If you have a bookworm on your list, you may be intimidated by the idea of picking them out a book. But never fear -- the WORD team has compiled a list of some of our favorite reads of late that didn't quite make it into the mainstream hype. So your odds are good that they'll be new to your rabid reader.
(Still not totally sure? Consider gifting them a WORD To Your Mailbox subscription! Then our booksellers can curate a regular stream of new reads based on their interests & feedback).
It's time to diversify your reading list.
2020 Palestine Book Awards Winner
2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize Finalist
“Susan Abulhawa possesses the heart of a warrior; she looks into the darkest crevices of lives, conflicts, horrendous injustices, and dares to shine light that can illuminate hidden worlds for us.” —Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
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A BOOKLIST EDITOR'S CHOICE BOOK OF THE YEAR
Ambitious and masterfully-wrought, Lauren Francis-Sharma's Book of the Little Axe is an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion.
*FINALIST for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction*
*WINNER of the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award*
*WINNER of the 2020 Story Prize*
*WINNER of the 2020 L.A.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE • A young man journeys into Sri Lanka’s war-torn north in this searing novel of longing, loss, and the legacy of war from the author of The Story of a Brief Marriage.
“A novel of tragic power and uncommon beauty.”—Anthony Marra
WINNER OF THE 2021 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WASHINGTON POST, AMAZON, NPR, CBS SUNDAY MORNING, KIRKUS, CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY, AND GOOD HOUSEKEEPING BEST BOOK OF 2020
An Post Irish Book Awards Nonfiction Book of the Year - A Guardian Best Book of 2020 - Shortlisted for the 2021 Rathbones Folio Prize - Longlisted for the 2021 Republic of Consciousness Prize
A piercing howl of a novel and "a tart pleasure...with echoes of Zadie Smith and Sally Rooney," about one young woman’s endless quest for an apartment of her own and the aspirations and challenges faced by the Millennial generation as it finds its footing in the world, from a shockingly talented debut author (Kirkus, starred review).
Winner of the 2022 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature
"Bold, iridescent... Dazzling and shocking... Ross’s lyrical, rhythmic writing is something to be savored... [Her] voice sings out loud and pure."
—Eowyn Ivey, The New York Times Book Review
An uproarious, sensual novel, Leone Ross's Popisho conjures a world where magic is everywhere, food is fate, politics are broken, and love awaits.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE’S JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK
WINNER OF THE FERRO-GRUMLEY AWARD FOR LGBTQ FICTION
Winner of the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism
Winner of the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction
Winner of the 2020 Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction
Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir/Biography
"Exhilarating…A rich resurrection of a forgotten history." —Parul Sehgal, New York Times
A PBS NewsHour Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year in Nonfiction
A brilliant scholar imparts the lessons bequeathed by the Black community and its remarkable artists and thinkers.
Yasuko Hanaoka is a divorced, single mother who thought she had finally escaped her abusive ex-husband Togashi. When he shows up one day to extort money from her, threatening both her and her teenaged daughter Misato, the situation quickly escalates into violence and Togashi ends up dead on her apartment floor.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR
ONE OF NPR'S BEST BOOKS OF 2020
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2020 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Fiction
From Kiese Laymon, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Heavy, comes a “funny, astute, searching” (The Wall Street Journal) debut novel about Black teenagers that is a satirical exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in post-Katrina Mississippi.
Finalist for the 2022 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction
Longlisted for the 2022 Story Prize
A New York Times Editors' Choice pick
One of Literary Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2021
Stories that capture our times by “a young author who has already established himself as a unique American voice” (Elle).
“As a bookseller, I loved Shelf Life for the chance to peer behind the curtain of Diwan, Nadia Wassef’s Egyptian bookstore—the way that the personal is inextricable from the professional, the way that failure and success are often lovers, the relationship between neighborhoods and books and life.