Bay Area writers have new books springing up all over.
Pick up new works of science fiction by visionary Annalee Newitz, a cultural deep dive about time from bestselling author Jenny Odell, and a cookbook from Hog Island Oyster Co. so we can get our fix at home.
Here are our picks for recent and upcoming books by Bay Area authors.
The Chinese Groove by Kathryn Ma
(Courtesy of @ktlee.writes)
San Francisco author Kathryn Ma’s latest tells the story of 18-year-old Shelley who, born into a much-despised branch of the Zheng family in Yunnan Province and living in the shadow of his widowed father’s grief, dreams of bigger things. Buoyed by an exuberant heart and his cousin Deng’s tall tales about the United States, Shelley heads to SF to claim his destiny, confident that any hurdles will be easily overcome by the awesome powers of the “Chinese groove,” a belief in the unspoken bonds between countrymen that transcend time and borders.
Kirkus Reviews says, “Ma knows how to twist a plot in unexpected, deeply satisfying directions by writing with compassion, humor, and insight."
Ma is the author of the widely praised novel The Year She Left Us, which was named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and an NPR “Great Read” of the year.
// $27; counterpointpress.com
The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz
(Courtesy of @thespineofmotherhood)
From Bay Area science fiction visionary Annalee Newitz comes The Terraformers, a sweeping, uplifting, and illuminating exploration of the future. The Washington Post says, "The reader...will surely walk away stunned and bedazzled... [Newitz] has gifted us a vibrant, quirky vision of endless potential earned by heroism, love and wit."
Destry's life is dedicated to terraforming Sask-E. As part of the Environmental Rescue Team, she cares for the planet and its burgeoning eco-systems as her parents and their parents did before her. But the bright, clean future they're building comes under threat when Destry discovers a city full of people that shouldn’t exist, hidden inside a massive volcano. As she uncovers more about their past, Destry begins to question the mission she's devoted her life to, and must make a choice that will reverberate through Sask-E's future for generations to come.
In addition to writing novels, Newitz is a co-host of the Hugo Award–winning podcast "Our Opinions Are Correct", freelance science journalist, contributing opinion writer at The New York Times, and a columnist at New Scientist.
// $29; us.macmillan.com
Sorry Bro by Taleen Voskuni
(Courtesy of @booksbookseverywhere)
San Francisco writer Taleen Voskuni’s debut novel is a heartfelt queer rom-com about an Armenian-American woman rediscovering her roots and embracing who she really is.
When Nareh Bedrossian’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance. Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or the wealthy engineer who catch Nar’s eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so sexy?
Bookriot says, "With what has to be one of the best book titles this year, Sorry, Bro is equal parts funny, serious, and full of Armenian culture. Nar is charming and witty, and you’ll be rooting for her and Erebuni’s romance to flourish."
// $17; penguinrandomhouse.com
Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock by Jenny Odell
(Courtesy of @jennitaur)
Oakland artist and author Jenny Odell, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Do Nothing, believes we are living on the wrong clock, and it is destroying us. Her new book offers us different ways to experience time in this dazzling, subversive, and deeply hopeful book.
In her first book, Odell wrote about the importance of disconnecting from the “attention economy” to spend time in quiet contemplation. But what if you don’t have time to spend? In order to answer this seemingly simple question, Odell took a deep dive into the fundamental structure of our society and found that the clock we live by was built for profit, not people. This is why our lives, even in leisure, have come to seem like a series of moments to be bought, sold, and processed ever more efficiently. Odell shows us how our painful relationship to time is inextricably connected not only to persisting social inequities but to the climate crisis, existential dread, and a lethal fatalism.
Rebecca Solnit says, “This fiercely generous new book invites us to exit the superhighways and explore the scenic detours, byways, rebel camps, the other visions of who we can be while reminding us that slowness can yield more than speed.”
// $29, drops March 2023; penguinrandomhouse.com
The Hog Island Book of Fish and Seafood by John Ash and Ashley Lima
(Courtesy of @hogislandoysterco)
It’s always the right time for oysters. Featuring favorites from the kitchens of Hog Island Oyster bars and other talented chefs who have embraced the company’s sustainability ethos, this cookbook showcases more than 250 dishes from cuisines around the world, including regional favorites like SF cioppino, Southern crayﬁsh étouﬀée, and New England clam chowder.
Presenting a wide variety of cooking methods—such as steaming, roasting, grilling, pan-frying, curing—along with illustrated techniques like shucking oysters, opening clams, and ﬁlleting ﬁsh, this authoritative cookbook will guide you through the basics of seafood preparation. And the extensive list of sauces, butters, and seasonings will help you turn your choice of seafood into a stellar dish. The Hog Island Book of Fish & Seafood is a master class from award-winning chef John Ash, who shows home and professional cooks how to bring culinary gifts from the water to the table at their peak of perfection.
// $40, drops May 2023; abramsbooks.com
Eddie Muller’s Noir Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the World of Film Noir by Eddie Muller
(Courtesy of Running Press)
Eddie Muller, second generation San Franciscan and host of TCM's Noir Alley, is one of the world's leading authorities on film noir as well as a cocktail connoisseur. In his new book, film buffs and drinks enthusiasts alike will enjoy a spirited tour through the "dark city" of film noir.
Noir Bar pairs carefully curated classic cocktails and modern noir-inspired libations with behind-the-scenes anecdotes and insights on 50 film noir favorites. Some of the cocktails are drawn directly from the films: If you've seen In a Lonely Place and wondered what’s in a Horse’s Neck, now you’ll know. If you’re watching Pickup on South Street you’ll find out what its director, Sam Fuller, actually drank off-screen. Didn’t know that Nightmare Alley’s Joan Blondell inspired a cocktail? It may become a new favorite.
Featuring dozens of movie stills, poster art, behind-the-scenes imagery, and stunning cocktail photography, Noir Bar is both a stylish and exciting excursion through classic cinema’s most popular genre.
// $26, drops May 2023; runningpress.com