Summer is in full swing, and even though it may look a little different this year there is plenty of time to enjoy a great book! Whether you’re reading by the pool or staying in your air-conditioned home, these indie reads are sure to satisfy.
Life and Other Shortcomings: Stories by Corie Adjmi
This honest portrayal of women in a patriarchal world is comprised of twelve linked short stories, taking place from New York to New Orleans. The women featured come from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, and they make their own choices. Through their journeys, the reader may discover truths about what it means to be a woman and how this affects how they see themselves and how they relate to the people around them.
The Names of All the Flowers: A Memoir By Melissa Valentine
This beautiful, poignant memoir makes the story of one young man’s death, that of Valentine’s older brother, Junior, a universal one, connecting his tragic death to the death of every black person who dies too young. This vivid portrait of life in Oakland, California in the 1990s illustrates a family fractured by gang violence and the school-to-prison pipeline, which feels especially impactful today, as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain momentum.
Rachael’s Return by Janet Rebhan
Janet Rebhan’s second novel follows Caroline Martin, a woman who has everything she has ever wanted, except a daughter. When she has a hysterectomy, she unknowingly aborts the daughter she didn’t know she was pregnant with. The daughter’s soul attaches itself to the closest unclaimed fetus, about to be born. When the expectant mother later dies in a tragic car accident, heavenly bodies influence small decisions to reunite Caroline and the baby with her daughter’s soul.
Grove by Ester Kinsky
In this novel of grief, our narrator travels to a small village outside of Rome while mourning the death of her beloved. She goes on walks and explores the area surrounding her, embarks upon excursions to different cemeteries, and examines her surroundings with intensity. Drudging up fragmented memories from her childhood in 1970s Italy, the reader experiences communist rallies, Etruscan necropolis, and more. Through these descriptions, Kinsky creates a mosaic of the harsh Italian winter.
Rules for the Southern Rule Breaker by Katherine Snow Smith
In this memoir composed of essays, you will be immersed in Katherine Snow Smith’s life as she makes missteps and mistakes and learns from them, creating a rulebook of sorts—some of which, are meant to be broken. From sensible, general rules like Always Wear Comfortable Shoes to oddly specific ones like Miranda Lambert is Not a Licensed Therapist, you will laugh and commiserate with this spunky, frank, and rule-breaking woman.
No Presents Please: Stories by Jayant Kaikini, translated by Tejaswini Niranjana
In this DSC prize-winning short story collection, experience Mumbai in a way you’ve never experienced it before. These are the people of the underpass; the bus drivers, the factory workers, the slum-dwellers. Their stories are both ordinary and extraordinary, and they take the reader to flower markets and cafés, as well as on interior journeys, finding epiphanies in the mundane and questioning their own choices from a single line on an invitation.
The Aloha Spirit by Linda Ulleseit
Unhappy with her home life, Delores runs away with her newlywed best friend, Maria, in search of a love of her own. She soon finds Manolo, a young Portuguese man who’s family embraces her. Shortly after the wedding, he begins to drink, and his drinking leads to physical abuse. Chained to this man by a religion that doesn’t allow divorce, she discovers feelings for his cousin, Alberto, and runs from her feelings to California with her children.
The Dragons, the Giant, the Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore
With her mother in far-away New York, all Wayétu Moore can think about at her fifth birthday party is how much she misses her mom. Before their long-awaited reunion, the First Liberian Civil War breaks out, and her family is forced to flee. Smuggled into Sierra Leone, they begin their journey to the United States, where they’ll have a new host of issues to contend with. Moore must adjust to being a Black immigrant in 1990s Texas.