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New Book Releases – Week of 1 November 2021 – Rachel Held Evans, more…

Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to each of the new book releases …)

See a book here that you’d like to review for us?
Contact us, and we’ll talk about the possibility of a review.



Our Country Friends: A Novel

Gary Shteyngart

(Random House)

“A perfect novel for these times and all times, the single textual artifact from the pandemic era I would place in a time capsule as a representation of all that is good and true and beautiful about literature.”—Molly Young, The New York Times


Eight friends, one country house, four romances, and six months in isolation—a novel about love, friendship, family, and betrayal hailed as “a masterpiece” (Andrew Sean Greer) and “a powerful fable of our broken time” (Salman Rushdie)

It’s March 2020 and a calamity is unfolding. A group of friends and friends-of-friends gathers in a country house to wait out the pandemic. Over the next six months, new friendships and romances will take hold, while old betrayals will emerge, forcing each character to reevaluate whom they love and what matters most. The unlikely cast of characters includes a Russian-born novelist; his Russian-born psychiatrist wife; their precocious child obsessed with K-pop; a struggling Indian American writer; a wildly successful Korean American app developer; a global dandy with three passports; a Southern flamethrower of an essayist; and a movie star, the Actor, whose arrival upsets the equilibrium of this chosen family. Both elegiac and very, very funny, Our Country Friends is the most ambitious book yet by the author of the beloved bestseller Super Sad True Love Story.

This is a courageous memoir that wrestles with the historic stain of racism and the ongoing impact of racist language in postmodern society. The book is about Harris’s flashbacks, conversations, and dilemmas spawned by use of the epithet in a classroom setting where the author was the only Black person. His diary-like reflections reveal his skill as a keen reader of culture and literature. In these pages, Harris challenges his instructor and classmates and inspires readers to redress the long history of American racism and white supremacy bound up with the N-word. He reflects on how current Black artists and others use the word in a different way with the intention of empowering or claiming the term. But Harris is not convinced that even this usage does not further feed the word’s racist roots.

Healing racial division begins with understanding the deep impact our words can have to tear down or to heal. This book invites the reader into this important conversation.

***READ the NY Times review of this book

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