It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for new books! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week. Make sure to stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books. The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
How to Turn Into a Bird by María José Ferrada
From the award-winning author of How to Order the Universe, María José Ferrada beautifully details the life and lessons of an unconventional man and the boy who loves him.
After years of hard work in a factory outside of Santiago, Chile, Ramón accepts a peculiar job: to look after a Coca-Cola billboard located by the highway. And it doesn’t take long for Ramón to make an even more peculiar decision: to make the billboard his new home.
Twelve-year-old Miguel is enchanted by his uncle’s unusual living arrangement, but the neighborhood is buzzing with gossip, declaring Ramón a madman bringing shame to the community. As he visits his uncle in a perch above it all, Miguel comes to see a different perspective, and finds himself wondering what he believes ― has his uncle lost his mind, as everyone says? Is madness ― and the need for freedom ― contagious? Or is Ramón the only one who can see things as they really are, finding a deeper meaning in a life they can’t understand from the ground?
When a local boy disappears, tensions erupt and forgotten memories come to the surface. And Miguel, no longer perched in the billboard with his uncle, witnesses the reality on the ground: a society that, in the name of peace, is not afraid to use violence. With sharp humor and a deep understanding of a child’s mind, How to Turn Into a Bird is a powerful tale of coming-of-age, loss of innocence, and shifting perspectives that asks us: how far outside of our lives must we go to really see things clearly?
Reasons to read it: This enchanting story is one of eccentricities and belonging. As the tension builds to a violent climax, Miguel’s openness to others is contrasted with the general closed-mindedness of the surrounding society, making this a great comment on how we treat those who are different.
Ace Voices by Eris Young
A love letter to the ace community, exploring what it means to be asexual, aromantic, demi or grey-ace, and providing support, information and personal stories for a-spec people and their families and friends. A richly woven tapestry of ace stories, exploring what it means to be asexual. Including interviews with people across the ace spectrum, this love letter to the ace community offers support, advice and inspiration to help show you are not alone.
How do we experience attraction?
What does love mean to us?
When did you realise you were ace?
This is the ace community in their own words.
Drawing upon interviews with a wide range of people across the asexual spectrum, Eris Young is here to take you on an empowering, enriching journey through the rich multitudes of asexual life.
With chapters spanning everything from dating, relationships and sex, to mental and emotional health, family, community and joy, the inspirational stories and personal experiences within these pages speak to aces living and loving in unique ways. Find support amongst the diverse narratives of aces sex-repulsed and sex-favourable, alongside voices exploring what it means to be black and ace, to be queer and ace, or ace and multi-partnered — and use it as a springboard for your own ace growth.
Do you see a story like your own?
Reasons to read it: This is a great addition to the collection of materials out there that bring visibility to a section of the queer community that doesn’t get as much as it should. This gives definitions as well as historical context for a well-rounded understanding of asexuality.
Where it Rains in Color by Denise Crittendon
Lileala has just been named the Rare Indigo – beauty among beauties – and is about to embrace her stardom, until something threatens to change her whole lifestyle and turn the planet of Swazembi upside down.
Colonized by the descendants of Earth’s West African Dogon Tribe, the planet of Swazembi is a blazing, color-rich utopia and famous vacation center of the galaxy. No one is used to serious trouble in this idyllic, peace-loving world, least of all the Rare Indigo.
But Lileala’s perfect, pampered lifestyle is about to be shattered. The unthinkable happens and her glorious midnight skin becomes infected with a mysterious disease. Where her skin should glisten like diamonds mixed with coal, instead it scabs and scars. On top of that, she starts to hear voices in her head, and everything around her becomes confusing and frightening.
Lileala’s destiny, however, goes far beyond her beauty. While searching for a cure, she stumbles upon something much more valuable. A new power awakens inside her, and she realizes her whole life, and the galaxy with it, is about to change…
Reasons to read it: The worldbuilding here is lush and full of Dogon mythology, making the land of Swazembi feel vibrant and like a world you’d want to get lost in. This is an Afrofuturist tale that is bursting with color and will have you rethinking how you see beauty.
Orchid Muse by Erica Hannickel
A kaleidoscopic journey into the world of nature’s most tantalizing flower, and the lives it has inspired.
The epitome of floral beauty, orchids have long fostered works of art, tales of adventure, and scientific discovery. Tenacious plant hunters have traversed continents to collect rare specimens; naturalists and shoguns have marveled at orchids’ seductive architecture; royalty and the smart set have adorned themselves with their allure. In Orchid Muse, historian and home grower Erica Hannickel gathers these bold tales of the orchid-smitten throughout history, while providing tips on cultivating the extraordinary flowers she features.
Consider Empress Eugenie and Queen Victoria, the two most powerful women in nineteenth-century Europe, who shared a passion for Coelogyne cristata, with its cascading, fragrant white blooms. John Roebling, builder of the Brooklyn Bridge, cultivated thousands of orchids and introduced captivating hybrids. Edmond Albius, an enslaved youth on an island off the coast of Madagascar, was the first person to hand-pollinate Vanilla planifolia, leading to vanilla’s global boom. Artist Frida Kahlo was drawn to the lavender petals of Cattleya gigas and immortalized the flower’s wilting form in a harrowing self-portrait, while more recently Margaret Mee painted the orchids she discovered in the Amazon to advocate for their conservation.
The story of orchidomania is one that spans the globe, transporting readers from the glories of the palace gardens of Chinese Empress Cixi to a seedy dime museum in Gilded Age New York’s Tenderloin, from hazardous jungles to the greenhouses and bookshelves of Victorian collectors. Lush and inviting, with radiant full-color illustrations throughout, Orchid Muse is the ultimate celebration of our enduring fascination with these beguiling flowers.
Reasons to read it: I didn’t know I needed this microhistory of orchids, but here we are. With rich writing and extensive research, Hannickel takes us from 3,000 years of Chinese orchid breeding to Frida Kahlo, detailing the orchid-loving historical figures in between.
The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Florida is slipping away. As devastating weather patterns and rising sea levels gradually wreak havoc on the state’s infrastructure, a powerful hurricane approaches a small town on the southeastern coast. Kirby Lowe, an electrical line worker; his pregnant wife, Frida; and their two sons, Flip and Lucas, prepare for the worst. When the boys go missing just before the hurricane hits, Kirby heads out into the high winds to search for them. Left alone, Frida goes into premature labor and gives birth to an unusual child, Wanda, whom she names after the catastrophic storm that ushers her into a society closer to collapse than ever before.
As Florida continues to unravel, Wanda grows. Moving from childhood to adulthood, adapting not only to the changing landscape, but also to the people who stayed behind in a place abandoned by civilization, Wanda loses family, gains community, and ultimately, seeks adventure, love, and purpose in a place remade by nature.
Told in four parts — power, water, light, and time — The Light Pirate mirrors the rhythms of the elements and the sometimes quick, sometimes slow dissolution of the world as we know it. It is a meditation on the changes we would rather not see, the future we would rather not greet, and a call back to the beauty and violence of an untamable wilderness.
Reasons to read it: Brooks-Dalton paints a vivid picture of a dystopian Florida that’s been ravaged by climate change. Nature is its own character, and while a lot of this story is soberingly close to reality, to say the least, there’s also hope.
Unfamiliar by Haley Newsome
Based on the wildly popular webcomic from Tapas, Unfamiliar is an endearing and whimsical story full of magical mayhem, offbeat outsiders, and the power of friendships and found family.
Young kitchen witch Planchette gets an incredible deal on a new house in a magical town. Turns out, there’s a reason: it’s haunted! After unsuccessfully attempting to get these unwanted ghosts to leave, she realizes the only thing to do is to help them with their problems. Along the way, she befriends a shy siren who hates being popular, a girl battling a curse, and a magically-challenged witch from a powerful coven.
Reasons to read it: Young. Kitchen. Witch. Obviously, we all want to read cute graphic novels about young kitchen witches, and this is just as heartwarming, cutesy, and cozy as the cover promises. It’s also about friendship. *cue all the heart emojis*
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
- All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot Insiders’ New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!