Starred Review

Salt Houses

by Hala Alyan

Hala Alyan's first novel follows the lives of one Palestinian family through the last half of the 20th century into the 21st. Although the history of the Middle East is filled with fraught moments during this time, Salt Houses focuses on what happens before, and after, those moments. Alyan, a poet who also works as a psychologist, is more interested in how people choose to, or choose not to, move on from moments of trauma and upheaval.

The book begins in 1963 with the wedding of headstrong Alia and

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Notes of a Crocodile

by Qiu Miaojin, trans. by Bonnie Huie

This English translation of Notes of a Crocodile aptly captures the extraordinary intelligence and sensibility of celebrated Taiwanese lesbian writer Qiu Miaojin (Last Words from Montmartre).

The novel focuses on a cadre of queer college students in Taipei, who form tenuous bonds of friendship--often evolving into eroticism--in the face of a society that, left unchallenged, would homogenize and flatten their personalities. At the center of this group is Lazi, the narrator, who struggles to control her desire

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Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World

by Sarah Prager, illus. by Zoë More O'Ferrall

Queer people--"anyone outside society's gender and sexuality norms"--have always been a part of world history, whether we knew it or not. Presidents (and first ladies), Roman emperors/empresses, musicians, athletes, nuns and civil rights leaders have been gay, bisexual, panromantic, transgender and everywhere else along the gender and sexuality spectrum. Although some of these people were accepted in their time and place, many others were closeted or persecuted. Furthermore, "[f]ear of rejection, physical

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Shelf Discovery

My Soul Looks Back

by Jessica B. Harris

The electric intellectual and artistic world of African Americans in 1970s New York City takes center stage in this memoir of culinary historian Jessica B. Harris's youth.

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The Lice

by W.S.Merwin

This commemorative edition showcases the early existential musings of one of modern poetry's most recognizable names.

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HarperCollins: Celebrating 200 Years of Great Books

Media Heat

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fresh Air: Richard Barnett, author of The Smile Stealers: The Fine and Foul Art of Dentistry (Thames & Hudson, $35, 9780500519110).

Conan: Ben Falcone, author of Being a Dad Is Weird: Lessons in Fatherhood from My Family to Yours (Dey Street, $25.99, 9780062473622).

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fresh Air: Thomas E. Ricks, author of Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom (Penguin Press, $28, 9781594206139).

CBS This Morning: Jack Ewing, author of Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal (Norton, $27.95, 9780393254501).

Thursday, May 18, 2017

KCRW's Bookworm: Brad Gooch, author of Rumi's Secret: The Life of the Sufi Poet of Love (Harper, $28.99, 9780061999147).

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Jeffrey Tambor, author of Are You Anybody?: A Memoir (Crown Archetype, $27, 9780451496355).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Fresh Air: Ari Berman, author of Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America (Picador, $18, 9781250094728).

Daily Show: Susan Burton, co-author of Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women (The New Press, $25.95, 9781620972120).

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Daily Show: Gabourey Sidibe, author of This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9780544786769).
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