Girl In Glass: Dispatches From The Edge Of Life by Deanna Fei. (Bloomsbury) When Fei’s second child, Mila, was born nearly four months early, she weighed 1pound, 9ounces and was at risk for a litany of terrifying outcomes. She prevailed after months in the hospital and later thrived at home. In this memoir, Fei recounts the vulnerability of loving a child whose life was so precarious. As she puts it, her daughter’s health once caused her to wonder, “Did I deliver a child or lose one?”
Avenue Of Mysteries by John Irving. (Simon & Schuster) Raised in a garbage dump in Mexico, Juan Diego Guerrero was a prodigy who taught himself to read; years later, he is a creative writing professor at the University of Iowa with international literary star status. Irving tells the story of his transformation in this unfailingly optimistic novel, the author’s 14th, in a tale that leaps across the globe.
The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life Of Indra Devi, The Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga To The West by Michelle Goldberg. (Vintage) In Goldberg’s telling, Devi (1899-2002) was an “esoteric female Forrest Gump” whose life intersected with some of the 20th century’s most interesting episodes. The yogini, born into an aristocratic family in Latvia, persuaded India’s leading gurus to train her, earned a spot on J. Edgar Hoover’s watch list and is credited with a share of spreading the yoga craze on these shores.
I Take You by Eliza Kennedy. (Broadway) Although her wedding looms, Lily – a lawyer in Manhattan and a “free spirit” by her mother’s admission – copes with her cold feet by frantically bed-hopping, going so far as to proposition her fiancé’s friends (and sleeping with one of them). Kennedy’s debut novel is a joyful exploration of a young woman pursuing, without apology, what she wants.
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There Is Simply Too Much To Think About: Collected Nonfiction by Saul Bellow. Edited by Benjamin Taylor. (Penguin) This collection of more than 50 pieces, first released on the centenary of the author’s birth, showcases Bellow’s literary ambidexterity; while best known for his novels, he was also an accomplished critic and lecturer, and some of his greatest attributes – not least “a dynamic responsiveness to character, place and time” – are on display here, Martin Amis wrote in The Times.
The Clasp by Sloane Crosley. (Picador) Victor reunites with his college friends at a classmate’s wedding to find that their dynamic remains largely unchanged. But when the story of a mysterious necklace, lost in the Nazi era, captures his interest, he sets off to Europe to investigate, unleashing a plot that reviewer Julia Pierpont called a clever exploration of a “late-quarter-life crisis, disguised as a caper.”
Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts For An Infantile Age by Susan Neiman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) A philosopher’s defense of maturity draws from the works of Kant, Rousseau and Arendt.
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