It’s time once again to take a peek at the TBR and a few books I’m especially excited about in the next month. Publication dates are as listed in February 2023 and are subject to change. Blurbs are from GoodReads/publishers.
The Science of Sherlock: The Forensic Facts Behind the Fiction by Mark Brake (March 7)
All evidence suggests Sherlock’s fan adoration has lasted almost one and a half centuries through many adaptations. There is Sherlock fan fiction in China, Sherlock manga in Japan, and tribute pop songs in Korea. Guinness World Records awarded Sherlock Holmes the title of most portrayed literary human character in film and television thanks to the popular Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr., series like Elementary starring Lucy Liu, Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and so many more.
Sherlock’s enduring appeal shows that his detective talents are as compelling today as they were in the days of Conan Doyle. The Science of Sherlock gives you an in-depth look at the science behind the cases Sherlock cracked in those Ripper streets of old.
Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult by Michelle Dowd (March 7)
As a child, Michelle Dowd grew up on a mountain in the Angeles National Forest. She was born into an ultra-religious cult—or the Field as they called it—started in the 1930s by her grandfather, a mercurial, domineering, and charismatic man who convinced generations of young male followers that he would live 500 years and ascend to the heavens when doomsday came. Comfort and care are sins, Michelle is told. As a result, she was forced to learn the skills necessary to battle hunger, thirst, and cold; she learned to trust animals more than humans; and most importantly, she learned how to survive in the natural world.
Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock by Jenny Odell (March 7)
This dazzling, subversive, and deeply hopeful book offers us different ways to experience time–inspired by pre-industrial cultures, ecological cues, and geological timescales–that can bring within reach a more humane, responsive way of living. As planet-bound animals, we live inside shortening and lengthening days alongside gardens growing, birds migrating, and cliffs eroding; the stretchy quality of waiting and desire; the way the present may suddenly feel marbled with childhood memory; the slow but sure procession of a pregnancy; the time it takes to heal from injuries. Odell urges us to become stewards of these different rhythms of life in which time is not reducible to standardized units and instead forms the very medium of possibility.
Daughters of Nantucket by Julie Gerstenblatt (March 14)
Nantucket in 1846 is an island set apart not just by its geography but by its unique circumstances. With their menfolk away at sea, often for years at a time, women here know a rare independence—and the challenges that go with it.
Eliza Macy is struggling to conceal her financial trouble as she waits for her whaling captain husband to return from a voyage. In desperation, she turns against her progressive ideals and targets Meg Wright, a pregnant free Black woman trying to relocate her store to Main Street. Meanwhile, astronomer Maria Mitchell loves running Nantucket’s Atheneum and spending her nights observing the stars, yet she fears revealing the secret wishes of her heart.
On a sweltering July night, a massive fire breaks out in town, quickly kindled by the densely packed wooden buildings. With everything they possess now threatened, these three very different women are forced to reevaluate their priorities and decide what to save, what to let go and what kind of life to rebuild from the ashes of the past.
Happily: A Personal History-With Fairy Tales by Sabrina Orah Mark (March 14)
Set against the backdrop of political upheaval, viral plague, social protest, and climate change, Mark locates the magic in the mundane and illuminates the surreality of life as we know it today. She grapples with a loss of innocence in “Sorry, Peter Pan, We’re Over You,” when her son decides he would rather dress up as Martin Luther King, Jr., than Peter Pan for Halloween. In “The Evil Stepmother,” Mark finds unlikely communion with wicked wives and examines the roots of their bad reputation. And in “Rapunzel, Draft One Thousand,” the hunt for a wigmaker in a time of unprecedented civil unrest forces Mark to finally confront her sister’s cancer diagnosis and the stories we tell ourselves to get by.
Undercooked: How I Let Food Become My Life Navigator and How Maybe That’s a Dumb Way to Live by Dan Ahdoot (March 21)
From breaking up with girlfriends over dietary restrictions, to hunting just off the Long Island Expressway, to savoring his grandmother’s magical food that was his only tactile connection to his family’s home country of Iran, to jetting off to Italy to dine at the one of the world’s best restaurants, only to send the risotto back, Ahdoot’s droll observations on his unconventional adventures bring an absurdly funny yet heartfelt look at what happens when you let your stomach be your guide.
How Data Happened: A History from the Age of Reason to the Age of Algorithms by Matthew L. Jones and Chris Wiggins (March 21)
From facial recognition—capable of checking us onto flights or identifying undocumented residents—to automated decision systems that inform everything from who gets loans to who receives bail, each of us moves through a world determined by data-empowered algorithms. But these technologies didn’t just appear: they are part of a history that goes back centuries, from the census enshrined in the US Constitution to the birth of eugenics in Victorian Britain to the development of Google search.
The Woman Beyond the Sea by Sarit Yishai-Levi , translated from the Hebrew by Gilah Kahn-Hoffmann (March 21 – US publication)
Eliya thinks that she’s finally found true love and passion with her charismatic and demanding husband, an aspiring novelist—until he ends their relationship in a Paris café, spurring her suicide attempt. Seeking to heal herself, Eliya is compelled to piece together the jagged shards of her life and history.
Eliya’s heart-wrenching journey leads her to a profound and unexpected love, renewed family ties, and a reconciliation with her orphaned mother, Lily. Together, the two women embark on a quest to discover the truth about themselves and Lily’s own origins…and the unknown woman who set their stories in motion one Christmas Eve.
Spin by Rebecca Caprara (March 28)
Sixteen-year-old Arachne is ostracized by all but her family and closest friend, Celandine. Turning to her loom for solace, Arachne learns to weave, finding her voice and her strength through the craft. After the tragic loss of her family, Arachne and Celandine flee to the city of Colophon, where Arachne’s skills are put to the test. Word of her talent spreads quickly, leading to a confrontation with the goddess Athena, who demands that Arachne repent.
Lone Women by Victor LaValle (March 28)
The year is 1914, and Adelaide is in trouble. Her secret sin killed her parents, and forced her to flee her hometown of Redondo, California, in a hellfire rush, ready to make her way to Montana as a homesteader. Dragging the trunk with her at every stop, she will be one of the “lone women” taking advantage of the government’s offer of free land for those who can cultivate it—except that Adelaide isn’t alone. And the secret she’s tried so desperately to lock away might be the only thing keeping her alive.