the editors of BookPage

Is the book always better than the movie or TV show? Better read these soon-to-be adaptations ASAP so you can decide.

Dear Edward

By Ann Napolitano

Streaming now

Led by acclaimed actors Connie Britton (“Nashville”) and Taylor Schilling (“Orange Is the New Black”), plus newcomer Colin O’Brien, this Apple TV+ adaptation of Napolitano’s searing 2020 novel is sure to have viewers delicately dabbing their cheeks with a Kleenex. The first episode dropped on February 3. Read our Q&A with Ann Napolitano.

Daisy Jones & the Six

By Taylor Jenkins Reid

Streaming, March 2023

This runaway 2019 bestseller about a 1970s rock star is making its way to Amazon Prime Video—starring Riley Keough, the granddaughter of the ultimate 1970s rock star (Elvis), as its titular heroine. Told in a documentary style, just like the novel, the 10-episode series also stars Sam Claflin, Camila Monroe, Suki Waterhouse and Nabiyah Be.

Straight Man

By Richard Russo

Streaming as “Lucky Hank,” March 2023

Beloved “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk plays the titular character in this AMC series adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo’s take on university life in the Pennsylvania Rust Belt. The first episode airs on March 19.

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret

By Judy Blume

Theatrical release, April 2023

Blume’s 1970 coming-of-age story about an 11-year-old who moves from New York City to the New Jersey suburbs is a true classic, and it sounds like this film adaptation, which stars Abby Ryder Fortson as Margaret and Rachel McAdams (a literary adaptation veteran after starring in The Notebook and The Time-Traveler’s Wife) as her mother, Barbara, has the potential to become one too.

The Last Thing He Told Me

By Laura Dave

Streaming, April 2023

Produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, this Apple TV+ production of Laura Dave’s gripping domestic thriller stars actor Jennifer Garner. Dave herself worked on the adaptation with her husband, Josh Singer, who boasts 2015 Best Picture winner Spotlight among his many film credits. The first two episodes will be released on April 14. Read our review of The Last Thing He Told Me.

City on Fire

By Garth Risk Hallberg

Streaming, May 2023

Hallberg’s atmospheric debut, set in the early 2000s, is coming to Apple TV+ as an eight-episode series on May 14. The cast includes Chase Sui Wonders, Wyatt Oleff, Jemima Kirke (“Girls”) and  Nico Tortorella (“Younger”) as NYU students who are drawn into a mysterious death. Read our interview with Garth Risk Hallberg.


By Hugh Howey 

Streaming, May 2023

Science fiction writer Graham Yost and director Morten Tyldum have come together, alongside executive producer and actress Rebecca Ferguson, in the creation of the Apple TV+ series based on Hugh Howey’s initially self-published sensation, Silo. Set in a dystopian society living within a silo hundreds of miles underground, this television series will be sure to inspire questioning of the rules by which our lives are ordered. 

The Perfect Find

By Tia Williams 

Streaming, June 2023 

In this romantic comedy from the author of Seven Days in June, Jenna Jones finally is on the upside in her career in the beauty industry when she falls hard for her boss’ son. Now, she must decide if her clandestine romance is worth risking everything. Actors Keith Powers and Gabrielle Union will play the leads in the Netflix adaptation.

Harold and the Purple Crayon

By Crockett Johnson

Theatrical release, June 2023

Released back in 1955, this children’s picture book has inspired everything from computer games to romantic comedies. Harold and his crayon will continue to draw new audiences and create new beauty and life in a feature film starring acclaimed actors like Lil Rel Howery, Zooey Deschanel and Zachary Levi. 


By Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin 

Theatrical release, July 2023

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, this movie details the life of Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb.” Featuring big-name actors like Robert Downey, Jr., Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and Cillian Murphy, this should be a stirring watch. Read our review of American Prometheus.

Killers of the Flower Moon

By David Grann

Theatrical release, October 2023

Legendary director Martin Scorcese will be taking David Grann’s 2017 National Book Award finalist, which tells the true story of the shocking murders of members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma in the 1920s, to the screen. Frequent Scorcese collaborators Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert de Niro star alongside Native actors Tantoo Cardinal, Lily Gladstone and Tatanka Means. Read our review of Killers of the Flower Moon.

Who doesn’t love seeing their favorite characters brought to life? Here are 11 book-to-screen adaptations you won’t want to miss.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

I read the entirety of award-winning poet and novelist Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ masterwork, all 816 pages of it, on the tiny screen of my phone during a trip throughout Washington. I can’t think of any other epic book that would be worth that kind of reading experience, but The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is special. While driving across the state, I regularly came across attempts to recognize and honor the Indigenous peoples who once populated that land, gestures that I don’t often see in the South where I live. For this reason, the long gaze of Jeffers’ novel felt like the answer to a prayer. It tells the full history of an American family—whose heritage is African, Creek and Scottish—and their centurieslong connection to a bit of Georgia land, as revealed by the research of one descendant, Ailey. It made me wish that all American lands could have their chance to tell their full stories, all the way back to the beginning.

—Cat, Deputy Editor

Empire of Pain

It is rare that a book simultaneously checks the boxes of timely, important, in-depth and narratively gripping. But the 640 pages of journalist Patrick Radden Keefe’s Empire of Pain walk the line between an impressively researched tome and a page-turning, propulsive story. Keefe’s 2021 tour de force recounts the full, damning tale of the Sackler family, spanning three generations of this American dynasty and their dealings at Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company that produces the opioid pain pill OxyContin. The Sacklers worked hard to keep their name from being associated with OxyContin, and Empire of Pain makes it clear why—from their invention of the concept of marketing prescription drugs, to their tactic of offering regional sales reps monetary incentives for getting more doctors to prescribe more of their drugs, to their outright lies about how their product would not lead to addiction. It is a harrowing story of one family’s catastrophic contributions to the opioid crisis, masterfully told by a top-notch writer.

—Christy, Associate Editor

The Priory of the Orange Tree

“You have fished in the waters of history and arranged some fractured pieces into a picture . . . but your determination to make it truth does not mean it is so,” declares Ead, one of the heroines of The Priory of the Orange Tree. Reading Samantha Shannon’s 848-page novel can feel like arranging fractured pieces into a complete picture, as it depicts the intersecting journeys of four narrators from different corners of an exquisitely detailed fantasy world. Ead, Tané, Niclays and Loth each have deeply held beliefs about the nature of good and evil, and a crisis that could annihilate humanity is bringing those beliefs into conflict. I will admit that I picked up the book for its Sapphic love story, and that’s a good reason to read it. The romance was tender and gorgeous, unfolding slowly enough to surprise me even though I was looking for it. However, when the casualties become devastating, what keeps you going is the thrill of connecting fragments of history and mythology from each storyline, knowing you will “see soon enough whose truth is correct.”

—Phoebe, Subscriptions

The Vanity Fair Diaries

There are many reasons that British journalist, writer and editor Tina Brown could land on one’s radar. She’s the founding editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, the first female editor of The New Yorker and the author of two bestselling books on the royal family. But the achievement that cemented Brown’s reputation was her miraculous turnaround of Vanity Fair. Resurrected by Condé Nast in 1983, the new VF was floundering, so the 30-year-old Brown quickly engaged talent like Dominick Dunne, Gail Sheehy and Helmut Newton, and wooed advertisers like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. Controversial stories grabbed headlines; so did provocative covers (who can forget the shot of a nude, pregnant Demi Moore?). Brown loves gossip and has a sharp wit, which means her behind-the-scenes stories of the 1980s NYC glitterati alone could carry 500 pages of memoir. But she’s also honest about the mistakes she’s made and the challenge of balancing a family and career. The Vanity Fair Diaries will leave you hoping Brown chronicled her time at the New Yorker too.

—Trisha, Publisher

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The American Library Association’s Caldecott Medal is awarded each year to “the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.” In 2008, it was won by this love letter to French inventor and film director George Mélies. To make a 544-page story short, it’s extraordinary, with 158 pencil drawings that will make you rethink everything you think you know about what picture books can be. The Invention of Hugo Cabret begins by inviting you to “picture yourself sitting in the darkness, like the beginning of a movie” and then captures your imagination via 21 wordless spreads. In many ways, Brian Selznick’s story is about small things that combine to form a creation greater than the sum of its parts, from a boy who lives in a train station and steals toys from the cantankerous owner of a toy booth to paragraphs filled with exquisitely yet economically observed details. Few picture books can be described as perfect, but this is one of them.

—Stephanie, Associate Editor

Correction, February 15, 2023: This article previously misspelled the name of Dominick Dunne.

February is the shortest month, but if you're looking for a long book to keep you company until March begins to roar, our editors have a few suggestions.

February 2023

Top 10 books of February 2023

The 10 most notable books of February 2023, as chosen by BookPage! Includes a new mystery from Jane Harper, a posthumous memoir from beloved children’s author Jerry Pinkney, and more.

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It’s no accident that Mark Twain scholar Mark Dawidziak begins A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe with Poe’s mysterious death in 1849 at the age of 40. As Dawidziak reminds us throughout his ambitious, well-researched book, the circumstances of Poe’s death remain a topic of debate and conjecture, as much a part of the Poe mystique as his short, stormy life. “It is,” Dawidziak notes, “one of the great literary stage exits of all time,” and its notoriety has done much to keep Poe’s reputation alive, making him one of the most famous American authors of all time, with a pop culture following as well as a solid place in middle school and high school literary curricula.

Dawidziak adopts a clever—and appropriate—organizational approach, alternating chapters set in the last months of Poe’s life with chapters exploring his early family life, career and influences. Readers who know little of Poe’s origins may be surprised to learn that this quintessential American author spent part of his formative years abroad. Poe’s mother was a talented actor who died at the age of 24, leaving three children behind. Poe became the foster child of John and Fanny Allan (thus his middle name), who, during the War of 1812, moved to England, where Poe spent five years soaking up impressions of old houses and graveyards that fed his literary imagination.

Throughout the book, Dawidziak draws readers into the mystery of Poe’s death, which occurred shortly after he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, delirious and disheveled. Dawidziak, of course, has a favorite theory about the likely cause, gleaned from the various opinions of medical experts, Poe scholars, historians, horror specialists and others—but it would spoil the mystery to reveal it here. Nonetheless, his argument demonstrates one of the pleasures of Dawidziak’s excellent book: his ability to weave quotations from Poe together with first-person observations from Poe’s 19th-century contemporaries and commentary by modern experts. In this way, Dawidziak’s biography reaches beyond the myth of Poe to reveal the actual man and writer, all while painting a vivid picture of the era in which he lived. A Mystery of Mysteries makes possible a deeper appreciation of a complicated, often troubled author whose success after death surpassed anything he knew in life.

Mark Dawidziak’s biography of Edgar Allan Poe reaches beyond the myth of his troubled life and mysterious death to reveal the actual man and writer.
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In many romance novels, love requires exposure: of one’s true desires and inner secrets, often of one’s most vulnerable self. In this month’s best romances, characters can only find happiness after first finding themselves—and sharing that truth with their partner.

Behind the Scenes

Karelia Stetz-Waters pens a tender love story in Behind the Scenes. Director Ash Stewart is preparing to pitch a movie near and dear to her heart—a rom-com about two lonely women who fall in love—so she turns to successful business consultant Rose Josten for help polishing the proposal she’ll present to movie executives. While the entertainment industry is not Rose’s forte, she’s intrigued by the idea of the film as well as by the cool yet vulnerable Ash. The story unfolds at a leisurely pace that suits the cautious main characters; while Rose and Ash fall fast, they don’t trust that their attraction will result in anything real. Readers will cheer for these capable, talented and mature women, both of whom have fascinating careers and interesting hobbies. They just need to find the right person to help them fill the empty spaces and heal their wounds. Rose and Ash’s feelings for each other are never in doubt thanks to Stetz-Waters’ expertly written longing and lush love scenes. And a fairy tale-perfect happy ending guarantees smiles as the last page is turned.

Also in BookPage: Read our review of the Behind the Scenes audiobook.

Not Your Ex’s Hexes

After Rose Maxwell’s sister took over her role as witch leader-in-waiting, Rose is in need of some new life goals. An ill-advised horse-napping at the beginning of April Asher’s dashing and delightful paranormal romance Not Your Ex’s Hexes results in Rose sentenced to community service at an animal sanctuary under the close supervision of half-demon vet Damian Adams. All kinds of sparks fly between them, but he’s grumpy and she’s not interested in relationships. But a friends-with-benefits arrangement seems possible and maybe even sensible until they must face danger—and all the emerging emotions they’ve vowed not to feel. In fact, Damian is sure he can’t actually be feeling them, having been hexed as a teen, but all signs are pointing to the opposite. Asher’s second installment in the Supernatural Singles series is full of action and well-constructed characters. Heart-tugging animals and steamy love scenes make this otherworldly romance a charmer.

Do I Know You?

Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka have written an intriguing twist on the second-chance romance in Do I Know You? In honor of their fifth anniversary, Eliza and Graham Cutler head to a luxury resort in Northern California, hoping a vacation might revive their stalled marriage. Upon learning that there’s been a hotel mix-up and they have two rooms booked instead of one, Eliza impulsively proposes that they sleep separately. Moreover, she suggests they take on new personas so they can meet as strangers and possibly rediscover a spark between them. While hiking, eating and exercising together as their alter egos, Graham and Eliza each come to value new things about the other and recall what led to their original commitment. Readers will root for both characters in this mature and intimate examination of a relationship.

The Duke Gets Even

A happy ending seems impossible in Joanna Shupe’s The Duke Gets Even. Andrew Talbot, the Duke of Lockwood, is desperate to wed an heiress and fill his family’s coffers. But then his antagonistic relationship with free-spirited American Nellie Young transforms into a burning passion. The duke lost out on love in the previous installments of Shupe’s Fifth Avenue Rebels series, and it doesn’t seem like his luck will change: He needs to marry for money, and Nellie can’t imagine life as an English duchess. An affair with Andrew as he seeks the right bride will have to be enough, except, of course, it quickly isn’t. The appealing Nellie wants more for herself and other women of her time, and she’s not at all ashamed of her sexual appetites. Honorable Andrew feels the weight of his responsibilities, yet the fiery ardor he shares with Nellie—featured in feverish love scenes—turns his world upside down. Sensuous and sophisticated, The Duke Gets Even is a satisfying climax to a wonderful and romantic series.

Make a Wish

Romances between a single father and a nanny are a beloved genre staple, but author Helena Hunting explores the trope sans rose-colored glasses in Make a Wish. When she was 20 years old, Harley Spark worked as a nanny for newly widowed Gavin Rhodes. She fell in love with his baby daughter, Peyton, and perhaps with him, before Gavin and Peyton moved away. Seven years later, Gavin and Harley reconnect—and there is an obvious attraction between them. Their happily ever after appears inevitable, until grief, guilt and in-laws step in. Make a Wish chronicles Gavin and Harley’s authentic doubts and fears, with sizzling love scenes and sweet moments creating a sigh-worthy love story.

In this month’s best romances, characters can only find true love after first finding themselves.
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The Bullet Garden

After writing a trio of books about ex-Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, author Stephen Hunter launched a second series featuring Bob Lee’s father, Earl Swagger, who is also a Marine and a Medal of Honor recipient to boot. It’s been 20 years since Hunter’s last installment in the senior Swagger series, but it comes roaring back this month with The Bullet Garden. The book serves as a prequel to the three Earl Swagger books that preceded it (Hot Springs, Pale Horse Coming and Havana), chronicling his adventures in France during the days immediately following D-Day. Swagger spearheads a secret mission to track down and kill German snipers who are systematically picking off Allied soldiers crossing the Normandy meadowlands (which the troops have nicknamed “bullet gardens”). A sniper himself, Swagger is a natural fit for the job at hand, but even his legendary skills will be sorely tested in this milieu. Fans of firearms history will find lots to like in The Bullet Garden, as will military strategy buffs, but there is truly something for everyone: a budding romance; layers of duplicity and intrigue; and an omnipresent sense of the importance of working together for a greater cause. 

Encore in Death

J.D. Robb’s Encore in Death is the (are you ready for this?) 56th entry in the wildly popular series featuring Eve Dallas, a police detective in 2060s New York City who, by my calculations, should be celebrating her first birthday just about now. Despite being set in a Blade Runner-esque future of androids, airboards (think hoverboards) and the much-appreciated automated chefs, Robb’s mysteries don’t need to rely on sci-fi trappings to engage the reader. They are straight-up classically constructed whodunits. And this case features a time-honored murder weapon: cyanide. Just as A-list actor Eliza Lane takes the stage for an impromptu song at her latest high society Manhattan party, there is a crash of glass, and Eliza’s husband, equally famous actor Brant Fitzhugh, collapses to the floor—dead, with the smell of bitter almonds emanating from his lips. The initial thinking is that Eliza was the intended victim, as Brant sipped from a poisoned cocktail he was holding for her, but as the investigation wears on, alternative possibilities present themselves. As all of the suspects have connections to the stage, there is no shortage of drama as the case unfolds. Robb is the pen name of legendary romance author Nora Roberts, and while that’s certainly evident in her descriptions of her male leads (“Those sea-green eyes still made her heart sigh, even after a decade . . .”), the suspense is also there in spades.

The Sanctuary

Of all the awful ways to die, being vertically bisected by an industrial saw like the murder victim in Katrine Engberg’s final Kørner and Werner mystery, The Sanctuary, must rank right up there at the top. The unidentified man’s left half turns up in a partially buried leather suitcase in a public park, and Copenhagen police detective Annette Werner is on the hunt for the killer. Clues lead to the remote island of Bornholm, an insular enclave where everyone knows everyone else’s secrets, but nobody seems disposed toward sharing any of that knowledge with the police. Subplots abound: a missing young man, possibly on the lam from the law, possibly the victim in the suitcase; a zealous preacher who roundly rejects the biblical teaching of turning the other cheek; a biographer whose scholarly visit to Bornholm to examine a deceased anthropologist’s letters is stirring up some old, long-quiet ghosts; a garbage bag full of money that nobody seems to be able (or willing) to account for. The identity of the culprit is an enormous surprise, but more surprising still is the emotional closure Engberg brings to long-running storylines, resulting in a very poignant moment for fans of the series in addition to a satisfying solution to the central mystery. 

The Twyford Code

Narrative conventions are cast to the four winds in Janice Hallett’s impressive second novel, The Twyford Code. The story consists of 200 fragmented voice transcriptions made by Steven “Smithy” Smith, a none-too-savvy mobile phone user who has only recently been released from prison in England. At loose ends, he decides to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his secondary school English teacher some 40 years back. Miss Iles (who often humorously appears in the transcriptions as “missiles”) had something of an obsession with the children’s books of one Edith Twyford, a character loosely based on real-life bestselling children’s author Enid Blyton. On a class field trip to Bournemouth to visit Twyford’s wartime home, “missiles” dropped off the map, never to be heard from again. As Smith’s belated investigation proceeds, he becomes increasingly obsessed with Twyford’s books as well, uncovering what may be hidden messages therein. State secrets, buried treasure, buried bodies? The clues are all there, but it will take a cannier puzzle-solving mind than mine to decipher them before Hallett is ready for the big reveal. The Twyford Code is easily one of the cleverest and most original mystery novels in recent memory, with an engaging main character, dialogue that grabs (and requires) your attention and more head-scratching suspense than any other three books combined.

A mystery told through voice transcriptions shouldn’t work, but The Twyford Code isn’t just this month’s best mystery—it’s one of the cleverest whodunits in recent memory.
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When you gaze at the quilted cover of A Flag for Juneteenth, you will want to reach out and touch it. The artwork depicts a girl wearing a fuchsia dress and kerchief standing proudly in front of a flag, the bright colors of her outfit vibrant against the flag’s soft yellows and greens. The girl’s brown face has no features—nor do the faces of any of the book’s characters—because author-illustrator Kim Taylor wants readers to be able to imagine themselves in this story. 

Then you open A Flag for Juneteenth and discover that Taylor quilted all of the illustrations in her debut picture book, and you realize that her textile art perfectly complements her evocative prose, creating an excellent portrayal of Huldah, a Black girl living with her enslaved family on a Texas plantation in 1865.

As the book opens, it’s the morning of Huldah’s 10th birthday. Taylor’s embroidering transforms mottled brown fabrics into textured tea cakes, a special treat baked by Huldah’s mother for her daughter’s birthday. “The scent of nutmeg and vanilla floated through our cabin,” Taylor writes, and her stitched text forms a winding ribbon of words that waft up from the plate as Huldah breathes in the sweet smell. 

Soon, Huldah hears the “loud clip-clippity-clop of heavy horses’ hooves” as soldiers ride onto the plantation. She witnesses their historic announcement: President Abraham Lincoln has freed all enslaved people! Taylor emphasizes the importance of this declaration by placing a lone soldier onto a white quilted background. She embroiders the proclamation that he reads “in a booming voice,” forming four lines of text that radiate from his figure.

Elation follows, and Huldah hears shouting and singing. Images of celebration feature the outlines of surprised, ecstatic people jumping and raising their hands in the air for joy. Taylor sets their multicolor silhouettes against gentle yellow-orange ombre fabric that’s quilted with sunburst lines, as though the people have been caught up in rays of light. 

Huldah watches as a group of women begins to sew freedom flags. Children gather branches to use as flagpoles, but Huldah goes one step further. She climbs her favorite tree and captures a sunbeam in a glass jar, preserving this extraordinary moment in time forever.

Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021, and A Flag for Juneteenth exquisitely conveys the day’s spirit of jubilation and freedom.

Read our Q&A with ‘A Flag for Juneteenth’ author-illustrator Kim Taylor.

Kim Taylor’s portrayal of a girl witnessing the first Juneteenth, accompanied by exquisite quilted artwork, is filled with a spirit of jubilation and freedom.
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You may have learned in high school that the post-Civil War Reconstruction was an inevitable failure. In her latest book, I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction, historian Kidada E. Williams demonstrates that, far from dying a natural death, Reconstruction was destroyed in a not-so-secret war waged against Black citizens.

Williams argues that the end of Reconstruction was the explicit goal of Confederates who refused to accept their military defeat. Abetted by war-weary white Northerners who wanted to put the Civil War behind them, a president who had no interest in securing civil rights for Black people and authorities who didn’t care to enforce the law, armed militias and Klansmen engaged in a concerted battle to destroy Black citizens who voted, ran for office or merely owned and farmed their own land. These white aggressors invaded homes and subjected Black Americans to a host of crimes, from arson and torture to rape and murder. The destruction of property alone amounted to millions of dollars in today’s currency, while the damage to victims, their families and their communities remains incalculable.

Williams, an associate professor of history at Wayne State University, lays out her case with forensic precision. She writes with authority about the political and social circumstances that enabled these attacks, as well as the impact that these acts of terror had on Black people’s health and financial security, for both the injured parties and the generations following them. But her most compelling evidence comes from the victims themselves: witness testimonies from the Congressional hearings on the Ku Klux Klan in 1871 and transcripts of Works Progress Administration interviews with the last survivors of slavery in the 1930s. 

These testimonies make for harrowing reading, but that is no reason not to read them. Previously enslaved people recounted the horrors of these “visits”—the deaths of loved ones, the rapes, the lingering physical and psychic wounds, the loss of hard-earned wealth—with dignity and courage, knowing full well the risks they ran by testifying. Williams honors their suffering by placing them at the center of this important, overdue correction to the historical record.

Kidada E. Williams demonstrates that the progress of the post-Civil War Reconstruction was hampered by a not-so-secret war against Black citizens.

Essayist, novelist and Seattle University professor Sonora Jha follows up her acclaimed memoir, How to Raise a Feminist Son (2021), with her second novel, The Laughter, a masterfully told, thrilling investigation of privilege, heritage and exoticisation set against the backdrop of the American college campus. 

The novel centers on Dr. Oliver Harding, a middle-aged white male professor at a liberal arts university in Seattle. Oliver is an accomplished academic, best known for his research into the early 20th-century English writer G.K. Chesterton. Oliver’s personal life, however, is solitary and unfulfilling. His strained relationship with his daughter is his only meaningful one. 

Oliver becomes fixated on Ruhaba Khan, a Muslim professor in the university’s law school and a political firestarter on campus. Ruhaba has recently taken in Adil Alam, her teenage nephew from France who is seeking to distance himself from some trouble back home. Oliver begins mentoring Adil in an effort to impress Ruhaba, through privately Oliver exhibits contempt for and mistrust of their Muslim heritage. 

In addition to their personal entanglement, Oliver and Ruhaba find themselves on opposite sides of a political upheaval on campus, where an energized and diverse collective of students is attempting to seize power from privileged white faculty members who fear their own irrelevancy. These personal and political matters lead to a heartbreaking conclusion, one which readers have been warned is coming but is made no less shocking by its inevitability.

Deeply complex and meaningful yet still an enthralling read, The Laughter is an ambitious novel that explores American social dynamics while never being preachy or overbearing. Jha’s characters represent vastly disparate political ideas, but she handles each of them with great precision and care. With this novel, she offers us a creative window into the sociopolitical dynamics that continue to reinforce cultural divisions in this country. It’s a must-read for those seeking to understand today and dream of a better tomorrow.

Sonora Jha’s characters represent vastly disparate political ideas, but she handles each of them with great precision and care. With this novel, she offers us a creative window into the sociopolitical dynamics that continue to reinforce cultural divisions in this country.

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Recent Features

The 10 most notable books of February 2023, as chosen by BookPage! Includes a new mystery from Jane Harper, a posthumous memoir from beloved children's author Jerry Pinkney, and more.
January 13, 2023

17 perfect books for newcomers to fantasy

Do you want to dip your toe into fantasy, but aren’t sure where to start? These accessible but transportive books can be your gateway.
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The Witch’s Heart

Genevieve Gornichec’s debut novel, The Witch’s Heart, is both staggering in its beauty and delicate in its execution.

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Black Water Sister

Sometimes a book makes you forget everything: the water boiling on the stove for tea, the lunch or dinner that has long since gone cold.

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Heather Walter’s debut novel, Malice, transforms the familiar fairytale of Sleeping Beauty into a dark and compelling fantasy romance between the storybook princess and the dark sorceress Alyce.

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The Chosen and the Beautiful

Nghi Vo perfectly balances the new and the familiar in her magical adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

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Half Sick of Shadows

Laura Sebastian has found an entirely new perspective from which to retell the Arthurian saga: that of Elaine of Astolat, Lady of Shalott.

Read more

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Recent Features

Do you want to dip your toe into fantasy, but aren't sure where to start? These accessible but transportive books can be your gateway.

Leta McCollough Seletzky, author of The Kneeling Man

Leta McCollough Seletzky author photo

Counterpoint | April 4

In the famous photograph of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., one man is kneeling down beside King on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, trying to staunch the blood from the fatal head wound. This kneeling man, Leta McCollough Seletzky’s father, was a member of the activist group the Invaders, but he was also an undercover Memphis police officer reporting on the activities of this group. 

Seletzky is a former litigator turned essayist and a National Endowment for the Arts 2022 Creative Writing Fellow, and in The Kneeling Man: My Father’s Life as a Black Spy Who Witnessed the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., she reveals the story of her father, who went on to work at the CIA, and reflects upon the full weight of these revelations.

Alejandro Varela, author of The People Who Report More Stress

Alejandro Varela author photo

Astra House | April 4

Last year, Alejandro Varela published his first novel, The Town of Babylon, and it became a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction. Varela is following up his hot-out-of-the-gate success with an overlapping story collection centering on the intersecting lives of a group of mostly queer and Latinx New York City residents. The stories explore many of the same themes as Varela’s novel—systemic racism, gentrification and economic injustice—and since his graduate studies were in public health, he brings deep insight to these topics and balances them with crisp humor and a lot of heart.

Emily Tesh, author of Some Desperate Glory

Emily Tesh author photo

Tordotcom | April 11

Emily Tesh won acclaim and a devoted readership with her Greenhollow duology of novellas, the first of which, Silver in the Wood, won a World Fantasy Award. The Greenhollow duology was a romantic take on age-old English folklore, but for her first novel, Tesh switches gears to science fiction and heads into darker moral territory. Set in a future where Earth has been destroyed by aliens, Some Desperate Glory follows Kyr, a young girl growing up in an isolated, militaristic community, where she is being trained to avenge the planet. She soon discovers that the rest of the universe is far more complex than she imagined and that she has a lot further to go to become the hero she wants to be.

Sarah Cypher, author of The Skin and Its Girl

Sarah Cypher author photo

Ballantine | April 25

After two decades as a freelance book editor, Sarah Cypher is making her fiction debut with a novel that draws from her own Lebanese American family’s history, which can be traced back to the incredible Kanaan Olive Soap factory in Nablus, Palestine. On the day of the factory’s (actual) destruction, a Palestinian American girl named Betty is born with bright blue skin in The Skin and Its Girl; as an adult, Betty begins to read the journals kept by the family matriarch, which reveal her aunt’s choice to hide her sexuality during the family’s immigration to the U.S., a discovery that helps Betty follow her own heart.

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Chain-Gang All-Stars

Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah author photo

Pantheon | May 2

It’s pretty incredible when a short story collection becomes an instant New York Times bestseller, and doubly so when it’s a debut, as in the case of Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s devastating and nightmarish Friday Black (2018). With his highly anticipated first novel, Adjei-Brenyah continues in the realm of brutal, dystopian surrealism with one of the most audacious premises of the year: Reality television meets America’s for-profit prison system in this story of two female gladiators, Loretta Thurwar and Hamara “Hurricane Staxxx” Stacker, who fight for their freedom from a private prison reality entertainment system.

Jamie Loftus, author of Raw Dog

Jamie Loftus author photo

Forge | May 23

Jamie Loftus is best known as a comedian, TV writer and podcaster, including co-hosting “The Bechdel Cast” with screenwriter Caitlin Durante on the HowStuffWorks network. Loftus’ debut book, Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs, is part memoir and part social critique that recounts her cross-country road trip in the summer of 2021 to investigate that backyard barbecue staple, the illustrious hot dog. Along the way, Loftus delves into all the ways hot dogs embody issues of class and culture in the United States, illuminating the complex history of this quintessential American food with her signature mix of intellect and unhinged humor.

Photo of Seletzky by Gretchen Adams. Photo of Varela by Allison Michael Orenstein. Photo of Tesh by Nicola Sanders Photography. Photo of Adjei-Brenyah by Alex M. Philip. Photo of Loftus by Andrew Max Levy.

These up-and-coming authors are going places, and we will be hot on their heels.

Our top 10 books of March 2023

The BookPage Top 10 for March include the latest from Samantha Shannon as well as the first novel from Gillian Flynn’s new imprint.

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Book jacket image for Now You See Us by Balli Kaur Jaswal

While sleuthing maids make for an engaging plot, the nuances of Balli Kaur Jaswal’s characters and their relationships are even more complex and intriguing.

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Book jacket image for Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire

In his memoir, Oliver Darkshire invites readers into one of the oldest antique bookstores in the world and acts as their hilarious, bookish guide.

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Book jacket image for Kunstlers in Paradise by Cathleen Schine
Family Drama

Few authors could pull off what Cathleen Schine does in Künstlers in Paradise: creating a seamless, multilayered saga about family dynamics and relationships, immigration, the early days of Hollywood and the often disturbingly cyclical nature of history.

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Book jacket image for Saving Time by Jenny Odell

Many writers have imitated Jenny Odell’s unique style since the publication of How to Do Nothing, but Saving Time proves that no one can do Odell like Odell.

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Contemporary Romance

Anita Kelly’s Something Wild & Wonderful follows two men who fall in love as they hike the Pacific Crest Trail, and it’s so sweet and satisfying that you’ll never want it to end.

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Enchantment by Katherine May
Body, Mind & Spirit

Wintering author Katherine May returns with Enchantment, a lovely, meditative ode to finding connection in a disconnected age.

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Book jacket image for Rainbow Shopping by Qing Zhuang

A grocery-shopping trip and a shared meal provide moments of comfort and connection in this touching portrait of a family’s love for one another.

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Book jacket image for The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty

Shannon Chakraborty’s follow-up to her bestselling Daevabad trilogy is a swashbuckling high seas quest that’s rousing, profound and irresistible.

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Book jacket image for A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon

Samantha Shannon’s prequel to The Priory of the Orange Tree is just as sumptuous and explosive, immersing readers in a world on the brink of destruction.

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Book jacket image for Scorched Grace by Margot Douaihy

Scorched Grace is an entertaining and devastating mystery that introduces Sister Holiday, a queer nun with a clever, curious mind and a fatalistic yet somehow still hopeful heart.

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Recent Features

Recent Reviews

Our Top 10 books for March include the latest from Samantha Shannon as well as the first novel from Gillian Flynn’s new imprint.

Our top 10 books of April 2023

BookPage’s top picks for April include the latest from Victor LaValle, Angie Thomas, Timothy Egan and more.

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Book jacket image for The Nanny by Lana Ferguson
Contemporary Romance

Fans of slow-burning chemistry and dirty talk will love The Nanny, a thoughtful romance between the titular nanny and the single father she works for.

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Book jacket image for This Isn't Going to End Well by Daniel Wallace
Family & Relationships

The exceptional first memoir from Big Fish author Daniel Wallace is loving, honest and haunting as it deconstructs his friendship with his late brother-in-law.

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American History

The latest enthralling historical narrative from National Book Award-winning author Timothy Egan focuses on the rapid rise and spectacular collapse of the KKK in the 1920s.

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Book jacket image for The Kneeling Man by Leta McCollough Seletzky
Family & Relationships

For Leta McCollough Seletzky, the famous photo of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination is particularly haunting—because her father was the one trying to administer first aid.

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Book jacket image for A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung
Family & Relationships

In Nicole Chung’s memoir about the deaths of her parents, she absorbs hard times with fury and compassion, making the universal experience of grief vividly personal.

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Book jacket image for Lone Women by Victor LaValle

A powerful study in setting and character with a healthy dose of horror, Lone Women will forever change the way you think about the Wild West.

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Readers who devour series like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books will inhale Nic Blake and the Remarkables and then begin counting down the days to its sequel.

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Book jacket image for Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Cozy Mystery

Jesse Q. Sutanto hits all the right notes in Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, a cozy mystery worth reading for its hilariously meddlesome titular character alone.

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Book jacket image for One World by Nicola Davies

This book leaves readers with not only a sense of awe at our planet’s remarkable biodiversity but also newfound feelings of respect and responsibility.

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Recent Features

Recent Reviews

Our Top 10 books of April include the latest from Victor LaValle, Angie Thomas, Timothy Egan and more.

Our top 10 books of May 2023

Must-reads for May include the latest from bestselling historian David Grann and romance superstar Emily Henry, plus the long-awaited second novel from Abraham Verghese.

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Book jacket image for Our Migrant Souls by Hector Tobar

Our Migrant Souls is one of the most important pieces of Latino nonfiction in several decades. Turning the last page, you will feel the weight of history on your shoulders.

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Book jacket image for Happy Place by Emily Henry
Contemporary Romance

Emily Henry’s effervescent and tender Happy Place is as expertly crafted as a perfect summer playlist.

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Gareth Hanrahan’s gritty and rousing fantasy novel The Sword Defiant explores what happens after the good guys win.

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Book jacket image for The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
Family Saga

Abraham Verghese, probably the best doctor-writer since Anton Chekhov, upends all of our expectations again and again in his long awaited follow-up to Cutting for Stone.

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Book jacket image for Warrior Girl Unearthed by Angeline Boulley
Children's & YA

Firekeeper’s Daughter author Angeline Boulley returns to Sugar Island with a thriller that urges readers to consider: Who owns the past?

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Book jacket image for The Wager by David Grann

David Grann’s narrative nonfiction masterpiece about an 18th-century man-of-war that ran aground in South America reveals humanity at its best and worst, from heroism to cannibalism.

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Julia Lee’s piercing discussions of Asian American identity are likely to challenge readers across the ideological spectrum. In fact, she even challenges her own views.

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The Weeds requests the reader to observe and look for connections, to question structures and patterns, and to discover new ways of seeing.

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Recent Features

Recent Reviews

Must-reads for May include the latest from bestselling historian David Grann and romance superstar Emily Henry, plus the long-awaited second novel from Abraham Verghese.
June 6, 2023

The top YA books for Pride Month

June is Pride Month, and this year’s crop of YA books is something truly special.
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Book jacket image for Different for Boys by Patrick Ness

Different for Boys

Emotional and with just enough cheek, Different for Boys feels like the voice of a new queer generation.

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Book jacket image for If I Can Give You That by Michael Gray Bulla

If I Can Give You That

This thoughtful debut novel models multiple possible ways to be a queer teen, an activist, a family caretaker and a friend.

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Book jacket image for Imogen

Imogen, Obviously

Bestselling author Becky Albertalli’s latest novel offers a gentle, hilarious and authentic look at figuring out who you are on your own timeline.

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Book jacket image for Lion's Legacy by L. C. Rosen

Lion’s Legacy

Firelit hidden chambers, puzzles with deadly stakes and a fun, casual romance hit all the essential blockbuster buttons in Lion’s Legacy.

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Book jacket image for Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian

Only This Beautiful Moment

Only This Beautiful Moment transmutes the rallying cry of “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” into even more beautiful poetry that will change lives.

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Recent Features

June is Pride Month, and this year’s crop of YA books is something truly special.

Thanks to new releases from Colson Whitehead, Lauren Groff, Abraham Verghese, Mary Beth Keane, Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Acevedo and more, we can’t wait for 2023 reading to begin.

The Faraway World book cover

The Faraway World by Patricia Engel

Avid Reader | January 24

When it came out in 2021, Colombian American writer Patricia Engel’s fourth novel, Infinite Country, got a ton of positive attention (from Reese’s Book Club, Book of the Month and more) and instantly hit the New York Times bestseller list. This cool follow-up collection includes nine of Engel’s best short stories, all previously published, and one new tale that’s never been published before.

The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon

MCD | January 24

Bosnian American author, screenwriter and critic Aleksandar Hemon has been a finalist for the National Book Award twice (for Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project), collaborated with Lana Wachowski and David Mitchell on The Matrix Resurrections, frequently writes for The New Yorker and has earned a whole host of literary awards and prizes. His next novel, which opens with the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, is an epic saga centered on two lovers who do their best to survive the trenches of World War I.

Maame book cover

Maame by Jessica George

St. Martin’s | January 31

This debut novelist comes to us from the editorial department of Bloomsbury UK, which means she’s got industry know-how to back up her Queenie-style novel about a Ghanaian British woman who’s making a life for herself amid familial difficulties, workplace racism and the day-to-day ups and downs of friendship and love.

Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell

HarperVia | January 31

Tomb of Sand was the first Hindi novel to even be nominated for the International Booker Prize, which makes Geetanjali Shree’s win even more wonderful. At more than 600 pages, it’s an absolute door stopper that follows the story of an 80-year-old woman whose children do their best to shake her from her depression after the death of her husband. Nothing helps—until a cane covered in butterflies seems to work magic, pulling Ma into a series of adventures.

Essex Dogs book cover

Essex Dogs by Dan Jones

Viking | February 7

The bestselling author and historian (Powers and Thrones, Crusaders, The Templars) makes the leap to fiction with a novel about the Hundred Years’ War. The first installment of a trilogy, it promises to be a well-researched, intimate look into medieval warfare from the perspectives of the soldiers themselves.

Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes

Pamela Dorman | February 7

British author Jojo Moyes’ 2019 historical novel, The Giver of Stars, transported readers to Depression-era Kentucky for a heartwarming story about packhorse librarians. For her next book, she’s returning to the realm of escapist contemporary fiction—and more specifically, the flirty world of Paris for One. An adaptation of a story from that collection, Someone Else’s Shoes follows two women whose lives are changed when they accidentally swap gym bags and literally have to walk in each other’s shoes.

A Spell of Good Things book cover

A Spell of Good Things by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

Knopf | February 7

Nigerian author Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s 2017 debut novel, Stay With Me, was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (now called the Women’s Prize for Fiction) and received the 9mobile Prize for Literature and the Prix Les Afriques. We’ve been looking forward to her follow-up for a long time, even putting it on last year’s list of most anticipated fiction in an attempt to manifest it. Finally, it’s here! Adébáyọ̀ takes us back to Nigeria for a story of two families divided, the two young people who connect them and the power structures of the political system that surround them.

Victory City by Salman Rushdie

Random House | February 7

The next novel from literary icon Salman Rushdie comes bittersweetly, as a horrifying attack on the author’s life last autumn will undoubtedly cast a shadow over the publication. Victory City is nevertheless a welcome return to the realm of the fantastical (like in Midnight’s Children and Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights) after Rushdie dabbled in contemporary satire for his last few works. Styled after classic Sanskrit epics, it tells the story of a woman who, with help from a goddess, calls forth the existence of Bisnaga—literally “victory city.”

I Have Some Questions for You book cover

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai

Viking | February 21

Rebecca Makkai’s previous novel, The Great Believers, received a lot of positive attention in 2018 and even earned a Stonewall Book Award. Her fourth novel pursues questions of memory and complicity through the story of a film professor and podcaster who has been asked to teach at her former New Hampshire boarding school. Upon her return, she is drawn back into the 1995 murder of a classmate, for which the school’s athletic trainer, Omar, was convicted.

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

FSG | March 7

Eleanor Catton MNZN (that’s right—she has a New Zealand Order of Merit) is the author of the internationally bestselling The Luminaries (winner of the Man Booker Prize) and The Rehearsal (winner of the Betty Trask Prize, which is awarded to first novels written by authors under the age of 35 who reside in a current or former Commonwealth nation). As a screenwriter, she adapted The Luminaries for a miniseries and Jane Austen’s Emma for feature film (the one starring Anya Taylor-Joy’s nosebleed). Her next novel is a work of climate fiction about a guerrilla gardening group invited to work some abandoned farmland that has been purchased by a billionaire who claims he’s building an end-times bunker.

The Farewell Tour book cover

The Farewell Tour by Stephanie Clifford

Harper | March 7

Considering that Daisy Jones & The Six was so obviously a nod to Fleetwood Mac, we have been hoping for a few more books in the music novel trend to honor the old timers, the originals, the classics. Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and other grand dames of country music come to mind when we think about Lillian Waters, the singer at the heart of the next novel from Stephanie Clifford, the author of Everybody Rise. Set in the 1980s, The Farewell Tour follows Lillian on her final tour—and through the many events of her life, all the way back to her humble beginnings.

Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood

Doubleday | March 7

Soothsayer Margaret Atwood returns to short fiction with her first collection since 2014’s Stone Mattress. Six of the 15 stories have been previously published (some having appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine), and the collection is anchored by seven tales that follow married couple Tig and Nell, who at this point are old friends to longtime readers of Atwood.

Dust Child book cover

Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Algonquin | March 14

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is a literary luminary in Vietnam, and now she’s making waves stateside, beginning with her critically acclaimed English-language debut, The Mountains Sing (2020). Inspired by the author’s own work reuniting Amerasian children with their family members, her next novel moves between past and present Vietnam to explore the long-term effects of the Vietnam War through the stories of two Vietnamese sisters, an American GI and the child of a Black American soldier and a Vietnamese woman.

The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner

Park Row | March 21

Sarah Penner’s first novel, The Lost Apothecary, was a huge hit, earning bestseller slots in both hardcover and paperback, and the rights have already been sold to Fox. Her highly touted second book returns to London for a Victorian mystery filled with seances, mediums, cults and secret societies. 

Chain-Gang All-Stars book cover

Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Pantheon | April 4

It’s a big deal when a short story collection becomes an instant New York Times bestseller, and doubly so when it’s a debut, as in the case of Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s devastating and surreal Friday Black. One of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honorees, Adjei-Brenyah will publish his first novel this spring, and the premise is everything we could hope for: Two female gladiators fight for their freedom from a private prison system modeled after our own American system.

The House Is on Fire by Rachel Beanland

Simon & Schuster | April 4

The author of Florence Adler Swims Forever, winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Debut Fiction, returns with a second novel that’s been building buzz for almost a year. The House Is on Fire follows four characters over the course of three days in the aftermath of the real-life 1811 theater fire in Richmond, Virginia—the deadliest disaster in American history at that time.

Panther Gap book cover

Panther Gap by James A. McLaughlin

Flatiron | April 4

James A. McLaughlin’s debut novel, Bearskin, won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, and for his sophomore outing, he’s sticking with wilderness-set literary thrillers. Panther Gap follows two adult siblings who are brought back to the Colorado ranch of their childhood by the prospect of an inheritance from their grandfather, and they’re quickly sucked into a dangerous game that involves drug cartels, domestic terrorism and more.

Homecoming by Kate Morton

Mariner | April 4

Every single Kate Morton novel has been a bestseller, so five years is a long time for her fans to wait for a follow-up to The Clockmaker’s Daughter. Morton’s upcoming family saga has been compared to The Lake House, her “most successful book to date,” because of the crime at the story’s center. It’s about a woman who discovers a connection between her family history and the fictional “Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959.”

Greek Lessons book cover

Greek Lessons by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith and Emily Yae Won

Hogarth | April 18

From the South Korean author of The Vegetarian, winner of the International Booker Prize, comes another haunting slim novel, this one about the bond that forms between a man losing his sight and a woman losing her voice.

Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal

Pamela Dorman | April 18

Doubling down on the down-home Midwestern goodness of his first two novels, Kitchens of the Great Midwest and The Lager Queen of Minnesota, bestselling author J. Ryan Stradal spins another yarn to warm the heart. It’s the story of a married couple who come from two very different restaurant families, so we’re expecting stick-to-your-stomach casseroles, wild rice and walleye, polka bands and lots of feelings.

The Covenant of Water book cover

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

Grove | May 2

Readers who loved Abraham Verghese’s major word-of-mouth hit, Cutting for Stone, have waited more than a decade for this follow-up, and its ambitious length (700+ pages) and epic premise certainly provide some context as to why it took so long to appear. Drawing early comparisons to Pachinko, The Covenant of Water spans from 1900–1977 and follows three generations of a family living in the coastal town of Kerala, India. But this family has a particular problem: In every generation, at least one member of the family dies by drowning.

The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane

Scribner | May 2

With her novel Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth Keane solidified her place among the family drama greats like Celeste Ng, Emma Straub, Brit Bennett, Laurie Frankel and Dani Shapiro. Keane’s next novel unfolds during one week in the life of a married couple whose partnership has hit rough waters. He’s the new owner of the Half Moon bar, and she’s grappling with the possibility that, after years of trying to conceive, she may not get to be a mother. And then a bar patron goes missing and a blizzard hits the town. We expect great characters, sharp detail and emotional devastation.

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece book cover

The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks

Knopf | May 9

Sure, Tom Hanks is the Academy Award-winning actor and the best 1990s rom-com hero (fight me, Hugh Grant), but more importantly, he’s also the bestselling author of the short story collection Uncommon Type. Hanks’ first novel, the ambitiously titled The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, moves from 1947 to 1970 to the present day as it follows the process of transforming a little comic book into a “star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film.” The novel will include three eight-page comic books, all written by Hanks and illustrated by Robert Sikoryak.

The Guest by Emma Cline

Random House | May 16

Emma Cline followed up her bestselling 2016 debut novel, The Girls, with a story collection in 2020 (Daddy) that got a ton of attention, so we expect similar excitement for her second novel, The Guest. Con artists, hustlers and social media scammers continue to be hot right now, particularly in film and TV (think Elizabeth Holmes, that Fyre Festival bro, Anna Delvey and Adam Neumann), and this is the kind of character at the heart of Cline’s next book, though refreshingly, it seems like she might not be a total sociopath.

Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

William Morrow | May 16

We really love an angry publishing novel (The Other Black Girl was one of the best in this, the era of the Great Resignation), so we’re looking forward to R.F. Kuang’s shift into contemporary literary fiction after her mind-blowing work in fantasy. (Babel was one of our Top 10 Books of 2022, and her Poppy War series continues to get tons of love.) The brilliantly titled Yellowface is the story of a bestselling author who is pretending to be Asian American and who stole her masterwork from an actual Asian American woman.

The Late Americans book cover

The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor

Riverhead | May 23

Brandon Taylor’s 2020 debut, Real Life, rocketed him into the center arena of literary fiction, and he has maintained his spot through his brilliant voice, which he shares via his viral Substack newsletter, “Sweater Weather.” In 2021 he followed up that first book with a bestselling story collection, Filthy Animals, and now he’s delivering another novel, The Late Americans, which follows a group of friends and lovers living in Iowa City, Iowa.

Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea

Little, Brown | May 30

We’ve been fairly patient about getting another novel from Luis Alberto Urrea, whose 2018 novel, The House of Broken Angels, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Urrea’s next novel shifts away from his typical terrain of first- and second-generation stories centered on the U.S.-Mexico border to explore a different element of his heritage. Good Night, Irene is inspired by the author’s mother’s experiences during World War II, when she worked with the American Cross and was present for the liberation of Buchenwald.

I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home book review

I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore

Knopf | June 20

Lorrie Moore has kept us well-fed with her acclaimed short stories, but we’re excited to check out her first novel since A Gate at the Stairs (2009). I Am Homeless if This Is Not My Home is a ghost story spanning three decades, exploring grief and the unseen through “A teacher visiting his dying brother in the Bronx. A mysterious journal from the nineteenth century stolen from a boarding house. A therapy clown and an assassin, both presumed dead, but perhaps not dead at all.”

Little Monsters by Adrienne Brodeur

Avid Reader | July 11

Adrienne Brodeur, author of the bestselling memoir Wild Game, kicked off her publishing career by founding the fiction magazine Zoetrope: All-Story with filmmaker Frances Ford Coppola, so it was only a matter of time before she ventured into fiction. Her first novel, Little Monsters, draws from the biblical tale of Cain and Abel to explore the complicated family dynamics of an oceanographer father and his two grown children, all of whom live on Cape Cod.

Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead

Doubleday | July 18

Colson Whitehead, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, could write a grocery list and we’d elbow your grandma out of the way to be the first to read it. His 2021 novel, Harlem Shuffle, was a heist novel that also dedicated plenty of space to appreciating midcentury furniture, and we’re over the moon that it’s also the first in a trilogy. Whitehead’s Ray Carney is back this summer in Crook Manifesto.

Somebody’s Fool by Richard Russo

Knopf | July 25

Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo takes us back to the town of North Bath in upstate New York for the third time, 10 years after the death of Donald “Sully” Sullivan from Nobody’s Fool and Everybody’s Fool. Gentrification and the appearance of a dead body now plague North Bath, where Sully’s now-adult son, Peter, remembers his father’s legacy and grapples with his own relationship to parenthood.

Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo

Ecco | August 1

Elizabeth Acevedo became a superstar of young people’s literature after her YA novel The Poet X won the National Book Award, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award and the Carnegie Medal, among other awards. The adult fiction realm welcomes her with open arms this summer, when she’ll publish a family drama that spans past and present, Santo Domingo and New York City, to tell the epic story of a Dominican American family.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

Riverhead | August 8

James McBride can do it all—short stories, biographies, a National Book Award-winning novel—but we’re especially partial to this big-hearted fiction kick he’s on. Following Deacon King Kong, McBride is sticking with stories of community secrets, this time in a small-town novel inspired by his own upbringing.

Prophet by Helen Macdonald and Sin Blaché

Grove | August 8

Beloved naturalist writer Helen Macdonald (H Is for Hawk, Vesper Flights) ventures into fiction along with first-time novelist Sin Blaché, and their collaboration has a creepy plot unlike anything we could’ve predicted. Set in England and America, Prophet follows a former MI6 agent and an American intelligence officer who join forces to investigate an ominous substance called Prophet, which seems to be using people’s memories against them.

Evil Eye book cover

Evil Eye by Etaf Rum

Harper | September 5

It seemed like everyone was talking about Etaf Rum’s debut novel, A Woman Is No Man, in the summer of 2019. Her follow-up returns to themes originally explored in her first book: the expectations and demands placed on Palestinian American women. This time, she’s focusing closely on the life of one wife and mother who must reconcile with her conservative family’s past.

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff

Riverhead | September 5

Lauren Groff clearly loves us and wants us to be happy, because we’ve only had to wait two years since Matrix for her next novel, this one “a nail-biting survival story and a penetrating fable about trying to find new ways of living in a world succumbing to the churn of colonialism.”

Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang

Riverhead | September 29

C Pam Zhang’s daringly original debut novel, How Much of These Hills Is Gold, completely transformed the Western fiction genre with its magical tale of two Chinese American siblings trying to survive amid the American gold rush. We have high hopes for her follow-up: Set in the near future (just a bit further along in our planet’s demise), this speculative cli-fi novel follows a chef who takes a job on a decadent mountaintop colony.

Family Meal by Bryan Washington

Riverhead | October 10

No one captures the sorrow and beauty of a coming-of-age love story quite like Bryan Washington, so we are thrilled to hear that the author of Lot and Memorial is back this fall with another intimate novel that focuses on the lives of two young men.

Discover all of BookPage’s most anticipated books of 2023.

A year of great fiction is just around the bend! Discover the 38 books we’re most excited to read.

Among these 33 nonfiction books we can’t wait to read, you’ll find gems from old favorites and delights from debut authors who just might become your new favorites.

BFF cover image

B.F.F. by Christie Tate

Avid Reader | February 7

If you haven’t yet read Christie Tate’s 2020 memoir, Group, let me begin by saying that you are missing out. Tate’s chaotic yet heartwarming first book was all about the unconventional group therapy setting that helped her work through her issues with intimacy. In it, she depicted her journey toward healing by telling a room full of near-strangers the messy, brutal truth about her relationships to sex, food, relationships and everything in between. In her second memoir, B.F.F.: A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found, Tate focuses on the elusive intimacy of friendship, recounting the tumultuous, emotional and funny process of learning how to have and be a friend. It yet again strikes that perfect balance of an author spilling the dirt and baring her soul.

Dinner With the President by Alex Prud’homme

Knopf | February 7

In addition to being Julia Child’s grandnephew and the co-author of her memoir, My Life in France, Alex Prud’homme is also a lively writer in his own right. In Dinner With the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House, he veers from the French food beat to offer anecdotes, stories and hidden histories about 26 U.S. presidents and their particular tastes for food and drink. If you’ve ever wondered which dishes reminded Abraham Lincoln of his childhood on the Kentucky frontier, or which president had a weakness for butter pecan ice cream, Dinner With the President will satisfy your every curiosity.

Drama Free cover image

Drama Free by Nedra Glover Tawwab

TarcherPerigee | February 28

Therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab is the reigning queen of setting boundaries. Her 2021 book, Set Boundaries, Find Peace, as well as her popular Instagram account, have helped thousands of people better navigate sticky situations at work, at home and in their communities. Her second book, Drama Free: A Guide to Managing Unhealthy Family Relationships, focuses on what to do when your family of origin is a source of strife, stress and conflict rather than support, security and confidence. It’s a great resource for readers who are just beginning to understand the dynamics within their families of origin and the effects those relationships have had on their development. It’s also a helpful how-to manual for readers who are well aware of the issues in their families but are unsure how to improve their situations. As always, Tawwab is a sound and trustworthy guide.

Enchantment by Katherine May

Riverhead | February 28

Katherine May’s 2020 book, Wintering, is one of those works you return to year after year, a cold weather ritual nearly as important as taking your vitamin D supplements. Her books are a wonder—and speaking of wonder, Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age is all about getting in touch with this feeling when everything around you is swirling with fear, change and unpredictability. By harnessing the magic of attention, ritual and the natural world, May shows readers how to find stillness and awe in their disordered day to day. But Enchantment is more than mere self-help. May’s chops as a beautiful writer and original thinker elevate her books to pure poetry.

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The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley by David Waldstreicher

FSG | March 7

Biography lovers are in for several treats in 2023, starting with The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet’s Journeys Through American Slavery and Independence. Historian David Waldstreicher draws parallels between Wheatley’s personal story and Homer’s “The Odyssey,” emphasizing both her mastery of the classics and the epic scale of Wheatley’s life: She was born in 1753 in West Africa; enslaved and taken to North America, where she learned to read and began to write poetry; became the first African American author of a book of poetry, after which her enslavers emancipated her; died at the age of 31, having written some of the most influential verse about the American Revolution. Waldstreicher fills in this sketch with all the fascinating detail of a proper page-turning biography.

Saving Time by Jenny Odell

Random House | March 7

Since the release of her 2019 book How to Do Nothing, the cult of Jenny Odell has spread far and wide. Her call to resist the efficiency-obsessed and technology-dependent constraints of modern life has resonated with thousands of people limping through late-stage capitalism—and her appeal only grew once work collided with a global pandemic in 2020. Odell’s next book, Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock, expounds on the ideas established in How to Do Nothing and drills even deeper to question the cultural construction of time itself. If you recoil when you hear the phrase “time is money,” this book will be a liberating, stimulating, challenging delight.

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Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire

Norton | March 14

Debut author Oliver Darkshire gives bibliophiles plenty to rejoice over in Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller, his memoir of stumbling backward into a job at Henry Sotheran Ltd. in London. Full of cozy charm, pointed humor and a clumsy sense of adventure, it’s a coming-of-age tale about trying to find your footing in those first few precarious years after graduating from college. It’s also an ode to the dying art of antiquarian bookselling as Darkshire learns the ropes of his new role and joins the line of professionally bookish types who have kept the shop running since 1761. Readers who are fans of “books about books” definitely won’t want to miss this one in 2023.

Paris by Paris Hilton

Dey Street | March 14

If you were alive in the 2000s, you likely have hundreds of memories (many of them involuntary) of Paris Hilton, the blond, bejeweled hotel heiress who took “famous for being famous” to new heights. However, given what we now know about the punishing media machine of the early aughts—in addition to the revelations of the 2020 documentary This Is Paris—it’s reasonable to wonder how much of what we think we know about Hilton is true. Hopefully her memoir, aptly named Paris: The Memoir, will clear up the smoke and mirrors. It seems there may be more to the DJ, model and reality TV star than purse chihuahuas and low-rise velour track pants after all.

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Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond

Crown | March 21

Winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction Matthew Desmond is back with more searing sociological commentary. Poverty, by America builds on the groundbreaking storytelling in Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, zooming out from that book’s focus on housing insecurity to encompass the broader issues that contribute to America’s poverty epidemic, such as low wages and wealth inequality. Ultimately, Poverty, by America tackles the question: Why does the richest nation on Earth have more poverty than any other advanced democracy? It’s an unwieldy question, but Desmond is just the man to tackle it.

The Best Strangers in the World by Ari Shapiro

HarperOne | March 21

Broadcaster, journalist and host of the NPR news program “All Things Considered” Ari Shapiro adds “author” to his string of credits this March. The Best Strangers in the World: Stories From a Life Spent Listening is a memoir in essays that goes behind the scenes of his exciting professional life (riding on Air Force One with the president, reporting on the Syrian refugee crisis) as well as his personal life (his childhood, his marriage and his love of musical theater). In both spheres, Shapiro is charming and personable, sharing his life with a mixture of earnestness and panache. If you’re a fan of “All Things Considered,” you’ll likely hear his voice in your head while reading; we bet the audiobook for this one will be stellar.

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The Wounded World by Chad L. Williams

FSG | April 4

Armchair historians with an interest in World War I should mark their calendars for April. Brandeis University professor of history Chad L. Williams’ The Wounded World focuses on the evolution of W.E.B. Du Bois’ stance on the First World War and Black Americans’ role within it. After the great thinker, sociologist and author originally came out in support of the Allied cause, he came to regret this decision and struggled for two decades to write a definitive account of Black Americans’ involvement in the war, which he never finished. Williams chronicles Du Bois’ attempt to write that history, illuminating new insights into Black people’s experiences during the 20th century along the way.

A Fever in the Heartland by Timothy Egan

Viking | April 4

National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Timothy Egan has a stunner in store for history fans this year. A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them is another narrative, page-turning history from the author of The Worst Hard Time and The Big Burn, this time zeroing in on 1920s America at the height of the Ku Klux Klan’s terror. Egan tells the story of D.C. Stephenson, the Grand Dragon of Indiana, who had governors, judges and pastors in his pocket and who even claimed to have a phone that provided a direct line to the president. This was a time when the KKK baldly broadcasted its message of white supremacy to the whole nation, and A Fever in the Heartland reveals how one woman changed that forever.

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A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung

Ecco | April 4

In her bestselling 2018 memoir, All You Can Ever Know, Korean American author Nicole Chung grappled with the ways she benefitted from and was wounded by growing up in a white adoptive family. In her second memoir, A Living Remedy, Chung digs deeper into the dynamics of family, class and how guilt mixes with gratitude when one generation becomes more successful than the last. When her father died from kidney disease at age 67, Chung had to face the wealth and health care inequalities that hastened his death—inequalities she knew that she and her children would not face. It’s a tender personal story with powerful social and political ramifications.

This Isn’t Going to End Well by Daniel Wallace

Algonquin | April 11

The beloved author of Big Fish and five other novels will publish his first work of nonfiction this April. This Isn’t Going to End Well: The True Story of a Man I Thought I Knew is a memoir about Daniel Wallace’s late brother-in-law, William Nealy, who died by suicide in 2001. From the time Wallace was 12, he admired his big sister’s impossibly cool boyfriend, and later husband. Nealy was a cartoonist, mountain rescue specialist, professional drummer, author, sculptor, construction worker, civil rights activist and a dozen other things—the definition of “larger than life,” up until his death at age 48. After that, Wallace began to uncover the secrets Nealy had kept hidden all his life, and This Isn’t Going to End Well outlines the complicated, tender truth about one mythical man.

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You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith

Atria | April 11

In 2020, poet Maggie Smith released the much-needed book Keep Moving, a bracing collection of quotations and essays about life after divorce and what comes next. In You Could Make This Place Beautiful: A Memoir, Smith unfurls the full story for the first time, dispatching scenes from before and after her marriage to create a kaleidoscope of a memoir. Along the way, Smith vies with patriarchy, motherhood and work as she carves a path through loss and seismic change. This book will be a lifeline to readers looking for ways to pick up the pieces and turn them into a beautiful collage.

Alexandra Petri’s US History by Alexandra Petri

Norton | April 11

Humorist Alexandra Petri, a columnist for The Washington Post and author of Nothing Is Wrong and Here Is Why, has more laughs up her sleeve. Alexandra Petri’s US History: Important American Documents (I Made Up) is like a compilation of McSweeney’s best listicles and articles, except they’re all about American history, and they’re all written by one very funny person. Spanning 500 years of real history, each of the book’s entries constructs a fake historical document: Francisco de Coronado’s letter to Charles V; an toy ad for Puritan parents; John and Abigail Adams’s sexts; and many even more ridiculous entries from the satirical archives. This book is a must-read for history buffs with a sense of humor.

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The Wager by David Grann

Doubleday | April 18

The bestselling author of ​​Killers of the Flower Moon—the film adaptation of which, directed by Martin Scorcese, will be released this year—returns with another gripping, twisty narrative history. The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder tells the story of a British ship that washed up on Brazilian shores in 1742 after months of being marooned off the coast of Patagonia. The crew was welcomed and celebrated—until another ship washed ashore in Chile six months later and those on board accused the first group of being not heroes but mutineers. If you’ve ever wondered how Lord of the Flies might have played out if it had been adults instead of children stranded on that island, David Grann has the shocking answer.

Honey, Baby, Mine by Laura Dern & Diane Ladd

Grand Central | April 25

Actor and cultural icon Laura Dern teams up with another icon—her mom, actor Diane Ladd—for their first book. Honey, Baby, Mine: A Mother and Daughter Talk Life, Death, Love (and Banana Pudding) records conversations between mother and daughter on work, love, relationships, professional success and more, born out of the long walks they took together while Ladd was recovering from a sudden life-threatening illness. The book will include photos, recipes and other familial tidbits, ultimately creating a rich mosaic of two legendary women as they formed a deep friendship.

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Our Migrant Souls by Héctor Tobar

MCD | May 9

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and novelist Héctor Tobar (The Last Great Road Bum) showcases his social science expertise in Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino”. As a Los Angeles native and the son of Guatemalan immigrants, Tobar understands all the ways that the label “Latino” fails to capture the huge and hugely diverse swath of people who identify themselves with that term. Using both his own experiences and the stories of his Latinx students at the University of California, Irvine, Tobar crafts a galvanizing portrait of Latinx people’s humanity, anger and beauty, crisscrossing the terrain of pop culture, history and identity with singular dexterity.

Better Living Through Birding by Christian Cooper

Random House | May 9

Remember in 2020 when a white woman called the police on a Black guy who was just bird-watching in Central Park? (Of course you do.) That man was Christian Cooper, and his memoir is called Better Living Through Birding: Notes From a Black Man in the Natural World. Cooper likes to observe the migratory birds who stop in Central Park every spring on their journey back home, and his book will explore what all that time looking at the skies has taught him about safety, self-acceptance and life as a gay Black man in America. In addition to revealing more about Cooper’s life, including his work as a writer for Marvel Comics, Better Living Through Birding will also serve as a handy how-to for aspiring birders.

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King: A Life by Jonathan Eig

FSG | May 16

A new biography of Martin Luther King Jr. is coming this May from Jonathan Eig, who has previously written biographies of Muhammad Ali, Al Capone, Lou Gehrig and Jackie Robinson. Eig writes in the book’s introduction that his biography is the first to make use of several recently released resources, including FBI documents, White House telephone recordings, materials that belonged to King’s personal archivist and an unpublished memoir by King’s father. Chances are high that within King: A Life’s 688 pages, new revelations will come to light, and a complicated, admiring, honest portrait of an American icon will emerge.

Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby

Vintage | May 16

Humorist, essayist and TV writer Samantha Irby expands her repertoire of hilarious writings (and animal-themed book covers) with Quietly Hostile: Essays. Now that Irby has entered the big leagues as a writer for shows like “And Just Like That” and “Shrill,” her life must be glamorous and refined. Just kidding! If you’re a fan of her other collections (Wow, No Thank You., We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. and Meaty), you already know that her life is just as busted as ever. (The marketing copy for this book mentions poison teeth, diarrhea and QVC, if that’s any indication.) But this is good news for readers, because once the calamities of Irby’s life have been processed through her singularly twisted mind, they become something funny, endearing and endlessly relatable.

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Raw Dog by Jamie Loftus

Forge | May 23

Comedian and podcaster Jamie Loftus (“The Bechdel Cast,” “My Year in Mensa,” “Lolita Podcast,” et al.) turns her attention to the illustrious hot dog in her debut book, Raw Dog: The Naked Truth About Hot Dogs. Part memoir and part social critique, the book follows Loftus’ summer 2021 cross-country road trip as she documented the myriad forms of this quintessential American food. Along the way, Loftus delves into all the ways hot dogs embody issues of class and culture in the United States, illuminating the complex history of this backyard barbecue staple with her signature mix of intellect and unhinged humor.

Why Fathers Cry at Night by Kwame Alexander

Little, Brown | May 23

Acclaimed children’s and young adult author Kwame Alexander (The Door of No Return) will serve up a hybrid memoir for adult readers later this year. Why Fathers Cry at Night: A Memoir in Love Poems, Recipes, Letters, and Remembrances spans Alexander’s experiences as a son, husband and father, sharing intimate glimpses of missteps and triumphs throughout his life as he has worked to understand what love is and how to share it with those he cares for. Interspersed throughout these personal stories are original poems, family recipes and other unexpected offerings, making for a uniquely varied reading experience.

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Women We Buried, Women We Burned by Rachel Louise Snyder

Bloomsbury | May 23

Journalist Rachel Louise Snyder, author of the acclaimed 2019 book No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us, will tell her own story for the first time in Women We Buried, Women We Burned: A Memoir. When Snyder was 8, her father joined a strict evangelical church after her mother’s untimely death. This inspired a rebellious streak in Snyder, who eventually found herself kicked out of high school and living in her car. From there, Snyder recounts her jagged path to becoming the renowned journalist she is today, through years of reporting abroad and honing her understanding of women’s unique precarity in the world. It promises to be a gripping memoir of learning to survive and defending others’ right to do the same.

Pageboy by Elliot Page

Flatiron | June 6

Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page, who has portrayed so many beloved characters’ stories over his career, now shares his own story in Pageboy: A Memoir. Page wrote in an Instagram post that until recently, he never felt like it was the right time to write a memoir, especially as he wrestled with gender dysphoria before his transition. But once he felt at home in his body, he could finally carve out the space to tell the truth about his life and experiences. Those truths can be found in Pageboy, which recounts Page’s journey toward coming out as queer and trans, and the ways that stardom both fulfilled and delayed his dreams for his life. We expect it to be the kind of book you cheer for by the end, as the author learns how to be true to himself at last.

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Moby Dyke by Krista Burton

Simon & Schuster | June 6

Krista Burton’s first book, Moby Dyke: An Obsessive Quest to Hunt Down the Last Remaining Lesbian Bars in America, chronicles a road trip for the ages: visiting the last 21 lesbian bars in the United States (down from 206 in 1987). Creator of the blog Effing Dykes, Burton set out to discover where all these bars went, what the remaining ones have to offer and what queer spaces, places and rituals have been lost as LGBTQ+ communities have become more accepted by the dominant culture. Some of Burton’s personal narrative is also woven into her cultural analysis, such as coming out to her Mormon parents and traveling cross-country with her husband, who is transgender. It all sounds like a wild, wonderful ride.

The Questions That Matter Most by Jane Smiley

Heyday | June 6

Beloved novelist Jane Smiley (A Thousand Acres, Golden Age, Perestroika in Paris) dips back into nonfiction for the first time since 2005 with The Questions That Matter Most: Reading, Writing, and the Exercise of Freedom. Touching on the aesthetic, ethical and contextual aspects of reading and writing, Smiley’s 18 essays reflect on favorite authors, famous works from the English canon, the writing life and more. The Questions That Matter Most offers a peek into a great literary mind as it puzzles over the tricks and triumphs of other masterful writers, from ​​Franz Kafka to Alice Munro.

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A Most Tolerant Little Town by Rachel Louise Martin

Simon & Schuster | June 13

Historian Rachel Louise Martin (Hot, Hot Chicken) continues her work of documenting the politics of memory across the South in A Most Tolerant Little Town: The Explosive Beginning of School Desegregation in America. Martin’s second book recounts the events of September 1956 when a small town in Tennessee became home to the first school to undergo court-ordered desegregation after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. There were death threats, violence and protests. The National Guard had to intervene. And in the years that followed, townspeople were reluctant to talk about it. Martin seems to have gotten through to them at last, however, because her book is based on interviews with over 60 of the town’s residents, resulting in a patchwork portrait of a pivotal moment in civil rights history.

How to Stay Married by Harrison Scott Key

Avid Reader | June 13

Harrison Scott Key, whose first book, The World’s Largest Man, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2016, is back with another funny and deeply felt memoir. How to Stay Married: The Most Insane Love Story Ever Told tells the harrowing (but also somehow hilarious) story of Key’s realization that his wife was having an affair with a family friend. As he tangles and untangles faith, forgiveness and fidelity, Key takes readers along for a memorable caper, trying to right past wrongs, reckon with his failings and pave a better path forward, all with his sense of humor intact.

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100 Places to See After You Die by Ken Jennings

Scribner | June 13

“Jeopardy!” champion and author Ken Jennings (Planet Funny) has written a travel guide we hope you won’t need anytime soon. 100 Places to See After You Die: A Travel Guide to the Afterlife splits the difference between an informative compendium of afterlife legends and locales, and a satirical travel guide for anyone crossing the river Styx (or descending into Sheol, or ascending to Valhalla). So go ahead. Study up on the customs of potential future resting places, learn the lingo and figure out what to expect when you get there—or how you should behave now to ensure your entry—all while having a laugh at Jennings’ witty descriptions.

Adult Drama by Natalie Beach

Hanover Square | June 20

In 2019, Natalie Beach published an essay in The Cut about her dysfunctional friendship with full-time social media influencer and part-time grifter Caroline Calloway. In the days and weeks that followed, no one with a smartphone could talk about anything else. That viral essay leaned heavily on Calloway’s actions and difficulties, but in Adult Drama: And Other Essays, Beach tells her own story. This memoir in essays seeks to capture the absurdist humor of becoming an adult, with all of its professional, romantic, personal and existential crises. We’re excited to hear more from Beach, and to find out what kinds of sharp observations she’ll make about finding your footing in a world off its axis.

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August Wilson: A Life by Patti Hartigan

Simon & Schuster | August 15

Patti Hartigan is a theater critic who knew legendary playwright August Wilson personally, and we’re eager to get her authoritative take on his life and work in August Wilson: A Life. Wilson is responsible for some of the most revered plays of the 20th century, including Two Trains Running, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Fences. His work explored Black Americans’ experiences over the last century and made him a key figure in the Post-Black Arts Movement. Based on interviews with Wilson’s friends, family and colleagues, Hartigan’s biography will shine a welcome light on this essential American artist.

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