New Books

Hooray, It’s Time for New Books!

Hello, my Tuesday friends! It is already the last Tuesday of January, if you can believe it. (I refuse.) How was your reading month? I had lots of bookish fun this month, talking about books in newsletters and on podcasts, going to book events, planning more book events, and decorating my new book journals. Oh, and reading books, of course. I am going to let you in on a secret: I LOVE BOOKS. I know, you would never have guessed, but it’s true. I am looking forward to telling you about February books, but first, let’s end this month with more great January recommendations. For you today, I have a debut novel of young love and loss, an espionage thriller starring two sisters of a certain age, and a collection of stories that will delight and disturb you.

As for other new releases, at the top of my list of today’s books that I want to get my hands on are The Cleaner by Brandi Wells, Come and Get It by Kiley Reid, and The Mountain King by Anders de la Motte. You can hear about more of the fabulous books coming out today on this week’s episode of All the Books! Patricia and I talked about great books we loved that are out this week, including A Quantum Love Story, Be a Revolution, and Interesting Facts About Space.

2024 is the tenth year of the Read Harder Challenge! Join us as we make our way through 24 tasks meant to expand our reading horizons and diversify our TBRs. To get book recommendations for each task, sign up for the Read Harder newsletter. We’ll also keep you informed about other cool reading challenges, readathons, and more across the bookish internet. If you become a paid subscriber, you get even more recommendations plus community features, where you can connect with a community of passionate, like-minded readers in a cozy and supportive corner of the internet. Sign up today!

And now it’s time for everyone’s favorite game, “Ahhh, My TBR!” Here are today’s contestants!

cover of How We Named the Stars by Andrés N. Ordorica; green with illustration of yellow bird and red and yellow flowers

How We Named the Stars by Andrés N. Ordorica

First up is a heart-squeezing debut about hopes and dreams, first love, and loss, set at a college. When Daniel de La Luna attends an elite university on the East Coast, he’s unsure of what he’s doing there. His family is probably more excited for him to go to college than he is. But then he meets Sam, his roommate, and things start to click. Soon, they are in the beginnings of a relationship, and suddenly, everything is new and wonderful to Daniel. But after a tragedy, Daniel returns home heartbroken to Mexico to his family’s homestead, where he will try to figure out who he was, who he is here, and how he is connected to his family and this land. It’s a lovely, sad story of young love and loss at college that will give you lots of feels. (Related: remember the college novel The Art of Fielding? Rumor has it there might be a new Chad Harbach book coming this year!) (Content warnings for substance use, anxiety, homophobia, injury, loss of a loved one, and grief.)

Backlist bump: Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

cover of The Excitements by CJ Wray; illustration of two women with gray hair sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower

The Excitements by CJ Wray

This new novel is riding the recent-ish trend of books featuring main characters past middle age, solving crimes, kicking ass, and even committing crimes. (After all, there are going to be more seniors than any other age group on the planet soon, if it hasn’t already started.) Josephine and Penny Williamson are British WWII veterans and minor celebrities. The nonagenarians are still full of life and great spirits and agree to join their great-nephew on a trip to Paris. While Archie thinks it’s a vacation with two sweet old ladies, it turns out that the sisters have a lot of secrets about their time in the war they are still keeping — and they still have enemies. Josephine and Penny may be more Mrs. Doubtfire than spitfire now, but underestimating these old women is going to cause a lot of trouble on their trip. It’s an adventure for the (old) ages! (Content warnings for violence, sexism, war, injury, and loss of a loved one.)

Backlist bump: Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

cover of Your Utopia: Stories by Bora Chung; image of a white robot with red eyes against a yellow background

Your Utopia: Stories by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur

Chung, the author of the award-winning collection of bananapants stories Cursed Bunny, is back with a new collection of, well, bananapants stories. These have a bit more technology and sci-fi elements in these takes on life, loss, and capitalism, but they are still weird and awesome and occasionally upsetting. There’s an apartment building elevator that falls in love with a tenant, a man who discovers something shocking about his wife, a nefarious GMO company doing nefarious things (no, it’s not nonfiction), memory removal, artificial intelligence in helpful and harmful forms, the hope for immortality, and more. Related: I watched a publisher event with Chung last year where she talked about her motivation for the stories, and I wrote it down, but now I can’t find it. So I am going to very broadly try and paraphrase. It was something like, “Some writers like to put characters in situations and see how they get out of them; I like to put characters in situations and watch them die.” Whatever the quote, it was VERY dark — you get the idea. And you’ll see it in this collection of dystopian delights (and horrors.) (Content warnings for substance use and abuse, violence, gore, injury, and death.)

Backlist bump: Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung, translated by Anton Hur

orange cat on a red couch with its paw over its face; photo by Liberty Hardy

This week, I am reading A Sorceress Comes to Call by T. Kingfisher and Bury Your Gays by Chuck Tingle. Have you been watching The Floor? It’s a reality game show on Fox with Rob Lowe, and it’s on every Tuesday. It’s fun! I don’t enjoy the reality show aspects or the posturing, but I do like the quiz part and find myself anticipating the next episode. I love quiz questions! The song stuck in my head this week is “Sleepyhead” by Passion Pit. And here is your weekly cat picture: Farrokh is serving a big DND mood this week. (Err, that’s “Do Not Disturb,” not Dungeons & Dragons.) I feel you, buddy.

I appreciate you more than I can say, friends. Thank you for joining me each Tuesday as I rave about books! I am wishing you all a wonderful rest of your week, whatever situation you find yourself in now. And yay, books! See you next week! – XO, Liberty