2022 New Releases
I thought I might list some of the 2022 books I’m most interested in, in case you find them interesting too. I did a round-up at Book Riot on books in translation coming out in 2022, and some of those books appear here, but this list is broader in scope and includes anything that has caught my eye. The books are listed in chronological order by release date and only go through June. A lot of books coming out in the fall haven’t been announced, or at least I haven’t found them yet. Perhaps I’ll return in June with a list for fall.
Will I actually read all these books? Probably not. Okay, definitely not. But I like having a pool of new books to choose from as I go through the year, and then I can pick up what looks good based on whim. As of yet, I haven’t read any of these. Quotations below are from the publisher.
The Employees by Olga Ravn, translated by Martin Aitkin (New Directions, February 1): I remember hearing lots of chatter about how good this is when it was shortlisted for the Booker International prize last year: “The Employees reshuffles a sci-fi voyage into a riotously original existential nightmare.”
Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, translated by Sarah Booker (Coffee House Press, February 8): Coffee House is such a fantastic press — I will check out everything they publish. This one looks like it’s horror: “Fernanda and Annelise are so close they are practically sisters: a double image, inseparable. So how does Fernanda end up bound on the floor of a deserted cabin, held hostage by one of her teachers and estranged from Annelise?”
Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso (Hogarth, February 8th): Manguso is one of my favorite nonfiction writers, so of course I’m very curious to see what her fiction will be like. It’s an “ungilded portrait of girlhood at the crossroads of history and social class as well as a vital confrontation with an all-American whiteness.”
Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima, translated by Geraldine Harcourt (NYRB, February 22): I read Tsushima’s novel Territory of Light last year and loved it. This was originally published in 1980. It tells the story of a young, single mother in Tokyo.
the déjà vu: black dreams and black time by Gabrielle Civil (Coffee House Press, February 22): This is nonfiction about Black art and artists: “Gabrielle Civil mines black dreams and black time to reveal a vibrant archive of black feminist creative expressions.”
The Wonders by Elena Medel, translated by Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead (Algonquin Books, March 1): Spanish fiction in translation: “The Wonders follows María and Alicia through the streets of Madrid, from job to job and apartment to apartment, as they search for meaning and stability, unknowingly tracing each other’s footfalls across time.”
Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett (Riverhead, March 1): I recently bought a copy of Bennett’s earlier book Pond to reread because it was so strange and interesting. This new one is about “the adventures of a young woman discovering her own genius”? Yes, please.
When I Sing, Mountains Dance by Irene Solà, translated by Mara Faye Lethem (Graywolf, March 15): This book sounds so strange! It’s set in a village in the Pyrenees and is “as much about the mountains and the mushrooms as it is about the human dramas that unfold in their midst.” It has multiple points of view, including voices from the natural world?
Portrait of an Unknown Lady by Maria Gainza, translated by Thomas Bunstead (Catapult, March 22): I loved Gainza’s book Optic Nerve. This new one is about the art world as well, although perhaps more plot-driven? It’s the “story of an auction house employee on the trail of an enigmatic master forger.”
When Women Kill by Alia Trabucco Zerán, translated by Sophie Hughes (Coffee House Press, April 5): This book has a great title! It’s Trabucco Zerán’s follow-up to The Remainder, which I liked, and is “A genre-bending feminist account of the lives and crimes of four women who committed the double transgression of murder, violating not only criminal law but also the invisible laws of gender.”
Revenge of the Scapegoat by Caren Beilin (Dorothy Project, April 5): One of FOUR Dorothy Project books we are getting this year. Books from Dorothy Project are always worth checking out. “One day Iris, an adjunct at a city arts college, receives a terrible package: recently unearthed letters that her father wrote to her in her teens, in which he blames her for their family’s crises.”
Catching Fire: A Translation Diary by Daniel Hahn (Charco Press, April 5): I love reading about translation! Here, Daniel Hahn writes about the process of translating Diamela Eltit's Never Did the Fire. It would be fun to read these two books together.
Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson (Pantheon, April 12): I admired Jefferson’s earlier book Negroland, which was an interesting story in and of itself and also played with the memoir genre a bit.
Violets by Kyung-Sook Shin, translated by Anton Hur (Feminist Press, April 12): The book description appeals to me: it “explores misogyny, erasure, and repressed desire, as [the protagonist] desperately searches for both autonomy and attachment in the unforgiving reality of contemporary Korean society.”
Thin Places by Kerri ní Dochartaigh (Milkweed Editions, April 12): Rick read and loved this book, a mix of memoir, history, and nature writing set during the Troubles in Ireland.
Paradais by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes (New Directions, April 26): I loved Melchor’s book Hurricane Season, so I’m ready for her follow-up: “Paradais explores the explosive fragility of Mexican society--with its racist, classist, hyperviolent tendencies--and how the myths, desires, and hardships of teenagers can tear life apart at the seams.”
Plans for Sentences by Renee Gladman (Wave Books, May 3): This is another great title. If anyone knows of any other books exclusively devoted to the sentence — besides Suppose a Sentence by Brian Dillon — I’d love to hear about them. This looks like a mix of prose/poetry and image.
Linea Nigra by Jazmina Berrera, translated by Christina MacSweeney (Two Lines Press, May 3): I loved Berrera’s earlier book On Lighthouses, and this new book is on pregnancy and motherhood. I couldn’t ask for anything better, honestly.
The Longcut by Emily Hall (Dalkey Archive, May 10): I’m excited about the recent revival of Dalkey Archive Press, and this new novel caught my eye: a novel about “an artist who doesn’t know what her art is.”
Ill Feelings by Alice Hattrick (Feminist Press, May 10): I have a copy of the Fitzcarraldo edition of this book already; basically anything published by Fitzcarraldo Editions — especially nonfiction — gets my attention, although often those books come out with different publishers in the U.S. This one is a “meditation on illness, disability, feminism, and what it means to be alive.”
Lote by Shola von Reinhold (Duke University Press, June 7): I have no idea where I heard about this novel — Twitter somewhere probably — but the premise sounds great: it’s a “decadent queer literary debut [that] immerses readers in the pursuit of aesthetics and beauty, while interrogating the removal and obscuring of Black figures from history.”
Goodbye, Ramona by Monserrat Roig, translated by Megan Berkobien and Maria Cristina Hall (Fum d’Estampa Press, June 15): Roig is a Catalan writer, and this is her first novel, originally published in 1972: “Goodbye, Ramona explores the role of family, women’s relationships with men, the influence the weight of history and events out of women’s control have on them, and the silence in which women live their lives.”
Let me know if you have read any of these, or if you plan to!
Publishing This Week
New books out recently that I haven’t yet read and am adding to my TBR. All quotations below are from the publisher:
Strangers I Know by Claudia Durastanti, translated by Elizabeth Harris (Riverhead Books): This was published by Fitzcarraldo in the UK, and Fitzcarraldo books always get my attention. “Every family has its own mythology, but in this family none of the myths match up.”
The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi, translated by Elena Pala (Harpervia): “A saga of a Florentine family from the 1960s to the present that brilliantly captures the power of history and the multi-faceted experience of life itself as it explores how we contend with uncontrollable forces that both buffet and buoy us.”
New on the TBR
New books acquired:
Forty Lost Years by Rosa Maria Arquimbau, translated by Peter Bush (Fum d’Estampa Press, 2021, originally published in 1971): Both of my new books this week come from Fum d’Estampa Press, a relatively new press specializing in translations from Catalan, Spanish, and French. This one is translated from Catalan and tells the story of “Laura Vidal, a working-class woman who becomes a high-fashion dressmaker to the bourgeois ladies of Barcelona during Franco's dictatorship.”
The Intimate Resistance by Josep Maria Esquirol, translated by Douglas Suttle (Fum d’Estampa Press, 2021): A “reflection on the human condition in which Esquirol draws on philosophers such as Heidegger, Sartre, Camus, and Nietzsche as he develops his theory of how intimacy and a celebration of the everyday can warm, protect and guide.”
Illness as Metaphor and Aids and Its Metaphors by Susan Sontag (Picador, 2001, originally published in 1978 and 1988): I’m finally reading Susan Sontag! So far, I’ve finished Illness as Metaphor, which was fabulous, and I’m ready to move on to Aids and Its Metaphors next.
Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping by Matthew Salesses (Catapult, 2021): I love reading books about form and craft in writing. This one looks at the ways when people talk about craft, they’re often talking about a particular version of it: western, white, male, cis, abled, etc. It’s very good so far.
The Cormac Report
We recently celebrated Cormac’s 9th birthday! We held a small party at our house and fortunately had great weather for January (cold but sunny) and could spend a lot of time outside with friends. Of course, Cormac’s birthday involved books. He got a couple gift certificates to bookstores (which means I can possibly sneak in a couple books of my own while we’re there, with my own money, of course…). He also got these books as presents:
InvestiGators by John Patrick Green: My doctor mentioned this as a book she bought her Dog Man-obsessed grandson, so it seemed perfect for Cormac. (My doctor always wants to talk books with me, which sometimes is fine, and other times, annoying. Sometimes you just want to focus on your health, not on what you’re reading.)
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson: My friend (Hi, Mike!) praised this highly, and it seemed like the perfect thing for Cormac and me to read together, a middle-grade puzzle mystery.
The Odyssey, The Iliad, and Beowulf, adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds: These three books are all Gareth Hinds’s graphic novel adaptations. I learned about these from tweets by Merve Emre, where she raved about how these books got her kids interested in classic stories. I’m going to make sure I read these myself.
Have a good week everyone!