Book Bites: Reading With Pride

Step into our shop these days, and it will take you about two seconds to find the perfect book for summer reading — three of the new releases we're featuring below have waterfront covers, for goodness' sake. So grab your bingo card (or print one out at home) and join us for a summer full of great books for readers of all ages. We've got YA, romance, literary fiction, and lots more to share with you this week — including a few great picks to help you usher in Pride Month in style. Make some space on your bookshelf and come see us. We've got cool air, a smile, and some opinionated recommendations to share with you all.

Ages 4-8

Little Houses by Kevin Henkes; illustrated by Laura Dronzek

Walking along the beach while visiting her grandparents, a young girl gathers shells. Each tiny house shares a wonder about the vastness of the ocean. Many treasures surface while crunching along the sand. They explore the largeness and smallness of the sea. This gorgeous picture book captures the beauty of the natural world.
— Liz

READ because this is a lovely story that reminds us of all the wonders that exist in our world. 
if you hate to be delighted. 
Order your copy

Ages 8-12

Small Town Pride by Phil Stamper

Just after Jake comes out to his parents, his father hangs a massive pride flag in the front yard to show support. His small town's reaction to the flag inspires Jake to organize a pride festival right in Barton Springs. This middle grade novel is full of love, community, and finding your place and I adored it!
— Cathy

READ because this is a fantastic book to share with the whole family during Pride Month.
PASS if you're waiting to read this right before the 44th annual Houston Pride Celebration on June 25.
Order your copy

Ages 12 & Up

Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle

Prince Jones, also known by many in Detroit as DJ LoveJones, has always dreamed of falling in love. After going through a breakup, Prince wants to take things slow until he notices Danielle "Dani" in the library. Dani, Prince's middle school crush, is not one to believe in love and is hesitant to get involved with Prince as deadlines for college applications come closer. Even so, Dani agrees to Prince's proposal that he can convince her of love after just three dates. A good recommendation for anyone who enjoyed Nicola Yoon's Everything, Everything or Renee Watson's Love is a Revolution.
— Ayah

READ if you're looking for a clever and fun romance with characters you wish you could meet in real life. 
PASS if you're looking for a dull and boring romance with characters you wish you could erase off the page.
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Attend our virtual event with Ebony on June 2!

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

Izumi is finding a home in the palace while getting to know her dad (the Crown Prince of Japan), family, and the culture of Japan as a royal. When her mom comes to visit, there are definite sparks between her mom and dad. Izumi has dreamed for her parents to be married and be a family unit, and she will do anything to make that happen—including choosing a college and degree that is acceptable in society, dating a royal equivalent, and making amends with the shining cousins. She has to decide if giving up herself and what matters to her is worth her parents being able to marry. Such a great storyline on how to stay true to yourself while attaining your dreams. Both Izumi and her mom struggle to make life-altering decisions and show readers that women do not have to give up their dreams in order to marry or make the general public happy. 
— Christina

READ if you loved The Princess Diaries and are looking for a lovable, strong new princess to root for. 
PASS if you're currently reading the first book in the series, the fabulous Tokyo Ever After
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Ages 14 & Up

Private Label  by Kelly Yang

Serene Li is a Chinese American working her way through school and interning at her mom's fashion label. While everything seems to be going well, things change for Serene after her mom is suddenly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Feeling alone after the diagnosis, Serene begins thinking about finding her dad and getting answers for his lack of presence in her life. Forced to take the lead at her mom's label, Serene does her best to navigate through everything happening around her.

Lian Chen has recently moved from China to California. Being the only Chinese student besides Serene, who has climbed the social ladder, Lian has found himself struggling to fit in. Meanwhile, he is being pushed by his parents at home to become an engineer at MIT, despite his dreams to become a stand-up comic, a dream he knows his parents would disagree with.

While the two live different lives, they soon find themselves confiding in each other, leading to feelings that slowly develop into something more. Recommended!
— Ayah

READ because this nuanced romance is pitched as The Devil Wears Prada meets Far from the Tree, which, wow. 
PASS if you're catching up on all of Kelly Yang's other new releases this year. She's on fire!
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Queer Ducks (and Other Animals) by Eliot Schrefer; illustrated by Jules Zuckerberg

Combining scientific research, comics, and memoir, Schrefer thoroughly explores queer behavior in the animal world. Delving into research of ducks, primates and doodlebugs, he illustrates that queer behavior in animals is as diverse and complex—and as natural—as it is in humans. The engaging format made me feel like I was sitting next to Eliot in science class, passing notes and comics back and forth—and then going for coffee afterwards!
— Cathy

READ because science has never been so fun — or romantic!
PASS if you’d like to read our Q&A with the author first. (Psst... it's right below!)
Order your copy
Read a Q&A with Eliot on our blog!

Adult Fiction

The Shore by Katie Runde

One summer in the slightly shabby town of Seaside, NJ, Margot, Brian, Liz, and Evy are experiencing the personal hell of inoperable cancer. The tumor (GBM) has caused a mental breakdown in Brian. He curses, shouts horrid things in public, and increasingly refuses to get dressed (at all). Liz and Evy are experiencing first loves. Margot is under great duress. The short chapters are narrated by all four family members. Beautiful writing with great insight into a family suffering a tragedy.
— Valerie

READ because you're looking for a book with dynamic and resilient characters.
PASS if you were hoping that this was about Snooki and Pauly D. 
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The Foundling by Natalie Jenner

Young Mary Engle was raised by nuns as a "half" orphan. After she leaves the institution, she attends a speech by the woman doctor who runs Nettleton State Village. Inspired, she takes a secretary job under Dr. Vogel. Nettleton is where women who are classified as “morons” or “imbeciles” work as hard as mules for their upkeep. When Mary sees a former classmate from her childhood, she begins to question the background of Nettleton. Along with help from one of the nurses, she plots to help Lillian escape her captivity. Based on a real institution where the author's grandmother worked, it is a fascinating look at beliefs in the early 20th century.
— Valerie

READ if you're looking for a gripping page-turner with plenty of twists and chilling historical detail. 
PASS because you're waiting to sandwich this fantastic novel between two bright and happy books. 
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Heritage by Miguel Bonnefoy; (translated by Emily Boyce)

In just 150 pages, the author manages to tell the multi-generational saga of the Lonsonier family, whose forebear emigrated to Chile from France in 1873, carrying a single grape cutting with which to start a vineyard.  His son, Lazare, travels back to France to enlist in the army during World War I, survives the war, and returns to Chile to raise a family.  Lazare’s daughter, Margot, becomes an aviatrix and raises a son who becomes a revolutionary during the Pinochet years. The author provides an amazing level of detail within the time frame of the novel, managing to convey the family relationships, the family's sense of where they belong in their adopted country, and their connections to France. It's a very complete saga, despite its length, and no word is wasted or superfluous. A delightful read.
— Alice

READ because every page in this shorter read is absolutely perfect.
PASS if you're spending the next few months finally trying to get through Infinite Jest. (We won't tell if you choose this one instead.)
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A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

When Viola “died” at Waterloo, she took the chance to finally live as herself. Doing so meant forgoing her title, her wealth, and her dearest friend, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood. When her family reconnects with Justin's after the war, Viola learns that Gracewood still mourns the loss of his best friend and has descended into a grief that renders him almost unrecognizable. As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back into contact with those who love him, feelings develop that may be impossible to acknowledge. What follows is a delightful historical romance that is suffused in queer joy.  
— Cathy

READ because you're a fan of regencies, queer romance, or Bridgerton.
PASS if ABBA's "Waterloo" is now stuck in your head and you can't focus on reading words at the moment. 
Order your copy
Attend our virtual event with Alexis on June 4!

Adult Nonfiction

This Is Not a Book About Benedict Cumberbatch by Tabitha Carvan

When Tabitha Carvan was at home with her two young children, she became a fan of actor Benedict Cumberbatch. The depth of her interest took her by surprise and in this book she takes a look specifically at women's interests once they have left adolescence and entered adulthood. It's a fascinating and empowering look at the joy that unabashed fandom can bring to your life.
— Cathy

READ if you're looking for a witty reminder that it's never too late to love and embrace your interests. 
PASS if you've never been able to get Bumblebee Cumberbund's name right.
Order your copy
Attend our virtual event with Tabitha on June 1!