Best Book Club Picks for February 2017: Neil Gaiman, George Saunders, and more

Best Book Club Picks for February 2017: Neil Gaiman, George Saunders, and more

It’s a new year, and now that the festivities are over, it’s the perfect time to reinvest in your favorite social activity: your book club, of course. We’ve given you advice about how to start your own book club, and if you’ve already done that, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ve pulled the best book club picks coming out this month. Whether you’re in the mood for some nonfiction about neuroscience and murder, or would prefer to lose yourself in George Saunders’ new novel about Abraham Lincoln, we have the book to get your club chatting. For more excellent picks, check out our winter previews!


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Norse Mythology

If your book club is craving some folklore and fantasy, look no further than the prolific Neil Gaiman’s take on Norse mythology. Gaiman has been inspired by these myths in the past (both Odin and Loki appear in American Gods), but this novel introduces Thor as well. The lives of these gods are explored in a series of connected stories that focus on power, trickery, and humanity. Gaiman draws from classic tales, but adds his own signature style that makes this a must-read for fans of mythology, religion, and Gaiman.

On shelves: February 7


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Pachinko

There’s something about generational sagas that we can’t get enough of. This novel by Min Jin Lee explores the history of Korea and Japan during the early 1900s through the family of a pregnant girl. With her baby’s father out of the picture, Sunja decides to accept a marriage proposal from a pastor, even though it means traveling with him to Japan. The move is isolating and painful; Sunja and her Korean family are discriminated against because of their homeland. The novel follows the family through four generations as they search for belonging in a new land.

On shelves: February 7


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The Book Thieves

In The Book Thieves, author Anders Rydell tells the story of how the Nazis stole books from people and libraries across Europe, and started their own library full of information they could use against the books’ original owners. In this narrative, Rydell himself has in his possession a book that was stolen and then recovered, and it is his job to bring it back to its rightful owners. This journey is emotional, historically rich, and will remind readers of the immense power of the written word.

On shelves: February 7

The Unseeing

Fans of historical fiction and good old fashioned mysteries will find themselves captivated by Anna Mazzola’s novel. Set in London in the year 1837, the story begins when seamstress Sarah Gale is accused of murder. Her own life rests in the hands of criminal investigator Edmund Fleetwood, who will decide if she’s innocent (as she insists) or guilty (in which case she’ll be hanged). Edmund is determined to reveal the secrets that he knows Sarah is keeping, and we’re positive your book club will be just as determined as he is to find the answers.

On shelves: February 7


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Lincoln in the Bardo

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. George Saunders’ first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, is going to be one of the year’s biggest books. In it, Abraham Lincoln mourns the death of his 11-year-old son, Willie, and sits with his body in a cemetery in Georgetown. Over the course of one night, Lincoln will converse with ghosts, and ponder all of the big questions that a tragic death can make the grieving wonder about. If your book club likes to read the buzziest books of the year, then there’s no better pick than this.

On shelves: February 14


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Dreamland Burning

Jennifer Latham’s young adult novel jumps between the present day and 1921, revealing the causes and the impact of the Tulsa race riots in Oklahoma. Will, a biracial teen, lives in a town segregated by Jim Crow laws. It’s a place where racial tensions grow more palpable every day, and his friendship with Joseph and Ruby, a black brother and sister, puts him in danger. In the present day, 17-year-old Rowan finds a nearly 100-year-old skeleton buried on her family’s property. When the police decline to help her uncover what happened, she decides to investigate on her own. These two storylines merge in a powerful and moving conclusion.

On shelves: February 21


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Waking Lions

Eitan Green is a brain surgeon, which means he took an oath to do no harm. But he does a world of harm when he hits a man with his car, and then leaves him to die. The next day, the man’s wife appears at Eitan’s door. She knows what Eitan did, and she wants something from him in order to stay quiet about that deadly night. For book clubs that like discussing the moral implications of human actions, this book is sure to deliver spirited conversation and page-turning drama.

On shelves: February 28


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The Brain Defense

True crime and pop-neuroscience collide in this gripping piece of narrative nonfiction from author Ken Davis. The Brain Defense concerns the case of Herbert Weinstein, who, in 1991, attacked his wife and threw her out of their twelfth-floor window. Weinstein had never behaved violently, and in fact, didn’t even get angry often. It didn’t make any sense. But then, a large cyst was found on Weinstein’s brain. Weinstein’s brain scans were then used as evidence in his trial, raising fascinating questions about brain injuries and accountability.

On shelves: February 28

Elizabeth Rowe
Elizabeth was an American Studies major at Georgetown University, and is currently getting her MFA in nonfiction writing at Columbia University. She spends entirely too much time and money at the Strand, where she once saw Daniel Radcliffe. Her current obsession is the My Struggle series by Karl Ove Knausgaard, and she thoroughly embarrassed herself when she met him shortly after the release of volume four (and she has the photos to prove it).

1 COMMENT

  1. Will try to read Lincoln and the Bardo and Norse Mythology.
    The Fish Ladder is a lovely wonderful book of feelings and descriptions; worthy of a second read….

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