New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Happy Tuesday, star bits! I am back from Rhode Island and feeling recharged, rejuvenated, and ready to recommend reading! Do you remember last week, when I recommended This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You by Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas? Well, I had the chance to hear Rogers speak this week and it was SO inspiring. I am now doubly recommending you pick up the book. She was a great speaker! In the world of new books this week, it’s another banner day. Topping my list of books to buy today are The Furrows by Namwali Serpell, The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang, and Lark Ascending by Silas House.

You can hear about more of today’s new releases on this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I got carried away talking about book conferences and skeleton food, but we eventually got to the best books we read for this week and more, including Leech, House of Hunger, and Shrines of Gaiety. And now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite game show: AHHH MY TBR! Here are today’s contestants.

cover of Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto; cartoon image of young woman and man standing in an island paradise

Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto

So this book is hilarious (and a great way to start the recommendations because the next one is SO disturbing.) It’s a YA romcom about a young woman named Sharlot, who is taken to her mother’s native country of Indonesia after her mother catches her attempting to lose her virginity. Meanwhile, rumors have gotten out in Indonesia that George Clooney Tanuwijaya (whose father loves American celebrities) is romantically interested in furries, so his father is looking to find him a non-furry match. Enter Sharlot. George and Sharlot meet each other with preconceived notions, because it turns out their parents have been pretending to be them when they chat with each other online. But despite their parents’ meddling, and the fact that they seemingly don’t actually like each other when they meet in person, perhaps there’s something undeniable between them anyway. (CW for sexism, homophobia, and mention of death of a parent.)

Backlist bump: Made in Korea by Sarah Suk

cover of Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth; illustrations of a green-faced woman covering her mouth, a hand with a sparkling ring on it, and a ham salad with pineapple rings

Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth

Okay, friends, now hold on to your butts. This is one of those books that I finished and then thought, “I love this—what the hell is wrong with me??!” This book is DISTURBING AF. But it’s also so freaking original and funny. You know how I hate saying this, but it is definitely not for everyone. If you dare to proceed, here’s the skinny: Abby and her husband Ralph move in with his mother in the hopes of helping her through a dark period. Abby’s own childhood was one of neglect and violence, and she’s seeking a comforting figure in her life. But Ralph’s mother is a cruel, manipulative woman, and when she dies, she continues to haunt and manipulate everyone around her. Hoping to bring joy and stability to their lives, Abby has a plan to fix everything. Spoiler: None of this is going to go well. Like I said, this book is remarkably upsetting, but I also thought it was amazing. So much, that I just got Hogarth’s last book, The Boy Meets Girl Massacre. A heads up that the list of content warnings are a mile long, so I’ll just say it basically has them all. Please do proceed with caution. (But omg let me know if you love it!) P.S. When you ask for it at the bookstore or library, note that the title is ‘mother-thing’ not ‘mothering’.

Backlist bump: Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (It’s more disturbing than Eileen, though.)

cover of Fen, Bog and Swamp by Annie Proulx; photograph of a beautiful, lush swamp

Fen, Bog and Swamp: A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis by Annie Proulx

And last, but not least, a scary book of a different nature. (Get it, nature?) Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of works such as The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, turns her attention to nonfiction and the loss of our planet’s wetlands. Proulx discusses how our wetlands have an important role to play in keeping the Earth healthy and how their loss is affected by climate change and vice versa. Heavy, but necessary, reading.

Backlist bump: The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here by Hope Jahren

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orange cat sitting next to a puzzle box with an image of cats drinking at a bar; photo by Liberty Hardy

This week, I am reading Sink: A Memoir by Joseph Earl Thomas and Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo. Outside of books, I am thrilled that Abbott Elementary has started its second season. I just rewatched the first season in preparation and loved it even more. And I am looking forward to the premiere of Ghosts this week. The song stuck in my head is “Free” by Florence + The Machine. (Probably because I have been playing it on repeat for days.) I’m also still into the playlist of music from the 1980s I made—you can listen here! And here is your weekly cat picture: Zevon is waiting for me to start doing this puzzle so he can eat some of the pieces. My two orange boys think puzzle pieces are a delicacy.

Thank you, as always, for joining me each week as I rave about books! I am wishing the best for all of you in whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! – XO, Liberty