Aptly's Most Anticipated Books of 2019
By Quentin Greif
Aptly Editor Quentin Greif got a hold of advanced reader’s copies at the start of the year. Here’s what he wants everyone to read.
NORMAL PEOPLE | SALLY ROONEY
The follow up to Rooney’s Conversations With Friends is full of all the searing social observations and witty/sexy story-telling you may have already come to love from this gifted young writer. Rooney has a particular knack for dissecting the tiny social moments that make life both comical and brutally embarrassing. In Conversations Rooney showed us she could write a coming of age story that felt fresh with details only a digital native could convey. Fundamental to her new novel is the question: how much do we really control the trajectory of our lives and how much is decided for us?
Hogarth April 16
ON EARTH WE ARE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS | OCEAN VUONG
Poet Ocean Vuong is releasing his first novel this year. The novel is a letter from a son, Little Dog, to his mother who cannot read. Little Dog weaves a tight narrative that leads ultimately to a profound revelation. With the family’s history in Vietnam as a back drop to Little Dog’s story, the novel will surely be beautiful and timely.
Penguin Press June 4
ORANGE WORLD | KAREN RUSSELL
Russell is back as the queen of weird with a new collection of short stories. “Tornado Auction” was our favourite so far which shows off Russell’s glittering and expansive imagination brilliantly. In the story she reimagines the wild-west as a place of cowboys who wrangle, raise, and sell tornadoes. Despite the strangeness of her set ups, Russell always manages to say something profound about human existence. She’s proof that fiction need not be “realistic” to be relevant and deeply important.
Knopf May 14
THE NICKEL BOYS | COLSON WHITEHEAD
Whitehead’s follow up to his Pulitzer prise winning The Underground Railroad tells the story of two boys imprisoned in a juvenile detention facility in the Jim Crow South. Based on a real life youth detention facility in Florida, the novel is sure to be harrowing, but in Whitehead’s capable hands will be a must-read of 2019. Whitehead’s Underground Railroad reimagined the well-known route out of the south for runaway slaves as an actual railroad. Aptly is excited to see how he reimagines the past in this new work.
Doubleday July 16
IN THE DREAM HOUSE, A MEMOIR | CARMEN MARIA MACHADO
The stories in Machado’s Her Bodies and Other Parties were so on brand for me I felt like she had possibly reached into my own brain and pulled everything I loved out and onto the page. Each chapter explores a psychologically abusive relationship Machado endured through a different lens, such as “the haunted house” or “the bildungsroman.” If her fiction is any indication, Machado’s writing about her own life is sure to be trenchant, imaginative, and adept.
Graywolf October 1