COVID Newsletter #6


Greetings from Three Lives & Company!


As we enter our third month of New York on PAUSE, one thing is clear: you have not stopped reading. In response to our last newsletter, readers have sent us both their current reads and their own “desert island” books – the ones they would most like to be marooned with – along with a healthy dose of incredulity at the books we did not pick ourselves. See below for some of our reader responses!


We are also excited to launch a new newsletter feature: our Virtual Theme Table! Regulars at the bookshop know that in addition to our standard staff favorites table, we always have a second table of favorites that conform to a particular theme: books about nature, travel narratives, escapist fiction, memoirs. Since May is Short Story Month, we are kicking off our Virtual Theme Table with a selection of the Three Lives staff’s favorite short story collections. Until we are back up and running at West 10th and Waverly – and we do hope to re-inhabit the shop in June, in some form – browsing our selections can hopefully give you something of the feeling of rummaging through our real-life tables. (And, as always, we would love to hear about your own picks!)


Rounding out this edition of the newsletter, we have a fresh list of June’s major releases. Without store displays and in-person book consultations, it can be difficult at this moment for new books to break out, so we hope you give the list a look and read up (or ask us!) about any that interests you.


We want to highlight one book in particular for the home chefs (and let’s face it, that is most of us at the moment): Falastin, the latest cookbook by Ottolenghi veterans Tami Samimi and Tara Wigley. Ten Speed Press has designed a special tote bag for the book’s June 16 publication, and we have a dozen to give away to the first customers who pre-pay for their copies! If you are interested, you can fill out our online order form just as you would for any other order. Thank you – now read on!



~ Your Desert Island Books ~


In our last newsletter we asked for your own “desert island” books, and you delivered! You agreed with some of our picks: Candice cast “another vote for George Eliot’s Middlemarch. I read it for the first time when I was 18 and then reread it at 36, and I can’t wait to absorb its lessons when I’m 54 (or on a desert island). It makes me alive to the pain and joy of life.” Our beloved former colleague, Carol, agreed with Middlemarch and added Infinite Jest, “which I’d sworn to read before I die but would probably need a desert island stay without anyone around to actually complete.”


Some went for other classics. Barry said, “Same as it ever was: J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters.” Douglas was “sad that no Wodehouse made it onto your lists. Or Roger Angell!” and Bob indignantly replied, “What! Nobody chose [Ivo Andrić’s] Bridge on the Drina!”


In addition to picking specific titles or authors, a few readers set out particular criteria for their desert island reads. Nick said that his choice “would not be a long book. If a writer can’t be bothered to make a book short enough to read in a couple of days, I feel he/she is just trying to annoy me.” And since it would be “very uncivilized” to pick only one, he gave us three: Elsa Morante’s Arturo’s Island, Italo Calvino’s Baron in the Trees, and E.M. Forster’s Room with a View, which “never fails to entertain and uplift.” And some readers found ways around the guidelines: instead of picking a title or two, Camille decided that a collected volume of Jane Austen’s novels “counts as one book, right?” She added an unexpected second choice: “Richard Ellman’s biography of James Joyce, a book I love dearly.”


Thank you for all of your responses!



~ Virtual Theme Table: Short Stories ~ 


Bluebeard’s Egg by Margaret Atwood (Anchor) – Tatiana

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad (Penguin) – Emily

A Manual for Cleaning Women by Lucia Berlin (Picador) – Joyce

Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino (Mariner) – Ryan

Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote (Vintage) – Troy

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (Penguin) – Tatiana

The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies (Biblioasis) – Miriam

Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg (Ecco) – Emily

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander (Vintage) – Miriam

Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides (Picador) – Ruby

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain (Ecco) – Toby

Florida by Lauren Groff (Riverhead) – Nora

You Are Not a Stranger Here by Adam Haslett (Anchor) – Miriam

Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones (Amistad) – Joyce

Dubliners by James Joyce – Ryan

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li (Random House) – Joyce

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami (Vintage) – Ryan

Goodnight, Beautiful Women by Anna Noyes (Grove) – Emily

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love edited by Caroline Tung Richmond and Elsie Chapman (Simon Pulse) – Tatiana

Everything Begins & Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Cinco Puntos Press) – Troy

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger (Back Bay) – Troy

Last Night by James Salter (Vintage) – Toby

Tenth of December by George Saunders (Random House) – Nora

A Life of Adventure and Delight by Akhil Sharma (W.W. Norton) – Ruby

You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House) – Ruby

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine (Drawn & Quarterly) – Nora

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (Picador) – Toby



~ On Sale Soon ~


May 26

Red Dress in Black and White by Elliot Ackerman (Knopf)

The Death of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee (Viking)


June 2

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Riverhead)

Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. The United States of America by Eric Cervini (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan (Ecco)

Surviving Autocracy by Masha Gessen (Riverhead)

A Burning by Megha Majumdar (Knopf)

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women by Wayétu Moore (Graywolf)


June 9

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier (Doubleday)

Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars. by Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)

The Garden of Monsters by Lorenza Pieri, translated by Liesl Schillinger (Europa)


June 16

Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht (Tin House)

The Margot Affair by SanaĎ Lemoine (Hogarth)

Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi (Ten Speed Press)

The Lightness by Emily Temple (William Morrow)


June 23

Love by Roddy Doyle (Viking)

The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova (Penguin Press)

Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press)

What’s Left of Me is Yours by Stephanie Scott (Doubleday)

Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri, translated by Morgan Giles (Riverhead)


June 30

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan (Doubleday)

Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh (Doubleday)

Friends and Strangers by J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf)