In Reading Color

Arab American Heritage Month and New Releases

Welcome to In Reading Color, a space where we focus on literature by and about people of color.

Although there has been some intense rain the past couple days on the east coast, the weather has been been looking up overall. I’m excited to head to the library, get some books and a beverage, and sit on somebody’s bench. I love spring.

As I fantasize about what I want to do before summer and its miserable heat comes, I’ve got some new releases and a couple books to help you celebrate Arab American Heritage Month.

Bookish Goods

Teabag Bookmarks

Teabag Bookmarks by CraftyLadyAz

These crochet tea bag bookmarks are the cutest! $6

New Releases

cover of Ana Maria and The Fox by Liana De la Rosa; Latine couple dancing

Ana María and The Fox by Liana De la Rosa

When the French invade Mexico in 1862, Ana María Luna Valdés and her sisters get sent to London for their protection. While they are originally meant to lay low, their uncle convinces them to socialize in high society, with the hopes that the neutral Queen will become sympathetic to their plight. While there, Ana María meets the stoic Gideon Fox, who has worked hard all his life to achieve his current status as a member of Parliament. Fox is on the brink of permanently abolishing slavery — and its loopholes — as he begins to (reluctantly) fall for Ana María. But the two know that their social statuses are precarious in Victorian England — hers as a foreigner, and his as the descendant of a formally enslaved woman. This is an interesting break from the usual historical romance set up.

cover of the scourge between stars by ness brown

The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown

Here’s a short one if you want something quick to dip into. It’s a space horror that follows the last humans as they try to make their way back to earth from the failed colonies their ancestors founded. Jacklyn is the captain of the doomed ship, which seems to be hurtling towards having its inhabitants starve or meet some other horrible fate. Like, say, the bloody, violent deaths that are befalling crew members. She has to figure out what’s killing people before they’re all gone.

More New Releases

House of Cotton by Monica Brashears (Southern Gothic)

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling (Science Fiction, Dystopian)

A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them by Timothy Egan (Nonfiction)

A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung (Memoir)

Funeral Songs for Dying Girls by Cherie Dimaline (YA, Fantasy)

Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker (YA, Fantasy)

¡Ay, Mija!  by Christine Suggs (YA, Graphic Novel)

Ander & Santi Were Here by Jonny Garza Villa (YA, Romance)

A Whole Song and Dance by Sarvenaz Tash (YA, Romantic Comedy)

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

Cover of The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi

At 640 pages, this is the exact opposite of The Scourge Between Stars, but it’s good to become immersed in a fantasy that’s long af from time to time, you know? Here, three women, who are separated by a stringent social class based on the color of blood, spell the end of oppression. Sylah and Anoor were switched at birth, with the hopes of Sylah being one of the descendants of the magical elites to burn down the social hierarchy from the inside. The two women, with the help of Syrah’s friend Hassa — who is part of the invisible, enslaved class — set the stage for the empire to fall. The world building in this one is immaculate and based on Ghanian and Arab folklore. Thankfully, the second entry into this series, The Battle Drum, is out this year in May.

cover of If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga

If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga

In this multi award-nominated dark and chaotic novel, a rich Egyptian American woman visits her parents’ homeland where she meets a man who took photos during the Arab Spring. The two find themselves on the outskirts of modern Egypt society in many ways — she because she finds she can’t quite claim Egyptian as an identity, having grown up in the U.S.; and he because of the drug addiction that began after the revolution. The relationship turns violent, as they both try to use each other to compensate for what they lack.

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Thanks for reading; it’s been cute! If you want to reach out and connect, email me at or tweet at me @erica_eze_. You can find me on the Hey YA podcast with the fab Tirzah Price, as well as in the In The Club newsletter.

Until next time,