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New month, new books! Book Light is our Dandelion Chandelier curated list of the most-anticipated new book releases every month, and next up is February 2022. If you ask us, the perfect February read is an exploration of matters of the heart, in all their messy complexity. You know, wildly romantic and filled with the crazy things we all do for love – if you ask us, even the non-fiction should be more passionate than usual. So what are the best new new novels, poetry and essay collections, memoirs and other non-fiction books to read coming out in February 2022? Our intrepid team has been exploring and here’s what we found: 27 new book releases coming soon that we cannot wait to read.

what are the most anticipated new novels and non-fiction book releases for February 2022?

Wondering what to read in February 2022? We’ve surveyed the landscape, and rounded up a list of the best new books coming this February. It’s Black History Month, and as always there are a number of important new non-fiction books about the black experience in America. And in general, there are just a LOT of great new reads coming in this month.

new novels and poetry February 2022

There’s a lot going on the world of fiction this month, including new novels and poetry collections from Olga Tokarczuk, Marlon James, Sheila Heti and Quan Barry. A short story from Toni Morrison. And buzzy debut novels from Charmaine Wilkerson, Emmy Lund and Brenan Slocumb.

best most anticipated new novels and non-fiction book releases, with rave reviews, to read among the books coming out in February 2022

best most anticipated new novels and non-fiction book releases, with rave reviews, to read among the books coming out in February 2022

new memoirs, essay collections and other non-fiction books February 2022

The new non-fiction releases in February 2022 include a history of romantic comedies. And a serious assessment of reality TV shows. Poignant reflections on their homelands from American expats born and raised in London and Hong Kong. And an assessment of a long-ago decade: the 1990’s.

the best new novels and non-fiction books coming in February 2022

Here’s our pick of the top new book releases of February 2022 – novels, poetry and essay collections, memoirs and other non-fiction – that we cannot wait to read. Pre-order your favorites now!

February 1, 2022

1. The Books of Jacob by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft.

 

Best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

Without question, one of the most anticipated books of February 2022 is this one. Originally published in her native Poland in 2014, The Books of Jacob is about the fictitious Jacob Frank, a controversial religious leader who founded a sect of Judaism in the 18th century. He claimed to be the next messiah, and we see his journey through the lens of a web of people connected to him.

BUY NOW: $32.

2. what the fireflies knew by Kai Harris.

 

What the Fireflies Knew is a coming-of-age novel told by almost-eleven-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB). After her father dies of an overdose and the debts incurred from his addiction cause the loss of the family home in Detroit, her life is upended. KB and her teenage sister, Nia, are sent by their overwhelmed mother to live with their estranged grandfather in Lansing, Michigan. Over the course of a single sweltering summer, KB attempts to navigate a world that has turned upside down.

BUY NOW: $18.20.

3. Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson.

 

Best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

Soon to be a Hulu series, Black Cake is a debut novel about an estranged brother and sister who reunite when their mother passes away. The family matriarch, Eleanor Bennett dies and bequeaths her two adult children two mementos: an audio recording that tells the tale of her mystified past. And a traditional black cake baked according to a family recipe. Their mother’s final request? To ‘share the black cake “when the time is right.”

BUY NOW: $24.

4. The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang.

 

Best new books, fiction and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

Another of the most anticipated new books for February 2022 is this reimagined rendering of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. The Family Chao is a generational family drama wrapped in a murder mystery. In it, a Chinese American family is forced to grapple with the dark undercurrents in a seemingly pleasant small town.

BUY NOW: $21.

5. Vladimir by Julia May Jonas.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

The narrator of the new novel Vladimir is an English professor whose charismatic husband (a professor at the same small liberal arts college) is under investigation for his inappropriate relationships with his former students. Shades of the real-world trials and tribulations of Yale Law School professors Jed Rubenfeld and Amy Chua. When the narrator becomes increasingly infatuated with Vladimir, a celebrated, married young novelist who’s just arrived on campus, you can just imagine what kind of complications ensue.

BUY NOW: $22.95.

6. Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh.

 

Mercy Street is an eerily topical novel set at a women’s clinic in Boston. As anti-abortion rhetoric ratchets up and protesters are omnipresent at the clinic’s doors, we see the situation through the eyes of four very different people. For Claudia, a longtime employee, the presence of protesters outside the office is nothing new. Marijuana helps her cope with the pressure. Her weed dealer is an affable sort who takes a mellow view of the controversial clinic. Two other voices are also in this mix: a lonely man and a virulently anti-abortion activist. With this year’s pending Supreme Court judgement on women’s rights to control their own health decisions, this novel could not be more timely.

BUY NOW: $25.19.

7. The Violin Conspiracy by Brenan Slocumb.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

Black classical musicians are few and far between, and the thriller The Violin Conspiracy examines why this is so. And the toll it takes on the few who make it into the top tier of musicians. The evening before a prestigious Tchaikovsky competition, a Black violinist from the rural South finds his prized heirloom Stradivarius stolen and replaced with a ransom note. The author has been a music educator for decades, and the plot employs the search for the violin to illuminate racism and its cost in the world of classical music.

BUY NOW: $18.76.

8. Other People’s Clothes by Calla Henkel.

 

In the novel Other People’s Clothes, Hailey and Zoe are American exchange students renting the Berlin apartment of a well-known thriller writer. As they explore the city’s notorious club scene,  they start to suspect that their literary landlord is watching them. And mining their lives for her own work. So they decide (as one does) to put on a show, hosting a series of wild parties that are ultimately a form of performance art that spins out of control. It’s a fascinating examination of the intensity of female friendships that can sometimes prove toxic.

BUY NOW: $21.

9. Then the War: and Selected Poems, 2007-2020 by Carl Phillips.

 

Then the War compiles thirteen years of Phillips’s work, as well as his recent lyric prose memoir, Among the Trees. And his chapbook Star Map with Action Figures.

BUY NOW: $30.49.

10. Recitatif: A Story by Toni Morrison, introduction by Zadie Smith.

 

First published in 1983, Recitatif is the only short story known to have been written by Morrison. The plot follows the tangled, decades-long friendship between Twyla and Roberta, who meet as children at a shelter. Readers know one woman is Black and the other white, but the author conceals which is which. The New York Times notes that Morrison later called it “an experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about two characters of different races for whom racial identity is crucial.”

BUY NOW: $11.29.

11. Anonymous Sex by Hillary Jordan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

How’s this for high-concept modern Valentine’s Day idea? Anonymous Sex is an anthology of fictional erotica by well-known writers including Rebecca Makkai, Mary-Louise Parker, Jason Reynolds, Téa Obreht and Louise Erdrich. But there’s a twist. No names are attached to the stories, leaving readers to wonder who wrote which.

BUY NOW: $18.00.

12. From Hollywood with Love: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again) of the Romantic Comedy by Scott Meslow.

 

From Hollywood with Love is a journalist’s love letter to the iconic romantic comedies that so many of us are so delighted by. In it, we’re treated to a robust defense of the much-maligned genre. In addition to trivia and interviews with directors and stars, the author examines how rom-coms have evolved and why they remain under-appreciated.

BUY NOW: $27.99.

February 8, 2022

13. Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso.

 

Very Cold People is a novel about growing up in—and out of—the suffocating constraints of a very old, and very cold, small town. A girl named Ruthie recounts her reckoning with the sins and constraints of her small Massachusetts hometown. And how its smooth icy surface hid a boiling cauldron of anger and resentment.

BUY NOW: $25.49.

14. Home/Land: A Memoir of Departure and Return by Rebecca Mead.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

Home/Land is a meditation on the differences between America and the U.K. The author is a New Yorker writer who relocated to her birth city, London, with her family in the summer of 2018. She was fleeing the toxic politics of America and seeking to expose her son to a wider world. Of course, it’s hard to outrun a lot of the issues rocking the U.S. She deftly explores themes of identity, nationality, and inheritance.

BUY NOW: $26.95.

15. The Nineties: A Book by Chuck Klosterman.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

It may seem like an eon ago, or perhaps it feels like it just happened. Is the decade of the 1990’s too close for a treatise on what the decade meant? Or so far away that the entire topic is irrelevant? In The Nineties, the author makes the case that this decade marked a fundamental shift in human history. It was the last time computers and computerlike devices were seen as an auxiliary – rather than an essential part of modern life.

BUY NOW: $24.

16. Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage by by Heather Havrilesky.

 

Foreverland might not be ideal as the best book to give as a Valentine’s Day gift. But then again, maybe it’s the perfect gift. The writer who pens the advice column Ask Polly is giving the hopeless romantics a dose of cold, hard reality. As the publisher notes: “If falling in love is the peak of human experience, then marriage is the slow descent down that mountain, on a trail built from conflict, compromise, and nagging doubts.”

BUY NOW: $27.99.

February 15, 2022

17. The Boy With a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund.

 

In the debut novel The Boy with a Bird in His Chest, a chatty bird named Gail lives inside Owen’s chest. After a nurse discovers the bird, Owen’s mom sends him to live with his uncle and cousin. There, he eventually makes a good friend. And the two become allies as they find their true communities and become their true selves.

BUY NOW: $27.00

18. Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James.

 

Moon Witch, Spider King is the highly anticipated second installment of James’s Dark Star trilogy. It revisits the events that happened in Black Leopard, Red Wolf, but from the 177-year-old Moon Witch’s perspective.

BUY NOW: $26.99.

19. Pure Colour by Sheila Heti.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

One of the most anticipated new novels and books of February 2022 is this one. In the surrealist story Pure Colour, we follow a woman named Mina. She meets a transformative woman named Annie. Experiences her father’s spirit moving into her soul after his death. Is reincarnated as a leaf. And tries to decide whether to return to earth. If it sounds like a challenging read, you’re onto something. But this meditation on love and the reverberations of grief has a novel construct. The author asserts that all individuals can be divided into three groups, according to their primary focus in life: aesthetic beauty, the well-being of society or devotional love to the people around them.

BUY NOW: $23.40.

20. True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us by Danielle J. Lindemann.

 

Is there anything about reality TV that is actually real? That is to say, is there anything we can glean about people’s real lives and their interior motivations by watching, say, Big Brother: Celebrity Edition? In this sociological study, the author argues that popular reality TV shows both instruct us about society’s commonly held beliefs – and also reveal a great deal about our attitudes toward race, gender, class, and sexuality.

BUY NOW: $28.49.

21. Index, A History of the: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age by Dennis Duncan.

 

Charting a path from the monasteries of thirteenth-century Europe to Silicon Valley in the twenty-first, the author reveals how something as simple as an index has shaped human history. The existence of an index has saved heretics from the stake and kept politicians from high office. Revealing its vast role in our evolving literary and intellectual culture, this entertaining book makes it clear that humans have been using the equivalent of Google Search for about eight hundred years. Mind. Blown.

BUY NOW: $30.

22. The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir by Karen Cheung.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

In The Impossible City, the author details her coming of age in a time of transition in the formerly democratic city-state. In light of the harsh actions in recent years to bring Hong Kong into the greater Chinese government, she attempts to reconcile her family’s conservative values with the more progressive viewpoints she learns at her international school. And we learn with poignant detail the ways in which the citywide protests in 2020 and 2021 affected her mental health.

BUY NOW: $28.

February 22, 2022

23. When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East by Quan Barry.

 

When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East is the new novel from the author We Ride Upon Sticks. It could not, on its surface, be any more different from that hilarious and inventive story of a high school girls’ soccer team in Salem, Massachusetts.

This is the tale of estranged twin brothers in Mongolia who set out on a journey to find the reincarnation of an important spiritual leader. One of the brothers is a novice Buddhist monk, the other has renounced his religion. Along the way, the brothers—who, in an interesting twist, can hear each other’s thoughts—try to reconnect with each other while coming to terms with their spirituality.

BUY NOW: $26.

24. The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

With The Swimmers, the author of The Buddha in the Attic and When the Emperor Was Divine returns with a novel about what happens to a group of obsessed recreational swimmers – living seemingly disparate lives – when a crack appears at the bottom of their local pool.

BUY NOW: $18.03.

25. Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Faladé.

During the Civil War, thousands of formerly enslaved men joined the fight against Confederate forces. The new novel Black Cloud Rising imagines the life of one of those soldiers, Richard Etheridge, the son of a Black woman who was enslaved by his father. Already excerpted in The New Yorker, this is historical fiction with an urgent message relevant in our present moment.

26. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley.

 

Best new books, novels and non-fiction, coming in February 2022

The Paris Apartment is one of the most highly anticipated new novels coming out in February 2022. From the author of The Guest List, in this thriller a girl named Jess discovers her half-brother Ben is missing when she goes to visit him in Paris.

BUY NOW: $20.49.

27. How to Host a Viking Funeral: The Case for Burning Your Regrets, Chasing Your Crazy Ideas, and Becoming the Person You’re Meant to Be by Kyle Scheele.

 

We end our list of the most anticipated new novels and non-fiction books for February 2022 with an inventive memoir of sorts. For his 30th birthday, the author said goodbye to his 20’s by burning a cardboard Viking ship. It was a gesture to symbolically let go of his regrets, mistakes and anxieties from the past decade. In a thoughtful and unique meditation on letting go of the past, Scheele literally struck a spark that has fired up others to perform the same “Viking burial” themselves. Read it to learn How to Host a Viking Funeral of your own.

BUY NOW: $23.39.

most anticipated new books coming in February 2022

That’s our take on the best most anticipated new novels and non-fiction book releases, with rave reviews to read among the books coming out in February 2022. What’s at the top of your list this month, dear reader?

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.