Start your year off right with these EW-approved titles.
January books
Credit: Illustration by EW

For everyone who sat down at their desks over the New Year's weekend, vision boards at the ready, declaring their intentions to read more in 2022 than they did in 2021, we have good news: So far, this year's books are highly engaging. We highlighted 20 of the year's most anticipated titles here, and below are five favorites publishing this month. The rest is in your hands.

January Books

Fiona and Jane, by Jean Chen Ho

Jean Chen Ho is currently completing a Ph.D. program at USC, and her debut novel — written while completing coursework for the literature doctoral program, no less — shows off a flair for form. Written as a collection of vignettes from the perspectives of its title characters, it traces their lives as young best friends in suburban Los Angeles and as young adults who come together and apart and together again. Fiona moves to New York and faces the turmoil of career and personal ambitions not borne out in reality while Jane stays back home and tries to find herself within L.A.'s disparate, sometimes depressing metropolis. Taken as a whole, the book explores the murky layers of female friendship and the meaning of home. (Jan. 4)

January Books

Anthem, by Noah Hawley

Fargo is on hold and Alien won't be out for at least a year, but director and producer Noah Hawley returns to one of his former hyphenates with the release of his latest novel. Anthem opens at a float lab, where protagonist Simon Oliver is trying to work out a few demons in the wake of his sister's tragic death; he eventually meets up with a band of quirky characters who have uncovered a rather diabolical criminal underbelly. It's a hefty thriller that draws on several of America's darkest dilemmas (the opioid crisis, climate change) for fodder, but under Hawley's expert hand the amusement is never very far away. (Jan. 4)

January Books

I Came All This Way to Meet You, by Jami Attenberg

Most readers will know Attenberg from her beefy, juicy novels about difficult families (like All This Could Be Yours and The Middlesteins), and from the outside it would be easy to assume that she's had an idyllic rise through the publishing world. In her new memoir, she gets real about the grind, if you will. There are raw, vulnerable memories of soulless corporate jobs, fruitlessly shopping around manuscripts, and lonesome days on the grueling book tour circuit. But this book is no downer; Attenberg writes her life deliciously, and includes tales of romance and nights out on the New York literary scene that infuse the work with a surprising sense of nostalgia. (Jan. 11)

January Books

Manifesto, by Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo's literary repertoire couldn't be more different from Attenberg's, but they've aligned to a shocking degree in their new memoirs. In Manifesto, the Booker Prize winner (for 2020's Girl, Woman, Other) does her own reflecting on the trials and tribulations of dedicating oneself to becoming a world-class novelist. The challenges are different — most pressing for Evaristo has been navigating being a Black woman in the U.K. — but the result of the read is quite similar: a renewed appreciation for people who give of themselves, to give us art. (Jan. 18)

January Books

How High We Go in the Dark, by Sequoia Nagamatsu

Audiences have long ago proven that real-life events won't ruin an appetite for pandemic-set pop culture — so long as it's done artfully. We don't want to see the girls in masks on And Just Like That; we do want to see humanity rebuild itself on Station Eleven. In his first novel, Sequoia Nagamatsu (who previously published the short-story collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone) crafts a plot about the unleashing of an Arctic plague. Told through various characters over hundreds of years — an archeologist who recently lost his daughter, an employee at a theme park for dying children, a grandfather and granddaughter searching for a new planet — it's a heartbreaking tribute to humanity. (Jan. 18)

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