Another month, another crop of books to get excited about! Ranging from a taboo short story collection about sex work and neurodivergence, an alphabetically organized diary, and a reimagined version of American history, you’ll have more than enough to look forward to this month.
Alphabetical Diaries, Sheila Heti (Feb 6)
The acclaimed auto-fictional writer returns with a personal, abstract, decade-long project where she organizes each sentence in her diary by alphabetical order. The result is liminal but emotional — the form has it so surface-level reflections on food are next to deep ruminations on life itself. Funny, sincere, and always in-tune, Sheila Heti is a writer who is always worth paying attention to.
Ways and Means, Daniel Lefferts (Feb 6)
In a situation we’re all familiar with, Alistair McCabe is disillusioned with life. He came to New York City with a high-end finance job, hoping to give his mother a better life, but in 2016, everything comes undone when he starts working for a darkly ambitious billionaire, whose secrets threaten to rupture his plan. At the same time, he’s entangled in a love triangle with an older couple who have their own problems to deal with — unsavory family inheritance and a desperate painter who both figure out their own ways to success. Funny and observant, Ways and Means is a depiction of workers on the brink that anyone can see themselves in.
People Who Lunch: On Work, Leisure, and Loose Living, Sally Olds (Feb 6)
For fans of the sharp criticism and sly wit of Jia Tolentino and Jenny Odell, Sally Olds is a new, exciting voice that accounts for the millions of young adults attempting to do anything in the face of late-stage capitalism. The Australian writer tackles topics that stem from the rejection of the premise of hyper-productivity that capitalism insists on; Olds writes about polyamory, clubbing, cryptocurrency, art, labor and leisure with ease and dexterity. We might not understand how to particularly thrive in this day and age, but at least we’re all feeling similarly.
Corey Fah Does Social Mobility, Isabel Waidner (Feb 6)
Bizarre and exploding with ideas, Isabel Waidner’s sophomore novel is a satire on the literary world; when Corey Fah wins the Award for the Fictionalisation of Social Evils, they must go through a journey to pick up the prize, and to get back to their world — including an eight-legged deer, a UFO, and a brief touch with a beloved reality TV show. Funny and entertaining, it’s bound to be another deeply imaginative read from the mind of Waidner.
Bugsy, Rafael Frumkin (Feb 13)
Rafael Frumkin’s second book in as many years is Bugsy, a rollicking, funny, and thoughtful short story collection whose musings are as varied as you can get. We peek into the mind of a doctor undergoing psychosis, a nonverbal child attempting to make sense of the world around him, and a ludicrously popular E-girl whose fans stop at nothing to get a taste of her. At only five stories, Frumkin has the opportunity to dive deep into each world, allowing a nuanced and sometimes uncomfortable look at how neurodivergence affects our lives; always bold, always entertaining.
Plastic, Scott Guild (Feb 13)
Released alongside an album of the same name, Plastic is intricately familiar, disturbingly surreal, and playfully interesting. Coming off the summer of Barbie, you might recognize Plastic’s protagonist, Erin, a plastic girl in a plastic world. She has a good job selling wearable tech, but one day, a terror attack on the factory causes her to see beyond the veneer of her life and explore the broader world. Before becoming a novelist, Scott Guild was a part of the new-wave band New Collisions, where he toured with Blondie and the B-52s. After writing his debut novel, he was pulled back into the world of music; the 9 tracks on Plastic: The Album serve as a soundtrack to Erin’s journey. Wonderfully inventive and redefining the formation of a book launch, Plastic is a major treat.
The Blueprint, Rae Giana Rashad (Feb 13)
In an alternate version of the United States, choice is obsolete — everything about a Black woman, who she marries, what she does, and where she lives is determined by an all-powerful algorithm. Solenne Bonet is one of these women, and while she writes a biography of Henriette, an enslaved ancestor in the 1800s, she realizes that their situations are slowly intertwining. Solenne starts to get involved with Bastien Martin, a high-ranking government official, and starts to wonder about fate and choice — in her world and Henriette’s.
Piglet, Lottie Hazel (Feb 27)
Despite her horrifically cruel nickname from childhood, Piglet is the story of a girl who actually turned out okay. Working as a cookbook editor and in love with a handsome fiancée who will always try her newest recipes, Piglet’s life has come together. But after Kit confesses a betrayal weeks before their wedding, Piglet is shaken, unsettled, and behaving erratically. Suddenly wanting more and going to any means to get it, Piglet’s hero poses a sharp discussion of the dark places our desires come from and how we handle them.