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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

19 new books to get you through winter

By Chris Hewitt (Minnesota) Star Tribune

It’s chilly out there, people. It’s reading time!

Year-end holidays are the most popular season to give books. And now we’re heading into the best time to read them — while nestled in a Slanket, with a cup of tea, of course. Fortunately, publishers are keeping the promising titles coming. As you plot your reading Excel spreadsheet for winter and spring (that’s a thing, right?), here are upcoming titles to reserve slots for:

An American Dreamer: Life in a Divided Country, David Finkel

I’ve already read Laurie Hertzel’s upcoming (rave) review of Pulitzer Prize winner Finkel’s nonfiction look at an Iraq War veteran who is disillusioned by the political divides ripping apart the country he fought for. You can dive into the book when it’s published on Feb. 13.

The Blueprint, Rae Giana Rashad

Set in both 1800 and 2030, this debut novel is about a Black woman named Solenne who escapes from her dreary life — she’s forced to be the lover of a white senator in the near future, when choice no longer exists — by writing about an ancestor named Henriette. As she works, she realizes what they have in common: Both are enslaved. Feb. 13

Candy Darling, Cynthia Carr

Carr’s complex, urgent biography of artist David Wojnarowicz, “Fire in the Belly,” was a phenomenal achievement. Here, she turns her attention to the transgender Andy Warhol “superstar” whose life was not as glamorous as it appeared. March 19

The Deerfield Massacre, James L. Swanson

If you couldn’t put down Swanson’s riveting “Manhunt,” about the search for John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated Abraham Lincoln, the historian has a new challenge for you. It’s the true story of a deadly, little-remembered 1704 clash between colonists and Indigenous people. Feb. 27

The Demon of Unrest, Erik Larson

The insomniac in the latest nonfiction from the author of “The Devil in the White City” and “Thunderstruck” is Abraham Lincoln. In the first five months of his presidency, he stayed up nights worrying about: state after state seceding from the U.S., a secretary of state who was plotting against him and the souls of millions of enslaved Americans. April 30

End of Story, A.J. Finn

A woman is summoned by a famous mystery novelist to help him write a memoir and, possibly, figure out what happened to his family, who vanished two decades earlier. It’ll be interesting to see how the press tour goes for the pseudonymous Finn, who became a superstar when he published the 2018 blockbuster “The Woman in the Window,” but whose star dimmed when the New Yorker revealed many of his claims about himself were untrue. Feb. 20

Ferris, Kate DiCamillo

The world is lucky to have DiCamillo writing in it. Even luckier that she’s prolific. In addition to “Orris and Timble: The Beginning” kicking off a new series in April, she also has the middle-grade “Ferris,” with a title character who shares traits with other DiCamillo heroines: She’s a spirited tween, dealing with extraordinary circumstances and rambunctious relatives. March 5

The Husbands, Holly Gramazio

I had only to read the first chapter to know the Star Tribune would need to review this funny, suspenseful novel. After a night of many cocktails, Lauren returns to her London apartment to be greeted by a menacing stranger who somehow broke in, won’t leave her alone and claims to be her husband. As the title suggests, he’s not the only spouse. April 2

Lies and Weddings, Kevin Kwan

The “Crazy Rich Asians” writer returns with another comic novel that includes a big wedding, family deception and piles of cash. May 21

The Light Eaters, Zoë Schlanger

The staff reporter at the Atlantic concentrates on climate and the environment in a book of popular science that aims to reveal that plants have saved us, time and time again. She also explains how they pull that off. May 7

Long Island, Colm Tóibín

The Irishman can write all the novels he wants about Jesus’ mother (“The Testament of Mary”) and Henry James (“The Master”). But what readers have been clamoring for is more Eilis Lacey, who came to America from Ireland in “Brooklyn.” “Long Island” is set a couple of decades after “Brooklyn,” when Lacey’s homeland beckons her. May 7

Martyr!, Kaveh Akbar

Does a painting discovered in an art gallery hold the key to the life story of a poet, who is addicted to pills and booze? He thinks so, so he journeys into the past, with the help of a dying painter who lives in the Brooklyn Museum. Jan. 23

My Heavenly Favorite, Lucas Rijneveld

If your tastes veer more to discomfort, this Graywolf Press novel might be the ticket. The title character is a Dutch farmer’s daughter who believes she is meant to be a boy. Which presents a dilemma for a veterinarian who sympathizes with the child and possesses a few surgical skills. March 5

The Princess of Las Vegas, Chris Bohjalian

The premise sounds goofy, but in the hands of the author of “The Flight Attendant” and “The Lioness,” it holds promise. An American whose job is impersonating Princess Diana Spencer in a Vegas cabaret act is drawn into the murder of a casino’s owner. Did she do it? Did the senator boyfriend who’s dumping her? Or her mysterious sister? Maybe the paparazzi struck again? March 19

Sipsworth, Simon van Booy

Look, Ann Patchett is not just a great novelist ( “Tom Lake” ). She’s also a voracious reader and the owner of a bookstore. So, when she writes “I loved it” on the cover of a book (italics hers), you listen. The novel is about an octogenarian named Helen who, following the death of her husband and son, feels ready to join them. Until she finds a new reason to live. May 7

The Sleepwalkers, Scarlett Thomas

The description of this chiller had me at the word “gothic” and then grabbed me by the throat when it name-dropped “Strangers on a Train” author Patricia Highsmith. It’s about a newlywed couple whose honeymoon gets weird fast because of a hotel owner who seems to want to get with the husband. There also are ominous stories about previous hotel guests whose vacation ended when they drowned. April 9

This Strange Eventful History, Claire Messud

The “The Emperor’s Children” novelist spins a tale that draws on her own family’s itinerant history. Messud follows a clan over seven decades, from Algeria in the 1940s to the United States in the 2010s. May 14

Table for Two, Amor Towles

“A Gentleman in Moscow” and “The Lincoln Highway” may have been Towles’ biggest sellers but my favorite is his witty “Rules of Civility,” about bright young things in mid-century Manhattan. These six stories return to that “Civility” world. April 2

Where Rivers Part, Kao Kalia Yang

A Hmong woman named Tswb flees her family’s war-torn village in Laos, meets a man, escapes to the U.S. and raises her children, who include the Twin Cities-based author of this memoir. A Guggenheim fellow, Yang also has a book for young people, “The Rock in My Throat,” coming this spring. March 19