General Fiction

If I Survive You

Jonathan Escoffery (MCD) $27

Recommended by Gaël LeLamer, head buyer, Books & Books, Florida

A brilliant debut collection of interconnected stories on race, family, and what it means to be home. Escoffery’s writing is light yet poignant, hilarious yet heartbreaking. Few writers have captured Miami in such a vibrant and authentic manner. This is destined to be a classic in the Florida literary canon.

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

Jamie Ford (Atria) $28

Recommended by Karen Emmerling, owner, and Alexa Butler, manager, Beach Books, Seaside, Ore.

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy begins with the true story of Afong, the first Chinese woman to set foot on American soil, who was toured throughout the country as an oddity. Her trauma is passed through eerie connections and hallucinations to seven generations of daughters. With glimpses of the women’s lives throughout history, Ford has created a beautiful multigenerational family story of seven haunted, incredible women.

Things We Found When the Water Went Down

Tegan Nia Swanson (Catapult) $22.95

Recommended by Audrey Kohler, senior bookseller, and Susan Post, owner, BookWoman, Austin, Tex.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more uniquely formatted book this year. Digging through strange artifacts uncovered by the protagonist, you’ll uncover small-town and familial secrets in this beautifully examined, feminist, and compelling can’t-miss book.

Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror

Africa Risen

Edited by Sheree Renée Thomas et al. (Tordotcom) $27.99

Recommended by Isis Asare, founder, Sistah Scifi,

For fans of Janelle Monáe’s The Memory Librarian who are looking for what’s next, Africa Risen is an exciting collection of speculative fiction from across the African continent and the diaspora. It’s coedited by Sheree Renée Thomas, who also edited the pioneering, World Fantasy Award–winning anthology series Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction. The cover features artwork from Manzi Jackson, a Rwandan visual
artist focused on surrealist and magical concepts. Science fiction and fantasy fans would probably want it based on that cover alone. [Editor’s note: Jackson’s artwork is based on a photo taken by CreativeSoul Photography.]

The Mountain in the Sea

Ray Nayler (MCD) $28

Recommended by Sylla McClellan, owner, Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore.

In this dark, near-future thriller, questions about animal conscience and interspecies (human, digital, and animal) communication surround a search for power that could alter the course of the planet. It’s for fans of speculative fiction with a philosophical edge

The Wall

Marlen Haushofer (New Directions) $16.95

Recommended by Gaël LeLamer, Head Buyer, Books & Books, Florida

An unnamed woman finds herself separated from the world by an invisible wall. With a dog, a cow, and a cat as her sole companions she learns to survive in this new mysterious reality. Originally written in 1963 and reissued by New Directions, The Wall is perfectly atmospheric, completely captivating, beyond devastating, and might just be one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.


The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On

Franny Choi (Ecco) $25.99

Recommended by Fawzy Taylor, social media and marketing manager, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, Wis.

Choi has crafted a linguistically acrobatic fight song for the apocalypse. The imagination and experimentation in this collection are vast; musical, defiant, queer, pushing, Choi is dancing with language at the protest to invite us to save each other. You will read this, and then you will read it again aloud, and copy down poems to send to your friends.

Food & Drink

Marvel’s Black Panther: The Official Wakanda Cookbook

Nyanyika Banda (Insight Editions) $29.99

Recommended by Isis Asare, founder, Sistah Scifi,

I’m so excited for this book. I love the fact that Nyanyika Banda is a Malawian American chef; the recipes bridge both cultures. I don’t cook, but I saw the book and thought, now I might actually cook for the holidays.

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