Summer 2021


Greetings from Three Lives & Company!


Summer in the city: warm days, a breeze from the rivers, and new literature hot off the presses. The early weeks of the season have already brought us a heap of treasures: Andrew OÕHaganÕs novel Mayflies has reduced multiple staff members to tears; new titles by Jhumpa Lahiri (Whereabouts), Rachel Cusk (Second Place) and Lisa Taddeo (Animal) have flown off our tables; and the summerÕs getaway books – including Taylor Jenkins ReidÕs Malibu Rising, Sana‘ LemoineÕs Margot Affair, and Emily HenryÕs People We Meet on Vacation – have begun to emerge. Looking forward, weÕve already had requests for Brandon TaylorÕs story collection Filthy Animals (on sale this week), Michael PollanÕs This Is Your Mind on Plants (July 6), and Anthony Veasna SoÕs Afterparties (August 3).


As coronavirus restrictions are rolled back and New YorkÕs caseload drops, we have once again been seeing visitors to the city but also more and more of our regulars – a wonderful thing for us after fifteen months of caution. And as people return to the streets, we have also been having local authors drop in to say hello and sign their books. Sarah Schulman, Sana‘ Lemoine, Peter Hoffman, Zaina Arafat, Elisha Cooper, Bill Hayes, David Coggins, and Patti Smith have all stopped by recently and left our shelves heavy with signed books. See our full list of signed editions below!


Our Pride Month display is out and packed with new titles, including Sarah SchulmanÕs monumental history of ACT UP New York Let the Record Show, Casey McQuistonÕs Red, White & Royal Blue follow-up One Last Stop, and the long-awaited paperback edition of Ocean VuongÕs novel On Earth WeÕre Briefly Gorgeous. After the pandemic tamped down celebrations in 2020, we hope everyone has an exuberant and safe Pride, and an ecstatic summer, as the city reopens.



~ Recent Staff Favorites ~


IÕve been on quite a roll lately, devouring Christine SmallwoodÕs Life of the Mind (Hogarth), a dark but laugh-out-loud novel about an adjunct professor in crisis just trying to survive the modern age. On a cross-country trip to the Badlands, I re-read Denis JohnsonÕs Train Dreams (Picador) and was again immersed in the world of Robert Grainier, a grief-stricken day laborer in the dying days of the old American West. That tiny novella is a mighty one, strange and tender.


There are times when you start a book and know you will be a different person when you finish. Hanif AbdurraqibÕs essay collection Little Devil in America (Random House) is that kind of book. A celebration of Black art and culture through the ages, each piece is enhanced by AbdurraqibÕs own memory and experience, giving the work a touching, personal, generous, and often heartbreaking air. Truly one of the best collections IÕve read in years.


And then there are the books you are positive youÕll love even before you begin – but what a gift it is to love them even more than anticipated. Andrew OÕHaganÕs newest novel, Mayflies (McClelland & Stewart), his most autobiographical to date, explores the lifelong relationship between Jimmy and Tully. ItÕs a story in two parts, the first taking place in 1980s Scotland as the pair prepares for a concert in Manchester. (If youÕre a punk/post-punk/new wave/rock music fan like I am, youÕve come to the right book: New Order! Joy Division! The Smiths! The Fall! The Clash!) An ode to unbreakable bonds and memory, and, come the second half, an unforgettable story of love and the right-to-die movement. – Nora



Paradoxically, as life seems to be returning to some semblance of normal, and social occasions appear on the calendar again, and I board my first airplane in 18 months (!!), I am reading more. No complaining here! Andrew OÕHaganÕs Mayflies will bounce around in my brain for some time to come. It is the story of childhood friends at two flashpoints in their lives (a music festival in Manchester in 1986 and a terminal cancer diagnosis thirty years later), and it is damn near impeccable in its prose, its earned emotion, its depiction of two Scottish men who love each other and are trying to do right by one another. Arriving on shelves in another month (August 3) is Pedro MairalÕs unsettling fever dream of a novel The Woman from Uruguay (Bloomsbury, translated by Jennifer Croft). A married Argentine writer travels to Uruguay for twelve hours to collect a book advance and reunite with a woman he barely knows but with whom heÕs become infatuated. This canÕt go well, can it?


Recent nonfiction reads have skewed older. I finally picked up Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell (Mariner) and have an entirely new understanding of the Spanish Civil War from a completely nonobjective and engaging reporter/combatant. And Maria TumarkinÕs collection of essays Axiomatic (Transit) is a knockout. Her subject matter ranges from a spate of suicides in Australian high schools to a kidnapping case in which two grandparents hid their grandson from his mother, but all the pieces touch on how history and memory inform the present and complicate our understanding of any given situation. Tumarkin is a fierce thinker and connector.


And before I go, there are SO MANY exciting reads on the horizon. Please stay tuned for new novels from Lauren Groff (September 7), Sally Rooney (September 7), and Jon McGregor (September 21), a story collection from Lily King (November 9), and an essay collection from Ann Patchett (November 23). Huzzah! – Miriam



ItÕs hard to believe that itÕs already summer, and weÕre halfway through 2021! Lots of great books have come out, and thereÕs much to discuss. A standout for me this year is Michelle ZaunerÕs heartstring-pulling and hunger-inducing memoir Crying in H Mart (Knopf). I was so looking forward to this read, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. A tip: if you plan on reading this in public, bring a baseball cap to pull down over your eyes when the tears start.


If youÕre looking for some easy but incredibly delicious new recipes to try out, I recommend Cook This Book by Molly Baz (Clarkson Potter). Not only are the pictures a feast for the eyes, but thereÕs a recipe in there for everyone, of any dietary need, and cute little egg-shaped QR codes that will take you to videos to teach you techniques!


Currently, IÕm finishing up the ornate and intriguing novel A Beautiful Crime by Christopher Bollen (Harper) and diving into what IÕve been calling my ŅBook of the Summer,Ó The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (Random House). A dive into the comic book world of NYC in the 1940s is exactly what I need to get me through this heat. Next up, IÕm hoping to crack open Catch the Rabbit by Lana Bastašić (Restless Books, translated from the Serbo-Croatian by the author), a novel from my motherland that won the 2020 European Union Prize for Literature; Three Tigers, One Mountain by Michael Booth (Picador), which discusses the history and current conflicts between China, Japan, and the Koreas; or One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (St. MartinÕs), the much-anticipated follow-up to her enchanting novel Red, White & Royal Blue. – Tatiana



It really does feel like thereÕs some space for pleasure again, and so IÕve been delighted to be doing more reading lately – even if not the type of ŅfunÓ reads often associated with this time of year. Perhaps because the collective mood is lifting, IÕve now been diving into books about mental illness and medication, having just finished Robert KolkerÕs Hidden Valley Road (Anchor) and now halfway through Patrick Radden KeefeÕs Empire of Pain (Doubleday). Though about heavy topics, theyÕve expanded how I think about myself in relation to my fellow humans, and I highly recommend them both. This summer, IÕm looking forward to more nonfiction – especially All That She Carried by Tiya Miles (Random House) and SomebodyÕs Daughter by Ashley C. Ford (Flatiron) – as well as some novels that have been on my list: Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (One World), The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich (Harper) and Northern Spy by Flynn Berry (Viking). And August brings AllÕs Well (Simon & Schuster, August 3), a third work of fiction by Mona Awad, whose writing never fails to delight and amaze me. This summer, remember: any book you take to the beach is a beach read! – Emily



The past couple of months have provided a feast, in terms of both the quality of my reading material and the tasty delights revealed on its pages: jajangmyeon and jjigaes in Michelle ZaunerÕs unflinching memoir of illness and family ties, Crying in H Mart, Oaxaca tamales and cafˇ cortados and ŅluckyÓ merengues in Juan VilloroÕs sprawling nonfiction account of ŅA City Called Mexico,Ó Horizontal Vertigo (Pantheon, translated by Alfred MacAdam). Between those, I skimmed along North Shore waves with fictional surf legend Joe Sharkey in Paul TherouxÕs Under the Wave at Waimea (Houghton Mifflin), a novel that proves what I have suspected to be the case for some time now: that after decades of books about the darkness of human nature, Theroux is finally beginning to think that there can be some kind of redemption for us. (Plus, what better way to celebrate the imminent reopening of the globe than fictionally hanging ten around the world?) – Ryan



Do you remember a little restaurant on the corner of Prince and Crosby called Savoy? IÕm certain that for many, just the thought of that little brick building conjures up wonderful memories of special meals and the SoHo of another time. Peter Hoffman, the former chef and owner of Savoy, has written WhatÕs Good?: A Memoir in Fourteen Ingredients (Abrams), and it is fabulous on so many levels. For anyone interested in the making of a chef, a restaurant, and NYC, and the impact of being attuned to the seasons of the market – well, PeterÕs book will keep you happily in your chair, pouring yet another glass of wine. Peter is as natural a storyteller as Ruth Reichl and Nigel Slater at their best.


Two other books are at the top of my summer list: EnglandÕs Magnificent Gardens by Roderick Floud (Pantheon) and The Complete Gardener by Monty Don (DK). Originally published in 2003, MontyÕs book has been extensively revised with many new photographs, all taken at the authorÕs Long Meadow garden, and he has gone through Ņwith a fine-tooth comb to ensure everything he says reflects his latest approach.Ó


One more important thing to remember this summer: a cobbler (whether peach, blueberry, cherry, or blackberry) is always a good idea! – Troy



With travel still at a near-standstill and my own reluctance to consider flying anytime soon, I am unsure when IÕll be back on a plane for some serious travel (beyond my Rockaway or Jersey Shore escapes) or a visit with the in-laws in Japan, so it was this armchair travelerÕs delight to read Water, Wood, and Wild Things (Viking), Hannah KirshnerÕs sketches from a small Japanese mountain town. Full of artisans and craftspeople and hunters using traditional methods (duck hunting with nets?! yes!), the village of Yamanaka offers Kirshner a rich, varied, and fulfilling experience as she is immersed in Japanese culture and ritual. IÕll get to the airport one day, I suppose, but until then there are many great travel narratives to scratch itchy feet.


And, if I may add one more rave for Mayflies, I have just finished Andrew OÕHaganÕs latest novel at the urging of Miriam and Nora; as I turned to the last page I thought to myself, ŅThis is why I read.Ó Happy summer reading! – Toby



The book I cannot stop thinking about is Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford (Little, Brown). Crawford was a student at the prestigious St. PaulÕs School in 1990 when she was sexually assaulted by two other students. In this memoir she gives a rigorous account of how school officials carefully and cruelly conspired to silence her. I found myself audibly reacting as I read this book: the details of CrawfordÕs story are infuriating and illuminate the systematic ways in which victims are buried.

At the lighter end of the spectrum, I recently finished Self-Portrait by Celia Paul (New York Review Books), a kind of Ņportrait of the artist as a young woman.Ó Paul is a contemporary British painter who grew up in India before moving to London for art school and beginning an affair with Lucian Freud. In this book, drawn from journals and memories, she details her coming of age as a painter and person, and the familial connections that inspired her work. I wasnÕt familiar with PaulÕs art before reading her book but was moved by her thoughtful reflections on painting and life. – Ruby



Well, among the stacks of books living on my floor it seems IÕve stumbled upon one that is right up my alley: The Promise by Damon Galgut (Europa). (Why have I not read this man before now?!) Floating timelessly through the story is the omniscient narrator, detached, tender, mysterious. There is an emotional, deeply felt family drama spanning thirty years, and a post-apartheid South Africa in all its complexity. Oh, and thereÕs a ghost, too! I always begin reading in my head, but at some point I noticed that IÕm reading this one out loud – itÕs just that kind of book, needing to be spoken and sentences and paragraphs reread simply for their beauty. At the moment IÕm very happy to come home at the end of the day and read aloud to myself! – Joyce



~ Staff Favorites Now in Paperback ~



Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar (Back Bay)

Parakeet by Marie-Helene Bertino (Picador)

Love by Roddy Doyle (Penguin)

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell (Random House)

Hamnet by Maggie OÕFarrell (Vintage)

The Glass Kingdom by Lawrence Osborne (Hogarth)

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House)

Summer by Ali Smith (Anchor)

Turbulence by David Szalay (Scribner)

On Earth WeÕre Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin)

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



Eat the Buddha by Barbara Demick (Random House)

Funny Weather by Olivia Laing (W.W. Norton)

Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey (Ecco)


~ Signed Editions ~



Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor (Riverhead)

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (Celadon)

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker (Harper)

The Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead (Knopf)

Yes & No by Elisha Cooper (Roaring Brook)

The Margot Affair by Sana Lemoine (Hogarth) 

The Answers by Catherine Lacey (Picador)

Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey (FSG Originals)



WhatÕs Good? by Peter Hoffman (Abrams)

Let the Record Show by Sarah Schulman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (Dutton)

The Wreckage of My Presence by Casey Wilson (Harper)

Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton (Crown)

Everybody by Olivia Laing (W.W. Norton)

The Optimist by David Coggins (Scribner)

Marvelous Manhattan by Reggie Nadelson (Artisan)

A Little Devil in America by Hanif Abdurraqib (Random House)

How We Live Now by Bill Hayes (Bloomsbury)

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Vintage)

M Train by Patti Smith (Vintage)



~ The Three Lives & Company Bestseller List ~ 


1. Hamnet by Maggie OÕFarrell (Vintage)

2. Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Knopf)

3. Let the Record Show by Sarah Schulman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

4. Marvelous Manhattan by Reggie Nadelson (Artisan)

5. Mayflies by Andrew OÕHagan (McClelland & Stewart)

6. The Margot Affair by Sana‘ Lemoine (Hogarth)

7. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (Atria)

8. World Travel by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever (Ecco)

9. Just Kids by Patti Smith (Ecco)

10. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine)

11. Second Place by Rachel Cusk (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)