You book-lovers know that any number of books will make their way onto your TBR pile each year — the newest titles by your favorite authors, a few handfuls of books from the most-anticipated lists compiled each year, several recent (or soon-to-be) award winning novels, the books that you’ve never heard of and weren’t expecting to find but somehow made it from their strategically-placed location on a bookstore end cap and into your hands… and plenty more too. But between the bestsellers and the most-anticipateds, the highly publicized and the award winners, there are some books you miss (or, in this case almost miss) each year, but definitely shouldn’t! And while I love to love the books that practically smack you in the face the moment you log on to Amazon or walk into a big box bookstore, sometimes I love the books that I wasn’t expecting, but that somehow magically make their way to me anyway.
Each of the titles on this list — new books that may not have made their way to you quite yet this year — are about (and mostly, written by) women, and their stories are diverse and vivid and powerful and unexpected. You’ll be glad you discovered them, finally. Here are 13 new books about women you might have missed this year — ones that should definitely make their way onto your TBR pile now.
'Home Fire' by Kamila Shamsie
A reimagining of Sophocles's Antigone, Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie tells the story of two sisters, Isma and Aneeka, who are testing their own strength and the bonds of their family in pursuit of the lives they truly desire: away from the home where their mother died and their brother followed in the footsteps of the jihadist father these siblings never knew. Then Eamonn, the son of a powerful politician enters their lives, leading to tough questions about love, salvation, and sacrifice.
'Akata Warrior' by Nnedi Okorafor
For YA readers who loved Nnedi Okorafor’s 2011 novel, Akata Witch, comes the much-anticipated sequel Akata Warrior. American-born Nigerian Sunny Nwazue has been busy discovering, evolving, and honing her magical powers — and now is the time to not only use them to their fullest, but to determine her own destiny as well (and, you know, maybe save the planet in the process.) No big deal.
'The Clancys of Queens: A Memoir' by Tara Clancy
An eclectic memoir that’s about as New York as they come, Tara Clancy’s The Clancys of Queens: A Memoir is a coming-of-age tale, a memoir of New York’s spirited working-class women, and something of an adventure story, taking readers to the three places central to Clancy’s childhood: a converted boat shed in Queens, a geriatric commune of Brooklyn-born Italians, and a Hamptons estate the memoirist visited on alternating weekends. You’ll definitely recognize some of your own family in this one.
'Kingdom of Women' by Rosalie Morales Kearns
If you obsessed over Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan or Naomi Aldermanth’s The Power this year, then definitely check out Rosalie Morales Kearns’ Kingdom of Women, out from Jaded Ibis Press — a super-cool feminist and social-justice-oriented publisher. In Kindgom of Women, women have formed vigilante groups against the systemic violence imposed upon them for generations and Averil Parnell, a female Roman Catholic priest, is forced to grapple with a question that couldn’t be more timely: forgive or fight back?
'Glory Days' by Melissa Fraterrigo
Transporting readers to the down-and-out town of Ingleside, Nebraska, Melissa Fraterrigo’s Glory Days tells a wholly American story about what happens to a small farming community left behind by technology and time. Filled with hauntingly unforgettable characters — including two women: Luann, whose journey begins when her adoptive mother dies just before her father loses the family’s land and Fredonia the Great, whose ability to see visions of people in the final moments of their lives has left her alienated from her family — Glory Days blends the surreal with the supernatural while remaining firmly grounded in the hearty Midwestern earth of its setting.
'The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao' by Martha Batalha
A debut novel that already boasts bestseller status in Brazil, Martha Batalha's The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao spans nearly 100 years in Rio de Janeiro, introducing readers to Euridice Gusmao, a spirited and ambitious woman who is unhappily married and desperate to fulfill her own dreams in spite of her traditionally oppressive husband. Filled with intrigue, mystery, sadness, and a novel’s-worth of fierce leading ladies, this one is perfect for fans of Julia Alvarez and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
'Unruly Creatures: Stories' by Jennifer Caloyeras
Unruly Creatures: Stories by Jennifer Caloyeras is a collection of short fiction filled with women young and old, navigating the complicated relationships that women of all ages, sizes, and experiences have with their bodies — and especially the world their bodies exist in. A can’t-miss collection for readers who love a blend of humor, magical realism, and surrealism, and sharp writing.
'Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away: A Memoir' by Alice Anderson
There’s something particularly special about memoirs written by poets, and Some Bright Morning, I'll Fly Away: A Memoir by Alice Anderson is one titles readers won’t soon forget. Mental illness and domestic violence intersect with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in this powerful story. When Anderson returns home to Ocean Springs, Mississippi following the storm, she expects massive material destruction. What she doesn’t expect is for the rest of her life to disassemble too. Divorce, kidnapping, heartbreak, and resilience fill the pages of this beautiful and fierce memoir.
'The Dream Keeper's Daughter' by Emily Colin
A novel for readers who loved The Time Traveler’s Wife, Emily Colin’s The Dream Keeper's Daughter introduces Isabel Griffin — an archaeologist who discovers her missing boyfriend isn’t only missing in space, but he’s missing in time as well: trapped more than a hundred years in the past (1816 Barbados, in the days leading up to a historic slave revolt, to be exact) and not only is he alive (for now) but he’s trying to communicate with her and return to the present.
'The Misfortune of Marion Palm' by Emily Culliton
For fans of the imperfect, irreverent women who populate Maria Semple's novels, The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton tells the story of the hilarious and haphazard Marion, a woman who marries for wealth and is promptly disappointed. But it’s nothing a little embezzlement won’t solve. After pocketing money from her daughters' private school, Marion flees home with a backpack full of $40,000. And you definitely want to know what happens next.
'The Doll's Alphabet' by Camilla Grudova
Another short story collection that will keep you turning pages, the irresistibly strange The Doll's Alphabet by Camilla Grudova is vivid, visceral, unexpected, surreal, mesmerizing — and about a dozen other adjectives you’ll have to discover for yourself. In The Doll’s Alphabet, women escape their own skin, the male/female paradigm is shifted, humans live in a dystopia of their own making, and so much more.
'My Glory Was I Had Such Friends: A Memoir' by Amy Silverstein
One final memoir to add to your 2017 TBR pile is My Glory Was I Had Such Friends by Amy Silverstein. My Glory Was I Had Such Friends is a testament not only to the power of friendship, but to the strength that can be found when women rally together for and around one another. While waiting for a life-saving heart transplant, Silverstein found her strength, resilience, humor, and hope in the group of nine women who put their own lives on hold to help Silverstein fight for hers.