News & Media

Astra House Gift Guide

When you give a book as a gift, you’re giving a new perspective, an adventure, an invitation to visit new worlds! Astra House has a great gift book for every reader—shop now.

If Cheryl Strayed’s Wild made you long for the Appalachian, visit the Alati Mountains in Northwestern China with Li Juan:

Gift it: Winter Pasture is the gift for readers who like travel writing and adventure in faraway lands. A Best Travel Book of 2021 from The Washington Post, Smithsonian, and Forbes

“Li Juan spent minus-20-degree nights with nomadic herders in the Chinese steppes. You’ll want to join her.” —Laura Miller, Slate

“Deeply moving…full of humor, introspection and glimpses into a vanishing lifestyle.”The New York Times Book Review

Winter Pasture - Astra House gift guide

Jerusalem Beach

If Etgar Keret speaks to you, get to know Iddo Gefen.

Gift it: Jerusalem Beach is a perfect gift for readers with an interest in Jewish family life across the long 20th century and a penchant for witty critiques of the tech industry. 

“This vigorous, inventive work will surely fire up readers’ neurons.”
Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

“Gefen makes imagined destinations as tangible as Tel Aviv, the Negev desert or Hadera. His characters and backdrops demonstrate the breadth of a people and a country and will make readers eager to see what he does next.”
— Shelf Awareness

If you like queer stories with an edge and Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters, meet Ivan Monalisa Ojeda and his/her incredible friends.

Gift it: Las Biuty Queens is for readers who love gritty stories about New York City at night and about friends supporting each other as they try to make it in the big city.

A dazzling collection of stories based in part on his/her life… Readers will want to consume these bonbons slowly because they are so rich and delicious.”
– Gay City News

“Chilean American writer Ojeda dazzles and devastates in this rich collection about a group of trans Latinx immigrants as they try to make it in New York City.”
– Publishers Weekly

Las Biuty Queens

Castaway Mountain

If you are moved by Arundhati Roy’s lyrical, unnerving, and deeply humane tales of modern India, allow Saumya Roy to introduce you to the residents of Deonar.

Gift it: Castaway Mountain makes a great gift for people who wonder where all our trash goes—and who appreciate an unlikely true love story. An NPR “Books We Love” of 2021.

Castaway Mountain deserves every accolade. A stunning achievement.”
— Kiran Desai, Booker Prize Winner, author of Inheritance of Loss.

If you love Mary Oliver’s poetry about nature and desire, discover Yu Xiuhua translated by Fiona Sze-Lorrain.

Gift it: Moonlight Rests on My Left Palm is a great gift for readers who like poetry about nature and rural life, with exploration of desire confined to the limits and possibilities of the human body.

​“…a lyrical translation by Fiona Sze-Lorrain…The ruminative essays, rendered in elegant but somewhat mannered prose, offer context and insight on her life and poetry. . . The poems, which compress her thoughts into daring and disconcerting forms, are another matter. . . The multiplicity, therefore, becomes essential, as the poems are rarely frozen in a single feeling. Yu renders her life in a way that is irreducible.” 
— Chris Littlewood, The Washington Post

Moonlight Rests on My Left Palm

Becoming Abolitionists

If THE NEW JIM CROW opened your mind, Derecka Purnell’s new book will be an unforgettable next read.

Becoming Abolitionists makes a great gift for readers who are tired of violence and inequality and hungry for real structural change. A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book and Best, Most Urgent Current Affairs of 2021

“An informed, provocative, astute consideration of salvific alternatives to contemporary policing and imprisonment.” 
Kirkus, Starred Review

“[Purnell] draws convincing parallels between the past and the present to demonstrate that today’s policing systems are vestiges of this oppressive framework … She is in such command of her material [that] even if you disagree with her, you are compelled to listen.”
— The Guardian (UK)

“Through deft historical research, political analysis, and gutting prose, the book uses a variety of approaches to map Purnell’s complex and fulfilling political evolution.”
— The Cut

If you love unique explorations of Latinx identity and culture, try Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s new novel in verse.

Gift it: Dreaming of You is just right for readers who want to know the what the latest buzz is all about, and who enjoy self-deprecating humor, juicy gossip, and beloved pop stars resurrected from the dead.

“One of the most original releases of the year Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s surreal fusion of poetry and prose . . . [is] gruesome yet heartfelt, macabre yet intimate, brimming with life on every page.”
Chicago Review of Books

“The novel is narrated in verse, a device that could feel gimmicky in less capable hands than Lozada-Oliva’s, but instead melds with the macabre-yet-gossipy subject matter to create an unforgettable portrait of a public figure who to many seemed larger than life.”
—Emma Specter, Vogue

Dreaming of You

This Weightless World

If you love sci-fi and pondering the meaning of life, meet debut author Adam Soto.

Gift it: This Weightless World is for readers who enjoy introspective characters; sci-fi plot twists; and musings on the meaning of life on Earth.

“It’s precisely Soto’s refusal to be ‘weighted’ down by decades of genre tradition, to instead turn the trope on its head and in doing so remind us that no-one but ourselves is coming to save us, that makes This Weightless World such an exciting and radical novel.” 
—Ian Monde, Locus

“Set in Silicon Valley and Chicago, This Weightless World considers questions of morality in a world where people feel powerless in the face of formidable systemic forces.” 
—Laura Adamczyk, A.V. Club