Indieland supports reading omnivorously. So, in 2019, I’ll be foraging for (in addition to my perennial favorite, interior, well-written literary fiction) transporting photography collections; biting social commentary; and well-researched nonfiction, especially by women writers.
I’d love to see more books like Lara Jo Regan’s Dogs on the Beach (Regan, a photojournalist, became internet famous when she introduced Mr. Winkle, which rewards Googling, to the world). These images are joyful and eye-catching—a blend of William Wegman and William Eggleston. Two dogs’ batlike ears rhyme with hang gliders at the top of the frame; a Boxer poses against a multicolored boardwalk; a Chinese crested, planted on wet sand, gazes wisely at the viewer.
I’ll continue to look for boundary-pushing satire. I know I can count on the prolific Jacob M. Appel, who has racked up a nice constellation of Kirkus stars. In his most recent short story collection, The Amazing Mr. Morality, “The Children’s Lottery” blends Jonathan Swift and Shirley Jackson. In this lottery, the “winning” child is sacrificed to a camp of pedophiles to keep the rest of the children safe. It’s the complicity that’s the kicker in these mordant morality tales.
And I’ll be keeping a lookout for more terrific nonfiction from Judy Juanita. She first caught my attention with her starred collection, De Facto Feminism, which our reviewer describes as “an extraordinary set of autobiographical essays [that] gives insight into a black woman’s life in the arts.” Her most recent book, Homage to the Black Arts Movement: A Handbook, also starred, is a “multigenre study guide [that] invites readers to investigate, through fiction, poetry, drama, and essays, the many facets of the revolutionary black artistic and political movements of the 1960s and ’70s.” Karen Schechner is the vice president of Kirkus Indie.