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Check These Out! Titles to Look for at the Library

Daryl M., Librarian, West Valley Regional Branch Library,
3 new book covers

At Check These Out!, each month you will find a few recently published or upcoming titles that are worth “checking out” from the library. All titles are either currently available or have a record in the catalog where you can place a hold and be among the first to read them when they hit the library's shelves. For many of these titles, you will also find interviews with the author on the LAPL Blog and/or a longer, more in depth review on LAPL Reads.

Today We Go Home
Estes, Kelli

Kelli Estes tells parallel stories separated by 150 years: one of a woman’s struggle to get into the US Army to fight in the Civil War, the other of a young woman’s efforts to navigate the aftermath of serving in Afghanistan. While both of the main characters are Estes’ creations, they represent real women and the very real trauma inflicted on them while, and after, serving our country.
Today We Go Home is a fascinating and gripping read about the women, both past and present, who serve our country.  

His Hideous Heart: Thirteen of Edgar Allan Poe's Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined
Adler, Dahlia

Young and New Adult author & editor Dahlia Adler provides some YA authors the opportunity to reimagine thirteen of Poe’s best known works. The results are stories with periods that range from Poe’s lifetime to the near future and characters that are as inclusive and diverse as the original stories can be homogenous.

This is a must-read collection for fans of Poe and his works. While this collection is being targeted at Young Adult readers, it could be enjoyed by any Poe enthusiast. It could also be a great introduction for someone unfamiliar with Poe’s short stories and poetry because all of the original versions of the reimagined titles are included in the collection.

His Hideous Heart is a marvelous celebration of not only the groundbreaking and enduring work of Edgar Allan Poe, but also this group of new authors that took up the challenge of recreating his timeless tales

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Harrow, Alix E.

In The Ten Thousand Doors of January, debut author Alix E. Harrow tells a story that is both as grand and large as the multiple worlds it encompasses and also as intimate as a young woman’s desperate need for the love and attention her absent father rarely provides. It is also a wild adventure, a sharp critique of our cultural norms, both past, and present, and a wickedly funny and powerful exploration of the power of words and stories. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a triumphant debut!

The Secret Life of Sam Holloway
Thomas, Rhys

Sam Holloway is a nice guy. He has a stable, but a not terribly exciting, job with an electronic parts distributor. He meets up with a couple of friends several nights a week at a local pub, where they talk about comics, movies, videogames and what it might be like to meet a nice woman. Yes, Sam is a bit of a geek, but he is also a good guy, and everyone seems to know that. What no one knows though, is that on nights when Sam isn’t at the pub with his friends, he dons a homemade superhero costume and patrols the streets of his hometown as The Phantasm, attempting to thwart crime and right wrongs. He doesn’t have a great track record. Fighting crime simply isn’t as easy in real life as it appears in the comics, but he continues his patrols because it helps give him a sense of purpose and usefulness that the rest of his life lacks.

Sam meets Sarah when she observes him buying food for a homeless person at a local bakery. When she sees him a few days later at the pub, she approaches him and they begin to talk. This is unprecedented in Sam’s experiences. He’s never been terribly social and is even worse when it comes to women and dating. Sarah represents what Sam both fears and desires the most. The question is, is he brave enough to risk his comfortable life, his comfortable existence, for the unknown future that Sarah may represent?

In The Secret Life of Sam Holloway, Rhys Thomas explores how crippling and isolating grief can be and how we all hide behind masks, both literal and figurative, for differing reasons.

The Secret Life of Sam Holloway is a gentle, lovely book in the same vein as Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It is about both hiding and allowing oneself to be found. It is also about what it really means to be truly brave, which doesn’t often require donning a mask, but taking it off.

The Heart and Other Viscera: Stories
Palma, Felix J.

Felix J. Palma, a Spanish writer known primarily for his short fiction in his home country, has published a series of three novels in the US: The Map of Time (2011), The Map of the Sky (2012) and The Map of Chaos (2016). Now Palma has returned to that for which he is best known, the short story, with his first collection of short fiction published in the US. It is a wonderful collection of 11 stories, with themes that range across the incredible, disturbing, humorous and romantic.

Palma’s fiction is reminiscent of anthology TV shows like The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, The Outer Limits, and the short fiction of Shirley Jackson and Richard Matheson.

This is a must-read collection for readers who enjoyed Palma’s earlier trilogy. It will also be of interest to those readers who enjoy their fiction with a healthy dose of the macabre.

If you like this type of advance, or near advance, notice about upcoming titles, you can send a comment through the Contact Us page at LAPL.org and let us know. Also, if you read one of the recommended titles, send a comment and let others know what you thought of the book. In both cases, be sure to put Check These Out! in your message.