This month, my selections are going to be a little different. There are three debuts publishing this month that are definitely worth checking out, but I also wanted to highlight three books that previously came out that I missed for one reason or another.
Ranging from one of the buzziest books of 2020 (it actually comes out New Year’s Eve) to a thought-provoking novel of a Sherpa from an acclaimed journalist.
Here are books to wrap up your year and maybe gift to someone for the holidays.
Revisionaries by A.R. Moxon (Melville House; 12/3)
Moxon’s debut is big. Its story sprawls far and wide while pushing the reader’s comfort zone. It’s set in a place called Loony Island, among the fallen factories of the heartland. Everything is drab and run by criminals. Then there is Father Julius, who takes a stand and makes for the perfect postmodern hero.
Africaville by Jeffrey Colvin (Amistad; 12/10)
The story follows three generations of a family through the Great Depression, Civil Rights movement, and beyond. It’s set, at first, in a small Nova Scotia town that was settled by former slaves and weaves in history not often taught in schools alongside the family’s personal journeys. This is a story for anyone who wants to enrich themselves by exploring race and identity during the 20th Century.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 12/31)
This is one of the most talked about books heading into 2020. Everyone I know who has read it, has loved it. It’s about what happens when a black babysitter of a rich, white couple’s baby gets accused of stealing the baby. A viral video turns her world upside-down and her employer strives to make things right. What is called into question are motives, inter-racial relationships, white saviors, and what people of color face heading into 2020. It’s a vital book, and it’s also a beautifully written one.
Nima by Adam Popescu (The Unnamed Press; 5/21)
A young Sherpa women is hired by a small group led by American journalist to take them to Everest Base Camp. During the journey, she faces difficulties as her culture clashes with theirs. The physical journey, as well as the emotional one these characters have, are memorable. It’s a refreshing look into a corner of the world vividly brought to life.
A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian (Algonquin; 3/19)
Subramanian technically has two other books out: a non-fiction book about teen bullying, and a novel for young people. This is her first novel for adults. It is set in a small community in India and follows five young women from different background bonded by their desire for something bigger. When their community is treated by construction of a new shopping mall, they band together to save the homes they were so desperate to leave.
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay (Grove; 1/15)
There seems to be a trend with the books I missed. This one is also set in India and examines gender, sexuality, and socio-economics. It follows a young woman in the wake of her mother’s death who is determined to uncover the truth and discover what family secrets were hidden from her.