Literairyland: Jan. 16-22, 2024

This week's buzzed-about 🐝 new books, writer birthdays, and more.

Welcome to Literairyland, your list of this week's hottest 🔥 new books. Subscribe today and get Literairyland in your inbox every Tuesday!

Hi Reader,

Last week, I asked if you wanted to keep receiving an extensive list of nearly every new book hitting shelves or if you wanted a shorter list of new books. Seventy-eight percent of Literairyland readers who responded to the poll said a shorter list.

Well, exciting news! This week, I'm introducing a fresh, new format.

Instead of an overwhelming list of 100+ books, I'm including 22 of this week's most buzzed-about new books. 🐝 These titles have been appearing on reading lists or getting rave reviews on social media.

Books are listed by genre and include:

  • A short description (called a logline).

  • The book's publisher.

  • Links to some of the book's reviews.

  • Links to buy the book on Bookshop or Amazon.

Check out the new format, and let me know what you think in the poll below.

Your thoughts are essential as I try to make it easier for you to find your next great read. This newsletter is for you, so please give me a piece of your mind. 😊

Thank you,


What do you think of the new format?

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Table of Contents

Last Week’s Most Clicked Book 💥

The Music Was Just Getting Good by Alicia Cook (Amazon | Bookshop)

This Week’s Hottest 🔥 New Books

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Fiction - Mystery

Maude Horton's Glorious Revenge by Lizzie Pook

Logline: A young woman searches for the truth about her sister, who boarded a ship headed to the frozen Arctic and never returned.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Fiction - Thriller

Only If You're Lucky by Stacy Willingham

Logline: A sharp and twisty exploration of female friendship from the New York Times bestselling author of A Flicker in the Dark and All the Dangerous Things.

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Ilium by Lea Carpenter

Logline: Set in the dark world of international espionage, from London to Mallorca, Croatia, Paris, and Cap Ferret: the gripping and suspenseful story of a young woman who unwittingly becomes a perfect asset in the long overdue finale of a covert special op.

Publisher: Knopf

The Night of the Storm by Nishita Parekh

Logline: From debut author Nishita Parekh, a fresh take on the classic locked-room thriller, about a multigenerational Indian American family marooned in a house with a murderer during Hurricane Harvey.

Publisher: Dutton

Fiction - Science Fiction

Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino

Logline: From the acclaimed author of Parakeet, Marie-Helene Bertino, Beautyland is a wise, tender novel about a woman who doesn't feel at home on Earth.

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Fiction - Historical Fiction

The Curse of Pietro Houdini by Derek B. Miller

Logline: From the Dagger Award–winning author of Norwegian by Night comes a vivid, thrilling, and moving World War II art-heist-adventure tale where enemies become heroes, allies become villains, and a child learns what it means to become an adult—for fans of All the Light We Cannot See.

Publisher: Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster

The London Bookshop Affair by Louise Fein

Logline: A new historical drama from Daughter of the Reich bestselling author Louise Fein, about a London bookshop involved in an espionage network, set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Publisher: William Morrow & Company

Fiction - Romance

Say You’ll Be Mine by Naina Kumar

Logline: A teacher with big dreams joins forces with a no-nonsense engineer to survive an ex's wedding and escape matchmaking pressure from their Indian families. Their plan? Faking an engagement, of course.

Publisher: Random House

The Lily of Ludgate Hill by Mimi Matthews

Logline: Fortune favors the bold—but is a confirmed spinster daring enough to loosen the reins and accept a favor from the wicked gentleman who haunts her dreams?

Publisher: Penguin

Fiction - Literary

True North by Andrew J. Graff

Logline: From the author of Raft of Stars comes a heartfelt novel of marriage and whitewater rafting, following one couple as they navigate the changing currents of family, community, and the river itself.

Publisher: Ecco Press

City of Laughter by Temim Fruchter

Logline: A rich and riveting debut spanning four generations of Eastern European Jewish women bound by blood, half-hidden secrets, and the fantastical visitation of a shapeshifting stranger over the course of 100 years.

Publisher: Grove Press

Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Logline: An exciting debut novel that gives voice to the diverse residents of a Palestinian American community in Baltimore--from young activists in conflict with their traditional parents to the poor who clean for the rich--lives which intersect across divides of class, generation, and religion.

Publisher: HarperVia

Fiction - Young Adult

Eli Harpo’s Adventure to the Afterlife by Eric Schlich

Logline: Award-winning author Eric Schlich's Eli Harpo's Adventure to the Afterlife is an accessible and big-hearted novel that explores belief and forgiveness as a boy grapples with his faith and sexuality on a rollicking family road trip to Bible World.

Publisher: Overlook Press

Nonfiction - Memoir

The Last Fire Season: A Personal and Pyronatural History by Manjula Martin

Logline: H Is for Hawk meets Joan Didion in the Pyrocene in this arresting combination of memoir, natural history, and literary inquiry that chronicles one woman's experience of life in Northern California during the worst fire season on record.

Publisher: Pantheon Books

More: A Memoir of Open Marriage by Molly Roden Winter

Logline: An unputdownable memoir of love, desire, and personal growth that follows a happily married mother's exploration of sex and relationships--outside of her marriage.

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Portrait of a Body by Julie Delporte, translated by Helge Dascher and Karen Houle

Logline: A portrait of flourishing desire in a body ever-changing.

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Nonfiction - Women’s Studies

American Girls: One Woman's Journey Into the Islamic State and Her Sister's Fight to Bring Her Home by Jessica Roy

Logline: A brilliant, deeply reported narrative about religious extremism, radicalization, and the bonds of family: the story of an American woman who traveled to ISIS-controlled Syria with her two children and extremist husband and the sister back home who worked tirelessly to help her escape.

Publisher: Scribner Book Company

Nonfiction - Technology

Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture by Kyle Chayka

Logline: From New Yorker staff writer and author of The Longing for Less Kyle Chayka comes a timely history and investigation of a world ruled by algorithms, which determine the shape of culture itself.

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Nonfiction - Education

Black Women, Ivory Tower: Revealing the Lies of White Supremacy in American Education by Jasmine L. Harris

Logline: A first-of-its-kind compelling exploration of what it means to be a Black woman in higher education.

Publisher: Broadleaf Books

Booklist (subscribers only)

Nonfiction - Sociology

Our Hidden Conversations: What Americans Really Think About Race and Identity by Michele Norris

Logline: Peabody Award-winning journalist Michele Norris offers a transformative dialogue on race and identity in America, unearthed through her decade-long work at The Race Card Project.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster


Nonfiction - Fashion

Fluid: A Fashion Revolution by Harris Reed and Josh Young

Logline: Influential designer Harris Reed explores the world of gender-defying fashion in this richly illustrated monograph.

Publisher: Abrams Books

Nonfiction - History

Tripping on Utopia: Margaret Mead, the Cold War, and the Troubled Birth of Psychedelic Science by Benjamin Breen

Logline: A bold and brilliant revisionist take on the history of psychedelics in the twentieth century, illuminating how a culture of experimental drugs shaped the Cold War and the birth of Silicon Valley.

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Bookish Trivia 🤔

Friday is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday. In what southern U.S. state was Poe stationed while serving in the U.S. Army?

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This Week’s Literary Birthdays & Events

January 16

  • Don Quixote first published (1605)

  • Anthony Hecht

  • Craig Johnson

  • Mary Karr

  • Susan Sontag

January 17

  • Anne Brontë

  • Sebastian Junger

  • Tiya Miles

  • Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali

  • William Stafford

January 18

  • Jorge Guillén

  • A.A. Milne

  • Jon Stallworthy

  • Binyavanga Wainaina

  • Sol Yurick

January 19

  • Julian Barnes

  • Nina Bawden

  • Patricia Highsmith

  • Edgar Allan Poe

  • Casey Sherman

January 20

  • Robert Frost recites "Gift Outright" at JFK's inauguration (1961)

  • Maya Angelou becomes first Black woman to recite a poem at Presidential inauguration (1993)

  • Edward Hirsch

  • Tami Hoag

  • Susan Vreeland

January 21

  • Olav Aukrust

  • Gretel Ehrlich

  • Judith Merril

  • Paul Quarrington

  • Yordan Radichkov

  • Eliza R. Snow

  • Ludwig Thoma

January 22

  • Lord Byron

  • John Donne

  • Arkady Gaidar

  • Margaret Hillert

  • Robert E. Howard

  • Helen Hoyt

  • Howard Moss

  • Vladimír Oravsky

  • Joseph Wambaugh

  • Francis Wheen

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See you next week!