Brand New Books to Give to Your Best Friends
'Tis here: the most thoughtful books of the season.
3 of 5
The Baltimore Book of the Dead
In chapters no longer than 400 words, Marion Winik creates crystalline remembrances of people in her life who have died, beginning with her mother. "Anyone who was at Camp Nawita in the late 1930s can tell you, she was the queen of the baseball diamond," Winik writes. By the end of the page, she has widened her lens: "Everyone's mother is mythological: her body the origin of existence and consciousness, her house the pimped-out crib of Zeus, her mistakes the cause of everything." By turns reverent and wry, intimate and universal, these pieces capture the essence of friends, neighbors, a tiny baby, a young man lost to fentanyl, and even a few celebrities (Prince, David Bowie). This volume is Winik's second such "gallery," a decade after The Glen Rock Book of the Dead. Her mission is not to be morbid but to find a place in our collective conversation for grief, which might be one of the last social taboos. "When you make a memorial object ... some of the anguish dissolves into what you are making," she writes. This slim volume offers a welcome salve to all of us, and encouragement to honor the people we've lost who are forever with us.
— Dawn Raffel