Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Recent Additions To My Must-Read List

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

I'm on a book-buying ban, so I haven't been purchasing any books, but that hasn't stopped me from adding them to my must-read list. I'm pretty sure I learned about most of these books from award committees. Let me know if you've read any of them!

✍  Recent Additions To My Must-Read List  🕮

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.

Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.

Juniper, California. Now.

Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding.

Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever.

When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.

Why I want to read it: I saw it on a ton of "Best Books" lists at the end of last year. It also won the Printz Award in 2023. I'm a bit nervous because I've never been able to finish a Sabaa Tahir book. I'm not a fan of her writing style, but I'm willing to give this one a chance.

Buy it on Amazon

American Wolf: A True Story Of Survival And Obsession In The West by Nate Blakeslee

Nature Nonfiction

Before humans ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.

With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world.

But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.

These forces collide in American Wolf, a riveting multi-generational saga of hardship and triumph that tells a larger story about the ongoing cultural clash in the West—between those fighting for a vanishing way of life and those committed to restoring one of the country’s most iconic landscapes.

Why I want to read it: Because I live in Colorado, and wolves are a contentious topic. As I write this, there are 11 known gray wolves in the state. Ranchers want them euthanized because they eat cows. Since wolves can't vote, politicians and the media are on the ranchers' side. I'd like to hear the wolves' side of the story.

Buy it on Amazon

Doppelganger: A Trip Into The Mirror World by Naomi Klein

Sociology Nonfiction

What if you woke up one morning and found you’d acquired another self―a double who was almost you and yet not you at all? What if that double shared many of your preoccupations but, in a twisted, upside-down way, furthered the very causes you’d devoted your life to fighting against?

Not long ago, the celebrated activist and public intellectual Naomi Klein had just such an experience―she was confronted with a doppelganger whose views she found abhorrent but whose name and public persona were sufficiently similar to her own that many people got confused about who was who. Destabilized, she lost her bearings, until she began to understand the experience as one manifestation of a strangeness many of us have come to know but struggle to define: AI-generated text is blurring the line between genuine and spurious communication; New Age wellness entrepreneurs turned anti-vaxxers are scrambling familiar political allegiances of left and right; and liberal democracies are teetering on the edge of absurdist authoritarianism, even as the oceans rise. Under such conditions, reality itself seems to have become unmoored. Is there a cure for our moment of collective vertigo?

Why I want to read it: I've discovered that my family and I live in completely different realities. Their reality seems scarier than mine. For example, my mom is convinced that protesters burned down Denver, but normal Denver still exists in my world. Everything is weird and disconcerting. Maybe this book will explain what the heck is happening.

Buy it on Amazon

Everything Sad Is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

At the front of a middle school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls "Daniel") stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much.

But Khosrou's stories, stretching back years, and decades, and centuries, are beautiful, and terrifying, from the moment he, his mother, and sister fled Iran in the middle of the night, stretching all the way back to family tales set in the jasmine-scented city of Isfahan, the palaces of semi-ancient kings, and even the land of stories.

We bounce between a school bus of kids armed with paper clip missiles and spitballs, to the heroines and heroes of Kosrou's family's past, who ate pastries that made them weep, and touched carpets woven with precious gems.

Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, author Daniel Nayeri weaves a tale of Khosrou trying to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. And it is (a true story).

Why I want to read it: Every single one of my bookish friends gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. Usually, I have a few friends who give books low ratings. I'm curious about why it's so well-loved.

Buy it on Amazon

Freewater by Amina Luqman-Dawson

Middle Grade Historical Fiction

Under the cover of night, twelve-year-old Homer flees Southerland Plantation with his little sister Ada, unwillingly leaving their beloved mother behind. Much as he adores her and fears for her life, Homer knows there’s no turning back, not with the overseer on their trail. Through tangled vines, secret doorways, and over a sky bridge, the two find a secret community called Freewater, deep in the swamp.

In this society created by formerly enslaved people and some freeborn children, Homer finds new friends, almost forgetting where he came from. But when he learns of a threat that could destroy Freewater, he crafts a plan to find his mother and help his new home.

Why I want to read it: It won a bunch of major awards. I suspect I would have loved this book as a teenager. Most of my favorite books were historical fiction adventure stories. I couldn't get enough of those.

Buy it on Amazon

Some People Need Killing: A Memoir Of Murder In My Country by Patricia Evangelista

Political Journalism

"My job is to go to places where people die. I pack my bags, talk to the survivors, write my stories, then go home to wait for the next catastrophe. I don’t wait very long."

Journalist Patricia Evangelista came of age in the aftermath of a street revolution that forged a new future for the Philippines. Three decades later, in the face of mounting inequality, the nation discovered the fragility of its democratic institutions under the regime of strongman Rodrigo Duterte.

Some People Need Killing is Evangelista’s meticulously reported and deeply human chronicle of the Philippines’ drug war. For six years, Evangelista chronicled the killings carried out by police and vigilantes in the name of Duterte’s war on drugs—a war that has led to the slaughter of thousands—immersing herself in the world of killers and survivors and capturing the atmosphere of fear created when an elected president decides that some lives are worth less than others.

Why I want to read it: When I was in graduate school, I wrote a lot about cults. My research caused me to stumble across Rodrigo Duterte and his enthusiastically murderous supporters. I feel like I've been waiting years for someone to write this book. It's a story that needs to be told.

Buy it on Amazon

The Collectors by A.S. King (Editor)

Young Adult Anthology

An anthology of stories about remarkable people and their strange and surprising collections.

From David Levithan’s story about a non-binary kid collecting pieces of other people’s collections to Jenny Torres Sanchez's tale of a girl gathering types of fire while trying not to get burned to G. Neri's piece about 1970's skaters seeking opportunities to go vertical—anything can be collected and in the hands of these award-winning and bestselling authors, any collection can tell a story.

Why I want to read it: It's surprisingly hard to find good young adult anthologies. Most of the YA anthologies I've read have been aggressively forgettable. This anthology won the Printz Award, so I'm cautiously optimistic. There are some really good authors in this book!

Buy it on Amazon

The Eyes And The Impossible by Dave Eggers

Middle Grade Fantasy

Johannes, a free dog, lives in an urban park by the sea. His job is to be the Eyes—to see everything that happens within the park and report back to the park’s elders, three ancient Bison. His friends—a seagull, a raccoon, a squirrel, and a pelican—work with him as the Assistant Eyes, observing the humans and other animals who share the park and making sure the Equilibrium is in balance. 

But changes are afoot. More humans, including Trouble Travelers, arrive in the park. A new building, containing mysterious and hypnotic rectangles, goes up. And then there are the goats—an actual boatload of goats—who appear, along with a shocking revelation that changes Johannes’s view of the world.

Why I want to read it: I want to read it because it won the Newbery Medal, but I'm also apprehensive. I've read a few of Dave Eggers' adult books. They're kind of . . . pretentious slogs. Maybe a children's book will get to the point faster. Also, it's about a dog. I love dogs!

Buy it on Amazon

What's the last book you added to your must-read list?


  1. These all look fantastic. I am particularly interested in Everything Sad is Untrue. American Wolf looks amazing but.. sad. I don't know if I could read it!

  2. All My Rage sure sounds interesting! I hope you like all of these.

    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday.


  3. I haven't read any of these, but I hope you enjoy them all! I need to go on a book-buying ban...

  4. I just added Her Deadly Game by Dugoni and Knife by Rushdie to my reading list. But I'm sure I'll be adding more to it today, and tomorrow, and the day after that.... ;D

  5. I've read Eggers "The Circle" and "The Every" but wouldn't call them pretentious. XD I had no idea he'd tried writing for children!

  6. The Eyes and the Impossible sounds like a fun read. Hope you'll love all of these!

  7. The Collectors is on my reading list, too! I was really touched by All the Sad Things Are True. I hope you get to these books.

  8. I should be on a book buying ban, but I am not technically. I haven't bought anything in a few weeks, nor do I plan to. I am on a "read my own books" kick. Trying to get my numbers lower. Have a great week!

  9. I hope you enjoy reading all of these!
    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

  10. Some People Need Killing - I think this every day. Catchy title for sure. I hope when the ban is lifted (can you borrow from the library?), you read and love them all.

  11. I've read FREEWATER, but that's it from your list. I liked its setting of a secret, hidden society of the former enslaved. I knew nothing about that. That part was interesting, but the story itself is pretty dull. It's a long book and not a lot happens. I was bored with it. I hope you like it more than I did, as well as all these others.

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!

  12. I haven't read any of these, but I hear amazing things about All My Rage.

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

  13. Both of the books look interesting. Happy reading.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  14. Interesting collection of books you have to read and they all sound enticing.

  15. The Wolf book is very good and it moved me to tears when I read it in 2019. You must read it! And it is also gripping. Here is my review https://www.thecuecard.com/books/july-reviews/

  16. One of my good friends RAVES about Everything Sad Is Untrue - I bought it, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Eyes of the Impossible honestly is a bit pretentious and slightly slow for a middle grade novel, but the dog's POV is super cute and I liked the story overall. Hope you enjoy it!