Amazing New Books to Add to Your Spring Reading List
36 Books | by BuzzFeed
Sabrina & Corina
Latinas of Indigenous descent living in the American West take center stage in this haunting debut story collection—a powerful meditation on friendship, mothers and daughters, and the deep-rooted truths of our homelands. “Here are stories that blaze like wildfires, with characters who made me laugh and broke my heart.”—Sandra Cisneros Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado—a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite—these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force. In “Sugar Babies,” ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth but tend to rise during land disputes. “Any Further West” follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In “Tomi,” a woman leaves prison and finds herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood. And in the title story, “Sabrina & Corina,” a Denver family falls into a cycle of violence against women, coming together only through ritual. Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home. Advance praise for Sabrina & Corina “Sabrina & Corina isn’t just good, it’s masterful storytelling. Fajardo-Anstine is a fearless writer: her women are strong and scarred witnesses of the violations of their homelands, their culture, their bodies; her plots turn and surprise, unerring and organic in their comprehensiveness; her characters break your heart, but you keep on going because you know you are in the hands of a master. Her stories move through the heart of darkness and illuminate it with the soul of truth.”—Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents “A terrific collection of stories—fiercely and beautifully made.” —Joy Williams “Kali Fajardo-Anstine writes about hard truths in women’s lives so knowingly, and with such a deft touch, I felt hyper-alert, as well as implicated and imperiled. In these achingly convincing stories, the writer is writing delicately, symbolically, about mortality itself.”—Ann Beattie
Rabbits for Food
Master of razor-edged literary humor Binnie Kirshenbaum returns with her first novel in a decade, a devastating, laugh-out-loud funny story of a writer's slide into depression and institutionalization. It's New Year's Eve, the holiday of forced fellowship, mandatory fun, and paper hats. While dining out with her husband and their friends, Kirshenbaum's protagonist--an acerbic, mordantly witty, and clinically depressed writer--fully unravels. Her breakdown lands her in the psych ward of a prestigious New York hospital, where she refuses all modes of recommended treatment. Instead, she passes the time chronicling the lives of her fellow "lunatics" and writing a novel about what brought her there. Her story is a hilarious and harrowing deep dive into the disordered mind of a woman who sees the world all too clearly. Propelled by stand-up comic timing and rife with pinpoint insights, Kirshenbaum examines what it means to be unloved and loved, to succeed and fail, to be at once impervious and raw. Rabbits for Food shows how art can lead us out of--or into--the depths of disconsolate loneliness and piercing grief. A bravura literary performance from one of our most witty and indispensable writers.
Library of Small Catastrophes
Alison C. Rollins
Alison Rollins, a librarian by trade, disrupts the canon by re-cataloging language, culture, and history in her debut collection.
The Bird King
G. Willow Wilson
From award-winning author G. Willow Wilson, The Bird King is an epic journey set during the reign of the last sultan in the Iberian peninsula at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. G. Willow Wilson’s debut novel Alif the Unseen was an NPR and Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and it established her as a vital American Muslim literary voice. Now she delivers The Bird King, a stunning new novel that tells the story of Fatima, a concubine in the royal court of Granada, the last emirate of Muslim Spain, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. Hassan has a secret—he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls? As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.
The Organs of Sense
Adam Ehrlich Sachs
"This book is only for people who like joy, absurdity, passion, genius, dry wit, youthful folly, amusing historical arcana, or telescopes." —Rivka Galchen, author of Little Labors and American Innovations “[An] intellect with the timing of a borscht belt comedian” (Publishers Weekly), Adam Ehrlich Sachs brings his unique comic sensibilities to his first novel, The Organs of Sense, a nested fable equating our inability to understand the world with our inability to understand our own messy families. In 1666, an astronomer makes a prediction: At the stroke of noon on June 30 of that year, a solar eclipse will cast all of Europe into darkness for four seconds. This astronomer is rumored to be using the largest telescope ever built, but he is also known to be blind—and not only blind, but eyeless. Is he mad? Or does he, despite this impairment, have an insight denied the other scholars of his day? These questions intrigue young Gottfried Leibniz—not yet the world-renowned polymath who will go on to discover calculus, but a nineteen-year-old whose faith in reason is shaky at best. Leibniz sets off to investigate the astronomer’s claim, and in the three hours before the eclipse occurs—or fails to occur—the astronomer tells the story behind his strange prediction: a tale encompassing kings, family squabbles, insanity, art, and the horrors of war.
A bold, wry, and intimate graphic memoir about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us, from the acclaimed author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing. “By turns hilarious and heart-rending, it’s exactly the book America needs at this moment.”—Celeste Ng “How brown is too brown?” “Can Indians be racist?” “What does real love between really different people look like?” Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love. Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation—and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions. Advance praise for Good Talk “[A] breezy but poignant graphic memoir that takes on racism, love, and the election of President Trump. . . . The collage effect creates an odd, immediate intimacy. [Mira Jacob] employs pages of narrative prose sparingly but hauntingly. . . . The ‘talks’ Jacob relates are painful, often hilarious, and sometimes absurd, but her memoir makes a fierce case for continuing to have them.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “A beautiful and eye-opening account of what it means to mother a brown boy and what it means to live in this country post–9/11, as a person of color, as a woman, as an artist . . . In Jacob’s brilliant hands, we are gifted with a narrative that is sometimes hysterically funny, always honest, and ultimately healing.”—Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award–winning author of Another Brooklyn “Mira Jacob just made me toss everything I thought was possible in a book-as-art-object into the garbage. Her new book changes everything.”—Kiese Laymon, New York Times bestselling author of Heavy
A MARCH INDIE NEXT PICK! The prize-winning, bestselling author of Boy, Snow, Bird and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours returns with a bewitching and inventive novel. Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children's stories, beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe. Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there's the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it's very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (or, according to many sources, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee's early youth. The world's truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread, however, is Harriet's charismatic childhood friend Gretel Kercheval —a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met. Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother's long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet's story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi's inimitable style and imagination, it is a true feast for the reader.
Soon the Light Will Be Perfect
Two brothers brave a whirlwind summer in this taut and luminous coming-of-age novel A twelve-year-old boy lives with his family in a small, poverty-stricken town in Vermont. His father works at a manufacturing plant, his mother is a homemaker, and his fifteen-year-old brother is about to enter high school. His family has gained enough financial stability to move out of the nearby trailer park, and as conflict rages abroad, his father’s job at a weapons manufacturing plant appears safe. But then his mother is diagnosed with cancer, and everything changes. As the family clings to the traditions of their hard-line Catholicism, he meets Taylor, a perceptive, beguiling girl from the trailer park, a girl who has been forced to grow up too fast. Taylor represents everything his life isn’t, and their fledgling connection develops as his mother’s health deteriorates. Set over the course of one propulsive summer, Soon the Light Will Be Perfect chronicles the journey of two brothers on the cusp of adulthood, a town battered by poverty and a family at a breaking point. In spare, fiercely honest prose, Dave Patterson captures what it feels like to be gloriously, violently alive at a moment of political, social and familial instability.
The Affairs of the Falcóns
An Anticipated Book of 2019 from: Southern Living * Buzzfeed * The Huffington Post * Bustle * Fierce * Hip Latina * Ms. Magazine * Alma * The Rumpus A stunning debut novel about a young undocumented Peruvian woman fighting to keep her family afloat in New York City Ana Falcón, along with her husband Lucho and their two young children, has fled the economic and political strife of Peru for a chance at a new life in New York City in the 1990s. Being undocumented, however, has significantly curtailed the family’s opportunities: Ana is indebted to a loan shark who calls herself Mama, and is stretched thin by unceasing shifts at her factory job. To make matters worse, Ana must also battle both criticism from Lucho’s cousin—who has made it obvious the family is not welcome to stay in her spare room for much longer—and escalating and unwanted attention from Mama’s husband. As the pressure builds, Ana becomes increasingly desperate. While Lucho dreams of returning to Peru, Ana is deeply haunted by the demons she left behind and determined to persevere in this new country. But how many sacrifices is she willing to make before admitting defeat and returning to Peru? And what lines is she willing to cross in order to protect her family? The Affairs of the Falcóns is a beautiful, deeply urgent novel about the lengths one woman is willing to go to build a new life, and a vivid rendering of the American immigrant experience.
Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage
This spring, with the publication of Bette Howland's CALM SEA AND PROSPEROUS VOYAGE, A Public Space Books restores to the literary canon an extraordinarily gifted writer, who was recognized as a major talent, with Guggenheim and MacArthur "genius" fellowships, before all but disappearing from public view for decades, until nearly the end of her life when she was rediscovered. Bette Howland herself was an outsider--an intellectual from a Jewish working-class neighborhood in Chicago; a divorcée and single mother, to the disapproval of her family; an artist chipped away at by poverty and self-doubt. Each of these facets plays a central role in her work. Saul Bellow, Howland's mentor, champion, and (for a time) lover, urged her to mine her deepest emotions for her art. It was a model for writing she embraced. With direct and powerful use of language in the tradition of Lucia Berlin, Kathleen Collins, and Grace Paley, Bette Howland chronicles the tensions of her generation. She is a wry, brilliant observer, and a writer of great empathy and sly, joyous humor. CALM SEA AND PROSPEROUS VOYAGE showcases the full formal and emotional range of a brilliant writer in a collection that spans the entirety of her career.
Look How Happy I'm Making You
"A beautifully written and beautifully conceived series of stories about, well, conception...Among the thousands of books for prospective and new parents, I doubt any will make you feel more understood and less alone than this one."—ANTHONY DOERR, author of ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE A candid, ultimately buoyant debut story collection about the realities of the "baby years," whether you're having one or not The women in Polly Rosenwaike's Look How Happy I'm Making You want to be mothers, or aren't sure they want to be mothers, or--having recently given birth--are overwhelmed by what they've wrought. Sharp and unsettling, wry and moving in its depiction of love, friendship, and family, this collection expands the conversation about what having a baby looks like. One woman struggling with infertility deals with the news that her sister is pregnant. Another woman nervous about her biological clock "forgets" to take her birth control while dating a younger man and must confront the possibility of becoming a single parent. Four motherless women who meet in a bar every Mother's Day contend with their losses and what it would mean to have a child. Witty, empathetic, and precisely observed, Look How Happy I'm Making You offers the rare, honest portrayal of pregnancy and new motherhood in a culture obsessed with women's most intimate choices.
The Tradition explores cultural threats on black bodies, resistance, and the interplay of desire and privilege in a dangerous era.
The Light Years
The Light Years is a joyous and defiant coming-of-age memoir set during one of the most turbulent times in American history Chris Rush was born into a prosperous, fiercely Roman Catholic, New Jersey family. But underneath the gleaming mid-century house, the flawless hostess mom, and the thriving businessman dad ran an unspoken tension that, amid the upheaval of the late 1960s, was destined to fracture their precarious facade. His older sister Donna introduces him to the charismatic Valentine, who places a tab of acid on twelve-year-old Rush’s tongue, proclaiming: “This is sacrament. You are one of us now.” After an unceremonious ejection from an experimental art school, Rush heads to Tuscon to make a major drug purchase and, still barely a teenager, disappears into the nascent American counterculture. Stitching together a ragged assemblage of lowlifes, prophets, and fellow wanderers, he seeks kinship in the communes of the west. His adolescence is spent looking for knowledge, for the divine, for home. Given what Rush confronts on his travels—from ordinary heartbreak to unimaginable violence—it is a miracle he is still alive. The Light Years is a prayer for vanished friends, an odyssey signposted with broken and extraordinary people. It transcends one boy’s story to perfectly illustrate the slow slide from the optimism of the 1960s into the darker and more sinister 1970s. This is a riveting, heart-stopping journey of discovery and reconciliation, as Rush faces his lost childhood and, finally, himself.
"Phenomenal" --Justin Torres, author of We the Animals "Brilliant" --Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2019 BY Entertainment Weekly, Buzzfeed, Nylon, Huffington Post, AV Club, The Millions In the city of Houston - a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America - the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He's working at his family's restaurant, weathering his brother's blows, resenting his older sister's absence. And discovering he likes boys. Around him, others live and thrive and die in Houston's myriad neighborhoods: a young woman whose affair detonates across an apartment complex, a ragtag baseball team, a group of young hustlers, hurricane survivors, a local drug dealer who takes a Guatemalan teen under his wing, a reluctant chupacabra. Bryan Washington's brilliant, viscerally drawn world vibrates with energy, wit, and the infinite longing of people searching for home. With soulful insight into what makes a community, a family, and a life, Lot explores trust and love in all its unsparing and unsteady forms.
"Lara’s searingly honest account of her astonishing rise from hopeless underdog to Mongol Derby Champion leaves grit in your teeth and dust in your hair. I laughed, I cried and I felt every bruise. I was riveted til the last word and left with lasting daydreams of Mongolian horizons."—Felicity Aston, author of Alone in Antarctica, The First Woman To See Solo Across the Southern Ice At the age of nineteen, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to “the world’s longest, toughest horse race”—an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of twenty-five wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. On a whim, she decided to enter the race. As she boarded a plane to East Asia, she was utterly unprepared for what awaited her. Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that recreates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan, and many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for ten days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe, as American television crews chased her in their Jeeps. Told with terrific suspense and style, in a voice full of poetry and soul, Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this breathtaking race.
NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2019 BY WOMAN’S DAY, NEWSDAY, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, BUSTLE, AND BOOK RIOT! “[B]rilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place. Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her. With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.
If the Ice Had Held
Melanie Henderson's life is a lie. The scandal of her birth and the identity of her true parents is kept from her family's small, conservative Colorado town. Not even she knows the truth: that her birth mother was just 14 and unmarried to her father, a local boy who drowned when he tried to take a shortcut across an icy river. Thirty-five years later, in Denver, Melanie dabbles in affairs with married men while clinging to a corporate job that gives her life order even as her tenuous relationships fall apart. She still hasn't learned that the woman who raised her is actually her aunt—or that her birth mother visits her almost every day. This fiercely-guarded secret bonds the two most important women in her life, who hatched a plan to trade places and give Melanie a life unmarred by shame. Yet, as a forest fire rages through the Rocky Mountains and a car accident shakes the family, Melanie finds herself at the center of an unraveling tangle of tragedy and heartbreak. If the Ice Had Held speaks with a natural lyricism, and presents a cast of characters who quietly struggle through complicated lives.
The Old Drift
An electrifying debut from the winner of the 2015 Caine Prize for African writing, The Old Drift is the Great Zambian Novel you didn’t know you were waiting for On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. Here begins the epic story of a small African nation, told by a mysterious swarm-like chorus that calls itself man’s greatest nemesis. The tale? A playful panorama of history, fairytale, romance and science fiction. The moral? To err is human. In 1904, in a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond. As the generations pass, their lives – their triumphs, errors, losses and hopes – form a symphony about what it means to be human. From a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines – this gripping, unforgettable novel sweeps over the years and the globe, subverting expectations along the way. Exploding with color and energy, The Old Drift is a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.
Magical Realism for Non-believers
"Magical Realism for Non-Believers is set against the backdrops of Colombia and the United States (particularly Minneapolis) of the mid-1990s, and flashes back to the unsettled freedoms of the 1970s. It's the story of a half-Colombian, half-Minnesotan exploring her past and discovering her future, taking readers on a journey from the US to Fajardo's birthplace in Colombia and the discovery of a half-brother she never knew existed, to the creation of her own family in Minneapolis"--
The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna
For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella’s childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella’s own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted. In her rugged Italian village, Stella is considered an oddity—beautiful and smart, insolent and cold. Stella uses her peculiar toughness to protect her slower, plainer baby sister Tina from life’s harshest realities. But she also provokes the ire of her father Antonio: a man who demands subservience from women and whose greatest gift to his family is his absence. When the Fortunas emigrate to America on the cusp of World War II, Stella and Tina must come of age side-by-side in a hostile new world with strict expectations for each of them. Soon Stella learns that her survival is worthless without the one thing her family will deny her at any cost: her independence. In present-day Connecticut, one family member tells this heartrending story, determined to understand the persisting rift between the now-elderly Stella and Tina. A richly told debut, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna is a tale of family transgressions as ancient and twisted as the olive branch that could heal them.
Humans: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up
Modern humans have come a long way in the seventy thousand years they’ve walked the earth. Art, science, culture, trade—on the evolutionary food chain, we’re true winners. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, and sometimes—just occasionally—we’ve managed to truly f*ck things up. Weaving together history, science, politics and pop culture, Humans offers a panoramic exploration of humankind in all its glory, or lack thereof. From Lucy, our first ancestor, who fell out of a tree and died, to General Zhou Shou of China, who stored gunpowder in his palace before a lantern festival, to the Austrian army attacking itself one drunken night, to the most spectacular fails of the present day, Humans reveals how even the most mundane mistakes can shift the course of civilization as we know it. Lively, wry and brimming with brilliant insight, this unique compendium offers a fresh take on world history and is one of the most entertaining reads of the year.
Sooner Or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea
A wide-ranging debut collection from a writer whose musicality and humor shine through even when plumbing the darkest depths of space
Tears of the Trufflepig
Fernando A. Flores
Little Glass Planet
The poems in Dobby Gibson’s new book transform the everyday into the revelatory Little Glass Planet exults in the strangeness of the known and unknowable world. In poems set as far afield as Mumbai and Marfa, Texas, Dobby Gibson maps disparate landscapes, both terrestrial and subliminal, to reveal the drama of the quotidian. Aphoristic, allusive, and collaged, these poems mine our various human languages to help us understand what we might mean when we speak to each other—as lovers, as family, as strangers. Little Glass Planet uses lyric broadcasts to foreshorten the perceived distances between us, opening borders and pointing toward a sense of collectivity. “This is my love letter to the world,” Gibson writes, “someone call us a sitter. / We’re going to be here a while.” Elegiac, funny, and candid, Little Glass Planet is a kind of manual for paying attention to a world that is increasingly engineered to distract us from our own humanity. It’s a book that points toward hope, offering the possibilities of a “we” that only the open frequency of poetry can create, possibilities that are indistinguishable from love.
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE: A wondrously wise, genuinely unputdownable new novel from Sally Rooney, winner of the 2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award (at 26, tied with Zadie Smith for the youngest-ever recipient)--the quintessential coming-of-age love story for our time. Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school--he is a star of the football team, an excellent student, and never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn't have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell's, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd, and stubborn, and while her family is well-off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship. Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well-liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend. Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a novel that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the inescapable challenges of family and friendships. Normal People is a book that you will read in one sitting, and then immediately share with your friends.
Juliet the Maniac
It's 1997, and 14-year-old Juliet has it pretty good. But over the course of the next two years, she rapidly begins to unravel, finding herself in a downward trajectory of mental illness and self-destruction. An explosive portrayal of teenage life from the perspective of The Bad Friend, Juliet The Maniac is a bold, stylish breakout book from an author already crackling on the indie scene.
The White Card
A play about the imagined fault line between black and white lives by Claudia Rankine, the author of Citizen The White Card stages a conversation that is both informed and derailed by the black/white American drama. The scenes in this one-act play, for all the characters’ disagreements, stalemates, and seeming impasses, explore what happens if one is willing to stay in the room when it is painful to bear the pressure to listen and the obligation to respond. —from the introduction by Claudia Rankine Claudia Rankine’s first published play, The White Card, poses the essential question: Can American society progress if whiteness remains invisible? Composed of two scenes, the play opens with a dinner party thrown by Virginia and Charles, an influential Manhattan couple, for the up-and-coming artist Charlotte. Their conversation about art and representations of race spirals toward the devastation of Virginia and Charles’s intentions. One year later, the second scene brings Charlotte and Charles into the artist’s studio, and their confrontation raises both the stakes and the questions of what—and who—is actually on display. Rankine’s The White Card is a moving and revelatory distillation of racial divisions as experienced in the white spaces of the living room, the art gallery, the theater, and the imagination itself.
“Choi is a masterful novelist, who understands exactly where we are and how we got here.” —Tom Perrotta “This witty, sharp, unsettling novel grabs you and won’t let you go.” —Dana Spiotta NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2019 by Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, Electric Literature, The Millions, PopSugar, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Publisher's Weekly, Lit Hub, Bustle, and The Huffington Post In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley. The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence. As captivating and tender as it is surprising, Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.
The Night Swimmers
1990s, Wisconsin's Door Peninsula- A man just graduated from college and a young widow, Mrs. Abel, swim together at night, making their way across miles of open lake. The meaning behind these night swims and the narrator's relationship to Mrs. Abel become increasingly clouded as the summer passes, until the night Mrs. Abel disappears. Twenty years later, the man brings his wife and two daughters back to the peninsula, attempting to understand his past. As he rebuilds a world he's lost with decades-old relics, he searches for clues to the fate of Mrs. Abel and begins to swim long distances in dark water once again.A novel of highly charged and transformative thought and soaring physicality, The Night Swimmersexplores the depths of an identity in motion with lyrical insight and reflective imagination few works of fiction can summon. It lays bare what it means to come to terms with your fraught and weighted choices as you struggle to make peace with the person you?ve found yourself to be. Consonant with other Sebaldian re-inventors of autobiographical fiction, this novel is an exploration of unrelenting meaning.
What My Mother and I Don't Talk About
*Most Anticipated Reads of 2019 Selection by Publishers Weekly, BuzzFeed, The Rumpus, Lit Hub, The Week, and Elle.com* Fifteen brilliant writers explore what we don’t talk to our mothers about, and how it affects us, for better or for worse. As an undergraduate, Michele Filgate started writing an essay about being abused by her stepfather. It took her more than a decade to realize what she was actually trying to write: how this affected her relationship with her mother. When it was finally published, the essay went viral, shared on social media by Anne Lamott, Rebecca Solnit, and many others. The outpouring of responses gave Filgate an idea, and the resulting anthology offers a candid look at our relationships with our mothers. While some of the writers in this book are estranged from their mothers, others are extremely close. Leslie Jamison writes about trying to discover who her seemingly perfect mother was before ever becoming a mom. In Cathi Hanauer’s hilarious piece, she finally gets a chance to have a conversation with her mother that isn’t interrupted by her domineering (but lovable) father. André Aciman writes about what it was like to have a deaf mother. Melissa Febos uses mythology as a lens to look at her close-knit relationship with her psychotherapist mother. And Julianna Baggott talks about having a mom who tells her everything. As Filgate writes, “Our mothers are our first homes, and that’s why we’re always trying to return to them.” There’s relief in breaking the silence. Acknowledging what we couldn’t say for so long is one way to heal our relationships with others and, perhaps most important, with ourselves. Contributors include Cathi Hanauer, Melissa Febos, Alexander Chee, Dylan Landis, Bernice L. McFadden, Julianna Baggott, Lynn Steger Strong, Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, André Aciman, Sari Botton, Nayomi Munaweera, Brandon Taylor, and Leslie Jamison.
NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2019 BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * VULTURE * BUZZFEED * BOSTON GLOBE * AV CLUB's * NYLON * MEDIUM * THE MILLIONS * HUFFINGTON POST * THE RUMPUS * LIT HUB * PUBLISHERS WEEKLY * THE WEEK * AM New York “This amazing, sad, shocking, but touching novel, based on a real-life event, could be right out of The Handmaid's Tale.” --Margaret Atwood, on Twitter One evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and more than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm. While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women-all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in-have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they've ever known or should they dare to escape? Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women's all-female symposium, Toews's masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.
The Bride Test
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions-like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better-that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride. As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working...but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection. With Esme's time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he's been wrong all along. And there's more than one way to love.
Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
T Kira Madden
“Frank and funny and powerful and surprising. An utterly gorgeous debut.”-Lauren Groff One of the most anticipated books of 2019--Electric Literature, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, The Millions, Hyphen, Lit Hub, Nylon, The AV Club, The Advocate, The Rumpus, The Week, Books are Magic Acclaimed literary essayist T Kira Madden's raw and redemptive debut memoir is about coming of age and reckoning with desire as a queer, biracial teenager amidst the fierce contradictions of Boca Raton, Florida, a place where she found cult-like privilege, shocking racial disparities, rampant white-collar crime, and powerfully destructive standards of beauty hiding in plain sight. As a child, Madden lived a life of extravagance, from her exclusive private school to her equestrian trophies and designer shoe-brand name. But under the surface was a wild instability. The only child of parents continually battling drug and alcohol addictions, Madden confronted her environment alone. Facing a culture of assault and objectification, she found lifelines in the desperately loving friendships of fatherless girls. With unflinching honesty and lyrical prose, spanning from 1960s Hawai'i to the present-day struggle of a young woman mourning the loss of a father while unearthing truths that reframe her reality, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls is equal parts eulogy and love letter. It's a story about trauma and forgiveness, about families of blood and affinity, both lost and found, unmade and rebuilt, crooked and beautiful.
American Messiahs: False Prophets of a Damned Nation
A history with sweeping implications, American Messiahs challenges our previous misconceptions about “cult” leaders and their messianic power. Mania surrounding messianic prophets has defined the national consciousness since the American Revolution. From Civil War veteran and virulent anticapitalist Cyrus Teed, to the dapper and overlooked civil rights pioneer Father Divine, to even the megalomaniacal Jim Jones, these figures have routinely been dismissed as dangerous and hysterical outliers. After years of studying these emblematic figures, Adam Morris demonstrates that messiahs are not just a classic trope of our national culture; their visions are essential for understanding American history. As Morris demonstrates, these charismatic, if flawed, would-be prophets sought to expose and ameliorate deep social ills—such as income inequality, gender conformity, and racial injustice. Provocative and long overdue, this is the story of those who tried to point the way toward an impossible “American Dream”: men and women who momentarily captured the imagination of a nation always searching for salvation.
Lima : Limón
Lima:: Limón traces machismo, womanhood, and culture across borders, raising questions to the gods while finding answers within the flesh.
In a thrillingly alive, candid new work, award-winning author Mitchell S. Jackson takes us inside the drug-ravaged neighborhood and struggling family of his youth, while examining the cultural forces—large and small—that led him and his family to this place. With a poet’s gifted ear, a novelist’s sense of narrative, and a journalist’s unsentimental eye, Mitchell S. Jackson candidly explores his tumultuous youth in the other America. Survival Math takes its name from the calculations Mitchell and his family made to keep safe—to stay alive—in their community, a small black neighborhood in Portland, Oregon blighted by drugs, violence, poverty, and governmental neglect. Survival Math is both a personal reckoning and a vital addition to the national conversation about race. Mitchell explores the Portland of his childhood, tracing the ways in which his family managed their lives in and around drugs, prostitution, gangs, and imprisonment as members of a tiny black population in one of the country’s whitest cities. He discusses sex work and serial killers, gangs and guns, near-death experiences, composite fathers, the concept of “hustle,” and the destructive power of drugs and addiction on family. In examining the conflicts within his family and community, Jackson presents a microcosm of struggle and survival in contemporary urban America—an exploration of the forces that shaped his life, his city, and the lives of so many black men like him. As Jackson charts his own path from drug dealer to published novelist, he gives us a heartbreaking, fascinating, lovingly rendered view of the injustices and victories, large and small, that defined his youth.