Now that summer is nearly upon us, we thought we'd begin offering reviews of some of our favorite new releases in paperback. They're easy to tote, and it's the perfect time to catch up on some gems you may have missed. Pop them into a beach bag along with the sunscreen, or stack them alongside the hammock beside a tumbler of iced tea, or tuck one into the picnic basket along with a blanket and some snacks (outside and maskless!).
Last week we included reviews of one of Shelf Awareness's Best Books of 2020, Homeland Elegies by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar (Back Bay, $19.99), which Shelf called "an astounding work of reality fiction," and The Death of Vivek Oji by National Book Award finalist Akwaeke Emezi (Riverhead, $17), "a spot-on pick for thoughtful book club discussion" and shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize.
Two poets headline this week's selections: one, a debut poet, John James, whose collection of 30 poems, The Milk Hours (Milkweed, $16, reviewed below), was selected by Henri Cole as the winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize; the other a more seasoned, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Natasha Trethewey, revisiting the themes from her gorgeous poetry collection Monument (Mariner, $15.99) for her memoir memorializing her mother's tragic early death, Memorial Drive (Ecco, $16.99, reviewed below), another of Shelf Awareness's Best Books of 2020.
In the weeks ahead, look for a mix of mysteries and thrillers, romances and nature books. As the days grow long and the sunlight lingers, books make ideal companions--whether you're venturing on trains or planes or buses or simply enjoying the backyard or parks in full bloom closer to home.