Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For April, we’re looking at magical realism about an Ecuadorean family, historical fiction about one of the most famous shipwrecks, a romantic comedy about a food truck, murder mysteries with a culinary twist, a fascinating cookbook/anthology about Black food culture around the world, and a nonfiction examination of the now little-remembered Tractor Wars of the early 20th century.
If you enjoy magical realism:
Zoraida Córdova’s The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina (2021)*
In this intriguing family saga, the family in question initially tries to avoid thinking too much about the fantastical elements in their lives, like the pantry never running out food. After their matriarch Orquídea Divina invites the family to claim their own magical inheritance before her death, they expect more explanation, but instead they just get powers of their own. And a few years later, someone or something seems intent on killing them one by one. . . .
*Ebook also available through Libby.
Recommended for those who enjoyed the work of Alice Hoffman, Isabel Allende, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia.
If you prefer historical fiction:
Celie Imrie’s Orphans of the Storm (2021)
Earlier this month marked the 110th anniversary of the Titanic sinking in the frigid North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. If you’re familiar with the story of the ship, you might already be familiar with the story of the Titanic orphans, two brothers who were the only child survivors who didn’t get off the boat with a guardian. This novel is their story and that of their parents, whose rocky marriage provides the backdrop for the fateful decision to embark on the ship.
Recommended for those who are Titanic buffs.
If you love Christian romantic comedies:
Betsy St. Amant’s Tacos for Two (2021)
Confession: I kept seeing this book on display across from the circulation desk and reading the cover as Tacos for TiVo. I was absolutely baffled how a means of recording television would be sentient enough to enjoy tacos, so I was relieved when I finally figured out my eyes were just playing tricks on me.
In this cute story, Rory inherited the family’s taco food truck, even though she can’t cook. She hears about a food truck competition and sees the prize money as a ticket to a better future, which might include the mystery man she’s been chatting with online. Meanwhile, Jude, a passionate amateur chef who’d rather be in the kitchen than work at his miserable job in the family law firm, is also eyeing the contest as his own personal get-out-of-misery card. Then he realizes that the woman he’s been chatting up online is his main rival for the contest. Complications ensue.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Amy Clipston.
If you want an audiobook:
Julie Wassmer’s Whitstable Pearl series (2015-present)
As a child, Pearl dreamed of being a police detective. But life got in the way, so instead of solving murders, she ends up running her own seafood restaurant in her hometown of Whitstable, England. That is, until murder finds itself on her doorstep in the form of a dead fisherman. This series has been made into a TV show, and we now have the first 3 books in this amateur sleuth series as audiobooks.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Joanne Fluke and M.C. Beaton.
If you enjoy nonfiction:
Bryant Terry’s Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora (2021)
This book is a cookbook, but it’s also more than a cookbook. It’s a compilation of essays on the food culture of the global African diaspora. As such, it meditates on a range of topics, including women’s issues, food justice, and spirituality, while also providing recipes for everything from sweet potato pie to jerk chicken ramen. Black Food is a multimedia celebration that goes beyond just academic essays and recipes–it also features artwork, poetry, and a curated suggested playlist for each chapter.
Recommended for those who enjoy reading about food, cooking, food culture, and food history.
Neil Dahlstrom’s Tractor Wars: John Deere, Henry Ford, International Harvester, and the Birth of Modern Agriculture (2021)
It’s easy to forget how revolutionary the tractor was for modern agriculture, but agricultural historian Neil Dahlstrom takes readers for a wild ride in this narrative about the early history of the tractor, from its development to its release to its impact on farming. A centerpiece of the book is the bitter rivalry between Ford, John Deere, and other companies as they each scrambled to be king of the tractor.
Recommended for those who enjoy reading agricultural and technological histories.
What’s your favorite new-ish books? What books are you buzzing about these days? Have you read any of these books? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.