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    15 Books Coming Out In 2022 That Will Help You Diversify Your Bookshelf

    My TBR just got a lottttttttt longer (and yours will too)!

    2022 is gearing up to be another year of amazing stories, breakthrough debut novels, relishing in our favorite authors new books and of course discussions from book lovers everywhere. My favorite part of the new year is seeing authors announcing book deals, release dates and synopses of books that will haunt me until my pre-order ships. Check out the list for my most anticipated reads of 2022!

    1. Finding Me by Viola Davis

    Grayscale image of actress, Viola Davis, with white words Finding Me

    Release Date: April 26

    What it's about: Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award Winner Viola Davis is baring it all in her upcoming memoir titled Finding Me with a cover just as striking and reminiscent of the late Cicely Tyson's Just As I Am memoir, Viola Davis is putting her life — happiest and darkest moments — in the pages. 

    Why I can't wait: A lot of the excitement from her fans stems from the fact that Viola Davis has been on our screens and in our hearts for over 20 years in various roles. From her several cameos on Law & Order: SVU, to her lead roles in movies/television like The Help and How to Get Away With Murder, many of us naturally want to know more about her successes, her love life, and just more about her as a whole.  

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    2. Vinyl Moon by Mahogany L. Browne

    Crown Books for Young Readers

    Release Date: January 11

    What it's about: Vinyl Moon is a young adult and coming-of-age novel about a young Black girl who escaped a domestic violence relationship and has found solace in a new city and in the world of Black authors. Mahogany's sophomore novel weaves together prose, poems, and vignettes to tell the story of Angel, a young woman who is desperately trying to find herself again.

    Why I can't wait: Mahogany Browne has such a way with words when it comes to emotional appeal and setting the scene. To this day I still find myself thinking about the lead character of her debut novel in verse, Chlorine Sky. 

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    3. The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings

    Amistad Press

    Release Date: August 9 

    What it's about: The Women Could Fly is a dystopian novel about the unbreakable bond between a young woman and her mysterious mother, set in a world in which witches are real and single women are closely monitored if they are not married by the age of 30. The main character, Josephine Thomas, has heard every theory about her mother's sudden disappearance fourteen years ago. Josephine has heard she was a witch, she was abducted, she was murdered and even that she is living under a new identity and went off to to start a new family. In this powerful and timely novel, Megan Giddings explores the limits women face — and the powers they possess to transgress and transcend them. 

    Why I can't wait: Megan Giddings has a knack for taking her readers on a wild, suspenseful and thrilling ride. With descriptive setting and peculiar character development, I'm sure this novel is about to give us Dune meets The Salem Witch Trials realness. 

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    4. The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna

    Image of black girl holding a sword and wearing armor with white text that says The Merciless Ones
    Delacorte Press

    Release Date: May 31

    What it's about: The sequel to the riveting fantasy novel The Gilded Ones is right around the corner! The second installment picks up six months after Deka has freed the goddesses and discovered who she really is. There are now wars waging across the kingdom and Deka is being called a monster. Deka is tasked with freeing the rest of the goddesses and comes across her latest enemy, a strange symbol that makes her lose her senses and repels her powers. As Deka continues to fight for her kingdom, she knows something more dark and merciless is out there waiting to battle. 

    Why I can't wait: I'll keep this brief and to the point: I read The Gilded Ones in four days. Four work days, which means before my nine-to-five and after, in just four days! I truly could not put it down. Looking forward to cutting that time in half and finishing The Merciless Ones even faster.   

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    5. The Last Suspicious Hold Out by Ladee Hubbard

    Colorful painted background with black words that read The Last Suspicious Holdout
    Amistad Press

    Release Date: March 8

    What it's about: In the 12 stories in The Last Suspicious Holdout and Other Stories, Ladee Hubbard captures the nuanced and powerful moments of the everyday lives of African American families, friends, and neighbors. These short stories span decades, from the beginning of the Clinton presidency to the eve of Barack Obama's election. Each of these exceptional works of short fiction explores how the inequities of society, the criminal justice system, education, healthcare, and the War on Drugs shape and scar ordinary lives of people, especially and in particular Black people. 

    Why I can't wait: These stories will always be important, especially with so much ongoing injustice following the BLM uprising in 2020. Laddee Hubbard is also the type of writer that leaves you wanting more, even though she's already said so much. 

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    6. Warrior Princesses Strike Back by Sarah Eagle Heart and Emma Eagle Heart-White

    Feminist Press

    Release Date: June 21

    What it's about: Through a vulnerable and striking memoir, Lakota twin sisters Sarah Eagle Heart and Emma Eagle Heart-White recount growing up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and overcoming enormous odds, first as teenaged girls in a majority-white high school, and then battling bias in their professional careers. Woven throughout are self-help strategies centering women of color that combine marginalized histories, psychological research on trauma, and perspectives on “decolonial therapy.” Through the lens of Indigenous activism, the Eagle Hearts explore the possibility of healing intergenerational and personal trauma by focusing traditional strategies of reciprocity, acknowledgement, and collectivism. 

    Why I can't wait:  I grew up literally ten minutes walking distance from a Seminole Reservation in Hollywood, Florida, and yet it wasn't until I was in the 12th grade that I learned why Native Americans throughout the continental U.S. were granted these small "protected" areas of land. I cannot wait to hear from the Eagle Heart twins about their lives, missions, and existence as Indigenous people.   

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    7. What The Fireflies Knew by Kai Harris

    Sketch of a girl playing in a field with fireflies around with white text that reads What The Fireflies Knew"
    Tiny Reparations Books

    Release Date: February 1

    What it's about: In this debut coming-of-age novel told from the perspective of 11-year-old KB, she and her sister try — over the course of a summer — to make sense of their new life with their estranged grandfather following the death of their father and disappearance of their mother. These two sisters, grief-stricken and confused, are pinballing between resentment, abandonment, and loneliness, and KB is forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice. This novel hits all the notes of family, identity, and race, and reveals that heartbreaking but necessary component of growing up. 

    Why I can't wait: I will always have a soft spot for coming-of-age novels and how authors address characters growing up as the difficult realities of life are thrown at them. From the title alone, Kai Harris wants us to visualize and feel a million different feelings at once and I am ready for it! 

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    8. Transitional: How To Live Your Authentic Life by Munroe Bergdorf

    Munroe poses on a red carpet in full makeup and a strapless outfit
    Getty/Gareth Cattermole/BFC

    Release Date: August 9

    What it's about: Munroe Bergdorf is a model, podcast host, and activist whose book — which is "part memoir and part big idea book" — explores the depths of transition: its significance in Bergdorf's life, to society, and what it means for our own experiences. Bergdorf discusses the complexities, explains her outlook, and examines how society views change in six vital areas of human experience: adolescence, sexuality, gender, relationships, identity, and race. 

    Why I can't wait: Stories by and from trans individuals, especially Black and Brown trans femmes who are subject to extreme amounts of violence, objectification, and misunderstanding, are so important to move the needle forward on general inclusivity and representation for these communities. 

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    9. Tell Me an Ending by Jo Harkin

    A blue sky with a bird flying across and white text reading Tell Me An Ending
    Scribner Book Company

    Release Date: March 1

    What it's about: This dystopian novel explores what the world would be like if we were able to wipe away our worst moments. The story follows four individuals: Finn, an Irish architect living in the Arizona desert, begins to suspect his charming wife is having an affair; Mei, a troubled grad school drop-out in Kuala Lumpur, wonders why she remembers a city she’s never visited; William, a former police inspector in England, struggles with PTSD, the breakdown of his marriage, and his own secret family history; and Oscar, a handsome young man with almost no memories at all, travels the world in a constant state of fear. 

    Why I can't wait: I personally cannot wait to pick up this novel because I love psychological thrillers with a dystopian society setting! I also am doing anything in my power to fill the hole in my heart from not having new episodes of Netflix's Black Mirror available right now.

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    10. Yonder by Jabari Asim

    Peach background with black stick figures doing cartwheels with black text that reads Yonder
    Simon and Schuster / Via

    Release Date: January 11

    What it's about: Yonder is a story about the lives of enslaved folks living in an unspecified part of the American South. The novel follows two enslaved characters, Cato and William, who meet at a planation called Placid Hall. Their captor (and owner), Cannonball Greene, is cruel and spontaneous, so they live on edge never knowing what harm may befall them: inhumane physical toil in the plantation's quarry by day, a beating by night, or the sale of a loved one at any moment, which they've both experienced. They meet a minister who puts  peculiar ideas into their heads: independence, freedom, and another life. 

    Why I can't wait: Jabari is warping historical non-fiction elements in with his fiction novel that I am sure will leave us all wanting to have conversations about race, slavery and freedom in ways we haven't in the past.

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    11. Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience, and Restoration by Tracey Lewis-Giggets

    The title text in large letters across a solid color background
    Gallery Books

    Release Date: February 1

    What it's about: In June 2020, during the explosive protests that would go on for months following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, Lewis-Giggets wrote an essay for the Washington Post titled My daughter reminded me that black joy is a form of resistance that basically broke the internet. With a specific message and firm timing, the essay became the topic of many conversations for months on end. With this book, Tracey aims to gift her community with a collection of lyrical essays about the way joy has evolved, even in the midst of trauma, in her own life. Detailing these instances of joy in the context of Black culture allows us to recognize the power of Black joy as a resource to draw upon, and to challenge the one-note narratives of Black life as solely comprised of trauma and hardship. 

    Why I can't wait: I am really excited about this release because some folks tend to believe "Black Joy doesn't sell" and stories about triumph, happiness, and love coming from a Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim or other author of Color aren't interesting enough. These stories deserve to be told! 

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    12. Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (And Why It's Different Than You Think) by Reshma Saujani

    Peach background with text that reads Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (And Why It's Different Than You Think)

    Release date: March 15

    What it's about:  In this pressing call to arms, Reshma Saujani dismantles the myth of “having it all” and lifts the burden society places on individual women to be primary caregivers, working around a system built for and by men. Through shocking statistics and personal narrative, Saujani shows that the cost of inaction — for families, for our nation’s economy, and for women themselves — is too great to ignore. She lays out four key steps for creating lasting change: empower working women, educate corporate leaders, change our narratives on what it means to be successful, and advocate for policy reform.  

    Why I can't wait: From the moment I saw this title, I immediately started thinking about what is the future of women and work. I began pondering if I am on the right track or veering off on some dirt road that Saujani will steer me back from. Either way, this book is certain to answer my questions.  

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    13. My Government Means to Kill Me by Rasheed Newson

    Black background with a door shaped frame with rainbow background of a black man's profile with pink text that reads My Government Means To Kill Me by Rasheed Newson
    Flatiron Books

    Release date: August 23 

    What it's about: Set in the 80s, Trey Singleton leaves behind his wealthy parents in his hometown of Indianapolis and moves to New York City basically with practically only the clothes on his back. In the city, Trey meets up with a cast of characters that change his life forever — from civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, who he meets in a Harlem bathhouse, to his landlord, Fred Trump, who he clashes with and outfoxes. He volunteers at a renegade home hospice for AIDS patients, and after being put to the test by gay rights activist Larry Kramer and civil rights leader Dorothy Cotton, becomes a founding member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). Along the way Trey attempts to navigate past traumas and searches for ways to maintain familial relationships — all while seeking the meaning of life in the midst of so much death.

    Why I can't wait: As a huge fan of the iconic musical RENT, the premise of this book sounds like one I will thoroughly enjoy. These types of stories set in NYC usually have a particular allure because they capture the grit and struggle, but also showcase the beauty in coming of age in one of the world's most famous cities. 

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    14. Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warson Shire

    Black and white caricature with one hand resting on her face with white an pink words that read Bless The Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head, Poems Warsan Shire
    Random House Trade

    Release date: March 1 

    What it's about: In Warsan Shire's first full-length poetry collection, she introduces us to a young girl who, in the absence of a nurturing guide, makes her own stumbling way towards womanhood. Inspired by her own life with a hint of pop culture influence, Shire finds vivid, unique details in the experiences of refugees and immigrants, mothers and daughters, Black teen girls and women. 

    Why I can't wait: Shire is a Somali British writer who was born in Nairobi and raised in London and has written on race, politics, feminism, immigration, love, and difficult social issues in her other poetry collections in such a pointed way, that they always leave me with a fresh perspective and insight on topics I thought I knew very well. As a Black woman, reading other works from Black women is always so refreshing and timely.  

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    15. When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

    Doubleday Books

    Release date: March 15

    What it's about: Ayanna Lloyd Banwo’s debut novel takes place in the beautiful country of Trinidad. The story circles two main characters: Yejide and Darwin. Yejide’s complicated relationship with her dying mother leaves her searching for a way out. Darwin, who has never been to a funeral or even seen a dead body, works as a grave digger to provide for himself and his mother. Yejide and Darwin meet at a cemetery and their spellbinding connection and quest for love serves as a way to heal them both. 

    Why I can't wait: Honestly, any story where two people meet in a cemetery is pretty high up on my must read list! No exceptions here. 

    Preorder from Bookshop here.

    What 2022 book are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments!