Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer: Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies isn’t coming out until the end of March—rappers love to flex all the things they get seeded early before us civilians, but casually bragging about manuscript access is a new one. Maybe he’s reviewing it for Lit Hub? The eagerly-awaited debut novel by Maddie Mortimer deals with an unexpected medical trauma and the ripple effects it has on both the protagonist and her family. Mortimer also had a charming reaction to Drake’s viral post.
Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart: Another advance copy. Not slated for release ’til April, the second book by acclaimed Scottish-American novelist Douglas Stuart is sure to be one of 2022’s hot reads. Stuart’s debut, Shuggie Bain, was dubbed “this year’s breakout debut” by The New York Times, and both books deal with the intersection of queerness and the working class communities of Glasgow. Prior to his writing career taking off, Stuart had extensive experience working in fashion, so perhaps that’s part of what piqued Drake’s interest here.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: Published way back in 1932, Brave New World remains one of the all-time great works of speculative fiction. The dystopian story of a ruthless, efficiency-driven society is a staple of high school reading lists, though it’s also been banned and challenged in some conservative locales. At times it can feel like it’s approaching the college freshman intellectual superiority tier of novels—embarrassingly, I did own a Brave New World graphic tee when I was 19—but Huxley was a tremendously gifted writer and hopefully Drake appreciates the book’s still-timely message.
Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder: Rachel Yoder’s 2021 debut novel received widespread praise for its central connection between motherhood and transmogrification. In short, the book’s pregnant protagonist turns into a dog. Anecdotally, I’ve talked to several people who have read it, but not had the book really click. (“It gets compared to Kafka. But like, Kafka is kafka, do you know?” A friend told me recently.) Drake’s relationship with his mother has always been a key throughline of his work–look at songs like “You & The 6” and “Look What You’ve Done”–and maybe now that he’s a father he has an interest in exploring parenthood through a magical realism lens. Maybe his next music video concept will be about a soon-to-be dad who becomes a…scorpion?
Tin Man by Sarah Winman: Referred to by The Times as “a literary three-hankie weeper,” Sarah Winman’s novel about the bond between two men in England who remain connected after a romantic dalliance as teens was widely praised for its tenderness and exploration of the importance of art. For Drake, it’s probably a cry now, cry later type of deal.
The Promise by Damon Galgut: This Booker Prize-winning family drama focuses on three South African siblings navigating life after the passing of their mother and during the end of apartheid. It uses funerals as the lens to reunite its main characters. The book earned tremendous praise in the British press, and we all know Drake is nothing if not an anglophile at heart.
This One Sky Day by Leone Ross: Drake’s love of Jamaican patois and all things Caribbean is well-documented, so it makes sense that he scooped up This One Sky Day, a novel with a fictional setting that nevertheless “is imbued with a Caribbean sensibility,” per The Guardian. Ross, a Jamaican-British writer with a history of blurring genre lines, does an excellent job world building here, telling the tale of Xavier and Anise, who live on Popisho, an island where each resident has a singular special ability.