11 Sensational Books to add to your TBR List

With the country aiming for a smooth unlocking, book lovers have begun their book-hunting.  From heart-warming rom-com to twisty thrillers, the publishing calendar is filled with exciting new titles that bibliophiles are eagerly waiting for. Be it fiction or non-fiction, books would leave you spoilt for choices. Pre-order, order or bookmark the below list of best books to read in the upcoming days. We are keeping our eyes open for 11 sensational books to add to your TBR list!

1. Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

Cleanness

First on the list comes a book in harmony with Pride Month!  Cleanness, a much-anticipated book by Garth Greenwell, opens up to the narrator meeting a student in a cafe. The narrator is an American high school literature teacher in Bulgaria. The student is gay and struggles with his desires in a community where homosexuality is still not accepted. Cleanness thrums with life and invites its readers to a state of high intensity. The readers are sure to be moved by the story as they begin to understand the possibility of living life differently.

Released in January 2020

Purchase: Amazon/ Flipkart

Publisher: Picador, Pan Macmillan

2. Deacon King Kong by James McBride

Decon

The year is 1969 and the South Brooklyn neighborhood is shaken up by unexpected violence- a local drug dealer is shot by a shabby deacon. Deacon King Kong revolves around the repercussions of the shooting from different perspectives- the dealer, the members of the neighborhood, the witnesses, as well as the deacon’s parish. James McBride’s Deacon King Kong can be considered as a feverish love letter to the people and the writing industry. It is a plethora of events, lives, times as well as conversations. It is a book that is full of humor and compassion. The narrative is about the poor and flawed people who are trying to navigate an ugly and racist world with the help of their God, each other, as well as the bottle! The stories of these people are unique and universal at the same time.

Released in March 2020

Purchase: Amazon 

Publisher: Transworld Publishers, Penguin Random House

3. The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

hilary mantel

The Mirror & the Light is the successful conclusion to the trilogy which Hilary Mantel begins with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces back the final years of Thomas Cromwell, a boy from nowhere who had climbed to power while offering a portrait of prey and predator. Mantel’s The Mirror & the Light also talks about a ferocious contest between the past and present, and between the royal will, to the vision of a common man, making way through passion, conflict, and courage. The novel brings the high-intensity action and drama that are much looked forward to by historical fiction lovers. The storyline brings to life Tudor England brilliantly, with its magnificent courts, jousts, costumes, and pomp along with the underbelly and back alleys of London.

Released in March 2020

Purchase: Amazon/ Flipkart

Publisher: 4th Estate, Harper Collins

4. Afterlife by Julia Alvarez

afterlife

After 15 years, Julia Alvarez has returned with a dynamic novel that explores the changing notions of a family. In Afterlife, Alvarez tells the story of Antonio, a retired professor. Antonio’s life is turned upside down by the death of her husband as well as the appearance of a pregnant teenager at her doorstep.  Alvarez outlines the contours of private moral decisions that replicate our national conversation which prevents migrant communities from claiming their contributions to the country. Afterlife is a nimble, compact, and sharp novel that is set in the political moment of distrust and tribalism, talking about what we owe to those in crisis and how one can live in a broken world without losing faith in one another.

Released in April 2020

Purchase: Amazon

Publisher: Algonquin Books

5. The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

life of adults

The Lying Life of Adults tells a story about Giovanna, a teenager whose contradictions and transformations are matched by that of the city. Giovanna is searching for the true reflection of herself in two kindred cities that detest and fear one another: The Naples of Depths which is a place of vulgarity, and the Naples of Heights, that takes a mask of refinement. She keeps moving between these two cities and is disoriented by the fact that neither of these cities seems to offer an escape or answers. Elena Ferrante has been named as one of the most influential people of 2016 by TIME Magazine. She is also frequently lauded as a future Nobel Prize-winner. Ferrante has become one of the most acclaimed writers of the twenty-first century. In The Lying Life of Adults, readers would find a highly addictive, gripping, and unforgettable Neopolitan story, and don’t forget to keep your eyes on Netflix as it will soon come on-screen.

Released in May 2020

Purchase: Amazon

Publisher: Europa Editions

6. The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton

room

John Bolton served as the National Security Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump for 519 days. Bolton was a seasoned public servant who had also formerly worked for Presidents Bush Senior, Bush Junior, and Ronald Reagan. Bolton has about thirty years of experience in handling international issues as well as a reputation for blunt and tough talk.

In The Room Where It Happened, he offers a factual and substantive account of his time in the administration which contains an explosive anecdote stating that the President wanted to continue freezing millions of dollars to aid Ukraine till the officials agreed to investigate on Biden as well as other Democrats. Bolton’s account contradicts the statement of the president’s lawyers, and he faces removal from the office. This memoir has a string of political tell-all, which includes “A Warning,” by an anonymous White House official.

Released in May 2020

Purchase: Amazon

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

7. Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

rodham

The protagonist of Sittenfeld’s new novel, Rodham, is Hillary Rodham and what her life would have been had she refused to marry Bill Clinton. In Rodham, Hillary’s early life is the same, be it the upbringing in suburbs, studying at Wellesley College, or attending a law school at Yale. She also meets Bill who is charming, unfaithful and has assault allegations against him. However, in Rodham, the story changes: Hillary Rodham leaves. Rodham is a moving, nauseating, morally suggestive, and a technically brilliant book that makes the readers think about the aims and limits of fiction. Rodham cannot be called fan-fiction; however, there is a steaminess in reading it, which satisfies the impulse of grief or fantasy.

Released in May 2020 

Purchase: Amazon/ Flipkart 

Publisher: Penguin Random House

8. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

ballad

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes narrates the 10th Hunger Games in which the Academy students had been paired with tributes as their “mentors”. The story is about Coryo who is desperate to take advantage of the situation while hiding his poverty from other class members. He believes that his charm is his main “real currency”. In The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Suzanne Collins narrates how Coryo needs to negotiate with the neglectful and hostile authority figures. She creates a prequel that is taking place in Panem, roughly 60 years before “The Hunger Games.” This is a part of Collins’s best-selling trilogy that has ushered a new phase in the Y.A. literature, earning the interest of both young as well as adult readers.

Released in May 2020

Purchase: Amazon/ Flipkart 

Publisher: Scholastic US

9. Malorie by Josh Malerman

malorie

Malorie is a sequel to the successful Bird Box. Malerman brings the story of Sandra Bullock, a blindfold character who is led through a near-future apocalypse with the help of the trained ears of her children. This has become synonymous with the latest generation of horror stories. Malorie by Josh Malerman gained popularity after it was introduced to Netflix as a movie starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich.  Malorie is expected to be an exciting story that would entertain its readers a lot. We may even get another Netflix movie considering the initial success of the first part.

Expected to Release in July 2020

Purchase: Amazon

Publisher: Orion, Hachette

10. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

ya gashi

Gifty, a sixth-year Ph.D. student of neuroscience at Stanford University is studying the reward-seeking behavior of mice as well as the neural circuit of addiction and depression. Her brother, Nana, used to be a gifted high school athlete. He died because of a heroin overdose after an injury on his ankle left him dependent on OxyContin. Gifty’s suicidal mother is living on her bed making her all the more committed to discovering the scientific basis about the suffering that she sees around her. The Transcendent Kingdom is a touching story about the family of Ghanaian immigrants that were ravaged by addiction and depression. This grief-stuck novel is all about faith, religion, science, and love. Emotionally searing and exquisitely written, this is a powerful follow-up to Yaa Gyasi’s phenomenal debut.

Expected to Release in March  2021

Purchase: Amazon 

Publisher: Penguin Random House

11. Untitled by Chelsea Manning

Untitled is a story of a former Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning who was jailed for sharing classified information with WikiLeaks. She calls this memoir a coming-of-the-age story that outlines the factors that led her to leak those files, her jail experiences, and ultimately why she lost faith in the government. In Untitled, Manning talks about how her pleas for increased government accountability and institutional transparency took place as she fought to defend her trans-woman rights alongside. She also reveals her challenging childhood, the struggles she went through as an adolescent, the reasons for joining the military, as well as the pride that she took in her work. Manning also describes how and why she decided to share classified military documents with WikiLeaks. This powerful and observant memoir is sure to stand out as a definitive testament to today’s digital age.

Expected to Release in May 2021

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

*Owing to the current global situation, the release dates may change. But these books would definitely be available through various other online mediums. Stay Home, Stay Safe, and keep reading lots of books. For more such brilliant listings do not forget to visit Book Art – The One-Stop book blog for all the latest bookish information.

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom

Very rarely are times when you read a book and really do not know how to put your feelings on paper, and Finding Chika is one such book. Years after reading Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom‘s Finding Chika rendered me speechless and in tears.  This review is my tribute to young Chika, who, though a young girl was a fierce fighter – and a fighter with gigantic hope and smiles. That is how she should be remembered and celebrated for those who would come to know her story through the book.

Born in Haiti and having survived the devastating earthquake, Chika was brought to the Have Faith Haiti Mission & Orphanage run by Albom and his wife Janine. Friendly and enthusiastic as was her nature, there was never a dull moment with her around. But the diagnosis of a terminal disease compelled her to relocate to America for treatment, and this is where the journey of a family began.

Just as hope is said to be the brightest star in dark times; Chika became the brightest star that ended the dark days of many people’s lives. She was the happiness that Mitch and Janine lacked in their lives, for she gave them the gift of parenthood. She was the hope; strength and resolution that made Mitch and Janine become doting parents and shoulder the responsibility of a child they loved dearly. Chika was a daughter, a friend, a family through relations; but in reality, she was the personification of hope, strength, resolution, dreams, happiness, and care. She was also the face of a young patient diagnosed with the fatal DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) or brain tumor in layman’s words; a patient full of life and energy to live each day as if there is no tomorrow.

While reading Finding Chika it felt as if Albom was having a conversation with Chika and listing down all the lessons that she taught him. She was fiercely attached and protective of Mitch and Janine which evoked the same feeling in them. The couple tried their very best in terms of giving hope, staying by her side day and night, getting in touch with the best doctors in the field and even traveling across continents for their little one.

Body Contentment:

For Chika, it was a journey of transformation- psychological and physical. But she was adaptive to both. Like every young girl, she fancied make-up and accessories and tried to blend them onto her appearances. She was happy with the way she looked! This is a lesson taught to the world where society often resorts to body shaming tactics. Many individuals, as a result, grow excessively conscious of the way they look which takes a toll on their mental and physical health. What we need to learn is to accept our identity and be content with it.

Spending Quality Time with people:

Chika found happiness in smaller things- beautiful dresses, hairclips, a visit to Disneyland, talking to people, spending time with people, visiting her friends, etc. Today, most people spend their time in the digital space without acknowledging the physical presence of the person beside. Today, people Whatsapp each other despite being in the same room! But Chika believed in spending time with her loved ones- endless stories, laughter and a little bit of being naughty- were the perfect features of Being Chika.

Redefining strength:

Children are often gullible and vulnerable, but Chika was not. She was the epitome of strength keeping in mind the terminal disease she was diagnosed with and the medicines, treatments and its side effects that she had to deal with at such a young age. She was tough and through her little way of coexisting with her disease, made it known to everyone that toughness is not always heroic sometimes it is silence with a smile.

Right to Choose:

With Chika being born to Haitian parents and later taken in by Mitch and Janine, her pure love for the latter made it very clear that children often choose whom to love. This goes beyond the biological norms of society. Some relations are born out of love, respect, and care and not out of one’s womb.

The Feeling of completeness

Just as a woman holds the family together with care, Chika held the couple together and turned their happy married life into happy parenthood. She completed the duo and made them a family. She made them more responsible for the needs of a child and taught them to keep the concerns of the child before their commitments.

Defining Legacy:

‘What we carry defines who we are

And the effort we make is our legacy’.

The last life lesson that Chika exemplified would always remain with the readers. It is how she carried herself and the effort she gave internally to show it. She created her own legacy through fighting hardships with smiles and spreading joy in the lives of all she knew.

Immortalized through the pages of the book Chika’s journey truly exemplified how she fought against time along with Mitch and Janine . . . . for one more day . . . .