NutzWorld SportzNutz EntertainmentNutz ComputerNutz GamezNutz TinyStart InfoTiki News

13 New Books We Recommend This Week

John Williams
Assistant Editor

YEAR OF PLAGUES: A Memoir of 2020, by Fred D’Aguiar. (Harper/HarperCollins Publishers, $26.99.) I LIVE A LIFE LIKE YOURS: A Memoir, by Jan Grue. (FSG Originals, $17.) BLIND MAN’S BLUFF: A Memoir, by James Tate Hill. (W. W. Norton Company, $25.95.) Three new memoirs about affliction have a lot to say, our critic Dwight Garner writes, “about desire and pain and depression and shame and unlikely sources of joy, among other topics.” When D’Aguiar, a poet, novelist and playwright, learned he had prostate cancer, he had no idea what was in store: a year of tests and probes and radiation treatments and surgery that had to take place under fear of Covid, and under strict Covid protocols. His is the “wildest” of these books, Garner says. “His rage to live shivers in every sentence.” Grue, a Norwegian writer and academic, lives with spinal muscular atrophy, diagnosed at age 3. With a shrewd, pared-down and epigrammatic prose style, he has written “a quietly brilliant book that warms slowly in the hands.” Hill’s memoir is about how, while in high school, he learned he had a condition that left him legally blind. Garner writes of this amiable book: “It’s been a long time since I met such a thoroughly normal guy in a memoir.”

ALL THE FREQUENT TROUBLES OF OUR DAYS: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler, by Rebecca Donner. (Little, Brown and Company, $32.) Donner’s new book is a biography of Mildred Harnack, an American woman sentenced to death by the Nazi regime for her resistance activities while living in Berlin. Donner is Harnack’s great-great-niece, so this is a family history too. It is also a story of code names and dead drops, a real-life thriller with a cruel ending. Our critic Jennifer Szalai calls it an “astonishing” book that uses present-tense narration “as an effective device for conveying what it felt like in real time to experience the tightening vise of the Nazi regime.”

NEW TEETH: Stories, by Simon Rich. (Little, Brown and Company, $27.) The latest collection by Rich, a screenwriter, novelist and former writer for “Saturday Night Live,” includes, among other comic treats, “The Big Nap,” a brilliant parody of hard-boiled noir fiction in which a toddler looks for a lost stuffed unicorn. Rich has “an antic imagination and a delicious wit,” our reviewer Sarah Lyall writes, and his humor is “enhanced by his generous, hopeful heart.”

PUTTING IT TOGETHER: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created “Sunday in the Park With George,” by James Lapine. (Farrar, Straus Giroux, $40.) A fascinating and rigorous, no-punches-pulled account of Lapine’s first collaboration with Sondheim. Despite the hilarious anecdotes, this is not a collection of gossip. It is actually a story of artistic steadfastness. “Not so much a book at all,” our reviewer Alan Cumming writes, “but a post-mortem, a forensic investigation into what surely must be one of the most unlikely and chaotic journeys to a Pulitzer Prize and a place in the highest echelons of the American musical theater canon.”

CLARK AND DIVISION, by Naomi Hirahara. (Soho, $27.95.) Part crime novel, part generational saga, Hirahara’s gutting new novel explores the aftermath of a family’s imprisonment in Manzanar, the World War II internment camp for Americans of Japanese descent. “This is as much a crime novel as it is a family and societal tragedy, filtering one of the cruelest examples of American prejudice through the prism of one young woman determined to assert her independence, whatever the cost,” our reviewer Sarah Weinman writes.

About Michael
%d bloggers like this: