Each month, I provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.
The aims of these lists are threefold:
- I want to do my part in the disruption of what has been the acceptable “norm” in the book world for far too long—white, cis, heterosexual, male;
- I want to amplify amazing works by writers who are women, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, APIA/AAPI, international, LGBIA+, TGNC, queer, disabled, fat, immigrant, Muslim, neurodivergent, sex-positive or of other historically marginalized identities—you know, the rest of us; and
- I want to challenge and encourage you all to buy, borrow and read them!
You’ve read the other “Best of” lists—now read the other one. You know, for the rest of us.
Each year, I review my monthly Reads for the Rest of Us lists and choose my favorite books of the year.
It is such a wonderful challenge to narrow them down, and I did leave some off that are all over other major lists—and as well they should be! These include All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews, Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo, When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar, Constructing a Nervous System by Margo Jefferson, and more. They are amazing as well, but I wanted to focus more on those from independent publishers or that may have flown a bit under the mainstream radar.
So here they are, my top 40+, in alphabetical order.
I hope you had a vibrant, positive, restful, loving and joyful year—and I wish you all the best in 2023.
Abolition Feminisms Vol. 1: Organizing, Survival, and Transformative Practice and Vol. 2: Feminist Ruptures against the Carceral State
These groundbreaking volumes examine abolition based in Black and women of color feminisms, anti-violence organizing, survivor knowledge production, radical strategizing and more. Another must-read from Haymarket this year is Abolition. Feminism. Now. by Angela Y. Davis, Gina Dent, Erica R. Meiners and Beth E. Richie.
This is an essential collection of writings from one of the most important thinkers on abolition, geography and racism of our time.
A singularly unique novel, Zi Shu Li’s debut is now available for the first time in English. Following three storylines of trauma, upheaval and history, this Southeast Asian epic is rife with detail, tradition and heart.
Written by Mieko Kawakami and translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd. Europa Editions. 224 pages.
As one of the most insightful and important writers of our time, Mieko Kawakami delivers another extraordinary exploration of relationships, work and the intimate connections that (may) make it all worthwhile.
The title says it all: It’s urgent we reckon with violence against Black women and girls, past and present, and fight for a liberated future.
Written by J.D. Kurtness (Innu) and translated by Pablo Strauss. Rare Machines. 176 pages.
This slim but evocative volume centers a marine biologist (and her ancestors) in her fight to preserve the ocean and, perhaps, save the world.
This is another essential and exemplary volume in the ReVisioning History series from Beacon Press, which also includes A Black Women’s History, A Disability History, A Queer History, An Indigenous Peoples’ History, and more.
Murch gives us an exceptional reexamination of the Black Panther Party and the Movement for Black Lives more generally through a redistributive, queer and feminist framework.
From the writer of the Poppy War trilogy comes a wholly unique new fantasy that explores language and translation in imperialism. It’s big and worth every page.
Camila Villada has managed to write a story about a chosen family of trans sex workers that is gritty, sweet, devastating and hopeful all at once.