Winter Institute Wrapped by Adah and Eleanor

Adah and Eleanor traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico for Winter Institute, a week of workshops and networking for booksellers, publishers, and authors from across the nation. It was book nerd’s dream and resulted in exposure to A TON of new titles we can’t wait to read and authors we can’t wait to be friends with. Read on for a sampling of some of the most promising books and writers we encountered.

Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest
by Hanif Abdurraqib
May 2019 - Essay Collection
This is an examination of the cultural, social, and personal influences that resulted in rap group A Tribe Called Quest's best work as well as a study of the lasting legacy of their music. But it's more than a musical analysis; Abdurraqib frames himself as a participant in the story. His journey is integral as the music weaves into his existence, and he conveys the passion felt when art gives voice to our lives. Abdurraqib spoke eloquently, passionately, and authentically and we happily would have spent an afternoon picking his brilliant brain.

I Miss You When I Blink
by Mary Laura Philpott
April 2019 - Essay Collection
Acclaimed essayist and bookseller Mary Laura Philpott presents a charmingly relatable and wise memoir-in-essays about what happened after she checked off all the boxes on her successful life’s to-do list and realized she might need to reinvent the list—and herself.  Mary Laura is charming, witty, and (of course!) a Davidson College graduate.

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Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered 
by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff
May 2019 - Essay Collection
In Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered, Karen and Georgia, hosts of the hit podcast My Favorite Murder, focus on the importance of self-advocating and valuing personal safety over being ‘nice’ or ‘helpful.’ They delve into their own pasts, true crime stories, and beyond to discuss meaningful cultural and societal issues with fierce empathy, unapologetic frankness, and all the humor and personality that have rendered their show one of the best available.

Queenie
by Candice Carty-Williams
March 2019 - Adult Fiction

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place. Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.


A Woman Is No Man
by Etaf Rum
March 2019 - Adult Fiction

Three generations of Palestinian-American women in contemporary Brooklyn are torn by individual desire, educational ambitions, a devastating tragedy and the strict mores of traditional Arab culture. This is Etaf Rum’s debut novel, but we’re really hoping it won’t be her last!

Lanny
by Max Porter
May 2019 - Adult Fiction

Winner of the International Dylan Thomas Prize (among other honors), Porter's Grief Is the Thing with Feathers was one remarkable debut—astute, gorgeous, and original. In this evidently worthy follow-up, also touched with the fantastical, the mythical figure of Dead Papa Toothwort awakens in a typical English village and looks about for a particularly promising lad named Lanny. Smart readers shouldn't miss.

Lot
by Bryan Washington
March 2019 - Short Story Collection

Washington debuts with a stellar collection in which he turns his gaze onto Houston, mapping the sprawl of both the city and the relationships within it, especially those between young black and brown boys. About half of the stories share a narrator, whose transition into manhood is complicated by an adulterous and absent father, a hypermasculine brother, a sister who leaves their neighborhood the first chance she gets, and a mother who learns that she and her restaurant may no longer be welcome in a gentrifying Houston. All this is on top of his grappling with the revelation that he might be attracted to men. Washington is exact and empathetic, and the character that emerges is refreshingly unapologetic about his sexuality, even as it creates rifts in his family. 

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Brute
by Emily Skaja
April 2019 - Poetry Collection

Emily Skaja’s debut poetry collection is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence. Brute arises, brave and furious, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and reinvention. Each incarnation of the speaker squares itself up against ideas of feminine virtue and sin, strength and vulnerability, love and rage as it closes in on a hard-won freedom. Brute is absolutely sure of its capacity to insist not only on the truth of what it says but the truth of its right to say it. 

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A Wolf Called Wander
by Rosanne Parry
May 2019 - Middle Grades Fiction

Swift lives with his pack in the mountains, until one day his home and family are lost. Alone and starving, Swift must make a choice: stay and try to eke out a desperate life on the borders of his old hunting grounds, or strike out and find a new place to call home. The journey Swift must go on is long and full of peril for a lone wolf, and he'll need to take every chance he can. Will he find the courage to survive all by himself? 

Caterpillar Summer
by Gillian McDunn
April 2019 - Middle Grades Fiction

Cat and her brother Chicken have always had a very special bond--Cat is one of the few people who can keep Chicken happy. When he has a "meltdown" she's the one who scratches his back and reads his favorite story. She's the one who knows what Chicken needs. Since their mom has had to work double-hard to keep their family afloat after their father passed away, Cat has been the glue holding her family together.

The Next Great Paulie Fink
by Ali Benjamin
April 2019 - Middle Grades Fiction

Told via multiple voices, interviews, and other documents, The Next Great Paulie Fink is a lighthearted yet surprisingly touching exploration of how we build up and tear down our own myths... about others, our communities, and ourselves - from the author of The Thing About Jellyfish.

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
by Tanya Boteju
May 2019 - Young Adult Fiction
Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town. Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.

To Night Owl from Dogfish
by Holly Golberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer
February 2019 - Young Adult Fiction

A laugh-out-loud tale of friendship and family, told entirely in emails and letters, follows the experiences of two 12-year-old girls--one bookish and fearful, the other fearless and adventuresome--who are sent to camp to bond when their fathers fall in love. By the author of Counting by 7s