The best books of 2020 to support indie publishers this Christmas | Books

Earthlings
by Sayaka Murata (Granta)

The sequel to Convenience Store Woman is the story of Natsuki, who, at the age of 10, hopes that a spaceship will take her to the planet Popinpobopia and save her from her wretched childhood.

The rules of contagion
by Adam Kucharski (Wellcome Collection)

A random temporal look at why things spread from viruses to political movements to ideas from a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Strange beasts of China
by Yan Ge, translated by Jeremy Tiang (Tilted Axis)

In a fictional Chinese city, a cryptozoologist searches for wonderful monsters in this playful metaphysical bestiary.

Dead girls
by Selva Almada, translated by Annie McDermott (Charco Press)

Harrowing but beautifully written journalistic fiction about three cases of femicide in Argentina in the 1980s.

Exit management
by Naomi Booth (Dead Ink)

The real estate ladder has never been steeper than in this elegant novel about class, loneliness and pursuit in London.

The dominant animal
by Kathryn Scanlan (Daunt)

A brilliant collection of short, sharp, and darkly disturbing stories.

Appius and Virginia
by GE Trevelyan (Abandoned Bookshop)

Rediscovering a fascinating 1932 novel about a woman who raised an orangutan as a child.

Three fifths
by John Vercher (Pushkin)

Bobby is a mixed race but passes Pittsburgh as a white in 1995. When his best friend Aaron is released from prison as a newly radicalized white supremacist and attacks a young black man with a brick, Bobby is appalled, but also complicit.

The air year
by Caroline Bird (Carcanet)

Bird’s sixth collection of poems is shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award and wins the Forward Prize for Best Collection. The judges called it “bold and erotically charged”.

Marram
by Leonie Charlton (sandstone)

A pony hike through the Outer Hebrides helps the author to deal with the death of her mother in this moving memory.

Kind of a spark
by Elle McNicoll (Knights Of)

11-year-old Addie, who is autistic and is campaigning for a memorial to commemorate the witch trials in her Scottish hometown, is shortlisted for the Children’s Books Are My Bag and the Blue Peter Book Awards.

QUANTITY
by Shola von Reinhold (Jacaranda)

As part of the # TwentyIn2020 black British writing program, it’s the story of Mathilda, black, working-class, and gay, when she is banned by a forgotten modern black Scottish poet named Hermia Drumm.

The shadow king
by Maaza Mengiste (Canongate)

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this scorching novel is set during the invasion of Italy in Ethiopia in 1935 and tells the story of women who went to war.

mildew
by Alex Pheby (galley beggar)

Nathan Treeves, who lives in the slums of a fantastic city, is sold by his mother to the Master of Mordew in the first part of this fantasy trilogy.

Should we fall behind?
by Sharon Duggal (Bluemoose)

Jimmy lives on the streets of a big city after escaping a difficult life in a small town. When his new girlfriend Betwa disappears, he goes looking for her.

Silver sparrow
by Tayari Jones (Oneworld)

The author of An American Marriage publishes the story of the bigamist James Witherspoon and his two 14-year-old daughters, estranged half-sisters who become friends even though only one of them knows the truth about his double life.

A ghost in the throat
by Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Tramp Press)

Sensational cross-genre scholarly work and memoir work in which a woman is obsessed with a poem written by an 18th century Irish noblewoman after the murder of her husband.

Cotton grass summer
by Roy Dennis (Saraband)

A collection of 52 essays on nature and wildlife by the field naturalist, starting with cotton grass that blooms over the moister bogs and bogs and moves through the seasons.

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