- Tag Ally @ Ally Writes Things so she can see your recommendations!
- Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
- If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
- Tag some friends!
A BOOK ABOUT FRIENDSHIP
Tender by Belinda McKeon – I absolutely ADORE this book. I read it a couple of years ago and I still think about it. It’s a beautiful, complex exploration of how fraught friendships can sometimes be, but also how much they shape you as a person, especially when you’re in your early twenties. This book is just Irish fiction at its finest and I can’t recommend it enough. (I have a full review of it here.)
A TRANSLATED BOOK
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag (translated by Srinath Perur) – This is a novella that I read last year and immediately loved. The writing is measured and precise, and for a novella, the story packs an incredible punch. It’s all about capitalism and social mobility, particularly how they intersect with familial life and relationships. (I have a short review of this here.)
A DIVERSE ROMANCE
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert – I know this book is already super popular but I just couldn’t miss out on the chance to mention it. Act Your Age, Eve Brown is like sunshine in book form; it is absolutely delightful and I loved it so much. It also features ownvoices autistic rep, which is so great to see.
A FAST-PACED BOOK
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark – I don’t typically tend to go for fast-paced books, but A Master of Djinn is an exception because it’s so well-crafted. I mean, a fantasy set in a steampunk alternate version of 1912 Cairo ??? There was no way I wasn’t going to love this. It’s fast-paced, but it doesn’t sacrifice character development for the sake of the plot, and the plot itself is immensely enjoyable (Clark’s worldbuilding is so detailed and engrossing).
A NONFICTION OTHER THAN A MEMOIR
A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott – This is a collection of incisive essays that covers so many subjects, including sexual assault, mental illness, class, pop culture, and many more. Elliott has a real skill for weaving together secondary sources with her own personal experiences to drive home the impact of her essays.
AN UNDERRATED MEMOIR
Sigh, Gone by Phuc Tran – This is such a brilliant memoir, and such an underrated one too. You can feel Phuc Tran’s love for language vibrate in every sentence of this memoir, and he writes with so much honesty and vulnerability about his early childhood and adolescence living in Pennsylvania. (Highly recommend the audiobook in particular for this one.)
A BOOK WITH FEWER THAN 10,000 RATINGS ON GOODREADS
Sweet Home by Wendy Erskine – I don’t understand how this book has less than 1000 ratings on Goodreads because it’s easily one of the best short story collections I’ve ever read. Erskine’s writing is sharp and haunting, and her unsettling stories linger in the best possible way. (I have a short review of this here.)
A BOOK WITH AN LGBTQA+ PROTAGONIST
The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager – I can’t speak highly enough of this book. Drager’s command of the multiple storylines in this is masterful, and they all come together to make such a beautiful and moving story. This book deserves so much more attention than it’s gotten, so I’ve basically made it my personal mission to keep talking about it until everyone I know has read it. (I have a full review of this here.)
A BOOK BY A TRANS OR NON-BINARY AUTHOR
Homesick by Nino Cipri – I just posted a full review of this one but I wanted to mention it again because it’s just really damn good. If you love character-focused stories that incorporate a lot of fantastical/surrealist elements, then this short story collection is for you. Nino Cipri is definitely a writer to watch out for; their books always deliver.
A BOOK WITH MORE THAN 500 PAGES
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters – I know it’s not exactly groundbreaking to be recommending a Sarah Waters novel, but I don’t really read that many books over 500 pages, and I just immensely loved this. Sarah Waters is a brilliant author, and it was so rewarding seeing Nan grow throughout this book (it also had one of the most beautiful and cathartic endings I’ve read all year).
A SHORT STORY COLLECTION
Alligator by Dima Alzayat – This is an exceptional short story collection: formally experimental, moving, and masterfully written. There is not a single dud in this collection, and I can’t wait to see whatever Dima Alzayat comes out with next because whatever it is, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be great. Also, Dima Alzayat is Syrian American, and many of her stories feature Arab protagonists, which I loved reading about, especially since I find it really hard to find literary fiction books by Arab authors.
BOOK YOU WANT EVERYONE TO READ
Popisho by Leone Ross – I read this novel at the end of last year and just adored it. I can’t speak highly enough about it: characters, worldbuilding, beautiful writing, Popisho has it all. (I have a full review of it here.)