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Virtually Browse Our New Indie Fiction Releases Late Summer/Early Fall 2020

Some of us love looking over a bestseller list or recent book award announcements for reading ideas (like the recently announced Booker and National Book Award nominations for example). But maybe you’re someone who misses perusing our new book section, searching for a more obscure gem.  Since you can’t browse our stacks in person, here’s a list of new fiction titles available at the library from independent publishers, university presses and books in translation.

Descriptions in italics provided by the publishers. 

Alligator & Other Stories by Dima Alzayat
The award-winning stories in Dima Alzayat’s collection are luminous and tender, whether dealing with a woman performing burial rites for her brother in “Ghusl,” or a great-aunt struggling to explain cultural identity to her niece in “Once We Were Syrians.” …Alligator and Other Stories is haunting, spellbinding, and unforgettable, while marking Dima Alzayat’s arrival as a tremendously gifted new talent.
Library print copy

The Bitch by Pilar Quintana, translated by Lisa Dillman
Colombia’s Pacific coast, where everyday life entails warding off the brutal forces of nature. In this constant struggle, nothing is taken for granted. Damaris lives with her fisherman husband in a shack on a bluff overlooking the sea. Childless and at that age “when women dry up,” as her uncle puts it, she is eager to adopt an orphaned puppy. But this act may bring more than just affection into her home.
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Bluebeard's First Wife by Sŏng-nan Ha
Disasters, accidents, and deaths abound in Bluebeard’s First Wife. A woman spends a night with her fiancé and his friends, and overhears a terrible secret that has bound them together since high school. A man grows increasingly agitated by the apartment noise made by a young family living upstairs and arouses the suspicion of his own wife when the neighbors meet a string of unlucky incidents. A couple moves into a picture-perfect country house, but when their new dog is stolen, they become obsessed with finding the thief, and in the process, neglect their child. Ha’s paranoia-inducing, heart-quickening stories will have you reconsidering your own neighbors.
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Breathing Through the Wound by Víctor del Árbol, translation by Lisa Dillman
A widowed painter is commissioned by a grieving woman to paint a portrait of the man who killed her son and in trying to understand his subject, is pulled deeper and deeper into the criminal underworld of Madrid. 
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Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent
The only thing reclusive bookworm Nora, high-powered attorney Christina, and supermom-in-training Leanne ever had in common was their best friend, Molly. When Molly dies, she leaves mysterious gifts and cryptic notes for each of her grieving best friends, along with one final request: that these three mismatched frenemies have brunch together every month for a year. Filled with heartwrenching scenes and witty prose, Brunch and Other Obligations explores the intricate dynamics of girlhood acquaintances who are forced to reconnect as women. This upbeat novel reminds readers that there's hope for getting through the hard times in life--with a lot of patience, humor, and a standing brunch date.
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Coyote Blues by Karen F. Williams
Riley Dawson, psychotherapist and shape-shifter, has her world turned upside down when Fiona Bell, her one true love, returns.
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The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez
A powerful, unsettling portrait of family life in Cuba, Carlos Manuel Álvarez’s first novel is a masterful portrayal of a society in free fall. Diego, the son, is disillusioned and bitter about the limited freedoms his country offers him as he endures compulsory military service. Mariana, the mother, is unwell, prone to mysterious seizures, and forced to relinquish control over the household to her daughter, Maria, who has left school and is working as a chambermaid in a state-owned tourist hotel. The father, Armando, is a committed revolutionary, a die-hard Fidelista who is sickened by the corruption he perceives all around him. As each member of the family narrates seemingly quotidian and overlapping events, they grow increasingly at odds for reasons that remain elusive to them.
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The Fire in His Wake by Spencer Wolff
The Fire in His Wake, Spencer Wolff’s exuberant debut novel, tells the story of two men swept up in refugee crises of the twenty-first century: Simon, a young employee at the UNHCR in Morocco, and Arès, a Congolese locksmith left for dead in the wake of ethnic violence.
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Inconvenient Daughter by Lauren J. Sharkey
Rowan Kelly knows she's lucky. After all, if she hadn't been adopted, she could have spent her days in a rice paddy, or a windowless warehouse assembling iPhones--they make iPhones in Korea, right? Either way, slowly dying of boredom on Long Island is surely better than the alternative. But as she matures, she realizes that she'll never know if she has her mother's eyes, or if she'd be in America at all had her adoptive parents been able to conceive. Rowan sets out to prove that she can be someone's first choice. After running away from home--and her parents' rules--and ending up beaten, barefoot, and topless on a Pennsylvania street courtesy of Bad Boy Number One, Rowan attaches herself to Never-Going-to-Commit. When that doesn't work out, she fully abandons self-respect and begins browsing Craigslist personals. But as Rowan dives deeper into the world of casual encounters with strangers, she discovers what she's really looking for.
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Kiss Me Every Day by Dena Blake
Wynn Jamison is turning thirty. Her career has made her rich, but her love life is sorely lacking. She's okay with that until she spends her birthday dinner with the woman who could've changed it all. There's only one problem. She's married to Wynn's sister. Carly Evans is tired of her wife ignoring her needs to put her career first. Family has always been important to her, and Jordan just doesn't seem to care. A freak thunderstorm rages during the night, and Wynn finds herself catapulted back in time to the day she made the worst decision of her life -- stepping aside to let her sister romance Carly. Reliving the day over and over again, Wynn must decide what is most important: success, loyalty, or love. Given a second chance at happiness, will she take the opportunity and change her destiny?
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Little Blue Encyclopedia: (for Vivian) by Hazel Jane Plante
The playful and poignant novel Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) sifts through a queer trans woman's unrequited love for her straight trans friend who died. A queer love letter steeped in desire, grief, and delight, the story is interspersed with encyclopedia entries about a fictional TV show set on an isolated island. The experimental form functions at once as a manual for how pop culture can help soothe and mend us and as an exploration of oft-overlooked sources of pleasure, including karaoke, birding, and butt toys. Ultimately, Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) reveals with glorious detail and emotional nuance the woman the narrator loved, why she loved her, and the depths of what she has lost.
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Lucky Ticket by Joey Bui
A highly original collection of stories by a talented young writer. In the comic-tragic eponymous story, 'Lucky Ticket', the narrator, a genial, disabled old man, whose spirit is far from crushed, sells lottery tickets on a street corner in bustling Saigon. In 'Mekong Love', two young people in a restrictive society try to find a way to consummate their relationship-in an extraordinary tropical landscape. In 'Abu Dhabi Gently', a story of dreams and disappointment, of camaraderie and disillusionment, a migrant worker leaves Vietnam to earn money in the UAE in order to be able to marry his fiancee. 'White Washed' depicts a strained friendship between two students in Melbourne, the Vietnamese narrator and a white girl. What does it mean to be Asian? What does it mean to be white? And what makes up identity?
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Mansour's Eyes by Ryad Girod, translated by Chris Clarke
Mansour al-Jazaïri is on his way to his public execution. As his faithful friend Hussein looks on, the crowd calls for his head. Gassouh! Gassouh! It is a time when age-old rituals play out amid skyscrapers and are replayed on smartphone screens in the air-conditioned corridors of shopping malls. Set over the course of a single day in the Saudi Arabian capital, Mansour’s Eyes weaves together several historical pasts: the time of Mansour’s great-grandfather, the Emir Abdelkader; that of Algerian independence; and that of another Mansour, Mansur Al-Hallaj, a Sufi mystic executed in 922. In this lyrical and ambitious novel, Ryad Girod looks at the post-Arab Spring world as its drive toward modernity threatens to sever its relationship with the ethos of Sufi thought and mysticism.
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My Favorite Girlfriend Was a French Bulldog by Legna Rodríguez Iglesias
My Favorite Girlfriend was a French Bulldog is a novel told in fifteen stories, linked by the same protagonist, our narrator, who--in her own voice and channeling the voices of others--creates an unsparing, multigenerational portrait of her native Cuba. Though she feels suffocated by the island and decides to leave, hers is not just a political novel--nor just a queer novel, an immigrant novel, a feminist novel--but a deeply existential one, in which mortality, corporeality, bureaucracy, emotional and physical violence, and the American Dream define the long journey of our narrator and her beloved pet dog, who gives the book both its title and its unforgettable ending.
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Neotenica by Joon Oluchi Lee
Set in the Bay Area of the early 2000s, Neotenica is a novel of encounters: casual sex, arranged-marriage dates, cops, rowdy teenagers, lawyers, a Sapphic flirtation, a rival, a child, and two important dogs. At the center of it are Young Ae, a Korean-born ballet dancer turned PhD student, and her husband, a Korean-American male who inhabits an interior femininity, neither transgender nor homosexual, but a strong, visceral femininity nonetheless.
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Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future by Sheree R. Thomas
The stories collected in Nine Bar Blues weave emotion, spirit, and music, captivating readers with newfound alchemy and the murmurs of dark gods. Rooted in rhythm, threaded with magic, these tales encompass worlds that begin in river bottoms, pass through spectral gates, and end in distant uncharted worlds. These stories describe the pain that often accompanies the confines of sanctuary and the joy that is inextricably bound to the troubles of hard living.
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No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories by Jayanta Kāykiṇi, translated by Tejaswini Niranjana
An eclectic mix of short stories set in Mumbai focus on the different experiences of those in the vibrant city, including a bachelor who receives a strange wedding proposal and a young girl who tries to comfort her father. …these resonant stories, recently awarded the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, take us to photo framers, flower markets, and Irani cafes, revealing a city trading in fantasies while its strivers, eating once a day and sleeping ten to a room, hold secret ambitions close.
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Outside the Lines by Ameera Patel
Drug addict Cathleen is kidnapped and her distracted, middle-class family fails to notice her absence; Zilindile, who services Cathleen's drug habit, and his Muslim Indian girlfriend Farhana, struggle to make sense of their relationship despite their very different backgrounds; and domestic worker Flora and the silent Runyararo, who was painting Cathleen's house until accused by Cathleen's father of stealing, become entangled with romance and criminals, leading to the ultimate tragedy.
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The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier
To recover from a cataclysmic war, the Harvest was instituted to pass blood to those affected by radiation. But this charitable act has led to a society segregated entirely by blood type. Government blood contractor, Patriot, rewards your generous gift based on the compatibility of your donation, meaning that whoever can give the most, gets the most in return. While working as a reaper taking collections for the Harvest, Willa chances upon an idea to resurrect an obsolete technique that could rebalance the city. But in her quest to set things into motion, she uncovers a horrifying secret that cuts to the heart of everything.
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The Royal Abduls by Ramiza Shamoun Koya
Ramiza Shamoun Koya reveals the devastating cost of anti-Muslim sentiment in The Royal Abduls, her debut novel about a secular Indian-America family. Evolutionary biologist Amina Abdul accepts a post-doc in Washington, DC, choosing her career studying hybrid zones over a faltering West Coast romance. Her brother and sister-in-law welcome her to the city, but their marriage is crumbling, and they soon rely on her to keep their son company. Omar, hungry to understand his roots, fakes an Indian accent, invents a royal past, and peppers his aunt with questions about their cultural heritage. When he brings an ornamental knife to school, his expulsion triggers a downward spiral for his family, even as Amina struggles to find her own place in an America now at war with people who look like her. With The Royal Abduls, Koya ignites the canon of post-9/11 literature with a deft portrait of second-generation American identity.
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The Runaways by Fatima Bhutto
Anita lives in Karachi's biggest slum. Her mother is a maalish wali, paid to massage the tired bones of rich women. But Anita's life will change forever when she meets her elderly neighbour, a man whose shelves of books promise an escape to a different world. On the other side of Karachi lives Monty, whose father owns half the city and expects great things of him. But when a beautiful and rebellious girl joins his school, Monty will find his life going in a very different direction. Sunny's father left India and went to England to give his son the opportunities he never had. Yet Sunny doesn't fit in anywhere. It's only when his charismatic cousin comes back into his life that he realises his life could hold more possibilities than he ever imagined. These three lives will cross in the desert, a place where life and death walk hand in hand, and where their closely guarded secrets will force them to make a terrible choice.
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Scorpionfish by Natalie Bakopoulos
After the unexpected deaths of her parents, academic Mira returns to her childhood home in Athens. On her first night back, she encounters a new neighbor, a longtime ship captain who has found himself, for the first time in years, no longer at sea. As one summer night tumbles into another, Mira and the Captain’s voices drift across the balconies of their apartments, disclosing details and stories: of careers, of families, of love.For Mira, love has so often meant Aris, an ex-boyfriend and rising Greek politician who has recently become engaged to a movie star. There is, too, her love for her dear friend Nefeli—a well-known artist who came of age during the military dictatorship—as well as Dimitra and Fady, a couple caring for a young refugee boy. Undergirding each relationship is the love that these characters have for Athens, a beautiful but complicated city that is equal parts lushness and sharp edges.
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The Shame by Makenna Goodman
Alma and her family live close to the land: they raise chickens and sheep, they make maple syrup. Every day Alma's husband leaves for his job at a nearby college while she stays home with their young children, cleans, searches for secondhand goods online, and reads books by the women writers she adores. Then, one night, she abruptly leaves it all behind--speeding through the darkness, away from their Vermont homestead, bound for New York. In a series of flashbacks, Alma reveals the circumstances and choices that led to this moment. The joys and claustrophobia of their remote life through the passing of each season. Her fears and uncertainties about motherhood. The painfully awkward faculty dinners. Her feelings of loneliness and failure. And her growing fascination with Celeste: the mysterious ceramicist and self-loving doppelganger whose story begins as inspiration for Alma before turning into a powerful obsession.
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Shine of the Ever by Claire Rudy Foster
By turns tender and punk-tough, Shine of the Ever is a literary mix tape of queer voices out of 1990's Portland. This collection of short stories explores what binds a community of queer and trans people as they negotiate love, screwing up, and learning to forgive themselves for being young and sometimes foolish.
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Shooting Down Heaven by Jorge Franco Ramos, translated by Andrea Rosenberg
After twelve years away, Larry comes home to his native country of Colombia after his father, an old associate of Pablo Escobar, is murdered. Larry returns to collect his remains from a mass grave and give him a proper burial…but not before a reunion with his childhood friend, Pedro. Pedro picks him up at the airport to take him directly to the Alborada celebration—a popular festival where fireworks explode over Medellín, and the entire city loses its inhibitions. Faced by an uncertain reality, Larry is forced to confront his family’s turbulent history and reclaim himself from the dark remnants of a city still trying to rediscover itself.
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A Short Move by Katherine Hill
In a small Virginia town in 1971, a high school football star runs out on his pregnant girlfriend. Six years later, that child meets his father for the first time and discovers the athlete within. Before long he is on the fast-track to the NFL, coached by a relentless Vietnam veteran uncle, nourished by a patient working mom, and defended by an ambitious girlfriend, all of whom tie their own hopes to his career. When he finally makes it, as Mitch "Wilk" Wilkins, New England's fearsome middle linebacker, it all seems preordained. Then, almost immediately, his life begins to fall apart: a billionaire owns him, his marriage is on the rocks, and his body is betraying him in stages. As Mitch and his wounded family press on, seeking meaning in a relentlessly incentive-driven and forward-moving life, the sacrifices necessary for success in sports—and in attaining the âAmerican Dream—are laid painfully and tragically bare.
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The Summer of Kim Novak by Håkan Nesser
Sweden in the ’60s. Erik and his friend Edmund spend their vacation by a forest lake daydreaming about Ewa, a young substitute teacher with an uncanny resemblance to the actress Kim Novak. The boys are having the time of their lives until a shocking discovery disrupts their world. Twenty-five years later, Erik comes across a newspaper article about unsolved crimes and is overwhelmed by memories and questions from that summer of his youth. What actually happened back then? The Summer of Kim Novak has all the tension and mystery of Nesser’s world-famous thrillers, combined with a coming-of-age tale of remarkable psychological precision.
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Tea by the Sea by Donna Hemans
A seventeen-year-old taken from her mother at birth, an Episcopal priest with a daughter whose face he cannot bear to see, a mother weary of searching for her lost child: Tea by the Sea is their story-that of a family uniting and unraveling. To find the daughter taken from her, Plum Valentine must find the child's father who walked out of a hospital with the day-old baby girl without explanation. Seventeen years later, weary of her unfruitful search, Plum sees an article in a community newspaper with a photo of the man for whom she has spent half her life searching. He has become an Episcopal priest. Her plan: confront him and walk away with the daughter he took from her. From Brooklyn to the island of Jamaica, Tea by the Sea traces Plum's circuitous route to find her daughter and how Plum's and the priest's love came apart.
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They Say Sarah by Pauline Delabroy-Allard, translated by Adriana Hunter
A literary sensation in France, this poetic, thrilling debut charts the all-consuming passion between two women and the ruin it leaves in its wake. A thirty-something teacher drifts through her life in Paris, raising a daughter on her own, lonely in spite of a new boyfriend. And then one night at a friend's tepid New Year's Eve party, Sarah enters the scene like a tornado--a talented young violinist, she is loud, vivacious, appealingly unkempt in a world where everyone seems preoccupied with being 'just so.' Thus begins an intense relationship, tender and violent, that will upend both women's lives. In gorgeous, evocative prose, Pauline Delabroy-Allard perfectly captures the pull of a desire so strong that it blinds us to everything else.
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To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life by Hervé Guibert
First published by Gallimard in 1990, To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life describes, with devastating, darkly comic clarity, its narrator's experience of being diagnosed with AIDS. Guibert chronicles three months in the penultimate year of the narrator's life as, in the wake of his friend Muzil's death, he goes from one quack doctor to another, describing the progression of the disease and recording the reactions of his many friends.
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The Tree and the Vine by Dola De Jong
When Bea meets Erica at the home of a mutual friend, this chance encounter sets the stage for the story of two women torn between desire and taboo in the years leading up to the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Erica, a reckless young journalist, pursues passionate but abusive affairs with different women. Bea, a reserved secretary, grows increasingly obsessed with Erica, yet denial and shame keep her from recognizing her attraction. Only Bea's discovery that Erica is half-Jewish and a member of the Dutch resistance--and thus in danger--brings her closer to accepting her own feelings.
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Whiteout Conditions by Tariq Shah
Ant is back in Chicago for a funeral, and he typically enjoys funerals. Since most of his family has passed away, he finds himself attracted to their endearing qualities: the hyperbolic language, the stoner altar boy, seeing friends in suits for the first time. That is, until the tragic death of Ray ― Ant’s childhood friend, Vince's teenage cousin. Ray was the younger third-wheel that Ant and Vince were stuck babysitting while in high school, and his sudden death makes national news. In the depths of a brutal Midwest winter, Ant rides with Vince through the falling snow to Ray’s funeral, an event that has been accruing a sense of consequence. With a poet’s sensibility, Shah navigates the murky responsibilities of adulthood, grief, toxic masculinity, and the tragedy of revenge in this haunting Midwestern noir.
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The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana by Maryse Condé
Born in Guadeloupe, Ivan and Ivana are twins with a bond so strong they become afraid of their feelings for one another. When their mother sends them off to live with their father in Mali they begin to grow apart, until, as young adults in Paris, Ivana's youthful altruism compels her to join the police academy, while Ivan, stunted by early experiences of rejection and exploitation, walks the path of radicalization. The twins, unable to live either with or without each other, become perpetrator and victim in a wave of violent attacks.
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Wretchedness by Andrzej Tichý, translated by Nichola Smalley
Waiting by the canal in Malmö, a young cellist meets a disorientated junkie. The encounter sends him into a turmoil of memories, voices and associations. As the cellist oscillates between present and past, he is paralysed by doubt and confusion and he begins to question his own place in society.
Library print copy

Summer Fun for Adults Week 9: Nature Close at Hand

To go with this week's theme, here is a booklist featuring nature writing and nature guides from Oakland Public Library’s print and online collections. These books can help you explore either from your favorite reading spot or while you're out in the world. Have you found solace in nature lately? Or have you thought about venturing out into nature?

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry edited by Camille T. Dungy
The first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which they participated. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics.
OPL copies in print 

Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer 
Drawing on her experiences as a scientist, a mother, and a Native American, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive / eAudiobook always available on Hoopla 

Trace: A Journey Through Memory, History, and the American Land by Lauret Edith Savoy
In this provocative and powerful mosaic of personal journeys and historical inquiry across a continent and time, Savoy explores how the country's still unfolding history, and ideas of 'race,' have marked her and the land. From twisted terrain within the San Andreas Fault zone to a South Carolina plantation, from national parks to burial grounds, from 'Indian Territory' and the U.S.-Mexico Border to the U.S. capital, Trace grapples with a searing national history to reveal the often unvoiced presence of the past. In distinctive and illuminating prose that is attentive to the rhythms of language and landscapes, she weaves together human stories of migration, silence, and displacement, as epic as the continent they survey, with uplifted mountains, braided streams, and eroded canyons.
OPL copies in print / eBook always available on Hoopla and eAudiobook always available on Hoopla 

The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham
By turns angry, funny, elegiac, and heartbreaking, The Home Place is a remarkable meditation on nature and belonging, at once a deeply moving memoir and riveting exploration of the contradictions of black identity in the rural South—and in America today.
OPL copies in print / eBook always available on Hoopla and eAudiobook always available on Hoopla 

The Secret Wisdom of Nature: Trees, Animals, and the Extraordinary Balance of All Living Things: Stories from Science and Observation by Peter Wohlleben and translated by Jane Billinghurst
By introducing us to the latest scientific discoveries and recounting his own insights from decades of observing nature, one of the world's most famous foresters shows us how to recapture our sense of awe so we can see the world around us with completely new eyes.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive / eBook always available on Hoopla and eAudiobook always available on Hoopla 

The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America's Urban Heartland by Walter Thompson-Hernández
In Compton, California, ten black riders on horseback cut an unusual profile, their cowboy hats tilted against the hot Los Angeles sun. They are the Compton Cowboys, their small ranch one of the very last in a formerly semirural area of the city that has been home to African-American horse riders for decades. To most people, Compton is known only as the home of rap greats NWA and Kendrick Lamar, hyped in the media for its seemingly intractable gang violence. But in 1988 Mayisha Akbar founded The Compton Jr. Posse to provide local youth with a safe alternative to the streets, one that connected them with the rich legacy of black cowboys in American culture.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive 

Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui
New York Times contributor Bonnie Tsui, a swimmer herself, dives into the deep, from the San Francisco Bay to the South China Sea, investigating what about water—despite its dangers—seduces us and why we come back to it again and again.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive / eBook always available on Hoopla and eAudiobook always available on Hoopla 

Birds of San Francisco and the Bay Area by Chris C. Fisher and Joseph Morlan
Identify the birds most likely to be seen in your city's backyards, streets and parks.
OPL copies in print 

Field Guide to Birds of the Northern California Coast by Rich Stallcup and Jules Evens, graphites by Keith Hansen
Features detailed discussions of the area's most common waterbirds, raptors, and landbirds and highlights the most productive birding sites in each Northern California coastal county.
OPL copies in print 

Trees and Shrubs of California by John D. Stuart and John O. Sawyer, illustrated by Andrea J. Pickart
This user-friendly field guide minimizes technical terms and includes a checklist, making it an invaluable resource on California's profuse vegetation.
OPL copies in print and on Enki 

A Californian's Guide to the Mammals Among Us by Charles Hood
This lively and even quotable guide will inspire people to connect with their environments wherever they are.
OPL copies in print / eBook always available on Hoopla

Moon 101 Great Hikes of the San Francisco Bay Area
Whether you're trekking through the wildflowers of the South Bay or the redwood forests of Marin, get a breath of fresh air with Moon 101 Great Hikes San Francisco Bay Area.
OPL copies in print 

The Bay Area Forager: Your Guide to Edible Wild Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area by Mia Andler and Kevin Feinstein
Gives practical advice for gathering edible wild plants in the Bay Area in a voice that is friendly and suffused with rich personal knowledge. The authors provide thorough descriptions of where to find each of the region's most readily available plants, and they give clear instructions for harvesting them responsibly. Large, detailed photographs help readers to identify plants easily.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive 

California Foraging by Judith Lowry
The diversity of California's terrain and climate are a forager's dream, with unique offerings from the coast, the mountains, the deserts, and everywhere in between. A passionate wild  foods expert, Judith Larner Lowry shows you what to look for and how to gather it in a sustainable way.
eBook always available on Hoopla 

Did you know that some of our Oakland Public Library branches have been offering sidewalk pickup service? If you've been missing print books, you can pick up holds for books, DVDs, CDs, and WiFi hotspots at our doors. More information can be found here

Summer Fun for Adults Week 7: Celebrating Our Diversity with Cookbooks

 

There are so many different ways to explore and celebrate the diversity of our community and our world. Cooking and eating just happens to be a very delicious way to do it! Here is a list of cookbooks from Oakland Public Library’s print and online collections for inspiration. Have you tried cooking something new lately?

Descriptions in italics are provided by the publisher.

Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry
In Afro-Vegan, renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry reworks and remixes the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present more than 100 wholly new, creative culinary combinations that will amaze vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive

Basque Country: A Culinary Journey Through a Food Lover’s Paradise by Marti Buckley
Marti Buckley, an American chef, journalist, and passionate Basque transplant, unlocks the mysteries of this culinary world by bringing together its intensely ingredient-driven recipes with stories of Basque customs and the Basque kitchen, and vivid photographs of both food and place.
OPL copies in print / Always available on Hoopla 

Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, & Every Day by J.J. Johnson and Alexander Smalls with Veronica Chambers
In two of the most renowned and historic venues in Harlem, Alexander Smalls and JJ Johnson created a unique take on the Afro-Asian-American flavor profile. Their foundation was a collective three decades of traveling the African diaspora, meeting and eating with chefs of color, and researching the wide reach of a truly global cuisine; their inspiration was how African, Asian, and African-American influences criss-crossed cuisines all around the world. They present here for the first time over 100 recipes that go beyond just one place, taking you, as noted by The New Yorker, "somewhere between Harlem and heaven."
OPL copies in print

Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore by Darra Goldstein
Presenting 100 traditional yet surprisingly modern recipes from the far northern corners of Russia, a home-style cookbook is filled with photos and essays on the little-known culinary history of the fascinating and wild part of the world. 
New! OPL copies in print and on Overdrive 

Black Sea: Dispatches and Recipes Through Darkness and Light by Caroline Eden 
With a nose for a good recipe and an ear for an extraordinary story, Caroline Eden travels from Odessa to Bessarabia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey's Black Sea region, exploring interconnecting culinary cultures. From the Jewish table of Odessa, to meeting the last fisherwoman of Bulgaria and charting the legacies of the White Russian  émigrés in Istanbul, Caroline gives readers a unique insight into a part of the world that is both shaded by darkness and illuminated by light.
OPL copies in print

Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli
If you think a healthy vegan diet means giving up pasta in creamy sauce, cheesy pizza, and luscious tiramisu, think again! Following her hit cookbooks Chloe’s Kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, Chef Chloe goes to her family’s homeland to veganize its time-honored delicacies, and add some distinctively delicious twists.
OPL copies in print 

A Common Table: 80 recipes and Stories from My Shared Cultures by Cynthia Chen McTernan
In A Common Table, Two Red Bowls blogger Cynthia Chen McTernan shares more than 80 Asian-inspired, modern recipes that marry food from her Chinese roots, Southern upbringing, and Korean mother-in-law's table. The book chronicles Cynthia's story alongside the recipes she and her family eat every day-beginning when she met her husband at law school and ate out of two battered red bowls, through the first years of her legal career in New York, to when she moved to Los Angeles to start a family.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive 

Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes & Kitchen Secrets by Najmieh Batmanglij
After five years of overcoming obstacles, meticulous planning, and ten thousand miles of traveling the length and breadth of Iran cooking with local cooks, visiting workshops, and developing recipes Najmieh's dream has been realized with the creation of Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes and Kitchen Secrets. This book is a distillation of those past five years. It is an authoritative exploration of a cuisine whose cultural roots are among the deepest of any in the world.
OPL copies in print 

Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing by Luz Calvo and Catriona Rueda Esquibel
A return to indigenous Mexican-American cooking based on the belief that food is both physically and spiritually healing.
OPL copies in print / Always available on Hoopla

Ethiopia: Recipes and Traditions from the Horn of Africa by Yohanis Gebreyesus with Jeff Koehler
Along with photography of the stunning landscapes and vibrant artisans of Ethiopia combined with insightful cultural and historical details this book demonstrates why Ethiopian food should be considered one of the world s most singular and enchanting cuisines.
OPL copies in print 

Feast: Food of the Islamic World by Anissa Helou
Suffused with history, brought to life with stunning photographs, and inflected by Helou's humor, charm, and sophistication, Feast is an indispensable addition to the culinary canon featuring some of the world's most inventive cultures and peoples.
OPL copies in print 

I Am a Filipino: And This Is How We Cook by Nicole Ponseca and Miguel Trinidad
Two trailblazing restaurateurs present a modern cookbook filled with a vast array of Filipino recipes that capture the unexpected and addictive flavors of this vibrant and diverse cuisine. 
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive / Always available on Hoopla 

Indian-ish: Recipes and Antics From a Modern American Family by Priya Krishna with Ritu Krishna 
Indian food is everyday food! This colorful, lively book is food writer Priya Krishna’s loving tribute to her mom’s “Indian-ish” cooking—a trove of one-of-a-kind Indian-American hybrids that are easy to make, clever, practical, and packed with flavor. Think Roti Pizza, Tomato Rice with Crispy Cheddar, Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Green Pea Chutney, and Malaysian Ramen.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive / Always available on Hoopla 

Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin
Throughout her career, James Beard Award-winning author Toni Tipton-Martin has shed new light on the history, breadth, and deth of African American cuisine. She's introduced us to black cooks, some long forgotten, who established much of what's considered to be our national cusine. After all, if Thomas Jefferson introduced French haute cusine to this country, who do you think actually cooked it? In Jubilee, Tipton-Martin brings these masters into our kitchens. Through recipes and stories, we cook along with these pioneering figures, from enslave chefs to middle- and upper-class writers and entrepreneurs. With more than 100 recipes, Jubilee presents techniques, ingredients, and dishes that show the roots of African American cooking--deeply beautiful, culturally diverse, fit for celebration.
OPL copies in print

My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes by Hooni Kim with Aki Kamozawa, photography by Kristin Teig
Complete with thoughtful notes on techniques and sourcing and gorgeous photography from across Korea, this cookbook will be an essential resource for home cooks, a celebration of the deliciousness of Korean food by a master chef.
New! OPL copies in print and on Overdrive 

My Mexico City Kitchen: Recipes and Convictions by Gabriela Cámara with Malena Watrous
With celebrated restaurants in Mexico City and San Francisco, Cámara is the most internationally recognized figure in Mexican cuisine, and her innovative, simple Mexican food is exactly what home cooks want to cook.
OPL copies in print

Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
A vegetarian cookbook from Yotam Ottolenghi, the author of Jerusalem, A Cookbook and other Ottolenghi cookbooks, Plenty is a visually stunning collection featuring exciting flavors and fresh combinations that will become mainstays for readers and eaters looking for a brilliant take on vegetables.
OPL copies in print and on Overdrive Always available on Hoopla 

Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan by Naomi Duguid
Overflowing with exotic flavors, fascinating stories and ancient history, a collection of recipes from the heart of the Persian Empire introduces readers to the food traditions from this culinary paradise where diverse religions, cultures, languages and politics are linked by a love for the fresh and the tart. 
OPL copies in print Always available on Hoopla 

Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors by Andrea Quynhgiao Nguyen
Drawing on decades of experience, as well as the cooking hacks her mom adopted after fleeing from Vietnam to America, award-winning author Andrea Nguyen shows you how to use easy-to-find ingredients to create true Vietnamese flavors at home—fast.
OPL copies in print 

Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook
Zahav showcases the melting-pot cooking of Israel, especially the influences of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. 
OPL copies in print / Always available on Hoopla

 

 

Did you know that five of our Oakland Public Library branches have been offering sidewalk pickup service? And that we're adding three more locations this week? If you've been missing print books, you can pick up holds for books, DVDs, CDs, and WiFi hotspots at our doors. More information can be found here

 

22 Graphic Novels You Can Download and Enjoy Right Now


 

Amy Martin is Oakland Public Library’s Community Relations Librarian, which means she does things like creating the Check Your Shelf podcast and finding other creative ways of connecting people with the library. She’s also a comic artist so it’s no surprise that she’s an enthusiastic reader and recommender of comics. Here are her top Hoopla picks.

Descriptions in italics provided by the publishers. 

The Best We Could Do
by Thi Bui
illustrated by Thi Bui
An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family's journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family's daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

Bingo Love 
by Tee Franklin
illustrated by Jenn St-Onge
When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-'60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER's "THE OUTFIT," Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem and The Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.

The Complete Wimmen's Comix 
by Various Authors & Illustrators
In the late '60s, underground comix changed the way comics readers saw the medium ― but there was an important pronoun missing from the revolution. In 1972, ten women cartoonists got together in San Francisco to rectify the situation and produce the first and longest-lasting all-woman comics anthology, Wimmen's Comix. Within two years the Wimmen's Comix Collective had introduced cartoonists like Roberta Gregory and Melinda Gebbie to the comics-reading public, and would go on to publish some of the most talented women cartoonists in America ― Carol Tyler, Mary Fleener, Dori Seda, Phoebe Gloeckner, and many others. In its twenty year run, the women of Wimmen's tackled subjects the guys wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole: abortion, menstruation, masturbation, castration, lesbians, witches, murderesses, and feminists. Most issues of Wimmen's Comix have been long out of print, so it's about time these pioneering cartoonists' work received their due. 

Couch Tag 
by Jesse Reklaw
illustrated by Jesse Reklaw
A tragicomic graphic memoir, the first long-form work by the acclaimed veteran cartoonist, of childhood, family, pre-pubescent sexual deviance, stalking, card games, mental illness, and cats.

Everything Is Beautiful, And I'm Not Afraid 
by Yao Xiao
illustrated by Yao Xiao
This one-of-a-kind graphic novel explores the poetics of searching for connection, belonging, and identity through the fictional life of a young, queer immigrant. Inspired by the creator's own experiences as a queer, China-born illustrator living in the United States, Everything Is Beautiful, and I'm Not Afraid has an undeniable memoir quality to its recollection and thought-provoking accounts of what it's like to navigate the complexities of seeking belonging-mentally and geographically.

Gender Queer: A Memoir 
by Maia Kobabe
illustrated by Maia Kobabe
Maia's intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be non-binary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity-what it means and how to think about it-for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

Green River Killer 
by Jeff Jensen
illustrated by Jonathan Case
The story of one of America's most notorious killers is revealed in this true-crime comic unlike any other! Throughout the 1980s, the highest priority of Seattle-area police was the apprehension of the Green River Killer, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of women. In 1990, with the body count numbering at least forty-eight, the case was put in the hands of a single detective, Tom Jensen. After twenty years, when the killer was finally captured with the help of DNA technology, Jensen spent 180 days interviewing Gary Leon Ridgway in an effort to learn his most closely held secrets-an epic confrontation with evil that proved as disturbing and surreal as can be imagined. Written by Jensen's own son, acclaimed entertainment writer Jeff Jensen, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story presents the ultimate insider's account of America's most prolific serial killer.

I Am Not Okay With This 
by Charles Forsman
illustrated by Charles Forsman
Sydney seems like a normal, rudderless fifteen-year-old freshman. She hangs out underneath the bleachers, blasts music in her friend's car, and gets into arguments with her annoying little brother. But she also has a few secrets she's only shared in her diary: how she's in love with her best friend, the bizarre death of her war veteran father, and excruciatingly painful telekinetic powers that keep popping up at the most inopportune times. Charles Forsman once again expertly channels teenage ethos in a style that evokes classic comics strips while telling a powerful story about the intense, and sometimes violent, tug of war between trauma and control. I Am Not Okay With This tackles familial strain, sexual confusion, and PTSD in Forsman's signature straight-faced-but-humorous style and firmly stakes his place among the world's best cartoonists.

I Remember Beirut 
by Zeina Abirached
illustrated by Zeina Abirached
Zeina Abirached, author of the award-winning graphic novel A Game for Swallows, returns with a powerful collection of wartime memories. Abirached was born in Lebanon in 1981. She grew up in Beirut as fighting between Christians and Muslims divided the city streets. Follow her past cars riddled with bullet holes, into taxi cabs that travel where buses refuse to go, and on outings to collect shrapnel from the sidewalk. With striking black-and-white artwork, Abirached recalls the details of ordinary life inside a war zone.

Jam In The Band 
by Robin Enrico
illustrated by Robin Enrico
Jam in the Band is the story of the rise and fall of the all female junkrock band Pitch Girl. The story focuses on the tension between the members of the band and the commitment they are willing to make to be successful. Lead singer Bianca is willing to give up everything to make her dream into a reality, while her band mates Tiara and Corbin feel a much stronger pull towards the comforts of home and intimacy. These tensions will start to simmer when Tiara is confronted with her first real chance at a romantic relationship since Pitch Girl became famous. All of this comes to head when the band embarks on an illfated overseas tour. These three young women will then have to try to figure out who they are and what they want as they transition to the next phase of their lives. Told through a collage of drama, interviews, hand held camera footage, diary pages, news reports, music videos, web chats, and punk rock flyers; Jam in the Band is the story of the lives creative people stumble through in their 20's as they try to live our their hopes and dreams.

Jane 
by Aline Brosh McKenna
illustrated by Ramon Perez
A powerful modern day reimagining of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel Jane Eyre. Jane learns that in the world of New York's elite, secrets are the greatest extravagance and she must decide if she should trust the man she loves or do whatever it takes to protect his daughter from the consequences of his deception.

Lighter Than My Shadow 
by Katie Green
illustrated by Katie Green
Like most kids, Katie was a picky eater. She'd sit at the table in silent protest, hide uneaten toast in her bedroom, listen to parental threats she'd have to eat it for breakfast. But in any life, a set of circumstances can collide, and normal behavior can soon shade into something sinister, something deadly. Lighter Than My Shadow is a hand-drawn story of struggle and recovery, a trip into the black heart of a taboo illness, an exposure of those who are so weak they prey on the weak, and an inspiration to anybody who believes in the human power to endure, and to eventually find happiness.

Love And Rockets Library Vol. 1: Maggie The Mechanic 
by Jaime Hernandez
illustrated by Jaime Hernandez
Part 1 of the Love and Rockets Library series
The first volume of the Love and Rockets Library collecting the adventures of the spunky Maggie, her annoying best friend and sometimes lover Hopey, and their circle of friends, including their bombshell friend Penny Century, Maggie's weirdo mentor Izzy -- as well as the wrestler Rena Titanon and Maggie's handsome love interest, Rand Race.

March: Book One 
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin
illustrated by Nate Powell
Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1958 comic book Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story. Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.

Megahex 
by Simon Hanselmann
illustrated by Simon Hanselmann
Megg is a depressed, drug-addicted witch. Mogg is her black cat. Their friend, Owl, is an anthropomorphized owl. They hang out a lot with Werewolf Jones. This may sound like a pure stoner comedy, but it transcends the genre: these characters struggle unsuccessfully to come to grips with their depression, drug use, sexuality, poverty, lack of work, lack of ambition, and their complex feelings about each other in ways that have made Megg and Mogg sensations on Hanselmann's Girl Mountain Tumblr. This is the first collection of Hanselmann's work, freed from its cumbersome Internet prison, and sure to be one of the most talked about graphic novels of 2014, featuring all of the "classic" Megg and Mogg episodes from the past five years as well as over 70 pages of all-new material. 

My Friend Dahmer 
by Derf Backderf
illustrated by Derf Backderf
You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer-the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper-seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, Dahmer was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche-a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and readers will never forget.

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Donner Dinner Party 
by Nathan Hale
illustrated by Nathan Hale
Issue #3 of the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series
The Donner Party expedition is one of the most notorious stories in all of American history. It's also a fascinating snapshot of the westward expansion of the United States, and the families and individuals who sacrificed so much to build new lives in a largely unknown landscape. From the preparation for the journey to each disastrous leg of the trip, this book shows the specific bad decisions that led to the party's predicament in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The graphic novel focuses on the struggles of the Reed family to tell the true story of the catastrophic journey.

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: Raid Of No Return 
by Nathan Hale
illustrated by Nathan Hale
Issue #7 of the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, officially bringing the United States into World War II. A new generation of pilots were recruited to fly bombing missions for the United States, and from that group, volunteers were requested for a dangerous secret assignment. For the first time in American history, Army bombers would be launched from an aircraft carrier. Once at sea, they were told their mission was a retaliation strike against targets in Tokyo. But on the day of the raid, a Japanese patrol boat spotted them and they had to launch early, with barely enough fuel to get them past their target. After the bombing, some pilots crashed, some were captured, and many ended up in mainland China and were carried to safety by Chinese villagers, being hunted by Japanese forces all the while. With tales of high-flying action and bravery, Raid of No Return is a story of heartbreak and survival during wartime. 

On The Camino 
by Jason
illustrated by Jason
Northwestern Spain, observed with the eye of an artist, chronicling both the good (people, conversations) and the bad (blisters, bedbugs) he encountered on his journey. Full of quiet incidents, odd encounters, small triumphs, and the occasional setback, On the Camino is the first implicitly autobiographical long-form work by a master cartoonist.

Sacred Heart 
by Liz Suburbia
illustrated by Liz Suburbia
In this debut graphic novel collecting Liz Suburbia's popular webcomic, the parents have left the teenagers to fend for themselves in a town where a terrible tragedy is coming for them all. The children of U.S. small-town Alexandria are just trying to live like normal teens until their parents' promised return from a mysterious, four-year religious pilgrimage, and Ben Schiller is no exception. She's just trying to take care of her sister, keep faith that her parents will come back, and get through her teen years as painlessly as possible. But her relationship with her best friend is changing, her younger sister is hiding a dark secret, and a terrible tragedy is coming for them all. Filled with teenage loves and fights and parties, Sacred Heart is a wonderful coming-of-age graphic novel set against the threat of a big reckoning that everyone fears is coming but has no proof. 

Sincerely, Harriet 
by Sarah Winifred Searle
illustrated by Sarah Winifred Searle
Harriet Flores struggles with boredom and an unrequited crush while learning to manage her chronic illness through a long, hot, 1990s summer in Chicago. She uses her imagination to cope, which sometimes gets her into trouble, as she makes up fantastical fibs and wonders if there are ghosts upstairs. One neighbor, Pearl, encourages Harriet to read and write, leading Harriet to have a breakthrough and discover the power of storytelling.

Today Is The Last Day Of The Rest Of Your Life 
by Ulli Lust
illustrated by Ulli Lust
A long, dense, sensitive, and minutely observed autobiographical masterpiece recalling the summer of 1984, when the artist, a rebellious, punked-out 17-year-old, hitchhiked her way across Italy. 

 

 

 

 

Need Help?

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help using eBooks or other online resources, you can make an appointment to speak with a librarian. Fill out the online form here, or call 510-238-3134 to make an appointment.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions, please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards during the Shelter in Place Order. Just complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.

Have you read anything wonderful during the Shelter in Place? Please share in the comments!

15 Funny Books You Can Read or Listen to Right Now

 

I've been continuing to dig through Hoopla for titles to recommend since you never have to wait or place the book you want on hold—all of their content is always instantly available. Right now you can get up to 10 downloads a month, and they offer eBooks, eAudiobooks, comics, movies and TV shows, and music. If some humor sounds good to you right now, here are some suggestions to make you laugh (and sometimes cry too), with some available as eBooks, some as eAudiobooks, and some available in both formats. 

Descriptions in italics provided by the publisher.

eAudiobooks + Comedy Albums

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 
(Essays) Sedaris’s essays on living in Paris are some of the funniest he's ever written. At last, someone even meaner than the French! The sort of blithely sophisticated, loopy humour that might have resulted if Dorothy Parker and James Thurber had had a love child. (Also available as an eBook on Overdrive)

A Horse Walks Into A Bar by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen, read by Joe Barrett 
(Fiction) An Israeli comedian a bit past his prime conveys with semi-questionable humor anecdotes from his violence-stricken youth during a night of standup, while a judge in the audience wrestles with his own part in the comedian's losses. Winner of the Man Booker International Award (Also available as an eBook on Overdrive) 

Yes Please by Amy Pohler 
(Biography) Amy Poehler is hosting a dinner party and you're invited! Welcome to the audiobook edition of Amy Poehler's Yes Please. The guest list is star-studded with vocal appearances from Carol Burnett, Seth Meyers, Michael Schur, Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, and even Amy's parents-Yes Please is the ultimate audiobook extravaganza. Also included? A one night only live performance at Poehler's Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Hear Amy read a chapter live in front of a young and attractive Los Angeles audience. While listening to Yes Please, you'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll become convinced that your phone is trying to kill you. Don't miss this collection of stories, thoughts, ideas, lists, and haikus from the mind of one of our most beloved entertainers. 

Beta Male by Kumail Nanjiani 
(Stand-Up) In the world premiere of his Comedy Central one-hour stand-up special, "Beta Male," Kumail Nanjiani [Silicon Valley, The Big Sick] tells you about all the things that terrify him completely.

You can also browse hundreds of comedy albums on Hoopla here. 

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, read by Carly Robins
(Fiction) Stella Lane comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old. It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional--which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. (Also available as an eBook on Overdrive)

Ask A Mexican by Gustavo Arellano, read by William Dufris, Christine Marshall 
(Essays) An irreverent, hilarious, and informative look at Mexican American culture is taken by a rising star in the alternative media, as well as a new kid on the block in such mainstream venues as NPR, the Los Angeles Times, Today, and The Colbert Report. Gustavo Arellano has compiled the best questions about Mexican Americans from readers of his Ask a Mexican! column in California's OC Weekly and uses them to explore the clichés of lowriders, busboys, and housekeepers; drunks and scoundrels; heroes and celebrities; and most important, millions upon millions of law-abiding, patriotic American citizens and their illegal-immigrant cousins who represent some $600 billion in economic power.

eBooks

Small Doses: Potent Truths for Everyday Use by Amanda Seales 
(Essays) Comedian, writer, actress, and social media star Amanda Seales is a force of nature who has fearlessly and passionately charted her own course through life and career. Now, in her one-of-a-kind voice that blends academic intellectualism, Black American colloquialisms, and pop culture fanaticism, she's bringing her life's lessons and laughs to the page. This volume of essays, axioms, original illustrations, and photos provides Seales's trademark 'self-help from the hip' style of commentary, fueled by ideology formed from her own victories, struggles, research, mistakes, risks, and pay-offs. Unapologetic, fiercely funny, and searingly honest, Small Doses engages, empowers, and enlightens readers on how to find their truths while still finding the funny!

Rez Salute by Jim Northrup 
(Essays) Since 2001, Indian Country has seen great changes, touching everything from treaty rights to sovereignty issues to the rise (and sometimes the fall) of gambling and casinos. With unsparing honesty and a good dose of humor, Jim Northrup [looks at] the changes in Indian Country, as well as daily life on the rez.

Outwitting Squirrels by Bill Adler 
(Anti-squirrel How-to) For 25 years, Outwitting Squirrels has been leading the charge to help bird lovers defend their feeders from these fast, greedy, incredibly crafty creatures who pillage birdfeeders before owners very eyes. This classic defense manual for the besieged bird feeder has been fully updated to deal with the more tech-savvy, 21st-century squirrel. It provides 101 cunning strategies, both serious and hilarious, for outsmarting these furry, but not so cute, creatures. Author Bill Adler Jr. discusses the different bird personalities and the best seed to attract them. He rates birdfeeders based upon how squirrel-proof, or squirrel vexing they are, and discusses creative anti-squirrel structures and devices. Spooker poles, Perrier bottles, baffled fishing line, Teflon spray, Vaseline, water bombs, cayenne pepper, and Nixalite the author has tried them all and he regales readers with his squirrel adventures and misadventures.

A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole 
(Fiction) A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times). Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. 

eBook & eAudiobook

I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro 
(Biography) One of America’s most original comedic voices delivers a darkly funny, wryly observed, and emotionally raw account of her year of death, cancer, and epiphany… An inspired combination of the deadpan silliness of her comedy and the open-hearted vulnerability that has emerged in the wake of that dire time, I’m Just a Person is a moving and often hilarious look at this very brave, very funny woman’s journey into the darkness and her thrilling return from it.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore 
(Fiction) A bold, hilarious, speculative novel fills in the lost years of Jesus life, told from the perspective of Biff, Christ's childhood best buddy… Lamb is the crowning achievement of Christopher Moore's storied career: fresh, wild, audacious, divinely hilarious, yet heartfelt, poignant, and alive, with a surprising reverence. Let there be rejoicing unto the world! Christopher Moore is come -- to bring truth, light, and big yuks to fans old and new with the Greatest Story Never Told! 

Rabbit by Patricia Williams with Jeannine Amber
(Biography) Patricia Williams (aka Ms. Pat) was born and raised in Atlanta at the height of the crack epidemic. One of five children, Pat watched as her mother struggled to get by on charity, cons, and petty crimes. At age seven, Pat was taught to roll drunks for money. At twelve, she was targeted for sex by a man eight years her senior. By thirteen, she was pregnant. By fifteen, Pat was a mother of two. Alone at sixteen, Pat was determined to make a better life for her children. But with no job skills and an eighth-grade education, her options were limited. She learned quickly that hustling and humor were the only tools she had to survive. Rabbit is an unflinching memoir of cinematic scope and unexpected humor. With wisdom and humor, Pat gives us a rare glimpse of what it's really like to be a black mom in America. (Also available as a stand up comedy album, Rabbit by Ms. Pat)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert 
(Fiction) A witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who's tired of being "boring" and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things… Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list.

What If? by Randall Munroe 
(Essays & Trivia) Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have a large and passionate following. Fans of xkcd ask Munroe a lot of strange questions. What if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? If there was a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by signature xkcd comics. 

Need Help?

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help using eBooks or other online resources, you can make an appointment to speak with a librarian. Fill out the online form here, or call 510-238-3134 to make an appointment.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions, please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards during the Shelter in Place Order. Just complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.

Have you read anything wonderful during the Shelter in Place? Please share in the comments!

 

 

15 Great Mysteries You Can Read or Listen to Right Now

 

 

Hoopla is my favorite library eResource right now because you never have to wait—all of their content is always available. Right now you can get up to 10 downloads a month, and they offer eBooks, eAudiobooks, comics, movies and TV shows, and music. I’ve been browsing Hoopla for great reads to share with you and here are some mystery suggestions. Some are available as eBooks, some as eAudiobooks, and some are available in both formats. 

Descriptions in italics provided by the publisher.

Hoopla eBooks 

Edwin of the Iron Shoes by Marcia Muller 
The first novel in the award winning series featuring private detective Sharon McCone by a recipient of the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master award. Already at odds with the San Francisco Police Department, private investigator Sharon McCone is determined to stay on the case of a murdered, small-time antique dealer, despite some alarming mayhem.

Black Water Rising by Attica Locke 
Locke’s first novel was was a finalist for the Orange Prize and was recognized with nominations for an Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. When African-American lawyer Jay Porter jumps into the bayou to save a drowning white woman in Houston, Texas, in 1981, he finds his practice and life in danger when he becomes embroiled in a murder investigation involving Houston's elite. Attica Locke—a writer and producer of FOX's Empire—delivers an engrossing, complex, and cinematic thriller about crime and racial justice.

Maggie Terry by Sarah Schulman 
Post-rehab, Maggie Terry wants nothing more than to rebuild her life in hopes of being reunited with her daughter. But her first day as private investigator lands her in the middle of a sensational new case: actress strangled. To solve this mystery, she'll have to shake the ghosts—dead NYPD partner, vindictive ex, steadfast drug habit—that have long ruled her life. Sarah Schulman is a literary chronicler of the marginalized and subcultural, focusing on queer urban life.

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz 
This modern take on classic British crime fiction was the winner of the Macavity Award for Best Novel, nominee for the Anthony Award for Best Novel, a New York Times bestseller and NPR best book of the Year.  Ignoring the troubling behavior of an eccentric crime writer with whom she has worked for years, editor Susan Ryeland is dismayed when a subplot hidden in the author's latest manuscript reveals a real-world murder. Also available as a Hoopla audiobook.  

Fear of the Dark by Gar Anthony Haywood 
Haywood won a Shamus Award for best first Private Investigator novel for this hard-boiled series opener featuring Aaron Gunner. The shooting of two Black men by a white youth transforms pre-election Los Angeles into a powderkeg, and Aaron Gunner finds himself caught up in political intrigue, violence, and murder.

Eva’s Eye by Karin Fossum 
First in the Inspector Konrad Sejer series by the "Norwegian queen of crime." Eva and her young daughter Emma are walking by the river when Emma spots something floating in the water. It's the body of a man, and what's more, a man Eva recognizes. Sejer and Skarre piece together the stories behind two unsolved murders . . . does it all lead back to Eva? Also available as a Hoopla audiobook.  

Violent Spring by Gary Phillips 
Phillips is a revered author inspired by comics and classic pulp detective stories whose character Ivan Monk is an L.A. private investigator and donut shop owner in the era of the Rodney King Riots. When the body of a murdered Korean shopkeeper is discovered during a South Central groundbreaking ceremony, private investigator Ivan Monk is thrown into a maze that pits him against the gangs, cops, power brokers, and leaders of Los Angeles.

The Hot Rock by Donald E. Westlake 
This first comic caper featuring career criminal John Archibald Dortmunder was an Edgar Award finalist. John Dortmunder leaves jail with ten dollars, a train ticket, and nothing to make money on but his good name. Thankfully, his reputation goes far. No one plans a caper better than Dortmunder. His friend Kelp picks him up in a stolen Cadillac and drives him away from Sing-Sing, telling a story of a $500,000 emerald that they just have to steal. Dortmunder doesn't hesitate to agree.  

One Perfect Shot by Steven F. Havill 
This prequel is a good introduction to this beloved series of western-themed police procedurals. When a county employee is found shot to death in sun-drenched daylight while sitting in his county road grader, Undersheriff Bill Gastner is faced with puzzling questions. The simplest explanation--that an errant bullet from a careless target shooter's rifle blew out Larry Zipoli's brains--is soon discarded as inconsistencies surface. The fatal bullet shows no rifling marks, and investigation reveals that the shooter walked directly toward the road grader, in full view of the victim--who did nothing to defend himself. In addition to the demands of the investigation, Gastner learns that Sheriff Eduardo Salcido has hired a new deputy without discussing the matter with his undersheriff. And Gastner learns that the new hire is destined to be the first female road patrol deputy in the history of Posadas County. Also available as a Hoopla audiobook. 

One Night Stands And Lost Weekends by Lawrence Block 
In the era before he created moody private investigator Matthew Scudder, burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, sleepless spy Evan Tanner, and the amiable hit man Keller-and years before his first Edgar Award-a young writer named Lawrence Block submitted a story titled "You Can't Lose" to Manhunt magazine. It was published, and the rest is history. One Night Stands and Lost Weekends is a sterling collection of short crime fiction and suspense novelettes penned between 1958 and 1962 by a budding young master and soon-to-be Grand Master-an essential slice of genre history, and more fun than a high-speed police chase following a bank job gone bad.

Hoopla eAudiobooks

The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid 
This inaugural entry in the series featuring clinical psychologist and profiler Dr. Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year and inspired the British television series Wire in the Blood. When the fourth victim of a twisted serial killer is found, Detective Inspector Carol Jordan teams up with criminologist Tony Hill to develop a complicated criminal profile, the accuracy of which becomes pivotal to the case. eBook available on Overdrive.  

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear 
A New York Times Notable Book, Agatha Award winner for Best First Novel, and nominee for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, this historical mystery introduces beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs, a volunteer nurse during the Great War who later launches her own detective agency in London. Private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I. eBook available on Overdrive.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich 
This bestselling debut was nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, Shamus, and Macavity awards, launching a hilarious, fast-paced, romantic mystery series featuring heroine Stephanie Plum. After her Miata is repossessed, Stephanie Plum turns to bounty hunting for quick cash, and her first quarry, an ex-cop accused of murder, turns out to be her first lover, with whom she still shares a powerful chemistry. eBook available on Overdrive.

Blanche On The Lam by Barbara Neely 
Neely received the Agatha Award, Anthony Award, and the Macavity Award for best first novel for this series opener. She sadly passed away in early March, only a few months after she was recognized as the Mystery Writers of America’s 2020 Grand Master. Blanche White is a plump, feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper working for the genteel rich in North Carolina. But when an employer stiffs her, and her checks bounce, she goes on the lam, hiding out as a maid for a wealthy family at their summer home. That plan goes awry when there’s a murder and Blanche becomes the prime suspect. So she’s forced to use her savvy, her sharp wit, and her old-girl network of domestic workers to discover the truth and save her own skin.

The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan 
Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award, the Barry Award, and a nomination for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, this series opener introduces detectives from Canada's Community Policing Section investigating racially- and ethnically-sensitive cases. Detective Esa Khattack and his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, investigate the death of a local man who may have been a Bosnian war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, in a haunting debut novel of loss, redemption and the cost of justice.

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions (including help with eBooks!), please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards during the Shelter in Place Order. Just complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.

 

10 Great Biographies You Can Read or Listen to Right Now

Have you tried Hoopla yet? The app is free, the library pays for the content, and your library card will get you 10 downloads a month. Best of all, you never have to wait--everything is available right now. I’ve been browsing Hoopla for great reads to share with you--here are 10 biography picks, and all 10 are available as an eBook and as an eAudiobook.

Descriptions in italics are provided by the publisher.

Old in Art School by Nell Irvin Painter
A Princeton University historian describes her post-retirement decision to study art, a venture that compelled her to find relevance in the undervalued masters she loves, the obstacles faced by women artists, and the challenges of balancing art and life. The author, a noted scholar, was raised in Oakland and graduated from Oakland Tech. Her book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Best Book of the Year selected by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Just Kids by Patti Smith
In this memoir, singer-songwriter Patti Smith shares tales of New York City : the denizens of Max's Kansas City, the Hotel Chelsea, Scribner's, Brentano's and Strand bookstores and her new life in Brooklyn with a young man named Robert Mapplethorpe--the man who changed her life with his love, friendship, and genius. Winner of the National Book Award, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and many other awards.

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
Fred Rogers (1928-2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. Drawing on original interviews, oral histories and archival documents, the author traces the iconic children's program host's personal, professional, and artistic life through decades of work. Selected as a Best Book of the Year by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Díaz
Jaquira Díaz writes an unflinching account of growing up as a queer biracial girl searching for home as her family splits apart and her mother struggles with mental illness and addiction. From her own struggles with depression and drug abuse to her experiences of violence to Puerto Rico's history of colonialism, every page vibrates with music and lyricism. Winner of a Whiting Award in Nonfiction, a Lambda Literary Awards Finalist​, and a Best Book of the Year selected by Library Journal.

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung
Chung investigates the mysteries and complexities of her transracial adoption in this chronicle of unexpected family for anyone who has struggled to figure out where they belong. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Best Book of the Year selected by The Washington Post, NPR and numerous others.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Recounts how the author, an experienced falconer grieving the sudden death of her father, endeavored to train for the first time a dangerous goshawk predator as part of her personal recovery. Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Costa Book of the Year, one of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and numerous other accolades.

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot
The author recounts her coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in the Pacific Northwest where she survived a dysfunctional childhood and found herself hospitalized with a dual diagnosis of PTSD and bipolar II disorder. Selected as a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Library Journal and others.

The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You by Dina Nayeri
In her first work of nonfiction, Dina Nayeri defies stereotypes and raises surprising questions about the immigrant experience. Here are the real human stories of what it is like to journey across borders in the hope of starting afresh. Finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Kirkus Prize.

Chasing Space: An Astronaut's Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances by Leland Melvin  
In this moving, inspirational memoir, a former NASA astronaut and NFL wide receiver shares his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, examining the intersecting roles of community, perseverance and grace that align to create the opportunities for success.

Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright
At the center of Darling Days is the remarkable relationship between a fiery kid and a domineering ma-a bond defined by freedom and control, excess and sacrifice; by heartbreaking deprivation, agonizing rupture, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Darling Days is also a provocative examination of culture and identity, of the instincts that shape us and the norms that deform us, and of the courage and resilience it takes to listen closely to your deepest self. When a group of boys refuse to let six-year-old, female-born iO play ball, iO instantly adopts a new persona, becoming a boy named Ricky-a choice iO's parents support and celebrate. It is the start of a profound exploration of gender and identity through the tenderest years, and the beginning of a life invented and reinvented at every step. Alternating between the harrowing and the hilarious, Darling Days is the candid, tough, and stirring memoir of a young person in search of an authentic self as family and home life devolve into chaos.

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions (including how to access Hoopla), please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3134.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards during the Shelter in Place Order. Just complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.

10 Great Fiction eReads Available Right Now

If you haven’t used Hoopla yet, it’s easy—just download the free app, and it gives you access to eBooks, eAudiobooks, comics, music, movies and television shows. Best of all, there are no waitlists—all content is always available. Right now your library card will get you 10 downloads a month.

I’ve been browsing Hoopla for great reads, and here are 10 fiction picks for you.

 

Girl, Woman, Other
by Bernardine Evaristo
This year Evaristo became the first Black woman to win the Booker Prize (sharing it with Margaret Atwood) for her novel that uses artful prose in an exploration of race, sexuality, gender, age and Black British womanhood through the interconnected lives of twelve women and femmes who take turns sharing the narrative spotlight. “The prose may be experimental, but the readerly pleasures of character and plot are very traditional. It is a life-enhancing, horizon-expanding novel: funny, inventive and fizzing with vitality.” (The Guardian

The Sympathizer
by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction along with a fistful of other awards. A half-Vietnamese, half-French young man looks back at the fall of Saigon, his flight to the United States as a refugee and his new life in Southern California. He’s a double agent: a Communist sympathizer working for the South Vietnamese Army, torn between two loyalties, two cultures and two lands. “Ultimately a meditation on war, political movements, America's imperialist role, the CIA, torture, loyalty, and one's personal identity, this is a powerful, thought-provoking work” (Library Journal). “Both chilling and funny, and a worthy addition to the library of first-rate novels about the Vietnam War” (Kirkus).  

An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Roy and Celestial have a bright future ahead of them; he’s a rising corporate executive and she is an up-and-coming artist. Their lives are shattered when, in a case of mistaken identity, Roy is wrongly convicted of rape and sentenced to twelve years in prison. “This novel is peopled by vividly realized, individual characters and driven by interpersonal drama, but it is also very much about being black in contemporary America… This is, at its heart, a love story, but a love story warped by racial injustice. And, in it, Jones suggests that racial injustice haunts the African-American story. Subtle, well-crafted, and powerful.” (Kirkus Reviews) An American Marriage won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, Aspen Words Prize and an NAACP Image Award.  Also available as an eAudiobook. 

Oakland Noir
Edited by Jerry Thompson and Eddie Muller
Our beloved town grabs the spotlight in this long running crime anthology series from Akashic Books, featuring noir stories by local authors including Nayomi Munaweera, Judy Juanita, Keenan Norris, Kim Addonizio, and our own Oakland History Center Librarian and author Dorothy Lazard. “Thompson and Muller have taken such pains to choose stories highlighting Oakland's diversity and history that the result is a volume rich in local culture as well as crime.” (Kirkus Reviews) Also available as an eAudiobook 

Convenience Store Woman
by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Keiko Furukura was a strange child. When she turned 18, she discovered that as a convenience store worker at Smile Mart she could smother her unconventional urges with her employer’s rigid corporate culture. Another 18 years later, adult expectations of who she should be chip away at her efforts at living a “normal life.” “A sly take on modern work culture and social conformism… Murata provides deceptively sharp commentary on the narrow social slots people—particularly women—are expected to occupy and how those who deviate can inspire bafflement, fear, or anger in others… A unique and unexpectedly revealing English language debut.” (Kirkus) Winner of Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize.  Also available as an eAudiobook 

The Mountains Sing
by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
The history of the Trần family over four generations is set against the tumultuous background of Vietnam in the 20th century. Diệu Lan’s life of privilege as a young person fades as she persists through tragedy after tragedy, and she ultimately shares her story with her granddaughter Hương when she becomes her sole caregiver. “Widely published in Vietnamese, poet, nonfiction writer, and translator Nguyễn’s first novel in English balances the unrelenting devastation of war with redemptive moments of surprising humanity.” (Booklist) Also available as an eAudiobook.

The Leavers
by Lisa Ko
Ko won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a National Book Award Finalist for this debut novel about Peilan Guo, an undocumented immigrant and young mother from China, and her American-born son, Deming. Deming is a fifth grader when his mom fails to return from her job at a Bronx nail shop. Foster care puts him in the care of a couple of white professors in upstate New York. After years of wondering, a struggling 21 year old Deming seeks answers about his mother. “Ko’s stunning tale of love and loyalty—to family, to country—is a fresh and moving look at the immigrant experience in America, and is as timely as ever.” (Publishers Weekly) Also available as an eAudiobook. 

The Wangs Vs. the World
by Jade Chang
Charles Wang left China for the United States, where he built a cosmetics empire. When his company tanks during the economic crash of 2008, he loses his Bel Air house, pulls his younger kids out of college and private school and the family hits the road with the intent to move in with the eldest daughter, a conceptual artist who lives in the Catskills. “Chang’s charming and quirky characters and comic observations make the novel a jaunty joy ride to remember.” (Publishers Weekly) The Wangs Vs. the World was a New York Times Editor's Choice and selected as a Best Book of the Year by NPR and others.  

Useful Phrases for Immigrants
by May-Lee Chai
This slim volume of stories, winner of a 2019 American Book Award, looks at the lives of people in China and the Chinese diaspora around the globe, touching on issues of class, sexuality, identity and relationships. “With her masterful short story collection, Chai proves with exquisite craftsmanship that less can be so much more… The concise tales in this literary gem linger in the mind long after the pages are turned.” (Booklist 

Sarong Party Girls
by Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Jazzy’s 27th birthday is coming up, so it’s time to stop partying and find her dream husband—an ang moh, a rich white Western expat. Cheeky, clever and determined, not to mention brand-obsessed, Jazzy pursues her marital goal in the often shocking after-hours clubs of Singapore. Her story is punctuated with Singlish—a patois derived from a mix of English, Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien, Teochew, Indian and Cantonese. “A rowdy tale, memorable language, and a very distinctive protagonist.” (Kirkus Reviews) Tan is also the author of the memoir A Tiger in the Kitchen (2011). Also available as an eAudiobook.

You can find out more about Oakland Public Library's online books, movies and more here.

If you need help with your library account or have other questions (including how to access Hoopla), please email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org or leave a voice mail with your full name and details at 510-238-3511.

If you don’t have a library account, we're still issuing new library cards during the Shelter in Place Order. Just complete an online application and email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org to set one up.

Looking for more reading recommendations? Try our service for readers, Book Me! Fill out an online form and a librarian will send you a personalized list of reading suggestions.