Greetings from Three Lives & Company!


WeÕve come around again: to cold days, long nights, and evenings (or mornings) with a hot drink and a good book. As the last leaves fall in the Village, weÕre reminded that this is our first holiday season on the corner of West 10th and Waverly since 2019 – a different time in a very different world. But we hope that when you walk into the bookshop this December, it feels as it did in years past: like a warm refuge for readers.


WeÕre reprising two of our holiday traditions for this edition of the newsletter: our annual staff roundups, in which we revisit our favorite books of the year (and, of course, mention any great recent reads as well), and TroyÕs venerable Cookbook Corner. Given the huge number of acclaimed cookbooks that have been published the past few months, whittling the latter down to a manageable size was a task – there is something for everyone this year, from such food luminaries as Melissa Clark, Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, Claire Saffitz, and Deb Perelman. Read on for everything you – or perhaps your lucky gift recipients – need for a very delicious 2023.


And since weÕre now down to the last few weeks of gift-finding, a couple more suggestions for those still on the search. First, as weÕve mentioned before, this year we introduced journals to the bookshop, and we have since expanded our selection to several brands – Midori, Baronfig, Alibabette, and Positional – in a number of layouts (blank, lined, and grid), formats, and sizes. We also have a nice selection of signed editions, including many of the aforementioned cookbooks as well as new books from Patti Smith (A Book of Days), Maira Kalman (Women Holding Things), Susan Kaufman (Walk with Me: New York), Lynn Steger Strong (Flight), Jennifer Homans (Mr. B), and Se‡n Hewitt (All Down Darkness Wide).


Of course, if your gift recipient just wants a great book, youÕll find twelve monthsÕ worth of them in our roundups below. Happy holidays, and happy reading!



~ Recent Staff Favorites ~


2022 was one of my richest reading years, with so many entertaining, engaging reads that it is hard to sift the list down to a favorite or two. Novels on an epic scale such as Halld—r LaxnessÕs Salka Valka (Archipelago, translated by Philip Roughton) or Lessons by Ian McEwan (Knopf); intense, focused narratives like Katie KitamuraÕs Intimacies (Riverhead), The All of It by Jeannette Haien (Harper), and the Booker-nominated Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet (Biblioasis); the family dramas of Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet (W.W. Norton) or Kevin ChenÕs Ghost Town (Europa); the plain-spoken whimsy of Benjamin MyersÕs The Perfect Golden Circle (Melville House); the sheer rip-roaring-ness of Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (Knopf): it was a year in which I was often eager to return to my reading – on the subway, after dinner and the dishes, on transcontinental flights, or even during those frustrating hours in the middle of the night when I couldnÕt get back to sleep. Maybe there wasnÕt the one book that left me sideways on the floor or ecstatic at GaiaÕs grand complexity – how often are we granted that glory? – but for the great joy of reading, for celebrating an authorÕs creation and storytelling, for reflecting on the self through the occasion of a book and its characters, 2022 was bountiful and rewarding.Toby



IÕve spent much of this year drawn to books that explore the relationship between reader and writer, and to that end, I was captivated by Benjamin LabatutÕs chilling When We Cease to Understand the World (New York Review Books, translated by Adrian Nathan West), a spellbinding demi-fictional tale of madness and obsession that will linger in the darker corners of your brain long after you put it down. Daphne Palasi AndreadesÕs Brown Girls (Random House) was another slim stunner, giving fierce voice to a chorus of marginalized New Yorkers.


On the backlist front, nothing I read this year stuck with me quite like Ken KeseyÕs Sometimes a Great Notion (Penguin), one of the boldest, bravest pieces of writing IÕve ever read. And after a season of dour, weighty reads, the witty prose and charmingly off-kilter characters of Lorrie MooreÕs Like Life (Vintage) proved the perfect antidote.


These days, I find myself drifting more and more towards the fantastical. Simon JimenezÕs The Vanished Birds (Del Rey) was a recent obsession – an imaginative, brutally emotional science-fiction parable reminiscent of Le Guin. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (Orbit) employed a unique narrative voice to bring new life to its Shakespearean trappings, turning a familiar tale of familial conflict into a wickedly clever story of warring gods and political maneuvering, with one of the most satisfying endings I read this year.


And though I rarely read memoirs, I would be remiss not to mention Michelle ZaunerÕs Crying in H Mart (Knopf), a wounding, penetrating ode to motherhood that cut me to the bone. ItÕll make you cry, call your mom, and want to eat something, and arenÕt those the most important things? Nick



I never used to read year-end lists, and now I write one. IsnÕt life funny? Here are my favorite reads from the past year. The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas (Peter Owen Publishers, translated by Elizabeth Rokkan) is short and dazzling. In VesaasÕs story, two girls become fast friends in a small Norwegian village – they share an unspoken secret that will become the novelÕs frozen heart. When one girl mysteriously vanishes, the other is left alone to wait out the winter as her grief hardens and transforms. The icy setting and crystalline prose reminded me of Hanne ÆrstavikÕs Love (Archipelago, translated by Martin Aitken), another magnificent novel from Norway. Love is a dark dream, drawing its characters deep into a nightscape of endless snowdrifts and seedy carnivals. 


Though I rarely re-read books, I recently returned to Philip RothÕs The Ghost Writer (Vintage). Beneath the charms of the main plot – a young author overnights at his heroÕs cabin, eavesdropping his way into a good story – I found a more tender book, reflecting on the demands and consolations of an artistÕs life. And another of my favorites this year, Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me by Javier Mar’as (Vintage, translated by Margaret Jull Costa), also begins with a night in an unknown house. Victor is about to sleep with a married woman when she suddenly dies in his arms. He flees, but he cannot escape: in this seductive thriller, the living are bound to the dead in ways they cannot foresee. 


I loved Belladonna by Daša Drndić (New Directions, translated by Celia Hawkesworth) and Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald (Modern Library, translated by Anthea Bell), two novels that obsessively exhume the past. Drndić and Sebald sort through photographs and stories from the Second World War, searching for meaning in its legacies of violence; their books are tragic, cerebral, and unexpectedly humane. 


Finally, for purely pleasurable reads, itÕs hard to beat Shirley HazzardÕs The Transit of Venus (Penguin), J. L. CarrÕs A Month in the Country (New York Review Books), and Marilynne RobinsonÕs Housekeeping (Picador). Perfect for the days when you donÕt want to leave the house. – Lucas



As the year comes to a close, IÕve had the chance to reflect on how much has changed. I started the year as a senior in high school and ended the year at our bookshop corner. Cool, right?


But a constant of this year has been good books. Recitatif (Knopf), Toni MorrisonÕs only short story, sets up an experiment with the reader as the test subject. An examination of racial bias coupled with MorrisonÕs evocative style makes for an intense and stimulating read. 

Gabriel Garc’a M‡rquezÕs Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Vintage, translated by Gregory Rabassa) dials down the magical realism in its tale of murder and scandal in a small Colombian town. As the novel moves between a humorous mockery of journalistic tone and an emotional portrayal of family honor and tradition, I found myself surprised at how modern and relevant it felt. 

I was delighted by Meg HowreyÕs TheyÕre Going to Love You (Doubleday) – an historical novel about ballet, love, and family. As a former dancer, I can be overly critical of dance writing. But Howrey nails it. Not only is the plot rich and substantive but Howrey uses dance to explore the complexity of family relationships and artistic expression. The book will engage dancers and non-dancers alike. 


I joined the already enormous club of readers obsessed with Amor TowlesÕs A Gentleman in Moscow (Penguin). I can only describe this book as reading therapy. Methodical but never slow, it pulls the reader into the layered world of the Metropol Hotel and its colorful characters toward an unexpected and thrilling finale. – Mia



The banner headline of my reading year should be: ŅShort and Sharp.Ó I will resurrect my call for everyone to read two New Directions novels: Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au and The English Understand Wool by Helen DeWitt. Extremely different in tone and style but both brilliant, fun, and thought-provoking.


Ok, ok, youÕve read those and now you want something a little longer, to help you drown out family during the holidays or keep you company on a long flight? I had the great fortune of picking up three older (and often overlooked) books this year and I am far the better for it: There Is Confusion by Jessie Redmon Fauset (Modern Library) – think Harlem Renaissance-era Laurie Colwin with substantial social commentary; Apartment in Athens by Glenway Wescott (New York Review Books) – a riveting exploration of the moral quandary faced by a Greek partisan housing a Nazi officer in occupied Athens; and The Watch that Ends the Night by Hugh MacLennan (McGill-QueenÕs University Press) – a Canadian classic that gets far too little airplay in our southern climes. – Miriam



I spent the first seven months of the year preparing for my trip to the English countryside in August, reading up on the great gardens weÕd be visiting and learning more about the Bloomsbury Group and their time period. The book that brought me the most pleasure was Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West and the Creation of a Garden by Sackville-West and Sarah Raven. Not new but exactly the kind of preparation I needed for visiting Sissinghurst. Another oldie that gave me hours and hours of pleasure and great insight was Charleston: A Bloomsbury House and Garden by Quentin Bell and Virginia Nicholson. I suppose the subject of home is what most interested me this year, and these authors were thinking deeply about their homes and willing to be daring in the way they lived.


A book arrived in the U.S. this year that I had been waiting on for what felt like a long, long time: What Artists Wear by Charlie Porter (W.W. Norton). It is about the language of clothes and the way in which artists use fashion to define their lives and their work – Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, David Hockney, Louise Bourgeois, Georgia OÕKeeffe, Nicole Eisenman, Tabboo!, and many more. An exploration in ways we donÕt expect. Fab! Lastly, the next time you are in the shop and see Patti SmithÕs A Book of Days (Random House), which is based on her Instagram posts, I encourage you to read its opening, titled ŅHello EverybodyÓ – itÕs an arrow in the heart. A gift. Troy



The beginning of the year seems so long ago that I had completely forgotten that my very first book of 2022 was also one of my favorites: Albert SamahaÕs Concepcion (Riverhead). Now in snazzy paperback packaging, SamahaÕs memoir of family and migration nails a rare balance between the personal and historical – and combined with another of my recent favorites, Jessica HagedornÕs Dogeaters (Penguin), a reader will get quite a panorama of the contemporary Filipino experience.


I also found Cormac McCarthyÕs Passenger and Stella Maris (Knopf), conjoined novels telling the story of the Western siblings – heirs to both scientific genius and historical atrocity – irresistible and weird. Whether theyÕre an appropriate capstone to a tremendous career, or a sly statement by an author who couldnÕt care less about things like career capstones, I donÕt know. But I couldnÕt put them down.


And as usual, some of my favorite reads were the ones that took me elsewhere: to Pakistan (Dervla MurphyÕs Where the Indus Is Young), the United Kingdom (Paul TherouxÕs Kingdom by the Sea, Mariner) and Hong Kong (Lawrence OsborneÕs new novel On Java Road, Hogarth). IÕm also in the midst of a jaunt to the imaginary Ottoman island of Mingheria in Orhan PamukÕs latest novel, Nights of Plague (Knopf, translated by Ekin Oklap), a rich and absorbing historical epic in the classic tradition. – Ryan



Nonfiction seemed to top the charts for me this year. Favorites include In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf) – I intentionally took my time with this book and did not want it to end; How to Survive a Plague by David France (Vintage) – I read this in January and still think about it constantly; and Motherhood by Sheila Heti (Picador) – as a huge Heti fan, I view this as her best. All of these were major standouts and have been heavily underlined and dogeared with love. 


And of course, I need to spotlight Melissa ClarkÕs Dinner in One (Clarkson Potter). I have never used a cookbook before – I am one of those people who haphazardly skims an online recipe and hopes for the best. MelissaÕs cookbook has been a major game-changer for me. I cook a recipe from it almost once a week (which is a lot for me), and it is always a success. Her recipes are so approachable and affordable. I have a newfound relationship to cooking, and I owe it all to Melissa! – Sarah



I fear that IÕm the only person here unable to recreate her year of reading! My brain simply cannot retrieve a yearÕs worth of books. Yes, sad, but true and normal, I hope, for anyone lucky enough to have been reading since – well, for a really long time! But never fear because you will take great satisfaction in what each of my amazingly well-read young colleagues (with great memories) has contributed to this Holiday Newsletter – guaranteed to satisfy those year-end list cravings!


But as my hand brushes along these living room shelves, there are many books that I was so pleased to have reread this year. Mary KarrÕs LiarsÕ Club (Penguin), her memoir of growing up in a Texas oil town, is still just as fierce and hilarious and brilliant as it was when first published in 1995. I fell in love with New York City all over again after a rereading of Maeve BrennanÕs The Long-Winded Lady: Notes from The New Yorker (Counterpoint), her snapshots of life in what she called Ņthe most human of cities.Ó And the death of Barbara Ehrenreich in September sent me right back to reading/rereading Natural Causes (Twelve) and Nickel and Dimed (Picador). Her writing calls out and blows up so many of our American mythologies – a woman after my own heart!  


I have a growing pile of to-be-reads which IÕll save for another newsletter. But there is one more thing you might want to know aboutÉ Jacques PˇpinÕs Art of the Chicken: A Master Chef's Paintings, Stories, and Recipes of the Humble Bird (Harvest)! I know this man can cook, but who knew he could paint?! Chickens!! Colorful, painted poultry! I love this book, and you really must come by the shop and have a look for yourself. This one is on my gifting list for sure!


I wish all of you, wherever you are, the merriest of holidays doing whatever puts a smile on your face! Joyce



~ TroyÕs Cookbook Corner ~


We have been fortunate here at Three Lives to have so many of our favorite cooks (plus a culinary legend!) visit the shop in 2022. The spring brought Rick Martinez, author of Mi Cocina (Clarkson Potter), and Andy Baraghani, author of The Cook You Want to Be (Lorena Jones). This summer Alice Waters stopped by and signed her latest book, We Are What We Eat (Penguin). Melissa Clark has paid us multiple visits this fall, a sign of the popularity of Dinner in One. Our neighbors Jody Williams and Rita Sodi have kindly taken time from their busy schedules to sign mountains of Via Carota (Knopf). And how happy I was to meet Claudia Fleming as she signed her long-awaited Delectable: Sweet & Savory Baking (Random House). 


Recently Deb Perelman came by to sign her book Smitten Kitchen Keepers (Knopf), telling us that this new one, her third, is her favorite. Five minutes into our conversation, I was already convinced of a recipe and committed it to memory – itÕs the Green Angel Hair with Garlic Butter on the cover. It was DebÕs conviction of its simplicity and its original technique that did it. Roast a head of garlic with a stick of butter. Uh-huh. A five-ounce package of baby spinach, pasta, and red chili flakes, finished with Pecorino. A delicious dinner in no time, and anyone who has ever roasted a head of garlic knows it is well worth the effort.


It is this kind of ingenuity that we have come to expect from cooks like Deb, Melissa Clark, and Ina Garten. MelissaÕs newest cookbook, Dinner in One, is brilliantly built around the concept of delivering delicious food with minimal fuss and fewer dishes to wash. Garten, on 60 Minutes for her thirteenth cookbook Go-To Dinners (Clarkson Potter), talked about her process for getting recipes right, and having to make something ten or even twenty-five times to get it exact. Her goal: ŅI just want you to feel like IÕm right there beside you, just kind of guiding you through the recipe.Ó She succeeds – and Garten knows what it takes to make a good dish delicious. In DebÕs introduction she writes, ŅI hope you know I have tested and tested each recipe, and, in every place I could, removed every single hurdle possible.Ó Each of these cookbooks is a testament to how much these cooks care about our experience in the kitchen, making a successful meal worthy of repeating for ourselves, our friends, and our families


I consider the cookbooks by Melissa, Garten, and Deb ŅweekdayÓ cookbooks, essential for our everyday lives. But there is another type of cookbook that offers a different kind of experience – the cookbook that takes us on a journey and introduces us to new flavors, new cultures, places, and people. Here are three IÕd like to highlight and share with you.


I did not know the name Sally Schmitt when I first picked up Six California Kitchens (Chronicle). Schmitt is probably best known for being the founder of the restaurant The French Laundry in Yountville, California. She had my attention from her opening paragraph: ŅWe all have a ladder to climb, and then descend. We first learn, then achieve, and finally share what our lives have been all about. My ladder was made up of six kitchens, all of them in California.Ó I will devour this cookbook and have already marked many recipes. This book is a very moving portrait about a way of life devoted to food, family, and teaching. 


Tanya Holland is another name I wasnÕt aware of until I received an early copy of California Soul (Ten Speed). Well, now I am, and IÕm already enjoying the extraordinary journey she takes us on. And itÕs not just HollandÕs story. As Alice Walker says in the introduction, the book includes Ņthe stories of incredible gutsy, resourceful, intrepid, Black people who not only came West to California from the South to begin new lives, but continued living lives of bravery, will, creativity, and inspiration for generations.Ó The photographs in this book capture the spirit and grandeur of the California I know along the northern coast and Bay Area. HollandÕs recipes and the profiles throughout are a revelation. 


And finally, Hannah CheÕs Vegan Chinese Kitchen (Clarkson Potter). To write this book, Che literally moved to China and graduated from the only plant-based culinary school in the entire country. Through travel, observation, and schooling, Che has created something utterly original – a vegan Chinese cookbook centered around everyday dishes using Chinese seasonings. Often when I am in the kitchen, I listen to my favorite radio food shows – Good Food on KCRW, RuthieÕs Table 4 from River Cafe in London, and The Splendid Table. The host of The Splendid Table, Francis Lam, recently had a not-to-be missed conversation with Hannah Che – itÕs Episode 767 on


I look forward to seeing you at the bookshop, where our cookbook shelves are chock-full, and each book is waiting for your consideration and the right home. I wish you all a healthy and happy holiday, and may there be much joy in your kitchens.



~ Signed Editions ~



Wind, Trees by John Freeman (Copper Canyon)

The Unfolding by A.M. Homes (Viking)

Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette (Picador)

The Children Act by Ian McEwan (Anchor)

Lessons by Ian McEwan (Knopf)

Total by Rebecca Miller (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)

Hamnet by Maggie OÕFarrell (Vintage)

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

This Must Be the Place by Maggie OÕFarrell (Vintage)

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman Books)

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)



My Pinup by Hilton Als (New Directions)

Dinner in One by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)

Transformer by Simon Doonan (HarperOne)

Delectable by Claudia Fleming (Random House)

All Down Darkness Wide by Se‡n Hewitt (Penguin Press)

Mr. B by Jennifer Homans (Random House)

Women Holding Things by Maira Kalman (Harper Design)

My Body by Emily Ratajkowski (Metropolitan)

Walk with Me: New York by Susan Kaufman (Abrams Image)

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

Smitten Kitchen Keepers by Deb Perelman (Knopf)

A Book of Days by Patti Smith (Random House)

M Train by Patti Smith (Vintage)

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith (Vintage)

Via Carota by Jody Williams, Rita Sodi and Anna Kovel (Knopf)



~ The Three Lives & Company Bestseller List ~


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

2. A Book of Days by Patti Smith (Random House)

3. Walk with Me: New York by Susan Kaufman (Abrams Image)

4. Dinner in One by Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter)

5. Via Carota by Jody Williams, Rita Sodi and Anna Kovel (Knopf)

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

7. Liberation Day by George Saunders (Random House)

8. Intimacies by Katie Kitamura (Riverhead)

(tie) 9. The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy (Knopf)

(tie) 9. My Pinup by Hilton Als (New Directions)


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 



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