New Books! 8/18/15

New in Hardcover

A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories by Lucia Berlin (1936-2004)

9780374202392Julie W.: “Why had I never read Lucia Berlin before?! I’m a big fan of short stories and an even bigger fan of short fiction written by women. Why did she elude me until now? Farrar, Straus and Giroux is releasing this compilation in August. If you love Grace Paley, read this, read this, read this. Her stories often give voice to working class characters, putting her in vein with Raymond Carver. She began writing in the 1960s, but didn’t publish until 1981, when her first collection, Angel’s Laundromat, was released. American short fiction across those decades is some of my favorite to read and revisit. I’m thrilled to have this new writer’s perspective on my shelf. And how’s this for securing a legend as a bad ass (courtesy of her Wikipedia page): ‘Lucia died in her home in Marina del Rey, on her birthday, with one of her favorite books in her hands.’”

Friction by Sandra Brown (speaking & signing in our store this Thursday!)

9781455581160Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral. But he’s cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer. With an election upcoming, every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford’s obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom and Crawford saves Holly from a bullet. But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat. Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them.

Fortune Smiles: Stories by Adam Johnson

9780812997477Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Orphan Master’s Son, Adam Johnson has been compared by critics to Kurt Vonnegut, David Mitchell, and George Saunders. Subtly surreal, darkly comic, both hilarious and heartbreaking, Fortune Smiles is a major collection of stories that delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal.

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford

9781250077172It’s 2006 in the Manhattan of the young and glamorous. Money and class are colliding in a city that is about to go over a financial precipice. At 26, Evelyn Beegan has long felt like an outsider to her privileged peers, but when she gets a job at a social network aimed at the elite, she’s forced to embrace them. Despite herself, Evelyn finds the lure of belonging intoxicating. Then her father is indicted for bribery, and she must contend with her own family’s downfall as she keeps up appearances in her new life.

The Incarnations by Susan Barker

9781501106781Hailed as “China’s Midnight’s Children” this mind-expanding and wildly original novel follows a Beijing taxi driver whose past incarnations over one thousand years haunt him through searing letters from a mysterious soulmate. Seamlessly weaving Chinese folklore, history, and literary classics, The Incarnations is a taut and gripping novel that sheds light on the cyclical nature of history as it hints that the past is never truly settled.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

9780553392319For fourteen years, Letty Espinosa has worked three jobs around San Francisco to make ends meet while her mother raised her children Alex, now fifteen, and Luna, six, in their tiny apartment on a forgotten spit of wetlands near the bay. But now Letty’s parents are returning to Mexico, and Letty must step up and become a mother for the first time in her life.

Navigating this new terrain is challenging for Letty, especially as Luna desperately misses her grandparents and Alex, who is falling in love with a classmate, is unwilling to give his mother a chance. Letty comes up with a plan to help the family escape the dangerous neighborhood and heartbreaking injustice that have marked their lives, but one wrong move could jeopardize everything she’s worked for and her family’s fragile hopes for the future.  

New in Paperback

Against Football: One Fan’s Reluctant Manifestby Steve Almond

9781612194158Almond takes on America’s biggest sacred cow, detailing why, after forty years as a fan, he can no longer watch the game he still loves. Using a synthesis of memoir, reportage, and cultural critique, Almond asks a series of provocative questions: Does our addiction to football foster a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia?What does it mean that our society has transmuted the intuitive physical joys of childhood run, leap, throw, tackle into a billion-dollar industry? How did a sport that causes brain damage become such an important emblem for our institutions of higher learning? There has never been a book that exposes the dark underside of America’s favorite game with such searing candor.

Thunderstruck & Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken 

9780812987676“McCracken explores the unexpected avenues of loss in this absorbing new collection. What I love about McCracken is knowing that the characters I meet on her pages will never be typical. I come again and again to the little girl dressed as Patrick Henry; a room full of budgies to replace a prodigal son; the emotional terrain of traumatized librarians. The ways we deal with absence are at the heart of each story and its haunting characters. McCracken’s humor brings levity to this unique, memorable collection.”

— Julie W.

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