On the bookshelf
May 10 Books for your reading list
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Reviewer Bethanne Patrick recommends 10 promising titles, fiction and non-fiction, to consider for your May list.
Lions, tigers, and bears are all in our list of May’s most anticipated new books. Not to mention asps, tits, raptors, ingenues, tricksters and magicians, plus a wide range of genres for almost every taste and mood: poetry, history, memoir, fantasy, literary fiction and hymn to the natural world. Happy spring reading!
By Holly Black
Tor: 320 pages, $28
Charlie Hall runs a bar in Easthampton, Massachusetts as she puts more time and distance between herself and her history of complicity with magicians in crimes. But the “gloamists” who can enchant people’s shadows need his specific skills – and Charlie needs some of theirs to be able to save his sister. It’s a high-stakes, high-octane fantasy thriller and the best-selling YA author’s first adult book.
By Hernan Diaz
Riverhead: 416 pages, $28
We all know the device of a story within a story; rarer is the fictional story in the true story contradicted by a back story before arriving at the real narrative. Diaz has organized his new nesting doll novel so ingeniously that the tricks simply run in the background as the intricate plot unfolds, following a mogul couple to a novel about their “history,” then back and forth through diaries, recriminations and inversions. The result should not be missing.
Liarmouth: a sentimental romance
By John Waters
FSG: 256 pages, $26
This debut novel by the actor-director-artist-author will be like a godsend if you’re a fan, and who isn’t? Waters, the bizarre Baltimore bard, has done so much to demystify camp culture; here he turns to written fiction (after several memoirs) with the story of a Marcia Sprinkle, whose life as a con artist does not conflict (at least in her original mind) with a desire for ‘love. Waters’ crazy fun moves nicely into a new medium.
By Chris Bohjalian
Double day: 336 pages, $28
More recently, Bohjalian visited colonial Boston in “The Witch’s Hour” (and saw her previous novel “The Flight Attendant” turned into a captivating HBO Max caper). In “The Lioness”, he travels to East Africa in the early 1960s and a Hollywood entourage on a safari that goes horribly wrong when Russian mercenaries shoot their guides and staff. Of course, the survivors have their own stories and plots, which enrich the story and complicate their alliances as they struggle to stay alive.
Tomorrow at this time
By Emma Straub
Riverhead: 320 pages, $28
This is the perfect time to remind readers that Straub is the daughter of novelist Peter Straub, because in Straub daughterIn her new book, 40-something Alice takes an unexpected and supernatural journey into the past and finds herself in awe of her father. In 1995, he is no longer ill, but he is in great shape and is in his forties himself. He helps Alice take a step back from her quarantine, teaching lessons about happiness at any age.
Outdoor children in an indoor world
By Steve Rinelle
Random house: 208 pages, $26
Rinella rose to fame as “meat eater— game hunter, fisherman, memoirist, cook. While his new book doesn’t shy away from the more traditionally male arts of outdoor play, his new guide to disconnecting and connecting also encompasses gardening, camping and hiking. It’s not just about breathing fresh air, Rinella reminds us, it’s about connecting with a sense of wonder and fostering stewardship of the natural world that sustains us all.
The High Sierra: A Love Story
By Kim Stanley Robinson
Small, Brown: 560 pages, $40
Yes, it’s that Kim Stanley Robinson – a well-known science fiction author (“Shaman”, “The Ministry for the Future”) who is also Time Magazine’s 2008 “Hero of the Environment” and member of Sierra Nevada Research Institute. In passionate paragraphs and stunning photographs, “The High Sierra” details the mountains he has known for nearly 50 years, in which he has made more than 100 journeys in hopes of protecting the glorious range for future generations.
The hurtful kind
By Ada Limon
Milkweed: 120 pages, $22
This new collection from the award-winning poet takes into account a different kind of loss than her 2018 book “The Carrying,” which focused on fertility and miscarriage. These poems explain how grief makes us human. In “The End of Poetry” (published in the New Yorker in 2020), Limón’s austere final line reminds readers that we are nothing without connection. If you haven’t read poetry in a while, this volume might be what you need to reconnect with the form.
River of the Gods
By Candice Millard
Double day: 368 pages, $33
Many of us have heard of Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke as discoverers of Lake Victoria, the legendary source of the Nile (and some have heard of their hideous rivalry). But far fewer know the man who led their famous expeditions: Sid Mubarak Bombay. Millard, an acclaimed historian, reclaims the story of this once-enslaved East African and his crucial role as more than a guide – a role unrecognized during his lifetime.
By David Sedaris
Small, Brown: 272 pages, $29
The older Sedaris gets, the funnier it gets – if you don’t mind your LOL humor tempered with self-knowledge and compassion. Once the department store’s favorite holiday elf, the champion storyteller is now a lifelong homebody whose family losses weigh heavily on his professional successes. “I can’t stand to see my sisters grow old,” he wrote. “It just seems cruel. They were all so beautiful. Memento mori.