10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in January 2018

What better way to say Happy New Year than with a list of great novels being released this January? Here's our monthly list of great fiction titles arriving soon.

Cover of Halsey StreetCover of The Wedding DateCover of WinterCover of A State of FreedomCover of Everything Here is BeautifulCover of Mouths Don't SpeakCover of Frankenstein in BaghdadCover of The Music ShopCover of The Red ClocksCover of The Perfect Nanny

Halsey Street 
by Naima Coster
Penelope Grand is a failed artist in her twenties who spent the last five years living in Philly. When she returns home to Brooklyn to take care of her ailing father, she can hardly recognize the neighborhood. Her family is unrecognizable too, her mother having abandoned her father to return to her native Dominican Republic.  While she’s trying to find her footing in her new/old neighborhood and her evolving role in her family, she receives a surprise invitation to visit her mother. “Gorgeous and painfully unsentimental, the book resists easy moralizing: everyone is wonderful and terrible, equal parts disappointed and disappointing. The plot is simple, relatively speaking, but Coster is a masterful observer of family dynamics: her characters, to a one, are wonderfully complex and consistently surprising. Absorbing and alive, the kind of novel that swallows you whole.” (Kirkus Reviews)

The Wedding Date
by Jasmine Guillory
Alexa, the Chief of Staff for the mayor of Berkeley, meets Los Angeles-based pediatric surgeon Drew when they get stuck in an elevator together. Drew asks Alexa to be his date to a wedding and their chance meeting leads to a fling which leads to something increasingly serious. Will their long-distance, interracial romance work out? Guillory is an Oakland author whose debut novel is being called “effervescent, witty, and sexy” (Nylon) and “a mix of romance and raunch that will charm rom-com fans.” (Kirkus)

by Ali Smith
Autumn, the first entry in the acclaimed author’s current quintet of novels was her third book to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Now follows Winter, in which heartbroken Art is reeling from a recent breakup. He invites a stranger to impersonate his ex and join him, his mother and his activist aunt for a Christmas dinner in the English countryside, where conversation touches on Brexit, fake news, environmentalism, and family secrets. “Combines captivating storytelling with a timely focus on social issues. Enthusiastically recommended.” (Library Journal)

A State of Freedom
by Neel Mukherjee
Following his Man Booker-short-listed debut The Lives of Others, Mukherjee depicts five very different but loosely connected lives in modern day India, using a mix of narrative styles. “Particle physicists, Maoist terrorists, punitive employers, servants, and émigrés all have roles… His characters' life journeys are often painful while his descriptions of their circumstances are unsentimental, vivid, unsparing. Above all there is compassion here, alongside a focus that depicts gross inequities with a grim tenderness. A calm, compelling, unshrinking portrait of humanity in transition; both disturbing and dazzling.” (Kirkus)

Everything Here is Beautiful 
by Mira T. Lee
Miranda often looks after her sister Lucia, who started hearing voices when their mother died. Determined and impulsive, Lucia pursues the life she longs for in the face of her mental illness. Just when Lucia needs Miranda the most, the sisters find themselves on the opposite sides of the globe. “Lee handles a sensitive subject with empathy and courage. Readers will find much to admire and ponder throughout… a writer of considerable talent and power.” (Publishers Weekly)

Mouths Don't Speak 
by Katia D. Ulysse
Jacqueline left her native Haiti over two decades ago and built a family in the United States with a former US marine husband and their young daughter. She is devastated by the news of the 2010 earthquake and cannot confirm whether her parents are alive or dead. “As Ulysse (Drifting) explores grief, she moves beyond her protagonist to consider the murky motivations and emotions of other characters. This is a harrowing, thoughtful dive into the aftermath of national and personal tragedies filtered through diasporic life.” (Publishers Weekly)

Frankenstein in Baghdad
by Ahmed Saadawi
It’s 2005 Baghdad, and Hadi the junk dealer has been collecting the body parts of suicide bombing fatalities and other victims of violence. He sews the parts together, intending to give them a proper burial when his creation becomes animated by the soul of a dead soldier and goes on a grisly and vengeful killing spree. “In graceful, economical prose, Saadawi places us in a city of ghosts, where missing people return all the time, justice is fleeting, and even good intentions rot… A haunting and startling mix of horror, mystery, and tragedy.” (Booklist) Winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

The Music Shop
by Rachel Joyce
In late eighties London, Frank is more than a vinyl enthusiast record shop owner, he’s practically a music therapist, with a unique and profound talent for intuiting the exact music for each customer to ease their troubles. He falls for Ilsa even though she’s unavailable—and she doesn’t listen to music. “Joyce, a British actress and playwright, whose first novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, was longlisted for the Man Booker, continues to enchant and break hearts with her lovable misfits trying to survive in a modern world determined to pass them by. Irresistible.” (Library Journal)

Red Clocks
by Leni Zumas
In near-future coastal Oregon, four women struggle against misogyny when a new law outlaws abortion and makes single parenthood and in vitro fertilization illegal. “Inevitably, there will be comparisons to Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, but Zumas's work is not nearly as dystopic or futuristic, only serving to make it that much more believable. Highly recommended.” (Library Journal)

The Perfect Nanny
by Leila Slimani
Author and journalist Slimani became the first Moroccan woman to win France’s most prestigious literary award, the Prix Goncourt, for this bestselling psychological thriller that looks at class, race and motherhood. In a posh Parisian neighborhood, a professional couple hires nanny Louise to look after their children. She seems perfect but the façade gradually crumbles, leading to fatal consequences. “As Louise’s dark past, emotional stuntedness, and heinous volatility emerge through cracks in her meticulous, porcelain exterior, readers won’t be able to look away.” (Booklist)

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