Category: New Books

New and forthcoming books from independent publishers and university presses.

  • Just a Few Billion Years Left to Go

    Until the End of Time graphicUntil the End of Time. Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe By Brian Greene. Book Review, New York Times.

    “In the fullness of time all that lives will die.” With this bleak truth Brian Greene, a physicist and mathematician at Columbia University, the author of best-selling books like “The Elegant Universe” and co-founder of the yearly New York celebration of science and art known as the World Science Festival, sets off in “Until the End of Time” on the ultimate journey, a meditation on how we go on doing what we do, why and how it will end badly, and why it matters anyway.

    “Until the End of Time” is encyclopedic in its ambition and its erudition, often heartbreaking, stuffed with too many profundities that I wanted to quote, as well as potted descriptions of the theories of a galaxy of contemporary thinkers, from Chomsky to Hawking, and anecdotes from Greene’s own life — of which we should wish for more — that had me laughing.

  • Women of a Certain Rage

    Women of a certain ago jpegWomen of a Certain Rage. Two New Books Tackle Getting Older—and More Pissed Off. Bitchmedia.

    …I can’t say whether the despair I regularly feel is statistical or situational—the world is both literally and figuratively on fire, after all; I don’t trust anyone who isn’t despairing on some level. But as a woman, I also know that there can’t be any discussion of unhappiness at any numerical point of what we call “midlife” without acknowledging the powerful cultural narratives of gender and aging.

    Those narratives, and the economic, political, sexual, and pop cultural impact of them, are at the center of two new books. Ada Calhoun’s Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis and Susan J. Douglas’s In Our Prime: How Older Women are Reinventing the Road Ahead both approach their subject matter from generational perspectives, each starting from a place of unsettled personal clarity: Well, shit, I got old. Now what? 

  • How to Write Fiction When the Planet Is Falling Apart

    Weather by Jenny OffillHow to Write Fiction When the Planet Is Falling Apart. New York Times Magazine.

    Jenny Offill is the master of novels told in sly, burnished fragments. In her latest, ‘Weather,’ she uses this small form to address the climate collapse.

    In 2005, the naturalist Robert Macfarlane asked, in an influential essay in The Guardian: “Where is the literature of climate change? Where are the novels, the plays, the poems, the songs, the libretti, of this massive contemporary anxiety?” How should we understand the paucity of the cultural response to climate change, he asked, compared with the body of work catalyzed by the threat of nuclear war? In recent years, however, planetary collapse has emerged as a dominant concern in contemporary fiction…

    The climate crisis, Offill shows, is reshaping not just our world but also our minds. “Weather” joins other new fiction in transforming the novel of consciousness into a record of climate grief. “Sometimes I think that people today must be the saddest people ever, because we know we ruined everything,” the heroine of Lucy Ellmann’s “Ducks, Newburyport” thinks.

  • Patti Smith on Libraries and the Transformative Love of Books

    Year of the MonkeyPatti Smith on Libraries and the Transformative Love of Books. Brain Pickings.

    In Year of the Monkey  — her unclassifiable, symphonic exploration of dreams, love, loss, and mending the broken realities of life — Patti Smith recounts how her local childhood library nurtured her inner life, tilling the soil of her becoming.

    In consonance with that lovely parenthetical line from one of Nikki Giovanni’s poems celebrating libraries and librarians — “(You never know what troubled little girl needs a book.)” — Smith writes of the endearing, almost unreasonable devotion with which she sought solace for her nine-year-old troubles amid the stacks.

  • Threats against the author of ‘American Dirt’ threaten us all

    American Dirt coverThreats against the author of ‘American Dirt’ threaten us all. By Ron Charles, The Washington Post.

    And in the current climate, hate quickly becomes weaponized. Gurba told Vox this week that she had received death threats after posting her review of “American Dirt.” And the ad hominem comments about Cummins flying around the Web have been brutal. From the start, too much of the discussion of this mediocre novel has been snarled up in identity politics — a poisonous tendency encouraged by the author herself. In a pleading afterword to “American Dirt,” Cummins confesses that she wished “someone slightly browner than me would write it.”

    …But some detractors are determined to short-circuit such a possibility — or any discussion sparked by this novel. Fortunately, Flatiron remains committed to serious debate. Although Cummins’s bookstore tour has been canceled, the publisher has announced plans to conduct town hall meetings involving Cummins and “some of the groups who have raised objections to the book.” Let’s hope those discussions can move forward without bullying, intimidation or violence.

    …The best critics of “American Dirt” are clearly motivated by a desire to defend the integrity of Mexican culture and the humanity of our most vulnerable residents. But in today’s toxic atmosphere, those valuable critiques have been drowned out by a cowardly chorus of violence.

  • NewPages Book Stand – January 2020

    NewPages Book Stand - January 2020A new Book Stand is available at NewPages! Visit for new and forthcoming titles in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, anthologies, and children’s/YA. Our New & Noteworthy section features six titles this month.

    Americans Are trump by Randall G. Nichols explores the mindset of Americans who support our current president.

    Dispatches from the End of Ice by Beth Peterson “is part science, part lyric essay, and part research reportage.”

    In HULL, Xandria Phillips “explores emotional impacts of colonialism and racism on the Black queer body and the present-day emotional impacts of enslavement in urban, rural, and international settings” in their debut collection.

    Orison Books has released their fourth anthology, “an annual collection of the finest spiritually engaged writing that appeared in periodicals in the preceding year.”

    Someone You Love Is Still Alive by Ephraim Scott Sommers has been called “a gorgeous and dangerous book” by Jericho Brown.

    Thirty-six writers share their worst reading experiences in What Could Possibly Go Wrong? edited by Richard Peabody.

    You can learn more about each of these featured titles at our website. Interested in placing your book in our New & Noteworthy section? Learn more here.

  • Personal stories of the exodus from Christianity

    Empty-the-Pews.jpgEmpty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church” – Even as the American Christian right maintains its power and influence — despite a recent dust-up with President Trump — its children continue to abandon the fold. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that fewer Americans across the political spectrum are identifying as Christian, and the phenomenon is particularly pronounced among the young.

    In “Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church,” mostly Gen X and millennial writers describe their disillusionment with the faith of their youth and their departure from their religious communities.

    …But the collection’s overall framing seems to equate the bigotry and ignorance of some Christians with Christianity itself. As Schaeffer writes in his foreword, “The grim ‘witness’ of how Christians have behaved and voted is too heavy a blow for faith in magical thinking to survive.” Here his critique of the Christian right slides into an implied critique of belief (“magical thinking”). In the book’s final essay, Isaac Marion is even more explicit: “All religious belief is a game of pretend.”

  • Larry Kramer Wishes More People Wrote About Gay History

    The American People by Larry KramerLarry Kramer Wishes More People Wrote About Gay History” – his new book is “The American People: Volume 2.”

    Which subjects do you wish more authors would write about?

    Gay history. Most historians taken seriously are always straight. They wouldn’t know a gay person if they took him to lunch. A good example is Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, which doesn’t include the fact that he was both gay and in love with George Washington. Gore Vidal pointed this out to me.

    Have you ever gotten in trouble for reading a book?

    Not for reading one but plenty of times for writing one. Gay writers writing about other gays is not exactly a winning audience. And gays are not the best buyers or readers of their own. In “Faggots,” I used my best friend for one of the leading characters because he told such good jokes that I used. He never spoke to me again after the book came out.

  • “How does one not write a depressing book about depression?”

    Book cover of The Scar by Mary CreganCaoilinn Hughes talks with Mary Cregan about her new book The Scar. …But this book is far more than a memoir: it is the result of decades of research on the medical history of the diagnosis, as well as the classification and treatment of depression and melancholia. To this rigorous and fascinating scholarship, Cregan has added the work of a variety of artists—from the ancient Greeks to Leonard Cohen. No surprise, then, that she teaches literature at Barnard College.

    For a long time I couldn’t figure out how to write the book because the subject is seen by most people as “depressing.” How does one not write a depressing book about depression? Add to that the trigger of the death of an infant, and it seemed a daunting thing to invite readers to enter into. Death, grief, suicide, illness: these are subjects that a lot of people prefer to avoid thinking about.

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