“Food is our common ground, a universal experience,” said James Beard, and these two delicious new books are cases in point.
Hannah Rothschild is an established insider of the London art world. Recently appointed Chair of the National Gallery, she is respected as both connoisseur and patron, and a champion of art education.
A historical novel takes readers inside the Bloomsbury Group of literati, a harrowing tale of survival in the West and a debut novel set in the wake of the BP oil spill make for great group discussion this month.
Garth Risk Hallberg’s debut novel—sold for $2 million in a 10-publisher bidding war—has been the most anticipated, hyped and ballyhooed book of 2015. If the literary gods are fair, it’ll wind up on many shortlists. But unless you’re a connoisseur of literary criticism, you’ve probably never heard of the author.
Julia Elliott’s debut novel, The New and Improved Romie Futch, zips between various genres, from Southern gothic to sci-fi satire, in a clever, wildly imaginative romp through the landscape of the South and the neural pathways of one man’s brain. At times heartbreaking and at other times hilarious, The New and Improved Romie Futch announces Elliott as an undeniably original voice.
Claire Vaye Watkins’ award-winning short story collection, Battleborn (2012), explored the West and the often disappointing truths behind its rich mythology. Watkins returns to the West in her luminous debut novel, Gold Fame Citrus, although it’s a West that has been drastically altered.
Few debut novels get the kind of attention—and the multi-million dollar advance—that Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire has. But to say that this book deserves the buzz understates what is hardly an understated accomplishment.
As you’d imagine from the title, bats are a key element in Zachary Thomas Dodson’s intricately constructed and elaborately illustrated debut. But the book’s real spirit animal is the ouroboros: a snake eating its own tail. Built as a novel within a novel, with supporting material in the form of letters and journal pages and drawings (all reproduced here as if photocopied from an archive), Bats of the Republic follows a pair of adventurous young men, several generations apart, on similar missions.
Sloane Crosley is a familiar name to many readers of nonfiction, both for her self-deprecating essay collections and her contributions to the New York Times. Now she lends her insight and sense of humor to the world of fiction in a debut novel, The Clasp.
A large-animal veterinarian, the first female Major League pitcher, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Like many kids, I had a lot of far-flung ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. But what I really wanted to be was my older sister.