Wordplay TBR Pile: Newly Released

Wordplay 2020 Family Friendly Posters

Last night, we announced our full Wordplay lineup—and based on the reaction at our member party, it was well worth the anticipation. But now we're back in the waiting room, so to speak. So what can you do to ease the pangs of Wordplay longing? Read the newly released titles of some of our featured speakers. Introducing, your new TBR list:


The Galleons - Rick Barot

The Galleons: Poems by Rick Barot (February 1, 2020)
From Milkweed Books: "These poems are engaged in the work of recovery, making visible what is often intentionally erased: the movement of domestic workers on a weekday morning in Brooklyn; a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, fondly sharing photos of his dog; the departure and destination points of dozens of galleons between 1564 and 1815."


The Absurd Man by Major Jackson (February 1, 2020)
From W.W. Norton: "Inspired by Albert Camus’s seminal Myth of Sisyphus, Major Jackson’s fifth volume subtly configures the poet as 'absurd hero' and plunges headfirst into a search for stable ground in an unstable world. We follow Jackson’s restless, vulnerable speaker as he ponders creation in the face of meaninglessness, chronicles an increasingly technological world and the difficulty of social and political unity, probes a failed marriage, and grieves his lost mother with a stunning, lucid lyricism."



Black Sunday - Tola Rotimi Abraham

Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham (February 1, 2020)
From Catapult: "Written with astonishing intimacy and wry attention to the fickleness of fate, Tola Rotimi Abraham’s Black Sunday takes us into the chaotic heart of family life, tracing a line from the euphoria of kinship to the devastation of estrangement. In the process, it joyfully tells a tale of grace and connection in the midst of daily oppression and the constant incursions of an unremitting patriarchy. This is a novel about two young women slowly finding, over twenty years, in a place rife with hypocrisy but also endless life and love, their own distinct methods of resistance and paths to independence."

The Herd - Andrea Bartz

The Herd by Andrea Bartz (January 1, 2020)
From Angie Kim, via PRH: "Andrea Bartz has created another deliciously twisty thriller that is so much more than a page-turner. At its heart, The Herd is an ambitious novel about the complex dynamics of an exclusive all-female coworking space—empowering yet cut-throat, open yet exclusive. Filled with insights and biting social commentary about the commoditization of female ambition, The Herd is sure to be one of the spring’s buzziest must-reads.”

The Illness Lesson - Clare Beams

The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams (February 1, 2020)
From Joyce Carol Oates, via PRH: “Narrated from a painfully intimate perspective, The Illness Lesson explores the consequences of an outrageous medical treatment inflicted upon adolescent girls in 1870’s New England to cure “hysteria.” In Clare Beams’s luminous and suspenseful prose, the unspeakable is spoken, falteringly at first, then with triumphant strength.  Its timeliness will be evident to readers for whom the suppression of female sexuality/ identity is an ongoing and urgent issue.”

Everywhere You Don't Belong - Gabriel Bump

Everywhere You Don't Belong by Gabriel Bump (February 1, 2020)
From Jeff Parker, via Workman: "Everywhere You Don't Belong is a startlingly powerful novel, an unusual concentration of opposing forces—blind rage vs. empathy, comedy vs. tragedy, despair vs. hope—that resists every label it evokes: picaresque, bildungsroman, generational family saga, political novel, comic novel, love story. It’s all of those things at once and much more—an instant American classic for the post-Ferguson/Trump era.”


The Last Passenger by Charles Finch (February 1, 2020)
From Macmillan: "From bestselling author Charles Finch comes the third and final in a prequel trilogy to his lauded Charles Lenox series. Written in Charles Finch’s unmistakably witty and graceful voice, The Last Passenger is a cunning, thrilling, and deeply satisfying conclusion to this trilogy of prequels to his bestselling Charles Lenox series."


Trans(re)lating House One by Poupeh Missaghi (February 4, 2020)
From Coffee House Press: "In the aftermath of Iran’s 2009 election, a woman undertakes a search for the statues disappearing from Tehran’s public spaces. A chance meeting alters her trajectory, and the space between fiction and reality narrows. As she circles the city’s points of connection—teahouses, buses, galleries, hookah bars—her many questions are distilled into one: How do we translate loss into language?"


And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges by Amber Sparks (February 1, 2020)
From W.W. Norton: "Populated with such heroes as time-traveling queens and video-game designing goddesses, and such specters as clingy ghosts and mediocre men, And I Do Not Forgive You is tethered intricately by shades of rage. Boldly blending fables and myths with apocalyptic technologies, Amber Sparks holds a singular role in the canon of the weird. In prose that beats with urgency, these contemporary stories read like the best of fairytales—which are, as Sparks writes, just a warning disguised as a wish."


Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu (January 1, 2020)
From PRH: "From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterly novel yet."




You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe (February 4, 2020)
From Karen Abbott, via PRH: “If you think there is nothing new to learn about George Washington, then you have a treat in store with Alexis Coe’s You Never Forget Your First. In this keen and savage analysis of our longstanding Washington canon, Coe dramatically reshapes our understanding of the president who could not tell a lie (actually, he could, and did). The result is a humorous, sympathetic and refreshingly human portrait of Washington that is destined to become a classic.”


The Scientist and the Spy: A True Story of China, the FBI, and Industrial Espionage by Mara Hvistendahl (February 4, 2020)
From Deborah Blum, via PRH: "The Scientist and the Spy is as compulsively readable as espionage thriller and as darkly troubling as any morality tale. Told with empathy, insight, and remarkable detail, the author shines a clear light on the increasingly relentless federal investigation, its Chinese targets, and the powerful government and business interests that drive the story to its fascinating conclusion.”


Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War by Steve Inskeep (January 1, 2020)
From PRH: "With rare detail and in consummate style, Steve Inskeep tells the story of a couple whose joint ambitions and talents intertwined with those of the nascent United States itself. Taking advantage of expanding news media, aided by an increasingly literate public, the two linked their names to the three great national movements of the time—westward settlement, women’s rights, and opposition to slavery. Together, John and Jessie Frémont took parts in events that defined the country and gave rise to a new, more global America."


Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me by Erin Khar (February 1, 2020)
From HC: "In this deeply personal and illuminating memoir about her fifteen-year struggle with heroin, Khar sheds profound light on the opioid crisis and gives a voice to the over two million people in America currently battling with this addiction. Strung Out is a life-affirming story of resilience while also a gripping investigation into the psychology of addiction and why people turn to opioids in the first place."


Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (January 1, 2020)
From PRH: "With stark poignancy and political dispassion, Tightrope draws us deep into an 'other America.' These accounts, illustrated with searing images by Lynsey Addario, the award-winning photographer, provide a picture of working-class families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. With their superb, nuanced reportage, Kristof and WuDunn have given us a book that is both riveting and impossible to ignore."


Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang (February 1, 2020)
From Macmillan: "Somewhere in the Unknown World is a themed collection of stories of refugees from around the world who have converged on Minneapolis, collected and told by the award-winning author of The Latehomecomer and The Song Poet. In Yang's exquisite, poetic, and necessary telling, the voices of refugees from all over the world restore humanity to America's strangers and redeem its long history of welcome."


Kid Lit:

King and the Dragonflies - Kacen Callender

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender (February 4, 2020)
From Scholastic: "Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy — that he thinks he might be gay. The Thing About Jellyfish meets The Stars Beneath Our Feet in this story about loss, grief, and finding the courage to discover one's identity."


The Queen's Assassin by Melissa de la Cruz (February 1, 2020)
From PRH: "Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Red Queen, this is the first novel in a sweeping YA fantasy-romance duet about a deadly assassin, his mysterious apprentice, and the country they are sworn to protect, from #1 NYT bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz."


Green Lantern: Legacy by Minh Lê (January 1, 2020)
From B&N: "From Minh Lê, award-winning author of Drawn Together and Let Me Finish! comes the tale of a new hero! Thirteen-year-old Tai Pham lives in the apartment above his grandmother's store, where his bedroom is crammed with sketchpads and comic books. But not even his most imaginative drawings could compare to the colorful adventure he's about to embark on."


Of course, this is just a smattering of the amazing books written by our Wordplay authors. Keep an eye out on the Wordplay blog series for more information on books, authors, programming, and the event itself leading up to May 9!