Go Set A Watchman
by Harper Lee
The sequel to Harper Lee’s iconic novel To Kill a Mockingbird has been met with excitement, skepticism, controversy and more controversy. The publisher HarperCollins is anticipating a huge demand by printing two million copies, and it is their most preordered book in their history (and the most preordered print book on Amazon this year). No advance copies are being made available before the July 14 release date, so the question remains: will it live up to its predecessor? We’ll have to find out!
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain
Following the enormous success of The Paris Wife, her debut fictionalizing the relationship between Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway, McLain delivers another juicy historical and biographical novel. Circling the Sun depicts the escapades of Beryl Markham, the daring and fearless woman who was a famed aviator and racehorse trainer. “McLain sustains a momentum as swift and heart-pounding as one of Beryl's prize horses at a gallop as she focuses on the romance, glamour, and drama of Beryl's blazing life, creating a seductive work of popular historical fiction” (Booklist).
by Fran Ross
Oreo is a biracial girl who has been raised by her African American grandparents in Philadelphia. A mysterious note from her long gone Jewish father triggers her quest to find him in New York City. On NPR author Mat Johnson called Oreo “one of the funniest books I've ever read” and promises “every turn takes the reader deeper into the satire and into the heart of the absurdities of American identity.” This new edition of the 1974 novel has a forward by novelist Danzy Senna (Caucasia) and an afterward by poet Harryette Mullen.
The Gods of Tango
by Carolina De Robertis
In 1913, Leda Mazzoni, a young Italian woman, plans to join her husband in Argentina to start a new life. But as soon as she arrives in Buenos Aires she learns that her husband has been killed. Seduced by the illicit sounds of tango, she masters the violin and assumes the identity of a man so she can make a living as a musician. Oakland author De Robertis is the author of Perla and The Invisible Mountain, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2009 and an international bestseller. In The Gods of Tango, she “draws upon her family's Uruguayan heritage and expatriate experiences to paint a rich vision of Leda's world, the layers of Argentine society as encountered by an immigrant, and her inner struggles with gender identity and sexuality” (Library Journal).
by Nnedi Okorafor
What happens when aliens visit Lagos, Nigeria, one of the world’s most populous and chaotic cities, teeming with energy, music, corruption, inequality and superstition? Just ask Okorafor, winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel for her 2010 novel Who Fears Death. The publisher describes Lagoon as a blend of "magical realism with high-stakes action" in which "it's up to a famous rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier to handle humanity's first contact with an alien ambassador--and prevent mass extinction." Book Page calls it “a cracking and often surprising story, terrific social commentary and great fun to read” and Locus Magazine says “Okorafor’s impressive inventiveness never flags.”
The Way Things Were
by Aatish Taseer
Four decades of modern Indian history are illuminated by the stories of a father and son, both scholars of the ancient language of Sanskrit. The story begins when Skanda leaves his home in Manhattan to visit his ailing father in Geneva, then after his death accompanies the body home to India to perform the funeral rites. Language plays an essential role in a novel that Publishers Weekly says “will leave readers intoxicated,” adding that “this is a difficult book to put down, and readers will enjoy every minute of it, as well as learning about contemporary Indian culture.”
Mirages of the Mind
by Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, translated by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad
Basharat Ali Farooqi can’t catch a break. He’s an Indian Muslim who immigrated to Pakistan after the Partition, and his constant misadventures have him scraping by in a chaotic world. Comedy is the standout feature here: “Yousufi writes of the most serious events with balloon-puncturing good humor” in a novel that is “a pleasure to read and a welcome window on a world we know too little about” (Kirkus). Nonagenarian author Yousufi is well known in his native Pakistan but much less so in the west; only now has this 1990 novel written Urdu been published in the U.S.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
by J. Ryan Stradal
Abandoned at a tender age by a mother who runs off with a sommelier and a chef father who can’t bear the stress of single fatherhood, Eva Thorvald grows up to be a renowned chef whose pop up dinners cost $5000 per person with a year-long waiting list. Publishers Weekly calls Chef Eva a “compelling, deliciously flawed character” and Booklist calls this debut “the ultimate homage to the merits of the culinary experience, with just a soupçon of überfoodie-culture satire thrown in for a bit of zest.”
Among the Ten Thousand Things
by Julia Pierpont
A New York mother of two and a former ballerina discovers that her sculptor husband is having an affair. Simon, 15, and Kay,11, discover the evidence themselves and must come to grips with their family’s demise while they navigate their own adolescent challenges. “Pierpont's concentrated domestic drama is piquantly distinctive, from its balance of humor and sorrow to its provocatively off-kilter syntax, original and resonant descriptions, bristling dialogue, snaky psychological insights, and escalating tension” (Booklist). “For all the book's sadness, much of its lingering force comes from Pierpont's sharp-witted detailing of human absurdity. A quietly wrenching family portrait” (Kirkus).
Confession of the Lioness
by Mia Couto, translated by David Brookshaw
From an award-winning Mozambican author comes a story set in Kulumani, a remote village where lions have been slaughtering young women. The government hires Archangel Bullseye, a celebrated hunter, to take care of the problem. Mariamar’s sister is the latest victim of the lions, and while she grieves her sister’s death, she wonders if Archangel Bullseye is the same man she fell in love with as a young girl. Couto “crafts a rich tale in which the spirit world is made real, animals are controlled by people, and dead ancestors are feared for their power to destroy cities” and “also manages to explore the clash of disparate belief systems—tribal, Islam, Christian—in postcolonial Africa and deftly weaves in a critique of the embedded patriarchy” (Kirkus).
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