By the time February comes around, it feels like winter will never end. Luckily, whether or not the groundhog sees their shadow, a good book is the best antidote to help you escape. Even though February is the shortest month of the year, it offers no shortage of must-reads.
Fan-favorite authors Veronica Roth (Chosen Ones) and Natalie Haynes (Pandora's Jar) reimagine classic Greek myths, while a debut writer adds her spin on actual figures like Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein. Highly anticipated sequels to Stephen Graham Jones’ My Heart Is a Chainsaw and Tahereh Mafi’s This Woven Kingdom are also available. Finally, nonfiction exploring science, nature, and personal development, plus titles fitting for Black History Month — including an analysis of the Black Power movement and a 1950s historical fiction set at Howard University — are some of this month’s features.
It’s always fun to explore Scribd’s best new books and audiobooks to find just-published titles that entertain, enlighten, and empower, even if you’re in the throes of winter.
Greta, a transcriptionist for a sex coach, is beguiled by one client’s voice, nicknaming her “Big Swiss.” Then Greta meets Big Swiss in real life, and a passionate love affair begins. Only Beagin (Vacuum in the Dark), with her penchant for the off-color and eccentric, could pen a romantic comedy that’s as weird as it is endearing, addressing trauma while simultaneously making fun of New York elites.
Jones returns with a sequel to his Bram Stoker-winning novel, My Heart Is a Chainsaw. After four years in prison, Jade Daniels is back in Proofrock, Idaho, now going by Jennifer. Her name may be new, but some things never change: Jennifer must once again use her slasher film expertise when a serial killer starts shedding blood. Sharp in dialogue and plot, Don’t Fear the Reaper more than lives up to Jones’ reputation as a master of contemporary Indigenous horror.
It starts with a spoon. Lucky by name but unlucky in life, Dimaline’s (Empire of Wild) Indigenous protagonist discovers an ancient spoon, inducting her into VenCo, a coven of witches on the brink of rebirth — but only if Lucky can find their seventh and final member before witch hunters strike them all down. Feminism and inclusivity battle the patriarchy in this energetic and fun fantasy.
Kit, a 1950s Cherokee girl, is taken from her widowed father and sent to a boarding school rife with Christian indoctrination and sexual abuse. She journals her experiences, but her ruminations begin to reveal a dark secret about why she was stolen from her home. The underlying truth is a spellbinding, haunting presence in this historical fiction by Verble, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Maud's Line.
In 1966, the emergence of the Black Power movement marked a significant shift from Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis’ peaceful methods. Whitaker (Smoketown) chronicles the people and happenings of that fateful period of the civil rights movement while drawing parallels with today’s Black Lives Matter. Saying It Loud is rich in historical detail, but it reads more like a fast-paced novel with high stakes and vivid characters.
Luna, an acclaimed life coach, speaker, and podcaster, shares words of wisdom on living authentically. Using her popular framework called “Permission Slips,” learn how to set boundaries and stop people-pleasing without fear of judgment. This empathetic and funny guidebook packs an empowering punch.
In 1940s Trinidad, poverty stricken workers live in the shadows of opulence at Dalton and Marlee Changoor’s estate. When Dalton mysteriously disappears, Marlee hires Hans, a laborer, for protection, causing devastating ripple effects through the plantation and beyond. Hosein (The Repenters) dissects the generational impact of colonialism and class divide in this affecting noir.
Haynes adds to her body of Greek myth retellings (A Thousand Ships, The Children of Jocasta) with Stone Blind. The classics paint Medusa as a monster, but this reimagining questions the very meaning of the word, offering a fresh perspective with male-perpetrated violence at its core. True to form, Haynes gives voice to women characters previously pushed aside.
Eric Ross, a desperate father of two daughters, accepts a bizarre proposal: Stay in the notoriously haunted Masson House in Degener, Texas, long enough to document ghostly activity. If Eric can complete the job (and keep his sanity), his money problems are over. In Compton’s debut, a Gothic horror novel told from multiple perspectives, paranormal threats put familial bonds to the test.
Two young Black women in 1950s America fight to keep their dreams afloat in the face of unexpected circumstances. In Philadelphia, Ruby Pearsall longs to attend college, while Eleanor Quarles, a Howard University student, is set to be the first graduate in her family. Both of their lives are upended after finding love. Johnson’s (Yellow Wife) powerful historical fiction revisits a time when women, particularly those of color, grappled with limited choices and seemingly predetermined futures.
Fairy tale themes and Persian mythology unite once again in this highly anticipated sequel to This Woven Kingdom. Alizeh’s path to the Jinn throne is in the hands of Cyrus, ruler of Tulan. But Cyrus is motivated by evil forces, and Alizeh can’t forget the kiss she shared with Kamran of Ardunia, who has a fresh vendetta against Cyrus. Mafi, a National Book Award nominee, continues to build an intricate fantasy world bursting with rich characters, conflicting emotions, and powerful enemies.
Have your past heartbreaks made you wary when you approach new relationships? Activist and author Zebian provides helpful advice on how to heal from past traumas with partners, parents, and friends to foster a healthy relationship with the most important person in your life — yourself. “Trust Your Heart” is a spiritual journey of self-discovery.
In Pardo’s alternate 2009, Argentina is a global powerhouse after creating chemical weapons that control human emotions, while America flounders due to rampant street use of the psychotropics. In San Francisco, Agent Kay Curtida follows a dark political plot to manipulate Americans en masse. Called a “heady mix of high-concept speculative fiction, alternative history, and hardboiled detective fiction” by CrimeReads, The Shameshine Blind’s imaginative setting is just as intriguing as the novel’s noir plot.
After a heartbreaking loss, Bringley left his position at The New Yorker to work as a guard in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For a decade, the author found comfort in the ecosystem of one of New York’s most-loved institutions. This thought-provoking memoir chronicles the art, visitors, and personal epiphanies that hallmarked Bringley’s time at the Met.
Indigo’s husband promises not to ask questions about her past, but his curiosity intensifies when the couple returns to Indigo’s childhood home, “the House of Dreams,” to visit her dying aunt. Soon, it’s clear that something otherworldly threatens their relationship and very lives. Sometimes claustrophobic and always engaging, Chokshi’s (The Gilded Wolves) atmospheric adult debut is a gothic fairy tale that tantalizes from beginning to end.
Olivarez (Citizen Illegal) offers a new poetry collection about love in all forms, including self-love, friendship, and romance. The poems explore the darker aspects of humanity that slowly eat away at our ability to love, including capitalism, colonization, displacement, and othering. Promises of Gold is salve to the soul in a world where differences encroach on connection.
Two classic horror film aficionados are pulled into a serial murder investigation after several clues point to a legendary silent movie. Chicago’s storied film history comes alive in The Shoemaker’s Magician, which combines the horror and police procedural genres. This is the second installment in Pelayo’s “Chicago Saga,” following Children of Chicago, an International Latino Book Award winner and Bram Stoker Award nominee.
What can our relationship with the elusive wolf teach us about ourselves? Wolfish begs this question and more in a blend of natural history, cultural analysis, and coming-of-age memoir. Berry grounds her work in OR-7, the first confirmed wild wolf on the US’s West Coast since the mid-20th century. Along the way, she explores the ideas of predator and prey — and how humans often confuse the two. Perfect for fans of H Is for Hawk.
An unlikable video game designer named Miles creates a new virtual reality game that sparks unexpected backlash. As his career and personal life spiral, increasingly desperate Miles grasps for new ideas. Winnette (The Job of the Wasp) delivers a dizzying sci-fi thriller that explores the dangers of unchecked ambition and innovation. The perfect companion read for HBO’s Severance, starring Adam Scott.
Lara, a biracial teenager, struggles with the desire to separate herself from her mother, a Russian emigrant who’s at once emotionally distant and controlling. Angel-Anjani’s debut novel grapples with race, class, and sexuality — and how these complex issues can test already fraught mother-daughter relationships.
Roth, best known for her Divergent series, adds a sci-fi spin to a Greek classic in this concise retelling of Antigone. After the death of her parents, Antigone’s uncle Kreon asserts his power by holding his niece captive. Roth infuses timely themes like reproductive freedom into the original story while elevating Antigone’s rage, power, and autonomy.
“At its heart, the book is about trying to find a shape for your life that hasn’t already been prescribed as your inevitable, cramped destiny,” says debut author Schwartz of her new novel. After Sappho fills in historical gaps, speculating on the lives, pursuits, and feelings of 20th-century women like Virginia Woolf and Natalie Barney. This story splinters between the protagonists but reads like a collective chorus railing against patriarchal expectations.
Read the inspiring true story of Nancy Hopkins and 15 other women scientists who revealed institutionalized sexism at MIT — a groundbreaking move that sparked national conversations and led to major changes in STEM. Zernike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who originally broke the story, gives an in-depth report on this defining historical moment without losing sight of the individual women who led the charge. The Exceptions pairs well with The Secret of Life and Hidden Figures.
When everything from politics to social norms is polarizing, Hasan, an MSNBC journalist and broadcaster, asserts that arguing doesn’t have to be contentious. Done right, debates can be productive, healthy, and even fun. Win Every Argument teaches readers to do just that. Based on Hasan’s interviews (and arguments) with celebrities, politicians, and beyond, the tips in this straightforward guide reveal how to remain calm, articulate, and compelling.
About the Author: Lanie Pemberton
Lanie is a San Diego-based freelance writer with many Scribd Snapshots and recommended reading lists under her belt. She loves reading about animals and the natural world, with plenty of murder mysteries peppered in. When she needs a break from writing and reading, Lanie can be found taking long walks under the SoCal sun, usually alongside her husband and pampered pittie, Peach.