There are so many great books releasing in the first half of 2019, we had to make a list. We’re anxiously awaiting their release, but thankfully almost half of these are releasing in the next couple of months. There are debuts on this list alongside new releases from widely celebrated authors. Hopefully you’ll find this list as a good place to start your reading for the year.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
This forthcoming tome from Man Booker winner Marlon James is the first in a fantasy trilogy that has Game of Thrones fans all abuzz. Checking in at 640 pages, this is no weekend-read. Neil Gaiman has described this novel as “A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made.” If that doesn’t pique your interest, nothing will.
Publication date: February 5th
Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken
New from the author of Thunderstruck & Other Stories, Bowlaway is a novel about Bertha Truitt, a woman discovered unconscious in a New England cemetery at the the turn of the 20th century. Sure to bring plenty of McCracken’s wit and humor, Bowlaway is a novel we can’t wait to pick up.
Publication Date: February 5th
The Source of Self-Regard by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison needs no introduction. The Source of Self-Regard is a newly-collected selection of the celebrated writer’s essays, speeches and meditations on race, society and literary criticisms spanning four decades of her work.
Publication Date: February 12th
Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad
Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the debut novel from Pitchaya Sudbanthad, is melded from the linked stories of characters and their connections to Bangkok: a doctor, a musician, a photographer. Time is fluid in this lyrical novel, moving forward and back through their lives. Due out in February from Riverhead, this is a debut that’s sure to turn heads.
Publication Date: February 19th
Fierce Pretty Things by Tom Howard
Winner of the 2018 Blue Lights Books Prize, this debut collection of eight stories from Tom Howard contains “Hildy,” the 2015 Short Story Award Winner, so we’re pretty excited about this one. Look for our review of this great collection on its release.
Publication Date: March 1st
Gingerbread by Helen Oyememi
The author of Boy, Snow, Bird, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, winner of the PEN Open Book Award, returns with Gingerbread, an imaginative novel about Perdita and Harriet Lee, Gingerbread makers from Druhástrana, a place that may or may not exist.
Publication Date: March 5th
The White Card by Claudia Rankine
Claudia Rankine, author of the unforgettable Citizen: An American Lyric, is back with The White Card, a play in two acts. The first act takes place at a dinner party thrown by Virginia and Charles, Manhattan socialites, for up-and-coming artist Charlotte. The second act takes place a year later, in Charlotte’s studio. This first play from Rankine “stages a conversation that is both informed and derailed by the black/white American drama.”
Publication Date: March 19th
Sing to It by Amy Hempel
Former TMR Anthology judge Amy Hempel is back with what is sure to be one of the best story collections released in 2019. This is her first collection since 2006, so suffice it to say we’re excited about this one.
Publication Date: March 26th
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami
Laila Lalami, Pulitzer Prize finalist, is back with a novel about the death of a Moroccan immigrant. Described as a family saga, a murder mystery and a love story all in one, this novel is certainly one to wait for.
Publication Date: March 26th
The Gulf by Belle Boggs
Author of the memoir The Art of Waiting and the short story collection Mattaponi Queen, The Gulf is Belle Boggs’ first novel. The novel follows writers Marianne and Eric as they establish a writing workshop for Evangelicals – an idea that began as a joke, but how crazy could it be?
Publication Date: April 2nd
What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence by Michele Filgate
An anthology spawned from Filgate’s essay, “What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About,” on Longreads, fifteen writers share essays on their relationships with their mothers and the things they can’t discuss. We’re excited to be interviewing Filgate about this anthology later this year!
Publication Date: April 30th
The Unpassing by Chia-Chia Lin
The Unpassing is Chia-Chia Lin’s debut novel. Her incredible short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere — and we could not be more excited about this book. The Unpassing follows a Taiwanese immigrant family in Anchorage, Alaska, and exposes the myth of the American Dream. This novel is due out in May from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Publication Date: May 7th
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
The Farm, debut novel from Joanne Ramos, wants to know what you would sacrifice for a better life. Would you give up your body, become a surrogate mother and live on a farm for the nine months of your pregnancy? The Farm introduces us to four women who meet at Golden Oaks Farm during this life-changing decision.
Publication Date: May 7th
Orange World and Other Stories by Karen Russell
Karen Russell is a favorite around here. Orange World and Other Stories is a new collection of nine stories from the wonderfully strange Russell. Still not sold? Read “Bog Girl” on The New Yorker and then preorder this collection.
Publication Date: June 18th
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
The Nickel Boys is a new novel from Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning Colson Whitehead, his follow-up to the excellent The Underground Railroad. In The Nickel Boys, two boys are sent to a reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida; this novel is based on the real Arthur B. Dozier School for Boys which operated in Florida’s panhandle for over a century and covered up the abuse, neglect and deaths of its students.
Publication Date: July 16th