We Are Never Meeting In Real Life is the book to read any time you need a laugh, or a cry, or, more importantly, when you need to hear someone tackle topics like body image, chronic illness, disability, and race with honesty and humor. If you think you can’t possibly relate, read it and be surprised. Samantha Irby is the hero and friend everyone needs right now.
John Crowley is a writer whose novels exist in that liminal world between myth and materiality, part lore, part fantasy, part dream. Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr (Saga, $28.99) is his first original novel in eight years, and it is a beautiful tapestry of a tale, a love letter to corvids and a fable-like look at human and crow history. It follows a crow called Dar Oakley through the centuries, from the Iron Age and early Europe, and into the post-apocalyptic future. It is a novel written by a seasoned master, for it revolves around the central theme of death, humanity’s fear and obsession with it, and our belief that there must be something more beyond our end. It is a vast and dramatic novel, spanning thousands of years and thousands of human lives, best read slowly by the fire in the depth of winter, with an ear to crows’ cries.
Dan Jones has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most captivating and lively historians, proving that well-researched historical narratives need not be dry and impenetrable. Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors (Viking, $30) is his best work to date. It has the advantage of dealing with a fascinating and often ill-used subject, but Jones elevates the Templars above conspiracy theory histories to uncover the fascinating history within, from their military campaigns, Outremer Crusader states, their financial acumen and extensive properties, to the knights’ eventual downfall. This volume is possibly the most comprehensive modern history of the Templars, told by an incredibly talented chronicler and interpreter of facts and sources. It is a must-have for any history bookshelf.