2019 Festival authors featured in ‘best books of the year’ lists

‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists, and plenty of the biggest publications in the world are writing about some of the authors who came to the 2019 Texas Book Festival. If you’re looking to add a few of 2019’s best books to your holiday reading list, this roundup is for you!

The New York Times rounded up 100 of the most notable books of 2019, and the list featured 19 of our 2019 Festival authors:

  • Kristin Arnett, whose debut novel Mostly Dead Things explores the story of a woman who inherited her father’s taxidermy shop after his suicide.
  • Rick Atkinson, a former Washington Post staff writer who authored The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777, which examines the early years of the American Revolution.
  • Chanelle Benz, author of The Gone Dead, a novel in which a woman returns to her childhood home in the South and searches for answers about the life — and death — of her father.
  • Sarah M. Broom, author of The Yellow House, a memoir which won the 2019 National Book Award in Nonfiction and tells the story of 100 years’ worth of Broom’s family history in New Orleans.
  • Jericho Brown, a poet whose latest collection, The Tradition, examines modern-day horrors like mass shootings, rape, and police shootings.
  • Meghan Daum, author of The Problem With Everything: My Journey Through The New Culture Wars, a collection of essays addressing modern feminism.
  • Katherine Eban, an investigative journalist who wrote the New York Times bestseller Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom, which takes readers inside the overseas plants which manufacture low-cost generic drugs.
  • Saeed Jones, poet and author of the memoir How We Fight For Our Lives, which tells Jones’ story of growing up a black, gay man in the South.
  • Ibram X. Kendi, founder of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and author of How to be an Antiracist, which interweaves history, law, science, ethics, and Kendi’s own personal history with racism and antiracism.
  • Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens, a novel about a woman living in New York in 2000 who reimagines herself into Elizabethan England in her dreams.
  • Deborah Levy, author of The Man Who Saw Everything, a novel about a young historian whose life is changed when he’s grazed by a car while crossing Abbey Road in London.
  • Julia Phillips, who wrote Disappearing Earth, a novel about two sisters who are kidnapped on a remote peninsula in Russia.
  • Samantha Power, former adviser to President Barack Obama and author of The Education of an Idealist, a memoir depicting Power’s personal journey from immigrating to the United States to becoming a presidential adviser.
  • Namwali Serpell, author of The Old Drift, which combines history and science fiction while interweaving the stories of three families.
  • Margaret Wilkerson Sextonauthor of The Revisioners, which alternates between the stories of two African-American women in present-day America and in the 1920s.
  • Brenda Shaughnessy, whose poetry collection The Octopus Museum examines the future of a post-climate change world.
  • David Treuer, author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee:Native America From 1890 to the Present, which takes a look at the lives of Native Americans from the Wounded Knee massacre to present day.
  • Bryan Washington, author of Lot: Stories, a debut collection of short stories about growing up in Houston the son of a black mother and Latino father, working at his family’s restaurant.
  • Chris Ware, whose graphic novel Rusty Brown explores his hometown of Omaha in the 1970s.
© David Brendan Hall / www.davidbrendanhall.com

The Washington Post‘s best books of the year list highlighted 10 books, including Sarah Broom’s aforementioned The Yellow House as well as Jason DeParle’s A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century, which chronicles multiple generations of a Filipino family chasing the American dream.

The 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards, which highlight one top book in each genre, chosen by Goodreads users, featured TBF author Rainbow Rowell’s Pumpkinheads, a graphic novel about the world’s best pumpkin patch in Omaha, Nebraska.

NPR’s 2019 Book Concierge features 369 books, so we couldn’t possibly highlight them all — but some 2019 Festival authors listed in the concierge include Kristen Arnett, Ibram X. Kendi, David Trueur, and Samantha Power’s books, as well as:

  • Karen Russell’s short story collection Orange World.
  • Mariko Tamaki‘s graphic novels Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me.
  • Susan Choi’s novel Trust Exercise, the story of performing arts students at a high school in the 1980s.
  • Stephen Harrigan‘s Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas.
  • Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, a deep dive into the ridesharing company and the economy surrounding it.
  • Casey McQuiston‘s breakout romance novel Red, White and Royal Blue, which tells the story of the son of a U.S. president falling for the Prince of Wales.

Publisher’s Weekly‘s top 10 list included Rick Atkinson, Susan Choi, and Deborah Levy’s books.

Buzzfeed‘s year-end list featured Namwali Serpell, Deborah Levy, Sarah Broom, Saeed Jones, Jericho Brown, and Bryan Washington, in addition to:

  • Sarah Etter‘s The Book of X, the story of Cassie, “a girl born with her stomach twisted in the shape of a knot.”
  • Rion Amilcar Scott‘s The World Doesn’t Require You, which profiles the residents of fictional city Cross River, Maryland, the home of “the only successful slave uprising in this country.”
  • Steph Cha‘s Your House Will Pay, a suspenseful novel about race relations in Los Angeles which follows a Korean-American family and an African-American family in the aftermath of a police shooting of a black teenager.
  • Catherine Chung‘s The Tenth Muse, the story of a female mathematician born in the 1950s.
  • Jami Attenberg‘s All This Could Be Yours, which depicts a family grappling with the bad behavior of its patriarch.
  • De’Shawn Winslow‘s In West Mills, which follows the residents of a black neighborhood in small-town North Carolina.
  • Mitchell Jackson‘s Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, which relays Jackson’s childhood in Portland.
  • Adrienne Brodeur’s Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me, the story of Brodeur’s mother’s affair.
  • Morgan Parker‘s Magical Negro, a poetry collection highlighting the modern struggles of Black America as well as exploring ancestral hurt.

Happy reading!