April kicks off with a bang, we’re talkin’ so many blockbuster releases we don’t know where to begin! Stories from Murakami, a true-to-form weird eco-thriller from VanderMeer, Essays from Kushner (wow). But also, there’s a slew of debut novels we’ve been aching to get in your hands (Sanjena Sathian’s about to be a household name, get ready!)! And did we mention this month we’re hosting too many virtual events to count?? Some of them for the books featured here.
Okay, enough talkin,’ scroll down to get a taste of what April has in store for you!
Gold Diggers: A Novel by Sanjena Sathian
“My favorite novels have always been the kind that dazzle me with their originality and brim with an aching familiarity. Gold Diggers does both. In this second-gen immigrant bildungsroman, Sanjena Sathian takes readers across space and time, introducing and re-introducing us to parents, friends, lovers all striving for an amorphous sense of success, and gloriously failing at every turn. The result is a strange brew that serves as both a biting critique of today’s peculiar anxieties—concerning status, finding purpose in late-stage capitalism—and a meditation on the perils of history and memory, inherited traumas and impossible aspirations. And yet, the book is tremendously funny and unremittingly tender. Sathian’s voice is a sure one and echoes with wisdom. This debut’s returns are priceless.”
— Uriel P.
First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami
A mind-bending new collection of short stories from the internationally acclaimed Haruki Murakami.
The eight stories in this new book are all told in the first person by a classic Murakami narrator. From memories of youth, meditations on music, and an ardent love of baseball, to dreamlike scenarios and invented jazz albums, together these stories challenge the boundaries between our minds and the exterior world. Occasionally, a narrator may or may not be Murakami himself. Is it memoir or fiction? The reader decides.
Philosophical and mysterious, the stories in First Person Singular all touch beautifully on love and solitude, childhood and memory. . . all with a signature Murakami twist.
Hummingbird Salamander: A Novel by Jeff VanderMeer
*Virtual Event 4/15 — In conversation with Meg Gardiner*
From the author of Annihilation, a brilliant speculative thriller of dark conspiracy, endangered species, and the possible end of all things.
Security consultant “Jane Smith” receives an envelope with a key to a storage unit that holds a taxidermied hummingbird and clues leading her to a taxidermied salamander. Silvina, the dead woman who left the note, is a reputed ecoterrorist and the daughter of an Argentine industrialist. By taking the hummingbird from the storage unit, Jane sets in motion a series of events that quickly spin beyond her control.
Soon, Jane and her family are in danger, with few allies to help her make sense of the true scope of the peril. Is the only way to safety to follow in Silvina’s footsteps? Is it too late to stop? As she desperately seeks answers about why Silvina contacted her, time is running out—for her and possibly for the world.
Hummingbird Salamander is Jeff VanderMeer at his brilliant, cinematic best, wrapping profound questions about climate change, identity, and the world we live in into a tightly plotted thriller full of unexpected twists and elaborate conspiracy.
The Elephant of Belfast: A Novel by S. Kirk Walsh
*Virtual Event 4/21 with Elizabeth McCracken*
Belfast, October 1940. Twenty-year-old zookeeper Hettie Quin arrives at the city docks in time to meet her new charge: an orphaned three-year-old Indian elephant named Violet. As Violet adjusts to her new solitary life in captivity and Hettie mourns the recent loss of her sister and the abandonment of her father, new storm clouds gather. A world war rages, threatening a city already reeling from escalating tensions between British Loyalists and those fighting for a free and unified Ireland.
The relative peace is shattered by air-raid sirens on the evening of Easter Tuesday 1941. Over the course of the next five hours, hundreds of bombs rain down upon Belfast, claiming almost a thousand lives and decimating the city. Dodging the debris and carnage of the Luftwaffe attack, Hettie runs to the zoo to make sure that Violet is unharmed. The harrowing ordeal and ensuing aftermath set the pair on a surprising path that highlights the indelible, singular bond that often brings mankind and animals together during horrifying times.
Inspired by a largely forgotten chapter of World War II, S. Kirk Walsh deftly renders the changing relationship between Hettie and Violet, and their growing dependence on each other for survival and solace. The Elephant of Belfast is a complicated and beguiling portrait of hope and resilience–and how love can sustain us during the darkest moments of our lives.
Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power by Brooke Baldwin
*Virtual Event 4/28 — In conversation with Douglas Brinkley*
CNN news anchor Brooke Baldwin explores the phenomenon of “huddling,” when women lean on one another—in politics, Hollywood, activism, the arts, sports, and everyday friendships—to provide each other support, empowerment, inspiration, and the strength to solve problems or enact meaningful change. Whether they are facing adversity (like workplace inequity or a global pandemic) or organizing to make the world a better place, women are a highly potent resource for one another.
Through a mix of journalism and personal narrative, Baldwin takes readers beyond the big headline-making huddles from recent years (such as the Women’s March, #MeToo, Times Up, and the record number of women running for public office) and embeds herself in groups of women of all ages, races, religions and socio-economic backgrounds who are banding together in America. HUDDLE explores several stories including:
- The benefits of all-girls learning environments, such as Karlie Kloss’s Kode with Klossy and Reese Witherspoon’s Filmmaker Lab for Girls in which young women are given the freedom to make mistakes, and find their confidence.
- The tactics employed by huddles of women who work in male-dominated industries including a group of US veterans/Democratic Congresswomen, a huddle of African-American judges in Harris County, Texas, and an all-female writers room in Hollywood.
- The wisdom of huddling from trusted pioneers such as Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King, and Madeleine Albright as well as contemporary trailblazers like Stacey Abrams and Ava DuVernay.
- How professionals such as Chef Dominique Crenn and sports agent Lindsay Colas use their success to amplify other women in their fields.
- The ways huddles of women are dedicated to making seismic change, including a look at Indigenous women saving the planet, the women who founded Black Lives Matter, the mothers fighting for sensible gun laws, America’s favorite female athletes (Megan Rapinoe, Hilary Knight, and Sue Bird to name a few) agitating for equal pay, and female teachers rallying to improve their working conditions.
- The bond between women who practice self-care and trauma healing together, including the women who courageously survived sexual abuse, and the women who heal together in The Class and GirlTrek.
- The ways women are becoming more intentional about the life-saving power of friendship, including the bonds between military wives, new moms, and nurses getting through the time of Covid.
Throughout her examination of this fascinating huddle phenomenon, Baldwin learns about the periods of huddle ‘droughts” in America, as well as the ways that Black women have been huddling for centuries. She also uncovers how huddling can be the “secret sauce” that makes many things possible for women: success in the workplace, effective grassroots change, confidence in girlhood, and a better physical and mental health profile in adulthood. Along the way, Baldwin takes readers through her own personal journey of growing up in the South and climbing the ladder of a male-dominated industry. Like so many women in her field, she encountered many sharp elbows on her career path, but became an early believer in adding more seats to the table and huddling with other women for strength and solidarity. In the process of writing HUDDLE, Baldwin learns that this seemingly new phenomenon is actually something women have been doing for generations—a quiet, collective power she learns to unlock in her transformation from journalist to champion for women.
Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened comes a deeply relatable book filled with humor and honesty about depression and anxiety.
As Jenny Lawson’s hundreds of thousands of fans know, she suffers from depression. In Broken, Jenny brings readers along on her mental and physical health journey, offering heartbreaking and hilarious anecdotes along the way.
With people experiencing anxiety and depression now more than ever, Jenny humanizes what we all face in an all-too-real way, reassuring us that we’re not alone and making us laugh while doing it. From the business ideas that she wants to pitch to Shark Tank to the reason why Jenny can never go back to the post office, Broken leaves nothing to the imagination in the most satisfying way. And of course, Jenny’s long-suffering husband Victor—the Ricky to Jenny’s Lucille Ball—is present throughout.
A treat for Jenny Lawson’s already existing fans, and destined to convert new ones, Broken is a beacon of hope and a wellspring of laughter when we all need it most.
My Broken Language: A Memoir by Quiara Alegría Hudes
A Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright tells her lyrical story of coming of age against the backdrop of an ailing Philadelphia barrio, with her sprawling Puerto Rican family as a collective muse.
Quiara Alegría Hudes was the sharp-eyed girl on the stairs while her family danced in her grandmother’s tight North Philly kitchen. She was awed by her aunts and uncles and cousins, but haunted by the secrets of the family and the unspoken, untold stories of the barrio—even as she tried to find her own voice in the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish, bodies and books, Western art and sacred altars. Her family became her private pantheon, a gathering circle of powerful orisha-like women with tragic real-world wounds, and she vowed to tell their stories—but first she’d have to get off the stairs and join the dance. She’d have to find her language.
Weaving together Hudes’s love of books with the stories of her family, the lessons of North Philly with those of Yale, this is an inspired exploration of home, memory, and belonging—narrated by an obsessed girl who fought to become an artist so she could capture the world she loved in all its wild and delicate beauty.
Peaces: A Novel by Helen Oyeyemi
When Otto and Xavier Shin declare their love, an aunt gifts them a trip on a sleeper train to mark their new commitment—and to get them out of her house. Setting off with their pet mongoose, Otto and Xavier arrive at their sleepy local train station, but quickly deduce that The Lucky Day is no ordinary locomotive. Their trip on this former tea-smuggling train has been curated beyond their wildest imaginations, complete with mysterious and welcoming touches, like ingredients for their favorite breakfast. They seem to be the only people onboard, until Otto discovers a secretive woman who issues a surprising message. As further clues and questions pile up, and the trip upends everything they thought they knew, Otto and Xavier begin to see connections to their own pasts, connections that now bind them together.
A spellbinding tale from a star author, Peaces is about what it means to be seen by another person—whether it’s your lover or a stranger on a train—and what happens when things you thought were firmly in the past turn out to be right beside you.
The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000 – 2020 by Rachel Kushner
From a writer celebrated for her “chops, ambition, and killer instinct” (John Powers, Fresh Air), a career-spanning collection of spectacular essays about politics and culture.
Rachel Kushner has established herself as “the most vital and interesting American novelist working today” (Michael Lindgren, The Millions) and as a master of the essay form. In The Hard Crowd, she gathers a selection of her writing from over the course of the last twenty years that addresses the most pressing political, artistic, and cultural issues of our times—and illuminates the themes and real-life terrain that underpin her fiction.
In nineteen razor-sharp essays, The Hard Crowd spans literary journalism, memoir, cultural criticism, and writing about art and literature, including pieces on Jeff Koons, Denis Johnson, and Marguerite Duras. Kushner takes us on a journey through a Palestinian refugee camp, an illegal motorcycle race down the Baja Peninsula, 1970s wildcat strikes in Fiat factories, her love of classic cars, and her young life in the music scene of her hometown, San Francisco. The closing, eponymous essay is her manifesto on nostalgia, doom, and writing.
These pieces, new and old, are electric, phosphorescently vivid, and wry, and they provide an opportunity to witness the evolution and range of one of our most dazzling and fearless writers. “Kushner writes with startling detail, imagination, and gallows humor,” said Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly, and, from Paula McLain in the Wall Street Journal: “The authority and precision of Kushner’s writing is impressive, but it’s the gorgeous ferocity that will stick with me.”
New in Paperback
The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller
These titles and more are available for purchase in-store or online from BookPeople today.
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