Would you look at this — it’s 2023. Even more intriguingly, there are a whole bunch of new books due out this year. 2023 is off to an excellent start, we’d argue, with a couple of books we’ve been looking forward to reading for years. This month brings with it an impressive assortment of styles, including formally inventive poetry and politically incisive tales of the uncanny. What are we most excited about? Read on to find out.
Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco, K. Iver
(Jan. 10, Milkweed Editions)
First off, that’s a great title. Second, Tyehimba Jess chose K. Iver’s new book for the 2022 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry. The works contained within these covers encompass everything from allusions to folktales to lived-in depictions of Southern life; the result is a wholly immersive literary work — and one you won’t soon forget.
The Diaries of Franz Kafka, Franz Kafka; translated by Ross Benjamin
(Jan. 10, Schoken)
We’re going to guess that you’re probably familiar with the life and work of one Franz Kafka already. Does the idea of finding out more about what he was writing when he wasn’t writing bizarre tales that changed literature forever intrigue you? Well then.
Your Kingdom, Eleni Sikelianos
(Jan. 10, Coffee House Press)
We’re longtime fans of Eleni Sikelianos’s poetry, and were thrilled to learn that she has a new book out this year. You can read the poem that gives this collection its title online, and it’s a rich and layered combination of insights and images; the kind of work that brilliantly gets under your skin. It also bodes very well for the book as a whole, we’d say.
Another Dimension of Us, Mike Albo
(Jan. 17, Penguin Workshop)
Mike Albo’s new book covers a lot of ground — from a young man’s coming of age in the 1980s to the discovery of an unorthodox method of time travel a few decades from now. We’re always up for a good high concept, and this one — blending traumatic recent history with supernatural beings and layered narratives — seems to have them in abundance.
Forbidden Notebook, Alba de Céspedes; translated by Ann Goldstein
(Jan. 17, Astra House)
Do you enjoy your mid-20th century fiction abounding with stories of people feeling hemmed in by societal strictures and familial pressures? This new translation of Alba de Céspedes’s novel Forbidden Notebook ventures into that realm, telling the story of a married woman’s gradual frustration with her life in post-World War II Italy.
How to Sell a Haunted House, Grady Hendrix
(Jan. 17, Berkeley)
Over the course of several novels, Grady Hendrix has established his skill at finding new spins on traditional horror tropes, from hunting vampires to demonic possession. He adds something else memorable into the mix as well, though — a penchant for deeply felt personal connections, something that comes to the forefront in this tale of a family and the haunted house that looms large for them.
Extended Stay, Juan Martinez
(Jan. 17, University of Arizona Press)
It’s been six years since the release of Juan Martinez’s collection Best Worst American, a book that we quite enjoyed. What’s next for Martinez? Turns out the answer is a novel about an emotionally vampiric sentient hotel that arises in the southwestern U.S. and the people who cross paths with it. And with a concept like that, it’s hard to resist delving in.
Tell Me I’m Worthless, Alison Rumfitt
(Jan. 17, Tor Nightfire)
Alison Rumfitt’s Tell Me I’m Worthless comes with blurbs from a whole lot of writers we admire, from Isabel Waidner to Paul Tremblay. Here, too, a mysterious building is at the center of the work — in this case, an abandoned house that’s left its mark on the novel’s protagonist. As debut novels go, this one looks especially searing.
Decent People, De’Shawn Charles Winslow
(Jan. 17, Bloomsbury)
Location can matter a lot when telling a specific story. The setting of De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s new novel — both geographically and temporally — matters a lot: it’s set in a still-segregated town in North Carolina in 1976. What happens when a nominally quiet town is shocked by a trio of murders? And what happens when a recent arrival sets out to learn the truth behind the killings? You’ll need to read this one to find out.
The Red-Headed Pilgrim, Kevin Maloney
(Jan. 24, Two Dollar Radio)
We loved Kevin Maloney’s previous book, Cult of Loretta, and have been eager to check out The Red-Headed Pilgrim ever since we first saw the book’s trailer. The narrator of this novel seeks happiness and enlightenment, two things that plenty of people have sought over the years. The method by which he goes about finding them, though — well, that’s where things get especially interesting.
Note: all cover artwork and release dates are subject to change.
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