From a former 7x7 editor's new memoirs to a 1990s Seattle-based fairytale, here are three new books you should be reading right now.
After 18 years of marriage, fortysomething Robin Rinaldi was devastated when her husband decided to get a vasectomy, and decided that if she wasn't able to have a child, she wanted to explore opening up her marriage instead. The result is new memoir The Wild Oats Project, a very San Franciscan memoir detailing the former 7x7 editor's year of living out loud. Taking an apartment of her own during the week and only seeing her husband on weekends, Rinaldi advertises for casual encounters on Craigslist, takes a dozen new lovers, moves into sex commune OneTaste, joins a women's circle, and otherwise tries to find herself and her sexuality in midlife after decades of being a "good girl." The results are enlightening, sometimes painful, and always fascinating.
Appearances: Book Passage SF, 3/31
David Vann's elegantly written modern fairy tale Aquarium has already been earning rapturous praise from critics, unsurprising given that its author is something of a phenom on the international literary circuit. Set in 1990s Seattle, it centers around 12-year-old Caitlin, who lives at the local container port with a single mother who works long hours to support the two of them. She spends a great deal of time at the local aquarium, befriending an elderly regular; when he asks her a small favor, she complies, but the consequences could ruin her relationship with her mother forever. Lovers of beautiful prose (and beautiful books—the paper copy is a stunner that no Kindle can match) will want to check this one out.
American agriculture has a dark side of exploitation, none darker than the one outlined in James Hannaham's shocking new novel Delicious Foods, in which Darlene, a crack-addicted mother mourning the unexpected death of her husband, decides to take a stranger up on his offer of work on an idyllic farm. But she quickly finds herself forced into a very modern form of slavery, paid next-to-nothing, required to do back-breaking labor, and offered more crack as her only escape. Told in the voices of Darlene; her 11-year-old son Eddie, who is desperately searching for his mother; and crack itself (a mischievous persona named "Scotty"), it's a searing commentary on both the war on drugs and the hidden evils of farming in the U.S.
Appearances: Book Passage Corte Madera, 3/27