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12 Books We’re Excited to Read in 2024

From Salman Rushdie to RuPaul, there's something for everyone.

(Images courtesy Simon & Schuster/Penguin Random House/HarperCollins Publishers)
 

(CNN) — Maybe you’ve resolved to read more in the new year. We’re here to help.

Here are 12 intriguing titles coming in 2024—most of them in the next few months. It’s a smorgasbord: literary fiction, thrillers, memoirs, self-empowerment, and true tales of extraordinary bravery. Whether they’re fiction or non-fiction, the best books transport us to another world, and there are plenty of destinations to choose from to begin your year of reading.

Fiction

Wandering Stars, by Tommy Orange
Tommy Orange’s first novel “There There,” about a loosely connected group of Native Americans in modern-day Oakland, California, was a Pulitzer finalist. Now he’s back with a sequel featuring some of the same characters, several of whom are grappling with the effects of a mass shooting. Orange connects the story to the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado, where more than 200 of their ancestors were killed, to reinforce the bloody history of persecution of Native Americans.

Until August, by Gabriel García Márquez
Garcia Marquez, the towering Colombian writer of such 20th-century classics as “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” died in 2014. But he left behind this slender unpublished novel about a happily married woman with an unusual ritual: Every August she travels to a nearby island, where she takes a new lover for one night. The book’s publisher calls it “a profound meditation on freedom, regret, self-transformation, and the mysteries of love.”

James, by Percival Everett
It’s such a clever idea you wonder why nobody has done it before: A reimagining of Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” told from the perspective of Jim, Huck’s companion who escaped enslavement. The publisher promises that Everett’s novel, which like the original chronicles Huck and Jim’s journey on a raft down the Mississippi, will show Jim’s “agency, intelligence and compassion … in a radically new light.”

Bear, by Julia Phillips
Phillips dazzled readers with 2019’s “Disappearing Earth,” her award-winning novel about a community grieving over two missing girls on Russia’s wintry Kamchatka Peninsula. Now she’s back with another story about two sisters in a remote setting — this time, on an island near Seattle — whose encounters in the wild with a massive, mysterious bear threaten to upend their lives and split them apart.

The Wedding People, by Alison Espach
Phoebe Stone checks into a fancy seaside hotel at maybe the lowest point in her life, wearing her best dress and hoping for a few hours of pampered luxury before ending it all. But she soon finds herself swept up in a chaotic wedding, being mistaken for a wedding guest and befriending the bride — all of which leads her, unexpectedly, toward a possibly brighter future. This novel promises more of Espach’s trademark wit and knack for broken characters who, between the tears, somehow find glimmers of hope.

The Fury, by Alex Michaelides
Fans of twisty thrillers went nuts for Michaelides’ debut, “The Silent Patient,” which ended with a bombshell that helped it sell more than 6 million copies. His new novel seeks to put a fresh spin on a well-worn premise: a gathering of people in a remote location who suddenly realize one of them is a killer. “The Fury” is about a former movie star who invites her closest friends for a weekend getaway on her private Greek island. Within 48 hours one of them is dead and the survivors are watching their backs — and we readers are likely racing through the pages.

The Women, by Kristin Hannah
Hannah, author of the acclaimed bestseller “The Nightingale,” is back with another novel set in wartime. This one is about Frankie McGrath, a sheltered student who joins the Army Nurse Corps in 1965 and is sent to Vietnam, where she faces the chaos of war but forms surprising bonds with her fellow nurses. Like many Vietnam vets, Frankie later struggles upon returning home to a changing America.

Nonfiction

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir, by RuPaul
RuPaul has spent decades as a pop icon and the world’s most famous drag queen. But not many people know the personal story behind the versatile entertainer and savvy entrepreneur. This memoir traces his remarkable journey from a poor childhood in California through his formative years in the club scenes of Atlanta and New York to his current status as an entertainment mogul who has pioneered queer representation on TV.

Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder, by Salman Rushdie
In August 2022, Salman Rushie was about to give a talk in upstate New York when a man attacked him with a knife, stabbing him repeatedly and blinding him in one eye. This new memoir by the acclaimed novelist, who has long faced death threats over perceived anti-Islam elements in his work, chronicles the assault and its effects. In a statement last year Rushie described the book as “a way to take charge of what happened, and to answer violence with art.”

The Demon of Unrest, by Erik Larson
With such bestsellers as “Dead Wake” and “The Devil in the White City,” Erik Larson has proven himself a master at turning lesser-known chapters of history into spellbinding tales. This time he’s tackled the pivotal five months between the election of Abraham Lincoln as president and the fateful 1861 Confederate assault on Fort Sumter that dashed Lincoln’s hopes for holding the fractious country together — and jump-started the Civil War.

Supercommunicators, by Charles Duhigg
We’ve all probably wished at one time or another that we could be more persuasive. Duhigg follows his bestselling “The Power of Habit” with this examination of why some people are able to make themselves heard — and to hear others — so effortlessly. The book promises to show “how we can all learn to identify and leverage the hidden layers that lurk beneath every conversation.”

American Girls: One Woman’s Journey into the Islamic State and Her Sister’s Fight to Bring Her Home, by Jessica Roy
In 2015, Samantha Sally was vacationing with her Moroccan-born husband and their two young children in Turkey when he reportedly tricked them into crossing the border into Syria. There, she says her increasingly radicalized husband turned into a monster who joined ISIS, beat her and used her son in an Islamic State propaganda video. Meanwhile, her younger sister was back home in Indiana, working to help her escape. With such a dramatic true story at its heart, “American Girls” will likely be a gripping read.

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