What to read in 2024: 11 books we're looking forward to The first few months of the year are stacked with exciting and interesting reads. Get ready for big swings from old pros and exciting new debuts.


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11 books to look forward to in 2024

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Whether you're a diehard bookworm or just hoping to read more in 2024, there are great books ahead. That's according to Andrew Limbong, who hosts NPR's Book of the Day podcast. Hi, Andrew.


SELYUKH: So 2024 - sounds like you're pretty hopeful for some books on the horizon. What makes you hopeful?

LIMBONG: So I just had, like, a little kid. So I've been paying more attention to kid's books these days, more so than I usually would.


LIMBONG: There's this new one coming out. It's called "Forever And Always." It's by Brittany J. Thurman, illustrated by Shamar Knight-Justice. And it's about this little girl whose dad is an EMT. And so she spends the whole book worrying about him, waiting for him to come home from work. And so she makes a gift for him to take her mind off of, like, her anxiety. I mean, it's not labeled as such, but that's what she's going through. And the illustrations are beautiful. And I think it's just, like, a really warm and fantastic book that kind of doesn't shy away from how love and worry sort of go hand in hand together, but it does so in a very like, kind and caring way that I think kids will love.

SELYUKH: OK, OK. Other than kid's books, any other themes that jump out for next year in books?

LIMBONG: Yeah, I was just looking at what's coming up ahead, especially in the first couple months. And there are a couple like really old, established pros taking huge swings - right? - just, like, going for the fences. The one I'm thinking of right now is a "James" by Percival Everett. He's a longtime writer. He's got dozens of books under his belt. Listeners might have just seen this movie called "American Fiction," which is based off of one of his books. He's coming out with a retelling of "Huckleberry Finn" from the point of view of Jim, the slave who befriends Huck Finn along the way. And it's more than a straight retelling. I won't spoil too much about it, but it's definitely not just, like, an alternate side view. There's more to it than that. It's also extremely funny.

Another one is by Alexis Wright. She's not super well-known here. She's a pretty established Aboriginal writer in Australia. Her new book, "Praiseworthy," is this huge honker of a novel.


LIMBONG: And it's about this crazed, like, visionary guy who can kind of see the world ending and tries to sort of stop it. And then he has to deal with, like his family trying to deal with him and all that. It's a big, like, more than a novel.


LIMBONG: It's good writing flexing. If you want to just, you know, read somebody pop off for like, a couple of pages, like, as a writer, I'd definitely pick this up.

SELYUKH: Is there maybe a certain genre or category, if we can go that direction, that you're most excited about?

LIMBONG: Yeah. I mean, you know, I really like reporters going deep on something. There's two books that sort of fit that category.


LIMBONG: One is called "American Girls" by Jessica Roy. She's a journalist who is telling this story about these two sisters from Arkansas. One of them ended up becoming involved with a guy in ISIS. And then she takes her kids and goes to Syria to go join him. And then her sister has to be, like...

SELYUKH: Her sister in the U.S.

LIMBONG: Her sister in the U.S. then has to go and find her and try to get her back. And then there's another book by Bianca Bosker called "Get The Picture." She's known for her book "Cork Dork," which is, like - it was an inside look at wine culture and wine snobs and wine nerds. And so this book is about that but art. She spends a lot of time with, like, gallerists and artists and clout chasers and hangers-on and everyone sort of involved in that scene to really get a picture of how the picture of how this scene works.

SELYUKH: (Laughter). I get it.


SELYUKH: I get it. I get it. Thank you, Andrew Limbong, culture reporter, host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast. Happy reading to you and to all of us.

SELYUKH: (Laughter) Yeah. Cool. Thank you.


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