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Fiction Recommendations

Sansei and Sensibility by Karen Tei Yamashita

This hilarious new collection of stories and essays will make you chuckle, though underneath the humor is deft critique. Marie Kondo’s tidying up is juxtaposed with a tour of World War II internment camps. Sexist techno-orientalism and the meaning of Godzilla are reexamined. Local treasure, UCSC professor emerita, and acclaimed novelist Karen Tei Yamashita has written a book about the Japanese American experience both entertaining and vital in this era of anti-immigration politics.

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$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895781
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - May 5th, 2020

Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis

Make no mistake: Carolina de Robertis has written an epic to stand in the annals of the Western canon. Set in Uruguay, with five protagonists. Women protagonists. Queer women protagonists. Building love, family, and future amidst a violent dictatorship and cultural oppression that would deny them themselves. This novel sings through decades and heartbreak to be vibrantly, fiercely alive and free, as the stories of these five cantoras unfold with vivid, sometimes aching, truth of nation and humanity. 

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$16.95
ISBN: 9780525563433
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2020

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

This riveting historical page-turner is complex, unexpected, and empowered. Sara Collins’s Frannie Langton will linger in your mind, and Collins holds a mirror to the white reader’s embedded expectations—demands, even—of black stories and black suffering. Beautifully written, powerfully told, this debut is a standout.

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The Confessions of Frannie Langton: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062851802
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - June 23rd, 2020

Waiting for Bojangles by Olivier Bourdeaut

A beautiful French novel exploring the difficult subject of mental illness. Written to the soundtrack of Nina Simone singing Mr. Bojangles, this is a magical love story. A young boy tells the story of watching his parents dance their way through life even as his mother descends into madness. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry. An international bestseller.

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Waiting for Bojangles Cover Image
By Olivier Bourdeaut, Regan Kramer (Translated by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501175091
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 17th, 2020

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

Megha Majumdar has written an astounding debut novel, and my favorite book of the year thus far. Following a terrorist attack in modern-day India, A Burning explores three very different lives. It lays bare the consequences and complexities of class, gender, politics, religion, and race—the social constructs that both empower and imprison the book’s richly drawn characters. It is propulsive, it is important, it is beautifully rendered. A Burning is exactly the book it needs to be, even as it lifts you, even as it breaks your heart. I am filled to the brim with all of it.

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A Burning: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525658696
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Knopf - June 2nd, 2020

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

In her first adult novel in over a decade, Julia Alvarez (In the Time of the Butterflies, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents) tells the story of an immigrant writer and recent widow whose life is suddenly filled with uncertainty. Afterlife is a quiet reflection on a lifetime of the things that bring us together and pull us apart from the ones we love. A lovely addition to Alvarez’s work.

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$25.95
ISBN: 9781643750255
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - April 7th, 2020

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half is the multigenerational story of a Black family spanning from the Civil Rights Era to the end of the twentieth century, centering itself around Stella and Desiree, twin sisters who are separated when one of them leaves to live a life passing as White. What follows is an exploration of family and identity, the complexity of race constructs and their very real effects, what is lost, what can be found. Bennett offers no clear answers, only much to think about, and deliciously so, as you race through to discover how these crucial life choices will affect each character, all of whom you have come to understand and care for immensely.

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The Vanishing Half: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525536291
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 2nd, 2020

Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles

If ever you need to leave behind the fast-paced, app-filled, droning noise of this time, open up the world of Simon the Fiddler. This meandering story, set at the end of the Civil War, follows Simon, his fiddle, his dreams for a simple, peaceful life, and his quest to marry the Irish lass he fell in love with at first sight. There are saloon fights, friendships, alligators, hoop skirts, letter writing, and tragic loss. I’m telling you, I thought the music and the Southern scenes were all going to just fade into the Texas sunset, until I got to the final chapters—plot twist!

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Simon the Fiddler: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062966742
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: William Morrow - April 14th, 2020

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

The characters in this transporting book, set before and after the Civil War, still haunt my thoughts. We get to know a mother and daughter—midwives and healers—and the community they serve. Their magic is both a blessing, and a curse and the people who need them can be desperate to believe or quick to condemn. This is a story of people, their overlapping realities, their longing for security, and the unjust world and its rules, rules that we still deal with today. You will love the characters, be curious about what’s true and what is conjured, and shake your head with grief as the story comes to a close.

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Conjure Women: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525511489
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Random House - April 7th, 2020

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

What if Jesus of Nazareth had a wife? In best-selling author (The Secret Life of Bees) Sue Monk Kidd’s new novel, she imagines just that. With painstaking detail about the historical time, Kidd introduces us to Ana, a young woman born with a gift for words who lives in a time when silence and obedience defined a woman’s place and belonging. Ana’s finding of her voice is intertwined with Jesus’s pursuit for kindness and humanity. What is imagined here is not a tale of one person saving another, but an unfolding love story in which mirroring and respect lead to both risk and reward. Kidd’s ability to hold reverence while infusing new life and perspective to a story that is so known is extraordinary. I cannot explain the beauty and depth of this book, its language, its heart, its anger, its grief, and ultimately its triumph; this is one novel you don’t want to miss.

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The Book of Longings: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780525429760
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Viking - April 21st, 2020

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