This may be a hot take, but I prefer paperback to hardcover. There is just something about the smooth cover and the ease with which the pages flip. Paperbacks fit so nicely on my bookshelf and in my tote bags and in the palm of my hand. Even when I am eager to read a new book, I almost always restrain myself and wait for the paperback to publish before adding a copy, in my desired format, to my shelf. If you, like me, are a paperback lover, here are ten titles that are new to paperback this January to cozy up with.
Young author Alex is invited to an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Each visiting writer must finish an entire novel during the retreat, the best of which will receive a seven-figure publishing deal. Unfortunately, Alex is not the only aspiring young writer gunning for the prize. Her ex-best-friend-turned-arch-nemesis, Wren, is also in attendance. But when one writer goes missing during a frightening snowstorm, Alex begins to realize that there is something sinister about Roza and this retreat. This page-turning thriller touches on the dark side of female friendships and fame.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“Sex, suspense, and the supernatural fuel this propulsive debut.” —People
A young author is invited to an exclusive writer’s retreat that soon descends into a pulse-pounding nightmare—in the vein of The Plot and Please Join Us.
Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.
But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she must discover the truth—or suffer the same fate.
A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller that “will keep you up all night with its intriguing premise and gasp-worthy twists” (Kirthana Ramisetti, author of Dava Shastri’s Last Day), The Writing Retreat expertly explores the dark side of female relationships, fame, and the desire to have our stories told.
Julia Kelly never fails to deliver heart-wrenching, brilliant historical fiction novels. THE LOST ENGLISH GIRL is no different. This novel begins in 1935 Liverpool, where Viv is expected to marry a working-class Catholic man to appease her family. But when Viv falls pregnant by Joshua Levinson, a Jewish man and aspiring jazz musician, her future plans change. Flash forward five years, as World War II begins to ramp up: Viv must make the difficult decision to evacuate her daughter to the countryside. But even this rural safe haven in not immune to the horrors of war. Joshua, who abandoned Viv and his daughter, has left his jazz career to fight in the Royal Air Force. As the war progresses, his and Viv’s lives again intertwine, and the two must navigate the trials of getting their family together again.
The acclaimed author of the “sweeping and beautifully written novel” (Woman’s World) The Light Over London weaves an epic saga of love, motherhood, and betrayal set against World War II.
Liverpool, 1935: Raised in a strict Catholic family, Viv Byrne knows what’s expected of her: marry a Catholic man from her working-class neighborhood and have his children. However, when she finds herself pregnant after a fling with Joshua Levinson, a Jewish man with dreams of becoming a famous Jazz musician, Viv knows that a swift wedding is the only answer. Her only solace is that marrying Joshua will mean escaping her strict mother’s scrutiny. But when Joshua makes a life-changing choice on their wedding day, Viv is forced once again into the arms of her disapproving family.
Five years later and on the eve of World War II, Viv is faced with the impossible choice to evacuate her young daughter, Maggie, to the countryside estate of the affluent Thompson family. In New York City, Joshua gives up his failing musical career to serve in the Royal Air Force, fight for his country, and try to piece together his feelings about the family, wife, and daughter he left behind at nineteen. However, tragedy strikes when Viv learns that the countryside safe haven she sent her daughter to wasn’t immune from the horrors of war. It is only years later, with Joshua’s help, that Viv learns the secrets of their shared past and what it will take to put a family back together again.
Telling the harrowing story of England’s many evacuated children, bestselling author Julia Kelly’s The Lost English Girl explores how one simple choice can change the course of a life, and what we are willing to forgive to find a way back to the ones we love and thought lost.
A notable work of fiction and named best book of the year by LitHub, THE FARAWAY WORLD, is a collection of ten short stories set across America, touching on immigration, sacrifice, and compromise. Patricia Engel is a fearless writer and author of the award-winning novel INFINITE COUNTRY. Engel’s intimate stories will touch your heart in a unique way and illuminate our society’s need for community, compassion, and love.
From Patricia Engel, whose novel Infinite Country was a New York Times bestseller and a Reese’s Book Club pick, comes an exquisite collection of ten haunting, award-winning short stories set across the Americas and linked by themes of migration, sacrifice, and moral compromise.
Two Colombian expats meet as strangers on the rainy streets of New York City, both burdened with traumatic pasts. In Cuba, a woman discovers her deceased brother’s bones have been stolen, and the love of her life returns from Ecuador for a one-night visit. A cash-strapped couple hustles in Miami, to life-altering ends.
The Faraway World is a collection of arresting stories from the New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Country, Patricia Engel, “a gifted storyteller whose writing shines even in the darkest corners” (The Washington Post). Intimate and panoramic, these stories bring to life the liminality of regret, the vibrancy of community, and the epic deeds and quiet moments of love.
Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Mellon Award for Excellence in Fiction, POMEGRANATE is both lyrical and complex. Ranita Atwater, a Black woman, is regaining her freedom after a four-year sentence for opioid possession. As she navigates this new version of life, Ranita learns to steer clear of temptations and face old wounds, while also learning about the unjust and rocky road ahead of her as a marginalized American. This novel is an unflinching portrait of queer Black womanhood in the depths of addiction, incarceration, and courage.
“A remarkable feat of literary conjuration.” —Jennifer Haigh, nationally bestselling author of Mercy Street
The acclaimed author of The Serpent’s Gift returns with this gripping and powerful novel of healing, redemption, and love, following a queer Black woman who works to stay clean, pull her life together, and heal after being released from prison.
Ranita Atwater is “getting short.”
She is almost done with her four-year sentence for opiate possession at Oak Hills Correctional Center. With three years of sobriety, she is determined to stay clean and regain custody of her two children.
My name is Ranita, and I’m an addict, she has said again and again at recovery meetings. But who else is she? Who might she choose to become? As she claims the story housed within her pomegranate-like heart, she is determined to confront the weight of the past and discover what might lie beyond mere survival.
Ranita is regaining her freedom, but she’s leaving behind her lover Maxine, who has inspired her to imagine herself and the world differently. Now she must steer clear of the temptations that have pulled her down, while atoning for her missteps and facing old wounds. With a fierce, smart, and sometimes funny voice, Ranita reveals how rocky and winding the path to wellness is for a Black woman, even as she draws on family, memory, faith, and love in order to choose life.
Perfect for fans of Jesmyn Ward and Yaa Gyasi, Pomegranate is a complex portrayal of queer Black womanhood and marginalization in America: a story of loss, healing, redemption, and strength. In lyrical and precise prose, Helen Elaine Lee paints a humane and unflinching portrait of the devastating effects of incarceration and addiction, and of one woman’s determination to tell her story.
Fans of Kristin Hannah and Jennifer Chiaverini will adore LOOKING FOR JANE, which follows three women bound by a long-lost letter. In 2017, Angela Creighton discovers a note with a profound confession. Determined to find the letter’s recipient, Angela’s search brings her back to 1970, when a group of women operated an illegal underground abortion clinic known as Jane. Flashing between three timelines, LOOKING FOR JANE is an important and beautiful story, based on true events, about choices, their consequences, and the difficult road women have been forced to walk.
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This “powerful debut” (Hello! Canada) for fans of Kristin Hannah and Jennifer Chiaverini about three women whose lives are bound together by a long-lost letter, a mother’s love, and a secret network of women fighting for the right to choose—inspired by true stories.
2017: When Angela Creighton discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession, she is determined to find the intended recipient. Her search takes her back to the 1970s when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network in Toronto known only by its whispered code name: Jane.
1971: As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was sent to a home for “fallen” women where she was forced to give up her baby for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, she joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.
1980: After discovering a shocking secret about her family, twenty-year-old Nancy Mitchell begins to question everything she has ever known. When she unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she feels like she has no one to turn to for help. Grappling with her decision, she locates “Jane” and finds a place of her own alongside Dr. Taylor within the network’s ranks, but she can never escape the lies that haunt her.
Looking for Jane is “a searing, important, beautifully written novel about the choices we all make and where they lead us—as well as a wise and timely reminder of the difficult road women had to walk not so long ago” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).
LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART by America’s Queen of Suspense, Mary Higgins Clark, is republishing with a new forward by one of today’s most popular thriller writers, Megan Miranda. In this twisty mystery, prosecutor Kerry McGrath finds herself in a plastic surgeon’s office after her daughter suffers a minor injury. Though the surgeon assures Kerry that her daughter will be fine, the prosecutor can’t help but find something mysterious about the office space. There is a woman in the waiting room who looks a bit too familiar. When McGrath and her daughter are back in the office for a follow-up and again see the woman, she realizes the patient has the face of Suzanne Reardon, the “Sweetheart Murder” victim, killed over a decade ago. In this read, packed with unexpected plot twists, Kerry dives into a new investigation about the ominous hunt for beauty.
From America’s Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark, an investigation into the connection between a long-ago murder and a plastic surgeon’s obsession with a perfect face catapults prosecutor Kerry McGrath into the strange and ominous territory of those so hungry for beauty they’ll kill for it.
It’s a minor accident that brings prosecutor Kerry McGrath to the plastic surgeon’s office with her beloved daughter, Robin. But even as the doctor assures Kerry that her daughter’s scars will heal, she spies a familiar-looking beautiful woman in the waiting room and is seized by an overpowering sense of déjà vu. When, on a return visit, she sees the same haunting face—on another woman—she has an intense flash of recognition: it’s the face of Suzanne Reardon, the “Sweetheart Murder” victim, killed more than ten years ago! But for what possible reason would Dr. Smith be giving his patients the face of a dead woman?
As Kerry immerses herself in a fresh investigation, each new piece of evidence she unearths reveals a disturbing cache of questions. Not only does everyone involved want to keep the case closed, but it’s also clear somebody will stop at nothing to keep it sealed forever.
Interweaving fascinating characters with deeply daring, staggeringly unpredictable plot twists, Mary Higgins Clark reminds us that she is, indeed, America’s Queen of Suspense.
Deemed one of the New York Times’s 10 Best Books of 2023, MASTER SLAVE HUSBAND WIFE follows the remarkable true story of Ellen and William Craft as they escaped slavery. In 1848, the young enslaved couple posed as master and slave and crossed over 1,000 miles to the free states in the North. Along the way, the couple encountered military officers, slave traders, and friends from whom they must hide their identity. Once the couple reached freedom, they were celebrated by some of the greatest abolitionists; but still, they were not safe. When the new Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850, holding all Americans accountable for returning refugees to slavery, slave hunters from Georgia forced the Crafts to make another escape. MASTER SLAVE HUSBAND WIFE is an epic journey and the story of an American love that withstood the horrors of our nation.
The remarkable true story of Ellen and William Craft, who escaped slavery through daring, determination, and disguise, with Ellen passing as a wealthy, disabled White man and William posing as “his” slave.
In 1848, a year of international democratic revolt, a young, enslaved couple, Ellen and William Craft, achieved one of the boldest feats of self-emancipation in American history. Posing as master and slave, while sustained by their love as husband and wife, they made their escape together across more than 1,000 miles, riding out in the open on steamboats, carriages, and trains that took them from bondage in Georgia to the free states of the North.
Along the way, they dodged slave traders, military officers, and even friends of their enslavers, who might have revealed their true identities. The tale of their adventure soon made them celebrities, and generated headlines around the country. Americans could not get enough of this charismatic young couple, who traveled another 1,000 miles criss-crossing New England, drawing thunderous applause as they spoke alongside some of the greatest abolitionist luminaries of the day—among them Frederick Douglass and William Wells Brown.
But even then, they were not out of danger. With the passage of an infamous new Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, all Americans became accountable for returning refugees like the Crafts to slavery. Then yet another adventure began, as slave hunters came up from Georgia, forcing the Crafts to flee once again—this time from the United States, their lives and thousands more on the line and the stakes never higher.
With three epic journeys compressed into one monumental bid for freedom, Master Slave Husband Wife is an American love story—one that would challenge the nation’s core precepts of life, liberty, and justice for all—one that challenges us even now.
Colm Tóibín, the celebrated and brilliant author of eleven books including BROOKLYN, NORA ROBERTS, and THE MAGICIAN, now brings readers a collection of eleven essays centered around growing up in Ireland. This book is packed with themes of illness, religion, homosexuality, and literature. A GUEST AT THE FEAST offers an intimate glimpse into Tóibín’s background, while shining a new light on his struggles and creative life.
From one of the most engaging and brilliant writers of our time comes a collection of essays about growing up in Ireland during radical change; about cancer, priests, popes, homosexuality, and literature.
“IT ALL STARTED WITH MY BALLS.” So begins Colm Tóibín’s fabulously compelling essay, laced with humor, about his diagnosis and treatment for cancer. Tóibín survives, but he has entered, as he says, “the age of one ball.” The second essay in this seductive collection is a memoir about growing up in the 1950s and ’60s in the small town of Enniscorthy in County Wexford, the setting for many of Tóibín’s novels and stories, including Brooklyn, The Blackwater Lightship and Nora Webster. Tóibín describes his education by priests, several of whom were condemned years later for abuse. He writes about Irish history and literature, and about the long, tragic journey toward legal and social acceptance of homosexuality.
In Part Two, Tóibín profiles three complex and vexing popes—John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. And in Part Three, he writes about a trio of authors who reckon with religion in their fiction. The final essay, “Alone in Venice,” is a gorgeous account of Toibin’s journey, at the height of the pandemic, to the beloved city where he has set some of his most dazzling scenes. The streets, canals, churches and museums were empty. He had them to himself, an experience both haunting and exhilarating.
A Guest at the Feast is both an intimate encounter with a supremely creative artist and a glorious celebration of writing.
Table of Contents
Cancer: My Part in Its Downfall
A Guest at the Feast
A Brush with the Law
The Paradoxical Pope
Among the Flutterers
The Bergoglio Smile: Pope Francis
The Ferns Report
Putting Religion in Its Place: Marilynne Robinson
Issues of Truth and Invention: Francis Stuart
Snail Slow: John McGahern
Alone in Venice
THE NEW LIFE, a multiple award-winning debut, is about marriage and love affairs in nineteenth-century London. John Addington and Henry Ellis cowrite a book that argues that homosexuality is not a crime, as society deems, but a natural variation of human sexuality. The two writers, who have never met, both live in London with their wives, but both relationships also involve gay love affairs. While one couple struggles to make peace with homosexuality, the other declares their marriage as a revolution of its own. Things take a dramatic turn when, just before the men’s book is published, Oscar Wilde is arrested. John and Henry are faced with the choice of publishing their work and risking the lives of those they love or forsaking their life’s passion.
A brilliant and captivating debut, in the tradition of Alan Hollinghurst and Colm Tóibín, about two marriages, two forbidden love affairs, and the passionate search for social and sexual freedom in late 19th-century London.
In this powerful, visceral novel about love, sex, and the struggle for a better world, two men collaborate on a book in defense of homosexuality, then a crime—risking their old lives in the process.
In the summer of 1894, John Addington and Henry Ellis begin writing a book arguing that what they call “inversion,” or homosexuality, is a natural, harmless variation of human sexuality. Though they have never met, John and Henry both live in London with their wives, Catherine and Edith, and in each marriage there is a third party: John has a lover, a working class man named Frank, and Edith spends almost as much time with her friend Angelica as she does with Henry. John and Catherine have three grown daughters and a long, settled marriage, over the course of which Catherine has tried to accept her husband’s sexuality and her own role in life; Henry and Edith’s marriage is intended to be a revolution in itself, an intellectual partnership that dismantles the traditional understanding of what matrimony means.
Shortly before the book is to be published, Oscar Wilde is arrested. John and Henry must decide whether to go on, risking social ostracism and imprisonment, or to give up the project for their own safety and the safety of the people they love. Is this the right moment to advance their cause? Is publishing bravery or foolishness? And what price is too high to pay for a new way of living?
A richly detailed, insightful, and dramatic debut novel, The New Life is an unforgettable portrait of two men, a city, and a generation discovering the nature and limits of personal freedom as the 20th century comes into view.
STASH by Laura Cathcart Robbins was named Best Memoir of 2023 by Elle, and for good reason. This addiction memoir comes from the podcast host of The Only One in the Room. After years of hiding her addiction from everyone, Laura is running out ways to disguise her habit. Even her high-profile marriage and Hollywood lifestyle do not deem her invincible from the pain. Both courageous and candid, Laura provides and emotional and raw story of addiction, race, family struggles, and resilience.
“An emotionally absorbing and swiftly paced multisensory experience.” —The New York Times Book Review
Named a Best Memoir of 2023 by Elle
In the vein of Somebody’s Daughter, this wild, vivid addiction memoir from the host of the podcast The Only One in the Room “will inspire, awe, entertain, educate, and help so many readers” (Christie Tate, New York Times bestselling author) with a journey to sobriety and self-love amidst privilege and racism.
After years of hiding her addiction from everyone—stockpiling pills in her Louboutins and elaborately scheduling her withdrawals between PTA meetings, baby showers, and tennis matches—Laura Cathcart Robbins is running out of places to hide.
She has learned the hard way that even her high-profile marriage and Hollywood lifestyle can’t protect her from the pain she’s keeping bottled up inside. Facing divorce, the possibility of a grueling custody battle, and the insistent voice of internalized racism that nags at her as a Black woman in a startlingly white world, Laura wonders just how much more she can take.
Now, with courageous and candid openness, she reveals how she started the long journey towards sobriety, unexpectedly found new love, and dismantled the wall she had built around herself, brick by brick. With its raw, finely crafted, and engaging prose, Stash is “emotionally riveting…usher[ing] in a new way for us to talk and read about the paradoxes of addiction, race, family, class, and gender.” (Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy).
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