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Pub Day Shout-Outs for January 11, 2022, featuring Attenberg, Griffin & Reynolds, and Rustad

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)

There are some amazing books in a multitude of genres coming out today, but for some reason I was really drawn to the nonfiction. Here are three picks that look so good.

Book cover of Jami Attenberg's I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home

Jami Attenberg's I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home ( |

Description from Publisher:

"From New York Times bestselling author Jami Attenberg comes a dazzling memoir about unlocking and embracing her creativity—and how it saved her life.

"In this brilliant, fierce, and funny memoir of transformation, Jami Attenberg—described as a 'master of modern fiction' (Entertainment Weekly) and the 'poet laureate of difficult families' (Kirkus Reviews)—reveals the defining moments that pushed her to create a life, and voice, she could claim for herself. What does it take to devote oneself to art? What does it mean to own one’s ideas? What does the world look like for a woman moving solo through it?

"As the daughter of a traveling salesman in the Midwest, Attenberg was drawn to a life on the road. Frustrated by quotidian jobs and hungry for inspiration and fresh experiences, her wanderlust led her across the country and eventually on travels around the globe. Through it all she grapples with questions of mortality, otherworldliness, and what we leave behind.

"It is during these adventures that she begins to reflect on the experiences of her youth—the trauma, the challenges, the risks she has taken. Driving across America by herself on self-funded book tours, sometimes crashing on couches when she was broke, she keeps writing: in researching articles for magazines, jotting down ideas for novels, and refining her craft, she grows as an artist and increasingly learns to trust her gut and, ultimately, herself.

"Exploring themes of friendship, independence, class, and drive, I Came All This Way to Meet You is an inspiring story of finding one’s way home—emotionally, artistically, and physically—and an examination of art and individuality that will resonate with anyone determined to listen to their own creative calling."

Why I want to read it:

I've read and enjoyed Attenberg's fiction, which takes on complex characters and families in intriguingly complicated plots. (All This Could Be Yours [ |] was great!) Anyway, I really enjoy it when authors turn to their own lives, and I think this sounds fascinating.


Book cover of Jason Griffin and Jason Reynolds's Ain't Burned All the Bright

Jason Griffin and Jason Reynolds's Ain't Burned All the Bright (

Description from Publisher:

"Prepare yourself for something unlike anything: A smash-up of art and text for teens that viscerally captures what it is to be Black. In America. Right Now. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Jason Reynolds.

"Jason Reynolds and his best bud, Jason Griffin had a mind-meld. And they decided to tackle it, in one fell swoop, in about ten sentences, and 300 pages of art, this piece, this contemplation-manifesto-fierce-vulnerable-gorgeous-terrifying-WhatIsWrongWithHumans-hope-filled-hopeful-searing-Eye-Poppingly-Illustrated-tender-heartbreaking-how-The-HECK-did-They-Come-UP-with-This project about oxygen. And all of the symbolism attached to that word, especially NOW.

"And so for anyone who didn’t really know what it means to not be able to breathe, REALLY breathe, for generations, now you know. And those who already do, you’ll be nodding yep yep, that is exactly how it is."

Why I want to read it:

Well, all I really need to write here is "Jason. Reynolds." But. I appreciate the ambition of this project and am always looking for more books like this one to add to my shelves. I think the description of the book sounds powerful, and I love the way art is an essential part of the synopsis.


Book cover of Harley Rustad's Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas

Harley Rustad's Lost in the Valley of Death: A Story of Obsession and Danger in the Himalayas ( |

Description from Publisher:

"In the vein of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild, a riveting work of narrative nonfiction centering on the unsolved disappearance of an American backpacker in India—one of at least two dozen tourists who have met a similar fate in the remote and storied Parvati Valley.

"For centuries, India has enthralled westerners looking for an exotic getaway, a brief immersion in yoga and meditation, or in rare cases, a true pilgrimage to find spiritual revelation. Justin Alexander Shetler, an inveterate traveler trained in wilderness survival, was one such seeker.

"In his early thirties Justin Alexander Shetler, quit his job at a tech startup and set out on a global journey: across the United States by motorcycle, then down to South America, and on to the Philippines, Thailand, and Nepal, in search of authentic experiences and meaningful encounters, while also documenting his travels on Instagram. His enigmatic character and magnetic personality gained him a devoted following who lived vicariously through his adventures. But the ever restless explorer was driven to pursue ever greater challenges, and greater risks, in what had become a personal quest—his own hero’s journey.

"In 2016, he made his way to the Parvati Valley, a remote and rugged corner of the Indian Himalayas steeped in mystical tradition yet shrouded in darkness and danger. There, he spent weeks studying under the guidance of a sadhu, an Indian holy man, living and meditating in a cave. At the end of August, accompanied by the sadhu, he set off on a 'spiritual journey' to a holy lake—a journey from which he would never return.

"Lost in the Valley of Death is about one man’s search to find himself, in a country where for many westerners the path to spiritual enlightenment can prove fraught, even treacherous. But it is also a story about all of us and the ways, sometimes extreme, we seek fulfillment in life."

Why I want to read it:

It was the comp to Krakauer's Into the Wild here that drew me in—that book is one of my favorites, and it's Krakauer who first got me really into nonfiction. I'm up for anything that can provide the same sort of deep examination of a person and a lifestyle as Krakauer's work.


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