In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases. All books are on sale Feb. 15.
1. “Moon Witch, Spider-King,” by Marlon James (Riverhead, fiction)
What’s about: The second book in James’ Dark Star Trilogy, a fantasy series set in a mythical African landscape, finds adversarial Sogolon the Moon Witch taking center stage to give her account.
Thebuzz: “The second part of this trilogy is darker and, in many ways, more moving than its predecessor,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.
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2. “Watergate: A New History,” by Garrett M. Graff (Avid Reader Press, nonfiction)
What’s about: A meticulously researched, expansive history of the Watergate scandal from start to finish, from the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 to the reverberations that echo through present day.
Thebuzz: “Now the best and fullest account of the Watergate crisis, one unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon,” says a starred review from Kirkus Reviews.
3. “The Boy With a Bird in His Chest,” by Emme Lund (Atria, fiction)
What’s about: Owen Tanner has always had a bird living in his chest – as in literally. Her name is Gail. Her secret is a source of both joy and anxiety, as is Owen’s dawning awareness of his attraction to other boys.
Thebuzz: “This is a gentle, compassionate exploration of how we can learn to love the things that make us different,” says a ★★★ (out of four) review for USA TODAY.
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4. “Black American Refugee: Escaping the Narcissism of the American Dream,” by Tiffanie Drayton (Viking, nonfiction)
What’s about: In the 1990s, Drayton and her siblings left Trinidad and Tobago to join their mother in New Jersey to pursue the American Dream. When that dream proved elusive for a Black girl, Drayton returned to Tobago and reflected on America’s treatment of its Black citizens.
Thebuzz: “Drayton has a powerful story and the voice to do it justice,” says Kirkus Reviews.
5. “Buster Keaton: A Filmmaker’s Life,” by James Curtis (Knopf, nonfiction)
What’s about: A major biography of “The Great Stone Face” Keaton, the ultimate icon of the silent-film era, whose acrobatic physical feats and pioneering films shaped the art of cinema.
Thebuzz: “This is an engrossing portrait of a Hollywood legend,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.