Anyone else feeling existentially tired? Like after quarantine, and a sourdough starter, and shot girl summer, you’re just really ready to grab a cup of chamomile tea, put on your best cottage-core, and curl up with a good book? Same.
Luckily, the literary debuts this season do not disappoint. Stock up and enjoy.
The Husbands by Chandler Baker
If you’re looking for a juicy feminist murder mystery, this is it. The Husbands follows Nora, a working mom up for partner at her law firm who is Ready. To. Snap. when she meets a group of power women in the suburbs who seem to have figured out the secret to success: husbands who do all the housework. The plot will have you simultaneously nodding in agreement about the burdens placed on women and trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with the seemingly idyllic feminist community. The twist will send chills down your spine — perfect for spooky season.
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
Kaitlyn Greenidge’s historical novel follows Libertie Sampson, a young girl finding herself in a free Black community in reconstruction-era Brooklyn. A meditation on what it means to be free as a Black woman, Libertie struggles with the dreams her mother, a doctor, has for her to follow in her footsteps. She chooses ultimately to marry a man from Haiti who promises she will be his equal in his homeland, but finds that she is still subordinate, and still searching for a place she can be true to herself and beholden only to her own expectations.
All In by Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is an underappreciated icon. She’s the original G.O.A.T. —she laid the groundwork for equal pay in sports (and for women everywhere), pushed forward LGBTQ rights as a rare-out athlete, and built a legacy as one of the greatest athletes who’s ever lived. In her latest memoir, she shares it all. Grab a copy if you need a little inspiration.
You Got Anything Stronger?:Stories by Gabrielle Union
In Gabrielle Union’s 2017 memoir, We’re Going to Need More Wine, she got unflinchingly honest about her journey with IVF and “having so many miscarriages that I could not give an exact number.” In the sequel, she gets, even more, real (if that’s possible), opening up about her journey with surrogacy, confronting racism in the entertainment industry, and having a conversation with her iconic Bring It On Character.
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
It is Sally Rooney’s world and we are all just hungrily devouring her prose in it — certainly, at least, if the New York Times Bestseller list is to be believed. After the mega-hit that was Normal People (the broody, heart-wrenching, make-you-feel-some-kinda-way story of two Irish on-again-off-again lovers brought to life by Daisy Edgar Jones and Paul Mescal in the steamy Hulu adaptation) comes Rooney’s third novel — a story about an author who has written two novels and become wildly famous and wildly rich from their success.
Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy
Against the backdrop of a changing world shaped by global warming, Migrations follows Franny Stone as she makes her way to Greenland, hitches a ride onto a fishing boat, and sets off into the dark sea for Antarctica, to watch the last birds of a species make what could be their final migration. What follows is the unspooling of Franny’s own journey and the inconvenient truths she can’t avoid.
Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood
If you’re still thinking about that one Greek mythology class you took, or devoured Madeline Miller’s Circe (or obsessed over Brad Pitt in Troy, no shame) the Claire Heywood, a scholar of the ancient world, will drop you right into the midst of one of the most fascinating periods in history. The Daughters of Sparta is a fictionalized account of the princesses of Sparta, Helen and Klytemnestra, whose lives are ruled by the whims of Kings, but whose cleverness and bravery ends up shaping history.
Fault Lines by Emily Itami
Intimate and witty, Fault Lines follows Mizuki, a Japanese housewife ready to crack under the weight of thankless domesticity when she meets Kiyoshi, a dazzling restauranteur. A romance blossoms, secrets are born, and Mizuki blows open a new future for herself — all she has to do is choose.
What Storm, What Thunder by Myriam J.A. Chancy
Haiti, in very real headlines, has been devastated by high-magnitude earthquakes. In the novel What Storm, What Thunder, Myriam J.A. Chancy masterfully imagines the reality of the aftershocks in the lives of the people of Port-au-Prince. Together, they weave a complex picture of devastation and resilience.
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