10 New Books to Read in May
This month's great reads include a charming rom-com centered around the Tower of London and a deep dive into the history of recorded sound.
Summer isn’t quite here yet, but the publishing world is gearing up for long sunny days spent reading. The result is a blockbuster month of new releases. Whether you’re enjoying your garden or on the metro headed to a Nats game, be sure to take along one of these great reads.
The following information is provided courtesy of the Arlington Public Library.
Falling Hard for the Royal Guard
By Megan Clawson
Maggie Moore lives with her Beefeater father at the Tower of London and works a dead-end job selling tickets to tourists. Then she meets Freddie Guilford, a handsome Grenadier Guard, and falls head over heels for him, despite his aloofness and determination to focus on his career. Author Megan Clawson’s real-life experience living at the Tower of London lends some choice behind-the-scenes details to this charming romcom. // Available May 2. Library catalog link here.
A History of Burning
By Janika Oza
In 1898, 13-year-old Pirbhai leaves India for Africa, hoping to find work. While working on the railroad for the British, he sets fire to a village—an act that will reverberate for generations. His family eventually settles in Uganda, but his children and grandchildren are forced to leave in 1972, fleeing to Canada. Rich with details and memorable characters, Janika Oza’s novel includes thoughtful explorations of family, citizenship and the search for peace and security. // Available May 2. Library catalog link here.
To Shape a Dragon’s Breath
By Moniquill Blackgoose
Set in an alternate 1840s New England, Indigenous 15-year-old Anequs bonds with a dragon hatchling on the island of Masquapaug. When the Anglish conquerors demand that Anequs attend their dragon school or risk having her dragon killed, she must navigate a strange new world to prove she and her dragon can control their power and succeed on their own terms. Blending Indigenous history with fantasy, author Moniquill Blackgoose explores themes of colonization and social agency in the first installment of this new series. // Available May 9. Library catalog link here.
By Olivia Wolfgang-Smith
This stunning debut follows one family across four generations. In 1910 Boston, heiress Agnes Carter marries an abusive man and becomes enamored with glass sculptor Ignace Novak. In 1938, Agnes’s son Edward longs to pursue a religious career but instead makes liturgical stained glass. The story continues through the 1980s and concludes in 2015, following each generation as they navigate their own struggles. Glass is a recurring motif, as characters find employment from artists to window-washers, and becomes the central metaphor in this beautifully crafted story about family, identity and legacy. // Available May 16. Library catalog link here.
Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World
By Henry Grabar
Author Henry Grabar presents a thorough examination of the policies and desires that have shaped parking in America, as well as the unintended consequences, from stymied public transportation to limited affordable housing. The narrative considers a number of possible solutions, successes and failures, with a particular focus on how parking lots and spaces were repurposed during the Covid-19 lockdowns, in this intriguing and wide-ranging read. // Available May 9. Library catalog link here.
Into the Groove: The Story of Sound From Tin Foil to Vinyl
By Jonathan Scott
The history of recorded sound includes technologies ranging from 19th-century tin-foil cylinders to digital streaming. Author Jonathan Scott explores how various recording methods have changed our relationship to music over time, from the phonograph to America’s renewed love affair with vinyl records, in this celebration of science and the listening experience. // Available May 9. Library catalog link here.
Fancy Bear Goes Phishing: The Dark History of the Information Age, in Five Extraordinary Hacks
By Scott Shapiro
Chronicling five computer hacks, from a self-replicating program that crashed most of the early internet in the late ’80s to hacking campaign emails during the 2016 presidential election, Scott Shapiro profiles the actors involved, their motivations and the devastating impacts. Engrossing, thought-provoking, and accessible even to those without a programming background, the book sheds light on weak spots in technology, the lack of motivation to fix them and the desire to exploit them. // Available May 23. Library catalog link here.
Horse Barbie: A Memoir
By Geena Rocero
As a teen in the Philippines, Geena Rocero found a place in the popular trans beauty pageants, becoming one of the most prominent and highest-earning trans pageant queens. When she moved the United States, she was finally able to legally change her name and gender, but that didn’t make her safe. To grow her modeling career, she had to hide her trans identity until she couldn’t take it anymore. Her resilience and determination to be true to herself, despite the many obstacles, translate into a heart-wrenching story of survival and self-discovery. // Available May 30. Library catalog link here.
Spare Parts: The True Story of Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and an Impossible
By Joshua Davis and Reyna Grande
Oscar, Cristian, Luis and Lorenzo were four undocumented high school students in Phoenix who used low-cost materials to build a submersible robot, Stinky. They then brought Stinky to the 2004 Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition and won, despite competing against teams from some of the best engineering universities in the country. An inspiring and empowering true story. // Available May 30. Library catalog link here.
Her Good Side
By Rebekah Weatherspoon
In the lead-up to homecoming, Bethany and Jacob both realize they need to change their romantic reputations if they’re going to get a date. They decide to fake-date each other, letting people see them in a different romantic light while gaining hands-on relationship experience. As their confidence builds, so do their feelings and chemistry. This heart-melting read is the first teen book from adult romance author Rebekah Weatherspoon. // Available May 30. Library catalog link here.
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The library has many book lists for all ages exploring Asian and Asian heritage authors, history, experiences, culture, and more.