Books I’m Excited About: ‘A Little Devil in America’

If you’re into music + feeling things, Uriel’s got just the book for you!


I love Hanif Abdurraqib. The way his mind works, his taste in music and sports, his aura, just everything. And his work—an alchemical blend of criticism and poetry—is some of the very best I’ve ever read. Yes, I’m prone to hyperbole, but this is the honest-to-god truth. They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us and Go Ahead In the Rain are beautiful and life-changing, especially if love music as much as you love feeling things. Whether you’re a fan of Carly Rae Jepsen or Prince or My Chemical Romance. Young or old.

Heck, I would go so far as to say that attending one of his readings should be on every reader’s bucket list. Me, I’ve been lucky enough to check this box off a couple of times—once at bookselling/publishing conference, and another time at the library here in town. In the latter instance, he recited a mostly finished piece to be featured in a later volume—a bit about Merry Clayton, known for the blistering backing vocals in the Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,”—and I’ve been aching for it be unleashed in the world. Well, folks, it’s coming to you sooo soon as part of a breakout collection of essays entitled A Little Devil in America.

It’s a big-hearted, joyous, often somber, dance of poetry and prose. And as he’s proved in previous volumes, Abdurraqib can write lyrically and poignantly on just about any subject. He lends a careful ear here to decades’ worth of Black art, touching on topics like the work of Dave Chapelle, Josephine Baker, and tantalizes every sense as he grooves down memory lane to the sound of ‘Soul Train.’ There is feeling in every page. And simply put, this is a rich volume that wears its heart on its sleeve and it needs to be a part of your 2021 reading list!

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You can pre-order A Little Devil in America from BookPeople today and listen to the divine playlists on Abdurraqib’s Spotify profile while you wait.


You can follow the #BooksImExcitedAbout tag on this blog to find more posts like this. And be sure to explore BookPeople’s “Books We’re Anticipating” lists for more of the titles booksellers can’t wait to get their hands on.

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