Cormac McCarthy's 'Stella Maris,' new Jane Smiley: 5 books this week – USA TODAY

In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases. All books are on sale Tuesday.
For more new must-read book recommendations, check out our fall books guide of the 20 most exciting books of the season; our favorite books of 2022 so far; fall’s most swoon-worthy rom-coms, including Timothy Janovsky’s “You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince” and Amy E. Reichert’s “Once Upon a December”; and the juiciest celebrity memoirs released this year from Matthew Perry, Tom Felton, William Shatner, Jennette McCurdy and more. 
To see what everyone else is reading, check out the USA TODAY Best-Selling Books list for this week’s bestsellers.
By Cormac McCarthy (Knopf, fiction)
What it’s about: The companion piece to McCarthy’s “The Passenger,” out last October, takes readers back to 1972 and a series of seven conversations the brilliant, doomed Alicia had with a therapist before her death – about her schizophrenic hallucinations, mathematics and the cruelty of an uncaring universe.
The buzz:★★★½ (out of four) review of both books for USA TODAY calls them “as bold and intellectually keen as anything the author’s ever written.”
‘The Passenger’ and ‘Stella Maris’:Cormac McCarthy stares down the barrel of mortality
By Sabrina Imbler (Little, Brown, nonfiction)
What it’s about: Conservation journalist Imbler shines a light into Earth’s most inhospitable depths and crevices to reveal how mysterious deep-sea creatures live – and what these aquatic creatures can teach us about ourselves.
The buzz: “Imbler’s ability to balance illuminating science journalism with candid personal revelation is impressive, and the mesmerizing glints of lyricism are a treat,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
By Jane Smiley (Knopf, fiction)
What it’s about: From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “A Thousand Acres” comes the story of best friends Eliza and Jean, two prostitutes in 1850s Gold Rush California following a trail of murdered girls to find their elusive killer.
The buzz: “This seductive entertainment is not to be missed,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
By Jessica Grose (Mariner, nonfiction)
What it’s about: Journalist Grose dismantles the myth of idealized motherhood, weaving together her own personal parenthood journey with scientific and historical reporting to show how modern motherhood is unsustainable.
The buzz: A starred review from Kirkus Reviews calls it “a deeply researched and highly relatable analysis of American motherhood, past and present.”
By Luke Dumas (Atria, fiction)
What it’s about: Scotland’s most infamous murderer, Grayson Hale, claims the devil made him do it. He doesn’t fit the profile of a killer, and when Hale is found hanged in his prison cell, a left-behind handwritten manuscript may finally reveal the truth.
The buzz: A starred review from Kirkus Reviews calls it “a muscular, enigmatic, and devilishly smart read.”


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