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Your Shelf Life: 5 Books to Read in January

A curated list of this month's top reads


Jesus’ Son author Denis Johnson finished The Largesse of the Sea Maiden just before his death last May. This collection of short stories characterizes men moving through marriages, old age, confinement, and life’s quiet but stirring moments.

Neel Mukherjee’s A State of Freedom is set in present-day India as five unforgettable characters battle poverty in a cruel caste system. This formally daring novel is getting praise for its compassion and mix of prose styles.

Green explores white privilege and race through an adolescent friendship in early ’90s Boston. It’s written with humor and a knack for poignancy by President Barack Obama’s former campaign blogger, Sam Graham-Felsen. 

Dawn Davies’s memoir Mothers of Sparta recounts a series of amusing and tragic vignettes from her life, including a misfit adolescence, motherhood, postpartum depression, and a painful divorce.

Christopher J. Yates’s thriller Grist Mill Road is full of tension and unexpected twists as it follows three protagonists whose childhood violence rises to the surface when they meet as adults in New York City.  

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