Winter reads

By BARBARA HOFFERT  |  December 21, 2007

And, yes, we remain interested in everyone else’s memories. In Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son’s Memoir (Simon & Schuster, January 8), DAVID RIEFF recalls his mother, Susan Sontag, and her final confrontation with cancer. As recounted in I’m Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted (Broadway, January 15), the ghosts in her past were absolutely real for JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN, author of the acclaimed gender-confusion memoir She’s Not There. In her ghetto childhood, the mixed-race MARGARET B. JONES saw not ghosts but gangs, joining one at age 12 and finally getting out to attend college, as recounted in Blood and Consequences: Coming of Age in an L.A. Gang (Riverhead, February 28). And DAVID SHIELDS takes self-reflection to the extreme, prompted by the energy and enthusiasm of his 97-year-old father to ponder the very meaning of blood and bone, birth and death, in The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead (Knopf, January 6).

What with CHARLES SIMIC’s appointment as our 15th poet laureate, a retrospective collection couldn’t far behind, and Sixty Poems (Harvest, January 7) fills the bill. Poetry enthusiasts are already talking about British author GEOFFREY HILL’s A Treatise of Civil Power (Yale University Press, January 28), which steals its title from Milton. Also on the horizon: CAMPBELL MCGRATH’s quirky and moving Seven Notebooks (Ecco, February 5), plus volumes of “new and selected poems” from two top writers: MARY JO SALTER’s A Phone Call to the Future (Knopf, March 8), and MARK DOTY’s Fire to Fire (HarperCollins, March 11). And fans of ELIZABETH BISHOP will be looking forward to the complete Poems, Prose, and Letters collected by the Library of America, as edited by Phoenix classical-music critic Lloyd Schwartz (February 14).

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