Happy 2013! Maybe you’ve already got lots of high-minded plans concerning diet and exercise—but as far as we’re concerned, the best resolution of all is to read more books. Lucky for you, 2013 is going to be a fabulous year for both fiction and nonfiction, whether your taste leans toward suspense, memoirs, history, literary novels . . .
Here are 2o books from the first three months of the year that BookPage editors are especially excited about. In the comments section, weigh in with your own personal picks!
(Note: Many of these books are also listed on our “Fiction forecast: early 2013” blog post—but we thought you’d appreciate a roundup that focuses on the very beginning of the year, nonfiction included.)
December 31, 2012
ME BEFORE YOU
By Jojo Moyes
British author Jojo Moyes has written her fair share of complicated relationships, but her 10th novel introduces her most intriguing couple yet: a former finance whiz and daredevil who was paralyzed after being hit by a car, and a former coffee shop clerk who becomes his caregiver. Me Before You is our Top Pick in Fiction for January. We liked it so much that we interviewed the author, too.
January 3, 2013
WHITE DOG FELL FROM THE SKY
By Eleanor Morse
Despite the Salvage the Bones rip-off cover art, this novel about Africa in the days of apartheid feels fresh and engaging. A South African refugee who escapes to Botswana and takes a job as a gardener (despite being a former medical student), and forms a bond with the white woman who hires him. Don’t miss our interview with author Eleanor Morse in the January issue of BookPage.
January 8, 2013
By Susanna Sonnenberg
Susanna Sonnenberg’s previous memoir, Her Last Death, explored her tumultuous relationship with her provocative and ultimately destructive mother. She Matters—our Top Pick in Nonfiction for January—focuses on the more nurturing relationships in her life: her friends. Some friendships last a lifetime, some turn sour or fall apart, but each one leaves its mark, and in her clear-eyed, thoughtful book, Sonnenberg discovers why each one matters.
January 17, 2013
By Lawrence Wright
Scientology has got to be one of the most fascinating (and mysterious) aspects of contemporary American culture, and Lawrence Wright, who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, will investigate the religion in his newest book (the subtitle is “Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief”). Wright first investigated the church for a much-read article that appeared in The New Yorker.
January 24, 2013
DRINKING WITH MEN
By Rosie Schaap
If you’ve ever had a regular bar, or just wished you did, Rosie Schaap’s book is for you. In Drinking with Men, Schaap, who writes the “Drink” column in the New York Times, focuses each chapter on her experiences in a different bar, and expands on the lessons each one taught her about adulthood, camaraderie and community. Pour yourself a double and let Schapp’s writing amuse and enchant you.
January 29, 2013
FRESH OFF THE BOAT
By Eddie Huang
Rising food star Eddie Huang runs a popular Taiwanese street food joint in the East Village. In the profane and hilarious Fresh Off the Boat, he tells his story of defying the “model minority” stereotype while growing up in Orlando.
February 5, 2013
THE LOVE SONG OF JONNY VALENTINE
By Teddy Wayne
Wayne’s debut, Kapitoil, won the 2011 Whiting Writers’ Award. In his second novel, Wayne satirizes the fame machine. Told in the memorable voice of Jonny, an 11-year-old pop star, this coming-of-age tale is part Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, part A Mother’s Gift, and includes one of the most complicated portrayals of the mother-son relationship since Room. Look for a Q&A with the author in the February issue of BookPage.
By Amity Gaige
This intriguing new novel promises to take on the issue of identity—the one we are born with, and the ones we make for ourselves—through the story of a German immigrant.
February 12, 2013
By Amity Shlaes
Learn more than you ever thought you could know about our 30th president, who served from 1923 until 1929. The author of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression argues that Coolidge was a great leader whom we should emulate today.
By Roger Hobbs
Roger Hobbs wrote Ghostman—a thriller that unfolds after a heist-gone-wrong—while he was still a college student. As if this weren’t enough to intrigue you, the stylish writing and zippy pace will keep you hooked until the very last page. Read an excerpt from the novel on The Book Case, and if you love thrillers, remember the name “Roger Hobbs.”
VAMPIRES IN THE LEMON GROVE
By Karen Russell
Russell’s imagination always astounds, and her second collection of short stories is full of the same hard-edged whimsy that marked St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.
February 19, 2013
THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES
By Bruce Feiler
Self-help books are a dime a dozen, but we found Bruce Feiler’s book about making your family happier to be especially illuminating. Is family dinner really that important? Why are mornings always so chaotic? How do you balance caring for children and elders at the same time? Find out the answers to these questions and many more in The Secrets of Happy Families.
February 26, 2013
By Kent Haruf
Haruf is a champion when it comes to chronicling the lives of everyday people with dignity and kindness. Here, he serves up a powerful tale of faith and community. (Read more.)
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU
By Domenica Ruta
Domenica Ruta’s debut memoir is about her chaotic childhood with a mother who both dealt and used drugs, who loved her—when she did not despise her—but was unable to protect her from very real dangers. Light reading it is not, but the sharp writing and dark humor make With or Without You a standout.
March 5, 2013
By Christa Parravani
2013 seems to be a banner year for memoirs detailing painful experiences, and Christa Parravani’s stands out. It’s about the relationship between identical twins—and what happens when one sister dies. Look for an interview with the author in the March issue of BookPage.
HOW TO GET FILTHY RICH IN RISING ASIA
By Mohsin Hamid
Buzz is that this could be a breakout novel for Hamid, whose first two books garnered critical acclaim and prize nominations for their insight into relationships between East and West.
March 7, 2013
THE STILL POINT OF THE TURNING WORLD
By Emily Rapp
Emily Rapp’s new memoir—about life after her son’s fatal diagnosis of Tay-Sachs disease—is heartbreaking beyond belief. It’s also unsentimental, poignant, intimate and memorable.
March 12, 2013
By Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg expands on her popular TED talk about women in contemporary American life—encouraging women to “lean in” and take on new challenges in the workforce. Sandberg details her own experiences and the lessons she has learned in a warm, relatable style that is sure to inspire.
A TALE OF THE TIME BEING
By Ruth Ozeki
If you found a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore, containing an old diary, would it change your life? The answer in Ozeki’s tale is emphatically YES. There’s much weirdness and wonder in store in this new novel from the author of My Year of Meats. Read an excerpt on The Book Case and look for an interview with Ozeki in the March issue of BookPage.
A THOUSAND PARDONS
By Jonathan Dee
Public apologies and the high-stakes scandals that inspire them are the subject of Dee’s latest. (Read more.)