We Show What We Have Learned (Lookout Books). From Paste to Publishers Weekly, Clare Beams drew glowing reviews for her debut story collection, whose characters operated in settings from plague-ravaged Europe to a secretive all-girls boarding school. Kirkus placed the collection on its list of best debut fiction, and no less than Joyce Carol Oates called Beams “[a] female/feminist voice for the 21st century.”
Swallows and Waves (Sarabande Books). The 60 poems in Paula Bohince’s widely praised new collection were all inspired by paintings and prints from Japan’s Edo period.
Why Are They Angry With Us?: Essays on Race (Lyceum Books). Larry E. Davis, a nationally recognized scholar on race relations, wants to help Americans talk more openly about race. The dean and founding director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center of Race and Social Problems asks, “Why can’t black people claim Irish roots too?” and explores social media’s effects on racial equality, and the problems with comparing black Americans to immigrants.
Whiskey, Etc. (Queen’s Ferry Press). Widely anthologized author Sherrie Flick’s debut collection of short-short stories (57 in 207 pages) centers on themes of love and loss, and (said CP reviewer Fred Shaw), often “linger[s] on food and drink in evocative ways.”
World of Wakanda (Marvel Comics). This spinoff from the iconic Black Panther series is co-written by poet and educator Yona Harvey. Harvey and Roxanne Gay got national press as the first African-American women ever to write for Marvel.
City of Secrets (Penguin Random House). The prolific Stewart O’Nan’s latest novel follows a Holocaust survivor working as a cabbie in British-occupied post-World War II Jerusalem. Wrote CP reviewer Stuart Sheppard: “[B]y immersing the reader in the particularity of a few characters, [O’Nan] captures a rich sense of the space and time surrounding them.”
Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4 (Fantagraphics). Ed Piskor’s painstakingly researched, multi-volume graphic history of hip-hop culture has made the cartoonist and writer a comics icon; Fantagraphics calls him its “biggest breakout star of this decade.” However, Piskor told CP that Vol. 4 might be the last installment for a while.
The Imperial Wife (Thomas Dunne Books). Irina Reyn earned strong reviews for her second novel, which tells the parallel but intersecting stories of a contemporary specialist in Russian art and 18th-century empress Catherine the Great.