Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For May, we’re looking at a story of a mother and daughter long separated, a really cold camping trip, and an ode to bread. . . .
In honor of the upcoming Books in Bloom festival, each of the books we’re profiling is also from a Books in Bloom author. It’s not too late to check out a copy and read it just in time to meet the author in person at Books in Bloom on Sunday, May 20th, at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Lisa See’s The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (2017)
Lisa See is noted for her bestselling novels that combine family stories with historical fiction about China and Chinese-Americans. In her most recent book, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, she focuses on the Ahka, a Chinese ethnic minority. Li-Yan is the daughter of a tea farming family, but when she has a daughter out-of-wedlock, she violates her culture’s rules by giving the child up for adoption. The novel follows both Li-Yan and her daughter, Haley, who grows up in a loving adoptive family in America. Years go by and both mother and daughter long to meet. The only clue to Haley’s identity is the mysterious tea cake that was found with her when she was given up at an orphanage. . . .
Recommended for those who enjoy the works of Amy Tan or Geraldine Brooks.
David Welky’s A Wretched and Precarious Situation (2017)
In 1913, George Borup and Donald MacMillan embarked on an expedition, staffed by amateur enthusiasts, to explore a part of the Arctic that Robert Peary had seen years earlier. Hoping they were on their way to discovering a new continent, the members of the expedition dreamed of fame and fortune based on their adventures, but instead they faced a nightmarish series of setbacks that included bad luck, worse weather, and, even, murder. University of Central Arkansas history professor David Welky brings this bizarre story to life.
Recommended for those who enjoyed Hampton Sides’s A Kingdom of Ice or Alfred Lansing’s Endurance.
Martin Philip’s Breaking Bread (2017)
Arkansas native Martin Philip relates his journey from his childhood in the Ozarks to his position as the head baker for King Arthur Flour and his passion for teaching baking. Along with his reminiscences of his life, he also includes dozens of wonderful bread recipes, everything from biscuits to sourdough to roti to other non-bread baked goods, like scones and pies. If you are not an experienced baker, there’s no reason not to pick up this book because Philip includes an extensive section on baking techniques.
Recommended for those who like to bake or those who want to learn.
Which books are you planning to read in preparation for Books in Bloom? Which author talks are you planning on attending? What have you been reading lately? Tell us in the comments!