The Future is a Gift: Book Releases in the Final Months of 2021 We Are Most Excited About - Lifestyle Asia

Our list includes new titles from Sally Rooney and Ruth Ozeki.

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Beautiful World, Where Are You, by Sally Rooney

Ah, Sally Rooney, the scribe of our times! When the announcement that a new Rooney book was incoming hit the news, I immediately pre-ordered a copy way back in January. It’s hard not to be excited: her first two books, Conversations With Friends, and the Man Booker-shortlisted Normal People have become part of the zeitgeist, thanks in part to the successful TV adaptation of the latter, and the incoming one of the former. 

With Rooney, you either love her or hate her, and this latest seems like it’s ready to once more divide opinions: four friends, navigating life, intimacy, the workplace, and living in today’s tumultuous conditions. What’s not to love? Haters will say it sounds like Conversations With Friends, stans (like me) will say, “Hey, that’s why I like it so much!”

On Freedom: Four Songs on Care and Constraint, by Maggie Nelson

In this new release, Nelson, the cultural critic who also wrote Bluets and The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning, asks: “Can you think of a more depleted, imprecise, or weaponized word?” 

An eloquent investigation on how freedom impacts how we view art, society, literature, and current news, Nelson’s thought-provoking candor makes this treatise hard to put down.

The Book of Form and Emptiness, by Ruth Ozeki

In law school, I was tired and miserable, the only reading I ever did was reams of photocopied Supreme Court decisions. The one exception was Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, which gave me a grasp of hope and humanity, essentially the only bright spark in a very miserable moment in time. 

Her newest is about Benny, a teenager who has started hearing voices. In the psychiatric ward, he meets a cast of characters and finds a Book, which functions as material for Benny and is also intended by Ozeki to be the titular book. Sounds confusing? Yes, but as with A Tale for the Time Being, it promises to be an unforgettable ride.

Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr’s third offering takes place in three different places and three different periods. It is about children living in a world seemingly separated but interconnected, surviving bombardments of the emotional and physical kind. 

What exactly are these connections? To describe them would be to spoil too much (minute connections being a thing in Doerr’s oeuvre), which should make the reader all the more excited to pick up the book and read.

Matrix, by Lauren Groff

I also immediately pre-ordered this one when I found out Lauren Groff had a new book out. Even if the title brings to mind Keanu Reeves coming to terms with his existence being unknowingly trapped in a simulated reality, Matrix actually takes place in 12th century Europe. 

It is about Marie de France, who was banished from the French court to run an abbey in England, and comes alive in a community of women. Much like Normal People, Groff ‘s Of Fates and Furies was about the push and pull; he-said-she-said view of (married) relationships, and Matrix obviously couldn’t be further from  that. I can’t wait.

This story originally came out in the October 2021 issue of Lifestyle Asia.

Banner Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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