Dec 13, 2021 - Things to Do

Recommendations for holiday books authored by Austin writers

Illustration of a Christmas tree made from packages, complete with string lights and a glowing star. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

We asked experts at Malvern Books, the great little independent bookstore on West 29th Street, to send us a few recommendations for the best books by local authors in the last year.

What they're saying: "Oh my, you're making us choose just 3-5???? Becky Garcia, manager at Malvern, wrote to us. "This is not easy."

The staff selections:

"Bright Specimen," by Julie Poole

  • A collection of poetry about botany and the natural world.

"Las Criaturas," by Leticia Urieta

  • Poems and stories about women in strange and straitened circumstances.

"Little Girl Blue," by Sequoia Maner

  • Elegiac poems brimming with a wide variety of Black voices.

"The Swallowed Man," by Edward Carey

  • A strange and delightful retelling of the Pinocchio story.

"Let the Lord Sort Them," by Maurice Chammah

  • A gripping history of the death penalty in America, with a special focus on Texas.

Bonus books by Austin writers that appeared in 2021:

  • "This Weightless World," a sci-fi-inflected debut novel by Adam Soto
  • "The Souvenir Museum," short stories by acclaimed writer Elizabeth McCracken

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