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12 Best New Books to Read on Winter Trips

SmarterTravel

Whether you’ll be taking a long flight, escaping the cold on a tropical beach, or hiding from your in-laws on a holiday trip, you might find yourself in need of a good book or two while traveling this winter. Here are a dozen new books worth downloading to your e-reader or slipping into your suitcase before your next trip.

Nine Perfect Strangers, Liane Moriarty

If you’re looking for a novel that’ll keep you compulsively turning pages through a long flight, Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty—the bestselling author of Big Little Lies—is a sure bet. Moriarty’s newest book is set at an Australian spa resort, where nine people come in search of a restorative getaway but find themselves in the midst of a mystery.

What People Are Saying: “[Moriarty’s] latest, about disparate guests thrown together at a remote health resort, has no shortage of secrets, lies, and social intrigue; it’s like an Agatha Christie country-house mystery set in the Australian outback, with more kale-pineapple smoothies and less murder.” – Entertainment Weekly

Available on Amazon.

Becoming, Michelle Obama

The hotly anticipated memoir from the former first lady offers fascinating insights into Obama’s early life in Chicago, her marriage to Barack, and the couple’s years in the Oval Office.

What People Are Saying: “An early chapter about piano lessons becomes an extended, but subtle, exploration of privilege. A stunningly beautiful passage on spring cleaning mixes with reflections on her parents’ marriage, and ultimately lands on the comfort in choosing, over and over, to stay with your partner.

“In other words, this is one of those rare political books with truly excellent writing.” – NPR

Available on Amazon.

Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

Focused on an artist who retreats into the mountains after his wife leaves him, Murakami’s 14th novel is full of surreal surprises that will please fans of his engaging, quirky style.

What People Are Saying: “At over 700-plus pages, it’s (thankfully) another intriguing, time-challenging tome you can’t wait to finish anticipating that all—most? enough?—of the puzzling pieces will align, while simultaneously wishing you might never reach its conclusion, dreading the end of another indescribable Murakami odyssey.” – The Christian Science Monitor

Available on Amazon.

Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious, Seth Kugel

Drawing on his years as the Frugal Traveler columnist at The New York Times, Kugel decries over-reliance on apps and technology, and encourages travelers to embrace a sense of spontaneity and adventure as they explore the world.

What People Are Saying: “Using anecdotes from his plentiful experience to illustrate his points, but without indulging in personal history for its own sake, Kugel makes the case that low-budget, minimally planned travel can be more rewarding than a journey insulated from risk and serendipity.” Kirkus Reviews

Available on Amazon.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

A nurse named Korede has helped her sister, Ayoola, clean up after the mysterious deaths of three previous boyfriends. But what happens when Ayoola sets her eye on the doctor with whom Korede herself is in love makes for a darkly funny novel.

What People Are Saying: “Braithwaite’s blazing debut is as sharp as the knife that twists in the chest of Femi, the now-dead boyfriend of Ayoola, whose boyfriends, curiously, seem to keep winding up dead in her presence. … The reveal at the end isn’t so much a ‘gotcha’ moment as the dawning of an inevitable, creeping feeling that Braithwaite expertly crafts over the course of the novel. This is both bitingly funny and brilliantly executed, with not a single word out of place.” – Publishers Weekly

Available on Amazon.

The Library Book, Susan Orlean

Anyone who’s ever passed a cozy hour or two between the stacks will enjoy this examination of a 1986 library fire in Los Angeles in which more than a million books were damaged or destroyed. Orlean uses the disaster as a springboard to explore the history of libraries and their continuing importance today.

What People Are Saying: “As a narrator, Orlean moves like fire herself, with a pyrotechnic style that smolders for a time over some ancient bibliographic tragedy, leaps to the latest technique in book restoration and then illuminates the story of a wildly eccentric librarian. Along the way, we learn how libraries have evolved, responded to depressions and wars, and generally thrived despite a constant struggle for funds.” – The Washington Post

Available on Amazon.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand, Christina Lauren

Anyone who’s suffered through the ups and downs of online dating will appreciate this fun, frothy rom-com about a couple of professors trying to find love.

What People Are Saying: “This is a messy and sexy look at digital dating that feels fresh and exciting.” – Publishers Weekly

Available on Amazon.

The Witch Elm, Tana French

A young man who’s severely beaten by burglars must try to solve the crime and cope with the loss of his formerly charmed life in the first stand-alone novel by Tana French, known for her Dublin Murder Squad mystery series.

What People Are Saying: The Witch Elm is a rich, immersive, and spine-chilling book, because Tana French is great at what she does and she knows how to tell a story. But it’s also a scathing and insightful deconstruction of social privilege, coming from a master of the form at the height of her powers.” – Vox

Available on Amazon.

Impossible Owls, Brian Phillips

In this eclectic and absorbing collection of essays, Phillips—a former writer at Grantland—delves into topics ranging from the Iditarod to the British royal family.

What People Are Saying: “Brian Phillips has a wonderful way of taking readers to entirely unfamiliar places in nature (the Yukon) and in culture (sumo wrestling), and translating those experiences into something that feels visceral, even for people who are stuck at their computers all day.” – Vulture

Available on Amazon.

An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good, Helene Tursten

This tongue-in-cheek collection features five short stories about an 88-year-old woman named Maud, who just might be Sweden’s most unassuming and charming murderer.

What People Are Saying: “This elderly lady stops at nothing in her desire for a peaceful existence. I ought to feel guilty for enjoying her crimes, but I don’t. The stories are written with such persuasive logic and delicious irony that I want the killing to continue indefinitely.” – Peter Lovesey

Available on Amazon.

Once Upon a River, Diane Setterfield

On a cold, winter night, a wounded stranger stumbles into an inn on the Thames River, holding a seemingly dead child—who’s later discovered to be alive. But who is this mysterious little girl, whom everyone in town wants to claim as their own?

What People Are Saying: “Setterfield masterfully assembles an ensemble of wounded, vulnerable characters who, nevertheless, live by the slimmest margins of hope—hope that springs from family, from the search for meaning, from people’s decency to strangers, from the belief that truth heals and sets one free.” – Kirkus Reviews

Available on Amazon.

Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me & You, Lin-Manuel Miranda

The Hamilton creator has gathered life-affirming aphorisms and poems originally posted on his Twitter account into this uplifting little volume, illustrated by Jonny Sun. While you might get cavities if you try to read it straight through, it’s a perfect book to enjoy a few pages at a time over your morning coffee or right before you drift off to sleep.

What People Are Saying: GMorning, Gnight is a book of affirmations for the Twitter age: it’s light, uplifting, easy to read, and quite frankly, makes you feel good.” – Compulsive Reader

Available on Amazon.

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