14 books that landed on my desk

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While I was in New York last week for Book Expo, packages of books continued to arrive with my name on them. So I get back, and it’s like Christmas: piles of books to open and sort through. How good are they? I can’t be sure. All I’ve done is take them out of the packages, give them a few minutes of consideration, and decide they’re interesting enough to keep around.

This happens all the time here at the L.A. Times, but today, I thought I’d share the bounty. Here, in the order in which they’re balanced on my desk, are 14 interesting books that arrived while I was away.


‘Lobster’ by Richard J. King, coming June 15 from Reaktion, distributed by the University of Chicago Press. Nonfiction, about lobsters, just in time for summer. ‘Vulture’ by Thom Van Dooren, coming June 15 from Reaktion, distributed by the University of Chicago Press. More nonfiction from the same animal series as ‘Lobster,’ but for the dark of heart. ‘Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good’ by Corey Taylor, coming July 15 from De Capo Press. Taylor is the lead singer of Slipknot and seems to be going for an Anton LaVey thing. Maybe Anton LaVey meets Guy Fieri. ‘Skull Orchard Revisted’ by Jon Langford. Published May 1 by Verse Chorus Press. Langford is the lead singer of the Mekons; the book, which includes artwork and photographs, also has a CD of ‘Skull Orchard,’ long hard to find and remixed with a Welsh male chior. Granta No. 115: The F Word issue. Out May 19. Oh, they want you to think it’s dirty, but ‘F’ stands for ‘feminism.’ ‘Us’ by Michael Kimball. Published May 10 by Tyrant Books. Can I read another book about the death of a loved one? Maybe, since it’s fiction. ‘Hurricane Story’ by Jennifer Shaw, coming in July from Chin Music Press. It’s a memoir told with art photography, blurry images of miniatures standing in for real people and places. The cover is a gorgeous, subtly printed fabric: This is the kind of book that reminds you that books can be beautiful objects. ‘Made for You and Me: Going West, Going Broke, Finding Home’ by Caitlin Shetterly. Published March 8 by Hyperion Voice. I remember hearing Shetterly on National Public Radio talking about her ill-fated attempts to forge a future during the recession. ‘The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated Histoy of the Aquarium’ by Bernd Brunner, coming June 15 from Reaktion, distributed by the University of Chicago Press. Who knew that the 1970s staple began as Victorian England exotica? ‘The Reservoir: A Novel’ by John Milliken Thompson. Coming in July from Other Press. I don’t know the first thing about this book or the author, but it’s got a heckuva first page. ‘Sugar in My Bowl: Real Women Write About Real Sex,’ edited by Erica Jong. To be published June 14 by Ecco. With contributions from Susie Bright, Julie Klam, Daphne Merkin, Honor Moore, Susan Cheever and Liz Smith. Liz Smith? ‘Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life’ by Kenneth Gross, coming in October from the University of Chicago Press. Odd. Interesting. ‘Trophy: A Novel’ by Michael Griffith, published in May by Northwestern University Press. Described as ‘surrealistic,’ this could either be fascinating or a train wreck. Way too hard to decide in a few flips of the page. ‘My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz,’ being published by Yale University Press on June 21. Holy cow, people really used to write letters, didn’t they? This 814-page annotated behemoth is Volume 1 of two, covering the years 1915-1933, during which they became lovers. Is there anything juicy to be found? Maybe -- when O’Keeffe donated the letters, she stipulated that they remain under seal for 20 years after her death.

-- Carolyn Kellogg