To celebrate the release of the Black Panther movie, we’re giving away this bundle of Black Panther goodies! It includes Marvel’s Ultimate Guide to Black Panther, the first three volumes of the Black Panther comics, and a Black Panther Funko! Go here to enter for a chance to win, or just click the image below. Good luck!
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Previous daily deals that are still active (as of this writing at least). Get ’em while they’re hot.
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As a kid, I read Carolyn Keene and Mary Higgins Clark into the late hours of the night. So it’s no surprise that when I stay up now, compelled by something beyond my control to keep turning pages, there’s often a mystery novel in my hands. Sometimes, however, a girl’s gotta sleep, and that’s where these short mystery stories come in. If you, like me, feel that all’s right in the world when you’ve figured out the big twist, these short mystery stories will deliver that satisfaction without the side effect of lost sleep.
I’m especially partial to this one since I’m a recent Megan Abbott convert (late the the party, I know!). This short story is about Penny, who has recently moved into her dream home. However, the beautiful cottage seems to be haunted. After hearing strange noises and creepy rumors from her neighbors, Penny begins to wonder about the death that occurred in the home a decade earlier.
Every entry is fantastic in this short mystery stories anthology, but I chose this one because the twist ending left a pit in my stomach. Elizabeth and her husband Winston have just divorced. One night, our narrator gets a call from Elizabeth. She says, “If I ever get killed, find a PI or go to the police, because Winston will have done it.” Shortly thereafter, Elizabeth goes missing, leaving behind a shattered wedding picture and a cold cup of coffee. Read it on your commute and prepare to think about it all day.
Famed fictional detective Miss Marple recounts a locked room case she once solved. In it, one of Miss Marple’s friends asks her to save him from being charged for his wife’s murder. She requests all of the details of the ghastly crime before solving it on the spot, without ever leaving her chair. This satisfying story is short enough to read over your lunch break.
This one is from another great anthology of short mystery stories. At the beginning, a young woman decides to tell her date a chilling true story. The tale is about her grandfather, who worked on a passenger train during a time when there was a ghastly murder on board. Reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, this whodunit is full of zany characters who will keep you guessing until the very end.
This is a novella, but at only 107 pages you could definitely read it in a sitting. Its plot is connected to Older’s Shadowshaper, but you could read it as a standalone since it features two secondary characters from the novel. In it, Tee and her girlfriend Izzy have to evaluate their relationship while also confronting a ghost and looking for a missing girl. Older’s mystery also deals with how missing brown and black girls get less media attention than white ones. The kicker? You can get it for under a dollar!
You can read this and other short mystery stories by the author of The Martian for free! Part of Weir’s Holmesian fan fiction, it centers on Professor James Moriarty, who solves crimes as a criminal consultant. In this particular story, Moriarty himself has been charged with murder and his sidekick, Captain Moran, is called to bail him out of jail and exonerate him. Weir no longer writes these stories, but they are quick and fun reads if you like Sherlock Holmes variations.
If you’re a reader of cozy mysteries, this short story is for you. Callahan Garrity is a former cop who has started a cleaning business in Atlanta. In the series of novels about this detective, she usually solves crimes committed at or around the houses she and her crew have been hired to clean. In this short story, one of Callahan’s “House Mouse” cleaning staff members asks her to help her grandson, Darius, who’s been charged with murdering an antiques dealer. (And if you like this fudge story, there’s another one called Fatal Fruitcake you can read next.)
Like mysteries? Get more recommendations below.
10 Short Mystery Audiobooks
8 Murder Mystery Books That Will Keep You Up All Night
YA True Crime Fiction for Fans of My Favorite Murder
2018 Mystery & Thrillers To Be Excited For
25 of the Absolute Best Cozy Mystery Series
Hygge is a Scandinavian term that means, basically, “a sublime state of cosiness you feel when you are with loved ones and nothing else matters.” The concept hit English language countries last year, bringing with it a wave of beautiful, cozy books to explain the idea. The popularity of hygge has brought new attention to similar philosophies and ideas from other countries, such as Sweden’s lagom and Japan’s ikigai.
Once you’ve read all you can find about hygge (and we have a booklist to get you started!), expand your cultural self-care knowledge with books on these complementary topics.
Ikigai is the Japanese concept that means “a reason for being.” Similar to the French concept of raison d’être, this refers not just to one’s calling, but to appreciating the small and large things that bring us satisfaction.
This book introduces five pillars of ikigai to help you make the most of each day and become your most authentic self. Weaving together insights from Japanese history, philosophy, and modern culture, plus stories from renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono, anime filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, and others, Mogi skillfully shows the way to awaken your ikigai.
How do you find your own ikigai? How does ikigai contribute to happiness? Neuroscientist and bestselling Japanese writer Ken Mogi provides an absorbing insight into this way of life, incorporating scientific research and first-hand experience, and providing a colourful narrative of Japanese culture and history along the way.
In researching this book, the authors interviewed the residents of the Japanese village with the highest percentage of 100-year-olds—one of the world’s Blue Zones. Ikigai reveals the secrets to their longevity and happiness: how they eat, how they move, how they work, how they foster collaboration and community, and—their best-kept secret—how they find the ikigai that brings satisfaction to their lives. And it provides practical tools to help you discover your own ikigai. Because who doesn’t want to find happiness in every day?
Lagom is a Swedish word that means “enough, sufficient, adequate, just right.” Unlike the English term minimalism, which can imply a certain degree of self-deprivation, lagom is all about being happy with what you have. The Swedish proverb “Lagom är bäst” can be translated to “The right amount is best.”
An inviting exploration of the Swedish concept of lagom—finding balance in moderation—featuring inspiration and practical advice on how to find a happy medium in life, home, work, and health.
This book provides simple solutions to juggle everyday priorities, reduce stress, eat well, and save money, with lessons on the importance of downtime, being outdoors, and Sweden’s coffee break culture. Tips on removing clutter and creating a capsule wardrobe help readers achieve Sweden’s famously clean and functional design aesthetic, while advice on going green and growing food gets their hands dirty.
Åkerström, editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm, offers a unique vantage point when it comes to adopting elements of a lagom lifestyle. Full of insights and beautiful photographs taken by Lola herself, this authentic book will help you make small, simple changes to your every day life—whether that’s your diet, lifestyle, money, work or your home—so you can have a more balanced way of living filled with contentment.
Fika is a Swedish word meaning to meet up for a cup of coffee or tea over something delicious. It is also the word for the delicious treats themselves. Swedes traditionally stop twice a day for fika: taking a much-needed break from the daily grind. People fika with family, colleagues, friends, children, and even go on fika dates.
An illustrated lifestyle cookbook including recipes for traditional baked goods, information and anecdotes about Swedish coffee culture, and the roots and modern incarnations of this cherished custom.
An essential part of the lagom lifestyle, fika is the simple art of taking a break—sometimes twice a day—to enjoy a warm beverage and sweet treat with friends. This delightful gift book offers an introduction to the tradition along with recipes to help you establish your own fika practice.
This beautifully illustrated, authentic guide is a celebration of Scandinavian baking in all its glory. It is evocative of cosy days shared with friends, slowing down and taking the time to enjoy simple, homemade, wholesome pleasures―encouraging a lifestyle to aspire to. With features on special Scandi winter celebrations, their baking traditions and how to bring fika and hygge into your life.
Looking for even more hygge? Check out our post about how to hygge your reading life.
Not all librarians are the same. Obviously. Some love cats, others prefer dogs. Some drink tea, and for others their caffeinated beverage of choice is coffee. Some love popular fiction, and others like reading the classics more. This makes a post about gifts for librarians a little…I don’t know. Narrow? As though all librarians are the same? This is all just to say that I know librarians have their individual tastes, identities, and preferences, but this post of gift suggestions could provide some pointers when shopping for the librarian or library-lover in your life. The suggestions here are library- and book-themed, but I have broken it into three sections. First, for the librarian who has everything, charities or organisations you could donate to in their name. Second, for the librarian who doesn’t have enough books, books about libraries. And third, cool library-related things.
There are many great organisations and charities out there that promote literacy and books. Rather than listing all of them, which could be an entire post in itself, I want to highlight just a few ways you can support literacy, libraries, and reading.
First, see if your local library has a Friends of the Library group. These are typically volunteer-run groups that support the services and activities of the library. They are usually the ones running the book sales or the library bookshop, and are usually registered as non-profit educational organisations.
Second, DonorsChoose is a website where you can find classroom projects to support. A lot of these are classrooms in public schools that are under-resourced, and the projects range from things like needing sports equipment or learning materials to books and dictionaries.
Even though I said I’m not listing every literacy-related charity out there, there just two I want to highlight. Room to Read is an organisation that I have supported for a long time, and I really admire their work. They work in developing countries all around the world to support girls’ education, literacy, and local publishing. I was lucky enough to visit one of their school libraries in Cambodia a few years ago, and I’ve seen John Wood, the co-founder, speak at a few events—they are definitely an organisation I have no hesitations in supporting. The other specific organisation I want to mention is Reach Out and Read, an organisation that incorporates literacy with paediatric care. They teach parents the importance of reading aloud, as well as demonstrating how to read aloud, and also give books to young children. These two organisations get to the heart of what librarianship is about: access to knowledge to all (through the power of literacy, reading, and books).
There are a lot of suggestions here, 100 must-read books about libraries and bookstores and here, 10 books for library lovers. I have spent about the past five years reading a lot about libraries all in the name of research (my PhD was on public libraries, and when you do a PhD on something, it kind of becomes a bit of an obsession). As a result, I’ve amassed quite the collection of library-related books. These are three of my favourites:
The Public Library by Robert Dawson, a beautiful collection of photographs of libraries across America.
Reading Publics by Tom Glynn, a more academic and historical look at public libraries in New York from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century.
The Library Book, a beautiful collection of essays from writers about the importance of libraries.
And for the most gift-guide-ish part of this gift guide, cool library things!
Keeping it simple, this book print. I love the definition of “book”: a magical doorway to a world of adventure and possibility. Yes indeed.
Straight from the Hogwarts Library, this plush Monster Book of Monsters.
Along the Harry Potter theme, there’s also this “When in doubt, go to the library” mug. (Also available as a phone case, tote bag, poster, and shirt).
I have a thing for pretty pins, and there are so many great ones out there!
Bookmobile pin! I bought this one for a friend who drives the mobile library truck and she loved it. The artist has some other great book-related pins too.
Books are magic pin, from The Ideal Bookshelf artist. There are actually quite a few book cover pins too, which would make great presents. I kind of want the entire Harry Potter set.
Library pin. Simple and pretty.
Library trolley and “This is how we roll” pin set. I would like everything in the “This is how we roll” collection, please.
Library card and stamp pin set.What? I said I had a thing for pins! These are adorable.
Personalised library card pillow. I have a plain old library card pillow which is great, and this one takes it one step further by letting you personalise it.
Superhero bookend, because we all know librarians are superheroes.
“I never dreamed I would be a super cool librarian…” mug.
Speaking of superheroes, here’s a mug for a super cool librarian! Sorry, that was lame.
“We’re going to library science the shit out of this” bag.
As a bonus, the proceeds go to the New York Library Association Sustainability Initiative.
Library card coasters. So you have somewhere to rest the copious mugs of tea and coffee.
“The library is calling and I must go” mug. In case you needed another mug, you know? One can never have too many mugs.
“I Will Dewey Decimate You” shirt. I do appreciate a good pun!
“Having fun isn’t hard if you’ve got a library card” print. So colourful and wonderful.
“I still believe in 398.2” necklace. I’ve seen this phrase on a number of different products over the years, and I think this one is especially pretty.
And finally, library cards have made their way onto a lot of products, like socks, tote bags, scarves, pouches, and shirts (okay, those shirts are library stamps, but that’s close enough).
What are your favorite gifts for librarians?
My To-Be-Read pile is largely hypothetical. Of course, there’s the actual, physical pile on the top shelf of my bookshelf. There’s also the list of book recommendations that is in the notes section on my phone. For the most part, though, the titles of books I want to read are floating around in my head somewhere in a disorderly fashion.
I used to be more organized about the process. I had lists. When I went to the bookstore, I would come home with a large stack that I’d proudly put (and forget about) on that designated top shelf. But that was the crux of the problem: even with lists and lots of unread books at my fingertips, I’d forget about what I had already. Or I would look at what I had and realize that I was in the mood for a different sort of book entirely.
Do you know that feeling? When you’ve been on a kick for historical fiction, for instance—and so all the books in your TBR pile are historical fiction, and then all of a sudden you really want to read some serious, juicy fantasy? That happens to me all of the time. It feels like my cravings for different types of books changes with the phases of the moon or something.
Two summers ago, I tried to tackle the To-Be-Read pile that was accumulating on my top shelf. There were books there that I hadn’t thought about in years. Books I’d asked for as Christmas presents that I felt bad about donating or getting rid of because I hadn’t touched them yet. Some books I’d gotten because I was super into a certain topic (Vikings, for example, and retold fairy tales). Other books I’d won or were old ARCs I’d gotten as hand-me-downs.
At first, tackling the “Actual TBR Shelf” (as I called it on Goodreads) was kind of fun. It was neat to see how much I’d changed as a reader and a person since I’d first gotten those books. Plus, the first couple of books on there were like popcorn—I could read them each in a day.
And then I could feel my interests changing again. There were other books I could be reading. New releases, old books I dug up on the internet in the public domain. But I’d made this challenge, so I felt obligated to finish it.
I don’t discipline myself well, apparently, because that “Actual TBR Shelf” became a veritable chore. I slogged through books that I’d picked up on a whim at the bookstore ages ago. After all, I wanted to adhere to my list.
But what that summer taught me was that I work way better when I don’t have a specific TBR list to follow. I prefer to go down rabbit holes and to allow my interests to branch into different things at different times.
So I have lists, but I don’t always stick to them. I don’t come home with stacks of books from the store because I don’t know where my interests will take me in the future. And that’s okay.
What kind of a TBR person are you?
If you ever wanted to read chick lit with the edge and vicious plot twists of psychological thrillers, allow us to introduce you to the work of British author Jane Fallon. Beginning with her debut, Getting Rid of Matthew, Fallon has carved out a very specific niche that’s something like “if psychological thrillers were also funny and nobody died but were still full of suspense and dread.” Somehow, her works combine slamming-doors British bedroom farce with heart and pathos, along with—almost always—fist-pumping revenge by women who have been done wrong.
Fallon’s new release, Faking Friends, asks the juicy question: when your best friend steals your fiancé, do you run and hide, or do you start planning revenge? Spoiler: it’s a Fallon book, so obviously the latter.
Her novels are guaranteed to provide numerous game-changing twists, over-the-top melodrama, hilarious narrators, and—somehow—real heart and stakes. Her characters tend to be in their 30s and 40s, making them a bit older and wiser than in traditional chick lit…not that it helps them escape the various traps of their own making they inevitably all wind up embroiled in.
Here’s a quick intro to her of-so-satisfying tales of multi-faceted women and the men they are determined to destroy:
Fallon burst out of the gate with this dark mirror of traditional romantic comedy. In this one, a mistress is faced with the nightmare reality of sharing her life with her long-time boyfriend. So a la Kate Hudson in How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, she becomes the worst girlfriend ever in hopes of reuniting him with his estranged wife. Along the way, she accidentally befriends said wife and falls for maybe the worst possible age-appropriate love interest.
Again we find the tables turned, as two women discover they share the same boyfriend—and work together to make his life a living hell with both of them, without letting on they know or breaking up with him. Does one of them carry her revenge plans too far? Was this book written by Jane Fallon?
This one has more overlapping schemes than Dangerous Liaisons. Here, a woman sets a honey trap to catch her best friend’s husband having an affair…but it turns out her trusted accomplice has her own agenda, as does her husband.
Here, a cheated-upon wife decides to secretly make herself over to make her husband fall back in love with her—so that it will hurt all the more when she leaves him. Of course her plans get more complicated than she’d intended, particularly when this novel’s other woman catches wind of what she’s up to.
Can’t get enough Jane Fallon? Her slightly-less-revenge-driven titles include Foursome, The Ugly Sister, and Skeletons.
Find more great British books on our lists of 12 British Books Crossing The Pond in 2018, and dive into all the types of chick lit with the titles on our list Chick Lit: It’s Not All About Shoes (Though Shoes Are Awesome).
Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date is the newest romance darling, so it’s likely that its readers—whether romance veterans or newcomers—will be looking for more. While there’s nothing that I can think of that has all the same tropes as this book, there are plenty of wonderful (or at least very enjoyable) novels that give us the same feeling as readers, or have similar plot lines and tropes.
A one-night stand leads to something more between an event planner and an NFL player. Our heroine, a single mother not looking for a relationship, lets the hero pursue something more, but they have their ups and downs. There are also elements of long distance relationship, which plays a key role in The Wedding Date.
Two people installing a museum exhibit have plenty of sexual tension, but both have firm rules about sleeping with colleagues. When Jocelyn informs Ian of her birthday plans, which include some hot birthday sex, Ian offers his services. A fling follows, even though Ian’s circumstances mean their relationship is finite. (I don’t think the Ian in the story is quite as pale as the cover would convey, if you’re worried about that. I think he’s getting his Vitamin D.) (Heh.) (I’m a child.)
If you want some competence porn to the Nth degree, this is your book. If you loved watching Drew and Alexa being amazing people and doing their work, you’ll love Liza and Jackson. They both care about their community, and we get to watch them do what they do best.
One thing I love about Alexa is how much she loves donuts. Well, I’m not sure what Shae’s position is regarding donuts, but she is a baker and loves to eat, whether she creates it or not. If the brief descriptions of food in The Wedding Date made you hungry, you had better have a seven course meal before you start reading this one. Also, Shae and Aidan are just adorable together. (P.S. this presents itself as a Christmas novella but it can totally be read anytime.)
If “I need you to be my girlfriend this weekend” is what you really enjoyed about The Wedding Date, OTP is definitely a good place for you. Hailey is a barista in a smallish town that is currently hosting a convention for the hottest Supernatural-esque new show. The third lead in the show, Jake is well-loved by the fans, but doesn’t seem to have the same faith from the network. Something that could help his Q score? A twu wuv encounter with a local. Their arrangement is just until the end of the convention, but when does that ever happen?
Two very competent human beings with very different personalities lock horns in this mid-series (but totally readable even if you haven’t read the others) book. This is another one of those good for people who are down for forced-proximity. People stuck together in a snowstorm falling in love? Yes, this is for you. (Actually, if forced proximity is your thing, you just want to read Santino Hassell’s entire ouvre. He’s super good at that. Snowstorms? Blackouts? He’s got you covered.)
If the long-distance thing with lots of love by phone (okay, not that way, sorry) is what you enjoyed about The Wedding Date, try this one on for size. Ruby gets kissed by a random dude with a cold right before an audition that is the only possibility of her covering her rent. When they meet again, she lightly manipulates him into letting her stay at his apartment while he’s out of town for several weeks. He has exotic pets and it’s very cute.
Want more public servant romance? Abigail is a librarian (yay, librarians!) fighting to keep her library open. Her work at the library and for her community is nicely woven into the story of her budding romance with a supermodel she dances with at a swanky gala, expecting to never see again. But Gabrielle is very interested in her, and while Abby is hesitant in part because of her asexuality, the two can’t really stay away from each other, even with Gabrielle’s reputation and exes getting in the way all the time.
Here is another pair of professionals for whom work gets in the way, but they figure it out. Allergist Petra and restauranteur Ian meet at Petra’s practice, where he’s gone for treatment. Petra finds her new patient attractive, but can’t risk the ethical setbacks of dating a patient and can’t lose a patient in her budding practice. But she really likes Ian. And Ian likes her. What’s a pair to do?
I could really keep telling you more. Since first compiling this list, I have read A Princess in Theory, which has some amazing competence porn and also high emotions in a short period of time. Or maybe you want something more like Love On My Mind, which, alongside its companion books, has strong commentary on the contemporary issues of interracial coupledom. (One thing I’ll admit none of these has is that fade to black sexy times element. If that was what drew you to The Wedding Date, I will unfortunately have to direct you somewhere else. I know where my limitations are :sob emoji:)
Do you have recs for someone who loved The Wedding Date? Share them in the comments!
For some reason, I’ve been having a hard time focusing on my reading this year. I’m going to blame starting a new job, but maybe I just wore myself out with all the reading I did at the end of last year when I was on break from work. Anyway, the long Presidents’ Day weekend gave me the time I’d been needing to get some reading done, so I actually finished two books. And now I’m hoping to keep the momentum going!
I’m preparing to write something about horror fiction, and I decided that it might be helpful to consult the King himself. I owned this book once upon a time, but I must have gotten rid of it during a library purge. I’m still not sure that it will be a keeper, so I got this copy from the library. I’ve liked King’s writing about books in the past, so I imagine I’ll enjoy perusing this. And I know it will add to my TBR list!
I have been slowly, slowly, slowly making my way through this 20-volume series of nautical novels set during the Napoleonic wars. Even though I can’t always follow the battles and I still don’t know a fo’c’sle from a mizzen, I find the characters a total delight. This, the 17th book in the series, includes some particularly wonderful character moments as ship’s surgeon Stephen Maturin meets his young daughter for the first time and Captain Jack Aubrey becomes a commodore, assigned to lead a fleet of ships out to capture slave ships and release the prisoners on them.
I read a bunch of Lee Smith’s novel about Appalachian Virginia years ago, but I’d forgotten about her until her memoir, Dimestore, was released last year. Reading that reminded me of how good her books were, so I decided to revisit her fiction. I think I may have read this at some point, but it’s been long enough that I’d forgotten everything about this epistolary novel about Ivy Rowe, a free-spirited mountain women who we follow from her early teenage years to old age. The writing is gorgeous, and the prose grows up along with Ivy, as her spelling improves but her independence remains.
I love to follow the Tournament of Books each March, and it’s more fun if I’ve read a lot of the books. This year, I’ve read (or tried and abandoned) 10 of the 18 books on the list, and I’m hoping to get in a few more before it starts on March 7. This book is in the March 7 play-in round, so it’s at the top of my list. I don’t know anything about it other than that it’s about a high school wrestler, that it’s kind of weird, and that it has an awesome cover. The TOB has brought me some unexpected gems before, so I’m hoping for the best, but I’ll give it up quickly if it’s not working.
This is another Tournament of Books entry, but I was already planning to read it. I’ve been hearing great things about it, and I often love multi-generational family sagas. And since it involves a Korean family, I’ll get a chance to explore some pieces of history that are knew to me. It’s also my book club’s pick for our next meeting, so it’s a high priority.
Sponsored by The Birthday Girl by Sue Fortin.
Four friends. A party to die for. One killer surprise.
As birthday girl Joanne turns forty, no one wants to celebrate her special day, or play along with her idea of a fun party—a weekend away in a cozy cottage in the woods. But as her friends reluctantly gather round her it quickly becomes clear that there is more to Joanne’s birthday weekend, because Joanne is planning to reveal a secret that one of her friends is hiding…A beautiful cottage in the middle of the countryside sounds idyllic—until no one can hear your cries for help. And when Joanne’s party turns into a murder scene, one of the party guests must be the killer. As secrets unravel, the rest of Jo’s friends face a race against time to discover the murderer, before they are next on the killer’s guest list…
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at Electric Literature, 5 Book Pairings to Help You Understand Historical Conflicts
at Bustle, 11 Sci-Fi Books By Women To Read If You Can’t Wait For A Wrinkle In Time
at BuzzFeed, 18 Incredible YA Books By Black Authors Coming Out This Year
at the Huffington Post, 21 Quotes On Womanhood By Female Authors That Totally Nailed It
at Signature, 8 Titles Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison
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at YA Interrobang, East & Southeast Asian YA Books for Lunar New Year
“Immigrants, we get the job done.”
It’s a powerful line, a line that’s been repeated for over three years now, by fans of the musical Hamilton. It’s a line that burrowed its way into my heart from the moment I heard it, from the moment I felt heard. There’s something about being heard, and knowing that there are stories of others like you, that is deeply empowering. While we don’t all share the same stories or experiences, the vast spectrum of our lives means there is a story for everyone.
Happily, 2018 is going to be bringing some fantastic books about immigrants, and by immigrants, to your nearest bookstore or library. Here are a couple titles I know I’ll be checking out this year—which books have you got on your list?
Taiwanese American student Mei Lu is smart, stubborn, and on her way to college at MIT, just the way her parents planned. Except for one thing: Mei is 100% uninterested in pre-med classes, and germs are her worst nightmare. Gloria Chao has crafted a charming and emotional story of what it means to build your own life while managing the expectations of your culture and family, and the strength we find in ourselves to live it.
Finding one’s place in a new community can be incredibly stressful and difficult. The unnamed narrator learns this on the streets of Boston, as she and her father deal with the arrival of a charismatic new arrival, whose actions draw the narrator into events that threaten to change her life, and her reality, forever.
Danny Cheng is ready for the next chapter in his life, albeit with a healthy dose of anxiety about what college will be like without his best friend Harry by his side. But when Danny learns about a secret his parents have been keeping for years, college isn’t going to be the only thing that shakes up his world. Kelly Loy Gilbert’s second novel gives space to the stories that we don’t always hear growing up, to the secrets that haunt some families, and the light that always finds a way to shine into our darkest corners.
Dreams of freedom bring many immigrants away from the home they have always known, to a new land where a better life might lie in store. Dream Country follows Kollie Flomo, stuck in the middle of his home in Minneapolis and his Liberian heritage, as he grapples with the reality of his existence as a refugee. Gibney alternates his story with sections, based on historical fact, detailing the lives of other Liberians, caught between Africa and America, and changed forever (and not for the best) by the experience.
Young Jason is stunned to learn that his mother is an undocumented Afghanistani immigrant, and the truth frightens him: how would he be able to survive in the States without his mother? When his mother is led away from their home, Jason decides to take matters into his own hands to find his aunt in New York City. Hashimi dives head-first into a story of hope in the face of darkness and fear, giving Jason a chance to find his courage.
Taiwan is a distant, intangible country to Leigh Chan Sanders. Her mother never speaks of her life in Taiwan, though her white American father spends plenty of time lecturing in various universities around Asia. When Leigh’s mother ends her life, leaving her with the struck-out words “I want you to remember,” Leigh finds herself in a maelstrom of confusion with one truth shining through: her mother is now a red bird, and the answers she needs are in Taiwan. Pan explores the complexities of grief with grace, relaying it with honesty in these pages.
Immigrants may leave the country they were born in, but family is not so easy to leave behind. This short story collection follows one such family through their lives in China and the United States, and the way their lives intertwine with the inevitable changes that overtake their home country. Huang aims to tell each story with a deft hand, capturing the immigrant experience alongside the ways family shapes our view of the world around us.
Hindsight is 20/20, they say, and Grace Talusan’s memoir promises to be a sharp-eyed, perceptive look at what it means to live as a Filipina and a daily survivor of illness and pain. Having cut herself off from her family and the idea of what a Filipina woman is supposed to be, Talusan explores the truths she has found for herself living in the United States. Talusan was awarded the 2017 prize for New Immigrant Writing for Nonfiction by Restless Books.