Hundreds of books are released every week. We narrowed it down and made a list of our 16 most anticipated spring releases to add to your holds list. Five of the books on the list are by authors who will be coming to Des Moines as a part of our 2023 AViD series.
*Please note that publishing dates have the potential to change, and we have listed what is available at the time of publication.
Enchantment by Katherine May — February 28
"Katherine May gave so many of us language and vision for the long communal 'wintering' of the last years. Welcome this beautiful meditation for the time we've now entered. I cannot imagine a more gracious companion. This book is a gift." - New York Times bestselling author Krista Tippett
From the New York Times-bestselling author of Wintering, an invitation to rediscover the feelings of awe and wonder available to us all.
Many of us feel trapped in a grind of constant change: rolling news cycles, the chatter of social media, our families split along partisan lines. We feel fearful and tired, on edge in our bodies, not quite knowing what has us perpetually depleted. For Katherine May, this low hum of fatigue and anxiety made her wonder what she was missing. Could there be a different way to relate to the world, one that would allow her to feel more rested and at ease, even as seismic changes unfold on the planet? Might there be a way for all of us to move through life with curiosity and tenderness, sensitized to the subtle magic all around?
Through deliberate attention and ritual, she unearths the potency and nourishment that come from quiet reconnection with our immediate environment. Blending lyricism and storytelling, sensitivity and empathy, Enchantment invites each of us to open the door to human experience in all its sensual complexity, and to find the beauty waiting for us there.
Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson—March 7
Jenny Jackson has edited books like Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and Kevin Kwan's smash hit Crazy Rich Asians. Pineapple Street is her debut novel filled to the brim with family drama and a voyeuristic look into the lives of rich people behaving badly set in the Gilded Age.
A deliciously funny, sharply observed debut novel of family, love, and class, this zeitgeisty novel follows three women in one wealthy Brooklyn clan
Darley, the eldest daughter in the well-connected old money Stockton family, followed her heart, trading her job and her inheritance for motherhood but giving up far too much in the process; Sasha, a middle-class New England girl, has married into the Brooklyn Heights family, and finds herself cast as the arriviste outsider; and Georgiana, the baby of the family, has fallen in love with someone she can't have, and must decide what kind of person she wants to be.
Rife with the indulgent pleasures of life among New York's one-percenters, Pineapple Street is a smart, escapist novel that sparkles with wit. Full of recognizable, loveable--if fallible--characters, it's about the peculiar unknowability of someone else's family, the miles between the haves and have-nots, and the insanity of first love--all wrapped in a story that is a sheer delight.
The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner—March 7
The latest novel by Sarah Penner, the bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary! Sarah will be joining us in Des Moines at DSM Book Festival on Saturday, March 25 at 4 PM for an author talk and book signing to kick off the 2023 Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) series. Mark your calendar and make plans to join us.
The London Seance Society is a spellbinding tale about two daring women who hunt for truth and justice in the perilous art of conjuring the dead.
1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D'Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.
Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister's death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London's exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves...
Saving Time Discovering Life Beyond The Clock by Jenny Odell—March 7
We are living on the wrong clock, and it is destroying us. The New York Times bestselling author of How to Do Nothing offers us different ways to experience time in this dazzling, subversive, and deeply hopeful book.
What if you don't have time to spend? In order to answer this seemingly simple question, Jenny Odell took a deep dive into the fundamental structure of our society and found that the clock we live by was built for profit, not people. This is why our lives, even in leisure, have come to seem like a series of moments to be bought, sold, and processed ever more efficiently. Odell shows us how our painful relationship to time is inextricably connected not only to persisting social inequities but to the climate crisis, existential dread, and a lethal fatalism.
This dazzling, subversive, and deeply hopeful book offers us different ways to experience time--inspired by pre-industrial cultures, ecological cues, and geological timescales--that can bring within reach a more humane, responsive way of living. As planet-bound animals, we live inside shortening and lengthening days alongside gardens growing, birds migrating, and cliffs eroding; the stretchy quality of waiting and desire; the way the present may suddenly feel marbled with childhood memory; the slow but sure procession of a pregnancy; the time it takes to heal from injuries. Odell urges us to become stewards of these different rhythms of life in which time is not reducible to standardized units and instead forms the very medium of possibility.
American Mermaid by Julia Langbein—March 21
A brilliantly funny debut novel that follows a writer lured to Los Angeles to adapt her feminist mermaid novel into a big-budget action film, who believes her heroine has come to life to take revenge for Hollywood's violations.
"Brilliantly sharp, funny, and thought-provoking, the gripping story of a woman trying to find her way in our chaotic world." --Madeline Miller, bestselling author of Circe
American Mermaid follows a young woman braving the casual slights and cruel calculations of a ruthless industry town, where she discovers a beating heart in her own fiction, a mermaid who will fight to move between worlds without giving up her voice. A hilarious story about deep things, American Mermaid asks how far we'll go to protect the parts of ourselves that are not for sale.
A Living Remedy by Nicole Chung—April 4
From the bestselling author of All You Can Ever Know comes a searing memoir of family, class and grief—a daughter's search to understand the lives her adoptive parents led, the life she forged as an adult, and the lives she's lost.
Nicole Chung couldn't hightail it out of her overwhelmingly white Oregon hometown fast enough. As a scholarship student at a private university on the East Coast, no longer the only Korean she knew, she found community and a path to the life she'd long wanted. When her father dies at only sixty-seven, killed by diabetes and kidney disease, Nicole feels deep grief as well as rage, knowing that years of precarity and lack of access to healthcare contributed to his early death. And then the unthinkable happens—less than a year later, her beloved mother is diagnosed with cancer, and the physical distance between them becomes insurmountable as COVID-19 descends upon the world.
Exploring the enduring strength of family bonds in the face of hardship and tragedy, A Living Remedy examines what it takes to reconcile the distance between one life, one home, and another—and sheds needed light on some of the most persistent and grievous inequalities in American society.
Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah—April 4
The explosive, hotly-anticipated debut novel from the New York Times-bestselling author of Friday Black, about two top women gladiators fighting for their freedom within a depraved private prison system not so far-removed from America's own.
Loretta Thurwar and Hamara "Hurricane Staxxx" Stacker are the stars of Chain-Gang All-Stars, the cornerstone of CAPE, or Criminal Action Penal Entertainment, a highly-popular, highly-controversial, profit-raising program in America's increasingly dominant private prison industry. It's the return of the gladiators and prisoners are competing for the ultimate prize: their freedom.
Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal—April 18
From the New York Times bestselling author J. Ryan Stradal, comes a story of a couple from two very different restaurant families in rustic Minnesota, and the legacy of love and tragedy, of hardship and hope, that unites and divides them. J. Ryan Stradal will be at Central Library on Monday, May 1 as a part of our 2023 AViD series. Make plans to meet Stradal, hear about his writing process, and get copies of his books signed.
Mariel Prager needs a break. Her husband Ned is having an identity crisis, her spunky, beloved restaurant is bleeding money by the day, and her mother Florence is stubbornly refusing to leave the church where she's been holed up for more than a week. The Lakeside Supper Club has been in her family for decades, and while Mariel's grandmother embraced the business, seeing it as a saving grace, Florence never took to it. When Mariel inherited the restaurant, skipping Florence, it created a rift between mother and daughter that never quite healed.
Ned is also an heir—to a chain of home-style diners--and while he doesn't have a head for business, he knows his family's chain could provide a better future than his wife's fading restaurant. In the aftermath of a devastating tragedy, Ned and Mariel lose almost everything they hold dear, and the hard-won victories of each family hang in the balance. With their dreams dashed, can one fractured family find a way to rebuild despite their losses, and will the Lakeside Supper Club be their salvation?
In this colorful, vanishing world of relish trays and brandy Old Fashioneds, J. Ryan Stradal has once again given us a story full of his signature honest, lovable yet fallible Midwestern characters as they grapple with love, loss, and marriage; what we hold onto and what we leave behind; and what our legacy will be when we are gone
The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann—April 18
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon, a page-turning story of shipwreck, survival, and savagery, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth. The powerful narrative reveals the deeper meaning of the events on The Wager, showing that it was not only the captain and crew who ended up on trial, but the very idea of empire.
On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty's Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as "the prize of all the oceans," it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing nearly 3,000 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.
But then ... six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes—they were mutineers.
The Wager is a grand tale of human behavior at the extremes told by one of our greatest nonfiction writers. Grann's recreation of the hidden world on a British warship rivals the work of Patrick O'Brian, his portrayal of the castaways' desperate straits stands up to the classics of survival writing such as The Endurance, and his account of the court martial has the savvy of a Scott Turow thriller. As always with Grann's work, the incredible twists of the narrative hold the reader spellbound.
Happy Place by Emily Henry—April 25
A couple who broke up months ago pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they're still not discussing—they don't.
They broke up five months ago. And still haven't told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group's yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blissful week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.
In The Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune—April 25
New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune invites you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts.
In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots--fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They're a family, hidden and safe.
The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled "HAP," he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio-a past spent hunting humans. When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio's former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic's assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.
Inspired by Carlo Collodi's The Adventures of Pinocchio, and like Swiss Family Robinson meets Wall-E, In the Lives of Puppets is a masterful stand-alone fantasy adventure from the beloved author who brought you The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door.
You Have to Be Prepared to Die Before You Can Begin to Live by Paul Kix—May 2
From journalist Paul Kix, the riveting story, never before fully told, of the 1963 Birmingham Campaign—ten weeks that would shape the course of the Civil Rights Movement and the future of America. Paul Kix will be in Des Moines on June 6 at Central Library as a part of our 2023 AViD series. Learn more about the event.
It's one of the iconic photographs of American history: A Black teenager, a policeman and his lunging German Shepherd. Birmingham, Alabama, May of 1963. In May of 2020, as reporter Paul Kix stared at a different photo-that of a Minneapolis police officer suffocating George Floyd-he kept returning to the other photo taken half a century earlier, haunted by its echoes. What, Kix wondered, was the full legacy of the Birmingham photo? And of the campaign it stemmed from?
In You Have To Be Prepared To Die Before You Can Begin To Live, Paul Kix takes the reader behind the scenes as he tells the story of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's pivotal 10 week campaign in 1963 to end segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. At the same time, he also provides a window into the minds of the four extraordinary men who led the campaign—Martin Luther King, Jr., Wyatt Walker, Fred Shuttlesworth, and James Bevel. With page-turning prose that read like a thriller, Kix's book is the first to zero in on the ten weeks of Project C, as it was known—its specific history and its echoes sounding throughout our culture now. It's about Where It All Began, for sure, but it's also the key to understanding Where We Are Now and Where We Will Be. As the fight for equality continues on many fronts, Project C is crucial to our understanding of our own time and the impact that strategic activism can have.
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang—May 16
White lies. Dark humor. Deadly consequences... Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn't write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American—in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author R. F. Kuang. Leading up to the release of Yellowface, Kuang will be joining us at Central Library for AViD on Thursday, April 13 for an author talk and book signing.
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena's a literary darling. June Hayward is literally nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks. So when June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena's just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena's novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song—complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn't this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That's what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby—May 16
A much-anticipated, hilarious new essay collection from #1 New York Times bestselling unabashed fan-favorite Samantha Irby invites us to share in the gory particulars of her real life, all that festers behind the glitter and glam.
Beloved author of Wow, No Thank You, Samantha Irby has returned to the printed page with a much-anticipated new collection of side-splitting essays, and not a moment too soon. Irby's career has taken her to new heights. She dodges calls from Hollywood and flop sweats on the red carpet at premieres (well, one premiere). But nothing is ever as it seems online, where she can crop out all the ugly parts.
Irby got a lot of weird emails about Carrie Bradshaw, and not only is there diarrhea to avoid, but now--anaphylactic shock. She is turned away from restaurants for being inappropriately dressed and looks for the best ways to cope, i.e., reveling in the offerings of QVC and adopting a deranged pandemic dog. Filled with such unabashed gems as advice for the bathroom etiquette you were dying to know but always too afraid to ask about and an exposé on how to speak with an actual teenager, Quietly Hostile makes light as Irby takes us on another outrageously funny tour of all the gory details that make up the true portrait of a life behind the screenshotted depression memes. Relatable, poignant, and uproarious, once again, Irby is the tonic we all need to get by.
Only The Dead by Jack Carr—May 16
Navy SEAL James Reece faces a devastating global conspiracy in this high-adrenaline thriller that is ripped from the headlines—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Terminal List, Jack Carr. Carr will be at the Des Moines Public Library on Wednesday, May 24 as a part of the 2023 AViD series for an author talk and book signing.
In 1980, a freshman congressman was gunned down in Rhode Island, sending shockwaves through Washington that are still reverberating over four decades later. Now, with the world on the brink of war and a weakened United States facing rampant inflation, political division, and shocking assassinations, a secret cabal of global elites is ready to assume control. And with the world's most dangerous man locked in solitary confinement, the conspirators believe the final obstacle to complete domination has been eliminated. They're wrong.
From the firms of Wall Street to the corridors of power in Washington, DC, and Moscow, secrets from the past have the uncanny ability to rise to the surface in the present. With the odds stacked against him, James Reece is on a mission generations in the making. Unfortunately for his enemies, the former SEAL is not concerned with odds. He is on the warpath. And when James Reece picks up his tomahawk and sniper rifle, no one is out of range.
The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor—May 23
The author of the Booker Prize finalist Real Life and the bestselling Filthy Animals returns with a deeply involving new novel of young men and women at a crossroads.
In the shared and private spaces of Iowa City, a loose circle of lovers and friends encounter, confront, and provoke one another in a volatile year of self-discovery. At the group's center are Ivan, a dancer turned aspiring banker who dabbles in amateur pornography; Fatima, whose independence and work ethic complicates her relationships with friends and a trusted mentor; and Noah, who "didn't seek sex out so much as it came up to him like an anxious dog in need of affection." These three are buffeted by a cast of poets, artists, landlords, meat-packing workers, and mathematicians who populate the cafes, classrooms, and food-service kitchens of Iowa City, sometimes to violent and electrifying consequence. Finally, as each prepares for an uncertain future, the group heads to a cabin to bid goodbye to their former lives--a moment of reckoning that leaves each of them irrevocably altered.
A novel of intimacy and precarity, friendship and chosen family, The Late Americans is Brandon Taylor's richest and most involving work of fiction to date, confirming his position as one of our most perceptive chroniclers of contemporary life.
Last Modified March 26, 2023