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Get Ready: 10 Books to Look Forward to in 2020

Books 2020

Each year is filled with great books, and 2020 is no exception. From powerful debuts to new books from big name favorites; an examination of England on the cusp of war to an examination of the skirmishes in Silicon Valley, these 10 books are producing some of the most buzz heading into the new year.

Uncanny Valley Cover

'Uncanny Valley,' by Anna Wiener

The prescient, page-turning account of a journey in Silicon Valley: a defining memoir of our digital age.

In her mid-twenties, at the height of tech industry idealism, Anna Wiener left a job in book publishing for the promise of the new digital economy.

Anna arrived in San Francisco amidst a massive cultural shift, as the tech industry rapidly transformed into a locus of wealth and power rivaling Wall Street. But amid the company ski vacations, boyish camaraderie, and ride-or-die corporate fealty, a new Silicon Valley began to emerge: one in far over its head, enriching itself at the expense of the idyllic future it claimed to be building.

Part coming-age-story, part portrait of an already-bygone era, Anna Wiener's memoir is a rare first-person glimpse into high-flying, reckless startup culture at a time of unchecked ambition, unregulated surveillance, and accelerating political power.

Unsparing and incisive, Uncanny Valley is a revelatory interrogation of a world reckoning with consequences its unwitting designers are only beginning to understand.

To be published in January.

You Never Forget Your First

'You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington,' by Alexis Coe

Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first--and finds he is not quite the man we remember

George Washington was raised by a struggling single mother, demanded military promotions, caused an international incident, and never backed down, even when his dysentery got so bad, he had to ride with a cushion on his saddle. But after he married Martha, everything changed. Washington became the someone who named his dog Sweetlips and hated to leave home. He took up arms against the British only when there was no other way, though he lost more battles than he won.

After an unlikely victory in the Revolutionary War cast him as the nation's hero, he was desperate to retire, but the founders pressured him into the presidency. He left the highest office heartbroken over the partisan nightmare his backstabbing cabinet had created.

With irresistible style and warm humor, You Never Forget Your First combines rigorous research and lively storytelling that will have readers inhaling every page.

To be published in February.

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'The Splendid and the Vile,' by Erik Larson

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz

On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports, Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year.
The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

To be published in February.

Real Life Cover

'Real Life,' by Brandon Taylor

A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice.

A novel of rare emotional power that excavates the social intricacies of a late-summer weekend—and a lifetime of buried pain. Almost everything about Wallace, an introverted African-American transplant from Alabama, is at odds with the lakeside Midwestern university town where he is working toward a biochem degree. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends—some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspire to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community.

Real Life is a gut punch of a novel, a story that asks if it’s ever really possible to overcome our private wounds and buried histories—and at what cost.

To be published in February.

Lady in Waiting Cover

'Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown,' by Ann Glenconner

An extraordinary memoir of drama, tragedy, and royal secrets by Anne Glenconner, a close member of the royal circle and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. As seen on Netflix's The Crown.

Anne Glenconner has been at the center of the royal circle from childhood, when she met and befriended the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, the Princess Margaret. Though the firstborn child of the 5th Earl of Leicester, as a daughter she was deemed "the greatest disappointment" and unable to inherit. Since then she has needed all her resilience to survive the vipers of court life with her sense of humor intact.

Gelncomer was a unique witness in royal history. She served as Maid of Honor at Queen Elizabeth's coronation, and a lady in waiting to Princess Margaret until her death in 2002. With unprecedented insight into the royal family, Lady in Waiting is a witty, candid, dramatic, at times heart-breaking personal story capturing life in a golden cage for a woman with no inheritance.

To be published in March.

Wow No Thank You Cover

'Wow, No Thank You: Essays,' by Samantha Irby

A new rip-roaring essay collection from the smart, edgy, hilarious, unabashedly raunchy, and bestselling Samantha Irby.

Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books, been friend-zoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state. She now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with “tv executives slash amateur astrologers” while being a “cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person,” “with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees,” who hides past due bills under her pillow.

The essays in Wow, No Thank You draw on the raw, hilarious particulars of Irby’s new life. It is Irby at her most unflinching, riotous, and relatable.

To be published in March.

The City We Became

'The City We Became,' by N.K. Jemisin

Five New Yorkers must come together to defend their city from an ancient evil in this stunning new novel by Hugo Award-winner and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got six.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

To be published in March.

Glass Hotel Cover

'The Glass Hotel,' by Emily St. John Mandel

An exhilarating novel set at the glittering intersection of two seemingly disparate events: a massive Ponzi scheme collapse and the mysterious disappearance of a woman from a ship at sea.

On the night Vincent, a hotel bartender, meets Jonathan Alkaitis, hotel owner and wealthy investment manager, someone scrawls a threatening message on the lobby's glass wall. Leon Prevant, an executive for Neptune-Avradimis, reads the words and orders a drink to calm down. The message, however, was meant for Jonathan, who never sees it. A year later Vincent and Jonathan are living together as husband and wife.

Jonathan’s international Ponzi scheme soon falls apart, obliterating fortunes, including Leon’s. Years later, Vincent steps aboard a Neptune-Avramidis vessel and disappears.

In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes as the mystery unravels. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed, guilt, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.

To be published in March.

My Dark Vanessa Cover

'My Dark Vanessa,' by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past.

My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. This is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood.

To be published in March.

Transcendent Kingdom Cover

'Transcendent Kingdom,' by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi's stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.

Gifty is a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees. But even as she turns to science to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief--a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi's phenomenal debut.

To be published in September.

Published on January 08, 2020
Last Modified May 30, 2020