In Case You Missed It: Recent Noteworthy Acquisitions
The following list includes a selection of titles received in spring/early summer that didn’t receive high-profile reviews or benefit from big promotion budgets, but that caught our eye. Keep your eyes on this space for future lists.
Tales from a Master’s Notebook: Stories Henry James Never Wrote
Philip Horne, ed.
When Henry James died he left behind a series of notebooks filled with ideas for novels and stories that he never wrote. In this collection, Colm Toibin, Rose Tremain, Jonathan Coe, Paul Theroux, Amit Chaudhuri, Giles Foden, Joseph O'Neill, Lynne Truss, Susie Boyt, and Tessa Hadley have written new short stories based on these 'germs' of ideas. The book also includes transcripts of James’s original jottings allowing readers to trace the raw ideas through to their modern-day interpretations
Attrib. and other Stories
The Financial Times described this debut story collection as “funny, playful and utterly bravura, it deserves to be read by everyone with a love of words and an interest in the way deftly wielded language and original ideas can come together to detonate on the page." The Guardian also enthusiastically reviewed Williams’s collection.
Négar Djavadi (translated from the French by Nina Kover)
Published by Europa Editions, Disoriental won several prizes in France. It is a family saga, focusing on the alienation of Kimiâ Sadr, an Iranian-born woman who left her native country to live in France at the age of ten. The New York Times described it as a “remarkable novel [that] beautifully captures the ‘disorientation’ of exile and the attempt to reconstruct a self through family stories” and The Los Angeles Review of Books praised the way Djavadi’s writing “paints the most complex human emotions with ease and depth” and “masterfully takes her reader through multiple parallel journeys in time and space.”
Anna Maria Ortese (translated by Ann Goldstein and Jenny McPhee)
Neapolitan Chronicles brought Orteste (1914-1988) widespread acclaim in Italy when it was first published in 1953 (originally edited by Italo Calvino). Mixing fiction and reportage, the pieces in this collection explore the rough state of Naples after World War II. Ortese’s work was a major inspiration for Elena Ferrante’s popular and acclaimed Neapolitan novels.
The Friendly Ones
Perhaps best known in the States for his Booker Prize-shortlisted novel The Northern Clemency, Hensher returns here with a story spanning decades and with a big and beautifully drawn cast of characters all making their different ways towards lives that make sense.
Men and Apparitions
Men and Apparitions showcases Lynne Tillman not only as a brilliantly original novelist but also as one of our most prominent contemporary thinkers on art, culture, and society. Colm Toibin, writing in The Guardian, calls it “a beautiful meditation on photography.”
Money in the Morgue
Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy
Money in the Morgue was begun by Marsh during WWII and recently completed by Stella Duffy. Set in a New Zealand hospital, it has elements of the traditional golden age-style crime novel and features the brilliance of Marsh’s beloved London detective, Roderick Alleyn.
The Man Among the Seals and Inner Weather
The author of acclaimed fiction like 2007 National Book Award winner Tree of Smoke and Jesus’ Son, Johnson is also highly regarded for his poetry. The Man Among the Seals and Inner Weather were Denis Johnson’s first and second published books of verse, recently republished in this single volume. The poetry has much in common with the confessional subject matter of his early novels and stories.
Bruno Schulz (translated from the Polish by Madeline G. Levine;foreword by Rivka Galchen)
This new translation of Schulz (1895-1942)—an influential author often compared to Kafka—is the first in many years. “Levine's translation is exquisitely composed and fastidiously accurate… without question a translation masterwork.” – Times Literary Supplement
The Children's Crusade
Marcel Schwob (translated from the French by Kit Schulter)
The symbolist novels of Marcel Schwob (1867–1905) were admired by Rilke, Apollinaire, Borges (who provides the introduction here), Roberto Bolaño, Paul Valéry, and Alfred Jarry. The Children’s Crusade retells the tragic medieval legend of the exodus of 30,000 children to the Holy Land, where they were sold into slavery or drowned. Schwob’s modern retelling uses the voices of eight different narrators/characters, in a manner that may have influenced Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.
Silver Bullets: Classic Werewolf Stories
Eleanor Dobson (Editor)
This unique anthology collects werewolf fiction from 1830-1921, and includes Hans Christian Andersen, Kipling, Yeats, Saki and many more.
Conversations with Joan Didion
Scott F. Parker, ed.
Features 17 wide-ranging interviews with the author spanning several decades.
A History of Russian Literature
Andrew Kahn, et al.
A comprehensive, chronological treatment of the subject that ranges from the medieval period to the twenty-first century. The TLS described it as “nothing short of staggering.”
Free Woman: Life, Liberation and Doris Lessing
Part memoir, part biography, and part literary criticism, Free Woman is an intense and personal exploration of the life and works of Doris Lessing. The author is senior lecturer in English at King's College London, and is the author of The Love-charm of Bombs and The Bitter Taste of Victory.
On War and Writing
Publisher’s Weekly: “a thoughtful and thought-provoking collection of essays focused on the written expression of war, especially the two world wars… Hynes is interested in how language shapes people's ideas about combat, and he is an instructive interpreter of ‘words about war, and the narrative they compose.’” Hynes is Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature emeritus at Princeton University, and was a combat pilot in World War II.
Sidelines: Selected Prose, 1962-2015
Longley has published eight collections of poetry, and has won the Whitbread Poetry Award, the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Irish Times Poetry Prize, and the Wilfred Owen Award. Sidelines includes book reviews, essays, interviews, lectures, and more, addressing poets such as Homer, Propertius, Louise MacNeice, Robert Graves, Edward Thomas, Ian Hamilton Finlay, and Ruth Stone. A Library member recently sent us an enthusiastic e-mail describing the book as “AMAZING” (her caps).
Writers and Their Mothers
Dale Salwak, editor
Ian McEwan, Margaret Drabble, Martin Amis, Rita Dove, Andrew Motion, and Anthony Thwaite are among the twenty-two distinguished contributors of original essays on the profound and frequently perplexing bond between writer and mother. “In this lively collection of essays, the legacy of maternal blessings (which they mostly describe) is thoughtfully and skillfully unpacked.” —The Guardian
From Yale University’s Margellos World Republic of Letters series. Magris, a literature professor who lives in Trieste, has written “a quietly profound reflection on politics and literature between 1981 and 2004, ranging from a newly post-communist Prague in 1990 to a full-fledged capitalist China in 2003….a fascinating endeavor, especially for fellow bibliophiles…an eloquent blend of literary criticism, political history, and travel writing.” —Publisher’s Weekly
In Byron's Wake: the Turbulent lives of Lord Byron's Wife and Daughter: Annabella Milbanke and Ada Lovelace
The Financial Times: “Miranda Seymour puts everything straight in this magnificent, highly readable double biography, which brings these two driven, complicated women vividly to life… a very fine book. Written with warmth, panache and conviction, its formidable research is lightly worn.”
An Open Map: the Correspondence of Robert Duncan and Charles Olson
Robert J. Bertholf & Dale M. Smith, eds.
A collection of 130 letters from two influential and innovative poets exchanged between 1947 and 1970.
Dickinson's Nerves, Frost's Woods: Poetry in the Shadow of the Past
Logan is the author of several books on poetry, including winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Undiscovered Country. Each essay in Dickinson's Nerves, Frost's Woods compares two poets (Longfellow & Carroll, Keats & Donald Justice, Dickinson & Frost, etc.), and attempts to bring their poems back to the world in which they were made, placing material culture at the center of these critical readings. Library Journal cites Logan as “one of our greatest living critics,” praising his ability to “contemplate the intricacies of syntax, meter, and imagery with the delicacy of a surgeon and the compassion of a monk” and predicting that this book will “inspire literary scholars for generations.”
Keywords; For Further Consideration and Particularly Relevant to Academic Life, &c., Authored by a Community of Inquiry
D. Graham Burnett, et al.
An irreverent, darkly funny, critical lexicon of academic life written by a group of Princeton graduate students and faculty. D. Graham Burnett won a New York City Book Award in 2007 for his book, Trying Leviathan.
Rooms of their Own
Published by the National Trust in the UK, this generously illustrated book offers a look into The Bloomsbury Group as seen through the living spaces and décor of Edward Sackville-West, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. Complete with first-hand accounts, this book illuminates shifting social and moral attitudes towards sexuality and gender in the 1920s and 30s.
Lady Death: The Memoirs of Stalin's Sniper
Lyudmila Pavlichenko (translated from the Russian by David Foreman)
The first translation of a unique wartime memoir by Lyudmila Pavlichenko, World War II's “best scoring” sniper. One of Soviet Russia's 2000 female snipers, after the war she toured Canada and the US (including an invitation to the White House from FDR) and Woody Guthrie wrote a song about her exploits. “A gripping narrative that devotees of history, especially WWII, should absolutely not miss” (Booklist, starred review).
Weird War Two: Intriguing Items and Surprising Stuff from the Second World War
Weird War Two pulls the strangest items from deep within the Imperial War Museum’s archives to offer a surprising new, wildly entertaining angle on the war: flying jeeps and bat bombs; bizarre propaganda posters; inflatable tanks and more.
Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad & Criminal in 19th-Century New York
This is an exhaustive history of Blackwell’s Island (now Roosevelt Island). Developed in the 19th century to be the most modern and humane incarceration facility the world had ever seen, Blackwell’s Island quickly became, in the words of a visiting Charles Dickens, “a lounging, listless madhouse.” A starred review in Booklist called this “an essential and heartbreaking book.” For those fascinated by the dark side of New York history—e.g., Gangs of New York, Luc Sante’s Low Life, A Pickpocket's Tale by Timothy J. Gilfoyle, etc.
A Magical World: Superstition and Science from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
Wilson explores how a “heady mix” of unlikely sources—folk religion, witchcraft, magic, alchemy, and astrology—would inspire and influence the modern scientific method. Booklist gave A Magcial World a starred review, calling it “a dazzling chronicle, a bracing challenge to modernity's smug assumptions.”
Pandora's Box: a History of the First World War
Jörn Leonhard (translated from the German by Patrick Camiller)
A hefty (1100 page) book published by Harvard University Press. The Spectator 's reviewer praised it as “the best single-volume history of the Great War yet written.”
The Indian World of George Washington: the First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation
Colin G. Calloway
Calloway is a professor of history and Native American studies at Dartmouth, and the author of several acclaimed books. In his latest, Calloway “masterfully executes a journey down a path through history that links George Washington's own military and presidential history with the Native tribes who were vital to his success, whose stories are rarely told…essential reading.”—Library Journal
The Hippie Trail: A History
Sharif Gemie & Brian Ireland
Robert Irwin in the TLS: “The main hippie trail ran through the Balkans to Istanbul and then on through eastern Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan to India…[the book] is based on interviews with veterans of the trail, supplemented by memoirs, novels and films…an oral history, its many anecdotes give it a kaleidoscopic feel.” Published in the UK.
Armageddon and Paranoia: the Nuclear Confrontation Since 1945
Braithwaite is former British Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Russian Federation, and a participant in or front-row observer at many of the events he writes about here. “Braithwaite’s deep knowledge of the USSR and Russia, his fluency in the Russian language and his exceptional ability to put himself in the minds of both American and Soviet politicians and strategists makes Armageddon and Paranoia an even-handed, nuanced, and often chilling account of the nuclear confrontation between the USA and the USSR.”—Literary Review
A Brotherhood of Spies: The U-2 and the CIA's Secret War
This work was enthusiastically reviewed by Library Journal (“will become a standard”), Publisher’s Weekly (“gripping,” “exemplary”) and Booklist, who called it “a richly detailed, well-researched, and engagingly written book that takes us behind the scenes of one of the twentieth-century's most nail-bitingly tense episodes.”
Of G-Men and Eggheads: The FBI and the New York Intellectuals
Focusing on Irving Howe, Dwight Macdonald, and Lionel Trilling, John Rodden draws on the authors’ writings, as well as on FBI dossiers, to tell this strange—and at times darkly funny—story of Cold War counterespionage.
A Little History of Archaeology
Brian M. Fagan
Part of Yale University’s excellent “Little Histories” series, this book covers the great archaeologists and their discoveries. In forty brief chapters, it chronicles archaeology's development from eighteenth-century origins to twenty-first-century technological advances. Brian Fagan is the author of dozens of books on archaeological topics, including Fishing: How the Sea Fed Civilization.
Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World
Vinzenz Brinkmann, Renée Dreyfus, et al.
Using 21st-century technology, Gods in Color reveals the original colors of ancient sculpture, showing how artists in Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Aegean, Greece, and Rome used unexpected and breathtaking color in their works. This fascinating book was recently recommended by our Book Committee.
The Library recently acquired volumes in this attractive series on Dior, Saint-Laurent, Schiaparelli, Chanel, and De Givency. The books draw on Vogue magazine’s photography archives and offer an overview of each designer’s career.
Helen Levitt: Manhattan Transit (introduction by David Campany)
Has there even been a more exciting, perceptive, photographer of New York City life than Helen Levitt? The work collected here dates from the late 1970s, and is the most comprehensive publication of Levitt’s photographs from the New York subway, many of which are published here for the first time.
Charas: The Improbable Dome Builders
This re-publication of a rare book from 1973 chronicles the story of ex-gang members from New York’s Lower East Side who met with architect Buckminster Fuller and subsequently built a geodesic dome in an empty city lot. An odd and fascinating piece of New York City’s countercultural history.
How Did Lubitsch Do It?
"A thoughtful critical study" (Library Journal) and biography of the great director of Shop Around the Corner, Trouble in Paradise, and many more classic romantic comedies and musicals.
20th Century Boy: Notebooks of the Seventies
Artist Hannah’s notebooks are richly detailed (often explicit) and lively, and are sure to fascinate those interested in decadent, bohemian downtown 1970s New York. For fans of books like Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Please Kill Me.
Erin Monroe, ed.
This collection delves into the surprising cultural and artistic sources that influenced Gorey's unique visual language—from works of popular culture to the more than 26,000 books he owned and the art pieces in his vast collection.
Outliers and American Vanguard Art
Lynne Cooke, et al.
Based on an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, curator Lynne Cooke explores shifting conceptualizations of the American outlier across the twentieth century, considering works by schooled and self-taught creators in relation to each other and defined by historical circumstance. “A compelling argument for a reconsideration of the American art history canon" (Library Journal). With 250 color plates.