The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantú
I’m currently in the middle of a book due out early next year: The Line Becomes A River by Francisco Cantú. It’s this very lyrically rendered memoir about a young man who starts working for the Border Patrol after studying the socio-political atmosphere surrounding the border between the US and Mexico in college. His recollections are interspersed with history about the Border for context, and his writing has a really lovely cadence. I only just made it past Cantú’s training with the Border Patrol, but I already wish this book were out now as I feel like Cantú’s work and realizations give a very personal and very human face to the vague “illegal aliens” certain people like to talk about so much. Thankfully, Francisco Cantú is going to be at Texas Book Festival this year and I hope I get to hear him speak! You can soon find copies of The Line Becomes a River on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
The winners of the National Book Award are being announced early next month and I’m pretty excited about several titles that have made it through to the final round of judging. This week I’m giving my attention to Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short-story collection, Her Body and Other Parties. Some of my favorite writers, like Jeff Vandermeer and Alexandra Kleeman, have gushed over her writing and I’m finding that there’s a dark treat on every page. Her prose is alluring and intimate, not a word is wasted on these twisted fairy tales that detail the mysterious and oft violent world women inhabit. I don’t want this book to end! You can find copies of Her Body and Other Parties on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
I’m a sucker for a sympathetic AI story – I love reading about robots with feelings. After reading a rave review written by a fellow bookseller, I couldn’t help but pick up this new science fiction debut. Autonomous tackles a number of hot topics that are seemingly unrelated, but fascinating all the same. On one side of the story, a Robin Hood-like drug pirate called Jack, known for recreating drugs for the rich and distributing them to the poor, is struggling to solve the mystery of why a certain drug she’s given out has started to killing people. Hot on her trail are Eliasz and Paladin, a human and bot enforcement team set on shutting Jack down. So far Paladin, the bot, is my favorite character, and I love it when the story shifts to his POV. I get pulled deeper in the more he questions his emotions, the concept of freedom, autonomy, and the real purpose behind trying to stop Jack. You can find copies of Autonomous on our shelves and via bookpeople.com.