The Algonquin Reader: Spring 2020

Special thanks to Algonquin Books and NetGalley for the free copy of The Algonquin Reader.

This book is such a cool way to endorse and showcase some up and coming novels! Algonquin Books put together this mini-anthology that features 7 authors with original essays about the inspiration behind their new books AND a sneak peek at an excerpt from the book!

This was really fun to read. I often feel like the authors of books are some sort of alternate being who channeled their words onto paper through osmosis! But this book allowed those authors to be humanized and gave me a more heartfelt understanding of the ‘why’ behind the author’s books and writing styles. I enjoyed reading about their experiences and how they played into their writing or steered them in completely different directions than they anticipated. The essays by these authors connected me to them, and then presented me with their work in a very satisfying way.

Plus, I have 7 new books to add to my TBR!

Read on to see if any of these need to be added to your list! The synopsis’s have been taken from Goodreads!


The Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

“Antonia Vega, the immigrant writer at the center of Afterlife, has had the rug pulled out from under her. She has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep. Antonia has always sought direction in the literature she loves—lines from her favorite authors play in her head like a soundtrack—but now she finds that the world demands more of her than words.”

This book came on sale April 2020! Buy it on Amazon!

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Tran family, set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War. Tran Dieu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Noi, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that will tear not just her beloved country but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. This is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s first novel in English.” <– Extra props for that!

This book came out in March 2020! Buy it on Amazon.

Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle

“Lil and Frank married young, launched into courtship when they bonded over how they both—suddenly, tragically—lost a parent when they were children. Over time, their marriage grew and strengthened, with each still wishing for so much more understanding of the parents they’d lost prematurely.

Now, after many years in Boston, they have retired in North Carolina. There, Lil, determined to leave a history for their children, sifts through letters and notes and diary entries—perhaps revealing more secrets than Frank wants their children to know. Meanwhile, Frank has become obsessed with what might have been left behind at the house he lived in as a boy on the outskirts of town, where a young single mother, Shelley, is just trying to raise her son with some sense of normalcy. Frank’s repeated visits to Shelley’s house begin to trigger memories of her own family, memories that she’d rather forget. Because, after all, not all parents are ones you wish to remember.”

This book comes out in June 2020! Preorder it on Amazon!

The Falling Woman by Richard Farrell

“Tragedy strikes during a cross-country flight when sudden turbulence causes the jet to come apart in midair. The odds of anyone surviving are nearly impossible. Charlie Radford, a young National Transportation Safety Board investigator, is part of the team sent to determine what caused the crash. When he hears a rumor of a survivor, he assumes it is a hoax. As word of this “miracle” reaches the media and Congress, Radford is forced to track down “the falling woman,” said to have been found in a barn still strapped to her seat.

The woman at the center of the mystery, Erin Geraghty, was facing a losing battle with cancer when she embarked on her flight. With diminishing hope of a full recovery, she had considered herself essentially dead to her loved ones. Now, after the plane crash, she is intent on remaining dead to the world and to her family, to live out her final days in peace. And then Agent Radford arrives at her doorstep. Can he convince her to come forward, and does he have any right to?”

This book is coming out in June 2020! Preorder it on Amazon!

The Lives of Edie Pritchard by Larry Watson

“Edie—smart, self‑assured, beautiful—always worked hard. She worked as a teller at a bank, she worked to save her first marriage, and later, she worked to raise her daughter even as her second marriage came apart. Really, Edie just wanted a good life, but everywhere she turned, her looks defined her. Two brothers fought over her. Her second husband became unreasonably possessive and jealous. Her daughter resented her. And now, as a grandmother, Edie finds herself harassed by a younger man. It’s been a lifetime of proving that she is allowed to exist in her own sphere. The Lives of Edie Pritchard tells the story of one woman just trying to be herself, even as multiple men attempt to categorize and own her.”

This book comes out July 2020! Preorder it on Amazon!

A House is a Body by Shruti Swamy

“In two-time O. Henry-prize winner Swamy’s debut collection of stories, dreams collide with reality, modernity collides with antiquity, myth with true identity, and women grapple with desire, with ego, with motherhood and mortality. In “Earthly Pleasures,” Radika, a young painter living alone in San Francisco, begins a secret romance with one of India’s biggest celebrities. In “A Simple Composition,” a husband’s moment of crisis leads to his wife’s discovery of a dark, ecstatic joy and the sense of a new beginning. In the title story, an exhausted mother watches, distracted and paralyzed, as a California wildfire approaches her home. With a knife blade’s edge and precision, the stories of A House Is a Body travel from India to America and back again to reveal the small moments of beauty, pain, and power that contain the world.”

This book comes out August 2020! But you can preorder it on Amazon!

With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt

“After almost twenty years together, Stella and Simon are starting to run into problems. An up-and-coming rock musician when they first met, Simon has been clinging to dreams of fame even as the possibility of it has grown dimmer, and now that his band might finally be on the brink again, he wants to go on the road, leaving Stella behind. But when she falls into a coma on the eve of his departure, he has to make a choice between stardom and his wife—and when she wakes a different person, with an incredible artistic talent of her own, the two of them must examine what it is that they really want.”

This book comes out in August 2020! Preorder it on Amazon!


I honestly think all of these books sound great and I hope I can get my hands on each of them this year!

Did any of these sound good to you? Let me know in the comments section!

Happy reading.

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