Elese's Favorites of 2021

Great Circle: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525656975
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 4th, 2021

This review begins on a personal note: I have an inexplicable aversion to books about circuses, acrobats and aviators. But I loved Maggie Shipstead's light page-turner Seating Arrangements from many moons ago, and thought I would give this flying-themed book a try; I'm so glad I did. What an absolute stunner. If you love a saga--one that spans decades, locations and world events--this is the novel for you. I only wished it were longer so I could luxuriate in the story a few chapters more.

A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984801197
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - March 30th, 2021

Wow, this book is incredible. The blurbs on the back cover from a litany of great writers (Jacqueline Woodson, Marlon James, Brit Bennett) all say it better than I can. However, I will add: read this book, if for nothing else than for Abdurraqib's stunning essay "I Would Like to Give Mary Clayton Her Roses." He packs it all into this brilliant, personal, insightful and ultimately devastating essay about Clayton's backup vocals on the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." This book should win all of the prizes.

Matrix: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 7th, 2021

The Trees: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450642
Availability: Backordered
Published: Graywolf Press - September 21st, 2021

Percival Everett demonstrates his literary genius anew with The Trees. Incisively crafted with healthy helpings of mordant humor along the way, Everett’s latest follows two Mississippi state detectives as they investigate a macabre murder scene in Money, Mississippi, site of the lynching of Emmett Till decades prior. It’s a police procedural; it’s a thriller; it’s a ghost story; it’s a sharply honed commentary on racism and police violence. Just hold on for the ride.

My Year Abroad: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634574
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - February 2nd, 2021

Red Island House: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982137809
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - March 23rd, 2021

In this transporting novel, Shay, a Black woman from California working as a professor of literature in Milan, has married Senna, a wealthy Italian businessman. Before long, Shay finds herself in an unsought-after role, managing the servants at her vacation estate on an island off the coast of Madagascar. She wrestles with her privilege, her race, her ambivalence, her marriage, and her overall place in ex-pat island life. A page-turning and thought-provoking read.

Yearbook Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984825407
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - May 11th, 2021

Absolutely hilarious. If you like audiobooks, purchase this one at Libro.fm. Seth Rogen reads it himself, along with a cast of other very funny people.

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385545686
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - April 13th, 2021

Beasts of a Little Land: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063093577
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Preorder Now
Published: Ecco - December 7th, 2021

Assembly Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316268264
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 14th, 2021