Upcoming Books to Help Diversify Your Shelves

There are so many great books to look forward to this Fall, including a ton of new nonfiction and follow-up titles, that it’s almost getting hard to keep track of everything I’m itching to read. I try to make sure every list I share includes a diverse group of authors, but thought I would highlight a few specific titles I’m looking forward to reading through the rest of the year (with publisher descriptions since I haven’t picked them up quite yet!).

 

Darling Days by iO Tillett Wright (September 27)

“When a group of boys refuse to let six-year-old, female-born iO play ball, iO instantly adopts a new persona, becoming a boy named Ricky—a choice iO’s parents support and celebrate. It is the start of a profound exploration of gender and identity through the tenderest years, and the beginning of a life invented and reinvented at every step. Alternating between the harrowing and the hilarious, Darling Days is the candid, tough, and stirring memoir of a young person in search of an authentic self as family and home life devolve into chaos.”

 

The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine (October 4)

“Set over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS. Hovered over by the presence of alluring, sassy Satan who taunts Jacob to remember his painful past and dour, frigid Death who urges him to forget and give up on life, Jacob is also attended to by 14 saints. Set in Cairo and Beirut; Sana’a, Stockholm, and San Francisco; Alameddine gives us a charged philosophical portrait of a brilliant mind in crisis.”

 

The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang (October 4)

“Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride. Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina.”

 

The Mothers by Brit Bennett (October 11)

“It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.”

 

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (October 11)

“Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations—those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences.”

 

Swing Time by Zadie Smith (November 15)

“Two brown girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.”

 

  • Kailana

    The Mothers is one I am curious about! I have it on my wish list, but not sure when I will be able to get a copy. Zadie Smith always sounds good, but I have never read her. I really must rectify that because this new book sounds really good, too!

  • This is a really great list spotlighting diverse novels. Three were already on my TBR list, and I’ll need to check out the others. Thanks!

  • Ceillie Simkiss

    I really want to read Swing Time when it comes out! Darling Days sounds amazing and that’s added to the list as well. I’m also really excited about Iron Cast!

  • Come on Shannon! I literally want to read every book on this list and I was just lamenting the PILE of books waiting to be read at home this morning. Only one of these was already on my list but these all sound SO GOOD. Really though, I’ve been looking for books exactly like this so thanks for finding them for me.

  • Nice list! I think that’s the third cover I’ve seen now for Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

  • I can’t wait to read The Mothers and I just heard about Do Not Say We Have Nothing, which looks really interesting too.

  • Amanda

    Oh I so want to love the Wangs! I am excited to read the Mothers and now I really really really want to find the Angel of History too!

  • Swing Time Swing Tiiiiiime! I’m so excited for that one! I had most of these on my list already for the fall, but a couple of them are new to me. Do Not Say We Have Nothing is an excellent title and looks like a really intriguing book — I want to expand to reading more East Asian and East-Asian-descended authors in the next year or so, as I feel like that region is totally underrepresented in my current reading.

    • Isn’t it crazy that I haven’t read Zadie Smith?? I have several of her books. I’m terrible, so I’m going to fix that quick.

  • You have made me excited about fall publications/offerings now!

  • Yes I have The Mothers and Madeleine Thien’s book on my horizon. Did you finish The Mothers and how is it? Zadie Smith is a powerhouse — I can’t overlook either!

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