10 New Must-Reads for January


It’s a brand new year, so why not start it off right with some brand new reads? If you’re anything like us, your resolution list is largely book-related, so now that your hangover’s gone, it’s time to get cracking. We’ve already taken an early look at our most anticipated reads for the year as a whole, but after the jump, we delve a little deeper into January’s fine offerings. Keep warm and keep your resolve this month with short story collections, debut novels, and series-ending fantasy galore — check out the books we’re most looking forward to reading over the next few weeks after the jump, and let us know which ones look best to you in the comments.

The Death of Bees, Lisa O’Donnell (January 2)

“Today is Christmas Eve,” this book begins. “Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.” A grim coming-of-age story for two sisters both freed and trapped by the loss of their parents, this one might just keep you up at night.

Kind of Kin, Rilla Askew (January 8)

When a new Oklahoma law dictates that harboring an illegal immigrant is a felony, families scramble to comply — or hide. We admit, we raised our eyebrows a little at the concept of an immigration novel, but then again, isn’t it about time?

Tenth of December: Stories, George Saunders (January 8)

Every short story addict has been counting down the days until this one — a new collection from one of our modern masters (though you may recognize six or so from the pages of The New Yorker). There’s as much absurdist glee here as ever, but Saunders is also exposing just a bit more of his heart to the fresh air — to great effect.

A Memory of Light, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (January 8)

The final installment in Robert Jordan’s epic The Wheel of Time series is sure to delight/satisfy/provoke countless arguments among fantasy fans this month. When Jordan died in 2007, some feared that the series — which saw its first book some 23 years ago — would go unfinished. But based on Jordan’s notes, Brandon Sanderson has picked up the mantle, and will see us through to the end.

The Miniature Wife, Manuel Gonzales (January 10)

The newest installment in one of our favorite genres — surreality/fantasy/sci-fi meets literary fiction (what, that’s not a genre?) — and from a debut author no less. Swamp monsters, werewolves and unicorns walk among us in these darkly funny, skewed-gothic tales.

The Boy, Lara Santoro (January 15)

Scandal! In this sequel to 2007’s Mercy, 42-year-old Anna is feeling a little undone by her recent divorce — until she starts an affair with the 20-year-old son of a neighbor. We know what you’re thinking — but this is significantly better written than Cougar Town.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright (January 17)

Remember that New Yorker Scientology exposé that we were all talking about around this time in 2011? Well, its author (who also happens to be the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower) has expanded into the book that we’re all going to be talking about around this time in 2013.

The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories, Simon Rich (January 22)

Love stories from the kid who was once the youngest writer ever to be hired on Saturday Night Live? Sounds hilarious (and probably a little bit ridiculous) to us.

Truth in Advertising, John Kenney (January 22)

This novel is, in case you couldn’t guess, spot-on ad-world satire from New Yorker humorist Kenney. It’s also a sweet family novel, and one of those hapless-dude-gets-it-together-maybe books. Perhaps its no surprise then that its being compared to Nick Hornby up and down the line.

American Isis, Carl Rollyson (January 29)

We probably unhealthily obsessed with Sylvia Plath, but that’s just too bad. As we near the fiftieth anniversary of her death, we’ll be snapping up every new biography that comes along.