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.
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...
Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl By Andrea Lawlor Out November 1 Paul is a gender fluid jack-of-all trades, a 22-year-old college dropout trying to understand his own shifting identity. Is he a girl? Is he a boy? What’s the clearest route to discovering yourself? Set in America in the early ‘90s, Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl is an LGBTQ coming-of-age narrative that takes the reader on a winding journey: from ACT UP meetings in New York City to dinner parties in Provincetown and myriad corners of culture at the height of the AIDS epidemic. This book is bound to be a new school classic among narratives about gender, sexuality, and the quest for self-understanding.
Wonder Valley By Ivy Pochada Out November 7 Wonder Valley begins in the wee hours of the morning in Los Angeles, when a naked man darts across the freeway. To explain why, Pochada takes the story four years back: to the Mojave Desert, where two petty criminals are hiding out; to Skid Row; and then the tony Westside neighborhoods that sprawl along the Pacific's shoreline Along the way we meet Ren — a juvenile delinquent on a search for his mother — and Britt, a former tennis star trying to outrun a dark secret. Then there’s James, who is trying to leave his childhood (included his self-proclaimed “shaman” father) in the dust, and Blake, the dangerous drifter who has set in motion a series of events that explain the naked man bobbing and weaving through the standstill traffic. What emerges is a portrait of a city, the good and the bad, and the people who are trying to survive within its limits and beyond.
The Revolution of Marina M. By Janet Fitch Out November 7 From the writer of White Oleander comes the story of a young Russian woman trapped in a cage of privilege, who longs to escape — and gets her wish. It is New Year’s Eve in St. Petersburg, 1916, and everything is about to change for Marina Makarova. Swept up in the tides of national renaissance, Marina will join the fight for worker’s rights, fall in love with a young radical, and give up everything she holds dear. But what she never predicted was the betrayals hiding in the shadows, just when she thinks she is certain about everything.
Seduced By Mrs. Robinson: How ‘The Graduate’ Became the Touchstone of a Generation By Beverly Gray Out November 7 On the 50th anniversary of this classic American film, Gray takes a look back at its legacy — the players involved, what the older-woman-young-man storyline meant at the time, and why it captivated audiences so completely — not to mention how the movie actually got made. With a historian’s eye for detail and a novelist’s story weaving skills, this richly researched work of nonfiction will give a new generation insight into how The Graduate effect is felt to this day.
A Selfie As Big As The Ritz By Lara Williams Out October 31 A relationship falls apart in the most romantic city in the world. A young woman can’t find the right words while accompanying her best friend to get an abortion. Another tries to understand her lover's strange sexual fantasy and the heart of that desire. In this debut collection of short stories, Williams unfurls women’s stories across various eras of life. At first their connectedness is unclear. But read them all, then step back, and a portrait will emerge, like a Monet painting for the page.
Where The Past Begins By Amy Tan Out October 18 The famed fiction writer digs back into her own past — including shocking family truths — in this new memoir, which is full of revealing honesty and her characteristic wit. Tan leaves no stone unturned, exploring the real reason she was made to take an IQ test at age six, why her parents lied about their own education, and the complex relationship she had with her father, who passed away when she was just 15. Fans of her novels will enjoy the insight they get into her psyche; readers new to her work will be lucky to start their Tan journey by hearing directly from the author herself.
A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf By Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney Foreword from Margaret Atwood Out October 17 We’ve been regaled (a lot) with tales about the friendships between high profile men of letters. But this delightful new book takes a different tack: What about the women? Borrowing from never-before-published diaries and correspondence written by some of literature’s largest-looming female figures, this nonfiction tome digs into the supportive, though sometimes scandalous, relationships between some of our favorite writers.
Her Body And Other Parties By Carmen Maria Machado Out October 3 A woman refuses to remove the green ribbon from her neck, no matter how hard her husband pleads with her to take it off; a weight-loss surgery results in an unwelcome houseguest. It’s a strange, eerie world that Machado has built in this unforgettable debut — one that challenges the way we think about women’s bodies and the everyday violence visited upon them that sometimes goes unnoticed.
The Power By Naomi Alderman Out October 10 What would happen if teenage girls across the world woke up one morning to discover that they suddenly possessed immense physical strength: the ability to tear doors off their hinges, to rip sheets of metal, to overpower anyone who dared trespass against them? That is the question at the center of this — yes, we’re going to say it — powerfulwork of speculative non-fiction from award-winner Alderman.
Dogs At The Perimeter By Madeliene Thien Out October 3 As a child, Janie was subjected to terrible violence carried out by the Khmer Rouge and robbed of everything, and everyone, she loved; three decades later, resettled in Montreal, she still bears the scars of that past. Leaving her son and husband behind, Janie moves into the home of her friend, the scientist Hiroji Matsui, and for a time they are able to find comfort in their shared pain. But when Hiroji vanishes, Janie’s wounds are ripped open all over again, and she must find a way to exist in a world that is haunted by all that has gone missing.
The Six: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters By Laura Thompson Out October 3 If you’re looking for something to fill the Downton Abbey void then this is the must-read fall nonfiction pick to add to the pile. Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica, and Deborah were born with silver spoons in their mouths and became sought-after members of high society during pre-World War II era Britain. This masterful historical novel weaves together the scandalous story of a family coming apart at the seams against the backdrop of high society and looming war — $10 says it's coming to a Netlix series near you sometime soonish.
Manhattan Beach By Jennifer Egan Out October 3 From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit From The Goon Squad comes a period thriller with noir verve that we couldn’t get out of our minds… One day, 12 year-old Anna Kerrigan accompanies her dad to see a mysterious man named Dexter Stiles — who, though she doesn’t quite understand at the time, is crucial to her family’s survival. Years later, Anna’s dad has disappeared, and she’s gone to work at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, taking the place of American men who are off fighting in World War II battlefields. When her path crosses with Dexter Stiles' once again, Anna starts to understand what she witnessed that day at his home by the shore — and the secrets behind her father's sudden vanishing act.
Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America Collected essays from 23 leading feminist writers of our time Out October 3 Trust us: This is the book you’ll hand off to your kid at some yet-to-be-determined future date when they ask you about the way the world was in 2017. Nasty women: Unite once again — this time, for book club!
Nomadland: Surviving America In The Twenty-First Century By Jessica Bruder Out September 26 From award-winning journalist Jessica Bruder comes the revealing true story of a new wave nomads, They live in vans and RVs, traveling the country in search of seasonal work; many of them are single women who can’t rely on social security or savings to pay the bills. Told through the lens of one such woman named Linda, Bruder’s book explores the dark underbelly of the American economy — and the resilience of people doing everything they can to simply survive.
A Disappearance in Damascus: Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War By Deborah Campbell Out September 5 In 2007, veteran journalist Deborah Campbell traveled undercover to Damascus to report on the exodus of Iraqis into Syria following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It's there she meets Ahlam, a refugee working as a "fixer" in the region who ultimately Campbell hires as her guide. Ahlam is hardworking and determined, the breadwinner of her own family, which includes a husband and son; and an unofficial leader of the refugee community who also has set up a makeshift school for displaced girls. But one more, Ahlam is snatched from her home in front of Campbell's eyes. A Disappearance in Damascus is the story of Campbell trying to find her friend in the shadowy city, the depths of female friendship, and the courage it takes to tell stories that the powers-that-be would prefer to remain buried.
The Origin of Others By Toni Morrison Out September 18 From legendary writer and thinker Toni Morrison comes a book that deals with one of the thorniest topics of our time: race. In this work of nonfiction, which draws on a legacy of Morrison’s lectures, she tackles big questions: What is race? What motivates us to construct otherness? What makes us so afraid of one another? Probing, brilliant, and beautifully rendered, The Origin of Others is destined to become one of the major sociological texts of our time.
Caroline: Little House, Revisited By Sarah Miller Out September 19 Little House On The Prairie fans, prepare to fall in love with your favorite characters all over again. This retelling of the classic series focuses on a pioneer woman seen in an entirely new light: Caroline Ingalls, a.k.a. “Ma” from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s iconic novels. The new story begins with the Ingalls family journey from the woods of Wisconsin to their new home in Kansas Indian Territory, and centers on Caroline’s struggle to care for her family — and for herself — on this adventure into the unknown.
My Fair Junkie: A Memoir Of Getting Dirty And Staying Clean By Amy Dresner Out September 12 Amy Dresner had a Beverly Hills upbringing: plenty of money, fancy schools, all the opportunities in the world laid out on a table for her to choose from. But at 24, while living in San Francisco, she turned into an addiction monster, starting with meth and spiraling downward from there. While she was able to keep up the illusion of having it together for a while, eventually Dresner landed in jail — and then a psych ward. This is the story of how she fought her way back: Darkly funny, the memoir reckons with demons — sex addiction, drugs, and the quest for sobriety — in brutally honest, entertaining prose.
A Loving, Faithful Animal By Josephine Rowe Out September 12 On New Year’s Eve 1980, Ru’s father has disappeared — not for the first time, but maybe for the last — and the family is thrown into tailspin. Her sister, Lani, seeks sex and drugs as an escape from their troubled family life in a small Australian town; Lu's mother, Evelyn, escapes into memories of her own youth, fading from reality a little more every day. Rumors spread that a big black cat is stalking the landscape beyond their door. And it all falls to Ru to sort through what is myth, what is truth; her family's mysteries, and all their broken pieces.
What Happened By Hillary Rodham Clinton Out September 12 Hillary Clinton’s memoir of her campaign for the presidency might be a painful read for her supporters — or really anyone fatigued by talk about the 2016 election. But what you get from this book is something we have never fully heard before: a chance to understand how the woman at the center of it all tells her own story about the quest for the White House. Without a campaign to run, she has fewer reasons to hold back. What Happened might be our first chance to really see Clinton for who she is without a campaign platform to support.
Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng Out September 12 In the tight knit Ohio community of Shaker Heights, everything is pre-planned and expertly executed, from the sidewalk grid to the successful lives its citizens lead. But when single mom and bohemian artist Mia Warren arrives in town with her daughter, Pearl, the duo winds up next door to the Richardson's ... including Elena Richardson, the matriarch, who is losing her grip on that veneer of perfection. Full of secrets, cultural tensions, and the mysteries of motherhood, Little Fires Everywhere is a riveting read and one of our favorite new works of fiction this fall.
I Hear She’s A Real Bitch By Jen Agg Out September 12 From the moment she opened her first bar, Jen Agg knew that she was a lifer in the business. What she did not know but has been learning ever since is that, to succeed (and survive!) in the food world, women wade through a sexist system stacked against them — even in 2017. Acerbic, beautifully written, and deeply thoughtful, Agg’s memoir is about not just making it in a man’s world, but making it into a woman’s world, too.
Forest Dark By Nicole Krauss Out September 12 Jules Epstein is sixty-eight year old man for whom metamorphoses is a way of life: His parents have died, he is newly divorced and recently retired, and suddenly finds himself with an irresistible desire to give his prized possessions away. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Tel Aviv, where he is sidetracked by a charismatic rabbi who hooks him into a film project being helmed by the rabbi’s beautiful, mysterious daughter. Intersecting Epstein’s story is the journey of a young Brooklyn writer staying in the Tel Aviv Hilton hotel, trying to escape both her writer’s block and a troubled marriage. She, too, is drawn into a project she can’t turn down — and eventually, these threads begin to tangle…
Sing, Unburied, Sing By Jesmyn Ward Out September 5 Jojo and his baby sister, Kayla, have been raised among ghosts: ghosts from the long gone past; the ghost of their uncle, who was shot by white men in the woods; the not-yet-dead ghost of their mother, Leonie, who is both there in the house with them but never really present. When their father, Michael, is released from prison, Leonie and the kids take a road trip to go pick him up. What spills out along the way is the story of not only their sadness but the aching felt by all people whose histories are veined with tragedy, regret — but also, resilience.
Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman: How Gender Equality Can Save The World By Catherine Mayer Out September 5 What would a world where we achieved gender equality really look like? Journalist Catherine Mayer has some ideas, and she’s laid them out in this highly readable roadmap for the future. Digging into the structures that hold women back and laying bare the process for dismantling them to create a more equal tomorrow, Mayer has penned a how-to for the women’s movement in 2017.
The Burning Girl By Claire Messud Out August 29 Julia and Cassie have been friends basically since birth: sharing every step of their lives, every secret, every heartache and dream. Both girls yearn to break free of the their quiet hometown, and, as they grow up, that yearning materializes on the horizon. But when the young women reach a crossroads and Cassie decides to venture forth on a dangerous journey alone, it isn't just their friendship that hangs in the balance. An evocative dissection of friendship, belonging, and betrayal, The Burning Girl is the latest in a long line of Messud novels about female complexity that belongs on your bookshelf.
Things That Happened Before The Earthquake By Chiara Barzini Out August 15 Just weeks after the 1992 riots that rocked Los Angeles, Eugenia’s wannabe filmmaker parents decide it’s time for the family to move to the San Fernando Valley, where they’re hoping to make it big in the entertainment biz. But for Eugenia, it’s not just a move: It’s a whole new world, full of Crips and Bloods and Persian gang members at her high school, neon-lit strip malls, bizarre new fast food joins and the evolving culture of early ‘90s L.A. But when the 1994 earthquake hits, the tectonic plates of her life begin to shift all over again …
How To Behave In A Crowd By Camille Bordas Out August 15 At 11 years old, Isidore is the youngest of six siblings in a small French town — and the only one who doesn’t have the outward presentation of a complete brainiac. But when tragedy strikes the family, it becomes clear that Isidore might be the only person capable to attending the nuances of grief, and possibly the sole person who can help bring them all through, together — that is, if he doesn’t run away from home first.
Rebellion By Molly Paterson Out August 8 A sweeping epic that spans a century and from Illinois to China, Rebellion tells the stories of Addie, Louisa, Hazel, and Juanlan — four women who defy expectations and charter their own destinies. In 1900, Addie, an American missionary in China, goes missing during the Boxer Rebellion without a trace; her sister, Louisa, recently married and settled in the American heartland, is sure that she's lost Addie forever. More than 50 years later, Louisa’s daughter Hazel, suddenly widowed, must find the strength to keep her family and their farm intact. Back in China, nearly half a century after Hazel's plight, Juanlan returned to her parents’ home in Heng’an and must find a way to channel her own power, despite the fact that the odds are stacked against her.
The Girl In The Show By Anna Fields Out August 8 Whoever says that women aren't funny should be bonked over the head (repeatedly) with this book. From Lucille Ball to Abbi Jacobson, Amy Poehler, Lizz Winstead and beyond, Fields has dug deep into the history of female comedy legends new and old and come back with a riotously funny and ravishingly researched compendium of the gals who make us laugh and the contributions they've made to the entertainment canon.
Sour Heart By Jenny Zhang Out August 1 Both a debut author and the debut novel from Lena Dunham’s imprint, Lenny, Sour Grapes is a collection of incredible stories about the immigrant experience in America. From the fast moving halls of a public school in Queens to scamming Atlantic Casino busses, the tales in this book traverse different slices of life, across decades and countries, with new perspective; lovers of Miranda July, Helen Oyeyemi, and Zadie Smith will find themselves in good company with Sour Heart.
See What I Have Done By Sarah Schmidt Out August 1 We’ve all heard the story of how Lizzie Borden murdered her father and stepmother in cold blood with an axe one morning. But what if the story was more complicated than that — more complicated than we could ever imagine without getting to know the motivations and memories of all the players in this bloody drama? Schmidt’s reimagining of the story shifts perspectives, from Lizzie herself to her older sister, Emma, and beyond, gives new life — and depths — to the century-old true crime tale that we still cannot get out of our minds.
Impossible Views of the World By Lucy Ives Out August 1 Stella Krakus is having what might be the worst week of her life. She’s being stalked by her (almost!) ex-husband. Her workplace romantic is coming apart at the seams. A beloved colleague at a Manhattan art museum has suddenly gone missing. But when Stella stumbles on a mysterious map, she starts connecting the dots of nefarious happenings at the museum — not to mention her personal life. It's only then that Stella starts to see the bigger picture, and to unravel secrets that will change her life.
The Lauras By Sara Taylor Out August 1 After a fight with Alex’s father, Ma yanks her only child out of bed and decides it’s time for the two of them to embark on a cross-country journey, from Virginia to California. What Alex doesn’t realize at the start of the trip, though, is that winding their way westward is also working their way to the center of Ma’s greatest secret. A fascinating portrait of a young person's coming-of-age and the characters they encounter along the way, The Lauras is road trip narrative that refreshes the genre for 2017.
The Regulars By Georgia Clark Out August 8 Yep, you’re right: This is a book that came out in hardback last summer. But we loved it so much that now that the paperback has arrived, we’re bringing it up again. Krista, Evie, and Willow are three friends just trying to make it through their twenties in New York City, with all the usual dating, job, and quarter-life-crises that plague women their age. But when the gals happen upon a magic tincture that will make them drop dead gorgeous with just a few drops, the landscapes of their lives begin to change — and not necessarily for the better.
After Andy: Adventures In Warhol Land By Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni Out August 1 Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni was just 16 years old when she met Andy Warhol — but it was an encounter that would forever shape the course of her life. This gloriously detailed all-too-true tell-all delves into the depths of what the man himself was like, and the world that built up around him: socialites, artists, rock legends, art world powerhouses, models, starlets, and general glitterati. As the last person to be hired on at the studio before Warhol’s death in 1987, Fraser-Cavassoni is also uniquely able to share not only the circumstances of his life, but also of its the aftermath, from the assessment of his estate to the record-breaking auction of his belongings and the publication of his diaries. Prepare to go behind the scenes and be totally transported.
Arbitrary Stupid Goal By Tamara Shopsin Out July 18 Picture it: Vintage New York in the '70s, decades before anyone was touring the West Village looking for Carrie Bradshaw's Perry Street apartment, and at the center of it all is the author's family's diner — a legendary greasy spoon that will leave you hankering for egg salad and an era without iPhones. Shopsin's book is a portrait of a bygone time when families could actually afford to live in Lower Manhattan and when a single neighborhood in a big city could blossom into a world full of adventure off your own doorstep.
Sex and Rage By Eve Babitz Out July 11 Yes, we know: This book is an oldie, originally published in 1979. But it's getting a reissue this month, and for good reason. Why? Because it's RAD. Jacaranda — sun-kissed and gorgeous, a part-time beach bum and painter of surfboards — knows that her life is dreamy, but she's concerned about its overall lack of purpose; with that in mind, she packs up and heads from Los Angeles to New York City, to redefine her fate. But when she gets to the Big Apple, Jacaranda's adventures take her places she never could have predicted. Sensual and dreamlike, Sex and Rage is still a transportive, relevant text nearly half a century after its debut — as well as a reminder that sometimes it's the chance encounters that change us most.
The Goddesses By Swan Huntley Out July 25 When Nancy, her husband, and their twins move to Kona, Hawaii, they leave the mainland as a broken family. Infidelity has wreaked havoc on the marriage. Everyone needs a fresh start — and they get one: planting an orange tree in the backyard, settling back into a routine, learning to trust one another once again. But when Nancy becomes increasingly close to her yoga teacher, Ana, the plot start to shift once again. Suddenly, Nancy is spending all her time with Ana, realizing that she would go to the ends of the Earth for this new person in her life — perhaps even at the expense of everything, and everyone, else she loves.
Refuge By Dina Nayeri Out July 11 When Niloo was a little girl, she was whisked away from Iran to live in America — but her father stayed behind. In the 20 years since, they have had four reunions total; but when Niloo receives a string of concerning emails from her father's address, she is suddenly thrust back into a culture that feels at once like home and like something entirely foreign. A beautiful, complex rendering of the relationships between fathers and daughters, as well as a moving portrait of diaspora's effects, Refuge is a novel that perfectly captures the heartache — and hope — of our modern global moment.
What We Lose By Zinzi Clemmons Out July 11 Thandi — raised in Pennsylvania by a mother from Johannesburg — feels out to sea, caught between identities of Black and white, American and foreigner, young woman and adulthood. She is searching for something to define and anchor herself; when her mother passes away, from cancer, her quest to find the place she truly belongs intensifies.
Goodbye, Vitamin By Rachel Khong Out July 11 Suddenly single after a split from her fiancé, 30-year-old Ruth feels like her life is at a crossroads. But when she returns to her childhood home, she finds her family is in more disarray than she can imagined: Her father seems to be sliding out of lucidity, and her mother can barely keep it together. As her dad becomes sicker, Ruth's grief begins to transform into something that also gives her a greater sense of self. Laugh out loud funny and also full of heart, Goodbye Vitamin is the story of a young woman finally growing up, after years of thinking that particular rite of passage was already behind her.
We Shall Not All Sleep By Estep Nagy Out July 3 The Hillsingers and the Quicks have shared the tiny island of Seven, in Maine, for generations. But in the year 1964, things suddenly start to shift after a matriarch is lost and grief begins to wind its way outward in strange directions. On top of that, this book has C.I.A. secrets, intergenerational family drama, WASP warfare, and all sorts of other twists and turns that will keep your eyes glued to the pages. A summer read if there ever was one, this is one of those literary beach books you won't be able to put down.
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land By Monica Hesse Out July 11 A true crime narrative chockfull of spellbinding storytelling and incredible reportage, American Fire tells the story of Accomack Virginia, a rural town where — night after night — someone is setting fires. Once you find out who — and why — you'll be singing the praises of this book all over town. Not only is it stranger than fiction: It's all completely true.
Hello Sunshine By Laura Dave Out July 11 Sunshine Mackenzie is living a dream life as a culinary star with millions of dedicated fans. But when she gets hacked and all her secrets are suddenly revealed, her fall from grace is swift and complete. Sunshine winds up moving back to her childhood home to live alongside the estranged sister she's tried hard to leave in her past. But what begins as a personal nightmare turns into a move that might save both their lives. Sunny, funny, and sweet, this book is basically the formula for your ideal beach or poolside read this summer!
The Windfall By Diksha Basu Out June 27 For thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha have endured the daily drama of close quarters with neighbors in their housing complex. But when Mr. Jha inherits a vast sum of money and the couple moves across town, everything changes — including the way they relate to their twenty-something son. But money certainly doesn't solve everything. In fact, it might have made things worse in this hilarious, insightful novel about family, fragility, pride and sense of self.
Photo: Random House.
Perennials By Mandy Berman, Out June 6 Rachel and Fiona grew up going to camp together, summer after summer. Now, with freshman year of college behind them, they're reunited for yet another season at Camp Marigold — this time, as counselors. But their lives, and their friendship, have shifted; for the first time ever, they find themselves keeping secrets from each other. When a tragedy spends the camp into tailspin, the young women must confront the precipice they stand on: the edge that defines childhood and the moment you really start to grow up.
Photo: Courtesy of Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.
The Answers By Catherine Lacey, Out June 6 Mary Parsons is broke — between medical bills and credit card debt, she's not sure how she'll make it through. When starts looking for a second job on Craigslist and winds up on a posting called the "Girlfriend Experience", she decides to give it a shot. The details: A famous actor has hired a team of biotech researchers to build him a harem of women who, together, will constitute the "perfect" relationship. Mary joins the gang, which includes a Maternal Girlfriend (who does the laundry), a Mundanity Girlfriend (who mostly hangs around) plus a host of others tasked with meeting Kurt's intimacy needs. What follows is a wacky look at the way human beings connect — and how, even with all the planning in the world, the ideal relationship isn't something you can create with an algorithm.
Small Hours By Jennifer Kitses, out June 13 What does a relationship — and the secrets contained within it — look like, as it spills out over the course of a day? In this suspenseful, beautifully written debut, we get an hour-by-hour look at a marriage that's trying to outrun the past. But the clock is ticking, and they're running out of time.
The End Of Men By Karen Rinaldi, Out June 20 Isabel, Anna, Beth, and Maggie are the epitome of modern, independent women. Their version of "happily ever after" definitely isn't something you'd find in a Disney movie; it's simple, something to seek out on your own terms — and it's also the beating heart of this hilarious novel. From lusting after a former lover (even while you're in a perfectly happy marriage!) to starting a pregnancy lingerie company, the lively stories in this book made us laugh out loud — and also reconsider the social pressures women face in order to be thought of as "successful" across all areas of their lives. Read it once, read it again, and gift a copy to your best girlfriend so you can giggle about it together.
Aftercare Instructions By Bonnie Pipkin, Out June 27 At 17, Genesis doesn't jibe with her small New Jersey town; her only refuge is her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter. But when he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to get an abortion, her whole world is turned upside down — and Genesis has to redefine her identity, all on her own. Told through the arc of a young love story that builds toward betrayal, this sharp, complex narrative is a coming-of-age novel that will feel especially resonant for women in the lens of 2017.
Our Little Racket By Angelica Baker, Out June 20 When an investment bank shutters, its CEO suddenly becomes a pariah in his own cloistered community — and the five women in his life must scramble to readjust to this jarring new normal. His teenage daughter, Madison, wants to know the truth about what her dad did — or may not have done; while her mother, her nanny, her best friend, and a family friend begin to question their own relationship to power, privilege, and the man who made it all possible. A probing social novel about contemporary culture, family, wealth, and the line between ignorance and complicity: Our Little Racket is a captivating read that you must throw in your beach bag, posthaste.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo By Taylor Jenkins Reid Out June 13 When aging Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the story of her glamorous, scandalous life, she picks unknown, down-on-her-luck magazine reporter Monique Grant to take on the challenge of writing her biography. The only question is: Why? Monique's career is in a state of standstill; her husband has flown the coop — and it's not like her star isn't exactly on the rise. But the more Monique finds out about Evelyn, the more it becomes clear that their lives are eerily, unpredictably connected. Jenkins Reid's book is a look back at the Golden Age of Hollywood with more than a dash of suspense thriller; mysterious, artfully told, and impossible to put down.
The Shark Club By Ann Kidd Taylor Out June 6 On a gorgeous summer beach day in Florida, two things happen to Maeve Donnelly that will forever impact her life. The first is that she gets kissed by the boy of her dreams. The second is that she is bitten by a blacktip shark. Eighteen years later, Maeve has made her name for herself as a marine biologist specializing in the minds of misunderstood sharks. But when she returns to the seaside town of her youth, she gets more than she bargained for in the romance department. So what comes first: Her love life — or her career? And should she rekindle an old romance, or kick up a new one with a colleague who has a secret swimming below the surface?
The Answers By Catherine Lacey, Released June 6 Mary Parsons is broke — between medical bills and credit card debt, she's not sure how she'll make it through. When starts looking for a second job on Craigslist and winds up on a posting called the "Girlfriend Experience", she decides to give it a shot. The details: A famous actor has hired a team of biotech researchers to build him a harem of women who, together, will constitute the "perfect" relationship. Mary joins the gang, which includes a Maternal Girlfriend (who does the laundry), a Mundanity Girlfriend (who mostly hangs around) plus a host of others tasked with meeting Kurt's intimacy needs. What follows is a wacky look at the way human beings connect — and how, even with all the planning in the world, the ideal relationship isn't something you can create with an algorithm.
Perennials By Mandy Berman Out June 6 Rachel and Fiona grew up going to camp together, summer after summer. Now, with freshman year of college behind them, they're reunited for yet another season at Camp Marigold — this time, as counselors. But their lives, and their friendship, have shifted; for the first time ever, they find themselves keeping secrets from each other. When a tragedy spends the camp into tailspin, the young women must confront the precipice they stand on: the edge that defines childhood and the moment you really start to grow up.
Touch By Courtney Maum Out May 30 Sloane Jacobson is one of the world’s most powerful trend forecasters, and her sense of where family life is going is down, down, down. But when Sloane starts to realize that perhaps her forecasting on the subject of human empathy isn't tracking to real life, she has to come to a reckoning: Does she go with the data — that people are increasingly isolated? Or does she go with her gut — and her heart?
The Leavers By Lisa Ko Out May 2 One day, Deming Guo's mother, Polly, is waiting to walk him home from school; the next, she vanishes into thin air, leaving not a trace behind. What follows is a heartbreaking, thought-provoking novel about the search for roots and belonging in contemporary America. For more about the novel, check out a full review here.
Mr. Rochester By Sarah Shoemaker Out May 9 Lovers of Emily Brontë and Jane Eyre, this one’s for you: If you’ve ever wondered about the backstory of the man who Jane eventually teaches to love again, Mr. Rochester is officially wish fulfillment. Is it made up? Sure. But who cares — so is Jane Eyre, and the character creation here makes the story in the original novel all the more swoon-worthy.
You Don’t Look Your Age… And Other Fairy Tales By Sheila Nevins Out May 2 Famed documentary producer Sheila Nevins stepped out from behind the camera to write this book, in which she tackles many real life challenges of being a woman in a man’s movie business world. “Women need this kind of honest excavation of the process of living,” Meryl Streep said on this memoir-meets-field-guide-to-life. If it’s good enough for Meryl, then consider us sold.
Miss Burma By Charmaine Craig Out May 2 A story of how modern-day Burma came to be, as well as the tale of one of the most violent and turbulent eras in world history played out. At once beautiful and heartbreaking, this novel is told through the lens of an incredible family saga that centers on a husband and wife, and their daughter who grows up to become Burma’s first beauty queen — before the country falls to dictatorship.
One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter By Scaachi Koul Out May 2 One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter might sound like a book that’s full of doom and gloom — but, in this case, that couldn’t be further from the truth. These essays span everything from awkward conversations with your bikini waxer to the best way to slay a troll, as relayed by one of the sharpest, funniest writers working right now.
I’ll Eat When I’m Dead By Barbara Bourland Out May 2 A whodunnit with a Devil Wears Prada twist: When a high-powered fashion editor dies in her office, her best friend / work wife Cat knows that it wasn’t because of something she ate (or, in this case, didn’t eat). Cat enlists the help of a detective and they get on the case — which winds the duo up in a web of sex, lies, and makeup counter madness. If you love UnReal, then this smart, sassy novel will be right up your alley.
Mothers and Other Strangers By Gina Sorrell Out May 2 “My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted." That's the opening sentence to Sorrell’s novel, which chronicles a young woman’s quest to understand the mother who raised her — and the secrets she left behind. Don’t even pretend like that first line doesn’t already have you hooked.
Into The Water By Paula Hawkins Out May 2 When a single mother turns up dead at the bottom of a river, her teenage daughter knows that there’s more to the story than suicide. Marked by the careful plotting and suspenseful twists we’ve come to expect from Hawkins, the thriller master behind The Girl On The Train, this story slowly unravels to reveal what’s lying beneath the surface — and a web of secrets that has been killing the women of a small town for years.
The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness By Jill Filipovic Out May 2 The search for happiness can be a complicated endeavor for women in the 21st century; in this book, acclaimed writer Filopovic argues that the main thing standing in between women and the h-spot is a rigged system, hellbent on keeping them from getting even close. So what will it take to break down the bulwarks? Filipovic has some thoughts — pick up this book to find out where she takes them.
Priestdaddy: A Memoir By Patricia Lockwood Out May 2 Ranging from raunchy critique to a thoughts on religious devotion, poet and writer Patricia Lockwood's memoir conveys stories about her father: a Catholic priest, the likes of whom you’ve probably never encountered before. When Lockwood and her husband have to move back into her parents’ rectory after 10 years of being on their own, hilarity ensues — as does plenty of other action. Nothing in this book is expected; everything — from the stories to the prose itself — will stick with you long after its over.
The F Word By Liza Palmer Out April 25 Olivia Morten is perfect — or at least, she looks that way on the surface. A high powered publicist with a bangin' body: Who cares if her husband is never around or if the secret she'd kept hidden for years is eating her from the inside out? (Spoiler: She does.) But when Olivia's high school frenemy (and former crush) shows up on the scene, her calculated exterior starts to crumble.
Oola By Brittany Newell Out April 25 When Oola and Leif meet in London, they fall for one another hard and fast. Lives newly fused, the young, aimless couple heads back to the United States for the summer, where they bounce around housesitting gigs before winding up in Big Sur. Soon enough, they're nearly bored to tears — and that's where the story takes a major twist, from love story to something decidedly more interesting and experimental. What happens next will either ruin their relationship or catapult it to a place that neither Leif nor Oola ever imagined they would wind up.
Courtesy of RandomHouse
Anything Is Possible By Elizabeth Strout Out April 25 For anyone who adored My Name Is Lucy Barton, you'll be thrilled to find out that Strout brought her back in this beautiful novel about the ties that bind and the journeys toward understanding each other and ourselves. In this novel, two sisters choose very different paths to fulfillment; a janitor at the local school finds himself ever-more drawn into the life of someone unexpected; a grown woman longs for her mother without reprieve. Finally, a sister returns to visit her family after nearly two decades to build bridges with the siblings she left behind.
The Widow of Wall Street By Randy Susan Meyers, Out April 11 Phoebe falls for Jake Pierce hard when they're still just teenagers: She seems to know even before he does that he'll go on to conquer a financial empire and rule the Wall Street scene. But the dirty secret behind Jake's success will eventually become the downfall of this couples' glittering life together. Think of The Widow of Wall Street as The Wolf of Wall Street — except told from the side of the wife, more scintillating, and a testament to the power of a woman's ability to survive it all — it's a must-read that will dazzle and repel you, in equal measure.
Imagine Wanting Only This By Kristen Radtke Out April 18 When writer and illustrator Kristen Radtke was in college, she experienced two things in quick sequence that altered the way she viewed the world: A beloved uncle passed away, and the sight of an abandoned mining town kicked off her fixation on things discarded and forgotten. In her debut graphic novel, we go on a world tour via the author's perspective; the result is an unforgettable exploration of the people, and places, we leave behind, as well as a dreamy, well-drawn memoir about the landscapes of loss.
The Book Of Joan By Lidia Yuknavitch, Out April 18 The planet has become radioactive. Humans — or, the creatures that were once humans — live on a shelf suspended above the soil, their skin nearly translucent and tattooed with the literal stories of their own existence. There is only one person who can save them from a brutal overlord — a child soldier, destined to become a martyr to the cause of existence. This is her story; this is The Book of Joan.
The Last Days Of Café Leila By Donia Bijan Out April 18 Iranian-born Noor and her daughter, Lily, have a perfectly fine life in San Francisco. But Noor is dreaming of returning to her native country and, along with it, the restaurant that has been in her family for three generations. When she finally makes the move, Noor is thrilled to find herself home once again. But soon she discovers that life outside the cafe walls is much different than the Iran of her upbringing. A love letter to family, food, and culture, The Last Days Of Café Leila is a beautiful narrative with an undeniable ache for belonging at its center.
If We Were Villains By M.L. Rio Out April 11 It's a whodunnit with a decidedly Shakespearean twist. Oliver has been in jail for the last decade, serving time for a crime that he may or may not have actually committed; on the day he is released, a detective meets him at his cell, wanting to know now — once and for all — what really happened the day a member of Oliver's acting troupe came to his tragic end. To answer that, Oliver takes us back in time to tell the story of how he and his fellow performers concocted a script that kept everyone but the players from discovering the truth.
Sympathy By Olivia Sudjic Out April 4 Twenty-three-year-old Alice Hare has become obsessed with the idea that Mizuko Himura, a Japanese writer living in NYC, is her "Internet twin." With the aim to meet her in mind, Alice travels from England to New York and artfully sets up a meet cute with the object of her fixation, which — at first — goes just fine. But soon enough, Mizuko begins to realize that Alice has been lying to her all along. A dark, spellbinding reflection on relationships in the Digital Age, Sympathy is a debut that will have you rethinking the way life online intersects with existence offscreen.
No One Is Coming To Save Us By Stephanie Powell Watts Out April 4 JJ Ferguson has returned to his hometown of Pinewood, North Carolina, with a plan: He aims to use his newfound wealth to erect a mansion overlooking the lake, and to woo his high school sweetheart. Ava, in short order. But Pinewood isn't quite as he left it: Ava is married to someone else, and the once vibrant town has been economically gutted by the loss of factory jobs. A Gatsby-esque story, delicately spun and especially relevant in the America of 2017, No One Is Coming To Save Us is ultimately a story about what people do with the hands they are dealt.
Marlena By Julie Buntin Out April 4 When 15-year-old Cat moved to a rural Michigan town, she thought life as she knew it was over. Then she met her neighbor, Marlena: a manic, pill popping beauty who initiated Cat into the cult of bad teen behavior and become her best friend. But within a year, Marlena was dead — drowned in six inches of icy water, out in the woods — leaving Cat to pick up the pieces. Told through haunting dialog that shifts back and forth between past and present, Marlena is a novel about the forces that shape us, for ill and good, as well as the friends we'll never forget.
Photo: Courtesy of Atria Books.
It Happens All The Time By Amy Hatvany Out March 28 Amber and Tyler have been best friends — strictly platonic — since childhood. But one evening when they're both back in their hometown, a hookup changes everything. After that night, Tyler thinks they've finally, after all these years, acted on their feelings for one another. But from Amber's perspective, her best friend raped her, ruining her life. Told through the experiences and thoughts of alternating characters, It Happens All The Time probes the outer limits of what consensual sex means, and chronicles the fallout that arrives thereafter.
Photo: Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company.
The Arrangement By Sarah Dunn Out March 21 Lucy and Owen traded in their Brooklyn-based life for a more bucolic update scene: the 200-year-old Upstate New York house with chickens roaming around the yard — you know, the works. But when they decide to take a cue from another couple and try out an open marriage for six months, Lucy gets more than she bargained for. In the end, she has to decide what she desires more — the stable, happy, beautiful life she's built with her husband? Or a much messier one that might ultimately be more satisfying?
Photo: Courtesy of Counterpoint.
Lucky You By Erika Carter Out March 21 Ellie, Rachel, and Chloe weren't exactly friends in college. But now that they've graduated and stuck around their Arkansas campus town together, they've become sort of an accidental trio — in more ways that one. All waitresses at a local dive bar, each young woman is unravelling in a way of her own. When Rachel asks Ellie and Chloe to come live off-the-grid with herself and her boyfriend, in a remote, rural house, they agree. But the "experiment" that takes place there — in the silence, and the boredom, and the brewing tension — is more than any of the women bargained for ...
Photo: Courtesy of Random House.
The Rules Do Not Apply By Ariel Levy Out March 14 When writer and journalist Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, and stable in her life. Less than four weeks later, everything had come undone. "I wanted what we all want: everything," she writes in this resilient and wrenching memoir that belongs at the top of your list. "We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy, and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can't have it all." Tough words and thoughts worth considering.
Photo: Courtesy of Pamela Dorman Books.
The Book of Polly By Kathy Hepinstall Out March 14 Willow Havens has been obsessed — no seriously, obsessed — with her own mother for as long as she can remember: Polly is a strong, spitfire Louisiana woman who sticks out among more conventional women in their small Texas town. But Polly is also a woman of many secrets — secrets that Willow is constantly trying to unravel. A mother/daughter comedy steeped in quirky characters, personal history mysteries, and no small amount of love, The Book of Polly is a delightful read about one of the world's most fundamental relationships.
Photo: Courtesy of Penguin Press.
The Idiot By Elif Batuman Out March 14 In 1995, when Selin — the daughter of Turkish immigrants — arrives at Harvard, email is brand new and the world has not opened itself up to her quite yet. But soon enough, Selin begins a digital pen-pal affair with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary, and life begins to change. With every missive they exchange, the two become more entwined. But it's not until the summer, when Ivan goes to Budapest and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, that their connection truly blooms — or that Selin realizes she might not be able to escape the fate of becoming a tortured writer.
Photo: Courtesy of Abrams ComicArts.
The Best We Could Do By Thi Bui Out March 7 Evocative and powerful, this graphic memoir tells the story of a family's escape from South Vietnam in 1970s and the new life they carve out for themselves in San Francisco. Alternating between the past and present, Bui's narrative emerges across three generations, beginning with her own parents' journey and spanning into her experiences as a young mother on the West Coast. Hers is a nuanced and heartfelt immigrant tale, brought to true life through beautiful and brilliant illustration. On top of that, it's an especially poignant read from the vantage point of 2017.
Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin
All Grown Up By Jami Attenberg Out March 7 When Andrea first moved into her Brooklyn apartment, she had a view of the Manhattan skyline. But as time crept forward, the city grew up around her, brick by brick. Until one day, her view was gone. Now in her late 30s — single by choice but also seemingly unattached to much of the life she's built for herself — Andrea is reaching a reckoning point. Does she want to stick with the scaffolding she's built for herself? Or is it time to finally peel away the layers to find what really matters? A wry and at moments wrenching book about loss and the search for identity, All Grown Up is a beautifully written book by one of our favorite fiction writers working today.
Photo: Courtesy of Simon and Schuster.
Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf By Helene Cooper Out March 7 Leader of the Liberian women’s movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a beacon of breaking barriers and challenging the status quo. But her accomplishments are all the more impressive and important given the story that preceded them, as told by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author Helene Cooper.
Photo: Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.
Down City: A Daughter's Story of Love, Memory and Murder By Leah Carroll Out March 7 When Leah Carroll was four years old, her mother — a gifted amateur photographer — was murdered by two drug dealers with Mafia ties, who both received light sentences for their crime. Then, fourteen years later, Carroll's father would die, too, leaving her alone in the world, haunted by questions about her past, present, and future. In this raw debut, Carroll — a Refinery29 staffer — seeks to piece together her parent's lives and the tragic circumstances of her mother's death, while also delving into the mysteries of her Rhode Island town.
Photo: Courtesy of Random House Books.
The Lucky Ones By Julianne Pachico Out March 7 Set in Colombia and New York City between 1993 and 2018, The Lucky Ones is a gripping, tense debut that explores what happens when trust and truth evaporate: A teenage girl finds herself stranded home alone, with no connection to outside world — and then comes a knock at the door that will change everything. Meanwhile, her former teacher has been captured by guerrilla fighters who now watch his every move. Far away, another classmate manages to escape her native land, trading it in for the NYC club scene — but little bags of white powder still rule over her life. Fans of A Visit From The Goon Squad and The Goldfinch, take note: This is the new novel you'll tear through — and then go back and read again.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Photo: Courtesy of Bloomsbury
Piecing Me Together By Renee Watson Out February 14 Jade'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 Jade 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 Jade'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 , Johnson's novel will linger in your mind long after the pages are closed.
Asking For It
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.
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.
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.
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.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!