Readers' Most Anticipated Books of February
It's time to get in that last stretch of winter reading and prepare our Want to Read shelves for spring. Luckily for us, February brings a genuinely impressive collection of books across multiple categories and genres.
New this month: An interrupted suicide leads to stranger things in Leesa Cross-Smith’s This Close to Okay. Australia’s great mystery writer Jane Harper is back with The Survivors. And several dozen writers join forces for the historical anthology Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019. Also on deck: Parisian librarians, Cherokee folklore, and adulterous clones. Yes, that’s right.
Each month the Goodreads editorial team takes a look at the books that are being published in the U.S., readers' early reviews, and how many readers are adding these books to their Want to Read shelves (which is how we measure anticipation). We use the information to curate this list of hottest new releases.
Devotees of elite-level historical fiction will want to make space for this one, the latest from Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone. The Four Winds journeys back to one of America’s darkest hours–the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl era. Set in Texas, 1934, the book follows the indomitable Elsa Martinelli, who must decide whether to fight for her land or decamp west to California, along with a million other climate refugees. There may be some instructional allegory here.
Author Leesa Cross-Smith (Whiskey & Ribbons) delivers an odd and powerful story about the unanticipated consequences of random acts of kindness. On a rainy night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is driving home from work when she spots a man about to jump to his death from the side of a bridge. Tallie invites him for coffee instead, triggering an encounter will change both of their lives forever. Fate has funny ideas sometimes.
This new novel from Janet Skeslien Charles explores the consequences of choices we make–the really big choices. In Paris, 1939, young Odile Souchet is enjoying her dream job at the American Library in Paris. But when the Nazis take over, Odile and her fellow librarians must make a dangerous decision–join the Resistance or stand aside in passive complicity. Forty years later, Odile finally tells her tale.
Australian writer Jane Harper (The Dry, The Lost Man) is one of the best pure whodunit writers working today. Before you get ahold of a Jane Harper book, make sure to clear your schedule for the next few days. In her latest mystery, The Survivors, a traumatized young man named Kieran Elliott returns to the small coastal community he once called home. Also in play: a missing brother, a body on the beach, a sunken wreck, and the dramatic disclosure of several long-held secrets.
Here’s a fun hypothetical for your next dinner party: What would you do if your partner were having an affair with a clone? Important detail: What if the clone was a replica of you? It encourages some uncomfortable lateral thinking, doesn’t it? Sarah Gailey’s intriguing new book combines elements of thriller and science fiction into a pleasantly twisty 21st century parable.
Nuclear-grade buzz surrounds this debut novel from author Nancy Johnson, former journalist and first-time novelist. In 2008, Black engineer Ruth Tuttle returns to her hometown in Indiana to find a working-class crisis of unemployment and despair. After befriending a poor white teenager, Ruth must find a path forward as racial tensions explode in the town. Ruth’s family sacrificed everything to give her an Ivy League education and a comfortable middle-class life. Can Ruth’s American Dream be salvaged?
Author Christina McDonald (The Night Olivia Fell) returns with a family thriller about love, desperation, and extremely poor choices. When a medical doctor mom discovers her son needs expensive but live-saving cancer medicine, she tries dealing opioids to make ends meet. Predictably, things go south, and soon the good doctor must keep terrible secrets about drugs, crime and even murder. Oh well, at least her husband isn’t a police detective. Oh, wait. He is?
National Book Award finalist Brandon Hobson takes an interesting turn with his latest, a literary drama that wanders to the edge of the twilight zone. The Echota family is just starting to recover from a lethal tragedy when they reconvene for an annual Cherokee holiday and bonfire. The boundaries between the physical and the spiritual begin to merge as ancestral forces intrude. Drawing directly from Cherokee folklore, Hobson’s book explores themes of family, grief, and the cyclical persistence of stories.
Rather well-timed, in a societal sense, Think Again is a book that’s quite literally about the benefit of doubt. Author and organizational psychologist Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World) makes the case that rethinking long-held opinions is a good habit to adopt – especially in a world that moves as fast as ours does. “Why do we laugh at people using computers that are ten years old, but yet still cling to opinions we formed ten years ago?” It’s a good question, really.
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019
Edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
Edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain
A wildly ambitious work of historical nonfiction, Four Hundred Souls chronicles four centuries of the Black American experience, from the first slave ships to the present day. Featuring 80 chronological chapters, this anthology draws on contributions from some of the nation’s leading scholars, writers, historians, journalists, lawyers, poets and activists. As both a work of scholarship and an act of reclamation, Four Hundred Souls leverages the abiding power of storytelling.
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