The Association of Small Bombs: A Novel, by Karan Mahajan
(Viking, $26, out March 22)
What is it? Mahajan’s second novel explores the effects of terrorism on its victims and culprits. Small Bombs deals mainly in and around Delhi, where the reader gets to know a young local who loses his friends to a “small” detonation, a family whose status quo is shattered by the same loss, and a Kashmiri bomb maker.
Who’s the author? Raised in New Delhi, Mahajan is a young, award-winning author whose name you might recognize from his first book, Family Planning. The satirical debut earned the 31-year-old a Joseph Henry Jackson Award; he was also a finalist for the International Dylan Thomas Prize.
Why read it? Mahajan’s first book was praised for its humor and precision, especially as it related to its setting. Though Small Bombs signifies a genre change-up, Fiona Maazel enthused in The New York Times that “[Small Bombs] is smart, devastating, unpredictable and enviably adept in its handling of tragedy and its fallout. If you enjoy novels that happily disrupt traditional narratives—about grief, death, violence, politics—I suggest you go out and buy this one. Post haste.” The book has already been noted for shining a humane light on the international violence mainstream media covers with appalling selectivity.
The Pornography Industry, by Shira Tarrant
(Oxford University Press, $16.95, March 29)
What is it? A tactful look at the porn business—what’s accurate and what’s myth. Tarrant tackles topics ranging from viewing habits and ethics to behind-the-scenes routines and piracy.
Who’s the author? L.A.-based Tarrant owns her reputation as an “unconventional feminist redefining gender justice.” A Ph.D.-touting professor at CSULB, Tarrant’s commentary on sexual politics has been featured in national and global media. She also has roughly half a dozen books to her name, all of which have solidified her clout as an intellectual force in the realms of feminism, gender, and sex.
Why read it? Regardless of your stance on pornography as a business or pastime, the book aims to quash the industry’s misconceptions without being preachy. Tarrant brings the facts, and she leaves the interpretation and takeaways up to you.
The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
(HarperCollins, $26.99, March 22)
What is it? A novel about four mid-aged New York siblings banking on a nearing trust fund (the titular “Nest”) to remedy respective crises. Sweeney’s story quickly abandons financial salvation to yield a spellbinding, multi-faceted tale of dysfunction, inheritance, entitlement, and the complexities of big-family drama.
Who’s the author? The Nest is Sweeney’s fiction debut. The 55-year-old L.A.-based writer used to live in New York, where she worked as a freelancer, penning copy and non-fiction.
Why read it? Leah Greenblatt likened Sweeney’s writing to “really good dark chocolate: sharper and more bittersweet than the cheap stuff, but also too delicious not to finish in one sitting.” P.S. Here’s a fun, star-studded book trailer to get you in the mood, and you can read our interview with her, here.