The Winter 2024 Reading Group Guide Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The American Booksellers Association’s Winter 2024 Reading Group Guide will continue as a free e-newsletter delivered to customers by email via Matchbook Marketing. This winter's guide will be sent on February 8.

This guide includes the following categories: Dazzling Debuts, Family & Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Other Worlds, and Thrills & Chills. The tiles are also available as an Edelweiss collection. All titles are trade paperback unless otherwise noted.

The titles appearing in the Winter Reading Group e-newsletter are:

Dazzling Debuts

The Bandit Queens: A Novel
By Parini Shroff
(Ballantine Books, 9780593498972, $18, Jan. 9)

“Geeta’s no-good husband left her five years ago, and the whole village presumes she killed him. Other women come to her to get rid of their abusive husbands, and away we go! A thoughtful, funny tale of revenge covering equality, patriarchy, religion, poverty, and caste.”
—Tony Peltier, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Moonrise Over New Jessup
By Jamila Minnicks
(Algonquin Books, 9781643755397, $18.99, Nov. 28, 2023)

“Having grown up in Alabama, I am so grateful for this book. Jamila Minnicks has shown us Black culture, joy, love, and community in 1957 Alabama in a way it’s never been told before. A poignant and timely debut novel from a very talented new writer.”
—Jamie Southern, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

The New Life: A Novel (Indies Introduce)
By Tom Crewe
(Scribner, 9781668000847, $18, Jan. 16)

The New Life is a vital counternarrative, a lustful and complicated portrait that contrasts the traditional image of the Victorian era as staid and buttoned-up. It’s a painful, tender account of what happens when The New meets the status quo.”
—Matt Stowe, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

Really Good, Actually: A Novel
By Monica Heisey
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780063235427, $18.99, Jan. 16)

“A classic fable about the phoenix rising from the ashes; that is, if the phoenix was a hilarious millennial academic, the ashes a brutal divorce, and the rising a recognition that sometimes therapy is effective. A laugh-out-loud funny tale of a woman who completely loses herself and must pick up the pieces.”
—Anna Friss, Serendipity Books, Chelsea, MI

Thin Places (Indies Introduce)
By Kerri ní Dochartaigh
(Milkweed Editions, 9781639550623, $18, Nov. 14, 2023)

Thin Places is fierce and original in its exploration of the relationship between nature, place and politics in Northern Ireland. Just when you think there isn’t more to be said about The Troubles, Kerri ní Dochartaigh proves you wrong.”
—Lesley Rains, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA

White Horse: A Novel
By Erika T. Wurth
(Flatiron Books, 9781250847676, $17.99, Oct. 3, 2023)

“A creepy ride of bloody ghosts, family secrets, and the search for answers. The tension is as thick as cigarette smoke. You can put yourself right on a barstool at the White Horse and immerse in Native culture and history. This will stay with me for ages.”
—Sydne Conant, A Room Of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI


Family & Coming of Age

Age of Vice: A Novel
By Deepti Kapoor
(Riverhead Books, 9780593328804, $20, Jan. 2)

“An epic novel of greed, corruption, wealth, power, romance, and social class, Age of Vice centers on a trio of characters from New Delhi who get caught up in the criminal underworld of their bosses’ connections. A page turner from start to finish.”
—Gerard Villegas, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

The Heart of It All
By Christian Kiefer
(Melville House, 9781685890810, $19.99, Sept. 12, 2023)

“Christian Kiefer so artfully describes a north-central Ohio Rust Belt community — the gray winters, the biting cold, the crumbling sidewalks — one expects the characters to diminish as their town has. But family, friendships, and basic good-heartedness come to the fore in this mesmerizing novel.”
—Cheryl McKeon, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

A Quiet Life: A Novel
By Ethan Joella
(Scribner, 9781982190989, $16.99, Nov. 21, 2023)

“A gentle, lovely novel about how grief affects three characters in different ways. A widower prepares for his winter migration without his wife, a young woman mourns the loss of her father in a senseless tragedy, and a mother waits for news of a missing child.”
—Benedict Tanter, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA

Sam: A Novel
By Allegra Goodman
(Dial Press Trade Paperback, 9780593447833, $18, Nov. 14, 2023)

“Allegra Goodman has an incredible talent for writing about individuals and their families. A coming-of-age novel about how we love and move on from our loved ones. I adored Sam’s problem solving through her raw, practiced talent for rock climbing.”
—Cindy Dach, Changing Hands, Tempe, AZ

The Ski Jumpers: A Novel
By Peter Geye
(University Of Minnesota Press, 9781517913502, $17.95, Nov. 14, 2023)

“Pops Bargaard is raising his sons Jon and Anton to be ski jumpers to keep with family tradition. The family is separated when Pops is sent to prison for murder. A powerful story of both sons’ lives, their lovers and children, and how in spite of the past, healing is possible.”
—Todd Miller, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

Which Side Are You On: A Novel
By Ryan Lee Wong
(Catapult, 9781646222025, $16.95, Oct. 10, 2023)

“Ryan Lee Wong’s debut is a thoughtful exploration of organizing across color lines. Lee Wong speaks to the choices we each must make to come to terms with who we are, while providing an impressive history of organizing in LA in succinct, readable prose.”
—Meghana Kandlur, Open Books, Chicago, IL


Historical Fiction

All the Broken Places: A Novel
By John Boyne
(Penguin Books, 9780593653449, $19, Nov. 28, 2023)

“I am a huge John Boyne fan and All the Broken Places is one of his best. Alternating between a childhood in Nazi Germany, Gretel’s months-long escape to Australia, and her quiet life in England which is disturbed by the troubled family she lives above, the tension unrelenting.”
—Karen Emmerling, Beach Books, Seaside, OR

A Dangerous Business: A Novel
By Jane Smiley
(Vintage, 9780525436089, $17, Nov. 7, 2023)

“1850s Monterey: prostitution abounds, and slavery making its way west. When working women start showing up dead and police look the other way, Eliza and Jean take matters into their own hands. Told with humor and bite, this is a cautionary nod to what was, what is, and asks what will be.”
—Kayleen Rohrer, InkLink Books, East Troy, WI

Gilded Mountain: A Novel
By Kate Manning
(Scribner, 9781982160951, $18, Oct. 10, 2023)

“This novel propels us through the world of mining strikes, women’s rights, race issues, and wealth disparity while still having romance and intrigue. A perfect winter read for those who want a glimpse in the harsh mountain life of the early 1900s.”
—Danica Ramgoolam, Townie Books, Crested Butte, CO

The House of Eve
By Sadeqa Johnson
(Simon & Schuster, 9781982197377, $17.99, Feb. 6)

“With immaculate research and flawless execution, this dual perspective historical fiction novel shares dreams of education, the many facets of motherhood, class and colorism in the Black community, and the life choices people make for love.”
—Andrea Jasmin, Main Street Books, Davidson, NC

The Night Traveler: A Novel
By Armando Lucas Correa
(Washington Square Press, 9781501187995, $17, Nov. 7, 2023)

“Correa will enthrall you with this moving story of self-discovery, motherly love and survival, paired with a well-researched historical account of Cuba and Berlin. The threads of Ally, Lilith, Nadine and Luna’s lives are intertwined, creating a strong bond of courage, love and resilience.”
—Mevelyn Romay Fernandez, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Trespasses: A Novel
By Louise Kennedy
(Riverhead Books, 9780593540909, $18, Oct. 31, 2023)

“Some novels have such a strong sense of place, they transport you; this is one of those novels. Against the backdrop of a tense Northern Ireland during The Troubles, we follow Cushla — a young woman trying to live a simple life, who, in acting on her love for a man named Michael, changes everything.”
—Destinee Hodge, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC


Other Worlds

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries
By Heather Fawcett
(Del Rey, 9780593500156, $18, Oct. 24, 2023)

“Dark and romantic, Fawcett’s novel follows a professor of faerie lore in her efforts to study the Hidden Ones of the far north and navigate an enigmatic colleague’s hijinks. A delightful faux-academic read for fans of Naomi Novik, Katherine Arden, and Holly Black.”
—Matilda McNeely, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA

Godkiller: A Novel (Fallen Gods #1)
By Hannah Kaner
(Harper Voyager, 9780063348271, $18.99, Sept. 12, 2023)

“In a land where gods have been outlawed, godkiller Kissen — whose family was sacrificed to a fire god — is forced to help when a young noble girl fused with the god of white lies seeks her help. This immersive fantasy is filled with flawed, lovable, rad characters!”
—Megan Bell, Underground Books, Carrollton, GA

Heart of the Sun Warrior: A Novel (Celestial Kingdom #2)
By Sue Lynn Tan
(Harper Voyager, 9780063031371, $19.99, Aug. 29, 2023)

“What an incredible sequel! For those worried about this second book shaping up to the first, do not fear! Full of action, Chinese mythology, and a touch of romance, this duology was remarkable. This sequel has absolutely convinced me to read anything Tan puts out in the future!”
—Hallie Smith, Main Street Books, Davidson, NC

I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself: A Novel
By Marisa Crane
(Catapult, 9781646222063, $17.95, Jan. 9)

“A desperately intimate, darkly inquisitive novel about grief and the profound link between a parent and child. Kris’ devastation at losing her wife feels unnerving and real. This book is a stark reminder of the shadows we all live with, both visible and invisible.”
—Gaby Iori, Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews, Chapel Hill, NC

The Survivalists: A Novel (Indies Introduce)
By Kashana Cauley
(Soft Skull, 9781593767594, $17.95, Jan. 30)

“On the surface, The Survivalists is a story about folks prepping for a doomsday, and a skeptic who attempts to understand them, but on a deeper level it asks how well we really know ourselves. How many cracks would it take for our whole identity to crumble?”
—Laura Kendall, Second Flight Books, Lafayette, IN

White Cat, Black Dog: Stories
By Kelly Link, Shaun Tan
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780593449974, $18, Oct. 24, 2023)

“A surreal nod to classic folklore with modern twists. The setting has a strong presence in each of the seven stories, taking readers from far-off planets to the unexplored corners of our own world. A strange, profound, perfect collection for any fan of speculative stories.”
—Emma Fong, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA


Thrills & Chills

Better the Blood
By Michael Bennett
(Grove Press, 9780802162656, $17, Jan. 9)

“A contemporary crime novel set in Auckland, New Zealand, that pivots to a major 19th-century historical injustice of a Māori Chief. This features feisty, intuitive Māori detective Hana Westerman as she tracks down a serial killer intent on righting this wrong.”
—Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

Blaze Me a Sun: A Novel About a Crime
By Christoffer Carlsson, Rachel Willson-Broyles (Transl.)
(Hogarth, 9780593449370, $18, Nov. 28, 2023)

“This immersive Swedish crime novel focuses on the small-town cop obsessed with attacks that unsettle his community — and the writer who tries to unravel it all years later.”
—Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone: A Novel
By Benjamin Stevenson
(Mariner Books, 9780063279032, $18.99, Jan. 2)

“In this debut, mystery writer Ernest Cunningham finds himself snowed in at a fraught family reunion where his family members are dropping like flies. He lays out his rules of the mystery genre — rules he finds increasingly tough to follow.”
—Kelly Barth, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

Scorched Grace: A Sister Holiday Mystery
By Margot Douaihy
(Gillian Flynn Books, 9781638930983, $17, Jan. 16)

“A great start to what is sure to be an electrifying series. Margot Douaihy brings the Big Easy to vibrant life in this whodunnit with a style all her own. Like New Orleans, Scorched Grace will leave you with the need to revisit as soon as you finish.”
—Javier Ramirez, Exile in Bookville, Chicago, IL

Winterland: A Novel
By Rae Meadows
(Holt Paperbacks, 9781250834515, $17.99, Nov. 7, 2023)

“A superb story of three generations of women in the Soviet Union: One a Gulag camp survivor, another a missing famous ballerina, and finally star gymnast, Anya. With its well-created historical feel, Winterland is particularly timely with today’s recognition of athletes’ physical and mental health.”
—Beth Shapiro, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

Witches: A Novel
By Brenda Lozano, Heather Cleary (Transl.)
(Catapult, 9781646221998, $16.95, Sept. 12, 2023)

“Brenda Lozano’s Witches is an exploration of the lives of two women — a journalist and a curandera — and their many parallels. A story of the interpersonal and systemic violence that cis, trans, and queer women continue to endure and how these individuals persist through healing and resistance.”
—Juan Castellanos, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA