This Week's Best New Books

1 of 25
White Shadow

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White Shadow

by Roy Jacobsen, trans. by Don Shaw, Don Bartlett

White Shadow

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Roy Jacobsen's White Shadow is the second in his Barrøy trilogy, following The Unseen, which introduced readers to the Barrøy family and the small Norwegian island that shares their name. Now in her mid-30s, Ingrid Barrøy works on the mainland, splitting and salting cod and herring. She "longed to be gone, to be back on Barrøy, but no one can be alone on an island and this autumn neither man nor beast was there... but she couldn't be here on the main ... [ Read More » ]

2 of 25
Summertime Guests

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Summertime Guests

by Wendy Francis

Summertime Guests

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Wendy Francis (Best Behavior) delivers a smart, probing drama that skillfully unravels the complex emotional lives of an ensemble cast in Summertime Guests, a novel set over one weekend in June at a posh hotel on Boston's North Shore.

Legendary elegance is the hallmark of the Seafarer, a famous, historic hotel. After a major renovation, the landmark destination reopens under the management of workaholic 39-year-old Parisian Jean-Paul, who has a wife and new baby he is woefully neglecting. There are ... [ Read More » ]

3 of 25
Send a Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk

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Send a Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk

by Edison Eskeets, Jim Kristofic

Send a Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk

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Not many people could fathom running close to a marathon a day for 16 days, but in the summer of 2018, that is exactly what Navajo ultrarunner Edison Eskeets planned to do, to honor the survivors of the Long Walk, the period that saw the Diné forcibly removed from their ancestral lands to a military-run reservation and ended only when they were able to return to their homelands. Send a Runner: A Navajo Honors the Long Walk weaves together the chronicle of Eskeets's 330-mile route from Spider ... [ Read More » ]

4 of 25
A River Called Time

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A River Called Time

by Courttia Newland

A River Called Time

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A River Called Time combines speculative fiction and alternative history to bring to life a disturbingly recognizable portrait of pressure-cooker existence in cities plagued by vast inequality. Courttia Newland (The Gospel According to Cane) imagines a world where colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade never took root and English-speakers occupy the very bottom rung of society. Newland's worldbuilding is dense and impressively detailed, incorporating many strange new technologies, but ... [ Read More » ]

5 of 25
Love in Case of Emergency

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Love in Case of Emergency

by Daniela Krien, trans. by Jamie Bulloch

Love in Case of Emergency

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Witty and candid, Love in Case of Emergency deftly examines the world of relationships, and the challenges, ambitions and failures of the women who take part in them. Daniela Krien (Someday We'll Tell Each Other Everything) follows five interconnected German women dealing with love, motherhood and employment with varying degrees of success. Tackling divorce, infertility, trauma, narcissism and self-destruction from a variety of perspectives, the novel explores the complex dynamics of modern-day womanhood. ... [ Read More » ]

6 of 25
Watercress

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Watercress

by Andrea Wang, illus. by Jason Chin

Watercress

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Andrea Wang (The Nian Monster) relates the memory of a childhood experience in touching narrative verse that is at once universal and distinctly personal. Paired with stunningly detailed watercolor illustrations by Caldecott Honoree Jason Chin (Grand Canyon; Your Place in the Universe), Wang's story--like the titular plant--takes root in the ground of humanity and blooms into nourishing fare.

Being embarrassed by one's parents is a ubiquitous rite of passage. That shame is enhanced when one already ... [ Read More » ]

7 of 25
The Mirror Season

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The Mirror Season

by Anna-Marie McLemore

The Mirror Season

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Anna-Marie McLemore's seventh YA novel, The Mirror Season, is intelligent, brutal and exquisitely written. This novel, like many of their previous works (Dark and Deepest Red), is a contemporary retelling of a fairytale ("The Snow Queen") with elements of magical realism.

Graciela Cristales is "the pastry witch of San Juan Capistrano": the girl "who knows what kind of pan dulce you want before you do." This gift has made Ciela something of an "obscure tourist attraction" at her family's pastelería. ... [ Read More » ]

8 of 25
Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn

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Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn

by Shannon Hale, illus. by LeUyen Pham

Itty-Bitty Kitty-Corn

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In a breathtakingly adorable picture book by superstar creative team Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham (Real Friends and Best Friends), a tiny cat and a towering unicorn learn that true friends see each other for who they really are.

Kitty thinks she might be a unicorn. She wears a pointy horn and "prances on her pawed, clawed, unicorn hooves. She gallops on her eensy-weensy unicorn legs." But: "You're a cat," says Parakeet. "And that's that," says Gecko. Undaunted, Kitty continues to strut her unicorn-y ... [ Read More » ]

9 of 25
Heaven's a Lie

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Heaven's a Lie

by Wallace Stroby

Heaven's a Lie

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Joette Harper, the heroine of Wallace Stroby's action-packed ninth novel, Heaven's a Lie, lives paycheck to paycheck. The young widow's job as a desk clerk at a run-down Jersey Shore motel barely pays enough to maintain her decaying trailer, since most of her money goes toward her mother's medical bills and nursing home fees.

Her break may come in the oddest way. Driving erratically at high speed, Thomas Nash crashes his BMW outside the motel one night. As Joette drags him from the wreckage, he tells ... [ Read More » ]

10 of 25
First Person Singular: Stories

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First Person Singular: Stories

by Haruki Murakami, trans. by Philip Gabriel

First Person Singular: Stories

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In First Person Singular, international bestselling author and critically acclaimed storyteller Haruki Murakami (IQ84) offers eight poignant and atmospheric short stories. In "Cream," a young man reflects on the elusive meaning behind seemingly confounding life experiences. In the titular "First Person Singular," the narrator experiences a surreal and noirish encounter with a woman who mistakes him for someone else on a lonely evening in a bar. Whether offering an imaginative review of a nonexistent ... [ Read More » ]

11 of 25
Deceptions

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Deceptions

by Anna Porter

Deceptions

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Anna Porter (The Appraisal) has created a sprawling, fast-moving fine-art thriller in Deceptions. Former Budapest cop Attila Feher has been hired to help protect a Hungarian diplomat named Vaszary, representative to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. Vaszary and his wife are divorcing, and arguing about whether a large painting is a genuine Artemisia Gentileschi or not. To help end the divorce stalemate, Attila calls in his friend and former lover, Helena Marsh, an art appraisal expert ... [ Read More » ]

12 of 25
Broken (in the Best Possible Way)

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Broken (in the Best Possible Way)

by Jenny Lawson

Broken (in the Best Possible Way)

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Humor writer Jenny Lawson, aka the Bloggess, is wildly popular for sharing wacky, unfiltered stories about her life and struggles with illnesses both physical and mental. Her third collection, with some three dozen essays, arriving after 2015's Furiously Happy, puts that bluntness right in the title: Broken (in the Best Possible Way).

Her work is captivating because Lawson is imperfect. As she writes in the introduction, "who wants to see that level of fraud" where people present only neat, shiny ... [ Read More » ]

13 of 25
The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World

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The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World

by Reem Kassis

The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World

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"History leaves its marks through a region's architecture, music, markets, literary arts... and most of all, through its cuisine." So observes Palestinian writer and chef Reem Kassis (The Palestinian Table) in The Arabesque Table: Contemporary Recipes from the Arab World. This stunning cookbook is a celebration of the centuries of migration and trade that shaped the evolution of Arab food, filled with well-researched food history and rich, evocative family memories.

Kassis's own personal history ... [ Read More » ]

14 of 25
What the Devil Knows

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What the Devil Knows

by C.S. Harris

What the Devil Knows

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What the Devil Knows shows C.S. Harris (Who Speaks for the Damned) at her best. Tightly plotted, fast-paced and based on historical events, the 16th entry in the Sebastian St. Cyr series brings the seamy side of Regency life to light.

A city magistrate, Sir Edwin Pym, is found brutally murdered, his body left in much the same way the seven victims of the Ratcliffe Highway murders were found three years earlier. The Ratcliffe Highway murderer was purportedly brought to justice by Pym himself, but ... [ Read More » ]

15 of 25
Tower of Babel

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Tower of Babel

by Michael Sears

Tower of Babel

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Michael Sears launches a bold action-packed series that delves into ambition, redemption, morality and the changing landscape of Queens, N.Y., in Tower of Babel. Shamus winner Sears puts aside his intriguing series about disgraced Wall Street trader Jason Stafford (Long Way Down) for a financial thriller with an equally compelling anti-hero.

Former attorney Ted Molloy scrapes by as a foreclosure profiteer, seeking out those Queens commercial properties that sold for more than demanded, often resulting ... [ Read More » ]

16 of 25
Peaces

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Peaces

by Helen Oyeyemi

Peaces

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Helen Oyeyemi's command of magical realism is practically mind altering in her unforgettable seventh novel. Under a somewhat twee pretense, freshly committed partners Otto and Xavier Shin, accompanied by their faithful mongoose, travel by boutique train carriage for their "non-honeymoon." But from there, Peaces sprawls into astonishing, and even frightful, territories of the interior, more so than new horizons abroad.

The couple's peculiar accommodations aboard The Lucky Day's Clock ... [ Read More » ]

17 of 25
The Last Bookshop in London

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The Last Bookshop in London

by Madeline Martin

The Last Bookshop in London

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Madeline Martin tells a heartwarming story of a young woman discovering the joys of reading--and forming a new community--in The Last Bookshop in London. Grace Bennett has never been a great reader--she's been too busy running her uncle's village shop, especially since her mother died. But when she moves to London with her best friend Viv in 1939, she lands an assistant position at a dusty bookshop.

Martin (author of more than 30 historical romances) draws her characters, including the bookshop, ... [ Read More » ]

18 of 25
Zonia's Rain Forest

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Zonia's Rain Forest

by Juana Martinez-Neal

Zonia's Rain Forest

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In Juana Martinez-Neal's Zonia's Rain Forest, super-cute critters are out in force, ready to woo lap sitters. But this book also offers something for older siblings ready to do some sightseeing beyond the familiar comforts of the First World.

Young Zonia lives in the rain forest among "those she loves"--her mother, her baby brother and a bevy of creatures she greets at the start of each new day. "Good morning!" she says to four shaggy, moonfaced Hoffman's two-toed sloths. "Welcome! I live next door," ... [ Read More » ]

19 of 25
Your Heart, My Sky

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Your Heart, My Sky

by Margarita Engle

Your Heart, My Sky

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Love blossoms and endures during Cuba's period of famine in Margarita Engle's heartrending novel in verse, Your Heart, My Sky.

It's the summer of 1991 and the Pan American Games are being held in Havana. Liana and Amado are teens living in a rural part of the country and going hungry while resources are funneled into the city. In Liana's words, "We are like an outer isle off the shore of another island. Forgotten." When her family's rations are depleted, she sips on sweetened water "because sugar ... [ Read More » ]

20 of 25
How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family

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How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family

by Sonora Jha

How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family

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How to Raise a Feminist Son: Motherhood, Masculinity, and the Making of My Family by Sonora Jha is a stunningly candid account of the struggles, victories and life lessons accumulated by the author as she nurtured in her Indian American child, Gibran, a feminist consciousness. It is also an intriguing, beautifully articulated memoir about single motherhood, marriage, disability and surviving a violent childhood.

Jha (Foreign), a professor of journalism at Seattle University, reflects with humor and ... [ Read More » ]

21 of 25
Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity

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Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity

by Charles Seife

Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity

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In his brilliantly titled Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity, science writer Charles Seife (Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea) deconstructs physicist Stephen Hawking's (1942-2018) celebrity, separating the complicated human being and the scientific problems that fascinated him from the popular image of Hawking as a towering genius. Seife focuses on Hawking as a scientist, arguing that in his later years Hawking had trended toward scientific irrelevance. In adopting an unusual ... [ Read More » ]

22 of 25
Hate Speech

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Hate Speech

by Caitlin Ring Carlson

Hate Speech

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Hate speech is not a new phenomenon, but how many people truly understand what it is, and what it is not? In Hate Speech, Caitlin Ring, professor in the Communication Department at Seattle University, clearly sets out various definitions of hate speech, while examining how different countries have grappled with their historical problems with it, the violence it can lead to and how it can be countered both legally and socially.

Carlson dives into the histories of the U.N., the E.U. and countries such ... [ Read More » ]

23 of 25
The Gran Tour: Travels with My Elders

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The Gran Tour: Travels with My Elders

by Ben Aitken

The Gran Tour: Travels with My Elders

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The Gran Tour is a witty, incisive travelogue from Ben Aitken--a barely-30 author who joins busloads of retirees for all-inclusive tours of England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy's Lake Como. Aitken's fine eye and spirited pen offer evocative accounts of seaside towns, misty summits and Highland pastries, but the book's heart is in the pensioners, the chatty coach-mates and bingo champs who spend a chunk of their golden years talking to the oddball youngster who's crashed their tour. When Aitken's ... [ Read More » ]

24 of 25
Good Company

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Good Company

by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

Good Company

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Following The Nest, Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney once again tests the bonds between people in Good Company. Though it treads familiar ground--infidelity, the ups and downs of lifelong friendships, raising and letting go of a child--the author freshens the story by setting it against the backdrop of stage and screen productions.

Good Company is told mostly in three points of view: middle-aged mother and voice actor Flora; television actress Margot; and charismatic actor and theater founder Julian. Moving ... [ Read More » ]

25 of 25
Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice: 1967-1975

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Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice: 1967-1975

by Richard Thompson, Scott Timberg

Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice: 1967-1975

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Although guitarist and singer-songwriter Richard Thompson was born in 1949, his lovely memoir, Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice: 1967-1975, starts when he's 18. The book does dip back in time, as to touch on young Thompson's quest for a guitar (by age 11, "posing in front of a mirror with a tennis racquet would no longer suffice"), but fittingly, Beeswing really begins when Thompson's life begins: when he becomes a musician.

Thompson was a founding member and, while he was in the group, ... [ Read More » ]

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