Whether you’re stuck indoors or running to somewhere warm this month, consider cozying up with a new book. From stories about complicated romances — to get you prepped for Valentine’s Day — to new releases from veteran authors like Toni Morrison and Marlon James, there are plenty of compelling reads to dive into this month. Here, 15 new books to read this February.
Notes From a Black Woman’s Diary, Kathleen Collins (2/5)
Artist, filmmaker and writer Kathleen Collins, who died in 1988, was rediscovered posthumously when her short story collection Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? was published in 2016. Three years later, her daughter has edited a collection that offers more of Collins’ short stories, as well as her diary entries, scripts and screenplays. Collins proves her literary power across mediums — exploring the complexities of marriage, motherhood and identity — even 30 years after her death.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James (2/5)
In one of the most anticipated books of the year, Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James has created a mythical world inspired by African history and infused with fantasy. The novel, which is the first in a trilogy, follows a mercenary, Tracker, on a mission to find a missing boy who has not been seen in three years. As his determined search progresses and he travels from one ancient city to the next, Tracker begins to question the nature of the boy’s disappearance, leading him on a dangerous journey filled with vampires, witches and hyena-werewolves.
The Atlas of Reds and Blues, Devi S. Laskar (2/5)
A police raid on her home leaves the narrator of The Atlas of Reds and Blues, known as Mother, lying on her driveway, bleeding from a gunshot wound. As she waits for help, Mother reflects on her experiences as an American woman born to Bengali immigrants. While Devi S. Laskar’s debut novel takes place over just this single morning, Mother remembers moments from her present and past, weaving together an intense narrative about race, gender and power in America.
Where Reasons End, Yiyun Li (2/5)
Novelist and memoirist Yiyun Li imagines a dialogue between a mother and her teenage son in her latest book, Where Reasons End. The conversations, which span several months after the son has taken his own life, capture both their complicated relationship and the fierceness with which the mother loves her child. Their dialogue is informed heavily by the mother’s passion for language, specifically poetry, and captures the intimate nature of the grieving process.
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, Cal Newport (2/5)
How long can you go without looking at your phone? Cal Newport urges readers to think about the relationships they have with the technology in their lives and how they can adopt the philosophies of “digital minimalists” in order to focus on what truly makes them happy. Newport discusses the value in changing your digital habits to become less accessible via social media and more equipped to interact with others outside the Internet.
Magical Negro: Poems, Morgan Parker (2/5)
Drawing on both personal experiences as well as pop culture and history, poet Morgan Parker expresses the everyday realities of being black in America in her latest collection Magical Negro. Her poems tackle constructions of race and identity, connected by common themes of trauma, grief and objectification.
More Than Words, Jill Santopolo (2/5)
After her father dies, Nina Gregory’s life completely changes as she learns a secret about him that drives her to rethink her relationships with the men in her life, including her boyfriend and her boss. Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost, leads Nina on a journey of self-discovery.
The Age of Light, Whitney Scharer (2/5)
Inspired by the real-life relationship between model Lee Miller and surrealist Man Ray, Whitney Scharer’s debut novel tackles art, love and sacrifice. It’s 1929 and Miller has just arrived in Paris, desperate to step away from her modeling career and become a photographer. She meets Ray, who initially wants to use Lee only for her modeling services, but convinces him to teach her everything there is to know about photography.
On The Come Up, Angie Thomas (2/5)
Angie Thomas, author of the hugely popular YA novel The Hate U Give, has crafted a new story set in the same neighborhood. This time, she focuses on 16-year-old Bri, an aspiring rapper. After her song goes viral, Bri becomes the center of everyone’s attention, but not in the way she intended. As Bri’s family situation grows more tense — her mother has lost her job and the family is threatened by poverty — she has to learn to use her voice to raise herself up and follow her dreams.
The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays, Esmé Weijun Wang (2/5)
Esmé Weijun Wang discusses her own diagnosis with schizoaffective disorder to propel this book of essays about the perils of mental and chronic illness. Going beyond her personal story, Wang applies her experience as a former lab researcher at Stanford to add an analytical perspective to The Collected Schizophrenias, which gives readers an inside look into the often-misunderstood intricacies of mental health.
So Here I Am: Speeches by Great Women to Empower and Inspire, Anna Russell (Editor) (2/5)
This collection of speeches features words spoken from some of the world’s most empowering women, from Marie Curie to Michelle Obama to Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. The voices captured in this anthology, supplemented with histories by Russell, represent critical changes in fields that impact all parts our world — science, politics, human rights and more — and assert the importance of starting conversations to inspire others.
Lost Children Archive, Valeria Luiselli (2/12)
Luiselli’s road-trip novel follows an unnamed family driving across the country with two goals mind: the husband hopes to research Apacheria, and his wife has promised a friend she’ll learn what happened to two Mexican girls who were last seen at an immigration detention center. As the family travels, the couple’s son and daughter play happily in the backseat, but the radio shares grim tales of the children being detained at the U.S. and Mexico border. Lost Children Archive blends the personal and the political as cracks begin to form between the husband and wife, leaving their children anxious about their own future.
The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations, Toni Morrison (2/12)
Toni Morrison’s literary expertise has been confirmed numerous times — she’s won both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes — and she shines once more in this nonfiction collection. Showcasing essays, speeches and meditations she’s written over the years, The Source of Self-Regard provides a space for Morrison’s musings on social and cultural issues, from racism to gender equality, as well as her own commentary on some of her most well-regarded works like The Bluest Eye and Beloved.
The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, Anissa Gray (2/19)
Three adult sisters are forced to dig up their messy pasts when Althea, the eldest sister, is arrested along with her husband for crimes that have completely rocked their small town community. In Anissa Gray’s debut, the bonds of sisterhood and motherhood are tested as the consequences of Althea’s actions are set in motion, leaving her sisters to take care of her twin teenage daughters.
The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America, Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman (Editors) (2/19)
First and second-generation immigrants are featured in this collection of essays about living in a country that is consumed in debate over who can become a citizen. Chigozie Obioma, Jenny Zhang, Alexander Chee and more analyze the relationships they have with the places that matter most to them, reflecting on identity, belonging and the complexity of being an immigrant in America.