News for Collection Development and Readers Advisory Librarians

November’s LibraryReads List is the Most Inclusive Ever

The November LibraryReads list is the most inclusive so far, with 6 of the 10 titles on the main list by authors who are African/American, Mexican/American, Asian American or Japanese. The number one title is by a Nigerian author.

Celebrating LibraryReads’ fifth anniversary, the Steering Committee has introduced several changes, including the new Hall of Fame for titles by authors who have appeared on LibraryReads twice before. This opens the main list of ten to more new authors.

Diversifying the list is only part of the job. The second, even more important step is up to you, in getting to know these books so you can recommend them to readers. To add to the LibraryReads annotations, below are the inclusive titles, with notes from GalleyChatters and on recent media attention. Most are still available as DRCs, so you can download and sample them.

The next deadline for LibraryReads is a month away, Dec. 1 (voting deadlines are now the first of the month, making them easier to remember). When considering titles, please check out our list of eligible inclusive titles.

Braithwaite, Oyinkan. My Sister, the Serial Killer, PRH/Doubleday– #1 pick — DRC available on Edelweiss and NetGalley through 11/20/2018.

Popular on GalleyChat,ever since it was first mentioned back in June.— Andrienne. “set in Lagos, Nigeria that is kind of satire and crazy, but I loved the ending.”— Joe Jones. The sister bond is really tested in this dark tale set in Nigeria. Caught me by surprise in how much I enjoyed it!”  It is  on Entertainment Weekly‘s list of 20 Books You Need to Read This Season,  “This slim, scathingly black comedy delves into two sisters’ tenuous dynamic — heightened since one of them is, erm, a serial killer. Such morbidity only sharpens the book’s comic edge, which emerges via Braithwaite’s deadpan prose. She admits, ‘It was fun to write — even though people were dying.’ ” It’s already caught the attnetion of Hollywood. Film rights were acquired, by what Deadline terms the “U.K. production dynamo” Working Title.

Carrasco, Katrina, The Best Bad Things, Macmillan/MCD– DRC available for 60 days after downloading; on Edelweiss and NetGalley

Sept GalleyChat — Joe Jones (who also wrote the LR annotation), “wow was that fun! Alma is such an amazing character in this historical mystery set in the Pacific Northwest.”  Washington Post, “The 10 books to read in November “– “Love crime fiction? Love historical fiction? Have I got a book for you! Meet Alma Rosales, a Mexican American, bisexual, cross-dressing, defrocked Pinkerton detective whose hunt for stolen opium on behalf of her boss and sometimes-lover Delphine Beaumond will keep you on the edge of your seat and maybe even wondering if you’ve lost your mind. Sexy, fun, serious and unputdownable.”

Higashino, Keigo Newcomer, Macmillan/Minotaur Books — DRC available for 60 days after downloading; on Edelweiss and NetGalley

GalleyChat, Vicki Nesting. “I recently read Keigo Higashino’s upcoming mystery NEWCOMER and loved the way it was structured so the detective solved one small mystery in each chapter, leading him to the solution to the murder. Brilliant!” — Joe Jones, “Told from multiple points of view we slowly weed out the possible suspects in a murder set in a small neighborhood in Japan.“ This is the author’s second LR pick — the first was in 2014 for Malice,. Many of the author’s novels have been made into movies and TV series in Japan.

Jemisin, N. K. How Long ’til Black Future Month?, Hachette/Orbit — Unfortunately, this one is not available as a DRC,. Scour your print galley shelves

GalleyChatters gasped at having missed this, the first collection of short stories by one of their favorite fantasy writers. Jemisin is not only the first African/American to have won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, but the first person to win the prize three years in a row. Entertainment Weekly profiling the author, writes that the books in The Broken Earth trilogy are “a prescient allegory of racial and political tensions” and are currently in development as a TNT series.

Kim, Eugenia The Kinship of Secrets, HMH; DRC on Edelweiss and NetGalley

LJ Prepub Alert, Sophisticated Reads, “Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.” Picks up where the author’s previous title, The Calligrapher’s Daughter ended.

Suri, Tasha, Empire of Sand, Hachette/Orbit; DRC on Edelweiss and NetGalley

Popular on GalleyChat — Lucy Lockley. “Fascinating desert world, complex characthers, social/cultural/religious persecution due to magical blood plus a romance!” — Publisher, “a captivating epic fantasy inspired by Mughal-Indian history. If you loved City Of Brass, Uprooted, or The Wrath & The Dawn, Empire Of Sand Is your new must-read.”


YA/MG October GalleyChat Titles

A full list of titles from October’s chat is available here  #ewgcya 10/23/18,

Join us for the next YA/MG GalleyChat, on Wednesday, Nov. 28th, 2:30-3:30 ET. Set your alarms and bring a friend!

October GalleyChat Roundup

Click below to view the titles discussed during the October GalleyChat:

Oct GalleyChat, titles — downloadable spreadsheet, with info. on DRCs available through Edelweiss and/or NetGalley. We’ve noted the most significant comments. To read the full tweets for each title, search Twitter using #ewgc and the title of the book. We’ve also included a column noting due dates for LibraryReads nominations. Note that the deadlines have recently changed. The next one is Dec. 1st for Dec/Jan titles. Please give special attention to the titles listed as “Diversity.” Also, please take a look at our continually updated list of Diversity Titles, Upcoming, for LibraryReads Consideration

— Edelweiss catalog —  Good for browsing covers, but does not include some of the information on the spreadsheet (eg comments and LibraryReads deadlines).

NOTE: HarperCollins Library Marketing tipped their hat early about two of their favorite summer titles during this chat, The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grimes (more on it from HarperCollins LibraryLoveFest here and from the author here) and The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz. Galleys are not available yet, but you can sign up for print and/or eGalleys here.

Attention: Psychological Suspense Fans

GalleyChat’s psych suspense maven is Robin Beerbower. She alerted us to titles like The Girl On The Train, Woman In The Window long before they developed long holds lists. An early herald of the genre that has now overcrowded, so much so that her list of 2018 titles on GoodReads Listopia is so long that she had break it into two parts, here and here.

So, of course we want to know what’s on her 2019 TBR pile. She says she can’t wait to read the following:

The Night Before, Wendy Walker, Macmillan/St. Martin’s, May 14, 2019; DRC, NetGalley — “Already hearing great things about it. It’s next my TBR psych/suspense pile, followed closely by …”


The Favorite Daughter, Kaira Rouda, Harlequin/Graydon House, May 22, 2019; DRC, NetGalley

The Woman Inside, E. G.Scott, PRH/Penguin Dutton, Jan 22, 2019; DRC Edelweiss, NetGalley

Beautiful Bad, Annie Ward, Harlequin/Park Row, March 18, 2019; DRC Edelweiss, NetGalley


My Lovely Wife, Samantha Downing, PRH/Penguin Berkley, March 26. 2019; DRC, Edelweiss

The Suspect, Fiona Barton, PRH/Penguin Berkley, Jan 22, 2019; DRC Edelweiss, NetGalley

Watching You, Lisa Jewell, S&S/Atria Books, Dec. 25, 2018 (right, this is technically a 2018 title, but it’s SO close, we’ll count it); DRC, Edelweiss,NetGalley

At our request, Robin’s begun a new GoodReads list for 2019 titles.

September GalleyChat Roundup

Many upcoming titles received first mentions during September’s GalleyChat, bringing us into the spring season. As one chatter notes:

Click below to view the titles discussed during this month’s GalleyChat:

GalleyChat titles Sept 18— downloadable spreadsheet, with info. on DRCs available through Edelweiss and/or NetGalley. Titles marked HOT have received the most enthusiasm, sometimes over the course of many chats. To read the tweets, search Twitter using #ewgc and the title of the book. We’ve also included a column noting due dates for LibraryReads nominations.

— Edelweiss catalog — good for browsing covers.

We’re pleased that the #1 title on the just-released LibraryReads list for October features  a title that GalleyChatters have been enthusiastic about for months, The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory, (PRH/Berkley), described as “An engaging and upbeat multicultural romance.” It’s still available as a DRC from NetGalley through its publication date on Oct. 30.

When choosing titles to nominate for the Nov/Dec list (due 9/20), please give special consideration to those on our list of Upcoming Diversity titles, Below are titles that have been GalleyChat favorites:

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite (PRH/Random House/Doubleday; DRC, Edelweiss and NetGalley) — “The sister bond is really tested in this dark tale set in Nigeria. Caught me by surprise in how much I enjoyed it! ” Joe Jones; ” Set in Lagos, Nigeria, it is exactly what the title says but somehow it’s fun …has the same vibe as Girl Who Smiled Beads. Abrupt, matter-of-fact but sinister. Loved the ending.” Andrienne

Newcomer, Keigo Higashino,  (Macmillan/Minotaur; DRC, Edelweiss and NetGalley) — “Told from multiple points of view we slowly weed out the possible suspects in a murder set in a small neighborhood in Japan,” Joe Jones; “loved the way it was structured so the detective solved one small mystery in each chapter, leading him to the solution to the murder. Brilliant!” Vicki Nesting

Empire of Sand, Tasha Suri, (Hachette/Orbit) — “loved the setting and mythology,” Joe Jones; “Great character development and world building in a unique South-Asian flavored setting,” Vicki Nesting; “Fascinating desert world, complex characters, social/cultural/religious persecution due to magical blood plus a romance!” Lucy Lockley; “For fans of CITY OF BRASS, I recommend EMPIRE OF SAND by @tashadrinkstea – fantasy novel based on history of Mughal era in India,” Jane Jorgenson — NOTE: The comparison title, City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty was a LibraryReads pick. The sequel, The Kingdom of Copper will be published in January by Harper Voyager.

Join us for the next GalleyChat on Tues., Oct. 2, 4 to 5 pm ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails) and for the next YA/MG GalleyChat, Wed., Sept. 26, 2:30 to 3:30. Details on each here. Bring a friend!

August GalleyChat Roundup

Click below to view the titles discussed during this month’s GalleyChat:

EarlyWord GalleyChat Titles, Aug, 2018 — downloadable spreadsheet, with info. on DRCs available through Edelweiss and/or NetGalley as well as excerpts from some of the comments.

— Edelweiss catalog

You may want to consider some of these titles for LibraryReads nominations . The next deadline is August 20, for titles published in October. Please give special consideration to our list of Upcoming Diversity titles, The following October titles were mentioned during this month’s chat:

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves, Glory Edim, (PRH/Random House/Ballantine)

Answering the question, “When did you first see yourself in a work of literature?” these essays clearly and movingly explain the crucial role reading can play in everyone’s life. A book that grew out of a book club, it will surely spawn many other book groups and includes useful reading lists for that purpose..

All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir. Nicole Chung, (Catapult, Ingram Publisher Services)

“Much Love” piling up on Edelweiss Buzz for this memoir, a debut by a Korean adoptee, with reviews repeatedly using the words “touching” and “moving.”  A GalleyChatter commented, “My book club read Little Fires Everywhere and we had such a great discussion about the adoption plot line in that book. All You Can Ever Know is a great choice for book clubs that had similar discussions.”

Heavy: An American Memoir, Kiese Laymon, (S&S’ Scribner)

GalleyChatters tweeted that it’s a “…thought provoking, personal history, reminiscent of Roxanne Gay – it’s painfully honest” and it “feels like Kiese Laymon is sitting next to you telling his story. Absorbing, powerful memoir.” The author was featured at LibraryReads 2018 ALA Annual Bookalicious Breakfast.

Family Trust: A Novel, Kathy Wang, (HarperCollins/Morrow)

The HarperCollins Buzz session, claiming that this debut set in Silicon Valley, “combines the warmth of The Nest, the humor of Crazy Rich Asians, and the dark optimism of Behold the Dreamers.” caught the interest of GalleyChatters.

Join us for the next GalleyChat on Tues., Sept. 11, 4 to 5 pm ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails) and don’t forget YA/MG GalleyChat, Tues., Aug. 21, 2:30 to 3:30. Details on each here. Bring a friend!

Booker Longlist

The Man Booker longlist, released officially today (after an inadvertant leak yesterday) includes a title that was one of our suggestions for LibraryReads consideration. We hope you read it, liked it as much as we did, and voted for it. If you haven’t read it, you still have time. DRC’s are available on both Edelweiss and NetGalley.

A few of the other titles on the list are still forthcoming here (Booker eligibility is based on UK pub dates, which may be different in the US) and available as DRCs. Below is a downloadable list, with notes on each title,

Man Booker Longlist, 2018

LibraryReads, August and September

The just-released LibraryReads list for August, includes many titles that have been big on our monthly GalleyChast.

Votes for the September list are due soon, by midnight this Friday, July 20th.

As you get ready to vote, check out the September titles from our recent GalleyChats on this downloadable spreadsheet, Sept. titles, GalleChat picks. We’ve included information on which are available as DRCs as well as the most significant comments from the chats

As we note, several of the titles were discussed at the HarperCollins ALA Buzz session in New Orleans. If you missed it, attend virtually here,

Also, please consider the titles on our list of Diversity Titles for LibraryReads Consideration.

July GalleyChat Roundup

Click below to view all the titles discussed during the July GalleyChat:

JULY 18 GALLEYCHAT TITLES — downloadable spreadsheet, with info. on DRCs available through Edelweiss and/or NetGalley

— Edelweiss catalog

Join us for the next GalleyChat on Tues., August 7, 4 to 5 pm ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails) and don’t forget YA/MG GalleyChat, this coming Monday, July 17, 2:30 to 3:30. Details on each here. Bring a friend!

Fourth of July, Time to Read Diversely

Thanks to all of you who made Fruit of the Drunken Tree, by Ingrid Rojas Contreras, (PRH/Random House/Doubleday) a LibraryReads pick. This debut about two young Colombian girls, close friends from very different backgrounds, shows how political upheaval dramatically changes lives. The characters of the two girls are so clearly defined that you continue to wonder how thier lives evolved long after finishing the book.

We love when the list brings us such discvoeries. Please do it again. For this Fourth of July holiday, check our recently updated list of upcomg Diversity Titles for LibraryReads Consideration. download the DRC’s for those that interest you (the Notes section gives background on each title), read them and vote for your favorites.


From the September list (votes due by July 20) we recommend Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black, (PRH/Knopf), about a young Barbados slave named ironically for the first US president. A sympathetic while man discovers that Wash has talents useful to him in scientific studies and brings him to the Arctic. Ghanian-Canadian author Edugyan, the first Black woman to win Canada’s Scotiabank Giller Prize, describes the Arctic cold so vividly that you may find yourself shivering.

If the heat makes you want to reach for something on the ligher side, try GalleyChat favorite, The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory, (PRH/Berkley; the author was featured in NPR’s recent story, “Beach Reads by Authors of Color.” This is an October title) or Ian Smith’s twisty Harvard-set mystery, The Ancient Nine. (Macmillan/St. Martin’s).

We look forward to your discoveries.

LibraryReads, July List

Just in time to load your reading devices for the weekend, the July LibraryRead list has arrived. All titles are available as DRCs on Edelweiss or on NetGalley (see notes on our spreadsheet, LibraryReads, July).

The list’s debut titles were GalleyChat favorites:


Fruit of the Drunken Tree
, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, (PRH/Random House/Doubleday),

Skillyfully intertwining recent Colombian history with a coming of age story, GalleyChatters describe this as a “… beautiful, enthralling novel … Full of impossible situations and undesirable choices… truly is a must read.” The author’s essay, “On Not Writing For White People” gives insight into the difficulty of bridging cultures and languages. In another essay, she writes about a chilling irony, “I Became An American The Day Trump Made His ‘Shithole Countries’ Comment.”

Dear Mrs. Bird, AJ Pearce, (S&S/Scribner)

The Irish Times calls it “Bridget Jones of the Blitz: AJ Pearce’s happy war story.” On GalleyChat, it was described as, “Historical fiction that’s charming and fun and easy to recommend” and  “perfect for fans of Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society. The author is profiled in the Guardian‘s “Meet the new faces of fiction for 2018.

Baby Teeth, Zoje Stage,(Macmillan/ St. Martin’s)

GalleyChatters call this story of a little girl who wants to kill her mother “creepy” and “memorable.” Kaite Stover may have come up with the ultimate description, “think Children of the Artisinal Organically-Farmed Corn.”

The author was featured on Library Jounal’s April cover and on the Book Expo Thriller Panel, but as she describes on her blog, she nearly gave up her dreams of becoming an author. Until she becomes a household name, Macmillan Library Marketing tells us her first name is pronounced “Zoh-yeh” not “Zoh-gee.”

Note the cover’s clever variation on the “exploding flower” image used on Liane Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret. (another variation is the “spontaneously combusting flower” on Meg Abbot’s Give Me Your Hand, also on this month’s LibraryReads list).

Diversity on Summer Reading Lists

Many of this year’s summer book lists include titles we’ve been tracking on our list of Diversity Titles, Upcoming, LibraryReads ConsiderationEntertainment Weekly gets specific, recommending “7 inclusive novels that will make you think,

Several August titles (LibraryReads nominations due next Wednesday, June 20), receive attention:

River of Stars, Vanessa Hua, (PRH/Ballantine Books); DRC, Edelweiss and NetGalley

Debut. A GalleyChat favorite, this title appears on multiple summer reading lists, including EW‘s “7 inclusive novels that will make you think.”  In 5 Great Debut Novels to Help Get You Through This Summer, the Voice describes it as,  ” … a 21st-century immigrant story about the terror, drama, and desperation of being undocumented and yet unable to leave.”

Severance, Ling Ma, (Macmillan/FSG); DRC NetGalley

Debut. NY magazine’s Vulture writes in 18 Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Summer, “this phenomenal debut explores what happens when we make any number of decisions by rote and fail to see or question the bigger picture.” Adds BuzzFeed in “30 Summer Books To Get Excited About, “Ma’s language does so much in this book, and its precision, its purposeful specificity, implicates an entire generation.”

How Are You Going To Save Yourself, JM Holmes, (Hachette/Little, Brown); DRC NetGalley

Debut. Entertainment Weekly, 7 inclusive novels that will make you think, “follows the lives of four friends as they drift apart and come back together, navigating adulthood as black men living with traumatic legacies who have been offered very different fortunes as they come of age. Holmes’ searing study in masculinity is offset by irresistible heart and biting humor. ”

Praise Song for the Butterflies, Bernice L. McFadden (Akashic, August), Original; DRC, Edelweiss

Philadelphia Inquirer, Summer books, “A tale set in Ghana, where a girl is given up by her family, endures a very hard life, and, once set free, must find a way to heal and live forward.”  McFadden is the author of 8 books, her previous, The Book Of Harlan, won the 2017 American Book Award, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work (Fiction) and was named a Washington Post Notable Book of 2016.

Praise Song for Butterflies is also mentioned in the new issue of Vanity Fair, which debuts a real books section, replacing the old Hot Type column, with its dizzying run-on list of titles. The welcome change is no surprise. The magazine’s new editor, Radhika Jones, was formerly at the NYT Book Review. Featured in the new issue’s book section is a profile of the owners of the “Trailblazing Black-Owned Bookstore,” D.C.’s Mahogany. Their favorite upcoming title is McFadden’s.

The Air You Breathe, Frances de Pontes Peebles, (PRH/Riverhead); DRC Edelweiss and NetGalley

Philadelphia Inquirer, Summer books, — “The long friendship between Dores and Graça is forged through music. Based partly on the life of Carmen Miranda, this novel takes us from 1920 Brazilian sugar plantations to the urban samba scene of the 1930s.” Previous title, The Seamstress.

Asghar, Fatimah, If They Come for Us , (PRH/Random House/One World, August). Pbk. Original; DRC, Edelweiss and NetGalley

The Philadelphia Inquirer notes, “Asghar, co-creator of the web/HBO series Brown Girls, writes through the eyes of a Pakistani woman who comes to America and discovers a very strange country indeed.”

Reading Ahead with GalleyChat

Last week, GalleyChatting librarians tipped their favorite upcoming titles during the #ewgc chat. Scroll through the tweets to sit in on a great RA discussion. Speaking of great RA conversations, GalleyChatter Robin Beerbower has started a blog. Her newest post, “Sandy Covers,” highlights her favorite new Beach Reads, and, for upcoming titles, also gives “while you wait” suggestions.

All 192 of the GalleyChat titles are listed in the following:

 Edelweiss catalog here, includes links to downloadable DRC’s.

GalleyChat Titles, June 2018— Downloadable spreadsheet, for ordering purposes. We didn’t include the tweets this time. If you want to know more about a particular title, search it along with #ewgc on Twitter.

The next LibraryReads voting deadline, for titles to be published in August, is a week from tomorrow, Wednesday, June 20th. Check the GalleyChat list for potential nominations as well as our EarlyWord “Diverse Titles for LibraryReads Consideration,

Join us for the next GalleyChat on Tues., July 10, 4 to 5 pm ET (3:30 for virtual cocktails) and don’t forget YA/MG GalleyChat this coming Thurs., June 14th, 2:30 to 3:30. Details on each here. Bring a friend!

Notes from June’s GalleyChat:

— Patterson and Clinton may be getting attention for The President Is Missing, but GalleyChatters say you should keep your eye out for Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery by Andrew Shaffer, coming in July from the well-named publishing house, Quirk Books.

— GalleyChatters are stalking advance readers copies of the recently announced new Liane Moriarty title, Nine Perfect Strangers, to be published in November. No news yet on when ARC’s will be availble, but the following much-stalked titles appeared recently:

Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen, An Anonymous Girl 

Kate Atkinson, Transcription

Louise Penny, Kingdom of the Blind

— Excitement continues for The Silent Patient by screenwriter Alex Michaelides. It’s being compared to a previous GalleyChat favorite, Woman In The Window, and, like that book, this debut is building buzz months ahead of its February pub. date. GalleyChatters are already casting the movie and, given the author’s film industry connections, it would not be surprising if it goes that route. The DRC is on NetGalley.

— Another debut that has been getting GalleyChat attention for months is Vox by Christina Dalcher, coming in August. Gregg Winsor tweeted his Book Expo Shout ‘n’ Share recommendation, “A near-future dystopia where women are limited to speaking just 100 words. The comparisons to THE HANDSMAID’S TALE are very much accurate and – pardon the pun – this will give your book club tons to talk about.”

The book’s author, Christina Dalcher joined the chat to make her own recommendation, saying she “just devoured Elliot Ackerman’s Waiting for Eden, after meeting him at the PRH breakfast. Can’t stop thinking about this one.” That comment was echoed by other Chatters.

— Several August titles from our EarlyWord “Diverse Titles for LibraryReads Consideration,” received GalleyChat recs (LibraryReads voting deadline, June 20).


Before She Sleeps, Bina Shah — Add this to the list of titles being compared to The Handmaid’s Tale, a growing category dubbed by “womb dystopia” by some. GalleyChatter Susan Maguire tweeted. “… just in case anyone has patrons who liked THE HANDMAID’S TALE, there’s BEFORE SHE SLEEPS by Bina Shah that is the feminist dystopia we don’t deserve, but it is also the feminist dystopia we are going to get.” “PW calls it a “haunting dystopian thriller from Pakistani author Shah”

Temper, Nicky Drayden — Jenna Friebel, “Do y’all remember how much I raved about her debut, The Prey of Gods? This one is just as inventive.”

A River of Stars, Vanessa Hua — GalleyChat, “about a Chinese woman who makes her way to California to give her baby U.S. citizenship, blurbed by Celeste Ng” — “Vanessa Hua’s debut is an utterly absorbing novel.” — LJ PrePub Alert, “A columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the glowingly reviewed small-press debut collection DECEIT AND OTHER POSSIBILITIES, Hua claims multiple awards …”

Hollywood Ending, Kellye Garrett, DRC available on Netgalley — GalleyChat, “Dayna Anderson uses her connections as a former actress to solve a murder in HOLLYWOOD ENDING by @kellyekell. Smart, sassy mystery that keeps you guessing to the end”. — “This series is so fun! A great take on the LA noir tone.” — It’s the second in a mystery series featuring an African/American female detective. The first, Hollywood Homicide just won an Anthony and a Lefty

Reading Diversity

As you load up your book bags and reading devices for the holiday weekend, remember this also a good time to explore titles to nominate for LibraryReads.

My own resolution is to read upcoming books that fall under the awkward and difficult-to-define term “diversity.” I want to hear new voices and read about cultures I’m not familiar with. As a resource, we’ve created EarlyWord “Diverse Titles for LibraryReads Consideration,” drawn from several sources, including GalleyChats and titles being featured at the upcoming Book Expo and ALA Annual.

We’ve included notes to help you find titles you may want to try. Below are some I’ve loaded onto my Nook (or will, as soon as I get around the pesky authentication issue):

Dawson, Erica, When Rap Spoke Straight to God

This will definitely take me outside of my own reading predilections. It’s a book-length poem, something I wouldn’t read unless I was led to it, which Jennifer Egan did by picking it as a book she is excited about in an interview with New York.

Zoboi, Ibi, Pride

As one of the few librarians who is not a fan of Jane Austen (sorry, so many shameful admissions in a single post), a book based on Pride and Prejudice would not grab me. This one is different, however. The story of a black family dealing with gentrification in present day Brooklyn, the opening line sells it, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when white people move into a neighborhood that’s already been a little bit broken and a little bit forgotten, the first thing they want to do is clean it up.” As I sit here in Brooklyn, listening to the sounds of dozens of new buildings under construction and old ones under renovation, this appeals to me. In addition, the author’s previous book, American Street, was a 2017 National Book Award finalist in Young People’s Literature.

Publishers Marketplace, Book Buzz Fall/Winter 2018

While I’m trying to figure out how to get DRCs on to my Nook, this serves as a partial solution because it downloads easily from the B&N site. While excerpts can be frustrating, those from short story collections are complete stories, so they are more satisfying.  I was intrigued by the collection Friday Black by a student of George Saunders, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. The title story takes the idea of Black Friday madness to a new, surreal level.

What are you reading? Have you identified any titles not on our list? Let us know in the comments section, below.

Weekend Reading

The June LibraryReads list brings some good news in terms of diversity.


Two of the titles are debuts by nonwhite writers.There There by Tommy Orange, (PRH/Knopf) is recommended for its “large cast of interwoven characters [that] depicts the experience of Native Americans living in urban settings. Perfect for readers of character-driven fiction with a strong sense of place.”

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, is a romance with an unusual twist. The main character is a woman on the autism spectrum, as is the author, and the heart-throb hero is half Vietnamese, as is the author.

If you haven’t already, get to know these titles. There There is available for download from Edelweiss and The Kiss Qutient via Netgalley, by request (while you wait to get approved, you can read an excerpt on Bustle here). UPDATE: The book is featured in the NYT‘s summer preview:

 …a groundbreaking novel about Native Americans who are city dwellers. But it’s not the Oakland, Calif., setting that leaps out. It’s Orange’s extraordinary ability to invest a series of interlocking character sketches with the troubled history of his displaced people.…

Getting published is an accomplishment for any first-time author, but nonwhite writers find it particularly challenging. Gabrielle Union’s memoir We’re Going to Need More Wine was on the October LibraryReads list, Despite being a well-known actress, she told the NYT that she found it difficult to navigate the publishing business as a black woman. Then she discovered that getting published was just part of the battle. Even after her book hit best seller lists, she “heard from readers that they had asked for it in certain cities, only to find it was still in stacks on the floor or in carts in the back.”

Similarly, landing on the LibraryReads list as a debut author is an accomplishment, but it only has meaning if other library staff read and recommend the titles.

YA/MG GalleyChat Roundup

Link here for the titles that librarians buzzed during Wednesday’s YA/MG GalleyChat, #ewgcya.

Join us for the next chat on Thursday, May 16, 2:30 to 3:30 pm. ET (2:00 for virtual cocktails). #ewgcya

Bring a friend!