This Month in Adult Books: February 2024

Reading recommendations for adults
February 20, 2024
Featured Title
Book cover with colorful illustrations of flowers, fish and frogs with the title "The Great Divide" written in the center.The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez
The construction of the Panama Canal was one of the most consequential feats of engineering of the early 20th century. History often tells tales of the builders and the diplomats involved, but what of the other lives—the laborers and the local community? With lyrical prose, in this sweeping novel Henriquez reveals the untold blood, sweat and tears that forged the canal and the lingering effects of a brutal and devastating history of colonialism and exploitation in the region. With an unusual historical backdrop this deeply empathetic tale is a great choice for fans of historical fiction and book groups alike.

What's New This Month
Thriller readers have some excellent reading choices this spring such as Listen for the Lie, the adult debut of Amy Tintera, about a young woman who is haunted by rumors that she killed her best friend. Now a true crime podcast has renewed interest in the crime, throwing her life into turmoil again. Finding Sophie by Imran Mahmood is about two parents who take the search for their missing daughter into their own hands. When the main suspect is found dead, they become suspects themselves.
Nonfiction readers have a couple of excellent memoirs to choose from. In Grief is for People by Sloane Crosley, the author relates the aftermath of a home burglary and the loss of her friend to suicide in a series of essays structured around the stages of grief. In The Manicurist’s Daughter by Susan Lieu, a young woman searches for answers about her mother’s life years after her death in a botched operation.  
What's Hot This Month
If you enjoyed The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride you might enjoy these readalikes.  
What We Are Reading
Book cover with an art pop style photo of a woman's eyes with the title "Bright Young Women" written at the bottom.Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll (Audio, read by Sutton Foster, Imani Jade Powers)
A book that will make you feel unsettled, disturbed, absolutely furious, mesmerized, and awestruck at how the author reframed this type of story - it is an amazing read. A fictionalized account of the crimes of an infamous serial killer from the 1970’s (they are never named, except as The Defendant) told from the point of view of the women whose lives are forever changed by his actions. One is a sorority president, a witness to his presence the night two of her sisters were killed. The other, Ruth, is a woman he murdered years earlier in Washington state. You hear both the lead up to and the aftermath of the crimes, including a search for justice, which gives the book the feel of a thriller at the same time it explores the lifelong emotional trauma of survivors, the misogyny of American society, and its glorification of sociopaths. There is violence here (sensitive readers should use caution) but the focus on the aftermath makes for a much more powerful statement about its reality, especially for women. For fans of thrillers and/or true crime this is an absolute must read. It would be an excellent choice for book groups as well.
For More Reading Suggestions:
  • Reading the 2024 Oscar nominations from NYPL
  • The Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of 2024 from Crime Reads
  • The Best Book Club Books for 2024 from BookRiot
  • 2023 Recommended SciFi, Fantasy & Horror Reading + related Nonfiction from Locus
  • March 2024 List from IndieNext