Do you know that feeling when you just can’t wait to read a particular book but you have to wait because it’s not published yet? We hear you! 2020 is poised to be another fantastic year for book lovers, and in particular those who love to read outside the box. We are sharing the 10 books we can’t to read in 2020. There are plenty of new titles coming out this year we don’t know about yet, but the ones we do know about are cause to get excited.
Amnesty, by Aravind Adiga (Scribner, February)
The new novel by Aravinda Adiga, whose 2008 The White Tiger won the Man Booker, Amnesty tells the story of an undocumented immigrant, Danny, living a relatively quiet life in Australia after being denied refugee status as he fled his native Sri Lanka. Things take a turn after he finds himself in the middle of a murder case and speaking up could mean deportation. Amnesty is a story that will, with plenty of Adiga’s trademark wit, force you to reckon with your own ethical code.
Order your copy here.
The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, by Clarissa Goenawan (Penguin Random House, March)
From the critically acclaimed author of Rainbirds comes a novel of tragedy and dark histories set in Japan. University sophomore Miwako Sumida has hanged herself, leaving those closest to her reeling. In the months before her suicide, she was hiding away in a remote mountainside village, but what, or whom, was she running from? Expanding on the beautifully crafted world of Rainbirds, Clarissa Goenawan gradually pierces through a young woman’s careful façade, unmasking her most painful secrets.
Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America, by Laila Lalami (Pantheon, April)
A nonfiction work from the Pulitzer-nominated author of last year’s The Other Americans, Laila Lalami’s Conditional Citizens uses her own story as a Moroccan immigrant to the United States to delve into what it means to be an American citizen and the rights and protections that come with it. The book opens with her naturalization ceremony and tackles the fraught relationship between citizenship, where you’re from, and what you look like.
Clap When You Land, by Elizabeth Acevedo (Harper Collins, May)
National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo is back with a new young adult novel: Clap When You Land. Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
Don’t miss out on Elizabeth Acevedo’s last novel With The Fire On High.
You Exist Too Much, by Zaina Arafat (Catapult, June)
We love to read about Palestine and we love to discover new talented writers, in this case Zaina Arafat. On a hot day in Bethlehem, a twelve-year-old Palestinian American girl is yelled at by a group of men outside the Church of the Nativity. She has exposed her legs in a biblical city, an act they deem forbidden, and their judgement will echo on through her adolescence. When our narrator finally admits to her mother that she is queer, her mother’s response only intensifies a sense of shame: “You exist too much,” she tells her daughter. Opening up the fantasies and desires of one young woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities, You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings—for love and a place to call home.
The Dutch translation of Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde (Uitgeverij Pluim, June)
This powerful collection of fifteen essays and speeches is obviously not new, but it will finally be translated into Dutch. In Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. We’ve already requested a review copy from the publisher so stay tuned!
The Lying Life of Adults, by Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions, June)
A powerful new novel set in a divided Naples by Elena Ferrante, the beloved best-selling author of My Brilliant Friend. Giovanna’s pretty face has changed: it’s turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. But is she seeing things as they really are? Into which mirror must she look to find herself and save herself? She is searching for a new face in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, which professes to be a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape.
You can read more about Ferrante’s earlier work and why we love it so much in our blog from June last year.
Transcendent Kingdom, by Yaa Gyasi (Alfred A. Knopf, September)
It’s been four years since Homegoing and how happy are we that Yaa Gyasi is publishing a new novel! Transcendent Kingdom is about Stanford neuroscience Ph.D. candidate Gifty, who takes in her depressed, devitalized mother and re-examines the undoing of her family after they emigrated from Ghana to Alabama. We can’t wait!
Literally, we can’t wait! If neither can you, you must read Yaa Gyasi’s earlier novel Homegoing.
Ok, so technically the two books we’d also like to mention here were already published in 2019. But we are so enthusiastic about these children’s books, that we didn’t want to withhold these from you. Does your child, little brother or sister, niece or nephew have a birthday coming up? Consider buying them one of these.
The Mermaid in the Bathtub, Nurit Zarchi & Rutu Modan (Restless Books, since October 2019)
One day, a resolutely ordinary young man named Mr. Whatwilltheysay returns home to find Grain-of-Sand, a mermaid, waiting for him in his favorite armchair. Despite his objections, the two embark on a series of very watery adventures as he tries to get rid of her. But ultimately the thought of being seen with half a fish is simply too much for Mr. Whatwilltheysay to bear—what would people say? So broken-hearted Grain-of-Sand returns to the sea in his bathtub, leaving Mr. Whatwilltheysay to resume his pedestrian existence. Mr. Whatwilltheysay soon finds that his beloved landlubber life, however, lacks the splash and shimmer (and bathtub) of his good times with Grain-of-Sand—and acting against all his instincts, he sets off to sea to find her. The Mermaid in the Bathtub is a charming, gorgeously retro retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story “The Little Mermaid,” by beloved Israeli author and illustrator duo Nurit Zarchi and Rutu Modan.
Buy the book here.
Daniel and Ismail, Juan Pablo Iglesias & Alex Peris (Restless Books, since August 2019)
Daniel and Ismail, one Jewish and the other Palestinian, don’t know each other yet, but they have more in common than they know. They live in the same city and have the same birthday, and this year they get the same presents: a traditional scarf—for Daniel a tallit and for Ismail a keffiyeh—and a soccer ball. Taking their gifts out for a spin, they meet by chance on a soccer field, and they soon begin to play together and show off the tricks they can do. Daniel and Ismail is a remarkable multilingual picture book that confronts the very adult conflicts that kids around the world face, and shows us that different cultures, religions, societies, and languages can all share the same page – translated into English, Hebrew, and Arabic.
Buy the book here.