10 Best New Books To Read This January From ‘Succession’ Star Brian Cox, Historian Stephen Harrigan, Hanya Yanagihara & More



If you’ve decided to read more books this year, why not start with one? Notable new books for January include a coming-of-age novel by Texan author Stephen Harrigan and a memoir by “Estate” star Brian Cox.

“Olga dies dreaming”, Xochitl Gonzalez (Flatiron Books, $ 27.99): Gonzalez is an Iowa Writers Workshop graduate and one-off wedding planner. She therefore brings her expertise and her writing skills, as well as a salty language, to her first novel. It’s about Olga, a Brooklyn-born wedding planner with New York City’s elite, who in the words of her nasty cousin, “can help all brides, she just can’t have a groom.” . Gonzalez also goes beyond what you might expect from a romantic comedy about the cultural and political history of Olga’s Puerto Rican family, from the activist group Young Lords to the fallout from Hurricane Maria. On sale now.

“The Perfect Escape”, Leah Konen (Large paperback Putnam’s Sons, $ 17): Young adult author Konen successfully made the jump to adult thrillers with “All the Broken People” in 2020. She’s back with this obviously ironic title novel that seems custom made to be adapted into a twisted miniseries. Divorced friends Sam, Margaret and Diana are on their way for a weekend in the Catskills when their car breaks down in a remote town. Soon, Diana disappears, an ex-boyfriend appears, and all kinds of buried secrets are revealed. On sale now.

“In paradise”, Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday, $ 32.50): “A Little Life,” Yanagihara’s 2015 novel, was a National Book Award finalist and made it to more than one Top 10 at the end of the year. Expect similar praise for “To Paradise,” which tells three related thematic stories, each set around the turn of the century. The book begins with an alternate history of New York in 1893; goes to 1993, around the time AIDS became the leading cause of death among young Americans; then jumps into a totalitarian nightmare in 2093. The British newspaper The Guardian describes it as “an impressive and significant novel”. On sale Tuesday.

“How far we go in the dark”, Sequoia Nagamatsu (HarperCollins, $ 27.99): How long has the virus been in the air? It appears to have infected writers before it impacted the general population. Nagamatsu was reviewing his manuscript, about a raging plague when archaeologists unearthed the 30,000-year-old remains of a girl in Siberia when COVID-19 hit. In a series of related stories in his novel, he follows the continuing impact of the Arctic plague, from high-rise funeral homes to escape plans to an alternate Earth where the plague has been cured. The book is steeped in sentiment as humanity struggles for survival while facing endless and unimaginable grief. On sale January 18.

“The leopard is coward”, Stephen Harrigan (Knopf, $ 26): Author, reporter, and screenwriter Harrigan continues his sprawling Texas story, “Big Wonderful Thing,” with something entirely different. “The Leopard Is Loose” is a coming-of-age tale set in 1950s Oklahoma. It centers on 5-year-old Grady McClarty, who lost his fighter pilot father in Grade 12. World War. His mother and uncles, both combat veterans, do their best to raise him while dealing with their post-war trauma. Lots of pent up emotions are unleashed when a leopard escapes from the Oklahoma City Zoo – an actual event that has created three days of panic in the city. On sale January 18.

“House of the Devil”, John Darnielle (MCD Books, $ 28): As the frontman of indie rock band Mountain Goats, John Darnielle has been one of the most critically acclaimed songwriters of the 21st century. His reputation as a literary horror writer may soon eclipse his fame as a musician. “Devil House” is his third novel, following National Book Award nominee “Wolf in White Van” and “Universal Harvester,” in which terror blankets a farming town in Iowa like snow. “Devil House” tells the story of a true crime perpetrator who moves into a house that has been the scene of two murders, allegedly with satanic overtones. On sale January 25.

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“The Method of the Good Life”, Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko (Penguin Press, $ 28): For those looking for a self-help guide at the start of the New Year, philosophy professors Sullivan and Blaschko recommend skipping diet books and pop psychology for Aristotle and Thomas of Aquin. Their book is based on a class they teach at the University of Notre Dame called God and the Good Life. The proven principles they articulate include living generously, working with integrity, and accepting responsibility. Looking around, it’s clear that all of this is easier said than done, but the payoff promised in the title of the book – the good life – is well worth it. On sale now.

“Put the rabbit in the hat”, Brian Cox (Grand Central Publishing, $ 29): HBO’s hit “Succession” made a household name for Scottish actor Brian Cox, who plays the patriarch of the wealthy and miserable Logan family. Before that, he was one of those actors whose face, if not his name, you know from dozens of TV shows and movies. He was Hannibal Lecter before Anthony Hopkins in “Manhunter” and won an Emmy for the miniseries “Nuremberg”. Before that, he survived an impoverished childhood that could have been written by Dickens. In his new memoir, Cox covers it all with “pungent honesty,” according to Publishers Weekly. On sale January 18.

“Man with the Camera”, Dana Stevens (Atria Books, $ 29): While he may not be as well-known as Charlie Chaplin, critics hold silent comedian Buster Keaton with equal esteem based on films such as “The General” and “Sherlock Jr”. Film critic Dana Stevens goes beyond Keaton’s on-screen work in her biography “Camera Man” and links it to the history of cinema, born the same year as the actor, and to developments in American society. In her introduction, Stevens calls Keaton a “human projectile launched into the twentieth century,” and it follows his flight from 1895, the year of his birth, to 1966, the year of his death in a country profoundly transformed. On sale January 25.

“South of America”, Imani Perry ($ 28.99, Ecco): Perry, professor of African American studies at Princeton University, returns to his roots – and those of the country – in his new book, An Exploration of the Southern United States. Originally from Alabama, she considers the history and culture of the region which are associated, but obviously not entirely defined by, the Confederacy, Jim Crow laws and SEC football. “The consequence of truncating the South and relegating it to a remote corner is a misunderstanding of its power in American history,” writes Perry in his introduction. On sale January 25.

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