There’s nothing quite like finding a good book that helps you escape and take a break from the world. Books, both non-fiction and fiction, can teach us more about ourselves, history, people and other cultures.
Right now, as we’re all forced to isolate because of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is a perfect time to catch up on new books. It is also a great time to support authors whose book tours and other related events are being canceled due to the pandemic, which limits how much promotion they can do.
Here is a list of 20 books that you can buy or pre-order to support a diverse group of writers, many of whom have their debut books coming out soon. From children’s books to captivating young adult novels to confessional memories to books about overlooked moments in history, there is something on this list for everyone.
1. Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne
Lifting as We Climb by Evette Divonne shares the stories of Black women who fought for the rights of women to vote in the United States. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, it is more important than ever to learn about Black women who were and continue to be leaders in the fight for women’s and human rights while facing racism from white women, are far too often glossed over in history books.
Pre-order this book from Amazon for $13.99.
2. Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me by Erin Khar
When I hear stories about opioid addiction, it’s often about people who died overdoses, rather than narratives of the many people who were able to overcome their addiction. This is what makes Erin Khar’s memoir Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me such a refreshing and honest read. In this book, Khar takes the reader through her fifteen-year struggle with opioid addiction, which both helps to smash stigmas surrounding this addiction and can give hope to people living with addiction that life can get better.
Order this book from Amazon for $18.29.
3. Lakewood: A Novel by Megan Giddings
This debut novel by Megan Giddings, which has been listed as one of The Million’s Most Anticipated Reads, taps on many issues through this fictional tale about a woman named Lena Johnson, including the struggles that working-class families face and the exploitation of black bodies for science. If you are a fan of Jordan Peele’s movies, this is a perfect book for you.
Order this book from Amazon for $16.99.
4. Fury: Women’s Lived Experiences in the Trump Era by Amy Roost and Alissa Hirshfeld
When Donald Trump was elected president, I was enraged. This man, who for decades has constantly degraded women and claims that it is okay to sexually assault because he is famous, became the leader of the United States. Fury: Women’s Lived Experiences in the Trump Era, edited by Amy Roost and Alissa Hirshfeld, features essays by a group of diverse women who are as mad as I am. Contributors to this book include Reema Zaman, Katherine Morgan, Mahin Ibrahim and Susan Shapiro.
Order this book from Amazon for $16.95.
5. If I Had Your Face: A Novel by Frances Cha
Set in Seoul, South Korea, If I Had Your Face explores issues like beauty standards in South Korea and sexist, strict societal norms through its four main characters Kyuri, Miho, Ara and Wonna and their friendship with each other. In praise for the book, author Janice Y. K. Lee wrote that “Cha, an entrancing new voice who guides us into the complexities and contradictions of modern-day Seoul, a dissonant, neon world that is ripped open to bare the same universal and human challenges that face us all.”
Pre-order this book from Amazon for $27.00.
6. Resilience Is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie S. Lalonde by Julie Lalonde
When she was 20 years old, women’s rights advocate Julie S. Lalonde fled intimate partner violence. For the next ten years, during which Lalonde became an outspoken activist against gendered violence in Canada, her ex stalked her for ten years. In her book Resistance is Futile: The Life and Death and Life of Julie S. Lalonde, Lalonde raises awareness about stalking and IPV through sharing her harrowing experience.
Order this book from Amazon for $14.95.
7. Wandering Dixie: Dispatches from the Lost Jewish South by Sue Eisenfeld
In Wandering Dixie, Sue Eisenfeld takes the reader on a journey as she uncovers lost Jewish communities in the South and writes about uncomfortable truths in how white or white-passing Jews assimilated in slave-owning states. Eisenfeld’s personal stake to this issue is clear, besides being a Jewish woman, her distant cousin Andrew Goodman’s murder during the Freedom Summer of 1964 drove her in part to conduct this research.
Pre-order this book from Amazon for $19.95.
8. Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby
I think we all need a laugh these days, and Wow, No Thank You. by author and comedian Samantha Irby will surely do the trick. This book, which consists of a collection of essays, includes topics like food, marriage, skincare obsessions, and financial problems.
Pre-order this book from Amazon for $14.36.
9. Rust Belt Femme by Raechel Anne Jolie
Rust Belt Femme is a memoir of writer Raechel Anne Jolie on how rural Ohio poverty and alternative 90s culture helped shape her into the queer activist and educator that she is today. In an article at Cleveland Magazine, Jolie said that her memoir stemmed from bigoted rhetoric that she heard about working-class people in the Rust Belt during the 2016 Presidential Election.
Get this book from Amazon for $17.08.
10. The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
The Henna Wars is the debut Young Adults novel by Bangladeshi and Irish writer Adiba Jaigirdar. In this book, two teenage girls Nishat and Flávia have rival henna businesses, but they do not stay foes for long. Their relationship is made complicated by the fact that Nishat, a lesbian, falls for Flávia, but is afraid to say something because she is afraid of disapproval from her family. You can read at an excerpt of The Henna Wars at Book Riot.
Pre-order the book from Amazon for $17.99.
11. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
Feminism that does not take an intersectional approach to problems only helps a select few. In her book Hood Feminism, Mikki Kendall critiques mainstream feminism in the United States. Her essays underline how making sure people’s needs are met, like confronting homelessness and food insecurity, are feminist issues.
Order this book from Amazon for $18.91.
12. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
In All Your Twisted Secrets, a queen bee, a star athlete, a valedictorian, a stoner, a loner, and a music geek are all invited to what they think is a scholarship dinner. But, then the door shuts, and the attendees are told to pick someone to kill in the next our… or they will all die.
Order this book from Amazon for $16.19.
13. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong’s memoir Minor Feelings explores how her Korean heritage and struggles to navigate her racialized identity as a child in the Los Angeles area caused her to have “minor feelings.” In a glowing review, Kirkus said the book “deftly explores the explosive emotions surrounding race in ways sure to impact the discourse surrounding Asian identity as well as race and belonging in America.”
Order this book from Amazon for $24.30.
14. Surgery on Sunday by Kat Harrison
Health procedures can be scary, especially for children, who may not understand what is going to happen to them. Chronic illness advocate Kat Harrison wrote the children’s book Surgery on Sunday, about a girl named Sunday who nervously awaits her upcoming ear surgery at the beginning of the book, and feels a lot better after surgery at the end. If you know a child who is getting surgery soon or deals with health conditions, this is the perfect book for them.
Pre-order the book on Amazon for $17.95.
15. Lurking by Joanne McNeil
For many of us who are self-isolating or are on lockdown, we spend hours engaging on social media platforms and using the internet in general, which may cause privacy concerns for some. In her book Lurking: How A Person Became A User, cultural critic Joanne McNeil examines concerns that people have about using the internet, including safety, identity, community, and anonymity.
Order this book from Amazon for $15.89.
16. We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
Set in Danvers, Massachusetts – where the first accusations that led to the Salem Witch trials began – this book by acclaimed writer Quan Barry is no ordinary field hockey story. This young adult novel is magical because of the friendships between the characters, and the witchcraft that these characters use to do what they can to make it to the field hockey state finals.
Order this book from Amazon for $18.39.
17. Conditional Citizens by Laila Lalami
In Conditional Citizens, Laila Lalami intertwines both her journey to becoming a U.S. citizen as an immigrant from Morocco and the role that white supremacy has on determining one’s “American-ess,” whether someone is from the United States or an immigrant like Lalami.
Pre-order this book from Amazon for $24.65.
18. Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A true (as told to me) story by Bess Kalb
Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A true (as told to me) story by Bess Kalb is a tribute to Kalb’s beloved late Jewish grandmother. Kalb weaves together both memories from her life with her grandmother, shares details about her Jewish family’s history, and dialogue of what her grandmother is telling her from the dead. It’s a story of love and resilience.
Order this book from Amazon for $23.36.
19. The Herd: A Novel by Andrea Bartz
If you live in a major city, you may see that coworking spaces are on the rise, and they definitely come with their own drama (for example: see this article on The Wing). In the novel The Herd, the head of an elite coworking space, Eleanor goes missing, and her friends go on a mission to find the truth. This thriller also offers commentary on female friendships and social media.
Order this book from Amazon for $13.99.
20. Strong Like Her by Haley Shapley
From shining a light on the first female Olympian to current female powerhouses, Haley Shapley’s upcoming book dives into and celebrates the physical power of women. Shapley’s book puts stereotypes that women are “weak” to shame and features photographs of athletes by Sophy Holland.
Pre-order this book from Amazon for $29.99.
There are plenty of other ways to support these authors right now, if you have a library that puts books online, or has started to in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, you can contact your library to request them to add some of these awesome reads.