New Books by Women – May 2018 Releases

Need a new book for May?

Here’s a roundup of the new books being released in May that I am most excited about, by and/or about women of color, LBTQ+ women, women with disabilities, feminists, and womxn from other historically underrepresented and underserved communities.

If you are curious about which books I focus on, see my Review Policy. These are just guidelines and I reserve the right to include (or not!) any books I see fit.

I’ll probably add to this list as I learn of others; if you have a suggestion, please place it in the comments below!

 

Awus Story by Justine MintsaAwu’s Story by Justine Mintsa and Cheryl Toman (Translator)

May 1

“At the dawn of the twenty-first century, villages in the Fang region of northern Gabon must grapple with the clash of tradition and the evolution of customs throughout modern Africa. With this tension in the background, the passionate, deft, and creative seamstress Awu marries Obame, after he and his beloved wife, Bella, have been unable to conceive. Because all three are reluctant participants in this arrangement, theirs is an emotionally fraught existence. Through heartbreaking and disastrous events, Awu grapples with long-standing Fang customs that counter her desire to take full control of her life and home.

Supplemented with a foreword and critical introduction highlighting Justine Mintsa’s importance in African literature, Awu’s Story is an essential work of African women’s writing and the only published work to meditate this deeply on some of the Fang’s most cherished legends and oral history.”–Amazon

 

Gaming Masculinity by Megan CondisGaming Masculinity: Trolls, Fake Geeks, and the Gendered Battle for Online Culture by Megan Condis

May 1

“Megan Condis addresses the most important and contentious controversies in gaming culture at present. Her writing argues strongly against the groups who have tried to undermine the diversity arising in games and provides a passionate insight into these events, linking them with wider cultural shifts in Western society.”–Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Staffordshire University
“Fierce, fun, and fascinating. Condis writes with a journalist’s ear and an academic’s eye, getting to the core of what drives men’s behavior online, in games, and throughout digital culture.” –Derek A. Burrill, author, Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture

 

 

ISAN by Mary TingISAN: International Sensory Assassin Network by Mary Ting (@MaryTing)

May 1

“The world has changed. Scientists warned it would happen.

Meteors devastated the Earth. World Governments developed plans to help surviving citizens. The United States disbanded and salvageable land was divided into four quadrants—North, South, East, and West—governed by The Remnant Council.

Struggling to survive, seventeen-year-old Ava ends up in juvenile detention, until she is selected for a new life—with a catch. She must be injected with an experimental serum. The results will be life changing. The serum will make her better. To receive the serum Ava agrees to join a program controlled by ISAN, the International Sensory Assassin Network.”–description

 

Life After Darkness by Michelle KnightLife After Darkness: Finding Healing and Happiness After the Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight (@LilyRoseLee1)

May 1

“From Michelle Knight-Cleveland kidnapping survivor and #1 NYT bestselling author of Finding Me-comes an inspirational book about healing and resilience, on the five-year anniversary of her escape.”–Amazon

“The story of an incredibly brave and resilient young woman and of a spirit that refused to be crushed, even through the worst time.”–The Daily Mail

 

 

Little Fish by Casey PlettLittle Fish by Casey Plett (@caseyplett)

May 1

“I have never felt as seen, understood, or spoken to as I did when I read Little Fish. Never before in my life. Casey remains one of THE authors to read if you want to understand the interior lives of trans women in this century.”–Meredith Russo, author of If I Was Your Girl

“There is a dark place most novels don’t touch. If you’ve ever been there, maybe you know how exhilarating it can be to read a book like this, a book that captures the darkness so honestly, so accurately, that you can finally begin to let it go. Fearless and messy and oozing with love, Little Fish is a devastating book that I don’t ever want to be without.”–Zoey Leigh Peterson, author of Next Year, For Sure

 

Mars Room by Rachel KushnerThe Mars Room: A Novel by Rachel Kushner

May 1

“In smart, determined, and vigilant Romy, Kushner, an acclaimed writer of exhilarating skills, has created a seductive narrator of tigerish intensity… This is a gorgeously eviscerating novel of incarceration writ large…Rooted in deeply inquisitive thinking and executed with artistry and edgy wit, Kushner’s dramatic and disquieting novel investigates with verve and compassion societal strictures and how very difficult it is to understand each other and to be truly free.”–Booklist, Starred Review

“A searing look at life on the margins…This is, fundamentally, a novel about poverty and how our structures of power do not work for the poor, and Kushner does not flinch…gripping.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle BarnesMonsoon Mansion: A Memoir by Cinelle Barnes

May 1

“In this incandescent debut memoir, Cinelle Barnes forges memories of her family’s downfall with tumultuous Filipino history. Like the storm in its title, Monsoon Mansion immerses us in the darkest waters of memory, stirring up unbearably brutal childhood events with lyrical prose and searing imagery, forming a woven tale that is both delicate and electric. This book assures us that even when we lose those things that give shape to our humanity—our roots, culture, and family—we can go on to devise a new way of being.”–Susan Tekulve, author of In the Garden of Stone

I just finished this book and if you like creative non-fiction and memoirs, you would enjoy this one. More complete review coming soon!

 

Motherhood by Sheila HetiMotherhood by Sheila Heti (@sheilaheti)

May 1

“This inquiry into the modern woman’s moral, social and psychological relationship to procreation is an illumination, a provocation, and a response―finally―to the new norms of femininity, formulated from the deepest reaches of female intellectual authority. It is unlike anything else I’ve read. Sheila Heti has broken new ground, both in her maturity as an artist and in the possibilities of the female discourse itself.”–Rachel Cusk, author of Outline and Transit

 

 

 

Not That Bad by Roxane GayNot That Bad: Dispatches From Rape Culture by Roxane Gay (ed.) (@rgay)

May 1

Edited and with an introduction by Roxane Gay, the New York Times bestselling and deeply beloved author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, this anthology of first-person essays tackles rape, assault, and harassment head-on.–Amazon

Vogue, “10 of the Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2018” * Harper’s Bazaar, “10 New Books to Add to Your Reading List in 2018” * Elle, “21 Books We’re Most Excited to Read in 2018” * Boston Globe, “25 books we can’t wait to read in 2018” * Huffington Post, “60 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” * Hello Giggles, “19 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018” * Buzzfeed, “33 Most Exciting New Books of 2018”

 

 

Political Risk by Condoleezza RicePolitical Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity by Condoleezza Rice (@CondoleezzaRiceand Amy B. Zegart

May 1

“From New York Times bestselling author and former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Stanford University professor Amy B. Zegart comes an examination of the rapidly evolving state of political risk, and how to navigate it.”–Amazon

“Clearly written and timely, this book will interest not only current and future business executives but also would-be-whistle-blowers and corporate watchdogs.”–Publishers Weekly

 

 

Poppy War by RF KuangThe Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (@kuangrf)

May 1

“Debut novelist Kuang creates an ambitious fantasy reimagining of Asian history populated by martial artists, philosopher-generals, and gods […] This is a strong and dramatic launch to Kuang’s career.”–Publishers Weekly

“I have no doubt this will end up being the best fantasy debut of the year […] I have absolutely no doubt that [Kuang’s] name will be up there with the likes of Robin Hobb and N.K. Jemisin.” — Booknest

 

 

 

Seasons of My Mother by Marcia Gay HardenThe Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers by Marcia Gay Harden (@MGH_8)

May 1

“A fiercely loving and tender tribute to Marcia Gay Harden’s mother, remembering for her and for us what Alzheimer’s has stolen, filling those darkened holes with compassion, acceptance, beauty, and love. I savored every page and didn’t want it to end.–Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice and Every Note Played

“Poignant, beautiful . . . . Replete with emotionally resonant scenes, humor, and tales of Harden’s own journey as an actor, The Seasons of My Mother is both inspirational and devastating, a touching tribute to a remarkable woman.”–Booklist

 

 

Song of Blood and Stone by L PenelopeSong of Blood & Stone: Earthsinger Chronicles, Book One by L. Penelope (@leslyepenelope)

May 1

“L. Penelope’s page-turning apocalyptic epic Song of Blood & Stone does what fantasy does best: provide epic plots, epic world-building and epic myth. A rewarding, carefully crafted read.”–The Root

“Penelope delivers an engrossing story with delightful characters in this fantastic opening to a promising series.”–Publishers Weekly starred review

 

 

 

Strut by Mariahadessa Ekere TallieStrut by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie (@SageEkere)

May 1

Book description: Strut, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s second book of poetry (her first was Karma’s Footsteps), emerges from an intense engagement with contemporary issues of crucial importance in our historical moment—ranging from global warming, genocide, capitalism, and racism to sexism, slut-shaming, slavery, and mental illness—in creative ways that facilitate dialogue.This is a work about struggle, survival, injustice, transcendence, and love. Strut explores themes of ancestry, survival, sensuality, and acceptance of self. This book celebrates the gorgeousness of life even as it bears witness to the ugliness that accompanies, and often seems to permeate, the human experience.

 

 

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L DavisTiffany Sly Lives Here Now by Dana L. Davis (@DanaLDavis)

May 1

“Debut author Davis takes an unflinching approach to racism, religion, emotional abuse, and mental illness. Tiffany’s circumstances are nightmarish, but the narrative isn’t weighed down, in large part because of her integrity, passion, and refusal to be self-pitying.”–Publishers Weekly

“Davis’ debut novel is an honest, funny, and captivating examination of race, socio-economics, mental health, and family…A dynamic and honest coming-of-age novel with universal appeal that will especially speak to black girls questioning their place in the world.”–Kirkus Reviews

 

 

Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu OnuzoWelcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo (@ChibunduOnuzo)

May 1

Welcome to Lagos doesn’t just give us a glimpse of Nigeria, it transports us there. Onuzo’s storytelling is masterful, her characters are irresistible, and her voice is astounding in its subtle power. Onuzo stands on the shoulders of Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and from her perch offers her own fresh, but assured, view.” –Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of A Kind of Freedom

 

 

 

Self-Ish by Chloe SchwenkeSelf-Ish: A Transgender Awakening by Chloe Schwenke (@chloemaryland)

May 4

“Chloe Schwenke’s Self-ish offers an intelligent, thoughtful look at the complex journey that is gender transition, illuminating aspects of gender transition―such as the difficulties of job hunting, the process of forming and renegotiating friendships, and the intersection of trans identity and Quaker religious practice―that haven’t received much attention in memoirs or the media.”–Joy Ladin, author of Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders

 

 

 

Against Memoir by Michelle TeaAgainst Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms  by Michelle Tea (@TeaMichelle)

May 8

“The essays in Against Memoir remind us how pleasure, pain, wisdom, and delight come from the ground up, by and through the body, and in this case, a body unapologetically firing all her desires, pleasures, fears, and dreams like lightning. A hardcore delight, a queer blood song picking the scab off the skin of culture.”–Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan

“An entrancing collection of irreverent and flamboyant essays.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

 

 

Amal Unbound by Aisha SaeedAmal Unbound by Aisha Saeed (@aishacs)

May 8

“Saeed’s timely and stirring middle-grade debut is a celebration of resistance and justice.”–Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The compelling story of a girl’s fight to regain her life and dreams after being forced into indentured servitude.”–IndieBound

 

 

 

Barracoon by Zora Neale HurstonBarracoon by Zora Neale Hurston (Debra G. Plant, ed.)

May 8

A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade–abducted from Africa on the last “Black Cargo” ship to arrive in the United States.

 

 

 

Lighting the Fires of Freedom by Janet Dewart BellLighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement bJanet Dewart Bell (@JanetDewartBell)

May 8

“A primer and an inspiration for anyone looking to make their mark during these times of change and uncertainty.”–Juhu Thukral, human rights lawyer and inaugural speaker, Anita Hill Lecture Series

“A must-read for anyone interested in race, gender, class, American political development, the Civil Rights Movement, and the power of social change.”–Christina M. Greer, PhD, associate professor of political science at Fordham University

 

 

Puddin by Julie MurphyPuddin’ by Julie Murphy (@andimJULIE)

May 8

“Murphy’s plot brims with unlikely friendships, irresistible romance, fabulous fat acceptance, and a kick-ass ending. Buoying.”–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Murphy’s energetic writing style makes for compulsive readability.”–Booklist

“Julie Murphy has created the platonic love story of a lifetime. I am wildly in love with Puddin’.”–Becky Albertalli, award-winning author of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

 

 

Shadow Child by Rahna Reiko RizzutoShadow Child by Rahna R. Rizzuto (@r3reiko)

May 8

“A beautifully woven historical saga wrapped in a page-turning mystery, Shadow Child explores time, memory and identity,shedding new light on the lives of Japanese-Americans, and how trauma can be its own kind of inheritance. Not since Housekeeping has there been a pair of sisters so intricately linked as Hana and Kei, or settings that imprint so firmly on the mind, from the internment camps of WWII to the hidden caves and tropical waters of Hawaii. This is a stunning story of sisterhood and survival, of healing and forgiveness, and how we find our true selves in each other.”–Hannah Tinti, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Thief and The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley

“National Book Critics Circle finalist Rizzuto blends historical fiction and mystery into a haunting examination of identity and family in this perfect book club choice.”–Library Journal (starred review)

 

Undead Girl Gang by Lily AndersonUndead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson (@ms_lilyanderson)

May 8

“A compelling mystery, a grimly funny fantasy, and a genuinely touching story of friendship.”–Booklist

Undead Girl Gang is a YA mash up of ‘The Craft’ and ‘Veronica Mars’ with a Latina protagonist…the best mix of ’90s girl power culture, compelling magic and creepy circumstances—all rolled together for the best kind of murder mystery.”–Bustle.com

 

 

 

Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene GooThe Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo (@maurenegoo ‏)

May 8

A Junior Library Guild selection

“With massive amounts of humor, heart, and soul, this love letter to L.A. and its diversity is a celebration of friends, family, and food trucks.”–Booklist, starred review

“Sweet, sexy, hilarious, and featuring a spectacular father-daughter relationship, this book will fly off the shelves.”–School Library Journal, starred review

 

 

My Soul Looks Back by Jessica B HarrisMy Soul Looks Back: A Memoir by Jessica B. Harris 

May 9 (hardcover), May 15 (paperback), Kindle out now

“Come for the insight into the circle of friends that first resolved around James Baldwin, then shifted orbit to revolve around Maya Angelou. Stay because you’re enraptured by the candid, passionate woman narrating from the periphery. This is an intimate look at an inner circle of Black writers, scholars, and glamazons moving through the middle of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, told with bold tenderness by a woman who grew up in their company, under their gaze.”–Alice Randall, author of Ada’s Rules and The Wind Done Gone

 

 

 

It's Only Blood by Anna DahlqvistIt’s Only Blood: Shattering the Taboo of Menstruation by Anna Dahlqvist (@AnnaDahlqvist1)

May 15 (Kindle)

“A necessary contribution to the conversation on gender liberation. Dahlqvist masterfully moves between storytelling and frameworking how stigma holds menstruators back globally, while offering tangible solutions to many of these problems. A must read.”–Kiran Gandhi, musician, activist, and free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon
“Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and take action against the global consequences of menstrual shame, stigma, and taboo. An insightful and inspiring read that will challenge you to think and behave differently.”–Mandu Reid, founder of The Cup Effect

 

My So Called Bollywood Life by Nisha SharmaMy So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma (@Nishawrites)

May 15

“Full of heart, culture and laughter! This sparkling story left me smiling for days.”–Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

“I could not put this book down until the very last page!”–Ellen Oh, author of The Prophecy series

“Fresh, feisty, and fun!”–Tanuja Desai Hidier, author of the critically acclaimed Born Confused and sequel Bombay Blues

 

 

The Ensemble by Aja GabelThe Ensemble by Aja Gabel (@AjaMaybe)

May 15

“Aja Gabel’s powerful debut offers a sensitive portrait of four young musicians forging their paths through life: sometimes at odds with each other, sometimes in harmony, but always inextricably linked by their shared pasts.”–Celeste Ng, New York Times bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere

“Gabel explores friendship and art with great warmth, humanity, and wisdom.”–Library Journal (starred review)

“Wonderful…. The four characters are individually memorable, but as a quartet they’re unforgettable.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 

Friendship As Social Justice ActivismFriendship as Social Justice Activism: Critical Solidarities in a Global Perspective by Niharika Banerjea, Debanuj Dasgupta, Rohit K. Dasgupta (eds.)

May 15

“Friendship as Social Justice Activism brings together academics and activists to have essential conversations about friendship, love, and desire as kinetics for social justice movements. The contributors featured here come from across the globe and are all involved in diverse movements, including LGBTQ rights, intimate-partner violence, addiction recovery, housing, migrant, labor, and environmental activism.”–IndieBound

 

 

 

Blame it on Bianca del Rio by Bianca del RioBlame It On Bianca del Rio: The Expert on Nothing with an Opinion on Everything by Bianca del Rio (@TheBiancaDelRio)

May 22

“Uproarious advice and never-before-seen color photos from drag queen extraordinaire Bianca Del Rio.

A collection of biting advice filled with vibrant photos from Bianca’s twisted universe, Blame It On Bianca Del Rio will shock you and keep you laughing. But be warned: it is not for the faint of heart!”–Amazon

 

 

MEM by BC MorrowMEM by Bethany C. Morrow (@BCMorrow)

May 22

Buzzfeed’s #1 Book to Read this Spring
A Best Book of the Month at The Washington Post, Bustle, and Chicago Review of Books

“Morrow’s debut is ambitious and insightful, raising questions about memory, trauma, and humanity. The novel is at its best when it presents Elsie at her most human, forcing the real ones around her to reckon with what her personhood means for theirs.”–Publishers Weekly

“In the world of Bethany C. Morrow’s imaginative and gloriously written first novel, MEM, a memory might have a life of her own. This novel imagines an alternate past where memories can be extracted and turned to flesh, a premise that unfolds with intrigue and wisdom from this writer’s fertile imagination. Don’t miss this exciting debut that will change the way you think about memories.”–Tananarive Due, American Book Award and British Fantasy Award winner

 

Mondays Not Coming by Tiffany D JacksonMonday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK)

May 22

“This thought-provoking thriller examines issues such as abuse, gentrification, and the marginalization of people of color with nuance and sensitivity. The narrative deftly moves back and forth between past and present, building to a devastating conclusion. A spellbinding, profoundly moving choice for YA collections.”–School Library Journal (starred review)

“Jackson doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to the pain of abuse and the ramifications of turning a blind eye. It’s a frank, devastating read filled with real and flawed characters, and it’s a story that needs to be read.”–Booklist

 

 

Well That Escalated Quickly by Franchesca RamseyWell, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh)

May 22

“In this sharp, funny, and timely collection of personal essays, veteran video blogger and star of MTV’s Decoded Franchesca Ramsey explores race, identity, online activism, and the downfall of real communication in the age of social media rants, trolls, and call-out wars.”–Amazon

 

 

 

 

Heroine of the Harlem RenaissanceHeroine of the Harlem Renaissance and Beyond: Gwendolyn Bennett’s Selected Writings by Belinda Wheeler (@BWheeler_PhDand Louis J. Parascandola (eds.)

May 29

“This superbly edited collection will introduce many readers to a more versatile and accomplished Gwendolyn Bennett than they have known before. It includes the unpublished political poetry that extends her range and impact, making her a key figure of the 1930s.”–Cary Nelson, author of Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945

 

 

 

Like a Mother by Angela GarbesLike a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy by Angela Garbes (@agarbes

May 29

“Angela Garbes maps the strange void at the heart of American parenting-the ways we simultaneously deify, infantilize, and erase mothers-and then pours herself into that void with indefatigable curiosity and resounding compassion. Like a Mother is a deeply-researched history of human reproduction; it is a jewel-bright memoir; it is hard science beautifully translated; it is funny; it is intersectional; it will crack you open and fill you with awe. Required reading for mothers, and double-required for everyone else.”–Lindy West, author of New York Times bestseller Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

 

 

So Close to Being the Shit by RettaSo Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’All Don’t Even Know by Retta (@unfoRETTAble)

May 29

“Reading this book is like having the best coffee date with the life-long friend I wish I had. Retta makes me laugh and feel so hard.”–America Ferrera

“This memoir is fantastic. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, it’s insightful, and it’s charming. I liked Retta before; now I’m her biggest fan.”–Bookriot

Retta’s unique voice and refreshing honesty will make you laugh, cry, and laugh so hard you cry.”–Bustle

 

 

Wind in My Hair by Masih AlinejadThe Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran by Masih Alinejad (@AlinejadMasih)

May 29

“Women all over Iran risked imprisonment and even their lives and safety to post pictures. Alinejad’s stories of her illustrious career as a groundbreaking journalist challenging the Islamic Republic make for a fascinating narrative.”–Publisher’s Weekly

“[Masih’s] descriptions of life as a journalist and activist will captivate readers interested in Iran, international affairs, gender equality, and human rights.”–Booklist

This post contains affiliate links. Please support your local independent bookstore!

Leave a Reply