2023 Starts Off With a Bang!
Family sagas, crime thrillers, coming of age, war and creativity…what will get your attention this year?
From bestselling author Laura Zigman comes a heartfelt novel about two offbeat and newly divorced sisters who move in together as adults–and finally reckon with their childhood
A year after her divorce, Joyce is settling into being single again. She likes her job archiving family photos and videos, and she’s developed a secret comforting hobby: trolling the neighborhood social networking site, Small World, for posts that help solve life’s easiest problems. When her older sister, Lydia, also divorced, calls to tell her she’s moving back east from Los Angeles after almost thirty years away, Joyce invites Lydia to move into her Cambridge apartment. Temporarily. Just until she finds a place of her own.
But their unlikely cohabitation–not helped by annoying new neighbors upstairs–turns out to be the post-divorce rebound relationship Joyce hadn’t planned on. Instead of forging the bond she always dreamed of having with Lydia, their relationship frays. And they rarely discuss the loss of their sister, Eleanor, who was significantly disabled and died when she was only ten years old. When new revelations from their family’s history come to light, will those secrets further split them apart, or course correct their connection for the future?
Written with wry humor and keen sensitivity, Small World is a powerful novel of sisterhood and hope–a reminder that sometimes you have to look back in order to move ahead.
Read with Jenna’s January Pick!
What happens to a girl’s exuberance and wonder as she becomes a woman? This unforgettable portrait of coming-of-age offers a powerful reflection on class, addiction, parenthood, longing, and ambition.
There is a girl, and her name is Sam. She adores her father, though he isn’t around much. Her mother, Courtney, struggles to make ends meet, and never fails to remind her daughter that her life should be different. Sam doesn’t fit in at school, where the other girls have the right shade of blue jeans and don’t question the rules. Sam doesn’t care about jeans or rules. She just loves to climb–trees, fences, walls, the side of a building. When she’s climbing, she discovers a place she belongs: she can turn off her brain, pain has a purpose, and it’s okay if you want to win.
As Sam grows into her teens, she grapples with self-doubt and insecurity. She yearns for her climbing coach to notice her, but his attention crosses boundaries she doesn’t know how to resist. She wishes her father would leave for good, instead of always coming and going, but once he’s gone, she realizes how much she’s lost. She rages against her mother’s constant pressure to plan for a more secure future. Wrestling with who she wants to be in the face of what she’s expected to do, Sam comes to understand that she alone can make her dreams come true.
Allegra Goodman’s beautiful and wise novel Sam is deceptively simple: it is about a girl who becomes a woman. But underneath its straightforward chronology and spare sentences lie layers of extraordinary depth, sensitivity, and tenderness. This unforgettable ode to girlhood asks, What happens to a child’s sense of joy and belonging–her belief in herself–as she grows up? The answer will break your heart, but will also leave you full of hope.
This is the age of vice, where money, pleasure, and power are everything, and the family ties that bind can also kill.
New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.
Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family — loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.
In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family’s ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Against a sweeping plot fueled by loss, pleasure, greed, yearning, violence and revenge, will these characters’ connections become a path to escape, or a trigger of further destruction?
Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption. It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best.
The Creative Act by Rick Rubin
From the legendary music producer, a master at helping people connect with the wellsprings of their creativity, comes a beautifully crafted book many years in the making that offers that same deep wisdom to all of us
“I set out to write a book about what to do to make a great work of art. Instead, it revealed itself to be a book on how to be.” –Rick Rubin
Many famed music producers are known for a particular sound that has its day. Rick Rubin is known for something else: creating a space where artists of all different genres and traditions can home in on who they really are and what they really offer. He has made a practice of helping people transcend their self-imposed expectations in order to reconnect with a state of innocence from which the surprising becomes inevitable. Over the years, as he has thought deeply about where creativity comes from and where it doesn’t, he has learned that being an artist isn’t about your specific output, it’s about your relationship to the world. Creativity has a place in everyone’s life, and everyone can make that place larger. In fact, there are few more important responsibilities.
The Creative Act is a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow. It distills the wisdom gleaned from a lifetime’s work into a luminous reading experience that puts the power to create moments–and lifetimes–of exhilaration and transcendence within closer reach for all of us.
Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica
“Mary Kubica’s Just the Nicest Couple is a masterfully written thriller about deception where we least expect it and the danger of a lie tumbling out of control. Taut and incredibly suspenseful, every moment is perfectly crafted to keep us wanting more. An engrossing, spine-tingling read! —Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push
A husband’s disappearance inextricably links two couples in this twisty thriller from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kubica
Two couples, two close friends, one missing husband…
Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.
Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.
Queen of suspense Mary Kubica delivers a high-octane, edge-of-your-seat thriller filled with delicious lies and shocking betrayals, and shows how even the deepest secrets will always find a way to the surface.
The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict
From New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict—she’ll have to choose: her country or her sisters?
Between the World Wars, the six Mitford sisters dominate the English political, literary, and social scenes. Though they’ve weathered scandals before, the family falls into disarray when Diana divorces her husband to marry a fascist leader and Unity follows her sister’s lead, inciting rumors that she’s become Hitler’s own mistress.
Novelist Nancy Mitford is the only member of her family to keep in touch with Diana and Unity after their desertion, so it falls to her to act when her sisters become spies for the Nazi party.
Probing the torrid political climate of World War II and the ways that sensible people can be sucked into radical action, The Mitford Affair follows Nancy’s valiant efforts to end the war and the cost of placing loyalty to her country above loyalty to her family.
Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce
When a severed hand washes ashore in the wealthy enclave of Palm Beach, Florida, the lives of two women—a lonely writer obsessed with the unsolved murder of her mother’s best friend and a panicked wife whose husband has disappeared with their children—collide as the world shutters in the pandemic lockdown of 2020.
“Reef Road is magnificent. It feels utterly real, a novel of deeply personal context. It swerves between truth and lies—the lies that lead to an even deeper—and more devastating—truth. Though pure fiction, it reads as compellingly as a mixture of memoir and exposé. It has left me shaken to the core. Deborah Goodrich Royce writes with brilliant understanding of the mystery and occasional grace of trauma.” —Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author
A young woman’s life seems perfect until her family goes missing. A writer lives alone with her dog and collects arcane murder statistics. What each of them stands to lose as they sneak around the do-not-enter tape blocking Reef Road beach is exposed by the steady tightening of the cincture encircling them.
In a nod to the true crime that inspired it, Deborah Goodrich Royce’s Reef Road probes unhealed generational scars in a wrenching and original work of fiction. It is both stunning and sexy and, like a bystander surprised by a curtain left open, you won’t be able to look away.
The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa
Four generations of women experience love, loss, war, and hope from the rise of Nazism to the Cuban Revolution and finally, the fall of the Berlin Wall in this sweeping novel from the bestselling author of the “timely must-read” (People) The German Girl.
Berlin, 1931: Ally Keller, a talented young poet, is alone and scared when she gives birth to a mixed-race daughter she names Lilith. As the Nazis rise to power, Ally knows she must keep her baby in the shadows to protect her against Hitler’s deadly ideology of Aryan purity. But as she grows, it becomes more and more difficult to keep Lilith hidden so Ally sets in motion a dangerous and desperate plan to send her daughter across the ocean to safety.
Havana, 1958: Now an adult, Lilith has few memories of her mother or her childhood in Germany. Besides, she’s too excited for her future with her beloved Martin, a Cuban pilot with strong ties to the Batista government. But as the flames of revolution ignite, Lilith and her newborn daughter, Nadine, find themselves at a terrifying crossroads.
Berlin, 1988: As a scientist in Berlin, Nadine is dedicated to ensuring the dignity of the remains of all those who were murdered by the Nazis. Yet she has spent her entire lifetime avoiding the truth about her own family’s history. It takes her daughter, Luna, to encourage Nadine to uncover the truth about the choices her mother and grandmother made to ensure the survival of their children. And it will fall to Luna to come to terms with a shocking betrayal that changes everything she thought she knew about her family’s past.
Separated by time but united by sacrifice, four women embark on journeys of self-discovery and find themselves to be living testaments to the power of motherly love.
Decent People by De’Shawn Charles Winslow
From Center for Fiction First Novel Prize winning author De’Shawn Charles Winslow, a sweeping and unforgettable novel of a Black community reeling from a triple homicide, and the secrets the killings reveal.
In the still-segregated town of West Mills, North Carolina in 1976, Marian, Marva, and Lazarus Harmon-three enigmatic siblings-are found shot to death in their home. The people of West Mills-on both sides of the canal that serves as the town’s color line-are in a frenzy of finger-pointing, gossip, and wonder. The crime is the first reported murder in the area in decades, but the white authorities don’t seem to care or have any interest in solving the case.
Fortunately, one person is determined to do more than talk. Ms. Jo Wright has just moved back to West Mills from New York City to retire and marry a childhood sweetheart, Olympus “Lymp” Seymore. When she discovers that the murder victims are Lymp’s half-siblings, and that Lymp is one of West Mills’ leading culprits, she sets out on a transformative manhunt to prove his innocence.
As Jo begins to investigate those who might know the most about the Harmons’ deaths, she starts to discover darker secrets than she’d ever imagined, and a pattern of cover ups-of racial incidents, homophobia, and medical misuse-that could upend the reputations of many.
For readers of American Spy and Bluebird, Bluebird, Decent Peopleis a powerful new novel about shame, race, money, and the reckoning required to heal a fractured community.
The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley
A single Black lawyer puts her career and personal moral code at risk when she moves in with her coffee entrepreneur boyfriend and his doomsday-prepping roommates in a novel that’s packed with tension, curiosity, humor, and wit from a writer with serious comedy credentials.
In the wake of her parents’ death, Aretha, a habitually single Black lawyer, has had only one obsession in life—success—until she falls for Aaron, a coffee entrepreneur. Moving into his Brooklyn brownstone to live along with his Hurricane Sandy-traumatized, illegal-gun-stockpiling, optimized-soy-protein-eating, bunker-building roommates, Aretha finds that her dreams of making partner are slipping away, replaced by an underground world, one of selling guns and training for a doomsday that’s maybe just around the corner.
For readers of Victor LaValle’s The Changeling, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, and Zakiya Harris’s The Other Black Girl, The Survivalists is a darkly humorous novel from a smart and relevant new literary voice that’s packed with tension, curiosity and wit, and unafraid to ask the questions most relevant to a new generation of Americans: Does it make sense to climb the corporate ladder? What exactly are the politics of gun ownership? And in a world where it’s nearly impossible for young people to earn enough money to afford stable housing, what does it take in order to survive?
I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts by Kristin Chenoweth
Aristotle. Socrates. Descartes. And now, Chenoweth. (How about some women, am I right?)
From television actress, Broadway star, and New York Times bestselling author Kristin Chenoweth comes I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts, an inspiring high-design, colorful book featuring philosophical-ish musings on connection, creativity, loss, love, faith, and closure. Just like Kristin’s grandmother inspired her to trust her heart and develop her own belief system, you’ll be inspired to develop your own life philosophies, as you journey through some of Kristin’s most vulnerable and humorous personal stories, in her constant pursuit to make the most out of life.
In each chapter, you’ll find:
Behind-the-scenes stories from Kristin’s personal life
High-design, colorful pages of inspirational quotes
Engaging prompts, prayers, and inspiring quotes
Oh, and a warning: There will be Bible verses. There will be f-bombs. Read responsibly.
I’m No Philosopher, But I Got Thoughts is the perfect book to pick up on days when you need an extra shot of encouragement, a little laughter, and a gentle reminder that kindness can take you a long way. This is a great gift to give for birthdays, holidays, graduations, Mother’s Day, or for fans of Kristin Chenoweth, known for her Emmy Award–winning role in the ABC hit series Pushing Daisies and Broadway’s Wicked.