New Fiction Roundup – October 2022

The busy fall publishing season is underway, and October brings a slate of horror novels, new fiction by popular authors Celeste Ng, Barbara Kingsolver, Cormac McCarthy, Orhan Pamuk, Colleen Hoover, and much more.

10/4: The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken
A nameless narrator wanders around London remembering her recently deceased mother, recounting stories from her mother’s life and reflecting on how we tell the stories of ourselves and others. (general fiction)

10/4: Jackal by Erin E. Adams
Reluctantly returning to her Pennsylvania home town for her best friend’s wedding, Liz is pulled into a frantic search for a missing girl. Digging through the town’s history, Liz uncovers a pattern: children have been going missing in the woods for years, and they’re all Black girls. Can Liz discover and stop the evil? (horror)

10/4: Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
Escaping a bad marriage, Olivia returns to her family home with son Asher, where she takes over the family beekeeping business. But their new idyll is upended when Asher is questioned by police in the death of a classmate. (general fiction)

10/4: Nights of Plague by Orhan Pamuk
When a plague arrives on an imaginary island in the Ottoman Empire in 1900, the local population of Orthodox Greeks and Muslims are divided. Poorly followed quarantine orders, inept local government, and a murder complicate matters. (historical fiction).

10/4: Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
In a dystopian tale where PAOs (Persons of Asian Origin) are considered a threat to American culture,  12-year-old Bird goes in search of his Chinese American mother, who disappeared when he was a small child after publishing a rebellious poem. From the author of Little Fires Everywhere. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

10/4: Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty
Murder and death seem to follow Mallory Viridian wherever she goes, which is fine since she’s an excellent detective. But it’s also made her a social pariah. A new life on a sentient space station, where her only company are alien beings, seems like the answer. When human guests start to arrive, so does murder, landing Mallory in the middle of an extraterrestrial whodunit. (mystery/science fiction)

10/4: Such Sharp Teeth by Rachel Harrison
Rory needs a change, but returning to her hometown and being attacked by an animal weren’t on her list. She survives, but feels … different. She’s strong, she loves the moon, she hates silver. Is this just the change she needed? (horror)

10/11: Daughters of the New Year by E.M. Tran
In New Orleans, Xuan Trung is obsessed with forecasting her daughters’ futures via their Vietnamese zodiac signs. But her three daughters are determined to follow their own paths, even as they begin to catch strange glimpses of long-buried family secrets. (general fiction)

10/11: Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet
Broken-hearted Gil walks to Arizona, and when new neighbors move into the glass-walled house next door, finds his life beginning to mesh with theirs in this exploration of the self and of community. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

10/11: Illuminations by Alan Moore
In his first-ever short story collection, graphic novel master Alan Moore examines the fantastical underside of reality. (general fiction)

10/11: Little Eve by Catriona Ward
On a remote island off the Scottish coast, a clan is preparing a ceremony to welcome the end of the world, and its rebirth. But when a detective arrives to investigate a murder, the group’s plans go terribly wrong. (horror)

10/18: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
This coming-of-age novel follows the story of a boy born in the mountains of southern Appalachia with little beyond good looks, sharp wit, and a talent for survival. (general fiction)

10/18: It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
Lily, now a single mother, is caught between abusive ex-husband Ryle and first love Atlas in this sequel to It Ends With Us. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

10/18: The Last Chairlift by John Irving
An extended family saga follows writer Adam, his entertaining and loving family, and his search through family history to discover his father. (general fiction)

10/18: Lavender House by Lev A.C. Rosen
In 1952 California, soap empire proprietor Irene Lamontaine presides over an estate that offers unique freedom to a sprawling, queer family and household staff. When Irene mysteriously dies, former detective Evander Mills investigates, only to be pulled into a game of old money, subterfuge, and jealousy. (mystery)

10/18: Liberation Day by George Saunders
A master of the form returns with a new collection of short stories. (general fiction)

10/18: Poster Girl by Veronica Roth
For decades the Delegation ruled the Seattle-Portland megalopolis with a strict moral code regulated by the Insight, which tracked every word and action. After the Delegation’s fall, former regime poster girl Sonya is imprisoned, but can gain her freedom by finding a missing girl stolen from her parents by the old regime. (dystopian fiction)

10/25: Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris
In 1964 Mississippi, two Black sisters go on the run. Violet kills a man in self-defense, but knows there’s no justice in the Jim Crow South, and feels to Georgia. Marigold, unmarried and pregnant, flees north. But both have someone on their trail, with a motive for finding them both. (thriller)

10/25: The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy
Bobby, a salvage diver, is haunted by the demons of his past and by the death of his sister Stella. First in a duology, by the author of The Road. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

10/25: The Singularities by John Banville
Characters from previous novels congregate in a drafty old house in Ireland, where they explore the nostalgia of their pasts and connections of the present. (general fiction)

~ posted by Andrea G.

New Nonfiction Roundup – October 2022

Celebrate the first full month of fall with a bevy of fabulous cookbooks, celebrity biographies, moving memoirs, and so much more!

Several leading cookbook authors are releasing new books in October. “Barefoot Contessa” host Ina Garten returns with her latest crowd-pleaser, Go-To Dinners; Danielle Walker provides easy recipes to keep you Healthy in a Hurry; Tabitha Brown shares easy, delicious, and joyful plant-based inspirations in
Cooking From the Spirit; Kristin Miglore delivers 100 rule-breaking recipes in Food52 Simply Genius; and Noor Murad provides cooks with secret culinary weapons in the latest from the “Ottolenghi Test Kitchen,” Extra Good Things.

Bakers, plan your holiday treats with the The Cookie Bible, the ultimate cookie cookbook by Rose Levy Beranbaum; learn the craft of baking through 100 recipes in The King Arthur Baking School; enjoy the latest from “Great British Baking Show Winner” Nadiya Hussain with Nadiya’s Everyday Baking; or enjoy delicious baked goods for breakfast, dinner and everything in-between with Savory Baking by Erin Jeanne McDowell.

Looking to step it up a bit? Check out Preppy Kitchen, John Kanell’s debut that celebrates decadent, seasonal comfort food; Jacques Pepin: Art of the Chicken, where legendary French chef Jacques Pepin pairs 50 recipes for the humble chicken alongside paintings by the author; discover the cuisine of Puerto Rico with Illyanna Maisonet in Diasporican; and explore recipes from “Little Fat Boy” Frankie Gaw’s Taiwanese-American home in First Generation.

Enjoy 140 vegetable-forward Italian recipes with Jody Williams from her NYC restaurant Via Carota, or trace the roots of the Great Migration and its influence on west coast cuisine in Tanya Holland’s California Soul. Finally, learn how to cook for a crowd with Christian author Jen Hatmaker’s first cookbook, Feed These People: Slam-Dunk Recipes for Your Crew or just see what makes Netflix star Phil Rosenthal happy in Somebody Feed Phil: The Book.

If juicy celebrity biographies are your thing, this is the month for you! Constance Wu chronicles life in the entertainment industry as an Asian American actor, including sexual harassment on the set of “Fresh Off the Boat” in Making a Scene; Hollywood icon and humanitarian Paul Newman’s memoirs have been compiled in the raw and candid The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man; “Outlander” star Sam Heughan details his Scottish journey in Waypoints; quirky actress Geena Davis shares the story of her eccentric childhood and fascinating career in Dying of Politeness; Ralph Macchio looks back on the power of “The Karate Kid” in Waxing On; Linda Rondstadt writes a love letter to the Sonoran Borderlands and her Mexican heritage in Feels Like Home; and “Harry Potter” and “Sense and Sensibility” actor Alan Rickman reveals all through candid diary entries in Madly, Deeply.

If you prefer memoirs, we’ve got you covered. New Yorker writer Hua Hsu writes about male friendship following the senseless death of a friend in Stay True; former Secret Service agent Clint Hill reminisces about Jackie O. in My Travels with Mrs. Kennedy; Reza Aslan (Zealot) recounts the fascinating life and death of little-known missionary Howard Baskerville in An American Martyr in Persia; Jessi Hempel reveals how she came out to her family, only to have nearly her entire family come out in various ways, in The Family Outing; Nora McInerny, host of the podcast “Terrible, Thanks for Asking” embraces sadness and authenticity over “live love laugh” in Bad Vibes Only; activist Chelsea Manning chronicles her decision to leak classified military documents along with the declaration of her gender identity in Readme.txt; and Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan talks about four decades in journalism in Newsroom Confidential.

Interested in learning more about current events? New York Times columnist Maggie Haberman provides the definitive account of the life of Donald Trump in the highly anticipated Confidence Man; Anand Giridharadas honors those who are working to change minds and save democracy in The Persuaders; police officer Michael Fanone recounts how he nearly lost his life during the insurrection on January 6th in Hold the Line; Robert Draper chronicles how the Republican Party lost its mind in Weapons of Mass Delusion; Walt Bogdanich exposes the hidden influence of the world’s most powerful consulting firm in When McKinsey Comes to Town; Gabrielle Stanley Blair reframes the abortion debate by putting the focus on men and accountability in Ejaculate Responsibly; Nicholas Dawidoff tells the story of violence and injustice in New Haven, Connecticut in The Other Side of Prospect; Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden reveal how a band of misfits crusade to save the world from cybercrime in Ransomware Hunting Team; Chris Miller explains the fight between the U.S. and China for the world’s most critical technology in Chip War; and Tom Bower reveals all about Megan Markle and the wedge she drove within the British Royal Family in Revenge.

Are you a history buff? Acclaimed author Jon Meacham revisits the Lincoln presidency in And There Was Light; filmmaker Ken Burns shares his favorite photographs chronicling U.S. history in Our America; Adam Hochschild looks back at our nation immediately following the end of World War I in American Midnight while Antony Beevor looks at Eastern Europe during the same period in Russia; and Jonathan Freedland tells the story of Rudolf Vrba, who broke free from Auschwitz to warn the world of the horrors of the Holocaust in The Escape Artist.

In science and medicine, Siddhartha Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies) takes a look at the miniscule building blocks of life and what it means to be human in The Song of the Cell; David Quammen tells the story of the scientific race to defeat the COVID virus in Breathless; and Anthony William provides answers to everything from brain fog to depression in Medical Medium Brain Saver and the companion book Medical Medium Brain Saver Protocols.

Improve the quality of your life with some of the latest books in self care: Whole30 co-founder Melissa Urban help readers end resentment, burnout and anxiety and reclaim time, health and energy in The Book of Boundaries; Drs. John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman give readers 7 days to more intimacy, connection and joy in their relationships with The Love Prescription; yung pueblo presents a radically compassionate plan to let go of the past, connect with the present, and expand the future in Lighter; Annie Duke empowers readers to achieve greater success by knowing when to walk away in Quit; and Native American wellness activists Chelsey Luger and Thosh Collins provide all readers with Indigenous teachings for living well in The Seven Circles.

Finally, discover more about America’s fastest growing sport – born right here in Seattle! – in Pickleball is Life.

~posted by Frank B.

‘The Border Is Everywhere’: Luis Urrea on “The House of Broken Angels”

Do you have your free ticket to Seattle Reads yet? On Oct. 19-20, renowned Mexican-American author Luis Alberto Urrea will visit Seattle to share his bestselling novel “The House of Broken Angels.”

Urrea, who has been described as a “master storyteller with a rock and roll heart,” will appear at El Centro de la Raza’s Centilia Cultural Center at an event in Spanish (Oct. 19, 7 to 8 p.m.); the Library’s Lake City Branch (Oct. 20, 1 to 2 p.m.); and the Central Library’s Level 1 Microsoft Auditorium (Oct. 20, 7 to 8:30 p.m.). These will be the first in-person events for Seattle Reads, the Library’s citywide book group, in three years. Find all details and registration  links at www.spl.org/SeattleReads.

Urrea was kind enough to preview his talk in this Q&A. (Many thanks to Collection Services manager Elena Gutierrez and The Seattle Public Library Foundation board president Justo González for their help in developing these questions.)

The House of Broken Angels“The House of Broken Angels” is about the De La Cruz family and its dying patriarch Big Angel, who buries his mother and celebrates his last birthday in an epic family gathering.  Although published before COVID, it deals with COVID-era themes such as loss, grief and regret, with plenty of humanity and humor. Have readers made this connection? 

Absolutely. In fact, I would say this is the predominant theme when people contact me. They want to laugh or cry about family, especially those who are gone. I think COVID sharpened those emotions for a lot of readers.

What has surprised or intrigued you about readers’ responses to “The House of Broken Angels”? Have they changed since the book was published in 2018?   

Actually, yes the responses have changed since the book was published. I remember a public appearance that startled me when people complained about the Mexicanness of the story. My favorite quote: “The Mexicans in your book speak too much Spanish.” Now it strikes me as hilarious — that short-sightedness — because, of course, this book isn’t about “Mexicans” but about human beings who happen to be Mexican. Like all immigrants to this country, they are actually Americans with a certain music of their own. The older the book has gotten, and the younger the readers have gotten, the more the message of shared humanity has found traction.

The House of the Broken Angels outside the Lake City Branch
It’s all over the city. “The House of Broken Angels” outside the Lake City Branch, where Urrea will speak on Thursday, Oct. 20.

You’ve said that “The House of Broken Angels” was inspired by events in your own life. Did writing it help you process grief? What epiphanies did you have as a result of writing this novel?  

In spite of the novel’s wild comedy, it plunged me into a cleansing grief. It taught me how to mourn my brother, rather than simply feel numb and displaced by yet another Urrea death. The epiphany for me was about the true nature of love and the true nature of family. Readers have told me over and over that this was an Irish novel, a Scottish novel, an Italian novel, an African-American novel, an Asian novel and so on. I did not know that the specificity of my own need to tell about my own culture would find grace notes in every culture.

“The House of Broken Angels” was published during a time of particularly intense division for our country. How do we create space for empathy and love to crowd out fear and division?   

You, in your love, must be stronger, braver and fiercer that the puny idiots who live by hatred and division. Do not cower, step forward. There was an old quote of mine that someone made into a beautiful meme (without any input from me): “Saying I love you to each other is the entire point. Fill your pen with love or don’t bother picking it up.”  You can create a space for paranoia and hatred. Or you can create a space for your hope and your belief and do it by art. You already know what that space looks like: It is an aspen grove, it is an Alaskan mountain range, and every path is lit with signal fires.

You’ve often written about the border and its effect on people’s journeys. You’ve also referred to the border as a metaphor, a kind of liminal space. How does the border as a liminal space interact with your writing? 

Step on a subway. Tell me what person can you rush to, sit beside, lean against, put your head on their shoulder? You need to see that the border is EVERYWHERE. You need to stand on stage beside me and see it weaving through the audience. You need to go to the classrooms at any university or school and see that automatically white students gather in one corner, black students in another, young Muslim women in hijabs not attended by either group. The Latinx students come hang with me. What do I do? My job is to remind you that you are a human being and you can actually put some of your prejudice and fear over in that corner and try something new. Try thinking, just once, that “I am one of you and you are one of us.” There is no them, there is only us.

You’ve said you consider yourself a mystical writer. What role does storytelling in the Mexican/Spanish tradition play in “The House of Broken Angels”?

Well, you have to understand that although it is fiction, it is inspired by the same people swimming in my personal gene pool. We were raised by the same healers, seers, crackpots, occultists, and straight up liars, jokers, boasters and dreamers. We share the same blood and genes as Teresita aka “The Hummingbird’s Daughter.” I was raised with tales of hauntings, apparitions of ghosts, insane tall tales that enthralled all of us kids, horrifying heartbreaks, inexplicable wonders. You know, García Marquez didn’t think his work was all that fanciful. One thing you may not know about the Mexican side of my family is that they are also Irish and also Basque and some historians have traced us back to the Visigoths. What kind of stew is that? Now, let us mix in my mother’s British roots. If we don’t see, if not a mysticism, a certain narrative flow, we’re not looking carefully enough.

Finally, what have you been reading lately? 

Lately, I have been trying to earn my blessings by being of service. It was perhaps suicidal to chair the National Book Award in fiction last year and I am on several judging panels this year as well. The one I am most excited about is the inaugural Ursula Le Guin Literary Award but I am also trying to pay back dues to writers who have meant something to me. So I have re-read copious amounts of Rudolfo Anaya and Jim Harrison. I also read lots of poetry, I read truckloads of haiku, I comfort myself with Mary Oliver, I never veer far from William Stafford and you can’t ever find me without a rockin’ mystery book under my arm.

Details on Seattle Reads events

Urrea will appear at three Library events:

Find a copy of “The House of Broken Angels”

Copies of the book are available in the Library’s catalog in both English and Spanish. Limited copies will also be available for informal borrowing (meaning you don’t need to check out the copies) at most Library locations in English and Spanish.

Seattle Reads is presented in partnership with La Sala, El Centro de la Raza and Seattle Escribe, and is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Wallace Foundation. Additional support provided by media sponsor The Seattle Times and Back Bay Books.

For more information, visit www.spl.org/seattlereads, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask Us.

–  Elisa M., Communications

A Peek at Peak Picks – October 2022

Nine new books are joining Peak Picks in October!

In fiction, fans of Colleen Hoover, #BookTok’s most popular author, will be rewarded with the continuing story of Lily, now a single mother, as she’s caught between abusive ex-husband Ryle and first love Atlas in It Starts With Us; Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere) delivers a dystopian tale where PAOs (Persons of Asian Origin) are considered a threat to American culture, leaving 12-year-old Bird to wonder where his Chinese American mother disappeared to, in Our Missing Hearts; Cormac McCarthy returns, sixteen years after The Road, with The Passenger, examining the life of Bobby, a salvage diver haunted by the death of his sister Stella while he wrestles with demons of his own; Lydia Millett (A Children’s Bible) tells the story of Gil, whose life begins to mesh with the family next door (who happen to live in a glass house) in Dinosaurs; and Kwame Alexander launches a trilogy set in West Africa in 1960, where 11-year-old Kofi must participate in a wrestling match between rival kingdoms that changes the trajectory of his life in The Door of No Return, a children’s novel in verse.

In nonfiction, beloved Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart) reflects on the cycles of life and death, enabling us to successfully navigate life with openness rather than fear in How We Live is How We Die; Ross Gay (The Book of Delights) meditates on gratitude and happiness through twelve essays in Inciting Joy; Temple Grandin (Thinking in Pictures) celebrates the hidden gifts of neurodiverse folks who see the world in patterns and abstractions in Visual Thinking; and in Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know, Ben Bowlin, Matt Frederick and Noel Brown (hosts of the podcast of the same name) discern fact from fiction in the roots of conspiracy theories that have gripped America. ​

~posted by Frank B.

School Tales for Teens: September 2022

School is back in session!  If you need some time away from your homework, here are some great teen novels about school life.

In Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, an anonymous student known only as Aces spreads secrets about two Black students to try and keep them from succeeding in the predominantly white school.

Dahlia Adler’s Home Field Advantage follows Amber, whose ambition to become the next cheerleader captain falters when she meets and starts falling for the new quarterback, Jac, short for Jaclyn.

Debating Darcy by Sayantani DasGupta pits Leela and Firoze, two competitors in high school forensics, against each other in a high stakes contest. Great for fans of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

In The Problem with the Other Side by Kwame Ivery, the growing romance between a Black boy and a white girl is threatened by their sisters’ competition to become class president while fighting to determine whether more teens of color should be admitted to their school.

Why We Fly by Kimberly Jones lets cheerleaders Chanel and Eleanor tell their sides of the story of their senior year, and how taking a knee during the national anthem brings different consequences to each girl.

Samantha Markum’s This May End Badly depicts two rival schools and their century-old tradition of pranking each other.  When Doe wants to end the rivalry and learns that the schools plan to merge, she begins a series of pranks that escalate beyond her control.

In Millionaires for the Month by Stacy McAnulty, Benji and Felix find a billionaire’s lost wallet and “borrow” twenty dollars to buy lunch.  When the truth comes out, the billionaire challenges them to spend five million dollars in one month in order to learn the true value of money.  Can they do it within all the conditions she has set and win ten million dollars to keep?

Better than the Movies by Lynn Painter has Liz recruiting her irritating next-door neighbor to help her get popular Michael to take her to the prom.  How much help can she truly expect?

In Jasper Sanchez’s The (Un)Popular Vote, Mark stays out of the public eye as much as possible to help his politician father even as he transitions, but when he decides to run for student president himself, he must be more public about who he really is.

In The Assignment by Liza Wiemer, a popular teacher assigns the class a hot-button debate topic: Hitler’s final solution, pro or con.

~ posted by Wally B.