Intrepid readers! After a fiery and furious January, this February offers plenty of reading bonbons for all tastes, so much so that everything couldn’t fit on the list (apologies to the James Grippando and Lisa Gardner readers). To the highlights:
--This month is a big one for literary heavyweights on both the fiction and nonfiction shelves. Booker-prize winning author Peter Carey presents A Long Way From Home, which explores issues of race and national identity against the backdrop of a 1950s-era long distance auto race in Australia. David Mamet is best known for his plays, but he turns to fiction with Chicago, set in his hometown during the heady days of Prohibition and gangsters. Reviewers are comparing it to Doctorow and Lehane; it hits shelves at the end of the month. Nobel winner Mario Vargas Llosa dips his toe into genre fiction with The Neighborhood, which Publisher’s Weekly is comparing to Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. This month also sees plenty of fiction authors turning to nonfiction. John Banville’s memoir Time Pieces recalls his life in Dublin, while authors Marilynn Robinson and Zadie Smith turn to the essay form with What Are We Doing Here? and Feel Free, respectively.
--A few strong debuts are capturing notice this month. Brianna Wolfson’s Rosie Colored Glasses captures the struggle of one girl as she navigates between a rigid father and a manic, freewheeling mother. Luann Rice and Robin Carr have offered pre-pub praise. A much darker, but ultimately redemptive story makes up Rhiannon Navin’s Only Child, told from the perspective of a six-year old boy, a survivor of a school shooting that took the life of his older brother. Kirkus Reviews found it ‘a powerful exercise in empathy and perspective.’ Iranian-American author Jazmin Darznik chooses Iranian feminist poet and filmmaker Forugh Farrokzhad as the subject of her first fiction foray, Song of a Captive Bird. Sometimes called the Iranian Sylvia Plath, Farrokzhad burns brightly in Darznik’s fictional life story as she struggled against the strictures in Iranian society before a car accident killed her at age 32. Darznik also offers Farrokzhad’s powerful poetry in new translated versions.
--A few nonfiction titles building on the #MeToo movement hit shelves this month. T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, both Pulitzer-prize winning journalists, take on the disturbing case of how a rape victim was victimized a second time by the criminal justice system in A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America. Joanne Lipman, the editor-in-chief at USA Today, considers how men and women can make the workplace a more welcoming environment in That’s What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) about Working Together. Kirkus Reviews calls it ‘a solid start to an essential, gender-inclusive conversation.’ On a different but still timely note, Steven Pinker (psychologist, linguist and author of 2011’s The Better Angels of Our Nature) takes an optimistic stance on human progress in Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress. Booklist says of the 500-page tome ‘Pinker certainly crafts a defense of progress that will provoke deep thinking and thoughtful discourse.’ It appears on shelves at the end of the month.
Click on through for many more titles, including those from Kristin Hannah, Charles Finch, Laura Lippman and more.