May is coming out guns blazing. There are an absolute ton of new books being released today and an absurd amount of them are popular titles. For the sake of my time and sanity, I’m only going to highlight four of them, but be aware of the plethora of options you’ve got from today’s releases. Like Forty-one False Starts, Benjamin Percy’s Red Moon, Dead Ever After (the final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series), The Peripatetic Coffin, a new John Le Carré book, it just keeps going and going. Check here, here, and here for a more complete list. But, before you turn into this guy…
…just take a couple breaths.
Here are the some choice releases for May 7, 2013:
Coda by Emma Trevayne; Running Press Kids; 320 pages
I first read a snippet of this YA book during one of my internships and I was immediately hooked. I’ve had this on my TBR list for over a year now, so I’m pretty excited to see it’s finally making its way out into the world. It is another dystopian YA novel (stop whining, you know you love it), but I promise this one has its own unique twist on the matter.
Ever since he was a young boy, music has coursed through the veins of eighteen-year-old Anthem—the Corp has certainly seen to that. By encoding music with addictive and mind-altering elements, the Corp holds control over all citizens, particularly conduits like Anthem, whose life energy feeds the main power in the Grid.
Anthem finds hope and comfort in the twin siblings he cares for, even as he watches the life drain slowly and painfully from his father. Escape is found in his underground rock band, where music sounds free, clear, and unencoded deep in an abandoned basement. But when a band member dies suspiciously from a tracking overdose, Anthem knows that his time has suddenly become limited. Revolution all but sings in the air, and Anthem cannot help but answer the call with the chords of choice and free will. But will the girl he loves help or hinder him?
Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown; Grand Central Publishing; 288 pages
Maybe I’m interested in this because I’m a jobless 24-year-old, maybe not. But probably the first one. Regardless, I’ve read a bit from Kelly Brown before and I do know she’s hilarious. So even if you aren’t trying to learn how to Adult correctly, I bet you’ll need stitches in your side if you pick this book up.
If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it’s OK. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Just because you don’t feel like an adult doesn’t mean you can’t act like one. And it all begins with this funny, wise, and useful book. Based on Kelly Williams Brown’s popular blog, ADULTING makes the scary, confusing “real world” approachable, manageable-and even conquerable. This guide will help you to navigate the stormy Sea of Adulthood so that you may find safe harbor in Not Running Out of Toilet Paper Bay, and along the way you will learn:
What to check for when renting a new apartment-Not just the nearby bars, but the faucets and stove, among other things.
When a busy person can find time to learn more about the world- It involves the intersection of NPR and hair-straightening.
How to avoid hooking up with anyone in your office — Imagine your coworkers having plastic, featureless doll crotches. It helps.
The secret to finding a mechanic you love-Or, more realistically, one that will not rob you blind.
From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra; Hogarth; 400 pages
I know what you’re thinking (or what I would be thinking). A novel about the Chechen Wars? Somebody is just trying to capitalize on the interest spawned from the horrific events in Boston. Turns out you’re wrong, though. This book has been in the works and has been getting good reviews for months, long before Chechnya jumped to the forefront of the American conscious. I imagine that has added extra interest to this book’s release, but I just want to make it clear that there is plenty of merit behind the novel’s buzz.
In his brilliant, haunting novel, Stegner Fellow and Whiting Award winner Anthony Marra transports us to a snow-covered village in Chechnya, where eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night, accusing him of aiding Chechen rebels. Across the road their lifelong neighbor and family friend Akhmed has also been watching, fearing the worst when the soldiers set fire to Havaa’s house. But when he finds her hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.
For the talented, tough-minded Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. And she has a deeply personal reason for caution: harboring these refugees could easily jeopardize the return of her missing sister. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weave together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.
The Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 368 pages
The great travel writer Paul Theroux is taking a trip back to his favorite continent, Africa. This is supposed to be his last African exploration (I’m not sure why, that’s just what people are saying), but it doesn’t matter anyways. If you like travel books, you should probably pick up everything that Theroux produces.
Following the success of the acclaimed Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and The Great Railway Bazaar, The Last Train to Zona Verde is an ode to the last African journey of the world’s most celebrated travel writer.
“Happy again, back in the kingdom of light,” writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey through the continent he knows and loves best. Theroux first came to Africa as a twenty-two-year-old Peace Corps volunteer, and the pull of the vast land never left him. Now he returns, after fifty years on the road, to explore the little-traveled territory of western Africa and to take stock both of the place and of himself.
His odyssey takes him northward from Cape Town, through South Africa and Namibia, then on into Angola, wishing to head farther still until he reaches the end of the line. Journeying alone through the greenest continent, Theroux encounters a world increasingly removed from both the itineraries of tourists and the hopes of postcolonial independence movements. Leaving the Cape Town townships, traversing the Namibian bush, passing the browsing cattle of the great sunbaked heartland of the savanna, Theroux crosses “the Red Line” into a different Africa: “the improvised, slapped-together Africa of tumbled fences and cooking fires, of mud and thatch,” of heat and poverty, and of roadblocks, mobs, and anarchy. After 2,500 arduous miles, he comes to the end of his journey in more ways than one, a decision he chronicles with typically unsparing honesty in a chapter called “What Am I Doing Here?”
Vivid, witty, and beautifully evocative, The Last Train to Zona Verde is a fitting final African adventure from the writer whose gimlet eye and effortless prose have brought the world to generations of readers.