Drugs, sex and crime parade through exotic lands in the latest outfits, taking selfies with various degrees of detachment. Poetry and prose collide, as do humor and profundity, and language steps up its game. All this and more in the Bay Area's winter and spring book releases.
The Best of McSweeney's Internet Tendency
March 18, McSweeney's
Featuring free-to-read online classics like "It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers!" and "What I Would Be Thinking About if I Were Billy Joel Driving Toward a Holiday Party Where I Knew There Was Going to Be a Piano," this collection features the best of the quasi-humor website's first 15 years of daily posts. Internet not included.
Peace, by Gilian Conoley
April 1, Omnidawn
Well-known for the ease with which she boosts a poem into high gear without losing the grace she so properly establishes, Conoley mesmerizes readers into a magical place. Many poets do this, but few with such pleasing results.
Nochita, by Dia Felix
April 1, City Lights/Sister Spit
She leaves her drunken father and his brutal fiancée for the road, with nothing to run from and nothing to guide her. "Nochita shimmers with humor and delight, she burns with stark raving intelligence," says the one and only Mary Gaitskill. Everything is epic and unreal, this world by turns seeming to taunt us with an uncanny narrative and then stop us in our tracks with dreamlike non sequiturs.
Running Through Beijing, by Xu Zechen
May 13, Two Lines Press
A rare chance for U.S. readers to get an underground view of Beijing's streets by the young, award-winning author Xu Zechen, who draws from real-life experiences to create a race against the forces around him — simply to survive. Translated by the celebrated Eric Abrahamsen, this novel is the fifth title published by the Center for the Art of Translation's new press; file under "punk lit."
Wet Reckless, by Cassandra Dallett
May 13, Manic D Press
Inspired to start writing because she loves memoir, Dallett told us in a recent interview that she has "a short attention span so... [I] started writing it in little snippets and calling them poems." Often compared to Bukowski for her ferociously sparse combination of words and an uncommon ability to imbue common life in them, Dallett is an outsider people can relate to, and these poems are often intoxicating.