The author of “Heat” writes of his adventures working in restaurant kitchens in Lyon, France. “So much cooking and eating gets done that Buford’s next book, after ‘Heat’ and ‘Dirt,’ in order to preserve the ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ cadence, should probably be titled ‘Gout,’” wrote New York Times reviewer Dwight Garner. “I admire this book enormously; it’s a profound and intuitive work of immersive journalism.”
Treat yourself to a new paperback, and greet the spring. Here are six that should hold your attention, even if the sun peeks out.
Every spring paperback roundup should include a baseball book, and this one — by aptly named Wall Street Journal baseball writer Jared Diamond — Publishers Weekly called “a rollicking account of the recent shift in that most joyous and elemental moment in sports: the home run. This breezy and engaging history will be a hit with baseball aficionados and casual fans alike.” (HarperCollins, $17.99)
Winner of numerous 2020 literary honors, this novel is inspired by the author’s grandfather, who fought hard to help save his Chippewa tribe from government termination. “High drama, low comedy, ghost stories, mystical visions, family and tribal lore — wed to a surprising outbreak of enthusiasm for boxing matches,” wrote New York Times reviewer Luis Alberto Urrea. “We are grateful to be allowed into this world.”
Robert Kolker, author of the excellent true-crime book “Lost Girls,” here examines the Galvins, a midcentury American family whose story offers a history of the science of schizophrenia (six of the family’s 10 sons were diagnosed). The book made multiple lists of the “10 best of 2020.” “Kolker’s telling of the Galvin trials is at once deeply compassionate and chilling,” wrote Washington Post reviewer Karen Iris Tucker, noting that it ends “as a story of hope.” (Knopf, $14.99)
By Yan Lianke, translated by Carlos Rojas (Grove Atlantic, $16). The author of “The Day the Sun Died” and winner of the Franz Kafka Prize writes about his family members’ struggles with poverty during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. “Throughout the book, Yan depicts his provincial relatives with enormous heart and respect, acknowledging their sacrifices in a dark yet poignant meditation on grief and death,” wrote a Kirkus reviewer.
Owens’ 2018 tale of a mysterious murder and a young woman who lives in a North Carolina marsh sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. “Surprise bestsellers are often works that chime with the times,” wrote Mark Lawson in The Guardian, noting that the book, though set in the past, “is, in its treatment of racial and social division and the fragile complexities of nature, obviously relevant. But these themes will reach a huge audience through the writer’s old-fashioned talents for compelling character, plotting and landscape description.” (Penguin, $14.99)