Was it really almost a year ago that Parasite won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the last indisputably great thing to ever happen? Hard to believe, but it’s true. February is usually a time for letting loved ones know what they mean to us, but if it’s a little difficult to get that warm and fuzzy feeling inside after months of isolation and social distancing, we’re here for you, and so are books! There are a lot of fantastic new releases coming out this month. We recommend showing an author a little St. Valentine’s affection by buying one of the titles below!
By Brontez Purnell
MCD x FSG Originals
Brontez Purnell, named one of the 32 Black Male Writers of Our Time by The New York Times Magazine, is a bit of a Renaissance man of the Oakland underground scene – a writer, musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. His latest book is a kaleidoscopic portrait of queer male desire, “at turns vulgar and vulnerable, dirty and desperate,” in the words of Justin Torres.
Soul City: Race, Equality and the Lost Dream of an American Utopia
By Thomas Healy
A professor at Seton Hall Law School, Thomas Healy won a Guggenheim Fellowship in support of the research for Soul City. Readers interested in forgotten history should make room on their shelves for this saga of the landmark 1970s effort to build a city dedicated to racial equality in rural “Klan country” North Carolina.
Milk Blood Heat
By Dantiel W. Moniz
Anointed by short story royalty like Lauren Groff and Danielle Evans as the next big thing for the genre, Dantiel W. Moniz’s debut collection is highly anticipated and also unmissable. A native of Florida, Moniz offers a lush but unsentimental vision of her home state and the women who stake their claim there.
By Walter Mosley
Iconic detective Easy Rawlins returns in the fifteenth installment of Walter Mosley’s beloved mystery series, which is always a cause for celebration. Set in 1969 during another tempestuous period in American history, Blood Grove proves once again that Mosley has as fine an eye for social commentary as he does for his characters.
By Brandon Hobson
Brandon Hobson’s previous novel was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award, and his latest feels poised to break him out in a big way. An enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma, Hobson draws on the myths and history of his people with this tale of a family reckoning with the tragic death of their son fifteen years ago.
By Cortney Lamar Charleston
The BreakBeat Poets series from Chicago-based Haymarket Books is one of the most dynamic and indispensable collections of poetry around. Their latest offering comes from Cortney Lamar Charleston – a Cave Canem fellow, Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship winner, and current poetry editor of The Rumpus – and explores the performance of Black masculinity through the lens of the city’s South Side.
Earth’s Wild Music
By Kathleen Dean Moore
A novelist, philosopher, and dedicated environmental activist, Kathleen Dean Moore wears many hats, and this thoughtful collection of her new and selected essays is a great introduction to her essential work. Elizabeth Kolbert calls the book, “a love song to a vanishing world.”
How to Order the Universe
By María José Ferrada; Translated by Elizabeth Bryer
Tin House Books
Already a widely beloved author of children’s books, María José Ferrada makes her adult English-language debut with this charming story of the seven-year-old M who follows along with her traveling salesman father in Pinochet-era Chile. Fans of The Elegance of the Hedgehog will want to make time for this one.
The Echo Wife
By Sarah Gailey
Author Sarah Gailey has been hugely popular since they emerged on the speculative scene with their witty and sharp Tor.com Women of Harry Potter series, which won a Hugo Award for Best Related Work. The Echo Wife, described as a near-future domestic suspense novel, should appeal to fans of Shirley Jackson and Megan Abbott alike.
No One is Talking About This
By Patricia Lockwood
Patricia Lockwood is good at being very Online (who could forget her Paris Review tweet) so perhaps it’s not surprising that the main character of her debut novel finds herself grappling with sudden internet fame. But as anyone who’s read Lockwood’s poetry or memoir Priestdaddy knows, her true talent lies in the hairpin turns of her humor. No writer captures the heartbreaking absurdity of modern life better.
In the Company of Men
By Véronique Tadjo
Calling a book “timely” can be a double-edged sword, but for In the Company of Men it’s also devastatingly accurate. Author Véronique Tadjo draws on real accounts of the Ebola outbreak that ravaged West Africa from 2014 to 2016 for this urgent polyphonic novel, which Publishers Weekly calls “as personal and humane as it is biblically grand.”
The City of Good Death
By Priyanka Champaneri
Winner of the third Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, The City of Good Death is the debut novel of Priyanka Champaneri but it has the confidence of a master storyteller. Drawing on the rich literary traditions of Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy, Champaneri’s epic saga will satisfy armchair travelers thirsty for adventure, and sick of looking out their windows.