Founded in 1976, The Regulator Bookstore is a 9th Street cultural staple that serves both Durham and Duke’s growing literary community. Independently run and community-oriented, The Regulator hosts some of Durham’s premier literary events and provides locals with a diverse selection of essential classics and new releases. With a flood of new titles hitting the shelves in the next few months, Recess asked The Regulator co-owners and its longest-serving employee about their most anticipated books of the fall season.
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz, September 11
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz will be releasing his second short story collection, This Is How You Lose Her, a book that centers on the multiple manifestations of love amidst the rich cultural backdrop that personifies Diaz’s writing. “[His writing] is so energetic. It comes from such a different place than anything else that is out there these days. [The book] is just right out front with people messing up their relationships with each other and stumbling through their desires,” says Campbell. Presented by The Regulator, Diaz will also be reading from his new book at Motorco Music Hall on September 20.
Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie, September 18
In 1989, Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against author Salman Rushdie for his “blasphemous” novel The Satanic Verses, a threat that forced Rushdie into hiding for more than nine years. In his memoir Joseph Anton (the alias he adopted while underground), Rushdie documents these years of despair and danger, a narrative that Campbell believes isn’t far from the magical fictions Rushdie usually weaves. “The story almost seems like something out of science fiction, so it may be a perfect setup for him,” says Campbell.
Every Love Story is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace by D.T. Max, August 30
Although author David Foster Wallace’s tremendous magnum opus Infinite Jest was published over 15 years ago, the novel is still one of the steadiest sellers at The Regulator, says manager Wander Lorentz de Haas. Heralded as one of the most brilliant and gifted authors of the last 20 years, Wallace himself is still considered to be an untouchable mythic hero, an idea that biographer D.T. Max upends in Every Love Story is a Ghost Story. With access to many of Wallace’s unpublished materials, Max offers a rare, often heartbreaking account of Wallace’s life before his tragic and untimely death in 2008. “I think it’s going to draw a lot of interest, particularly of a certain generational level,” says Lorentz de Haas.
NW by Zadie Smith, September 6
More than a decade after publishing her lauded first novel, White Teeth, British author Zadie Smith is set to release NW, which takes its title from northwest London, the setting of Smith’s new novel that addresses class consciousness and economic disparity in England’s capital. “She raises essentially the same question that she raised in White Teeth, which is, ‘How much does where you grow up have to do with your success in life and how far you get in life?’,” says Lorentz de Haas. Writing with the same cultural awareness as Rushdie or Diaz, Smith offers a unique web of complex narratives and splashes of experimental flair.
The Art of Fielding: A Novel by Chad Harbach, May 1
As an alternative to the upcoming fall releases, John Valentine chose two novels originally published in 2011 that were recently released in paperback editions. “There’s so much about hype and so much about what you’re waiting for, but I want people to explore books that have just come out that are still good books,” says Valentine. The first, The Art of Fielding, is author Chad Harbach’s debut novel centered around college baseball at a fictional university strikingly similar to Duke. With an expansive network of characters, The Art of Fielding relies on baseball as an apt metaphor for the complex relationships we hold and the rules that govern them.
Iron House by John Hart, March 27
If you’re still craving the page-turning thrill of a beach book, Valentine recommends Iron House, the fourth book by Durham native John Hart. An explosive thriller that sets murder and mystery against the lush North Carolina mountain scenery, Iron House focuses on two brothers who, after years of mistreatment at the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, must return to the orphanage that haunted their childhood and threatens their future. “I like [Iron House] because it’s familiar ground,” says Valentine. “It’s North Carolina, so the names and the places ring a bell, and it’s credible. It’s not fantastical…for people who are not from North Carolina, it’s a great way to discover North Carolina.”