MINNEAPOLIS - Now that spring is upon us, leaves will soon be returning to trees, birds will be singing their songs and book worms will be able to dive into some new reads.
Magers & Quinn Booksellers' Annie Metcalf has a new list of favorites for spring break and beyond. Check it out:
The Stranger in the Woods - Michael Finkel (Knopf)
This is one of the big nonfiction books of the moment. The story of Christopher Knight, who was 20 years old in the '80s when he drove into the Maine woods and set up a new life there as a hermit. He lived without talking to another person for almost 30 years. Michael Finkel examines this strange story through interviews with Knight himself and with people who lived nearby.
White Tears - Hari Kunzru (Knopf)
Seth and Carter are two young white men bound together by their appreciation for music. When Seth records a black man singing on the street, and Carter edits the file so it sounds like a pre-1930s wax record, the impossible happens: Their fake song is real, their fake bluesman, "Charlie Shaw," was real, and someone out there wants to know how they got their hands on the record. The dark forces unleashed rebound through history, spelling disaster for Seth, Carter, and people in their orbit, and revealing the lurking evils of appropriation.
The Refugees - Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove)
Viet Thanh Nguyen's latest is a collection of short stories. Refugees of the Vietnam War and their descendants fill the pages, from a ghostwriter who meets the literal ghost of her brother, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and begins calling her the wrong name. Heartbreaking and human, these stories dip into the variety of post-war Vietnamese experiences, expanding on the world Nguyen illuminated in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Sympathizer."
The Best We Could Do - Thi Bui (Abrams ComicArts)
This stunning graphic memoir also deals with themes of war and refugees, framed by the birth of the author's first child. She recalls her family's journey from Vietnam to the U.S. Bui will also be illustrating a children's picture book written by Minnesota poet Bao Phi, so there's a local connection there.
Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm (March 21)
Strategy consultant Christian Madsbjerg takes his experience advising large companies to argue for humanities-based critical thinking. He shows that many of today's biggest success stories stem not from algorithmic findings but from deep engagement with culture, language, and history. This book is both practical -- including an account of his method and advice -- as well as philosophical, so even those not involved in management, leadership, or business-based positions can benefit from his research.
Afterland - Mai Der Vang (April 4, Graywolf Press)
A collection of poetry on the Hmong exodus from Laos after the devastation of the Secret War, and the generations of refugees. It is poetry, but many of the poems are also quite narrative, telling a story in the voice of a character. Beautiful and worth a look, even if you don't usually read poetry.
Hillbilly Elegy - J.D. Vance (HarperCollins)
From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class