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.

‘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

Drum Roll, Please: The 2022 Washington State Book Award Winners

Washington State Book Awards 2022

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Washington State Book Awards!

The Washington Center for the Book and the Library selected winners in eight categories for the awards, which honor outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2021. This is the 56th year of the program, formerly called the Governor’s Writers Awards.

Join us in celebrating these exceptional authors and stories, including all the finalists that were announced in August. (Scroll down for a list of all the finalists.) Find out more about the awards and how to submit for 2023 at the Washington Center for the Book website.

2022 WSBA WINNERS: BOOKS FOR ADULTS CATEGORIES
“Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism” by Elsa SjunnesonBiography/Memoir
 “The Book of Difficult Fruit: Arguments for the Tart, Tender, and Unruly (with recipes)” Creative Nonfiction
: “On Fragile Waves” by E. Lily YuFiction
: “Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home” by Lynda Mapes, of Seattle (Braided River and The Seattle Times)General Nonfiction
 “More American” by Sharon HashimotoPoetry
  • More American by Sharon Hashimoto, of Tukwila (Grid Books / Off the Grid Press)

2022 WSBA WINNERS: BOOKS FOR YOUTH CATEGORIES
“Rock by Rock: The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand” by Jennifer Bradbury, of Burlington; illustrated by Sam BoughtonPicture Books
 “Mighty Inside” by Sundee FrazierBooks for Young Readers

 

: “Little Thieves” by Margaret OwenBooks for Young Adult Readers
  • Little Thieves by Margaret Owen, of Seattle (Henry Holt and Company)

Continue reading “Drum Roll, Please: The 2022 Washington State Book Award Winners”

New Fiction Roundup, September 2022

The fall publishing season is upon us! As the days shorten and the rain creeps back, September new releases have something for everyone to curl up with.

9/6: The American Roommate Experiment by Elene Armas
Rosie is a writer suffering from writer’s block and temporarily, unexpectedly sharing housing with Spanish tourist Lucas. But Lucas has a tempting offer – he’ll take her on a series of romantic dates as inspiration for her romance novel. What could go wrong? (romance)

9/6: Back to the Garden by Laurie R. King
Renovation work at the legendary Gardener Estate reveals a human skull, which may be tied to the house’s time as a counterculture commune. Inspector Raquel Laing digs into the case expecting it to connect to local serial killer The Highwayman, but the Estate has plenty of secrets of its own. (mystery) A Peak Pick!

9/6: The Family Izquierdo by Rubén Degollado
Three generations of a Mexican American family grapple with unexplainable misfortunes, until they find a strange object in the backyard and worry that a neighbor has cursed them. (general fiction)

9/6: The Fortunes of Jaded Women by Carolyn Huynh
The Vietnamese American Duong family struggle with a generations-old curse that says they will never find never to find love or happiness. When a trusted psychic says that the curse will end, estranged mothers, daughters, aunts and cousins are reunited. (general fiction)

9/6: The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
In Renaissance Italy, 15-year-old Lucrezia de Medici feels freedom in being the third daughter, largely left alone. When her older sister dies, Lucrezia is married in her place and must adapt to a significant role in a troubled court. By the author of Hamnet. (historical fiction). A Peak Pick!

9/6: The Means by Amy Fusselman
In this comic novel, Shelly Means is an unsatisfied stay-at-home mom in therapy for anger management who thinks that a home in the Hamptons would really solve all her problems. She gets what she wants, and much more than she bargained for, in the process. (general fiction) Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup, September 2022”

A Peak at Peak Picks – September 2022

Eight new titles are joining Peak Picks in September!

For nonfiction, New York Times food writer Melissa Clark’s follow up to Dinner in French features 100 one-pot, one-pan and one-sheet recipes that are perfect for weeknights in Dinner in One; poet Javier Zamora tells the harrowing story of his three-thousand mile journey, alone among strangers as a nine-year-old, from El Salvador to the U.S to reunite with family in Solito;  Randall Munroe continues his quest to find serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions in What If? 2; and The Disability Visibility Project founder Alice Wong reflects on her life as an Asian American disabled activist through essays, interviews and artwork in The Year of the Tiger (celebrate the release of this book with authors Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Elsa Sjunneson on September 15th in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures and Estelita’s Library).

Continue reading “A Peak at Peak Picks – September 2022”