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The 10 Best Books of 2017

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What to Read in December

The Vanishing Princess by Jenny Diski: “The stories in The Vanishing Princess showcase a rarely seen side of this beloved writer, channeling both the piercing social examination of her nonfiction and the vivid, dreamlike landscapes of her novels.”

Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw: “A high-end, girlfriend-experience prostitute has just returned to her native New York City after more than a decade abroad―in Dubai, with a man she recalls only as the Sheikh―but it’s unclear why exactly she’s come back. The daring new novel from Katherine Faw, the brilliant author of Young God, is a scintillating story of money, sex, and power told in Faw’s viciously sharp prose.”

The Years, Months, Days by Yan Lianke: “Yan Lianke―“China’s most feted and most banned author” (Financial Times)―is a master of imaginative satire, and his prize-winning works have been published around the world to the highest honors. Now, his two most acclaimed novellas are collected here in a single volume―masterfully crafted stories that explore the sacrifices made for family, the driving will to survive, and the longing to leave behind a personal legacy.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Michelle Kuo, review The Graybar Hotel, and reveal the 10 Best Books of 2017…

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What to Read in November

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib: “In an age of confusion, fear, and loss, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib’s is a voice that matters. Whether he’s attending a Bruce Springsteen concert the day after visiting Michael Brown’s grave, or discussing public displays of affection at a Carly Rae Jepsen show, he writes with a poignancy and magnetism that resonates profoundly.”

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter: “As London is submerged below floodwaters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, she and her baby are forced to leave their home in search of safety. They head north through a newly dangerous country seeking refuge from place to place. The story traces fear and wonder as the baby grows, thriving and content against all the odds. ”

We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida, edited by Shane Hinton: “Florida is more than just fodder for hard-boiled crime novels and zany farces. This anthology of new stories and essays challenges a star-studded line up of current and former Floridians to write about the state through a literary lens, though not without the requisite weirdness.”

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What to Read in October

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado: “Blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.”

A Field Guide to the North American Family by Garth Risk Hallberg: “For years, the Hungates and the Harrisons have coexisted peacefully in the same Long Island neighborhood, enjoying the pleasures and weathering the pitfalls of their suburban habitat. But when the patriarch of one family dies unexpectedly, the survivors face a stark imperative: adapt or face extinction.”

The Future Is History by Masha Gessen: “Putin’s bestselling biographer reveals how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy.”

Also this month: We’ll review new books from Jeffrey Eugenides and Lindsay Hunter, publish Rick Moody’s foreword to Charlatan by Cris Mazza, and get nerdy about disaster movies with Ashley Wells.

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What to Read in September

Afterglow by Eileen Myles: “Starting from the emptiness following Rosie’s death, Afterglow (a dog memoir) launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet-owner. Through this lens, we witness Myles’s experiences with intimacy and spirituality, celebrity and politics, alcoholism and recovery, fathers and family history, as well as the fantastical myths we spin to get to the heart of grief.”

An Odyssey by Daniel Mendelsohn: “When eighty-one-year-old Jay Mendelsohn decides to enroll in the undergraduate Odyssey seminar his son teaches at Bard College, the two find themselves on an adventure as profoundly emotional as it is intellectual.”

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison: “America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Samantha Irby and Megan Stielstra, review Some Bright Morning I’ll Fly Away by Alice Anderson, and hear from author Tara Jepsen about Like a Dog. Oh, and we’ll be rocking out to a new #gods playlist by author Matthew Gallaway.

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What to Read in August

The Book of Emma Reyes by Emma Reyes: “This astonishing memoir was hailed as an instant classic when first published in Colombia in 2012, nearly a decade after the death of its author, who was encouraged in her writing by Gabriel García Márquez. Comprised of letters written over the course of thirty years, and translated and introduced by acclaimed writer Daniel Alarcón, it describes in vivid, painterly detail the remarkable courage and limitless imagination of a young girl growing up with nothing.”

The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarrett Kobek: “When Adeline, a wealthy art student, chances upon a young man from the Midwest known only as Baby in a shady East Village squat, the two begin a fiery friendship that propels them through a decade of New York life. Riotously funny and wise, The Future Won’t Be Long is an ecstatic, propulsive novel coursing with a rare vitality, an elegy to New York and to the relationships that have the power to change—and save—our lives.”

After Kathy Acker by Chris Kraus: “Rich girl, street punk, lost girl and icon… scholar, stripper, victim, and media-whore: The late Kathy Acker’s legend and writings are wrapped in mythologies, created mostly by Acker herself. Twenty years after her death, Acker’s legend has faded, making her writing more legible.In this first, fully authorized, biography, Chris Kraus approaches Acker both as a writer and as a member of the artistic communities from which she emerged.”

Also this month: We’ll interview Miranda K. Pennington and Philip Boehm, review Since I Laid My Burden Down and Some Bright Morning I’ll Fly Away, and probably talk some shit about Jonathan Dee’s new novel.

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