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JULY 2024

The Way You Make Me Feel: Love in Black & Brown
by Nina Sharma

Available from Penguin Press

Sign-up deadline for this title: June 15, 2024

“Remarkable . . . The Way You Make Me Feel affirms that Black and Brown existence in America comes with no guarantee of collective solidarity, no innate promise of racial equality. The path to justice is uncertain, Sharma reminds us, and we must each work hard—and be bold enough to sacrifice our own comfort—to actualize it.” —Washington Post

A hilarious and moving memoir in essays about love and allyship, told through one Asian and Black interracial relationship.

When Nina Sharma meets Quincy while hitching a ride to a friend’s Fourth of July barbecue, she spots a favorite book, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior,in the back seat of his cramped car, and senses a sadness from him that’s all too familiar to her. She is immediately intrigued—who is this man? In The Way You Make Me Feel, Sharma chronicles her and Quincy’s love story, and in doing so, examines how their Black and Asian relationship becomes the lens through which she moves through and understands the world.

In a series of sensual and sparkling essays, Sharma reckons with caste, race, colorism, and mental health, moving from her seemingly idyllic suburban childhood through her and Quincy’s early sweeping romance in the so-called postracial Obama years and onward to their marriage. Growing up, she hears her parents talk about the racism they experienced at the hands of white America—and as an adult, she confronts the complexities of American racism and the paradox of her family’s disappointment when she starts dating a Black man. While watching The Walking Dead, Sharma dives into the eerie parallels between the brutal death of Steven Yeun’s character and the murder of Vincent Chin. She examines the trailblazing Mira Nair film Mississippi Masala, revolutionary in its time for depicting a love story between an Indian woman and a Black man on screen, and considers why interracial relationships are so often assumed to include white people. And as she and Quincy decide whether to start a family, they imagine a universe in which Vice President Kamala Harris could possibly be their time-traveling daughter.

Written with a keen critical eye and seamlessly weaving in history, pop culture, and politics, The Way You Make Me Feel reaffirms the idea that allyship is an act of true love.

AUGUST 2024:

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MYSTERY LIGHTS, by Lena Valencia (Tin House)

Sign-up deadline: July 15, 2024

“Full of menace and delight.” ―Kelly Link, author of The Book of Love

Set against the stark background of the Southwestern desert, Lena Valencia’s Mystery Lights glows with the promise―and fear―of the world we know and the worlds we don’t, following women and girls as they navigate dangers both supernatural and existential.


An influencer attempts to derail a viral TV marketing campaign with her violent cult following. A marriage between two ghost hunters is threatened when one of them loses her ability to see spirits. The lives of a famous painter in the twilight of her career and a teenage UFO enthusiast converge when a mysterious glowing orb appears in their small desert town. And a slasher-flick screenwriter looking for inspiration escapes a pack of wild dogs only to find herself locked in an SUV with a strange man beside her. Set primarily in deserts throughout the American Southwest, Lena Valencia’s Mystery Lights is a debut collection of stories about women and girls at the crossroads of mundane daily life and existential dread.

From the all-too-real horror of a sexual predator on a college campus to a lost sister transformed by cave-dwelling creatures, Mystery Lights grapples with terrors both familiar and fantastic, introducing an electrifying new voice in contemporary fiction while bringing to light the many faces of the forces that haunt us.

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