In A Reading Slump? 20 Captivating New Books From 2019 To Snap You Out Of It
Worried about not finishing your reading challenge this year? I've picked out 20 books to help you get over a reading slump, so you can end the year on a book-devouring high note.
Reading slumps are the absolute worst. I finished grad school earlier this summer, and I'm still getting over my post-academic reading blues. After spending the first half of 2019 reading nothing but 19th-century literature, I desperately needed a change in my TBR list, but I also lacked the energy and drive to pick up a new book. Taking a few weeks off from reading, before diving back into the shorter novels I'd been wanting to read for a while, worked for me, but your mileage may vary on this.
That's why I've put together this eclectic book list to help you get over your reading slump. I say in every piece that there's something on it for every type of reader, and that goes double for this list. Below, you'll find poetry, memoir, essay collections, science fiction, mystery, romance, literary fiction, and young adult novels, all mingling together in one place. If, like me, you need a major TBR overhaul, this book list will help you get there.
'A Pure Heart' by Rajia Hassib
In this touching novel, an Egyptian-American woman named Rose travels home to Cairo to set her late sister's affairs in order. Killed in a suicide bombing during the Egyptian Crisis, Gameela has left behind a collection of striking and unexpected evidence to who she truly was in the days leading up to her death.
'Dark Constellations' by Pola Oloixarac
Weaving together stories from three centuries, Pola Oloixarac's Dark Constellations moves from an insect rumored to grant humans psychic powers to a remote-tracking system that uses individuals' DNA to scan their movements.
'The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations' by Toni Morrison
The last book published in the author's lifetime, the late Toni Morrison's The Source of Self-Regard collects her speeches, essays, and other papers tackling human rights and the African American experience.
'The White Book' by Han Kang
From The Vegetarian author Han Kang comes The White Book — a memoir-in-essays that centers only on objects of the eponymous color, from milk to sheets.
'Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion' by Jia Tolentino
Picking apart the little disgusts and horrors of modern-day life, Jia Tolentino's latest essay collection, Trick Mirror, is a must-read book in the age of Tinder and Black Mirror.
'The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick' by Mallory O'Meara
Milicent Patrick created the Creature from the Black Lagoon and was one of the first women to animate Disney cartoons, so why has her name been forgotten? Mallory O'Meara revives Patrick and her work in The Lady from the Black Lagoon.
'Brute' by Emily Skaja
The winner of the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award, Emily Skaja's Brute is a collection of feminist poetry that reckons with the chaos of violence and sexuality.
'The Weight of Our Sky' by Hanna Alkaf
Set during Malaysia's race riots in 1969, Hanna Alkaf's The Weight of Our Sky follows Melati, a 16-year-old whose OCD tells her she must count and tap in order to keep her mother alive, as she fights her way through a burning city to reunite with her mom.
'Disappearing Earth' by Julia Phillips
When two pre-teen sisters go missing from their home on a remote Russian peninsula, the crime pitches their community into chaos. Told over the course of the next year, Julia Phillips' Disappearing Earth traces the impact of the girls' abduction on the region's women.
'The Right Swipe' by Alisha Rai
The first installment in a new romance series from Hate to Want You author Alisha Rai, The Right Swipe centers on Rhiannon, the creator of a hit dating app, whose own love life has been placed on the back burner. But could The One be the guy who ghosted her after one date — the guy now working with her business-world nemesis?
'Picture' by Lillian Ross
Originally published in 1951, Lillian Ross' Picture takes readers behind the scenes on the set of John Huston's Red Badge of Courage adaptation. A lauded work of journalism, Picture received a new edition from New York Review Books Classics in June 2019.
'Dominicana' by Angie Cruz
Set in the mid-1960s, Angie Cruz's Dominicana centers on Ana, a 15-year-old Dominican girl who marries a man she does not love in order to give her family the opportunity to immigrate to America. Life with her new husband is nothing at all like Ana's dreams, but when he is forced to return to their home country, she has the chance to see America for herself — accompanied by her husband's younger brother.
'Dear Haiti, Love Alaine' by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
When a school prank and a PR nightmare land Alaine and her estranged mother back home in Haiti, the two have a chance to reconnect after living on opposite sides of the United States for so long.
'Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death' by Caitlin Doughty
Funeral director Caitlin Doughty, the author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, returns with this humorous collection of anecdotes about death and dying, written in response to the common, if oddball, questions that children ask about the subject.
'Gideon the Ninth' by Tamsyn Muir
The talented bone witch and daughter of the Ninth House, Harrowhark has been summoned by the Emperor to compete in a deadly game against representatives from the other houses, but she needs a swordswoman in order to compete. Enter Gideon — Harrow's childhood rival, who is on the brink of escaping necromancy for good.
'Heaven, My Home' by Attica Locke
The follow up to 2017's Bluebird, Bluebird, this new Highway 59 mystery from Attica Locke follows Darren Matthews, a Texas Ranger sent to investigate the disappearance of a 9-year-old boy, as he finds himself getting to the root of the boy's family secrets, which include shady business dealings and white supremacist violence.
'Red at the Bone' by Jacqueline Woodson
From Brown Girl Dreaming author Jacqueline Woodson comes this new novel about a teen pregnancy and the ripples it creates in the lives of two families. As her 16-year-old daughter approaches a coming-of-age party in Brooklyn, Iris is thrust backward into her memories of life as a teenage, and sometimes absent, mother.
'The Shadow King' by Maaza Mengiste
Set in war-torn Ethiopia in 1935, Maaza Mengiste's The Shadow King centers on Hirut and Aster, a domestic worker and her employer, as their lives are forever altered by the conflict between their home country and the invading Italian forces.
'SLAY' by Brittney Morris
When someone is killed over a dispute that began in an online game, the 17-year-old programmer who designed it finds herself at the center of a national media scandal. Kiera's game, SLAY, is a card-based role-playing game, designed with black gamers in mind. Now, with the unfortunate death of a SLAY player, the game has become the target of anti-black racists who want nothing more than to see Kiera's community dismantled.
'The Dutch House' by Ann Patchett
In this new family saga from State of Wonder author Ann Patchett, a self-made man's suburban real-estate purchase leads to the downfall of his family, including his son, Danny, who narrates The Dutch House.