A Life of Books with Cherie Jones, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

A Life of Books with Cherie Jones, author of How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House

In her debut novel, Cherie Jones tells a cautionary tale set mostly in Barbados. A grandmother uses a story about one-armed sister. Her granddaughter Lala listens to what happens to girls who disobey their mothers but the question is, does she absorb the story?

Years later, Lala is married to a petty burglar and their seemingly cozy lives are upended in a spiral of violence, crime, and deceit. What unfolds is, How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House, a devastating debut that is a must-read. Be warned though: you’ll want to finish this in one sitting. So block out a lot of time one you start this.

Below, Cherie Jones answers the A Life of Books Questionnaire for Debutiful.

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10 debut books you should read this March

10 debut books you should read this March

It’s hard to believe it’s March again. The past year has been difficult for us all, but hopefully debut books helped get you through 2020. Let’s kick off the “new year” with another 10 debuts that will make you laugh, cry, and question everything you thought you knew.

These debuts are about families coming to terms with their grief, mothers moving on from dark times in their life, women named Sarah, and money.

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Betina González and translator Heather Cleary discuss American Delirium

Betina González and translator Heather Cleary discuss American Delirium

Betina González is an award-winning writer from Argentina, who has studied in El Paso and Pittsburgh, the latter of which she called home for nearly a decade. While her work has garnered her praise in South America, she had yet to publish a book in English. That is, until American Delirium.

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Milo Beckman teaches readers Math Without Numbers

Milo Beckman teaches readers Math Without Numbers

You ever come across a book that just looks too smart for you? That’s how I felt with Math Without Numbers by Milo Beckman. Luckily, the book explores math concepts in a friendly and accessible way. Using illustrations by M Erazo, Beckman gives an illustrated tour on what we call “math.”

Milo Beckman completed the graduate-level course sequence in mathematics at age sixteen, has written for FiveThirtyEight, helped create crosswords for The New York Times, and has written numerous academic essays.

While Debutiful has covered non-fiction before, the site has never covered anything like this. I just had to dive into Beckman’s brain and learn about what makes him tick.

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Lauren Oyler knows we’re all faking it

Lauren Oyler knows we’re all faking it

Lauren Oyler is 6’0. That may or may not be a lie, but it is in her Twitter bio. It also has nothing to do with her searing debut novel Fake Accounts other than the fact that no one can be sure who is and isn’t lying on the internet.

Her novel, set in the early days of the Trump Administration, follows an unnamed narrator who discovers her boyfriend is a prolific online conspiracy theorist. She flees to Berlin where she falls in her own pattern of lies and deception. The book, which takes place entirely in early 2016, is a reflection on the America we live in today. Not much has changed in the past four years. The lies are bigger, but they were always there. If the internet has done one thing, it’s just exposed us to the seedy underbelly that always existed. Fake Accounts also sheds a light on this world of lies, attention seeking, and distruction.

I chatted with Oyler the day before Biden’s Inauguration about the internet, lies, and why conspiracy theories are boring.

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10 debut books you should read this February

10 debut books you should read this February

As Biden’s Administration takes off, books coming out largely deal with the America we lived in for the past four years. The first titles coming up range from fiction exploring conspiracy theories to poverty and nonfiction tackling abuse and exploring queer culture. These ten authors are setting the tone for what books can do.

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Ellie Eaton’s debut coming-of-age novel is Divine

Ellie Eaton’s debut coming-of-age novel is Divine

Ellie Eaton is in limbo. She grew up in England and has lived in America for the past decade. She’s both an English writer and an American one. But she’s also neither.

Her book, like her, straddles between an American adulthood and coming-of-age in a British boarding school. The girls in The Divines are nothing like her and her friends, but the spirit is there. Half of the story takes place in the insulated world of a British boarding school where the real world barely matters. The other half is about one of the girls, all grown up, reckoning with the decisions she made decades ago.

I spoke with Eaton about being a British or American writer, coming-of-age novels, and whether or not she was a Divine via phone.

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A Life of Books with Mateo Askaripour, author of Black Buck

A Life of Books with Mateo Askaripour, author of Black Buck

In Black Buck, Mateo Askaripour uses a gregarious Black salesman in an all white company to satirically take down corporate America. Through sharp-witted humor and a lot of heart, Askaripour sheds light on the microaggressions and blatant racism Black men and women go through on a daily basis.

The book has been praised by everyone from Publishers Weekly to The Today Show and was one of Debutiful‘s best debuts to read this month.

Below, Mateo Askaripour answered A Life of Books, Debutiful‘s ongoing questionnaire to better get to know writers and what inspires them.

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