The Lists

What are the Best New Books Coming this January?

New year, new books! Here at Dandelion Chandelier, we’ve been exploring the most-anticipated new publications scheduled for January 2018, and compiling our reading lists for the month. So many good choices, so little time. Have a peek at what’s in store next month.

This January will bring a wave of debuting authors and the return of some well-loved favorites. And also one posthumous publication from a literary lion. Perhaps purely coincidentally — or perhaps in a reflection of the national mood — many of January’s scheduled new publications concern aging, loss, race, the search for meaning and purpose in life, and the after-life. At a time of year when choices must be made, resolutions are fresh, and the slate is blank, perhaps these are the books we need (when the student is ready, the teacher arrives). Fear not — they’re not all melancholy — some are about triumph, resilience and about the joys of everyday life that we sometimes take for granted. And some are just really funny. In their own ways, each is thought-provoking — even the one that advises dealing with mortality by whistling past the grave. Here’s our pick of the top new books – novels, short story collections, and non-fiction – that we cannot wait to read next month:

Luxury by Philip Schultz is a new collection of poems from the Pulitzer Prize-winner about the simple comforts of life and the bittersweet clarity of aging. It takes on timeless questions of meaning and happiness and also pressing modern-day issues: the collective power of women’s marches, the refugee crisis, and the emotions associated with visiting the 9/11 memorial. Publication date: January 2, 2018

Green by Sam Graham-Felsen. The author is a journalist and former blogger for the Obama ’08 Presidential campaign – this is his debut novel. Set in Boston in 1992, it explores themes of race and privilege through the eyes of two middle-school boys – one black and one white. Publication date: January 2, 2018

Mouths Don’t Speak by Katia D. Ulysse. In the author’s new novel set in the aftermath of the devastating Haitian earthquake, the protagonist — now living in America with her  husband, a former US Marine and combat veteran, and their three-year-old daughter — returns to Haiti in search of some kind of closure. Publication date: January 2, 2018

Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby. This debut novel chronicles the collision of three lives in New York City in June 2012, the summer before Superstorm Sandy. Publication date: January 9, 2018

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. In this new novel, four siblings visit a mysterious psychic who predicts the date that each will die, permanently affecting the way that each chooses to live. Publication date: January 9, 2018

The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce is comedic novel about a man who was dead for five minutes, and who struggles after being revived to understand what happens in the next life (he was not greeted with light, angels or any other sign of a positive reception during his brief sojourn on the other side). Oh, and he and his new wife are also searching for a possible ghost. Publication date: January 9, 2018

This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff. Positively compared to the great contemporary novels about life at work, Then We Came to the End and Up in the Air, this new novel is set in a small company and tells the tales of 5 colleagues in Human Resources. Finally, the great HR novel has been written! Publication date: January 9, 2018

Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates is the latest from the author of Black Chalk. It’s another smart, twisty thriller — this time a Rashomon-style tale that begins in 1982 in a bucolic setting outside New York City where three friends experience a horrific incident, and then meet again in Manhattan 25 years later. Publication date: January 9, 2018

The Black Painting by Neil Olsen. In this debut novel, the patriarch of a wealthy family with old money summons four cousins back to the family manor. When they arrive, he’s deceased and his corpse is staring at the former location of a cursed and now missing self-portrait by the Spanish artist Goya. Publication date: January 9, 2018

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee is a debut novel about two deeply-bonded sisters who have recently lost their mother; one begins to suffer from mental illness and the other is left to determine how far she’ll go in the name of family. Publication date: January 16, 2018

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele. One of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement recounts the powerful origin story of the movement, and the motivations of those who came together to advocate for lasting change. Publication date: January 16, 2018.

The Largess of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson. This posthumous publication is the final short-story collection from the late writer and National Book Award winner – a mediation on the ghosts of time, mortality and transcendence. Publication date: January 16, 2018

Our Lady of the Prairie by Thisbe Nissen is a new novel about a professor whose calm Midwestern life gives way to crisis. Publication date: January 23, 2018

Happiness is a Choice you Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old by John Leland. The author, a journalist at the New York Times, spent a year interviewing six octogenarians and absorbing their life lessons about living well and finding happiness. Expecting loneliness and disappointment, instead in these elders he found vitality and hope. Publication date: January 23, 2018

Winter by Karl Ove Knausgaard is the second volume in his autobiographical quartet based on the seasons, a collection of daily meditations and letters addressed directly to his unborn daughter. Publication date: January 23, 2018

This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jenkins. This debut collection of essays from a powerful commentator who is only in her 20s poses the question: “What does it mean to ‘be’—to live as, to exist as—a black woman today?” Publication date: January 30, 2018

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