WILD MINDS: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation, by Reid Mitenbuler. (Grove, 432 pp., $18.) This account of the 20th-century illustrators who molded early American animation is meticulous and evocative. “Like the animators he celebrates,” our reviewer, Michael Tisserand, commented, Mitenbuler “is able to sum up a character with a couple of quick strokes.”
I’M NOT HUNGRY BUT I COULD EAT, by Christopher Gonzalez. (SFWP, 115 pp., $14.95.) This debut collection moves seamlessly between diners, bedrooms and bachelor parties as its mostly bisexual Puerto Rican narrators indulge in moments of desire, shame and grief. Food is ever abundant — lobster meat, platters of fries, mushy vegan recipes — but what really holds these stories together is a singular, unapologetic voice.
PEOPLE FROM MY NEIGHBORHOOD, by Hiromi Kawakami. Translated by Ted Goossen. (Soft Skull, 176 pp., $15.95.) This collection of 36 flash stories centers on one unnamed neighborhood in Japan, blending fable and the mundane. As our reviewer, Brenda Peynado, noted, “Kawakami’s style traffics in brevity, giving us images distilled to their core, sentences that go directly to the heart, and the narrative command to deliver entire lives within one sweeping breath.”
BEGINNERS: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning, by Tom Vanderbilt. (Vintage, 320 pp., $16.95.) Vanderbilt’s account of his efforts to learn everything from snowboarding to drawing to surfing is, according to the Times critic Jennifer Szalai, “a tribute to the life-changing magic of learning new skills,” told in a tone that is at once “modest and reassuring.”