New Releases Tuesday: The Best Books Out This Week
It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for new books! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week. Make sure to stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books. The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood
A dazzling collection of short stories from the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, stories that look deeply into the heart of family relationships, marriage, loss and memory, and what it means to spend a life together
Margaret Atwood has established herself as one of the most visionary and canonical authors in the world. This collection of 15 extraordinary stories — some of which have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine — explore the full warp and weft of experience, speaking to our unique times with Atwood’s characteristic insight, wit and intellect.
The two intrepid sisters of the title story grapple with loss and memory on a perfect summer evening; “Impatient Griselda” explores alienation and miscommunication with a fresh twist on a folkloric classic; and “My Evil Mother” touches on the fantastical, examining a mother-daughter relationship in which the mother purports to be a witch. At the heart of the collection are seven extraordinary stories that follow a married couple across the decades, the moments big and small that make up a long life of uncommon love — and what comes after.
Returning to short fiction for the first time since her 2014 collection Stone Mattress, Atwood showcases both her creativity and her humanity in these remarkable tales which by turns delight, illuminate, and quietly devastate.
Reasons to read it: Fans will, of course, appreciate this collection of stories, with genres that range from historical to science fiction. But those curious about Atwood’s writing would also do well to pick up these stories to get a sense of the author, and how she navigates themes like loss, marriage, and aging.
Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova
Grieving mother Magos cuts out a piece of her deceased 11-year-old son Santiago’s lung. Acting on fierce maternal instinct and the dubious logic of an old folktale, she nurtures the lung until it gains sentience, growing into the carnivorous little Monstrilio she keeps hidden within the walls of her family’s decaying Mexico City estate. Eventually, Monstrilio begins to resemble the Santiago he once was, but his innate impulses — though curbed by his biological and chosen family’s communal care — threaten to destroy this fragile second chance at life.
A thought-provoking meditation on grief, acceptance, and the monstrous sides of love and loyalty, Gerardo Sámano Córdova blends bold imagination and evocative prose with deep emotional rigor. Told in four acts that span the globe from Brooklyn to Berlin, Monstrilio offers, with uncanny clarity, a cathartic and precise portrait of being human.
Reasons to read it: “A piece of lung gaining sentience” is enough for me to TBR anything, but if you need more convincing, Córdova’s literary horror wrestles with queerness, identity, and grief, all within a fantastical Mexican setting. Eric LaRocca, author of Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, has called it “wholly unique” and “uncompromising.”
My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix by Kalynn Bayron
A teen boy tries to discover the reason behind his best friend’s disappearance ― and the arrival of a mysterious and magnetic stranger ― in misty Victorian London, in Kalynn Bayron’s My Dear Henry, a gothic YA remix of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, sixth in the Remixed Classics series.
London, 1885. Gabriel Utterson, a 17-year-old law clerk, has returned to London for the first time since his life ― and that of his dearest friend, Henry Jekyll ― was derailed by a scandal that led to his and Henry’s expulsion from the London Medical School. Whispers about the true nature of Gabriel and Henry’s relationship have followed the boys for two years, and now Gabriel has a chance to start again.
But Gabriel doesn’t want to move on, not without Henry. His friend has become distant and cold since the disastrous events of the prior spring, and now his letters have stopped altogether. Desperate to discover what’s become of him, Gabriel takes to watching the Jekyll house.
In doing so, Gabriel meets Hyde, a a strangely familiar young man with white hair and a magnetic charisma. He claims to be friends with Henry, and Gabriel can’t help but begin to grow jealous at their apparent closeness, especially as Henry continues to act like Gabriel means nothing to him.
But the secret behind Henry’s apathy is only the first part of a deeper mystery that has begun to coalesce. Monsters of all kinds prowl within the London fog―and not all of them are out for blood…
Reasons to read it: Bayron’s queer retellings don’t even feel like retellings. Details from the original stories provide a familiar foothold of sorts, but Bayron takes you on a whole ride here, with her examination of Victorian monsters — both human and maybe not — that feels so true to the time. You want to read this one ASAP, trust.
Rootless by Krystle Zara Appiah
A provocative debut novel about a marriage in crisis that asks the question: Can you ever be rooted in a home that’s on the brink of collapse?
On a Spring afternoon in London, Sam hops the stairs of his flat two at a time. There’s £1,300 missing from his and his wife, Efe’s, shared bank account and his calls are going straight to voicemail. When he finally reaches someone, he learns Efe is nearly 5,000 miles away as their toddler looks around and asks, “Where’s Mummy?”
When Efe and Sam met as teens headed for university, it seemed everyone knew they were meant to be. Efe, newly arrived in the U.K. from Ghana and sinking under the weight of her parents’ expectations, found comfort in the focused and idealistic Sam. He was stable, working toward a law career, and had an unwavering vision for their future. A vision Efe, now a decade later, finds slightly insufferable. From the outside, they’re the picture-perfect couple everyone imagined, but there are cracks in the frame.
When Efe and Sam are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, they find themselves on opposing sides. Fatherhood is everything he has dreamed of, but Efe feels stuck in a nightmare. And when a new revelation emerges, they are forced to confront just how radically different they want their lives to be. Already swallowed by the demands of motherhood and feeling the dreams she had slipping away once again, Efe disappears.
Rootless is a heartrending love story about motherhood and sacrifice, providing an intimate look at what happens after a marriage collapses, leading two people to rediscover what they ultimately want — and if it’s still each other. As Efe says, “Love and regret aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Reasons to read it: Appiah handles main character Efe’s rootlessness in a nuanced and layered way. Through Efe’s struggles to find out just who she is and what she wants, readers will be taken on a journey through motherhood, postpartum depression, and Ghanian culture. It gets heavy, but the heaviness can be cathartic.
The London Séance Society by Sarah Penner
From the author of the sensational bestseller The Lost Apothecary comes a spellbinding tale about two daring women who hunt for truth and justice in the perilous art of conjuring the dead.
1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.
Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…
Reasons to read it: Step into Victorian London, with its fixation on spiritualism and the occult. Penner fits the narrative with an eerie setting and alternating perspectives, which add to the mystery. Laurie Lico Albanese, award-winning author of Hester, says the new book is “an explosive, immersive, time-bomb of a novel. Vengeance is never sweeter than in Sarah Penner’s hands.”
The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet’s Journeys Through American Slavery and Independence by David Waldstreicher
A paradigm-shattering biography of Phillis Wheatley, whose extraordinary poetry set African American literature at the heart of the American Revolution.
Admired by George Washington, ridiculed by Thomas Jefferson, published in London, and read far and wide, Phillis Wheatley led one of the most extraordinary American lives. Seized in West Africa and forced into slavery as a child, she was sold to a merchant family in Boston, where she became a noted poet at a young age. Mastering the Bible, Greek and Latin translations, and the works of Pope and Milton, she composed elegies for local elites, celebrated political events, praised warriors, and used her verse to variously lampoon, question, and assert the injustice of her enslaved condition. “Can I then but pray / Others may never feel tyrannic sway?” By doing so, she added her voice to a vibrant, multisided conversation about race, slavery, and discontent with British rule; before and after her emancipation, her verses shook up racial etiquette and used familiar forms to create bold new meanings. She demonstrated a complex but crucial fact of the times: that the American Revolution both strengthened and limited Black slavery.
In this new biography, the historian David Waldstreicher offers the fullest account to date of Wheatley’s life and works, correcting myths, reconstructing intimate friendships, and deepening our understanding of her verse and the revolutionary era. Throughout The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley, he demonstrates the continued vitality and resonance of a woman who wrote, in a founding gesture of American literature, “Thy Power, O Liberty, makes strong the weak / And (wond’rous instinct) Ethiopians speak.”
Reasons to read it: Naming this “The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley” is a great way to give readers a hint as to how epic a journey, and life, Wheatley lived. Waldstreicher does a great job of giving context to Wheatley’s writings, and dispelling some misconceptions along the way.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
- All the Books, our weekly new book releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot’s New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!