It’s the end of March and it’s still really cold. That means you need to be inside, curled up on your couch, reading a new book. Lucky for you, there are some good ones just coming out today.
Here are the new releases that’ll warm you up for Mar 26, 2013:
Z by Therese Anne Fowler; St. Martin’s Press; 352 pages
Easily my favorite book cover of the day, Z is a historical novel about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. For those of you who learned about Fitzgerald in high school or college, you probably know that Zelda was a character and incredibly strong personality. This book takes a theoretical look into her life with the great American author.
I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we’re ruined, Look closer…and you’ll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.
What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout; Random House; 336 pages
This is Strout’s first novel since the roaring success of her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Olive Kiterridge. The Burgess Boys is supposed to be another strong contender for literary prizes and its cohesive narrative, in place of the episodic nature of Olive Kitteridge, will likely make this one a main stream hit, too.
Haunted by the freak accident that killed their father when they were children, Jim and Bob Burgess escaped from their Maine hometown of Shirley Falls for New York City as soon as they possibly could. Jim, a sleek, successful corporate lawyer, has belittled his bighearted brother their whole lives, and Bob, a Legal Aid attorney who idolizes Jim, has always taken it in stride. But their long-standing dynamic is upended when their sister, Susan—the Burgess sibling who stayed behind—urgently calls them home. Her lonely teenage son, Zach, has gotten himself into a world of trouble, and Susan desperately needs their help. And so the Burgess brothers return to the landscape of their childhood, where the long-buried tensions that have shaped and shadowed their relationship begin to surface in unexpected ways that will change them forever.
With a rare combination of brilliant storytelling, exquisite prose, and remarkable insight into character, Elizabeth Strout has brought to life two deeply human protagonists whose struggles and triumphs will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. Tender, tough-minded, loving, and deeply illuminating about the ties that bind us to family and home, The Burgess Boys is Elizabeth Strout’s newest and perhaps most astonishing work of literary art.
A Map of Tulsa by Benjamin Lytal; Penguin; 272 pages
People have been gushing about this debut novel for a month or so, and I’m ready to see what all the fuss is about. Basically, this novel is supposed to make you fall in love with romance, Lytal, and the city of Tulsa. That’s a lot to tackle in his first book, but Lytal has some chops.
So, we’ll have to see just how much magic is in this little Oklahoman city.
A stunning debut novel of first love set against the art scene of late-90s Tulsa by a former New Yorker editorial staffer.
The first days of summer: Jim Praley is home from college, ready to unlock Tulsa’s secrets. He drives the highways. He forces himself to get out of his car and walk into a bar. He’s invited to a party. And there he meets Adrienne Booker; Adrienne rules Tulsa, in her way. A high-school dropout with a penthouse apartment, she takes a curious interest in Jim. Through her eyes, he will rediscover his hometown: its wasted sprawl, the beauty of its late nights, and, at the city’s center, the unsleeping light of its skyscrapers.
In the tradition of Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Map of Tulsa is elegiac, graceful, and as much a story about young love as it is a love letter to a classic American city.
Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath; Crown Business; 336 pages
I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw a little non-fiction in at the end of this Tuesday, so I have Decisive here for you. I’m a little bit sketchy on this one because it sounds like it’s leaning more towards anecdotal evidence than scientific, but I’d be willing to give it a chance.
The four principles that can help us to overcome our brains’ natural biases to make better, more informed decisions — in our lives, careers, families and organizations.
In Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Made to Stick and Switch, tackle the thorny problem of how to overcome our natural biases and irrational thinking to make better decisions, about our work, lives, companies and careers.
When it comes to decision making, our brains are flawed instruments. But given that we are biologically hard-wired to act foolishly and behave irrationally at times, how can we do better? A number of recent bestsellers have identified how irrational our decision making can be. But being aware of a bias doesn’t correct it, just as knowing that you are nearsighted doesn’t help you to see better. In Decisive, the Heath brothers, drawing on extensive studies, stories and research, offer specific, practical tools that can help us to think more clearly about our options, and get out of our heads, to improve our decision making, at work and at home.