Here’s a rundown on eight new books that are worth a read:
Scholastic Graphix, children’s graphic novel, $12.99
What it’s about: We’re a little late taking note of book No. 8 in the series of graphic novels for kids 7 and older by Dav Pilkey, which has a first printing of five million copies — and sold more than 312,000 copies in its first week, continuing to thrill and entertain with what Publishers Weekly calls “goofy gross-out humor and genuine empathy.” The magazine, which named Pilkey its 2019 “person of the year,” says “Fetch-22” asks young readers: Can Li’l Petey the Cat and Dog Man stop fighting like cats and dogs long enough to put their paws together and work as a team?
The buzz: “Pilkey is doing more to excite kids about reading than any author since J.K. Rowling,” according to Publishers Weekly, which says the “Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence and the importance of doing good.”
‘Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles Through the Lens of Art Shay’ by Erik S. Gellman, Art Shay
University of Chicago Press, nonfiction, $35
What it’s about: Two hundred and 75 photos by the late Art Shay, who moved to Chicago in 1948 and captured key moments in the city’s and the nation’s postwar history, are paired with text by Erik S. Gellman, a University of North Carolina history professor who got his graduate degrees at Northwestern University.
The buzz: “Shay made a name . . . photographing celebrities for the likes of Life and Time,” Chicago magazine says, but, “during his many years living in the Chicago area, he also captured indelible images of everyday people agitating for social change.”
Minotaur Books, fiction, $27.99
What it’s about: The second book, after “The Widows,” in Jess Montgomery’s Kinship mystery series, sees Sheriff Lily Ross called out late one night to investigate the mysterious death of an elderly woman found battered near a stretch of railroad tracks once used by abolitionists to ferry escaping slaves to freedom.
The buzz: “Set in 1926 in the western foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in southeastern Ohio, ‘The Hollows’ is much more than a murder mystery,” The Associated Press writes. “It weaves racial integration, labor organizing in the Appalachian coal mines, prohibition and women’s rights throughout the narrative, set against an authentic backdrop crafted by Montgomery’s careful attention to historic detail.”
Del Rey, fiction, $27
What it’s about: Nia Imani travels through space faster than light — until, while visiting one planet, a mysterious boy falls from the sky. He communicates with Nia only through music. They form a bond — but a dangerous woman has her own plans for the child.
The buzz: ”The best of what science fiction can be: a thought-provoking, heart-rending story about the choices that define our lives,” according to Kirkus Reviews.
HMH Books for Young Readers, YA fiction, $17.99
What it’s about: A modern YA retelling of Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park.”
The buzz: “A sweet, gentle modernization of Jane Austen that packs a little subversive punch,” Kirkus Reviews writes.
Doubleday, fiction, $27.95
What it’s about: This clever, satirical, dystopian novel imagines an orderly technotopia run by a megacorporation thrown into chaos by glitching tech. A world made perfect by an algorithm isn’t so perfect after all.
The buzz: “Says the Washington Post: “Definitive answers are dangerous, ‘Zed’ suggests; but in asking the questions, perhaps, we come to understand something about being messy, uncertain and human.”
Custom House, fiction, $27.99
What it’s about: A young Chinese-American woman returns to China after the death of her mother, a quantum physicist who was urgently concerned with time and its relationship to family.
The buzz: “Love and ambition clash in a novel depicting China’s turbulent 1980s,” Kirkus Reviews writes.
Metropolitan Books, nonfiction, $28
What it’s about: Oxford economist Daniel Susskind has studied how technology will transform the workforce and displace human workers — and proposes what to do about it.
The buzz: “A thorough and sobering look at automation and the depreciation of human labor,” Publishers Weekly writes. “It turns on an important question: Will there be enough work to employ people throughout the 21st century? Sorry but no.”
Read more at USA Today.