Start Your 2022 Reading List
Happy New Year! As we launch into 2022, we are excited to share some wonderful new books this year. You can pre-order these wonderful reads now. And stay tuned for more exciting books throughout the year.
Honor by Thrity Umrigar
In this riveting and immersive novel, bestselling author Thrity Umrigar tells the story of two couples and the sometimes dangerous and heartbreaking challenges of love across a cultural divide.
Indian American journalist Smita has returned to India to cover a story, but reluctantly: long ago she and her family left the country with no intention of ever coming back. As she follows the case of Meena—a Hindu woman attacked by members of her own village and her own family for marrying a Muslim man—Smita comes face to face with a society where tradition carries more weight than one’s own heart, and a story that threatens to unearth the painful secrets of Smita’s own past. While Meena’s fate hangs in the balance, Smita tries in every way she can to right the scales. She also finds herself increasingly drawn to Mohan, an Indian man she meets while on assignment. But the dual love stories of Honor are as different as the cultures of Meena and Smita themselves: Smita realizes she has the freedom to enter into a casual affair, knowing she can decide later how much it means to her.
In this tender and evocative novel about love, hope, familial devotion, betrayal, and sacrifice, Thrity Umrigar shows us two courageous women trying to navigate how to be true to their homelands and themselves at the same time.
Honor is available January 4. Pre-order today!
Perpetual West by Mesha Maren
The riveting, brilliant new novel by the critically-acclaimed author of Sugar Run, Perpetual West is a brilliant and evocative story of borders–between the United States and Mexico, between lovers, and between facets of the self.
When Alex and Elana move from smalltown Virginia to El Paso, they are just a young married couple, intent on a new beginning. Mexican by birth but adopted by white American Pentecostal parents, Alex is hungry to learn about the place where he was born. He spends every free moment across the border in Juárez–perfecting his Spanish, hanging with a collective of young activists, and studying lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) for his graduate work in sociology. Meanwhile Elana, busy fighting her own demons, feels disillusioned by academia and has stopped going to class. And though they are best friends, Elana has no idea that Alex has fallen in love with Mateo, a lucha libre fighter.
When Alex goes missing and Elana can’t determine whether he left of his own accord or was kidnapped, it’s clear that neither of them has been honest about who they are. Spanning their journey from Virginia to Texas to Mexico, Mesha Maren’s thrilling follow-up to Sugar Run takes us from missionaries to wrestling matches to a luxurious cartel compound, and deep into the psychic choices that shape our identities. A sweeping novel that tells us as much about our perceptions of the United States and Mexico as it does about our own natures and desires, Perpetual West is a fiercely intelligent and engaging look at the false divide between high and low culture, and a suspenseful story of how harrowing events can bring our true selves to the surface.
Perpetual West is out January 25. Pre-order today!
Calling for a Blanket Dance by Oscar Hokeah
A moving and deeply engaging debut novel about a young Native American man struggling to find strength in his familial identity, from a stellar new voice in literary fiction.
Told in a series of voices, Calling for a Blanket Dance takes us into the life of Ever Geimausaddle through the multigenerational perspectives of his family as they soldier through a myriad of difficulties: his father’s sudden kidney failure and subsequent disability, his mother’s struggle to hold on to her job and care for her husband, the constant resettlement of the family, and Ever’s own bottled-up rage at the instability all around him. Meanwhile, all of Ever’s relatives have ideas about who he is and who he should be. His Cherokee grandmother urges the family to move across the state to find security; his dying grandfather hopes to reunite him with his heritage through traditional gourd dances; his Kiowa cousin reminds him that he’s connected to an ancestral past. And once an adult, Ever must take the strength given to him by his relatives to save not only himself, but also the next generation of family.
How will this young man visualize a place for himself when the world hasn’t given him a place to start with? Honest, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, Calling for a Blanket Dance is the story of how Ever Geimausaddle found his way to home.
Calling for a Blanket Dance is out July 26. Pre-order today!
Jackie & Me by Louis Bayard
Bestselling author Louis Bayard is back with a brilliantly wrought, witty, and sensitive novel about the young Jacqueline Bouvier before she became that Jackie–and about a marriage that almost never happened.
In the spring of 1951, debutante Jacqueline Bouvier, working as the Inquiring Photographer for the Washington Times-Herald, meets Jack Kennedy, a charming Congressman from a notorious and powerful family, at a party in Washington, DC. Young, rebellious, eager to break free from her mother, Jackie is drawn to the elusive young politician, and soon she and Jack are bantering over secret dinner dates and short work phone calls. Jack, busy with House duties during the week and Senate campaigning on the weekend (as well as his other now-well-known extracurricular activities) convinces his best friend and fixer, Lem Billings, to court Jackie on his behalf. Only gradually does Jackie begin to realize that she is being groomed to be the perfect political wife, whether Jack is interested in settling down or not.
Taking place mostly during the spring and summer before Jack and Jackie’s wedding, and narrated by an older Lem as he looks back at his own relationship with the Kennedys and his role in this complicated marriage, Jackie & Me is a searching story about a young woman of a certain class with narrow options, two people who loved each other, and two people who realized too late that they devoted their lives to Jack at their own expense. Sharply written, steeped in the era and with witty appearances by members of the extended Kennedy clan, this is Jackie as never before seen, in a story about love, sacrifice, friendship, and betrayal.
Jackie & Me is out June 14. Pre-order today!
Metropolis by B.A. Shapiro
This masterful novel of psychological suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger follows a cast of unforgettable characters whose lives intersect when a harrowing accident occurs at the Metropolis Storage Warehouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
But was it really an accident? Was it suicide? A murder? Six mysterious characters, who rent units in, or are connected to, the self-storage facility, must now reevaluate their lives. We meet Serge, an unstable but brilliant street photographer who lives in his unit, which overflows with thousands of undeveloped pictures; Zach, the building’s owner, who develops Serge’s photos as he searches for clues to the accident; Marta, an undocumented immigrant who is finishing her dissertation and hiding from ICE; Liddy, an abused wife and mother, who recreates her children’s bedroom in her unit; Jason, who has left his corporate firm and now practices law from his storage unit; and Rose, the office manager, who takes kickbacks to let renters live in the building and has her own complicated family history.
The characters have a variety of backgrounds: they are different races; they practice different religions; they’re young and they’re not so young; they are rich, poor, and somewhere in the middle. As they dip in and out of one another’s lives, fight circumstances that are within and also beyond their control, and try to discover the details of the accident, Shapiro both dismantles the myth of the American dream and builds tension to an exciting climax.
Metropolis is out May 17. Pre-order today!
Healing: When A Nurse Becomes a Patient by Theresa Brown
New York Times bestselling author Theresa Brown tells a poignant, powerful, and intensely personal story about breast cancer. She brings us along with her from the mammogram that would change her life through her diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Despite her training and years of experience as an oncology and hospice nurse, she finds herself continually surprised by the lack of compassion in the medical maze–just as so many of us have. Why is she expected to wait over a long weekend
to hear the results of her cancer tests if they are ready? Where is the empathy from caregivers? Why is she so often left in the dark about procedures and treatments? At times she’s mad at herself for not speaking up and asking for what she needs but knows that being labeled a “difficult” patient could mean she gets worse care.
As she did in her book The Shift, Brown draws us into her work with the unforgettable details of her daily life–the needles, the chemo drugs, the rubber gloves, the frustrated patients–but from her new perch as a patient, she also takes a look back with rare candor at some of her own cases as a nurse and considers what she didn’t know then and what she could have done better.
Healing is out April 12, 2022. Pre-order today!
Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything by Kelly Weill
Since 2015, there has been a spectacular boom in a nearly two-hundred-year-old delusion–the idea that we all live on a flat plane, under a solid dome, ringed by an impossible wall of ice. It is the ultimate in conspiracy theories, a wholesale rejection of everything we know to be true about the world in which we live. Where did this idea come from? Weill draws a straight line from today’s conspiratorial moment back to the early days of Flat Earth theory in the 1830s, showing the human impulses behind divergences in belief. Faced with a complicated world out of our individual control, we naturally seek patterns to explain the inexplicable. The only difference between then and now? Social media. And, powered by Facebook and YouTube algorithms, the Flat Earth movement is growing.
At once a definitive history of the movement and a readable look at its expansive, absurd, and dangerous present, Off the Edge introduces us to a cast of larger-than-life characters, from 19th-century grifters to 20th-century small-town tyrants to the provocateurs of Alex Jones’s early-aughts internet, whose rancor sowed the early seeds of our modern division. We accompany Weill to Flat Earther conferences, where we meet moms on vacation, determined creationists, scammy YouTube celebrities and their victims, neo-Nazi rappers, and even a man determined to fly into space in a homemade rocket-powered balloon–whose tragic death proves as senseless and absurd as the theory he set out to prove.
Incisive and clear-eyed, Off the Edge tells a powerful story about belief, exploring how we arrived at this moment of polarized realities and explaining what needs to happen so that we might all return to the same spinning globe.
Off the Edge is out February 22. Pre-order today!
Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us
Lauren Groff, Elizabeth Kolbert, Pam Houston, Pico Iyer, T Kira Madden, Gregory Pardlo, Maggie Shipstead, and Peter Orner are among the 65 writers who grapple with this mystery: How can an ephemeral encounter leave an eternal mark?
When Colleen Kinder put out a call for authors to “write a letter to a stranger who haunts you,” she opened the floodgates. The responses–intimate and addictive, all in the form of letters, all written in the second person–began pouring in. These short, insightful essays by today’s best literary minds are organized around such themes as Gratitude, Wonder, and Farewell, and guide us both across the globe and through the mysteries of human connection.
Bestselling author Leslie Jamison, who provides the foreword, reveals she has been haunted for years by a traveling magician she met in Nicaragua. Journalist Ted Conover writes his missive to a stranger he met on a New Yorker assignment in Rwanda. From the story of Vanessa Hua’s shoe shopper in China to the tale of Michelle Tea’s encounter in a Texas tattoo parlor, these pieces are replete with observations about how to live and what to seek, and how a stranger’s loaded glance, shared smile, or question posed can alter the course of our lives. Moving and unforgettable, Letter to a Stranger is an irresistible read for any literary traveler and the perfect gift for anyone who is haunted by a person they met once but will remember forever.
Letter to a Stranger is out March 22. Pre-order today!
Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by Kathryn Miles
A riveting deep dive into the unsolved murder of two free-spirited young women in the wilderness, a journalist’s obsession–and a new theory of who might have done it.
In May 1996, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were brutally murdered while backpacking in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, adjacent to the world-famous Appalachian Trail. The young women were skilled backcountry leaders and they had met–and fallen in love–the previous summer, while working at a world-renowned outdoor program for women. But despite an extensive joint investigation by the FBI, the Virginia police, and National Park Service experts, the case remained unsolved for years.
In early 2002 and in response to mounting political pressure, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he would be seeking the death penalty against Darrell David Rice—already in prison for assaulting another woman–in the first capital case tried under new, post-9/11 federal hate crime legislation. But two years later, the Department of Justice quietly suspended its case against Rice, and the investigation has since grown cold. Did prosecutors have the right person?
Journalist Kathryn Miles was a professor at Lollie Winans’s wilderness college in Maine when the 2002 indictment was announced. On the 20th anniversary of the murder, she began looking into the lives of these adventurous women–whose loss continued to haunt all who had encountered them–along with the murder investigation and subsequent case against Rice. As she dives deeper into the case, winning the trust of the victims’ loved ones as well as investigators and gaining access to key documents, Miles becomes increasingly obsessed with the loss of the generous and free-spirited Lollie and Julie, who were just on the brink of adulthood, and at the same time she discovers evidence of cover-ups, incompetence, and crime-scene sloppiness that seemed part of a larger problem in America’s pursuit of justice in national parks. She also becomes convinced of Rice’s innocence, and zeroes in on a different likely suspect.
Trailed: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders is a riveting, eye-opening, and heartbreaking work, offering a braided narrative about two remarkable women who were murdered doing what they most loved, the forensics of this cold case, and the surprising pervasiveness and long shadows cast by violence against women in the backcountry.
Trailed is out May 3. Pre-order today!
Stay tuned for more information about additional books from Algonquin coming in 2022. Happy New Year, and happy reading!