By: Em Perper

Hiya, folks! January has been busy, but a blast.  I’m recapping the last few weeks of new releases here in What You Missed Wednesday. Pick up a book or two to ride out the coldest months of the year.

The Stowaway by Laurie Gwen Shapiro: Fascinating narrative non-fiction about a Polish-American high school graduate named Billy determined to hitch a ride on Richard Byrd’s 1928 Antarctic expedition.

Eternal Life by Dara Horn: A sweeping, engrossing novel about two estranged, immortal star-crossed lovers who first met 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo: Oluo began writing profusely after the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012; since then, she’s become an insightful, indispensable voice, focusing on feminism, race, politics, and their intersections. This, her first book, contains discussion topics and advice relevant for folks of any race or background.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland: A psychological/political thriller that’s optioned for the screen already. A CIA analyst is torn between family, country, and career as she pursues a Russian spy ring. Cleveland herself was a CIA analyst for eight years.

Swearing is Good for You by Emma Byrne: British A.I. researcher Byrne incorporates psychology and sociology into her spirited defense of the emotional and rhetorical effects of cursing.

A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story About Schizophrenia by Sandra Allen: In this hybrid memoir, Allen offers a creative but truthful interpretation of their uncle Bob’s autobiography. Through Allen’s compelling “cover song,” Bob, who spent time in and out of institutions for a variety of symptoms of mental illness, presents a compelling portrait of the American West in the 1960s and 1970s and a scathing indictment of the way mental patients are treated by the medical establishment and society at large.

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft: This is one of those rare self-published novels that achieves mainstream success. Thomas and Marya Senlin are honeymooning at the Tower of Babel, but quickly become separated in the chaos of Babel’s bazaar. Thomas must find his wife and uncover the secrets of the Tower to survive. What follows is an epic fantasy saga—the first in a series!

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory: If you’re looking for a fun, sexy read just in time for Valentine’s Day, you need this book. Alexa and Drew are perfect strangers who agree to be each other’s wedding date. When they realize they have real chemistry, they’ll have to figure out if love really can conquer all—including distance, career, and more.

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers: A stunning, embossed red-and-gold cover encloses a beautiful true story about a young Yemeni-American man named Mokhtar Alkhanshali. Mokhtar travels to Yemen to learn more about its ancient coffee culture, but finds himself trapped there in the midst of civil war and must escape.

This Will be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America by Morgan Jerkins: One the most-anticipated books of the year, this collection of essays blends memoir and cultural analysis. Cheerleading, Michelle Obama, hairstyles, Beyonce—these are only a fraction of the subjects Jerkins examines in her debut. Don’t miss it.

The Games: A Global History of the Olympics by David Goldblatt: Traces the Olympic tradition from its genesis in Athens in 1896 to 2016’s Rio Games. Bestselling sportswriter Goldblatt blends political geography, biography, and an examination of traditions and, of course, the sports themselves.