Sculptors, science, sequels: Anticipated books of 2015

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

While the Tucson Festival of Books isn’t until spring break, that doesn’t mean you can’t begin reading now. Here is a list of a couple of  quality books that have already been released, as well as some to keep  your eyes out for in the future.

1. “Disgruntled” by Asali Solomon, Feb. 3

Solomon’s coming-of-age story is a highly anticipated debut novel looking at the minority communities within a minority community. Kenya Curtis attends an African-American elementary school where she is treated differently for celebrating Kwanzaa. Her parents live paycheck to paycheck and host “socialist intellectual” dinners, which further distance her from peers discussing “Diff’rent Strokes” during lunch. 

Transferring to an all-girl private school, Kenya is one of a few black students experiencing the sting of racism for the first time. Obstacles rise as Kenya comes into her identity separate from the identity her parents dreamt for her, the expectations from her black community and the identity thrust on her from her peers.

2. “The Sculptor” by Scott McCloud, Feb. 3

McCloud’s graphic novel tells the tale of the lonely David Smith, a distraught and ambitious young sculptor, who makes a pact with Death. Smith will forfeit his life after 200 days to achieve immortal recognition for his work. The pressure of his 200-day deadline overwhelms Smith; the unexpected presence of an equally distraught and ambitious actress adds degrees of reality to emotional depth. 

McCloud’s nod to Ayn Rand’s philosophical novel “The Fountainhead” is found in more ways than the page quantity. “The Sculptor” emphasizes why famed graphic novelist Frank Miller has called McCloud “the premier comics theorist.”

3. “AsapSCIENCE: Answers to the World’s Weirdest Questions, Most Persistent Rumors, and Unexplained Phenomena” by Mitchell Moffit and Greg Brown, March 17

YouTube’s AsapSCIENCE singing duo has made science accessible and, well, adorable. Moffit and Brown’s roughly three-minute videos could be described as Baby Einstein for the curious and literate. Quirky lyrics and simple graphics have garnered fans in science enthusiasts and the science averse. 

They simplify questions about the effects of using a snooze button to explanations about spontaneous combustion in easy-to-absorb logic. The creative pair’s first book claims to provide answers for your most embarrassing and uninformed questions — along with giving you a how-to guide to using your new knowledge in conversations.

4. “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough, May 5

Over 100 books have been written about Orville and Wilbur Wright and their seconds-long flight, yet David McCullough’s thorough research and writing craft will help differentiate this one from the rest. He dispels century-old myths, humanizes American icons and will make you reevaluate the quality of your education in history. 

The two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize is accustomed to having unprecedented access to otherwise unseen personal diaries. Readers can anticipate learning of Katharine Wright, the little recognized sister behind the genius brothers’ momentous moment in history.

5. “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee, July 14

You read the first book in high school and can finally read “Go Set a Watchman,” the sequel to Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The title references the biblical Isaiah 21:6 verse. Though Lee’s book won’t be published until July, the buzz surrounding the announcement is too loud to ignore. 

Written before Lee’s previous 1960 one-hit wonder, the sequel follows adult Scout Finch leaving New York to visit her father, Atticus. Regardless of potential sophomore slump status, there is a certainty the novel will be read by young and old alike who were moved by Scout’s childhood tales.

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