Recent books of interest:
THE BOOK OF LONGINGS, by Sue Monk Kidd. (Viking, $28.) Kidd, the author of “The Secret Life of Bees” and other books, offers a feminist slant on Christian history in her audacious fourth novel, which opens: “I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus ben Joseph of Nazareth.”
CALDER: The Conquest of Space, by Jed Perl. (Knopf, $60.) Three years after Perl examined Alexander Calder’s early life and artistic development in “Calder: The Conquest of Time,” the noted art critic concludes his stately, authoritative biography with this look at the sculptor’s career triumphs and legacy.
GODSHOT, by Chelsea Bieker. (Catapult, $26.) In the drought-parched Central Valley of California, with a local cult leader promising drastic steps to bring rain, the 14-year-old heroine of Bieker’s spirited debut strikes out on her own to find the alcoholic mother who has abandoned her.
A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY, by John Carey. (Yale University, $25.) Carey’s delightful survey never takes itself or its subject too seriously. “Over the centuries countless thousands of poems have been forgotten,” he writes. “This is a book about some that have not.”
THE UNSEEN, by Roy Jacobsen. Translated by Don Shaw and Don Bartlett. (Biblioasis, paper, $16.95.) This stark, beautiful novel, translated from the Norwegian and perfectly pitched for the present moment, follows one family living in isolation on a small, windswept island.
What we’re reading:
In search of a new evil, I started reading Oyinkan Braithwaite’s MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER last week, having purchased it on one of my last trips before disappearing into my home for good. All of my friends had already read it, and their reviews — “fizzy and delicious,” “gobbled it up like popcorn,” “you’ll read the entire thing in one sitting” — were surprisingly strong and steady, blood pouring out of a knife wound. (It was such a relief, I assume, to talk about something else.) As a person with four sisters — which is to say, as a person who has considered serial killing — I found Braithwaite’s take on the complexities of sororal love (wanting to be her, wanting to lose her, wanting to protect her, wanting to worship her) alternately bright and frothy, dark and noxious. Strangely, I also found it comforting to read before bed. Above all, Braithwaite is wildly funny, able to find humor even in harrowing situations. Maybe I’ll add her to the group chat with my sisters.
—Jazmine Hughes, story editor, The Times Magazine