We’re always on the lookout for books that strike a chord with our readers. This week in New & Notable we focus on the “everyday traumas” that afflict us—and one woman’s ode to a trustworhy path to everyday joy.


Psychological Fiction

9780307596901_custom-dd5af455b48c150d2a8e1bfe8cf3d0a047ee9550-s6-c30The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children, a masterly new novel: the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed and betrayed by a desire for a world beyond her own. (Excerpted from Alfred A. Knopf, publisher.)


“Fantastic—one of those seemingly small stories that so burst with rage and desire that they barely squeeze between hard covers. The prose is impeccable. . . . Messud writes about happiness, and about infatuation—about love—more convincingly than any author I’ve encountered in years.”—Lionel Shriver, National Public Radio, “All Things Considered”




Psychology and Counseling | Neuropsychiatry

41unzVoG8OL._SY300_The Trauma of Everyday Life, by Mark Epstein, M.D.

Trauma does not just happen to a few unlucky people; it is the bedrock of our psychology. Death and illness touch us all, but even the everyday sufferings of loneliness and fear are traumatic. In The Trauma of Everyday Life renowned psychiatrist and author of Thoughts Without a Thinker Mark Epstein uncovers the transformational potential of trauma, revealing how it can be used for the mind’s own development. (Excerpted from the Penguin Press, HC, publisher.)


“This daring psychobiography of the Buddha divines in tales of his life the sources of his early emotional pain and finds in the Buddha’s methods a balm for the human psyche. In a breathtaking display of the therapeutic art, Epstein does ingenious psychodynamic detective work, deducing what ailed the Buddha, and why his remedies work so well. The Trauma of Everyday Life reads like a gripping mystery, one told by your warm and reassuring, but utterly candid, analyst. What’s true for the Buddha, Epstein explains, applies to us all.” —Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence



Choral Singing—New York

9781616200411_custom-c55c4b79a62918fbaaafe34ab62ecd11f023658e-s2-c85Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others, by Stacy Horn

As Horn relates her funny and profound experiences as a choir member, she treats us to an eclectic history of group singing and the music that moves us, whether we’re hearing it for the first time or the hundredth; the dramatic stories of conductors and composers; and discoveries from the new science of singing, including the remarkable physical benefits of song.  (Excerpted from the publisher, Algonquin Books.)


“In her reflective memoir of her decades-long participation in the Choral Society of Grace Church in lower Manhattan, Stacy Horn delves into works the choir and others like it have sung over the centuries. She also describes how singing with the group has alleviated her loneliness and depression . . . . She writes movingly about how singing about death and simply breathing together bring a transcendent feeling of harmonious belonging.” —Publishers Weekly 

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  • roz warren August 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Interesting list! For what it’s worth, although I loved one of her earlier novels, I just couldn’t get into The Woman Upstairs. I bailed after 20 pages.