We should all be challenging ourselves to read more. More volume. More broadly. More viewpoints. More better.
Two years ago, in a serendipitous click of events, I came across an incredible list (authored by debut author R.O. Kwon) of upcoming 2018 books by women of color. Here’s the article. [2020 UPDATE: R.O. Kwon has now published her 2020 list, and I’d commend it to everyone. Here are her 56 Books By Women and Non-Binary Writers of Color to Read in 2020.]
I met the challenge to read each of the books on her list; that effort expanded my reading universe – it has been inexorably changed for the better. As I commented at the time, “My perspectives have broadened, my eyes are clearer and my heart is more full.” Incidentally, my favorite books from that year were (in author alphabetical order): Useful Phrases for Immigrants by May-lee Chai, Whiskey & Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith, My Old Faithful by Yang Huang, So You Want to Talk About Race? by Ijeoma Oluo, and What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan.
A quote from that article, which resonated with me then, feels like it has even more urgency now: “Let’s read more broadly; let’s try inhabiting one another’s wildly varied, entirely human points of view. It’s late in 2017, and the situation’s desperate. If we can’t imagine one another, how will we get through these next few years?”
Some may ask: Why women of color for my reading focus? The more appropriate question is really, “Why wouldn’t I focus on reading works by women of color?” They are my family, friends and work colleagues. I’ve learned, been challenged, engaged in introspection, and tried very hard to inhabit human points of view that I’ve really neglected, no matter how worldly, kind or empathetic I think I’ve been or try to be. Several of the characters and circumstances from the books I’ve read remain imprinted upon me to this day.
As put far more eloquently than I ever could, writer Janice Lee posed the question as: “How would things be different if we thought of books, not as products or commodities, but as bridges? If instead of agonizing about the limits of the self begins and ends, we moved toward an internal language for shared humanity and interconnectedness? If instead of possession and ownership and separation, we moved towards intimacy, forgiveness, and emancipation?” See her essay, “Books Are Not Products, They Are Bridges: Challenging Linear Ideas of Success in Literary Publishing “
Furthermore, as a recent Daily KOS post noted, “there’s no path to the White House without women of color.” It is imperative now more than ever that the viewpoints of women of color be heard.
This past year (2019), I continued my efforts. If you get a chance, please read, among others: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, Malaya by Cinelle Barnes, Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha, Caster by Elsie Chapman, Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, Iced in Paradise by Naomi Hirahara, The Tenth Muse by Catherine Chung, Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, The Bride Test by Helen Hoang, They Could Have Named Her Anything by Stephanie Jimenez, Miracle Creek by Angie Kim, Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok, Jade War (and its predecessor, Jade City) by Fonda Lee, In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, I Tried (and its predecessors, Through Eyes Like Mine and Overdue Apologies) by Noriko Nakada, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, and Home Remedies by Xuan Juliana Wang. Many of the paperback editions of these books will come out in 2020.
And that brings me to the current post. In a continuing effort to be more inclusive and less insular in my reading, I’ve combed publishers’ sites, Amazon, Indiebound, Goodreads and other sites, and communicated with authors and publicists, for 2020 books by Women of Color. Set forth below, I’ve listed 52 – one for each week – works that I’m anticipating and committing to read. Yes, they’re front-loaded with books in the first half of the year, but that’s what’s generally available in terms of publishing information at this time. Still, 52 books throughout the year should not be undoable. I’m already envious of the joy that awaits future me next year.
(Additional edit: I have added links (where available) to Indiebound and Eso Won Books, an incredible, minority-owned local independent bookstore here in Los Angeles.)
Little Gods: A Novel, by Meng Jin
What better way to debut reading in 2020 than with a debut novel that has been described by Claire Messud as “meticulously observed, daringly imagined, rich in character and history,” and posing “profound questions: how might we know ourselves, or the people we love? And what truths, if any, travel with us?” Gina Apostol described it as “merg[ing] science, politics and art: the kind of audacity our world needs now.” The story tracks a daughter returning to China with her mother’s ashes, and her discovery of her mother’s past and its effect on her. (also available at Eso Won Books, Indiebound)
Remembrance: A Novel, by Rita Woods
Rita Woods’ breakout historical debut novel juxtaposes modern day Ohio against Haiti in 1791 and New Orleans in 1857. Rita has spent more than 30 years practicing medicine, managing to “eke out the occasional short story or medical article for various journals.” I’m very much looking forward to her weaving of the three tales. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Majesties: A Novel, by Tiffany Tsao
Originally published in Australia as Under Your Wings, with the subtitle, “Blood Is Thicker Than Water, but Poison Trumps All,” Tiffany Tsao’s The Majesties gets its North American publication in January 2020. The novel depicts the “secrets and betrayals that can accompany exorbitant wealth [as] two sisters from a Chinese-Indonesian family grapple with the past after one of them poisons their entire family.” Seriously, what could be more fun? (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable January publications: Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick: Stories from the Harlem Renaissance by Zora Neale Hurston (Eso Won, Indiebound); The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh (Eso Won, Indiebound); Blue Flowers by Carola Saavedra (Eso Won, Indiebound).
UPDATE: Here is my January 2020 Reading update.
A Black Women’s History of the United States (ReVisioning American History), by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross are two preeminent, award-winning historians, and they have created “[a] vibrant and empowering history that emphasizes the perspectives and stories of African American women to show how they are – and have always been – instrumental in shaping our country.” In doing so, the book prioritizes voices of, among others, enslaved women, freedwomen, religious leaders, artists, queer women, activists and criminals. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Black Sunday: A Novel, by Tola Rotimi Abraham
Black Sunday, Tola Rotimi Abraham’s debut novel, follows one family’s fate over two decades in Nigeria. In particular, it tracks twin sisters’ “search for agency, love, and meaning in a society rife with hypocrisy but also endless life.” Abraham’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in, among other places, Catapult, The Des Moines Register, and The Nigerian Literary Magazine. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
b, Book, and Me, by Kim Sagwa, translated by Sunhee Jeong
Award-winning South Korean author Kim Sagwa published her captivating English debut, Mina, in 2018. Her newest novel tracks the relationship between best friends b and Rang as they navigate the boundary between youth and adulthood in South Korea. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home, edited by Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary
This collection features essays selected from the Catapult magazine archives, highlighting “the human side of immigration policies and polarized rhetoric.” The book features writings by: Lauren Alwan, Cinelle Barnes, Victoria Blanco, Jennifer S. Cheng, Nina Li Coomes, Bix Gabriel, Nur Nasreen Ibrahim, Deepti Kapoor, Porochista Khakpour, Soraya Membreno, Kamna Muddagouni, Jamila Osman, Nadia Owusu, Niina Pollari, Krystal A. Sital, Natalia Sylvester, Sharine Taylor, Kenechi Uzor, Steph Wong Ken, and Shing Yin Khor. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, by Cathy Park Hong
Award-winning poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong (Translating Mo’Um (2002), Dance Dance Revolution: Poems (2008), and Engine Empire: Poems (2013)) confronts how to explore the psychological condition of being Asian American and, more broadly, racial consciousness in today’s America. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable February publications: The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré (Eso Won, Indiebound); Malice by Pintip Dunn (Eso Won, Indiebound); The Resisters: A Novel by Gish Jen (Eso Won, Indiebound); A Nail the Evening Hangs On by Monica Sok (Eso Won, Indiebound).
UPDATE: Here is my February 2020 Reading update.
These Ghosts Are Family: A Novel, by Maisy Card
Maisy Card’s debut novel reveals an absorbing story following a Jamaican family over generations, following the revelation of a thirty-year-old secret. The interactions of the family and the forging of their identities following the revelation promises to be an engrossing read. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Beneath the Rising, by Premee Mohamed
This book, Premee Mohamed’s second, is described as a “whimsical coming-of-age story about two kids in the middle of a war of eldritch horrors from outside spacetime.” Premee is an Indo-Caribbean scientist and writer based in Canada. She has previously published work in Automata Review, Mythic Delirium, Pseudopod, and Nightmare Magazine. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Kingdom of Back, by Marie Lu
This novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu (author of the Legend and Warcross series) is a historical YA fantasy about a musical prodigy, Mozart’s sister Nannerl. I’ve absolutely loved her prior books, and I’ve no doubt The Kingdom of Back will also represent the great writing for which she has become known. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Prairie Lotus, by Linda Sue Park
Newbery Medal award winning author Linda Sue Park (for A Single Shard) relays the narration of a half-Asian girl growing up in the Midwest in 1880. The narrator must negotiate the almost universal prejudice against her and her family and strive to realize her dreams of an education, job, and at least one friend. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Cutting School: The Segrenomics of American Education, by Noliwe Rooks
A finalist for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award (Nonfiction), this book by cultural critic and American studies professor Noliwe Rooks traces the financing of segregated education in America, and examines the tensions in public education tied to race and poverty. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, by Clarissa Goenawan
Clarissa Goenawan’s debut novel, Rainbirds, offered a compelling account of a young man’s life after his sister’s murder (aside: it is excellent, and you should read it!). She follows up that remarkable book with a mystery surrounding a college woman’s suicide, and the secrets and façade of her life. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
So We Can Glow: Stories, by Leesa Cross-Smith
Leesa Cross-Smith’s debut novel, Whiskey and Ribbons, was one of my favorite books from R.O. Kwon’s list of 46 books by Women of Color to read in 2018. Leesa follows it up with 42 short stories focused on women and girls “in moments of obsessive desire and fantasy, wildness and bad behavior, brokenness and fearlessness, and more.” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Mimi Lee Gets a Clue, by Jennifer J. Chow
Jennifer J. Chow (also writing under J.J. Chow) is the author of many multicultural mysteries and young adult stories. This mystery centers on Mimi Lee, a Los Angeles pet grooming shop owner, seeking to solve the murder of a local breeder in a book Roselle Lim describes as “an adorable mystery perfect for pet lovers,” which she “devoured  in one sitting.” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Deceit and Other Possibilities: Stories, by Vanessa Hua
From the award-winning author of A River of Stars comes a re-release of her powerful story collection first published in 2016. The original collection earned the Asian/Pacific American Award in Literature. The stories were powerful then, and now feature new stories giving voice to immigrant families navigating today’s America. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism, edited by Nikki Khanna
Professor Nikki Khanna edits a collection of personal, first-hand accounts from 30 Asian American women dealing with skin color bias and challenging beauty standards. The contributions cover a range of topics including (but not limited to) light-skin privilege, skin-whitening creams, cosmetic surgery, etc. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Mountains Sing: A Novel, by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English, The Mountains Sing presents an epic, multigenerational tale of a family set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War, depicting the human costs of the conflict from the Vietnamese people’s viewpoint. Pulitzer Prize winner Viet Thanh Nguyen describes The Mountains Sing as “vast in scope and intimate in its telling” that is “[m]oving and riveting.” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Somewhere in the Unknown World, by Kao Kalia Yang
Kao Kalia Yang, the award-winning author of The Late Homecomer: a Hmong Family Memoir and The Song Poet, presents a collection of themed refuge stories. She relates the stories of the refuges for whom Minnesota is now home (including her own story as a refuge from Laos). (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Days of Distraction: A Novel, by Alexandra Chang
This debut novel, described by George Saunders as “[a] startlingly original and deeply moving debut,” examines a young woman’s freedom to choose her own path, while confronting a core question: “What does it mean to exist in a society that does not notice or understand you?” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Wow, No Thank You.: Essays, by Samantha Irby
Samantha Irby, best-selling author of Meaty and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, presents what has been described as a “new rip-roaring essay collection.” Her essays in this collection detail her current life in a Blue town in the middle of a Red State, in her “house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife.” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable March publications: The Eighth Girl by Maxine Mei-fung Chung (Eso Won, Indiebound); Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz (Eso Won, Indiebound); The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi (Eso Won, Indiebound); Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim (Eso Won, Indiebound); Once Upon a Sunset by Tif Marcelo (Eso Won, Indiebound); Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (translated by Sophie Hughes) (Eso Won, Indiebound); The Dragon Egg Princess by Ellen Oh (Eso Won, Indiebound); Accolades edited by Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera and Rachel Warecki (Eso Won, Indiebound); Sensuous Knowledge: A Black Feminist Approach for Everyone by Minna Salami (Eso Won, Indiebound); Fantasy by Kim-Anh Schreiber; Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal for Writing Your Truth by Angie Thomas (Eso Won, Indiebound).
Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know: A Novel, by Samira Ahmed
Author Samira Ahmed (author of Love, Hate, and Other Filters and Internment) tells alternating stories that trace the lives of two young women 200 years apart. The protagonists fight to write the own stories and escape familial and cultural burdens. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Navigate Your Stars, by Jesmyn Ward, illustrated by Gina Triplett
Jesmyn Ward has won the National Book Award twice and her books have graced bestselling lists multiple times; she is also the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, and the Strauss Living Prize. Navigate Your Stars expounds on her 2018 commencement speech to Tulane University (where she is an associate professor of creative writing), and the book focuses on tenacity in the face of hardship and the importance of respect for oneself and others. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
How Much of These Hills Is Gold, by C Pam Zhang
I’ve been waiting for this debut novel for a long time, and can’t believe it’s almost here. C Pam Zhang sets up an immigrant, orphan story against the twilight of the American gold rush. She has previously published in multiple locations, including Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s, Paper Darts, The Missouri Review, Tin House and The Moth. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Beauty of Your Face: A Novel, by Sahar Mustafah
This novel tells the story of a principal at a Chicago school for Muslim girls. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, she endures an active shooter attack on her school, pulling upon her memories to address the situation. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
How to Pronounce Knife, by Sounvankham Thammavongsa
This collection of stories examines the realities of characters struggling to find their bearings in modern day America. Thammavongsa “interrogates what it means to make a living, both in the sense of the work and in the sense of creating meaning and identity in precarious circumstances.” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Silence of Bones, by June Hur
The Silence of Bones is June Hur’s debut novel, representing a YA historical mystery centered around the experience of an orphaned sixteen-year-old girl in 1800 Korea. She begins by helping out an inspector investigating the case until she becomes the prime suspect. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
If I Had Your Face, by Frances Cha
This debut novel by former CNN editor in Seoul and Hong Kong, Frances Cha, portrays four women in Seoul, tentatively friends, navigating starkly different lives. Cha describes interactions with secret “room salons,” ingrained social hierarchies, K-pop and beauty standards. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable April publications: Afterlife by Julia Alvarez (Eso Won, Indiebound); The Fish & the Dove by Mary-Kim Arnold; Obit by Victoria Chang (Eso Won, Indiebound); Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang (translated by Ken Liu) (Eso Won, Indiebound); Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami (Eso Won, Indiebound); Banned Book Club by Hyun Sook Kim (Eso Won, Indiebound); The House of Deep Water by Jeni McFarland (Eso Won, Indiebound); Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh (Eso Won, Indiebound).
Running, by Natalia Sylvester
Running, the third novel from award-winning author Natalia Sylvester (her other two, Chasing the Sun and Everyone Knows You Go Home are well worth reading!), delves into the effect of a presidential campaign on the daughter of a Cuban American candidate. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Little Eyes, by Samanta Schweblin
This new novel examines privacy, and the potential dangers of giving it up, through the lens of “kentukis,” little mechanical globally-connected stuffed animals with cameras for eyes and wheels for feet. I’m very much looking forward to this novel about the collision of technology and entertainment and humanity. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America, by Ijeoma Oluo
As noted above, So You Want to Talk About Race? was one of my favorite reads of 2018. In this forthcoming book, Ijeoma Oluo provides a history of white male America against the backdrop of the escalation of white male rage and hostility in the Donald Trump era, and an examination of the associated costs (socially, economically and politically). (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Seven Years of Darkness: A Novel, by You-Jeong Jeong, translated by Chi-Young Kim
This novel by You-Jeong Jeong, described as “South Korea's preeminent author of psychological thrillers,” was named as one of the top ten crime novels of 2015 by German newspaper Die Zeit. Translated into English by award-winning translator Chi-Young Kim, it depicts the struggle of a son to deal with purported crimes committed by his father, compounded by a package containing pieces of the puzzle. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
My Summer of Love and Misfortune, by Lindsay Wong
I loved The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons and My Crazy Chinese Family, the debut memoir by Lindsay Wong, so naturally, I’m looking forward to this novel. Lindsay writes of a Chinese-American teen girl who spends a summer in Beijing high society. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Library of Legends: A Novel, by Janie Chang
Based on true events, Janie Chang’s historical novel weaves a tale of a young woman traveling across China with fellow refugees in 1937, in the wake of a war with Japan. As they travel, the refugees must safeguard a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Weird But Normal: Essays, by Mia Mercado
Mia Mercado’s essays blend satire and personal stories to relay her millennial experience and “navigate racial identity, gender roles, workplace dynamics, and beauty standards.” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable May publications: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo (Eso Won, Indiebound); Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America by Laila Lalami (Eso Won, Indiebound); The New American by Micheline Aharonian Marcom (Eso Won, Indiebound); Thresholes by Lara Mimosa Montes (Eso Won, Indiebound); Any Day With You by Mae Respicio (Eso Won, Indiebound).
A Song Below Water, by Bethany C. Morrow
Bethany C. Morrow’s previous book, Mem, was (pardon the pun) memorably remarkable. This book marks her debut YA title, and considers two best friends with magical identities dealing with today’s racism and sexism. Daniel José Older describes A Song Below Water as “a blistering modern classic” and a “gorgeous tale of friendship and power.” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias, by Pragya Agarwal
Dr. Pragya Agarwal, a behavioral scientist with expertise in cognition (as well as two-time TEDx speaker), has written on racial and gender bias for, among other publications, The Guardian, Forbes, Independent, and Huffington Post. This book investigates unintentional biases using real world stories and scientific research. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Madwoman and the Roomba: My Year of Domestic Mayhem, by Sandra Tsing Loh
Whether through her podcasts (see, e.g., The Loh Down on Science) or multiple prior books, Sandra Tsing Loh never ceases to amaze and amuse. In this book, she details her turning of 55, i.e., middle age, and all it means for her and her daughters in the twenty-first century. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Last Tang Standing, by Lauren Ho
This debut comedic novel from Lauren Ho follows thirty-three year old Singaporean lawyer Andrea Tang as she deals with being unmarried in the face of familial expectations. Given the pressures of making partner at her law firm, being the last unmarried member of her generation in the Tang family, and her friends’ own dramas, this promises to be a great read. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
We Are Not Free, by Traci Chee
Fourteen teenagers who grew up together in Japantown, San Francisco have their lives devasted by the mass U.S. incarceration of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. Best-selling author Traci Chee provides the collective account of those teenagers rallying together to combat the racism and injustice that threatens them. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
This Is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman, by Ilhan Omar
I’ve generally tried to stay away from political reading given the daily deluge of politics under the current administration, but this memoir will undoubtedly be riveting. Representative Omar, the first African refuge, first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, chronicles her journey from an eight-year-old fleeing Somalia to the present. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Tokyo Ueno Station, by Yu Miri
This novel relates the story of a ghost who haunts one of Tokyo’s busiest train stations, and in doing so, highlights a marginalized existence in a global metropolis. The ghost is a laborer from the preparations for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, and he experiences the growth of Tokyo, the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and the announcement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, by Zen Cho
Award-winning author Zen Cho wrote what Ken Liu described as “[f]antastic, defiant, [and] utterly brilliant.” This fantasy novel sets forth the story of Guet Imm, a young votary, who joins an eclectic group of thieves tasked with protecting a sacred object. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Dragons The Giants The Women: A Memoir, by Wayétu Moore
This memoir captures Wayétu Moore and her family’s escape from the First Liberian Civil War and the building of their lives in the United States (Texas), as well as her eventual return to Liberia. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable June publications: You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat (Eso Won, Indiebound); The Book of Rosy by Rosayra Pablo Cruz and Julie Schwietert Collazo (Eso Won, Indiebound); Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier (Eso Won, Indiebound); Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory (Eso Won, Indiebound); Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Eso Won, Indiebound).
Opium and Absinthe: A Novel, by Lydia Kang
Best-selling author Dr. Lydia Kang has created yet another compelling historical novel (set in New York City in 1899) following one woman’s search for the truth regarding the murder of her sister (from two puncture wounds on her neck in the wake of Bram Stoker’s new novel, Dracula). A Beautiful Poison by Dr. Kang was a beautiful read, and Opium and Absinthe augurs much the same. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
The Color of Air: A Novel, by Gail Tsukiyama
Bestselling author Gail Tsukiyama’s latest novel depicts a Japanese-American family’s experience with Mauna Loa’s volcanic eruption in 1935, and the decades prior to the eruption against the backdrop of Hawai’i’s sugar plantations. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable July publications: Well-Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave (Eso Won, Indiebound); City of Secrets by Victoria Ying (Eso Won, Indiebound).
Luster: A Novel, by Raven Leilani
The debut comedic novel from Raven Leilani depicts a young black woman artist who falls into a relationship with a man in an open marriage. Leilani’s work has been previously published in, among other publications, Granta, McSweeney’s, Columbia Journal and The Cut. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
A House Is a Body: Stories, by Shruti Swamy
Two-time O. Henry prize winner Shruti Swamy offers her debut collection of stories. Her work has previously appeared in, among other publications, The Paris Review and McSweeny’s Prairie Schooner. A House Is a Body sets forth stories from India to America. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable August publications: Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (Eso Won, Indiebound); Wayward Witch (Brooklyn Brujas) by Zoraida Cordova (Eso Won, Indiebound); The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi (Eso Won, Indiebound); Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Rachel Vasquez Gilliland (Eso Won, Indiebound); Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop by Roselle Lim (Eso Won, Indiebound); Addis Ababa Noir (Akashic Noir) edited by Maaza Mengiste (Eso Won, Indiebound).
SEPTEMBER THROUGH DECEMBER
Transcendent Kingdom: A Novel, by Yaa Gyasi
Ta-Nehisi Coates described Yaa Gyasi’s debut book, Homegoing, as an “inspiration” and Zadie Smith deemed it “spectacular.” Gyasi’s follow-up provides a portrait of a Ghanaian immigrant family in Alabama. (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Rent a Boyfriend, by Gloria Chao
Slated for Fall 2020 publication, this book by the author of American Panda and Our Wayward Fate tells the story of a college woman who hires a fake boyfriend to appease her Taiwanese parents.
Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker, edited by Valerie Boyd
Valerie Boyd has compiled fifty years of National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker’s journals. The collection explores Alice Walker’s thoughts and feelings “as a woman, a writer, an African-American, a wife, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a sister, a friend, a citizen of the world.” (Eso Won, Indiebound)
Other notable Fall publications: A Message of Belonging: Writers of Color on the New American South edited by Cinelle Barnes; Likes by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum; Bestiary by K-Ming Chang (Eso Won, Indiebound); Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi; Black Futures by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham (Eso Won, Indiebound); These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, Zara Hossain Is Here by Sabina Khan; The Prince of Mournful Thoughts and Other Stories by Caroline Kim (Eso Won, Indiebound).