Holidays and Beyond: Books

A new nonfiction narrative by Dave Eggers, essays by Zadie Smith, and Denis Johnson's posthumous short-story collection.

The Doomsday Machine
By Daniel Ellsberg
Dec. 5, Bloomsbury USA

Daniel Ellsberg will forever be known as the whistle-blower who exposed the world to the Pentagon Papers. The former Defense Department consultant returns decades later with The Doomsday Machine, a memoir that chronicles the U.S. nuclear program as it was envisioned in the 1960s. Created during the Eisenhower and Kennedy presidencies, this strategy is horrifyingly still largely unchanged from the Cold War. Ellsberg presents his thoughts on how best to dismantle a program that could lead to global annihilation, while once again proving how deeply disturbing and radically ignorant our country’s leaders are when it comes to thermonuclear warfare.

The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories
By Denis Johnson
Jan. 16, Random House

Finished shortly before Johnson’s death, The Largesse of the Sea represents a new collection of short stories from one of the medium’s undisputed masters. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and National Book Award winner, Johnson’s work plumbs the brevity of the medium to explore the depths of humanity in all its splendor and sorrow. This latest collection is no exception, offering a new cast of characters chiseled from ink and asked to grapple with life’s smallest and most profound moments. While knowing we’ll never get another book from Johnson is certainly hard news to take, it makes this final gift from one of modern literature’s most notable names all the more precious.

The Monk of Mokha
By Dave Eggers
Jan. 30, Knopf

Readers of Dave Eggers know that no two books from the San Francisco author are ever exactly alike. From his debut memoir to a novel focused on a fictional Facebook and nonfiction works chronicling everything from the Lost Boys of Sudan to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there is no subject Eggers isn’t willing to tackle. With The Monk of Mokha, he has pivoted back to nonfiction with the story of a Yemeni immigrant in San Francisco who returns to his home country in search of answers only to find war has trapped him there. A compelling narrative struck through with Eggers’ signature whimsy and empathy, this work is a fitting companion to his numerous literary triumphs.

By Rose McGowan
Jan. 30, HarperOne

Anyone who may have forgotten about the actress from Jawbreaker and Scream certainly remembers her now. Rose McGowan has become a central thread in the ongoing demolition of Hollywood’s sexual abusers and predators. Never afraid to speak the truth — but only now being listened to in earnest — McGowan is the face of celebrities and citizens alike who are breaking the chain of silence. Thus the timing for Brave, a memoir sure to include McGowan’s encounters with Weinstein and a film industry at large eager to turn a blind eye at every turn, couldn’t be better. McGowan’s may work as an actress less than she used to, but her work as an advocate and activist is only beginning.

Feel Free: Essays
By Zadie Smith
Feb. 6, Penguin Press

Readers know that a new Zadie Smith book is always a cause for celebration. In the case of Feel Free, Smith has assembled a number of essays previously published in esteemed outlets like The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. Organized into five categories — In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free — these essays demonstrate that Smith remains at the top of her game. Covering a slew of topics that range from Twitter to book review to global warming, the work collected in Feel Free isn’t merely the guts of a “best of” but rather appointment reading from a ceaselessly brilliant and incisive voice.  

Bizarre Romance
By Audrey Niffenegger, illustrated by Eddie Campbell
Mar. 20, Abrams

Perhaps one of literature’s most underrated power couples, it’s surprising it’s taken this long for author Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife) and illustrator Eddie Campbell (From Hell) to collaborate on a book. With Bizarre Romance, the wait is finally over. Encompassing 16 stories of love told through Niffenegger’s words and Campbell’s art, this slim volume takes readers from dark fairy tales to days long ago in exploring the joyous, maddening, and universal ways in which love defines us all. A master class in storytelling from two of the medium’s most celebrated talents, Bizarre Romance is a book you’ll return to again and again.

Check out more from our Holidays and Beyond issue here:

At the Midway, Breakfast Is the Most Important Meal of the Year
Breakfast of Champions rings in 2018 at the Dogpatch venue with increasingly big artistic ambitions.

Holidays and Beyond: Art
From a retrospective on hip-hop style to an investigation into Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the season’s exhibits cover virtually everything.

Holidays and Beyond: Comedy
How bad do you want to see Bill Murray? He’s coming this Friday to the Masonic.

Holidays and Beyond: Film
Star Wars, Madeline L’Engle, and Daniel Day-Lewis’ last role. It’s so much more than Paddington 2.

Holidays and Beyond: Music
St. Vincent is coming! St. Vincent is coming!

Holidays and Beyond: Theater
From the Golden Girls (in drag) to Harold Pinter to Marga Gomez’s newest comic masterpiece, it’s a season of the highbrow and the lowbrow (but never the middlebrow).

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