A big part of my job is reviewing upcoming titles, hundreds each month. The stingy 6-year-old in me wants to dance around singing “I know something you don’t know,” but the civilized, mature part of me wants to hand out flyers on the street corner to share the excitement. Tattle is a nice middle-ground, allowing me to spread the word without standing out in the rain.

Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes across America by John Waters

OK, I admit it: my six years living in Baltimore (and, specifically, in John Waters’ favored neighborhood of Hampden) have turned me into a Bawlmer hon through and through. Oh, how I miss my plastic pink flamingo. Can you believe that people here in Ohio just think they’re tacky? Part of loving Baltimore is loving John Waters. (The house I lived in even appears in one of his movies, as the neighbor of the main character. I’m practically famous.) But this memoir isn’t just for Baltimoreans and the legions of fans who have made John Waters an icon. As he hitchhikes across America, Waters discovers and celebrates America’s diverse citizenry, painting a portrait of ourselves as only someone with his unique humor and warmth can. Waters is so skilled at capturing the unique personality and charm of Baltimore (even her less-than-flattering side) that I am so looking forward to hearing him capture the essence of our country with the same insight and humor. And yes, this one is read by the author!

Audio published by Macmillan Audio. Available 6/3.

 

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch

For those of you who can’t get enough of dark thrillers, don’t miss Summer House with Swimming Pool by the author of The Dinner, last year’s instant New York Times bestseller that took the publishing world by storm and kept everyone talking long after they’d finished listening. With his signature icy style, Koch takes us on another psychological ride where we don’t know who to trust.

Audio published by Brilliance Audio. Available 6/3.

 

What Is Visible by Kimberly Elkins

Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Helen Keller. Now raise your hand if you’ve heard of Laura Bridgman. Laura Bridgman was the first deaf and blind person to learn language—50 years before Helen Keller.  She also couldn’t taste or smell. She lost all senses except touch from a bout with scarlet fever when she was two. She was the second-most famous woman in the world in the 19th century (second only to Queen Victoria). And you’ve never heard of her, right? In her debut novel, Kimberly Elkins takes this extraordinary, forgotten life and resurrects Bridgman’s remarkable story for us to enjoy. And by all accounts her skill with words is up to the task of sharing this story artfully: she’s getting some great press from outstanding authors, including National Book Award winner Ha Jin and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler, who writes, “I know firsthand how brutally difficult it is to write a creatively rich, humanly revealing novel based on real people in a distant time. Kimberly Elkins does this brilliantly. What Is Visible is not only a compelling, deeply moving novel, it is a fully realized work of art. This is an auspicious debut of an important new writer.”

Audio published by Hachette Audio. Available 6/3.

 

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy

Taking a more serious approach to the recent trend in re-writing classic fairytales, Louise Murphy combines classic themes of both fairytales and war literature in this haunting novel. In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left to find safety in a dense forest, assuming the names Hansel and Gretel because their real names would reveal their Jewishness. They are taken in by Magda, an eccentric old woman whom the nearby villagers call a witch, and who is determined to save them from the German officer who arrives in the village. The Kirkus starred review calls it “lyrical, haunting, unforgettable.”

Audio published by Tantor Audio. Available 6/2.

 

Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo

Not just a war reporter’s book about the danger and upheaval in this deeply divided and exploited country, this memoir also shows Sundaram’s journey of self-discovery and personal reflection. A coming-of-age story that will appeal to far more than just those interested in the troubled history of the Congo.

Audio published by Tantor Audio. Available 6/2.

 

Let us know if there are books coming up that you can’t wait to get your hands on and come back each month for new picks.