Book Expo: Standouts from Independent (& University) Presses

Though I'll continue to write (in some way) about the books I discovered at Book Expo this year, this will be my last BEA round-up post. And I'm not saying I saved the best for last, but I'm not *not* saying that, either. What follows are the new releases and forthcoming titles from independent publishers and university presses I'm most excited for... and there are some gems, here:

When I asked the staff at Graywolf Press what book they'd be most eager to recommend, they pushed Riverine (August 2016); I don't know if someone working there has ESP or what, but I'm super excited for this memoir of social justice composed of "spellbinding essays on place, young love, a life-altering crime." Other stand outs at the booth included The Art of Waiting: On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood (September 2016) and Grief is the Thing With Feathers: A Novel (June 2016), which Shannon practically shoved into my hands (thanks, Shannon!).

Week in Reading: May 30th

Holy cats, it's the end of May already. When did that happen? How did that happen?

My Memorial Day weekend wasn't quite as reading-and-relaxing focused as I'd have wanted it to be; my mom finished the last of her move on Friday, and I've spent the weekend playing catchup on things in my own house (hellooooo laundry); squeezing in some very hot and humid mileage (including an impromptu 5K this morning that resulted in a new PR!); and generally trying to regain my sense of sanity.

Some of that recovery did include books: I finished Mr. Splitfoot after sleeping in a bit on Saturday morning (what a strange, incredible book) and have had The Nest going on my headphones as I run errands and do chores around the house here (I'm really enjoying it so far--definitely worthy of its summer buzz).

I wrapped up the tail end of Just Mercy last week--just in time to pick up The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts this week for the June edition of the Social Justice Book Club (won't you join us!?). And for some diversity in my reading, I'm also picking away at The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater, because Shaina and Jenny and others told me to.

And then there are the many summer galleys staring at me, which I currently find too overwhelming to contemplate.

I've got ice in my coffee and sun on my balcony, so that will be all for now. Here's to a week of wonderful reading. And don't forget to sign up for this month's Social Justice Book Club!


What are you reading this week?


The Social Justice Book Club is an informal group read of a social-justice related book. For June, we're reading The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts, by Laura Tillman. Come join us!

Book Expo: Rounding Up Nonfiction

I've included a few non-fiction titles in my previous two Book Expo posts (on the buzziest books at the show, and new books from 'old' authors), but there were so many incredible-looking non-fiction books on the floor that I wanted to call special attention to a few that stood out to me.

book expo bea 2016 nonfiction books

Book Expo America: New Books from Old Authors

Last week, I wrote about the buzziest books at Book Expo America. Some of those overlap with this collection of new books from old (as in "previously published") authors I can't wait to get to.

There were only a few books I had on my absolutely-must-pick-up-at-Book-Expo list (I wasn't flying straight from Chicago home, so I limited the number of books I picked up to an extreme few and focused instead on discovering new titles to request later on down the road). One of these was the new Maria Semple book, Today Will Be Different (Little, Brown, October 2016); I was a huge fan of Where'd You Go Bernadette, so will naturally leap at the opportunity to read more of Semple's dry humor. I also adored Amor Towle's debut, Rules of Civility, so have been over here petting his new novel, A Gentleman in Moscow (Viking, September 2016); when I got my copy of this one signed by Towles, he told me he thinks this second novel is better than his first. Yes, please.

Tons of reviewers I know and trust lined up for the new George Saunders novel, Lincoln in the Bardo (Random House, January 2017). I'm only just getting to my first of Saunders' work (The Tenth of December), but based on what I've read so far, I know I'm going to want to read this new novel too. Jennifer Close also has a new novel out (The Hopefuls, Knopf, July 2016), as does Jonathan Safran Foer (Here I Am, FSG, September 2016). This marks his first novel since 2005, and first new book since 2010. I'm also squealing with delight for Colson Whitehead's newest book, The Underground Railroad (Doubleday, September 2016)--not least of which because Liberty says it's "omgsogood". So there's that.

I've loved everything Mary Roach has ever written (and yes, I've read all her books), so I nearly jumped for joy when I had the chance to catch up with the lovely Norton folks about Roach's newest scientific study, Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War (Norton, June 2016). I'm told this is much more about how to keep humans alive and intact during war (versus all of the research that goes into how best to kill), which is just the kind of military science I'd like to know exists. Continuing the non-fiction bent, Rebecca Solnit is releasing a follow-up to her feminist work, Men Explain Things to Me, next year: Silence Is Broken (Haymarket, March 2017).

Oh hey, and ya'll knew there was a new Tearling novel out in November, right?? (The Fate of the Tearling, Harper, November 2016).


What much-loved authors are you most excited to see new books from this year?


Two more BEA round-ups to follow this week and next: a spotlight on indie & university presses, and a round-up of the incredibly varied and fascinating non-fiction on the floor. Say hello to some new reading options, Social Justice Book Club.

Book Review: Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe

Dear Fang, With Love, is, in some ways, a novel about the Holocaust: Lucas and his seventeen-year-old daughter, Vera, are spending the summer in Lithuania to trace Lucas' family's Jewish heritage leading up to and through World War II.

It is also, in many ways, a novel about fathers and daughters: Vera was born when Lucas was only 17 years old, and Lucas has been removed from her life until recently.

Week in Reading: May 23rd

I'm home! After a whirlwind few weeks (I haven't spent more than 3 nights in my own house without traveling or hosting guests since April 5th... not that I counted or anything), I have a few weeks at home to catch up on laundry, sleep, and hopefully some serious reading. I'm looking at BEA galleys and summer reads and all of my own damn books and just so excited to curl up in my nook with a book. Here's what I'll be focusing on this week:

I've had George Saunders' story collection, The Tenth of December on my shelf since the month it came out, and I am *finally* reading it! (Thanks, MLDBC and #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks.) So far, I'm loving the strange humanity of the stories. Can't wait to keep going with that. I'm also finishing up Just Mercy, which I fell woefully behind it but am absolutely loving as well--and I'll be done just in time for the next round of the Social Justice Book Club in June (come join us!).

My audio copy of Mr. Splitfoot from the library was due back and had holds, so I'm finishing that up as an ebook this week, and have switched to the very creepy, surprisingly humorous, so far excellent Haunting of Hill House, which I'm counting as a horror read for the Read Harder challenge. I've been meaning to read Shirley Jackson for some time, so am glad to be getting to this one as well.

Looking ahead to summer releases, I'm eying Running the World, a July book about running cultures around the world, and On Trails, a non-fiction book exploring how trails help us understand the world in which we live.


What are you reading this week?


Don't forget to join us for the second round of the Social Justice Book Club! We'll be reading The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts. Sign-ups here, more info to come this week...

Book Expo: The Big Round-Up of Books that Buzz

Happy Friday, kittens! Book Expo America (BEA) was a week ago, and it's time to look at some of the books of the show. First up: the buzziest of the buzz books, collected from the show floor, editors' buzz panels, and the chit-chat around which signings had the longest lines.

Week in Reading: May 16th

Greetings from the lovely Minnesota, all! I'm writing this curled up on the couch in a log cabin in the woods somewhere outside of Minneapolis after a weekend of wedding celebrations and family and new friends. This trip was preceded by a whirlwind expedition to Book Expo America in Chicago--which was incredible--and my head and heart are full of books and travel and wonderful people.

I'll have several posts in the next few weeks coming up about Book Expo and the books discovered there. In the meantime, to clear up space for all the shiny new galleys on my radar following the show, I'm working on catching up on deadlines and book club books and other assignments:

Running Recap: The 2016 Frederick Half Marathon

This race recap is long, and not even remotely book-related. Consider yourself warned.

Squad goals. Or something. Pre-race group shot!

The Frederick Running Festival half marathon was an obvious choice for my target race this spring: the start line is 1.3 miles from my house (meaning bib pickup was a breeze, and I didn't have to deal with parking lot insanity the morning of or road closures trying to get to/from the race), and the course goes right through my town and covers most, if not all, of my most common training loops. At its closest point, the course is 1/4 block from my front door; at its furthest, it is 2.5 miles from it. It's a local-to-me race in the most local-to-me sense of the word.

It's Happening This Week: Book Expo!

HELLO FRIENDS. I'll be quiet here this week because I'm off to Book Expo America (BEA)... if you're there, please please say hello if you see me! I look like the picture in my sidebar. Like a lot like the picture in my sidebar.

I promise to come back with lots of news about books and new energy about books and lists of books and books books books.


Week in Reading: May 9th

I'm looking back at a very light week of reading and forward to yet another one of the same... but all for good reason. I ran the Frederick Half Marathon this weekend, and it was absolutely incredible to race through the streets of my town. I set out with the goal of running at least a 2:14, preferably a 2:10... and beat both my realistic and my stretch goals with a final time of 2:08:40, a new personal best for me. We had friends in town for the race, and celebrated the run with a big brunch afterwards, then took my mom out for a Mother's Day dinner, so there wasn't a lot of reading time squeezed in between the rest of it.

This week, I travel to Chicago for Book Expo (will you be there too? Say hi!), then on to Minnesota for a wedding, so I hope to have at least a bit of plane time for reading. In my travel bag:

Looking Ahead: May Books

It's May! It's May! The lovely month of May! (Even though it is 50 degrees out and raining as I type this, and feels more like March than May...)

May brings Book Expo American (BEA) and the true start of the summer publishing season, which means there's no shortage of awesome books coming our way. Here are some on my radar:

Looking Back: The Best of April

It's hard to believe that April has come and gone, but it has. Perhaps most exciting to me this month was the start of the hopefully-continual Social Justice Book Club, in which a group of us read Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson. (I still haven't finished it, but the book is freaking excellent. Heartbreaking at times, but excellent.)

April wasn't a huge reading month for me--I'm behind in my reading goal for the first time in years--but I'm ok with that. Between lots of travel and lots of running, I probably had too-high expectations for myself anyway. Luckily, those books I did pick up (and finish) were quite good:

Week in Reading: May 2nd

Greetings from the arc formerly known as my house, friends. We're on day 6, I think, of straight downpours (though it feels like day 600), and looking a forecast of more of the same this week.

We did get a brief glimpse of moody sun in Western Maryland yesterday, where I was volunteering at the end of a 100-mile ultramarathon. I suppose I can't complain too much about rain (or mud) after those folks braved 30 hours of it. The finishers were soaked to the core, and the very last stretch was almost all uphill on a solid mud slick. Pretty impressive stuff.