuing and hiding enslaved people. Farther Afield: Olga Tokarczuk’s The Empusium (Riverhead, Sept.), with patients debating issues still relevant today at an early-1900s sanatorium; Claire Messud’s This Strange Eventful History (Norton, May), following a pied-noir family splintered by World War II and Algerian independence; Elif Shafak’s There Are Rivers in the Sky (Knopf, Aug.), moving between the 1800s and the 2000s, the River Thames and the River Tigris; Molly Aitken’s Bright I Burn (Knopf, Aug.), about the first woman burned as a witch in Ireland; Karl Marlantes’s Cold Victory (Grove, Jan.), U.S. and U.S.S.R. military attachés in a politically fraught ski race in 1947 Finland; László Krasznahorkai’s Herscht (New Directions, Sept.), moving from Johann Sebastian Bach to particle physics to murder; Beatriz Williams’s Husbands & Lovers (Ballantine, Jun.), entwining the stories of a single mother in 2022 New England and a Hungarian refugee in 1951 Cairo; Kristin Hannah’s The Women (St. Martin’s, Feb.), U.S. nurses in Vietnam during the war; and M.T. Anderson’s Nicked (Pantheon, Jul.), with a gentle monk inveigled into stealing a holy relic in the late 1000s—an adult debut from the award-winning children’s/YA author.

Touch of Magic

In Haruki Murakami’s The City and Its Uncertain Walls (Knopf, Nov.; tr. from Japanese by Philip Gabriel), a boy pursuing the girl he loves lands in an alternate universe of unicorns and ghost readers. See also Helen Oyeyemi’s Parasol Against the Axe (Riverhead, Mar.), with a visitor to Prague finding the city commenting about itself; Clare Beams’s The Garden (Doubleday, Apr.), a garden with secret powers that helps women struggling toward motherhood; Yangsze Choo’s The Fox Wife (Holt, Feb.), a death in 1908 Manchuria blamed on foxes who become beautiful humans to lure the unsuspecting; Miye Lee’s The Dallergut Department Dream Store (Hanover Square, Jul.; tr. from Korean by Sandy Joosun Lee), a store in our collective subconscious that sells dreams; and the Ondaatje Prize–longlisted Patrick Langley’s The Variations (New York Review Books, Feb.), about a man who inherits the ability to hear sounds from the past.


In Richard Powers’s Playground (Norton, Sept.), plans are afoot to launch floating, autonomous cities on the open seas, while Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dream Count (Knopf, Oct.) features four women wrestling with issues of race and identity. See also Rumaan Alam’s Entitlement (Riverhead, Sept.), featuring a young Black woman working to better the world with an octogenarian white billionaire; Xochitl Gonzalez’s Anita de Monte Laughs Last (Flatiron, Mar.), with first-generation Ivy League student Raquel discovering forgotten artist Anita de Monte; Lionel Shriver’s Mania (Harper, Apr.), set in an alternate-universe 2011 rejecting the notion that some people are smarter than others; New Yorker staffer Vinson Cunningham’s debut, Great Expectations (Hogarth, Mar.), campaigning to elect the first Black U.S. president; Sarah Braunstein’s Bad Animals (Norton, Mar.), a Maine librarian facing accusations of inappropriate behavior and a troublesome star novelist; Kirsten Miller’s Lula Dean’s Little Library of Banned Books (Morrow, Jun.), secretly filling a book banner’s “safe” lending library with banned books; Adèle Rosenfeld’s Prix Goncourt finalist Jellyfish Have No Ears (Graywolf, Aug.; tr. from French by Jeffrey Zuckerman), about a child facing a cochlear implant; Devika Rege’s Quarterlife (Liveright: Norton, Sept.), identity politics, corporate greed, and shattered idealism in the new India; Mateo Askaripour’s This Great Hemisphere (Dutton, Jul.), set in an alternate world where people invisible at birth are second-class citizens; Danzy Senna’s Colored Television (Riverhead, Jul.), with a novelist hoping to launch a biracial TV comedy; Peter Heller’s Burn (Knopf, Aug.), with two men emerging from a hunting expedition in the Maine woods to find the country amid a secessionist war; Helen Phillips’s Hum (Marysue Rucci: S. & S., Aug.), a woman blasted from her job by AI undertakes a procedure to make her undetectable to surveillance; and Colombian-born Mexican author Fernando Vallejo’s masterwork, The Abyss (New Directions, Jun.; tr. from Spanish by Yvette Siegert), whose protagonist decries his brother’s imminent death from AIDS, his country’s politics, and the fate of his family’s farm.


Whodunits from longstanding authors include the currently Untitled 19th book in Louise Penny’s Gamache series (Minotaur, Fall), Ann Cleeves’s The Dark Wives (Minotaur, Sept.), Cara Black’s Murder at la Villette (Soho Crime, Mar.), Anthony Horowitz’s Close to Death (Harper, Apr.), Donna Leon’s A Refiner’s Fire: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery (Atlantic Monthly, Jul.), Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child’s Angel of Vengeance (Grand Central, Aug.), James Lee Burke’s Clete (Atlantic Monthly, Jun.), and Jacqueline Winspear’s The Comfort of Ghosts (Soho Crime, Jun.), the final Maisie Dobbs novel. See also Kellye Garrett’s Missing White Woman (Mulholland, Apr.), Wanda M. Morris’s What You Leave Behind (Morrow, Jun.), Ian K. Smith’s Eagle Rock: An Ashe Cayne Novel (Amistad, Aug.), Sulari Gentill’s The Mystery Writer (Poisoned Pen, Mar.), Francis Spufford’s Cahokia Jazz (Scribner, Feb.), and Richard Osman’s We Solve Murders (Pamela Dorman: Viking, Sept.). 


With Eruption, (Little, Brown, Jun.), James Patterson completes Michael Crichton’s final book, which boasts a million-copy first printing. Veteran thrills include Stephen King’s You Like It Darker: Stories (Scribner, May), Douglas Preston’s Extinction (Forge, Apr.), Kate Atkinson’s Death at the Sign of the Rook (Doubleday, Sept.), Tami Hoag’s Bad Liar (Dutton, Dec.), Richard Price’s The Godshot (Farrar, Oct.), and Joseph Kanon’s Shanghai (Scribner, Jun.). See also Liv Constantine’s The Next Mrs. Parrish (Bantam, Jun.), Kimberly McCreight’s Like Mother, Like Daughter (Knopf, Jul.), Falling author T.J. Newman’s Extinction (Little, Brown, Jul.), Long Bright River author Liz Moore’s The God of the Woods (Riverhead, Jun.), Elliot Ackerman & James Stavridis’s 2054 (Penguin Pr., Mar.), Ramona Emerson’s Exposure (Soho Crime, Oct.), Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov’s The Silver Bone (HarperVia, Mar.; tr. from Russian by Boris Dralyuk), Rob Hart’s Amblin Entertainment–optioned Assassins Anonymous (Putnam, Jun.), debuter Marcus Kliewer’s Netflix-slotted We Used To Live Here (Emily Bestler: Atria, Jun.), and Kimi Cunningham Grant’s The Nature of Disappearing (Minotaur, Jun.) a wilderness-set debut with a huge first printing.


SF: Rebecca Roanhorse’s Mirrored Heavens (Saga, Jun.), concludes the “Between Earth and Sky” trilogy, while Neal Stephenson’s Polostan (Morrow, Sept.) launches the “Bomblight” trilogy. See also Cory Doctorow’s The Bezzle: A Martin Hench Novel (Tor, Feb.) and David Small’s graphic-format Werewolf at Dusk: And Other Stories (Liveright: Norton, Mar.). Fantasy: Pulitzer Prize finalist Kelly Link offers her first novel, The Book of Love (Random, Feb.). See also Nalo Hopkinson’s Blackheart Man (Saga, Aug.); Leigh Bardugo’s The Familiar (Flatiron, Apr.); Katherine Arden’s World War I–set The Warm Hands of Ghosts (Del Rey: Ballantine, Feb.); P. Djèlí Clark’s The Dead Cat Tail Assassins (, Apr.); Alan Moore’s The Great When: A Long London Novel (Bloomsbury, Oct.); TJ Klune’s Somewhere Beyond the Sea (Tor, Sept.); and Paolo Bacigalupi’s Navola (Knopf, Jul.); plus Justinian Huang’s The Emperor and the Endless Palace (Mira: Harlequin, Mar.) and Sarah Beth Durst’s The Spellshop (Bramble: Tor, Jul.), both billed as romantasy. Horror: Stephen Graham Jones’s The Angel of Indian Lake (Saga, Mar.), which concludes his Bram Stoker Award–winning trilogy, is followed by another novel, I Was a Teenage Slasher (Saga, Jul.). See also Stuart Neville’s Blood Like Mine (Hell’s Hundred: Soho Crime, Aug.), Darcy Coates’s The Hollow Dead (Poisoned Pen, Feb.), T. Kingfisher’s What Feasts at Night (Tor Nightfire, Feb.), best-booked Spite House author Johnny Compton’s Devils Kill Devils (Tor Nightfire, Sept.), and Grady Hendrix’s Witchcraft for Wayward Girls (Berkley, Aug.). 

Short Stories

Diane Oliver’s Neighbors and Other Stories (Grove, Feb.) collects stories of 1950s–60s racism by the influential author, who died tragically in 1966 at age 22. See also Amor Towles’s Table for Two: Fictions (Viking, Apr.), Jill McCorkle’s Old Crimes (Algonquin, Jan.), Mark Haddon’s Dogs and Monsters (Doubleday, Oct.), James Lee Burke’s Harbor Lights (Atlantic Monthly, Jan.), Banana Yoshimoto’s Mittens and Pity (Counterpoint, Nov.; tr. from Japanese by Asa Yoneda), Barnes & Noble Discover winner Abby Geni’s The Body Farm (Counterpoint, May), best-booked Ben Shattuck’s The History of Sound: Stories (Viking, Jul.), NBA finalist Laird Hunt’s Float Up, Sing Down (Bloomsbury, Feb.), and Coexistence (Norton, May), from the multi-award-winning Billy-Ray Belcourt.



Illustration by Lulu Dubreuil

“Writing the Race”

Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s The Black Box: Writing the Race (Penguin Pr., Mar.) shows how writing has allowed Black Americans to define themselves. See also former South Carolina state representative Bakari Sellers’s The Moment: Thoughts on the Race Reckoning That Wasn’t and How We All Can Move Forward Now (Amistad, Apr.), #BlackLivesMatter originator Marcus Hunter’s Radical Reparations: Healing the Soul of a Nation (Amistad, Feb.), Bronx storyteller Joél Leon’s Everything and Nothing at Once: A Black Man’s Reimagined Soundtrack for the Future (Holt, Jun.), Baltimorean Debbie Hines’s Get Off My Neck: Black Lives, White Justice, and a Former Prosecutor’s Quest for Reform (MIT, Mar.), and Peabody Award–winning journalist Michele Norris’s Our Hidden Conversations: What Americans Really Think About Race and Identity (S. & S., Jan.), plus crucial meditations from Entertainment Weekly staffer Lester Fabian Brathwaite in Rage: On Being Queer, Black, Brilliant…and Completely Over It (Tiny Reparations: Random, Sept.), NBCC finalist Nell Irvin Painter (I Just Keep Talking: A Life in Essays, Doubleday, Apr.), NBCC winner Morgan Parker (You Get What You Pay For: Essays, One World, Mar.), economist Glenn Loury (Late Admissions: Confessions of a Black Conservative, Norton, May), and filmmaker/recording artist M.K. Asante’s Nephew: A Memoir in 4-Part Harmony (Amistad, May), reflections after his nephew’s shooting. The World Today Time Russia/Ukraine reporter Simon Shuster introduces a complicated hero in The Showman: Inside the Invasion That Shook the World and Made a Leader of Volodymyr Zelensky (Morrow, Jan.). See also CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto’s The Return of Great Powers: Russia, China, and the Next World War (Dutton, Mar.), Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen’s Nuclear War: A Scenario (Dutton, Mar.), former German chancellor Angela Merkel’s Untitled (St. Martin’s, Fall), New Yorker staffer Peter Hessler’s Other Rivers: A Chinese Education (Penguin Pr., Jul.), and Steven Brill’s The Death of Truth (Knopf, Jun.), on how shared truths have been trounced globally by misinformation.

The United States Today

Robert Kagan’s Rebellion: How Antiliberalism Is Tearing America Apart—Again (Knopf, May), Ari Berman’s Minority Rule: The Right-Wing Attack on the Will of the People—and the Fight To Resist It (Farrar, Apr.), and Isaac Arnsdorf’s Finish What We Started: The MAGA Movement’s Ground War To End Democracy (Little, Brown, Apr.) address the Right’s terrifying rise. Plus two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Rohde’s Where Tyranny Begins: The Justice Department, the FBI, and the War Against Democracy (Norton, Aug.), former U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster’s At War with Ourselves: Overcoming Chaos in the Trump White House (Harper, Aug.), Media Matters for America founder/CEO David Brock’s Stench: The Making of the Thomas Court and the Unmaking of America (Knopf, Sept.), New York Times reporters Lisa Lerer & Elizabeth Dias’s The Fall of Roe: The Rise of a New America (Flatiron, Jun.), Nieman Fellow Amanda Becker’s You Must Stand Up: The Fight for Abortion Rights in Post-Dobbs America (Bloomsbury, Sept.), Jesselyn Cook’s The Quiet Damage: QAnon and the Destruction of the American Family (Crown, Jul.), and William J. Barber II & Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s White Poverty: How Exposing Myths About Race and Class Can Reconstruct American Democracy (Liveright: Norton, Jun.), from the founding director and assistant director, respectively, of the Center for Public Theology and Public Policy at Yale Divinity School. See also Noam Chomsky & Nathan J. Robinson’s The Myth of American Idealism (Penguin Pr., Oct.), on ideas that have dangerously misled the country at home and abroad.

Social Science

Shifting Perspectives: The inaugural literary director of the Library of Congress, Marie Arana, plumbs Latine diversity and accomplishments in LatinoLand: A Portrait of America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority (S. & S., Feb.) while also addressing the group’s shifting political allegiances, the subject of journalist Paola Ramos’s The Defectors (Pantheon, Sept.). See also Sebastian Junger’s In My Time of Dying: How I Came Face to Face with the Idea of an Afterlife (S. & S., May), MacArthur fellow Hanif Abdurraqib’s There’s Always This Year: On Basketball and Ascension (Random, Mar.), real estate mogul Larry Silverstein’s The Rising: My Twenty-Year Battle To Rebuild the World Trade Center (Knopf, Sept.), three-time Emerging Scholar Award winner Zeke Hernandez’s The Truth About Immigration: Why Successful Societies Welcome Newcomers (St. Martin’s, Jun.), and Eric Klinenberg’s 2020: One City, Seven People, and the Year Everything Changed (Knopf, Feb.). Work: Former Atlantic staffer Adam Chandler’s 99% Perspiration (Pantheon, Oct.), former Teen Vogue executive editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay’s The Myth of Making It: A Workplace Reckoning (Random, Jun.), and Overwhelmed author Brigid Schulte’s Over Work: Transforming the Daily Grind in the Quest for a Better Life (Holt, Sept.) challenge the prevailing work/success formula. See also Fair Shake: Women and the Fight To Build a Just Economy (S. & S., May) by University of Virginia law professor Naomi Cahn & others. Wrongful Conviction: Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s Bringing Ben Home: A Murder, a Conviction, and the Fight To Redeem American Justice (Riverhead, Aug.) and Dan Slepian’s The Sing Sing Files: One Journalist, Six Innocent Men, and a Twenty-Year Fight for Justice (Celadon: Macmillan, Sept.).

Abrahamic Religions

Pulitzer Prize winner Eliza Griswold’s Circle of Hope: A Reckoning with Love, Power, and Justice in an American Church (Farrar, Aug.) limns her experiences with a church in crisis. Also on U.S. religion: Benjamin E. Park’s American Zion: A New History of Mormonism (Liveright: Norton, Jan.) and Joshua Leifer’s Tablets Shattered: The End of an American Jewish Century and the Future of Jewish Life (Dutton, Aug.). Books questioning faith include Catherine Coldstream’s Cloistered: My Years as a Nun (St. Martin’s, Mar.), daring novelist/memoirist Shalom Auslander’s Feh: A Memoir (Riverhead, Jul.), Anna Gazmarian’s Devout: A Memoir of Doubt (S. & S., Mar.), Sarah McCammon’s The Exvangelicals: Loving, Living, and Leaving the White Evangelical Church (St. Martin’s, Mar.), Marilynne Robinson’s Reading Genesis (Farrar, Mar.), Noah Feldman’s To Be a Jew Today: A New Guide to God, Israel, and the Jewish People (Farrar, Mar.), and Shai Held’s Judaism Is About Love: Recovering the Heart of Jewish Life (Farrar, Mar.). Poet/literary scholar M.A.R. Habib & Islam scholar Bruce B. Lawrence offer The Qur’an: A Verse Translation (Liveright: Norton, Feb.).


In Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder (Random, Apr.), Salman Rushdie contemplates life, love, and art after surviving the August 2022 knife attack that occurred 30 years after the fatwa against him. Bill Gates focuses on his early life in Source Code (Knopf, Oct.). In One Way Back (St. Martin’s, Mar.), Christine Blasey Ford revisits her testimony alleging sexual assault by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Look for journalists’ perspectives in Nicholas D. Kristof’s Chasing Hope: A Reporter’s Life (Knopf, May), Connie Chung’s Connie (Grand Central, Sept.), and Calvin Trillin’s The Lede: Dispatches from a Life in the Press (Random, Feb.); LGBTQIA+ perspectives in Brontez Purnell’s Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt: A Memoir in Verse (MCD, Feb.) and Lucy Sante’s I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition (Penguin Pr., Feb.); and the reclamation of identity in Leslie Jamison’s Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story (Little, Brown, Feb.), Susan Lieu’s The Manicurist’s Daughter (Celadon: Macmillan, Mar.), Noé Álvarez’s Accordion Eulogies: A Memoir of Music, Migration, and Mexico (Catapult, May), Jamie Figueroa’s Mother Island: A Daughter Claims Puerto Rico (Pantheon, Mar.), Slow Noodles: A Cambodian Memoir of Love, Loss, and Family Recipes (Algonquin, Feb.) by Chantha Nguon with Kim Green, and Jordan Salama’s Stranger in the Desert: A Family Story (Catapult, Feb.), summing up the 500-year-old history of a Arab Jewish family.


On the Page: National Book Award finalist Lydia Millet’s We Loved It All: A Memory of Life (Norton, Apr.) argues for our close connection with the nonhuman world. See also Windham Campbell Prize winner Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s Survival Is a Promise: The Eternal Life of Audre Lorde (Farrar, Aug.), Mary V. Dearborn’s Carson McCullers: A Life (Knopf. Feb.), NBCC Award winner Maggie Nelson’s Like Love: Essays and Conversations (Graywolf, Apr.), esteemed Haitian American author Edwidge Danticat’s We’re Alone (Graywolf, Sept.), and James Patterson & Matt Eversmann’s The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians: Their Stories Are Better Than the Bestsellers (Little, Brown, Apr.). On the Stage: Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent (St. Martin’s, Apr.) by Judi Dench with Brendan O’Hea, Karen Valby’s The Swans of Harlem: Five Black Ballerinas, Fifty Years of Sisterhood, and Their Reclamation of a Groundbreaking History (Pantheon, Apr.), Elliot Mintz’s tentatively titled In My Life: John, Yoko, and Me (Dutton, Oct.), Hip-Hop Is History (AUWA, Jun.) by Questlove with Ben Greenman, Bikini Kill/Le Tigre frontwoman Kathleen Hanna’s Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk (Ecco, May), novelist/songwriter Alice Randall’s My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music’s Black Past, Present, and Future (Black Privilege: Atria, Apr.), NPR music critic Ann Powers’s Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell (Dey Street, Jun.), NBCC finalist Charles King’s Every Valley: The Desperate Lives and Troubled Times That Made Handel’s “Messiah” (Doubleday, Nov.), and a great jazz trio: Sonny Rollins & Sam V. H. Reese’s The Notebooks of Sonny Rollins (New York Review, Apr.), James Kaplan’s 3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool (Penguin Pr., Mar.), and Larry Tye’s The Jazzmen: How Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie Transformed America (Mariner, May).


Music can heal us, as evidenced by Daniel J. Levitin’s This Is Your Brain on Music follow-up, Music Is Medicine: The Benefits to Our Health and Well-Being (Norton, Aug.), and Music and Mind: Harnessing the Arts for Health and Wellness (Viking, Apr.), edited by opera star Renée Fleming. See also New Yorker staffer Adam Gopnik’s less-is-more paean All That Happiness Is: Some Words on What Matters (Liveright: Norton, Apr.), Anne Lamott’s Somehow: Thoughts on Love (Riverhead, Apr.), Jamil Zaki’s The Case for Hope: A Scientist’s Journey To Unlearn Cynicism (Grand Central, Sept.), TikTok superstar Drew Afualo’s Loud (AUWA, Jul.) on living fearlessly, registered nurse and assault survivor Cheyenne Wilson’s We Are the Evidence: A Handbook for Finding Your Way After Sexual Assault (Balance: Grand Central, Jun.), Jasmine Marie Clark’s Black Girls Breathing: Heal from Trauma, Combat Chronic Stress, and Find Your Freedom (Balance: Grand Central, Dec.), Instagram star Lyn Slater’s How To Be Old: Lessons in Living Boldly from the Accidental Icon (Plume: Random, Mar.), Debra Whitman’s The Second Fifty (Norton, Oct.), and History Channel/TikTok presence Donny Dust’s Wild Wisdom: Primal Skills To Survive in Nature (Simon Element, Aug.).

World History

World War II: Whitfield Prize winner Frank Trentmann’s Out of the Darkness: The Germans, 1942–2022 (Knopf, Feb.); Holocaust survivor József Debreczeni’s Cold Crematorium: Reporting from the Land of Auschwitz (St. Martin’s, Jan.; tr. from Hungarian by Paul Olchváry), published in 1950 and never before translated; the Wolfson Prize–winning Richard J. Evans’s Hitler’s People (Penguin Pr., Aug.), portraits of evil; and Elyse Graham’s Book and Dagger (Ecco, Sept.), on the scholars and librarians serving as spies during World War II. Roots: Kathleen DuVal’s Native Nations: A Millennium in North America (Random, Apr.), Delhi-based William Dalrymple’s The Golden Road: How Ancient India Transformed the World (Bloomsbury, Sept.), Man Booker–shortlisted novelist Amitav Ghosh’s Smoke and Ashes: Opium’s Hidden Histories (Farrar, Feb.), Huxley Medal winner Adam Kuper’s The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions (Pantheon, Apr.), and Hampton Sides’s The Wide Wide Sea: Imperial Ambition, First Contact and the Fateful Final Voyage of Captain James Cook (Doubleday, Apr.). Recent History: U.S. ambassador to Russia John J. Sullivan’s Midnight in Moscow: A Memoir from the Front Lines of Russia’s War Against the West (Little, Brown, Jul.), Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll’s The Achilles Trap: Saddam Hussein, the C.I.A., and the Origins of America’s Invasion of Iraq (Penguin Pr., Feb.), and former Navy SEAL/thriller author Jack Carr’s Targeted: Beirut: The 1983 Marine Barracks Bombing and the Untold True Origin Story of the War on Terror (Emily Bestler: Atria, Sept.). Equine Perspectives: Timothy C. Winegard’s The Horse: A Galloping History of Humanity (Dutton, Jul.) and David Chaffetz’s Raiders, Rulers, and Traders: The Horse and the Rise of Empires (Norton, Jul.).

U.S. History

In The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War (Crown, Apr.), Erik Larson vivifies the months between the election of Abraham Lincoln and the start of the Civil War. See also Hannah Durkin’s The Survivors of the Clotilda: The Lost Stories of the Last Captives of the American Slave Trade (Amistad, Jan.), Manisha Sinha’s The Rise and Fall of the Second American Republic: Reconstruction, 1860–1920 (Liveright: Norton, Mar.), the Peabody Award– and Emmy Award–winning Antonia Hylton’s Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum (Legacy Lit, Jan.), Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard’s Confronting the Presidents: No Spin Assessments from Washington to Biden (St. Martin’s, Sept.), H.W. Brands’s America First: Roosevelt, Lindbergh and America’s Path to World War II (Doubleday, Sept.), Steven Hahn’s Illiberal America: A History (Norton. Mar.), Ana Raquel Minian’s In the Shadow of Liberty: The Invisible History of Immigrant Detention in the United States (Viking, Apr.), Clara Bingham’s The Movement: How Women’s Liberation Transformed America 1963–1973 (One Signal: Atria;May), George Stephanopoulos’s big-print-run The Situation Room: The Inside Story of Presidents in Crisis (Grand Central, May) with Lisa Dickey, and journalist Wright Thompson’s The Barn (Penguin Pr., Sept.), on the buildup to and aftermath of Emmett Till’s murder.

Constitutional Rights and Wrongs

In That Librarian: The Fight Against Book Banning in America (Bloomsbury, Aug.), small-town Louisiana librarian Amanda Jones explains how her fight for inclusivity has brought abuse from friends and strangers alike. From Jonathan Turley, the “dean of legal analysts” (Washington Post), The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage (S. & S., Jun.) offers both history and update on a cherished First Amendment right. In No Democracy Lasts Forever: How the Constitution Threatens the United States (Liveright: Norton, Aug.), Berkeley law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky argues that the U.S. constitution itself, amenable to too many interpretations, is the source of our current crisis in democracy. Attorney and legal commentor Madiba K. Dennie’s The Originalism Trap: How Extremists Stole the Constitution and How We the People Can Take It Back (Random, Jun.) argues that the strict construction of the constitution has been used repeatedly to suppress social movements.


Tiya Miles’s Night Flyer: Harriet Tubman and the Faith Dreams of a Free People (Penguin Pr., Jun.) separates fact from myth regarding the celebrated abolitionist, soon to grace the $20 bill. See also the late historian Anthony E. Kaye & Gregory P. Downs’s Nat Turner, Black Prophet: A Visionary History (Farrar, Aug.), Adam Shatz’s The Rebel’s Clinic: The Revolutionary Lives of Frantz Fanon (Farrar, Jan.), Sonia Purnell’s Kingmaker: Pamela Harriman’s Astonishing Life of Power, Seduction, and Intrigue (Viking, Sept.), Jon Meacham’s The Call To Serve: The Life of an American President, George Herbert Walker Bush; A Visual Biography (Random, Jun.), and Craig Brown’s Q: A Voyage Around Queen Elizabeth II (Farrar, Oct.).


On Earth: PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing finalists for Rabid, Bill Wasik & Monica Murphy reveal how attitudes toward animals have improved, starting with 1860s activism, in Our Kindred Creatures: How Americans Came To Feel the Way They Do About Animals (Knopf, Apr.). See also NBCC finalist Kapka Kassabova’s Anima: A Wild Pastoral (Graywolf, Aug.), Windham-Campbell Prize winner Olivia Laing’s The Garden Against Time: In Search of a Common Paradise (Norton, Jun.), Peter Godfrey-Smith’s Living on Earth: How Plants and Animals Make the World (Farrar, Sept.), and Helen Scales’s What the Wild Sea Can Be: The Future of the World’s Ocean (Atlantic Monthly, Jul.), following The Brilliant Abyss, an LJ Best Book. In the Stars: Nathalie A. Cabrol’s The Secret Life of the Universe: An Astrobiologist’s Search for the Origins and Frontiers of Life (Scribner, Aug.) and Sean Carroll’s Quanta and Fields: The Biggest Ideas in the Universe (Dutton, May). AI Insights: Fortune senior writer Jeremy Kahn’s Mastering AI: A Survival Guide to Our Superpowered Future (S. & S., Jun.), Bloomberg Opinion tech expert Parmy Olson’s Supremacy: AI, ChatGPT, and the Race That Will Change the World (St. Martin’s, Jul.), Financial Times AI editor Madhumita Murgia’s Code-Dependent: Living in the Shadow of AI (Holt, Jun.), PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing–long-listed Anil Ananthaswamy’s Why Machines Learn: The Elegant Math Behind Modern AI (Dutton, Jul.), and Deepak Chopra’s Digital Dharma: How AI Can Elevate Spiritual Intelligence and Personal Well-Being (Harmony, Dec.). 




National Poetry Series

Filipinx American Albert Abonado assays multiple identities and the dance between myth and reality in Field Guide for Accidents (Beacon, Fall), Mackenzie Schubert Polonyi Donnelly reclaims her Hungarian heritage in Post-Volcanic Folk Tales (Akashic, Dec.), former National Student Poet Kinsale Drake plumbs her Diné life and history in The Sky Was Once a Dark Blanket (Univ. of Georgia, Fall), genderqueer Jewish poet Ava Winter examines the beautiful, the sacred, and the culturally significant in Transgenesis (Milkweed, Aug.), and two-time Pushcart nominee Mia S. Willis limns the Southern Black queer experience in the space between men (Penguin Poets, Oct.).


Alice Notley’s Being Reflected Upon (Penguin Poets, Apr.) connects the poet’s childhood, aesthetics, and cancer treatment, while Diane Seuss’s Modern Poetry (Graywolf, Mar.) recalls her experiences as a student of poetry. See also Bei Dao’s Sidetracks (New Directions, May; tr. from Chinese by Jeffrey Yang), from “the soul of post-Mao poetry” (Yunte Huang); Leila Mottley’s woke up no light (Knopf, Apr.), the celebrated Nightcrawling novelist moving from “girlhood” and “neighborhood” to “falsehood” and “womanhood”; multi-award finalist Matthew Gellman’s Beforelight (BOA, Apr.), on a queer coming-of-age; former Wallace Stegner Fellow Madeleine Cravens’s Pleasure Principle (Scribner, Jun.), tumultuous emotions while entering adulthood; Joshua Jennifer Espinoza’s I Don’t Want To Be Understood (Alice James, Aug.), a trans woman challenging the need to explain herself; and Cyrus Cassell’s Is There Room for Another Horse on Your Horse Ranch? (Four Way, Mar.), a lusty affirmation of life.


Poet and performance artist Brad Walrond’s Every Where Alien (Amistad, Aug.) revisits New York’s 1990s–2000s underground arts movements, literary/political scholar Eliot Weinberger’s The Life of Tu Fu (New Directions, Apr.) portrays the great Tang Dynasty poet, and Raisa Tolchinsky’s Glass Jaw (Persea, Apr.), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize, explores women’s boxing.

Connection Ted Hughes Award winner Raymond Antrobus’s Signs, Music (Tin House, Sept.) explores fatherhood; James Laughlin/A. Poulin Prize winner Geffrey Davis’s One Wild Word Away (BOA, Apr.) contemplates raising a son; Northern Cheyenne poet m.s. RedCherries reconstructs the life of a narrator adopted out of her tribe in Mother (Penguin Poets, Jul.); Marsha de la O’s Creature (Univ. of Pittsburgh, Jan.) ponders our connection to nature even as her father’s life is ending; and CAConrad’s Listen to the Golden Boomerang Return (Wave, Apr.) communes with living creatures after the Ruth Lilly Prize–winning AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration.


Award-winning Obit author Victoria Chang’s With My Back to the World (Farrar, Apr.) uses Agnes Martin’s artwork to frame not just art and feminism but grieving, also addressed in Catherine Barnett’s Solutions for the Problem of Bodies in Space (Graywolf, May), on loneliness; Richard Siken’s I Do Know Some Things (Copper Canyon, Sept.), on the breakup of his parents’ marriage and his own stroke; Jenny George’s After Image (Copper Canyon, Oct.), on a partner’s unexpected death; Gary Young’s American Analects (Persea, Jun.), on the loss of a parent, a mentor, and several friends before and during the COVID pandemic; Maria Stepanova’s Holy Winter (New Directions, May; tr. from Russian by Sasha Dugdale), with the author contemplating isolation while reading Ovid amid pandemic; and Sara Daniele Rivera’s The Blue Mimes (Graywolf, Apr.), winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, surveying personal and public upheaval from 2016 through the COVID era.

Sociopolitical Realities

Danez Smith’s Bluff (Graywolf, Aug.) addresses the artist’s responsibility in light of COVID and the murder of George Floyd. Also addressing urgent issues: Daniel Borzutzky’s The Murmuring Grief of the Americas (Coffee House, Aug.), on the social costs of allowing private interests to rule public life; Niki Herd’s The Stuff of Hollywood (Copper Canyon, Aug.), on violence in America; Jubi Arriola-Headley’s Bound (Persea, Feb.), looking beyond trauma to redefine being Black and queer; Vincent Toro’s Hivestruck (Penguin Poets, Aug.), addressing the human-technology equation in a Latinxfuturist framework; Katie Peterson’s Fog and Smoke (Farrar, Jan.), climate events in daily life; debuter April Gibson’s The Span of a Small Forever (Amistad, Apr.), a Black woman facing disability and the healthcare system; and Don Mee Choi’s Mirror Nation (Wave, Apr.), after the NBA-winning DMZ Colony, wrapping up a trilogy investigating South Korea’s violent past and present.

Looking Back

Carl Phillips’s Scattered Snows, to the North (Farrar, Aug.) concerns the tentative knowing of looking back, while Ted Kooser’s Raft (Copper Canyon, Sept.), Michael Ondaatje’s A Year of Last Things (Knopf, Mar.), Frederick Seidel’s So What (Farrar, Jun.), Joan Larkin’s Old Stranger (Alice James, Aug.), and James Longenbach’s final book, Seafarer: New Poems with Earthling and Forever (Norton, Jul.), reckon with maturity and mortality. Michael Dickman’s Pacific Power & Light (Knopf, Feb.) and Tyree Daye’s a little bump in the earth (Copper Canyon, Apr.) reconstruct homeplace, while NBA Young People Award winner Amber McBride’s Thick with Trouble (Penguin Poets, Feb.) and Remica Bingham-Risher’s Room Swept Home (Wesleyan Univ., Feb.) give context to Black womanhood.


Philip Metres’s Fugitive/Refuge (Copper Canyon, Apr.) explores migrations past and present to understand the meaning of home; Hala Alyan’s The Moon That Turns You Back (Ecco, Mar.) revisits memories connecting Brooklyn, Beirut, and Jerusalem; V. Penelope Pelizzon’s A Gaze Hound That Hunteth By the Eye (Univ. of Pittsburgh, Feb.) recalls a decade lived on four continents, and novelist Nam Le’s debut collection, 36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem (Knopf, Mar.), unloads the burdens of being forever an outsider.

Spiritual longing

Jessica Jacobs’s Unalone (Four Way, Mar.) sees living fully in a complex world as spiritual engagement, Episcopal priest Spencer Reece’s Acts (Farrar, May) addresses love in a world both beautiful and tragic, Li-Young Lee’s The Invention of the Darling (Norton, May) seeks the divine in love and life, Wendell Berry’s Another Day: Sabbath Poems 2013–2022 (Counterpoint, Aug.) follows This Day with reflection and elegy, and Pádraig Ó Tuama’s Kitchen Hymns (Copper Canyon, Oct.), sprung from Irish religious songs heard informally at home, seeks a faith not borne of religious practice.


Rowan Ricardo Phillips’s Silver (Farrar, Mar.) investigates “not the meaning but the meaningfulness of this mystery we call life,” Robert Pinsky’s Proverbs of Limbo (Farrar, Jun.) probes difference as both separation and connection, Alessandra Lynch’s Wish Ave (Alice James, Oct.) uses multiple voices to discover a new language and new world, former Yale Younger Poet Jessica Fisher’s Daywork (Milkweed, Mar.) reflects on art’s durability, and Alison C. Rollins’s Black Bell (Copper Canyon, Apr.), sprung from the image of an enslaved woman wearing iron horns and bells, traverses time and place to grasp what’s seen and what isn’t. Plus embracing the wide world with Anne Carson’s Wrong Norma (New Directions, Feb.), ranging from Joseph Conrad to Guantánamo to Roget’s Thesaurus, and Dorianne Laux’s Life on Earth (Norton, Jan.), ranging from salt to snow to Bisquick.

Summing Up

National Book Award winner Jean Valentine’s Light Me Down: The New & Collected Poems of Jean Valentine (Alice James, Apr.), Cynthia Zarin’s Next Day: New and Selected Poems (Knopf, Aug.), poet and performance artist Jayne Cortez’s fiery Firespitter (Nightboat, Aug.), edited by Margaret Busby, and You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World (Milkweed, Apr.), edited by poet laureate Ada Limón and published in association with the Library of Congress.

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