I’ve decided to break up my BookExpo book haul into at least two posts. Today I’m sharing the books I acquired that are already published. Next week I’ll share the books being published in July and beyond.
Here we go!
1. Buzz Books 2018 Fall/Winter.
A 665-page anthology of excerpts from forty forthcoming books published by Publishers Lunch. Last year I download the digital version of this book and never looked at it. This year I reasoned that if I made the effort to lug or ship home this big book that I’d actually read it. Or at least give it a good skim. You can download a free digital copy for here. There are two options, YA and adult.
2. The Abolition of Species by Dietmar Dath from DoppelHouse Press, Los Angeles.
A new English translation from Samuel P. Willocks. Originally published in German as Die Abschaffung der Arten. It was previously translated into English by Maria Pakucs in 2013. It won the Kurd-Lasswitz Science Fiction Prose and was short-listed for the German Book Prize. Publication date May 8, 2018. I’m not much of sci-fi reader, but the fact that this one has been translated into English twice rather peaked my interest. As did that it was short-listed for the German Book Prize.
After mankind’s near-extermination, ending of The Age of the Monotony, a kingdom of animals harnessing biotechnology wages a multi-planetary war against a new form of artificial intelligence.
The indifferently wise Cyrus Golden the Lion, king of the Gente, rules the remaining three-city state of former Europe. Yet, other forces stir – the last struggling human resistance; the Atlanteans with their mysterious undersea plans; the factions of Badger, Fox and Lynx within the empire itself; and, in the Amazon, a ceramic form of postbiological life. Cyrus Golden sends the wolf Dmitri Stepanovich on a diplomatic mission, and in the course of his journey Dmitri discovers truths about natural history, war and politics for which he was unprepared. The subsequent war that breaks out will come to span three planets and thousands of years – encompassing treachery and massacres, music and mathematics, savagery and decadence, as well as the terraformation of Mars and Venus and the manipulation of time itself.
By turns grandiose, horrific, erotic, scathing, and visionary, The Abolition of Species is a tale of love and war after the fall of man and an epic meditation on the theory of evolution unlike any other, where literary gene-splicing runs rampant: from Plato, Darwin, Marx, Machiavelli and Shakespeare to C.S. Lewis, Phillip K. Dick, Ursula K. Le Guin and Rinpoche.
3. Little Beast by Julie Demers from Coach House Books.
Translated from French by Rhonda Mullins. The novel was published in 2015 and this 2018 translation marks its first publication in English. Publication date May 22, 2108. I was drawn to the Quebec setting and the cover is rather eye-catching, too.
It’s 1944, and a little village in rural Quebec sits quietly beside an aging mountain and an angry river. The air tastes of kelp, and the wind keeps knocking over the cross. Beside that river an eleven-year-old girl lives with her parents. Her mother is very sad, and her father has vanished because he can’t bear to look at his own daughter. You see, this little girl has suddenly sprouted a full beard.
And so her mother has shut the curtains and locked the girl inside to keep her safe from the townspeople, the Boots, who think there’s something wrong with a bearded little girl. And when they come for her, she escapes into the wintry night…
4. Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser from Metropolitan Books.
I rather stumbled into Caroline Fraser’s signing. I was walking down an aisle and saw the end of the line sign for her and did a double take. She was signing for the last few people in line and they still had a few books left, so I happily got a book signed. When I congratulated Fraser on the great success of her book she said, with much joy, that it was such a wonderful surprise.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW‘S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie books
Millions of readers of Little House on the Prairie believe they know Laura Ingalls—the pioneer girl who survived blizzards and near-starvation on the Great Plains, and the woman who wrote the famous autobiographical books. But the true saga of her life has never been fully told. Now, drawing on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries, and land and financial records, Caroline Fraser—the editor of the Library of America edition of the Little House series—masterfully fills in the gaps in Wilder’s biography. Revealing the grown-up story behind the most influential childhood epic of pioneer life, she also chronicles Wilder’s tumultuous relationship with her journalist daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, setting the record straight regarding charges of ghostwriting that have swirled around the books.
The Little House books, for all the hardships they describe, are paeans to the pioneer spirit, portraying it as triumphant against all odds. But Wilder’s real life was harder and grittier than that, a story of relentless struggle, rootlessness, and poverty. It was only in her sixties, after losing nearly everything in the Great Depression, that she turned to children’s books, recasting her hardscrabble childhood as a celebratory vision of homesteading—and achieving fame and fortune in the process, in one of the most astonishing rags-to-riches episodes in American letters.
Spanning nearly a century of epochal change, from the Indian Wars to the Dust Bowl, Wilder’s dramatic life provides a unique perspective on American history and our national mythology of self-reliance. With fresh insights and new discoveries, Prairie Fires reveals the complex woman whose classic stories grip us to this day.
5. Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner from the Theater Communications Group, 2013.
It was such an honor to meet Tony Kushner! My plan was to ask him to sign his book to my wife Laura, playwright to playwright, but when I got up to shake his hand I was so blown away by the fact that we was using a fountain pen to sign books that I forgot! He signed it to me, based on my name tag (it was the only line I’d been in where they didn’t use sticky notes for personalizations. Not that I’m complaining). He is such a nice man and genuinely seemed interested in where everyone was coming from and what they were into (he asked) and was an attentive listener of people’s responses and stories they had to share with him. I read Angels in America in the 1990s and so far have only seen the first part on stage.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama
This new edition of Tony Kushner’s masterpiece is published with the author’s recent changes and a new introduction in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of its original production. One of the most honored American plays in history, Angels in America was awarded two Tony Awards for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was made into an Emmy Award-winning HBO film directed by Mike Nichols. This two-part epic, subtitled “A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” has received hundreds of performances worldwide in more than twenty-six languages.
6. Battle for Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists by Naomi Klein from Haymarket Books.
Published June 5, 2018. I haven’t been following the rebuilding of Puerto Rico very closely, but this short 96-page book intrigued me.
In the rubble of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans and ultrarich “Puertopians” are locked in a pitched struggle over how to remake the island. In this vital and startling investigation, bestselling author and activist Naomi Klein uncovers how the forces of shock politics and disaster capitalism seek to undermine the nation’s radical, resilient vision for a “just recovery.”
7. Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee from Grand Central Publishing.
This novel originally came out in 2007 and Hachette has just released this higher quality, more compact paperback copy. It is much smaller than their original paperback version, as you can see in the photo above, but the font isn’t all that much smaller. Released June 5, 2018.
I loved Pachinko and can’t wait to read Free Food for Millionaires
In her critically acclaimed debut, National Book Award finalist Min Jin Lee introduces the indelible Casey Han: a strong-willed, Queens-bred daughter of Korean immigrants who is addicted to a glamorous Manhattan lifestyle she cannot afford. Fresh out of Princeton with an economics degree, no job, and a popular white boyfriend, Casey is determined to carve a space for herself in the glittering world she craves-but at what cost?Lee’s bestselling, sharp-eyed, sweeping epic of love, greed, and hunger-set in a landscape where millionaires scramble for the free lunches the poor are too proud to accept-is an addictively readable, startlingly sympathetic portrait of intergenerational strife and immigrant struggle, exposing the intricate layers of a community clinging to its old ways in a city packed with haves and have-nots.
8. Body on the Back Lot by Eve Montealegre from Rare Bird Books.
This is book one in the Red Carpet Noir Series. It was published May 15, 2018. I love mysteries, women detectives, and LA, so couldn’t not bring this one home.
Detective Joan Lambert works within the fabric of the LA landscape, solving cases with a combined tapestry of plodding police work, bang-on perceptions of the human psyche and guts.
For the last five years, media madness has created fresh hell for LAPD’s imminent Homicide investigator, Joan Lambert. She thinks she’s seen everything until the victim in her latest case gets up and walks out of the morgue. Ten missing women, a small boy, and a fanatical voodoo cult thrust Joan into an investigation that will put her life and her career on the line. She has got to shut it all down before eleven people are sacrificed for the film and music career of a young starlet. When a connection is made to a private pharmaceutical experiment that suspends the very essence of life, creating real-life zombies, Joan avails every resource she has―black dog hairs, a posh transvestite, a psychic who offers dubious insights and the clues given to her by Hector, a dying pimp whose specialty is runaways. To make it work, Joan takes matters into her own hands, proving her grit as one of LA’s elite investigators.
9. Through the Bookstore Window by Bill Petrocelli from Rare Bird Books.
A mystery set in a bookstore. Yes, please. Bill is also the co-owner of the three Book Passage bookstores in California. He was the first author we met at this year’s BookExpo. My Book Cougars cohost Emily and I were able to get a joint photo with him. This book was published March 13, 2018.
Gina Perini manages a bookstore in one of San Francisco’s most lively neighborhoods. Although she thrives in her world of books, her harrowing escape from the war in the Balkans years earlier remains fresh in her mind. There are still those who are searching for her and who are intent on vengeance. Gina suddenly gets news that someone from her past is still alive―someone she had given up hope of finding. This sets in motion a chain of events that will stretch across the country and push her love and resourcefulness to the limit.
Through the Bookstore Window grapples with the grim effects of war and violence while exploring how love can transcend age, gender, background, and―perhaps―the readers’ expectations.
10. The Paris Librarian: A Hugo Marston Novel by Mark Pryor from Seventh Street Press.
A mystery set in the American Library in Paris. Couldn’t resist that. This novel was published in 2016 but the publisher had copies available at their booth.
11. The Aviator by Eugene Vodolazkin from Oneworld.
Translated from Russian by Lisa C. Hayden. The novel was first published in 2016 and this is the first English translation. Published May 8, 2018. I was on the lookout for translated works this year and am please to have found several.
A man wakes up in a hospital bed, with no idea who he is or how he came to be there. The only information the doctor shares with him is his name: Innokenty Petrovich Platonov.
As memories slowly resurface, Innokenty begins to build a vivid picture of his former life as a young man in Russia in the early twentieth century, living through the turbulence of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. Soon, only one question remains: how can he remember the start of the twentieth century, when the pills by his bedside were made in 1999?
Reminiscent of the great works of twentieth-century Russian literature, with nods to Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Bulgakov’s The White Guard, The Aviator cements Vodolazkin’s position as the rising star of Russia’s literary scene.
That’s all for this first crop of books from BookExpo. Stayed tuned for forthcoming books coming next week.
Have you read any of these yet? In which are you most interested?