New books, from Bay Area and Northern California authors, listed by release date.
The Covenant of Water
By Abraham Verghese (Menlo Park)
Grove Atlantic, May 2, 2023
The Covenant of Water is the long-awaited new novel by Abraham Verghese, whose 2010 book Cutting for Stone stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for two years.
The book follows three generations of a family from Kerala, India, that suffers a peculiar affliction: someone drowns every generation.
The novel spans the years 1900 to 1977 and focuses on a 12-year-old girl who is married off to a 40-year-old widower. She becomes known as Big Ammachi, which means “little mother,” the matriarch of a family beset by blessings and curses.
Bay Curious: Exploring the Hidden True Stories of the San Francisco Bay Area
By Olivia Allen-Price (San Mateo)
Chronicle Books, May 2, 2023
Bay Curious, based on the popular KQED podcast, is not your average travel guide. It’s a deep dive into hidden gems of the Bay Area, its trivia, history, and culture. Who was America’s first and only Emperor? Why are there ships buried under the streets of San Francisco? Where was the Mai Tai really created? What was the Black Panthers’ breakfast program? Learn all this and more.
Hope You Are Satisfied
By Tania Malik (Tiburon)
Unnamed Press, May 2, 2023
Hope You Are Satisfied brings together a sarcastic cast of misfit “guest workers” in Dubai in 1990, right before Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait launched the first Gulf War. The 25-year-old narrator, Riya, originally from India, works for Discover Arabic Tours and finds helping vacationers somewhat boring.
But when she takes a shady side assignment that might bring her enough cash to reach the U.S., Riya suddenly has to deal with international arms dealers, American soldiers, CIA consultants, and corrupt bosses.
Deep Oakland: How Geology Shaped a City
By Andrew Alden (Oakland)
Heyday Books, May 2, 2023
The city of Oakland has been shaped by its geology, from the Hayward Fault, to ice-age sand dunes, to Jurassic volcanoes to the waters of Lake Merritt.
Geologist Andrew Alden reveals how Oakland’s underbelly is intimately entwined with its human history—and future. Illustrations are by Laura Cunningham.
When the Heavens went on Sale: The Misfits and Geniuses Racing to Put Space Within Reach
By Ashlee Vance (Mountain View, CA)
Ecco, May 9, 2023
Space is open for business, according to Bloomberg Businessweek writer Ashlee Vance, who wrote a bestselling biography of Elon Musk.
It’s not NASA, but private businessmen like Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson who seem to be breaking barriors with their private rocket companies.
When the Heavens went on Sale focuses on feisty startups in Silicon Valley, New Zealand, and Ukraine rushing to build affordable satellites and reusable rockets to capture part of a new space economy.
The Eyes and the Impossible
By Dave Eggers
Knopf Books for Young Readers, May 9, 2023
The Eyes and the Impossible is the story of a dog named Johannes who lives free in a park and is devoted to three ancient Bison, known as Keepers of the Equilibrium. But when changes come, including a new herd of goats and a new building, Johannes must liberate those he loves from their enclosure.
Illustrations by Shawn Harris. Ages 8-12. McSweeney’s is publishing a wood-bound hardcover of the book, too.
What You Don’t Know Will Make a Whole New World
By Dorothy Lazard (Oakland)
Heyday Books (May 16, 2023)
Dorothy Lazard is a local legend because of her leadership of the Oakland History Center at the Oakland Public Library, For nine of the 21 years she worked for the library, she helped people of all ages research the history of the city. She was so popular that she has her own social media hashtag #DorothyLazardFanClub.
Lazard’s memoir recounts growing up in the Bay Area in the 1960s and ’70s, her early intellectual pursuits, her experiences connected to the Summer of Love, the murder of Emmett Till, the flourishing of the Black Arts Movement, and the redevelopment of Oakland.
Clash Books, (May 23, 2023)
Virginia Samson, a pioneer of artificial intelligence, misses her dead lover Haru so much that she rebuilds his voice and gives him the ability to keep on learning.
He grows so sophisticated that a Chinese-based company licences his underlying algorithms to build Best Friend, an AI voice companion for the elderly.
But Haru goes rogue and Virginia must decide whether to fix or destroy him.