Summer is just around the corner, and we've got the perfect list to help you craft your summer TBR list. Over the past year, Overcup has been posting bi-weekly Books to Binge on our Instagram, where our staff picks some of their favorite books to binge; with an emphasis on diversity and indie presses! Check out the compilation below.
Need a place to buy these fabulous books? We suggest checking out our list of indie bookstores to support during COVID-19 or our map of BIPOC-owned bookstores.
AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
"An Unkindness of Ghosts is a 2017 science fiction novel by Rivers Solomon, exploring the conjunction between structural racism and generation ships. Solomon's first book, it was published by Akashic Books."
The Electricity of Every Living Thing by Katherine May
"A life-affirming and perspective-shifting memoir of one woman's walk in the wilds as she comes to terms with an Asperger's diagnosis."
When My Body Was a Cinched Fist by Enzo Silon Surin
"Enzo Silon Surin weaves his words, like he weaves through trauma, with vulnerability, grace, and radical resilience. His writing is clearly an intrapsychic reckoning, with wounds and scars deeper than anyone ever wants to ever fathom, and too, a love song to finding home again within one's mind, body, and brain."
$50,000 by Andrew Weatherhead
"$50,000 is a long poem that allows Andrew Weatherhead the space to search everything—his cubicle, his relationships with coworkers and friends, and the worlds found in literature, sports, economics, and history—for something more meaningful than mere facts. What arises in these 116 pages is the pure drama of life: the unrelenting passage of time, the inevitable need to make a living, and the foreboding beauty of numbers, names, and friendship. In hundreds of standalone lines that align with Mike Tyson’s peek-a-boo style, this long poem moves like prose but sticks with all the weight and heft of poetry."
We Too Sing, America by Deepa Iyer
"In the American Book Award–winning We Too Sing America, nationally renowned activist Deepa Iyer shows that this is the latest in a series of recent racial flash points, from the 2012 massacre at the Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, to the violent opposition to the Islamic Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and to the Park 51 Community Center in Lower Manhattan."
One Person, No Vote by Carol Anderson
"In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice."
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward
"The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race is an essay and poetry collection edited by American author Jesmyn Ward and published by Scribner in 2016. The title, The Fire This Time alludes to James Baldwin's seminal 1963 text, The Fire Next Time."
How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones
"Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir about a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves."
STRANGE GRAPHIC NOVEL
Killing And Dying by Adrian Tomine
"Killing and Dying is a stunning showcase of the possibilities of the graphic novel medium and a wry exploration of loss, creative ambition, identity, and family dynamics. With this work, Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings, Scenes from an Impending Marriage) reaffirms his place not only as one of the most significant creators of contemporary comics but as one of the great voices of modern American literature. His gift for capturing emotion and intellect resonates here: the weight of love and its absence, the pride and disappointment of family, the anxiety and hopefulness of being alive in the twenty-first century."
Stages of Rot by Linnea Sterte
"An alien desert comes to life around the body of a dying whale. Animals, insects, and ancient peoples scramble for its remains, making their homes among its bones, struggling through a millennia-long process of decay."
The Searcher by Tana French
"Retired detective Cal Hooper moves to a remote village in rural Ireland. His plans are to fix up the dilapidated cottage he's bought, to walk the mountains, to put his old police instincts to bed forever. Then a local boy appeals to him for help. His brother is missing, and no one in the village, least of all the police, seems to care. And once again, Cal feels that restless itch. Something is wrong in this community, and he must find out what, even if it brings trouble to his door."
American Sherlock by Kate Winkler Dawson
"A gripping historical true crime narrative that "reads like the best of Conan Doyle himself" (Karen Abbott, author of The Ghosts of Eden Park), American Sherlock recounts the riveting true story of the birth of modern criminal investigation."
2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS
DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi
"Woven from poems, prose, photographs, and drawings, Don Mee Choi's DMZ Colony is a tour de force of personal and political reckoning set over eight acts. Evincing the power of translation as a poetic device to navigate historical and linguistic borders, it explores Edward Said's notion of "the intertwined and overlapping histories" in regards to South Korea and the United States through innovative deployments of voice, story, and poetics. Like its sister book, Hardly War, it holds history accountable, its very presence a resistance to empire and a hope in humankind."
Fantasia For the Man in Blue by Tommye Blount
"In his debut collection, Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Tommye Blount orchestrates a chorus of distinct, unforgettable voices that speak to the experience of the black, queer body as a site of desire and violence. A black man’s late-night encounter with a police officer – the titular “man in blue” – becomes an extended meditation on a dangerous, erotic fantasy. The late Luther Vandross, resurrected here in a suite of poems, addresses the contradiction between his public persona and a life spent largely in the closet: “It’s a calling, this hunger / to sing for a love I’m too ashamed to want for myself.” In “Aaron McKinney Cleans His Magnum,” the convicted killer imagines the barrel of the gun he used to bludgeon Matthew Shepard as an “infant’s small mouth” as well as the “sad calculator” that was “built to subtract from and divide a town.” In these and other poems, Blount viscerally captures the experience of the “other” and locates us squarely within these personae."
Black Imagination by Natasha Marin
"Seeing ourselves as whole and healthy is an act of pure rebellion in a world so titillated by our constant subjugation,” reflects viral curator Natasha Marin, on Black Imagination. This dynamic collection of Black voices works like an incantation of origin, healing, and imagination."
Selling the Farm by Debra Di Blasi
"Literary Nonfiction. Women's Studies. Raised in a family of seven, in a small ramshackle farmhouse without plumbing, award-winning author Debra Di Blasi maps a candid and eloquent memoir of a Midwest childhood both land rich and dirt poor, both heaven and hell. Surrounded by creatures big and small, rolling fields and pastures, weedy lawn, deep woods and shimmering waters, she wrestles with the complexity of a crowded family shaped by place and doomed to tear itself apart. SELLING THE FARM explores the difficult intersection of grief and love, and the many contradictions in nature, life and death, and memory itself. Her lyrical recollections move from season to season with language visually and aurally shaped to reconsider the ways that we bear witness to any place and time--and to ourselves amid all. As personal and global extinctions loom in the foreground, and family farms become increasingly scarce, these elegiac ruminations remind us how much has been--and will be--lost to us all."
Odsburg by Matt Tompkins
"An eccentric writer and self-proclaimed socio-anthropo-lingui-lore-ologist ventures into the fictional town of Odsburg, Washington, to research the location's unusual history and residents"
The Alehouse at the End of the World by Stevan Allred
"When a fisherman receives a mysterious letter about his beloved’s demise, he sets off in his skiff to find her on the Isle of the Dead. The Alehouse at the End of the World is an epic comedy set in the sixteenth century, where bawdy Shakespearean love triangles play out with shapeshifting avian demigods and a fertility goddess, drunken revelry, bio-dynamic gardening, and a narcissistic, bullying crow, who may have colluded with a foreign power. A raucous, aw-aw-aw-awe-inspiring romp, Stevan Allred’s second book is a juicy fable for adults, and a hopeful tale for out troubled times."
Let us know if you decide to check any of these out! And what's on your TBR list this summer? We want to know! Tweet us @overcupbooks.
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