Marking May’s Celebrations | Wyatt’s World

May marks Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, and Older Americans Month. While there are many ways to celebrate, reading is always an optimal choice. Here are five novels to share with patrons.

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel (Riverhead).
This finely observed and character-centered debut—a May LibraryReads Pick—follows the members of a string quartet, tracing their friendships, interactions, and tensions over nearly 20 years with the focused attention of a composer crafting a sonata.

Scary Old Sex: Stories by Arlene Heyman (Bloomsbury).
Proving it’s never too late to make noise—enough to upstage all the new MFA grads—veteran  writer Heyman debuts a stirring story collection notable for its frankness and edge. Its focus: the sex lives and loves of older characters.

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li (Holt).
Set in a Maryland restaurant, Li’s vivid debut introduces a number of indelible characters, from the owner and his family to the workers and theirs. Through a multivoiced approach, the author examines desire, family, and loss.

The Magnificent Esme Wells by Adrienne Sharp (Harper).
Sharp uses a brilliantly and grittily realized midcentury setting, in both L.A. and Las Vegas, to tell the story of Esme, who comes of age among mobsters and wanna-be starlets.

We Are Gathered by Jamie Weisman (Houghton Harcourt).
An interfaith wedding provides the center for Weisman’s breakout debut, in which the guests are the main attraction, gathered and ruminating on their own inner lives.







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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at

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