11 New Books to Read in May

Must read

“I still have so much work to do,” says Aurora James. But the Toronto-born, New York–based 38-year-old is already doing a lot. The creative director and founder of the brand Brother Vellies, beloved for its artisanal accessories that maintain African design practices—Zendaya and Beyoncé have both walked red carpets in the brand’s footwear—is the one who came up with the Fifteen Percent Pledge, a nonprofit dedicated in part to encouraging retailers to stock Black-owned brands. She was responsible for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” dress at the 2021 Met Gala. And this month, with the release of her memoir, she adds author to her list of credentials. Wildflower (Crown) details a tumultuous upbringing—after relocating to Jamaica as a child, she watched her mother, James’s earliest fashion inspiration, suffer domestic abuse—and the eventual solace she found in creativity. James hopes the book illustrates how she’s worked within a constricted system. “This is the country we are in. This is the game that we are playing,” she says. “It does not mean that we can’t rewrite some of those rules. It does not mean that we cannot get across this mountain together.” That togetherness is paramount. “We are not on our own. We’re also on the wings of our ancestors.”

After book demands recede, James plans to expand Brother Vellies, which already sells at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, along with its flagship store in Brooklyn—she’d like it to become a household name. She also hopes that her best-known project will become obsolete. “I think the pledge needs to work itself out of relevancy,” she says. “We need to get to a place where 15 percent is just a given. We are not there yet.”

More Nonfiction

Four books plumb intimacy of all kinds

‘Taking Care’ by Sarah DiGregorio

This probing history of nurses (Harper) situates the profession as radical, necessary health care—but plagued, too, by structural inequities from sexism to racism.

‘A Living Remedy’ by Nicole Chung

Having lost her parents to varied failures of the American health care system, Chung has situated a portrait of grief, rage, and love against a backdrop of a middle class in flux. (Ecco)

‘Lesbian Love Story’ by Amelia Possanza

In this warmhearted and sexy memoir (Catapult), Possanza combs through Bushwick bars and Hadrian’s library for stories of queer love.

‘Irma’ by Terry McDonell

McDonell’s father died young, a pilot killed during WW II. As he raises his own sons, he reflects on his mother’s relentless optimism and strength. (Harper)Keziah Weir

New Fiction

Manuscripts lost, found, and stolen—and more fresh fiction

‘The Late Americans’ by Brandon Taylor

Brandon Taylor’s finely rendered sophomore novel excavates relationships, from lust to soured love, among a group of Iowa City grad students (writers, dancers, and more) and town residents. (Riverhead)

‘The Covenant of Water’ by Abraham Verghese

In Kerala, South India, a surviving daughter (and neurosurgeon) seeks the cause of her family’s multigenerational drowning curse in Abraham Verghese’s surreal and sweeping epic. (Grove)

‘Yellowface’ by R. F. Kuang

In this publishing world send-up from bestseller R.F. Kuang, a Chinese American literary sensation dies and a middling white contemporary steals her unpublished manuscript—part ghost story, part farce. (William Morrow)

‘The Guest’ by Emma Cline

Emma Cline serves glitz and unease: Following a romantic tryst gone awry, a 22-year-old charms her way into the Hamptons houses of unwitting strangers, leaving destruction in her wake. (Random House)

‘The Seventy-Five Folios and Other Unpublished Manuscripts’ by Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust’s recently discovered early manuscripts for his classic magnum opus now appear in English, edited by Nathalie Mauriac Dyer and translated by Sam Taylor. (Harvard)

‘The Prodigal Women: A Novel’ by Nancy Hale

First published in 1942, former VF contributor Nancy Hale’s intimate and incisive novel of three 20th-century women coming of age is back in print. (Library of America)—Keziah Weir

Source link

- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article