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Originally published April 20, 2014 at 6:15 AM | Page modified April 21, 2014 at 2:40 PM

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18 new titles for book lovers this spring

A shortlist of notable books that will be published in May and June, including the highly anticipated memoir by Hillary Rodham Clinton, novelist Stephen King’s latest, and a story collection by David Guterson.

Seattle Times book editor

Note to readers

Mary Ann Gwinn’s Lit Life column has moved from Mondays to Sundays. Look in NW Arts & Life every week for the latest on authors, readings and the Northwest literary scene.

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Lit Life

New books come thick and fast in May and June — publishers know readers are looking for literary companionship on vacation, by the pool or just in the backyard.

Here’s a shortlist of notable books that will be published in May and June: memoirs by Hillary Rodham Clinton, New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast and La Conner’s own Tom Robbins; guilty-pleasure offerings by novelists Stephen King and Alan Furst; new works by local authors David Guterson and Molly Wizenberg. Do you really need that day job?



“The Snow Queen” by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). By the author of “The Hours”: two brothers struggle with the blows life can inflict. One turns to religion, the other, drugs.

“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr (Scribner). Doerr, a fabulous writer who was just in town to speak at Richard Hugo House, pens an epic novel about a blind French girl and a German boy in occupied France and their struggles to survive World War II.

“The Rise and Fall of Great Powers” by Tom Rachman (Dial Press). For the legions who loved Rachman’s mordant and hilarious “The Imperfectionists,” here’s his next novel, about an isolated Welsh bookstore owner with an incomprehensible past who finally decides to unearth it. Billed by the publisher as “a love letter to books.”

“Delicious!” by Ruth Reichl (Random House). The former editor of the late Gourmet magazine tries her hand at a novel, set at a food magazine called “Delicious” that has just closed down. Hmmm ...


The Orenda” by Joseph Boyden (Knopf). A war story set in the Canadian Wilderness of the 17th century, in which a Jesuit priest is drawn into an epic conflict between the Huron and Iroquois. Said to be bloody, violent and heartbreaking, for starters.

“Midnight in Europe” by Alan Furst (Random House). Who can resist an Alan Furst spy novel? Not me. In his latest, a minor Spanish nobleman works with Brits and Americans to infiltrate the “highest levels” of the Spanish government, as forces on both sides align for the coming Second World War.

“Problems with People: Stories” by David Guterson (Knopf). A new story collection by Guterson, who has been trying his hand at writing forms besides the novel (including a recent collection of poetry). Themes of “love and family, the landscapes of small towns with old-world values clashing with the new, and the vividly rendered snapshots of entire communities and lives,” says the publisher.

“Mr. Mercedes” by Stephen King (Scribner). King calls this his first hard-boiled detective novel. A man plows his Mercedes into an unemployment line, killing and injuring dozens. Months later, a retired cop gets a letter from a man identifying himself as the culprit and promising much bigger mayhem, and the race to find him begins.

“The Last Kind Words Saloon” by Larry McMurtry (Norton). McMurtry returns to “Lonesome Dove” territory: Charles Goodnight, a “Lonesome Dove” character, winds up in Tombstone, Ariz., mixing it up with the likes of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.



“The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames” by Kai Bird (Crown). The true story of a legendary CIA agent, coupled with the history of Middle East conflict in the 20th century. Bird won a Pulitzer for “American Prometheus,” his biography of Robert Oppenheimer.

“Can’t We Talk About Something Else, Please?” by Roz Chast (Bloomsbury). The New Yorker cartoonist chronicles her aging parents in the last years of their lives, using cartoons, family photos and documents.

“The Next Tsunami: Living on a Restless Coast” by Bonnie Henderson (Oregon State University Press). A Eugene, Ore., author tells the story of tsunamis in the Pacific Northwest and why a mammoth earthquake/tsunami (the last one was in 1700) is destined to repeat itself.

“Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage” by Molly Wizenberg (Simon & Schuster). This memoir by the Orangette blogger chronicles the early days of her marriage, when she and her new husband opened a Ballard pizza restaurant called Delancey. Library Journal calls it “Charming ... humorous, intimate, and honest.”


“Hard Choices” by Hillary Clinton (Simon & Schuster). Before the publisher announced the title of this highly anticipated book, out June 10, The Washington Post ran a contest in which readers submitted their best ideas. Two of my favorites among the winners were “Sisterhood of the Traveling Campaign Pantsuit” and “Bill Was the Warm-up Act.”

“American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood” by Paul Greenberg (Penguin Press). The author of “Four Fish” is back with an examination of the stark changes in the market for American seafood. Seafood exports continue to rise, even as more seafood than ever is imported. Greenberg uses Gulf shrimp, New York oysters and Alaska salmon to tell the story.

“Scalia: A Court of One” by Bruce Allen Murphy (Simon & Schuster). A new biography of one of the most controversial and outspoken of the U.S. Supreme Court justices.

“Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imagined Life” by Tom Robbins (Ecco). Inside the full life and lively mind of La Conner resident Robbins, an author whose novels influenced millions of baby boomers to embrace their inner Sissy Hankshaw.

“Sally Ride” by Lynn Sherr (Simon & Schuster). Billed as the definitive biography of America’s first woman astronaut. Sherr is a longtime correspondent for ABC News and reported extensively on the space-shuttle program.

Mary Ann Gwinn: 206-464-2357 or Gwinn appears every Tuesday on TVW’s “Well Read,” discussing books with host Terry Tazioli (go to for archived episodes). On Twitter @gwinnma

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