BRRR! Cincy book lovers, it’s cold outside! And you know what that means cozy blankets, warm beverages, and good books. Here are the 10 that I am going to be digging into from now till the temps reach more reasonable levels.
1. The Immortalists
(Novel/ Literary Fiction)
Author: Chloe Benjamin
Publisher: Putnam, 2018
The Story: This is the buzz book of the new year, and with its fascinating premise, it’s not hard to see why. From the publisher: “If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life?... A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.”
(Novel/ Literary Fiction)
Author: Fiona Mozley
Publisher: Algonquin, 2017
The Story: Oh, a little cabin in the woods, who doesn’t dream of a thing like that in these cold winter days? In Fiona Mozley’s debut novel, the cabin is occupied by a unique family, who do things their own way. If you loved the film Captain Fantastic (as I did), I suspect this book will hit all the right notes for you.
(Novel/ Science Fiction)
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Crown, 2017
The Story: From the author of the blockbusterThe Martian comes a new novel. The film rights to it have already been sold (of course). This time, Weir tells a “heist story set on the moon.” With his signature talent for suspense and wit, Artemis promises to be an entertaining read.
4. Little Fires Everywhere
Author: Celeste Ng
Publisher: Penguin, 2017
The Story: I never got around to reading this one last year (bad bookworm, bad!). If you’re like me and haven’t gotten to this one yet, pick it up now. The story of a typical middle-class family from Shaker Heights, Ohio has riveted critics and readers alike and drawn high praise from tastemakers of book culture like Reese Witherspoon (the new Oprah-style "kingmaker" of books, if you ask this reader).
Author: Min Jin Lee
Publisher: Grand Central, 2017
The Story: Again, I am late to the party on this one. It made it to the tops of all the critics’ lists last year, and it was a National Book Award finalist. I just started it and am already completely absorbed in this epic story of an immigrant Korean family in 20th-century Japan. I love a good sweeping saga, and this one promises to be a great one.
6. Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Publisher: Dutton, 2017
The Story: Green’s earlier novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is one of my favorite YA books ever. Now he gives us a new story of two best friends, Aza and Daisy. I suspect we will love this pair as much as we did Hazel and Augustus.
7. Gertie Milk and the Keeper of Lost Things
Author: Simon Van Booy
Publisher: Razorbill, 2017
The Story: Ok, I know it is unusual for me to put a book on this list for a “middle grades” audience, but this book, by one of the best adult fiction writers working today, is magical. I happily relived my 11-year-old bookworm greatness with this fantastic adventure. Witty and fun, and full of the lyrical lines that Van Booy is known for. If you’ve ever wanted to time travel or wondered where all the lost things in the world might go, pick this one up.
8. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden
Author: Denis Johnson
Publisher: Random House, 2018
The Story: Denis Johnson had a singular genius. His book Jesus’ Son is one of the greatest collections of short fiction ever written. He passed away last year. Here is his last work, a parting gift for us all. From the publisher: ”The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is the long-awaited new story collection from Denis Johnson. Written in the luminous prose that made him one of the most beloved and important writers of his generation, this collection finds Johnson in new territory, contemplating the ghosts of the past and the elusive and unexpected ways the mysteries of the universe assert themselves.”
9. A Selfie As Big As the Ritz
Author: Lara Williams
Publisher: Flatiron, 2017
The Story: Regular readers of this column know that short fiction is my favorite, and I am always excited to find new writers of it. This debut collection by Lara Williams is a thrill. With these insightful, poignant, utterly relatable and freshly inventive stories, Williams shows great promise as a writer.
10. Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics
Author: Dan Harris
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau, 2017
The Story: ‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. My personal one is to learn how to get my anxious mind to quiet the heck down! Yours too? Let’s start here. Dan Harris, ABC news anchor and author of the memoir 10% Happier, tackles the topic of meditation, slaying myths about it, and getting to the core of why we should all be doing it—science says so! When we’re done with the Namaste jokes, maybe this one will teach us something. Here’s to hoping!
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