10 books to add to your reading list in January

Covers of books to read in January.
(Photos by Hauser & Wirth; W.W. Norton & Co.; Random House; Soft Skull Press; Simon & Schuster; Riverhead Books; St. Martin’s Press; Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

On the Shelf

Ten January books for your reading list

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Critic Bethanne Patrick recommends 10 promising titles, fiction and nonfiction, to consider for your January reading list.

New year, new you. Our resolution is to swim against the self-help tide of January, focusing instead on a month full of books you can really sink your teeth into: the deeply thoughtful, the deeply funny, the deeply unsettling. And while it isn’t on this list because it’s impossible to get our hands on, “Spare” a thought for Prince Harry’s Jan. 10 memoir, which is — if nothing else — deeply anticipated.


Age of Vice
By Deepti Kapoor
Riverhead: 560 pages, $30
(Jan. 3)

Ah, gangster lit. It trumps genre and it also transcends cultures, because every society gets the corruption it deserves. But Kapoor is as interested in New Delhi sociology as she is in the city’s underworld, which makes her second novel a multilayered and occasionally dizzying treat. After a hit-and-run accident, three people — a servant, a dilettante and a journalist — find their lives tangled up in the crime’s mysterious origins and aftermath.

book cover has black background and an illustrated jar full of things

The Survivalists
By Kashana Cauley
Soft Skull: 288 pages, $26
(Jan. 10)

Learn her name, because Cauley is one of the funniest writers at work today, period. The years she spent working as an antitrust lawyer inform a debut novel about a single Black attorney whose new love interest happens to be a “prepper” — someone who, along with a bunch of roommates, stockpiles everything from coffee to protein bars to guns just in case of apocalypse. Will she adopt their way of life? Or turn against them when they turn against the law?

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Dec. 4, 2022

The Deluge
By Stephen Markley
Simon & Schuster: 896 pages, $33
(Jan. 10)

Yes, it’s a doorstop of a book, but Markley (“Ohio”) earns his new novel’s heft. “The Deluge” is a dystopian story of climate collapse that combines a complicated cast of characters in the style of David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas” with copious information and research in the style of Stephen King’s “11/22/63.” It’s the people, not the Issues, that will keep you reading — particularly Kate Morris, the fiercest, smartest eco-activist you’ll meet this year.

book cover has a white background with houselike-shape painted like the sky
(W. W. Norton)

This Other Eden
By Paul Harding
Norton: 224 pages, $28
(Jan. 24)

If you’ve never heard of Malaga Island, Maine (known here as “Apple Island”), prepare to be outraged: The state’s 1912 mass eviction of a historically diverse community was one of America’s greatest sins. Harding, who won a dark-horse Pulitzer Prize for “Tinkers,” again demonstrates his gifts for concision and compassion in a narrative that balances historical fact with fully drawn characters. “This Other Eden” isn’t just a January pick; it’s sure to be a standout of 2023.

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Dec. 20, 2022

By Jessica George
St. Martin’s Press: 320 pages, $28
(Jan. 31)

Maddie, a first-generation Londoner whose Ghanaian parents pull her in different directions, wants to move on to her own apartment and her own activities. “Maame,” Maddie explains, has many meanings in her family’s native Twi, but to her, “woman” is its most important connotation. As she attempts to become her own woman, the tension between family and the individual pursuit of happiness resonates with late bloomers of any background.


Drinking Games: A Memoir
By Sarah Levy
St. Martin’s Press: 288 pages, $29
(Jan. 3)

Once a hard-working, hard-drinking New York City twentysomething in New York City, Levy eventually realized that both sides of her life were toxic. What would happen if she stopped drinking? Would it change her personality? Her friendships and romantic choices? With candor and curiosity, the author looks at a substance we all know — some of us all too well — to uncover the truth about sobriety and its advantages.

book cover has title and blue, yellow, and red border
(Random House)

Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O’Connell’s Urgent Mission to Bring Healing to Homeless People
By Tracy Kidder
Random House: 320 pages, $30
(Jan. 17)

Kidder is one of the pioneers of literary journalism, so it’s not surprising to read that he spent five years following Jim O’Connell in pursuit of his calling: to care for the homeless population in Boston. While Kidder provides plenty of information about O’Connell, what makes his latest book sing are the stories of the many volunteers who support the “accountability” O’Connell considers essential to changing the system.

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Dec. 3, 2022

The Call of the Tribe
By Mario Vargas Llosa (translate by John King)
FSG: 288 pages, $8
(Jan. 17)

The Peruvian Nobel laureate lays out how seven thinkers convinced him of the importance of the individual before the communal. From Adam Smith to Isaiah Berlin, believers in liberalism brought the author out of his early socialism to disenchantment with the Cuban Revolution — and on to an abiding belief in democracy’s role in protecting freedom. It’s a mini-master course, regardless of your own political philosophy.

Book cover shows Black hand holding a white cap
(Hauser & Wirth Publishers)

Amy Sherald: The World We Make
By Amy Sherald et al.
Hauser & Wirth: 196 pages, $55
(Jan. 17)

Michelle Obama chose Amy Sherald to paint her 2018 official portrait, and while Sherald was the first African American woman so honored, it was her remarkable and elegant realist style that captured headlines. Sherald details her artistic education and technique in this gorgeous new monograph, supplemented by artistic, political and cultural analyses of her work from important contemporaries, including an introduction from author Ta-Nehisi Coates.

In her first West Coast solo show, Amy Sherald unveils paintings made during the pandemic. ‘My work doesn’t commit Black life to grief.’

March 31, 2021

Fieldwork: A Forager’s Memoir
By Iliana Regan
Agate Midway: 325 pages, $28
(January 24)

Regan, a chef and National Book Award nominee for her first memoir, “Burn the Place,” writes about her lifelong habit of finding food in the wild. After she and her wife, Anna, relocated to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Regan realized she was returning to the foraging culture of her Eastern European childhood and rural Indiana school years — but also the roots of her family history and gender identity. All of which makes this second memoir as rich as a mushroom ragout.