hello hello!! I’ve been wanting to write this post for ages and now it’s finally here!! as I’m sure you can tell from the title, this post is about a bunch of books that I think are even better when you listen to them as audiobooks. as per usual, there are lots of different genres here, and I’ve also included samples of the audiobooks for each book so that you can hear what the narration sounds like. (also all of these are some of my favourite books so consider them all highly recommended!!)
Susan Abulhawa does a fantastic job with this one. She has such a calm, serene voice, which lends the narrative an impact and precision that is by turns chilling and by others quite moving. Authors narrating their own novels doesn’t always work out, but this one absolutely did.
Emily Woo Zeller is an audiobook legend at this point; she simply does not miss. This is an incredible audiobook, especially when it comes to the voices that Zeller does for these characters. She’s so good at doing voices that even when they’re similar (e.g. as in the case with a mother and daughter in this book), she’s able to distinguish them using small but immediately noticeable differences. Every time I listen to an Emily Woo Zeller I know I’m in good hands, and I knew that this was gonna be an incredible read literally as soon as Zeller read that first line. 10/10 perfection.
Gideon the Ninth + Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Narrated by: Moira Quirk
This series is very complex and hard to follow sometimes, but Moira Quirk’s narration is always pitch perfect. The voices that she does for these characters are so good (and fun!), and her narration does a stellar job of conveying the sense of humour that’s such an important part of Muir’s writing. It’s just brilliant, and if you’ve only read these novels physically before, I highly recommend trying out the audiobooks for a reread.
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Narrated by: Suehyla El-Attar
Suehyla El-Attar is Egyptian American, which I was so happy to see because this book is set in Egypt. The pronunciation of all the Arabic words was on point, and I loved how theatrical and sometimes dramatic her narration was. It’s a fun and funny book, and the way she narrates gets that across perfectly.
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
Narrated by: Frances Cha, Sue Jean Kim, Ruthie Ann Miles, Jeena Yi
This one is one of my favourite audiobooks ever. Frances Cha is one of the narrators–her voice is mesmerizing and so piercing–but the other narrators are also excellent. I loved every single one of the perspectives in the novel, and I can’t recommend this one enough if you’re looking for a compelling audiobook to listen to.
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
Narrated by: Juanita McMahon
Juanita McMahon is another audiobook icon for me. I’ve read four of Sarah Waters’ six novels, and every one of the 4 that I’ve read have been audiobooks (Tipping the Velvet is just my favourite of the bunch, but I also loved the audiobooks for Affinity, Fingersmith, and The Night Watch). I can’t even begin to tell you how good these audiobooks are: the voices, the atmosphere, the accents–Juanita McMahon does it all so masterfully. Her narration perfectly suits Waters’ writing style, and I feel like I loved these novels so much more because of her excellent narration.
One of my favourite things to do is listen to historical fiction novels on audio because I feel like that way you really get a sense of atmosphere that you wouldn’t otherwise get from reading the book physically. And let me tell you, Jayne Entwhistle captures the spirit and atmosphere of this book SO WELL. Little has a kind of quirky sensibility to it (in a good way!) and Entwhistle’s intonation and rhythm conveys that so well. Again, one of my favourite audiobooks ever, and one of those books that are leagues better on audiobook, I think (though it’s a brilliant book in its own right; it was my favourite novel of 2020).
The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye
Narrated by: January Lavoy
This is the only January Lavoy audiobook I’ve listened to, but wow did it leave a mark. I was so, so impressed by this audiobook. It has a theatricality and sense of drama to it that is just exceptional. Again, the voices are extremely well done, and some of the more dramatic scenes in this book…oof. January Lavoy Goes There, and this audiobook is so much better for it.
Fault Lines by Emily Itami
Narrated by: Lydia Wilson
This one was such a lovely audiobook; Lydia Wilson’s narration has such a lovely and endearing sense of earnestness to it, which I think is what drew me to this book–despite the fact that I usually stay away from books about motherhood–and made me enjoy it so much in the end.
hi everyone!!! so as you know, I’ve really been getting into fantasy novels in the past couple of years, and as part of that, I’ve been trying to keep track of what kind of fantasy novels I tend to enjoy, and what I’m looking for specifically when I pick up a fantasy novel. with that in mind, I thought in this post I’d make a list of some of the things I enjoy reading about in fantasy, along with some examples of fantasy novels that I think did those things especially well. in the second part of this post I also have a list of some fantasy books that didn’t work for me so I can explain what it is about their stories that made me dislike them/not get along with them.
#1: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Example: the Daevabad trilogy by S. A. Chakraborty
One of the biggest problems I have with fantasy is that it’s too plot-centered, with not enough development for the characters to really feel memorable or fleshed out. I don’t want to feel like the plot is happening to the characters, or that the characters are just there to react to the plot. I want the characters to be at the center of things, and I want for the plot to actually have time to breathe so that the characters are able to process what’s going on.
This is something that Chakraborty does SO WELL in the three books of the Daevabad trilogy. There is plenty of exciting action, but there is also a lot of character development work that justifies and enriches the plot. There’s a reason this series has quickly become my favourite fantasy series ever: the character development work is so exceptional, and the plotting and pacing is just so well done. It’s my perfect fantasy series and I honestly have zero complaints about it (I could’ve easily fit it into any of the other things I’m talking about in this post but I had to restrain myself lol.)
#2: INTERESTING WORLDBUILIND/THEMES
Examples: Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri, the Poppy War trilogy by R. F. Kuang
I am much more of a character reader than a worldbuilding reader. For that reason, I’m super impressed when a fantasy book is able to draw me into its worldbuilding as much as it does–or is able to–with its characters. The Daevabad trilogy is a prime example of this–the characters are always gonna be what I’m interested and invested in the most, but the worldbuilding was just so stellar that it ended up being one of my favourite things about the book. I love worldbuilding that’s detailed (but not too much), and feels organic to the story rather than heavy-handed (through info dumps, lots of exposition, clunky dialogue, etc). I also absolutely love the worldbuilding in The Jasmine Throne; so much nature-y imagery and descriptions, and I love the way that Suri ties it in to themes around imperialism and self governance.
Examples: A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland, A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske, Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
You guys should know by now that I am an absolute sucker for any story with a solid romance, and fantasy is no exception. Actually I feel like I enjoy romance in fantasy even more than I enjoy romance in romance novels. Because in fantasy the conflict is so much more heightened and the stakes are so much higher, fantasy romances (for me) end up feeling so much more earned and angsty. Characters have to really go through A Lot to be/stay together, and I just love watching them navigating the various conflicts that come up, especially if it’s across a series.
Examples: the Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir
One of the things that I have almost zero tolerance for is generic fantasy. I cannot stand fantasy books that are bland/have no sense of personality whatsoever. I don’t need every fantasy novel I read to have a crazy sense of personality or to be Super Quirky or whatever, but I would like it to at least have some sense of character/to be tonally distinguishable in some way. Gideon the Ninth (and its sequel, Harrow the Ninth) is kind of a prototypical example of what I mean by “fantasy with personality.” Certainly not every fantasy book needs to be written like Gideon the Ninth, but what I love so much about this book is that it has a really unique playfulness and sense of humour. The writing is never just serviceable; the characters’ personalities and sensibilities always underlie the narration, which makes it such a fun and, I think, memorable read.
#5: SOME FUN/LEVITY
Example: Master of Djinn
This one is not a requirement so much as it is a nice bonus to have. I love fantasy that is funny or playful, even if only sometimes or rarely. A lot of fantasy tends to be very Dark and epic, which is fine (I don’t mind that as a rule), so I do like when even darker fantasy stories have some moments of levity or fun. The fantasy books that I don’t end up liking are often the ones that are too self-serious, and so end up feeling really stiff and personality-less.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Too much plot, not nearly enough time for the characters to actually process the (VERY MANY) plot happenings. Also too many POVs, not enough character development, and a mess structurally. Really did not get on with this one despite all the hype it’s gotten…
Mask of Mirrors by M. A. Carrick
Characters have absolutely no personality–like not a single shred of personality anywhere. All we get is plot development upon plot development with nothing to distinguish these characters or make them interesting or likable in any way. I found this extremely boring and–here it comes–bland.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker Chan
This one had some character development, but not enough for the characters to really feel realistic or authentic to me. Maybe also a case of telling over showing when it comes to the character development.
The Shadows of What Was Lost by James Islington
This is easily one of the blandest fantasy novels I have ever tried to read lol. Like not to be dramatic but this book is everything I hate about fantasy: extremely generic, plot-focused, and with almost zero character development. A great example of what I don’t want to see in the fantasy I pick up.
HELLO!!! it’s time for part 2 of one of the most exciting posts of the year: my most anticipated books of the year list!! i’m going to be focusing on books that are being released from June onwards. also, if you haven’t yet checked out part 1 of this post, you should since it includes a lot of releases from the second half of 2022 that i haven’t included in this list.
anyway, onto this post, which has over 30 books that i have my eye on that are being released between June and December. as per usual, there are a lot of kinds of books on the list, so hopefully there’s something here for everyone. there’s literary fiction, historical fiction, translated fiction (from Egypt, Japan, South Korea, and France), short story collections, fantasy, romance, graphic novels, and nonfiction (including essay collections and graphic memoirs). i’ve also tried my best to include titles from indie publishers, including Restless Books, Europa Editions, Counterpoint, Two Lines Press, Grove Atlantic, and Kensington Books.
PS: all the release dates i’ve included are North American release dates (yes, Cursed Bunny is finally getting a North American release!!).
LITERARY, HISTORICAL, and TRANSLATED FICTION
The Island of Forgetting by Jasmine Sealy (April 26)
How does memory become myth? How do lies become family lore? How do we escape the trauma ofthe past when the truth has been forgotten?
Barbados, 1962. Lost soul Iapetus roams the island, scared and alone, driven mad after witnessing his father’s death at the hands of his mother and his older brother, Cronus. Just before Iapetus is lost forever, he has a son, but the baby is not enough to save him from himself—or his family’s secrets.
Seventeen years later, Iapetus’s son, the stoic Atlas, lives in a loveless house, under the care of his uncle, Cronus, and in the shadow of his charismatic cousin Z. Knowing little about the tragic circumstances of his father’s life, Atlas must choose between his desire to flee the island and his loyalty to the uncle who raised him.
Time passes. Atlas’s daughter, Calypso, is a beautiful and wilful teenager who is desperate to avoid being trapped in a life of drudgery at her uncle Z’s hotel. When she falls dangerously in love with a visiting real estate developer, she finds herself entangled in her uncle’s shady dealings, a pawn in the games of the powerful men around her.
It is now 2019. Calypso’s son, Nautilus, is on a path of self-destruction as he grapples with his fatherless condition, his mixed-race identity and his complicated feelings of attraction towards his best friend, Daniel. Then one night, after making an impulsive decision, Nautilus finds himself exiled to Canada.
The Island of Forgetting is an intimate saga spanning four generations of one family who run a beachfront hotel. Loosely inspired by Greek mythology, this is a novel about the echo of deep—and sometimes tragic—love and the ways a family’s past can haunt its future.
Three by Valérie Perrin (tr. Hildegarde Serle) (June 7)
From the international bestselling author ofFresh Water for Flowers, a beautifully told and suspenseful story about the ties that bind us and the choices that make us who we are.
1986: Adrien, Etienne and Nina are 10 years old when they meet at school and quickly become inseparable. They promise each other they will one day leave their provincial backwater, move to Paris, and never part.
2017: A car is pulled up from the bottom of the lake, a body inside. Virginie, a local journalist with an enigmatic past reports on the case while also reflecting on the relationship between the three friends, who were unusually close when younger but now no longer speak. . As Virginie moves closer to the surprising truth, relationships fray and others are formed.
Valérie Perrin has an unerring gift for delving into life. In Three, she brings readers along with her through a sequence of heart-wrenching events and revelations that span three decades. Three tells a moving story of love and loss, hope and grief, friendship and adversity, and of time as an ineluctable agent of change.
Self-Portrait with Ghost by Meng Jin (July 5)
From the acclaimed author of Little Gods, whose “gift merges science, politics and art: the kind of audacity our world needs now” (Gina Apostol),comes an immersive and electrifying story collection that explores self-construction, female resilience, and migrations both literal and transformative.
Meng Jin’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Little Gods, was praised as “spectacular and emotionally polyphonic” (Omar El-Akkad, BookPage), “powerful” (Washington Post), and “meticulously observed, daringly imagined” (Claire Messud). Now Jin turns her considerable talents to short fiction, in ten thematically linked stories.
Written during the turbulent years of the Trump administration and the first year of the pandemic, these stories explore intimacy and isolation, coming-of-age and coming to terms with the repercussions of past mistakes, fraying relationships and surprising moments of connection. Moving between San Francisco and China, and from unsparing realism to genre-bending delight, Self-Portrait with Ghost considers what it means to live in an age of heightened self-consciousness, seemingly endless access to knowledge, and little actual power.
Page-turning, thought-provoking, and wholly unique, Self-Portrait with Ghost further establishes Meng Jin as a writer who “reminds us that possible explanations in our universe are as varied as the beings who populate it” (Paris Review).
The Other Half of You by Michael Mohammed Ahmad (July 26)
‘I only ever asked you for one thing,’ my father said, a quiver in his voice. ‘Just this one thing.’ It was as though I had smashed the Ten Commandments. ‘Oh father,’ I cried, grovelling at his ankles while my mother and siblings looked on. ‘The one thing you asked of me – is everything.’
Bani Adam has known all his life what was expected of him. To marry the right kind of girl. To make the House of Adam proud.
But Bani wanted more than this – he wanted to make his own choices. Being the first in his Australian Muslim family to go to university, he could see a different way.
Years later, Bani will write his story to his son, Kahlil. Telling him of the choices that were made on Bani’s behalf and those that he made for himself. Of the hurt he caused and the heartache he carries. Of the mistakes he made and the lessons he learned.
In this moving and timely novel, Michael Mohammed Ahmad balances the complexities of modern love with the demands of family, tradition and faith. The Other Half of You is the powerful, insightful and unforgettable new novel from the Miles Franklin shortlisted author of The Lebs.
Mother of Strangers by Suad Amiry (August 2)
Set in Jaffa in between 1947 and 1951, this fable-like novel—based on a true story—is a heartbreaking tale of young love during the beginning of the destruction of Palestine and displacement of its people.
At times darkly humorous and ironic but also profoundly moving, this novel based on a true story, follows the lives of a gifted 15-year-old mechanic, Subhi, and 13-year-old Shams, a peasant girl he hopes to marry one day. At first we see the prosperous life of this cosmopolitan city on the Mediterranean—with its old cinemas, lively cafes and brothels, open air markets, a bustling port and Jaffa’s world famous orange groves—through the lives of the families of Subhi and Shams, but particularly through Subhi.
As the story evolves, the indiscriminate bombing of Jaffa and the displacements of Palestinian families begin, and we get a fascinating though dark close-up of how those who remained survived. This novel is a cinematic, though devastating, account of one of the most dramatic and least known chapters of Palestinian history.
It is a portrait of a city and a people irrevocably changed.
Dead-End Memories by Banana Yoshimoto (tr. Asa Yoneda) (August 2)
Japan’s internationally celebrated master storyteller returns with five stories of women on their way to healing that vividly portrays the blissful moments and everyday sorrows that surround us in everyday life
First published in Japan in 2003 and never before published in the United States, Dead-End Memories collects the stories of five women who, following sudden and painful events, quietly discover their ways back to recovery.
Among the women we meet in Dead-End Memories is one betrayed by her fiancé who finds a perfect refuge in an apartment above her uncle’s bar while seeking the real meaning of happiness. In “House of Ghosts,” the daughter of a yoshoku restaurant owner encounters the ghosts of a sweet elderly couple who haven’t yet realized that they’ve been dead for years. In “Tomo-chan’s Happiness,” an office worker who is a victim of sexual assault finally catches sight of the hope of romance.
Yoshimoto’s gentle, effortless prose reminds us that one true miracle can be as simple as having someone to share a meal with, and that happiness is always within us if only we take a moment to pause and reflect. Discover this collection of what Yoshimoto herself calls the “most precious work of my writing career.”
Days Come and Go by Hemley Boun (tr. Nchanji Njamnsi) (September 6)
For readers of Yaa Gyasi and Imbolo Mbue, this English-language debut of a major African writer dazzles as it devastates, offering an intimate look at three generations of a Cameroonian village as its people attempt to make sense of an inherited past and the complexities of belonging.
Chronicling the beauty and turmoil of a rapidly changing Cameroon, Days Come and Go is the remarkable story of three generations of women both within and beyond its borders. Through the voices of Anna, a matriarch living out her final days in Paris; Abi, Anna’s thoroughly European daughter (at least in her mother’s eyes); and Tina, a teenager who comes under the sway of a militant terrorist faction, Boum’s epic is generous and all-seeing. Brilliantly considering the many issues that dominate her characters’ lives—love and politics, tradition and modernity—Days Come and Go, in Nchanji Njamnsi’s vivid translation, is a page-turner by way of Frantz Fanon and V. S. Naipaul. As passions rise, fall, and rise again, Boum’s stirring English-language debut offers a discerning portrait of a nation that never once diminishes the power of everyday human connection.
The Furrows by Namwali Serpell (September 27)
How do you grieve an absence? A brilliantly inventive novel about loss and belonging, from the award-winning author of The Old Drift.
ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Vulture, Lit Hub, Electric Lit and New York Magazine
I don’t want to tell you what happened. I want to tell you how it felt.
Cassandra Williams is twelve; her little brother, Wayne, is seven. One day, when they’re alone together, there is an accident and Wayne is lost forever. His body is never recovered. The missing boy cleaves the family with doubt. Their father leaves, starts another family elsewhere. But their mother can’t give up hope and launches an organization dedicated to missing children.
As C grows older, she sees her brother everywhere: in bistros, airplane aisles, subway cars. Here is her brother’s older face, the light in his eyes, the way he seems to recognize her, too. But it can’t be, of course. Or can it? Then one day, in another accident, C meets a man both mysterious and familiar, a man who is also searching for someone and for his own place in the world. His name is Wayne.
Namwali Serpell’s remarkable new novel captures the uncanny experience of grief, the way the past breaks over the present like waves in the sea. The Furrows is a bold exploration of memory and mourning that twists unexpectedly into a story of mistaken identity, double consciousness, and the wishful—and sometimes willful—longing for reunion with those we’ve lost.
The Pachinko Parlour by Elisa Shua Dusapin (tr. Aneesa Abbas Higgins) (September 27)
From the author of Winter in Sokcho, Winner of the 2021 National Book Award for Translated Literature.
The days are beginning to draw in. The sky is dark by seven in the evening. I lie on the floor and gaze out of the window. Women’s calves, men’s shoes, heels trodden down by the weight of bodies borne for too long.
It is summer in Tokyo. Claire finds herself dividing her time between tutoring twelve-year-old Mieko, in an apartment in an abandoned hotel, and lying on the floor at her grandparents’: daydreaming, playing Tetris, and listening to the sounds from the street above. The heat rises; the days slip by.
The plan is for Claire to visit Korea with her grandparents. They fled the civil war there over fifty years ago, along with thousands of others, and haven’t been back since. When they first arrived in Japan, they opened Shiny, a pachinko parlor. Shiny is still open, drawing people in with its bright, flashing lights and promises of good fortune. And as Mieko and Claire gradually bond, a tender relationship growing, Mieko’s determination to visit the pachinko parlor builds.
The Pachinko Parlor is a nuanced and beguiling exploration of identity and otherness, unspoken histories, and the loneliness you can feel among family. Crisp and enigmatic, Shua Dusapin’s writing glows with intelligence.
Everything the Light Touches by Janice Pariat (October 25)
One of the most acclaimed and revered writers of her generation in India makes her dazzling introduction to American readers with this ambitious, elegant, multi-layered work, rich in imagination and exquisitely told, that interweaves a quartet of journeys across continents and centuries.
“Wise, funny, touching, wide-ranging, deep-delving; whip-smart dialogue and graceful, paced sentences, thousands upon thousands of them. Written by a novelist with the eye of a poet, and a poet with the narrative powers of a novelist, this is a book that needed to be written, that tells true things, and is entirely its own being.”—Robert Macfarlane, author of The Lost Words and Underland
As emotionally resonant as Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, as inspired as Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, as inventive as Louisa Hall’s Speak, and as visionary as David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Everything the Light Touches is Janice Pariat’s magnificent epic of travelers, of discovery, of time, of science, of human connection, and of the impermanent nature of the universe and life itself—a bold and brilliant saga that unfolds through the adventures and experiences of four intriguing characters.
Shai is a young woman in modern India. Lost and drifting, she travels to her country’s Northeast and rediscovers, through her encounters with indigenous communities, ways of being that realign and renew her.
Evelyn is a student of science in Edwardian England. Inspired by Goethe’s botanical writings, she leaves Cambridge on a quest to wander the sacred forests of the Lower Himalayas.
Linnaeus, a botanist and taxonomist who famously declared “God creates; Linnaeus organizes,” sets off on an expedition to an unfamiliar world, the far reaches of Lapland in 1732.
Goethe is a philosopher, writer, and one of the greatest minds of his age. While traveling through Italy in the 1780s, he formulates his ideas for “The Metamorphosis of Plants,” a little-known, revelatory text that challenges humankind’s propensity to reduce plants—and the world—into immutable parts.
Drawn richly from scientific and botanical ideas, Everything the Light Touches is a swirl of ever-expanding themes: the contrasts between modern India and its colonial past, urban and rural life, capitalism and centuries-old traditions of generosity and gratitude, script and “song and stone.” Pulsating at its center is the dichotomy between different ways of seeing, those that fix and categorize and those that free and unify. Pariat questions the imposition of fixity—of our obsession to place permanence on plants, people, stories, knowledge, land—where there is only movement, fluidity, and constant transformation. “To be still,” says a character in the book, “is to be without life.”
Everything the Light Touches brings together, with startling and playful novelty, people and places that seem, at first, removed from each other in time and place. Yet as it artfully reveals, all is resonance; all is connection.
The Islands by Dionne Irving (November 1)
Powerful stories that explore the legacy of colonialism, and issues of race, immigration, sexual discrimination, and class in the lives of Jamaican women across London, Panama, France, Jamaica, Florida and more
The Islands follows the lives of Jamaican women—immigrants or the descendants of immigrants—who have relocated all over the world to escape the ghosts of colonialism on what they call the Island. Set in the United States, Jamaica, and Europe, these international stories examine the lives of an uncertain and unsettled cast of characters. In one story, a woman and her husband impulsively leave San Francisco and move to Florida with wild dreams of American reinvention only to unearth the cracks in their marriage. In another, the only Jamaican mother—who is also a touring comedienne—at a prep school feels pressure to volunteer in the school’s International Day. Meanwhile, in a third story, a travel writer finally connects with the mother who once abandoned her.
Set in locations and times ranging from 1950s London to 1960s Panama to modern-day New Jersey, Dionne Irving reveals the intricacies of immigration and assimilation in this debut, establishing a new and unforgettable voice in Caribbean-American literature. Restless, displaced, and disconnected, these characters try to ground themselves—to grow where they find themselves planted—in a world in which the tension between what’s said and unsaid can bend the soul.
Foster by Claire Keegan (November 1)
An international bestseller and one of The Times’ “Top 50 Novels Published in the 21st Century,” Claire Keegan’s piercing contemporary classic Foster is a heartbreaking story of childhood, loss, and love; now released as a standalone book for the first time ever in the US
It is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A child is taken by her father to live with relatives on a farm, not knowing when or if she will be brought home again. In the Kinsellas’ house, she finds an affection and warmth she has not known and slowly, in their care, begins to blossom. But there is something unspoken in this new household—where everything is so well tended to—and this summer must soon come to an end.
Winner of the prestigious Davy Byrnes Prize and first published in the New Yorker, Claire Keegan’s Foster has sold over 120,000 copies in the UK and Ireland, where it is also required reading in schools. A story of astonishing emotional depth now expanded and newly revised in a standalone edition, Foster showcases Claire Keegan’s great talent and cements her reputation as one of our most important and prodigious storytellers.
Saha by Cho Nam-Joo (tr. Jamie Chang) (November 1)
From the international best-selling author of Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 comes this chilling dystopian fable for fans of Netflix’s Squid Game.
A National Book Award Finalist hailed as “a social treatise as well as a work of art” (Alexandra Alter, New York Times), Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 announced Cho Nam-Joo as a major literary talent. In her signature sharp prose, brilliantly translated by Jamie Chang, Nam-Joo returns with this haunting account of a neglected housing complex in the shadows of Town: a former fishing village bought out by a massive conglomerate. Town is prosperous and safe—but only if you’re a citizen with “valuable skills and assets,” which the residents of Saha Estates are not.
Disenfranchised and tightlipped, the Saha are forced into harsh labor, squatting in moldy units without electricity. Braiding the disparate experiences of the Saha residents—from the reluctant midwife to the unknowing test subject to the separated siblings—into a powerful Orwellian parable, Nam-Joo has crafted a heartbreaking tale of what happens when we finally unmask our oppressors.
Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung (tr. Anton Hur) (December 6)
From a rising star of Korean literature, CURSED BUNNY is a collection that will shock and surprise readers with each new tale. Translated by the acclaimed Anton Hur, Chung’s stories are wildly unique and imaginative, by turns thought-provoking and stomach-turning, where monstrous creatures take the shapes of furry woodland creatures and danger lurks in unexpected corners of everyday apartment buildings. But Chung’s rare, haunting universe could be our own, illuminating the ills of contemporary society.
“The Head” follows a woman haunted by her own waste. “The Embodiment” takes us into a dystopian gynecology office where a pregnant woman is told that her baby must have a father or face horrific consequences. Another story follows a young monster, forced into underground fight rings without knowing the force of his own power. The titular fable centers on a cursed lamp in the approachable shape of a rabbit, fit for a child’s bedroom.
CURSED BUNNY is a book that screams to be read late into the night and passed on to the nearest set of hands the very next day.
Fence: Rise by C. S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, Joana LaFuente, & Jim Campbell (August 16)
In the highly anticipated next chapter of Fence, Nicholas will stop at nothing until he becomes Seiji’s worthy fencing rival!
USA Today best-selling author C. S. Pacat (Captive Prince) and popular web cartoonist Johanna the Mad along with colorist Joana LaFuente (Transformers) and letterer Jim Campbell (Giant Days) reunite for the highly-anticipated next chapter in this fierce and heartfelt GLAAD Media Award-nominated series. Excitement is in the air as Nicholas and his friends celebrate their prestigious invitation to the Halverton Training Camp. They immediately come face-to-face with the best teams in the country, and Nicholas struggles as he suffers defeat after defeat by an old enemy. Will a new addition to the team bring Nicholas closer to the rest of the team and awaken the resilience within he needs to prevail? But Seiji, in contrast to Nicholas, remains unchallenged and let down by the camp. With Seiji’s goal to learn (instead of win) stuck in his head, will Nicholas step up to pose a real challenge to Seiji, even growing their friendship as a result?. Get ready to say “En Garde” to the next installment of Fence!
Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans (September 13)
In a city filled with dangerous yet heavily regulated alchemical magic, a man from the slums discovers he may be its only hope to survive certain destruction in this wickedly entertaining fantasy debut.
Ever since the city of Bezim was shaken half into the sea by a magical earthquake, the Inquisitors have policed alchemy with brutal efficiency. Nothing too powerful, too complicated, too much like real magic is allowed–and the careful science that’s left is kept too expensive for any but the rich and indolent to tinker with. Siyon Velo, a glorified errand boy scraping together lesson money from a little inter-planar fetch and carry, doesn’t qualify.
But when Siyon accidentally commits a public act of impossible magic, he’s catapulted into the limelight. Except the limelight is a bad place to be when the planes themselves start lurching out of alignment, threatening to send the rest of the city into the sea.
Now Siyon, a dockside brat who clawed his way up and proved himself on rooftops with saber in hand, might be Bezim’s only hope. Because if they don’t fix the cascading failures of magic in their plane, the Powers and their armies in the other three will do it for them.
Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed (October 1)
A brilliantly original debut graphic novel that imagines a fantastical Cairo where wishes really do come true. Deena Mohamed brings to life a cast of characters whose struggles and triumphs are heartbreaking, inspiring, and deeply resonant.
Shubeik Lubeik—a fairy tale rhyme that means “your wish is my command” in Arabic—is the story of three people who are navigating a world where wishes are literally for sale. Mired in bureaucracy and the familiar prejudices of our world, the wishes are more likely to work as intended the more expensive they are.
Three wishes that are sold at an unassuming kiosk in Cairo link Aziza, Nour, and Shokry, changing their perspectives as well as their lives. Aziza learned early that life can be hard, but when she loses her husband and manages to procure a wish, she finds herself fighting bureaucracy and inequality for the right to have—and make—that wish. Nour is a privileged college student who secretly struggles with depression and must decide whether or not to use their wish to try to “fix” this depression, and then figure out how to do it. And, finally, Shokry must grapple with his religious convictions as he decides how to help a friend who doesn’t want to use their wish.
Although their stories are fantastical—featuring talking donkeys, dragons, and cars that can magically avoid traffic—each of these people grapples with the very real challenge of trying to make their most deeply held desires come true.
The River of Silver by S. A. Chakraborty (October 11)
Bestselling author S. A. Chakraborty’s acclaimed Daevabad Trilogy gets expanded with this new compilation of stories from before, during, and after the events of The City of Brass, The Kingdom of Copper, and The Empire of Gold, all from the perspective of characters both beloved and hated, and even those without a voice in the novels. The River of Silver gathers material both seen and new—including a special coda fans will need to read—making this the perfect complement to those incredible novels.
Now together in one place, these stories of Daevabad enrich a world already teeming with magic and wonder. Explore this magical kingdom, hidden from human eyes. A place where djinn live and thrive, fight and love. A world where princes question their power, and powerful demons can help you…or destroy you.
A prospective new queen joins a court whose lethal history may overwhelm her own political savvy…
An imprisoned royal from a fallen dynasty and a young woman wrenched from her home cross paths in an enchanted garden…
A pair of scouts stumble upon a secret in a cursed winter wood that will turn over their world…
From Manizheh’s first steps towards rebellion to adventures that take place after The Empire of Gold, this is a must-have collection for those who can’t get enough of Nahri, Ali, and Dara and all that unfolded around them.
A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (November 1)
Magic! Murder! Shipboard romance! The second entry in Freya Marske’s beloved The Last Binding trilogy, the queer historical fantasy series that began with A Marvellous Light
“Sublime prose, top-notch world-building, delightfully queer.”—TJ Klune, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, on A Marvellous Light
Magic! Murder! Shipboard romance!
Maud Blyth has always longed for adventure. She expected plenty of it when she volunteered to serve as an old lady’s companion on an ocean liner, in order to help her beloved older brother unravel a magical conspiracy that began generations ago.
What she didn’t expect was for the old lady in question to turn up dead on the first day of the voyage.
Now she has to deal with a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and the lovely, dangerously outrageous Violet Debenham, who’s also returning home to England. Violet is everything that Maud has been trained to distrust yet can’t help but desire: a magician, an actress, and a magnet for scandal.
Surrounded by the open sea and a ship full of suspects, Maud and Violet must first drop the masks that they’ve both learned to wear before they can unmask a murderer and somehow get their hands on a magical object worth killing for—without ending up dead in the water themselves.
A Restless Truth is the second entry in Freya Marske’s beloved, award-winning Last Binding trilogy, the queer historical fantasy series that began with A Marvellous Light.
Empire of Exiles by Erin M Evans (November 8)
Magic, mystery, and revolution collide in this fantasy epic where an unlikely team of mages, scribes, and archivists must band together to unearth a conspiracy that might topple their empire.
Twenty-seven years ago, a Duke with a grudge led a ruthless coup against the empire of Semilla, killing thousands. He failed. The Duke was executed, a terrifyingly powerful sorcerer was imprisoned, and an unwilling princess disappeared.
The empire moved on.
Now, when Quill, an apprentice scribe, arrives in the capital city, he believes he’s on a simple errand for another pompous noble: fetch ancient artifacts from the magical Imperial Archives. He’s always found his apprenticeship to a lawman to be dull work. But these aren’t just any artifacts — these are the instruments of revolution, the banners under which the Duke lead his coup.
Just as the artifacts are unearthed, the city is shaken by a brutal murder that seems to have been caused by a weapon not seen since the days of rebellion. With Quill being the main witness to the murder, and no one in power believing his story, he must join the Archivists — a young mage, a seasoned archivist, and a disillusioned detective — to solve the truth of the attack. And what they uncover will be the key to saving the empire – or destroying it again.
Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories Edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin (November 8)
A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.
An enthralling collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.
Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; tormenting us, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends.
And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places.
There is no part of the world that does not know them. They are the Djinn.
With stories from Neil Gaiman, Nnedi Okorafor, Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine Faris King, Claire North, E.J. Swift, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Mahjoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Saad Hossain, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria and Usman Malik.
In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae (August 30)
Offering a steamy, queer spin on the feel-good tropesof aHallmark movie, this sweet, funny #OwnVoices rom-com is perfect for fans of Casey McQuiston and Alexandria Bellefleur!
A BUZZFEED MOST ANTICIPATED LGBTQ ROMANCE
“[The] second-chance, friends-to-lovers romance I was craving. Treat yourself to the beautiful magic of Courtney Kae’s writing!” – Ali Hazelwood, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis
“The small-town winter romance of my dreams…The sapphic slow-burn love story is both gorgeously soft and steamy, the feelings will wreck you, and the laugh-out-loud moments will make you want to text entire paragraphs to your best friend.” – Lana Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Payback’s a Witch
Morgan Ross can plan world-class events, but she didn’t plan on returning to the hometown that broke her heart seven years ago—and re-discovering the girl of her dreams . . .
With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat. Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another . . .
Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Rachel Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm.
When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars. But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?
“Perfect for the holidays!”—Helen Hoang, New York Times bestselling author of The Kiss Quotient
“Wintry perfection, a cozy flannel blanket of a book that wraps its reader in the warmest hug, full of wish-they-were-real characters and off-the-charts sexual tension. [In The Event of Love] made me laugh, weep, and believe in the fairy-lit magic of second chances.” – Rachel Lynn Solomon, bestselling author of The Ex Talk
“In the Event of Love is ultra cozy, heart-meltingly sweet, and full of warm wit. Courtney Kae shines with a fresh, bright voice and supremely relatable characters including a dreamy lumberjane who instantly stole my heart!”– Rosie Danan, author of The Roommate
Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun (November 1)
The author of the “swoon-worthy debut” (Harper’s Bazaar) The Charm Offensive returns with a festive romantic comedy about a woman who fakes an engagement with her landlord…only to fall for his sister.
One year ago, recent Portland transplant Ellie Oliver had her dream job in animation and a Christmas Eve meet-cute with a woman at a bookstore that led her to fall in love over the course of a single night. But after a betrayal the next morning and the loss of her job soon after, she finds herself adrift, alone, and desperate for money.
Finding work at a local coffee shop, she’s just getting through the days—until Andrew, the shop’s landlord, proposes a shocking, drunken plan: a marriage of convenience that will give him his recent inheritance and alleviate Ellie’s financial woes and isolation. They make a plan to spend the holidays together at his family cabin to keep up the ruse. But when Andrew introduces his new fiancée to his sister, Ellie is shocked to discover it’s Jack—the mysterious woman she fell for over the course of one magical Christmas Eve the year before. Now, Ellie must choose between the safety of a fake relationship and the risk of something real.
Perfect for fans of Written in the Stars and One Day in December, Kiss Her Once for Me is the queer holiday rom-com that you’ll want to cozy up with next to the fire.
The Gentlemen’s Book of Vices by Jess Everlee (November 29)
Tipping the Velvet meets Bridgerton in this steamy, heartfelt Victorian romance, in which a collector of illicit erotica and his favorite author have to write their own love story in a society that doesn’t accept them.
Finely dressed and finely drunk, Charlie Price is a man dedicated to his vices. Chief among them is his collection of illicit erotica, and he intends to enjoy his waning bachelorhood as thoroughly as possible. His impending marriage to a woman he can’t love will force his carefully curated collection into a safe deposit box until the end of time. But before it does, Charlie is determined to have one last hurrah: getting the autograph of his favorite author, the secretive Reginald Cox.
When a cheerful dandy appears out of the mist with a highly-secret pen-name on his pretty lips, erotic novelist and bookshop owner Miles Montague assumes blackmail. But Charlie Price is no blackmailer; he’s Reginald Cox’s biggest fan. Miles is more gifted as a smut writer than a shopkeep, and uses his royalties to keep his flagging bookstore afloat. It’s all that remains of his old life, and he doesn’t want strangers disturbing it, no matter how handsome they are.
A scribbled signature on a worn book page sets off an affair as scorching as anything Miles ever wrote. But Miles is clinging to a troubled past, while Charlie’s future has spun entirely out of his control. Is their real-life affair as doomed as the novels say it is, or can they create a new ending for their love story?
How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo (July 26)
“Energetically brilliant, warmly humane, incisively funny, it whips the tablecloth from under the setting of contemporary reading, politics and intellectual culture in a literary act of daring.” —Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author ofLess
An exploration and polemic that redefines the power and potential for reading by a novelist whose “prose is as good as it gets” (NPR) and who has “a real voice: vernacular and fluid, with a take-no-prisoners edge” (Kirkus)
How many times have we heard that reading builds empathy? That we can travel through books? How often have we were heard about the importance of diversifying our bookshelves? Or claimed that books saved our lives? These familiar words—beautiful, aspirational—are sometimes even true. But award-winning novelist Elaine Castillo has more ambitious hopes for our reading culture, and in this collection of linked essays, “she moves to wrest reading away from the cotton-candy aspirations of uniting people in empathetic harmony and reposition it as thornier, ultimately more rewarding work.” (Vulture)
How to Read Now explores the politics and ethics of reading, and insists that we are capable of something better: a more engaged relationship not just with our fiction and our art, but with our buried and entangled histories. Smart, funny, galvanizing, and sometimes profane, Castillo attacks the stale questions and less-than-critical proclamations that masquerade as vital discussion: reimagining the cartography of the classics, building a moral case against the settler colonialism of lauded writers like Joan Didion, taking aim at Nobel Prize winners and toppling indie filmmakers, and celebrating glorious moments in everything from popular TV like The Watchmen to the films of Wong Kar-wai and the work of contemporary poets like Tommy Pico.
At once a deeply personal and searching history of one woman’s reading life, and a wide-ranging and urgent intervention into our globalized conversations about why reading matters today, How to Read Now empowers us to embrace a more complicated, embodied form of reading, inviting us to acknowledge complicated truths, ignite surprising connections, imagine a more daring solidarity, and create space for a riskier intimacy—within ourselves, and with each other.
Year of the Tiger by Alice Wong (September 6)
This groundbreaking memoir offers a glimpse into an activist’s journey to finding and cultivating community and the continued fight for disability justice, from the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project
In Chinese culture, the tiger is deeply revered for its confidence, passion, ambition, and ferocity. That same fighting spirit resides in Alice Wong.
Drawing on a collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, and more, Alice uses her unique talent to share an impressionistic scrapbook of her life as an Asian American disabled activist, community organizer, media maker, and dreamer. From her love of food and pop culture to her unwavering commitment to dismantling systemic ableism, Alice shares her thoughts on creativity, access, power, care, the pandemic, mortality, and the future. As a self-described disabled oracle, Alice traces her origins, tells her story, and creates a space for disabled people to be in conversation with one another and the world. Filled with incisive wit, joy, and rage, Wong’s Year of the Tiger will galvanize readers with big cat energy.
Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton (September 13)
“An exceptionally beautiful book about loneliness, labor, and survival.”—Carmen Maria Machado
Before there was Kate Beaton, New York Times bestselling cartoonist of Hark! A Vagrant, there was Katie Beaton of the Cape Breton Beaton, specifically Mabou, a tight-knit seaside community where the lobster is as abundant as beaches, fiddles, and Gaelic folk songs. With the singular goal of paying off her student loans, Katie heads out west to take advantage of Alberta’s oil rush—part of the long tradition of East Coasters who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can’t find it in the homeland they love so much. Katie encounters the harsh reality of life in the oil sands, where trauma is an everyday occurrence yet is never discussed.
Beaton’s natural cartooning prowess is on full display as she draws colossal machinery and mammoth vehicles set against a sublime Albertan backdrop of wildlife, northern lights, and boreal forest. Her first full length graphic narrative, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is an untold story of Canada: a country that prides itself on its egalitarian ethos and natural beauty while simultaneously exploiting both the riches of its land and the humanity of its people.
Before We Were Trans by Kit Heyam (September 13)
A groundbreaking global history of gender nonconformity
Today’s narratives about trans people tend to feature individuals with stable gender identities that fit neatly into the categories of male or female. Those stories, while important, fail to account for the complex realities of many trans people’s lives.
Before We Were Trans illuminates the stories of people across the globe, from antiquity to the present, whose experiences of gender have defied binary categories. Blending historical analysis with sharp cultural criticism, trans historian and activist Kit Heyam offers a new, radically inclusive trans history, chronicling expressions of trans experience that are often overlooked, like gender-nonconforming fashion and wartime stage performance. Before We Were Trans transports us from Renaissance Venice to seventeenth-century Angola, from Edo Japan to early America, and looks to the past to uncover new horizons for possible trans futures.
It Won’t Always Be Like This by Malaka Gharib (September 20)
An intimate graphic memoir about an American girl growing up with her Egyptian father’s new family, forging unexpected bonds and navigating adolescence in an unfamiliar country—from the award-winning author of I Was Their American Dream.
It’s hard enough to figure out boys, beauty, and being cool when you’re young, but even harder when you’re in a country where you don’t understand the language, culture, or social norms.
Nine-year-old Malaka Gharib arrives in Egypt for her annual summer vacation abroad and assumes it’ll be just like every other vacation she’s spent at her dad’s place in Cairo. But her father shares news that changes everything: He has remarried. Over the next fifteen years, as she visits her father’s growing family summer after summer, Malaka must reevaluate her place in his life. All that on top of maintaining her coolness!
Malaka doesn’t feel like she fits in when she visits her dad–she sticks out in Egypt and doesn’t look anything like her fair-haired half siblings. But she adapts. She learns that Nirvana isn’t as cool as Nancy Ajram, that there’s nothing better than a Fanta and a melon-mint hookah, and that her new stepmother, Hala, isn’t so different from Malaka herself.
It Won’t Always Be Like This is a touching time capsule of Gharib’s childhood memories—each summer a fleeting moment in time—and a powerful reflection on identity, relationships, values, family, and what happens when it all collides.
The White Mosque by Sofia Samatar (October 25)
A historical tapestry of border-crossing travelers, of students, wanderers, martyrs and invaders, The White Mosque is a memoiristic, prismatic record of a journey through Uzbekistan and of the strange shifts, encounters, and accidents that combine to create an identity
In the late nineteenth century, a group of German-speaking Mennonites traveled from Russia into Central Asia, where their charismatic leader predicted Christ would return.
Over a century later, Sofia Samatar joins a tour following their path, fascinated not by the hardships of their journey, but by its aftermath: the establishment of a small Christian village in the Muslim Khanate of Khiva. Named Ak Metchet, “The White Mosque,” after the Mennonites’ whitewashed church, the village lasted for fifty years.
In pursuit of this curious history, Samatar discovers a variety of characters whose lives intersect around the ancient Silk Road, from a fifteenth-century astronomer-king, to an intrepid Swiss woman traveler of the 1930s, to the first Uzbek photographer, and explores such topics as Central Asian cinema, Mennonite martyrs, and Samatar’s own complex upbringing as the daughter of a Swiss-Mennonite and a Somali-Muslim, raised as a Mennonite of color in America.
I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Se Hee Baek (tr. Anton Hur) (November 1)
The South Korean runaway bestseller, debut author Baek Se-Hee’s intimate therapy memoir—think Crying in H Mart meets Maybe You Should Talk to Someone.
PSYCHIATRIST: So how can I help you? ME: I don’t know, I’m—what’s the word—depressed? Do I have to go into detail?Baek Sehee is a successful young social media director at a publishing house when she begins seeing a psychiatrist about her—what to call it?—depression? She feels persistently low, anxious, endlessly self-doubting, but also highly judgmental of others. She hides her feelings well at work and with friends; adept at performing the calmness, even ease, her lifestyle demands. The effort is exhausting, overwhelming, and keeps her from forming deep relationships. This can’t be normal. But if she’s so hopeless, why can she always summon a yen for her favorite street food: the hot, spicy rice cake, tteokbokki? Is this just what life is like? Recording her dialogues with her psychiatrist over a 12-week period, Baek begins to disentangle the feedback loops, knee-jerk reactions, and harmful behaviors that keep her locked in a cycle of self-abuse. Part memoir, part self-help book, I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki is a book to keep close and to reach for in times of darkness. It will appeal to anyone who has ever felt alone or unjustified in their everyday despair.