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Fall Bookshelf: Why So Serious?

Four new books by local favorites take on heavy subjects.


It’s fall: time to put down your beach-companion paperbacks and delve into something weightier. So curl up by the fire, or—hell, it’s warm—head back to the beach, and dig into one of these page-turners.

History, Chabon Style
Berkeley’s Michael Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) takes us on a boisterous personal tour of the 20th century in Moonglow (Nov. 22, HarperLuxe). Chabon ingeniously examines family history, World War II, the space program, sex, and lies—making up what he needs to. Fiction? Nonfiction? It’s Chabon: Embrace the contradictions. 

Straight Outta San Francisco
It’s 1999 and the end of the world as we know it for Michelle Tea’s character in Black Wave (Sept. 13, Feminist Press at CUNY) as she flees San Francisco for L.A. to overcome drug addiction and explore queer love and art. Tea’s ninth and perhaps sharpest book is full of in-your-face language that reverberates almost psychedelically in your mind.

Sitting in Judgment
Lebanese American writer Rabih Alameddine (An Unnecessary Woman) brings us The Angel of History (Oct. 4, Grove Atlantic), a cleverly constructed novel that questions what we remember and why we forget. Characters like Death and Satan debate the fate of Jacob, a Yemeni gay man living in San Francisco during the AIDS epidemic, in language laced with humor and grief.

Immigrant Song
“Papá could break into any house in the neighborhood,” begins Vanessa Hua’s story “What We Have Is What We Need.” Readers will feel hijacked by the lines that follow in Deceit and Other Possibilities (Sept. 30, Willow Books). A contributor to this magazine and a columnist for the Chronicle, Hua shows how immigrant families plead, persuade, adapt, and embrace their heritage.

Originally published in the September issue of
San Francisco 

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