New year, new books!
I thought 2018 was a great year in terms of book releases. After all, I had the chance of reading the new works of Meg Wolitzer and Haruki Murakami. And, guess what? I absolutely loved both! So, here I find myself super excited about 2019, hoping that will be just as good as 2018. How can it not be? Ali Smith is releasing the third book of her seasonal quartet: Spring!
These are my most anticipated book releases of 2019:
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Atlantic Books, January 3
When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…
Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. by Lili Anolik
Scribner, January 8
Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s was the pop culture capital of the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz was the ultimate factory girl, a pure product of LA.
The goddaughter of Igor Stravinsky and a graduate of Hollywood High, Babitz posed in 1963, at age twenty, playing chess with the French artist Marcel Duchamp. She was naked; he was not. The photograph, cheesecake with a Dadaist twist, made her an instant icon of art and sex. Babitz spent the rest of the decade rocking and rolling on the Sunset Strip, honing her notoriety. There were the album covers she designed: for Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds, to name but a few. There were the men she seduced: Jim Morrison, Ed Ruscha, Harrison Ford, to name but a very few.
Then, at nearly thirty, her It girl days numbered, Babitz was discovered—as a writer—by Joan Didion.
Thick and other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cotton
The New Press, January 8
In these eight piercing explorations on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom—award-winning professor and acclaimed author of Lower Ed—embraces her venerated role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society.
Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin
Riverhead Books, January 8
Golden Child by Claire Adam
Faber & Faber, January 17
It’s dark now; the bats are out. Insects knock against the light on the patio and the dog sits at the gate. A boy has not returned home and a family anxiously awaits. A father steps out into the night to search for his son.
As the hours turn into days, this man will learn many things. He will learn about being a father to twin boys who are in no way alike. He will learn how dangerous hopes and dreams can be. He will learn truths about Trinidad, about his family, and himself. He will question received wisdom and question his judgement. He will learn about sacrifice and the nature of love – and he will be forced to act.
Claire Adam’s electrifying first novel reckons with the secrets of the human heart. It tells a story about wanting more for our children; it casts its spell with uncommon wisdom and grace.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
Riverhead Books, February 5
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard.
As Tracker follows the boy’s scent–from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers–he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?
Magical Negro by Morgan Parker
Tin House Books, February 5
Magical Negro is an archive of black everydayness, a catalog of contemporary folk heroes, an ethnography of ancestral grief, and an inventory of figureheads, idioms, and customs. These American poems are both elegy and jive, joke and declaration, songs of congregation and self-conception. They connect themes of loneliness, displacement, grief, ancestral trauma, and objectification, while exploring and troubling tropes and stereotypes of Black Americans. Focused primarily on depictions of Black womanhood alongside personal narratives, the collection tackles interior and exterior politics―of both the body and society, of both the individual and the collective experience. In Magical Negro, Parker creates a space of witness, of airing grievances, of pointing out patterns. In these poems are living documents, pleas, latent traumas, inside jokes, and unspoken anxieties situated as firmly in the past as in the present―timeless black melancholies and triumphs.
You Know You Want This by Kristen Roupenian
Jonathan Cape, February 7
The truth was that if a woman bit a man in an office environment, there would be a strong assumption that the man had done something to deserve it . . .
From the creator of Cat Person – the first short story to go viral – comes You Know You Want This, a compulsive collection about sex, dating and modern life. These are stories of women’s lives now. They also happen to be horror stories. In some, women endure the horror. In others, they inflict it.
Here are women at work, at home, on dates, at the doctor’s, with their families and with their friends. Here are women grappling with desire, punishment, guilt and anger. These are stories that make you feel fascinated but repelled, scared but delighted, revolted but aroused.
You Know You Want This shows why Kristen Roupenian is the most audacious new voice in American fiction. Funny, furious, sly and explicit, she takes a long, hard look at the messed-up power dynamic between men and women – and messes it up some more.
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
Scribner UK, February 7
Karen Thompson Walker’s second novel tells the mesmerising story of a town transformed by a mystery illness that locks people in perpetual sleep and triggers extraordinary, life-altering dreams.
One night in an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a first-year student stumbles into her room, falls asleep and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third, panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster.
Written in luminous prose, The Dreamers is a breathtaking and beautiful novel, startling and provocative, about the possibilities contained within a human life if only we are awakened to them.
The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison
Knopf Doubleday, February 12
But on July 12 1979, on the night of the final concert of the Aurora tour, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now.
This is the whole story, right from the beginning: the sun-bleached streets, the grimy bars on the Sunset Strip, knowing Daisy’s moment was coming. Relive the euphoria of success and experience the terror that nothing will ever be as good again. Take the uppers so you can keep on believing, take the downers so you can sleep, eventually. Wonder who you are without the drugs or the music or the fans or the family that prop you up. Make decisions that will forever feel tough. Find beauty where you least expect it. Most of all, love like your life depends on it and believe in whatever it is you’re fighting for.
It’s a true story, though everyone remembers the truth differently.
LOT by Bryan Washington
Riverhead Books, March 19
A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of a hijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People’s History of Heaven.
Spring by Ali Smith
Hamish Hamilton, March 28
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Hogarth, April 16
One morning, Jessa-Lynn Morton walks into the family taxidermy shop to find that her father has committed suicide, right there on one of the metal tables. Shocked and grieving, Jessa steps up to manage the business, while the rest of the Morton family crumbles: her mother starts sneaking into the shop to make aggressively lewd art with the taxidermied animals, her brother Milo withdraws, struggling to function, and Brynn, Milo’s wife – and the only person Jessa’s ever been in love with – walks out without a word.
Jessa struggles to salvage the failing taxidermy shop, seeking out less-than-legal ways of generating income, all the while clashing with her mother and brother. As their mother’s art escalates – picture a figure of her dead husband and a stuffed buffalo in an uncomfortably sexual pose – Jessa must find a way to restore the Morton clan’s delicate balance, and that means first learning who these people truly are, and ultimately how she fits alongside them all.
Kristen Arnett’s debut novel is a darkly funny, heart-wrenching, and eccentric look at loss and love and art and family, and a paean to her beloved Central Florida.
3 thoughts on “My Most Anticipated Books of 2019”
Really great suggestions here! Thank you so much for putting this together. 2019 should be a great reading year.
Thank you so much! And, I agree! I have already started Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin and it’s great!!