Note: The book synopses in this post are from Amazon.com and the publishers. Most have been abbreviated to keep the total word count down to a reasonable level.
WINTER IS COMING…
And you know what that means. Books. So many books. EPIC books. Gird your Goodreads profile. Here are the 50 most exciting books hitting store shelves this winter. (#1-30 are fiction; #31-50 are nonfiction.)
1. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
January 3 | Grove Press
Author of the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist returns with this short story collection about women who live in privilege and poverty, and are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes. A pair of sisters have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister’s marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind.
January 3 | 37 Ink
A collection of award-winning short stories in which a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney’s notorious Villawood detention centre; a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike; an enraged black militant is on the war-path through the rebel squats of 1960s Brixton; a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance; a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny; and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way.
3. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
January 3 | Atlantic Monthly Press
Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong.
4. Selection Day by Aravind Adiga
January 3 | Scribner
Manjunath Kumar is fourteen and living in a slum in Mumbai. He knows he is good at cricket—if not as good as his older brother, Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father and admires his brilliantly talented sibling. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn’t know. Sometimes it even seems as though everyone has a clear idea of who Manju should be, except Manju himself. When Manju meets Radha’s great rival, a mysterious Muslim boy privileged and confident in all the ways Manju is not, everything in Manju’s world begins to change, and he is faced by decisions that will challenge his understanding of it and himself.
5. Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
January 10 | Riverhead
A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family.
6. Lotus by Lijia Zhang
January 10 | Henry Holt
Reserved, at times defiant, Lotus is different from the other streetwalkers. Her striking eyes glow under Shenzhen’s neon lights, capturing the attention of Funny Eye, Family Treasure, and a slew of other demanding clients determined to make Lotus their property. Choosing between wealthy, powerful, and dangerous men is no easy feat, but it is a surprising offer from Binbing, a soft-spoken and humble photojournalist, that presents the biggest challenge. Is Lotus willing to fall in love? Is she capable of it?
January 10 | Scout Press
Winifred Allen needs a vacation. Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings. When a freak accident leaves the women stranded in the remote Allagash Wilderness, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long-buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test.
8. Human Acts by Han Kang
January 17 | Hogarth
In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed. The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho’s own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.
January 24 | Viking
Thomas McNulty, aged barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine in Ireland, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas goes on to fight in the Indian Wars—against the Sioux and the Yurok—and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.
10. Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson
January 24 | Ecco
When Isabelle Poole meets Dr. Preston Grind, she’s fresh out of high school, pregnant with her art teacher’s baby, and totally on her own. Dr. Grind, an awkwardly charming child psychologist, has spent his life studying family, even after tragedy struck his own. Now, with the help of an eccentric billionaire, he has the chance to create a “perfect little world”—to study what would happen when ten children are raised collectively–and he wants Izzy and her son to join. This attempt at a utopian ideal starts off promising, but soon the gentle equilibrium among the families disintegrates and Izzy’s growing feelings for Dr. Grind make her question her participation.
11. The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry
January 24 | Crown
When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, respected local historian Rose Whelan, is guilty of murder, but exonerating her might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night?
12. The Signal Flame by Andrew Krivák
January 24 | Scribner
In a small town in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, Hannah and her son Bo mourn the loss of the family patriarch, Jozef Vinich. Having survived the trenches of World War I as an Austro-Hungarian conscript, Vinich journeyed to America and built a life for his family. But now there is only Bo, a quiet man full of conviction and a firstborn’s sense of duty. He is left to grieve but also to hope for reunion, to create a new life, to embrace the land and work its soil through the seasons. The Signal Flame is a novel about generations of men and women and the events that define them, brothers who take different paths, the old European values yielding to new world ways, and the convalescence of memory and war.
January 24 | Flatiron
When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it’s another baby boy. At least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect. But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.
Rosie and Penn aren’t panicked at first. Kids go through phases, after all, and make-believe is fun. But soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.
January 24 | Knopf
It is 1914. Germany has just declared war on France. In Cape Town, Piet Barol and his wife are living the high life, impersonating French aristocrats—but their lies are catching up with them. The Barols’ furniture business is on the verge of collapse. They need top-quality wood, and they need it cheap. Piet enlists two Xhosa men to lead him into a vast forest, in search of a fabled tree. Far from the comforting certainties of his privileged existence, Piet is sure he’ll be able to buy what he needs for a few glass trinkets. But he’s underestimating the Xhosa, who believe the spirits of their ancestors live in this sacred forest.
15. My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
January 31 | Pamela Dorman
When young lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But then she takes on her first murder case and meets Joe. A convicted murderer whom Lily is strangely drawn to.
But Lily is not the only one with secrets. Her next-door neighbor Carla may be only nine, but she has already learned that secrets are powerful things. That they can get her whatever she wants. When Lily finds Carla on her doorstep sixteen years later, a chain of events is set in motion that can end only one way.50 Amazing New Books to Get Excited About This WinterClick To Tweet
16. Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
January 31 | Dutton
Eight years ago, Sharlah Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters. Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.
17. A Separation by Katie Kitamura
February 7 | Riverhead
A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it’s time for them to separate. For the moment it’s a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, she gets word that Christopher has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged south of Greece; she reluctantly agrees to go and search for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart, she’s not even sure if she wants to find him. Adrift in the wild landscape, she traces the disintegration of their relationship, and discovers she understands less than she thought about the man she used to love.
18. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
February 7 | W.W. Norton
In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.
Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants.
19. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
February 7 | Grand Central
Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.
So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.
February 7 | Ecco
In this novel, Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of two very different and yet intimately linked American families. Luther Dunphy is an ardent Evangelical who envisions himself as acting out God’s will when he assassinates an abortion provider in his small Ohio town while Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic doctor who is killed, leaves behind a wife and children scarred and embittered by grief. Joyce Carol Oates fully inhabits the perspectives of two interwoven families whose destinies are defined by their warring convictions and confronts an intractable, abiding rift in American society.
21. The Evening Road by Laird Hunt
February 7 | Little, Brown & Co.
Meet Ottie Lee Henshaw, a startling, challenging beauty in small-town Indiana.
Meet Calla Destry, a determined young woman desperate to escape the violence of her town and to find the lover who has promised her a new life.
22. The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
February 7 | Grove Press
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer…
In The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration.
February 14 | Random House
February 1862. The Civil War is less than one-year-old and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery.
Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
24. Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson
February 14 | Blue Rider Press
When the Twin Towers suddenly reappear in the Badlands of South Dakota twenty years after their fall, nobody can explain their return. To the thousands drawn to the “American Stonehenge” the Towers seem to sing, even as everybody hears a different song. A rumor overtakes the throng that someone can be seen in the high windows of the southern structure.
On the ninety-third floor, Jesse Presley—the stillborn twin of the most famous singer who ever lived—suddenly awakes, driven mad by a voice in his head that sounds like his but isn’t, and by the memory of a country where he survived in his brother’s place.
February 14 | Viking
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety. As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere.
February 28 | Random House
Seoul, 1978. At South Korea’s top university, the nation’s best and brightest compete to join the professional elite of an authoritarian regime. Success could lead to a life of rarefied privilege and wealth; failure means being left irrevocably behind. For friends Jisun and Namin, the stakes couldn’t be more different. Jisun, the daughter of a business mogul, grew up on a mountainside estate. Namin’s parents run a food cart from dawn to curfew. Now Jisun rejects her father’s world, while Namin studies tirelessly to launch her family out of poverty. But everything changes when Jisun and Namin meet Sunam, an ambitious student whose need to please his family has led him to a prestigious club: the Circle.
February 28 | W.W. Norton
Harmless Like You is set across New York, Connecticut, and Berlin, following Yuki Oyama, a Japanese girl fighting to make it as an artist, and Yuki’s son Jay who, as an adult in the present day, is forced to confront his mother’s abandonment of him when he was only two years old.
The novel opens when Yuki is sixteen and her father is posted back to Japan. Though she and her family have been living as outsiders in New York City, Yuki opts to stay, but when she becomes involved with an older man and the relationship turns destructive, Yuki’s life is unmoored.
28. No Other World by Rahul Mehta
February 28 | Harper
In Western New York, twelve-year-old Kiran Shah, the American-born son of Indian immigrants, longingly observes his prototypically American neighbors, the Bells. He attends school with Kelly Bell, but he’s powerfully drawn—in a way he does not yet understand—to her father, Chris. Kiran’s yearnings echo his parents’ bewilderment as they try to adjust to a new world. His father, a successful doctor, is haunted by thoughts of the brother he left behind. His mother struggles to accept a life with a man she did not choose and her growing attachment to an American man. Kiran is close to his older sister—until an unfathomable betrayal drives a wedge between them that will reverberate through their lives.
February 28 | Viking
Arthur Prescott feels like a fish out of water at the University of Barchester, where he works as an English professor. His one respite from the never-ending committees is his time spent nestled in the Barchester Cathedral library, nurturing his secret obsession with the Holy Grail. But when a beautiful young American named Bethany Davis arrives charged with the task of digitizing the library’s manuscripts, Arthur’s tranquility is broken. He sets out to thwart Bethany, only to find in her a kindred spirit. Bethany soon joins Arthur in a quest to find the lost Book of Ewolda, an ancient manuscript that was last seen being carried away by a mysterious figure during one of the Cathedral’s most dangerous nights.
30. Waking Lions by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
February 28 | Little, Brown & Co.
Neurosurgeon Eitan Green has the perfect life–married to a beautiful police officer and father of two young boys. Then, speeding along a deserted moonlit road after an exhausting hospital shift, he hits someone. Seeing that the man, an African migrant, is beyond help, he flees the scene. When the victim’s widow knocks at Eitan’s door the next day, holding his wallet and divulging that she knows what happened, Eitan discovers that her price for silence is not money. It is something else entirely, something that will shatter Eitan’s safe existence and take him into a world of secrets and lies he could never have anticipated.50 Exciting New Reads Hitting Bookstores This WinterClick To Tweet
December 1 | Oxford University Press
Do birds have feelings? Can fish feel pain? Could a honeybee be anxious? For centuries, the question of whether or not animals are conscious like humans has prompted debates among philosophers and scientists. While most people gladly accept that complex mammals–such as dogs–share emotions and experiences with us, the matter of simpler creatures is much less clear. Blending the latest research about animal sensation with theories about the nature of consciousness, Tye develops a methodology for addressing the mysteries of the animal mind.
32. The French Revolution by Ian Davidson
December 6 | Pegasus
The French Revolution casts a long shadow, one that reaches into our own time and influences our debates on freedom, equality, and authority. Yet it remains an elusive, perplexing historical event. Its significance morphs according to the sympathies of the viewer, who may see it as a series of gory tableaux, a regrettable slide into uncontrolled anarchy―or a radical reshaping of the political landscape.
In this new book, Ian Davidson provides a fresh look at this vital moment in European history and reveals how it subsequently became weighted with political, social, and moral values.
December 13 | Zondervan
What Falls from the Sky is Esther’s account of a year without Internet–365 days away from the good, the bad, and the ugly of our digital lives. Esther faces her addiction to electronica, her illusion of self-importance, and her longing to return to simpler days, but then the unexpected happens. Her experiment in analog is hijacked by a spiritual awakening, and Esther finds herself suddenly, inexplicably drawn to the faith she had rejected for so long.
34. The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
January 3 | Grand Central
Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 2012 Doug Preston and a team of scientists set out to search for the city. They find it–and the horror inside.
35. Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czerski
January 10 | W.W. Norton
Take a look up at the stars on a clear night and you get a sense that the universe is vast and untouchable, full of mysteries beyond comprehension. But did you know that the key to unveiling the secrets of the cosmos is as close as the nearest toaster?
In Storm in a Teacup, Helen Czerski provides the tools to alter the way we see everything around us by linking ordinary objects and occurrences, like popcorn popping, coffee stains, and fridge magnets, to big ideas like climate change, the energy crisis, or innovative medical testing.
36. Unjustifiable Means by Mark Fallon
January 17 | Regan Arts.
Veteran NCIS agent Mark Fallon was appointed the deputy commander of the Criminal Investigation Task Force charged with bringing suspected terrorists to justice in the War on Terror. With the opening of Guantanamo Bay and the arrival of detainees, government agencies—including the CIA, Army, and NCIS—began infighting over whose jurisdiction the investigation fell under, and what the best method was for extracting information on al-Qaeda. Hard-hitting, raw, and explosive, Unjustifiable Means forces the spotlight back onto how America began implementing “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” and exposes those responsible for torturing innocent men under the guise of national security.
January 24 | Riverhead
What are time and space made of? Where does matter come from? And what exactly is reality? Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli has spent his whole life exploring these questions. Here he explains how our image of the world has changed over the last few dozen centuries. As he shows us how the idea of reality has evolved over time, Rovelli offers readers a deeper understanding of the theories he introduced so concisely in Seven Brief Lessons on Physics. His explanations invite us to imagine, beyond our ever-changing idea of reality, a whole new world that has yet to be discovered.
38. Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine
January 24 | W.W. Norton
Many people believe that, at its core, biological sex is a fundamental, diverging force in human development. According to this overly familiar story, differences between the sexes are shaped by past evolutionary pressures. In each succeeding generation, sex hormones and male and female brains are thought to continue to reinforce these unbreachable distinctions, making for entrenched inequalities in modern society. In Testosterone Rex, psychologist Cordelia Fine wittily explains why past and present sex roles are only serving suggestions for the future, revealing a much more dynamic situation through an exploration of the latest research.
January 24 | Flatiron
Melissa Fleming shares the harrowing journey of Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian refugee in search of a better life. Doaa and her family leave war-torn Syria for Egypt where the climate is becoming politically unstable. She meets and falls in love with Bassem, a former Free Syrian Army fighter and together they decide to flee for Europe, joining the ranks of the thousands of refugees who make the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean on overcrowded and run-down ships. After four days at sea, their boat is sunk. With no land in sight and surrounded by bloated, floating corpses, Doaa is adrift with a child’s inflatable water ring around her waist, while two little girls cling to her neck.
40. Toxic Cocktail by Barbara Demeneix
February 1 | Oxford University Press
In today’s world, everyone carries a toxic load of dozens of industrially produced chemicals in their bloodstream. Not only do these adversely affect the health of adults and children, they damage the development of unborn infants by interfering with thyroid hormone production.
Evolution of the human brain has involved multiple changes and processes dependent on thyroid hormone. The urgent question thus arises: Is chemical pollution poisoning brain development and reversing evolution’s most outstanding achievement: the human brain? And if so what can be done about it both collectively and individually?
41. Locked In by John Pfaff
February 7 | Basic Books
The United States, home to about 5 percent of the world’s population, holds nearly 25 percent of its prisoners. How did we get to this point?
In Locked In, John Pfaff argues that existing accounts of the causes of mass incarceration are fundamentally misguided. The most widely accepted explanations—the failed War on Drugs, draconian sentencing laws, an increasing reliance on private prisons—actually tell us much less than we like to think. Instead, Pfaff urges us to look at other factors, including a major shift in prosecutor behavior that occurred in the mid-1990s.
42. The Memory Code by Dr. Lynne Kelly
February 7 | Pegasus
In ancient, pre-literate cultures across the globe, tribal elders had encyclopedic memories. Yet today, most of us struggle to memorize more than a short poem.
Using traditional Aboriginal Australian song lines as a starting point, Dr. Lynne Kelly has since identified the powerful memory technique used by our ancestors and indigenous people around the world. In turn, she has then discovered that this ancient memory technique is the secret purpose behind the great prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge, which have puzzled archaeologists for so long.
43. The Nature Fix by Florence Williams
February 7 | W.W. Norton
For centuries, poets and philosophers extolled the benefits of a walk in the woods. In this book, Williams investigates cutting-edge research as she travels from the fragrant cypress forests in Korea to meet the rangers who administer “forest healing programs” to the West Virginia mountains where she discovers how being outside helps children with ADHD. The Nature Fix demonstrates that our connection to nature is much more important to our cognition than we think and that even small amounts of exposure to the living world can improve our creativity and enhance our mood. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas―and the answers they yield―are more urgent than ever.
44. The Book Thieves by Anders Rydell
February 7 | Viking
While the Nazi party was being condemned by much of the world for burning books, they were already hard at work perpetrating an even greater literary crime. Through extensive new research that included records saved by the Monuments Men themselves, Anders Rydell tells the untold story of Nazi book theft, as he himself joins the effort to return the stolen books. When the Nazi soldiers ransacked Europe’s libraries and bookshops, the books they stole were not burned. Instead, the Nazis began to compile a library of their own that they could use to wage an intellectual war on history. Now, Rydell finds himself entrusted with one of these stolen volumes, setting out to return it to its rightful owner.
February 9 | Chelsea Green
For more than four decades, self-described “contrary farmer” Gene Logsdon has commented on the state of American agriculture. In his final book of essays, Logsdon addresses the next generation―young people who are moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.
February 14 | Ecco
Christine Hyung-Oak Lee woke up with a headache on New Year’s Eve 2006. By that afternoon, she saw the world—quite literally—upside down. By New Year’s Day, she was unable to form a coherent sentence. And after hours in the ER, days in the hospital, and multiple questions and tests, she learned that she had had a stroke. For months, Lee outsourced her memories to her notebook. It is from these memories that she has constructed this frank and compelling memoir.
February 21 | Avery
Jessica Zitter became a doctor because she wanted to be a hero, so she elected to specialize in critical care. But during her first code she found herself cracking the ribs of a patient so old and frail it was unimaginable he would ever come back to life. She began to question her choice.
Extreme Measures charts Zitter’s journey from wanting to be one kind of hero to becoming another—a doctor who prioritizes the patient’s values and preferences in an environment where the default choice is the extreme use of technology.
48. Flâneuse by Lauren Elkin
February 21 | Farrar, Straus and Giroux
A flâneuse is, in Lauren Elkin’s words, “a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk.” Virginia Woolf called it “street haunting,” Holly Golightly epitomized it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Patti Smith did it in her own inimitable style in 1960s New York.
Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between singular women and their cities, charting through literature, art, history, and film women’s sometimes liberating, sometimes fraught relationship to the metropolis.
49. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari
February 21 | Harper
Over the past century, humankind has managed to do the impossible–transform famine, war and plague from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges.
What then will replace these things at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers?
50. The Brain Defense by Kevin Davis
February 28 | Penguin Press
In 1991, Herbert Weinstein confessed to having strangled his wife after an argument. The 65-year-old Weinstein, a quiet, unassuming retired advertising executive, had no criminal record and no history of violent behavior. How, then, to explain this horrific act?
Shortly after Weinstein was arrested, an MRI revealed a cyst the size of an orange on his brain’s frontal lobe, the part of the brain that governs judgment and impulse control. The Weinstein case marked the dawn of a new era in America’s courtrooms, raising complex and often troubling questions about how we define responsibility and free will.
Which books are you most looking forward to reading this winter?