Our first bookshelf of 2024! Kickstart your year right by adding one, some or all of these 8 incredible releases to your reading list.
Genre: Non-fiction (Social History)
Themes: British Rap, Grime, Identity, Culture, Community
Summary: In this groundbreaking social history, journalist Aniefiok Ekpoudom travels the country to paint a compelling portrait of the dawn, boom and subsequent blossoming of UK rap and grime. Taking us from the heart of south London to the West Midlands and South Wales, he explores how a history of migration and an enduring spirit of resistance have shaped the current realities of these linked communities and the music they produce. These sounds have become vessels for the marginalised, carrying Black and working-class stories into the light.
Genre: Literary Fiction
Themes: Desire, Race, Class LGBTQIA +, Academia
Summary: It's 2017 at the University of Arkansas. Millie Cousins, a senior resident assistant, wants to graduate, get a job, and buy a house. So when Agatha Paul, a visiting professor and writer, offers Millie an easy yet unusual opportunity, she jumps at the chance. But Millie's starry-eyed hustle becomes jeopardised by odd new friends, vengeful dorm pranks and illicit intrigue. A fresh and intimate portrait of desire, consumption and reckless abandon, Come and Get It is a tension-filled story about money, indiscretion, and bad behaviour.
Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Themes: African dystopia, Power, Death, Vengeance, Folkore, Justice
Summary: Nelah seems to have it all: wealth, fame, a husband, and a child on the way. But in a body her husband controls via microchip and the tailspin of a loveless marriage, her hopes and dreams come to a devastating halt. A drug-fueled night of celebration ends in a hit-and-run. To dodge a sentencing in a society that favors men, Nelah and her side-piece, Janith Koshal, finish the victim off and bury the body. But the secret claws its way into Nelah's life from the grave. As her victim's vengeful ghost begins exacting a bloody revenge on everyone Nelah holds dear, she'll have to unravel her society's terrible secrets to stop those in power, and become a monster unlike any other to quench the ghost's violent thirst.
Genre: Literary Fiction
Themes: Loss, Grief, Love, Family, Home, Restoration
Summary: As Tess traces the sunrise over the floodplains, light that paints the house a startling crimson, she yearns for the comforting chaos of life as it once was. Instead of Max and Sonny tracking dirt through the kitchen – Tess and Richard’s ‘rainbow twins’ – Tess absorbs the quiet. The nights draw in, the soil cools and Richard fights to get his winter crops planted rather than deal with the discussion he cannot bear to have. Secrets and vines clamber over the broken red bricks and although its inhabitants seem to be withering, in the damp, crumbling soil – Sonny knows it – something is stirring . . . As the seasons change, and the cracks let in more light, the family might just be able to start to heal.
Themes: Blackness, Hope, Heritage, Love, Loss
Summary: A breathtaking poetry collection on hope, heart, and heritage from the most prominent and promising Black poets and writers of our time, edited by New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander. In this comprehensive and vibrant poetry anthology, bestselling author and poet Kwame Alexander curates a collection of contemporary anthems at turns tender and piercing and deeply inspiring throughout. Featuring work from well-loved poets such as Rita Dove, Jericho Brown, Warsan Shire, Ross Gay, Tracy K. Smith, Terrance Hayes, Morgan Parker, and Nikki Giovanni, This Is the Honey is a rich and abundant offering of language from the poets giving voice to generations of resilient joy, “each incantation,” as Mahogany L. Browne puts it in her titular poem, is “a jubilee of a people dreaming wildly.”
Genre: Absurdist Fiction
Themes: Friendship, Delusion, Queerness, Anthropomorphy.
Summary: Hero Tojosoa accepts an invitation she was half expected to decline, and finds herself in Prague on a bachelorette weekend hosted by her estranged friend Sofie. Little does she know she’s arrived in a city with a penchant for playing tricks on the unsuspecting. A book Hero has brought with her seems to be warping her the text changes depending on when it’s being read and who’s doing the reading, revealing startling new stories of fictional Praguers past and present. Uninvited companions appear at bachelorette activities and at city landmarks, offering opinions, humor, and even a taste of treachery. When a third woman from Hero and Sofie’s past appears unexpectedly, the tensions between the friends’ different accounts of the past reach a new level.
Themes: Home, Sisterhood, Romance, Love, Danger
Summary: Yeeran was born on the battlefield, has lived on the battlefield, and one day, she knows, she’ll die on the battlefield.As a warrior in the elven army, Yeeran has known nothing but violence her whole life. Her sister, Lettle, is trying to make a living as a diviner, seeking prophecies of a better future.When a fatal mistake leads to Yeeran’s exile from the Elven Lands, both sisters are forced into the terrifying wilderness beyond their borders. There they encounter the impossible: the fae court. The fae haven’t been seen for a millennium. But now Yeeran and Lettle are thrust into their seductive world, torn among their loyalties to each other, their elven homeland, and their hearts.
Genre: Literary Fiction
Themes: Family, LGBTQIA+, Grief, Loss, Identity, Home, Love
Summary: Tired of not having a place to land, twenty-year-old Akúa flies from Canada to her native Jamaica to reconnect with her estranged sister. Their younger brother Bryson has recently passed from sickle cell anemia—the same disease that took their mother ten years prior—and Akúa carries his remains in a small wooden box with the hopes of reassembling her family. Over the span of two fateful weeks, Akúa and Tamika visit significant places from their childhood where Akúa slowly spreads Bryson's ashes. But time spent with her sister only clarifies how how years of living abroad haves distanced Akúa from her home culture. "Am I Jamaican?" she asks herself again and again. But beneath these haunting doubts lies her anger and resentment at being abandoned by her own blood. "Why didn't you stay with me?" she wants to ask Tamika. Wandering through Kingston with her brother's ashes in tow, Akúa meets Jayda, a brash young woman who shows her a different side of the city. As the two grow closer, Akúa confronts the difficult reality of being gay in a deeply religious family, and what being a gay woman in Jamaica actually means.