It’s that time again! August has quite the array of new paperback releases to stock your shelves with. From mysteries to Viking quests, prepare for the journey of a lifetime with these stunning reads. Plus, is there anything better than a stack of brand-new paperbacks, just waiting to be read? We think not.
12 Stunning Books New in Paperback to Fill Your Shelves
Twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast Zelda finds that life can be made easier if you just follow the rules. So when she finds out that her brother is making money from dangerous—and illegal—activities, Zelda decides to treat this reality like her own Viking quest, where she, the brave heroine, must save the day. This delightful debut shows that any journey is what you make it and that we all have the power to be the heroes in our own stories.
Indie Next Pick for February 2020
Book of the Month January 2020
LibraryReads January 2020 Pick
Bookreporter New Release Spotlight
New York Post “Best Books of the Week”
Goodreads “January’s Most Anticipated New Books”
The Saturday Evening Post “10 Books for the New Year”
PopSugar “Best Books in January”
Book Riot Best Winter New Releases
“Zelda is a marvel, a living, breathing three-dimensional character with a voice so distinctive she leaps off the page.” —The New York Times
“Heartwarming and unforgettable.” —People
For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:
1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”
2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.
3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.
4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.
5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.
But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.
“A most welcome and wonderful debut” (Tyrell Johnson, author of The Wolves of Winter), When We Were Vikings is an uplifting debut about an unlikely heroine whose journey will leave you wanting to embark on a quest of your own, because after all...we are all legends of our own making.
Cate, a Chicago-based set designer in her early forties, is finally ready to get her life together. But things are made complicated by a new relationship, an old affair, and an ex-husband who’s sleeping in her spare bedroom. Still, she’s getting on the right track. That all changes when Cate walks in on two strangers assaulting her friend Neale and takes action. In the aftermath of the attack, Cate grapples with her own capacity for violence, and the characters all have to face their changing relationships and unsure fates in a country that no longer lets them feel like they belong.
The author of the “graceful and compassionate” (People) New York Times bestseller Carry the One and “one of the best storytellers we have” (Amy Bloom, author of White Houses) presents a vividly affecting novel exploring what happens when one chance encounter forces four ordinary people to discover who they really are.
It’s the fall of 2016. Cate, a set designer in her early forties, lives and works in Chicago’s theater community. She knows it’s time to get past her prolonged adolescence and stop taking handouts from her parents. She has a firm plan to get solvent and settled in a serious relationship. She has tentatively started something new even as she’s haunted by an old, going-nowhere affair. Her ex-husband, recently booted from his most recent marriage, is currently camped out in Cate’s spare bedroom, in thrall to online conspiracy theories, and she’s not sure how to help him. Her best friend Neale, a yoga instructor, lives nearby with her son and is Cate’s model for what serious adulthood looks like.
Only a few blocks away, but in a parallel universe we find Nathan and Irene—casual sociopaths, drug addicts, and small-time criminals. Their world and Cate’s intersect the day she comes into Neale’s kitchen to find these strangers assaulting her friend. Forced to take fast, spontaneous action, Cate does something she’s never even considered. She now also knows the violence she is capable of, isolating her from everyone else in her life, and overnight, their world has changed. Together, they all grapple with their altered relationships and identities against the backdrop of the new Trump presidency and a country waking to a different understanding of itself.
“With sharply drawn characters, an ensnaring plot, and a look back at closeted gay lives, Anshaw, acutely attuned to the shifting weather of emotions and relationships, insightfully dramatizes the insistence of desire over convention and expediency and the endless reverberations of violence” (Booklist, starred review).
This enthralling debut novel follows Dr. Robert Hart, a man who seems to have it all. In fact, Dr. Hart has just been named Man of the Year. Everything seems to be falling into place. But when Dr. Hart offers to let his son’s college roommate stay with their family, things begin to unravel—and so does Dr. Hart. Despite his seemingly perfect life, Dr. Hart’s suspicions about his new wife and their houseguest cause his facade to crack and his lies to be revealed. This intense thriller has plenty of twists and turns, and an ending that shows that evil can hide in plain sight.
A sinister, sophisticated debut thriller by “a remarkable new voice to watch” (J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author), Man of the Year has been lauded by Shelf Awareness as “an impressive slow burn that builds suspense and cracks the whip at the end…redolent with menace and ego.”
Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school and finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guesthouse. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity.
But when Robert suspects his new houseguest of getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack, and all the little lies he tells start to mount. Before long, Robert is embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, threatening to destroy anyone who stands in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends and neighbors, his wife—who can reveal the truth…if he’s willing to look.
Biting and timely, Man of the Year races along at an electric pace, building to a wicked twist you won’t see coming.
Yetu’s people are water dwellers, the descendants of African women who were thrown overboard from slave ships while pregnant. And it is Yetu’s job to remember the past—their complete past, to hold on to it for everyone, no matter how traumatic or horrifying the memory. But when Yetu escapes to the surface, she discovers that there was more to her identity than she ever imagined. And if her people are to survive, they need to know the truth, too.
Octavia E. Butler meets Marvel’s Black Panther in The Deep, a story rich with Afrofuturism, folklore, and the power of memory, inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group Clipping.
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.
The Deep is “a tour de force reorientation of the storytelling gaze…a superb, multilayered work,” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) and a vividly original and uniquely affecting story inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping.
LGBTQ+ advocate Jackson Bird was assigned female at birth, but often wondered if he should have been born a boy while he was growing up in Texas in the 1990s. With no transgender role models, Jackson grew up gender-confused and wondering about his identity. This heartfelt memoir chronicles Jackson’s life as he grapples with his identity as transgender and bisexual, eventually coming out at age 25. The book is a compassionate and vulnerable look at Jackson’s life, and he lets you into every moment, no matter how personal or how heartbreaking.
An unflinching and endearing memoir from LGBTQ+ advocate Jackson Bird about how he finally sorted things out and came out as a transgender man.
When Jackson Bird was twenty-five, he came out as transgender to his friends, family, and anyone in the world with an internet connection.
Assigned female at birth and raised as a girl, he often wondered if he should have been born a boy. Jackson didn’t share this thought with anyone because he didn’t think he could share it with anyone. Growing up in Texas in the 1990s, he had no transgender role models. He barely remembers meeting anyone who was openly gay, let alone being taught that transgender people existed outside of punchlines.
In this “soulful and heartfelt coming-of-age story” (Jamia Wilson, director and publisher of the Feminist Press), Jackson chronicles the ups and downs of growing up gender-confused. Illuminated by journal entries spanning childhood to adolescence to today, he candidly recalls the challenges and loneliness he endured as he came to terms with both his gender and his bisexual identity.
With warmth and wit, Jackson also recounts how he navigated the many obstacles and quirks of his transition––like figuring out how to have a chest binder delivered to his NYU dorm room and having an emotional breakdown at a Harry Potter fan convention. From his first shot of testosterone to his eventual top surgery, Jackson lets you in on every part of his journey—taking the time to explain trans terminology and little-known facts about gender and identity along the way.
“A compassionate, tender-hearted, and accessible book for anyone who might need a hand to hold as they walk through their own transition or the transition of a loved one” (Austin Chant, author of Peter Darling), Sorted demonstrates the power and beauty in being yourself, even when you’re not sure who “yourself” is.
Tunde Akinola doesn’t feel like he belongs in small-town Utah, where he lives with his Nigerian-born parents. With a father who works constantly, chasing his American dream, and a mother grappling with mental illness, Tunde does the best he can to become the person he wants to be. But Tunde’s life is upheaved when his mother runs away and eventually flees to Nigeria without the rest of their family. Tunde spends the rest of the novel, and his young adulthood, trying to grasp on to some identity—if only he knew what he was searching for. In a journey without a destination, Tunde discovers more than he could’ve ever imagined.
**One of Time’s 32 Books You Need to Read This Summer**
An NPR Best Book of 2019
An “electrifying” (Publishers Weekly) debut novel from Rhodes Scholar and winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing about a Nigerian family living in Utah and their uneasy assimilation to American life.
Living in small-town Utah has always been an uncomfortable fit for Tunde Akinola’s family, especially for his Nigeria-born parents. Though Tunde speaks English with a Midwestern accent, he can’t escape the children who rub his skin and ask why the black won’t come off. As he struggles to fit in, he finds little solace from his parents who are grappling with their own issues.
Tunde’s father, ever the optimist, works tirelessly chasing his American dream while his wife, lonely in Utah without family and friends, sinks deeper into schizophrenia. Then one otherwise-ordinary morning, Tunde’s mother wakes him with a hug, bundles him and his baby brother into the car, and takes them away from the only home they’ve ever known.
But running away doesn’t bring her, or her children, any relief; once Tunde’s father tracks them down, she flees to Nigeria, and Tunde never feels at home again. He spends the rest of his childhood and young adulthood searching for connection—to the wary stepmother and stepbrothers he gains when his father remarries; to the Utah residents who mock his father’s accent; to evangelical religion; to his Texas middle school’s crowd of African-Americans; to the fraternity brothers of his historically black college. In so doing, he discovers something that sends him on a journey away from everything he has known.
Sweeping, stirring, and perspective-shifting, A Particular Kind of Black Man is “wild, vulnerable, lived…A study of the particulate self, the self as a constellation of moving parts” (The New York Times Book Review).
From the author of the bestselling novel CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, Aciman’s latest novel explores the lives of the characters from that book years later. The novel follows Samuel as he travels to Rome to visit his son, Elio. Along the way, a chance encounter changes Samuel’s journey forever. Meanwhile, Elio’s most recent love affair has him questioning his own life. In this jolting portrayal of true love, Aciman’s subtlety and thoughtful characters allow readers to see a full range of human connection and consider what we’d do for love.
This fantastical story follows Zachary Ezra Rawlins, a graduate student in Vermont, as he discovers a secret book of pirates, adventure, and great love affairs. But this is more than a book—it’s a very real, very hidden realm that exists somewhere between time and space and is fiercely protected by guardians against those who wish to destroy it. This magical book has mystery and adventure and will keep you turning the page, hoping for more.
Janina Duszejko is an eccentric woman in her sixties, living in a remote Polish village. She is reclusive, prefers animals over humans, and is a fan of poetry and believer in the fate of the stars. So when two members of the hunting club in the village are found murdered, no one expects Janina to join the cause to find their killers. This story is told through Janina’s eyes, and she tells it in her own uncanny and unique way, through the framework of the disappearance of her two beloved dogs.
KNOW MY NAME is the New York Times bestselling memoir by Chanel Miller, the woman previously known as Emily Doe in the case against Brock Turner. Miller’s brave memoir chronicles her experiences with the justice system as well as her feelings of shame and isolation following the attack. She intertwines her personal pain with the oppression victims face when coming forward and lets readers into to these heartbreaking, unjust realities. Miller’s victim impact statement went viral and helped get new laws passed in California that protect victims. Now Miller hopes her memoir can give others courage.
In 1965, Ana Canción leaves behind her life in the Dominican Republic and goes to New York City with her new husband, Juan Ruiz, a man twice her age. Ana doesn’t love Juan, but she knows this is a chance to get her whole family to America. Her new life is suffocating; Ana is lonely and isn’t allowed to do anything in the city, or make friends. So when Juan heads back to the Dominican Republic, unsure of when he will return, Ana strikes up a friendship with his younger brother, Cesar, and begins to imagine a real life for herself in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide between her family’s dreams and her own.
Vanessa Yu can see people’s futures in tea leaves, whether she wants to or not. No matter how much she avoids tea, she still somehow sees the future. As a result, Vanessa is lonely and isolated—to make things worse, at her matchmaking appointment she sees a dark and deadly future. In the company of her eccentric aunt, Vanessa heads to Paris, where she learns how to face her future by deciding how she wants to live her present.