Here’s what the TBF community is reading

The Texas Book Festival office has closed down for the holidays, but don’t worry, we’re still here in spirit, cozied up somewhere with a hot drink and a good book. Before we left for the holidays, however, we wanted to make sure we passed along the books we’re planning to dive into over the break. Here’s a roundup of what TBF staff and other members of the Festival community are reading this holiday season. Happy holidays!

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, a 2019 Festival author. This novel about students at a performing arts high school in the 1980s was overwhelmingly the most popular among TBF community members asked about their holiday reading plans: Claire Burrows, Lois Kim, and myself, Katey Psencik, are all planning on reading it over the break (if I can get off of the library hold list, that is).

Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez, a TBF 2019 author. In this novel, Mendez looks at three high school students in El Paso, Texas. —Lucy Vélez

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luselli, which tells the story of an artistic couple and their two children on a summer road trip from New York to Arizona. — Claire Burrows

Fleabag: The Scriptures by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, which gives a look inside the Emmy-winning TV show, including scripts and commentary. —Nicole Wielga

Native Country of the Heart by Cherríe Moraga, a memoir about Moraga’s mother, who grew up picking cotton in California and moved to Tijuana to be a “cigarette girl” in the 1920s, and how her journey impacted Moraga’s life. —Lucy Vélez

The Story of a Goat by Perumal Murugan, a novel about a poor elderly couple who live in a farming village in India who acquire a (perhaps) magical goat. — Lois Kim

Reinhardt’s Garden by Mark Haber, the humorous story of a Croatian man who sets off on a worldwide trip to find his hero, who is rumored to have disappeared into the South American jungle. —Maris Finn

A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar, a novel which follows Nidali, a young girl living in Kuwait, Egypt, and eventually, Texas. —Anna Near

Severance by Ling Ma, a 2018 Festival author. The novel examines an office drone maneuvering her way through the end of the world. —Nicole Wielga

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, in which the famed actor tells the haunting story of his childhood in Japanese internment camps. — Claire Burrows

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman, which is one, long, continuous sentence depicting nearly every thought that enters the brain of a middle-aged Ohio woman. —Katey Psencik

A Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif Abdurraqib, a poetry book about Journey (the band), grief, Michael Jordan and more. —Maris Finn

Cabañuelas by Norma Elia Cantú, a novel about a Laredo, Texas native moving to Madrid to research the traditional festivals of her hometown. —Lucy Vélez

The Guardians by John Grishamwhich was one of the headlining books and authors at the 2019 Festival. Grisham’s latest thriller follows the story of a lawyer murdered at his desk in a small Florida town, the man who went to jail for his death, and the battle to prove his innocence. —Anna Near

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, a novel about a Polish astrologist whose neighbor dies under suspicious circumstances. —Katey Psencik

You and I Eat the Same: On the Countless Ways Food and Cooking Connect Us to One Another by Chris Ying, which argues that good food is the unifying factor between millions of people and explores the ways cooking keep us connected across physical, cultural and political lines. —Nicole Wielga