January 2024’s Must-Read Book Releases

Featuring debut novels by Kaveh Akbar and Kate Brody, a history of trans misogyny by Jules Gill-Peterson, and a reexamination of 2000s tabloid culture by Sarah Ditum.

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Another month, another fresh set of book releases to devour. See NYLON’s monthly reading list, ahead.

Rabbit Hole by Kate Brody - Soho Crime, January 2

For anyone who's ever indulged in a late-night Reddit binge or has found themselves in the amateur sleuthing vortex of true crime junkies, Rabbit Hole follows a woman who becomes obsessed with solving the cold-case disappearance of her older sister. As a bonus: Kate Brody’s debut novel has already garnered praise from Literary It Girl Allie Rowbottom.

A psychological, moving novel that takes to task the very nature of storytelling, Nonfiction: A Novel follows two parents who powerlessly watch their only daughter try to destroy herself – causing the novelist mother, in an attempt to understand her daughter, revisit her own unresolved relationship with her mother. Schedule a therapy session in advance.

Sugar, Baby by Celine Saintclare - Bloomsbury, January 9

Celine Saintclare’s propulsive and nuanced debut novel explores sex, race, and class, telling the story of Agnes, a 21-year-old mixed race woman who becomes enmeshed in the world of London sugar babies, who date wealthy older men for money.

The Best You Can Do by Amina Gautier - Soft Skull, January 16

This joyful, nostalgic, and intimate short story collection follows women and children in the Northeast U.S. with ties to their families in Puerto Rico, exploring the psychological and cultural confusion of being moored in two places.

Based on the film series helmed by Elizabeth Teets at Portland, Oregon’s Hollywood Theater, this smart and heartfelt essay collection celebrates everything from Jawbreaker to Romy and Michele to Legally Blonde, cataloging and celebrating some of the greatest comedic geniuses of cinema.

Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino - Farrar, Straus & Giroux, January 16

This poignant and funny novel follows Adina, an alien who sends faxes to her home planet, describing everything from the TV show Cheers to hair products to fitness culture. Despite being distinctly alien, Adina makes a home for herself — until a friend urges her to share her messages with the world to see if she might not be as alone as she thinks.

Lea Carpenter’s third book is a Trojan horse of a spy novel set in the dark world of international espionage but at its core is a psychological study of a young British woman who finds herself, unwittingly, the perfect asset.

City of Laughter by Temim Fruchter - Grove Atlantic, January 16

This debut novel follows a young queer Jewish woman who, in the wake of her first queer heartbreak and grieving the death of her father, travels to Poland to follow her family’s origin story only to discover a thicket of secrets.

Bad Foundations by Brian Allen Carr - Clash Books, January 17

From the author of cult favorite Opioid, Indiana comes an absurdist, tongue-in-cheek working class novel following a laidback home inspector whose life is totally falling apart.

Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar - Penguin Random House, January 23

The debut novel by celebrated poet Kaveh Akbar follows Cyrus, an orphaned, newly sober son of Iranian immigrants who seeks out a terminally ill painter living out her final days at the Brooklyn Museum, in a search of a family secret. It’s razor sharp, viciously funny, and the kind of touching that brings you closer to the heart of the world.

Last Acts by Alexander Sammartino - Scribner, January 23

The absurdism of American is on display in Alexander Sammartino’s debut novel, which follows a father and son, who, after the son’s hear-fatal overdose, uses the near-tragedy to make a compelling commercial for the father’s gun emporium, in a high stakes scheme to ward off bankruptcy.

Broughtupsy by Christina Cooke - Catapult, January 23

In Christina Cooke’s profound debut novel, a young, queer Jamaican woman travels from Canada to her ancestral homeland to reunite with her estranged sister to spread the ashes of their deceased younger brother. Once there, she meets a stripper who shows her a different side of the city, as well as a different way of being a gay woman in Jamaica.

The mid-aughts were a terrible time to be a teen idol. We will never forget the New York Post’s infamous “Bimbo Summit” headline featuring a photograph of Lindsay, Paris, and Britney, just like we’ll never forget the wrath of Perez Hilton, or Britney losing it on a paparazzi who just wouldn’t leave her alone. But in the last few years, the culture has seen a moment of reckoning of that era that was so hostile to young women. Now, Sarah Ditum reexamines the lives of nine female celebrities in the 2000s, and the sexist, exploitative culture that took them down.

Historian Jules Gill-Peterson tackles why trans women are burdened by so much violence and hatred, as she traces the history of trans misogyny through the colonial and military districts of the British Raj, the Philippines, and Hawai’i to the lively travesti communities of Latin America, as she explores the emergence of trans feminity, the sex work indsutry, and the policing of urban public spaces.

Come and Get It by Kiley Reid - Penguin Random House, January 30

Kiley Reid’s 20121 novel Such A Fun Age still occupies space in my brain for its incisive brilliance. Reid’s highly-anticipated second novel Come and Get It tackles themes of consumption and reckless abandon, following an RA at the University of Arkansas in 2017, who gets into a messy entanglement with a professor and three unruly students.

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