With the arrival of the new year comes a flurry of new books we can’t wait to devour. Newsweek has compiled a list of 20 coming out in 2020—10 fiction and 10 nonfiction—that we’re most excited about. From debuts to returning bestsellers and eerie thrillers to historical studies, we promise there’s something for everyone.
Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era
By Jerry Mitchell
February | Simon & Schuster | $28
With a title that could not be more apt, Race Against Time is an expansion of Jerry Mitchell’s work as an investigative reporter. It reads like a fictional thriller, but is an all-too-true account of horrifying past crimes and those who perpetrated them.
Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown
By Anne Glenconner
March | Hachette | $28
Royal obsessives and casual observers alike will devour this memoir by the confidante—a noble herself—of Princess Margaret. Glenconner candidly writes about the unimaginable tragedies she endured in her personal life, and of the gilded affairs she witnessed on the periphery of royal life.
Smacked: A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction, and Tragedy
By Eilene Zimmerman
February | Random House | $36
Journalist Eilene Zimmerman’s up-close-and-personal look at the cost of addiction is among the timeliest and most relevant books of the new year. Smacked is an unvarnished and wrenching exploration of opioid abuse in a wealthy, white-collar world that resonates across classes and cultures.
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
By Erik Larson
February | Crown | $32
The bestselling author of The Devil in the White City travels back in time to London during the Blitz in this much-anticipated epic.
The Power Notebooks
By Katie Roiphe
March | Free Press | $27
The Power Notebooks is an intimate account of what it means to be a woman, told through notebook entries about Roiphe herself and other powerful females.
Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry that Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East
By Kim Ghattas
January | Henry Holt and Co. | $30
For anyone interested in the current state of international affairs, Ghattas has provided the ultimate origin story of the modern Middle East beginning in 1979. Black Wave spans the personal and the historic, propelling readers right up to the present day.
Uncanny Valley: A Memoir
By Anna Weiner January
Farrar, Straus and Giroux | $27
Is the “disruption” we’re always hearing about really a good thing? Anna Weiner has a lot to say about the subject. This perfectly relevant memoir of her time in the tech industry is by turns eerie and eye opening—and one of the most prescient books of the year.
The Hope of Glory: Reflections on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross
By Jon Meacham
February | Convergent Books | $22
Jon Meacham, renowned presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former managing editor of Newsweek examines the last seven sayings of Jesus Christ in a series of intimate essays. In his classic luminous style, Meacham explores faith, history, love and grace.
Race Man: Selected Works, 1960–2015
By Julian Bond, Edited by Michael G. Long
February | City Lights Publishers | $22.95
This compilation of works by social activist and civil rights leader Julian Bond should be required reading in 2020. This anthology of essays, letters and interviews shines a light on an incomparable luminary.
Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country
By Sierra Crane Murdoch
February | Random House | $28
When Lissa Yellowbird-Chase, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation in North Dakota, learns of the disappearance of a white man working in an oil field, she becomes intent on finding out what happened. What follows is her search for justice as she navigates the complex and conflicting worlds of the oil industry and her native tribe.
The Glass Hotel
By Emily St. John Mandel
March | Knopf | $26.95
The author of bestseller Station Eleven builds more of her trademark vibrant worlds in this novel as it hurtles from an imploding Ponzi scheme in glitzy New York City to the far reaches of Vancouver Island and the disappearance of a young woman. The Glass Hotel—already picked up for a television series—elegantly pieces together the reverberating consequences of seemingly unrelated events.
Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick
By Zora Neale Hurston January | Amistad | $25.99
Twenty one of Zora Neale Hurston’s short stories from the Harlem Renaissance—including eight “lost” tales—appear together here for the first time. The extraordinary voice that established Hurston as one of the most important writers of her time shines throughout.
My Dark Vanessa
By Kate Elizabeth Russell
March | William Morrow | $27.99
At the heart of this explosive and provocative debut is the relationship between a 15-year-old girl and her 42-year-old teacher. Flash forward 17 years to when the teacher is accused of sexual assault, and a now-adult Vanessa must contend with her past, in what is a timely tale.
You Are Not Alone
By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
March | St. Martin’s Press | $27.99
The writing team behind An Anonymous Girl and The Wife Between Us proves their prowess yet again with another wildly compelling psychological thriller. This one starts with a circle of friends and unravels in an escalating series of hairpin twists and turns.
By Brandon Taylor February | Riverhead Books | $26
Brandon Taylor emerges as a powerhouse with this artful debut that follows his introverted protagonist—a black Alabama native—to the Midwestern university town where he is pursuing a graduate degree. In tender, intimate and distinctive writing, Taylor explores race, sexuality and desire with a cast of unforgettable characters.
By Andrea Bartz
March | Ballantine Books | $27
From the author of The Lost Night comes the story of a women’s-only coworking space, with a glossy exterior that belies the turbulent lives of the women themselves. When the glamorous founder vanishes, suspects amass and secrets begin to spill out.
Darling Rose Gold
By Stephanie Wrobel
March | Berkley | $26
For as long as she can remember, Rose Gold has been sick. Or so she thought. In this disquieting debut inspired by Munchausen syndrome by proxy—where a caregiver makes up or wildly exaggerates a child’s illness—and the real-life story of Dee Dee and Gypsy Blanchard, Stephanie Wrobel explores the twisted relationship between a mother and daughter in what is sure to be one of the most unique books of the new year.
By Catherine Steadman January | Ballantine Books | $27
The latest psychological thriller from the author of Something in the Water revolves around one man: Mr. Nobody. Who is he? How did he wind up on a beach unable to speak? And what exactly does neuropsychiatrist Emma Lewis have to do with all this? The alarming questions keep piling up, even as the puzzle starts to take shape.
Naked Came the Florida Man
By Tim Dorsey
January | William Morrow | $27.99
The newest laugh-out-loud adventure of vigilante Serge A. Storms and his partner in crime, Colman, on the hunt for justice in the Sunshine State. This time, the pair sets out to investigate an urban legend—with hilarious and rollicking results.
Death in Her Hands
By Ottessa Moshfegh
April | Penguin Press | $27
The author of 2018’s beloved My Year of Rest and Relaxation returns with a story that defies categorization. An elderly widow stumbles upon a disturbing note while walking in the woods. The rest unfolds in the haunting and wry style that makes Moshfegh so unique, right up to the very last page.
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