The season will see past masters celebrated and the trade secrets of contemporary writers revealed. Other titles will track authors’ lives through their letters and survey the literary footprints left by different cultures.
A Bite of the Apple: A Life with Books, Writers and Virago
Lennie Goodings. Oxford Univ., June 9 ($21.95, ISBN 978-0-19-882875-4)
Goodings provides a close-up look at feminist publishing with this account of her long tenure, first as publicist and then as editor and publisher, at the U.K.’s influential Virago Press.
Every Day I Write the Book: Notes on Style
Amitava Kumar. Duke Univ., Mar. 27 ($24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4780-0627-5)
PW praised novelist and English professor Kumar’s treatise on scholarly writing as an “insightful and intellectually nimble” book that scholars will find to be a useful resource for their own work.
The Eye You See With: Selected Nonfiction
Robert Stone, edited by Madison Smartt Bell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mar. 3 ($27, ISBN 978-0-618-38624-6)
Published in conjunction with a Robert Stone biography, Child of Light, also by Bell, this collection presents standout nonfiction pieces by the National Book Award–winning novelist.
Final Draft: The Collected Work of David Carr
Edited by Jill Rooney Carr. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr. 7 ($28, ISBN 978-0-358-20668-2)
Jill Rooney Carr, widow of journalist David Carr (1956–2015), presents a selection of around 100 articles to allow admirers to revisit her late husband’s acclaimed work.
Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America: Essays
R. Eric Thomas. Ballantine, Feb. 18 ($26, ISBN 978-0-525-62103-4)
The popular Elle columnist debuts with a look at the process of forging one’s personal identity. PW praised his collection’s wit and “charming humility.”
Letters from Tove
Edited by Helen Svensson and Boel Westin, trans. by Sarah Death. Univ. of Minnesota, Mar. 10 ($25.95, ISBN 978-1-5179-0957-4)
Six decades of letters relate the life story of Tove Jansson, the Finnish-born, Swedish-speaking author of the popular Moomin children’s books, about a family of whimsical creatures.
Mastering the Process: From Idea to Novel
Elizabeth George. Viking, Apr. 7 ($28, ISBN 978-1-984878-31-1)
Prolific novelist George shares the process of crafting one of her bestselling books, Careless in Red.
My Shadow Is My Skin: Voices from the Iranian Diaspora
Edited by Katherine Whitney and Leila Emery. Univ. of Texas, Mar. 16 ($35, ISBN 978-1-4773-2027-3)
This collection aims at capturing some of the complexity of the Iranian-American experience, with selections from 32 authors, some well-known and others emerging.
Scandinavian Noir: In Pursuit of a Mystery
Wendy Lesser. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 5 ($27, ISBN 978-0-374-21697-9)
Critic and biographer Lesser visits Denmark, Norway, and Sweden to explore the reality behind Scandinavian noir fiction.
Under the Red White and Blue: Patriotism, Disenchantment and the Stubborn Myth of the Great Gatsby
Greil Marcus. Yale Univ., May 19 ($26, ISBN 978-0-300-22890-8)
Marcus (Mystery Train), a veteran writer on American popular culture, looks at the influence of The Great Gatsby on music, films, and other books.
Essays & Literary Criticism Listings
Au Revoir, Tristesse: Lessons in Happiness from French Literature by Viv Groskop (June 9, $25, ISBN 978-1-4197-4298-9). A comedian and journalist explores her long-standing attraction to French culture while drawing life lessons from the country’s literature.
Occupation Journal by Jean Giono, trans. by Jody Gladding (Mar. 31, $18 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-939810-56-4). An acclaimed French writer offers a firsthand look at life in WWII France in this journal. Giono discusses art and literature, recounts caring for his consumptive daughter, and records his encounters with the collaborationist Vichy government.
I’ve Been Wrong Before: Essays by Evan James (Mar. 3, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5011-9964-6). The author of the novel Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe shares his travels around the globe and reflects on the intricacies of relationships in his first essay collection.
The Illustrated Letters of Oscar Wilde, selected and introduced by Juliet Gardiner (June 2, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-84994-583-7), shares Wilde’s correspondence with other literary notables and shows how his conviction for indecency both destroyed his career and led to some of his greatest works.
All the Songs We Sing: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, edited by Lenard D. Moore (June 2, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-949467-33-8). The founder of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective presents selections from Camille T. Dungy, Bridgette Lacy, Lenard D. Moore, Evie Shockley, Crystal Simone Smith, and editor Moore, among others.
On Shirley Hazzard by Michelle de Kretser (Mar. 10, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-948226-82-0) celebrates the work of novelist Shirley Hazzard (1931–2016) in an appreciation aimed both at Hazzard neophytes and longtime readers, and bolstered with select biographical details of the National Book Critics Circle Award winner’s life.
Social Poetics by Mark Nowak (Mar. 10, $18.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-56689-567-5). Nowak, Worker Writers School founding director, gives a politically inflected history of the poetry workshop as an institution, while celebrating a new working-class poetry community he sees on the rise throughout the world.
The Literature Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by the editors of DK (Feb. 11, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4654-9101-5). Around 100 articles discuss, analyze, and celebrate important works of fiction from Eastern and Western literature, using infographics and images to aid reader comprehension.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Thin Places: Essays from in Between by Jordan Kisner (Mar. 3, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-27464-1) marks the first book from Kisner, whose essay “Thin Places,” this collection’s title selection, appeared in Best American Essays 2016. PW praised her debut for being filled with essays “as entertaining as they are eye-opening.”
Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-reader by Vivian Gornick (Feb. 4, $25, ISBN 978-0-374-28215-8) mixes literary criticism and memoir, discussing how Gornick’s opinions about various literary works has changed over the years.
30-Day Journey with Jane Austen by Natasha DuQuette (Mar. 31, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-5064-5712-3) is a selection from the 30-Day Journey series, which combines brief daily readings and reflection questions, here offering samples of wit from Jane Austen’s novels.
I Will Take the Answer: Essays by Ander Monson (Feb. 4, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-011-6). Monson (Letter to a Future Lover) devotes his fourth essay collection to the theme of connections. He discusses how the present and past are linked, how forming neural connections creates memories, and how people struggle, and sometimes fail, to connect with each other.
Synthesizing Gravity: Selected Prose by Kay Ryan (Apr. 14, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-4818-6) is the first prose collection from poet Ryan. The contents, which span 30 years of writing, include essays, book reviews, and previously unpublished, private reflections on famous poems and poets.
Love in the Blitz: The Long-Lost Letters of a Brilliant Young Woman to Her Beloved on the Front by Eileen Alexander (May 26, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-288880-8). This collection of a young Englishwoman’s
letters to a fellow Cambridge student from 1939 to 1944 traces their progression from friendship to romance and gives an intimate view of the British experience of WWII.
How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor: Critical Thinking in the Age of Bias, Contested Truth, and Disinformation by Thomas C. Foster (May 26, $17.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-06-289581-3) follows Foster‘s How to Read Literature Like a Professor with a primer to applying critical-reading skills to following the news. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Poetry of Strangers: What I Learned Traveling America with a Typewriter by Brian Sonia-Wallace (Apr. 7, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-06-287022-3). Sonia-Wallace, an author of prose and poetry, delivers a collection of essays thematically linked by the decline of the U.S.’s institutions.
Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man by Joshua Bennett (Mar. 24, $35, ISBN 978-0-674-98030-3). The poet looks at how such celebrated African-American authors as Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Jesmyn Ward have used animal imagery to interrogate racist and dehumanizing ideas.
Library of America
American Birds: A Literary Companion, edited by Terry Tempest Williams and Andrew Rubenfeld (Mar. 10, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-59853-655-3), gathers bird-related writings from notable American authors, representing both a variety of native species and a varied array of contributors, including explorers, conservationists, poets, and even a U.S. president (Theodore Roosevelt).
Visitors: An American Feminist in East Central Europe by Ann Snitow (Mar. 24, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-61332-130-0) recounts the experiences of the late author, a professor and longtime feminist activist, as an organizer in post-Communist East Central Europe, where she found the state of women’s rights in flux.
Inner Coast by Donovan Hohn (June 2, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-324-00597-1). The author of 2011’s bestselling Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea continues to explore the theme of humanity’s place within nature in this collection of essays about how that role is changing.
The Author’s Effects: On Writer’s House Museums by Nicola J. Watson (Mar. 9, $40, ISBN 978-0-19-884757-1) explains how writers’ creativity became embodied by turning authors’ homes into museums.
The Oxford Illustrated History of the Book, edited by James Raven (July 1, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-19-870298-6), assembles 14 original essays by international scholars who explain some of the many ways in which books have been produced, distributed, and received throughout history.
Why Women Read Fiction: The Stories of Our Lives by Helen Taylor (Mar. 2, $18.95, ISBN 978-0-19-882768-9). Taylor, a literature festival director and teacher, looks at contemporary British female readers of fiction, drawing on over 500 interviews with and questionnaires from readers and writers.
This Is Shakespeare by Emma Smith (Apr. 21, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-5247-4854-8) focuses on the inconsistencies, flaws, and ambiguities within Shakespeare’s plays, exploring how these contribute to the timeless quality of his writing, by preventing his stories and characters from settling into clear-cut interpretations.
Pen & Sword History
The Author Who Outsold Dickens: The Life and Work of W.H. Ainsworth by Stephen Carver (Apr. 19, $39.95, ISBN 978-1-5267-2069-6) introduces a modern audience to a 19th-century writer now largely forgotten but once counted as a serious competitor of Charles Dickens for commercial dominance over early Victorian fiction.
Tolkien’s Worlds: The Places That Inspired the Writer’s Imagination by John Garth (Mar. 17, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-19694-7). Tolkien scholar Garth, with the cooperation of the author’s estate, introduces fellow Middle-earth fans to the locales, in Britain and throughout the world, that inspired settings in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and other Tolkien titles.
Dodie Bellamy Is on Our Mind, edited by Anthony Huberman and Jeanne Gerrity (Feb. 25, $25 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-9802055-7-2), explores how genre is treated in the works of poet and novelist Bellamy, a prominent figure in San Francisco’s avant-garde literary scene.
Earth Almanac: A Year of Witnessing the Wild, from the Call of the Loon to the Journey of the Gray Whale by Ted Williams (Apr. 28, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-63586-283-6). The nature writer issues a collection of short, seasonally themed essays, offering both discourses on scientific topics and impressionistic appreciations of natural wonders.
Writing Wild: Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World by Kathryn Aalto (Apr. 14, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-60469-927-2). The author of The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh profiles 25 female nature writers, showing how they shaped people’s ideas about wilderness, beginning with Dorothy Wordsworth and her long-unknown influence on her brother William’s work.
Univ. of Alaska
Glass, Light & Electricity: Essays by Shena McAuliffe (Feb. 15, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-60223-408-6). McAuliffe’s debut collection is devoted to exploring natural landscapes and a varied array of topics—heartbreak, neon signs, scalping, and seizures, among others.
Univ. of Minnesota
Listening: Interviews, 1970–1989 by Jonathan Cott (Apr. 21, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-5179-0901-7) assembles a selection of Cott’s work as an interviewer, which won Studs Terkel’s praise. The collection comprises conversations with notable figures from the worlds of science, literature, music, and film.
Univ. of Nebraska
All I Feel Is Rivers: Dervish Essays by Robert Vivian (Mar. 1, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4962-2033-2) is informed by Vivian’s studies of Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet and mystic. The essays use a rapid pace and circular structure to evoke the whirling movement of the dervish dance, a central feature of the religious order that Rumi founded.
Disparates: Essays by Patrick Madden (Apr. 1, $22.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4962-0244-4). Madden, a Brigham Young University professor, presents his third essay collection, after Quotidiana and Sublime Physick. In it, he uses humor to explore the current zeitgeist and such abstract subjects as happiness and memory.
Univ. of Pennsylvania
Peopling the World: Representing Human Mobility from Milton to Malthus by Charlotte Sussman (Mar. 27, $69.95, ISBN 978-0-8122-5202-6) explores historical ideas about population control and mobility through classic literary texts by Milton, Jonathan Swift, and Mary Shelley, among others, as well as through demographer Thomas Malthus’s groundbreaking theoretical works.
Wayne State Univ.
“Black People Are My Business”: Toni Cade Bambara’s Practices of Liberation by Thabiti Lewis (May 19, $35.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8143-4429-3) is the first study of the literary contributions of Bambara (1939–1995), who was also a documentarian, activist, and academic. Lewis shows how Bambara brought a distinct vision—nationalist, feminist, and Marxist—to 1970s and ’80s African-American letters.
Re-orienting the Fairy Tale: Contemporary Adaptations Across Cultures, edited by Mayako Murai and Luciana Cardi (Apr. 21, $34.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8143-4536-8), emphasizes stories from outside Europe and the U.S. in looking at how fairy tales have migrated across cultures.
Salvage Poetics: Post-Holocaust American Jewish Folk Ethnographies by Sheila E. Jelen (Mar. 10, $69.99, ISBN 978-0-8143-4318-0). The Hebrew and Jewish studies professor looks at pre-Holocaust depictions of Eastern European Jewish life as a way for American Jewish audiences to reckon with the past.
Cult Writers: 50 Nonconformist Novelists You Need to Know by Ian Haydn Smith, illus. by Kristelle Rodeia (May 26, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-7112-5064-2). Smith makes the case for the cult status of 50 modern writers who have in common singular visions and avid followings, whether large or small.
Dostoyevsky Reads Hegel in Siberia and Bursts into Tears by László F. Földényi, trans. by Ottilie Mulzet (Feb. 18, $26, ISBN 978-0-300-16749-8). Földényi, an essayist and literary critic, focuses in his most recent collection on how the Enlightenment intellectual tradition has failed to fill the cultural gap left by the decline of religion.
Hamlet’s Choice: Religion and Resistance in Shakespeare’s Revenge Tragedies by Peter Lake (July 21, $45, ISBN 978-0-300-24781-7) mines the political themes of Titus Andronicus and Hamlet, analyzing how Shakespeare’s revenge tragedies worked through widespread anxieties about the safety and stability of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
A Little History of Poetry by John Carey (Apr. 21, $25, ISBN 978-0-300-23222-6) is a concise survey, from the first surviving work—originating nearly 4,000 years ago—to contemporary examples. Carey shares stories of how famous poems were written and discusses how celebrated poets have affected people’s worldviews.
Why Writing Matters by Nicholas Delbanco (Mar. 17, $26, ISBN 978-0-300-24597-4). Delbanco, drawing on his experiences with mentorship—by such acclaimed writers as James Baldwin, John Gardner, and John Updike, and of younger writers such as Jesmyn Ward—looks at perennial questions about influence, originality, and imitation in literature.
This article has been updated with new bibliographic information for some titles.