Shelf Awareness for Readers for Tuesday, May 29, 2018


From My Shelf

Crown: A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Morrow: Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Domestic Suspense Beyond Gone Girl

In her anthology Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives (Penguin Books, $17), editor Sarah Weinman collects short works of crime fiction by women about women. She credits the authors collected here with inspiring the contemporary generation of women crime writers, pushing forward a genre she calls domestic suspense.
 
There's no shortage of bestsellers that fall squarely into this category--how many times have we heard a psychological thriller touted as "the next Gone Girl!" or "The Girl on the Train meets Big Little Lies." Certainly, all of these books are excellent in their own right, but for those looking to explore the genre, we offer a few suggestions:
 
In her debut novel, Under the Harrow (Penguin Books, $16), Flynn Berry takes a straightforward murder mystery and imbues it with a complicated sense of grief, loss and the aftermath of trauma. In The Widow (Berkley, $16), Fiona Barton (whose second novel, The Child, (Berkley, $16), was also widely praised), approaches the story of a suspected child murderer through the lens of his widow's experience.
 
Sharon Bolton's Little Black Lies (Minotaur, $16.99) plays with narrative voice, telling the story of a series of missing children from three viewpoints: a woman who lost her two sons in a freak accident, the woman responsible for their deaths and a veteran suffering from PTSD. Attica Locke sets a murder on an old Louisiana plantation in The Cutting Season (Harper Perennial, $15.99), embedding a whodunit-style mystery within the larger contexts of racism and immigration in the Deep South.

The list could go on and on, of course; the genre of domestic suspense is deeply rooted in classical works of crime fiction and thriving in contemporary novels. Let us know what books you'd add to your list. --Kerry McHugh, blogger at Entomology of a Bookworm


Dutton BFYR & Penguin Press: The John Green & Celeste Ng Book Club - The Perfect Pairing for Your Next Book Club!


Book Candy

Novels with the Best Opening Lines

"Can you name the novels with the best opening lines?" Mental Floss challenged.

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Electric Lit highlighted "7 literary attractions across America."

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Pop quiz: "You have four minutes to name as many of Shakespeare's works as you can," Buzzfeed challenged.

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"Linguists say we might be able to communicate with aliens if we ever encounter them," Mental Floss promised.

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Check out the "first reviews of every Virginia Woolf novel," thanks to Lit Hub.


ITW: Ruth Ware


Great Reads

Rediscover: The Berlin Stories

English-American author Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) is best known for The Berlin Stories, a book of two semi-autobiographical novellas, Goodbye to Berlin and Mr Norris Changes Trains, based on Isherwood's time in the Weimar Republic. The Berlin Stories were the basis for John Van Druten's play I Am a Camera (1951), which was adapted into a film in 1955, and was the basis for the 1966 musical Cabaret, which itself became a film in 1972.

Goodbye to Berlin is an episodic account of Weimar Berlin's diverse residents, many of whom would become targets for the Nazis: a Jewish heiress, a gay couple, a kindly landlady and the famous Sally Bowles, an English cabaret performer who remained a centerpiece of The Berlin Stories' many adaptations. Mr Norris Changes Trains follows a fictionalized version of British communist Gerald Hamilton on a variety of shady business and political adventures in Berlin and throughout Europe.

After fleeing Weimar Germany, Isherwood moved to Hollywood, Calif., where he spent much of the rest of his life with his partner, the portrait artist Don Bachardy. The most famous of Isherwood's many later works is A Single Man (1964), about a discontented gay British professor in Los Angeles, which became a film starring Colin Firth in 2009. The Berlin Stories was last published in 2008 by New Directions ($17.95, 9780811218047). --Tobias Mutter


Holiday House: The Adventure of a Girl Called Bicycle


The Writer's Life

Sarah Wilson: Redefining How We Deal with Anxiety

Sarah Wilson is a bestselling author (I Quit Sugar), former journalist and founder of Australia's largest digital wellness site. Her new book, First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety (Dey Street Books, $25.99; reviewed below), is an account of living with anxiety, exploring how anxiety can shape relationships, treatments, successes and failures.
 
Could you explain your outlook on dealing with anxiety in an accepting way, rather than a "try to make it go away" approach?
 
A lot of books on the topic go as far as positioning anxiety as something that can be managed or modulated at best. We can learn to live with anxiety, has been the most helpful message. But this always struck me as, well, unsatisfying. It kept anxiety in the "disordered" model. My research found, wonderfully, that when you look into the evolutionary, spiritual and philosophical history of anxiety, you find that it actually serves a purpose. More than this, it's been the very "quirk" in our humanity's makeup that has seen us invent, create, lead a community through crises, etc. The inventors of some of the "craziest" things in history were often bipolar. Crises leaders were often phobic or OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder]. By seeing the beauty of "the beast" in this way, we can then learn to not just live with anxiety, we can thrive with it. This is what I've done differently with The Beast.
 
Have you read Oliver Burkeman's The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking? It serves as something of a corrective for the self-help books that preach the quest for happiness as the end-all, be-all of the good life.
 
Yes, I have. And, in fact, Oliver has endorsed the U.K. edition of the book. My research found exactly that--"sitting in the discomfort" and the "is-ness" of life is where we can find something resembling true happiness (joy? purpose?). My argument in the book is that this is because we stop grasping inwards (which is anxiety-riddled) and we are forced to sit with ourselves, to come closer, to get still.
 
You pull from a range of sources for this book--theologians, pop culture, neuropsychologists, nutritionists, psychiatrists, laypersons, spiritual leaders, sports figures. You lay out many of the things you've learned in a non-prescriptive way: "Here's what this is about, see what you think." Is that "grazing through options" by design, or has it just developed from your own experience?
 
One of the things I suggest in the book is to learn more about different theories... and to accept the uncertainty of not knowing, of there not being one answer. It's the journey to find out that counts. I also think the didactic approach has been done to death. I didn't want this to be yet another self-help book (which generally steer readers away from helping themselves to following the dictates of a self-professed guru). I think the world needs more authentic inspiration.
 
How would you direct an acquaintance, let's say, in choosing a therapist to work with? What would be the "things to look for?"
 
I don't think I've worked out the formula for this. They say it takes someone with bipolar disorder five to seven therapists before they find the one that works for them. I think just knowing this is helpful. Me, I generally ask like-minded friends for recommendations. In therapy, I challenge myself to... be challenged. When you're an A-type, high-functioning anxious control freak, you tend to think you know it all, right? In therapy, it's very important to look for someone who will challenge your control, your ideas, your theories. This is what we need to continue the journey.  It's deeply uncomfortable, but discomfort is a sign you're on the right track! --Matthew Tiffany

Grand Central: The Pharaoh Key by Douglas Preston


Book Review

Fiction

Motherhood

by Sheila Heti


A writer near the end of her fertile years, hounded by anxiety and depression, feels an occasional intense desire for a child. It terrifies her. All her friends are having them. Her partner is against the idea, but would do it if she could be sure. Meanwhile they use risky birth control. In Motherhood, Canadian writer Sheila Heti (The Chairs Are Where the People Go) wrestles with the problem of how to choose an unknowable future based on shifting emotions and the advice of people who have already made their decisions. "Neither path better and neither path worse, neither more frightening or less riddled with fear."
 
For several years, her protagonist flips coins to answer yes or no questions. In a prefacing note, Heti asserts that though some of this book is fiction, all results of the coin tosses are true. Mysticism alternates with attempts at logic, and neither can provide solid answers. She considers her childhood with a devoted father and work-focused absent mother, and she asks the opinions of her adored and distrusted partner, her friends, random strangers and psychics. Fantasies and neurotic self-consciousness muddle her understanding of solitude, quiet and work as her most secure havens. The book's form is a hammock, or a maze, with the most structure in the beginning and in the emotionally satisfying resolution. In the middle, the protagonist struggles with her indecision over reproduction, her feelings for her partner and what she wants her life to be. "Another dark shadow on a dark lawn: the fact that for a woman of curiosity, no decision will ever feel like the right one." --Sara Catterall

Discover: A writer in her late 30s wrestles with how to choose an unknowable future, with or without children.

Holt, $27, hardcover, 304p., 9781627790772

Morrow: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter


Miss Subways

by David Duchovny


Riffing on the Irish myth of Emer and Cúchulainn, Miss Subways by David Duchovny (Bucky F*cking Dent) tells an age-old tale of love lost and found. Emer, a native New Yorker, lives with her narcissistic boyfriend, Con. But one night when he's out with another woman, Emer is visited by Sid, who foretells Con's death unless Emer strikes a bargain to save his life. She agrees to let Sid wipe out their memories of their life together in order to save him. Afterward she has a nagging sense of loss and "as her dreams became more real, her reality became less so." When she runs into Con again, the meeting is a catalyst for a series of transformational events for Emer and those around her.
 
Emer moves through New York City trying to piece together her increasingly fragmented reality. She thinks she might have two lives--"the conscious one and the dream one playing in separate movie theaters in her mind." Emer discovers that mythological beings live in the city alongside humans, and her contact with them forces deeper thought about the meaning of life and love. Deities of every culture and belief system present themselves to Emer as if their collective wisdom is what she needs to solve the puzzle: Is she experiencing real life or a hallucination? Is there a difference? She doesn't know, and neither does the reader, lending an elusive, mystical feel to this highly original, multi-layered story. --Cindy Pauldine, bookseller, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.

Discover: Miss Subways is an imaginative journey through New York City by a young woman and assorted mythological figures, inspired by the Irish myth of Emer and Cuchulain.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $26, hardcover, 320p., 9780374210403

Shelf Giveaway: Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts


A Theory of Love

by Margaret Bradham Thornton


Some places are made for romance. In Margaret Bradham Thornton's A Theory of Love, one of those places is the fictional enclave of Bermeja on Mexico's rugged Pacific coast, south of Puerto Vallarta. Rich artists and wealthy global moguls gather there in casitas carefully designed to capture the area's views and color. On assignment to do a story on Bermeja's Italian developer, British journalist Helen Gibbs meets the Franco-American lawyer, entrepreneur and occasional surfer Christopher Delavaux.
 
Too smart and clever to be overwhelmed by only physical attraction, Helen and Christopher banter about language (his favorite word is the Italian sprezzatura, which he translates as "studied nonchalance") and the excesses of the well-heeled players around them. When he leaves a respected law firm in New York City to launch his own investment advisory house in London, they reconnect and easily glide into love and marriage. With a little mews house to call home, Helen revels in the excitement of dinners with Christopher's prospective clients, weekends in the country and interesting reporting assignments. But one cannot live on fancy ceviche and massive English manors alone. As Christopher focuses on building his business, Helen chafes and wonders when they will have leisure time again.
 
With chapters skipping across both the cosmopolitan and remote turfs of the wealthy, A Theory of Love is a portrait of romance among the 1%. Yet it is pulled back to earth by the self-reflective, unpretentious Helen, who centers Thornton's narrative. She learns that falling in love is easy. Overcoming a spouse's obsession with work and personal indifference is much harder. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Discover: In a modern love story, a spirited British journalist finds both romance and disappointment amid the whirl and glitz of the global elite.

Ecco, $27.99, hardcover, 288p., 9780062742704

Mystery & Thriller

The Perfect Mother

by Aimee Molloy


The first novel from nonfiction author Aimee Molloy (However Long the Night) unravels the secrets of an outwardly normal mommy group when disaster strikes.
 
They call themselves the May Mothers, a Brooklyn, N.Y., meetup group who delivered babies in the same month and still get together for adult conversation: Winnie, the gorgeous single mom; Francie, the Southern goody-two-shoes; cool British mum Nell; pretty and poised Colette; and "Token," the stay-at-home dad whose real name no one remembers. When the stress of adjusting to life as parents weighs them down, the May Mothers decide to leave the babies home and have a proper evening out. Worried about her lack of a support system, they insist Winnie join them, even helping her hire a sitter.
 
Their fun takes a terrible turn when someone kidnaps Winnie's son, Midas, from his crib. Blame flies in all directions as the media runs exposés, law enforcement bungles the investigation and the strain of the tragedy pushes the Mothers to confront their own secrets and woes. As they each work in their own separate ways to reconstruct the night of the kidnapping, the women also struggle with their post-baby careers, marriages and identities. Whether Midas returns or not, all of their lives will change forever.
 
Molloy explores the isolation and tension of first-time parenting, using the frenzy surrounding the kidnapping to examine expectations of motherhood. Some of the Mothers' investigative breakthroughs stretch credibility, but the nuanced portrayal of the pressure that falls on child-rearing women rings true. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager, main branch, Dayton Metro Library

Discover: The members of a Brooklyn mommy meetup group face their demons when one mother's infant is kidnapped.

Harper, $27.99, hardcover, 336p., 9780062696793

Biography & Memoir

Free Woman: Life, Liberation, and Doris Lessing

by Lara Feigel


After producing several engrossing nonfiction titles (The Love-charm of Bombs, The Bitter Taste of Victory), writer and lecturer Lara Feigel turns inward in Free Woman to craft a story of self through her exploration of Doris Lessing. In the aftermath of a miscarriage, Feigel revisits Lessing's 1962 novel, The Golden Notebook, and is both fascinated by and feels a connection to the novel's investigation of motherhood, sexuality and female liberation. Feigel dips in and out of her own life and Lessing's novels, personal letters and biography to explore these themes, which seem to define not only the woman who has captivated her, but also Feigel's own life and times.
 
Feigel treats the close readings of Lessing's novel and life with tenderness and compassion. While the biography she puts forward is factually interesting, the emotional nuance and ambivalence she imbues it with elevates her portrait of Lessing to one of intimate importance, for the reader as well as the writer. Stylistically, Free Woman is elegantly written, gracefully balancing Feigel's depth and breadth of research with her incisive, personal perceptions and awareness. Feigel's treatment of Lessing's less admirable qualities, such as her decision to abandon her children and her dedication to the Communist Party in Stalin's wake, is particularly strong, as she neither shies away from critique nor ignores the complex and justifiable nature of Lessing's actions. Confronting such issues offers the opportunity to raise the book's best and most impossible questions about what freedom can mean to a person, a woman, a lover and a mother. --Alice Martin, freelance writer and editor

Discover: Exploring the life and work of Doris Lessing, Lara Feigel combines biography, literary criticism and memoir to create a mesmerizing meditation on womanhood.

Bloomsbury, $28, hardcover, 336p., 9781635570953

History

The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World

by Simon Winchester


Precision is a fact of modern-day life. While we are "peppered and larded and salted and perfumed with precision," we're also hard pressed to define what it actually means, not to mention how significantly (and quickly) it has changed the course of human history. With bestselling author Simon Winchester (Atlantic) as guide, the marvels of precision engineering bloom.
 
Winchester begins chronologically with the development of the steam engine, discovered and made efficient by Englishmen John Wilkinson and James Watt, and heralding the Industrial Revolution. Soon after, the "paradigm-altering idea of interchangeable parts" emerged; weapons and warfare would never be the same. The budding automotive industry also took note. While Britain's Rolls Royce was proudly meticulous in making cars, it was Henry Ford's assembly lines that made the Model-T ubiquitous by embracing mass production--shifting the pursuit of even greater exactness to the United States. Soon, the jet engine would change air travel and GPS would guarantee accuracy of a location within mere centimeters.
 
Populated with colorful characters (including a duplicitous Eli Whitney and sharp-shooting Queen Victoria), notable failures (Hubble Space Telescope's first flawed mirror) and contradictions (our persistent desire for the handmade and imperfect), Winchester's tour of modern engineering is never dull. Looking ahead, where "electrons and protons and neutrons have replaced iron and oil and bearings and lubricants and trunnions," Winchester considers a future where the fundamental core of our very existence is altered by our never-ending quest for perfection. -- Frank Brasile, librarian

Discover: The Perfectionists is an entertaining journey examining engineering's pervasive impact on society from the Industrial Revolution onward.

Harper, $29.99, hardcover, 416p., 9780062652553

Essays & Criticism

The Destiny Thief: Essays on Writing, Writers and Life

by Richard Russo


Richard Russo's first collection of essays--in a career of more than three decades that includes a Pulitzer Prize for his 2001 novel, Empire Falls--is an insightful blend of excellent writing advice, revealing memoir and cogent literary criticism.
 
One of his recurring themes here is the writer's search for identity and a true voice. In the title essay, he wrestles with the choice between an academic career and life as a novelist; he initially resisted grounding his fiction in the small towns of upstate New York, like Gloversville, where he grew up. In the book's concluding essay, "The Boss in Bulgaria," he considers his resolution to concentrate his literary career on "a patch of dirt about the size of Faulkner's"--something at the time that "felt like nothing so much as defeat." This he links to his struggle to provide meaningful counsel as the featured guest at a writing conference for young Bulgarian writers, seeking their own voices in a country only recently freed from Communist control.
 
Russo (Empire Falls) departs from the dominant personal tone of most of the pieces to appraise the work of what appear to be two writers for whom he has a particular fondness--Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. In describing Dickens's first novel, written when he was 24, Russo is impressed by "how sure-handed and confident a writer the young Dickens already was." He's not quite as effusive in his praise for the nonfiction of Twain, but he's an unabashed admirer of the "witty, playful exuberance" of the writer's storytelling.
 
Richard Russo's wise, hard-earned counsel to aspiring writers on other subjects that include humor, point of view and the demands of a writing career only enhances the value of The Destiny Thief. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Discover: Prize-winning author Richard Russo's collection of nine essays offers sage advice on the writing life and life itself.

Knopf, $25.95, hardcover, 224p., 9781524733513

Psychology & Self-Help

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety

by Sarah Wilson


Coming to an understanding of anxiety can be like trying to figure out what wind does--a lot depends on place and time, and whether the effects are devastating or capable of being harnessed. Millions of Americans have one of the various permutations of an anxiety disorder, and there are a range of books about living with its particular form of loneliness that comes from feeling so unstable while life goes on around you.
 
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful: A New Journey Through Anxiety by Sarah Wilson somehow works a magic of relieving that loneliness. It elaborates on the wide-ranging conversation with honesty, revelation and questioning. It doesn't offer answers so much as possibilities for relief, which reflects Wilson's outlook on a "harm reduction" approach to anxiety over trying to stamp it out entirely. She travels far and wide across the condition's rocky terrain and, like the best travel guides, she brings the reader to see out-of-the-way things that can make all the difference. What does a loved one need to do when anxiety strains a relationship? How does anxiety play into, and off of, other disorders like depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia and bipolar disorder? How does one begin to find help from a professional? Wilson does readers a service in sharing this memoir, and readers can do a service by sharing it with friends. --Matthew Tiffany, LCPC

Discover: A candid, conversational and extensive look at the day-to-day experiences of living with an anxiety disorder.

Dey Street Books, $25.99, hardcover, 320p., 9780062836786

Children's & Young Adult

A Stone for Sascha

by Aaron Becker


Aaron Becker's newest wordless picture book opens on the title page with an illustration of a framed photograph: a girl and a dog sit together in an autumnal yard. In front of the frame is a little stack of dried flowers. The page turn shows the girl's mother, standing between a shovel and a hole in the ground, pulling the girl in for a hug as the girl's father gently places a wrapped bundle into the grave. Yep--it's a dead dog book. Or is it?
 
The family then leaves for a beach vacation, where the still-sad girl throws a rock into the ocean. The rock becomes a golden meteor racing through space; it connects with the Earth and, over a series of panels, readers see the gold of that meteor settle into the earth below the dinosaurs. Men dig up the golden rock and create a henge; time passes and the stone falls. Next, the stone makes its way across the ocean and is raised by a society with written language; the city devolves into war. This rise and fall of civilizations continues, the golden stone getting smaller as it travels across the globe and through the ages. Eventually, the stone ends up under the water, where a certain little girl finds it on her beach trip and decides it will be the perfect marker for a grave back home.
 
A Stone for Sascha's digital illustrations are as vibrant and winsome as one has come to expect of a work by Aaron Becker (the Journey triptych). The heartbreaking beginning is balanced by the grandness of the tale that follows, and Becker's expression of the cyclical nature of the human experience gives any reader plenty to think about. --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor

Discover: A young girl who has recently lost her dog is part of a grander tale than she can imagine in A Stone for Sascha.

Candlewick Press, $17.99, hardcover, 48p., ages 5-9, 9780763665968

Neymar: A Soccer Dream Come True

by Mina Javaherbin, illus. by Paul Hoppe


From his early days playing soccer in the halls of his grandfather's house, Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior dreams of becoming a star on his native Brazil's national team, Seleção. With the support of his loving family and his coach, he steadily moves up the ranks, playing in the junior division of Santos, the local soccer club, then traveling to Spain to join Real Madrid. Once in Spain, though, Neymar realizes that the "money, fame, and stardom" that comes with playing in Europe isn't enough to combat the homesickness he feels. Some question his decision to return to Brazil, but his father knows Neymar will be "happier playing with his friends and growing up among family." Soon after turning 17, he is invited to join Santos's major league team (on which Brazilian superstar Pelé used to play), and eventually even his dream of playing for Seleção comes true. Neymar loves playing and adores his family: "I'm a happy player in a happy home, a volcano erupting with joy."
 
In Neymar: A Soccer Dream Come True, Mina Javaherbin (Goal!; Soccer Star; Elephant in the Dark), herself a soccer fan, takes real biographical information about the Brazilian soccer star, and brings it to life with imagined dialogue. Awash in golds, greens, blues and reds, Paul Hoppe's (The Woods; Metal Man; the Last-but-Not-Least Lola series) illustrations show motion, his thin, broken outlines portraying a joyful, dedicated athlete. In one of his most radiant drawings, Hoppe's illustrative foreshadowing shows the brightly colored boy Neymar dribbling the ball, with his future self--a grayscale ghost--taking the ball and running. Young athletes will be inspired by this story of a boy whose determination and hard work get him exactly where he wants to be. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

Discover: Famous Brazilian soccer player Neymar's trajectory to stardom comes to life in this illustrated portrayal of his childhood spent working and playing hard to achieve a dream.

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99, hardcover, 32p., 9780374310660

Humor

Go Ask Ali: Half-Baked Advice (and Free Lemonade)

by Ali Wentworth


In the introduction of Go Ask Ali: Half-Baked Advice (and Free Lemonade), actress and comedian Ali Wentworth makes it clear: "This is basically a humor book.... There is nothing religious, political, or ideological in the following pages." And she keeps this promise, with personal essays that are entertaining and at times outrageous, about life with her two daughters and husband, journalist and political commentator George Stephanopoulos. Fans of her previous two collections, Ali in Wonderland and Happily Ali After, will be happy to get more of the same here. This time, as her older daughter anticipates "womanhood" and Wentworth is experiencing perimenopause, there's a wistful tone as she recognizes an empty nest will soon be upon her.
 
But, of course, she's still funny, and paints vivid pictures full of self-deprecation. She discusses moving to New York City and having to interview with board members before she could buy an apartment: "Having never auditioned to live in a building, I was very self-conscious. I hesitated to reach for the Brie. I just knew it was a trap." While headed to Nantucket on a tiny plane that encounters bad weather, she fears crashing into the ocean and being devoured by sharks: "My ass is so meaty and plump right now, I would no doubt be the all-you-can-eat buffet." Wentworth's life is in a stratum different from most people's, but she's goofy enough to make her adventures engaging, reminding moms and wives--and humans--everywhere that she's just like us. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd

Discover: Actress and comedian Ali Wentworth shares witty anecdotes and life lessons learned from her mishaps.

Harper, $25.99, hardcover, 224p., 9780062466013

Poetry

Junk

by Tommy Pico


If future aliens find Tommy Pico's book-length poem Junk among the ruins of human civilization, they might understand what it was like being alive in the year 2018, on the cusp of major cultural and ecological change.
 
Pico (Nature Poem) doesn't so much distill the times as incarnate them in verse, breathlessly. Seventy-two pages of free-flowing couplets comprise the third in the poet's Teebs trilogy. Ostensibly about a romantic breakup, Junk, as the name would suggest, teems with ephemera: junk food, junk clothes, junk feelings. The poet--often referred to as the alter-ego Teebs--swims through this post-industrial, consumer-oriented inheritance with a stream-of-consciousness style that recalls the generation-defining mythos of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. The poem opens in "the multiplex Temple of/ Canoodling and Junk food," with the poet's anxiety and sexuality likened to "a snipe hunt Love in the time of/ climate change."
 
The poet is Native American--Pico hails from the Kumeyaay Nation of Southern California--and queer. The genius of Junk lies in the poet's outward vision, in his ability, heeding "the gusting forward of time," to create new space for himself and others like him, to create a new sense of identity. Toward the end of the book, the poet self-deprecatingly proclaims, "this is a poem of vibrant inconsequence." The irony, of course, is that it's not. Heady, heartfelt and unforgettable, Junk stands out as the work of an original and vital voice. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

Discover: Native American poet Tommy Pico indulges American consumer culture in this fun yet profound book-length poem.

Tin House, $15.95, paperback, 80p., 9781941040973

The Death of Mrs. Westaway
by Ruth Ware
ISBN-13: 9781501156212
Scout Press
May 29, 2018


an exclusive interview with bestselling author Ruth Ware 
 

For this suspense novel, the protagonist is named Hal, an orphaned tarot-card reader with a booth in Brighton, England. How did you create such a original character?

Ruth Ware: “Hal is very much straight out of my imagination. Most of my characters are—occasionally I’ll steal a small quirk or a figure of speech off a real person, but I try not to magpie too much from real life, it feels a little disrespectful and I fear my friends might start to rebel. She probably has a good dose of me, though. Most of my characters are me to some extent. I knew very little about tarot before I started writing the novel. I had seen the cards of course, and always found them beautiful and evocative, but I had no idea about what they symbolized and how to conduct a reading. I went into it thinking it was a load of old cobblers, to be totally honest —I’m not a natural believer in anything supernatural, and I tend to dismiss anything that isn’t provable in a sequence of peer reviewed double blind trials. But I emerged from the research process rather impressed.”

 Read the rest of the interview here.

 

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A STONE’S THROW by JAMES ZISKIN: In the latest in the award-winning Ellie Stone historical mystery series, a young newspaper reporter in 1960s' upstate New York investigates a double murder at an abandoned stud farm near once-glamorous Saratoga Springs, leading her to a tangled place where dangerous men don't like to lose. Find out more here.

THE GLASS FOREST by CYNTHIA SWANSON: From the bestselling author of The Bookseller comes a gripping literary suspense novel about a deeply troubled family and three women who will reveal its dark truths after a phone call comes about a man’s suicide and a wife gone missing, leading to a woman rushing to rescue relatives but then questioning her own marriage. Learn more at The Big Thrill.

THE FAIRFAX INCIDENT by TERRENCE McCAULEY: It’s Manhattan, 1933 and Charlie Doherty may have been kicked off the force after The Grand Central Massacre, but his private detective business is booming, and the case of a lifetime lands in his lap when a wealthy woman wants him to investigate the suspicious demise of her husband. Visit The Big Thrill for more. 

A SHARP SOLITUDE by CHRISTINE CARBO:  The latest novel from the award-winning author tells the story a woman’s body being found in the isolated terrain near Glacier National Park and the victim was a journalist who had been interviewing a reclusive researcher about his work for a program that trains dogs to track scientific data. Read more here.

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