Do you want to be on the forefront of literature? Read the books right of the press, the ink still wet on the page? We handpick the best of the best of the newest of the newest books for you every week. Books that seem interesting to us and that you might like as well.
This week we share the new Lethem, an amazing looking book by The Decemberists’ Carson Ellis, part 1 in a new magical YA series and a powerful story about family.
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London – but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
Influential artist Carson Ellis makes her solo picture-book debut with a whimsical tribute to the many possibilities of home.
Home might be a house in the country, an apartment in the city, or even a shoe. Home may be on the road or the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the artist’s own studio. A meditation on the concept of home and a visual treat that invites many return visits, this loving look at the places where people live marks the picture-book debut of Carson Ellis, acclaimed illustrator of the Wildwood series and artist for the indie band the Decemberists.
Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they’ve lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.
Abigail doesn’t know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the “end of the world.” Because of course the end didn’t come. And now they’re living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.
Jonathan Lethem stretches new literary muscles in this scintillating new collection of stories. Some of these tales—such as “Pending Vegan,” which wonderfully captures a parental ache and anguish during a family visit to an aquatic theme park—are, in Lethem’s words, “obedient (at least outwardly) to realism.” Others, like “The Dreaming Jaw, The Salivating Ear,”, which deftly and hilariously captures the solipsism of blog culture, feature “the uncanny and surreal elements that still sometimes erupt in my short stories.”
The tension between these two approaches, and the way they inform each other, increase the reader’s surprise and delight as one realizes how cleverly Lethem is playing with form. Devoted fans of Lethem will recognize familiar themes and tropes—the anxiety of influence pushed to reduction ad absurdum in “The King of Sentences”; a hapless outsider trying to summon up bravado in “The Porn Critic;” characters from the comics stranded on a desert island; the necessity and the impossibility of action against authority in “Procedure in Plain Air.”
As always, Lethem’s work, humor, and poignancy work in harmony; people strive desperately for connection through words and often misdirect deeds; and the sentences are glorious.
Were you lucky enough to get your hands on these books? Send us your review at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share your thoughts!