After consulting with PW’s reviews editors and speaking with booksellers and distributors, we selected a list of adult and children’s titles from independent and university presses that readers won’t want to miss. These 20 books due out from now until the end of the year include both fiction and nonfiction, for children and adults, many in translation.
Fuck, Now There Are Two of You
Adam Mansbach, illus. by Owen Brozman (Oct., $15.95, hardcover)
First printing: 100,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author events; drive-time radio tour; aggressive social media campaign; advertising; promotional giveaways via social media and on popular book networking sites.
The third installment in Adam Mansbach’s bestselling Go the Fuck to Sleep series addresses what happens when a second child arrives. “God bless motherfucking Adam Mansbach, again, for channeling the parental id into verse that’s vulnerable, bleak, and so very, hilariously profane,” says Jessica Stockton-Bagnulo, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Fuck, Now There Are Two of You once again gives us outwardly cheerful parents a moment to realize—through the tears of helpless laughter—that we aren’t alone.”
The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls
Mona Eltahawy (Sept., $24.95, hardcover)
Announced first printing: 35,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Indie pre-order campaign; print and online advertising.
The activist and journalist offers a feminist manifesto for women and girls on how to defy, disrupt, and destroy the patriarchy by embracing the qualities they’ve been trained to avoid. PW’s review says, “Eltahawy’s arguments come through with as much intelligence and clarity as passion and evocative imagery; they are built on facts about racism, capitalism, and homophobia, as well as her own and others’ experiences.”
Lucy Ellmann (Sept., $22.95, trade paper)
First printing: 10,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: An Observer 2019 Fiction Pick; confirmed coverage in the New York Times and the Globe and Mail, among others.
In this novel, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and received a boxed review from PW, an Ohio housewife contemplates her four kids, husband, cats and chickens, as well as America’s ignoble past, and her own regrets. “Far more than the typical examination of contemporary domestic life, Ducks, Newburyport is a poetic observation and haunting account of what it’s like to be a woman in Trump’s America and the messiness of everyday existence,” writes Cristina Rodriguez of Deep Vellum Books in Dallas.
Jokha Alharthi, trans. from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth (Oct., $16.95, trade paper)
Publicity & marketing highlights: Strategic advertising, including social media, targeted email, and online promotion, academic marketing and library promotion.
This is the first novel originally written in Arabic to win the Man Booker International Prize, and the first book by a female Omani author to be translated into English. In a starred review, PW called the novel, which looks at the changes in Oman over the past century, “ambitious, intense,” adding that “with exhilarating results, Alharthi throws the reader into the midst of a tangled family drama in which unrequited love, murder, suicide, and adultery seem the rule rather than the exception.”
Silvina Ocampo, trans. from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine and Jessica Powell (Oct., $14.95, trade paper)
Publicity & marketing highlights: One of the “most anticipated” books of 2019 on Lit Hub; published simultaneously with a separate volume of her stories.
In the final work and only novel from Ocampo (1903–1993), a dying woman attempts to recount the story of her life and in the process reveals the fragility of memory and the illusion of identity. Although, as Stephen Sparks, owner of Point Reyes Books in Point Reyes Station, Calif., points out, “Silvina Ocampo is known primarily in the English-speaking world as a friend of Borges and wife to his collaborator Bioy Casares, the translation of more of her work into English is a reason to celebrate her for her own right, as one of the most singular writers of the 20th century.”
City Lights is also publishing Ocampo’s Forgotten Journey: Stories, trans. by Suzanne Jill Levine and Katie Lateef-Jan, in October.
When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back: Carl’s Book
Naja Marie Aidt, trans. from the Danish by Denise Newman (Sept., $22.95, hardcover)
First printing: 15,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author appearances, including with Coffee House contributing editor Valerie Luiselli; outside publicist; targeted bookseller mailing and limited edition broadsides.
“This book absolutely haunted me,” says Matt Keliher of Subtext Books in St. Paul, Minn. “Carl’s book, his story, his life, will stay with me for a long time. Aidt’s writing on grief, boundless sorrow, sadness, and pain reminded me that death comes to us all and that there is no universal path to overcoming loss. No amount of courage nor strength that can lead us back to being whole. Just one foot in front of the other. Every day.”
Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Nov., $25, hardcover)
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author tour in California and the South, including the SIBA and NCIBA fall regional trade shows.
“Margaret Wilkerson Sexton weaves a powerful tale exploring the meaning of motherhood in the face of treacherous and undeniable obstacles, whether they be the desire for freedom in pre–Civil War Louisiana, the violence of the Klan in the post–Red Summer South, or the difficult navigation of identity in a very much not postracial America,” says Morgan McComb of the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kans.
Drawn & Quarterly
Travis Dandro (Aug., $29.95, trade paper)
First printing: 12,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author appearances; literary buzz campaign; library marketing; library, academic, and YA outreach; Junior Library Guild pick.
In a starred review, PW praised this debut graphic memoir as “an extended poetic gaze on intergenerational helplessness and the violence it begets.... This gloriously scribbled story doesn’t rest on easy morals, or even attempt to forgive the past—Dandro’s triumph is drawing the reader through both the pain and beauty of his upbringing, and then moving forward.”
Elena Ferrante, illus. by Andrea Ucini, trans. from the Italian by Ann Goldstein (Nov., $20, hardcover)
Announced first printing: 40,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Preorder campaign; regional holiday catalogues; library promotion; social media campaign using illustrations and quotes from the book.
From the bestselling author of My Brilliant Friend comes a collection of the weekly columns that she wrote for the Guardian over the course of a year.
Carmen Maria Machado (Nov., $26, hardcover)
Announced first printing: 40,000
Publicity & marketing plans: Author tour; advertising; social media campaign; academic promotion and conference placement; library marketing.
In this memoir, the author of Her Body and Other Parties traces the arc of a harrowing relationship. “Machado candidly discusses her experience with domestic abuse in themes, thoughts, and tropes surrounding a relationship and its unraveling,” says Ikwo Ntekim of Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, N.Y. “No one is spared in her narration of love and loss—least of all the reader, least of all herself.”
I Will Never See the World Again: The Memoir of an Imprisoned Writer
Ahmet Altan, trans. from the Turkish by Yasemin Congar (Oct., $15.99, trade paper)
First printing: 40,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Major review, feature, and serialization push; online, print, and social media advertising; library marketing; academic marketing and academic conferences.
Imprisoned on absurd, Kafkaesque charges, novelist Altan (Endgame) is one of a number of writers persecuted by Turkish president Recep Erdogan’s regime. In a starred review, PW called this memoir, written in Altan’s tiny prison cell, “a searing indictment of Turkey’s authoritarian regime and an inspiring testament to human resilience.”
Drunk in China: Baijiu and the World’s Oldest Drinking Culture
Derek Sandhaus (Nov., $29.95, hardcover)
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author appearances on the East Coast.
“I have learned so much from Derek Sandhaus over the years,” says Clay Risen, deputy opinion editor of the New York Times, “and Drunk in China is no exception. It’s not just about baijiu—although it offers a master class on the subject. It’s about China and its history, culture, and relationship with the West.”
Princeton Univ. Press
Brooklyn: The Once and Future City
Thomas J. Campanella (Sept., $35, hardcover)
First printing: 15,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Events and promotions in Brooklyn, including Brooklyn Book Festival promotion with branded tote giveaway and author booth signing; advertising; prepublication adapted excerpt in New York magazine; social media campaign, including quote cards, archival photos, and video content.
Author Jennifer Egan calls this 500-plus-page history filled with vintage photos “a sheer delight. A cornucopia of mysteries, secrets, meticulous research, and fun facts, it will prove essential reading for anyone with an appetite for New York history.”
James Sallis (Oct., $23.95, hardcover)
First printing: 75,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Advertising; reissuing Sallis’s Lew Griffin series in paperback this fall.
Sarah Jane Pullman is a good cop with a complicated past. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she is named the de facto sheriff of a rural town, investigating the mysterious disappearance of the sheriff whose shoes she’s filling—and the even more mysterious realities of the life he was hiding from his own colleagues and closest friends. Writer Laura Lippman calls Sallis “one of our greatest living crime writers.... Try to get his words, his stories, his people out of your head. Just try.”
Univ. of California Press
Meat Planet: Artificial Flesh and the Future of Food
Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft (Sept., $27.95, hardcover)
First printing: 5,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author appearances, including Kitchen Arts & Letters/92nd Street Y’s Food Summit; print and digital ad campaign.
Wurgaft spent five years researching “cultured meat,” first produced in a lab in 2013 from the cultured tissues of dead animals. It has the potential, he writes, to transform the way people look at animals, relate to farmland, use water, and think about population. He argues that even if cultured meat does not “succeed,” it functions—much like science fiction—as a crucial mirror that we can hold up to our contemporary fleshy dysfunctions.
Univ. of Texas Press
Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas
Stephen Harrigan (Oct., $35, hardcover)
First printing: 35,000 or more
Publicity & marketing highlights: Ten-plus-city national fall author tour, including stops at Texas libraries and festivals; spring author tour; first serial in Texas Monthly; extra ARCs and Big Mouth mailing.
Harrigan (The Gates of Alamo) offers a Texas-size look (over 900 pages) at the Lone Star State. Larry McMurtry calls it “a wonderful new history of Texas. It tells us all we need to know and little that we don’t need to know. It’s a splendid effort.”
Annie Matthew, created by Kobe Bryant (Sept., $16.99, hardcover)
First printing: 100,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author appearances and media tour, including Orange County Children’s Book Festival, International Literacy Day in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Good Morning America; cover reveal on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in April; preorder campaign begun at Wimbledon.
Tennis means life and death for the residents of the magical kingdom of Nova, and for 12-year-old Legacy, it’s the only thing getting her through the long days taking care of the other kids at the orphanage. That changes when she hears about Nova ruler Silla’s tournament for less fortunate citizens to come and prove themselves and win entrance to the Academy, where they can train to compete at nationals. Ages 9–up.
Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest
Peter Wohlleben (Oct., $17.95, hardcover)
First printing: 50,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Catalogues, including ABC Best Books for Young Readers and the NCIBA and PNBA holiday catalogues; Goodreads giveaway; teachers’ guide and discussion guide.
This young reader’s edition of Peter Wohlleben’s bestselling book on trees and how they communicate will change children’s understanding of and appreciation for parks, woods, and forests. The book includes hands-on activities for children. The Hidden Life of Trees was an Indies Choice Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year in 2017 and has sold three million copies worldwide. Ages 8–10.
Rivka Galchen, illus. by Elena Megalos (Sept., $19.99, hardcover)
First printing: 10,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author tour; 1,200 ARCs; fall Kids Indie Next List selection.
From the New Yorker “20 Under 40” author of Atmospheric Disturbances comes an adventure story about a girl named Fred who sets off in search of her mother, who has stepped into an enormous paper lantern in their living room and disappeared. “Rivka Galchen’s Rat Rule 79 is clever and strange and so very much fun,” writes David Gonzalez of Skylight Books in Los Angeles, calling it “a subversive Wizard of Oz for kids too smart for their own good. It’s sure to become many a young readers’ favorite book for years to come.” Ages 10–up.
Nikki Grimes (Oct., $19.99, hardcover)
First printing: 25,000
Publicity & marketing highlights: Author tour, including appearances at NEIBA and at RJ Julia in Middletown, Conn., and Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.; Goodreads giveaways; extensive ARC distribution at conferences.
In this memoir in verse, award-winning poet and author Nikki Grimes describes growing up in 1950s and ’60s New York with a mother suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and a mostly absent father. Terrorized by babysitters, shunted from foster family to foster family, and preyed on by her mother’s second husband, Grimes discovered the power of writing at the age of six. Ages 12–up.
An earlier version of this story stated that Legacy and the Queen is for ages 13–up; it is for middle grade readers, starting at age 9. The author appeared on Good Morning America and not Today.