I am pretty happy with the number of books I’ve been able to read so far this year. But looking back on the books I have read so far, there are a few things I’d like to improve before the end of the year rolls around. One is that I want to read. more 2021 releases. There have been a ton of great books released this year, and I feel like I am not keeping up with them as well as I would like to. Probably because I’ve been doing a lot of reading specifically for blog posts.
But I think I will have a bit of space in my reading schedule next month to squeeze in a new release or two. And I thought it might be fun to let you help me choose! So I put together a list of five new releases that I am really interested in reading, and you can all vote in the comments. The book with the most votes will be added to my September reading list. And if I end up having time, I’ll pick up the one with the second most votes. Should be fun, right?
Here are the five options:
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
This book is about Marian, a female aviator who does some sketchy things in order to live her dream and circumnavigate the globe (I think that part is set in the 1910s or 20s). But we also follow Hadley, an actress hired to play Marian in a film about her disappearance in Antarctica a century earlier.
This seems like an interesting blend of contemporary and historical fiction. And you know I love books about badass women. Honestly, this is pretty close to the top of my to-read-list, because it just sounds totally up my alley and was just put on the Booker longlist – and I tend to enjoy Booker nominees/winners. But, it is a chunky book. I did finish a six-hundred page historical novel fairly quickly last month, but I don’t know if I’ll be in the mood to do it again in September.
The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris
The second I read the synopsis for this one and saw that it was being marketed as “Get Out meets The Stepford Wives” I was sold. This is an office thriller about Nella, a twenty-six-year-old black girl (duh) working as an editorial assistant. After experiencing social isolation and microaggressions in her workplace, she’s thrilled when another black girl, Hazel, is hired and put in the cubicle next to hers. But something happens that leads to Hazel becoming the office darling and leaving Nella behind. And then Nella starts getting threatening notes on her desk.
This sounds like a fun thriller that maybe also has some good social commentary. I am curious about this one, because it seems like something I might like. However, I have not been enjoying books like this for some reason recently. I can’t tell if this is the sort of book people who enjoyed Leave the World Behind might like. Because I did not. I also saw a review complaining about the editing… which you know is one thing I can’t handle.
So I was excited about this when it came out a few months ago, but I’m feeling a little on the fence now. Should I still give it a chance? Wait? Or just accept this is probably not the book for me?
Razorblade Tears by S. A. Cosby
Another thriller, this one about two fathers – one black, one white – dealing with the murders of their sons. Both fathers are ex-cons and neither excepted their sons (who were married) were gay. This one has gotten much better reviews than The Other Black Girl and it sounds really good. But crime thrillers are kind of hit-or-miss for me. I think this one might be different enough to be something I will enjoy. I did get a copy in a recent Book of the Month box, so obviously I do want to read it at some point.
Reading the reviews of this one, I definitely noticed how many people loved the writing. And honestly that is the biggest thing for me. I will read anything if it’s well written. So even though this story doesn’t grab me quite as much as The Other Black Girl, I feel like I might end up liking it more. Now that I say that, maybe I should read both and test that theory? Or save them for some sort of thriller post? I’m absolutely over thinking this and it’s up to you this month, so if you want me to read this one, let me know.
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
I feel like this book was sort of controversial earlier this year, but that seems to have died down. It has gotten mixed reviews, but it is also an own-voices transgender story, which I feel like I don’t read very often at all. It was longlisted for the Women’s Prize in Fiction this year (didn’t make the shortlist, though) so it’s definitely been getting some buzz.
I’m going to be completely honest here – the story doesn’t totally feel like it will be my cup of tea. It’s about complex relationships and building a family and things I tend to not enjoy all that much. However, I do want to read more books by transgender authors about transgender experiences and this seems like the book of the year in that category. Should I read this? Is there a better transgender book I need to pick up instead? Let me know.
Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi
I know it sounds like I’ve been on the fence with all of these books on this list, but they do all have pros and cons for me, this one included. If I read this it will be my third Helen Oyeyemi book, and I still don’t know how I feel about her writing. It’s weird, and I want to like it but I just don’t totally connect with it even though it still sort of pulls me in. I don’t know. I do kind of want to give her another chance just so I can work out what I think.
This one is about a couple who, after coming out to their families are gifted a trip on a sleeper train. So they set off… with their pet mongoose. And start realizing some weird things about the train. Like they seem to be the only people on board. Basically, I’m sure this is a weird mystery kind of thing. It’s categorized as magical realism on Goodreads, which I am a fan of. Maybe this will help me decide how I feel about Oyeyemi’s writing.
If you’d like to vote on which of these new releases I should include in my TBR for next month, leave your answer in the comments below. You have until August 31st, and then I’ll tally up the answers and announce the winner when I post my September reading list on September 2nd. I’m really curious to see what you pick!
Have you read any of these books? Are there any other new releases you think I should try to get to this year?