Is reading more books part of your New Year's resolution? Here's what's coming in 2023
EMILY FENG, HOST:
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to read more books but you don't know where to start, well, we've got some help for you. Andrew Limbong hosts NPR's "Book Of The Day" podcast, and he's here with an early look at some new books coming out in 2023. Hey, Andrew. Happy New Year.
ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: Hey, Emily. Happy New Year.
FENG: OK, so hit me up with some book recommendations. What novels are people in the book world excited about this year?
LIMBONG: All right, so let's get some heavy hitters out of the way up top. Colson Whitehead, who's got two Pulitzers under his belt, one for "The Underground Railroad" and the other for his book "Nickel Boys" - he's got a new book coming out. It's called "Crook Manifesto." It takes place in Harlem in the 1970s, and it's about a retired criminal and furniture store owner, Ray Carney, who, you know, for a couple of reasons, has to unretire from crime. And if that name sounds familiar, it's because the book is actually a sequel to Whitehead's previous book, "Harlem Shuffle." Like most of Whitehead's work, that book got a lot of praise when it came out, so there are some high expectations when this new one drops this summer.
And there's also a new book coming out by Rebecca Makkai. She's famous for her 2018 book "The Great Believers," which won a bunch of awards, and she was a finalist for the National Book Award. So this new one is super anticipated. It's titled "I Have Some Questions for You," and Makkai herself describes it as the quote, "the literary feminist boarding school murder mystery you didn't know you needed."
FENG: I need that.
LIMBONG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's about a successful podcaster named Bodie Kane returning to her boarding school alma mater to teach a class and dig into this, like, decades-old mystery of a murdered classmate. And it just so happens that two of Bodie's own students are doing this sort of, like, true crime serial-style podcast about it. And, you know, it's about memory and complicity and how we've evolved in our thinking about sexual assault. So those are just some of the big-name authors with books coming out.
FENG: And speaking of big names, I've got my ear to the ground, and I gather there is a highly anticipated new book from Salman Rushdie that's supposed to come out as well.
LIMBONG: Yeah. This will actually be Rushdie's first book since he was stabbed while on stage back in August. It's called "Victory City." It was announced well before the attack, which didn't seem to have any impact on the book's release schedule. And it's being promoted as, like, a return to Rushdie's magical realism roots, and it tells this epic story over the course of over 200 years.
FENG: What about some nonfiction books?
LIMBONG: All right. So in 2016, sociology professor Matthew Desmond came out with his Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Evicted," which - I think it's fair to say it changed the way a lot of people looked at evictions in this country. You know, it showed how being evicted can make it impossible to ever get steady housing, which means it's hard to lock down a job or keep your kids in school. Now Desmond's got a new book coming out called "Poverty, By America," and it's a, like, just as in-depth look into how the wealthy in our society knowingly exploit poor people and keep them in poverty.
If you're in the mood for something, you know, like, a little lighter, Prince Harry is coming out with a memoir in just a few weeks titled "Spare." And there's been a lot of, like, back-and-forth speculation about how detailed it'll get about the royal family.
FENG: What about younger listeners? Anything for teens who might be listening to the show or for adults who love young adult fiction?
LIMBONG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. There's actually this debut YA novel coming out called "Blood Debts" by Terry J. Benton-Walker that's been getting some buzz. It's a fantasy book that takes place in current-day New Orleans, and it's about these two teenage twins who are heirs to, like, a magical family. They've got to solve a mystery about who's coming for their family. It's the type of book that opens with, like, multiple family trees to just give you a sense of scope that this book is going for.
FENG: OK. What about you, Andrew? What are you most looking forward to?
LIMBONG: OK. R.F. Kuang's novel "Yellowface" is the book I'm really hyped about. It's about these two rival up-and-coming writers - right? - June Hayward and Athena Liu. And when Athena dies, June steals her manuscript, which is about Chinese laborers and promotes it as her own and, like, rebrands herself as, like, an ethnically ambiguous literary superstar. You know, it's supposed to be this really sharp critique at the publishing industry itself.
FENG: Thank you. That was Andrew Limbong, host of NPR's "Book Of The Day" podcast. Thanks, Andrew.
LIMBONG: Thanks, Emily. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.