By Isabella Biedenharn
February 04, 2016 at 01:11 PM EST
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Portobello Books Ltd, Crown Publishing Group, Hogarth

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it has enough must-read books coming out to wish it had 31 days. From dazzling historical fiction to heartbreaking memoir, the following books might have you blowing off that Netflix binge in favor of the ever-riveting written word.

Han Kang, The Vegetarian

If you love books that grab you by the throat and keep you wide-eyed and shocked throughout, you’ve got to pick up Han Kang’s The Vegetarian — the story of a woman who stops eating meat after she has a grisly nightmare, and the increasingly strange and violent ways her decision affects her family members. (Feb. 2)

Alexander Chee, The Queen of the Night

Don’t let the weight of Chee’s tome deter you: You’ll have no trouble sinking into this gorgeously wrought tale of Lilliet Berne, a Parisian courtesan-turned-opera singer, who gets a dream come true — an original role written just for her. But when she realizes the entire show is based on a deeply buried (or so she thought) secret from her past, Lilliet must figure out who betrayed her. (Feb. 2)

Sue Klebold, A Mother’s Reckoning

The mother of Columbine’s Dylan Klebold waited 16 years to write this memoir, and we’re still not sure how she did it. Wrenching, painful, and honest, Klebold’s memoir is crucial reading in a world where gun violence seems to be only getting worse. (Feb. 15)

Belinda McKeon, Tender

From the author of Solace comes the tale of Catherine and James, who meet in ’90s Dublin when the adventurous James helps Catherine out of her shell. But James is harboring a secret and begins to feel trapped, and Catherine, with her newfound openness, puts everything at risk when disaster hits. (Feb. 16)

Ethan Canin, A Doubter’s Almanac

Canin unspools the saga of a genius and his family over seven decades, and the way intellectual gifts — and the demons that come with them — affects generations. (Feb. 16)

Jean Stein, West of Eden

In this oral history of Los Angeles, the author of Edie explores the city’s history through the lives of five prominent families, from their oil-soaked riches to their downfalls. Plus, when California queen Joan Didion actually blurbs a book, you better believe we’re checking it out. (Feb. 9)

Hannah Tennant-Moore, Wreck and Order 

Fed up with her exhausting relationship and dud of a job, Elsie travels to Paris and Sri Lanka to both challenge and find herself. (Feb. 9)

Kristopher Jansma, Why We Came to the City

An inseparable group of five college friends left the hallowed halls of their alma mater five years ago, and are carving lives for themselves in Manhattan. But when tragedy strikes, its effects ripple through the group, as they struggle to figure out how to move on. (Feb. 16)

Nancy Jo Sales, American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers

The author of the infamous Vanity Fair article that inspired Sofia Coppola’sThe Bling Ring, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” Nancy Jo Sales has long had her fingers on the pulse of American teenage life. Now, she turns her gaze to teen girls generally, and their use of social media, particularly. It’s a fascinating read, especially for those of us caught in between Sales’ generation and that of the teens she follows (no pun intended). (Feb. 23)

Jenny Downham, Unbecoming

Downham’s latest follows three generations of women — a mother, daughter, and grandmother — each of whom harbors her own secret. (Feb. 23)

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