Happy To Read Tuesday! Here we’re highlighting the eight titles that our editors are most excited to add to their TBR shelves. For even more hot new releases, check out our Winter Previews for the best books coming out this season.
In Kaethe Schwehn’s debut novel, The Rending and the Nest, the main character Mira is bereft when she learns that her family disappeared after the Rending. She does her best to create a life for herself, living in a new community called Zion. The inhabitants of Zion need to scavenge to survive and seem to be doing a decent job of building a new life. When Mira’s best friend Lana becomes pregnant, the fledgling normalcy of Zion becomes strange again as she gives birth to a toy instead of a human child. Soon other women become pregnant and give birth to objects as well. The strangeness doesn’t stop there. A man named Michael comes to Zion and adds to the terror by stealing Lana away. Will Mira be able to save her friend? Or will she be another missing loved one to mourn?
Brittney Cooper’s essay collection Eloquent Rage is filled with rage that is eloquently delivered to the reader in a series of outspoken, unapologetic, and brilliantly incisive essays about being a black woman and a feminist. Cooper shows the importance of her rage as a black woman, which is born from a long history of abuses. Examining feminism from her perspective, Cooper also shines a light on how white feminists do damage to both black women and the feminist movement by not understanding their privilege and denying the intersection of race and feminism. Rage can be powerful and Cooper channels her own emotions to share her truth and remind women of their right to take up space in this world.
We are so hot for Laura Lippman’s latest novel Sunburn that we chose it as one of our February Book Club picks. With a nod to noir crime fiction of the past, Lippman ups the ante in this tale of two people brought together by chance and kept together by circumstance. Polly walked out on her family and into the arms of Adam. The two met while passing through the same small town and end up working at the same diner. Sparks fly and the two become lovers, but they each hold their secret pasts back from each other. These secrets are hard to keep when suspicion comes to town after a coworker is killed in an explosion. Questions arise about whether this death was an accident or murder. Now, the Polly and Adam must decide whether their love is strong enough to overcome their past skeletons and present distrust. In a starred review Publishers Weekly writes, “This is Lippman at her observant, fiercest best, a force to be reckoned with in crime fiction.”
Anjali Sachdeva is a fresh voice on the speculative fiction scene with her debut collection All the Names They Used for God. The characters in this book are searching for meaning in a wonderful and terrible world. The characters and their situations are fascinating and diverse: a young woman created by genetic manipulation, John Milton at the time he was writing Paradise Lost, and Danish immigrant Henrick Van Jorgen, a worker in the Carnegie steel mills. The stories are rooted in the struggles of these characters, and are set all over the world and in different eras. Sachdeva has received praise for her collection from such luminaries as Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr who writes, “Sachdeva is a fascinating storyteller, willing to push her inventiveness as far as it will go, and I cannot wait to see what she writes next.”
Though Kelly Barnhill is known for her children’s fiction like the Newbery-winning novel The Girl Who Drank the Moon, she is reaching out to a new audience with her fierce new collection for adults, Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories. The book features eight short stories and a novella which are magical tales of characters seeking their own paths even though society would rather they meet certain expectations. These characters are unexpected and fresh: Readers will meet a woman who loves a Sasquatch, a guilt-stricken witch, and an invisible girl.
What the Night Sings is a heartbreaking work of historical fiction for young adults written and illustrated by Vesper Stamper. This narrative follows the story of Gerta Rausch, a 14-year-old singer who first learns she is Jewish when she and her father are sent to Theresienstadt in 1944. The novel follows Gerta through her harrowing time moving from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, where her father is killed, and then to Bergen-Belsen. After liberation, Gerta moves from a displaced persons camp to Palestine, all the while struggling to keep singing and learning to understand and root herself within her Jewish heritage.
The 17th-century artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian is the subject of Joyce Sidman’s middle grade book The Girl Who Drew Butterflies. The narrative follows Merian’s life and her passion for studying insects, which led her on amazing adventures in search of the truth about about what butterflies are and how they form. Metamorphosis is an utterly magical natural process. What we understand about it today is largely the result of work done by Merian through her documentation of metamorphosis. Sidman even uses some of Merian’s work within the book, which readers will find delightful.
Author and illustrator Anna Walker came up with the idea for her latest picture book Florette during her own family’s trip to Paris, where she saw a lush, green flower shop. Walker writes about Mae, who just moved to Paris and is lonely. She misses the garden she had in her rural home, and she is inspired to begin a new garden after she and her mother visit Florette, a magnificent florist shop. All it takes is one small plant, and from that plant the garden grows. Suddenly, Mae is not so lonely as she was when she first moved to the city, learning that it can sometimes take time and effort to find yourself at home in a new place.