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6 Books to Preorder Now for a Perfectly Timed Arrival

January 14 2022
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I always find it a lovely surprise when a book I’ve preordered arrives on my doorstep. As a self-proclaimed expert on preordering, I’ve gathered up six books to add-to-cart now so that you receive them at a perfectly timed point in the year. Set yourself up with your own personal book-of-the-month club by preordering these upcoming books—they’ll arrive at your door right when you need them.

The Candy House
by Jennifer Egan

This is a book to order sooner rather than later because everyone will be talking about it—and it’s a conversation you won’t want to be left out of. CANDY HOUSE is the upcoming book by the author of VISIT FROM THE GOOD SQUAD. This story plops you into a future where you can view anyone’s memories as long as you share your memories as well. Using that as the background, Egan explores humanity and art through experimental perspectives—letter-writing, duets, tweets—that I’m sure everyone will be talking about throughout this spring, summer, and beyond. Publication date: April 5, 2022

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The Candy House
Jennifer Egan

From one of the most celebrated writers of our time, a literary figure with cult status, a “sibling novel” to her Pulitzer Prize- and NBCC Award-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad—an electrifying, deeply moving novel about the quest for authenticity and meaning in a world where memories and identities are no longer private.

The Candy House opens with the staggeringly brilliant Bix Bouton, whose company, Mandala, is so successful that he is “one of those tech demi-gods with whom we’re all on a first name basis.” Bix is 40, with four kids, restless, desperate for a new idea, when he stumbles into a conversation group, mostly Columbia professors, one of whom is experimenting with downloading or “externalizing” memory. It’s 2010. Within a decade, Bix’s new technology, “Own Your Unconscious”—that allows you access to every memory you’ve ever had, and to share every memory in exchange for access to the memories of others—has seduced multitudes. But not everyone.

In spellbinding interlocking narratives, Egan spins out the consequences of Own Your Unconscious through the lives of multiple characters whose paths intersect over several decades. Intellectually dazzling, The Candy House is also extraordinarily moving, a testament to the tenacity and transcendence of human longing for real connection, love, family, privacy and redemption. In the world of Egan’s spectacular imagination, there are “counters” who track and exploit desires and there are “eluders,” those who understand the price of taking a bite of the Candy House. Egan introduces these characters in an astonishing array of narrative styles—from omniscient to first person plural to a duet of voices, an epistolary chapter and a chapter of tweets.

If Goon Squad was organized like a concept album, The Candy House incorporates Electronic Dance Music’s more disjunctive approach. The parts are titled: Build, Break, Drop. With an emphasis on gaming, portals, and alternate worlds, its structure also suggests the experience of moving among dimensions in a role-playing game.

The Candy House is a bold, brilliant imagining of a world that is moments away. Egan takes to stunning new heights her “deeply intuitive forays into the darker aspects of our technology-driven, image-saturated culture” (Vogue). The Candy House delivers an absolutely extraordinary combination of fierce, exhilarating intelligence and heart.

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Circus of Wonders
by Elizabeth Macneal

At this point of the year, you’ll likely be over winter and need something that’ll both lift your spirits and perhaps take you out of reality. Just in time for the perfect cozy end-of-winter day, CIRCUS OF WONDERS will arrive at your doorstep and invite you into 1860s England. The titular circus is composed of Jasper Jupiter’s dazzling group of performers but the story mainly follows that of Nell, his “leopard girl,” whose fame begins to rival that of the circus and threaten Jasper’s own ambitions. With the tensions high, and the settings enchanting, everything here is primed to pull you into a delightful historical circus experience. Publication date: February 1, 2022

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Circus of Wonders
Elizabeth Macneal

From the #1 internationally bestselling author of the “lush, evocative Gothic” (The New York Times Book Review) The Doll Factory comes an atmospheric and spectacular novel where one woman’s life is transformed by the arrival of a Victorian circus of wonders.

Step up, step up! In 1860s England, circus mania is sweeping the nation. Crowds jostle for a glimpse of the lion-tamers, the dazzling trapeze artists and, most thrilling of all, the so-called “human wonders.”

When Jasper Jupiter’s Circus of Wonders pitches its tent in a poor coastal town, the life of one young girl changes forever. Sold to the ringmaster as a “leopard girl” because of the birthmarks that cover her body, Nell is utterly devastated. But as she grows close to the other performers, she finds herself enchanted by the glittering freedom of the circus, and by her own role as the Queen of the Moon and Stars.

Before long, Nell’s fame spreads across the world—and with it, a chance for Jasper Jupiter to grow his own name and fortune. But what happens when her fame begins to eclipse his own, when even Jasper’s loyal brother Toby becomes captivated by Nell? No longer the quiet flower-picker, Nell knows her own place in the world, and she will fight for it.

A gorgeously wrought exploration of celebrity, power, and belonging, this is a historical novel unlike any other, with an unforgettable heroine at its heart.

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Carolina Built
by Kianna Alexander

Set to publish at the end of February, this is the perfect read during Black History Month. This novelization of the life of real estate icon Josephine N. Leary tells her remarkable story. After being emancipated from her North Carolina plantation, Josephine struggles to balance her changing daily life with her ambitions of becoming a businesswoman. Plus, before your book arrives, you can tune in to a Facebook live between YELLOW WIFE author Sadeqa Johnson and CAROLINA BUILT author Kianna Alexander this February 9. Publication date: February 22, 2022

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Carolina Built
Kianna Alexander

A vivid and moving novel based on the incredible life of real estate magnate Josephine N. Leary—a previously untold story of passion, perseverance, and building a legacy after emancipation in North Carolina.

Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams.

As the demands of life pull Josephine’s attention—deepening her marriage, mothering her daughters, supporting her grandmother—she struggles to balance her real estate aspirations with the realities of keeping life going every day. She teaches herself to be a business woman, to manage her finances, and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. But with each passing year, it grows more and more difficult to focus on building her legacy from the ground up.

Moving and inspiring, Josephine Leary’s untold story speaks to the part of us that dares to dream bigger, tear down whatever stands in our way, and build something better for the loved ones we leave behind.

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One Italian Summer
by Rebecca Serle

When the depths of winter finally get to you right around March, escape into summer with ONE ITALIAN SUMMER. In this heartbreaking novel, Katy is still grieving the loss of her mother/best friend but decides that her planned trip to Positano may just help her reflect and grieve as she walks along the same spots her mother had walked decades before. But when she arrives, she finds her mother alive and young again. As they talk and explore the breathtaking town together, they begin to bond in new ways and discuss things they’d never shared before. Publication date: March 1, 2022

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One Italian Summer
Rebecca Serle

The New York Times bestselling author of the “heartwarming, heartbreaking, and hard to put down” (Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author) modern classic In Five Years returns with a moving and unforgettable exploration of the powerful bond between mother and daughter set on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast.

When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.

But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.

And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.

Rebecca Serle’s next great love story is here, and this time it’s between a mother and a daughter. With her signature “heartbreaking, redemptive, and authentic” (Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Serle has crafted a transcendent novel about how we move on after loss, and how the people we love never truly leave us.

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To Marry and to Meddle
by Martha Waters

The Bridgerton season two release date has officially been set for March 25! So after you binge-watch that and need more witty banter, check out Martha Waters’s TO MARRY AND TO MEDDLE on April 5. This book is part of the Regency Vows series but can also be read as a stand-alone, as it follows new characters. As a seasoned debutante, Lady Emily Turner is more than ready to settle down, but, thanks to her father’s debts, her options are a bit limited. Enter the scandalized Lord Julian Belfry, who owns a notorious theater that has restricted his own marriage prospects. Thus, they enter a marriage of convenience that becomes anything but. Publication date: April 5, 2022

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To Marry and to Meddle
Martha Waters

The “sweet, sexy, and utterly fun” (Emily Henry, author of People We Meet on Vacation) Regency Vows series continues with a witty, charming, and joyful novel following a seasoned debutante and a rakish theater owner as they navigate a complicated marriage of convenience.

Lady Emily Turner has been a debutante for six seasons now and should have long settled into a suitable marriage. However, due to her father’s large debts, her only suitor is the persistent and odious owner of her father’s favorite gambling house. Meanwhile, Lord Julian Belfry, the second son of a marquess, has scandalized society as an actor and owner of a theater—the kind of establishment where men take their mistresses, but not their wives. When their lives intersect at a house party, Lord Julian hatches a plan to benefit them both.

With a marriage of convenience, Emily will use her society connections to promote the theater to a more respectable clientele and Julian will take her out from under the shadows of her father’s unsavory associates. But they soon realize they have very different plans for their marriage—Julian wants Emily to remain a society wife, while Emily discovers an interest in the theater. But when a fleeing actress, murderous kitten, and meddlesome friends enter the fray, Emily and Julian will have to confront the fact that their marriage of convenience comes with rather inconvenient feelings.

With “an arch sense of humor and a marvelously witty voice that rivals the best of the Regency authors” (Entertainment Weekly), Martha Waters crafts another fresh romantic comedy that for fans of Julia Quinn and Evie Dunmore.

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MENTIONED IN:

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Bomb Shelter
by Mary Laura Philpott

While you’re still in the New Year, New You mindset now, preorder this midyear reminder. Mary Laura Philpott’s refreshing outlook on life, health, aging, family, and more will offer up a new perspective right when your resolutions need an uplift. Ranging from her children’s frightening health scares to insightful reflections on a turtle that keeps returning to their back door, this memoir-in-essays will provide a helpful dose of reflection when you need it most. Publication date: April 12, 2022

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Bomb Shelter
Mary Laura Philpott

From the bestselling author of I Miss You When I Blink and “writer of singular spark and delight” (Elizabeth Gilbert, #1 New York Times bestselling author) comes a poignant and powerful new memoir-in-essays that tackles the big questions of life, death, and existential fear with humor and hope.

A lifelong worrier, Philpott always kept an eye out for danger, a habit that only intensified when she became a parent. But she looked on the bright side, too, believing that as long as she cared enough, she could keep her loved ones safe.

Then, in the dark of one quiet, pre-dawn morning, she woke abruptly to a terrible sound—and found her teenage son unconscious on the floor. In the aftermath of a crisis that darkened her signature sunny spirit, she wondered: If this happened, what else could happen? And how do any of us keep going when we can’t know for sure what’s coming next?

Leave it to the writer whose critically acclaimed debut had us “laughing and crying on the same page” (NPR) to illuminate what it means to move through life with a soul made of equal parts anxiety and optimism (and while she’s at it, to ponder the mysteries of backyard turtles and the challenges of spatchcocking a turkey).

Hailed by The Washington Post as “Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck, Jean Kerr, and Laurie Colwin all rolled into one,” Philpott returns in her distinctive voice to explore our protective instincts, the ways we continue to grow up long after we’re grown, and the limits—both tragic and hilarious—of the human body and mind.

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MENTIONED IN:

6 Books to Preorder Now for a Perfectly Timed Arrival

By Emily Lewis | January 14, 2022

8 Book Clubs We Admire for Their Excellent Taste in Reading

By Book Club Favorites | January 13, 2022

Rediscovered Reviews: 5 Time-Tested Memoirs to Inspire a New You

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 12, 2022

New in Paperback: 10 January Reads to Start the Year Off Right

By Alice Martin | January 11, 2022

7 Lyrical Stories That’ll Take Your Breath Away

By Holly Claytor | January 10, 2022

January eBook Deals: 15 Superb Reads for Your Digital Library

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 7, 2022

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