An edgy, fantastical short story collection and three novels are among the highlights of this week's new paperbacks:
By Rachel Cusk
Picador • $16 • ISBN 9781250081544
Cusk’s eighth novel landed on many “best of” lists in 2015, including the New York Times’ top 10 books of the year. Through 10 conversations, we learn the painful background story of the unnamed narrator, an author heading to Greece to teach a summer writing course.
Get in Trouble
By Kelly Link
Random House • $16 • ISBN 9780812986495
The acclaimed, award-winning short story writer returns with new weird and wonderful worlds in her fourth collection, which ranked #21 on BookPage's Best Books of 2015.
By Eddie Joyce
Penguin • $16 • ISBN 9780143107873
Joyce taps his hometown of Staten Island as the setting for his memorable first novel, the story of an Italian-American family still struggling with the death of their firefighter son on 9/11.
A Small Indiscretion
By Jan Ellison
Random House • $16 • ISBN 9780812985429
Ellison took a break from college at the age of 19 to travel and work in Europe for a year, an experience that inspired her riveting debut novel about a young (and foolish) American woman whose experiences in London echo through her life two decades later. The paperback includes a reader's guide with discussion questions for book clubs.
Two acclaimed memoirs, a Nick Hornby novel and a sizzling psychological thriller are available in new paperback editions today:
By George Hodgman
Penguin • $17 • ISBN 9780143107880
A publishing industry veteran leaves New York to care for his aging mother in tiny Paris, Missouri, in this warm and wise memoir about family secrets and finding forgiveness.
Publishing: A Writer's Memoir
By Gail Godwin
Bloomsbury • $16 • ISBN 9781620408254
The novelist and three-time finalist for the National Book Award reflects on her 45-year career as a writer, from her early struggles to find her voice to the often frustrating ups-and-downs of the publishing business.
By Nick Hornby
Riverhead • $16 • ISBN 9781101983355
In his engaging seventh novel, the author of High Fidelity and About a Boy chronicles a beauty queen's rise to TV stardom in 1960s London.
By Mary Kubica
Mira • $15.99 • ISBN 9780778318743
When a Chicago woman offers shelter to a homeless teen and her baby, her generous act sets the stage for a tense family drama in this powerful followup to Kubica's bestselling debut, The Good Girl.
Our editors' choice for the top book of 2015 leads the list of new paperbacks on sale today:
A Little Life
By Hanya Yanagihara
Anchor • $17 • ISBN 9780804172707
Ranked #1 on the BookPage list of Best Books of 2015 and a finalist for the National Book Award, this harrowing and unforgettable portrait of childhood trauma and lasting friendship vaulted Yanigihara into the ranks of America’s top novelists.
A Reunion of Ghosts
By Judith Claire Mitchell
Harper Perennial • $15.99 • ISBN 9780062355898
Mitchell’s second novel is the darkly humorous story of three New York City sisters determined to follow their forebears down the path of suicide. Loosely inspired by the real-life experiences of a German chemist and his family, this is a crisply told, compelling tale.
The Brain's Way of Healing
By Norman Doidge, M.D.
Penguin • $18 • ISBN 9780143128373
The doctor who captured the emerging science of neuroplasticity in the 2007 bestseller The Brain That Changes Itself returns to demonstrate the healing power of our adaptable brains. These case studies—of neurological conditions ranging from Parkinson's disease to blindness—offer "tangible treatment ideas for patients who may have thought they were out of options," according to reviewer Sheila Trask.
A critically praised novel and two compelling memoirs top the list of new paperbacks on sale today:
A God in Ruins
By Kate Atkinson
Back Bay • $17.99 • ISBN 9780316176507
Announced last week as the winner of Britain's Costa Award, Atkinson's evocative novel also made many best books of the year lists in the U.S. (including the BookPage Top 50, where it ranked #11). A follow-up to her dazzling 2013 bestseller Life After Life, Atkinson's latest chronicles the life of British World War II pilot Teddy Todd.
Born with Teeth
By Kate Mulgrew
Back Bay • $15.99 • ISBN 9780316334327
In her own unmistakable voice—confident, frank and feisty—the TV and film actress recounts her adventures growing up in a Midwestern Irish-Catholic family and navigating the road to stardom.
Leaving Before the Rains Come
By Alexandra Fuller
Penguin • $17 • ISBN 9780143128427
The author who captured her unorthodox African upbringing in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight reveals the other side of her story—what happened after she married an American adventurer, moved to Wyoming and took aim at domestic tranquility.
Here’s a stellar new entry in the world of niche publishing: A Coloring Book for Knitters is currently the #1 best-selling coloring book for knitters on Amazon. It’s also the only coloring book designed with knitters in mind, but that fact shouldn’t tarnish the ranking—or the fun! The brains behind this “whole new thing” in coloring are Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, former BookPage editor, novelist and knitter extraordinaire. Gardiner and Shayne are the voices behind the popular blog, Mason-Dixon Knitting, and the co-authors of two knitting books.
“Coloring and knitting are a natural fit,” they write. “Coloring knitting patterns can soothe jangled nerves, and it can also inspire your knitting. You can experiment with color combinations for Fair Isle, stripes or log cabin—without all that pesky swatching.” The drawings in A Coloring Book for Knitters are by Juliana Horner, an illustrator with a background in fashion design. Her intricate artwork includes everything from sweaters, hats and mittens to knitting stores and skeins of yarn.
Coloring inside the lines should be a cinch for knitters—those masters of precision who can take a ball of yarn and turn it into a neatly stitched pairs of socks. But the patterns in this new collection will appeal to knitters and non-knitters alike—needles (and knitting skill) are not required.
As part of our Best Books of 2015 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
Like her photography, Sally Mann’s self-portrait is evocative, richly revealing and at times disturbing. From her rebellious youth to the shocking drama of her in-laws (who died in a murder-suicide), she mines every painful and tender fragment of her past to create a memoir unlike any other—riveting in its candor and illuminating in its portrayal of an artist’s search for truth.
The highlights from this week's new paperbacks include the finale of a mega-selling Dean Koontz suspense series and a revealing biography of a former first lady:
By Dean Koontz
Bantam • $9.99 • ISBN 9780345545893
Odd Thomas returns to the fictional California desert town of Pico Mundo in what as billed as the “final adventure” for Koontz’s popular character. The paperback includes a bonus short story, “You Are Destined to Be Together Forever,” available previously only in eBook format. The Odd Thomas series has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.
By Tom Cooper
Broadway • $15 • ISBN 9780804140584
Lost pirate treasure, environmental disaster, drug smuggling and bayou hijinks are all part of the mix in Cooper’s darkly comic debut, which drew critical raves and earned the first-time author comparisons to Mark Twain and Elmore Leonard. The novel is our Top Pick for book clubs this month.
By Cecilia Ekbäck
Weinstein • $16 • ISBN 9781602862944
Set in remote Swedish Lapland in 1717, this haunting historical novel has won praise for its vivid portrayal of a remote community gripped by fear after the mutilated body of a neighbor is discovered. The Swedish-born author, who now lives in Canada, chose familiar turf for her first novel: Both her parents are from Lapland.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
By Barbara Leaming
Thomas Dunne • $16.99 • ISBN 9781250070258
Leaming argues that Jackie Kennedy suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing her husband’s assassination, a condition that would influence her actions for the remaining 31 years of her life.
This week's new paperbacks range from a celebrity memoir to a gripping true-crime title:
Even This I Get to Experience
By Norman Lear
Penguin • $17 • ISBN 9780143127963
This revealing and sometimes poignant memoir from the creator of groundbreaking TV sitcoms "All in the Family" and "Sanford & Son" won critical praise from many sources, including Booklist, which called it "one of the best Hollywood memoirs ever written."
The Uncollected David Rakoff
Edited by Timothy G. Young
Anchor • $15.95 • ISBN 9780307946478
Rakoff, a humorist who died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 47, was perhaps best known and beloved for his many episodes on NPR's "This American Life." This collection includes many entries never before published in book form, including transcripts of appearances on "Fresh Air" and "This American Life," as well as many snarky, hilarious essays. In the book's foreword, playwright Paul Rudnick identifies one of his favorite pieces as Rakoff's essay on Stuart Little, aptly titled "The Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name."
The Danish Girl
By David Ebershoff
Penguin • $16 • ISBN 9780143108399
Ebershoff’s best-selling debut novel, first published in 2000, is available in a new movie tie-in edition one month before the release of a highly anticipated film version starring Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne in the title role. The novel is loosely based on the life of Lili Elbe, one of the first people in the world to undergo transgender surgery.
By Jill Leovy
Spiegel & Grau • $16 • ISBN 9780385529990
Taking the murder of Los Angeles teenager Dovon Harris as her starting point, award-winning reporter Leovy examines the plague of violence in black communities and the failed response of the criminal justice system. Meticulously reported and thoroughly absorbing, the book won critical raves and was a bestseller in hardcover.
Lena Dunham's best-selling, much talked-about essay collection is among the new paperbacks on sale this week:
Not That Kind of Girl
By Lena Dunham
Random House • $16 • ISBN 9780812985177
From the unexpected retro cover to chapter titles like “Take My Virginity (No Really, Take It)," this collection of personal essays from the creator of the HBO series "Girls" inspired both praise and controversy when it was published in hardcover last fall. The paperback includes two new essays—“15 Lessons You’ve Learned from Being Recognized Regularly on the Street” and “True Punk,” an account of a meaningful friendship that helped Dunham during a stressful time in her life.
Bathing the Lion
By Jonathan Carroll
St. Martin's Griffin • $15.99 • ISBN 9781250078353
Five people in a small Vermont town wake up to discover that they all had the same dream the night before—a dream that reminds them of their shared past as cosmic "mechanics," charged with keeping the chaos of the universe in check. Though his work is often categorized as fantasy, Carroll prefers the term "magical realism." Novels like Bathing the Lion, as well as his richly imagined short stories, have earned him fans ranging from Pat Conroy and Neil Gaiman to Stephen King and Sting.
The Confessions of Frances Godwin
By Robert Hellenga
Bloomsbury • $17 • ISBN 9781620405505
In the quietly powerful seventh novel from Hellenga, former high school Latin teacher Frances Godwin looks back on her life and her spiritual lapses—including an especially shocking act of revenge. The novel won this year's Adult Fiction Award from the Society of Midland Authors. This paperback edition includes a reading group guide.
A novel that was a finalist for this year's Pulitzer Prize in fiction leads the list of new paperbacks on sale today:
Let Me Be Frank with You
By Richard Ford
Ecco • $14.99 • ISBN 9780061692079
Almost 30 years after Frank Bascombe was first introduced to American readers (in The Sportwriter), Ford’s celebrated character makes a wistful and poignant reappearance as a 68-year-old retiree contemplating life in New Jersey in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Vanessa and Her Sister
By Priya Parmar
Ballantine • $16 • ISBN 9780804176392
Told through diary entries, letters, postcards and other correspondence, Priyar’s richly imagined narrative offers a new perspective on London’s influential Bloomsbury group and the tangled lives of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf.
Without You, There Is No Us
By Suki Kim
Broadway • $15 • ISBN 9780307720665
A native of South Korea who emigrated to the U.S. as a teen, Kim offers a rare and captivating look at life in the secretive realm of North Korea through her perspective as an English teacher for the sons of the country’s elite.
By Sarah Wildman
Riverhead • $16 • ISBN 9781594633973
Finding a box of love letters with her late grandfather's papers spurs Wildman to search for the woman he left behind when he fled Vienna just before the Nazi occupation of Austria. Her search would take years and is recounted eloquently in this thought-provoking memoir.