What to Read When You Need Some Good News


The news, broadly speaking, hasn’t been good since November 8, 2016, and it wasn’t a picnic in the park prior to that fateful Election Day. This week, we’ve decided to eschew current events in favor of giving you some exciting literature to look forward to. (If you want a list for when everyone is talking about healthcare, find last week’s here.)

If a title is marked as a Rumpus Book Club or Poetry Book Club selection, you can receive this book before its release date and participate in an exclusive conversation with its author! Just head to our store and become a member today—and, through August 15, purchase a 6-month Book Club subscription and receive your own signed copy of Roxane Gay’s newest book, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body!

What follows is a list of books Rumpus editors can’t wait to read, forthcoming in the next six months. Take a quick break from the apocalyptic news and end your week with this list of books to eagerly anticipate (assuming the world doesn’t end) instead! If you’re feeling especially optimistic, go ahead and preorder yourself a few books, too!


Writing Ourselves Whole by Jen Cross (Mango, August 22, 2017)
A collection of essays and creative writing encouragements for sexual trauma survivors who want to risk writing a different story. One in six women is the victim of sexual assault. Using her own hard-won wisdom, Cross shows how to heal through journaling and personal writing.


Caca Dolce: Essays from a Lowbrow Life by Chelsea Martin (Soft Skull Press, August 22, 2017)
Funny, candid, and searchingly self-aware, this essay collection tells the story of Chelsea Martin’s coming of age as an artist. A book about relationships, class, art, sex, money, and family—and about growing up weird, and poor, in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Some Bright Morning, I’ll Fly Away by Alice Anderson (St. Martin’s Press, August 29, 2017)
The incredible true story of one woman’s journey to relocate the place inside herself where strength, hope, and personal truth reside. Stay tuned for an exclusive excerpt and interview here on The Rumpus!


My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead Books, August 29, 2017)
A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl’s heart-stopping fight for her own soul. Shot through with striking language in a fierce natural setting, this is an urgently told, profoundly moving read that marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.


The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld (HarperCollins, September 5, 2017)
A novel about an investigator who must use her unique insights to find a missing little girl. Told in the alternating voices of the investigator and a deeply imaginative child, this is story about redemption, the line between reality and memories and dreams, and the human capacity to survive.


I’m the One Who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell (She Writes Press, September 5, 2017)
Fugitives from a man as alluring as he is violent, Andrea Jarrell and her mother develop a powerful bond. Once grown, Jarrell thinks she’s put that chapter of her life behind her—until a woman she knows is murdered, and she sees that it’s her mother’s choices she’s been trying to escape all along. A life-affirming story of having the courage to become both safe enough and vulnerable enough to love and be loved.


Feverland: A Memoir in Shards by Alex Lemon (Milkweed Editions, September 5, 2017)
How to move forward, Lemon asks, when trapped between the demons of one’s history and the angels of one’s better nature? Immersed in darkness but shot through with light, Feverland is a thrillingly experimental memoir.


Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith (Graywolf Press, September 5, 2017)
Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. An astonishing collection, one that confronts America where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Scribner, September 5, 2017)
Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. A majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.


Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar (Alice James Books, September 12, 2017)
This debut collection boldly confronts addiction and courses the strenuous path of recovery, beginning in the wilds of the mind. Poems confront craving, control, the constant battle of alcoholism and sobriety, and the questioning of the self and its instincts within the context of this never-ending fight. A Rumpus Poetry Book Club upcoming selection!


Rocket Fantastic by Gabrielle Calvocoressi (Persea, September 12, 2017)
Rocket Fantastic reinvents the landscape and language of the body in interconnected poems that entwine past and future by blurring, with disarming vulnerability, the real and the imaginary. A Rumpus Poetry Book Club upcoming selection!


Electric Arches by Eve Ewing (Haymarket Books, September 12, 2017)
Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose. Blending stark realism with the fantastical, Ewing takes us from the streets of Chicago to an alien arrival in an unspecified future, deftly navigating boundaries of space, time, and reality with delight and flexibility.


We Were Witches by Ariel Gore (Amethyst Editions, September 12, 2017)
Wryly riffing on feminist literary tropes, We Were Witches documents the survival of a demonized single mother beset by custody disputes, homophobia, and America’s ever-present obsession with shaming odd women into passive citizenship.


Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg (Transit Books, September 12, 2017)
In this celebrated debut novel from prize-winning poet Greg, Wiola looks back on her youth in a close-knit, agricultural community in 1980s Poland. Her memories are precise, intense, distinctive, sensual: a playfulness and whimsy rise up in the gossip of the village women, rumored visits from the Pope, and the locked room in the dressmaker’s house, while political unrest and predatory men cast shadows across this bright portrait. In prose that sparkles with a poet’s touch, Greg animates the strange wonders of growing up. A Rumpus Book Club upcoming selection!


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press, September 12, 2017)
Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood—and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster. Get ready for a special Rumpus Letter in the Mail and signed book giveaway from Celeste in October!


The Age of Perpetual Light by Josh Weil (Grove Press, September 12, 2017)
Beginning at the dawn of the past century, in the early days of electrification, and moving into an imagined future in which the world is lit day and night, The Age of Perpetual Light follows deeply felt characters through different eras in American history. These are tales that speak to the all-too-human desire for advancement and the struggle of wounded hearts to find a salve, no matter what the cost.


Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Scribner, October 3, 2017)
Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world.


Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press, October 3, 2017)
This highly anticipated debut collection blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction. A Rumpus Book Club upcoming selection!


Starshine & Clay by Kamilah Aisha Moon (Four Way Books, October 3, 2017)
Starshine & Clay, which derives its title from Lucille Clifton’s collection Book of Light, weaves together iconic images of the US with the lives of those too often left unnoticed. Yet amid the tragic events on which Moon’s poems look, these lines offer, if not solace, then a reason for hope. A Rumpus Poetry Book Club upcoming selection!


An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (Akashic Books, October 3, 2017)
This debut novel was pitched as a “science fiction meditation on intergenerational trauma, race, and identity, where a woman traces the connection between the mysterious death of her ship’s sovereign and the disappearance of her mother a quarter-century before.” A breathtaking science fiction tale from a worthy successor to Octavia Butler. Stay tuned for an exclusive excerpt and interview here on The Rumpus!


Planet Grim by Alex Behr (7.13 Books, October 12, 2017)
A vivid, unsettling portrait of people on the gritty fringes of San Francisco and Portland who long for connection in strange, psychologically difficult ways. Behr’s idiosyncratic prose and wholly unpredictable characters will remind readers of the work of Miranda July and Mary Gaitskill.


The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother’s Suicide by Gayle Brandeis (Beacon Press, November 14, 2017)
A memoir that is both a compelling search into the mystery of one’s own family and a life-affirming story of the relief discovered through breaking familial and personal silences. The Art of Misdiagnosis delves into the tangled mysteries of disease, mental illness, and suicide and comes out the other side with grace. Stay tuned for an exclusive excerpt here on The Rumpus!


Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (Catapult, November 14, 2017)
A teenage girl has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home. Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done. The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. There are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together or break apart. Reservoir 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a stranger’s tragedy refuse to subside. A Rumpus Book Club upcoming selection!


They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib (Two Dollar Radio, November 14, 2017)
In essays that have been published by the New York Times, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others—along with original, previously unreleased essays—Willis-Abdurraqib uses music and culture as a lens through which to view our world, so that we might better understand ourselves, and in so doing proves himself a bellwether for our times.


Mouths Don’t Speak by Katia D. Ulysse (Akashic Books, January 2, 2018)
No one was prepared for the massive earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, taking over a quarter-million lives, and leaving millions more homeless. Three thousand miles away, Jacqueline Florestant mourns the presumed death of her parents, while her husband, a former US Marine and combat veteran, cares for their daughter as he fights his own battles with acute PTSD. Horrified and guilt-ridden, Jacqueline returns to Haiti in search of the proverbial “closure.” Her quest turns into a tornado of deception, desperation, and more death. So, Jacqueline holds tightly to her daughter—the only one who must not die. A Rumpus Book Club upcoming selection!


The Night Child by Anna Quinn (Blackstone Publishing, January 30, 2018)
The Night Child is a breathtaking debut novel about split consciousness, saving a broken child, and the split between past and present. It’s about the extraordinary capacity within each of us to save ourselves through visionary means.


Empty Set by Verónica Gerber Bicecci (Coffee House Press, February 13, 2018)
How do you draw an affair? A family? Can a Venn diagram show the ways overlaps turn into absences, tree rings tell us what happens when mothers leave? Can we fall in love according to the hop skip of an acrostic? Empty Set is a novel of patterns, its young narrator’s attempt at making sense of inevitable loss, tracing her way forward in loops, triangles, and broken lines. A Rumpus Book Club upcoming selection!


A Good Day for Seppuku by Kate Braverman (City Lights Publishers, February 13, 2018)
A thirteen-year-old girl must choose between her Grammy Award–winning mother in Beverly Hills or her pot-growing father in the Allegheny Mountains. Mrs. Barbara Stein, a high school teacher, looks like she’d sacrifice her life for Emily Dickinson’s honor. That’s camouflage―Mrs. Stein spends summers in the Sisyphean search for her prostitute daughter in Los Angeles. These are some of the tales told in Braverman’s audacious new collection. A Rumpus Book Club upcoming selection!