Now read this: February books to watch for

Recommendations for the new best books to read in February 2016

Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

This book has been more than a decade in the making, and trust me when I tell you it was worth the wait. If you love big, lush, historical fiction, this is the book for you! Lillian Berne is the star soprano at the Paris Opera, and one day she is finally offered what every opera singer dreams of: an original role. But when she reads the part, she realizes it is based on a secret from her past. Now Lillian must search for clues to discover which of the four people who share this secret has betrayed her. An amazing literary mystery that is, quite simply, stunning.

Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue, translated by Natasha Wimmer 

A dazzling postmodern novel revolving around — wait for it — tennis balls. It begins with Mary Magdalene watching a tennis match and moves on to the world’s most sought-after tennis ball, one made from Anne Boleyn’s hair. It only gets weirder from there. Enrigue whips the story back and forth through time and countries, soaking the novel with liberal amounts of drugs, sex, and death, and the end result is a brilliant mind-bending novel.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

After Yeong-hye begins experiencing brutal, blood-filled nightmares, she decides to cut meat out of her diet. This seemingly harmless decision disrupts her marriage and invites increasingly bizarre situations into their home. At first her family tries to convince Yeong-hye to change her mind about meat, but as she continues to demand animal-free meals, her dietary choice becomes a battle of wills that escalates into dangerous madness. Dark, creepy, and awesome, “The Vegetarian” will stay with you long after you’ve put it down.

Interior Darkness: Selected Stories by Peter Straub

Straub is an established literary giant, and the mere fact he has a new book out should be enough to have people waiting with bated breath. If you’ve never read him, this is a great place to start: it’s an assortment of his finest stories from the past 25 years. Straub is one of the masters of horror, and this collection perfectly encapsulates his ability to give readers the chills. From depravity on the Amazon to revenge on unfaithful spouses and many, many more sinister stories, he finds the darkest part of each of his characters and shines a light on it for our twisted amusement.

Private Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte

A millennial comedy of errors starring four estranged friends cynically navigating their way through the Bay Area. Cory, Will, Henrik, and Linda are disaffected 20-somethings in San Francisco trying to figure out whether to grow up and join the rat race or burn it all down. Tulathimutte has written a wonderfully hilarious novel, full of heart and brutal truths, about privilege and failure and what it means to be friends in the 21st century. This book is going to win awards.