11 New Books We Recommend This Week
TEXAS BLOOD: Seven Generations Among the Outlaws, Ranchers, Indians, Missionaries, Soldiers, and Smugglers of the Borderlands, by Roger D. Hodge. (Knopf, $28.95.) Hodge, a seventh-generation Texan who now lives in Brooklyn, has written a fervent pastiche of memory and reportage and history that tells the story of South Texas as it intersects with his ancestors. “He’s smart, observant and skeptical,” our reviewer Stephen Harrigan writes. “He has no interest in adding another volume to the library shelves of rousing Texas hoohah.”
SOLAR BONES, by Mike McCormack. (Soho Press, $25.) A civil engineer sits in his kitchen feeling inexplicably disoriented, as if untethered from the world. In fact, he is dead, a ghost, even if he does not realize it. This wonderfully original book owes a debt to modernism but is up to something all its own.
ISTANBUL: A Tale of Three Cities, by Bettany Hughes. (Da Capo, $40.) A British scholar known for her popular television documentaries shows readers how a prehistoric settlement evolved through the centuries into a great metropolis, the crossroads where East meets West.
THE WRITTEN WORLD: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization, by Martin Puchner. (Random House, $32.) Puchner, an English professor at Harvard, makes the case for literature’s pervasive importance as a force that has shaped the societies we have built and our very sensibilities as human beings. His fieldwork takes him to every continent, digging inexhaustibly into cultures for their foundational and sacred stories.
THE FLOATING WORLD, by C. Morgan Babst. (Algonquin, $26.95.) An inescapable, almost oppressive sense of loss permeates each page of this powerful debut novel about a mixed-race New Orleans family in the days after Hurricane Katrina. As an elegy for a ruined city, it is infused with soulful details.
ROBICHEAUX, by James Lee Burke. (Simon & Schuster, $27.99.) The Iberia Parish sheriff’s detective Dave Robicheaux tangles with mob bosses and crooked politicians in this latest installment in a crime series steeped in the history and lore of the Louisiana bayous.
THREE FLOORS UP, by Eshkol Nevo. (Other Press, paper, $16.95.) Three linked novellas about life in an Israeli apartment building capture the lies we tell ourselves and others in order to construct identity. Our reviewer Ayelet Gundar-Goshen writes: “This book and its conflicted apartment dwellers stayed with me long after I finished reading.”