It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week, though, so stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books, including our YouTube channel, where I talk about each of these! The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
The House of Rust by Khadija Abdalla Bajaber
This is an enchanting novel about a Hadrami girl in Mombasa, Kenya. When her fisherman father goes missing, Aisha takes to the sea on a magical boat made of a skeleton to rescue him. She is guided by a talking scholar’s cat, who is more than a little sarcastic, as well as other animals, among them crows and goats. On this journey Aisha meets three terrifying sea monsters. After she survives a final confrontation with Baba wa Papa, the father of all sharks, she rescues her own father, and hopes that life will return to normal. But at home, things only grow stranger.
Khadija Abdalla Bajaber’s debut is a magical realist coming-of-age tale told through the lens of the Swahili and diasporic Hadrami culture in Mombasa, Kenya. Richly descriptive and written with an imaginative hand and sharp eye for unusual detail, This is sure to be a memorable novel by a thrilling new voice.
Reasons to read it: The House of Rust is the first Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize winner. It has beautiful language and really explores the various complexities of coming of age and into one’s own. Aisha is a well-rounded protagonist with a strong will, and a nature that can be both generous and selfish at times. It reminds me a lot of Kiki’s Delivery Service, especially with the sarcastic cat companion, but it’s also a unique story in that we don’t get to see many books with Kenyan magic realism.
All the Feels by Olivia Dade *
Alexander Woodroe has it all. Charm. Sex appeal. Wealth. Fame. A starring role as Cupid on TV’s biggest show, Gods of the Gates. But the showrunners have wrecked his character, he’s dogged by old demons, and his post-show future remains uncertain. When all that reckless emotion explodes into a bar fight, the tabloids and public agree: his star is falling.
Enter Lauren Clegg, the former ER therapist hired to keep him in line. Compared to her previous work, watching over handsome but impulsive Alex shouldn’t be especially difficult. But the more time they spend together, the harder it gets to keep her professional remove and her heart intact, especially when she discovers the reasons behind his recklessness…not to mention his Cupid fanfiction habit.
When another scandal lands Alex in major hot water and costs Lauren her job, she’ll have to choose between protecting him and offering him what he really wants—her. But he’s determined to keep his improbably short, impossibly stubborn, and extremely endearing minder in his life any way he can. And on a road trip up the California coast together, he intends to show her exactly what a falling star will do to catch the woman he loves: anything at all.
Reasons to read it: This is the follow-up to Spoiler Alert that promises to be as fun as the first. Tropes are handled by Dade in an interesting way, and Alex’s love of fan fiction adds more endearing points to the character. Both characters grow individually as well as together.
*Note: since recording, the release of of All the Feels has been pushed back to November 16, 2021.
Comfort Me With Apples by Catherynne M. Valente
Sophia was made for him. Her perfect husband. She can feel it in her bones. He is perfect. Their home together in Arcadia Gardens is perfect. Everything is perfect.
It’s just that he’s away so much. So often. He works so hard. She misses him. And he misses her. He says he does, so it must be true. He is the perfect husband and everything is perfect.
But sometimes Sophia wonders about things. Strange things. Dark things. The look on her husband’s face when he comes back from a long business trip. The questions he will not answer. The locked basement she is never allowed to enter. And whenever she asks the neighbors, they can’t quite meet her gaze….
But everything is perfect. Isn’t it?
Reasons to read it: Comfort Me With Apples is a terrifying new thriller— some may even say horror— from bestseller Catherynne M. Valente, for fans of Gone Girl and Spinning Silver. Read if you want a totally unique and unsettling read that will keep you engaged for all of its brief 112 pages.
Far from the Light Heaven by Tade Thompson
The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years from home to bring thousands of sleeping souls to safety among the stars.
Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake. As a profound and sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel, its skeleton crew makes decisions that will have repercussions for all of humanity’s settlements—from the scheming politics on Lagos station to the colony planet of Bloodroot, to other far-flung systems, and indeed Earth itself.
Reasons to read it: This is a tense and thrilling mystery told in space from the author of Rosewater. It’s space opera adjacent, with wonderful Afrofuturist elements, and quirky characters that bring humor and delightful strangeness.
Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit
“In the year 1936 a writer planted roses.” So begins Rebecca Solnit’s new book, a reflection on George Orwell’s passionate gardening and the way that his involvement with plants, particularly flowers, and the natural world illuminates his other commitments as a writer and antifascist, and the intertwined politics of nature and power.
A lush exploration of roses, pleasure, and politics, and a fresh take on George Orwell as an avid gardener whose political writing was grounded in his passion for the natural world.
Sparked by her unexpected encounter with the surviving roses he planted in 1936, Solnit’s account of this understudied aspect of Orwell’s life explores his writing and his actions—from going deep into the coal mines of England, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, critiquing Stalin when much of the international left still supported him (and then critiquing that left), to his analysis of the relationship between lies and authoritarianism. Through Solnit’s celebrated ability to draw unexpected connections, readers encounter the photographer Tina Modotti’s roses and her Stalinism, Stalin’s obsession with forcing lemons to grow in impossibly cold conditions, Orwell’s slave-owning ancestors in Jamaica, Jamaica Kincaid’s critique of colonialism and imperialism in the flower garden, and the brutal rose industry in Colombia that supplies the American market. The book draws to a close with a rereading of Nineteen Eighty-Four that completes her portrait of a more hopeful Orwell, as well as a reflection on pleasure, beauty, and joy as acts of resistance.
Reasons to read it: For a different perspective on such an iconic writer. This more fully fleshes out a highly influential figure in literature who many may think they have pegged. It shows how, although Orwell was adamant in the idea that there should be “bread for all,” he also believed in the right to roses and other beautiful and enjoyable parts of life for everyone.
Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique
When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He’s a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She’s a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, looking for lasting love. But are they meant to be? The answer goes back decades—all the way to their parents’ earliest loves.
Vibrant and emotionally riveting, Monster in the Middle moves across decades, from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands to Ghana and back again, to show how one couple’s romance is intrinsically influenced by the family lore and love stories that preceded their own pairing. What challenges and traumas must this new couple inherit, what hopes and ambitions will keep them moving forward? Exploring desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation, the novel posits that in order to answer the question “who are we meant to be with?” we must first understand who we are and how we came to be.
Reasons to read it: For lyrical writing on how generational issues get passed down and how they manifest into the present day. There’s also an interesting and often unexplored examination of who we fall in love with here. How the people we fall in love with are not just who we see in front of us, but also entire histories.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
This is only scratching the surface of the books out this week! If you want to keep up with all the latest new releases, check out:
- Book Riot’s YouTube channel, where Danika and I discuss the most exciting books out every Tuesday!
- All the Books, our weekly new releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot Insiders’ New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!