1. How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz

Cruz has created an emotional wringer of a book as unwavering as its protagonist. With an exquisite voice that is hilarious, bleak, and absolutely formidable, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water is an expertly woven character study so much bigger than itself.

2. Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

Haunting and powerful. It is an unraveling of history, of identity, of the American Dream-like expectations foist upon people whether they want them or not.

3. The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings

Reminiscent of the works of Margaret Atwood, Shirley Jackson, and Octavia Butler, a biting social commentary from the acclaimed author of Lakewood that speaks to our times—a piercing dystopian novel about the unbreakable bond between a young woman and her mysterious mother, set in a world in which witches are real and single women are closely monitored.

4. Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

Everyday stories riddled with fabulist features (think: Carmen Maria Machado or Kelly Link), this collection is pleasantly disturbing. Kim Fu explores humanity’s deepest truths even while the settings and plot devices exist mainly in the near future or in a time that, without a giant leap into a fantastical realm, is not possible.

5. Patricia Wants to Cuddle by Samantha Allen

This is what you get when you cross a Bachelor-inspired reality show with a queer King Kong-esque sasquatch, the behind-the-scenes drama of UnREAL, a gorgeous and heartbreaking trove of lesbian love letters, and an absolute indulgence of the unhinged.

1. A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo

Award-winning author Malinda Lo returns to the Bay Area with another masterful coming-of-queer-age story, this time set against the backdrop of the first major Supreme Court decisions legalizing gay marriage. And almost sixty years after the end of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Lo’s new novel also offers a glimpse into Lily and Kath’s lives since 1955.

2. The Hop by Diana Clarke

From the author of Thin Girls, a page-turning feminist novel that tells the story of how a poor girl coming of age in rural New Zealand grows to be a sex icon, the face of a movement, and a mother, all at the same time.

3. Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

Inspired by the author’s own family history, Memphis—the Black fairy tale she always wanted to read—explores the complexity of what we pass down, not only in our families, but in our country: police brutality and justice, powerlessness and freedom, fate and forgiveness, doubt and faith, sacrifice and love.

4. Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman

A restless young journalist with big dreams interviews a Hollywood heartthrob—and, ten years later, it’s clear that their time together meant more than meets the eye in this sexy, engrossing adult debut novel.

5. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.

1. My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi

My Volcano is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a menagerie of characters, as they each undergo personal eruptions, while the Earth itself is constantly shifting. Parable, myth, science-fiction, eco-horror, My Volcano is a radical work of literary art, emerging as a subversive, intoxicating artistic statement by John Elizabeth Stintzi.

2. It Came from the Closet edited by Joe Vallese

It Came from the Closet features twenty-five essays by writers speaking to the relationship of queerness and horror, through connections both empowering and oppressive. From Carmen Maria Machado on Jennifer’s Body, Jude Ellison S. Doyle on In My Skin, Addie Tsai on Dead Ringers, and many more, these conversations convey the rich reciprocity between queerness and horror.

3. Unwieldy Creatures by Addie Tsai

A biracial, queer, gender-swapped retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a tale of doom, ambition, loss, revenge, and murder.

4. 50 Things Kate Bush Taught Me About the Multiverse by Karyna McGlynn

You don’t have to be a Kate Bush fan to appreciate these poems — McGlynn alludes to 80s and 90s pop culture of all sorts — but if you’ve got two ears and a heart you probably already are.

5. Space Story by Fiona Gatsby

Space Story is, in many ways, exactly what it says on the tin: a story about space, and about how love can bridge it. Fill it. Make all that space worthwhile. Told in 3 primary colors across 3 different time periods, Space Story is the very definition of “deceptively simple.” Are you looking for a quick-reading comfy lesbian love story set in the near-future with characters who aren’t stick-thin for once? Fiona Ostby’s got you covered. Are you looking for a story that will settle in your ribs and warm your gay little heart? Space Story is for you.

1. The Catch by Alison Fairbrother

A young woman searches for the truth about her father and the secrets of her family in this electric debut novel.

2. The School for Good Mother by Jessamine Chan

In this taut and explosive debut novel, one lapse in judgment lands a young mother in a government reform program where custody of her child hangs in the balance.

3. Joan is Okay by Weike Wang

A sly, powerful, deeply moving novel about a female doctor forced by crisis to reckon with a life optimized for work, from the award-winning author of Chemistry.

4. The Most Precious Substance on Earth by Shashi Bhat

Darkly funny, deeply affecting, unsettling, and at times even shocking, Shashi Bhat’s irresistible novel-in-stories examines the relationships between those who take and those who have something taken. The Most Precious Substance on Earth is a sharp-edged and devastating look at how women are conditioned to hide their trauma and suppress their fear, loneliness, and anger, and an unforgettable portrait of how silence can shape a life.

5. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

The award-winning, best-selling author of Station Eleven and The Glass Hotel returns with a novel of art, time, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.

1. Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith

Wash Day Diaries tells the story of four best friends—Kim, Tanisha, Davene, and Cookie—through five connected comics that follow them through the ups and downs of their lives in the Bronx. You see how their hair routines impact and are impacted by community, mental health, friendship, and more.

2. A Lady for A Duke by Alexis Hall

A lush, sweeping queer and trans historical romance from the bestselling author of Boyfriend Material—perfect for fans of Netflix’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Cat Sebastian!

3. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life. Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.

4. Easy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones

From Chloé Cooper Jones—Pulitzer Prize finalist, philosophy professor, Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant recipient—a groundbreaking memoir about disability, motherhood, and a journey to far-flung places in search of a new way of seeing and being seen.

5. The Many Deaths of Laila Starr written by Ram V and illustrated by Filipe Andrade

Will Laila take her chance to stop mankind from permanently altering the cycle of life, or will death really become a thing of the past? A powerful new graphic novel from award-winning writer Ram V and burgeoning illustrator Filipe Andrade that explores the fine line between living and dying through the lens of magical realism. Collects The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1-5.

1. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.

2. A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone

Co-written by #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy and USA Today bestselling author Sierra Simone, a steamy plus-sized holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as the star of a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the bad boy former boy band member she falls in love with.

3. Belladonna by Adalyn Grace

New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.

4. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

Can Mika finally find a family with this lovable pack? Can she let herself love and be loved? Will she and the grumpy (and sexy) Jamie act on their irresistible attraction to one another? And most importantly: will the power of three young witches expose magic to the world at large? Find out with this perfect-for-Autumn read!”

5. A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief. A Minor Chorus introduces a dazzling new literary voice whose vision and fearlessness shine much-needed light on the realities of Indigenous survival.

1. The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

A riveting page-turner about a Black classical musician’s desperate quest to recover his lost violin on the eve of the most prestigious musical competition in the world.

2. The Maid by Nita Prose

Molly Gray is a housekeeper at an up-market, swanky hotel with secrets in its corridors, and dead bodies in one room in particular. When the glare of a murder investigation focuses on Molly, she’s in a tough bind, but a great cast of characters come to her aid.

3. Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste

For fans of Mexican Gothic, from three-time Bram Stoker Award–winning author Gwendolyn Kiste comes a novel inspired by the untold stories of forgotten women in classic literature—from Lucy Westnera, a victim of Stoker’s Dracula, and Bertha Mason, Mr. Rochester’s attic-bound wife in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre—as they band together to combat the toxic men bent on destroying their lives, set against the backdrop of the Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury, 1967.

4. Sedating Elaine by Dawnas Winter

An exuberant dark comedy about love, grief, sex, guilt, and one woman’s harebrained scheme to tranquilize her voraciously amorous girlfriend for a few days so that she might pay off her drug dealer, make soup, and finally get some peace and quiet.

5. The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker

An excellent novel. Horrifying and heartbreaking, Walker writes a gothic ghost story with feminist tones and creates a stunning work of art. I can’t describe my enjoyment enough- words fail me. I didn’t want to put this book down. Good for fans of When Women Were Dragons.

1. Squire written by Nadia Shammas and illustrated by Sara Alfageeh

This YA fantasy graphic novel follows fourteen year-old Aiza, who trains to become a knight for a war-torn empire while hiding her true background as a girl from conquered lands.

2. The Supernatural Society by Ren Ogle

The Goonies meets Halloweentown in this hilariously scary middle grade series starter about a town chock-full of monsters and the group of kids who must race to unravel centuries of secrets to save it.

3. The Vanquishers by Kalynn Baylon

Bestselling author Kalynn Bayron brings readers the world of The Vanquishers, where vampires were history . . . until now. Inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Watchmen, this adventure launches readers into an exciting new series.

4. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

From the New York Times bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a dreamy reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.

Holiday Gift Guide 2022 : Staff Picks
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