Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in July 2020

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Time again to take a peek at the TBR and a few books I’m especially excited about in the next month. Publication dates are as listed in June 2020 and are subject to change.

Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang (July 1)

New York City, 1899. Tillie Pembroke’s sister lies dead, her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker’s new novel, Dracula, has just been published, and Tillie’s imagination leaps to the impossible: the murderer is a vampire. But it can’t be—can it?

A ravenous reader and researcher, Tillie has something of an addiction to truth, and she won’t rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister’s death. Unfortunately, Tillie’s addicted to more than just truth; to ease the pain from a recent injury, she’s taking more and more laudanum…and some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust (July 7)

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Little Bookshop of Murder (Beach Reads Mystery #1) by Maggie Blackburn (July 7)

Clearly, something is rotten on Brigid’s Island. What method is behind the madness? Was Hildy murdered? The police insist there’s not enough evidence to launch a murder investigation. Instead, Summer and her Aunt Agatha screw their courage to the sticking place and start sleuthing, with the help of Hildy’s beloved book club. But there are more suspects on Brigid’s Island than are dreamt of in the Bard’s darkest philosophizing.

Fast Girls: A Novel of the 1936 Women’s Olympic Team by Elise Hooper (July 7)

In the 1928 Olympics, Chicago’s Betty Robinson competes as a member of the first-ever women’s delegation in track and field. Destined for further glory, she returns home feted as America’s Golden Girl until a nearly-fatal airplane crash threatens to end everything.

Outside of Boston, Louise Stokes, one of the few black girls in her town, sees competing as an opportunity to overcome the limitations placed on her. Eager to prove that she has what it takes to be a champion, she risks everything to join the Olympic team.

From Missouri, Helen Stephens, awkward, tomboyish, and poor, is considered an outcast by her schoolmates, but she dreams of escaping the hardships of her farm life through athletic success. Her aspirations appear impossible until a chance encounter changes her life.

The Nesting Dolls by Alina Adams (July 14)

Odessa, 1931. Marrying the handsome, wealthy Edward Gordon, Daria—born Dvora Kaganovitch—has fulfilled her mother’s dreams. But a woman’s plans are no match for the crushing power of Stalin’s repressive Soviet state. To survive, Daria is forced to rely on the kindness of a man who takes pride in his own coarseness.

Odessa, 1970. Brilliant young Natasha Crystal is determined to study mathematics. But the Soviets do not allow Jewish students—even those as brilliant as Natasha—to attend an institute as prestigious as Odessa University. With her hopes for the future dashed, Natasha must find a new purpose—one that leads her into the path of a dangerous young man.

Brighton Beach, 2019. Zoe Venakovsky, known to her family as Zoya, has worked hard to leave the suffocating streets and small minds of Brighton Beach behind her—only to find that what she’s tried to outrun might just hold her true happiness.

Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House by Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz (July 14)

The year was 1973, and the vice president in question was Spiro T. Agnew, Richard Nixon’s second-in-command. Long on firebrand rhetoric and short on political experience, Agnew had carried out a bribery and extortion ring in office for years, when–at the height of Watergate–three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down before it was too late. Before Nixon’s downfall made way for Agnew to ascend to the presidency himself. Agnew did everything he could to bury their investigation: dismissing it as a “witch hunt,” riling up his partisan base, making the press the enemy, and, with a crumbling circle of loyalists, scheming to obstruct justice.

Spindle City by Jotham Burrello (July 21)

On June 23, 1911-a summer day so magnificent it seems as if God himself has smiled on the town-Fall River, Massachusetts, is reveling in its success. The Cotton Centennial is in full swing as Joseph Bartlett takes his place among the local elite in the parade grandstand. The meticulously planned carnival has brought the thriving textile town to an unprecedented halt; rich and poor alike crowd the streets, welcoming President Taft to America’s “Spindle City.”

Yet as he perches in the grandstand nursing a nagging toothache, Joseph Bartlett straddles the divide between Yankee mill owners and the union bosses who fight them. Bartlett, a renegade owner, fears the town cannot long survive against the union-free South. He frets over the ever-present threat of strikes and factory fires, knowing his own fortune was changed by the drop of a kerosene lantern. When the Cleveland Mill burned, good men died, and immigrant’s son Joseph Bartlett gained a life of privilege he never wanted.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue (July 21)

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new Flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson (July 21)

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch, illustrated by Victoria Ying (July 28)

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other…a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in May 2020

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Time again to take a peek at the TBR and a few books I’m especially excited about in the next month.

1. Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History by Jaipreet Virdi (May 1)

Through lyrical history and personal memoir, Hearing Happiness raises pivotal questions about deafness in American society and the endless quest for a cure. Taking us from the 1860s up to the present, Virdi combs archives and museums in order to understand the long history of curious cures: hearing trumpets, violet-ray apparatuses, pneumomassages, electrotherapy machines, airplane diving, bloodletting, skull hammering, and many more. Hundreds of procedures and products have promised grand miracles but always failed to deliver—a legacy that is still present in contemporary biomedicine.

2. Resistance: A Songwriter’s Story of Hope, Change, and Courage by Tori Amos (May 5)

Since the release of her first, career-defining solo album Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos has been one of the music industry’s most enduring and ingenious artists. From her unnerving depiction of sexual assault in “Me and a Gun” to her post-9/11 album Scarlet’s Walk to her latest album Native Invader, her work has never shied away from intermingling the personal with the political.

3. Death by Shakespeare: Snakebites, Stabbings and Broken Hearts by Kathryn Harkup (May 5)

Shakespeare found 74 different ways to kill off his characters, and audiences today still enjoy the same reactions–shock, sadness, fear–that they did over 400 years ago when these plays were first performed. But how realistic are these deaths, and did Shakespeare have the science to back them up?

4. Tasting Qualities: The Past and Future of Tea by Sarah Besky (May 12)

What is the role of quality in contemporary capitalism? How is a product as ordinary as a bag of tea judged for its quality? In her innovative study, Sarah Besky addresses these questions by going inside an Indian auction house where experts taste and appraise mass-market black tea, one of the world’s most recognized commodities. Pairing rich historical data with ethnographic research among agronomists, professional tea tasters and traders, and tea plantation workers, Besky shows how the meaning of quality has been subjected to nearly constant experimentation and debate throughout the history of the tea industry.

5. The King of Confidence: A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch by Miles Harvey (May 12)

In the summer of 1843, James Strang, a charismatic young lawyer and avowed atheist, vanished from a rural town in New York. Months later he reappeared on the Midwestern frontier and converted to a burgeoning religious movement known as Mormonism. In the wake of the murder of the sect’s leader, Joseph Smith, Strang unveiled a letter purportedly from the prophet naming him successor, and persuaded hundreds of fellow converts to follow him to an island in Lake Michigan, where he declared himself a divine king.

6. Sunny Days: Sesame Street, Mister Rogers, and the Children’s Television Revolution by David Kamp (May 12)

In 1970, on a soundstage on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a group of men, women, and Muppets of various ages and colors worked doggedly to finish the first season of a children’s TV program that was not yet assured a second season: Sesame Street. They were conducting an experiment to see if television could be used to better prepare disadvantaged preschoolers for kindergarten. What they didn’t know then was that they were starting a cultural revolution that would affect all American kids.

7. We Had No Rules by Corrine Manning (May 12)

A young teenager runs from her family’s conservative home to her sister’s NY apartment to learn a very different set of rules. A woman grieves the loss of a sister, a “gay divorce,” and the pain of unacknowledged abuse with the help of a lone wallaby on a farm in Washington State. A professor of women’s and gender studies revels in academic and sexual power but risks losing custody of the family dog.

8. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake (May 12)

Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life’s processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms–and our relationships with them–are changing our understanding of how life works.

9. The Language of Butterflies: How Thieves, Hoarders, Scientists, and Other Obsessives Unlocked the Secrets of the World’s Favorite Insect by Wendy Williams (May 12)

Monarch butterflies migrate thousands of miles each year from Canada to Mexico. Other species have learned how to fool ants into taking care of them. Butterflies’ scales are inspiring researchers to create new life-saving medical technology. Williams takes readers to butterfly habitats across the globe and introduces us to not only various species, but to the scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying them.

10. The Equivalents: The Untold Story of the Five Friends Who Started a Personal, Political, and Artistic Revolution by Maggie Doherty (May 19)

In 1960, at the height of an era that expected women to focus solely on raising families, Radcliffe College announced the founding of an Institute for Independent Study, offering fellowships to women with a Ph.D. or “the equivalent” in artistic success. Acclaimed writer and Harvard lecturer Maggie Doherty introduces us to five brilliant friends–poets Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin, painter Barbara Swan, sculptor Marianna Pineda, and writer Tillie Olsen–who came together at the Institute and would go on to make history. Drawing from their notebooks, letters, lecture recordings, journals, and finished works, Doherty weaves from these women’s own voices a moving narrative of friendship, ambition, activism, and art.

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in February

Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

Time again to take a peek at the TBR and a few books I’m especially excited about in the next month.

1. Chirp by Kate Messner (February 4)

When Mia moves to Vermont the summer after seventh grade, she’s recovering from the broken arm she got falling off a balance beam. And packed away in the moving boxes under her clothes and gymnastics trophies is a secret she’d rather forget.

2. The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper (February 4)

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

3. American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI by Kate Winkler Dawson (February 11)

Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities–beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books–sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Known as the “American Sherlock Holmes,” Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America’s greatest–and first–forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural.

4. The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird by Joshua Hammer (February 11)

The Falcon Thief whisks readers from the volcanoes of Patagonia to Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park, and from the frigid tundra near the Arctic Circle to luxurious aviaries in the deserts of Dubai, all in pursuit of a man who is reckless, arrogant, and gripped by a destructive compulsion to make the most beautiful creatures in nature his own. It’s a story that’s part true-crime narrative, part epic adventure—and wholly unputdownable until the very last page.

5. In the Land of Men by Adrienne Miller (February 11)

A naive and idealistic twenty-two-year-old from the Midwest, Adrienne Miller got her lucky break when she was hired as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine in the mid-nineties. Even if its sensibilities were manifestly mid-century—the martinis, powerful male egos, and unquestioned authority of kings—GQ still seemed the red-hot center of the literary world. It was there that Miller began learning how to survive in a man’s world. Three years later, she forged her own path, becoming the first woman to take on the role of literary editor of Esquire, home to the male writers who had defined manhood itself— Hemingway, Mailer, and Carver. Up against this old world, she would soon discover that it wanted nothing to do with a “mere girl.” 

6. Ink in the Blood (Ink in The Blood, #1) by Kim Smejkal (February 11)

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

7. And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges by Amber Sparks (February 11)

At once humorous and unapologetically fierce, these stories shine an interrogating light on the adage that “history likes to lie about women”— as the subjects of “A Short and Speculative History of Lavoisier’s Wife” and “You Won’t Believe What Really Happened to the Sabine Women” (it’s true, you won’t) will attest. Blending fairy tales and myths with apocalyptic technologies, all tethered intricately by shades of rage, And I Do Not Forgive You offers a mosaic of an all-too-real world that fails to listen to its silenced goddesses

8. The Snow Collectors by Tina May Hall (February 12)

Haunted by the loss of her parents and twin sister at sea, Henna cloisters herself in a Northeastern village where the snow never stops. When she discovers the body of a young woman at the edge of the forest, she’s plunged into the mystery of a centuries-old letter regarding one of the most famous stories of Arctic exploration—the Franklin expedition, which disappeared into the ice in 1845.

10. Fighting for Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Spaceflight by Amy Shira Teitel (February 18)

When the space age dawned in the late 1950s, Jackie Cochran held more propeller and jet flying records than any pilot of the twentieth century-man or woman. She had led the Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilots during the Second World War, was the first woman to break the sound barrier, ran her own luxury cosmetics company, and counted multiple presidents among her personal friends. She was more qualified than any woman in the world to make the leap from atmosphere to orbit. Yet it was Jerrie Cobb, twenty-five years Jackie’s junior and a record-holding pilot in her own right, who finagled her way into taking the same medical tests as the Mercury astronauts. The prospect of flying in space quickly became her obsession.

10. Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil (February 25)

In a shockingly short amount of time, the internet has bound people around the world together and torn us apart and changed not just the way we communicate but who we are and who we can be. It has created a new, unprecedented cultural space that we are all a part of—even if we don’t participate, that is how we participate—but by which we’re continually surprised, betrayed, enriched, befuddled. We have churned through platforms and technologies and in turn been churned by them. And yet, the internet is us and always has been.

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in January

Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

Time again to take a peek at the TBR and a few books I’m especially excited about in the next month.

1. Westering Women by Sandra Dallas
January 7, 2020

It’s February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting “eligible women” to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose.

So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it.

2. There’s A Murder Afoot (Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #5) by Vicki Delany
January 7, 2020

The 6th of January is Sherlock Holmes’s birthday, and lucky for Gemma Doyle, January is also the slowest time of the year at both the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium, and Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. It’s a good time for Gemma and her friends to travel to England for a Holmes Convention. For Gemma, the trip provides an opportunity to visit her parents, Jayne Wilson is excited about seeing all the sites London has to offer, and Ryan Ashburton just wants to spend some time with Gemma. But the trip is immediately derailed when Gemma’s father Henry recognizes his brother-in-law Randolph Manning, who disappeared more than thirty years ago on the night he stole a valuable painting from his own parents.

3. You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
January 7, 2020

In this always illuminating and often humorous deep dive, Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). It’s time to stop talking and start listening.

4. A Girl, a Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon by Karen Romano Young
January 7, 2020

In a slightly fantastical New York City, one very special library branch has been designated for possible closure. Bookish, socially awkward Pearl, the daughter of the librarian, can’t imagine a world without the library—its books, its community of oddballs, its hominess. When the head of their Edna St. Vincent Millay statue goes missing, closure is closer than ever. But Pearl is determined to save the library. And with a ragtag neighborhood library crew—including a constantly tap-dancing girl who might just be her first friend, an older boy she has a crush on, and a pack of raccoons who can read and write—she just might be able to.

5. Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
January 14, 2020

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

6. Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
January 14, 2020

Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.

7. The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3) by Maureen Johnson
January 21, 2020

In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

8. The Angel and the Assassin: The Tiny Brain Cell That Changed the Course of Medicine by Donna Jackson Nakazawa
January 21, 2020

Proving once and for all the biological basis for the mind-body connection, the discovery of the true role of microglia stands to rewrite psychiatric and medical texts as we know them. Hailed as “riveting,” “stunning,” and “visionary,” The Angel and the Assassin offers us a radically reconceived picture of human health and promises to change everything we thought we knew about how to heal ourselves.

9. The Self-Help Compulsion: Searching for Advice in Modern Literature by Beth Blum January 28, 2020

Samuel Beckett as a guru for business executives? James Joyce as a guide to living a good life? The notion of notoriously experimental authors sharing a shelf with self-help books might seem far-fetched, yet a hidden history of rivalry, influence, and imitation links these two worlds. In The Self-Help Compulsion, Beth Blum reveals the profound entanglement of modern literature and commercial advice from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

10. Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond by Lydia Denworth January 28, 2020

With warmth and compassion, Denworth weaves together past and present, field biology and cutting-edge neuroscience, to show how our bodies and minds are designed to make friends, the process by which social bonds develop, and how a drive for friendship underpins human (and nonhuman) society. With its refreshingly optimistic vision of the evolution of human nature, this book puts friendship at the center of our lives.

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in January

Time once again to add to the TBR, now with books publishing in 2019!

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi (January 8)

Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.

Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden (January 8)

When Dorcas makes Essie an offer she can’t refuse, she becomes Victoria. Transformed by a fine wardrobe, a classic education, and the rules of etiquette, Victoria is soon welcomed in the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D. C. But when the life she desires is finally within her grasp, Victoria must decide how much of herself she is truly willing to surrender.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole (January 8)

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

The Paragon Hotel by Lyndsay Faye (January 8)

Why was “Nobody” Alice James forced to escape Harlem? Why do the Paragon’s denizens live in fear–and what other sins are they hiding? Where did the orphaned child who went missing from the hotel, Davy Lee, come from in the first place? And, perhaps most important, why does Blossom DuBois seem to be at the very center of this tangled web?

A Cathedral of Myth and Bone by Kat Howard (January 8)

In these sixteen exquisite stories Kat Howard deftly weaves in and out of the countries of myth and hagiography to write the lives of women untold and unexplored.

The Longest Line on the Map: The United States, the Pan-American Highway, and the Quest to Link the Americas by Eric Rutkow (January 8)

It represents a dream of friendship, commerce, mobility, of the Americas united. Our collective imaginations have been forged along its path: Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the iconic Argentine revolutionary, traveled it northward in The Motorcycle Diaries; Jack Kerouac, the voice of the beat generation, followed it southward in On the Road. Many adventurers have journeyed the highway’s distance, but the road itself still remains shrouded in mystery. Why was it built? And why does it remain unfinished, with a sixty-mile long break, the famed Darien Gap, enduring between Panama and Colombia?

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro (January 15)

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.

The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America by Tommy Tomlinson (January 15)

Intimate and insightful, The Elephant in the Room is Tomlinson’s chronicle of meeting those people, taking the first steps towards health, and trying to understand how, as a nation, we got to this point. From buying a FitBit and setting an exercise goal to contemplating the Heart Attack Grill, America’s “capital of food porn,” and modifying his own diet, Tomlinson brings us along on an unforgettable journey of self-discovery that is a candid and sometimes brutal look at the everyday experience of being constantly aware of your size.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land (January 22)

While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work–primarily done by women–fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter’s head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society.

All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf by Katharine Smyth (January 22)

Smyth’s story moves between the New England of her childhood and Woolf’s Cornish shores and Bloomsbury squares, exploring universal questions about family, loss, and homecoming. Through her inventive, highly personal reading of To the Lighthouse, and her artful adaptation of its groundbreaking structure, Smyth guides us toward a new vision of Woolf’s most demanding and rewarding novel–and crafts an elegant reminder of literature’s ability to clarify and console.

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in November

Time once again to add to the TBR!

Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey by Mark Dery (Nov 6)

He published over a hundred books and illustrated works by Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Edward Lear, John Updike, Charles Dickens, Hilaire Belloc, Muriel Spark, Bram Stoker, Gilbert & Sullivan, and others. At the same time, he was a deeply complicated and conflicted individual, a man whose art reflected his obsessions with the disquieting and the darkly hilarious.
Based on newly uncovered correspondence and interviews with personalities as diverse as John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Lemony Snicket, Neil Gaiman, and Anna Sui, BORN TO BE POSTHUMOUS draws back the curtain on the eccentric genius and mysterious life of Edward Gorey.

 

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (Nov 6)

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

 

A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden (Nov 6)

Nineteen-year-old Nell Hallam lives in a modest corner of Mayfair with her brother Matthew, an inspector at Scotland Yard. An exceptionally talented pianist, she aspires to attend the Royal Academy; but with tuition beyond their means, Nell sets out to earn the money herself—by playing piano in a popular Soho music hall. And the fact that she will have to disguise herself as a man and slip out at night to do it doesn’t deter her.

 

The Prophet Calls by Melanie Sumrow (Nov 6)

On her thirteenth birthday, Gentry receives a new violin from her father and, more than anything, she wants to play at the Santa Fe Music Festival with her brother, Tanner. But then the Prophet calls from prison and announces he has outlawed music in their community and now forbids women to leave.

 

In Peppermint Peril (A Tea and a Read Mystery, #1) by Joy Avon (Nov 13)

Catering to people who each have their own agenda isn’t easy for the Book Tea crew, especially once the valuable engagement ring goes missing and a dead body turns up in the conservatory. Can Callie and her great aunt use their love of clues to dig into the crimes and show their unhappy hostess and squabbling guests the true Christmas spirit?

 

A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany (Nov 13)

Gemma has no intention of getting involved in the investigation, but when fellow shopkeeper Maureen finds herself the prime suspect she begs Gemma for her help. Ryan knows Gemma’s methods and he isn’t happy when she gets entangled in another mystery. But with so many suspects and so few clues, her deductive prowess will prove invaluable in A Scandal in Scarlet, Vicki Delany’s shrewdly plotted fourth Sherlock Holmes Bookshop mystery.

 

Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey by A.J. Jacobs (Nov 13)

The idea was deceptively simple: New York Times bestselling author A.J. Jacobs decided to thank every single person involved in producing his morning cup of coffee. The resulting journey takes him across the globe, transforms his life, and reveals secrets about how gratitude can make us all happier, more generous, and more connected.

 

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Nov 13)

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms.

 

Sherlock’s World: Fan Fiction and the Reimagining of BBC’s Sherlock by Ann K. McClellan (Nov 15)

Interweaving fan fiction studies, world-building, and genre studies, Ann McClellan examines the hit series and the fan fiction it inspires. Using Sherlock to trace the changing face of fan fiction studies, McClellan’s book explores how far fans are willing to go to change the Sherlockian canon while still reinforcing its power and status as the source text. What makes Sherlock fanfic Sherlockian? How does it stay within the canon even while engaging in the wildest reimaginings? Sherlock’s World explores the boundaries between canon, genre, character, and reality through the lenses of fan fiction and world-building. This book promises to be a valuable resource for fan studies scholars, those who write fan fiction, and Sherlock fans alike.

 

Barking with the Big Dogs: On Writing and Reading Books for Children by Natalie Babbitt (Nov 20)

In this collection of essays and speeches written over the course of four decades, beloved storyteller Natalie Babbitt explores what it was like to be a “little dog” in the literary world, continually being forced to justify her choice to write books for children–instead of doing something more serious. Babbitt offers incisive commentary on classic children’s books as well as contemporary works, and reveals colorful insights into her own personal creative life. Filled with a voice that rings with truth, wisdom, and humor across the years, the essays gathered in Barking with the Big Dogs exemplify on every page true reverence for children and an endless engagement with the challenge to write the books that shape them

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in October

After the traditional summer slow-down in publishing, the fall releases are coming fast and furious. Here are 10 books from my TBR I’m particularly looking forward to next month.

Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories by Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham (October 2)

These dark and imaginative tales feature an odd and subtly linked world of bizarre venereal diseases, a creepy old woman who feasts on raw meat, a man obsessed with a skin model from a magazine, and a story within a story about ghosts.

 

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2) by Mackenzi Lee (October 2)

A year after an accidentally whirlwind tour of Europe, which she spent evading highwaymen and pirates with her brother Monty, Felicity has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of Callum Doyle, a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh; and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

 

The Ravenmaster: My Life with the Ravens at the Tower of London by Christopher Skaife (October 2)

A rewarding, intimate, and inspiring partnership has developed between the ravens and their charismatic and charming human, the Ravenmaster, who shares the folklore, history, and superstitions surrounding the ravens and the Tower. Shining a light on the behavior of the birds, their pecking order and social structure, and the tricks they play on us, Skaife shows who the Tower’s true guardians really are―and the result is a compelling and irreverent narrative that will surprise and enchant.

 

The Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock, #3) by Sherry Thomas (October 2)

Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t.

 

Mycroft and Sherlock by Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse (October 9)

Now a force to be reckoned with in the War Office, the young Mycroft Holmes is growing his network of contacts and influence, although not always in a manner that pleases his closest friend, Cyrus Douglas.

 

A Crafter Knits a Clue (A Handcrafted Mystery, #1) by Holly Quinn (October 9)

When a heartbroken Samantha “Sammy” Kane returns to her hometown of Heartsford, WI, for her best friend Kate’s funeral, she learns that Kate’s much-loved craft store is in danger of perishing with its owner. Confounding all her expectations of the life she would live, Sammy moves back home with her golden retriever and takes over Community Craft. A few doors down Main Street, fellow new arrival Ingrid Wilson has just opened the Yarn Barn, a real “purl” of a shop. But when Sammy strolls over to see if Ingrid could use a little help, she finds Ingrid’s dead body—with a green aluminum knitting needle lodged in her throat.

 

A Little Tea Book: All the Essentials from Leaf to Cup by Sebastian Beckwith and Caroline Paul (October 16)

Tea, the most popular beverage in the world after water, has brought nations to war, defined cultures, bankrupted coffers, and toppled kings. And yet in many ways this fragrantly comforting and storied brew remains elusive, even to its devotees. As down-to-earth yet stylishly refined as the drink itself, A Little Tea Book submerges readers into tea, exploring its varieties, subtleties, and pleasures right down to the process of selecting and brewing the perfect cup.

 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean (October 16)

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, “Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie.” The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

 

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll (October 23)

Like many of us, Ryder Carroll tried everything to get organised — countless apps, systems, planners, you name it. Nothing really worked. Then he invented his own simple system that required only pen and paper, which he found both effective and calming. He shared his method with a few friends, and before long he had a worldwide viral movement.

 

The White Darkness by David Grann (October 30)

Henry Worsley was a devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer who believed in honor and sacrifice. He was also a man obsessed. He spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton, the nineteenth-century polar explorer, who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole, and later sought to cross Antarctica on foot. Shackleton never completed his journeys, but he repeatedly rescued his men from certain death, and emerged as one of the greatest leaders in history.

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in April

Ten of the books on my TBR coming out in April that I’m especially looking forward to:

Ritz and Escoffier: The Hotelier, the Chef, and the Rise of the Leisure Class by Luke Barr (April 3)

A different look at 1880s London from my usual.

In early August 1889, Cesar Ritz, a Swiss hotelier highly regarded for his exquisite taste, found himself at the Savoy Hotel in London. He had come at the request of Richard D’Oyly Carte, the financier of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic operas, who had modernized theater and was now looking to create the world’s best hotel. D’Oyly Carte soon seduced Ritz to move to London with his team, which included Auguste Escoffier, the chef de cuisine known for his elevated, original dishes. The result was a hotel and restaurant like no one had ever experienced, run in often mysterious and always extravagant ways–which created quite a scandal once exposed.

The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind: My Tale of Madness and Recovery
Barbara K. Lipska
(April 3)

If you’ve been following my TBR pruning posts, you are not at all surprised to see a new memoir having to do with neuroscience.

Lipska describes her extraordinary ordeal and its lessons about the mind and brain. She explains how mental illness, brain injury, and age can change our behavior, personality, cognition, and memory. She tells what it is like to experience these changes firsthand. And she reveals what parts of us remain, even when so much else is gone.

The Overstory
Richard Powers
(April 3)

A new book from Powers! (Fun fact: my last year of undergrad, I took a writing class he taught.)

In his twelfth novel, National Book Award winner Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, exploring the essential conflict on this planet: the one taking place between humans and nonhumans. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
Amy Spalding
(April 3)

Contemporary queer teen romance set in Los Angeles – I am here for it.

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez.

Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort
Will Taylor
(April 3)

Middle school can be rough on friendships. And that’s without discovering that your pillow fort is connected to a secret, globe-spanning network.

Six. Weeks. That’s how long Maggie’s been waiting for her best friend and partner in crime, Abby, to come home from Camp Cantaloupe. Half of summer break may have been lost, but Abby is finally heading back!

Only when Abby arrives, she’s. . . different. She doesn’t want to play any of their usual epic spy games. All New Abby wants to do is talk about camp things and plan campy activities—she even has the nerve to call Maggie’s massive, award-worthy pillow fort a “cabin.”

But at least Abby’s excited to build a “cabin” of her own. And when Maggie discovers that a pillow in the back of her fort mysteriously leads right into Abby’s new one, the two friends are suddenly just an arm’s length away. Soon they’re adding links and building more forts, until Maggie looks behind one pillow too many and finders herself face-to-face with. . . the authorities.

Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer
Barbara Ehrenreich
(April 10)
I don’t think I’ve read any Ehrenreich yet.

A razor-sharp polemic which offers an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe, Natural Causes describes how we over-prepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. One by one, Ehrenreich topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to live a long, healthy life — from the importance of preventive medical screenings to the concepts of wellness and mindfulness, from dietary fads to fitness culture.

Picture Us in the Light
Kelly Loy Gilbert
(April 10)

Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father’s closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there’s much more to his family’s past than he ever imagined.

You Go First
Erin Entrada Kelly
(April 10)

A new book from the most recent Newbery medalist.

Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different—Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana. Charlotte wants to be a geologist and keeps a rock collection in her room. Ben is obsessed with Harry Potter, presidential history, and recycling. But the two have more in common than they think. They’re both highly gifted. They’re both experiencing family turmoil. And they both sit alone at lunch.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays
Alexander Chee
(April 17)

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is the author’s manifesto on the entangling of life, literature, and politics, and how the lessons learned from a life spent reading and writing fiction have changed him. In these essays, he grows from student to teacher, reader to writer, and reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, an activist, a lover, and a friend. He examines some of the most formative experiences of his life and the nation’s history, including his father’s death, the AIDS crisis, 9/11, the jobs that supported his writing—Tarot-reading, bookselling, cater-waiting for William F. Buckley—the writing of his first novel, Edinburgh, and the election of Donald Trump.

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century
Kirk Wallace Johnson
(April 24)

I think this is another contender for my “true crime” Read Harder selection.

On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History, armed with a pair of latex gloves, a miniature LED flashlight, and a diamond-blade glass cutter. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose coppery orange, emerald, and iridescent blue feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying, in which exotic feathers are fastened in intricate patterns around fishing hooks. Over the next few hours, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins–some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them–and escaped into the darkness.

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in March

Ten of the books on my TBR coming out in March that I’m especially looking forward to:

1. The Case for Jamie by Brittany Cavallaro (March 6)

The hotly anticipated final book in the New York Times bestselling Charlotte Holmes trilogy, in which Charlotte and Jamie finally face their longtime enemy…and their true feelings for each other.

The third book in Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes trilogy is due out next month, and I still haven’t read the second book. That just means I will now get to read books two and three back-to-back, which sounds like an excellent idea.

2. Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans (March 6)

Join the ranks of the pioneers who defied social convention and the longest odds to become database poets, information-wranglers, hypertext dreamers, and glass ceiling-shattering dot com-era entrepreneurs. This inspiring call to action is a revelation: women have embraced technology from the start. It shines a light on the bright minds whom history forgot, and shows us how they will continue to shape our world in ways we can no longer ignore.

Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper have been getting some long-overdue attention in the kid-lit world, but I’m super-interested in the women I haven’t yet heard of.

3. Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan by Ted Scheinman (March 6)

In a haze of morning crumpets and restrictive tights, Scheinman delivers a hilarious and poignant survey of one of the most enduring and passionate literary coteries in history. Combining clandestine journalism with frank memoir, academic savvy with insider knowledge, Camp Austen is perhaps the most comprehensive study of Austen that can also be read in a single sitting.

True confession: I have never read Austen. I will most certainly be reading some this year.

4. Soon: An Overdue History of Procrastination, From Da Vinci and Darwin to You and Me by Andrew Santella (March 13)

Like so many of us, including most of America’s workforce, and nearly two-thirds of all university students, Andrew Santella procrastinates. Concerned about his habit, but not quite ready to give it up, he set out to learn all he could about the human tendency to delay. He studied history’s greatest procrastinators to gain insights into human behavior, and also, he writes, to kill time, “research being the best way to avoid real work.”

Now I’m pondering whether reading about procrastination is just going to be another way to procrastinate.

5. To the Edges of the Earth: 1909, the Race for the Three Poles, and the Climax of the Age of Exploration by Edward J. Larson (March 13)

In 1909, three daring expeditions pushed to the edges of the globe, bringing within reach, for the first time, a complete accounting of all the earth’s surface. In January, Douglas Mawson, as part of Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition to Antarctica, became the first man to reach the South Magnetic Pole. Soon after, Shackleton himself set a new farthest south record in pursuit of the Geographic South Pole. In April, American Robert Peary, with Matthew Henson, claimed to be the first to reach the North Pole. And in the Himalayas—the so-called “Third Pole,” the pole of altitude— a team led by legendary mountaineer and dashing Italian Prince Luigi Amedeo, the Duke of Abruzzi, reached 24,600 feet, setting a world altitude record that would stand for a generation.

I’m fascinated by the Antarctic and the Heroic Age of Exploration, and I’m familiar with Mawson and Shackleton, but I haven’t read much about Arctic exploration, and nothing at all about the Himalayas.

6. Searcher of the Dead (A Bess Ellyott Mystery #1) by Nancy Herriman (March 13)

Living amid the cultural flowering, religious strife, and political storms of Tudor England, Bess Ellyott is an herbalist, a widow, and a hunted woman. She fled London after her husband was brutally murdered, but the bucolic town in the countryside where she lands will offer her no solace. She still doesn’t know who killed her husband, but she knows one thing: The murderer is still out there.

First book in a new historical mystery series!

7. The Curse of the Boyfriend Sweater: Essays on Crafting by Alanna Okun (March 20)

Alanna Okun knows that crafting keeps her anxiety at bay. She knows that no one will ever be as good a knitting teacher as her beloved grandmother. And she knows that even when we can’t control anything else, we can at least control the sticks, string, and fabric right in front of us.

The reader reviews say this is more memoir than essays, which is fine with me.

8. Semitism: Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump by Jonathan Weisman  (March 20)

Anti-Semitism has always been present in American culture, but with the rise of the Alt Right and an uptick of threats to Jewish communities since Trump took office, New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman has produced a book that could not be more important or timely. When Weisman was attacked on Twitter by a wave of neo-Nazis and anti-Semites, witnessing tropes such as the Jew as a leftist anarchist; as a rapacious, Wall Street profiteer; and as a money-bags financier orchestrating war for Israel, he stopped to wonder: How has the Jewish experience changed, especially under a leader like Donald Trump?

I expect this to be informative, terrifying, and important.

9. Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (March 22)

Drawing upon her cutting-edge research in her London laboratory, award-winning neuroscientist, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explains what happens inside the adolescent brain, and what her team’s experiments have revealed about our behaviour, and how we relate to each other and our environment as we go through this period of our lives. She shows that while adolescence is a period of vulnerability, it is also a time of enormous creativity – one that should be acknowledged, nurtured and celebrated.

A peek at the neurobiology behind teenage behavior? Yes, please.

10. Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond (Baker Street Academy #1) by Sam Hearn (March 27)

Told through Watson’s blog, detective notes, school assignments, media reports, and energetic comic-strip illustrations, this introduction to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic characters will have every young super-sleuth hooked!

I am always here for a new children’s adaptation of the Holmes stories. It looks like this may have come out in the UK a couple years ago, but I haven’t heard anything about it yet.

Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to in February

There are a lot of great books coming out next month. These are just 10 that I’m especially looking forward to reading. (Plus a bonus at the end of the list!)

1. The Art of Vanishing: A Memoir of Wanderlust by Laura Smith (February 6)

Part memoir, part real-life mystery, this looks like a really interesting read, examining the choices we make and the sacrifices we choose. The publisher says it’s “a riveting mystery and a piercing exploration of marriage and convention that asks deep and uncomfortable questions: Why do we give up on our childhood dreams? Is marriage a golden noose? Must we find ourselves in the same row houses with Pottery Barn lamps telling our kids to behave? Searingly honest and written with a raw intensity, it will challenge you to rethink your most intimate decisions and may just upend your life.”

 

2. Feel Free by Zadie Smith (February 6)

The publisher’s blurb characterizes Smith as “[e]qually at home in the world of good books and bad politics, Brooklyn-born rappers and the work of Swiss novelists, she is by turns wry, heartfelt, indignant, and incisive–and never any less than perfect company.” I enjoyed Swing Time, and this essay collection sounds great.

 

3. Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters by Charlotte Jones Voiklis (February 6)

With the movie of A Wrinkle in Time coming out this year, I’m looking forward to re-reading a favorite of my elementary school years. I’m also looking forward to this biography of L’Engle, written by her granddaughters.

 

4. The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu (February 13)

I’m looking forward to this novel, which promises to follow five women from girlhood “through successes and failures, loving relationships and heartbreaks; we see what it means to find, and define, oneself, and the ways in which the same experience is refracted through different people. In diamond-sharp prose, Kim Fu gives us a portrait of friendship and of the families we build for ourselves—and the pasts we can’t escape.”

5. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (February 13)

This looks like a super-cute comic for middle grade readers. It features a French Prince with a secret identity – “the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!” His best friend is a talented dressmaker, but her own dreams must be kept on the back burner as long as she keeps his secret. I’m trying to read more comics in 2018, and this is a great addition to my TBR.

 

6. Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill (February 20)

A short-story collection from the winner of the 2017 Newbery Award. The Minneapolis Star Tribune calls Barnhill “a fantasist on the order of Neil Gaiman” – one of my favorite authors. The blurb also says “the stories in Dreadful Young Ladies feature bold, reality-bending invention underscored by richly illuminated universal themes of love, death, jealousy, hope, and more.”

 

7. Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper (February 20)

The publisher’s description says: “With the election of Donald Trump and the massive step backward this signals for both African Americans and women, Eloquent Rage offers a way forward, one that encourages us all not to be cowed or silenced by fear. It looks to the lives of Black women — one of the nation’s most maligned subjects — for direction. For it is Black women who model critical dissent as a practice of prophetic love not for who America is, but for who she can be.” I expect this book to make me uncomfortable and challenge me in necessary ways.

 

8. Don’t Call Me Princess: Essays on Girls, Women, Sex, and Life by Peggy Orenstein (February 27)

I’ve been meaning to read Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter for ages. This collection of essays is super-timely; the publisher says they’ve been “updated with both an original introduction and personal reflections on each piece. Her takes on reproductive justice, the infertility industry, tensions between working and stay-at-home moms, pink ribbon fear-mongering and the complications of girl culture are not merely timeless—they have, like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, become more urgent in our contemporary political climate. Don’t Call Me Princess offers a crucial evaluation of where we stand today as women—in our work lives, sex lives, as mothers, as partners—illuminating both how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.”

 

9. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker (February 27)

I’m really hoping this one will, well, give me some hope. In a very rationalistic, practical way. The description says it “makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.”

 

 

10. Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives by Rachel Simmons (February 27)

My daughter is on the verge of teenagerhood, and this book claims to offer “practical parenting advice — including teaching girls self-compassion as an alternative to self-criticism, how to manage overthinking, resist the constant urge to compare themselves to peers, take healthy risks, navigate toxic elements of social media, prioritize self-care, and seek support when they need it.”

 

And a bonus: All the Perverse Angels by Sarah K Marr (February 22)

I actually already have a copy of this book, and I’m so thrilled that it’s finally going to be available to everyone! I’m just going to put the whole description here:

Anna, an art curator, leaves a psychiatric hospital and finds herself in an English village, sharing a rented cottage with her partner. Seeking refuge from the aftermath of past infidelities, she constructs a personal reality from the brushstrokes and histories of her favourite artworks.

A chance discovery in the cottage’s attic leads Anna on a journey back to the late nineteenth century and the complicated relationships of two women studying at Oxford University.

As Anna’s investigations blend with the students’ story, and the threads of her life intertwine with those of a century earlier, she finds a way to run ever farther from her pain. But the past is not all it seems, and Anna’s escape routes are taken from her, one by one, until she must face the truth of her present.

All the Perverse Angels is a breathtaking novel about the nature of loss and the confusion of love, about the stories we are told and the stories we tell ourselves.