Ocean Vuong’s new book stirs emotions of Petaluma readers

The top selling titles at Copperfield’s Books, in Petaluma, for the week of April 4 – April 10, 2021

Ocean Vuong, the author of Petaluma’s No. 1 bestselling book this week, is a Vietnamese-American poet whose works, which include novels and essays, have collected international acclaim and numerous awards. He won the MacArthur in 2019, the same year his celebrated novel “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” was released. His new work, a collection of 27 poems, is titled “Time is a Mother,” and with its appearance at the top of the list this week, becomes Petaluma’s first No. bestselling book of poetry since December of 2021, when Amanda Gorman’s “ Call Us What We Carry” was Petaluma’s favorite new book.

Born in Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam, Vuong’s grandfather was a white American soldier who married Vuong’s grandmother and had three children, including Vuong’s mother. Separated from his family after the fall of Saigon, the grandfather eventually abandoned his family of him, who managed to escape Vietnam and relocate in Hartford Connecticut. He learned to read and write at the age of 11, and since then, his poetry and other writings of him have made him one of the most lauded poets of his generation.

Two years ago, Huong was selected to participate in the Future Library Project, in which 100 new works will be collected between 2014 and 2114, all of them to be kept secret and unread until they are published as a group 100 years after the project began . Presumably, many of the original contributors will be dead, inspiring them to write for the future rather than the present, a task Huong has admitted is intimidating.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait to read “Time is a Mother,” which was written in the months following Huong’s mother’s death. The collection is being praised for its depth of emotion and videness of style. In the Guardian, Kadish Morris said of it, “There’s something about Vuong’s writing that demands all of your lungs.” We’re not sure what that means, but apparently, plenty of Petaluma readers are currently finding out.

Here is the complete Top 10 Books on Copperfield’s Fiction and Nonfiction list, along with the full Kids and Young Adults list.


one. ‘Time Is a Mother,’ by Ocean Vuong – The acclaimed poet-author of “Night Sky with Exit Wounds” brings 27 new poems about grappling with loss and a world that won’t stop changing the rules.

two. ‘Sea of ​​Tranquility,’ by Emily St John Mendel – The award-winning author of “Station Eleven” has crafted a new novel about time, romance, art and (trigger alert) a global pandemic, bouncing from early 20th century Vancouver Island to the colonies of the moon in the 2400s.

3. ‘The Premonition,’ by Michael Lewis – The bestselling author of “Liar’s Poker,” “Moneyball” and “The Blind Side” brings a nonfiction page-turner about the loosely associated team of scientists and experts who, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, fought against the official White House response that there was nothing to worry about.

4. ‘Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World,’ by Matt Kracht – More dumb birds from more stupid places as one of the funniest nature guidebooks ever written gets a ridiculous (and hilarious) sequel.

5. ‘The Dark Hours,’ by Michael Connelly – While on the case of the Midnight Men, a tag team of rapists whose most recent assaults took place on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, the LA Police Department’s stalwart detective Renée Ballard teams up with retired PD detective Harry Bosch to solve a murder.

6. ‘bittersweet,’ by Susan Cain – Subtitled “How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole,” this new nonfiction work describes how sadness can become a superpower when approached correctly.

7. ‘galapagos,’ by Kurt Vonnegut – This 1985 oddity from the great literary fantasist begins with a group of strangers escaping the worst of humanity and then jumps ahead to their not-quite-human (but a lot less dangerous) descendants a million years in the future . It’s funny, but not, but of course yes, it’s funny.

8. ‘Braiding Sweetgrass,’ by Robin Kimmerer – A rich and lyrical nonfiction exploration of indigenous wisdom and the scientific look at what plants are able to teach us.

9. ‘The Alchemist,’ by Paolo Coelho – A 1988 allegorical novel about and Andalusian shepherd boy who travels to Egypt after having dreams in which he finds treasure inside a pyramid.

10. ‘The Parable of the Sower,’ by Octavia Butler – This 1993 science-fiction novel follows the survivors of a world-wide civilization collapse as they attempt to find safety and form a new spiritual community around a young empath’s abilities to feel the pain of those nearby.

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