THE DINNER PARTY: And Other Stories, by Joshua Ferris. (Little, Brown, $26.) For some accomplished novelists, short stories are mere doodles, variations on themes better addressed at length. Not so for Ferris. Anxiety, self-consciousness and humiliation are the default inner states of the characters in these 11 stories, which are dynamic with speed yet rich with novelistic denseness. Ferris’s collection is a magnificent black carnival of discord and delusion.
STARTUP, by Doree Shafrir. (Little, Brown, $26.) Tech culture is the target of feminist satire in Shafrir’s biting and astute debut novel, peopled by clueless men in positions of power and women struggling for recognition and respect in a male-dominated world. Among the novel’s delightful sendups: mindfulness apps, detailed renditions of VC presentations, and MorningRave, a clean-living dance party to start the day.
MY BEAUTIFUL BIRDS, written and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo. (Pajama Press, $17.95; ages 6 to 10.) A Syrian boy tends pigeons on his roof until his family leaves for a refugee camp; he can barely speak until he begins painting his birds. This graceful, uplifting book relies on Del Rizzo’s stunningly dimensional clay art.
THE END OF THE WILD, by Nicole Helget. (Little, Brown, $16.99; ages 8 to 12.) A motherless girl named Fern, living in poverty and foraging to help feed her family, is challenged when fracking comes to her town — it damages the environment but might provide a much needed paycheck for her struggling stepfather. Helget’s beautifully written novel raises important questions that are grounded in Fern’s complicated choices.
YORK. Book 1: The Shadow Cipher, by Laura Ruby. (Walden Pond, $16.99; ages 8 to 12.) In Ruby’s captivating novel, the first in a series, precocious twins search for clues buried in the bones of a present-day, steam-punky New York. Their journey takes them around the city and into its past, both real and fantastical, with a crackling plot and laugh-out-loud humor.