Sara: Up From the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost
The seventh and final book in Frost’s vampire series finds vampire couple Cat and Bones desperate to find out the source of a leak that’s left four of Cat’s former CIA compatriots dead. Frost’s paranormal world has its own kind of internal logic, and a wide streak of black humor. And she can be damn romantic at times, too.
Joel: Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie
Not only am I convinced this is going to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel this year, I also think it deserves to. It’s possibly the most inventive and challenging space opera of the young decade.
Nicole: Parasite, by Mira Grant
The first installment of Grant’s Parasitology series is undoubtedly the most readable entry in the lucrative tapeworm-fiction genre to come out in years, and it will leave you wondering what mass contagion kooky science might come up with next.
Amy: Praying Drunk, by Kyle Minor
Minor’s book is one of the most thought-provoking, intelligently designed story collections I’ve seen in some time, and the discussions he starts—about life, about art, about the boundaries and limitations of genre—are ones scholars and writers alike will be discussing for quite some time, and with good reason. Equally impressively, the narratives are engaging and the sentences strikingly arranged.
Lauren: Meaty: Essays, by Samantha Irby
If you’ve read Samantha Irby’s blog, BitchesGottaEat, you’re familiar with her hilarious, crass, frank style, but her book is a step up from her web writing. The jokes are there (and they’re not normal jokes, they’re the kind you’ll want to read aloud to others), but so are some heartfelt essays about Irby’s mother that prove Irby is a skilled enough writer to make you laugh and cry. Warning: skip if you don’t like swearing and gross stuff. I mean, one of the essays is called How to Get Your Disgusting Meat Carcass Ready for Some New, Hot Sex.
Melissa: The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
Early in this book, college professor Don Tillman teaches a lecture on Asperger’s to a room of diagnosed kids and their parents, yet fails to see that he may have the syndrome himself. He’s a social alien (and inadvertent charmer) whose overly scheduled life is thrown into disarray after he embarks on The Wife Project—which uses an offensively minute survey to help locate his perfect partner—and ends up falling for Rosie, his on-paper opposite.
Molly: The Most of Nora Ephron, by Nora Ephron
Valentine’s day notwithstanding—or, sometimes, thanks to Valentine’s Day!—February can be a cold, bleak month, and this definitive collection of sharp, witty, and effervescent essays, profiles, and other works (including a galvanizing commencement address, a novel, and a well-loved screenplay) from one of the funniest, most prolific writers in America will lift your spirits.
Rebecca: I Capture The Castle, by Dodie Smith
I will never stop recommending this book. Better known for her novel 101 Dalmatians (sigh), I Capture The Castle is a perfect portrait of an imperfect, singular, and specific family. It’s also the story of a girl becoming a woman—but not in a lame way. It’s romantic and touching without being cloying or clichéd. It is beyond underrated.
Paul: Red Delicious, by Caitlin R. Kiernan
This second installment in the urban fantasy saga featuring foul-mouthed vampire and werewolf antihero Siobhan Quinn—written by the pseudonymous Caitlin R. Kiernan—succeeds not only as a brilliant parody of paranormal fantasy tropes but also as a grisly fusion of fantasy, mystery, and horror that is fueled by black-hearted humor and nonstop action: simply unforgettable.
Dell: The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
The latest selection in Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 is a sweeping novel narrated by two courageous women who, in 19th-century Charleston, are bound first only by circumstance. However, a shared commitment to an unprecedented dream leads to an unlikely friendship, and through their struggles, the two realize that flying requires more than one wing.
Have you read any of these picks?