"Ever since my mom died, I cry in H Mart. For those of you who don’t know, H Mart is a supermarket chain that specializes in Asian food. The “H” stands for han ah reum, a Korean phrase that roughly translates to “one arm full of groceries.” H Mart is where parachute kids go to get the exact brand of instant noodles that reminds them of home." Michelle Zauner's memoir, Crying in H Mart (NPR; Goodreads) explores identity, family relationships, shared meals, grief, and memory in a clear-eyed and compassionate telling. [more inside]
Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, who can hear the thoughts and longings of those around her and feels compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a restless creature of fire, once free to roam the desert but now imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they’ll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and try to pass as human—just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Brought together under calamitous circumstances, their lives are now entwined—but they’re not yet certain of what they mean to each other. [more inside]
It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend. One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They're going to need to ask it a lot.
David Maurer's account of con artists running the "big con" to fleece victims in the first half of the 20th century. This non-fiction book is the basis for the movie The Sting [more inside]
Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange old man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Struggling to make their way in this strange new place, the Golem and the Jinni try to fit in with their Jewish and Syrian neighbors while masking their true natures. [more inside]
A waitress inadvertently gets caught up in a bank heist. [more inside]
Thara Celahar (the same prelate of Ulis who investigated the death of the emperor Maia’s father in Katherine Addison’s previous book The Goblin King) is back as the protagonist of this lovely read by Katherine Addison. [more inside]
"For Tulane University’s 2018 commencement, Jesmyn Ward delivered a stirring speech about the value of hard work and the importance of respect for oneself and others. Speaking about the challenges she and her family overcame, Ward inspired everyone in the audience with her meditation on tenacity in the face of hardship. Ward’s moving words will inspire readers as they prepare for the next chapter in their lives, whether, like Ward, they are the first in their families to graduate from college or are preceded by generations, or whether they are embarking on a different kind of journey later in life." - from the publisher
"Fforde (Early Riser) invokes John le Carré, George Orwell, and Beatrix Potter in this tongue-in-cheek political satire of systemic injustice, bureaucratic corruption, and human foibles. Peter Knox, one of the rare humans who can differentiate between individual humanoid rabbits created in the Spontaneous Anthropomorphising Event of 1965, works as a spotter in the English village of Much Hemlock. In this role, Peter secretly identifies rabbits for the United Kingdom Anti-Rabbit Party’s Rabbit Compliance Taskforce. But when Peter’s university crush, Connie, a rabbit herself, moves in next door right when the Taskforce is cooking up a plan to rehome the rabbits in a work camp, Peter falls into a tangled web of seduction, espionage, and betrayal as he’s torn between his career and a chance to do the right thing. Amid a rapid-fire barrage of literary allusions, Fforde displays his signature quick wit on a furious tour through modern British right-wing politics. Playful, biting, and timely, this is a must-read."--Publishers Weekly
Michael Lewis (Liar's Poker, The Big Short, The Fifth Risk) tells the story of the American response to the Covid pandemic from the perspective of a handful of infectious-disease experts. In the mid-2000s they planned the American response to a future pandemic. In late 2019 and early 2020 they found themselves trying to protect Americans from Covid. [more inside]
"Addie LaRue was born in France at the very end of the 17th century — but no one remembers that. No one, that is, except for Addie herself and the devil she makes a deal with to escape an unwanted marriage and an ordinary life." (NPR Review) [more inside]
Alison Bechdel (Fun Home, Are You My Mother?, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For) creates another autobiographical graphic novel, this one covering her entire life and examining it from the perspective of her lifelong quest for physical fitness and its effect both on her body and her mind, and how it has changed (and changed her) as she's grown older. [more inside]
Zen Cho's latest fantasy novel: "A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy." A closeted gay woman moves, with her mom and dad, back from the US to Malaysia, and discovers even more secrets to untangle. Suspenseful, funny, observant.
A man wakes up, alone and amnesiac. He gradually remembers that he's on a mission to save humanity.
The sorcerer Alder fears sleep. The dead are pulling him to them at night. Through him they may free themselves and invade Earthsea. Alder seeks advice from Ged, once Archmage. Ged tells him to go to Tenar, Tehanu, and the young king at Havnor. They are joined by amber-eyed Irian, a fierce dragon able to assume the shape of a woman. The threat can be confronted only in the Immanent Grove on Roke, the holiest place in the world, and there the king, hero, sage, wizard, and dragon make a last stand. (Book 6 of the Earthsea cycle) [more inside]
A YA medieval fantasy featuring an unusual and transformative friendship between a whip smart and deeply religious young girl and a local witch. Super weird, transporting, beautiful.
First in a planned series of YA Space Fantasy novels about Tina Mains (secretly a clone of an alien space-hero), her crew of teen smarty pals, and their adventures aboard an intergalactic spaceship in their battle against evil. Swashbuckling space battles, romance, evil space fascists, and friendship above all!
The latest in Martha Wells's stellar Murderbot series, novella-length Fugitive Telemetry, is out. [more inside]
"In seven interwoven comics essays, author and graphic novelist Nate Powell addresses living in an era of what he calls "necessary protest." Save It for Later: Promises, Parenthood, and the Urgency of Protest is Powell's reflection on witnessing the collapse of discourse in real time while drawing the award-winning trilogy March, written by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, this generation's preeminent historical account of nonviolent revolution in the civil rights movement. Powell highlights both the danger of normalized paramilitary presence symbols in consumer pop culture, and the roles we play individually as we interact with our communities, families, and society at large." An excerpt of Powell's book, from Lithub: How to Raise Your Children on the History of Protest. [more inside]
Jenny Lawson's back with her third book, Broken (In the Best Possible Way). In it she chronicles her treatment with transcranial magnetic stimulation for depression, battles with hospital bills, and the many questions that come up in everyday life. Her husband Victor and her daughter (plus the many delightful animals both real and taxidermy) also make appearances throughout. [more inside]