Mind Over Matter

5 New Books To Read in 2018

Radical heroines, an opus on color, and more belong on your shelf this year.
Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw
If you’re game for a slim, stylish novel set in New York City’s risky demimonde—to which a kick-ass feminist fatale has just returned after a decade abroad (“I left in Dubai a closet of beautiful dresses”)—read Katherine Faw’s fearless Ultraluminous (MCD). Similarly captivating is British writer Hermione Hoby’s debut novel, Neon in Daylight(Catapult), about an offbeat, smartly observant heroine newly arrived in New York City during the sultry summer before Hurricane Sandy; Ann Patchett calls Hoby “a marvel.”

Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan
If you need a double dose of sage advice, this month two wise women have your back: “Poet Laureate of the Ordinary” Kelly Corrigan’s Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say (Random House) includes chapters on how to say no— because “no makes room for yes”—and on how saying yes allows for “a second chance, but maybe not a third.”
And “Science Advice Goddess” Amy Alkon’s practical and hilarious Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living With Guts and Confidence (St. Martin’s Griffin) begins: “You can’t order a lightly used spine off eBay. There’s no Find My Balls cousin of Find My iPhone.... All you actually have to do to change is behave like the confident person you want to be.”

Peach by Emma Glass
If you enjoy fiction that breaks new ground, British author Emma Glass’s debut, Peach (Bloomsbury)—about a girl experiencing the aftermath of a sexual assault—is a must-read: “I sit in the sun and look up at the sky and count the clouds. One is a wolf. Two is a toad. Three is a tree. Four. My eyes are sore from staring. I look down at the grey ground. A shadow stops the sun from shining on my face. His twig-thin fingers touch my cheek.” Another original, from National Book Award winner Denis Johnson, who died last year, is the transcendent posthumous story collection The Largesse of the Sea Maiden (Random House), the author’s first since his canonic Jesus’ Son rocked readers 25 years ago.

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
If you adore color, you’ll love Kassia St. Clair’s The Secret Lives of Color (Penguin Books). This passionate and majestic compendium of the origin stories of 75 shades, ranging from Naples Yellow to Scarlet to Heliotrope to Celadon to Jet—“Some are artists’ colors, some are dyes”; others are akin to “sociocultural creations”— will leave you bathed in the gorgeous optics of light.

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
If you’re in the mood for a cautionary work of farsighted fiction à la Margaret Atwood, try Leni Zumas’s Red Clocks (Little, Brown).
In an Oregon fishing town, the fates of five courageous women—a single high school teacher and a historic female polar explorer she’s writing a biography about; a mother of two stuck in a static marriage; an adopted daughter who accidentally gets pregnant; and a woods-dwelling homeopathic healer—converge in a spooky-good novel of ideas about the power of collective resistance against the tyranny of rights and freedoms denied, from the author of The Listeners and Farewell Navigator.
Courtesy: Lisa Shea/www.elle.com