October 23, 2021
Love and literature go well together—it might be romantic love, the love of culinary arts, the love of family, or the love of animals. What joins us is an endlessly fascinating topic for narratives, both fiction and nonfiction. In this week’s books you can discover the vagaries of affection and attraction in its many forms, and who can live without it?
Buyer, The Center for Fiction Bookstore
Monster in the Middle
By TIPHANIE YANIQUE
Published by RANDOM HOUSE
Yanique’s literary accomplishments are many, including winning The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize in 2014 for Land of Love and Drowning. Hailing from St. Thomas, she always brings Caribbean culture to light with a touch of magic and her theme is often the exploration of love. In her new novel she portrays a budding relationship between a Caribbean woman and a Black man with roots in Ghana, living in New York City. We follow these two through time and place to discover their past histories and what binds them together. A very bewitching novel.
Dreaming of You
By MELISSA LOZADA-OLIVA
Published by ASTRA HOUSE
Here is an entirely fresh voice that brings absurdity and an acerbic fancy to a novel in verse. A Latinx poet who resides in Brooklyn, Lozada-Oliva’s plot concerns a young woman who attempts to bring the tragically deceased pop star, Selena, back to life through a séance. It is a sui generis story that treats heartbreak with a fizzy energy as our heroine deals with loss and identity, and the challenges of coming of age. Catch the author’s podcast, Say More, with her friend Olivia Gatwood as they discuss love, voyeurism and men. It’s pretty hilarious..
By SUSAN ORLEAN
Published by AVID READER PRESS
Our affinity with animals both domestic and wild is Orlean’s passion, one she has written about for decades. She is a most wonderful guide to subjects she is obsessed with—from orchids to Rin Tin Tin to libraries. Her vast curiosity is a boon for readers. The theme here is a timely one, as many of us throughout the pandemic sought solace in our pets and wildlife encountered on solitary walks. Her research takes her to whales in Iceland, tigers in New Jersey and donkeys in Morocco, combining history and research with anecdotes that create a wonderfully entertaining narrative.
A Calling for Charlie Barnes
By JOSHUA FERRIS
Published by LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY
The necessity of love and its potential to heal a broken family plays out in Ferris’s stunning new book. Its subject is a definitively unpleasant father, Charlie Barnes, coming to terms with mortality after a cancer scare. The novel is narrated by his son, Jake (a nod to Hemingway’s character from The Sun Also Rises) who paints a portrait of a life full of failure and irascibility. Ferris’s handling of the subject is beautifully wrought, as Charlie acknowledges his own behavior, and the people around him reckon with a seriously flawed man who just might transform himself in a loving last act of his life..
Taste: My Life Through Food
By STANLEY TUCCI
Published by GALLERY BOOKS
I was one of the many people who spent part of the pandemic slavering over Tucci’s CNN TV series, Searching for Italy, following him around as he ate and cooked his way through the country. A multi-talented actor and chef, he is also blessed with an infectious style of storytelling. A welcome companion to the several cookbooks he has published, his new book combines memoir and recipes. Through his passion for culinary creativity, he reminds us of the power of home cooking and the magic of the kitchen. For lovers of food chroniclers like Laurie Colwin or Ruth Reichl, this is a delightful addition to gastronomic literature.