These Are Our Favorite Books Of 2017 — So Far

We may be living in a Golden Age of television, where you can hang out on the couch and watch hours of award-winning series that are legitimately stimulating and not feel even the tiniest bit guilty about it. (Fact: We do that too. It's our go-to Sunday afternoon plan.)
But in 2017, we'd like to suggest a new concept: Instead of binge watching, why not try binge reading? Sure, it sounds like more work than camping out in front of the ol' boob tube. But your attention span — not to mention the more literary muscles of your mind — will thank you.
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That's why we're issuing a challenge: Stop downloading Netflix series to your phone to watch when you're bored at work, between classes, or at the bar with a particularly lame Tinder date. Always have a book in your bag instead. And if you need some ideas for which titles to bring along wherever you go — well, we've got some suggestions...
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Photo: Courtesy of Bloomsbury.
Abandon Me

By Melissa Febos

Out February 28

In her critically acclaimed memoir Whip Smart, Melissa Febos gave readers a peek into the lifestyle of professional dominatrix, while also traversing themes of power and desire, subversion and fulfillment.

In the highly anticipated Abandon Me, she peels back another layer: Her latest release is a work that looks at the father her left her behind and the one who raised her, as well as the ripple effect those two relationships had on her life more largely. Intimate and mesmerizingly vulnerable, Abandon Me is a book that gets at the heart of who we love, how we love — and why.
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Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
Everything Belongs To Us

By Yoojin Grace Wuertz

Out February 28

Jusin and Namin are best friends who couldn't have had more different lives before reaching university. The former is the daughter of a wealthy tycoon, without a care or want in the world; the latter, the daughter of street vendors, whose only goal in life is to launch her family out of poverty.

But when a young man enters their lives and draws them into a prestigious club at their elite university, Jusin and Namin must decide where their allegiances lie — to their families, to their politics, to their hearts, or to one another.
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Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto

By Jessa Crispin

Out February 21

If you're looking to get some real talk going at your book club, we definitely suggest bringing this new title into the mix. Crispin, founder of the beloved (and now defunct) literary blog Bookslut, has a complicated relationship with feminism. It's not that she isn't a feminist — this is a feminist manifesto, after all — but she does have some major questions about the kind of feminism we seem to be subscribing to these days.

Is the feminist movement too watered down and consumerist to matter anymore? Does being a feminist really just mean believing women are equal to men? Who gets to claim the feminist label — and who doesn't? These are just a few of the questions and cultural criticisms posed in this smart and provocative release. And, especially in this modern moment, it's worth considering them all.
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Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
Flâneuse: Women Walk The City

By Lauren Elkin

Out February 21

Sure, there’s plenty of literature devoted to the meandering walks and subsequent observations of men. But this book turns the tables, delving into what happens when women go wandering: Equal parts memoir, social critique, and cultural criticism, Flâneuse is new world walking and watching literature — this time, from a much-needed female perspective.
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Photo: Courtesy of Bloomsbury
Piecing Me Together

By Renee Watson

Out February 14

Jane's family is poor — and she knows her only way out is a good education and the opportunities to come along with it. So when her elite private school offers her a chance to see the world through a study abroad program, she's ready to pack her bags.

But before Jane can leave her family, her community, and her circumstances behind, she must enroll in a mentorship program, where she is matched with a young woman named Maxine who just doesn't understand Jane's life. Finding common ground becomes much harder than either girl could have ever imagined — but the journey to understanding one another is an education unto itself.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ecco.
Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember

By Christine Hyung-Oak Lee

Out February 14

When Christine Hyung-Oak Lee woke up with a headache on the last day of 2006, she never would have imagined that within a week she would lose her ability to form sentences, or decide what to wear in the morning by herself.

But as her symptoms progressed, it became clear to doctors that the then-33-year-old had suffered a stroke. This honest and meditative memoir is the story about how Hyung-Oak Lee rebuilt her life, quite literally one step at a time, and how she discovered the person she had always wanted to become.
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Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead Books.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel

By Heather O’Neill

Out February 7

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1914, but it quickly becomes clear that there are more to the duo than meets the eye. Pierrot grows into a piano prodigy; Rose can charm any room with her dancing and personality. Together, they begin to perform throughout the city and plan a circus act the likes of which the world has never seen. But when fate tears them apart, the lovers must find their way back to one another through the seedy underbelly of a city with many secrets beneath its bricked streets.
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Photo: Courtesy of Riverhead Books.
A Separation

By Katie Kitamura

Out February 7

When a young woman and her husband separate, he asks that she tell no one — and she obliges. But when her estranged spouse goes missing in a remote region of Greece and her mother-in-law bids her to go find him, she must embark on the mission. In the process, she begins to uncover details about her former lover's life that have been buried for all the years she's known him.

A spellbinding portrait of how a marriage frays and how intimacy can betray us, Kitamura has spun a tangled web of a story we could absolutely not put down until the final sentence came to a close. Gone Girl fans, take note — you’’re definitely going to want to dive into this one.
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Photo: Courtesy of Ecco.
A Book of American Martyrs

By Joyce Carol Oates

Out February 7

To be honest, there’s not much (i.e. anything ) by Joyce Carol Oates we wouldn’t recommend reading. But even so, her latest novel stands out at the top of our reading recommendation list.

The story of two families in a midwestern community, A Book Of American Martyrs chronicles what happens after an abortion care provider is murdered in a small Ohio town. Urgent and epic, this fictional work is also an important interrogation of how issues divide neighbors — and our nation — today.
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Photo: Courtesy of Picador.
The Woman Next Door

By Yewande Omotoso

Out February 7

Hortensia James and Marion Agostina have been neighbors for years. Both are successful. Both are newly widowed. Each has a secret that the other desperately wants. But as sworn enemies — divided by a hedge between their houses and by race — neither Hortensia nor Marion has ever tried to truly get to understand her neighbor. Until now, that is, when they most decide what is more important to hold onto: a grudge, or their way of life.
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Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
All The Lives I Want

By Alana Massey

Out February 7

From the writer behind the viral essay "Being Winona In A World Made For Gwyneths" comes a beautifully articulated, personal collection of cultural criticisms on the subjects of celebrity worship and the performance of womanhood in the world.

From Anna Nicole Smith and Amber Rose to Scarlett Johansson and Lana Del Rey, Massey's debut covers a lot of territory, but keeps you pinned to the pages at every turn. We're recommending this one for your next book club — All The Lives I Want is the book we want to be dissecting with all our girlfriends in the months to come.
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Photo: Courtesy of Flatiron Books.
Schadenfreude, A Love Story

By Rebecca Schuman

Out February 7

Every once in awhile, a coming-of-age memoir arrives that truly breaks the mold — and this one certainly fits that bill. Like a lot of people, Rebecca Schuman fell in love for the first time as a teenager. But unlike most everyone on the planet, the object of her affection was a man who had been dead for a near-quarter century: Franz Kafka. What unfolds in Schadenfreude is the story of their (admittedly one-sided) affair, and then some. Germanophiles, this one's for you.
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Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins.
The Possessions

By Sara Flannery Murphy

Out February 7

For years now, Edie has worked for Elysian Society: a private service that allows the bereaved to reconnect with their dead loved ones. Elysian Society workers don the clothes and personal paraphernalia of the dead, and then channel their spirits for brief periods of time.

But when Edie first channels Sylvia, the deceased wife of Patrick Braddock, she knows something is different — and more than a little dangerous — this time around. What happens next is the story of how Edie disappears into memory of a dead woman and discovers long-buried secrets about her own past along the way.
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Photo: Courtesy of Penguin Random House.
The Girl From The Metropol Hotel

By Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

Out February 7

Acclaimed writer and reporter Ludmilla Petrushevskaya was born inside Moscow’s famed Metropol Hotel in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution. But not long after that, the hotel became the Second House of the Soviets, and she and her family were cast into the streets to fend for themselves.

This is Petrushevskaya's story of being tossed from her posh home and raised among outcasts. Biting but beautiful, it’s an autobiography that says much about the world both then and now.
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Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
The Animators
By Kayla Rae Whitaker
Out January 31

Sharon Kisses and Mel Vaught met in college — and have been best friends ever since. Both artists, they moved together to Brooklyn after finishing school, to spend the rest of their twenties drinking, laughing, and, most importantly, drawing together.

Now, after nearly a decade of trying to make their way, the pair finally have their first big break on the horizon: a film that literally illustrates Mel's dark and difficult childhood. Soon their movie — and both women — become the toast of the indie scene. But success cracks the foundation of their relationship, and the women have to decide if it's even possible to patch things up.

A chronicle about the fierceness of female friendship and what it takes to sustain a lifelong partner in creative pursuit, The Animators is new spin on the coming-of-age novel — and a fabulous, funny, sometimes traumatic one at that.
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Photo: Courtesy of Flatiron Books.
This Is How It Always Is
By Laurie Frankel
Out January 24

When Rosie, Penn, and their four boys welcome another baby to their brood, the new little boy fits perfectly. But one day, Claude decides he wants to don a dress and grow out his hair; ultimately, he tells his family that he hopes to be a girl.

Illuminatingly nuanced and heartfelt, This Is How It Always Is is the story of how a family evolves — and grows — together.
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Photo: Courtesy of Melville House.
What We Do Now: Standing Up For Your Values In Trump's America
Out January 17

Okay, okay: So this one is a little (a lot) left of partisan. But if you're at all feeling lost in 2017 because of the political situation we've found ourselves embroiled in, let it be known that there are good books, and great essays, to get you through.
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Photo: Courtesy of Penguin / Random House.
A Word For Love
By Emily Robbins
Out January 17

It is said that there are ninety-nine Arabic words for love — and when Bea, an American exchange student, travels to the Middle East to study a manuscript of famed romantic legend, she aims to understand them all. But when Bea arrives at the home of her host family, reading Arabic takes a backseat to watching a real-life love story play out before her eyes.

A beautiful novel about our connection to language, to culture, and to one another, A Word For Love will tug at your heart in all the right ways.
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Photo: Courtesy of Little Brown and Company.
The Futures
By Anna Pitoniak
Out January 17

Evan and Julia met and fell in love at Yale before moving to New York City to start their post-grad life together. Julia — born wealthy and beautiful — goes to work at a nonprofit, while Evan — who went to the elite Ivy on a scholarship — lands a job at a prestigious financial firm.

Yep, this is another novel about the economic collapse of the late aughts. But it's an especially enjoyable one, all about the things you believe in when you're young — and what breaks your heart along the way.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chatto & Windus.
Lucky Boy
By Shanthi Sekaran
Out January 10

Solimar Castro-Valdez is a young Mexican who made her way to America for a better life and winds up in an immigration detention center, separated from her infant son, Ignacio. Kavya Reddy is a wealthy American woman who has struggled to have her own children — and ends up with Ignacio under her care, allowing her to finally be the mother she has always dreamed of becoming.

But when both claim a child as their own, which mother — and which nation — does he belong to?
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Photo: Gallery/Scout Press.
The River At Night
By Erica Ferencik
Out January 10

When Winifred Allen departs on a white water rafting trip with her three best friends, she thinks she's going to relax and unwind. But what begins as an invigorating nature retreat ultimately becomes a quest for survival in the Maine wilderness.

A thriller like you've never encountered before — make sure this one finds its way to your bookshelf. But maybe don't read it right before an adventure vacation.
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Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
The Most Dangerous Place On Earth
By Lindsey Lee Johnson
Out January 10

Not since The Breakfast Club has there been a narrative so insightful about the secret lives of high schoolers. The characters of this smart, gripping debut are the kids you think you know: wealthy students in San Francisco who it seems have everything at their fingertips.

But just below the surface is a far more complex story about a tragedy that binds them all together and rippled through their lives from middle school forward. Smarter than Mean Girls and every bit as chilling as Asking For It, Johnson's novel will linger in your mind long after the pages are closed.
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Photo: Courtesy of Grove Atlantic.
History of Wolves
By Emily Fridlund
Out January 3

Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents on a near-abandoned commune in the woods of northern Minnesota. Isolated both physically and emotionally, she begins to find her place in the world when she is hired as the babysitter for a family that recently moved in across the lake. She grows to love caring for the family's son, Paul — a task that finally gives her life meaning and purpose.

But just as Linda uncovers a sense of belonging, she also uncovers the family's secret, and it will alter the course of her life for good.
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Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
Idaho
By Emily Ruskovich
Out January 3

Long-married couple Ann and Wade have carved out a life for themselves in northern Idaho. But as Wade's memory begins to fade, Ann becomes determined to learn more about the fate of her husband's first wife, Jenny, and their two daughters, all three long gone.

Little by little, the shocking tragedy that split Wade and Jenny emerges — as does the story of how Wade and Ann found one another. Haunting and full of heart, this book is a perfect place to begin your new-year reading list.
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Photo: Grove Press.
Difficult Women
By Roxane Gay
Out January 3

While we'll admit that we would read anything that Roxane Gay writes, from her groundbreaking essay collection Bad Feminist to a scribbled grocery list, her latest release is especially intoxicating. Each of these fictional stories tells the tale of a complicated woman and the way she moves in the world. You could read this one in small bites, one narrative at a time... But it's even better if you sit down and don't get up until you're all done. Our rec? Just let this whole book wash over you.
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Photo: Courtesy of Henry and Holt and Co.
Lotus
By Lijia Zhang
Out January 1

Inspired by the author's own true story about discovering that her grandmother had been sold into prostitution during her youth, Lotus delves into the history of Chinese "flower girls" in a fictional narrative about a young streetwalker who reaches a fork in the road — and must choose her path carefully.

Read the author's essay on the inspiration behind her novel.
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