The Snakepit Bookby Ben Snakepit (Gorsky, $12, paper)
"It was my New Year's resolution for 2001 to never miss another day of drawing, and three years later I'm still rocking out on it," writes Austinite Ben "Snakepit" White in the introduction to this empathic, generous, and all-around good time of a journal-cum-comic-strip-collection. "It's neat ... to sit down and review everything I've done, the places I've been, the people that have drifted in and out of my life; always changing and always staying the same."
The Floodmakerby Mylène Dressler (Putnam, $23.95)
The Houstonian follows up her remarkable novel The Deadwood Beetle with the story of a reunited Southern family on the rocks while vacationing at the beach.
Backtrackingby Dave Oliphant (Host, $15, paper)
One of Austin's most prolific poets finds room for seemingly everything and everyone in this pitch-perfect collection: his wife, Princess Di, barbecue, the country of Spain, Aaron Copland, illness, aging, influences, and more. Soothing, disturbing, and inspiring.
Texas Literary Outlaws: Six Writers in the Sixties and Beyondby Steven L. Davis (TCU, $35)
The Mad Dogs Bud Shrake, Larry L. King, Billy Lee Brammer, Gary Cartwright, Dan Jenkins, and Peter Gent collected, disseminated, criticized, and unleashed again, 40 years later. If Ann Richards likes it and this applies to just about anything, I've learned we should all like it.
Wildly Austin: Austin's Landmark Art Vol. 1by Vikki Loving, photographs by Gregg Cestaro (Wildly Austin Press, $19.95, paper)
Take a sightseeing tour, complete with maps and anecdotes, while also practicing fuel economy. Not wildly Austin so much as typically Austin.
Southtownby Rick Riordan (Bantam, $24)
The fifth Tres Navarre novel is probably the finest Will "the Ghost" Stirman escapes from prison and is bent on revenge, while a showdown in San Antonio decides who dies and who survives for the sixth installment.
The Zenith Angleby Bruce Sterling (Del Rey, $24.95)
The Austin cyberseer's first major fiction since 2000's Zeitgeist finds a computer whiz leaving the comforts of the corporate world to fight high-tech terrorism after Sept. 11, but money and politics, as you might imagine, make it awfully damn difficult.
Kings of Infinite Spaceby James Hynes (St. Martin's, $24.95)
Part Office Space, part The Office, and part The X-Files, with a title from Shakespeare and a tip of the hat to H.G. Wells, the Austin satirist's fourth novel tells the story of former academic/current temp Paul Trilby, whose life is, well, falling apart. Full of feeling and funny as hell.
The London Pigeon Warsby Patrick Neate (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24)
Pigeons fighting and occasionally narrating parallel thirtysomethings with accelerated life crises. The author of Twelve Bar Blues cements his place as a young British writer to watch, along with the likes of Dan Rhodes and Nicola Barker.
Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Ageby Bill McKibben (Owl Books, $14, paper)
The Harper's and Atlantic Monthly contributor bookends his first book with his eighth: The End of Nature exploded in 1989 with a prophecy of self-destruction, while Enough explains the shape we're in and how to get out of it. Informative, accessible, and eloquent.
Lazy Bonesby Mark Billingham (Morrow, $24.95)
Billingham, who'll be at BookPeople on June 9, has Detective Inspector Tom Thorne in a fix for this third installment: A serial killer is on the loose in London, but the victims are convicted rapists. How to proceed?
Borges' Travel, Hemingway's Garage: Secret Historiesby Mark Axelrod (FC2, $13.95, paper)
The author ambles across Europe and the Americas looking for examples of great contributors to Western civilization reduced to Western capitalist shilling. So, you have Bukowski Jewelers in Helsinki, Verlaine Shoes in Paris, Lautrec Handbags in Brussels. Photos supplement the hows and the whys.
Life & Limb: Skateboarders Write From the Deep Endedited by Justin Hocking, Jeff Knutson, and Jared Jacang Maher (Soft Skull, $13.95, paper)
Featuring fictions, essays, art, and more from the likes of Jocko Weyland, Michael Burnett, and Sharon Harrison, this collection provides a little perspective on that "raw lust for motion."
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denimby David Sedaris (Little, Brown, $24.95)
The royal among pretenders his fifth book of essays has been worth the wait. More tales of family, vacation, shitty jobs, half-assed salvation, and mirthful meditations on getting by the everyday dramas. A few have appeared in The New Yorker, but there's enough of the new to sustain a lazy afternoon or two. Sedaris will be at BookPeople on June 17. Get in line now.
Status Anxietyby Alain de Botton (Pantheon, $24)
Love, respect, expectations, accomplishment, or the lack thereof. The novelist/essayist wonders where the drive to impress, impose, and be accepted comes from. Self-help for those who worry about what others would think of them if they saw them reading a self-help book.