Zadie Smith's Essay Collection 'Feel Free' & 11 Other New Books To Read This Week
If there's ever a time to fall in love, it's February, when snowstorms have love their charm and the wind chilld has overstayed its welcome. For the next few weeks, the most perfect way to spend an evening is indoors with someone — or something! — you love. Luckily, there are more than enough new books this February to keep you entertained throughout the month.
The first full week of February brings with some bracing nonfiction, including Feel Free, an essential new essay collection from one of the literary masters of our time, Zadie Smith; The Line Becomes a River, a haunting portrayal of the blistering realities of immigration written by a former Border Patrol agent; Brotopia, the Silicon Valley takedown the women of tech have been waiting for decades to read; Text Me When You Get Home, a sociological and historical analysis of female friendships; and A False Report, a brutal examination of the treatment of rape in America's judicial system.
If you prefer fiction, this week brings The Belles, a young adult fantasy set against the backdrop of a fictional world without color; Down and Across, a quirky YA that beautifully addresses the confusion and pressure that accompanies the first-generation experience in America; The House of Impossible Beauties, an enchanting-yet-wrenching ode to the drag culture of 1980s New York City; and How To Stop Time, a love story that spans centuries and will kickstart your inner romantic just in time for the holiday.
Here are 12 new books to read this week:
'The Line Becomes A River' by Francisco Cantú
In his debut, former Border Patrol agent Francisco Cantú draws on his life experiences on both sides of the border to breathe empathy into a highly politicized, often dehumanizing debate.
'Feel Free' by Zadie Smith
With striking nuance and unassuming grace, Zadie Smith tackles a variety of subjects — personal, political, and otherwise — including Jay-Z, public libraries, Facebook, and more.
'Down & Across' by Arvin Ahmadi
Arvin Ahmadi's debut novel pulses with a restless energy that mirrors that of its protagonist, Scott "Saaket" Ferdowsi, the aimless teenage son of two immigrants who would really — like, really — love to see their son actually finish something for once. Inspired by an Angela Duckworth-like professor who's become famous for her research on the science of "grit," Scott ditches his summer internship, books a bus to Washington D.C., and tries to figure out who he is and what he wants out of life.
'Text Me When You Get Home' by Kayleen Schaefer
You, like many other women, have perhaps already come to the realization that perhaps the reliable relationships of your life will be those you share with other women. In Text Me When You Get Home, journalist Kayleen Schaefer examines the sociological dynamics that have made these powerful female friendships so necessary and, consequently, so fulfilling.
'Brotopia' by Emily Chang
Emily Chang's highly anticipated takedown of Silicon Valley's bro culture arrives this week, and it claims to have a solution for the notoriously sexist workplaces of a supposed tech utopia.
'The Great Alone' by Kristin Hannah
From the author of The Nightingale comes a searing portrayal of one family on the brink of implosion. Leni, 13 years old, is moving to a remote region of Alaska with her family on the whim of her father, an erratic and volatile former POW. But shortly after arriving on the wild frontier of Alaska, Leni and her mother realize that his deteriorating mental health means that they are on their own in their new home.
'American Panda' by Gloria Chao
Taiwanese-American MIT student Mei is on-track to complete the first part of her parents' three-step plan for her life: become a doctor, get married to a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, and have babies. But Mei doesn't want to be a doctor. And she definitely has a crush on a boy who is not Taiwanese. She needs help — so she turns to her estranged brother, Xing, who was outcast from the family for dating the "wrong" woman.
'Force of Nature' by Jane Harper
In Jane Harper's highly anticipated follow-up to The Dry, five women embark on a "workplace bonding" hike. But only four women return... and each person has a different story about what happened. Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk, who fans will remember from Harper's debut, is determined to learn the truth of the missing hiker.
'How To Stop Time' by Matt Haig
Tom Hazards looks 41 years old, but he's actually been alive for hundreds of years. No, he's not immortal, but he does have a rare condition that causes him to age much more slowly than everyone else. Living for centuries isn't easy, but he has one rule to keep him on track: don't fall in love.
'A False Report' by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, A False Report could not have come at a better time. This examination of the way sexual assault and rape is treated in the judicial system is essential — but painful — reading.
'The House of Impossible Beauties' by Joseph Cassara
Joseph Cassara's wondrous, wrenching debut is set in the underground drag scene of 1980s New York City. Angel, 17 years old, is new to the drag scene, but she years for a place that feels like family. Along with her lover, Hector, she founds the House of Xtravaganza, the first ever all-Latino-house in the Harlem ball circuit.
'The Belles' by Dhonielle Clayton
Dhonielle Clayton's young adult fantasy is as vivid, lush, and vibrant as the titular Belles: a subset of the population of the fictional land of Orléans who are revered for their ability to control Beauty and transform the gray-scape around them into color. But there's one Belle, Camellia, who isn't content to simply transform the gray people of her world. She wants to be the top Belle — the woman chosen to live in the royal palace. But when she and her fellow Belles arrive at the palace, she learns a dark truth about her world and her own powers.