A new month means a fresh crop of books on bookstore shelves. Here are a few we’re adding to our To-Be-Read pile this month.
The After Party by Anton DiSclafani (May 17)
DiSclafani is the author of the well-received, book club-ready novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (I will spend the rest of my book career attempting to spell Yonahlossee right on the first try and failing every. single. time.) This new novel is set in Houston in the late 1950s and tells the story of two socialites and good friends in their mid-twenties; one who has it all, the husband and house and adorable kid, and one who has everything else – the attention of any man she wants, the freedom to do as she pleases, and the eyes of Houston society upon her. There’s glitz, glamour, money and the obsessive, escalating tension between two friends whose relationship has evolved in unforeseen ways.
With more and more people moving to Texas every day, we are in dire need of a guide to hand the Austin hipster in the pearl snap shirt and clean new cowboy boots who’s still struggling to spell y’all. (It’s okay, it’s okay, Texas wants you anyway.) Andrea Valdez is keeping our roots real by offering step-by-step instructions for how to fly the Texas flag; pronounce Burnet, Bowie, New Braunfels and Waxahachie; choose a belt buckle; get Big Hair; and so much more. This is not a tongue-in-cheek guide, but rather an earnest encyclopedia of how to live in and understand the Lone Star State. (Think Dangerous Book for Girls/Boys, but with instructions for how tailgate and wrangle a rattlesnake.) Of course, you don’t have to be a transplant to enjoy this book. Native Texans will get a kick out of this clear, concise guide, as well. (And we won’t tell anyone if you learn a thing or two yourself.)
In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero (May 3)
Diane Guerrerro may be familiar to you from her role on the hit show Orange is the New Black. Before she was an actress, she was a fourteen year old girl who arrived home from school one day to discover her family gone. While she was in class, her parents and brother – undocumented immigrants – had been arrested and deported. In her new memoir, Guerrero, who was born in the U. S. and stayed in the country to continue her education, recounts a shocking story that’s all too familiar to the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country. You can listen to her read an excerpt from the book via Entertainment Weekly.
Eleven Hours by Pamela Erens (May 3)
This absorbing, slender new literary novel demands to be read in a single sitting. Clear an afternoon and pick up this story of two women; a mother in labor and the hospital nurse who tends to her. Moving back and forth between their perspectives chapter by chapter, Erens reveals the deeper and deeper turns in their personal stories and psychologies. Lore, in labor and alone, comes to terms with the relationships that brought her to this moment. Meanwhile, Franckline, holding memories of the family who exiled her in Haiti, moves with the knowledge of her own delicate pregnancy. Absorbing, riveting and beautiful, this is a novel to read and pass on to friends.
Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett (May 3)
From Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Adam Haslett comes a novel that has received a tremendous amount of pre-pub buzz. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly said, “Haslett’s latest is a sprawling, ambitious epic about a family bound not only by familial love, but by that sense of impending emergency that hovers around Michael, who has inherited his father John’s abiding depression and anxiety….This is a book that tenderly and luminously deals with mental illness and with the life of the mind….In Michael, Haslett has created a most memorable character. This is a hypnotic and haunting novel.” Check out a Poets & Writers podcast interview with Adam right over here.
Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (May 10)
Texas native (and Texas Book Festival alum) Stephen Graham Jones returns with a dark novel about an adolescent boy raised by an aunt and uncle who live on the fringes of society, and with good reason – they’re werewolves. Jones wrote a great post about his fascination with writing werewolves and shares how this novel was, in its way, a long time coming.
And for the kiddos…..
Just in time for road trip season, a delightful new picture book for reluctant young outdoor adventurers, penned by Festival co-founder Laura Bush and her daughter, Jenna, and illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers. Jane is looking forward to spending her summer plugged into computer games, YouTube videos and movies. When her parents announce a road trip to national parks instead, Jane is more than a little dismayed. As she discovers the wonders of the Everglades and Big Bend National Park, however, Jane’s outlook begins to change. This book commemorates the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.
There’s plenty more to come this month, including new novels by Don DeLillo, Richard Russo, and Louise Erdrich; a funny new debut you’ll want to check out: The Assistants by Camille Perri; and a novel that’s getting a lot of bookseller buzz, set in a version of England where evildoers are recognized by tell-tale emissions of smoke, Smoke by Dan Vyleta. Happy reading!