A Heaping Helping
Giving thanks for this season’s bounty of new releases
Compiled by Shannon Purdy Jones
It’s fitting that we’ll all gather together later this month to celebrate the year’s bounty, because this season, the publishing world’s cup runneth over. Between delays due to COVID and printing holdups throughout the year, we’re seeing an unusual abundance of amazing books being released in the final months of 2021. Since we’re likely to see more delays in reprints for these hot titles as we near shopping season, now’s the time to reap the harvest of these marvelous new books, sure to please everyone on your list.
Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business): Finding Our Way to Joy, Love, and Freedom by Tabitha Brown (William Morrow & Co, $27.99) Before Tabitha Brown was sharing her delicious vegan meals and compassionate wisdom with millions of followers around the world, she was an aspiring actress who, in 2016, began struggling with undiagnosed chronic autoimmune pain. Her condition made her believe she wouldn’t live to see 40 — until she started listening to what her soul and body truly needed. In this life-changing book, Brown shares the wisdom she gained from her own journey to support others in creating a life rooted in nonjudgmental kindness and love. Drawing from personal anecdotes, this down-to-earth book is built around the catchphrases her fans know and love, including “That’s your business” and “Like so, like that.” You’ll even find a few easy vegan recipes sprinkled throughout.
No Cure for Being Human: (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) by Kate Bowler (Random House, $27) We all know, intellectually, that our time on Earth is limited. What would we change if we knew it viscerally? Kate Bowler was 35 when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. Before she got sick, she saw life as an endless horizon of possibilities. Now she is forced to look at life with a new perspective, making the most of the time she has left. Anecdotes range from the hilariously absurd to the seriously painful. Breaking down time into segments, trying to live in the moment, weighing the meaning of work, and learning to discover what “enough” feels like, Kate asks one of the most fundamental questions of existence: How do we create meaning in our lives as we race against the clock?
When Ghosts Come Home by Wiley Cash (William Morrow & Co, $28.99) When the roar of a low-flying plane awakens him in the middle of the night, Sheriff Winston Barnes knows something strange is happening at the nearby airfield on the coast of North Carolina. But nothing can prepare him for what he finds: a large airplane that has crash-landed sideways on the runway with no signs of a pilot or cargo. When the body of a local man is discovered — shot dead and lying in the grass near the crash site — Barnes begins a murder investigation that will change the course of his life and the fate of the community that he has sworn to protect. As rumors and accusations fly, long-simmering racial tensions explode overnight, and Barnes, whose own tragic past has followed him like a ghost, must do his duty while facing the painful repercussions of old decisions. In the process, he discovers within himself how the nobility of an ordinary man can triumph amidst terrifying, extraordinary circumstances.
In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain by Tom Vitale (Hachette Books, $30) Anthony Bourdain’s passion for and genuine curiosity about the people and cultures he visited made the world feel smaller and more connected. Despite his affable, confident and trademark snarky TV persona, the real Tony was intensely private, deeply conflicted about his fame and an enigma even to those close to him. Tony’s devoted crew knew him best, and no one else had a front-row seat for as long as his director and producer, Tom Vitale. Over the course of more than a decade of traveling together, Tony became a boss, a friend, a hero and, sometimes, a tormentor. Nearly two years after his death, In the Weeds takes readers behind the scenes to reveal not just the insanity that went into filming in some of the most far-flung and volatile parts of the world, but what Tony was like unedited and off-camera. From the outside, the job looked like an all-expenses-paid adventure to places like Borneo, Vietnam, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Libya. What happened off-camera was far more interesting than what made it to air. The more things went wrong, the better it was for the show. Fortunately for the viewer, everything fell apart constantly.
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich (Harper, $28.99) In this stunning and timely novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story that begins on All Souls’ Day 2019 and ends on All Souls’ Day 2020. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted by the store’s most annoying customer, Flora, who died on All Souls’ Day and won’t leave the shop. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration (which she spent reading with murderous attention), must solve the mystery of this haunting during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation and furious reckoning. The Sentence is rich, emotional and as profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.
Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon (Delacorte Press, $36) The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . Outlander’s Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall were torn apart by the Jacobite Rising in 1746, and it took them 20 years (and nine books ) to find each other — in the North Carolina backcountry. At last, Jamie and Claire have been reunited with their daughter, Brianna, her husband, Roger, and their children somewhere in the mountains of North Carolina on Fraser’s Ridge — a seemingly impossible dream come true. But as the Revolutionary War creeps ever closer to their doorstep, the family’s safety is once again at stake. OH
Shannon Purdy Jones is store manager and children’s book buyer at Scuppernong Books.