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WORD recommends these books this May:
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Fiction We Love:

   
 

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne
This is an incredibly strong debut. Byrne fully imagines not only a future version of India and Africa, but also some really satisfyingly weird new technology -- and she juggles two intensely moving storylines. If you’re looking for a new voice in sci-fi, you must read this. The Girl in the Road gives us a murder mystery, a fascinating and occasionally disturbing vision of the future, and two complex new heroines to root for. (Jenn)

The Painter by Peter Heller (ebook available)
I've been obsessively recommending Heller's debut novel, The Dog Stars, for a few months. I'll be equally eager to suggest his sophomore attempt. The Painter follows Jim Stegner, an artist from Santa Fe who has moved to the mountains of Colorado after some major tragedies in his life. He gets into some more trouble and has to go on the run. This book is brutal but beautiful. Fans of Breaking Bad will find wisps of Walter in Jim. In other words, he's an awful person whom you find yourself cheering for in some way or another. (Katelyn)


The Book of Duels by Michael Garriga (ebook available)
This is a unique collection. Each chapter is a triptych of voices relating the critical moment of a duel, real or imagined -- interior monologues from each of the duelists on what circumstances led up to the moment, and what is going through their minds as they pull the trigger or bowstring or banjo string or raise the claw, and then one story from a witness. I don't compare much to Eduardo Galeano, but somehow, Garriga's short chronicles come close. They extract and distill the deepest human motivations and emotions from pivotal moments in history. (Emily)
 

  

The Infatuations by Javier Marías (ebook available)
Every morning, Maria Dolz sits in the same booth of the same café and observes the perfect couple. She doesn't know them, not personally at least, and yet she takes solace in their existence, the easy contentment they exude together. Later, when Maria learns that the husband has been brutally murdered in the street, she crosses the café floor and offers her condolences to the widow -- and that's when things get complicated; Maria becomes increasingly entwined in a murder mystery via love affair. The Infatuations is a masterwork of drama, plotting, and pacing. It's also the perfect introduction to Marías's expansive oeuvre: intensely addictive, overwhelmingly smart, and profoundly unsettling.  By the conclusion you'll likely be left feeling a lot like Maria: silenced and nerve-wracked. Why? Because you too are now a keeper of an unspeakable truth. (Chad)


The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector (ebook available)
In this philosophical novel by Brazilian author Clarice Lispector, a well-to-do sculptor who goes simply by G.H. finds herself in the unfortunate circumstance of living in Rio without either a maid or a lover. One morning while reflecting on her previous housemaid, G.H. opens a wardrobe only to discover an intrusive cockroach creeping along the floor. Her immediate reaction is to slam the door on the invader. Watching the roach die triggers an existential contemplation of her personal identity written by Lispector with such force that it rattles one's bones. Perhaps it's time to pick up this classic work of masterful prose for the first time, or even for the second. (Katie)

Nonfiction We Love:

     

The Noble Hustle by Colson Whitehead (ebook available)
I have never played a game of poker in my life, nor am I likely to (I have zero poker-face abilities) -- but that couldn't matter less. Colson Whitehead is one of those writers who can do literally anything. If he decided to read the phone book out loud, I would go to that event. If he wrote about garbage, I would read it. And this tour of the poker world is hilarious, insightful, and absolutely gripping. It's a great vacation read, a great subway read, a great weekend read; listen, I'm telling you, it's a great read. Bonus points if you pair it with beef jerky. (Jenn)


The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare (ebook available)
The seas around us remain a source of mystery and delight. This beautiful and evocative book uses the living ocean as the starting point for a series of travels and meditations that look at nature and our place in it. The book is full of history and poetry, science and experience. Hoare swims with dolphins and spots whales, considers ravens and monks, and travels to islands where life is shaped by the sea. It may be the best book to take with you to the beach this year. (Kerry)


The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan (ebook available)
A haunting and emotional collection of posthumous essays and stories written by award-winning journalist, playwright, and activist Marina Keegan. It's tough to imagine that Keegan was not even twenty-two years old when she wrote these stories, and it's hard to accept such a talent being taken away so soon. (Kirby)

 

   


Futebol Nation by David Goldblatt 
To say that Brazil is a dominant force in the game of soccer is a major understatement. Its five World Cup titles, not to mention its role as host of the upcoming tournament, attests to its greatness in the sport. Futebol Nation looks at how soccer first came to Brazil as a pastime of the upper class and how it grew in popularity across the various sectors of Brazilian society. The book also explores how futebol integrated itself so much into the social fabric of the country that its influence can be seen in such diverse aspects as racial equality and political corruption. Well-written and researched, and highly recommended. (Ricardo)

Limber by Angela Pelster (ebook available)
This is not your typical essay collection; Limber doesn't limit itself to strict nonfiction, but encourages exploration into the mythic and fantastic while managing to stay rooted to its main theme: trees. Pelster is experimental in both style and content -- with topics ranging from trees on the moon to trees inside a human lung. Her lyrical, evocative prose will resonate long after the last sentence. (Emma)


Poet in New York by Federico García Lorca (ebook available)
Poet in New York comprises the poems, letters, lectures, and other ephemera (including a passport facsimile) from Catalan poet Federico García Lorca during his stint at Columbia University from June 1929 through March 1930. Lorca's experiences in New York City invigorated his poetry and revived his interests in the theater after years of discouragement in his native Spain. Lorca's New York poems are dulcet and furious. When read as a single piece, the collection provides a poet's history of the early twentieth-century city, and the spirit and verve of the writing anticipates the New York School of Frank O'Hara and company, who only a few decades after Lorca's sad death would have offered warm company to the traveling poet. "Life is no dream. Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!" (Jaye)

Books for Teens, Tweens, and Littles:

   
 

This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki
This One Summer captures the subtle, shifting transition from childhood to adulthood over the course of a single summer, in the second graphic novel collaboration of crazy-talented cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (who graced us with the equally-fantastic Skim back in 2008). In this gorgeously-rendered coming-of-age tale, we follow Rose as she comes to recognize -- if not understand -- the raw, complicated world beyond the innocence of youth and the childhood sense of self. (Kim)

The Thickety by J.A. White (ebook available)
A supremely spooky tale of magic, danger, cruelty, and the fierce loyalty of family. Growing up near the Thickety, the dense, menacing forest on the outskirts of town, is not pleasant. After watching her neighbors come together to condemn her mother to death for supposedly being a witch, it's no surprise that Kara wants nothing to do with magic. But years later, the hypnotic pull of the Thickety begins to grow. (Arielle)

Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood (ebook available)
When a family of travelers sets up camp on property owned by Iris's family, everyone responds differently: Her dad is angry, her brother has his own trouble to deal with, and Iris can't stop sneaking peeks out the window, wondering about lives that look so different than her own. The friendship she strikes up with the traveler boy, Trick, quickly grows complex, transforming Iris's summer into a defining season. Debut YA novelist Flood perfectly captures the pangs and stresses and glories of growing up in a small country town, weaving grace and growth into a story that tell you, from the first page, that things aren't all going to end well. It's a heartbreaker. (Molly)

 

   


The Ultimate Book of Vehicles by Anne-Sophie Baumann & Didier Balicevic  
This book is cool and tells you about what vehicles look like on the inside. The pages with airplanes and jets are my favorite. There are lots of flaps and things to do. It's a good gift. The end. (Adrian, age 5)

Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack
CLEOPATRA. IN SPAAACE! With a flying bike in the shape of a Sphinx! Simple and clean character designs. A fun and intriguing story that’s suitable for all ages. This graphic novel is a winner for anyone who enjoys books like the Bone or Amulet and is looking for something new. (Jasper)


Maps by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski
I love looking at this book. It's large and beautiful and every time I flip through it, I spot something new. Like with most maps, there are cities and locations noted -- but what makes this book special are the extras: food, famous figures, buildings, cultural facts, animals, etc. I feel like I'm always learning and discovering. Great way to pique interest in traveling and new countries. Plus, the art is fantastic, and you're going to want to frame each page. (Alyssa)

Snuggle the Baby by Sara Gillingham
The perfect book for big brothers- and sisters-to-be, or any naturally nurturing little one. Each page has a new interactive element, whether it's a pop-out bottle to feed baby or a diaper with adhesive that really sticks when you fold it shut. A wonderful addition to any library -- and it's a great last minute shower gift! (Arielle)

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