This Week's Best New Books

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With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism

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With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism

by Laura L. Lovett

With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Community Activism

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The 1971 photo is famous: Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes stare unsmilingly at the camera, suffering exactly no fools, while giving the Black Power salute. In With Her Fist Raised, Laura L. Lovett writes of the less famous of the two women, a take-charge force for change and a harbinger of the intersectional feminism to come.

Born in 1938, Hughes was raised in a sprawling, loving household in Charles Junction, Ga. Knowing that her horizons were limited in the South, Hughes moved to New York ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 25
Walking with Ghosts

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Walking with Ghosts

by Gabriel Byrne

Walking with Ghosts

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Irish actor Gabriel Byrne has maintained a lauded and diverse career on stage and screen for 40 years. And the story of his life--especially his formative years as the oldest child in a poor, hardworking family at a time when Ireland was struggling to find a place in the modern world and the twisty roads he's traveled as a performer--is as fascinating as his long list of credits.

Byrne was born in Dublin in 1950, a time when the Catholic Church anchored the lives of many in Ireland. The church's ... [ Read More » ]

3 of 25
Someday My Duke Will Come

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Someday My Duke Will Come

by Christina Britton

Someday My Duke Will Come

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Christina Britton (A Good Duke Is Hard to Find) proves she has mastered the craft of engaging Regency romance with Someday My Duke Will Come. The second in the Isle of Synne series, this novel (which is dreadfully shocking by Regency standards) can be enjoyed as a standalone, and features Lady Clara Ashford, a determined single woman in her early 30s.

Clara means to never marry. Fifteen years earlier, a rogue took advantage of her innocence, and since then a remorseful Clara has devoted her life ... [ Read More » ]

4 of 25
Sleep Well, My Lady

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Sleep Well, My Lady

by Kwei Quartey

Sleep Well, My Lady

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Kwei Quartey continues his PI Emma Djan series (The Missing American) in Sleep Well, My Lady, an intriguing mystery that centers on the murder of a famous Ghanaian designer. Lady Araba, the mogul of her own fashion label, has had a tumultuous on-and-off affair with talk show host Augustus Seeza for several years. When her body is found in her bed the day before an important runway show, many people are immediately suspicious that Augustus, an alcoholic, was involved.

But Augustus has influential ... [ Read More » ]

5 of 25
Shipped

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Shipped

by Angie Hockman

Shipped

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Angie Hockman's first novel, Shipped, is a smart, crackling romantic comedy narrated by the driven and self-deprecating Henley Rose Evans. The 28-year-old shares her single life and one-bedroom Belltown, Seattle, apartment with a gray tabby. Henley had designs on seeing the whole world until "life happened," and adult bill-paying became her priority. A job at Seaquest Adventures--a boutique cruise ship line--seemed right up her alley and inspired her "big dreams for a shiny, successful career." ... [ Read More » ]

6 of 25
Remote Control

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Remote Control

by Nnedi Okorafor

Remote Control

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World Fantasy Award-winning Nigerian-American sci-fi master Nnedi Okorafor (Binti: Home; Akata Witch) will enthrall readers with this Afrofuturist novella about a Ghanaian girl cursed with mysterious, deadly powers.

Before Ghana comes to know her as Sankofa, the Adopted Daughter of Death, she is Fatima, a malaria-prone five-year-old nicknamed "Starwriter" because she draws constellations and imaginary "sky words" in the soil. After a mysterious meteor shower, Fatima finds a glowing green seed beneath ... [ Read More » ]

7 of 25
Laziness Does Not Exist

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Laziness Does Not Exist

by Devon Price

Laziness Does Not Exist

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There's a reason that revelatory ideas seem to arrive when completing idle tasks like driving a car or taking a shower. In Laziness Does Not Exist, social psychologist Devon Price convincingly argues that people's brains work best when they step away from the constant barrage of notifications, unanswered e-mails and other obligations--in other words, when they allow themselves to be a little bit lazy. Doing this is harder than it sounds. In the United States, much of life is dictated by what Price ... [ Read More » ]

8 of 25
Knock Knock

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Knock Knock

by Anders Roslund

Knock Knock

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At the start of Knock Knock, a heart-pounding thriller by Ander Roslund (co-author of Box 21), young Stockholm police officer Ewert Grens responds to a residential noise complaint. A disheveled five-year-old girl answers the door and Grens discovers a macabre murder scene. The child witness is too young to explain what happened to her family, and the killers were too smart to leave behind any clues. The police place the girl in witness protection, and the murder eventually becomes a cold case. Seventeen ... [ Read More » ]

9 of 25
This Small Blue Dot

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This Small Blue Dot

by Zeno Sworder

This Small Blue Dot

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Zeno Sworder's debut, This Small Blue Dot, a welcome-to-the-world picture book, is funny and serious, uplifting and humbling, visionary and earthy. And sometimes that's on just one page.

The book begins with a girl who looks and sounds about eight addressing a baby (an awfully cute stand-in for the reader): "Welcome to Earth./ There's a lot of strange stuff going on out there, but here are some of the things I've worked out so far." She proceeds to supply some facts and opinions, which are variously ... [ Read More » ]

10 of 25
Starla Jean: Which Came First: The Chicken or the Friendship?

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Starla Jean: Which Came First: The Chicken or the Friendship?

by Elana K. Arnold, illus. by A.N. Kang

Starla Jean: Which Came First: The Chicken or the Friendship?

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A wide-eyed and determined child finds a peckish new friend at the park (much to her family's chagrin) in this playful beginning chapter book from Elana K. Arnold (Red Hood; What Riley Wore) and A.N. Kang (My Big Bad Monster).

A bicycle ride through the neighborhood with her father leads young Starla Jean to discover a chicken scritch-scratching among some trees. "If you can catch it, you can keep it!" her father declares cavalierly. The resolute Starla Jean surprises "the skinniest, ugliest chicken ... [ Read More » ]

11 of 25
Ensnared in the Wolf's Lair: Inside the 1944 Plot to Kill Hitler and the Ghost Children of His Revenge

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Ensnared in the Wolf's Lair: Inside the 1944 Plot to Kill Hitler and the Ghost Children of His Revenge

by Ann Bausum

Ensnared in the Wolf's Lair: Inside the 1944 Plot to Kill Hitler and the Ghost Children of His Revenge

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Ann Bausum's engrossing Ensnared in the Wolf's Lair details Adolf Hitler's sweeping revenge against participants (and their families) in a failed coup and assassination attempt.

Bausum charts Hitler's rise to power and the subsequent resistance by German dissidents that culminated in a failed attack on Hitler at his isolated military outpost, the Wolf's Lair. Trusted associates and community leaders banded together against the regime to mount an assault code-named Operation Valkyrie. When the plot ... [ Read More » ]

12 of 25
Dog Flowers

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Dog Flowers

by Danielle Geller

Dog Flowers

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That Danielle Geller survived to write Dog Flowers seems miraculous. Her raw debut might need a content warning: abandonment, alcoholism, attempted suicide, domestic violence, parental incarcerations, family deaths--much of which is intrinsically linked to her enigmatic, missing mother. In bearing elegiac witness to aching losses, Geller finds surprising paths toward healing rewards.

Laureen "Tweety" Lee was homeless before dying alone of alcohol withdrawal at 49 in a Florida hospital. Geller, her ... [ Read More » ]

13 of 25
Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping

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Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping

by Matthew Salesses

Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping

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"Why do we believe there is any such thing as 'pure craft'?" writes novelist Matthew Salesses. "When writers identify race and gender and sexuality, etc., as central concerns of writing, it isn't because they have nothing to say about pacing or space breaks. They are doing the hard work other writers avoid, in order to shed light on the nature of craft itself."

Salesses shows that one can teach the finer points of writing by using them to call attention to what is left unsaid: questions about one's ... [ Read More » ]

14 of 25
The World Turned Upside Down: A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution

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The World Turned Upside Down: A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution

by Yang Jisheng, trans. by Stacy Mosher, Guo Jian

The World Turned Upside Down: A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution

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The World Turned Upside Down is a detailed, deeply researched history of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, precisely tracking the complex currents and countercurrents that devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens from 1966 to 1976. The Cultural Revolution is still a highly sensitive topic in China: journalist Yang Jisheng's lengthy book, translated and pared down from its original immensity, was published in Hong Kong and "cannot be legally sold or circulated ... [ Read More » ]

15 of 25
The Rib King

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The Rib King

by Ladee Hubbard

The Rib King

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The Rib King is every bit as inventive and original as Ladee Hubbard's confident debut, The Talented Ribkins, finding the tragedy and the bitter humor contained within the American obsession with Black iconography. The novel begins in 1914 with Mr. Sitwell, a member of the all-Black staff that holds together a wealthy white family's household as their fortunes fade. The novel's interest in the connection of race and capitalism is evident at the outset, but the book is equally concerned ... [ Read More » ]

16 of 25
Pickard County Atlas

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Pickard County Atlas

by Chris Harding Thornton

Pickard County Atlas

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In a town with "three dozen jobs, give or take," the history of each Madson, Neb., homestead permeates the land and its denizens. Deputy Harley Jensen patrols every night, "absently tick[ing] off names of passing tracts like reading a plat map in an old atlas." The events at his abandoned childhood farmhouse are inescapable, often reflected in the eyes or words of his community, and Harley always speeds past. But as Chris Harding Thornton's dark and brilliant debut, Pickard County Atlas, opens, Harley ... [ Read More » ]

17 of 25
The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

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The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

by Michael E. Mann

The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

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The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet provides a guide of sorts to the current state of the decades-long debate about climate change, a bitter conflict that pits climate activists against the forces of inaction, and sometimes against each other. Climate scientist Michael E. Mann has been at the forefront of what he calls a war ever since he and his colleagues introduced the influential "Hockey Stick" graph in 1998, demonstrating rapid warming. In the years since, the rules of war ... [ Read More » ]

18 of 25
Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World

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Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World

by Simon Winchester

Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World

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Except perhaps when the earth shakes, most people don't devote a lot of thought to the ground beneath their feet. That may change for anyone who has the pleasure of reading Simon Winchester's informative and thought-provoking survey Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World.

Winchester (Atlantic) admits he became "transfixedly fascinated with the notion of land ownership, and of how such a thing could possibly be," after his first purchase--123 acres of unimproved woodland in ... [ Read More » ]

19 of 25
Oona

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Oona

by Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Raissa Figueroa

Oona

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Gaston author Kelly DiPucchio and The More the Merrier illustrator Raissa Figueroa dive into the delightful world of Oona, a spirited little mermaid who's "sweet... and a little bit salty." With a penchant for winding up in precarious predicaments, brown-skinned and stripe-tailed Oona and her best friend Otto, a sea otter, spend their days searching for treasures, often discovering the ocean's many hazards instead.

Oona was an imp from birth, when she pursued a pearl right into the mouth of a whale. ... [ Read More » ]

20 of 25
Amari and the Night Brothers

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Amari and the Night Brothers

by B.B. Alston

Amari and the Night Brothers

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Supernatural creatures are hidden in plain sight in B.B. Alston's exhilarating middle-grade fantasy debut.

Thirteen-year-old Amari Peters is obsessed with discovering what happened to her older brother, Quinton. He had been working for a mysterious organization and then he simply disappeared. Amari knows it's possible he's dead, but she refuses to believe Quinton might be gone. Amari's faith is rewarded when she receives a magical briefcase that contains clues about the double life Quinton was leading. ... [ Read More » ]

21 of 25
A House at the Bottom of a Lake

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A House at the Bottom of a Lake

by Josh Malerman

A House at the Bottom of a Lake

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When two awkward teens discover a house at the bottom of a lake, their first date becomes sexually charged at the start of this supernatural thriller by Josh Malerman (Birdbox).

Hoping to get to know one another better, 17-year-olds James and Amelia plan a first date canoeing across a series of small lakes. They paddle, take in the sights, picnic and stumble between what they'd like to say and the fear of being misunderstood. Their stilted banter drops when they notice a graffitied, semi-submerged ... [ Read More » ]

22 of 25
The Fortunate Ones

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The Fortunate Ones

by Ed Tarkington

The Fortunate Ones

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The families of Nashville's Belle Meade Boulevard may be fortunate, but as the characters in Ed Tarkington's moving second novel (after Only Love Can Break Your Heart) reveal, money does not buy happiness.

In the prologue of The Fortunate Ones, army officer Charlie Boykin is comforting the family of an Iraq war casualty when a TV bulletin announces the suicide of Tennessee Senator Archer Creigh, and Charlie suddenly dissolves in tears. The novel explores the ties between the two men--Charlie from ... [ Read More » ]

23 of 25
Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It

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Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It

by Brian D. McLaren

Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It

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In Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About It, Brian D. McLaren (A New Kind of Christianity; A Generous Orthodoxy) explores the effects of doubt on faith, and how doubt can be a tool to strengthen one's faith. McLaren, long appreciated by progressive Christians, begins by talking about how threatening doubts can feel to believers, especially those from very conservative communities. As McLaren says, "It's scary to be a sinner falling into the hands of an angry God, ... [ Read More » ]

24 of 25
The Divines

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The Divines

by Ellie Eaton

The Divines

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Readers of Ellie Eaton's arresting debut, The Divines, should not like Gerry Lake. Gerry is the bratty, coddled roommate of Eaton's protagonist, Josephine; they attend an elite all-female boarding school in England known as St. John the Divine. These girls refer to themselves as Divines, and they consider themselves as such; locals recognize them by their posh accents, trust-funded clothing and the self-important way they flip their hair. But inside St. John, the walls are caving in. The students ... [ Read More » ]

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At the Edge of the Haight

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At the Edge of the Haight

by Katherine Seligman

At the Edge of the Haight

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Katherine Seligman's gripping debut novel, At the Edge of the Haight, explores a community on the edge of a historic setting and on the edge of getting by, with a compelling protagonist and an array of problems to wrestle with.

Twenty-year-old Maddy Donaldo lives in present-day Golden Gate Park with a sort of chosen family. There's Ash, "a skinny upside-down triangle" of a young man. Quiet, gentle, strawberry-blond Fleet has a pet rat named Tiny. Spike-haired Hope talks to everyone; she's good ... [ Read More » ]

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