A novel from Kelly Link! Billie Holiday! 23 new books out today.

February 13, 2024, 4:48am

Valentine’s is right around the corner, and, regardless of your feelings about such days, it’s easier to agree on one thing we can all love: new books. And, if that sounds like you, then you, Dear Reader, are in luck: I’ve compiled twenty-three new books out today below.

You’ll find Kelly Link’s long-awaited novel, thematically called The Book of Love; a new collection from Rafael Frumkin; an incantatory poetry collection from Amber McBride, as well as a book bridging memoir and verse by Brontez Purnell; a heartfelt account of Billie Holiday’s final year, as well as memoirs from Lucy Sante on gender transitions and the actor Billy Dee Williams on life as a Black man in the media; and much, much more.

Whether or not you’ll have a box of chocolates by your side, I recommend at least having one, or many, of these exciting new books with you, as well. It’ll be worth it.


The Book of Love - Link, Kelly

Kelly Link, The Book of Love
(Random House)

The Book of Love is an incredible achievement—a novel whose people and places feel so true to life that the magic that shimmers through the pages like grown-up fairy dust seems not just real but unquestionable. This modern day Master and Margarita will remain with you long after you have turned the last lush and visionary page.”
–Cassandra Clare

Bugsy & Other Stories - Frumkin, Rafael

Rafael Frumkin, Bugsy & Other Stories
(Simon & Schuster)

“Each of the five stories in this intriguing collection from Frumkin (The Comedown) revolves around people facing medical crises. The standout title story features a twenty-year-old woman nicknamed Bugsy because she ‘looks like a gritty gangster lesbian….’ Frumkin excels at getting into the distinct and sometimes dissociated mindset of his characters. It’s an impressive depiction of life on the margins.”
Publishers Weekly

Leaving - Robinson, Roxana

Roxana Robinson, Leaving

“If to the combustible elements of passion, honor, love, and art, you add the complexities of modern parenting, you get the conflagration that is Leaving. Compelling, heart-stopping, and all too believable, this is marvelous read.”
–Gish Jen

A Map of Future Ruins: On Borders and Belonging - Markham, Lauren

Lauren Markham, A Map of Future Ruins: On Borders and Belonging
(Riverhead Books)

“In this brilliant, timely meditation, Markham explores how the stories we tell about borders and who belongs can harden our hearts or help to open them. The threads she follows weave a tapestry as moving as it is illuminating.”
–Rebecca Solnit

The Weird Sister Collection: Writing at the Intersections of Feminism, Literature, and Pop Culture - Crawford, Marisa

Marisa Crawford (editor), The Weird Sister Collection: Writing at the Intersections of Feminism, Literature, and Pop Culture
(Feminist Press)

“In this stimulating anthology, poet Crawford (Diary) collects entries from her Weird Sisters blog, which she created in 2014 to publish accessible perspectives on literature and feminism. Several selections draw parallels between classic literature and pop culture from the 1990s and 2000s….[T]he best pieces balance a breezy style with intelligent interrogations of what it means to be a woman today. The result is an approachable examination of contemporary feminism.”
Publishers Weekly

An American Dreamer: Life in a Divided Country - Finkel, David

David Finkel, An American Dreamer: Life in a Divided Country

“In a lovely Atlanta suburb, two neighbors, both decent yet damaged men, find themselves on opposite sides of the fault line in a fracturing America. Finkel’s account is poetic, profound, and irresistibly page turning. It’s The White Album for a new decade of division and dissolution.”
–Geraldine Brooks

Ten Bridges I've Burnt: A Memoir in Verse - Purnell, Brontez

Brontez Purnell, Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt: A Memoir in Verse

“An assortment of poems that serve as a personal history of sexuality, at turns funny, confrontational, and achingly sad….[Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt] presents abundant wry commentary on accepted norms and the extent to which one may suffer in pursuit of them. The author’s prose is vivid and earthy….A unique, indelible memoir on being Black and gay in America.”
Kirkus Reviews

Thick with Trouble - McBride, Amber

Amber McBride, Thick with Trouble
(Penguin Books)

Laced with magic and mystery, Amber McBride’s Thick with Trouble houses poems…which challenge traditional notions of female existence and race….An understanding of traditional American thought and belief is challenged by a speaker rooted in Hoodoo and tarot cards, racial oppression, and bold feminism. McBride provides readers with a fresh take on America’s violence-laden past and present and a chorus of unapologetic women.”
Southern Review of Books

I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both - Stovall, Mariah

Mariah Stovall, I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both
(Soft Skull)

“Mariah Stovall’s prose sounds like driving in a car with your best friend, volume up high on your favorite song. I Love You So Much…resurrected feelings I had almost forgotten about what it means to be young in a hard, and nonetheless beautiful, world.”
–Vauhini Vara

Plastic - Guild, Scott

Scott Guild, Plastic
(Pantheon Books)

“Few writers are more brilliant, captivating, and hilarious than Scott Guild. He is a visionary–and what he envisions is terrifying, yes, but also full of love, hope, and radiance. Plastic, with its large-hearted characters and riveting storytelling, will certainly turn out to be one of the best novels of the year.”
–Deb Olin Unferth

Neighbors and Other Stories - Oliver, Diane

Diane Oliver, Neighbors and Other Stories
(Grove Press)

“This first full story collection reveals her to be an adventurous writer who deftly captured the pervasive daily pressures of living while Black in the midst of white-dominant society….The stories read like tightly wrought suspense with an edge toward horror, and Oliver uses wide- ranging forms to create riveting effects….Oliver uses subtlety and nuance like a knife. These stories reveal a writer who was willing to explore and stretch, telling honest, bared-open stories of her time and now of ours.”
Library Journal

Bitter Crop: The Heartache and Triumph of Billie Holiday's Last Year - Alexander, Paul

Paul Alexander, Bitter Crop: The Heartache and Triumph of Billie Holiday’s Last Year

“Perhaps only in this century can we fully change the narrative of Billie Holiday. Billie was a trespasser of taboos, a woman of tenderness and terror, whose story is repeated again and again by working-class women of color. This is a heartfelt ballad of a book written as only one artist could view another, with insight and sincere compassion.”
–Sandra Cisneros

What Have We Here?: Portraits of a Life - Williams, Billy Dee

Billy Dee Williams, What Have We Here? Portraits of a Life

“The debonair actor crafts a memoir that rivals his greatest characters….The author always retains his cool, laid-back style, whether he’s discussing how he landed breakthrough roles as Gale Sayers in Brian’s Song and Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise, or his friendships with…Laurence Olivier and Marlon Brando or…James Baldwin. Despite his…numerous issues with racism and discrimination, Williams has…used his experiences as a Black man to inform his art in a way that is relatable to all.”
Kirkus Reviews

I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition - Sante, Lucy

Lucy Sante, I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition
(Penguin Books)

“An award-winning writer chronicles her late-in-life gender transition….Sante delivers sharply rendered sketches of bohemian New York, where the author has spent much of her life….Also insightful is Sante’s broader societal analysis, which locates her struggles within a culture that seems to both covertly acknowledge and severely punish gender fluidity. An absorbing analysis of a long-standing search for identity in writing and life.”
Kirkus Reviews

Medea - Quin, Eilish

Eilish Quinn, Medea
(Atria Books)

“With this complex and involving debut, Quin adds to the growing field of Greek myth retellings from the perspectives of monstrous women, probing here into the life of the filicidal heroine of Euripides’s play of the same name….As Medea’s familiar story unfolds, Quin allows for a great degree of moral complexity, but consistent throughout is her devotion to those she loves—including her eventual ill-fated children. Madeline Miller fans should snap this up.”
Publishers Weekly

No One Dies Yet - Ben Ben, Kobby

Kobby Ben Ben, No One Dies Yet
(Europa Editions)

“A book that brims with possibilities, contradictions, jokes, puzzles, detours, ambiguities, secrets and metafictional tricks and twists.”
–Yagnishsing Dawoor

The Kamogawa Food Detectives - Kashiwai, Hisashi

Hisashi Kashiwai, The Kamogawa Food Detectives (trans. Jesse Kirkwood)

“An early contender for my favorite book of the year. For anyone who loves magnificent food writing and great storytelling, this novel is a moving, beautiful, and impeccably detailed tribute to the power of a great meal.”
–J. Ryan Stradal

The Lede: Dispatches from a Life in the Press - Trillin, Calvin

Calvin Trillin, The Lede: Dispatches from a Life in the Press
(Random House)

“An invaluable collection of observations about journalism authored by a beloved American reporter and humorist….Much of this book is hilarious….[Trillin’s writing mixes] wit, sharp observational powers and recall, reporting skills, and poignancy. This book should be savored by admirers, critics, and practitioners of journalism and journalists, as well as anyone who appreciates first-rate writing, humor, and engaging reporting. A brilliant compilation.”
Kirkus Reviews

Followed by the Lark - Humphreys, Helen

Helen Humphreys, Followed by the Lark

“What a balm, this book….By inhabiting Thoreau, letting us walk with him through the Concord woods, Followed by the Lark shows the natural world offering order against the messy stuff of human life—its disappointments, confusions, periods of lockjawed grief. With muscle and melancholy, it reminds us that a sense of meaning rises from a sense of place, and that attention is a form of reverence, and love.”
–Nina MacLaughlin

Everywhere the Undrowned: A Memoir of Survival and Imagination - Smith, Stephanie Clare

Stephanie Clare Smith, Everywhere the Undrowned: A Memoir of Survival and Imagination
(University of North Carolina Press)

“This stunningly lyrical memoir is a profoundly insightful glimpse into the complex and frightening consequences of parental neglect. As Smith’s voice naturally evolves from alienated to intensely present, the impressively concise narrative alternates between ethereal observations about everything from space to spiders and gut punches of pain, shame, revelation, and redemption….A masterful literary memoir about caring for those responsible for our trauma.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Fox Wife - Choo, Yangsze

Yangsze Choo, The Fox Wife

“Choo weaves yet another enthralling tale and, this time, it’s a glimpse of the immortal lives of foxes. Her prose is lush as ever and Yuki is a captivating lens of emotions and magic.”
–Roselle Lim

Smoke and Ashes: Opium's Hidden Histories - Ghosh, Amitav

Amitav Ghosh, Smoke and Ashes: Opium’s Hidden Histories

“a highly readable, if sometimes eclectic book, with an analysis of modern-day opioid use providing a fresh lens to look back at the opium trade. Ghosh deftly uses opium as a lens to explore Indian and Chinese history and how the trade impacted Indo-Chinese relations.While the book is a vital companion piece to the Ibis trilogy it is also a stand-alone book in its own right.”
Asian Review of Books

Brought Forth on This Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration - Holzer, Harold

Harold Holzer, Brought Forth on This Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration

“As a brilliant historian with a keen sense of the passions and problems of our own time, Harold Holzer has given us a powerful and illuminating study of Abraham Lincoln and immigration—an issue of perennial significance. Like Lincoln himself, Holzer’s new book is at once timely and timeless.”
–Joe Meacham

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