Grown-Up Reads

The Best Grown-Up Reads of January 2018

by Jennie Yabroff

Photo credit: jayk7, Moment Open/Getty Images

Welcome 2018! Time for a fresh start, renewed optimism, and the faith that no matter how bad things look in the coldest, darkest days of the new year, there’s always a great book (or ten) to fix what’s wrong and remind us of all things right. Kick off the new year with a great read — this month has especially strong selections for every literary appetite.

  • Fire Sermon

    by Jamie Quatro

    With her debut collection, I Want to Show You More, Jamie Quatro stunned critics with a collection of sexy and deeply spiritual stories about love, faith, and infidelity. In this novel, she returns to that theme with the decades-spanning tale of a man and a woman who yearn for each other across their separate marriages, but also want to be true to their spouses and their religion. The ache that seeps from the pages will leave you wrung out and deeply moved.
    (On sale: 1/9/18)

  • The Immortalists

    by Chloe Benjamin

    Benjamin’s new novel opens with a death — that of Saul, patriarch to a family of four — but it’s a different death that will haunt each of Saul’s children through the rest of the novel: their own. In 1969, the Gold children visit a fortune teller who predicts the dates that each of their lives will end. For the following decades, the children live with this knowledge, alternately rejecting it, fighting it, and questioning the very meaning of life itself. This highly anticipated novel is the perfect read for anyone who’s ever wondered what they’d do differently if they knew how many days they had left.
    (On sale: 1/9/18)

  • The Perfect Nanny

    by Leila Slimani

    For parents, she’s the perfect nightmare — the too-good-to-be-true nanny who makes their lives run smoothly and their children happy and content … and turns out to be not at all who she seems. This thriller will have you reading between the cracks in your fingers as you cover your eyes in horror, while at the same time exploring questions of race, class, and what it truly means to be “part of the family.”
    (On sale: 1/9/18)

  • Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say

    by Kelly Corrigan

    Writer Corrigan is beloved for her wry, gentle, and generous examinations of love, loss, and life’s unexpected twists. In this collection of essays, Corrigan writes about personal challenges, and how certain simple phrases — “I don’t know,” “I’m sorry,” “no” — can make everything so much better, yet remain so very hard to say. A great read for anyone who’s been at a loss for the right words at the right time.
    (On sale: 1/9/18)

  • When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

    by Daniel Pink

    When it comes to work, love, exercise, sleep, and eating, it doesn’t really matter when you do it, as long as you get it done, right? Wrong, argues Pink, the author of Drive. In fact, the key to a successful life has less to do with what you do than when you do it. Timing, according to Pink, really is everything. In this book, he explains not just how but when to do everything from taking a test to getting married, and reveals the secret rhythms guiding our days and our lives. Read this book with a calendar nearby.
    (On sale: 1/9/18)

  • The Largesse of the Sea Maiden

    by Denis Johnson

    When Denis Johnson died last year, the literary world mourned a hugely talented writer who blew readers away starting with his iconic 1992 story collection, Jesus’ Son. This collection is bittersweet, then — the final book by a writer who by all rights should have been around to give us many more. Read this now, then go back and check out all the work that led to this final book.
    (On sale: 1/16/18)

  • When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

    by asha bandele and Patrisse Khan-Cullors

    Patrisse Khan-Cullors is one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, a powerful political action predicated on the seemingly obvious idea that all people deserve lives of safety, respect, and freedom. This proposal proved deeply controversial, and the movement was challenged by opponents who asserted that it was a threat to America, its founders terrorists. This simple and poetic memoir is one of those founder’s responses. Read it to understand the movement from the inside.
    (On sale: 1/16/18)

  • The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World

    by Charles Mann

    We live in confusing times. It’s hard to understand what is happening to our world, what we should do about it, or how to even think about it. Some problems feel unprecedented, but in fact these very questions fueled the careers of two 20th century scientists, who agreed that our planet was in peril, but disagreed about everything else. In this book Mann traces their careers, and looks at their opposing beliefs in hopes of pointing towards a sustainable future for all of us.
    (On sale: 1/23/18)

  • The Monk of Mokha

    by Dave Eggers

    A lot of us have a near-obsessive relationship with coffee. We spend a lot of time thinking about blends, grinds, milk-to-espresso ratios, and the ideal cup shape. We spend less time thinking about the people who grow, pick, and process the beans that get pulverized for our daily ritual — the people whose lives depend on coffee crops. In this biography of an American man who returns to his native Yemen to modernize the coffee business only to be caught in the middle of a civil war, Eggers explores all the hands, hearts, and lives involved in each cup of Morning Blend, and assures you’ll never think the same way about your Starbucks habit again.
    (On sale: 1/30/18)

  • No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls

    by Katie Hurley

    Before “Mean Girls” was a hilarious movie and coming-soon-to-Broadway musical, it was a nonfiction book about the subtle and not-so-subtle ways teen girls make each other’s lives miserable. Today, the phenomenon has shifted down to girls as young as kindergarten — but hope remains. In this sensible, non-hysterical parenting guide, author Hurley reassures parents our young daughters are not fated to become mean girls — all they need is love, encouragement, and confidence.
    (On sale: 1/30/18)

  • The Spinning Magnet: The Electromagnetic Force That Created the Modern World — and Could Destroy It

    by Alanna Mitchell

    It sounds like the premise of an international sci-fi thriller: global power grids and communication systems are wiped out when electromagnetic forces deep in the earth change directions. In fact, it’s nonfiction, and, according to author Mitchell, it’s going to happen, maybe quite soon. For a thrilling and mind-expanding look at the natural forces ruling our technology-dependent lives, read this book, and consider installing a sundial in the yard, just in case.
    (On sale: 1/30/18)

What other books are you looking forward to reading in the new year? Share with us in the comments below.