9 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in February
Are you obsessed with scams and cons? Do you cringe at memories of your first relationship? Have you ever stayed in an Airbnb? You’re in luck: Each of these themes are covered in some of February’s most exciting new reads. Here are nine titles to add to your Bookshop cart immediately.
1. Confident Women: Swindlers, Grifters, and Shapeshifters of the Feminine Persuasion by Tori Telfer
When you think of famous cons and scams throughout history, you likely think about Frank Abagnale (of Catch Me If You Can fame), Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff. Often forgotten are notorious female con artists—like Kate and Maggie Fox (who, in the mid-1800s, pretended they could speak to spirits), Loreta Janeta Velasquez (who is known for claiming to be a soldier and convincing people she worked for the Confederacy—or the Union, depending on who she was talking to) and Cassie Chadwick (who got banks to loan her upwards of $40,000 by telling people she was Andrew Carnegie's illegitimate daughter)—and their bold, outrageous scams. In this fascinating, darkly funny look at history, Telfer (Lady Killers) asks: Where does chutzpah intersect with a uniquely female pathology, and how were these notorious women able to so spectacularly dupe and swindle their victims?
2. the divines: a novel by ellie eaton
For Josephine, now in her thirties, her years at St. John the Divine, an elite English boarding school, are a lifetime away. She hasn't even spoken to another so-called Divine in 15 years, when the school shuttered its doors in disgrace. When she inexplicably finds herself returning to her old stomping grounds, Josephine becomes obsessed with her teenage identity, edging closer and closer to the violent secret at the heart of the school's scandal.
3. Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad
After graduating from college, Jaouad was preparing to enter the real world—falling in love and moving to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a war correspondent—when, a few weeks shy of her 23rd birthday, she was diagnosed with leukemia, with a 35 percent chance of survival. She went on to spend much of the next four years in a hospital bed, fighting for her life and chronicling the saga in a column for The New York Times. Her debut memoir is a profound story of survival and a fierce and inspiring exploration of what it means to reenter the world and live again.
4. Want Me: A Sex Writer's Journey into the Heart of Desire by Tracy Clark-Flory
Before Jezebel writer Tracy Clark-Flory began writing about sex, she was a young woman confused by the juxtaposition of declarations of girl power and the sexualized mandates of pop culture. In her debut memoir, she pulls back the curtain on the conflicting truths about her own desire, as a woman coming of age and later a veteran journalist covering the sex beat. Jumping from adult film sets, fetish conventions and an orgasmic meditation retreat, and weaving in statistics and expert voices on sexual freedom, Want Me offers a fun, intimate and honest look at how modern women can and do approach their own sensuality.
5. Fake Accounts by Lauren Oyler
On the eve of Donald Trump's inauguration, a young woman snoops through her boyfriend's phone and makes the startling discovery that he's an anonymous—and popular—internet conspiracy theorist. Left with no reason to stay in New York and increasingly alienated from the people around her, the unnamed narrator flees to Berlin, where she experiences dating apps, expat meetups, open-plan offices and bureaucratic waiting rooms. Along the way, she’s confronted by delusions, gaslighting and the confluence between fiction and reality in the internet age.
6. Possession by Katie Lowe
Ten years ago, Hannah’s husband was brutally murdered in their home, and she doesn’t remember a thing about that night. But the police charged someone—a stranger—and put him away for life, as Hannah packed up her 6-year-old daughter and left London behind. But now, her hard-won peace is threatened when a viral true-crime podcast known for getting cases reopened and old verdicts overturned turns its attention to Hannah’s husband’s murder for its new season. As the episodes air, Hannah loses the trust of everyone she loves as secrets from her past—and the possibility that the police framed the man convicted of the crime—are revealed.
7. My Year Abroad by Chang-Rae Lee
The latest novel from National Book Critics Circle fiction finalist Lee (The Surrendered, On Such a Full Sea) follows Tiller, an average young American man who tells two linked stories from his life. The first is about living with a woman and her 8-year-old son, who are in witness protection due to her ex’s dealings with Uzbek gangsters. The second covers his time just before meeting her, when he became an assistant to a Chinese American entrepreneur trying to develop a health drink. Equal parts insightful, suspenseful and darkly funny, My Year Abroad is a commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism and mental health.
8. Girl A by Abigail Dean
Lex has spent years trying to forget her childhood and her family. Growing up in an extremely abusive house, she became known in the news as Girl A—the eldest sister who escaped and freed her older brother and four younger siblings. After her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex the family home, she finds she can't run from her past any longer. Read this gripping psychological family story if you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn or Emma Donoghue.
9. Super Host: A Novel by Kate Russo
This candid and captivating portrait of middle age zeros in on Bennett, a 55 year-old artist who was once a rising star. Now, his wife has left him, he hasn't sold a painting in two years and his gallery wants to stop selling his work. With no income, he’s forced to move into the artist’s studio in his large West London home and list the main house on the popular vacation rental site, AirBed. Struggling to find purpose in his day-to-day, Bennett’s life changes when three different guests—a lonely American, a tortured artist and a cautiously optimistic divorcée—open his eyes to what it truly means to take a new chance at life.