Well, this is all very exciting, isn’t it? New page design, new domain name, same bookish content! Welcome, if we’ve never met before. Lovely to meet you.
Let’s get right to it. I spent a lot of 2020 reading, in order to block out the nonsense. And given how the first week of January is going, 2021 will be much the same.
Things I’ve Already Read
Here are some books coming in 2021 that I’ve already read (thank you NetGalley, and various lovely publishers), and I think you will love too.
The Dangers of Smoking In Bed, by Mariana Enriquez (Random House, published January 12, 2021) – A newly-translated, blistering collection from Enriquez, whose previous work, Things We Lost in the Fire, is one of my all-time favorites. The supernatural is a strong theme in this collection, with stories concerning ouija boards (Back When We Talked to the Dead), suspected possession (No Birthdays or Baptisms), and restless spirits (The Lookout Tower). But make no mistake, the real terror in these stories mostly comes from the living. Read my full review on Goodreads.
The Rib King, by Ladee Hubbard (Amistad, published January 19, 2021) – I was initially interested in The Rib King because it was compared to the movie Parasite. While both these works focus on the indignities of the class system, and the bitter feelings the system can evoke in those at the bottom of the pile, that is where the similarities end. The Rib King is a twisting, exciting, revealing novel, following the inhabitants and staff of the failing Barclay residence. The writing is sharp, the story engaging, and I predict you’ll be hearing a lot more about this book. Read my full review on Goodreads.
On Fragile Waves, by E Lily Yu (Erewhon Books, published February 2, 2021) – In On Fragile Waves, we are guided by young Firuzeh, as she flees a war-torn Afghanistan with her brother and parents. Their final goal is a new life in Australia, but their journey is by no means an easy one. Firuzeh’s parents tell the children fairy tales to distract from the horror of the journey, but there is only so much protection they can provide.
This book is devastating, poetic, harrowing, gorgeous, and incredible. Please support E. Lily Yu and pick this book up wherever you can. I need more novels from her. Read my full review on Goodreads.
Good Neighbors, by Sarah Langan (Atria Books, published April 7, 2021) – I quietly predict that this is the book that everyone will clutching this summer. It is absolutely bonkers. Think Desperate Housewives meets The Twilight Zone (as a fan of the latter, I very much appreciated the references to Serling’s masterpiece TV show).
Good Neighbors is the story of two vastly different families; the “perfect family” Schroeders, and recent arrivals to Maple Street, the appropriately-named Wildes. The two families form an unlikely bond, but as Maple Street literally begins to crack, so too does the relationship between the families. And after a devastating incident, Maple Street turns into a passive-aggressive (and sometimes downright aggressive) battlefield.
This is a definite “just one more chapter” book; so many things happen you don’t want to look away. Read my full review on Goodreads.
Things I Desperately Want to Read
Karin Tidbeck has new novel out in February, The Memory Theater (Pantheon Books). I’m a big fan of Tidbeck short story collection, Jagannath, so I’m looking forward to this “fantastical tour-de-force about friendship, interdimensional theater, and a magical place where no one ages, except the young.”
The blurb from Monica West’s debut novel, Revival Season, (Simon and Schuster) got me incredibly excited: “The daughter of one of the South’s most famous Baptist preachers discovers a shocking secret about her father that puts her at odds with both her faith and her family.” As a lapsed catholic, I love stories about flawed religions, and am a sucker for a coming-of-age story. It is published in June, but I predict it will be worth the wait.
Tor Nightfire are killing it. I am so excited for this imprint. We have the long-awaited (at least by me) newly-translated Thomas Olde Heuvelt novel, Echo. Heuvelt is the author of Hex, one of the creepiest books every written. I’m ready to be terrified all over again.
There is a huge amount of buzz from another Tor Nightfire release, The Last House on Needless Street, by the phenomenal Catriona Ward. The book is already getting huge acclaim from the likes of Stephen King; a glowing endorsement if ever there was one. It’s getting a UK release in March through Viper, but the US will have to wait until September. I will be pre-ordering this from Blackwell’s, as I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
Other awesome forthcoming releases:
- The Last Good Man, by Thomas McMullan (Bloomsbury) – mob justice in an English village? Where do I sign? (Out now in the UK, US release TBD)
- Burning Girls and Other Stories, by Veronica Schanoes (Tor) – “Stories of fierce women at the margins of society burning their way toward the center.” YAAAS. (Published in March)
- Getaway, by Zoje Stage (Mulholland Books) – A childhood reunion in a secluded location? What could possibly go wrong?! I loved Stage’s two previous weird novels, so I have very high hopes for this one. (Published in August)
- You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism, by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar (Grand Central) – The Amber Ruffin Show is hilarious and you all need to watch it. She is so funny. This book, written with her sister, Lacey, discusses their differing experiences with racism. I’ll be getting the audiobook for this one! (Published January 12)
- Wendy, Darling, by A.C. Wise (Titan) – Even since reading Christina Henry’s Lost Boy, I’m a sucker for alternate Peter Pan stories. A.C. Wise’s new novel explores the life of a grown-up Wendy Darling, and what happens when Pan comes back into her life. Given how dark A.C. Wise’s writing can be, I am so ready for this. (Published in June)
Oh man, I am so excited for these books. 2021 is going to be another killer literary year. So what did I miss? What are you looking forward to?