Every month, a deluge of new books comes flooding out from big publishers, indie houses, and self-publishing platforms. So every month, The A.V. Club narrows down the endless options to five of the books we’re most excited about.
Leslie Jamison, the author of the highly acclaimed 2014 essay collection The Empathy Exams, returns with an extraordinarily insightful look at addiction and the stories we tell about it. Braiding together historical research, original reporting on recovery programs in America, and literary analysis of writers like Jean Rhys and Raymond Carver, Jamison’s memoir also traces her own alcoholism and subsequent sobriety. Strongly recommended for those hoping to deepen the discussion for and about writers who drink. [Laura Adamczyk]
A Chicago favorite well-loved around The A.V. Club offices, Samantha Irby is getting some long-due national attention after her 2017 collection, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life, reached a wider audience. Irby’s first book, Meaty, has been re-relased, and anyone who picked up We Are Never Meeting In Real Life or has enjoyed her blog, Bitches Gotta Eat, should once more immerse themselves in her startling humor and wit. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]
After being groped at a frat party her first weekend at college, Greer Kadetsky attends a lecture by second-wave feminist icon Faith Frank, who tells her, “You’re allowed to be angry if you feel you weren’t treated fairly.” Thus begins, if inauspiciously, the protagonist’s political awakening in Meg Wolitzer’s 12th novel, which spans a decade in the life of an intelligent young woman. In what Kirkus is calling “the perfect feminist blockbuster for our times,” Wolitzer engages directly with timely subjects to explore female friendship and mentorship across generations. [Laura Adamczyk]
Arriving just three months after another Timothy Leary book, archivist Jennifer Ulrich’s The Timothy Leary Project serves as the first collection of the patron saint of LSD’s selected papers and correspondence. While the book may not offer new information on the Harvard professor who advocated for the therapeutic use of psychedelics, it does give readers a closer look at a turbulent time in America’s history, including Leary’s correspondence with writers like Allen Ginsberg, Aldous Huxley, and Eldridge Cleaver, an early leader of the Black Panther Party. [Laura Adamczyk]
Andrea Barnet, Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, And Alice Waters Changed Our World (March)
This book was originally slated for an April release but was moved up to March, but no matter: Well worth consideration no matter what the month, Andrea Barnet’s Visionary Women takes a close look at four women who broke with convention and changed the world in the process. Most are familiar with Alice Waters’ revolutionary take on fresh and local foods, and Jane Goodall’s life among animals that brought a new understanding to our kinship with our closest relatives. Jane Jacobs was an activist who fought for the protection of poor neighborhoods against corporate and capitalist interests. And Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking work on environmentalism and book Silent Spring brought the danger of pesticides to the attention of a much wider swath of America than ever before. Each woman pushed against the constraints of male-dominated fields and made history in the process. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]