Books of the Month: February 2024

February 2024 Book recommendations

We’re not going to lie: we’re pretty excited for what February has in store for us, books-wise. (We’d even think this if one of our editors didn’t have a novel due out in the second month of 2024.) This month has it all: new books by longtime favorites, a terrific example of punk lit, and a thoughtful work on the state of labor to cap it all off. Here’s a glimpse of what we’re excited about circa now.

"Roxy and Coco"

Terese Svoboda, Roxy and Coco
(Feb. 1, West Virginia University Press)

Terese Svoboda has written about pirates, chronicled her own family history, and riffed on Willa Cather. What’s next? Clearly the next logical step involves a novel about harpies working day jobs and meting out vigilante justice. Svoboda’s bibliography is memorably restless, and this looks like a grand and visceral addition to it.

"In the Sight"

Tobias Carroll, In the Sight
(Feb. 5, Whisk(e)y Tit)

Do you like weird road novels? Do you enjoy the music of Destroyer? How about a weird road novel inspired by the music of Destroyer? Because that’s what this is, with a side order of DIY brain alteration.

"Cahokia Jazz"

Francis Spufford, Cahokia Jazz
(Feb. 6, Scribner)

In which the aesthetically wide-ranging bibliography of Francis Spufford gets a new addition: a detective novel set in an alternate 20th century. The last time we read a book with that description it was Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union; we have high hopes for this one, which offers a window onto a 1920s that never were.

"Corey Fah Does Social Mobility"

Isabel Waidner, Corey Fah Does Social Mobility
(Feb. 6, Graywolf Press)

Trying to describe Isabel Waidner’s fiction is challenging, in that they take narrative risks that most writers wouldn’t dare attempt. Waidner’s new novel includes a quest for a shape-shifting literary award and ominous-sounding time loops, all of which seems to be appropriately head-spinning.

"The Hammer"

Hamilton Nolan, The Hammer: Power, Inequality, and the Struggle for the Soul of Labor
(Feb. 13, Hachette)

In recent years, Hamilton Nolan has become one of the essential voices to read on all things labor-related. As a wise man once said: “the cause of labour is the hope of the world.” Nolan’s new book serves an apt reminder of that, and explains the current challenges facing organized labor in the 21st century.

"Neighbors and Other Stories"

Diane OliverNeighbors and Other Stories
(Feb. 13, Grove Press)

In 2022, the Bitter Southerner published a powerfully-written article by Michael A. Gonzales about the late Diane Oliver, whose work combined incisive explorations of race in America with a powerful dose of the uncanny. Oliver’s death at the age of 22 cut short the kind of literary career that could have had a seismic impact. This new collection offers a testament of the work she left behind.

"I Heard Her Call My Name"

Lucy Sante, I Heard Her Call My Name
(Feb. 13, Penguin Press)

We have yet to encounter a subject that Lucy Sante has not written about in a less-than-fascinating way. When that subject is Sante herself, as is the case with this new memoir, we’re even more eager to sit down with the book and see what she has to say.

"I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both"

Mariah Stovall, I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both
(Feb. 13, Soft Skull Press)

If you title your novel after a Jawbreaker song, odds are good that you’ll get our attention. Given that this book is by Sunday Stories alumnus Mariah Stovall, we’re even more intrigued — especially given that is is a novel that has plenty to say about how music can reshape our lives and the lives of those around us.


Summer Brenner, Dust
(Feb. 15, Spuyten Duyvil)

In her new memoir Dust, Summer Brenner chronicles her fraught family history — including, but not limited to, her brother’s struggles with mental illness and Brenner’s own departure from her Southern home in search of personal and artistic fulfillment. It’s a candid and unpredictable coming-of-age tale.

"King Nyx"

Kirsten Bakis, King Nyx
(Feb. 27, Liveright)

Kirsten Bakis’s debut, Lives of the Monster Dogs, is like nothing else you’ll read this year or any other. And now she’s followed that up with a novel set against the backdrop of a fraught marriage in the year 1918. Throw in mysterious disappearances, paranoid thinking, and spectral apparitions and you have a compelling work that takes Bakis’s bibliography in bold new directions.

"Wandering Stars"

Tommy Orange, Wandering Stars
(Feb. 27, Knopf)

Speaking of eagerly-anticipated follow-ups: Tommy Orange’s new book chronicles the effects of historical trauma on multiple generations of one family. Readers of Orange’s previous novel, the acclaimed There There, will note some connections between the two books, expanding the scope of Orange’s fictional universe.


Note: all cover artwork and release dates are subject to change.

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