10 debut books you should read this January

10 debut books you should read this January

Let’s all just say it: good riddance to 2020! While the literature produced last year was unbelievably breathtaking and groundbreaking, the year itself was… a let down. As we enter 2021, let’s all remember to take care of one another and continue to discover debut authors together.

January’s debuts gives readers everything they could possibly want. There’s a trans-melodrama, gut-wrenching memoirs, a psychological thriller, and stories that take us across the globe.

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David Hopen came of age with his coming-of-age debut

David Hopen came of age with his coming-of-age debut

David Hopen‘s debut coming-of-age book The Orchard is about an Orthodox Jewish student whose life is transformed when he arrives at a new school. The book follows students on the verge of adulthood and is in part based on a Jewish myth. The book itself took Hopen nearly his entire twenties after he started it while he was the characters’ ages.

I spoke to Hopen about how he grew up along with his book and how it may or may not have changed as he grew further and further away from the age he was writing about.

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The Best Debut Books of 2020

The Best Debut Books of 2020

If there is anything 2020 taught us, it’s to find comfort where ever you can find it. Debut books were a big comfort this past year. There is something so exhilarating discovering a new voice. The books produced were sometimes ten years in the making and whether it’s a quiet story about sexuality or a magic realism saga, debut books are a writer’s unfiltered thoughts. They are the most honest a writer will ever be.

This year’s best debuts range from realistic queer stories to outrageous gothic ones. This list features novels, story collections, true crime, essay collections, and everything in between.

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Inside Simon Han’s suburban dreamscape

Inside Simon Han’s suburban dreamscape

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Simon Han’s debut book Nights When Nothing Happened tells you exactly what the book is about. Except, “nothing happening” is in the eye of the beholder. The novel, about a Chinese immigrant family living in Plano, Texas, is as equally quiet as it is thrilling. The project started as a short story about a young girl who begins sleepwalking that spiraled into one of the best novels of the year.

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A Life of Books with Robert W. Fieseler, author of Tinderbox

A Life of Books with Robert W. Fieseler, author of Tinderbox

In his multi-award winning (Winner of the Edgar Award and Louisiana Literary Award, shortlisted for the 2020 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing) debut book Tinderbox, writer Robert W. Fieseler explores the 1973 fire that devastated New Orleans’ queer community. The book chronicles what happened the night when 32 people lost their lives in one of the largest mass murders against gay and lesbian people in our country’s history.

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Lou Diamond Phillips adds sci-fi writer to his long list of talents

Lou Diamond Phillips adds sci-fi writer to his long list of talents

Golden Globe nominated actor Lou Diamond Phillips was already a renaissance man. He acts, writes screenplays, and directs. He also does advocacy work and is an accomplished poker player. Now, the multitalented Phillips can add science fiction author to his resume.

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Canadian author Eddy Boudel Tan on creating a modern queer tragedy

Canadian author Eddy Boudel Tan on creating a modern queer tragedy

Eddy Boudel Tan drew from a fear that has lingered throughout his lifetime to create his debut novel After Elias. That fear is what happens when you lose everything. Losing your job, your home, your loved ones. Losing whatever. His novel explores that fear when a man loses his soon-to-be husband right before their wedding. The book is somber and reflective. It’s also a labor of love. The author lives in British Columbia, far from the hustle of New York City or the coziness of Iowa.

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