Winter 2021


Greetings from Three Lives & Company!


This is usually the time of year when, with the holidays behind us, we can draw a breath and get ready for the next round of new books. This time around, with our move, the inauguration, and a couple of major winter storms – plus the first new titles of 2021! – it feels like we have been going full tilt for months on end.


Some of that busyness has been adapting to our new slice of the West Village. It has been something of a charmed adjustment: the transfer was smooth, and, though we miss our corner on Waverly, that longing has been more than balanced by the opportunity to meet new readers, explore new nooks, and settle in with our wonderful neighbors between Bleecker and Hudson. Three Lives has a decades-long history in the Village, but we are still the new kid on this particular block, and it has been a delight getting to know everyone.


We have found some time for reading, as evidenced below by our roundup of recent favorites. And there are bounties in the months to come – including a fall season that publishers are very excited about for many, many reasons. The coming months will bring us new titles from Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Committed, March 2), Kazuo Ishiguro (Klara and the Sun, March 2), Morgan Jerkins (Caul Baby, April 6), Haruki Murakami (First Person Singular, April 6), Jhumpa Lahiri (Whereabouts, April 27), Rachel Cusk (Second Place, May 4), and Joan Silber (Secrets of Happiness, May 4), among many others. And if you just cannot wait to reserve your copy of these or any other upcoming title, we do take preorders – just let us know what you are looking forward to, and we will give you a call when it is ready for pickup. We have already taken preorders for titles as far ahead as inauguration star Amanda Gorman’s first poetry collection, The Hill We Climb (September 21), so scour your to-read list, and tell us what you are anticipating most!


~ Recent Staff Favorites ~


Milk Blood Heat

Dantiel W. Muniz

What does it mean to be a woman? Dantiel W. Moniz’s masterful story collection, Milk Blood Heat, explores identity and loss (of love, of family, of faith, of innocence) in contemporary Florida. Moniz’s writing sparks with life on every page and genuinely surprises. I haven’t been this excited about a story collection in a long, long time. Don’t miss this one! (Grove) – Nora


My Year Abroad

Chang-rae Lee

What a read! I can only describe it by alliteration: riotous, rambunctious, rollicking, riveting, ribald. Lee has mastered the picaresque novel and lets his talents rip in this vibrant tale about Tiller, a college dropout, and his year abroad in the employ of some decidedly shady characters. Throughout the book, Lee weaves in issues of cultural identity in contemporary America. (Riverhead) – Toby


The Copenhagen Trilogy

Tove Ditlevsen, translated by Tiina Nunnally and Michael Favala Goldman

Tove Ditlevsen’s Copenhagen Trilogy is a beautifully written collection of memoirs that explores the author’s childhood, innocence, writing career, and long battle with addiction. While there is darkness and struggle, and the Nazi occupation haunts many of its pages, Ditlevsen’s story manages to celebrate the unique joys of life. I felt lucky to be in the head of such a spirited woman, full of wit and passion. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) – Nora


That Old Country Music

Kevin Barry

Kevin Barry’s newest short story collection is a sharp, intricate, funny, and dreary love letter to rural Ireland. Whether you’re listening to a pair of rowdy drunks at an old pub or following a morbid messenger, obsessed with telling the residents of Limerick about the area’s latest, most shocking deaths, you will savor this book. (Doubleday) – Nora


The Ocean House

Mary-Beth Hughes

A deeply satisfying novel: evocative, subtle, understated. Turning, turning from one story to the next, the accumulation of voices and perspectives slowly reveals the world of several families on the Jersey shore in this skilled, piercing work from a staff favorite author. (Atlantic Monthly Press) – Toby


Walking Manhattan Sideways 

Betsy Bober Polivy

I first set foot in Manhattan as a teenager in the early ‘80s and then moved here in 1992. Walking the city streets has never failed to thrill me – there is always something to see, learn, discover, and yes, eat! Betsy Bober Polivy has made a book about the places that line the side streets of Manhattan and make this city what it is. To spend time with this book, especially during the pandemic, is to be reminded of how extraordinary and essential these places are to our lives as New Yorkers (or as tourists). How exciting to turn the page and learn the origin story of a shop you’ve been frequenting for years! Walking Manhattan Sideways will serve as a guide for the places we will want to visit when we are free to walk these streets like old times. Oh, what joy to walk through the door of a favorite shop and show off an actual smile again! That day will come. (Polivision Productions) – Troy


Homeland Elegies

Ayad Akhtar

When Donald Trump appeared in the first chapter of this book, I was furious. Can we not be done with him already? But just a few pages in, I realized this was something special – a book that’s both political and subversive but also just a heck of a ride, as the author takes us through his somewhat fictionalized life before and after 9/11. I found myself thinking a lot about The Topeka School by Ben Lerner as I read. If that is an intellectual American story of white male identity in the ‘90s, this feels like its equivalent for brown men in the 2000s. I would love to hear Lerner and Akhtar in conversation. (Little, Brown and Company) – Emily



Toni Jensen

A memoir in essays of gun violence, especially in Native communities, Carry left me breathless. Jensen has lived all across the country, and yet no matter the place, violence (and particularly white people’s violence) has followed her. While Jensen’s lyrical prose comes on strong, I quickly fell into its gorgeous cadence and was mesmerized by the way she links seemingly disparate moments in her life as she challenges the narratives of American exceptionalism. (Ballantine) – Emily


The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Deesha Philyaw

This is the rare short story collection that manages to be a page-turner. Deesha Philyaw dives into the lives of Black women and girls trying to find their places within (or outside) the church. While these stories grapple with the intricacies of love, family, death, and religion, they are also a lot of fun to read. Philyaw is an exciting new literary voice: her prose is propulsive and engaging, her characters vivid and complex. (West Virginia University Press) – Ruby


The Heart and Other Monsters

Rose Andersen

In 2013, Rose Andersen’s sister, Sarah, died of an overdose in her boyfriend’s bathroom. She was twenty-four years old and living in a small town known for high rates of opioid use. In this memoir, Rose, a recovering addict herself, recounts her family’s struggle with addiction and tries to piece together her sister’s final days. As she reflects on her sister’s life, Andersen delves into her own grief and tries to make sense of her and her sister’s tumultuous childhoods. The result is a deeply personal and affecting account of the opioid epidemic. (Bloomsbury) – Ruby


The Night Watchman

Louise Erdrich

I don’t know about you, but for me midwinter (especially this year!) is the time when spirits most need soothing. Louise Erdrich is an enchanting storyteller. With The Night Watchman she takes on the shameful subject of the (ongoing) genocide of First Americans, cloaked as assimilation. She crafts this novel – based on historical events – with a gentle touch, weaving stories within stories. The book is infused with wit and warmth, intelligence, and a deep sense of our ever-evolving American culture. I keep in my head a list of writers with whom I would most enjoy sharing a quiet meal. Louise Erdrich is right up there. (Harper) – Joyce


Interior Chinatown

Charles Yu

This book is so smart, funny, and compelling. It is a wonderful portrait of assimilation, immigration, and finding one’s identity and path in life. Yu has written a sharp satire on the idea of “diversity in Hollywood” in the form of a film script that tracks the scenes of one man’s life and shows the persistence necessary for him to fulfill his dreams of becoming “Kung Fu Guy” despite being constantly cast as “Background Oriental Male” or “Generic Asian Man.” Interior Chinatown explores what it takes to break through the barriers erected by American society based on one’s appearance or heritage. At one point I was laughing my head off, and then, twenty pages later, I had tears streaming down my cheeks, overcome with a sense of grief and anger. Poignant, touching, and loads of fun. (Vintage) – Tatiana



~ Staff Favorites Now in Paperback ~



A Beautiful Crime by Christopher Bollen (Harper)

Actress by Anne Enright (W.W. Norton)

Cleanness by Garth Greenwell (Picador)

Writers & Lovers by Lily King (Grove)

Deacon King Kong by James McBride (Riverhead)

Long Bright River by Liz Moore (Riverhead)

Weather by Jenny Offill (Vintage)

Devotions by Mary Oliver (Penguin)

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper)

The Travelers by Regina Porter (Hogarth)

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (William Morrow)

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Riverhead)

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (Vintage)



The Body by Bill Bryson (Anchor)

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf)

The Education of an Idealist by Samantha Power (Dey Street)

Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener (Picador)


~ Signed Editions ~



Lazarus Rising by Joseph Caldwell (Delphinium)

A Bright Ray of Darkness by Ethan Hawke (Knopf)

My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee (Riverhead)

Why I Don’t Write by Susan Minot (Knopf)

What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead)

We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida (Ecco)



Walking Manhattan Sideways by Betsy Bober Polivy (Polivision Productions)

American Utopia by David Byrne and Maira Kalman (Bloomsbury)

How We Live Now by Bill Hayes (Bloomsbury)

The Doctors Blackwell by Janice P. Nimura (W.W. Norton)

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (Random House)

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Vintage)


~ The Three Lives & Company Bestseller List ~


1. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Grove)

2. Let Me Tell You What I Mean by Joan Didion (Knopf)

3. The Doctors Blackwell by Janice P. Nimura (W.W. Norton)

4. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (Riverhead)

5. A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders (Random House)

6. The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

7. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (Harper)

8. Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (Vintage)

9. A Promised Land by Barack Obama (Crown)

10. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (Knopf)