Need to get lost in a book these days? Here’s the best kind of spring bouquet: an assortment of fresh paperbacks, all recommended.
“Homo Irrealis: The Potential Man Who Could Have Been: Essays”
by André Aciman (Picador, $18).
The “Call Me By Your Name” author here offers “elegant meditations on time and memory, longing and longing, being and becoming,” according to a star-studded Kirkus review. “Recalling the writings of WG Sebald and Fernando Pessoa (both subjects of his essays), Aciman’s final text conveys with grace and insight his desire to apprehend ‘myself by looking towards the self that I am today’ today.’ A resplendent collection from a writer who never disappoints.”
“Abandoned: A Novel”
by Russell Banks (Ecco, $17.99).
The first novel in a decade by Banks (author of ‘The Sweet Hereafter’ and ‘Affliction,’ among many others) has at its center a documentary filmmaker named Leo, living in Canada after escaping the project a long time ago. . Suffering from cancer, he looks back on his life in a final filmed interview. “In this complex and powerful novel, we are confronted with the excruciating lure of redemption,” wrote Washington Post reviewer Ron Charles. “Even as Leo’s memories fade, his thirst for forgiveness becomes radiant.”
“Our Team: The Epic Story of Four Men and the World Series That Changed Baseball”
by Luke Epplin (Flatiron Books, $18.99).
As baseball fans wait – perhaps longer than usual – for the season to begin, how about a good baseball book? This one features the 1948 Cleveland Indians, focusing on pitcher Bob Feller; Black League star Satchel Paige; Larry Doby, a black player who signed with Cleveland just weeks after Jackie Robinson made history by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers; and Indians entrepreneurial owner Bill Veeck. “Epplin’s epic saga is both gripping drama and a searing portrait of the racism that has plagued baseball for decades,” Publishers Weekly wrote in a star-studded review. “This pointed, well-researched story will be a hit with baseball fans and general-interest readers.”
“Freedom: A Novel”
by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Algonquin, $16.95).
Named the best book of 2021 by multiple outlets, including the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, Greenidge’s second novel is inspired by the life of one of America’s first black female doctors. The book, set in 19th-century Brooklyn, is “a monumental thematic feat of imagination,” wrote New York Times reviewer Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. “Greenidge both harnesses history and transcends time, centering its post-Civil War New York story around an enduring quest for freedom.”
“The Tough Crowd: Trials 2000-2020”
by Rachel Kushner (Scribner, $17.99).
The author of ‘The Flamethrowers’ and ‘The Mars Room’ brings together his non-fiction here on a variety of topics: growing up with beatnik parents, loving motorcycles, examining the work of writers like Marguerite Duras, Clarice Lispector and Denis Johnson. The book is “a testament to the breadth of both Kushner’s experience and his intellectual convictions,” wrote Fernanda Eberstadt in The New York Times, noting that “Kushner believes we must change the world, and . .. she doesn’t see why she can’t get a good story out of it either.”
by Jane Pek (Vintage, $17).
Want to enter the ground floor of a new mystery series? This one looks pretty promising: Claudia Lin is an amateur sleuth who checks people’s online lives for a detective agency in New York; she loves Jane Austen and mysteries, quickly letting herself be drawn into one of her own. “A cool, cerebral and very funny novel,” Kirkus Reviews wrote in a star-studded review, noting that Claudia “is the seductive protagonist of a tale that delves into the dark heart of contemporary technology, not to mention the failings of the human heart. . “