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9 New Books We Think You'll Love

Some of our recent favorites, as reviewed in the BuzzFeed Books newsletter.

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 2:27 p.m. ET

Posted on February 6, 2018, at 12:07 p.m. ET

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1. Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar

Alice James Books, Charles Bakofsky

Kaveh Akbar’s stunning debut poetry collection Calling a Wolf a Wolf tackles its heavy subjects — alcoholism, sobriety, faith — with eloquence and gorgeous imagery, yet also with brazen honesty. Akbar’s insightful lines are powerful in their intimacy and raw emotionality; the pain of addiction and recovery truly comes to life on the page though Akbar’s voice. Yet Calling A Wolf A Wolf often manages to be as inspiring as it can be heartbreaking. An illuminating, beautifully written collection. —Jarry Lee

Get it from Amazon for $11.56, Barnes and Noble for $12.12, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

2. The Power by Naomi Alderman

Little, Brown and Company, naomialderman.com

What would happen if, one day, we woke up to a world in which women were the ones with all the power? This is the idea that the dystopian novel The Power by Naomi Alderman explores, both figuratively and literally. In the gripping novel, teenage girls and women suddenly find that they can shoot intense electrical shocks out of their hands and can cause intense pain — even death — with just a movement. This new physical power manifests into political and societal power for women, and Alderman shows us what the new world looks like through four main characters, who each represent a different way the new power can be used (or abused). Alderman’s razor-sharp tone provides a critical look at gender dynamics in a way you cannot ignore, and she doesn’t shy away from exploring both the good and ugly sides of newfound power. Alderman rejects the stereotype that women are inherently sweeter and more nurturing than men, and in this post-Weinstein scandal world we live in, it’s fascinating to take a look at what could happen if the patriarchy crumbled. —Ciera Velarde

Get it from Amazon for $13.23, Barnes and Noble for $21.52, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

3. Elmet by Fiona Mozley

Algonquin, Twitter: @FJMoz

Fiona Mozley's debut novel Elmet is hypnotic and atmospheric, narrated by a 13-year-old boy who lives with his sister and father in a house (built by his father) deep in the woods of remote Britain. Their lives are simple, self-sufficient, and even idyllic, in a gothic sort of way — their father tends to go away for brief periods of time on vaguely dangerous missions. When a villainous landowner steps in and threatens everything, though, he sets off a series of events which culminate in a reckoning, revealing a history of violence, oppression, survival, and the occult. Mozley's writing is lyrical and evocative. BUT, American readers: if words like "squaddy" and "barney" read like a foreign language, you might want to keep a dictionary close by. —Arianna Rebolini

Get it from Amazon for $10.97, Barnes and Noble for $12.37, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

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4. Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing

Haymarket Books, Daniel Barlow

Eve L. Ewing’s collection Electric Arches melds poetry and prose, magic realism and memory, in an exploration of what it’s like to grow up as a black woman in America. Ewing brings the Chicago of her childhood to life, but also envisions the future (taking readers to an alien invasion!). Imaginative and magnetic, Electric Arches feels as lush as life itself while also offering insight into identity and growing up, and reads like a love letter to Chicago that shows the magic that was always there. —Jarry Lee

Get it from Amazon for $10.87, Barnes and Noble for $11.40, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

5. They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib

Two Dollar Radio, abdurraqib.com

Hanif Abdurraqib’s essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us critiques our culture and politics through the lens of music. Lyrical but poignant, Abdurraqib’s essays make sharp observations about current events and pop culture as well as his experiences being black and Muslim in the US. A wholly refreshing, insightful, and powerful collection. —Jarry Lee

Get it from Amazon for $13.76, Barnes and Noble for $14.10, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

6. The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce

Riverhead, Andrew Owen

What happens after we die? In Thomas Pierce’s humorous, heartfelt debut novel The Afterlives, Jim Byrd becomes obsessed with trying to answer exactly that after he dies — for a few minutes — from a heart attack at age 30. Using everything from psychics to a futuristic machine that connects the living and the dead, Jim embarks on an investigation into the nature of the afterlife. Part love story, part ghost story, part sci-fi, The Afterlives is one man’s journey to discover answers to increasingly bigger questions about human existence; a unique and thought-provoking read. —Jarry Lee

Get it from Amazon for $16.26, Barnes and Noble for $18.70, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

7. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnussen

Simon & Schuster, Alexander Mahmoud

Okay, so, don't be put off by the title. Yes, this book is technically about Swedish death cleaning (i.e. cleaning after someone's death or in preparation of your own) and yes, it's written by a woman aged, in her own words, "between eighty and a hundred" who talks frankly about her own death, but — BUT! — it also one of the most charming, funny, and motivating books I've read in some time. Margareta Magnusson's advice is applicable to anyone who wants to minimize, or just organize, and she understands that you don't have to be in the twilight of your life to reap the benefits. (And, well, death has a habit of being unpredictable, and this book asks you to think about what you would leave behind if the terrible happened — it's an enlightening thought and inventory exercise.) All that said, Magnusson is an absolute delight. This book is so much more than lifestyle tips. It's full of life. Magnusson's candid humor and unassailable spirit comes through on each page. See: "Save your favorite dildo—but throw away the other fifteen!" Or: "Men don't think like I do, but they should. They, too, can be in the way." The best way to prepare for death is to live a good life, which Magnusson has done. We're lucky that she shares so much of it — in stories of gratitude, family, work, and love — in these 100 pages. —Arianna Rebolini

Get it from Amazon for $12.19, Barnes and Noble for $13.54, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

8. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

Riverhead, Claire Holt

In Sigrid Nunez’s moving new novel The Friend, a woman’s mentor and best friend kills himself, and she reluctantly must take in his dog Apollo, a Great Dane. The two form an unlikely bond in their shared grief — which Apollo expresses by throwing his large, aging body onto the bed — and she becomes increasingly devoted to him, even as she faces eviction from her cramped apartment for violating the terms of her strict lease. Often as funny as it is thoughtful, The Friend is an elegant meditation on grief, friendship, healing, and the bonds between humans and dogs. —Jarry Lee

Get it from Amazon for $16.51, Barnes and Noble for $17.17, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

9. Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

Penguin, miratlee.com

Everything Here Is Beautiful is a stunning story about the far reaches, and breakdowns, of family bonds. In her debut novel, Mira T. Lee writes about Chinese-American sisters Lucy and Miranda Bok, the former living with schizoaffective disorder, the latter living with the weight (inherited, but also self-imposed) of caring for her. As Lucy struggles to stay in one place at one time — jumping from the East Village to Westchester to Ecuador, with stints at hospitals in between — she creates and abandons families along the way, working to understand her own agency and desires. I always get a little nervous when reading about mental illness from a writer who doesn't live with it, but Lee writes Lucy with care, nuance, and generosity. In fact, it's Lucy's voice which fills this book with life; it's Lucy's voice which made me fall in love with this book and then thrust it on my friends and loved ones. —Arianna Rebolini

Get it from Amazon for $17.10, Barnes and Noble for $17.96, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.

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