The 10 Books You Should Be Reading This February
From an inside look at the career of the NBA's last great enforcer to a critical examination of contemporary conspiracy theories
What does your February reading look like? This month’s new releases cover a lot of ground, from the life stories of an NBA legend and a musical genius to gripping works of fiction. If you’ve ever wanted a deeper look at reality television or conspiracy theories, this month brings with it new books that have you covered there as well. Here are 10 books due out in February that are worthy of being your next engrossing read.
Dan Charnas, Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm (Feb. 1)
It’s now been 16 years since the death of the great hip-hop producer J Dilla at the age of 32. That a posthumous collection of his work was titled The King of Beats is not hyperbole; the man was an absolute giant. And now, veteran hip-hop journalist Dan Charnas has chronicled J Dilla’s life, work and ongoing musical influence — a perfect combination of author and subject.
Rob Hart, The Paradox Hotel (Feb. 22)
Rob Hart’s first few novels proved his bona fides as an author of crime fiction. With 2019’s The Warehouse, he pivoted to science fiction; now, The Paradox Hotel finds him blending both genres. If the idea of a murder mystery set in a hotel for time travelers sounds intriguing to you, well, this might be the next book for you to get lost in.
Sarah Weinman, Scoundrel: How a Convicted Murderer Persuaded the Women Who Loved Him, the Conservative Establishment, and the Courts to Set Him Free (Feb. 22)
Edgar Smith was incarcerated and awaiting a death sentence when he convinced an unlikely group of people to speak in favor of his release — including National Review founder William F. Buckley. Afterwards, however, things did not go according to plan, and Scoundrel tells the true story of a place where true crime and political history converge.
Marlon James, Moon Witch, Spider King (Feb. 15)
Marlon James’s searing fiction has transported readers from 17th century Jamaica to 1980s New York City — and, in his Dark Star trilogy, to unearthly realms altogether. Moon Witch, Spider King is the second volume of that trilogy, in which James tells the story of a band of unlikely adventurers on a fantastical journey — and then immerses the reader in the art and nature of storytelling itself.
Rebecca Mead, Home/Land (Feb. 8)
If you’re a regular reader of The New Yorker, you’ve probably encountered Rebecca Mead’s writing there. (Her memoir My Life in Middlemarch is also highly recommended.) Home/Land is her memoir of returning to London, the city where she grew up, with her family in 2018. As befits someone with a talent for incisive fiction, it’s an unpredictable and thought-provoking look at the concept of “home.”
Isaac Butler, The Method: How the 20th Century Learned to Act (Feb. 1)
When you think about some of the most iconic actors of the last few decades, Method acting comes up more often than not. In his new book, Isaac Butler chronicles how the Method came to be and how it became wildly popular among some of the most noted actors of their time. This is a book that might lead you to revisit your favorite films from a new angle.
Charles Oakley, The Last Enforcer: Outrageous Stories From the Life and Times of One of the NBA’s Fiercest Competitors (Feb. 1)
Over the course of his long career playing basketball, Charles Oakley developed a reputation for being a relentless player on the court. With his new memoir, written with Frank Isola, Oakley looks back on his time in the NBA with candor; if you’re looking for a singular account of the career of a singular player, you’ll find it here. As an added bonus, Oakley’s onetime teammate Michael Jordan contributed the foreword.
Kelly Weill, Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything (Feb. 22)
We live in an era where conspiracy theories are, unfortunately, all too prevalent. And with the popularity of social media, it’s even easier for these theories to become more widespread. If you’ve ever wondered what leads to some gaining traction, or why so many people are drawn to specific theories, Kelly Weill’s Off the Edge is a must-read.
Olga Tokarczuk, The Books of Jacob (Feb. 1)
Olga Tokarczuk won the Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 2018. Her work covers plenty of ground, from the dizzying travel narratives of Flights to the bizarre rural murders of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. With The Books of Jacob — translated by Jennifer Croft — Tokaczuk takes on the epic tale of the leader of an 18th-century religious sect, and his conflicts with the established powers in Europe at the time.
Danielle J. Lindemann, True Story: What Reality TV Says About Us (Feb. 15)
At the start of the century, reality television was a relatively isolated phenomenon. Now, it abounds across vast swaths of the broadcast landscape. What does that mean for media — and what effect has it had on the people watching it? Danielle J. Lindemann, who is equally at home writing about pop culture and sociology, takes on those very questions in her new book.
This article was featured in the InsideHook newsletter. Sign up now.
Suggested for you