14 February 2017 Releases I’m Excited To Read #BookRelease

14 February 2017 Book Releases I'm Excited To Read On Novels And Nonfiction

February was definitely an easier month for which to pick a good number of new Nonfiction and Fiction releases that I’m excited about. I think January is typically a less active month in the publishing world, so I had a harder time ferreting titles out that I felt truly compelling. This month, on the other hand, I had to cull my list down from 20 titles or so to ones that I thought sounded the most interesting.

I would also add Claire Fuller’s Swimming Lessons to the list but I’ve already read it (here is my review). It was available to Book Of The Month subscribers as an exclusive and one of their five December 2016 picks, but will be released in hardcover to everyone else on February 7th 2017. I highly recommend it – the way in which the story is in part told through past letters written by the absent mother figure in the novel is fascinating.

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The Happiness Effect Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionThe Happiness Effect 
by Donna Freitas

Published: February 1st 2017

Kindle    Hardcover

In The Happiness Effect, Donna Freitas examine social media use on the part of college-age students to see if the worries plaguing society about the creation of a generation of people who are self-obssessed and egomaniacal is valid. In her research, Freitas discovers that rather than making young people over-confidently full of themselves, social media brings out a sense of overwhelming inadequacy in them, and a need to construct a perfect facade on Facebook, Instagram and other sites. Though my social media use is limited outside of my blog accounts, I also fall victim to the tendency to make sure that everything I share with the world on these platforms is polished and filtered to some degree. I’m interest to read the details of Freitas’ take on the effects of social media use on personality, and see to what extent I relate to her discoveries. This book is available for request on Net Galley.


Hit Makers Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionHit Makers by Derek Thompson

Published: February 7th 2017

Kindle    Hardcover

In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson investigates the psychology of why consumers like what they like and how a movie, song or app reaches that magical tipping point between being a hit and oblivion. Thompson spans a wide range of examples, from social media as a news source to why the most popular content is sometimes not actual quality content, and why sequels, reboots and adaptations continue to work (in large part) in Hollywood. I work in an industry (the entertainm business) in which there are typically many more flops than hits. Out of all the pilots and even series pickups of any given TV season in the U.S., only an infinitesimal amount ever makes it on screen, and even fewer become popular and successful in the long run. I think this book would not just be interesting for me to review on the blog, but also applicable to my actual real life profession. It’s available for request on Net Galley – mine is still pending but fingers crossed!


The Book Thieves Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionThe Book Thieves by Anders Rydell

Published: February 7th 2017

Kindle    Hardcover

During World War II and the Holocaust, Nazi officers pillaged the libraries of Jews, Communists, political activists and many others from opposition groups, stealing books that they appropriated as their own. Many of these books are now housed in the German public library system, and a review is in process to identify as many of the stolen titles as possible and return them to the ancestors of their rightful owners. Anders Rydell is given custody of one of these volumes and sets out on a journey to return it to its legitimate owner. Though I was aware that the Nazis stole many art and cultural artifacts during the war, I never really thought about the fact that books would have been included in their pattern of theft and destruction. I’m interested in how the librarians working to identify the stolen volumes were able to figure out who to return them to – it must have been so important for someone who lost family members in the Holocaust to be able to be given back even just a small token of their past existence.


Worth It Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionWorth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg

Published: February 7th 2017

Kindle    Hardcover

I’ve always liked reading the accessible, informative and entertaining articles on women’s finances at The Daily Worth. The site was started by founder and CEO Amanda Steinberg, who has now come out with a book compiling and expanding on the excellent and relatable financial advice her team provides through the site. I’ve read my share of financial self-help books, but I was lured by Steinberg’s promise to examine some of the fake ‘money stories’ women tell themselves or are told about their finances. In Worth It, Steinberg seeks to dispel some of the common myths that end up keeping women stuck in a financial rut, providing a more realistic and effective way to approach seeking financial stability while staying away from strict budgeting and harsh austerity practices. I’m definitely intrigued, so I requested an ARC from the publisher and I can’t wait to dig in!


Cannibalism Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionCannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt

Published: February 14th 2017

Kindle    Paperback    Hardcover

Okay. This may not seem like the most appetizing topic, pun intended. However, as soon as I saw this book in Net Galley, the science and anthropology geek in me immediately flipped out. Apparently, cannibalism (though not my personal cup of tea) is actually relatively prevalent in the animal world, and has a significant place in human history as well. Maybe the most preoccupying part of the book is that Schutt argues that with famine, disease and overcrowding worsening around the world, humans may start turning more frequently to cannibalism again in the future, regardless of existing societal and biological constraints. Probably not something we need to worry about short-term in the United States barring a zombie-apocalypse, but still a fascinating topic for those like me who don’t get squeamish easily. I received an ARC of this book through Net Galley and will be posting a review of it on February 16th.


The Inkblots Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionThe Inkblots by Damion Searls

Published: February 21st 2017

Kindle    Hardcover

I don’t know much about Rorschach tests other than they are a psychological tool involving abstract paint splotches that are supposed to reveal your innermost thoughts and desires. Turns out that Rorschach tests have a complex and interesting history. They were first developed by Hermann Rorschach in 1917 and came to be used in the Nuremberg trials, as inspiration for famous modern artists and of course as a staple of the psychological toolbox. Starting with a biography of Hermann Rorschach’s life, Damion Searls details the test’s invention, the modifications it was put through in later years and what it can reveal about the human psyche. I’m intrigued that this book is a hybrid of historical and scientific nonfiction, and I’m also interested to see if it provides examples of Rorschach tests, so that I can figure out what I see in the inkblots myself. I received an ARC of this title on Net Galley, so I hope to review it soon.


Homo Deus Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionHomo Deus: A Brief History Of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

Published: February 21st 2017

Kindle    Paperback    Hardcover

Yuval Noah Harari’s previous book Sapiens is still on my reading list, but I’m going to add Homo Deus to it anyways. I think I’ll read both as soon as I can review them in a single post. While in Sapiens, Harari detailed the history of the human species through technological and ideological revolutions from our prehistoric origins to the present day, in Homo Deus Harari turns to humanity’s future and takes a more philosophical bend to his writing. Harari postulates that humans are now relatively in control of large-scale forces that used to shape our destiny as a species (like famine, plague and war). I’m not so sure I agree with him, and I’m sure his view of this premise is explored in a nuanced way in the book. However, from this premise of relative stability for our species, Harari proceeds to investigate what the next challenges we will focus on may entail, from creating artificial life to continuing to prolong our existences past the current typical boundaries of mortality. Based on the more philosophical nature of Homo Deus I think I’ll prefer Sapiens, but we’ll see.


 

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Pachinko Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionPachinko 
by Min Jin Lee

Published: February 7th 2017

Kindle    Paperback    Hardcover

I was able to request Pachinko as my Book Of The Month selection for February 2017, so you’ll read my review in my monthly Book Of The Month post in early March. I’m a sucker for a sweeping cross-generational family saga, and unlike many of the ones I’ve read that were set in the United States or Europe, Pachinko has the added bonus of being set in Korea and Japan. The story follows a Korean family through several deades, as they are forced to transplant to Japan. As future generations grow up in exile and unfamiliar with their country of origin, they endure discrimination, catastrophe and poverty while carving a life for themselves in this new land. Min Jin Lee’s novel promises to explore universal questions of faith, family and identity that will prove relateable to all readers. And of course there’s the gorgeous cover to further recommend it.


A Separation Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionA Separation by Katie Kitamura

Published: February 7th 2017

Kindle    Paperback    Hardcover

I think I first heard of Katie Kitamura’s A Separation several months ago, on Modern Mrs. Darcy‘s blog or podcast. The novel has definitely enjoyed significant buzz well ahead of its release. I’ve recommended it to the LA library in the hope I’d be able to borrow it from there, but so far they haven’t purchased it. The plot sounds pretty original – a woman has decided to separate from her unfaithful husband and for the moment they are keeping their separation secret from the world. When she finds out that her husband has gone missing, she travels to the remote region of Southern Greece in which he disappeared to find him. Her search reveals secrets about her husband and her marriage that lead her to believe she knows even less about her husband than she thought. The novel has already been selected to be adapted into a movie.


Lincoln In The Bardo Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionLincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders

Published: February 14th 2017

Kindle    Paperback    Hardcover

I have to be honest that when I first read the plot of Lincoln In The Bardo, it sounded like a pretty weird story. The excellent Goodreads reviews convinced me to give the novel a spot in this monthly book release post, though I’m still ambivalent about whether to put in the time to read it. The author, George Saunders, is best known for his short story collection Tenth Of December, but this is his first novel. Set during the Civil War, it follows the death of President Lincoln’s 11 year-old son Willie. When Lincoln visits Willie’s crypt in the Georgetown cemetery shortly after Willie’s death, he is visited by ghosts both recently passed and long-dead. Weaving elements of historical fiction, magical realism, fantasy and even humor, Lincoln In The Bardo sounds like nothing I’ve ever read before. Just for that I may have to give it a shot.


We Were The Lucky Ones Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionWe Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

Published: February 14th 2017

Kindle    Paperback    Hardcover

This is a classic World War II historical fiction novel, following a family of Polish Jews who are separated and flung into very different paths as they all attempt to survive the war and reunite after its end. Spanning five continents and six years, this epic saga moves from the jazz clubs of Paris to the ports of Northern Africa, as one sibling of the Kurc family is forced into exile, others attempt to flee and some try to hide as gentiles in plain site under Nazi rule. Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves gave it 4 stars in her review on Goodreads and I definitely trust her book taste. We Were The Lucky Ones is currently available for request on Net Galley – I’m waiting to see if I’ll be granted a review copy myself.


The Fortunate Ones Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionThe Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky

Published: February 14th 2017

Kindle    Hardcover

I was intrigued by the plot description of The Fortunate Ones because the story moves from World War II Vienna to present day Los Angeles, connecting two women through the decades and across an ocean. Rose Zimmer is sent by her parents to safety in England at the onset of World War II, and at the end of the war she has to build a new life for herself without her parents. Craving any memory of home, Rose sets on a mission to find a painting her family used to own that her mother loved. Through time the painting found its way to America, were it was stolen from Lizzie Goldstein’s house during a teenage party. Now an adult, Lizzie returns home for her father’s funeral and the search for the painting brings Lizzie and Rose together in an unlikely friendship. Sounds like a complex story, which, if woven together in the right way could prove really moving.


A Piece Of The World Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionA Piece Of The World by Christina Baker Kline

Published: February 21st 2017

Kindle    Paperback    Hardcover

This historical fiction novel by the author of bestseller Orphan Train blends fact with fiction by delving into the real story of Christina Olson, a woman who grew up in a remote farm in Maine and who became the inspiration for artist Andrew Wyeth and his paintings of rural American life. In a fictional portrayal of Christina’s life and her relationship with the artist, Baker Kline explores the hardships Christina endured due to a physical illness that left her crippled, and due to the absence of opportunities that left her shackled to her family’s farm. One Goodreads five star review described it as “a powerful story of family, commitment, hardship, sacrifice, loss, and love” and it’s rated as highly as Baker Kline’s prior novel Orphan Train on the website.


Dreamland Burning Book Cover On Novels And NonfictionDreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Published: February 21st 2017

Kindle   Hardcover

Dreamland Burning is another historical novel that connects two unlikely characters across different time periods. Rowan Chase is a biracial teenage girl living in a house in present-day Tulsa who finds a skeleton on her family’s property. The skeleton ends up being connected to the story of William Tillman, a teenager of the same age who grew up in Tulsa a century before. As Rowan looks into the origins of the skeleton and William’s story is revealed, the two narratives intertwine with the real events of the 1921 race riot in Tulsa and bring to light America’s history of racial discrimination and its continuing problems with racial tensions in the present. This book can be categorized as YA because of the two teenage protagonists, but Goodreads reviewers agree that it’s a great read whether you are a YA aficionado or not.


What February 2017 releases are you looking forward to most?

You can also check out my previous posts on January 2017December 2016 and November 2016 releases for more recent recommendations.

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  20 comments for “14 February 2017 Releases I’m Excited To Read #BookRelease

  1. February 6, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for bringing these books to our attention! The only author from your list that I have read is George Saunders (some of his short stories.) His style is unlike anything I’ve ever read (in a good way). Don’t let the weirdness put you off; he is weird in a good way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 6, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      That’s good to hear Debra – I definitely thought the book description from Lincoln In The Bardo was not my usual fare but good to hear that others recommend Saunders’ writing.

      Like

  2. February 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Wow awesome books coming!!

    Happy Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. February 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Great list! I chose Pachinko this month too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. February 7, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    As a mother, I’m always interested in learning more about how social media impacts our lives. My kids are growing up with it, and I worry about what that means. So, looking forward to hear more about “The Happiness Effect”. Although, I’m pretty sure it’s not about to give me the real answers I’m looking for!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. February 7, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Wow! There are a ton of new releases in February. I am surprised mostly due to show short a month February is. I just cannot keep up with all the new releases I want to read… Hit Makers and Lincoln in the Bardo are both on my TBR. The latter I hear has a killer audiobook being put together. If only we could keep up with all the wonderful books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 10, 2017 at 12:14 am

      I’ll have to review Hit Makers so you can decide if you want to read it 🙂 Hopefully I can get to it soon because my Net Galley review percentage is at only 40% at the moment lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • February 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        Ugh, tell me about it. My NetGalley % is around there too. It didn’t help that I accidentally reserved the final book in a series twice. 🙄 Now I’m reading all the books leading up to that point. I’ll fix it some day…

        Liked by 1 person

      • February 14, 2017 at 11:03 pm

        Oh man! I try to avoid series but I’ve had the first Outlander book sitting on my shelf staring at me for months.

        Liked by 1 person

      • February 15, 2017 at 2:25 pm

        You are stronger than I. I seem to always end up sucked into a series accidentally. It’s the reason Hillbilly Elegy is still sitting on my nightstand! The one down side to being in so many book clubs…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. February 19, 2017 at 4:43 am

    The first three books on your list are definitely ones I’m looking forward too! Books about happiness, about what makes things go viral, and about books will always appeal to me. I have mixed feelings about Homo Deus. I enjoyed the author’s first book, but this follow-up seems much more speculative. If you pick up any of the fascinating nonfiction on your list, I’ll be excited to hear what you think!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 19, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      I’m reading Cannibalism right now and it’s pretty awesome. Definitely for true science-buffs but hugely entertaining.

      Like

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