New month, new books! Book Light is our Dandelion Chandelier curated list of the titles we’re most excited about for the coming month. February 2018 brings a wave of debuts and the return of some well-loved voices. Not surprisingly, the month that celebrates Black History in America and Valentine’s Day sees tales of race, love, struggle and anguish – and occasionally, hard-won triumph. There are stories of being lost, both physically and spiritually – and being found, including an artist’s curated volume of her own rediscovered works. There are quests for justice, for true love, and for personal improvement – and also a killer book of style, and a really healthy cookbook. Here’s our pick of the top new books – novels, essay collections, and non-fiction – that we cannot wait to read in February 2018. Stock up on bulbs for your reading light – with a list this good, we’re all going to be up late.
A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History by award-winning historian Jeanne Theoharis dissects the complex reality of the Civil Rights movement. Moving from “the histories we get” to “the histories we need,” Theoharis challenges nine key aspects of the “mythology” of the movement to reveal the diversity of people, especially women and young people, who led the effort; the work and disruption it took; the role of the media and “polite racism” in maintaining injustice; and the immense barriers and repression activists faced. January 30, 2018
In I Wrote This Book Because I Love You: Essays by Tim Kreider, the writer for The New York Times focuses on his relationships with women – romantic, platonic, and the murky in-between, exploring everything from his valued female friendships (including one which landed him on a circus train bound for Mexico) to his difficulty finding lasting love. Seeking to understand his commitment issues, he even tracks down the John Hopkins psychologist who tested him for a groundbreaking study on attachment when he was a toddler. February 6, 2018
Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is a highly-anticipated second novel; it follows a feisty heroine’s quest to reclaim her past through the power of literature—even as she navigates the murkier mysteries of love. Alone in the world, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago. Books are her only companions—until she meets Ludo. Their connection is magnetic; their time together fraught. February 6, 2018
Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon is a debut novel set in early-‘90s Brooklyn that tell the story of an ambitious young female artist who accidentally photographs a boy falling to his death—an image that could jumpstart her career, but that would also devastate her most intimate friendship. February 6, 2018
Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi is a debut novel, the story of a high-school senior adrift in the churn of college applications who sneaks off to Washington D.C. to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in the power of “grit.” February 6, 2018
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. The author of Silver Sparrow returns with a novel about African-American newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He’s a young executive, and she’s an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But then Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime he didn’t commit. After five years, the conviction is suddenly overturned, and Roy returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. But is that possible? February 6, 2018
Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang. Bloomberg TV journalist Emily Chang reveals how Silicon Valley became so rife with sexist behavior despite its utopian ideals; why “bro culture” endures despite decades of start-ups claiming the moral high ground; and how women are speaking out and fighting back. February 6, 2018
Feel Free is Zadie Smith’s latest – it’s a collection of her essays, lectures, and book reviews, with observations and commentary on a wide range of players in contemporary culture. Arranged into five sections–In the World, In the Audience, In the Gallery, On the Bookshelf, and Feel Free—the collection poses fascinating questions: What is The Social Network–and Facebook itself–really about? Why do we love libraries? What will we tell our granddaughters about our collective failure to address global warming? February 6, 2018.
In Force of Nature: A Novel by Jane Harper, five women go on a hike, but only four return, raising the question: How well do you really know the people you work with? When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking. But one of the women doesn’t make it back out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened. February 6, 2018
All the Things I Lost in the Flood by Laurie Anderson. In this landmark volume, the artist – an icon of performance art and the indie-music world – brings together the most comprehensive collection of her artwork to date, some of which has never before been seen or published. Spanning drawing, multimedia installations, performance, and new projects using augmented reality, the extensive volume traverses four decades of her groundbreaking art. Each chapter includes commentary written by Anderson herself. February 6, 2018.
How to Slay: Inspiration from the Queens & Kings of Black Style by Constance C.R. White explores African-American style in the 20th century and its influence on fashion today. February 6, 2018
The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore by Kim Fu. The award-winning author of For Today I Am a Boy returns with a novel about a group of young girls at a remote summer camp, and a night lost in the woods that will shape the rest of their lives – February 13, 2018
Sadness is a White Bird by Moriel Rothman-Zecher is a debut novel written by a rising literary star and MacDowell Fellow. A young man is preparing to serve in the Israeli army while also trying to reconcile his close relationship to two Palestinian siblings with his deeply ingrained loyalties to family and country. We meet him in an Israeli military jail, where—four days after his nineteenth birthday—he stares up at the fluorescent lights of his cell, and recalls the series of events that led him there. February 13, 2018.
MRS by Caitlin Macy is set in the well-heeled milieu of New York’s Upper East Side. Despite a shadowy past, Philippa has married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in the city. Her beautiful life starts to head off the rails when two new women enter her social circle. A social critique in the spirit of House of Mirth, this novel is also being favorably compared to Big Little Lies. February 13, 2018
White Houses: A Novel by Amy Bloom is a love story inspired by “one of the most intriguing relationships in history”—between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and “first friend” Lorena Hickok – February 13, 2018
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower Hardcover by Brittney Cooper examines the long-standing and simmering anger of many black women – where it comes from, what it means, and how it can fuel stellar achievements. When Cooper learned of her grandmother’s eloquent rage about love, sex, and marriage in an epic and hilarious front-porch confrontation, her life was changed. In the Black feminist tradition of Audre Lorde, Cooper reminds us that anger is a powerful source of energy that can give us the strength to keep on fighting. February 20, 2018
Vegan 100: Over 100 Incredible Recipes from Avant-Garde Vegan by Gaz Oakley, Simon Smith, and Adam Laycock. Just in time to help maintain our new year’s resolutions comes a book with 100 flavorful vegan recipes, from Deep Purple Soup to Sage and Smoked Chili “Dog;” from vegan “Fish and Chips” to Chocolate Tart and Raw Cacao “Cheesecake” – February 20, 2018
Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. From the bestselling author of The Black Swan, a new work assesses long-held beliefs about risk and reward, politics and religion, finance and personal responsibility – February 27, 2018
Have a great month, and happy reading.
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