Column: These new and upcoming books are a perfect next winter read


Ananya Kulkarni

Winter, the season of chilly days and even chillier nights, is the perfect time to bundle up in thick sweaters and warm blankets, with a cup of hot cocoa and a paperback in hand. Here’s a list of new and upcoming books to satisfy your cravings.

Cynthia Chen, news correspondent

Winter, the season of chilly days and even chillier nights, is the perfect time to bundle up in thick sweaters and warm blankets, with a cup of hot cocoa and a paperback in hand. For those looking for the perfect winter read, look no further. Here’s a list of new and upcoming books to satisfy your cravings. 

For the light academia fans: 

“If You Could See the Sun” by Ann Liang 

Alice Sun is the only scholarship recipient at her elite Beijing international boarding school. She has always felt invisible among her peers — that is, until she starts uncontrollably turning invisible, like actually invisible. When her parents can no longer afford her tuition, even with the scholarship, Alice decides to monetize her new abilities by uncovering her classmates’ scandalous secrets — for the right price. But as her tasks escalate from petty gossip to actual crimes, Alice must decide if it’s worth sacrificing her conscience or risk losing her life as she knows it. 

For readers ready for cuffing season: 

“Lucy on the Wild Side” by Kerry Rea

Lucy Rourke has dedicated her whole life to what she loves most — gorillas. As a junior primatologist, she’s focused on getting one thing: a promotion to head keeper. So when a wildlife documentary hosted by hotshot TV personality Kai Bridges chooses the  zoo she works at as his filming location, she takes the opportunity to showcase her beloved gorillas and land a starring role in her department. However, when Kai and his crew arrive, it’s obvious that Kai cares more about ratings than actual animals. But as summer goes on, Lucy is surprised to find that there might be more to him than his brooding personality and cheesy catchphrases and that maybe a promotion isn’t the only thing she wants. 

For readers looking for an adventure back in time: 

“Foul Lady Fortune” by Chloe Gong

The year is 1931; the setting, Shanghai. Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also left her in a predicament — she cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption from her traitorous past, Rosalind uses her abilities as an assassin for her country. But when the Japanese Imperial Army invades China, Rosalind’s mission pivots, and she must infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind a series of brutal murders before more are killed. To reduce suspicion, she poses as the wife of Orion Hong, another Nationalist spy. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets she wants to keep buried. As the ill-matched pair attempt to unravel the conspiracy, they find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined. 

For readers feeling a bit lonely during this time of the year: 

“I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki” by Baek Sehee

Translated from the South Korean bestseller, “I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki” is a candid and intimate memoir that details Baek Sehee’s experience seeing a psychiatrist about her —  what to call it? — depression? She does not receive anything as serious as a full diagnosis, but Baek feels persistently low, anxious and self-doubting. The constant effort to hide her feelings and present a calm face is exhausting and overwhelming. But even when she feels hopeless, Baek still craves her favorite street food: spicy rice cakes, or tteokbokki. Written in the form of dialogues with her psychiatrist over 12 weeks, Baek begins to map a way out of her seemingly endless cycle of self-abuse. “I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki” is a book for anyone who has ever felt alone in their everyday hopelessness. 

For readers who want to channel their inner teenage misfits: 

“Now Is Not the Time to Panic” by Kevin Wilson

Aspiring writer and offbeat loner Frankie Budge just wants to make it through another summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented but similarly awkward and lonely artist living with his grandmother. When the pair posts an enigmatic anonymous poster together, their work becomes unforgettable to all who see it. When the posters begin appearing everywhere, people wonder about its creators and rumors spread. Soon, the mystery behind Frankie and Zeke’s sign poses repercussions that spread far beyond the town, threatening to tear the two apart. Twenty years later, famous author and loving mother Frances Eleanor Budge gets a call from journalist Mazzy Brower about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Would she know anything about that? Will her secret destroy what she’s so carefully built? “Now Is Not The Time to Panic” is a bold coming-of-age story about the secrets that haunt us and the truths that will set us free. 

For readers who want a chill to match the outside weather: 

“How to Sell a Haunted House” by Grady Hendrix

A darkly comedic and horrifying novel about the houses that are haunted and the people that haunt us. 

When their parents die at the end of the coronavirus pandemic, Louise and Mark Joyner are devastated. And nothing can prepare them for how bad things are about to get. The two siblings are almost totally estranged, and couldn’t be more different — but now, they don’t have a choice but to get along. The virus has passed, and both of them are facing bank accounts ravaged by the economic meltdown, and their only asset is their childhood home. They need to get the house on the market as soon as possible, but before their parents died, newspapers were taped over the mirrors and the attic door nailed shut. As disturbing events pile up in the house, Louise and Mark have to learn that sometimes the only way to break away from the past, sometimes the only way to sell a haunted house, is to burn it all down.

As the snow falls and seasons change, switch up your reading list with these fun book releases.