Happy new year! I can’t believe it’s already 2020, and while I know that technically this year is the last of the old decade, not the first of the next one, it feels like this decade has gone particularly quickly. In the next few days I’m hoping to pull together a “2010s in Books” post – I’m really excited to see what my reading trends look like! But for today, the first of the year is also the first of a month, so here are the books that I’m most excited to share with you this month!
As the book buyer for a local independent book store, I have the great joy of being able to see what books are coming, what publishers are excited about, and more, a good three to nine months before the books are actually released. While this is normally very exciting, it also means that by the time the book comes out, I’ve most likely already read, and therefore forgotten, about it. My hope here is to a, share some exciting new titles with you, lovely book lovers and b, remind myself of all the books that will be arriving in the store this month! While the release dates are for US editions, most will be available internationally around the same time or shortly thereafter. In the USA, I recommend purchasing through IndieBound, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers before turning to major chains/online for your book buying needs.
I’ve chosen a collection of books in a variety of genres because I have a myriad of tastes and interests, hopefully one, or a few, will appeal to you! Reviews will be posted for some of the titles as they are released!
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
- The Impossible First by Colin O’Brady – I’ve gotten really into Arctic and Antarctic exploration memoirs and histories lately and Colin’s memoir is a fascinating look at his own journey in sub-zero temperatures.
- Burn the Dark by S. A. Hunt – I’ve read only one YouTuber book before and it was poetry, and I’m not a huge horror fantasy fan, but S. A. Hunt’s book really captured my attention. It’s a unique world and it definitely holds a few unexpected surprises.
- The Secret Guests by Benjamin Black – Benjamin Black’s new book is centered on Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret during World War II and is a mystery book. Unfamiliar with his previous works, I wasn’t expecting a mystery, but was pleasantly surprised.
- The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez – Simon, a Philadelphia author (yay local!), is a debut author with a great deal of promise. The Vanished Birds is a fascinating new work of speculative fiction (I hesitate to call it science fiction) that had me pulled in from the first few pages. It’s completely different than anything I’ve read before.
- Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener – So it turns out I’m a big FSG/MCD reader, which, to those outside of the publishing and book industry, might sound very weird. But apparently there are few die hard Farrar, Strauss & Giroux readers, but I’m one of them. Anna’s memoir about Silicon Valley is eye-opening and thoroughly millennial. I absolutely devoured it – I just couldn’t stop reading.
- Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan – This book was pitched to me repeatedly from multiple people at the publishing house as a great book for my nonfiction book club. It tells the story of the Mosul zoo in Iraq and the man who fought to save all the animals when the city was besieged by ISIS. It’s absolutely fascinating and I hope my book club will want to read it next year when it comes out in paperback!
- All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig & Karen White – I am loving everything I have picked up by this trio of writers. Their newest book is set in Paris during WWII and I particularly enjoy how each book has a number of protagonists and you can quickly pick out which author has written which part/character’s story.
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
- A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff – A new fantasy series that I’ve started to sink my teeth into. It’s very well done AND is a paperback original here in the states AND a new book in the series will be released EVERY MONTH! So all four books will be available by the end of April! AND the spines will make a really cool design when all lined up. AND the author’s name is also Sarah – I think I’ve found a natural successor to my other favorite Sarah author, though I’m knee deep in the ARC for her next book… stay tuned for the March new releases post for an update on that one!
- And in the Vienna Woods the Trees Remain by Elisabeth Asbrink – Another WWII nonfiction book, it has a great premise and pulled me in from the start – it’s an epistolary work of nonfiction and focuses on Jewish refugees in Sweden, a little known part of the WWII/Jewish history story most of Western society is familiar with.
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins – This book is being hyped as THE book of 2020. It is a fast paced novel focusing on the plight of a mother and her young son trying to get away from the cartels in Mexico that murdered her husband and the rest of her family. It is timely, poignant, and absolutely terrifying. After meeting the author and hearing about all the research and interviews she conducted at the border, to say I was moved would be an epic understatement.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
- The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson – A start to what promises to be an engaging fantasy series, this book is a great book to just escape into.
- The Sun and Her Stars by Donna Rifkind – More WWII nonfiction, this book focuses on the Germans actors, screenwriters, and filmmakers who were kicked out of Germany and found their place in Hollywood. Another little-known-tale from the time, it’s an intriguing work of nonfiction.
- When We Were Vikings by Andrew David MacDonald – I first picked this book up at BookExpo solely because the word Vikings was in the title. I then met the author by sheer happenstance immediately thereafter (the ARC and author were nowhere near each other at Javits) and after talking briefly to him, discovered the book isn’t really about Vikings in the historical fiction sense, but is about a young woman who desperately wants to be a Viking, and I was sold.
There are more books being released in January this year than in any other in my recent memory working at the bookstore. This selection is just a sampling of the ones I enjoyed, but there are so many more out there for you, wonderful readers, to discover!