2019 will mark the fourth year of my life where I have been one of those lucky souls who get to write about books. I have learned a lot since my first book review in 2016, not just about reading and reviewing but also about writing, empathy, and the big wide world. I have learned to read “promiscuously,” as Column McCann writes in his book Letters to a Young Writer, because the wider and harder we read the more our minds stretch and shape, and we can look and see with constantly changing eyes. Because of this, I am always excited for new books, so here are three of the many I can’t wait for in 2019: one book of poetry, one book of fiction, and one of nonfiction.
The Book of Delights by Ross Gay (February 2019)
Ross Gay started writing The Book of Delights as a writing practice: write a delight a day, by hand. These little pieces began from the day of his 42nd birthday until his 43rd. So, he writes about his garden, human emotion, the word “dickhead,” and many other things. The bits and pieces I have read so far are little bits of incredible joy; lyric essays that do deserve the word Delight.
Searching for Sylvie Lee By Jean Kwok (June 2019)
The first thing that caught my interest about this book was a post on Jean’s Facebook page about how the death of her brother in a plane crash had inspired it. The post haunted me for days, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the novel. Searching for Sylvie Lee is a mystery. Sylvie Lee goes missing after visiting her grandmother in the Netherlands; her younger sister Amy goes in search of her, and family secrets start spilling out. I don’t know about you, but I am excited.
Documents by Jan-Henry Gray (April 2019)
I first read about Jan-Henry Gray’s immigration experience in a nonfiction workshop during our MFAs. Not only was his story compelling, but his writing was masterful. He could write these sharp sentences that even after I had forgotten the exact wording, I would remember the feel of them for days afterward. In an excerpt from Documents, his new poetry collection from BOA Editions, the lines from his poems have the same edge, clear-sightedness, and beauty I remembered.