Some Books to Read Now

Love, quakes, and S.F. in this month’s best new releases.

Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Résumé Ages 0-22 (Harper, $16)
By: MariNaomi
Published: March
Of interest because: Fearless, funny, tender, unsparing cartoon memoirs, people. S.F.'s own MariNaomi shows us how it's done.

Gist: Sex. Drugs. Feelings. Autobiographical comics thereof.

Sample text: (from "Thad — aka 'Rami'") "He didn't get sarcasm. 'That's just fucking great.' 'You like that?'"

San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay (UC Press, $25)
Published: April 5

Of interest because: The titular decade might seem long gone, but that's when FDR's New Deal gave us the Works Progress Administration, which gave us the Federal Writers Project, which gave us this densely literate and literary guide, which keeps on giving.

Sample text: (from the introduction by former Chron book critic David Kipen) "Reading the San Francisco guide is the second-best cure for homesickness, short of a ticket, that any shanghaied Northern Californian could ask for. (And if you're rusty on the etymology of shanghai, page 122 is there for you.)"

A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet (Norton, $27)
By: Eavan Boland
Published: April 11

Of interest because: Boland, born in Dublin, Ireland, is now the director of Stanford's Creative Writing Program.

Gist: Highly intelligent, implicitly feminist collection of interrogative, autobiographical lit-crit essays

Sample text: (from "Reading as Intimidation") "In a culture which warns that the treasures and complications of the mind might be beyond the reach of a young woman, I instinctively look for texts that seem to promise their availability. And I select difficult poems because I feel clever and safe reading them."

Mister Wonderful (Pantheon, $20)
By: Daniel Clowes
Published: April 12

Of interest because: Sardonic love stories in graphic novel form, especially from Oakland's Clowes, usually are of interest.

Gist: This being Clowes, that title is ironic.

Sample text: "An hour ago, you were slinking home to stick your head in the oven, and then you punched a homeless man in the face, and now, here you are."

Cascadia's Fault: The Coming Earthquake and Tsunami That Could Devastate North America (Counterpoint, $26)
By: Jerry Thompson
Published: April 28

Of interest because: Did you get that part about how it's the coming earthquake and tsunami that could devastate North America? Hey, at least it's Cascadia's fault and not ours, right? No. That is not right. Not at all.

Gist: See above.

Sample text: "The scariest part was that all of this happened in the middle of the night, so people living there never saw the tsunamis coming."

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