Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your week is going great. Otherwise, I hope that it will start looking up in the coming days. It is my fervent hope that it will usher in positive energy, blessings, healing, and forgiveness for everyone. As it is Tuesday, it is also time for a Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesday was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic: Top Five Covers of 2022


Title: Yonder
Author: Jabari Asim
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: January 2022
No. of Pages: 255

Synopsis: The Water Dancer meets The Prophets in this spare, gripping, and beautifully rendered novel exploring love and friendship among a group of enslaved black strivers in the mid-nineteenth century.

They call themselves the stolen. Their owners call them captives. They are taught their captors’ tongues and their beliefs but they have a language and rituals all their own.

In a world that would be allegorical if it weren’t saturated in harsh truths, Cato and William meet at Placid Hall, a plantation in an unspecified part of the American South. Subject to the whims of their tyrannical and eccentric captor, Cannonball Greene, they never know what harm may befall them: inhumane physical toil in the plantation’s quarry by day, a beating by night, or the sale of a loved one at any moment. It’s a cruel practice – the wanton destruction of love, the belief that Black people aren’t even capable of loving – that hurts the most.

It hurts the reserved and stubborn William, who finds himself falling for Margaret, a small but mighty woman with self-possession beyond her years. And it hurts Cato, whose first love, Iris, was sold off with no forewarning. He now finds solace in his hearty band of friends, including William, who is like a brother to him; Margaret; Little Zander; and Milton, a gifted artist. There is also Pandora, with thick braids and long limbs, whose beauty calls to him.

Their relationships begin to fray when a visiting minister with a mysterious past starts to fill their heads with ideas about independence. He tells them that with freedom comes the right to choose the small things – when to dine, when to begin and end work – as well as the big things, such as whom and how to love. Do they follow the preacher and pursue the unknown? Confined in a landscape marked by deceit and uncertainty, whom can they trust?

In an elegant work of monumental imagination that will reorient how we think of the legacy of America’s shameful past, Jabari Asim presents a beautiful, powerful, and elegiac novel that examines intimacy and longing in the private quarters of the enslaved while asking a vital question: What would happen if an enslaved person risked everything for love?

Title: How High We Go In the Dark
Author: Sequoia Nagamatsu
Publisher: William Morrow
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 289

Synopsis: For Fans of Cloud Atlas and Station Eleven, a spellbinding and profoundly prescient debut that follows a cast of intricately linked characters over hundreds of years as humanity struggles to rebuild itself in the aftermath of a climate plague – a daring and deeply heartfelt work of mind-bending imagination from a singular new voice.

In 20130, a grieving archaeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika Crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.

Once unleashed, the Arctic plague will reshape life on Earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy. In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son. A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects – a pig – develops the capacity for human speech. A widowed painter and her teenage granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet.

From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to the interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resilience of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.

Title: Neruda on the Park
Author: Cleyvis Natera
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 319

Synopsis: The Guerreros have lived in Nothar Park, a predominantly Dominican part of New York City, for twenty years. When demolition begins on a neighboring tenement, Eusebia, an elder of the community, takes matters into her own hands by devising an increasingly dangerous series of schemes to stop construction of the luxury condos. Meanwhile, Eusebia’s daughter, Luz, a rising associate at a top Manhattan law firm who strives to live the bougie lifestyle her parents worked hard to give her, becomes distracted by a sweltering romance with the handsome white developer at the company her mother so vehemently opposes.

As Luz’s father, Vladimir, secretly designs their retirement home in the Dominican Republic, mother and daughter collide, ramping up tensions in Nothar ark as the novel races toward a near-fatal climax.

A beautifully layered portrait of family, friendship, and ambition that announces Cleyvis Natera as an electrifying new voice, Neruda on the Park weaves a rich and vivid tapestry of community as well as the sacrifices we make to protect what we love most.

Title: Black Cake
Author: Charmaine Wilkerson
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 382

Synopsis: We can’t choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become?

In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Baron and Benny: a traditional Caribbean black cake, made from a family recipe with long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves.

Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right”? Will their mother’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever.

Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.

Title: Young Mungo
Author: Douglas Stuart
Publisher: Grove Press
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 390

Synopsis: Douglas Stuart’s first novel, Shuggie Bain, winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, is one of the most successful literary debuts of the century so far. Published or forthcoming in forty territories, it has sold more than one million copies worldwide. Now Stuart returns with Young Mungo, his extraordinary second novel. Both a page-turner and literary tour de force, it is a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a deeply moving and highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men.

Growing up in a housing estate in Glasgow, Mungo and James are born under different stars – Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic – and they should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all. Yet against all odds, they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they fall in love, they dream of finding somewhere they belong, while Mungo works hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially his big brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. And when, several months later, Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland with two strange men whose drunken banter belies murk pasts, he will need to summon all his inner strength and courage to try to get back to a place of safety, place where he and James might still have a future.

Imbuing the everyday world of its characters with rich lyricism and giving full voice to people rarely acknowledged in the literary world, Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the bounds of masculinity, the divisions of sectarianism, the violence faced by many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.

Title: Memphis
Author: Tara M. Stringfellow
Publisher: John Murray
Publishing Date: April 27, 2022
No. of Pages: 245

Synopsis: Joan was only a child the last time she visited Memphis. She doesn’t remember the bustle of Beale Street on a summer’s night. She doesn’t know she’s as likely to hear a gunshot ring out as the sound of children playing. How the smell of honeysuckle is almost overwhelming as she climbs the porch steps to the house where her mother grew up. But when the front door opens, she does remember Derek.

This house full of history is home to the women of the North family. They are no strangers to adversity; resilience runs in their blood. Fifty years ago, Hazel’s husband was lynched by his all-white police squad, yet she made a life for herself and her daughters in the majestic house he built for them. August lives there still, running a salon where the neighbourhood women gather. And now this house is the only place Joan has left. It is in sketching portraits of the women in her life, her aunt and her mother, the women who come to have their hair done, the women who come to chat and gossip, that Joan begins laughing again, begins living.

Memphis is a celebration of the enduring strength of female bonds, of what we pass down, from mother to daughter. Epic in scope yet intimate in detail, it is a vivid portrait of three generations of a Southern black family, as well as an ode to the city they call home.

Title: Very Cold People
Author: Sarah Manguso
Publisher: Hogarth
Publishing Date: 2022
No. of Pages: 191

Synopsis: For Ruthie, the frozen town of Waitsfield, Massachusetts, is all she has ever known.

Once home to the country’s oldest and most illustrious families – the Cabots, the Lowells: the “first, best people” – by the tail end of the twentieth century, it is an unforgiving place awash with secrets.

Forged from this frigid landscape, and descended not from Boston Brahmins but from Italian and Jewish immigrants, Ruthie has been dogged by feelings of inadequacy her whole life. Hers is no picturesque New England childhood but one of swap meets and factory seconds and powdered milk. Shame blankets her like the thick snow that regularly buries nearly everything in Waitsfield.

As she grows older, Ruthie slowly learns how the town’s prim facade conceals a deeper, darker history, and how silence often masks a legacy of harm – from the violence that runs down her family line to the horrors endured by her high school friends, each suffering a fate worse than the last. For Ruthie, Waitsfield is a place to be survived, and a girl like her will be lucky to get out alive.

In her eagerly anticipated debut novel, Sarah Manguso has written, with characteristic precision, a masterwork on growing up in – and out of – the suffocating constraints of a very old, and very cold, small town. At once an ungilded portrait of girlhood at the crossroads of history and social class as well as a vital confrontation with an all-American whiteness where the ice of emotional restraint meets the embers of smoldering rage, Very Cold People is a haunted jewel of a novel from one of our most virtuosic literary writers.

Title: Vagabonds!
Author: Eloghosa Osundae
Publisher: Riverhead
Publishing Date: March 1, 2022
No. of Pages: 303

Synopsis: In Nigeria, vagabonds are those whose existence is literally outlawed: the queer, the poor, the displaced, the footloose and rogue spirits. They inhabit transient spaces, making their way invisibly through a world of old vengeance, shifting realities, and ever-lurking danger. Eloghosa Osunde’s brave, fiercely inventive novel traces a wild array of characters for whom life itself is a form of resistance: a driver for a debauched politician with the power to command life and death; a legendary fashion designer who gives birth to a grown daughter; a lesbian couple whose tender relationship sheds unexpected light on their experience with underground sex work; a wife and mother who attends a secret spiritual gathering that shifts her world. Whether running from danger, meeting with secret lovers, finding their identities, or vanquishing their shadowselves, Osunde’s characters confront and support one another, before converging for the once-in-a-lifetime gathering that gives the book its unexpectedly joyous conclusion.

The above books are those that I already own. Here are other book covers that captured my interest.