The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
If this book flew under your radar, you should grab it now. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls is perfect for fans of An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and follows a sister tribe as they navigate the devastation following the arrest of one of the sisters—they must all come together during this difficult time. This book is a stunning portrait of an American family and a vital read about women of color and the justice system.
Sabrina & Corina
A National Book Award finalist, Sabrina & Corina is, to put it simply, a real masterpiece. The debut short story collection centers on Latinas of indigenous descent living in the American West—a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite. It explores sexual violence, ancestry and heritage, the fight over land, and the impact that these experiences have on generations of women. It’ll surely go down as one of the best books of the year—it’s one you won’t want to miss.
Named one of the best books of 2019, Lot is a collection of short stories set in Houston’s multiethnic neighborhoods. It centers on the son of a Black mother and Latino father as he comes of age—and discovers that he likes boys, not girls—and the others who live around him, from a young baseball team to a group of hustlers to a local drug dealer. Providing much-needed insight into the people that build a community, Lot explores love in all its many forms.
The Ghosts of Eden Park
The epic true crime story of the most successful bootlegger in American history and the murder that shocked the nation, The Ghosts of Eden Park is a read that you’ll want to devour in one sitting. The story begins in the early days of Prohibition when a German immigrant named George Remus quits practicing law, starts trafficking whiskey, and becomes a multi-millionaire within two years. What follows is more drama than anyone ever imagined. Described as “Gatsby-era noir at its best” by Erik Larson himself, this page-turner will keep you entranced until the last page.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a beautifully crafted novel that follows a Syrian couple as they seek refuge in Britain after war breaks out in the only home they’ve ever had. It documents their journey through the unknown and the perpetual feeling of displacement. This unforgettable novel puts human faces on the Syrian war with the story of a beekeeper, his wife, and the triumph of spirit when the world becomes unrecognizable—it’s an immigrant story for those who understand the hardship and for those who don’t.
We Cast a Shadow
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Haunting and captivating in equal measure, We Cast a Shadow is a near-future dystopian novel that’ll make you question where we are and where we’re heading. It’s about a Black father who wants the best for his son, which, in the near future South, means making him look white via cosmetic surgery. Part comedy, part horror story, and part family saga, this novel is chilling and will stay with you long after you put it down.
It’s no secret that we love Ben Dreyer. Dreyer has been Random House’s longtime copy chief and one of Twitter’s leading language gurus—in short, he’s a grammar genius. His book is everything you need to write better in your daily life. Far from boring, this sharp, funny grammar guide is one that you’ll actually look forward to reading.
The River is a national bestseller about two college students on a wilderness canoe trip. Wynne and Jack are best friends who decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada. They expect beautiful views, leisure days, and relaxing nights under the stars. What they don’t see coming? A wildfire that leads to more than just an urgent escape to safety. An unsettling yet stunning read about male friendship and the natural world, this thriller will keep you on your toes and will be one that you want to revisit over and over again.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
From Nobel Prize-winning and Man Booker Award-winning author Olga Tokarczuk, this book is an extraordinary examination of human behavior. Set in a remote Polish village, it follows Janina who devotes her time to poetry, astrology, and taking care of animals. When one of her neighbors, Big Foot, turns up dead and other bodies follow, Janina takes it upon herself to solve the mystery. A divine mix of fairy tale and thriller, this book will be hard to put down.
Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory
If you haven’t watched Bojack Horseman on Netflix yet, please do yourself a favor and start it now. It’s a hilarious yet heartwrenching cartoon that tackles everything from love to trauma to addiction and loss. Raphael Bob-Waksberg is the creator of the show and with this collection of short stories, he’ll make you laugh, cry, and feel every other emotion out there.
Meg and Jo
We’re so excited for the latest Little Women movie coming out on Christmas Day. While you wait for its release, check out Meg and Jo by Virginia Kantra. It’s a modern-day retelling of the classic Alcott tale that follows two of the March sisters, Jo and Meg. This lovely story brings the powerful sister tribe into the 21st century and will surely find a space in everyone’s heart.
Imagine a gorgeous countryside getaway boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else.
The Other Americans
From the Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Moor’s Account, here is a timely and powerful novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant. At once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture, The Other Americans is a compelling portrait of race and immigration in America.
When Tiffany Jenkins was convicted of twenty felonies that resulted from her severe drug addiction, she was sentenced to 20 days in jail, which changed her life forever. In this book, she shares her experiences. A great read for fans of Orange is the New Black, this national bestseller provides an honest look into the life of a recovering addict and really helps to break the stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness.
This book is a delightfully strange combination of The Vegetarian and Heathers that’ll keep you turning pages. Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination. Plus, it’s already been snapped up to be made into a TV series.
We are huge fans of interesting books about World War II because it was one of the most tumultuous periods of history and there’s so much more to learn. D-Day Girls is the untold true story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to help pave the way for Allied victory in World War II. Rigorously researched, it’s an inspiring story about the power of brave women and what they can accomplish when the stakes seem incalculably high.
The Old Drift
Named one of the best books of the year and another rock-star debut novel, The Old Drift covers multitudes, from a woman covered with hair and another plagued with endless tears, to forbidden love affairs and fiery political ones, to homegrown technological marvels like Afronauts, microdrones and viral vaccines. It’s a testament to our yearning to create and cross borders, and a meditation on the slow, grand passage of time.
Fans of John le Carré will absolutely love American Spy. It’s a hard-to-put-down espionage thriller with elements of family drama, and passionate romance that takes place during the Cold War and has a young black woman FBI officer, Marie Mitchell, leading the way.
The Travelers is a riveting debut novel from a new literary voice that’s bound to make waves in the years to come. It’s an intergenerational saga that follows two interconnected families—one black and one white—as they navigate love, loss, and change from the 1950s to Barack Obama’s first year as president. Not only is it a vivid portrayal of family, it’s also a chronicle of twentieth-century America’s casual intolerance and racial violence, making it an especially timely and evocative read.
Family of Origin
Family of Origin centers on one unique family as they grapple with a recent death. When Nolan Grey and his half-sister Elsa learn that their father drowned off an island where he worked (and failed) to find a rare sea duck, they decide to make the journey there to find it for him. The problem? Nolan and Elsa don’t get along and the close quarters of the island only make matters worse. Delightfully funny, fiercely original, high-spirited and warm, Family of Origin grapples with questions of nature and nurture, evolution and mating, intimacy and betrayal, progress and forgiveness.
We Have Always Been Here
This memoir is a must-read for absolutely everyone. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, Samra Habib faced regular threats from Islamic extremists. In an effort to escape violence and persecution, Samra and her family fled to Canada, where they faced another set of challenges: racism, poverty, and a new way of life. Overtime, Samra felt empowered to explore her faith, art, love, and queer sexuality—this is her story.
On Swift Horses
An astonishing debut, this book is a story about two people—a lonely newlywed and her brother-in-law—trying to find their place in a country that is falling apart even as it promises them everything. Set in the post-war American West, this cinematic story features a strong woman and a LGBTQ+ protagonist—and the prose is simply stunning.
Ayesha At Last
A gorgeous modern-day retelling of Pride and Prejudice centered around a Muslim family, Ayesha at Last is a tale of love, rejection, culture, and family. It takes the story we all know and love and weaves in important elements of identity, class, and discrimination, all the while maintaining the romance and charm that makes readers swoon.
With so many great reads coming out each year, it’s hard to keep track of every book that people have loved. 2019 is no exception—there have been a multitude of books released, fiction and nonfiction, that are emotional, thrilling, diverse, and absolutely wonderful.
We’ve rounded up some of the best 2019 books you might’ve missed to help you learn more about them and hopefully add them to your ever-growing TBR pile. Trust us, they’re worth it.
Featured image: Robert Driscoll