Book Radar

Book Radar: Hidden Figures and Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

Swapna here again! This will be my last Book Radar, but fear not—I’m handing the reins over to Liberty, and I know she’ll do an excellent job keeping you all up to date on the newest releases.

All the Deal News You Can Use

Penguin Press will be publishing Hillaryland by Lissa Muscatine, who was Hillary Clinton’s chief speechwriter. She worked with the former presidential nominee, Secretary of State, Senator, and first lady for over 25 years.

Han Kang, author of The Vegetarian, will be publishing The White Book, a novel about grief and loss, with Hogarth in Fall 2017.

That forever-in-development Wheel of Time TV series, based on Robert Jordan’s hit fantasy series, finally has an update: It’s been picked up by Sony Pictures Television.

Robert Stone and Alan Andres have written a narrative history of stories about the race to the Moon, called Chasing the Moon, to be published by Ballantine. The release of the book, in 2019, will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing and a limited PBS series.

Hidden Figures author Margot Lee Shetterly will be writing two new books with Viking about extraordinary African American figures whose histories and legacies have been “hidden.”

Book Riot Recommends

We’ve got two new reviews for you today! I absolutely adored both these books—they felt fresh and new, and they’re both perfect for any reading situation from the beach to a busy commute.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal (June 13)

This delightful novel features Nikki, a young Londoner who pays the bills by tending bar. That might not seem out of the ordinary, but for Nikki, who is from a traditional Punjabi Sikh community, it’s seen as an act of rebellion by her mother. On an impulse, Nikki responds to an ad at the local temple for a creative writing instructor—after all, as a law school dropout, she does have some writing experience. But what she doesn’t expect is that a group of widows will become regulars in her class—and that they have other types of “creative writing” in mind. This novel is funny and warm, with a sympathetic main character in Nikki. Jaswal does an excellent job bringing Sikh values to life for the reader, showing how the traditional can exist alongside the modern, but also making sure to tell the story of a group of women mostly forgotten by society.

Cocoa Beach – Beatriz Williams (June 27)

Beatriz Williams is the queen of the historical beach read, and she’s in fine form for her latest, Cocoa Beach. Virginia Fortescue met and fell in love with her husband on the battlegrounds of World War I, and now he’s dead. He survived the war, but not his own misdeeds, and he’s paid the ultimate price for them. Estranged from her husband at the time of his death, Virginia has travelled to Cocoa Beach, Florida, to settle her husband’s estate and see if she can move on with her life. But even in death, her husband isn’t finished keeping secrets. This is a breezy, escapist read, and the twists and turns will keep readers hooked as they try to puzzle out what exactly happened between Virginia and her husband.


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This newsletter is sponsored by Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf.

When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters—her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

Book Radar

Welcome to Book Radar!

Hello all, Swapna here! Welcome to the first issue of Book Radar, Book Riot’s newsletter focusing on all things pre-publication. Wondering what awesome book deals or book-to-movie news has just been announced? Want to know what upcoming books you should be excited about? Then you’re in the right place.

If you need even more Book Riot in your life than just this newsletter, we’ve launched a new subscription program called Insiders. You can have access to exclusive content such as behind-the-scenes newsletters, a dedicated Read Harder podcast, and much more, depending on your subscription level. Check out the Insiders site for more details, price points (it starts at just $3/month!) and to sign up!

All the Book News You Can Use

Is Margaret Atwood writing a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale?

Knopf is publishing the fifth book in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series, called The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye.

Laila Lalami has announced two forthcoming booksThe Other Americans, from Pantheon Books, is about the death of a Moroccan immigrant in a California town. It will be followed by The Colonial Citizens, a nonfiction book about America’s relationship with its Muslim denizens.

Celebrity book deal alert! Grand Central will be publishing The CW’s Crazy Ex Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom’s memoir.

6 Questions for Sandhya Menon

If you haven’t heard of Sandhya Menon’s upcoming novel When Dimple Met Rishi (Simon Pulse, May 30), you’re missing out on one of the most buzzed-about releases of the year (and definitely one of 2017’s best covers). We sat down with Menon and asked her a few questions for our inaugural newsletter.

Tell us just one thing you want readers to know about your book.

WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI is for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider. See, we do get happy endings!

What’s your Hogwarts house?

When I took the test I got Gryffindor. But knowing myself, I’d say I’m more like a Gryffilpuff.

Has a book ever changed your life? If so, which book?

I have to say Sophie Kinsella’s books. It was when I read her Shopaholic series and then watched an interview with her that I began to consider I could write lighthearted, funny romance, let alone a novel-length work.

What’s the story you wish someone else would write, so you could read it?

A really good psychological thriller set in a boarding school and featuring ethnic minority protagonists. I’m a sucker for boarding schools and ethnic diversity!

What genre have you never written in, but want to?

I think I’d make a good horror writer! I grew up on Stephen King and Shirley Jackson, so it’d be fun to see if I could pull it off.

What do you want the first line of your obituary to be?

Nevertheless, she persisted.

Book Riot Recommends

I’ve read quite a few books that release this summer, and I’ve already been stunned and heartbroken, thrilled and devastated by the books we’re lucky enough to have coming out. Here are just two that I highly recommend.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid (Atria Books, June 13)

Reid has been getting better and better with every novel, and her latest might just be her best yet. Monique is working at a magazine, a low woman on the totem pole, when she receives startling news: Reclusive Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo is willing to do a print feature for the magazine, but only if Monique is the reporter on the story. Monique is baffled, but more than willing to sit down with Evelyn. But it turns out that the starlet has something entirely different in mind, and Monique struggles to figure out exactly what Evelyn wants from her. Reading this book, it’s difficult to believe that the Cuban American bombshell actress is fictional; Reid excels at creating complicated imperfect characters, and none is so stunning as Evelyn Hugo herself.

Chemistry – Weike Wang (Knopf, May 23)

The narrator of Chemistry may be unnamed, but that doesn’t make her life any less complicated. She’s been on autopilot her entire life, pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Boston University, but she isn’t sure that’s what she wants anymore. The narrator chafes under the demands and expectation of her Chinese parents, and for the first time, she’s ready to ask, “What do I want?” The stream-of-consciousness narrative style isn’t for everybody, but it allows the reader to get to know the main character on intimate terms and celebrate as she makes choices for herself, rather than everyone around her.

This newsletter is sponsored by Salt Houses by Hala Alyan.

“In her debut novel, Alyan tells the story of a Palestinian family that is uprooted by the Six-Day War of 1967 and Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. This heartbreaking and important story examines displacement, belonging, and family in a lyrical style.”  —The Millions, “Most Anticipated: The Great 2017 Book Preview”

“Reading Salt Houses is like having your coffee grounds read: cosmic, foreboding and titillating all at once.” —Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan’s Inheritance

Salt Houses illuminates the heartache and permanent unsettledness experienced by refugees all over the world.” —Bustle, “15 New Authors You’re Going To Be Obsessed With This Year”