It’s officially Festival season here at the Texas Book Festival, so don’t miss the Author Lineup reveal on September 15, and you’ll add plenty of books to your list. In the meantime, check out some recently released paperbacks that will keep your book club reading even after the beach reads are shelved.
The follow up to Patti Smith’s Just Kids, the autobiographical M Train is not a typical memoir, from cup of coffee to cup of coffee (so much coffee).
M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, we travel to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico; to the fertile moon terrain of Iceland; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York’s Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; to the West 4th Street subway station, filled with the sounds of the Velvet Underground after the death of Lou Reed; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.
2015 Festival author Matt Bell’s second novel is a dystopian psychological thriller, set in a not-too-distant Detroit.
Detroit has descended into ruin. Kelly scavenges for scrap metal from the hundred thousand abandoned buildings in a part of the city known as “the zone,” an increasingly wild landscape where one day he finds something far more valuable than the copper he’s come to steal: a kidnapped boy, crying out for rescue. Briefly celebrated as a hero, Kelly secretly avenges the boy’s unsolved kidnapping, a task that will take him deeper into the zone and into a confrontation with his own past and long-buried traumas.
In the tradition of Oliver Sacks, science journalist Anil Ananthaswamy skillfully inspects the bewildering connections among brain, body, mind, self, and society.
Ananthaswamy explores the concept of self by way of several mental conditions that eat away at patients’ identities, showing we learn a lot about being human from people with a fragmented or altered sense of self. He travelled the world to meet those who suffer from “maladies of the self” interviewing patients, psychiatrists, philosophers and neuroscientists along the way. He charts how the self is affected by Asperger’s, autism, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, schizophrenia, among many other mental conditions, revealing how the brain constructs our sense of self.
2015 Festival author Kirstin Valdez Quade’s selection of short stories chart the passions and obligations of family life, exploring themes of race, class, and coming-of-age.
With intensity and emotional precision, Quade’s unforgettable stories plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. The deadbeat father of a pregnant teenager tries to transform his life by playing the role of Jesus in a bloody penitential Passion. A young man discovers that his estranged father and a boa constrictor have been squatting in his grandmother’s empty house. A lonely retiree new to Santa Fe becomes obsessed with her housekeeper.