Greetings from Three Lives & Company!


We sound like a broken record after last autumnÕs bumper crop of big new books, but itÕs unavoidable: this season is just as impressive, if not more so. Forget inflation, current events, supply chains (well, not entirely. See below) – readers, at least, should have an incredible couple of months leading up to the holidays. Every week into December, weÕll see at least one major new release, and more often two or three – including the latest Booker Prize winner, Shehan KarunatilakaÕs Seven Moons of Maali Almeida (W.W. Norton). And itÕs not just new books: Annie ErnauxÕs selection as the 2022 Nobel Laureate in Literature has spurred a wave of interest in her many novels and memoirs, especially The Years, Happening, Simple Passion, and the latest to be published in English, Getting Lost.


With the cascade of books comes more author visits. We have recently been graced by the likes of Maggie OÕFarrell, Maira Kalman, Kevin Chen, Melissa Clark, Graeme MacRae Burnet, Joanna Quinn, Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, who left piles of signed editions in their wakes. See below for our full list of signed books, and expect more as we head into November and December.


Though it remains to be seen how disruptive the now-familiar supply chain and production issues will be this year, it is always prudent to order early as the holidays approach. Let us know what you need for gifts – or for yourself! – and weÕll get them to you. One in particular you might want to take a look at sooner rather than later: An Almanac of New York City for the Year 2023, a lovely little planner and guide in the FarmersÕ Almanac style, published by Abbeville Press and (for a limited time) customized with the Three Lives name across the cover. Also, it is never too early to preorder a book: we are already taking requests for titles coming out in 2023. In the meantime, enjoy autumnÕs bounty!



~ Recent Staff Favorites ~


Maira KalmanÕs new book, Women Holding Things (Harper Design), is a treasure – filled with beauty and what I think of as ŅMaira Kalman wisdom and wit.Ó To me, it is a book about the strength, complexity, and beauty that all women hold inside. YouÕll find a painting of a woman holding a pink ukulele under a giant cherry tree. YouÕll find a glamorous woman holding a can of worms. YouÕll find stories that take your breath away, and a pair of eyebrows that youÕll never forget. YouÕll find many women (some men) and Maira herself throughout this book. Potatoes too. It is both pleasurable and empowering to hold such an honest and hopeful book about Ņholding onÓ in oneÕs hands.


ƒdouard LouisÕs A WomanÕs Battles and Transformations (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, translated by Tash Aw) is about his mother, who holds on until she decides it is time to claim her freedom, and is told by her gay son, who has endured and sought his own freedom. This is a harrowing story of a womanÕs liberation. It is also a story about letting go, with a cameo appearance by Catherine Deneuve.


IÕll be writing my Cookbook Corner column for our holiday newsletter, but you should know now that so many new and exciting cookbooks are already on the shelves. Two of note are Melissa ClarkÕs Dinner in One: Exceptional & Easy One-Pan Meals (Clarkson Potter) – talk about the right cookbook at the right time! – and Via Carota: A Celebration of Seasonal Cooking from the Beloved Greenwich Village Restaurant (Knopf). Jody Williams and Rita Sodi have created exactly that, a celebration and ode to seasonal Italian cooking, and it all begins with their origin story – a love story. – Troy



The theme of my book picks this season is that Ryan gives great recommendations. After Angie Cruz came into the shop to sign her new novel, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water, Ryan mentioned that he liked her previous book Dominicana (Flatiron). This story follows Ana, a young girl from the Dominican Republic, as she is made to marry a man many years her senior and move to New York City. From then on, Ana is isolated. She does not speak any English or have any confidants aside from her husbandÕs younger brother. CruzÕs writing perfectly captures AnaÕs resilience and stubbornness, making a quick read out of a heavy subject.


Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata (Vintage, translated by Edward G. Seidensticker) is set in a cold western mountain region of Japan, in a village where wealthy men often travel to visit the hot spring geisha. One of these men, Shimamura, begins a melancholy romance with the unpredictable and flighty Komako, making for an uncommon geisha-client relationship – and a nuanced friendship. KawabataÕs writing reads almost like poetry: indeed, it is inspired by the nature of the haiku. The simplicity of the plot and originality of the prose make this one a joy to read. – Mia



As usual, there are piles of books lying around every room of this apartment. What a tripping hazard! I should be careful maybe make neater piles. These books get fondled and shuffled regularly, five pages read here and ten pages there. Sometimes I even go deeper say, twenty-five or fifty pages, ever hopeful for that perfect book to fit the moment. And the moment at this moment is, for me, one of sleepless nights (sigh). Then that undefinable thing happens (or maybe Mercury simply slips out of retrograde), and there it is in the pile, right under my nose all this time: The Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner (New York Review Books). And so here I am, deep into this imaginary history of a fourteenth-century convent, its inhabitants, and the villagers, and the English fens. Yes indeed, nuns! This is a world run by women, of overlapping stories, of plagues, and missing persons, and people who are not what they appear to be. But most of all it is a study of the ebb and flow of time, with a touch of high comedy for good measure. I really donÕt want this one to end!Joyce



My first Three Lives newsletter entry – the excitement is hard to contain. Since joining the staff, my reading list has grown exponentially. The books have overflowed from my bookshelf onto my windowsill. What a wonderful problem to have!


September began with a bang with Cookie MuellerÕs Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool

Painted Black. I love nearly anything put out by Semiotext(e), and CookieÕs passionate account

of her outrageous life has become their number-one book for me. What would happen if you said yes to everything? If you never had a plan and let life unfold without force? These are the questions Cookie answers. She resists shame and fear, never taking herself too seriously. Through immense tragedy, there is a humor and honesty that is remarkably refreshing. She crosses paths with many legends – including John Waters, who described her as Ņa witch doctor, an art-hag, and above all, a goddess.Ó I couldnÕt agree more.


My most recent read was A History of Present Illness by Anna DeForest (Little, Brown), a tiny yet alarming novel about a student doctor working in a hospital. DeForest herself is a neurologist and physician. Even though this book is fiction, itÕs hard not to think about what the author may have pulled from her own experiences. DeForest offers a critical view of the power dynamics in patient/doctor relationships. There are doctors, like our narrator, who genuinely wish to provide comfort and answers to their patients, and there are others who maintain a god complex, who view their patients as less than and stupid, as if illness is a choice. But as DeForest bluntly states, Ņwe are all patients eventually.Ó – Sarah



I am on a bit of a tear! Unfortunately, some of my recent reads are no longer in print in the U.S. (scour used bookshops for Maggie OÕFarrellÕs The Distance Between Us and Iris MurdochÕs An Unofficial Rose), but thatÕs no fun, so letÕs stick to what you can get your hands on now. The best new release IÕve come across is Andrew MillerÕs The SlowwormÕs Song (Europa), the story of a recovering alcoholic and British former soldier writing a letter to his estranged daughter in an attempt to explain his life and decisions, forever tainted by an atrocity committed during his military service in Troubles-era Belfast. The prose, while deceptively simple, is stunning, and the narrative not only shares a perspective we rarely encounter in fiction but also inhabits a characterÕs consciousness with great specificity and emotional heft.


IÕm enjoying working my way through some overlooked (by me, that is) older fiction, and I can heartily recommend Elizabeth von ArnimÕs The Enchanted April for a post-WWI trip with four eccentric and lovable women to an Italian villa for one transformative month. And if youÕre craving the hard-to-perfect but deeply-satisfying-when-perfected art form of linked short stories, look no further than house favorite Andrea Barrett. Her Servants of the Map (W.W. Norton), a roving collection of stories about scientists and naturalists, is an excellent place to start – fascinating, moving, and impeccably crafted. – Miriam



IÕve never visited the English countryside nor felt especially drawn to it. A bookish childhood gave me an odd perspective on the place – it was all Baskerville moors and hobbitsÕ shires, neither one my cup of tea (so to speak). But this summer my reading brought me often to this landscape, with stories of people who find in the country something wholly unexpected. J. L. CarrÕs A Month in the Country (New York Review Books) is a perfect example, a tale of a traumatized veteran called to a small town to restore a medieval churchÕs mural. Here he spends a summer at idyllic work, not so much repairing his maimed soul as learning to see and live with it in peace.


But then, the overripe green of summer isnÕt always a balm for the spirit. In Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead (Dorothy), Barbara Comyns shows an English hamlet gripped by a plague of suicidal madness. Combining the countrified grotesquerie of Roald Dahl with the simmering public violence of Shirley Jackson, Comyns crafts a witch-trial parable that never moralizes and hardly even cautions. Her charmed eye swoops and swoons over a village rotten with envy.


In Melville (New York Review Books, translated by Paul Eprile), Jean Giono imagines the titular Herman on a two-week sojourn in the English countryside: disguised as a sailor, heÕs poised to start writing his great American novel. A mini-KŸnstlerroman about an artist learning to transform experience into words, Melville is sumptuous and satisfying. And speaking of art, nobody writes about art and landscape better than Christopher Neve. Unquiet Landscape, his study of ideas and technique in twentieth-century British painting, is fantastic: forceful, poetic, and relentless in its search for truth in the material of paint. This is my favorite kind of art writing. – Lucas



My lordy, the good books just keep on rolling! Is it me finally emerging from my pandemic slump, or am I just finding the right books (glorious serendipity)? Regardless, 2022 continues to be a banner year for thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining, and pleasurable reads.  


A battle of wits between client and therapist, Graeme MacRae BurnetÕs Booker-longlisted novel Case Study (Biblioasis) is a smart, satisfying psychological thriller featuring a wildly uncouth therapist and his mysterious new patient. Set in LondonÕs swinging Ō60s, BurnetÕs great, twisty tale of intrigue tackles the constraints of convention, our sense of self in the family and in the world, and the very nature of storytelling itself. Sharply observed, great fun, with just the right amount of unease and uncertainty.


When I finished her latest novel, Dinosaurs (W.W. Norton), I wanted to scribble off a postcard to Lydia Millet simply to say ŅThank you.Ó In this near-fable of a man trying to do good and live right in an Arizona desert suburb after a tough breakup, Millet has taken up a gentler, life-affirming tone than her previous work to depict these unsettled times of social upheaval and environmental degradation. So satisfying to close a book and have just a wee bit of hope. Thank you, Lydia.


I love these peculiar little books that have a hybrid nature to them, a bit of memoir, a bit of reflection and pondering, a bit of insight into a particular world and one personÕs experience in it, and Timothy Baker has written an excellent example with Reading My Mother Back (Goldsmiths). Following his motherÕs death, Baker addresses his grief by revealing her life and difficulties through a rereading of his favorite books from childhood.


Among my recent reads are a few that have been reviewed elsewhere in a Three Lives newsletter, but I wanted to add my own appreciation, too: for The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw (West Virginia University Press), The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas (Peter Owen, translated by Elizabeth Rokkan), and Andrew MillerÕs The SlowwormÕs Song.Toby



After the hard beauty of All the Pretty Horses and the philosophical dusk of The Road, Cormac McCarthyÕs latest novels from Knopf almost seem like a great literary jape – the last escapade in a writing career as distinguished as any living AmericanÕs. There are wisecracking hallucinations, buried treasure, a mysterious plane crash and shadowy federal agents. And math. Lots of math. Years after the death of his beloved sister, salvage diver Bobby Western tries to stay one step ahead of an apparent conspiracy that might have nothing at all to do with him. ThatÕs The Passenger, on sale now. Stella Maris, available December 6, provides (some of) the backstory: the sister, Alicia, courts boredom and despair in a psychiatric ward, watching her visions do vaudeville and explaining higher mathematics to her shrink. The tragedy of the brilliant Western siblings is strange and shaggy, and instantly compelling – nothing this year has absorbed me more.


IÕve also recently finished Getting Lost (Seven Stories, translated by Alison L. Strayer) by our latest Nobel laureate, Annie Ernaux, and though itÕs probably not the best first book to read from her – itÕs a diary chronicling an affair with a younger man in the late 1980s, the raw material for the novella Simple Passion – it made me want to read more. Even her informal writing is sharp, and the book is dark and claustrophobic, describing a life paralyzed by all-encompassing desire.


On a lighter note, I read the delightful Where the Indus Is Young by Dervla Murphy, the Irish grande dame of travel writing, who passed away in May. DonÕt look for it at Three Lives – it is, alas, not currently in print – but next time you stop by your local secondhand shop, check for her name. – Ryan



~ Staff Favorites Now in Paperback ~



Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen (Picador)

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura (Riverhead)

The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Penguin, translated by Martin Aitken)

Crazy Sorrow by Vince Passaro (Simon & Schuster)

Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart (Random House)

Wayward by Dana Spiotta (Vintage)

Harrow by Joy Williams (Vintage)

Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket by Hilma Wolitzer (Bloomsbury)



Why DidnÕt You Just Do What You Were Told? by Jenny Diski (Bloomsbury)

Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe (Anchor)

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett (Harper)

Fuzz by Mary Roach (W.W. Norton)

Concepcion by Albert Samaha (Riverhead)



~ Signed Editions ~



Case Study by Graeme MacRae Burnet (Biblioasis)

Ghost Town by Kevin Chen, translated by Darryl Sterk (Europa)

Wind, Trees by John Freeman (Copper Canyon)

The Unfolding by A.M. Homes (Viking)

Atonement by Ian McEwan (Anchor)

The Children Act by Ian McEwan (Anchor)

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan (Anchor)

Lessons by Ian McEwan (Knopf)

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Anchor)

Saturday by Ian McEwan (Anchor)

Total by Rebecca Miller (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet (W.W. Norton)

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)

Hamnet by Maggie OÕFarrell (Vintage)

The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie OÕFarrell (Mariner)

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie OÕFarrell (Vintage)

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie OÕFarrell (Knopf)

This Must Be the Place by Maggie OÕFarrell (Vintage)

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie OÕFarrell (Mariner)

The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn (Knopf)

Liberation Day by George Saunders (Random House)

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro (Knopf)

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Penguin)

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Viking)

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Penguin)

Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm by Laura Warrell (Pantheon)



Dinner in One by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)

Delectable by Claudia Fleming (Random House)

Women Holding Things by Maira Kalman (Harper Design)

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe (Anchor)

The Snakehead by Patrick Radden Keefe (Anchor)

Feral City by Jeremiah Moss (W.W. Norton)

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie OÕFarrell (Vintage)

Via Carota by Jody Williams and Rita Sodi (Knopf)



~ The Three Lives & Company Bestseller List ~


1. The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt (New Directions)

2. Women Holding Things by Maira Kalman (Harper Design)

3. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf)

4. Lessons by Ian McEwan (Knopf)

(tie) 5. Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)

(tie) 5. Dinner in One by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)

7. IÕm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster)

8. Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine)

9. Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer (Little, Brown)

(tie) 10. The Marriage Portrait by Maggie OÕFarrell (Knopf)

(tie) 10. Secrets of Happiness by Joan Silber (Counterpoint)


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 



A reminder that we specialize in special orders. In our small shop itÕs always a challenge to find room for all the new, notable, and exciting books; if youÕd like a book that we donÕt have on hand, we are always happy to order it for you. We place orders almost daily and the usual turnaround time for a special order is one or two business days. For some books it may take longer, but weÕll be sure to discuss the particulars with you before we place an order. Additionally, we can ship books to you anywhere within the United States. Give us a call, send us an email, or stop in any time.



We are happy to take preorders for forthcoming titles, and we will let you know as soon as the book arrives. We are all too familiar with the fervid desire to possess a new book at the first possible moment, and we will do everything in our power to make sure the book lands in your hands hot off the presses.



We offer gift certificates, which you may purchase in any amount.  



Three Lives & Company, Booksellers

154 W. 10th St.

New York  NY 10014