The Best Books of Early 2017

by Jennifer Ridgway

I know, I know. You’re probably thinking that you haven’t gotten through all the books that you wanted to read from 2016 (or 2015 … or 2014), and here we are telling you about 2017 releases! But, I promise, you’ll want to add these fantastic new picks to the very top of your “to read” pile. Without further ado, here is a small sampling of the new 2017 titles to keep an eye out for as you peruse your favorite bookstore or local library.

  • January

  • Difficult Women

    by Roxane Gay

    From the bestselling author of Bad Feminist, also a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, comes a collection of short stories featuring a diverse cast of women — privileged, poor, married, single, mothers, daughters — who’ve all experienced tragedy of some sort yet maintain a sense of hope. Gay is an extraordinary writer of both fiction and nonfiction. Her dialogue is realistic, her characters like people you know, and her subject matter, while often difficult, is powerful; these stories will stay with you long after you finish them.
    (On Sale: 1/3/17)

  • Idaho

    by Emily Ruskovich

    Available from:

    This debut novel is receiving quite a lot of buzz. With beautiful, almost poetic, language, Ruskovich weaves together a story about a man suffering from early onset dementia. While a tragic event in his past pulls at his memory, he tries to build a life with his new wife. Told from different perspectives through shifting timelines, the author portrays a realistic story, without tying a too-happy bow around it.
    (On Sale: 1/3/17)

    Also available from:
  • The Bear and the Nightingale

    by Katherine Arden

    Available from:

    From another new voice, The Bear and the Nightingale uses Russian folklore, fantasy, and magic to create a unique story about a young girl, Vasya, with a secret ability to see and talk to spirits. Vasya is a strong, brave protagonist who must use her powers to save her small Russian village. Arden’s writing in this debut novel is atmospheric and entrancing, and I eagerly await the next book in this new series.
    (On Sale: 1/10/17)

    Also available from:
  • Once We Were Sisters: A Memoir

    by Sheila Kohler

    Available from:

    Having spent decades trying to find closure in her sister’s untimely death by writing fiction, Kohler now faces the topic head-on in Once We Were Sisters, a memoir of their relationship and the mysterious tragedy. She tells of their privileged childhood in South Africa, their travels, and their separation upon marriage. She writes of her guilt and rage, her feelings of helplessness, the repression of apartheid, and the violence of her sister’s life. A true, moving portrait of sisterhood and its bonds.
    (On Sale: 1/17/17)

    Also available from:
  • A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival

    by Melissa Fleming

    Fleming brings to life the story of Doaa Al Zamel, a young Syrian woman who faced horrific circumstances as a teenage refugee, such as a boat disaster that left 500 of her fellow refugees dead, including her fiancé. Now a recipient of the 2016 OPEC Fund Annual Award for International Development, Al Zamel has set up a fund to help other refugees. Her story is one we should all read to understand the crisis facing the more than 60 million people displaced by war and violence today.
    (On Sale: 1/24/17)

  • February

  • All Our Wrong Todays

    by Elan Mastai

    Available from:

    Growing up, my favorite cartoon was “The Jetsons,” which, as we all now know, portrayed a future that has failed to materialize — except for in Elan Mastai’s debut, All Our Wrong Todays. Tom lives in the year 2016, but his 2016 is one filled with hover boards, flying cars, and time travel. Then, he manages to accidentally stumble into our technologically stunted, real-life version of 2016. Fans of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter will find much to love in this new read, and if you don’t think of yourself as a science fiction enthusiast, Mastai’s book will change your mind. It is funny, quirky, and thoughtful.
    (On Sale: 2/7/17)

    Also available from:
  • Can’t Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions

    by Sharon Begley

    Compulsive behavior exists along a wide spectrum, including everything from the need to check your email right when you wake up to OCD to hoarding. Begley’s book is the first book that examines the science behind these compulsions. Compulsions are very common, and Begley puts them in context as a coping mechanism to anxieties big and small. Can’t Just Stop is the best kind of nonfiction: accessible, well-researched, and filled with real-life stories.
    (On Sale: 2/7/17)

  • Lincoln in the Bardo

    by George Saunders

    Available from:

    It may come as a surprise that this is prize-winning author Saunders’s first novel. On the surface, the plot of Lincoln in the Bardo follows Abraham Lincoln and his son, Willie, who died at the young age of 11. But it is so much more, and only Saunders could pull off this truly unique approach to storytelling — with more than a touch of the supernatural and humor — and illustrate the humanity that holds us all together.
    (On Sale: 2/14/17)

    Also available from:
  • I See You

    by Clare Mackintosh

    Available from:

    A sophomore effort can feel like a gamble after a stellar debut but, thankfully, Mackintosh has delivered with her new thriller. Zoe goes about her life like many of us, taking the same route, the same train every day, frequenting the same places — until she begins to suspect that someone is watching her and setting her up to be the next victim in a violent game. A clever book from the author of I Let You Go, I See You will worm its way into your psyche and keep you turning the pages.
    (On Sale: 2/21/17)

    Also available from:
  • The Lost Book of the Grail

    by Charlie Lovett

    Available from:

    Part literary thriller, part adventure, and part Holy Grail lore, this is a book for book lovers. Lovett’s new adventure allows bibliophiles to take part in the protagonists’ wild search for an ancient missing manuscript, the Book of Ewolda. The descriptions of the English village and its threatened cathedral will have you convinced that they actually exist.
    (On Sale: 2/28/17)

    Also available from:
  • March

  • Exit West

    by Mohsin Hamid

    Available from:

    One of my favorite books, and one of the most provocative I’ve read, is Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist. In his new book, Nadia and Saeed meet and fall in love as their unnamed country is descending into war. As they flee their native country for the hoped-for safety of other lands, they struggle to hold onto their culture and identity. Tackling universal themes as large as xenophobia and religious fundamentalism, along with those as personal as love and family, Hamid somehow manages to write prose that is both magical and sparse.
    (On Sale: 3/7/17)

    Also available from:
  • The Book of Polly

    by Kathy Hepinstall

    Available from:

    Told through the eyes of 10-year-old Willow, Hepinstall’s funny, warm novel follows the life of 68-year-old Polly, Willow’s mother. Polly is a lively Southern woman who thought she was done raising children when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant at 58. Willow tries to piece together the life her family had before she came along, particularly her mother’s experiences. Readers looking for an entertaining, feel-good mother-daughter tale will happily enjoy The Book of Polly.
    (On Sale: 3/14/17)

    Also available from:
  • The Gargoyle Hunters

    by John Freeman Gill

    In his debut novel, Gill tells the story of New York City in the tumultuous 1970s through the eyes of a 13-year-old boy, Griffin. Griffin’s father pulls him more and more into an intriguing subculture: “saving” architectural elements from buildings about to be demolished. As much a love letter to New York as a coming-of-age story, The Gargoyle Hunters is a true reading pleasure.
    (On Sale: 3/21/17)

  • Cork Dork: : A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste

    by Bianca Bosker

    Available from:

    True to stereotype, I like a good glass of wine as much as the next mom. However, being able to pick a vintage or grape just by taste is well beyond my capabilities. In Cork Dork, Bosker, an untrained wine enthusiast herself, recounts her experience diving into and spending a year and a half immersed in the wine world. She not only tastes and learns the language of vino, she also studies the science behind its taste. If you’re looking for an informative yet funny examination of wine, let Bosker be your guide.
    (On Sale: 3/28/17)

    Also available from:

Are there any new books you can’t wait to read in early 2017? Let us know in the comments section below!