For the past five years, the 35 Over 35 list has been examing books written by debut authors 35 years old or older. The collection includes books that are both fiction and non-fiction.
Here are my top five picks from their list, followed by the full list:
The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel
Taking place during the Reagan era, this book takes place in a utopian summer camp and examines idealism and the impact it can have on someone’s life.
Goodbye, Sweet Girl: A Story of Domestic Violence and Survival by Kelly Sundberg
This is a memoir where the author examines a loving relationship that afterwards becomes abusive. It’s important to understand how a relationship that started off fine can then become a nightmare for one of the people involved.
Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds by Rachel Levin
I’m throwing this one in my top five because I spent a decade living in the Appalachian Mountains and much of that time on trails. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I saw people try to approach wild animals for photos or to attempt to feed them. I even saw one woman get out of her car to approach a black bear. If you’re going to be spending any time in the woods without an experienced guide, please read this book and others like it!
Summer Cannibals by Melanie Hobson
Set in a mansion on the shores of Lake Ontario, this story follows three sisters facing an imminent tragedy alongside their troublesome pasts.
Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon
Rachel Lyon’s debut was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. It’s about a young photographer who accidentally shoots a boy falling to his death. She’s struggling to make ends meet, and such a photo could improve her career, but the boy in the photo is her neighbor’s son. She starts to wonder if it would be ethical to use the photos to advance her career.
Here’s the full list:
- The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel
- First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story by Huda Al-Marashi
- The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish by Katya Apekina
- White Dancing Elephants by Chaya Bhuvaneswawr
- Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
- A Dirty Word: How a Sex Writer Reclaimed Her Sexuality by Steph Auteri
- The Shame of Losing by Sarah Cannon
- Kickdown by Rebecca Clarren
- Designer You by Sarahlyn Bruck
- The Summer List by Amy Mason Doan
- Nothing Good Can Come From This: Essays by Kristi Coulter
- Bone Willows by James Engelhardt
- Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris
- Summer Cannibals by Melanie Hobson
- An Untidy Life: What I Saw at the Media Revolution by Les Hinton
- Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee
- Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds by Rachel Levin
- The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids are Less Disciplined Than Ever – And What to Do About It by Katherine Reynolds Lewis
- Amongst the Liberal Elite: The Road Trip Exploring Societal Inequities Solidified by Trump by Elly Lonon and Joan Reilly
- Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon
- One Water by Rob McCue
- Big Windows by Lauren Mosely
- No Ashes in the Fire by Darnell L. Moore
- Burning Down the Haus by Tim Mohr
- Letters from a Young Father by Edoardo Ponti
- Forbidden by Faith by Negeen Papehn
- The Shortest Way Home by Miriam Parker
- California Calling: A Self-Interrogation by Natalie Singer
- There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia by Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno
- Love War Stories by Ivelisse Rodriguez
- Revolutionary Threads by Bobby Sullivan
- Goodbye, Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg
- The Wild Birds by Emily Strelow
- Tigerbelle by Wyomia Tyus with Elizabeth Terzakis
- Everything You Love Will Burn: Inside the Rebirth of White Nationalism in America by Vegas Tenold