What a month February is going to be! There are so many widely anticipated books this month. We've narrowed down our list of most anticipated books to 28 -- the three books we're launching this month (more on them below), plus 25 others. So as to not overwhelm you, we'll give you blurbs on just 10, with the other 15 listed as honorable mentions. But please, feel free to come in and ask us about any/all of them!
We'll do these 10 blurbs in alphabetical order by author last name, because if we tried to rank them in order of excitement, we'd change our mind every five minutes!
Go Ahead in the Rain, Hanif Abdurraqib
For a die-hard A Tribe Called Quest fan, this book is pure heaven. But it's more than a love letter to a hip-hop group. It is also a book about hip-hop itself, about black culture, about love. The focus is obviously on A Tribe Called Quest, but references and stories about Alton Sterling, Leonard Cohen, the importance of Kool-Aid to lower income families, the evolution of hip-hop, cassette tapes and more pepper Abdurraqib's deeply personal and amazing book.
The City in the Middle of the Night, Charlie Jane Anders
Pulitzer-Prize winning author Andrew Sean Greer has called Anders "this generation's [Ursula] Le Guin," which is about the highest praise one could give a science-fiction author. With this book, Anders aims to cement that reputation. To be honest, I don't even want to tell you what this one is about, because I don't want to spoil it for you! Just trust us (or click the link to read the description, either way).
New Kid, Jerry Craft
A middle-grade/kids graphic novel about a talented artist named Jordan, who leaves his diverse Washington Heights neighborhood for the posh, decidedly un-diverse private Riverdale Academy. This seventh grader is now caught between his old world and his new world, and his desire to leave both in search of the career as a cartoonist that he wants for himself.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James
James' last book, A Brief History of Seven Killings, won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Amazingly, his new book may generate even more acclaim. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the first book in what will become The Dark Star Trilogy, and is being hailed as an African Game of Thrones. Myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child. Of the book, Neil Gaiman said, "A fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made." If you can find higher praise, we'd like to hear it!
Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli
This an emotionally resonant, fiercely imaginative new novel about a family whose road trip across America collides with an immigration crisis at the southwestern border--an indelible journey told with breathtaking imagery, spare lyricism, and profound humanity. In reading it, I was struck by Luiselli's method of crafting a story, the language she uses. It's hard for me to describe, but it's unlike any other book I've read.
The Age of Light, Whitney Scharer
Local author Scharer has cooked up a wonderful debut novel about Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her passionate affair with the artist Man Ray in 1930s Paris. Told in interweaving timelines of 1930s Paris and war-torn Europe during WWII, this sensuous, richly detailed debut brings Lee Miller-- a brilliant and pioneering artist --out of the shadows of a man's legacy and into the light.
On the Come Up, Angie Thomas
Angie Thomas' debut novel, The Hate U Give, has now been on the New York Times bestseller list for 100 weeks, and been turned into a critically-acclaimed movie (like, really critically acclaimed: it's at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes). That's an impossible act to follow. But follow it Thomas will, with On the Come Up. The main character, 16-year-old Bri, wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all-time, but there is plenty standing in her way, including but not limited to a looming eviction notice for her family. This is an ode to hip-hop, a story about fighting for your dreams, and how freedom of speech isn't always free, especially for young black people.
If We Can Keep It: A Brief, 300-Year History of the Fall of the Republic, Michael Tomasky
We live in politically polarizing times. In this book, Tomasky -- who writes for the New York Times, the Daily Beast and the New York Review of Books -- combines data with analysis to tackle how our nation broke apart and how we can fix it. Some of the topics he addresses in his 14-point agenda for political fixes are gerrymandering, ranked-choice voting, expanding the House of Representatives, and expanding civics education. This is a well-thought and well-researched politics book, which is often hard to find.
Rayne & Delilah's Midnight Matinee, Jeff Zentner
For high school seniors Delia and Josie, college is coming. And if Josie leaves town, then they won't be able to film their weekly horror-hosting show, Rayne & Delilah's Midnight Matinee. Think Mystery Science Theater 3000 but for really bad horror movies, and on public access TV, with the hosts all decked out in costume. Delia is the horror movie buff, and Josie is the aspiring TV star. In the fall, Josie has the opportunity to go to college and start an internship with the Food Network. Delia has...not as much going for her. I loved this book, because of how it stays focused on the main characters, and not side dramas. It's the perfect girls buddy tale, complete with a road trip adventure, and it's also perfect for readers who are graduating into YA novels.
The Girls at 17 Swann Street, Yara Zgheib
This is the February staff pick for our buyer, Kristin. This debut novel is a haunting portrait of a young woman’s struggle with anorexia on an intimate journey to reclaim her life. Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. At 17 Swann Street, she'll have the opportunity to fight her disease.
We are thrilled to be launching three books this month!
Two will be launched simultaneously, making Sunday, Feb. 17th, our first double book launch! How exciting is that! Local author Jen Petro-Roy is simulteanously releasing a middle-grade novel, Good Enough and a children's non-fiction book, You Are Enough: Your Guide to Body Image and Eating Disorder Recovery. You may remember Jen because we had her out in September. Please read more about her books at our events page here.
The following Sunday, Feb. 24, we'll be launching the new YA novel from Littleton author, Kris Asselin. The book revolves around a 16-year-old New Hampshire golf phenom named Kate, who is going to have to shoot better than ever to save her family's golf course. But golf is a game of concentration and Kate has a lot of big distractions, to say the least. You may remember Kris because she not only took part in our Grand Opening Week in April, but she also attended our Littleton Third Thursday events this past summer. Read more about our event on the 24th with Kris here.
COMING IN FEBRUARY: A Whirlwind Romance Pop-Up Bookstore
Feb. 12-18, at Bow Market, in the heart of Union Square in Somerville Read more about our pop-up bookstore here!
This week, we are going to be featured on the next "Talk of the Town" segment on ActonTV, but it's live on YouTube now! Many, many thanks to both ActonTV and producer/interviewer/video creator extraordinaire Robyn Kenney for stopping by this week to chat with store owner Paul! You can follow Robyn on Instagram.