Sunday, December 1, 2013

New Books in December

December is a quiet month in the publishing world—presumably because everyone is trying to encourage people to buy more copies of the past eleven months' books as gifts. But, as usual, we're here to point out this month's new releases:

The Empty Chair: Two Novellas
Bruce Wagner
Blue Rider Press
352 pp.
$28

After courting some notoriety last year for sketching a soullessly decadent L.A. in his novel Dead Stars, the publisher's blurb for this new book promises something altogether different: "In First Guru, a fictional Wagner narrates the tale of a gay Buddhist living in Big Sur, who achieves enlightenment in the horrific aftermath of his child’s suicide; in Second Guru, Queenie, an aging wild child, returns to India to complete the spiritual journey of her youth."

The Selected Stories of Frederick Busch
Frederick Busch, ed. Elizabeth Strout
W.W. Norton & Co.
480 pp.
$33

The New York Times's obituary of Busch does a good job of capturing the sensibility and material of his writing—at least, to judge from the one story of his I know, which is also his most widely anthologized, "Ralph the Duck." There's also an interview with Busch available online, conducted by Michael Cunningham.

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