We’re already 16 days into the new new year and I’m already anticipating the new book releases of 2024. I don’t usually search them out so early. I prefer waiting to hear about them as the year unfolds. I’ve chosen a mix of books that I genuinely find interesting and that I would love to read. These are not all of the new book releases that I’ll be interested in. I’m quite sure there will be plenty others. However, we should always choose new releases wisely. As you should all know by now, they are sometimes overrated and disappointing. So purchase early at your own risk. Hopefully these won’t disappoint me if I do get around to them. Which ones are you interested in?
Every American waits with baited breath to see whether or not the country’s first female president will pass the Forgiveness Act. The bill would allow Black families to claim up to $175,000 if they can prove they are the descendants of slaves and for ambitious single mother Willie Revel the bill could be a long-awaited form of redemption. A decade ago, Willie gave up her burgeoning journalism career to help run her father’s struggling construction company in Philadelphia and she has reluctantly put family first without being able to forget who she might have become. Now, she’s back living with her parents and her young daughter while trying to keep her family from going into bankruptcy. Could the Forgiveness Act uncover her forgotten roots while also helping save their beloved home and her father’s life work?
In order to qualify, she must first prove that the Revels are descended from slaves, but the rest of the family isn’t as eager to dig up the past. Her mother is adopted; her father doesn’t trust the government and believes working with a morally corrupt employer is the better way to save their business; and her daughter is just trying to make it through the fifth grade at her elite private school without attracting unwanted attention. It’s up to Willie to verify their ancestry and save her family—but as she delves into their history, Willie begins to learn just how complicated family and forgiveness can be.
Expected Publication: February 13, 2024
Why I’m interested: It’s a debut novel and I love discovering new, interesting authors. I also love that it’s a family story, with a historical fiction aspect because the family has to prove that they are descendants of slavery in order to benefit from the Forgiveness Act. It’s also cool that there is the first female president in the story.
A husband sells property to a mysterious, temperamental stranger, and is hounded on social media when he publicly questions the man’s character. A couple grows concerned when an enigmatic family moves next door, and the children start sneaking over to beg for help. Two dangerous criminals kidnap an elderly couple and begin blackmailing their grandson, demanding that he pay back what he owes.
Suspenseful, thrilling, and expertly crafted, American Spirits explores the hostile undercurrents of our communities and American politics at large, as well as the ways local tragedies can be both devastating and, somehow, everyday. Ushering the reader through the town of Sam Dent, Russell Banks has etched yet another brilliant entry into the bedrock of American fiction.
Expected Publication: March 5, 2024
Why I’m interested: Firstly it’s written by Russell Banks. I read The Darling by Banks with my Normandy Book Club and found it very readable but challenging. I remember us having an excellent discussion. I would also like to read more short story collections, which I totally failed at last year because I didn’t read one of them. This collection also sounds like it has a finger on the pulse of all that’s wrong with the US. It sounds gritty and intense. I’m all in!
A lyrical, lush, evocative story about a fractured Jamaican family and a daughter determined to reclaim her home. With news of her father’s passing, Pearline abruptly leaves her daughter and grandchildren behind in Brooklyn to return to her childhood home in Jamaica. But Pearline isn’t prepared for her father’s puzzling deathbed wish that she find her siblings―whom she hasn’t seen in 60 years―and discover the secret that tore her family apart. Moving through time and place, from Cuba to Montego Bay and from Brooklyn to Havana, The House of Plain Truth traces Pearline’s reconciliation of what she thought she knew about her family and the truth of their origin. Inspired by the author’s own family story, this delicate, incisive novel explores the divided loyalties within a family, the true meaning of home, and what one woman must sacrifice to finally get what she wants.
Expected Publication: January 30, 2024
Why I’m interested: This is a Caribbean novel written by the author of Tea By the Sea which I haven’t read yet. It’s on my TBR (To Be Read List) but I don’t own. This family story is set in different cities and has themes like family secrets and the true meaning of home. Hemans is a Jamaican author so I’m really excited for this one.
A lyrical culinary journey that explores the hidden legacy of Black Appalachians, through powerful storytelling alongside nearly forty comforting recipes, from the former poet laureate of Kentucky.
People are always surprised that Black people reside in the hills of Appalachia. Those not surprised that we were there, are surprised that we stayed.
Years ago, when O. Henry Prize-winning writer Crystal Wilkinson was baking a jam cake, she felt her late grandmother’s presence. She soon realized that she was not the only cook in her kitchen; there were her ancestors, too, stirring, measuring, and braising alongside her. These are her kitchen ghosts, five generations of Black women who settled in Appalachia and made a life, a legacy, and a cuisine.
An expert cook, Wilkinson shares nearly forty family recipes rooted deep in the past, full of flavor—delicious favorites including Corn Pudding, Chicken and Dumplings, Granny Christine’s Jam Cake, and Praisesong Biscuits , brought to vivid life through stunning photography. Together, Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts honors the mothers who came before, the land that provided for generations of her family, and the untold heritage of Black Appalachia.
As the keeper of her family’s stories and treasured dishes, Wilkinson shares her inheritance in Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts. She found their stories in her apron pockets, floating inside the steam of hot mustard greens and tucked into the sweet scent of clove and cinnamon in her kitchen. Part memoir, part cookbook, Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts weaves those stories together with recipes, family photos, and a lyrical imagination to present a culinary portrait of a family that has lived and worked the earth of the mountains for over a century.
Expected Publication: January 23, 2024
Why I’m interested: Duh! It’s by Crystal Wilkinson! I love her and her writing! I think I’ve read all of her works and I suggest you do so as well. You can start with any of the following: The Birds of Opulence, Blackberries, Blackberries, Water Street, and Perfect Black (poetry).Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts is a nonfiction that comprises, family, food, and the legacy of Black Appalachains. Do I need to say anymore. It’s going to be Excellent!
When the enslaved Jim overhears that he is about to be sold to a man in New Orleans, separated from his wife and daughter forever, he decides to hide on nearby Jackson Island until he can formulate a plan. Meanwhile, Huck Finn has faked his own death to escape his violent father, recently returned to town. As all readers of American literature know, thus begins the dangerous and transcendent journey by raft down the Mississippi River toward the elusive and too-often-unreliable promise of the Free States and beyond.
While many narrative set pieces of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remain in place (floods and storms, stumbling across both unexpected death and unexpected treasure in the myriad stopping points along the river’s banks, encountering the scam artists posing as the Duke and Dauphin…), Jim’s agency, intelligence and compassion are shown in a radically new light.
Brimming with electrifying humor and lacerating observations, James is destined to be a major publishing event and a cornerstone of twenty-first century American literature.
Expected Publication: March 19, 2024
Why I’m interested: My goodness of course I’m interested. Anything by Percival Everett is on my TBR. I am also extremely interested to see how Percival Everett deals with a reimagining of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I’m sure the satire is going to be off the chain. Everett is the king of satire.
I suppose it would be fitting to explain that I am talking into a dictaphone and the lovely Helen will be typing out my story for you to read. She will have a certain amount of creative control—sorting out moments when I get a bit tongue-tied or slightly muddled—but I have told her to leave in as much as possible, so as not to miss any of the important bits. This is my account of the Cavengreen Hotel murder, best we get that bit in early on.
The peaceful setting of Cavengreen Hotel has been shattered by a shocking murder. Hector Harrow, the hotel’s concierge, has been accused and is determined to clear his name.
Hector enlists the aid of Helen, a retired publisher, to document the shocking crime that has unfolded, with the intention of publishing a truthful account.
Amid interruptions from a nosy journalist and the egotistical antics of the hotel’s new owner, American Dave, Helen works tirelessly to keep Hector focused on finishing his book.
As suspicions fall on different guests and one makes a shocking confession, Hector must navigate a web of secrets to uncover the truth.
Expected Publication: January 31, 2024
Why I’m interested: I’m mostly interested in this one because it’s seem like a mystery with a difference. I don’t read read murder mysteries very much but when I do I seem to enjoy them. This seems to have a cosy mystery feel to it but I could be wrong. I’ll have to wait and see.
It’s 2017 at the University of Arkansas. Millie Cousins, a senior resident assistant, wants to graduate, get a job, and buy a house. So when Agatha Paul, a visiting professor and writer, offers Millie an easy yet unusual opportunity, she jumps at the chance. But Millie’s starry-eyed hustle becomes jeopardised by odd new friends, vengeful dorm pranks and illicit intrigue. A fresh and intimate portrait of desire, consumption and reckless abandon, Come and Get It is a tension-filled story about money, indiscretion, and bad behavior.
Expected Publication: January 9, 2024
Why I’m interested: Well I read her 2019 debut novel Such a Fun Age and was disappointed that she wasn’t able to go all the way with the storyline. If you read it you know what I mean. Come & Get it is her third novel but I hope to see that her storytelling has gotten more realistic and can actually stand up since she writes about real societal pressures. I’m curious.
Nayan Olak is mounting a run for general secretary of the union that has become the center of his life since losing his family in a tragic accident twenty years earlier, when he finds himself inexorably drawn to an inscrutable woman he keeps seeing around town. Passing the run-down house where she—Helen, he’s learned her name is—lives with her teenage son, Brandon, he wonders why they’ve returned to this place, and why they appear so guarded. As Nayan’s involvement with Helen and Brandon deepens, his differences with his rival in the race to lead the union, a privileged young woman named Megha, spin out of control. While he unknowingly barrels toward long-held secrets about how his and Helen’s pasts might be connected, much more is threatened than his chances of winning.
In one sense a tragedy in the classic mold, tracing one man’s seemingly inexorable fall, The Spoiled Heart is also an explosively contemporary story of how a few words or a single action—to one person careless, to another, charged—can create a domino effect whose consequences could never have been imagined. A vivid exploration of the mysteries of the heart, how community is forged and broken, and the shattering impact of secrets and assumptions alike, it is a blazing achievement from one of Britain’s foremost living writers.
Expected Publication: April 16, 2024
Why I’m interested: I read The Year of the Runaways which was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize in 2015 and I really enjoyed it. Sahota is a very good writer who pays attention to detail. I’m excited to see where this story will go.
The free-standing successor and next novel by the author of the critically acclaimed The Last Thing You Surrender , Leonard Pitts, Jr.’s 54 Miles launches forward twenty years to the fateful weeks of March 1965—from the infamous “Bloody Sunday” march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on the 7th to the triumphant entry into Montgomery on the 25th that climaxed the voting rights campaign—and the families who find themselves confronting the past amid another flashpoint in American history. Young Adam, who has been raised in Harlem by his white father, George, and Black mother, Thelma, goes back to his parents’ home state of Alabama to participate in the voting rights campaign, only to be brutalized in the Bloody Sunday melee. He is still recovering from this when he is struck a heavy emotional blow, learning for the first time—and in the cruelest way imaginable—that George, who has raised him as a son, is not, in fact, his biological father. Rather, Adam is a child of rape, a discovery that explains so much about why his mother is sometimes so distant. Adam is sent spiraling by what he learns and Thelma is drawn back, for the first time in twenty years, to the South she both hates and fears. The reckoning that results may result in an incalculable loss. Meanwhile, Thelma’s brother Luther is also spiraling, but in a different way. Forty-two years after his parents were lynched before his eyes, and twenty years after the man who led the lynch mob walked out of court a free man, Luther has just made a shocking discovery. He‘s found the murderer, Floyd Bitters, helpless and enfeebled in a rest home—unable to move or even to speak. The old man is literally at Luther’s mercy. And Luther, who has never overcome this trauma that defined his life, is suddenly forced to relive it all again as he grapples with the awful question of what justice now demands.
Expected Publication: July 23, 2024
Why I’m interested: If you’ve just started following me you don’t know but I LOVE Leonard Pitts Jr’s storytelling! One of my favourite books is The Last thing You Surrender and 54 Miles is the sequel to it. So Yes I can’t wait to read this one. Pitts is definitely an auto buy author for me. If you’ve never read any of his fiction novels I recommend The Last thing You Surrender, Freeman, and Grant Park.
A huge-hearted, redemptive coming-of-old-age tale, a love story, and an ode to good food
Nothing could be more out of character, but after fifty-nine years of marriage, as her husband Bernard’s health declines, and her friends’ lives become focused on their grandchildren—which Jenny never had—Jenny decides she wants a little something for herself. So she secretly applies to be a contestant on the prime-time TV show Britain Bakes.
Whisked into an unfamiliar world of cameras and timed challenges, Jenny delights in a new-found independence. But that independence, and the stress of the competition, starts to unearth memories buried decades ago. Chocolate teacakes remind her of a furtive errand involving a wedding ring; sugared doughnuts call up a stranger’s kind act; a simple cottage loaf brings back the moment her life changed forever.
Expected Publication: January 30, 2024
Why I’m interested: When was the last time you read a novel where the protagonist was aged over 60+? Yeah that’s what I thought – probably a long time ago if at all. I’ll never understand why there aren’t more novels with older protagonists. Life is composed of people of different ages. Not to mention, there is a food theme running through this novel and I love books the incorporate food.
If you’d like to pick up a copy of any of my recommendations or just shop for yourself please consider clicking my affiliate links for Blackwell’s. It would be much appreciated. It will help fund my incessant book buying, reading, and reviewing. Thank you!
Blackwell’s Affiliate (Independent Bookstore/ Free Delivery)
My Read Soul Lit Book Club on Patreon
Brown Girls Booking Podcast