Winter 2020

Greetings from Three Lives & Company!

It has been a fun start to 2020 here at the little shop on the corner, and it is about to get even more fun. Some news:

Beginning March 1, in accordance with city and state laws, we will not be offering plastic bags and will be charging a five-cent tax on every paper bag. Remember to carry around that tote or reusable bag you have sitting at home! And fear not, we still have our Three Lives canvas totes for sale (in red, black, and cream) as well as a new cheaper option: a reusable, compact bag that we are selling for five dollars. We are happy to answer any questions you have and look forward to seeing you walk through our red doors with your bag of choice over your shoulder.

And while we have not been hosting events at the shop since the temporary shoring posts were installed in June, we are making ONE exception for ONE hour: Melissa Clark will be joining us on Sunday, March 15th at noon to sign and chat about her new cookbook Dinner in French (Clarkson Potter, March 10). Please stop in to meet Melissa and pick up a copy. It's a beauty! We look forward to seeing you then.

~ Recent Staff Favorites ~  

The Unseen
Roy Jacobsen, translated by Don Shaw and Don Bartlett
I feel like I am cheating a little by sharing my love for a book that is not quite published yet (one more month!), but The Unseen is one of those novels that will not be denied. Not necessarily impressive or captivating in the describing, it is the story of a family scraping out an existence, despite all the setbacks and obstacles that the natural world imposes, on a small island off the coast of Norway around the turn of the twentieth century. And yet, The Unseen is utterly impressive, and captivating, and moving. I found myself transfixed by the domestic dramas of this clan and fiercely eager to reenter their world every time I closed the book. The only consolation for the last page: there are two more entries in this saga to come. (Biblioasis) – Miriam

Writers & Lovers
Lily King
After Euphoria, King's previous novel about a fictionalized Margaret Mead, I was going to read anything she wrote. And lucky me, I happened to have Writers & Lovers on hand for a cross-country flight, during which I devoured it, first page to last. I am hard-pressed to imagine a more delightful way to spend five hours in the air. King's latest follows thirty-one-year-old Casey as she navigates her affection for two different men, her budding (but struggling) writing career, and her exhausting gig waiting tables at a restaurant in Cambridge, all in the wake of losing her mother suddenly. It is a pleasure to be along for the ride as Casey figures out who she wants to be and what she wants out of life and love. Pack this for your next train, plane – or subway! – journey – or why not, stay-cation in bed. (Grove) – Miriam

See You on Sunday
Sam Sifton
Put your homegrown herbs and vegetables to use with the first must-have cookbook of the season, Sam Sifton's See You on Sunday (Random House). Sifton is the food editor of the New York Times, and he has written a cookbook in the spirit of bringing friends and family together, building community, and starting new traditions. You will find all the tools and delicious crowd-pleasing recipes you need to get started! (Random House) – Troy

Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots
Aaron Bertelsen
Aaron Bertelsen, the vegetable gardener at the historic English house and garden Great Dixter, has given most New Yorkers a garden book for more than just dreaming. Grow Fruit & Vegetable in Pots is a beautiful, practical, and inspiring guide for growing everything from potted herbs in your sunny window and lettuces on your fire escape to carrots and artichokes on your balcony. (Phaidon) – Troy

Jenny Offill

A woman is confronted with a changing world and warming planet, grappling with what she – and everyone else – will lose. Jenny Offill's highly anticipated new novel, Weather, is a beautifully written fragmented novel, powerful and impressively subtle. Offill's masterful ability to balance the many strands of a story – family, addiction, existential dread, and living in a time of crisis – makes for an unforgettable read that captures our current political moment. Meditative and raw, it is my stand-out read this winter. (Knopf) – Nora


Heathcliff Redux

Lily Tuck

The great Lily Tuck. I would follow her anywhere she writes. In her latest fiction, the title novella masterfully depicts the inner life, and tension, and passions of her protagonist, a young mother in 1963. The headlong dive into one person's overwhelming desires and the subsequent destruction of the life she had studiously if impassively created is always an exhilarating subject in the hands of Tuck. Streamlined and tight, a Tuck sentence contains so much in so little. An absolute delight. (Atlantic Monthly Press) – Toby

Uncanny Valley

Anna Wiener

In her mid-twenties Anna Weiner left her low-paying job in book publishing and headed west toward the promise of Silicon Valley. She was young and broke, privileged but "downwardly mobile," when she arrived in the strange and extravagant world of startups. In Uncanny Valley, Weiner recounts her time in the tech industry. She is a witty and deft observer of startup culture, where offices operate more like frat houses and CEOs are twenty-four-year-old college dropouts. Part coming-of-age story, part expose, Uncanny Valley is a gold rush story for the twenty-first century. (MCD) – Ruby


Garth Greenwell
Cleanness, my first great read of the year, contains the kind of startling, intimate, beautiful storytelling that reminds me of how I feel when reading Andrew Holleran, Maggie Nelson, and Edouard Louis. Greenwell's writing takes me someplace new and gives me a deeper understanding of others and myself. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) – Troy

Topics of Conversation

Miranda Popkey

Popkey's rich and intelligent debut novel is made up of ten conversations that take place over the course of seventeen years. An unnamed narrator speaks with other women about love, motherhood, and addiction, among other subjects. Her biography is revealed slowly, in bits and pieces for the reader to decipher, but Topics of Conversation is a novel of ideas, not plot. It wrestles with gender, power, narrative, and the stories we tell ourselves and others. (Knopf) – Ruby


Long Bright River

Liz Moore

Liz Moore's recent novel, Long Bright River, is an emotional study of family set within a thriller about one policewoman's search for her missing sister and for a killer who is targeting sex workers. With intelligence and sensitivity, Moore gives us the opiod crisis in the harsh urban landscape of a once thriving but now decaying neighborhood and the reality of a childhood spent in such a place. One of the loveliest things about Long Bright River is the delicately constructed, complex women who emerge to quietly love, and support, and protect one another. This is the book that had me missing subway stops this winter. Deeply moving. (Riverhead) – Joyce


The Anarchy

William Dalrymple

Dalrymple's riveting history of the British East India Company follows the institution from its founding in 1599 through its dissolution in the 1800s, but the meat of the book is the chaos the company quickened in the kingdoms of India from the mid-1700s until the British government nationalized it a century later as the Raj. Dalrymple's reliance on Indian sources means he does not shy away from the violence and privation forced on millions of people by rapacious corporate traders bent on fame and riches at any cost. (Bloomsbury) – Ryan


The Bells of Old Tokyo

Anna Sherman

Sherman's book ostensibly charts a search for a set of fabled historical bells in Japan's capital, but the bells themselves are a MacGuffin—they are really just the framework around which the author wraps a gorgeous memoir and travelogue. Sherman is more interested in the ancient bones of Tokyo than its pop culture, more invested in the coffee shokunin who preserves the old ways than the capsule hotels, high-tech bidets and Harajuku fashion that fill a thousand other books on Japan. Though a fast read, The Bells of Old Tokyo has impressive weight and dignity. (Picador) – Ryan


The Memory Police

Yōko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder

If you are in the mood for an atmospheric, slightly dark, slightly fable-esque novel, look no further than The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa. On an unnamed island, residents occasionally wake up and feel that something is "missing," and suddenly, apples, or cats, or photographs no longer mean anything to them. Except that a few residents do remember those things, including the narrator's mother and her editor, and the Memory Police are after anyone whose memories remain intact. A beautifully unfolding meditation on what memories mean to us, with just enough plot to pull you forward, The Memory Police is a stirring book about both friendship and resistance in the midst of totalitarianism. (Pantheon) – Emily


Our Women on the Ground

edited by Zahra Hankir

This collection of essays by Arab women reporting from the Middle East brings essential voices to the forefront. Each essay is wildly different, ranging from straight war reportage to memoir to cultural history. The result is a nuanced look into war, sexual harassment, displacement, and mass migration. Many of the included reporters are sharing their personal stories for the first time. Through unsentimental and factual accounts, Our Women on the Ground spotlights courage, kindness, and truth. (Penguin) – Nora

~ Staff Favorites Now in Paperback ~



Normal People by Sally Rooney (Hogarth)

We Cast a Shadow by Carlos Maurice Ruffin (One World)

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine)

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Vintage)

Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe by Evan James (Washington Square Press)

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss (Picador)

Sing to It by Amy Hempel (Scribner)



Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe (Anchor)

How to Disappear by Akiko Busch (Penguin)

I.M. by Isaac Mizrahi (Flatiron)

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro (Anchor)

Figuring by Maria Popova (Vintage)

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou (Vintage)

All the Lives We Ever Lived by Katharine Smyth (Broadway)

The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison (Vintage)

The British in India by David Gilmour (Picador)

~ The Three Lives & Company Bestseller List ~

1. Cleanness by Garth Greenwell (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

2. Weather by Jenny Offill (Knopf)

3. Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Knopf)

4. Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener (MCD)

5. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Putnam)

6. French Exit by Patrick DeWitt (Ecco)

7. Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman (Clarkson Potter)

8. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press)

9. American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (Flatiron)

10. Abigail by Magda Szabo, translated by Len Rix (New York Review Books)