A monthly selection from our shelves, as curated by your favorite SPL librarians!
|Daughters of the new year by E.M. Tran
In New Orleans, three daughters of a former beauty queen and Vietnamese refugee obsessed with zodiac signs are trying to go about their modern lives, but begin to encounter strange glimpses of long-buried secrets from their ancestors. In present day New Orleans, Xuan Trung, former beauty queen turned refugee after the Fall of Saigon, is obsessed with divining her daughters' fates through their Vietnamese zodiac signs. But Trac, Nhi and Trieu diverge completely from their immigrant parents' expectations. Successful lawyer Trac hides her sexuality from her family; Nhi competes as the only woman of color on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show; and Trieu, a budding writer, is determined to learn more about her familial and cultural past. Moving backwards in time, E.M. Tran takes us into the high school classrooms of New Orleans, to Saigon beauty pageants, to twentieth century rubber plantations, traversing a century as the Trungs are both estranged and united by the ghosts of their tumultuous history.
|The Devil Takes You Home by Gabino Iglesia
Facing destitution from his daughter’s medical bills, his marriage falling apart, Mario takes a job that could solve all his financial problems: he becomes a hit man. This new line of work holds some surprises for the sweet and unassuming Mario, the biggest being that he’s really good at it. Then an old friend arranges a job for Mario that could guarantee financial independence but more likely cost him his life: hijack a drug cartel shipment as it passes through Texas. Mario knows that even if he pulls off the job, he’s already dead: being a killer has changed him irrevocably and the old Mario’s never coming back. The Devil Takes You Home is an unforgettable, nightmarish work of Southwest noir.
|Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang
"New York City, 1899. Tillie Pembroke's sister lies dead, her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker's new novel, Dracula, has just been published, and Tillie's imagination leaps to the impossible: the murderer is a vampire. But it can't be-can it? A ravenous reader and researcher, Tillie has something of an addiction to truth, and she won't rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister's death. Unfortunately, Tillie's addicted to more than just truth; to ease the pain from a recent injury, she's taking more and more laudanum...and some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied. Tillie can't bring herself to believe vampires exist. But with the hysteria surrounding her sister's death, the continued vampiric slayings, and the opium swirling through her body, it's becoming increasingly difficult for a girl who relies on facts and figures to know what's real-or whether she can trust those closest to her."--Publisher description.
|the Monotonous Chaos of Existence by Hisham Bustani
The stories within Hisham Bustani's The Monotonous Chaos of Existence explore the turbulent transformation in contemporary Arab societies. With a deft and poetic touch, Bustani examines the interpersonal with a global lens, connects the seemingly contradictory, and delves into the ways that international conflict can tear open the individuals that populate his world-all while pushing the narrative form into new and unexpected terrain
|Jungalow : decorate wild Justina Blakeney, with Jason Rosencrantz and principal photography by Dabito.
Justina Blakeney's new book is her biggest, boldest, and most beautiful volume yet, filled with irresistible style, original patterns, and artwork--lushly photographed by Dabito. In each chapter, Justina shares her distinctive point of view on everything design fans want to know--how to make bold choices with color and pattern, how to take cues from nature, how to authentically glean inspiration from their heritage and travels, how to break rules, and all the other paths to truly begin to decorate wild. Along the way, Justina also shares personal narratives, practical advice, and nuanced insight into how she lives in her own space--how she reconnects with nature, how she plays and stays inspired, how she gives herself permission to feel free and wild, and how readers can do the same. Jungalow is the term coined by Justina for the brand that embodies her wild, but cozy and homey, style.
|Esmond and Ilia: An Unreliable Memoir by Marina Warner, with Sophie Herxheimer
When the author’s parents met in 1944, her father, Esmond, was a British Army officer in his late thirties, her mother, Ilia, a 21-year old Italian survivor of war and occupation. They had only known each for weeks when Ilia began learning how to become the Englishwoman Mrs. Esmond Warner. After three years in England they moved to Cairo, where Ilia adjusted to yet another new country—a restive colonial possession in the waning years of the British Empire. Esmond and Ilia is a sensitive, nuanced reflection on a loving but difficult marriage, and on a vanished world that shaped the author’s life but remains mysterious to her in so many ways..
|A house built by slaves : African American visitors to the Lincoln White House by Jonathan W. White
"Jonathan White illuminates why Lincoln's then-unprecedented welcome of African Americans to the White House transformed the trajectory of race relations in the United States. Drawing from an array of primary sources, White reveals how the Great Emancipator used the White House as the stage to empower Black voices in our country's most divisive era"-- Provided by publisher.
|All the living and the dead : from embalmers to executioners, an exploration of the people who have made death their life's work by Hayley Campbell
A deeply compelling exploration of the death industry and the people-morticians, detectives, crime scene cleaners, embalmers, executioners-who work in it and what led them there. Fueled by a childhood fascination with death, journalist Hayley Campbell searches for answers in the people who make a living by working with the dead. A dazzling work of cultural criticism, All the Living and the Dead weaves together reportage with memoir, history, and philosophy, to offer readers a fascinating look into the psychology of Western death..
|Sad Girl Space Lizard by Iggy Craig
Lieutenant Left is barely scraping by at her maintenance job on a lonely, two-lizard mech crew. Every day seems just as monotonous as the last, until disaster strikes Commander Right on a routine mission. Now it's up to Left to step up, or risk being stranded in space... with nobody around except her hot crewmate for millions and millions of miles. Cartoonist Iggy Craig's debut graphic novel, Sad Girl Space Lizard is a queer mech action romance (for lizards). If you are a lizard, or have an appreciation for lizards, this comic is for you. If not, you'll probably still enjoy it.
|The Extraordinary Part: Book One: Orsay's Hands by Florent Ruppert; Jerome Mulot; M. B. Valente (Translator)
This first book in a two-volume graphic novel series is set in a near-dystopian present, where mysterious creatures called "whols" coexist with humans since their sudden appearance a few years earlier. At first, they aroused curiosity and wonder, then their seemingly harmless presence became commonplace. Nineteen-year-old Orsay leads an uneventful life in the French countryside, until the day he gains extraordinary powers in his hands after an atypically aggressive encounter with a whol. On a trip to Paris in search of a cure, he meets and falls for Basma, a passionate activist for whols' rights. But Orsay isn't convinced that whols should be granted the same status as humans. Especially once Melek, another human with similar powers, embarks on a murderous rampage to avenge those she sees as her kin.
|Land of the Dead: Lessons from the Underworld on Storytelling and Living written by Brian McDonald, illustrated by Tody Cypress
From Brian McDonald, an expert on the narrative arts, comes a remarkable non-fiction graphic novel about the art of storytelling. There is wisdom in the land of the dead, for it is the place that all stories lay to rest. And what is a story, if not a simulation of survival? Whether you’re in film, books, comics, or simply a story enthusiast, this book offers a way to see character development and the crafting of plot through the lens of human questions of morality and mortality.
|Esther's Notebooks written by Riad Sattouf, illustrated by Tody Cypress
The hilarious, heartbreaking, and painfully true life of a girl growing up in Paris, from the acclaimed comic book artist and author of The Arab of the Future "Funny, well-observed...contains immense daring and depth...Sattouf has drawn a portrait of a generation." -- Observer , "Graphic Novel of the Month" Every week, the comic book artist Riad Sattouf has a chat with his friend's 10-year old daughter, Esther. She tells him about her life, her family, her school, her friends, her hopes, her dreams and her fears. And then he creates a one-page comic strip based on what she says. This book is a collection of 156 of those strips, comprising the first three volumes as they appeared in Europe, spanning Esther's life from age 10 to 12.
Movies/TV, Music & More
|The unbearable weight of massive talent by Tom Gormican
Nicolas Case plays... Nick Cage! Creatively unfulfilled and facing financial ruin, the fictionalized version of Cage accepts a million-dollar offer to attend the birthday of a dangerous superfan. Things take an unexpected turn when Cage is recruited by a CIA operative and he must use his legendary acting skills, channeling his most iconic and beloved characters to become a real-life action hero. -- Container
|Freewheelin' woman by Jewel
Seven years after rebooting her career with the vaguely back-to-basics Picking Up the Pieces, Jewel declares she's a Freewheelin' Woman, making an ebullient, eclectic album to match. Although the record does have a couple of quieter, reflective moments reminiscent of her folky beginnings, Freewheelin' Woman is anchored in soul and stretches out toward pop, moving quickly through all the byways separating the styles.
|Song by Sheku Kanneh-Mason
The acclaimed cellist’s newest album runs the gamut of classical, folk, jazz and pop. Produced in collaboration with jazz pianist Harry Baker, singer-songwriter Zak Abel, and soprano Pumeza Matshikiza, Song is a beautiful and eclectic selection of music bound together by Kanneh-Mason’s virtuoso performances and the haunting sounds of his 320-year-cello..
|Viva Las Vengance by Panic! at the Disco
The seventh album is his tale of growing up in Las Vegas. It's about love, fame, burnout, and everything that happens in between. Brandon Urie recorded the album with a tape machine.