In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases.
1. “This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman,” by Ilhan Omar (Dey Street, nonfiction, on sale May 26)
What it’s about: An intimate memoir from progressive congresswoman Omar, the first African refugee and Somali-American to be elected to Congress, that traces her rise from a displaced child refugee of the Somali Civil War.
The buzz: “No matter a reader’s personal politics, Omar’s life should serve as an inspiration,” says a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.
2. “Fair Warning,” by Michael Connelly (Little, Brown and Company, fiction, on sale May 26)
What it’s about: Journalist Jack McEvoy is back in a new thriller, tracking down a serial killer using genetic data to select his targets – including a woman with whom Jack had a one-night stand.
The buzz: “Darkly essential reading for every genre fan who’s ever considered sending a swab to a mail-order DNA testing service,” says a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.
3. “The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World,”by Patrik Svensson (Ecco, nonfiction, on sale May 26)
What it’s about: Despite the advances of modern science, surprisingly little is known about the European eel. Swedish journalist Svensson blends nature writing with memoir to create a portrait of this unusual and misunderstood creature – and in doing so, examines the human condition.
The buzz: “Nature-loving readers will be enthralled by Svensson’s fascinating zoological odyssey,” says a starred review in Publishers Weekly.
4. “All My Mother’s Lovers,” by Ilana Masad (Dutton, fiction, on sale May 26)
What it’s about: Maggie’s mother suddenly dies in a car crash, leaving behind five sealed envelopes addressed to men she’s never heard of. In flight from her grief, Maggie goes on a road trip to deliver each letter personally and discover what these men meant to her mother.
The buzz: “Masad has written a melancholy and memorable reminder of how little we often know about the people who raise us,” says a ★★★½ review for USA TODAY.
5. “Breath,” by James Nestor (Riverhead, nonfiction, on sale May 26)
What it’s about: We do it 25,000 times a day: take air in, let air out. Yet according to science journalist Nestor, we’re breathing all wrong. He travels the world trying to figure out how and why it all went wrong, and how we can all breathe better.
The buzz: Kirkus Reviews calls it a “welcome, invigorating user’s manual for the respiratory system.”