Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War by Amanda Vaill (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 464 pages, April 22)
I don't know about you, but I always connect the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) to writers like Hemingway, Orwell, and Auden- probably because that's the only time I learned about that conflict. Vaill, though, takes us deeper into the background of those who joined the Spanish Republican side: writers, journalists, and photographers who shaped how we think about truth in reporting and the rise of photojournalism.
Over Easy by Mimi Pond (Drawn and Quarterly, 272 pages, April 15)
This green-and-white graphic novel of beauty illustrates (pun intended!) the author's experiences in California during the 1970s (though it is only a "semi-memoir"). After dropping out of art school for financial reasons, Pond hooked up with a group of freewheeling hippies, "punks," and "disco rollers" (whatever that means), developing her artistic talent and gaining emotional and intellectual maturity along the way. Bildungsroman it most certainly is. And did I mention that it's green?
Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America's Most Hopeful Landscape by Bill McKibben (St. Martin's Griffin, 176 pages, April 1)
In Wandering Home, McKibben takes us on a journey from Vermont to the Adirondacks, demonstrating his commitment to environmental activism through his love of the lakes and forests that he calls home. On this journey, McKibben encounters a wide variety of friends and fellow environmentalists, vintners, beekeepers, and students, all of whom recognize their personal stake in the conservation and preservation of the natural world.