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Buzz Books 2022: Spring/Summer

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Buzz Books 2022: Spring/Summer is the 20th (!) volume in our popular sampler series. As always, Buzz Books presents passionate readers with an insider’s look at the buzziest books due out this season. Such major bestselling authors as Geraldine Brooks, Sloane Crosley, Chris Pavone, Emma Straub, and Adriana Trigiani are featured, along with literary greats Abdulrazak Gurnah (our first Nobel Prize in Literature winner), NoViolet Bulawayo, Mohsin Hamid, and Marianne Wiggins. Other sure-to-be readers’ favorites are by Denny Bryce, Karne Joy Fowler, Jane Green, plus 14 more.

Buzz Books has had a particularly stellar track record with highlighting the most talented, exciting and diverse debut authors, and this edition is no exception. Co-creator of the Emmy-winning series How I Met Your Mother, Carter Bays’ first novel is featured, along with Nishant Batsha, Jumi Bello, Melissa Chadburn, and Sopan Deb, and 13 other debut writers.

Our nonfiction selections cover such fascinating subjects as a symbolic World War 11 Marine Corps football game by Pulitzer-Prize winner Buzz Bissinger; a literary memoir of recovery from opioid addiction; a true crime story; and a primer on brain health.

Be sure to look out for Buzz Books 2022: Fall/Winter, coming in May.

First Victim

When Judge Alice D. McKerrity presides over the trial of a man accused of murder, the familiar circumstances of the case awaken long-repressed demons from her past, forcing her to relive the memory of a violent encounter from her teenage years as her present mental state unravels. From the author of Saving Grace, praised by Bookreporter as “a tense and promising debut.”

The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare

Based on real history and alternating between the story of war widow Alice searching for identity in the 1940s and excerpts from Eleanor Dare’s Commonplace Book and the tale of her harrowing survival, The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare explores the meaning of female history and the sacrifices every mother makes for her daughter.

Horse

A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize-winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history.

Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. When the nation erupts in civil war, an itinerant young artist who has made his name on paintings of the racehorse takes up arms for the Union. On a perilous night, he reunites with the stallion and his groom, very far from the glamor of any racetrack.

New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a 19th-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.

Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse—one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.

Based on the remarkable true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred, Lexington, who became America’s greatest stud sire, Horse is a gripping, multi-layered reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America.

In the Face of the Sun

At the height of the Civil Rights Movement amidst an America convulsed by the 1960s, a pregnant young woman and her brash, profane aunt embark upon an audacious road trip from Chicago to Los Angeles to confront a decades-old mystery from 1920’s Black Hollywood in this haunting novel of historical fiction from the author of Wild Women and the Blues.

A lime-gold Ford Mustang is parked outside my building. Unmistakable. My Aunt Daisy, the driver, is an audacious woman that no one in our family actually speaks to. They only speak about her—and not glowingly. Still, she is part of my escape plan… 1928, Los Angeles: The newly-built Hotel Somerville is the hotspot for the city’s glittering African-American elite. It embodies prosperity and dreams of equality for all—especially Daisy Washington. An up-and-coming journalist, Daisy anonymously chronicles fierce activism and behind-the-scenes Hollywood scandals in order to save her family from poverty. But power in the City of Angels is also fueled by racism, greed, and betrayal. And even the most determined young woman can play too many secrets too far… 1968, Chicago: For Frankie Saunders, fleeing across America is her only escape from an abusive husband. But her rescuer is her reckless, profane Aunt Daisy, still reeling from her own shattered past. Frankie doesn’t want to know what her aunt is up to so long as Daisy can get her to LA—and safety. But Frankie finds there’s no hiding from long-held secrets—or her own surprising strength. Daisy will do whatever it takes to settle old scores and resolve the past—no matter the damage. And Frankie will come up against hard choices in the face of unexpected passion. Both must come to grips with what they need, what they’ve left behind—and all that lies ahead . . .

Glory

From the award-winning author of the Booker-prize finalist We Need New Names, a blockbuster of a novel that chronicles the fall of an oppressive regime, and the chaotic, kinetic potential for real liberation that rises in its wake.

Glory centers around the unexpected fall of Old Horse, a long-serving leader of a fictional country, and the drama that follows for a rumbustious nation of animals on the path to true liberation. Inspired by the unexpected fall by coup, in November 2017, of Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president of nearly four decades, Bulawayo’s bold, vividly imagined novel shows a country imploding, narrated by a chorus of animal voices who unveil the ruthlessness and cold strategy required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, and the imagination and bullet-proof optimism to overthrow it completely.

As with her debut novel We Need New Names, Bulawayo’s fierce voice and lucid imagery immerses us in the daily life of a traumatized nation, revealing the dazzling life force and irrepressible wit that lies barely concealed beneath the surface of seemingly bleak circumstances. At the center of this tumult is Destiny, who has returned to Jidada from exile to bear witness to revolution—and focus on the unofficial history and the potential legacy of the women who have quietly pulled the strings in this country.

The animal kingdom—its connection to our primal responses and resonance in the mythology, folktales, and fairytales that define cultures the world over—unmasks the surreality of contemporary global politics to help us understand our world more clearly, even as Bulwayo plucks us right out of it. Glory is a blockbuster, an exhilarating ride, and crystalizes a turning point in history with the texture and nuance that only the greatest of fiction can.

THE SECRET LIFE OF ALBERT ENTWISTLE

In a humorous, charmingly wise #OwnVoices novel perfect for fans of Fredrik Backman, the forced retirement of a shy, closeted postman creates the opportunity for him to track down his lost love, embrace his true self, connect with his community, and finally experience his life’s great adventure. Albert Entwistle is a private man with a quiet, simple life. He lives alone with his cat Gracie. And he’s a postman. At least he *was* a postman until, three months before his sixty-fifth birthday, he receives a letter from the Royal Mail thanking him for decades of service and stating he is being forced into retirement. At once, Albert’s sole connection with his world unravels. Every day as a mail carrier, he would make his way through the streets of his small English town, delivering letters and parcels and returning greetings with a quick wave and a how do? Without the work that fills his days, what will be the point? He has no friends, family, or hobbies—just a past he never speaks of, and a lost love that fills him with regret. And so, rather than continue his lonely existence, Albert forms a brave plan to start truly living. It’s finally time to be honest about who he is. To seek the happiness he’s always denied himself. And to find the courage to look for George, the man that, many years ago, he loved and lost—but has never forgotten. As he does, something extraordinary happens. Albert finds unlikely allies, new friends, and proves it’s never too late to live, to hope, and to love.

Cult Classic

One night in Chinatown: Our heroine, Lola, is at a work reunion dinner with her former colleagues when she ducks out to buy cigarettes and runs into an ex-boyfriend. And then . . . another. And another. The city is suddenly awash with ghosts of heartbreaks past, and what would normally pass for a coincidence becomes something much stranger. The soon-to-be-married Lola must contend not only with the viability of her current relationship but with the fact that both her best friend and her former boss, a magazine editor turned guru, might have an unhealthy, ahem, investment in the outcome. Memories of the past swirl and converge in mystical ways both comic and eerie as Lola is forced to decide if she will buy into romance, and possibly into a weird startup-slash-cult.

Stiletto Sisterhood

When they first met, best friends Priya, Isobel, Caitlin, Eshe, and Shayne swore a vow: Chase dreams not drama. Now, years later . . .Priya Seth is determined to win the coveted one-year mentorship with her idol at New York’s hottest law firm. Her rival? Last night’s hookup, Hadrian Marek. Despite having a privileged upper hand, Hadrian is willing to form an alliance. Priya’s only condition? No sex.

Isobel Morgan is planning the perfect wedding, fighting to get the promotion she deserves, and caring for her dependent father. But when a video of her cheating fiancé goes viral, her world comes crashing down until she gets an offer that merges her passion for news and activism. The caveat? Long hours and travel away from her father.

As these young women discover that achieving dreams is often erratic, and drama is as inevitable as adulting, the foundation of their friendship begins to crack, putting their sisterhood to the test.

A Coin for the Ferryman

In 1999, an elite interdisciplinary team headed by a Nobel laureate gathers in California to carry out a ground-breaking time-travel experiment. While the rest of the world remains unaware, Julius Caesar is successfully transported from his last Ides of March to a specially-constructed covert facility. Four days of conversation with historians and Latin scholars are planned, to be followed by Caesar’s return to the moment from which he was extracted. But despite the team’s meticulous efforts to plan for all possible exigencies, an unscrupulous antiquities dealer who learns of Caesar’s visit disrupts the experiment with a kidnap attempt. Cassandra Fleury, the youngest member of the team, must summon strength she didn’t know she possessed to return Caesar to the Ides of March.