New Fiction Roundup – May 2022

Get ready for summer reading with May new releases! It’s a (perhaps surprisingly) good month for new horror releases, as well as new titles from literary favorites, some great romance, and much more.

5/3: Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Cutthroat literary agent Nora takes a girls trip to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina but continually finds herself thrown together with Charlie, a brooding editor that she knows from home. Will they write their own love story? (romance) A Peak Pick!

5/3: Book of Night by Holly Black
Thief Charlie Hall is trying to get out of the business, but she works for some dangerous people: gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to eavesdrop and sometimes kill. With a desperate sister and a boyfriend hiding secrets, Charlie enters the hunt for a book that could unleash a terrifying power. (fantasy)

5/3: Companion Piece by Ali Smith
Pandemics, isolation, companionship, medieval clocks, poetry, and wordplay are rich ground for the author of the Seasonal Quartet. (general fiction)

5/3: The Hacienda by Isabel Canas
In 1820s Mexico, Beatriz accepts a marriage proposal and finds herself at a haunted estate, where she’ll rely on the help of a local priest to save herself and the others who live at the hacienda. (horror)

5/3: The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara
17-year-old Athena recounts the story of her father, King Rao, who overcame being born into the lowest caste in India to become a tech billionaire. Thanks to one of King Rao’s inventions, The Harmonica, Athena has access to all his memories and must use them to absolve herself of his suspicious death. (general fiction) Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup – May 2022”

Celebrate National Poetry Month 2022

April is National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate the role played by poetry and poets in our culture, and to read some poetry! We’ve got you all set to find a collection of poetry to sink into, with lists created by librarians for adults, teens, and kids.

National Poetry Month display at the Ballard Branch

Seattle Picks: 2021 Poetry Revisited
2021 was another good year for poetry, with new work from established poets such as Rita Dove, who explores the many forms of apocalypses, as well as from Pulitzer winner Tracy K. Smith and Nobel Prize winner Louise Glück; the debut collection of Amanda Gorman, who was the inaugural poet at Biden’s 2021 inauguration; and much, much more.

Seattle Picks: Black Poets
Dig into this list of 40 books by Black poets and explore a wide range of poetic form, topic, and voice.

Seattle Picks: Transgender and Genderqueer Poets
Discover 40 collections of poetry by transgender and genderqueer writers with this list.

Teen Novels in Verse
Poetic form can be versatile! Explore these rich, complex YA narratives told in verse.

Poetry Picks for Kids
Kids will revel in these poetry picture books on topics ranging from street food, to animals, to the changing seasons, to basketball players, and more! Continue reading “Celebrate National Poetry Month 2022”

New Fiction Roundup – April 2022

New novels by heavy-hitters such as Jennifer Egan, Emily St. John Mandel, and Douglas Stuart join debut novels involving a heist, police in Lahore, and a trip across the 1880s American West.

4/5: The Candy House by Jennifer Egan
Tech mogul Bix Bouton develops “Own your Unconscious,” a technology that allows one to externalize their memory and share those memoires with others. In interlocking narratives told by multiple characters over several decades, the consequences of Bix’s technology are spun out. A sibling novel to Egan’s award winning novel A Visit from the Good Squad. A Peak Pick! (general fiction)

4/5: Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang
Kidnapped from China and smuggled to America, Daiyu constantly reinvents herself in order to survive, roaming across the 1880s American West as anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country. A Peak Pick! (historical fiction)

4/5: Let’s Not Do That Again by Grant Ginder
Running for the US Senate, Nancy Harrison would like to focus on her campaign, but instead must grapple with two grown children who are adrift: Nick, aimlessly writing a musical about Joan Didion; and Greta, who finds herself in Paris with extremist protestors. (comic fiction)

4/5: Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li
In this lyrical heist novel that delves into diaspora, the colonization of art, and the complexity of Chinese American identity, a crew of five led by Harvard senior Will Chen attempt to steal five priceless Chinese sculptures from an American museum and return them to Beijing. (Crime thriller)

Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup – April 2022”

Read the World: Translated Fiction

For many of us, if we want to read fiction written in a language other than English we need the help of a translator. This past week Frank Wynne, the chair of the 2022 International Booker Prize, called for publishers around the world to not only recognize the work of translators with full book cover credit, but to pay translators more fairly and to grant copyright to the translator for their creative work. I confess that I have not been reading much international fiction lately, but Wynne’s call to action prompted me to delve into some translated works recently published in the United States.

Blood Feast by Malikah Moustadraf, translated by Alice Guthrie
Moustadraf had already established herself as a vital voice in Morocco before her death in 2006 at the age of 37. This translation gathers together her short stories, unflinching vignettes of characters living precarious lives on the margins of society due to poverty, abuse, illness, or gender. (Morocco)

The Cat Who Saved Books by Sō­­suke Natsukawa, translated by Louise Heal Kawai
High school student Rintaro Natsuki is closing up his grandfather’s secondhand bookstore when he’s approached by a talking cat, Tiger, who convinces Rintaro to join him on an adventure to rescue mistreated books. (Japan)

Lucky Breaks by Yevgenia Belorusets, translated by Eugene Ostashevsky
The stories in this debut collection, set in the coal-mining regions of Eastern Ukraine, are snapshots of the lives of women in the aftermath of the 2014 conflict. Formerly a photojournalist, Belorusets’s images appear alongside her text. (Ukraine)

Continue reading “Read the World: Translated Fiction”

New Fiction Roundup – March 2022

March delivers a Dolly Parton/James Patterson collaboration, a deep dive into the family behind John Wilkes Booth by Karen Joy Fowler, a standalone by science fiction master John Scalzi, and much more.

3/1: The Night Shift by Alex Finlay
In 1999, four teen girls working at a Blockbuster Video are attacked and only one survives; 15 years later, a similar attack happens at an ice cream parlor. FBI agent Sarah Keller investigates, pulling original survivor Ella back into the fray to help her. (thriller)

3/1: One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Left reeling by her mother Carol’s death, Katy travels solo to the Italian town where Carol spent the summer right before meeting Katy’s father. Then Carol reappears, 30 years old, and Katy has a magical chance to start healing from grief while understanding her mom’s past decisions. (general fiction) A Peak Pick!

3/7: Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton and James Patterson
Young singer-songwriter AnnieLee Keyes follows her dreams to Nashville even as she tries to avoid darkness from her past, with help from a country music great and a hunky session musician. (thriller)

3/8: Booth by Karen Joy Fowler
An epic novel about the family behind one of the most infamous figures in American history, John Wilkes Booth, amid the context of a pre-Civil War America riven by moral and political divides. From the author of the 2016 Seattle Reads selection We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. (historical fiction) Continue reading “New Fiction Roundup – March 2022”