In search of something good to read? USA TODAY’s Barbara VanDenburgh scopes out the shelves for this week’s hottest new book releases.
1. “The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose,” by Oprah Winfrey (Flatiron Books, nonfiction, on sale March 26)
What it’s about: Life advice from a woman with one of the most enviable lives that’s ever been lived? We’re listening. Winfrey shares personal stories, gathers insights from renowned figures and lays out a plan for self-actualization, with tips to achieve not just a successful life, but a significant one.
The buzz: Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jay-Z and Ellen DeGeneres are some of the famous figures Winfrey taps for insights.
2. “The American Agent: A Maisie Dobbs Novel,” by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper, fiction, on sale March 26)
What it’s about: In the f15th book in Winspear’s winning mystery series, heroine Maisie Dobbs, a volunteer ambulance driver in WWII-era London, investigates the murder of an American war correspondent.
The buzz: “In Winspear’s capable hands, Maisie has evolved into a deeply sympathetic character. Readers will eagerly await her next outing,” says Publishers Weekly in a starred review.
3. “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker,” by Damon Young (Ecco, nonfiction, on sale March 26)
What it’s about: Co-founder and editor in chief of VerySmartBrothas.com, Young has proven himself an astute cultural observer and writer on race. This provocative, humorous and incisive memoir in essays examines what it means to be a black man in America today.
The buzz: In a starred review, Publishers Weekly says, “Young’s charm and wit make these essays a pleasure to read; his candid approach makes them memorable.”
4. “The Old Drift,” by Namwali Serpell (Hogarth, fiction, on sale March 26)
What it’s about: A rich, thick Zambian epic, “The Old Drift” blends real-life history with magical realism to tell the decades-spanning story of the small African nation. It’s a striking debut from Serpell, who won the 2015 Caine Prize for African writing.
The buzz: “The past, present, and future of an African nation is filtered with humane wit, vibrant rhetoric, and relentless ingenuity through the interweaving sagas of three very different families,” raves a starred review in Kirkus Reviews.
5. “White Elephant,” by Julie Langsdorf (Ecco, fiction, on sale March 26)
What it’s about: The “white elephant” in this darkly comic social satire is a gaudy new home constructed in a quaint Washington, D.C., suburb. Conflict over the home pits residents against each other and turns their town into a battleground.
The buzz: “This ambitious and intriguing work about the American suburbs is perfect for fans of Ann Patchett or Meg Wolitzer,” says Publishers Weekly.