13 Books We Can't Wait to Read in February
It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s peak stay-cozy-at-home season. You’ve already binged Cheer, and Killing Eve doesn’t come back for another few months. You know what that means, folks: It’s time to reup your New Year’s resolution to read more. Luckily, the excellent crop of new books should make achieving your goal a hell of a lot easier. Here are 13 new titles we can’t wait to get our hands on this month.
The Resisters by Gish Jen (February 4)
In this hopefully not prescient dystopian novel, America has become AutoAmerica, and its citizens are divided into two social classes. When the government decides to resurrect the sport of baseball, Gwen, a young pitching prodigy, has a chance to change her station in life—but not without a lot of sacrifice.
Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi Abraham (February 4)
In Lagos, Nigeria, in 1996, the lives of twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike are turned upside down when their mother loses her job due to political strife. With their family now facing poverty, they turn to a suspicious spiritual institution that leads their father to wager the family home on a bet that goes up in flames. In the fallout, the inseparable sisters are forced to navigate their way on their own.
Seduction by Clement Knox (February 4)
Sex is typically a behind-closed-doors event, but seduction, Knox states, has been in the spotlight since the beginning of time. From the Garden of Eden to the saloons and speakeasies of the Jazz Age, Knox’s book is an exploration of power, desire and free will.
The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons (February 4)
When Thomas dies in a car accident, something goes wrong, and he’s stuck on earth for an additional three months. While in this surreal limbo, he’s forbidden from getting romantically involved with a member of the living. His plan is tested, though, when he meets and falls in love with Rachel—complicating his path to a happy afterlife.
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara (February 4)
Nine-year-old Jai considers himself smarter than his friends Pari and Faiz. When a classmate goes missing, he decides to use the crime-solving skills he’s picked up from TV to find him—enlisting Pari and Faiz as his assistants. But what started as a game turns sinister as other children start disappearing from their neighborhood.
Minor Dramas & Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West (February 4)
Teacher-turned-author West’s debut novel is about two women: Isobel, a beloved teacher whose unconventional teaching methods and in-classroom politics ruffle some parents’ feathers; and Julia, a helicopter parent who becomes the subject of a viral video when she has an altercation with a student on school grounds.
Verge by Lidia Yuknavitch (February 4)
In her first collection of short fiction, Yuknavitch (The Book of Joan) focuses on life on the margins, writing about an 8-year-old trauma victim who’s enlisted as an underground courier rushing frozen organs through the alleys of Eastern Europe, a child who tells off a pack of bullies by inventing an eleventh commandment and more.
Weather by Jenny Offill (February 11)
In Offill’s third book (after the best-selling Dept. of Speculation), Lizzie is a university librarian in Brooklyn, New York. Already overwhelmed with guiding her son through NYC’s school system and dealing with her addict brother’s constant crises, she takes a second job answering emails for a former mentor who is now the host of a popular podcast about futurism. That’s when she becomes convinced that doomsday is approaching.
I Know You Know Who I Am by Peter Kispert (February 11)
This debut story collection explores themes of deception, the uneasiness of reconciling a queer identity and the dark, often funny path to intimacy. The title story, for example, is about a man who, desperate to save a love affair on the rocks, hires an actor to play a friend he made up, after his boyfriend catches on to his compulsive lying.
The Genius of Women by Janice Kaplan (February 18)
For how far we’ve come in valuing women as being equal to men, New York Times journalist Kaplan points out that society still defines genius almost exclusively through male achievement. So she set out to determine why. Her book uses interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists and high achievers to investigate women geniuses now and throughout history, in fields from music to robotics.
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James (February 18)
In 1982, Viv wants to move from upstate New York to Manhattan. To help pay for the move, she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. Then she disappears. In 2017, Viv’s niece Carly moves to Fell and visits the motel, desperate for answers about her aunt’s life. There, she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982, and she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.
Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster (February 18)
By the time she was in her late 20s, Schuster was a rising TV executive who had worked for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and helped launch Key & Peele. But beneath the successful exterior, she was a chronically anxious, self-medicating mess. Her debut book is the story of her path to becoming a “ninja of self-love” through simple daily rituals, from faking gratitude until you feel gratitude to shielding yourself from your inner frenemy.
Here for It by R. Eric Thomas (February 18)
Thomas is known for his hilarious Elle.com column, “Eric Reads the News.” His debut memoir-in-essays covers growing up in a Baltimore neighborhood while attending a majority-white private school, landing his dream job, dealing with impostor syndrome, and grappling with love, breakups and other setbacks in between.