It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good dinner party must be in want of a murder. In this case, it's The Murder of Mr. Wickham, the dastardly villain of Pride and Prejudice, which was bound to happen, according to author Claudia Gray.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good dinner party must be in want of a murder. In this case, it's The Murder of Mr. Wickham, the dastardly villain of Pride and Prejudice, which was bound to happen, according to author Claudia Gray.
Ready for some deep conversations? These collections offer fresh perspectives on relationships, race and the human condition.
Ready for some deep conversations? These collections offer fresh perspectives on relationships, race and the human condition.
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Discover your next great book!

BookPage is a discovery tool for readers, highlighting the best new books across all genres. BookPage is editorially independent; only books we highly recommend are featured.

Surprise: We’re nearly halfway through 2022! Time flies when your nose is stuck in a great book. Here are the 22 books that are most likely to have made BookPage readers forget the calendar this year.


Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez book cover

22. Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

In Xochitl Gonzalez’s vibrant and raw debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming, love and family drama crash into politics.


21. Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Sue Lynn Tan’s debut novel is an all-consuming fantasy that is breathtaking both for its beauty and its suspense.


20. Honor by Thrity Umrigar

Thrity Umrigar’s novel offers a well-rounded portrait of India, a place that can be “cosmopolitan, sophisticated, but also resolutely out of step with the world.”


19. Nine Lives by Peter Swanson

Peter Swanson’s latest mystery novel is an unpredictable roller coaster that boasts a compelling cast of characters.


18. The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

Funny, moving and composed of sentences that read like small poems, The Swimmers is a remarkable novel from an unparalleled writer.


17. In Love by Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom is known for examining the dynamics of intimacy in her fiction, but she has never gotten closer to the flame than in this memoir of her marriage.


16. Cornbread & Poppy by Matthew Cordell

Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell’s first early reader, the tale of two mice who embark on an expedition up Holler Mountain, will leave young readers hungry for more.


15. The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

Fans of Grady Hendrix and Riley Sager will tear into this sophomore-slump-defying thriller from the author of Every Last Fear.


14. The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher

With its insider’s view of the literary expat world of 1920s Paris, The Paris Bookseller will appeal to fans of Paula McClain’s The Paris Wife.


13. Under Lock & Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

The enchanting first book in Gigi Pandian’s Secret Staircase mystery series flawlessly balances magic, misdirection and murder.


12. Scoundrel by Sarah Weinman

Scoundrel is the electric story of a killer who managed to fool everyone around him, as told by a superb crime writer.


11. The Appeal by Janice Hallett

The Appeal is a cleverly constructed, meticulously detailed, often hilarious epistolary novel of suspense.


10. A Deadly Bone to Pick by Peggy Rothschild

Mystery fans and dog lovers alike will enjoy A Deadly Bone to Pick, the first in a new cozy mystery series featuring former police officer-turned-dog trainer Molly Madison.


9. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

The interlocking plot of Emily St. John Mandel’s sixth novel resolves beautifully, making for a humane and moving time-travel story.


8. The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Olivie Blake marries an extremely pulpy plot with smart and nimble writing in her debut fantasy novel, The Atlas Six.


7. Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Black Cake marks the launch of a writer to watch, one who masterfully plumbs the unexpected depths of the human heart.


6. One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

For readers open to moral complexities, One Italian Summer is a thoughtful, fun escape, blending contemplations of love and loss with a touch of adventure.


5. Overdue by Amanda Oliver

Former librarian Amanda Oliver quickly learned that her job was as much about performing the work of a social worker—without any training—as it was about books.


4. The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Bestselling author Fiona Davis builds upon the secrets of the Frick Collection in a delightful blend of emotion and adventure.


3. Small World by Jonathan Evison

In Small World, Jonathan Evison underscores a sense of a shared America, that we are all in this nation-building adventure together. That’s a destiny worth manifesting.


2. The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn’s track record for delivering captivating historical fiction continues with the remarkable story of the infamous Russian sniper known as Lady Death.


1. Booth by Karen Joy Fowler

Karen Joy Fowler’s Booth is a triumph in its fascinating rendering of a legendary American family.


This list was compiled based on analytics from BookPage.com between Jan. 1 and May 1, 2022.

Discover the titles that BookPage readers have most enjoyed so far this year.

All three of these gorgeous and talented authors have played pivotal roles in movies that are meaningful to fans worldwide. Their Tinseltown lives are glamorous, to be sure, but their heartfelt life stories reveal a darker side to fame, where inspirational journeys and cautionary tales collide.

★ Out of the Corner

Jacket for Out of the Corner by Jennifer Grey

Jennifer Grey knows that her life has been charmed from the beginning. As a child, her famous parents took her to holiday parties with the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Patti LuPone and Leonard Bernstein. But although she breathed in rarefied air, Grey felt lonely and lacking. The rising star of her father, Joel Grey, meant the family moved numerous times, and so many instances of starting over, with her parents largely absent, took a heavy toll.

In Out of the Corner: A Memoir, Grey writes, “I’d been so consumed by feeling abandoned that I hadn’t seen the ways I had abandoned myself.” In the decades before she reached that perspective, the actress searched—for affection, connection, approval—even as she achieved great fame.

Grey became America’s sweetheart in 1987, thanks to her indelible work as Baby Houseman in Dirty Dancing, but as she reveals with raw and moving candor, her sunny smile at the premiere belied her physical and emotional suffering. Just before the film’s debut, she and then-boyfriend Matthew Broderick were in a head-on car crash in which two people died. Even before that, her relationship with Broderick had turned toxic, and she’d had other unhealthy relationships earlier in her life. “My first drug of choice was romantic fantasy,” she writes. Other drugs followed, amplifying behavioral patterns from which she’s worked to recover—efforts she recounts with empathy for her former self and encouragement for those with similar struggles.

Grey also addresses what she calls “Schnozageddon”—when a revision rhinoplasty famously and irrevocably altered her face and professional identity—with bravery and clarity. And when she writes about dance, her prose sings with gratitude for the lifelong pursuit that’s taken her marvelous places, from Dirty Dancing to “Dancing With the Stars.” Time and again, Grey reveals herself to be tenacious and dedicated to the show going on—a fitting metaphor for a singular life, which she shares with wit, warmth and wisdom.

★ We Were Dreamers

Jacket for We Were Dreamers by Simu Liu

Simu Liu’s fans are enchanted by his previous work as a stock photo model. They loved him in the Canadian sitcom “Kim’s Convenience.” And they rejoiced when he landed the lead in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. He shares these stories and more in his engaging, uplifting memoir, We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story.

Liu has had an incredible journey so far, but as with any origin story, it hasn’t been without painful obstacles. We Were Dreamers begins with his 1989 birth in Harbin, China, where he lived with his loving grandparents for four years. Then his parents, engineers who had moved abroad after he was born, brought Liu to Canada to join them. After so many years of pursuing a better life, they were not interested in Liu’s dreams for his own life, and they emotionally and physically abused him when he couldn’t achieve their definition of perfection.

As a young adult, getting laid off from an accounting job for which he was spectacularly ill suited brought shame but also opportunity, as Liu finally felt free to try out performing gigs, from acting to stunts to playing Spider-Man at kids’ parties. He recounts his step-by-step approach, providing a helpful blueprint for other aspiring artists who lack a supportive family or industry connections. For him, this plan worked marvelously: He obtained life-changing work as an actor in the U.S. and became an advocate for Asian representation in media in the process.

As an adult, Liu forged a truce with his parents, and he writes that “families today could learn from us and steer themselves from the same mistakes.” A compelling case for pursuing an authentic life, We Were Dreamers provides fascinating insight into a newly minted Marvel superhero who wants readers to take to the skies along with him.

★ Mean Baby

Jacket for Mean Baby by Selma Blair

Since birth, Selma Blair has struggled to unstick the labels others applied to her. As an infant, she had a sneer on her tiny face that caused neighbors and family to call her a “mean baby.” As she grew older, her mother said she wasn’t enough—pretty enough, thin enough, good enough, talented enough . . . the list goes on. And yet, as Blair writes in her painfully lovely Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up, “I lived for her approval.”

Although that approval was ever elusive, Blair loved her mother. However, she had learned from her mother that if she showed she was in pain, it would only be met with laughter. So even as Blair began to experience strange sensations in her limbs, facial pain and other ailments that lasted for decades, she told herself she was fine. Fans already know where this is going: In 2018, Blair was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As she writes with a poignant mixture of grief and relief, “There is great power in words. In an answer. In a diagnosis. To make sense of a plot you could hardly keep up with any longer.”

Blair writes about what fans may not know, too, such as her alcohol addiction that began at age 7 and surged and receded over the years. Blair also shares many thrilling Hollywood encounters, vividly conveying the profound feeling of disorientation that was her constant companion even as she starred in movies like Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde and Hellboy; modeled for high-end fashion magazines; and developed friendships with the likes of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Karl Lagerfeld and Carrie Fisher.

Blair drew from her journals, her favorite books and her love of writing to craft this memoir, which is an elegiac contemplation of her life through the lens of a chronic illness that only recently made her past clear. For those seeking a similar sense of enlightenment, reading Mean Baby is a worthy and affecting undertaking.

Memoirs by Jennifer Grey, Simu Liu and Selma Blair reveal that even out-of-this-world stars have down-to-earth problems.

In Love in Color: Mythical Tales From Around the World, Retold, British Nigerian author Bolu Babalola re-envisions traditional love stories from West Africa, the Middle East and Greece with a focus on empowered female characters. In “Nefertiti,” Babalola casts the famed Egyptian ruler as a defender of women, while in “Osun,” she draws upon a Yoruba folktale to tell the story of a love triangle. Babalola displays wonderful range throughout this inventive collection, and reading groups will enjoy discussing topics like the nature of desire and traditional notions of love and romance.

Yoon Choi explores the Korean American experience and the complexities of human connection in her beautifully crafted story collection, Skinship. “First Language” is the story of Sae-ri, who struggles to make her arranged marriage a success while dealing with a difficult son. In “The Art of Losing,” Mo-sae grapples with old age and the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. In every piece, Choi investigates what it means to be an immigrant, writing with compassion and wisdom throughout this uniquely assured debut.

In A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life, George Saunders digs into seven classic stories—all included in the book—by Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and other greats, integrating insights from his graduate course on Russian literature along the way. As he unpacks the meaning of each story, Saunders examines the mechanics of narrative and considers what makes a work of fiction succeed. His discerning study of the short story form will appeal to readers and writers alike.

The stories in The Office of Historical Corrections, Danielle Evans’ powerful second collection, explore racial dynamics, isolation and the difficulty of connection in contemporary culture through deeply human character moments. “Alcatraz” is a poignant depiction of a family devastated by the wrongful conviction of a relative. In “Boys Go to Jupiter,” Claire, a white college student, faces fallout when she’s photographed in a Confederate flag bikini and the picture is shared online. Again and again in these stories, Evans lays bare the loneliness and displacement that so often define modern existence, setting up book clubs for meaningful conversations surrounding identity and loss.

Ready for some deep conversations? These collections offer fresh perspectives on relationships, race and the human condition.

★ Never a Duke

In Never a Duke by Grace Burrowes, a determined lady teams up with an almost-gentleman to search for women who have gone missing in Regency London. Ned Wentworth, who was adopted into a wealthy ducal family as a child, is intrigued to receive a note asking for aid from Lady Rosalind Kinwood, known for her dedication to charitable causes. Instinct urges him to demur, but Rosalind’s beauty and her fear for her missing lady’s maid calls to him. As Ned and Rosalind meet to discuss his investigation, a slow-burn romance full of understated yet heart-aching yearning begins. Burrowes’ writing style evokes classic Regency romance with its witty repartee and loving attention to clothing. Tortured-yet-tender Ned is an unforgettable hero who learns to value himself as much as those around him do. This is the seventh entry in Burrowes’ Rogues to Riches series, and fans will revel in glimpses of past couples and feel delighted that the worthy Ned has found love at last.

Mad for a Mate

MaryJanice Davidson pens a furiously paced, full-of-fun shifter romance in Mad for a Mate. Magnus Berne, a brown werebear of Scottish extraction, is surprised when Verity Lane washes up on the beach of his private island. He’s fascinated by her presence, then even more fascinated to learn she’s a squib—a werecreature that cannot shift—and is part of a club that takes dangerous dares to prove their worth to the world. When fellow club members begin dying, Magnus worries about the lovely Verity, and though usually reclusive, he opens himself up to her world and heart. Nimble-minded readers will delight in Davidson’s almost stream-of-consciousness style and occasional authorial interjections. She never spoon-feeds readers the rules of her paranormal world, which keeps the pace brisk and suits Mad for a Mate’s all-around quirkiness.

When She Dreams

Amanda Quick returns to the glamorous 1930s resort town of Burning Cove, California, in When She Dreams. Intrepid Maggie Lodge resolves to discover who is trying to blackmail her employer, a popular advice columnist. As part of her investigation, she travels to a conference in Burning Cove along with her newly hired (and newly minted) PI, Sam Sage. The conference’s subject intersects with one of Maggie’s personal interests: lucid dreaming, a state in which dreams can act as a conduit to psychic abilities. After a conference attendee’s suspicious death and an encounter with a scientist who is obsessed with Maggie’s abilities as a lucid dreamer, the pair realize this might be much more than a case of simple blackmail. Maggie’s can-do attitude finds a perfect complement in ex-cop Sam’s world-weariness. Falling in love is an unexpected delight for both of them, but longtime fans will not be surprised by Quick’s imagination and mastery of storytelling, which never fail to entertain.

Tired of gloomy vampires and brooding werewolves? Two lighthearted, fizzily fun paranormals, plus a truly unforgettable Regency hero, await you in this month’s romance column.

The Mirror 

Combining fish-out-of-water humor and historical detail, time-travel stories must deftly balance magic and reality. A bestseller when it was published in 1978, Marlys Millhiser’s novel The Mirror is now something of a cult classic, and it’s easy to see why. On the eve of her wedding, 20-year-old Shay falls through an antique mirror into the body of her grandmother, Brandy, whose life on the Colorado frontier in 1900 involves strict gender roles, physical danger and structured undergarments. In exchange, Brandy is transported to Shay’s body in 1978 and must deal with that era’s comparatively lawless (and braless) abandon. This sounds like a prosaic setup, but The Mirror is a wild ride that almost never hits the expected beats. Shay and Brandy are fully realized characters, and the details of both settings are spot on and evocative, lending a sense of reality to the novel despite its absolutely chaotic premise. Along the way, Millhiser digs up some timeless truths about mother-daughter relationships and how the women who came before us are often reflected in the ones who come after. 

—Trisha, Publisher

Nothing to See Here

My reading preferences vary widely, but I rarely gravitate toward fantasy novels whose first few pages consist of maps, family trees, timelines and other hallmarks of extensive world building. I get too overwhelmed! But I love when a work of fiction contains just a touch of the supernatural. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief if the magical or otherworldly elements are woven into the story in a way that feels effortless. Kevin Wilson’s 2019 novel, Nothing to See Here, is about two children who burst into flames when they’re upset. The kids’ newly hired nanny, Lillian, transitions from reluctant caretaker to fiercely protective parental figure over the course of the book. A note for other fantasy-averse readers like myself: If the whole catching-on-fire thing seems like too much, don’t let it deter you. You’ll miss out on a delightful story that’s as funny as it is moving.

—Katherine, Subscriptions

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

It may seem unusual to single out a nonfiction book for having a sprinkle of magic, but Alexander Chee’s exceptional essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, is the first title that comes to mind when I think of books with an undercurrent of enchantment. In 16 spellbinding pieces, Chee explores the stuff of everyday life—work, writing, family, activism—alongside more supernatural subjects, such as his lifelong pursuit of tarot and being tested for psychic abilities as a child. These brushes with the mystical elevate Chee’s more commonplace topics until the whole book seems to hover in that liminal space between the sacred and the profane. Suddenly, as you read about his stint as a cater waiter for William F. Buckley or his recollections of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco, the sense that you’re encountering something extraordinary (that is, out of the ordinary) is heightened. Magic is all around us, Chee seems to say. Read it in the cards. Produce it with your mind. Find it in a well-tended rosebush in your own backyard.

—Christy, Associate Editor

The Raven Boys

The first time I read The Raven Boys, the first novel in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series, I was a high school junior in the midst of a reading slump. I occasionally found a book that I enjoyed, but not with the same ferocity that kept me plowing through stories in my childhood. Although I had seen fan-made content for Stiefvater’s series online, I didn’t know the plot until a friend described it to me. By the time I finished reading the first chapter, I was electrified by the prose and already attached to the characters. While I love fiction that includes speculative elements, I have a harder time feeling immersed in the worlds of high fantasy or sci-fi novels. The Raven Boys kept me rooted in reality while introducing me to Welsh mythology and women with psychic powers. These elements are expanded in the series’ subsequent three novels, but the foundational connection to the real world is never severed. 

—Jessie, Editorial Intern

The Midnight Library

In the tender reading year of 2020, Matt Haig published what a friend of mine called a “cheerful book about suicide.” I had recommended The Midnight Library to her, but she was skeptical about reading it—understandably so, as so many of us were picky about the types of books we were willing to read while riding out the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Haig has been open about his experiences with depression for years, and all of his books have explored the terrain of mental health for both children and adults. In this gentle novel, a woman dies by suicide and is transported to a special library between life and death. There, with help from a kind librarian, she is able to step into the different lives she could’ve lived, as a rock star, intrepid explorer, parent and more. It’s such a smart and empathetic story, and exactly what it needs to be: a cheerful book about depression, yes, but also about making it through.

—Cat, Deputy Editor

Sometimes the best way to understand reality is with just a hint of unreality. In these five books, fantastical elements reveal hidden or unexpected truths about our not-so-ordinary world.

Discover your next great book!

BookPage highlights the best new books across all genres, as chosen by our editors. Every book we cover is one that we are excited to recommend to readers. A star indicates a book of exceptional quality in its genre or category.

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