Bay City Books: New fiction, non-fiction from Bay Area authors – May 2024

New nonfiction books, from Bay Area and Northern California authors, listed by release date

Cast Out of Eden: The Untold Story of John Muir, Indigenous Peoples, and the American Wilderness

By Robert Aquinas McNally (Concord)
University of Nebraska Press (May 1, 2024)

John Muir is widely considered the hero who saved the wilderness of the West. He championed Yosemite and camped there in 1903 with President Teddy Roosevelt, which led to federal protection. He founded the Sierra Club. But Muir was also a racist who buried an inconvenient truth: that his precious Eden, Yosemite Valley, had long been occupied by Native Americans. In “Cast Out of Eden,” Robert Aquinas McNally addresses Muir’s push to preserve wild areas for white Americans, but not those who had lived there for millennia.

A Light Through the Cracks: A Climber’s Story

By Beth Rodden (Yosemite)
Little a (May 1, 2024)

​​Beth Rodden, an elite rock climber, gained international recognition by the time she was 20—not for her climbing skills—but because she and three companions were kidnapped while on a climbing trip to Kyrgyzstan in 2000. In her memoir, “A Light Through the Cracks,” Rodden describes the abduction and how her boyfriend (and later, husband) Tommy Caldwell, pushed one of the kidnappers off a cliff, allowing them to escape. They returned to the U.S. and became famous for their climbing accomplishments, but fear and PTSD gripped Rodden for years. Repressing her terror led to a divorce, but forced Rodden to reckon with her past and forge a different life that did not involve climbing but was satisfying nonetheless.


Reading the Room: A Bookseller’s Tale

By Paul Yamazaki, (San Francisco)
Ode Books (May 8, 2024)

Paul Yamazaki has been the head book buyer at the venerable City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco for more than 50 years. This small but intimate reflection on his years in the business (sized perfectly to sit on the front counter of any independent bookstore) is written in a interview format with another bookseller. In “Reading the Room,” Yamazaki reflects on his upbringing in Southern California, moving to San Francisco during a turbulent political era, his times with the poet and City Lights co-founder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, why he loves books, and his vision for the future of the industry.

Another Word for Love: A Memoir

By Carvell Wallace (Oakland)
MCD Books (May 14, 2024)

Carvell Wallace, an award-winning Oakland journalist, podcaster, and co-author of Andre Iguodala’s memoir about his time with the Golden State Warriors, finally turns a lens on himself. In “Another Word for Love,” Wallace traces what it is like to grow up Black, poor, and queer in America. As difficult as his early life was—when he was 7, he and his mother were homeless— Wallace finds the positive in his difficult experiences. He draws nourishment from those who love (or even just tolerate) him. Now the father of two teenagers, Wallace worked as an actor and teacher and developed programs for incarcerated youth before he broke into the journalistic big leagues with major profiles in the New York Times Magazine, GQ and Rolling Stone magazine. As he explores his recovery from trauma, he touches on justice, sex, family, and death. Kirkus called it a “soulful, must-read.”

And Then? and Then? What Else?

By Daniel Handler (San Francisco)
Liveright Publishing Corporation (May 21, 2024)

Daniel Handler announced his memoir in an Instagram video shot in a graveyard in Oxford, England. It was a suitably gloomy location for the man also known as Lemony Snicket, who put three unlucky orphans in terrible, life-threatening situations in “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”  Handler’s newest, “And Then? and Then? What Else?” is part memoir, part rumination on books and writing, and a reflection on fame and getting into trouble. “How did my life go in a certain way that I ended up reading a lot, taking notes, making things up and writing them down for a living?” he asks.

Cheaper, Faster, Better: How We’ll Win the Climate War

By Tom Steyer (San Francisco)
Spiegel & Grau (May 28, 2024)

Tom Steyer, billionaire investor and 2020 presidential candidate, started Galvanize Climate Solutions, an investment firm that believes there is no dichotomy between profits and supporting green energy solutions. Steyer has been at the forefront of warning and organizing around the climate crisis for years. His new book, “Cheaper, Faster, Better” argues that capitalism is an effective tool for addressing climate change, and why investing in small companies and solutions that battle the crisis is key to a healthy society and economy.

New fiction books, from Bay Area and Northern California authors, listed by release date

See: Loss. See Also: Love

By Yukiko Tominaga (San Francisco)
Scribner (May 7, 2024)

Yukiko Tominaga’s debut novel features Kyoko, who moves from Japan to San Francisco, falls in love, and has a son in a short period. While she is introducing her 18-month-old son, Alex, to her parents in Japan, tragedy strikes. Her husband Levi dies when the classic car he is fixing falls on top of him. “See: Loss. See Also: Lovefollows Kyoko as she copes with widowhood and single parenthood. She is not alone, however, and this unconventional grief novel is filled with humor and moments of joy. Her Jewish mother-in-law, Bubbe, takes her to a psychic who declares Kyoko has bad karma. Her mother offers advice from afar. Her son brings home a girl and Kyoko describes the awkwardness of hearing them kiss. She creates a found family with her housemates.

Before & After You & Me 

by Dallas Woodburn (Fremont)
Owl Hollow Press (May 7, 2024)

Emma, an art student, is wracked with guilt when her former boyfriend, the town’s track star, is paralyzed from the waist down from a freak accident at a pool party. Emma blames herself for his injury and feels guilty about breaking up. Told through alternating chapters of before and after the accident, “Before & After You & Me” is a young adult book that grapples with love, responsibility, ambition and forgiveness. Woodburn, a book coach and host of the Thriving Authors Podcast, won the Dante Rossetti Book Award for Young Adult Fiction for her previous novel, “The Best Week That Never Happened.”


By R.O. Kwon (San Franciso)
Riverhead (May 21, 2024)

Jin Han is married to her college sweetheart and working as a photographer when she meets Lidija Jung, an injured ballerina, at a party in Marin County. The connection is instant. In “Exhibit,” Kwon, whose first novel “The Incendiaries” was a national bestseller, explores how the relationship between the Korean American women upends and transforms their lives. Jin reveals a family curse—thereby risking death, according to the curse—and the confession frees her to explore her carnal desires, including queerness and kink.

The Incorrigibles

By Meredith Jaeger (Richmond)
Dutton (May 21, 2024)

“The Incorrigibles” is the fourth historical novel by USA Today bestselling author Jaeger told in alternating timelines. This one features Judy, an aspiring photographer with an abusive husband, who comes across a photograph in 1972. It’s of a young and scared woman and dates back to 1890. Judy can’t stop thinking about the woman in the photo. The novel moves back in time to introduce Annie, an Irish immigrant working as a maid. Her hopes of bringing her nine siblings to America are dashed when her employer’s nephew pursues her and then accuses her of stealing a ring. She ends up in San Quentin.  Both women must deal with predatory men and rely on inner resources to escape and realize their dreams.


My Fairy Godfather

By Robert Mailer Anderson (San Francisco) and Jon Sack (Brighton, UK)
Fantagraphics (May 21, 2024)

When Billie’s parents die in a car crash, the teenager moves from Austin to Liberal, Kansas, to live with Adam, her gay godfather. His partner Steven runs an old movie palace modeled on San Francisco’s iconic Castro Theatre. Liberal, however, is anything but and the new family of three must navigate the challenges of being different in a town that values conformity. “My Fairy Godfather” is the second graphic novel written by Anderson and illustrated by Sack.

The post Bay City Books: New Books from Bay Area Authors – May 2024 appeared first on Local News Matters.

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