I consider myself fairly in-the-know when it comes to book news. It’s part of being a book blogger, but also just me wanting to discover great new books. I even keep a list of new releases on my radar for each year. But, unfortunately, I can’t know everything, and I do miss some great books occasionally.

Luckily, this is the time of year when all the “best books of the year” lists come out. Which means, I get to discover some of those great new releases. And I thought it might be kind of fun and interesting to share the ones that I didn’t discover until it was already December, but immediately added to my TBR.

Golem Girl: A Memoir by Riva Lehrer

This is the memoir of a woman born with spina bifida. She was raised thinking she was broken, that she needed to be fixed. She spends her childhood enduring countless medical procedures and interventions. And then, as an adult, she discovers a group of creatives building Diversity Culture. Riva asks if she can paint them, and in doing so learns more about herself and the way she sees disability.

I am fascinated by this story. As someone with a disability, I have definitely had moments where I doubted my worth. I also have struggled with that mindset affecting me creatively. I absolutely love the idea of turning your disability into something creative and worthwhile, into something unique about you rather than something that is negative. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this, but it really seems like something I have to read.

As We Even Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

I’ve been really trying to explore more literature that challenges ideas of race and class, especially in America. And, to be honest, I just haven’t found the right book for me. This seems like an interesting prospect. Both the author and main character are indigenous. It’s set during WWII where the main character is working at an Inn where Axis diplomats and their families are being held as prisoners of war.

As much as I read, especially historical fiction and books set during WWII, I honestly don’t think I’ve read one set in America. And definitely not one set on an Indian Reservation. As a former history major, I always love reading about experiences from all sides of historical events, and this is one I haven’t even come close to exploring. So I’m pretty excited about this one.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

Reading the synopsis of this book reminded me so much of one of my unexpected favorites of last year: The Bone People by Keri Hulme. Both are set in Oceana (this one in Hawaii, The Bone People in New Zealand), both feature characters native to that area, and both revolve around a boy temporarily lost at sea. In this case, a boy who falls overboard a cruise ship and is delivered safely back to his mother… in the jaws of a shark. Honestly, that’s kind of all I needed to hear to want to read this.

But The Bone People just gave me a craving for oceanic literature (even though I hate going to the beach), and this seems perfect. I really like how their traditions incorporate into their stories. It has a feeling all it’s own, and I thoroughly enjoy reading it. Also, this one apparently has supernatural elements, and I am here for it.

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

This is a memoir from one of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard. She not only writes about her own story being a DREAMer, she travels across the United States meeting and talking to her fellow undocumented immigrants. I’ve honestly never really seen a book quite like this one. It seems like such an important read, especially now. I don’t think undocumented immigrants deserve to only be known for being undocumented. I don’t care where you come from or where you started in life, your story is still valuable. And I want to read them.

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier

You probably all know by now that I really like reading weird and quirky books. And I just can’t get this one out of my head. It’s about a pregnant teenager, working as a pizza delivery girl in LA, who becomes obsessed with one of her customers. It’s a coming-of-age story, and probably one of the weirdest ones I’ve come across. To be honest, when I saw the cover, I didn’t think this book would be for me. But I ended up coming back to it a day or two after reading the synopsis because I’m just too curious.

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

One more little fun fact about me: I love reading about science-y things. And, over the past few years and quite a few books, I have learned that I really enjoy learning about interesting animals. Just ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that I have still not stopped talking about zombifying cockroach wasps almost two years after I read a book about them. This year, I literally read a book entirely about earthworms. Not quite as fascinating as last year’s dinosaur and octopus books, but still interesting.

All that to say I like science and I like weird animals. this one is a collection of essays about the natural world and what its inhabitants can teach us. There’s a decent chance my friends might hate me for telling everyone I know cool facts about narwhals, but I don’t even care. Because I just really need to know. Side note: I may have a slight addiction to weird animal science books.

That’s it for this post! I hope you enjoyed it and maybe discovered a few new releases you hadn’t heard of, either! What’s a 2020 release you hadn’t heard of until recently? Are there any you think I should add to my list?

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