In Reading Color

Romances, Spicy Stickers and New Releases!

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

As the temperatures continue to cool (mostly), and my form changes from melted liquid to something more solid, I’m reminded that fall is right around the corner. Every season is great for book lovers, but something about fall is so, so perfect. I mean, there are the massive number of books released, yeah, but there’s also the pumpkin spice, opportunities for general coziness, and witchy season. And just general vibes, honestly.

Fall is just forever the mood.

Bookish Goods

Spicy Books Vinyl Sticker

Spicy Books Vinyl Sticker by MidnightDoorStudio

This is me writing the second half of this newsletter in sticker form. Don’t mind me; just sprinkling a lil spice in your reading life real quick! $4+

New Releases

Babel cover

Babel by R.F. Kuang

Y’all. This book has so much going on — in the best way! It follows Robin Swift, a Chinese boy who was orphaned by cholera and raised in London by a professor. There, he was made to learn Chinese, Ancient Greek, and Latin so that he’d enroll in Oxford’s highly competitive Royal Institute of Translation, or Babel. Babel is not only the world’s center for translation, but also of silver-working, which is a way of conjuring the meaning that gets lost as a result of translation. This magical ability to silver-work has made the British empire strong, and when Britain starts an unjust war with China for silver and opium, Robin questions where his loyalties lie.

The magical, 19th century world Kuang has built here is so interesting (think of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, vibe-wise), and I love how she juxtaposes academia and colonialism, which are very related. I am super excited to finish this one.

cover of Perish by LaToya Watkins; brown with a tree growing out of the title font

Perish by LaToya Watkins

Bear it or perish.

These are the fateful words Helen Jean hears one night in an outhouse in Texas that go on to influence not only her life, but her descendants’. This debut novel has decades of the Turner family — which Helen Jean is the matriarch of — wrapped up in it. It’s chapters alternate between four of the family members: Alex, whose dark past haunts his life as a police officer; Jan, a mom who desperately wants to leave; Julie, who recognizes how much time she’s wasted; and Lydia, whose marriage is crumbling. All of them descend upon Jerusalem, TX to bid farewell to Helen Jean, who ultimately set the stage for the entire family’s dysfunction and trauma. Heads up that this is super sad, like along the lines of A Little Life kinda sad.

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

Riot Recommendations

Bookstore Romance Day was this past Saturday, so even though it’s already passed, I haven’t highlighted romances in a minute and thought it would be a good opportunity. Here are some new ones!

cover of To Catch a Raven

To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins

Thee Beverly Jenkins gives us another book in her Women Who Dare series. This one’s about Raven, who is basically a scammer who lives for drama. When she’s forced to scam on behalf of the government, she understandably feels some type of way. They’ve got her masquerading as the housekeeper for a former Confederate official in order to recover the Declaration of Independence. Thing is, the man posing as her husband/the valet is Too Fine TM, and things… happen.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches cover

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna 

I’m so excited for this one! Mika Moon has never quite felt like she belonged. Not only was she was orphaned at a young age and raised by strangers, she’s also one of very few witches in Britain and has to keep her magic a secret. The secret gets out, though, after she posts videos online pretending to be a witch. Now there’s this weird request asking that she go to this place called Nowhere House where she is to teach three young witches about their magic. She goes, naturally, and what she finds there — a part from her three pupils — is a host of other colorful characters, danger, and a steamy romance with a prickly librarian. This is the perfect way to bring in witchy season.

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 week,