You’ve likely seen Reza Farazmand’s work floating around the internet, even if you’ve never heard his name. His newest book, Comics for a Strange World, is the second collection from his popular webcomic series Poorly Drawn Lines. Organized by theme, you can consider these short comics the “best of the best” of Farazmand. His humor is offbeat, tongue-in-cheek, and occasionally bleak, but his commentary on technology, humanity, and society will absolutely resonate with a wide audience, especially among Millennials.
Lois Clearly moved to San Francisco to work in one of the most cutting edge robotics companies, but hasn’t quite settled in and feels listless. One night, Lois receives a menu for a local restaurant and her whole world changes. Every night, Lois orders the spicy soup and sourdough meal, until the owners pick up and move their business overseas, but not before leaving a gift for their “number one eater:” their sourdough starter. Thus begins a journey of self-discovery, baking, email exchanges, and the lost history of a little-known people, all of which lead to an underground, experimental farmer’s market. Filled with charming and eccentric characters, with a dash of magical realism and a large helping of baking history and tips, Robin Sloan’s Sourdough is a recipe for success for any reader looking for a strange new adventure.
Steve Silberman has taken on a large task, trying to cover the whole history of autism and neurodiversity in a single book, but NeuroTribes brings us about as close as we can get. Despite some news articles, autism is by no means a new thing; it’s just gone by other names in the past. Silberman looks at the major players who “discovered” the neurological differences at roughly the same time in multiple corners of the world, works through the research of the last 70 years, and dispels rumors related to disability and vaccines. Throughout, he shares personal stories from the families and doctors of, and especially the autistic people themselves. Reading this book will give you a new appreciation for how brain chemistry and sensory abilities have changed over time and see that often, autism can act not as a bug, but as a feature.
Jazz Bashara, a 26 year-old Saudi-Arabian woman, has spent the last two decades living in Artemis, the only city on the moon. Even off-Earth, life is still a struggle, and Jazz survives by smuggling contraband to anyone who will pay. When one of her wealthiest clients offers her a chance to escape her poverty, she can’t say no, even to a little covert sabotage. Things do not go well, leading to a series of events that put Jazz—and the whole city of Artemis—in mortal danger. Andy Weir brings to Artemis everything that made his previous book, The Martian, a breakaway hit. He’s given us yet another suspenseful adventure tale with excellent pacing, quick-thinking MacGyver-like escapes, and scientific know-how. Unlike The Martian’s Mark Watney, however, Jazz is not alone on her world and by the end, she’s assembled a ragtag crew to pull off a heist that could save—or end—their lives.
Izzy Goodnight, once a main character in her father’s highly popular fairytales, but now close to penniless, has inherited a castle. The problem? It’s in terrible shape: ransacked by looters, missing windows, full of vermin, and, oh, yeah, it’s still housing its former master—and he didn’t know about the sale. The surly and rakish Duke of Rochester took up residence after losing his sight and pride in a sword fight and now refuses to leave...but so does Izzy. The two are forced to share until the ownership battle is settled and might find themselves in closer quarters than they imagined. Check out Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare to cuddle up with a humorous and steamy romance that will warm up your winter nights.
Despite living a few months of the year without sunlight, Sweden regularly appears highly on the Happiness Index. Almost everything, from their friendly, welcoming communities (which take in more refugees than any other country) to eco-friendly construction to their trademark interior decorating can be traced back to the Swedish philosophy of lagom. Roughly translating to “not too little, not too much,” lagom is all about taking life in moderation. In Lagom, Niki Brantmark explains Swedish culture through the eyes of an adopter, discussing how to balance life in a large number of ways. You don’t need to deny yourself pleasures, nor do you need to ignore responsibilities—you just have to find the right amount of each. With tips on crafts, holidays, decoration, health, relationships, diet, and more, Lagom is the perfect whole-life introduction to living like a Swede, wherever you are.
Bestselling author John Green is finally back with a new book, five years after his international blockbuster hit The Fault in Our Stars. His newest work Turtles All the Way Down focuses on a teenage girl named Aza who is tortured by her own anxieties. Even the smallest events in life are full of panic, worrying about saying the wrong thing, catching an infection, or letting her own dark thoughts overtake her. Things only get more complicated when Aza is dragged along by her best friend Daisy to search for a missing billionaire to claim the reward, in the process reuniting Aza with a childhood crush. Turtles has everything Green fans want: believable teens, love, family, loss, heartbreak, hope, and friendship—plus a tuatara and plenty of Star Wars fanfiction. This is a must-read for not only die-hard fans of the author, but also for anyone who has struggled with mental health or been unable to understand the day-to-day pain of their affected loved ones.
If you are an audiobook listener, chances are you are already a fan of Bahni Turpin, even if you don’t realize it yet. Narrating over 100 audiobooks, Turpin has set herself up to be one of the best narrators, and she has the awards to prove it. With her clear pronunciation, mastery of accents, easily distinguishable character voices, and immersive storytelling, Turpin brings emotion and life to any book. Though she has voiced a wide range of characters, her melodious voice is, in my opinion, perhaps the best I’ve heard for young African-American female characters. No matter the character, genre, or author, you will never be disappointed with Bahni Turpin at the mic. Here are some of our favorite audiobooks narrated by Bahni Turpin:
- The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2016): Read Jez’s review of the audiobook here and listen to a sample of Turpin’s award-winning narration of The Underground Railroad audiobook here.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017): Read Luella’s review of the book here.
- The Muse by Jessie Burton (2016): Read Jennifer’s review of the book here.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009): Read Joan’s review of the book here.
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (2016): Read Jez's review here.
Natasha is a girl who believes in science and facts and she’s got far bigger problems to deal with than falling in love. Daniel is an incurable romantic who puts his faith in fate and poetry. The two teens couldn’t be more different, but when they keep crossing paths, they learn that they may have more in common than they first thought. Alternating chapters between the two characters, with interspersed sections written from an omniscient narrator about the teens, their families, and the universe, this beautifully written YA book tackles big issues like deportation, second-generation immigrants, familial expectations, racism, and the existence of love and fate. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon will make you cry tears of sadness, joy, and laughter, and leave you feeling a little glow in your heart.
Need more Wonder Woman and don’t want to wait two years for the next movie? Worry not, because Leigh Bardugo’s new novel Warbringer is everything you need. Diana knows not to meddle in the affairs of mortals, but against her better judgment and the advice of the Oracle, she saves the life of a young shipwrecked girl, Alia. Alia is a “warbringer,” a woman descended from Helen of Troy, whose blood will bring about a world war if she reaches adulthood. Determined to change fate, Diana takes it upon herself to deliver Alia to Greece where she can be cleansed of the warbringer line—but Alia doesn’t believe in such stories and just wants to return home. The two must learn to trust each other if they are to survive the lies, assassination attempts, divine intervention, and expensive galas as they race against time to save the world. Full of lovable, flawed, and beautifully diverse characters, this action-packed and humorous coming-of-age novel makes a great read and an even better listen with the audiobook, read by Mozhan Marno, which will leave fans desperate for more.