Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2018

Alternating Current staff selects the books we’re looking forward to reading in 2018.


Despite the toxic environment around us, literature and artistry keeps thriving, and 2018 proves to be another great year for books. Alternating Current staff members have compiled a list of this year’s forthcoming books that we can’t wait to dive into, from short stories to poetry to sci-fi, to memoirs, LGBT, novels, and guidebooks with a literary appeal. We couldn’t decide on the perfect order for them, of course, so if you’re looking for a specific book, they’re listed alphabetically by author last name. Happy TBR listing!


Megan Abbott
Give Me Your Hand
After first devouring Abbott’s latest novel, You Will Know Me, over the summer, I have declared myself a Megan Abbott fan for life. Every book by her is a binge read, and I have no doubt that this year’s title, Give Me Your Hand, will be the same. Abbott’s teenage characters are scheming, manipulative, and brutally authentic. The story lines are always addictive and the language spurred on by a driving compulsion. If her craft wasn’t so well done, I’d say that Abbott’s books were guilty pleasures. Regardless, I’ll be eagerly awaiting this next page-turning offering. (Steph Post)


Jason Arment
Musalaheen: A Memoir
The title of Arment’s debut memoir is Arabic for ‘gunslingers.’ In an interview with Midwestern Gothic, Arment explains where the title came from: “In one of the chapters I ask a child where the musalaheen are, and he points at me — no white saviors in this book.” This memoir promises to blur the distinctions between heroes and enemies in war-torn Iraq. Forthcoming from University of Hell Press, summer of 2018. (Melissa Grunow)


Ramona Ausubel
Awayland
A short story collection I’m looking forward to is Ramona Ausubel’s Awayland. Her 2013 book, A Guide to Being Born, contains a story called “Poppyseed” that I often reread and recommend to short-story readers. Awayland is eleven stories taking place in many different parts of the world. I’m looking forward to where Ausubel’s imagination can take us next. (Al Kratz)


Joe Biel
A People’s Guide to Publishing: Build a Successful, Sustainable, Meaningful Book Business
I’ve been in Biel’s Microcosm sphere since before I was friends with just about anyone else in the current literary world. Way back in the early nineties, I was buying from and trading with this gem of an underground press and storefront. Biel’s new offering is one that is won with merit; he has succeeded in the book business for decades and has built what he has from the ground up. He knows about community, sustainability, niche markets, and taking care of your people. This guide is sure to steer you right. (Leah Angstman)


Tabitha Blankenbiller
Eats of Eden
Combining narrative essays and recipes for favorite meals, Eats of Eden is more than a memoir and more than a cookbook — it’s a ‘foodoir.’ The book addresses body image, lost friendships, and reconciling unanswered questions. It’s hard to deny that personal stories and food are two of my favorite things, so any book that brings them together is bound to be a good one. (Melissa Grunow)


Mel Bosworth & Ryan Ridge
Second Acts in American Lives
This collection of short-shorts slashed with hybrid prose poetry will catch you off guard. These two masters of the art play around with form, style, mouthfeel, beats, alliteration, and every other device you can think of, and they make bastards out of punchlines and rules. Humorous, dark, and witty, this collection is both poetical and political, nuanced and in-your-face. You’ll laugh. You’ll think. What more can you want from a book? (Leah Angstman)


Melissa Broder
The Pisces
From the author of So Sad Today comes a dark, strange, and exceptionally original story about a woman falling in love with a merman. At a time when mermaids are having a moment, I’m not surprised that Broder has shifted the conversation to the siren-call of a good fantasy. With promises of humor, shades of darkness, and blunt truths, this is one book I can’t wait to sink into, pun totally intended. (Nicole Tone)


Taylor Brown
Gods of Howl Mountain
I’ve been a fan of Taylor Brown’s writing for years now, ever since I first read his debut collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold. From that title story, lucky for the world, blossomed an entire novel — and a career for Brown. Fallen Land was a fantastic debut novel, proving his worth as a new voice in the elite field of Southern literature. His second novel, The River of Kings, is arguably even better, with Brown flexing his muscle and showing that his abilities extend beyond straightforward journeys. It’s great to hear, then, that Brown is coming out with a third novel. Gods of Howl Mountain goes to the well: a 1950s North Carolina story steeped in moonshine, folk healers, and roadhouses, Gods promises to deliver on Brown’s strengths of deep, dark landscapes, haunted families, and moments of intense action. (Eric Shonkwiler)


James Brubaker
Black Magic Death Sphere: (Science) Fictions
Brubaker’s story collection is coming this spring from Urban Farmhouse Press and was a previous winner of the 2014 Pressgang Prize. Brubaker’s stories are always intriguing and surprising, so I’m excited to see the science side of his fiction. It’s bound to be otherworldly. (Leah Angstman)


Becky Chambers
Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers #3)
I haven’t yet read the second Wayfarers book, which I’m pretty sure makes me a Fake Fan, but I’m sure I’ll devour it the week before this one comes out. Chambers lets us roll around with her characters, all of whom are expertly crafted and not just tough straight white dudes, and she shrugs at the traditional Space Opera narrative structure. It’s just so enjoyable, such a romp, and it makes me wonder why everything in this genre can’t aim to be fun and inclusive. (Amanda Jean)


KJ Charles
Last Couple in Hell (Green Men #2)
I will sing KJ Charles’ praises from every rooftop if I have to. She’s one of those authors who knows story craft inside out from her years as an editor. She’s perfected layering tension until you’re almost afraid to turn the page and see how much more fraught things are going to get, then delivering a perfect dose of catharsis by the end. This series, historical urban fantasy in 1920s Britain, is a delight. This second installment is about two women — one of whom is dead, so that’s got to throw a wrench into things. I’m excited to see how Charles pulls off a dead heroine in a female/female romance as well as how she deepens the existing world. (Amanda Jean)


Alexander Chee
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays
Alexander Chee is an author for whom I will stand in line. His books are always rich in detail, thoughtful, and important, and he’s a literary citizen of the highest degree. It goes without saying, then, that I have been salivating for this collection of essays since I first heard about it last fall. It’s an instructional memoir of sorts about what the author has learned from his life of writing and reading, how this all has changed him, and his entanglement with the topics of politics, identity, activism, underrepresentation of marginalized voices, and what it means to be constantly creating and recreating one’s self. I simply can’t wait to dive in. Bring it, April! (Leah Angstman)


Emily Corwin
tenderling
I have been fortunate enough to know Emily for a few years now, and I have been consistently blown away by her work. She is the kind of writer who has the ability to make the grotesque beautiful and who brings to light those thoughts and feelings we keep tucked away in sock drawers with our mother’s lipstick, so I was ecstatic when I heard that her first full-length collection of poetry is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press. This collection will draw you into a world of fantasy and surrealism like you’ve never experienced, delving into themes of gender and identity. This book, at once tender and sharp, will leave you haunted. (Lisa Favicchia)


Tasha Coryell
When Things Get Too Messy, New Life Starts to Form
Coming in June from Split Lip Press, this collection of short stories features babies, clowns, dogs, exorcism, serial killers, poop, celebrities, and more. Coryell is witty and driven, and her collection is sure to have plenty of zing, zip, gross-outs, and lol moments. (Leah Angstman)


Leesa Cross-Smith
Whiskey & Ribbons
Cross-Smith’s debut novel is getting wicked acclaim, and rightfully so. As genuine and kind a person as you will ever meet, her heart transcends to the page, and she simply captures you. Roping motherhood, fatherhood, and brotherhood into a story of grief, loss, and what happens after the unthinkable happens, Cross-Smith will drag your heart through the mud and teach you what it means to heal, or not to. (Leah Angstman)


Meghan Flaherty
Tango Lessons: A Memoir
Trauma survivors all have their own ways of moving toward healing. In Tango Lessons, Meghan Flaherty uses a progression of tango classes and skills developed in those classes to learn to trust herself and her partner. I’m looking forward to the use of dance as journey in this aftermath of trauma memoir. (Melissa Grunow)


Sherrie Flick
Thank Your Lucky Stars
This fall, Flick has a new short story collection with Autumn House Press that is certain to be a winner. Flick has an intense, unique voice, and her stories are intelligent and urgent, so this collection is sure to be one more delight in her repertoire. And be on the lookout later this year for a book of narrative nonfiction by Flick also coming from In Fact Books, an imprint of Creative Nonfiction magazine. (Leah Angstman)


Kendra Fortmeyer
Hole in the Middle
This year marks the American debut of this fabulous young-adult novel that’s been getting some love on the other side of the pond. It comes out from Soho Teen this year, and we imagine it’ll get a new outfit, but we’ll use this cover for now. A teenager who was born with a hole in her middle, a patch of absolutely nothing where something should be, has to confront our society of perfect-body worshippers and learn and relearn the definitions and expectations of ‘normal’ and ‘perfect’ and ‘different.’ A tale for our times! (Leah Angstman)


R. J. Fox
Awaiting Identification
On October 31, 1999, five bodies are brought into a morgue without identification. Five strangers, five lives, five tragedies. Awaiting Identification promises to be full of darkness, grit, absolution, and even possibility, just like the city itself. In this novel, Detroit will become more than a setting; it’s a character. (Melissa Grunow)


Roxane Gay, editor
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture
In the midst of the #MeToo movement and nationwide pushback against a culture of misogyny, Roxane Gay did what feminists do best: she brought together a chorus of voices to share their stories of rape, assault, and harassment. (Melissa Grunow)


William Gay
The Lost Country
Appropriately titled, The Lost Country has been in limbo for years. Recently, though, powerhouse Dzanc Press managed to acquire it and two other Gay novels in the wake of his unfortunate passing. Gay has long been a lesser-known voice in Southern fiction, and while his work can at times be uneven, he more often than not delivers on its promise. The Lost Country is a classic for Gay, following a number of disparate figures colliding in Tennessee, among them a conman and a hitchhiking sailor, who are bound for redemption and revenge. (Eric Shonkwiler)


Lauren Groff
Florida
It’s going to be hard for Lauren Groff to top the recommendation she got from Barack Obama for 2015’s Fates and Furies, although I suspect the former President may be looking forward to her new book, as well. Florida is a collection of short stories of many different characters, time periods, and conflicts, but all of the stories are set in the Florida climate and terrain. (Al Kratz)


Melissa Grunow
I Don’t Belong Here: Essays
Grunow’s new collection of essays will be coming out in September of this year from New Meridian Arts. She writes from the heart, and this collection of 20 essays is sure to continue that tradition. Touching on subjects of what it means to belong, senses of security and survival, examining the notion of identity, and unanswered questions about the self and surroundings and the fallibility of memory, Grunow lays herself open on the page with bravery and grace among timely essays that are as wise as they are delightful, and as fragile as they are fearless. (Leah Angstman)


Liz Harmer
The Amateurs
You can’t swing a mutant cat without hitting a post-apocalyptic narrative these days, and yet the vein has not gone dry (to my relief). Liz Harmer’s The Amateurs sounds high-concept, but promises to stay on the ground. The invention of a time-traveling device called a ‘port,’ powered by feelings of nostalgia that often wind up being one-way, robs the world of most of its population a la The Leftovers. The survivors are left to deal with what feels like the most refreshing of apocalyptic scenarios after a year like 2017 — there are bound to be fewer assholes, after all — but their world is one depopulated in a particularly painful way. Are their loved ones alive? Can they return? What led to their departure — was I not enough? The decay of the world around them and the coming winter may turn out less deadly than the emotional ties to those stranded lovers and friends, as protagonist Marie, an artist, grapples with the weight of abandoning her ex-husband to the past. (Eric Shonkwiler)


Jeffery Hess
Tushhog
This follow up to Hess’ 2015 Florida crime thriller, Beachhead, promises to be every bit as dark, dirty, and soaked in 80s noir as its predecessor. A ‘tushhog’ is slang for a Southern guy who always finishes a fight, and that alone should give readers an indication of where this story is headed. Hess’ style is comparable to that of James Lee Burke or Elmore Leonard, and I’m sure that this continuation of protagonist and Navy-prison parolee Scotland Ross’ tale will not disappoint. Coming in May from Down & Out Books. (Steph Post)


Ming Holden
Refuge
Refuge is the winner of the inaugural Kore Press Memoir Award. The manuscript was selected by Lidia Yuknavitch, who called it, “The story we need to hear right now in the only voice that can tell it.” A compelling essay writer who has worked with assault victims and refugees throughout the world, Holden’s work takes memoir beyond the self and into a world that none of us could be prepared to understand. (Melissa Grunow)


Justina Ireland
Dread Nation
This. Is. So. Cool. Alt-history Civil War with zombies and a sixteen-year-old biracial girl as the main character. Ireland is a force of nature with her projects: she edits the Fiyah literary mag all about black specfic, which I can’t recommend highly enough, her critiques are legendary, and her own writing is a punch. The premise is great, but Ireland herself is just as big of a draw for me. (Amanda Jean)


Omotara James
Daughter Tongue
We’ve been fans of James’ work since we discovered this amazing poem, which won third place in our annual Luminaire Award for Best Poetry. Her chapbook was selected by Kwame Dawes, Chris Abani, and the African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2018 New Generation African Poets Box Set, and I am tickled pink for its release this year. James’ voice is so unique and genuine; she’s definitely a poet to have on your poetdar. (Leah Angstman)


Omotara James
Mama Wata
It’s a two-fer year for James, as we also see later this year the release of her debut full-length collection coming from Siren Songs, an imprint of Civil Coping Mechanisms, selected by the amazing Joanna C. Valente. I’m sure this collection will rank among the year’s finest voices and will put James on the poetry map for good and for true. (Leah Angstman)


Morgan Jerkins
This Will Be My Undoing
Morgan is a fierce writer and critic and, frankly, I’d read anything she wrote. But what puts This Will Be My Undoing on my list is that, in this essay collection, Jerkins is promised to tackle many important topics: from racism, to pop culture, to the current white-centric feminist movement that continuously erases the women they need to celebrate the most. Already hailed as required reading for everyone, I’m counting down the minutes until this book shows up on my doorstep. (Nicole Tone)


Alma Katsu
The Hunger
This is apparently already being made into a TV series, and who could blame them? With the popularity of The Walking Dead, of course someone jumped at the chance for this one, a historical horror story that crosses zombies with the terror and limitations of the infamous (and far over-exaggerated-but-we-love-myths-nonetheless!) cannibalistic Donner Party. I hear that this book seamlessly combines the historical with the supernatural in an eerie way, and it dissects the violence and insecurities of human nature at its breaking point. (Leah Angstman)


Porochista Khakpour
Sick
Suffering from a chronic, unknown illness takes a toll on more than just the body; it causes the afflicted to doubt every treatment, every doctor, every promise as each fails to identify the culprit. Sick tells the story of Khakpour’s years of illness until she is finally diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease, but by then, the damage of anxiety, distrust, and drug addiction had all taken hold. I’m eager to learn how Khakpour manages to reconcile her experiences in this promising memoir. (Melissa Grunow)


Terese Marie Mailhot
Heart Berries
One thing I might love more than a good true crime book or series is a memoir that delivers into mental illness. But Mailhot’s memoir isn’t just another confession of the hells of living with PTSD and BiPolar disorder: it’s a woman writing herself out of the darkness and into acceptance of the events in her life. As someone also living with PTSD, these books have a way of making their way onto my list as ways to not feel alone. (Nicole Tone)


Gale Massey
The Girl from Blind River
Everyone who knows me knows that ‘Girl’ titled books are one of my biggest pet peeves. That being said, I fell in love first with the gorgeous cover of this novel and second with the idea of a tough female protagonist playing a role that is normally reserved for the boys in the room. Jamie Elders is a poker savant who winds up entangled in her family’s dark deeds and darker secrets, beginning with the disposal of a dead body. I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews from those lucky enough to score an advance copy, and I think this will be a bracing read to cool us off in July. (Steph Post)


Meghan McClure
Portrait of a Body in Wreckages
A lucky sneak peak available online shows the opening lines of this collection of lyrical and fragmented essays: “The body is the first landscape. The first place one knows. The first place one leaves, returns to again, leaves.” Who wouldn’t want to read this book with an opening like that? Absolutely stunning. Winner of the 2017 Newfound Prose Prize. (Melissa Grunow)


Michelle McNamara
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
I’m obsessed with true crime these days. Any docs-series, documentary, or book that has the workings of a good police procedural with psychological elements to it, I’m all about it. What puts I’ll Be Gone in the Dark on my list is that it has all of these elements to it, and much more. The late McNamara pieced together fragments of a criminal mastermind and the chaos that surrounded ‘The Golden State Killer’— a project she was working on for over a decade before her sudden death. (Nicole Tone)


Lincoln Michel & Nadxieli Nieto, editors
Tiny Crimes: Very Short Tales of Mystery and Murder
This collection of short shorts packs a punch, with a very stellar lineup of suspects. Amelia Gray, Laura van den Berg, Brian Evenson, Benjamin Percy, and more, gun down these pages of crime, pulp, noir, thrills, chills, and cozies, with 40 flash stories capped out at a few hundred words each. From throwbacks to the world of noir past, to mysteries involving modern societal problems, this will surely be a collection to devour rapidly and intensely. (Leah Angstman)


Shawn Mihalik
The Dissection of Vertebrates
Threesomes and sex magick and open relationships and depression and drunken nights — all those things young lovers fight and dream about. The Dissection of Vertebrates, Mihalik’s latest novel, resonates with anyone who fell in love with the boy at the coffee shop and imagined her husband in bed with them, anyone who has been laughed at by his wife, anyone who has looked at that bottle of pills on the counter and asked himself, is today the day? Mihalik writes with depth and emotion and heart and pain; no character escapes suffering, no character escapes heartbreak, there are no ideals in his world, and sometimes there are not even happy endings. After all, that is not how life works. There are no clear endings to things, no lines in the sand that cannot be crossed. We all fall down, we all mess up, and he does not shy away from showing you these falls and these mess ups. You will want to reach into the very pages of the book, take the characters by their shoulders, and hug them or shake them for their hypocrisy. You will see yourself in them, and you will hate it and you will love it. Reading Mihalik’s words, you will be confronted with the worst parts of yourself, and you will enjoy every moment of it, guided along with his rich, poetic language and dry, in-your-face wit. (Paige M. Ferro)


Ottessa Moshfegh
My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Ottessa Moshfegh was one of my favorite writers in 2017. I read all three of her published works and am happy she already has a new novel coming out this July. My Year of Rest and Relaxation is about a woman who wants to get away from the world, so she embarks on an extended hibernation. It sounds like someone of today’s world, but the story takes place in 2000. Moshfegh characters are intense and have unique, uncompromising outlooks on life. I can’t wait for this story about the need for alienation. (Al Kratz)


Patrick Nathan
Some Hell
If hell is other people, it all begins with family. For Colin, they’ve run amok: his father’s suicide and the mysterious notebooks left behind, his mother’s grief-induced fling and emotional dependence, siblings at his throat. A cross-country road trip with mom doesn’t promise to end well, but I’m along for the ride. (Ed Tato)


GennaRose Nethercott
The Lumberjack’s Dove
Nethercott has a gift for words (We’ve been fans ever since we published one of her stunning poems. I mean.) and this book slated in October from Ecco/Harper Collins is one of the winners of the 2017 National Poetry Series, selected by no less than Louise Glück. Nethercott is a history nerd (I mean that in the most endearing term, from one history nerd to another.) who writes poems-to-order for folks at events, so what could be awesomer? This book is one long poem told in a series of tiny prose-cubes, about a lumberjack who accidentally cuts off his hand with an ax, whereupon the severed hand turns into a dove. In the vein of a modern folktale, of which Nethercott’s style excels, the epic poem explores the lengths to which we’ll go to reclaim what we’ve lost. (Leah Angstman)


Claire O’Dell
A Study in Honor
“Feminist queer futuristic Sherlock Holmes!” I screech. Need I say, or scream, more? (Amanda Jean)


Emily O’Neill
a falling knife has no handle
O’Neill is one of the best, most passionate, poets out there, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about her work every time something new pops up. This one proves to be slightly different from her usual fare, but it seems that it will dig even deeper into the person O’Neill is, that innermost being who creates such incredible work. Coming in fall/winter 2018 from YesYes Books, this collection, in its simplest terms, consists of love poems about food and booze. In much more complex terms, it tackles accessibility vs. inaccessibility, class gaps, hospitality, recovery from disordered eating, and the author’s relationship to food and trust in the wake of abuse and trauma. Here’s a sample piece from the forthcoming collection, and yeah, pen it into your TBR because you can’t read this and walk away. (Leah Angstman)


Chris Offutt
Country Dark
Start with equal parts post-war trauma, family ties, and choking social codes. Mix in generous helpings of dirty, dangerous work, poverty, crime, and resentment. Shake it all together in the isolated backwoods of Kentucky. Did someone say noir? Yes, and it’s certainly got my attention. (Ed Tato)


Robert Parker
Crook’s Hollow
I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of Crook’s Hollow, and I have to say, I was pretty impressed. At first I was a little skeptical, as I expected something along the lines of a cozy British mystery. In truth, Crook’s Hollow is nothing short of British Grit Lit — a genre I didn’t even realize existed until now. The characters are brutal and the plot unforgiving as the main character, Thor Loxley, struggles to stay alive in a deadly web of rival criminal families. It’s a surprising read, and I hope it begins to show up on the radars of readers this side of the pond. (Steph Post)


C. L. Polk
Witchmark (Witchmark #1)
Tor has been killing it lately. I saw a blurb for this go by on Twitter and immediately preordered it. Magic Edwardian England-ish fantasy with a witchy main character who faked his own death to hide from his family, a murder mystery, and bonus queerness. Any one of those elements would have sold me, and I’m hugely intrigued and counting down the days until release. (Amanda Jean)


Steph Post
Walk in the Fire
Walk in the Fire is the follow up to Post’s second novel, Lightwood, and continues the story of Judah Cannon. Post is a master of the literary crime novel, and her work is reminiscent of Harry Crews or Daniel Woodrell. Cannon’s story would fit right in on Netflix along with Ozark or Bloodline, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Post takes it next. (Al Kratz)


Jamie Quatro
Fire Sermon
Quatro’s I Want to Show You More is one of my all-time favorite short story collections. Her debut novel, Fire Sermon, came out on January 9, and I need to move it to the top of my TBR pile. It’s about a woman drawn to an affair even though she is still committed to her husband and family. I can’t wait to see how Quatro’s character, Maggie, handles this emotional dilemma. (Al Kratz)


Lisa Romeo
Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love after Loss
What would it be like to understand your own father more after his death than you did during your upbringing? Lisa Romeo explores this question and more in Starting with Goodbye. It’s a story that promises to redefine the classification of grief memoir. (Melissa Grunow)


Ted Scheinman
Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan
This is a culmination of three things I love: Jane Austen, superfandom, and such tight bonds to historical scholarship that you just can’t shake it. I, too, could not escape the clutches of a parent’s love of history. I, too, accidentally fell in love with Jane Austen completely against my will. And I, too, love three historic figures so much that I’ve even dressed like them when it wasn’t Halloween. I get this book. I get everything about it. I want to fall into the clutches of another superfan, get lost in the obsession, and hopefully pull out a little bit of research for a book I’m writing, as well. Triple threat! (Leah Angstman)


Michael J. Seidlinger
My Pet Serial Killer
That cigar-puffing overachiever we hate to love is at it again, with another pulpy-but-literary thriller that is sure to be as much fun as it is traumatizing. Described as a “Dexter meets Secretary” (which I admit I first read as Secretariat, which would not have disappointed, so: future idea, Mr. Seidlinger!), this disturbing romp pits the Gentleman Killer against the psychosexual female Forensic Scientist for an intense look at power, sex, and gore that will most likely make Patrick Bateman blush. (Leah Angstman)


Tracy K. Smith
Wade in the Water
I cannot wait to get my hands on the latest collection of poems by our new Poet Laureate of the United States. Smith’s work is consistently lyrical and haunting. These poems bring forth the voices of forgotten and silenced African Americans from our country’s torn and shaky beginnings, using accounts from immigrants to Civil War veterans, and incorporating her own experiences growing up. In this way, Smith points out the persisting relevance of these subjects in our everyday lives, making this collection an essential read. (Lisa Favicchia)


Zadie Smith
Feel Free: Essays
Chock full of cultural critiques that range from a rumination of the ‘aboutness’ of Facebook to the timeless institutions that are public libraries, Feel Free explores our world through the thoughtful lens of literary journalism. I imagine reading this one is going to be like sitting on the couch and chatting for hours with an old friend. (Melissa Grunow)


Nicole Tone
Lake Effect
Coming in Spring 2018 from Pen Name Publishing, this book makes two publications for Tone this year, and we couldn’t be more excited to get her on your radar. This novel explores grief, sexual violence, coming to terms with PTSD, and finding those creative outlets in ourselves that connect universally to others, and it couldn’t be more timely in today’s explosive environment. (Leah Angstman)


Nicole Tone
Secrets of the High Priestess
Writing about trauma and recovery — topics she knows firsthand on an hourly basis as a result of a critical brain injury — Tone takes you inside her world and the world of women as a whole, with this heartbreaking and self-reflective collection of poetry. Exploring the roles of women in a changing society, Tone addresses recovery and identity with a confessional tone that is raw, unfiltered, uncomfortable, and important. (Leah Angstman)


Laura van den Berg
The Third Hotel
Laura van den Berg’s Find Me was one of my favorite books of 2015, and I’m looking forward to this summer’s release of her new novel, The Third Hotel. It’s about a widow who goes to Havana and happens to see her husband standing outside a museum. She begins to tail him and is drawn into a mystery of psychology and metaphysics. This promises to be another brilliant novel exploring memory and grieving by way of an intense narrative. (Al Kratz)


Jim Warner
Actual Miles
Warner is not only a tremendous poet whom I have had the utmost pleasure of seeing read his poetry live, but he is also one of the best literary citizens out there, rooting on the work of others with endless zeal and energy that can only come from someplace supernatural. This book is Warner’s third collection of poetry and first book in nearly a decade. Part travelogue and part identity-seeking, vinyl-squeaking inner monologues on being Filipino in the Rust Belt, it is sure to be a road-friendly traveling companion for your lost nights on long stretches of lonesome and crackling highways. (Leah Angstman)


Alex Wells
Blood Binds the Pack (Hobb #2)
2017 seemed to be the year of specfic and sci-fi for me, and holy hell, Alex Wells was a crowning glory with Hunger Makes the Wolf. Down-and-dirty space biker witchery with a messy female lead, diverse characters, found families, excellent world building, and unexpected moments of beautifully crafted prose. I’m interested to see if Wells can top Hunger, which as a first novel was pretty dang flawless. (Amanda Jean)


Martha Wells
Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2)
I’ve been itching for this one since I put the first novella, All Systems Red, down. The first is such funny, grounded sci-fi with a security bot narrator who overrides her programming and spends her time being judgy about humanity, watching terrible Space Soap Operas, and trying (badly) to conceal her newfound autonomy. In addition to the snappy writing and humor, the uncanniness of a robot manufactured with some organic parts makes for some great body horror moments, which I’m always down for. Murderbot is the ultimate grumpy narrator, and I gleefully if impatiently await her continued adventures. (Amanda Jean)


Charles Dodd White
In the House of Wilderness
Coming this year from Swallow Press, a trade imprint of Ohio University Press, is White’s latest offering. White writes from the gritty underbelly of Appalachia, and his stories are dark and loaded in ugly truth. I’m excited to see how this new book will fit into his repertoire. (Leah Angstman)


Rachel Wiley
Nothing Is Okay
I really liked Wiley’s Fat Girl Finishing School, and she’s a slam poet whose 10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy went viral in my circle, so I imagine the Nothing Is Okay collection is going to be just as riveting. She deals with fat positivity, queerness, and all sorts of bullshit-white-patriarchy-smashing topics. (Amanda Jean)


Some small press books to keep a watch for in 2018 as more information becomes available:

They Lied to Me When They Said Everything Would Be Alright, the debut full-length poetry collection by Jay Passer, is coming from Pski’s Porch later this year. How the Moon Works, a collection of short stories by Matt Rowan, is coming in late 2018 from Cobalt Press. From the Essential Handbook on Making It to the Next Whatever, the newest collection of poetry by William Taylor, Jr., is forthcoming this year from Pedestrian Press. Sad Laughter by Brian Alan Ellis is coming in June from Civil Coping Mechanisms, along with some other great titles from that indie press that never sleeps, including the reprint edition of Hollywood Notebook by Wendy C. Ortiz, on their Writ Large imprint (and speaking of Brian Alan Ellis, his House of Vlad Productions has a stellar lineup next month, as well). Cosmic Midnight Night Shifters by Zack Kopp is coming out this year. Kate Evans has a collection of poetry about failed marriage and finding new love, Target, out this month. The Real and False Journals/Tally Ho and The Cowboy’s Dream, a bilingual edition available in the U.S., by Michael Rothenberg, will be published by Varasek Ediciones out of Madrid, Spain. Objects of Affection, an essay collection by Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbough, will be published this month by Braddock Avenue Books. Southeast Missouri State University Press has a couple of good collections coming this fall, including a book of linked stories, In the Red Room, by Maureen Aitken, and House Is an Enigma by Emma Bolden. Timmy Reed’s novel, Kill Me Now, comes out this month from Counterpoint Press. Neil and Other Stories, a collection of flash by J. Bradley, comes out in March from Whiskey Tit Books. Nick Mazmanian has a pulp noir book, Who Killed Me?, that will come out in serialized increments this year through Gumroad. Every Day There Is Something about Elephants is 200 pages of Timothy Gager’s collected flash fiction from 2010–2018, coming out this year from Big Table Publishing. Shouldspeak by Elynn Alexander will be out this year from Naked Bulb Press. Bill Yarrow’s Against Prompts will be out this year from Lit Fest Press. Confessions of an American Outlaw by Michael Grover will be out this year from Cocklebur Press. Wavehouse, a young-adult novel by Alice Kaltman, is slated for this summer from Fitzroy Books. BART Boyfriend by Alexandra Naughton is coming this spring from Nomadic Press. Dan Provost has a co-authored poetry collection coming out from Spartan Press. The Kinda Fella I Am by Raymond Luczak comes out in March from Reclamation Press. Howie Good’s Loser’s Guide to Streetfighting will be out this year from Thoughtcrime Press. Colin Winnette’s The Job of the Wasp is out now from Soft Skull Press. Mr. Neutron by Joe Ponepinto and Like a Champion by Vincent Chu will both be out this year from 7.13 Books. Where Night Stops by Douglas Light will be published later this month by Rare Bird Books.


One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.