I’m always vaguely embarrassed to talk about what’s on my TBR list, because I’m so excited about everything on there that I feel quite guilty that I haven’t read it all yet. Honestly, my only excuse for not having already devoured the books that follow is… well, my TBR list is just so long! And has so many good books! And I want to read ALL of them!
This is doubly hard as an author, when I’ve started to know and be friends with so many incredible writers. Of course I want to read every one of their books, but it turns out time is not merely a social construct. So my TBR list keeps growing like some type of very welcome kudzu that I’d be all too happy to be smothered in, and all that’s left is to acknowledge my woeful failure as a reader who just can’t keep up.
But I’m setting aside my pride and pulling some of my top next books off my shelf to share with you, ones I already have and have been salivating over but haven’t read yet. Here are five books I have in my hands RIGHT NOW that I’m thrilled to have as my upcoming reading!
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
I’ve been a fan of Nnedi Okorafor’s ever since I read the intensely amazing Who Fears Death. I’d been meaning to read Binti forever just because of that, even before I heard the nonstop buzz and enthusiasm about it from everyone else. But THEN someone told me the protagonist is a mathematician! Anyone who knows me likely knows just how much that’s an instant YES PLEASE.
I’m so excited about this one. Seriously, I’m a writer of math fiction books; how have I not read Binti yet?
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
What is there to say about Ted Chiang other than that he’s Ted Chiang? He’s one of those unbelievable writers who hits a home run on literally every piece. I’ve read a couple of the stories in his new collection Exhalation already, when they came out elsewhere, but a lot of them are going to be new to me.
Given what I’ve read of Ted Chiang’s other work, I expect long hours after each story savoring it and turning it over in my head, as each defines new questions about science and the world for me.
Remembrance by Rita Woods
Remembrance just came out in January, so it’s a new release this year. I was on a panel with Rita a few months ago and the instant she said the logline to her book, you could hear the “ooooo!” rippling through the audience, as phones came out and people one-click-bought. I bet you will too; are you ready? Remembrance is about a voodoo priestess who uses her powers to protect a stop on the Underground Railroad. Yup, you definitely want this one.
I should also mention that Rita’s a doctor, so I doubly want to read her book right now. A big yes to supporting 2020 debut authors who are also frontline healthcare workers.
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
I know Rivers personally, so everything they write automatically goes on my TBR. But even if I didn’t know them or already know how stunning their writing is, I’d have gotten The Deep anyway. It’s about “the water-dwelling descendents of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slavers”, based on a song by clipping., and speaking of loglines that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go—let’s just say I would’ve been snapping this book up anyway.
And I’m going to have to give clipping. a listen, too. I’m already head over heels for Daveed Diggs’ performance in Hamilton, and I’m looking forward to listening to the song when I read the book, for a multimedia and multi-dimensional experience.
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
I’d inhaled quite a number of Charlie Jane’s short stories before devouring her novel All the Birds in the Sky. Charlie Jane’s byline is one of those names where I don’t have to know anything more; I already know the book or story is going to be spectacular. I actually don’t know anything at all about The City in the Middle of the Night, but I grabbed a copy as soon as I could because—it’s a Charlie Jane book; of course it’s going to be brilliant.
Like with Rita and Rivers, I’ve also met Charlie Jane in person now and know her to be a super kind and excellent human being. Which makes me want to buy and read her books all the more!
Really, I couldn’t be happier with my reading list for the upcoming weeks.
S.L. Huang has a math degree from MIT and is a weapons expert and professional stuntwoman who has worked in Hollywood on Battlestar Galactica and a number of other productions. Her novels include the Cas Russell series—book three, Critical Point, is available now from Tor Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Nature, Daily Science Fiction, and The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016.