10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in February

Here's a preview of some great new books arriving in February.

Cover of Kinder Than SolitudeCover of BarkCover of Good LuckCover of Saint MonkeyCover of MartianCover of Queen SugarCover of One More ThingCover of Long ManCover of Unnecessary WomanCover of Pioneer Girl

Place your holds now for these great books coming out in February!

Kinder Than Solitude
by Yiyun Li
Kinder Than Solitude is the new novel by Oakland resident, MacArthur Fellow, and award winning author Yiyun Li. Her story begins when four children in Beijing are caught up in a mysterious event in which one child is poisoned. 20 years later, when the victim finally succumbs to illness, the three others, still haunted by the incident, are reconnected in a tale that spans China and the United States. “Li's effortless ability to move fluidly in time and place— between minutes or decades and across continents—always with exacting details, gives this novel a shattering immediacy” (Library Journal). Li is the author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, The Vagrants and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl.

by Lorrie Moore
Popular and acclaimed writer Lorrie Moore has a new story collection, Bark, her latest release since her much lauded 2009 novel A Gate at the Stairs. Bark has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and Booklist. “One of the best short story writers in America resumes her remarkable balancing act with a collection that is both hilarious and heartbreaking, sometimes in the same paragraph” (Kirkus).

The Good Luck of Right Now
by Matthew Quick
What does a 38-year-old man who lives with his mother do when she dies? Write letters to Richard Gere (his mom’s favorite actor), and go on a road trip to Canada with his crush, her brother and a recently self-defrocked priest. The Good Luck of Right Now is “a whimsical, clever narrative” (Kirkus) written “with an engaging intimacy, capturing his narrator's innocence and off-kilter philosophy” (Publishers Weekly). Quick is the author of the sleeper hit novel The Silver Linings Playbook, which became a megahit movie.

Saint Monkey
by Jacinda Townsend
African American teens Caroline and Audrey are best friends living in a segregated small town in Kentucky in the 1950s. Although Caroline aspires to run away to Hollywood, it is Audrey who escapes and finds work as a jazz musician in Harlem. In a starred review, Booklist calls this debut “a breathtakingly insightful, suspenseful, and gorgeously realized novel of cruelty and sorrow, anger and forgiveness, improvisation and survival, and the transcendent beauty of nature and art.”

The Martian
by Andy Weir
The Martian is a survival story about an astronaut who gets left behind on the red planet when his crew believes him to be dead. Armed with few resources (and a surprising sense of humor) he must figure out how to survive until the next mission comes to Mars. Reviewers recommend it to general audiences as well as sci fi readers; The Martian is “sharp, funny and thrilling, with just the right amount of geekery” (Kirkus).

Queen Sugar
by Natalie Baszile
This San Francisco writer’s debut is about a woman who receives an unusual inheritance. A widow with an 11-year-old daughter, Charley must grapple with her father’s death and the fact that he has left her a sugarcane farm in his home town in rural Louisiana, with the stipulation that she must cultivate the land or give it away to charity. She decides to become a cane farmer, facing a steep learning curve, long neglected fields, and the added challenge of being an African American woman in a field dominated by wealthy white men.

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories
by B. J. Novak
Novak is known for his comedy stylings, notably his contributions as a writer, actor, director and producer to the U.S. television show The Office. Now he has a collection of stories which is being called “high-concept, hilarious, and disarmingly commiserative” (Booklist, starred review). You can find a preview from a recent New Yorker here.

Long Man
by Amy Greene
It is 1936, and there is one day left before the Tennessee Valley Authority dams the Long River, flooding the small blue-collar town of Yuneetah. Almost all residents have left, except for a few stubborn few who refuse to surrender their family land in the name of modernization. “Greene’s enormous talent animates the voices and landscape of East Tennessee so vividly, and creates such exquisite tension, that the reader is left as exhausted and devastated as the characters in this unforgettable story” (Publishers Weekly). Greene also received a great deal of praise for her 2010 debut Bloodroot.

An Unnecessary Woman
by Rabih Alameddine
Aaliya Sobhi, a 72-year-old native of Beirut, has endured war, a neglectful family, divorce and the loss of her father and friends. Her favorite pastime and source of joy is translating the novels she loves into Arabic. If this sounds dreary, Library Journal promises that “her humor and passion for literature bring tremendous richness to her day-to-day life—and to the reader's.” In a starred review, Kirkus calls it “rich with a bookish humor that's accessible without being condescending” and “a gemlike and surprisingly lively study of an interior life.” Alameddine is the author of The Hakawati.

Pioneer Girl
by Bich Minh Nguyen
Lee Lien is a Ph.D. graduate in literature, but she can't find a job, so she returns to Chicago to help her Vietnamese immigrant family with their restaurant. As a child, Lee loved Little House on the Prairie, and she always fantasized that a golden brooch, a family heirloom found forgotten in a Saigon café, originally belonged to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Now the provenance of the brooch becomes an obsession. “Nguyen has a perceptive understanding of the tension between mothers and daughters and the troubling insights to be gained from digging into the past. An unexpected pleasure, with a well-drawn and compelling narrator” (Kirkus). Nguyen is a resident of San Francisco and the author of the novel Short Girls and the memoir Stealing Buddha’s Dinner.

Are you looking forward to an upcoming new release? Tell us about it!

Posted on Monday, 2/3/2014 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library